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About schlimazel_traveler

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  1. Can you expand a bit on the Windjammer offerings? You mentioned that more variety would have been welcome. We really liked the WJ on our last Grandeur cruise (2017) and were disappointed last month when the Vision was nowhere close. I wasn't sure if things had changed over time or if it was a ship-to-ship difference. I agree that B2B cruisers dominating trivia is a problem. That was one plus for the Vision! There didn't seem to be anyone playing who had heard all the questions before. My husband earned the wrath of a guy on the Celebrity Reflection once by being the first one to beat him in weeks...But he won fair and square.
  2. We've sailed both lines (tried M-class and S-class on Celebrity, all Vision-class on Royal) and one of the things I really miss on Celebrity is the activities. On our Royal cruises there have been a full staff of activities hosts (an Activities Manager, and three hosts, generally). On our Celebrity cruises, there have been a manager and a single host. Obviously, no one can be in two places at once, so there are fewer organized activities, and there are fewer venues that are suitable for them. We've gotten great deals on Celebrity--included perks like drinks packages and gratuities and more OBC than we could use. For less than a comparable cruise (e.g. 7 day Bermuda vs. 7 day Bermuda) on Royal. But...we were kinda bored last time. So it does really come down to what you enjoy doing on your cruise.
  3. Ah...I guess those aren't USB! You might try this type of cord which has no surge suppression and will give you some extra distance from the mirror and the ability to plug in >1 item. Plug your hairdryer/flatiron/whatever into it, and wrap the whole cord (appliance cord plus extension) around the appliance as you normally would do with the appliance cord. Pack your hairdryer and keep your fingers crossed.
  4. This works well for USB devices. Get 6-food USB cords and you should be able to reach across the cabin. https://www.amazon.com/Charger-Anker-6-Port-PowerPort-Samsung/dp/B014ZQG00I/ref=asc_df_B014ZQG00I For what it's worth, I carry the above in my carry-on, attached to one of these old-fashioned extension cords (2 prong). https://www.target.com/p/15-indoor-extension-cord-white-woods/-/A-12880543 It's my all-in-one travel charger for all my devices.
  5. I want to put in a plug for a fun activity in Nassau that my husband really enjoyed. https://jetlinesimulationbahamas.com/ Jetline Simulation Bahamas is a 737 flight simulator that allows you to "take off" from and "land" at just about any airport in the world. My husband is an aviation buff who took some flying lessons in single-engine planes as a teenager, but has never had a pilot's license. When I came across a mention of this outfit on someone's post in the cruise forums, I knew this was the kind of thing he'd love. He contacted the company directly and they said they'd sold all their slots for that day to the cruise lines, so he booked through our ship. The price for an hour in the simulator was about $140 (it fluctuated a little over the time I was watching it in the cruise planner--may have gone down to $130 at some point). There's room in the simulator for spectators so you can bring a friend to watch without having to pay for two people. If you are visiting at a time when ships aren't in port (or when fewer ships are), you may be able to book directly. Ryan, the proprietor, met us at the dock and walked us through town (about 10 minutes) to the facility which is on the way to Junkanoo Beach. Along the way, he interviewed my husband about his flying experience so they could make the best use of time in the simulator. He also called ahead to get my husband's choice of airports cued up in the simulator. In the "cockpit," James, the copilot, oriented my husband to the controls and then took him through some takeoffs and landings. I was able to take pictures and videos. Typically, an hour is enough time for three airports. (I guess it could be more if you already know how to fly a 737), My husband was delighted with the experience and we left planning out how soon we could get back to Nassau to try a few more airports.
  6. The activities staff included Jacob from England, Carlos (aka Charlie) from Cancun, Orlando from the DR and manager Talita. The meet and mingle featured a clever ice-breaker that encouraged people to get up and mingle. I think Jacob was in charge of it.
  7. On the way to the airport, and my final assessment overall is that it was a good cruise and I'd do it again. We got a great deal on our cruise fare so the disappointing food was outweighed by the lively activities, the good music, and the pleasant atmosphere. I'll adjust my dining expectations going forward.
  8. On a whim I left about 75 cents "nonrefundable" on-board credit on my account to see what would happen. It was credited back.
  9. Grandeur's Windjammer has the identical foot print. But they have placed the serving stations differently and organized the offerings within the various stations differently. It's much easier to navigate, IMHO. The fries are good. I could subsist on fries and soft-serve ice cream. I was just looking forward to something different.
  10. From someone on board as well--I'm definitely enjoying myself although some aspects don't meet my expectations. The problem could be that my expectations are out of date. My last cruise was 2 years ago. I've sailed once on Enchantment and twice on Grandeur, so the size/layout of the ship is familiar and I really prefer this size. Our cabin steward did introduce himself promptly and greets us by name. We've had ice supplied as requested and the room is made up twice a day. I don't think the glitch in housekeeping up on deck 8 reflects new shipwide procedures, so I can reassure folks in that regard. I would be interested in knowing if the food situation is unique to this ship or this sailing or this departure port, or if it's an across-the-board change since two years ago. On Grandeur, the same dishes were available in the Windjammer as in the MDR. Yes, there were alternative selections for those who like "plainer" fare, but they were off to one side. The main buffet was in the circular section in the center. There were no serving stations just inside the door, so passengers could walk in and out without getting in the way of people serving themselves (and vice versa). We've been really dismayed that the WJ selections have been as elaborate as an elementary school cafeteria. Plain pasta noodles, accompanied by plain marinara. Not a prepared pasta dish with interesting ingredients and seasonings. Other items have been "steamed fish" (type unspecified), plain. A generic "beef stew." Pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers are on the main buffet (as well as a separate hot dog and hamburger station). The entire central section is desserts, fruit and cheese. It's just badly designed for people to move through, and I wonder if they've ever been on the Grandeur to see how they lay out the stations! I'm not a picky eater, nor are my standards that high, but I expected interesting recipes and intriguing food choices, based on my previous experiences. So, I'm disappointed. We could eat in the MDR but our seating (8) is just too late and conflicts with other things we enjoy. On the other hand, my picky eater daughter would be delighted to get plain ziti noodles in the buffet... On the plus side, there are oodles of activities to do and to watch, and the passengers are enthusiastically participating in everything. We have been happily entertained. Just not particularly well-fed.
  11. Today's sea day weather was perfect, if I may butt in. I'm enjoying the music--the bands have been good and the DJ's playlist is to my liking. But I can see how it would be intrusive if the selection was not your taste. The activities have been fun and well-attended. The activities staff is high-energy and humorous. The food has been meh.
  12. Have you already called Crown & Anchor to get your Captain's Club status matched? You might wind up with some amount of free or discounted internet time.
  13. To be honest, this was the first reward I found it practical to make use of. I started playing a couple years ago when we were planning a trip to Las Vegas, and I wasn't able to make use of any of the offers available. Many of the discount offers (e.g. for show tickets or restaurants or whatever in Vegas) seem to be available through other outlets as well. I hope you find ways to take advantage of the other rewards!
  14. Can confirm. I got a message in my cruise planner, and then after that when I sign in it shows as $100 credit available.
  15. If Star Class is in your budget, you will certainly enjoy your cruise and will be able to take advantage of just about any amenity that is offered to the top tier of the loyalty program, and you can just pick whichever line or ship has the itinerary that appeals to you. My parents said their cruise in a Neptune Suite on HAL rivaled their experiences on Oceania. The advantage to you in choosing suite class on a "mass market" line is that luxury lines like Oceania won't have as much for your kids. You might find Disney suits you when they are a bit older. Many of the Diamond through Pinnacle folks we've met (and the analogous levels on Celebrity) are folks who cruise several times a year. Once they reach these levels in the loyalty programs, the amenities available to them make it possible for them to have a very pleasant experience (private lounges, specialty dining, etc) without springing for a suite. There's also some reciprocity available so if you manage to get to some echelon on Royal, you'll have your status matched on Celebrity and Azamara, and some other programs (MLife) offer perks as well. So if that kind of thing appeals to you, it might make sense to consolidate your trips on one line for a bit.
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