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About Brownie111

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    The Med
  1. Brownie111

    Wind Surf dinner reservations?

    BPT, what cruise on you on? We are departing on the 25th and also will be staying at the Westin Dawn Beach the night before.
  2. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    With respect to the ship rocking... pretty minimal because we had calm seas. We did have one night while we were sleeping that I noticed we had some pretty rough seas and I did notice some pretty good rocking. We were on Deck 12 so it makes me wonder if the height of the ship creates a little more movement?? Not a nautical guy and not an engineer so this is merely a guess. By the way, I agree with the comments here regarding appropriate dress. I was clearly not intending to create a firestorm with regards to the dress at night at the speciality restaurants. It is merely an opinion of mine that if you go to a nice restaurant, men should wear long pants and a collared shirt. Trust me, nobody loves shorts more than me and I wear them literally all year long due to the fact I live in Phoenix. In fact, I am wearing them right now! There are many times I wear shorts to restaurants in Phoenix but they are Mexican restaurants, micro breweries, Chili's, etc. When I go to an upscale restaurant I wear long pants and a collared shirt because I feel it is appropriate. Would I prefer to wear shorts everywhere? Sure, but I don't if it is more of an upscale restaurant like the specialty restaurants on the ship. Bayamo's does require long pants for men and I am just surprised it is not applied everywhere. Once again, anybody can wear what they want and be as comfortable as they desire to be and I have no problem with that. In my opinion, if they want to dress down at dinner go the the buffet or someplace like O'Sheehan's. Both have very good food and both are clearly more casual and casual attire. Trust me, if there was a night I did not want to get appropriately dressed for dinner and I wanted to wear shorts, this is exactly where I would go. Just an opinion on my behalf. and as "Alligator" states, it is a matter of respect and how you were raised.
  3. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    Yes, there were kids in the Haven and they ranged from small kids to teenagers. I can also report that they were very well behaved and not a problem. I noticed a couple of comments in earlier posts on other cruises they thought they were a little crazy but we did not experience that at all.
  4. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    We did have a chance to meet Mark the bartender and truly enjoyed chatting with him and you are right, he is quite a mixologist. His attitude and service truly helps make The Haven a real treat.
  5. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    It was on Sunday night at either 7:00 or 7:30. We could not attend due to a dinner reservation at 7:00.
  6. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    If I recall, it was 9:00pm. It only lasted about 45 minutes but you got to see all 3 comedians.
  7. Brownie111

    An Escape review including The Haven.

    If I recall, it was 9:00pm. It only lasted about 45 minutes but you got to see all 3 comedians.
  8. Haven review on the Escape I wanted to provide not only a Haven review but also some thoughts about the ship and the overall cruise itself. First, this review is being written by someone that is pretty adverse to large ships and in fact, the last 10 years we have focused on much smaller ships that have a passenger count from 130 to 500. It seems like the older we get the more crowd adverse we have become so the smaller ships became much more appealing. In addition, it allowed us to form some great relationships with people that we still chat with today. What convinced us to take this cruise was the concept the Haven promised. Separate pool, separate restaurant, separate bar, and separate sunning area. In addition, we used the lounge area to find a quiet place to read your book and have a glass of wine. All of this coupled with access to the speciality dining and the bigger and better shows made for a nice combination. We found ourselves truly enjoying the Haven experience and would recommend it highly if you want to go down the path of a bigger ship. Embarkation We arrived at the port around 11:00am and checked into the priority desk and then waited for a little while. We were then escorted to another waiting area that was completely full which was a little frustrating but fortunately we were lined up to start the trek towards the ship and ultimately the Haven Lounge. So, we were in the lounge around 11:30 making the whole process pretty painless. Once in the lounge, we were given an introduction and told the rooms were ready so we could drop off our carry on luggage. Our biggest regret was now revealing itself in that we booked a forward penthouse suite on Deck 12 and the Haven is on Deck 17. While the penthouse suite is truly a treat and we truly enjoyed the extra room and amenities, we regret we did not have a room in the actual Haven area. Next time, we would get a room in the Haven area even if it is a smaller room. Lesson learned. We made it to our room, dropped off our stuff and then proceeded to explore a bit. That was a little difficult because the bulk of the passengers were now boarding and it was a little crazy so we decided to have lunch at the Haven. Their lunches the entire week were superb. While the menu did not change we continued to try different entrees and they were quite good. Mid-afternoon we make it to our meeting area for the Muster drill which was at O’Sheehan’s. WOW, the crowd was a little daunting and if you were truly trying to learn about how to see the process of getting on your life preserver, it was difficult due to the very, very large crowds. Shortly after this craziness we found ourselves checking out the Waterfront and found the outdoor bar at The Cellars. It made for a nice spot to quietly have a glass of wine and to watch the sail-away. The Escape The ship itself is truly beautiful and the crew is constantly cleaning and attending to it. In addition, the crew is extremely friendly and exceptional in every respect. Not really any complaints at all with the overall product but I did have the Haven access which made a huge difference. Like many have already stated, the one area that I thought was a poor design was the main pool area. While I did not have to actually fight those crowds, you still have to walk through the upper deck area above the pool that is lined with lounge chairs and it is truly jammed. So jammed that you can have two people walk through the area should to shoulder. You have to go single file and then work with the oncoming pedestrian traffic. One pool with this many people was not a good design. They should have put a smaller adult only pool at Spice H20 and that would have provided some relief. The Food I can only comment on the specialty dining restaurants and the Haven restaurant because we had the UDP package. While the food was really good for the most part (1 exception) I do have a frustration that I wish the cruise line would consider. When we cruise we focus on lines that have a dress code that is “casual” in lieu of bringing on a tux or a suit. That fits me because I have to wear a suit everyday during the work week. So I bring “resort casual” which consists of a nice pair of pants and either a collared golf shirt, a casual dress shirt, or a Tommy Bahama type of shirt. Personally, I think if you go to a speciality restaurant it should be required for men to wear long pants and a collared shirt. There were many times, we saw casual that consisted of shorts and a tee shirt. In my opinion, if you want to dress like that for dinner you should dine at the buffet. I am a huge fan of shorts and wear them a good portion of the year but when I go to a nice restaurant (like the speciality restaurants) I do wear long pants and a collared shirt. A quick review on the restaurants we attended: Cagney’s- We thought this was quite good and I think it compared to some good mainland steakhouses. Le Bistro- This restaurant was extremely good. The food was fantastic and the service was exceptional. Teppanyaki- I went into this restaurant with low expectations because the food at this type of venue is OK but typically not a WOW experience. I must tell you, the food was extremely good and the guys doing the cooking are very entertaining. The Haven Restaurant- My only regret is that I only ate there 1 time for dinner! We did have breakfast there almost every day and had a few lunches there. This food was extremely good and the service was extraordinary. The only thing they need to work on is their speed of service. We found ourselves ordering an appetizer because we learned that the entree took awhile to find our table. Bayamo’s- This is the only restaurant that we paid for and unfortunately it was not only bad it was quite bad. The appetizer was bad, the entree was exceptionally bad, and the desert was not good. Very, very disappointing and we had the chance to compare notes with others and they had the same impression. The Mojito Bar right outside of the restaurant is very good but the restaurant itself is very disappointing. O’Sheehan’s- Great place for lunch. Good burgers, good Rueben’s, and I had a Shephard’s pie that was pretty darned good. Entertainment After Midnight- Good but pretty long and if you go to a late show, we found it challenging to hang in there to the end. The Million Dollar Quartet- Do NOT miss this one. My only regret is that I did not do a repeat performance. The talent that this show provides is exceptional and the singer that portrays Jerry Lee Lewis is a gifted performer and one that should not be missed. Headliners Comedy Club- Very good. Make sure you see the Wednesday night performance where all 3 perform. In addition, the late night session is also very good. Excursions St. Thomas- We are creatures of habit and we continue to go back to Megan’s bay and have for the last 5-6 times we have been to St. Thomas. Crowded, yes, but there were 6 cruise ships in town that day so I suspect everything was crowded. Tortola- We have been here before and my desire was to take the excursion that went to Jost Van Dyke but it was sold out by the time we boarded. Very bummed! We then took an excursion that was on RIB’s(Rigid Inflatable Boats) that went around the island and stopped at Jost Van Dyke which is what I truly wanted to do. A word of caution, this excursion will beat the heck of you so be aware. So, the excursion was too long, the seats in the boat were pretty uncomfortable, and it cost $179 per person. Other than that, a good excursion!! :) FYI, my wife is still experiencing some physical discomfort in her back and neck from the beating we took on that excursion. Nassau- Our intent was to essentially stay on the boat because this island is not our favorite. We did get off for a short walk in order to buy the grandkids some trinkets. We went to the straw market and realized why we don’t like this island. We then came back to the ship and did the water tubes on the ship and that was a hoot!! Debarkation This went extremely well and upon departing we found a porter went through the customs line and found our way to a taxi and to the airport. Very easy in Miami compared to Fort Lauderdale. As mentioned, I thought the ship was very nice in most respects. In addition to the overcrowded pool situation, a couple of other areas were a little frustrating. The casino location and the resulting smoke that emanated from this area made it brutal to pass by and not feel like you had just lit up a pack of cigarettes on your own. The ship badly needs some additional venting because the casino area is in the middle of the ship and the smoke is truly bad for us non-smokers. The other area that I attribute to poor design is the atrium area. They tend to have a lot of activities there and it gets very clogged up with people if you are just trying to pass by. In closing, we did have a great time on the ship but the Haven was truly an oasis in a sea of people. As previously mentioned, we have become accustomed to a much smaller ship by our choice and the Haven provided that small ship within a big ship so we were able to enjoy the benefits of the large ship while able to find a nice place to escape the crowds. In the event you are considering the Haven, I would highly recommend getting your cabin in the Haven area not outside of it. So, would we sail a big ship again?? I think we would but we would make sure we chose the Haven for the benefits it provides.
  9. Brownie111

    Lisbon - Segway Tour - has anyone done this?!

    I saw your post and wanted to add some first hand experience for you regarding the Segway Tour in Lisbon. We were in Lisbon in August of 2013 and many of us from the ship signed up for the tour. Only 1 of us (8 from the ship) had ever been on a Segway. The total group was about 12 and everyone was newbies. They provide you with some basic training in a small square near the rental shop with helmet and you are ready to tackle Lisbon. I will tell you that if you are going on flat surfaces or uphill, a Segway is no big deal. Additionally, you don't have to be real athletic to handle them. I would tell you that if you are an accomplished snow skier (which I was) the motion that you need for turning comes very naturally and very quickly. The tough part of this tour is the fact you get lulled into a sense of ease when you are on flat surfaces or heading uphill. The part you don't know yet is the downhill ride. The ride on a Segway is built around slight body and arm adjustments for it to turn effectively. When you are on a flat surface the turns are easy and come naturally. When you are going uphill, you have a forward body lean and it is also a natural feeling. The tough part is downhill! When you go downhill, you have to lean back and pull back on the Segway and that is not a natural feeling. When you also add cobblestone streets that are tight with traffic on the streets, the anxiety is high and for those who don't have a high degree of comfort in the first place, it is even worse. Now, I say all of this just as a precursor to the fact that the tour was very enjoyable and I would do it again but I would thoroughly check on the itinerary prior to departure. If you are a newbie on a Segway, a flat terrain tour would be a good idea.
  10. Brownie111

    Transfer from Seville to Faro Airport

    I did a post there first and it was recommended I do one here due to Faro being in Portugal.
  11. Brownie111

    Private Transfer from Seville to Faro Airport

    Thank you, Carol. I have done just that. Hopefully, between the 2 of them, I get some advice.
  12. We are on a cruise that ends in Seville and need to transfer to Faro airport. I have found several companies that provide this service but was hoping I could get some reviews from this board. The companies that I have found are: Express Transfers Algarve Vintage travel SunTransfers City Airport Taxis Algarve 365 Does anybody have any experience with any of these companies and if you have any names that I have not included, could you please provide a name and recommendation?? Additionally, is this the best way to transfer from Seville to the Faro airport?
  13. We are on a cruise that ends in Seville and need to transfer to Faro airport. I have found several companies that provide this service but was hoping I could get some reviews from this board. The companies that I have found are: Express Transfers Algarve Vintage travel SunTransfers City Airport Taxis Algarve 365 Does anybody have any experience with any of these companies and if you have any names that I have not included, could you please provide a name and recommendation?? Additionally, is this the best way to transfer from Seville to the Faro airport?