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raynvic

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About raynvic

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Interests
    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival and Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere warm and sunny

Recent Profile Visitors

170 profile views
  1. If it is convenient to purchase before boarding, then we will bring on a bottle. We always fly from the West coast, so it is not always easy to get. We like to have a glass in the room while getting ready. Galveston is one port where it really comes in handy!
  2. I don't know that I would consider anything they sold on board as duty free. They charge VAT on every purchase. If the purchase is over $200 they will help you with the forms that you need to turn in at the airport. I don't recall seeing any liquor or tobacco, but that does not mean it wasn't there.
  3. Hi Flahagan, we were on the Jade with you and spent a good deal of time at the Martini Bar. Antonio and Bojan were the best. Like you the heat almost did us in and we are from AZ (it's a dry heat). I agree with your assessment of the Jade, I did a comparison with Carnival and posted a few days ago. I like the size ship and found the entertainment really good. We had a lot of specialty dining so we only ate in the dining room one night. I did find the buffet to be much better than those on most cruise lines. Thanks for posting your review and glad you had as good a trip as we did. Vicky
  4. We were in Valetta last week. I booked a tour with Amy Pace. It was a good tour, but others are correct, you can do this on your own. As were only in port for a half day, this is somewhere I would love to return to.
  5. For those who asked, we sailed the Jade on Aug 1st. Italy and Greece. We have sailed all sizes of the Carnival ships. My personal preference is a ship that holds less than 2800 passengers. Not a big fan of the Big ships. Like Linda the Book Lover says I find my spot to read and do not wander far. Love the Carnival serenity area. I stay away from the party areas of Carnival although we have been know to stay up late many nights. I am in agreement that the past couple of years seems to be too many (in my opinion) Casino cruises which changes the dynamics of the people on board. Those interested in Celebrity, I have not sailed her big ships but many of the small ships. So far, the Silhouette has been my favorite, although I really liked the old Century.
  6. This review is my personal opinion. My husband and I have cruised more than 35 times and although most of them were Carnival, we have cruised with Sitmar, RCCL, Princess and Celebrity. This was our first NCL cruise since the 80’s. I usually tell people who ask that the best cruise line is the one that you are most comfortable with. My favorite is Celebrity, but I love my Carnival perks. I would say that NCL and Carnival are more alike than different. Food: this is very subjective, but I found the buffet on NCL to be better than Carnival. First of all I like the layout of the area better with multiple stations instead of 4 long lines. The choices were more appetizing and I thought the taste was better. NCL has more dining options and most are casual. Only two of the venues did not allow shorts for men or women. The specialty restaurants were good, but no more so than the regular dining room. All of the food was tasty and the service was good as well. (I did miss my chocolate melting cake with peanut butter.) Cabin: this is where Carnival has the edge when comparing balconies. The NCL cabin felt smaller and the storage was quite a bit less. The desk area where I usually apply makeup and do my hair was just a small corner niche. The bathroom had a nice shower but the sink area felt very cramped with the towel storage on the wall next to the sink. There was only one closet versus two with Carnival and only one nightstand with no drawers. There was a lack of surface area to store “stuff”. Common areas: There seemed to be plenty of common areas and the Martini Bar was very similar both in their offerings and lay out. One thing I did like on NCL was the lounge at the top of the ship where they played live music and some DJ for dancing at night. Celebrity does this as well. The thing I dislike most about Carnival is the “Disco”. The rap and hip hop music that is usually played does not appeal to me. Pool areas: They did have a lifeguard on duty and just like any cruise ship the chogs were in full force. Not much difference here. Casino: There did not seem to be many people in the Casino most of the time. The table games were $10 minimums as well as the Crap Table. The Casino bar surface had slot machines. I think this is to discourage those who use the casino bar as their main smoking lounge. Many people look down on Carnival and call it the Walmart of cruising. I will tell you I saw much the same on NCL, whether it was dress, behavior, or unsupervised kids. I saw all of that. In closing, I would say if the price was right and they go where I want to go, I would go with NCL again. I did miss my free laundry though!
  7. This review is my personal opinion. My husband and I have cruised more than 35 times and although most of them were Carnival, we have cruised with Sitmar, RCCL, Princess and Celebrity. This was our first NCL cruise since the 80’s. I usually tell people who ask that the best cruise line is the one that you are most comfortable with. My favorite is Celebrity, but I love my Carnival perks. I would say that NCL and Carnival are more alike than different. Food: this is very subjective, but I found the buffet on NCL to be better than Carnival. First of all I like the layout of the area better with multiple stations instead of 4 long lines. The choices were more appetizing and I thought the taste was better. NCL has more dining options and most are casual. Only two of the venues did not allow shorts for men or women. The specialty restaurants were good, but no more so than the regular dining room. All of the food was tasty and the service was good as well. (I did miss my chocolate melting cake with peanut butter.) Cabin: this is where Carnival has the edge when comparing balconies. The NCL cabin felt smaller and the storage was quite a bit less. The desk area where I usually apply makeup and do my hair was just a small corner niche. The bathroom had a nice shower but the sink area felt very cramped with the towel storage on the wall next to the sink. There was only one closet versus two with Carnival and only one nightstand with no drawers. There was a lack of surface area to store “stuff”. Common areas: There seemed to be plenty of common areas and the Martini Bar was very similar both in their offerings and lay out. One thing I did like on NCL was the lounge at the top of the ship where they played live music and some DJ for dancing at night. Celebrity does this as well. The thing I dislike most about Carnival is the “Disco”. The rap and hip hop music that is usually played does not appeal to me. Pool areas: They did have a lifeguard on duty and just like any cruise ship the chogs were in full force. Not much difference here. Casino: There did not seem to be many people in the Casino most of the time. The table games were $10 minimums as well as the Crap Table. The Casino bar surface had slot machines. I think this is to discourage those who use the casino bar as their main smoking lounge. Many people look down on Carnival and call it the Walmart of cruising. I will tell you I saw much the same on NCL, whether it was dress, behavior, or unsupervised kids. I saw all of that. In closing, I would say if the price was right and they go where I want to go, I would go with NCL again. I did miss my free laundry though!
  8. I am looking for reviews or feedback from anyone who has used "MyDriverinRome". All of the companies have similar names. This particular company was recommended by my TA. They do have a website and are responsive to inquiries, but I cannot find any reviews. Thanks.
  9. We put our bags outside our cabin on Sat. night then on Sunday got called right around 9. They called #1 thru 16 all at the same time. I believe this was the first or second cruise from Ft. Lauderdale.
  10. We were on the same sailing as the Smiths! We did Random Wind Catamaran in St. Maarten. Cannot recommend them highly enough. It was by far the best we have been on. In St. Kits we did Spectrum ATV Tour. The ATV tour was good, but just not my "cup of tea". Great Cruise, the wait staff, cabin staff and front desk staff were all awesome. Some of the musical groups on board were really good, the Latin duo in the Plaza and Monkeys Feet were my favorites. I agree embarkation was so easy we were on board before 11 as Diamond. Debark was slower because we checked our bags. Probably around 9 ish for groups 1 thru 16. I think there were way more self assist than I have ever seen. If you have the Global Entry Card, it is a piece of cake and no line through Customs and Emigration.
  11. WE have done 2 of the B2B and brought 4 bottles. Just showed the boarding passes for BOTH cruises.
  12. Hubby "freshens" his shirts as soon as he unpacks them as there is no line at that time. Just a hint!
  13. To the OP. Like you our vacation time is limited and we want to spend every minute of it wisely. We most often fly the redeye from Phoenix to Florida. If we sail on Sunday, then we will fly in on Sat. but that does not happen often. Even with the San Juan debacle, we ended up spending the night in CLT and flying in day of. We have taken 4 European cruises and 2 of those we arrived the day of sailing. Pay attention to the time of year, weather and connections. We never fly the northern route in the winter. I do buy insurance through USAA, but more for medical coverage than anything. If you have to fly in the day of sailing, then do it. Many of us do. P.S. I know my good luck may run out one day, but I am hoping to be retired by then so it won't be an issue.
  14. Thanks for the update, I have not received a response and was about to give up. I will try again.
  15. Thought I would share my experience from last Sunday. We debarked the Celebrity Silhouette last Sunday at around 9:30 a.m. (they seemed pretty slow). Our intention was to take Uber to MIA, our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:35 p.m., so plenty of time. The Uber pricing was $128 (ouch, premium time). DH walked down and found a van that would take us for $25 per person, so we cancelled Uber and loaded our luggage onto the van. A few minutes later and a discussion between the van driver and the dispatcher, we were told that they could not take just 2 of us to MIA. We unloaded off the van and walked down to the Taxi line. The taxi line was probably 40 to 50 people deep and not moving with no taxis in sight. I was starting to get a little concerned because it was cutting into our cushion of time. After about 10 minutes we left the taxi line and returned to the van line. Ultimately we ended up taking the van to FLL for $11 each and then a taxi from FLL to MIA for $93 (including tip). We arrived at the 2 hour check in mark and checked our bags curbside. It was a round about way of getting where we needed to go and in hindsight we could have taken the Celebrity transportation for less $ and stress. (we did not try Uber again because we had trouble with the website) P.S. Our flight was delayed 1.5 hours. LOL, gotta love the challenge and experience of travel!
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