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loge23

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About loge23

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL USA
  • Interests
    Playing and appreciating music, woodworking, food & wine appreciation, travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Viking, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Aruba

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  1. We found Pompeii very easy to do on your own. There's a train nearby to the port that takes to you close to the site (well within walking distance, if you are able). Plenty of excellent guidebooks out there to help you max your time at the ruins, which simply can't be seen in it's entirety in one day.
  2. We only use Total Wine for some cordials that are difficult to find elsewhere, scotch, and a rather nice sparkling burgundy: Louie Bouillot's brut rose. Most of our purchases are through an online app, WTSO, that puts up one wine at a time - for about a couple of hours or so - and then changes it. We also purchase form the local Publix, which stocks a good selection and runs a BOGO every week on a wine or two. I keep an app, CellarMaster, which helps me to keep track of our drinkables and stock on certain varietals that we like to have in. But I don't call it a collection - it's more of an inventory!
  3. Difficult to see how cruises will be operating in January or February at this point. Seems like an awful lot of positive things have to happen to allow this to take place, and positive things haven't been in good supply lately. Actually, it is currently looking like yet another wave of infections in many states and European countries. Let's not forget the staffing issues - tens of thousands of crew members must be gathered, re-hired, and flown into position. That will take a month or so right there with the airlines operating on a shoestring. Supply chains will have to be rebuilt as well. I think that the most optimistic, and likely, scenario is Fall of 2021 for a return to somewhat regular operations. That would push it into 2022 for the most cautious among us. The prospect of cruising with social distancing/masking requirements isn't appealing to us. We're on a Nov. 2021 cruise & crossing, but I don't think the ship (Discovery) will be ready anyway. Stay safe, all!
  4. Hi Thrak, love Gerwurtz also but I haven't seen it at the Vines anymore on our most recent cruises. We prefer the Alsatians when available. Our go-to at The Vines has long been the Vall Llach Embruix, a Priorat from Catalonia, Spain. We think it's the best red value there. We also enjoy a glass of Chablis there, as white Burgundy's (or red, for that matter) are few and far between onboard in most venues.
  5. On the Princess Connects Live vids, on YouTube, Jan Schwartz the Princess CEO was asked what her favorite bar was on Princess. You guessed it, it was The Vines. So why is it gone??
  6. The article was indeed damning for Carnival Corp. and Princess, but only from a PR/ branding position - it is difficult to lay any significant blame on Princess for disembarkation procedures. It should be noted though that there were very few well-informed people at that point about COVID-19. The article does point out that the ship did not have the ability to diagnose COVID, but did issue an incorrect assessment of the virus to a passenger. If anyone should be blamed for the fiasco that occurred, including the loss of lives, it may in fact be the Australian port authorities who had an opportunity - and the inclination - to delay disembarkation but failed to do so. But then again, this does support the lack of credible information about the disease and the lack of diagnostic tools to assess it at that time. Going forward, the Corporation does have a big job ahead of them in presenting a more sanitary, cleaner environment for their passengers - in all areas and for all contagious diseases.
  7. Princess seems to get the best musicians for their ship's band. We love the jazz breakaways in the smaller lounges by the ship's band members - some that come to mind: Ian on Piano (he began his Princess career on our first Princess cruise in 1992!), Gordon the train guy from Ohio I think, there's another Gordon also - both excellent horn players. One time we were on there was a very good drummer who used to be the percussionist for the then-defunct Syracuse Symphony orchestra. There's an Argentinian jazz pianist also who's fabulous. All of them shine. The bands are always top-flight. Among the Crooner's performers for us is Perry Grant and everyone else. Perry's not for everyone apparently but he packs them in like none other and gives a theater show to boot. We love him. Perry's not young, I wonder if we've seen the last of him. He's a terrific musician and he keeps us laughing as well! On our last cruise, they cobbled together a rock band from the staff musicians and they were superb. They had a male and female vocalist and a really good guitar player. Their big tune each night was Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody which highlighted the fine guitarist. For guest performer's, a mixed bag. The atrium party bands are often too loud we find, but some of them are fun. We prefer the soloists - like the imitable Heather Sullivan, who once was a Crooner's pianist. Heather is a show-stopper - I'd pay to see her! An all-time fav in the Wheelhouse is our Canadian friend Danny Rembadi. To this day, I "award" the Danny Rembadi Award to the best on-ship artist. Heather won it in a walk last cruise! Danny is terrific - he does Classical, Spanish, and Pop - often in one tune! A gifted guitarist, Danny is also quite the showman - he also packs them in with everyone singing along. We feel that Princess's musical program is a significant differentiation from other cruise lines. Hope it doesn't change.
  8. Much improved. Also includes the interview with Gavin MacLeod.
  9. Another odd moment for me in #2 - and I suppose for other Vines fans - was Jan's endorsement of Vines as her favorite bar onboard Princess ships. Why is this odd? Well, neither one of the new ships, the Enchanted nor the Discovery, have a Vines. Is Jan not involved in making the decisions about what stays and what goes on new vessels?
  10. #2 was one hot mess - and coming on the heels of a shaky #1, this isn't a good look for Princess. Either they can produce a show worthy of watching or just forget about it. The idea is a good one, but the execution has been a technical and creative disaster after two attempts now. One has to wonder how the CEO of a corporation under the pressure of this pandemic such as Princess has the time to participate in such an amateurish venture. The host was awful, the technicals were abysmal, Gavin MacLeod's spot was an insult to him, and nothing of any substance was covered. Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? The best part of the whole mess was watching Capt. Tuvo's wife's facial expressions. I think the good Captain may have some work to do at home.
  11. I'm not aware of any substantial changes but clearly this is a area that must be addressed. Although we remain good customers of Princess, the ventilation systems onboard have long been suspected of contributing to respiratory maladies for us - and quite a few other passengers that we have met while cruising.
  12. We're on the last Discovery Med and TA as well, but it looks doubtful that it will sail. There was an article in SeaTrade (seatrade-cruise.com) that showed the hull of the Discovery being launched a week or so ago. The article said that the launching was delayed from April. The hull is just that - it looks like a garbage scow in it's present form. It was off to another Fincantieri yard to be outfitted. So now it's a least four months behind schedule. Haven't seen much on Princess for 2022 yet, but that looks like the next realistic dates for us at this point.
  13. Vines is also missing on the Discovery's deck plans. Pretty popular place as I recall - particularly the Vines on the Royal class ships that feature a full bar. Also the only place to get a good glass of wine on most ships. We used to beg the bartender for a Riedel glass to take to dinner with us on the promise we'd bring them back - which we always did. I've long wondered why you can't get a really good glass of wine in the MDR - I mean, isn't wine meant be enjoyed with food??! The Vines staff was often the best we'd encounter on ships - they'd really go out their way for you, like delivering said wines to the MDR for you sometimes! We often talk to the Vines staff about wines, some were quite knowledgeable and interested in learning more. On a couple of trips we brought back wines from winery tours to give to them - we'd be treated like royalty after that, totally unsolicited. Celebrity used to have a good wine bar and they converted it to beer-centric pub also. But Celebrity still has wine stewards in the MDR along with a great selection by-the-glass. Not sure I understand the reasoning behind eliminating Vines, but at this point I just wonder if we'll ever be back on board at all.
  14. Jan Schwartz is quoted as saying that the Discovery "may be delayed" on her recent Princess Live presentation (still available on YouTube). In CEO-speak, that usually indicates a heads-up. Too bad, we were looking forward to our Spain Cruisetour and November TA sailing on the Discovery, partly to make up for our cancelled Enchanted crossing this October.
  15. Yes, Ms. Schwartz indicated that it "may" be delayed. In CEO speak, that's "will" be delayed.
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