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About merela

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Southern California
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  1. I’ve been an avid reader of your cruise blog since you started. And I’m kicking myself for not looking up your blog sooner this season. After reading your washed out visit to Taipei on December 30, I wish I had started reading your blog earlier. I was in Taipei on December 30 and I could have met you at TAIPEI 101 and taken you through the wonderful subway system in Taipei and show you what a wonderful city Taipei is—the food, the sights, and the people, even with downpour. I hope you visit Taiwan again!
  2. Thank you for letting me know. I will contact princess directly. I don't think my room steward will clean the room thoroughly at turnaround to have found the shoes. It is more likely that the next passengers in our room will find them. If that's the case, the missing shoes will be boxed up with the items found during the Hawaiian sailing, and not the Pacific Coastal sailing. I'm just wondering what are the chance that I will see those shoes again?! Should I just forget them and buy my son another pair? Has anyone received lost items from the ship after they disembarked?
  3. Now that you mentioned it, I remember seeing that email about the Sound of Music production on board. I found the musical productions of Princess cruises have gone down the hill as well. Now the production relies heavily on imageries (very busy) that one will miss seeing what exactly the dancers are doing on stage. In the past, the focuses were on the dancers and the singers. Dancers dance and singers sing. They are now expecting the singers to dance like the dancers and the dancers are just waving their arms, they are no longer in unison in many productions. Either they don't practice enough or they don't hire better dancers....or maybe they don't need to hire good dancers as they think people won't notice the dances with all the images, colors, light flashes and loud sounds that go on at the same time on stage. It's a pity really. Seeing these performers perform on stage, with real stage settings, were the high point of the cruises of the past. We were on the Ruby this past week. My son had a stomach flu the first night of the cruise that went on until the first sea day was over. For a while I was worried that he had the Noro, but he didn't vomit and didn't have a fever. So we figure it must have been the shrimp cocktail during his first dinner--as it was the only thing that he ate which we didn't eat. Luckily, he recovered enough for us to enjoy the first port day in SF. Our room steward was the worst, but our dining room waiters were great. The food was definitely above average. The average would be higher if the steaks were better cooked and the fish steaks are not over-cooked. All in all, this was an easy cruise for those of us who live in LA.
  4. If you are on the Ruby Princess now, can you help me? I don't know what happened, but we lost a pair of men's size 8.5 black leather dress shoes (slip on loafer type dress shoes) in our cabin. We were in cabin D111. My son wore them for the formal night (5th night of our cruise). He took them off after the formal dinner and left them on the floor in the closet. I haven't seen them since. I thought my son had packed them and my son thought I had packed them. I checked all the floor space in the closet and on the floor under the desk and around the bed. What I didn't do is shine a light under the bed to make sure we got everything. I just unpacked everything and did not see that pair of shoes. The shoes look sort of like these: http://teachers.olatheschools.com/jvohsoe/files/2009/01/black-dress-shoes.jpg I am quite upset since it is the only pair of dress shoes that fit my son. My husband told me I should just let them go. But I am not happy with the fact that our room steward was slow in our service the entire 7 days we were on the cruise, but decided to be efficient the morning of our disembarkation. He rushed us to get out of our room. We were late getting back to our room before 8 after a very slow dining room service. I did tell him to start cleaning around our suitcases. But as soon as we got back to our room, he called his boss to come reprimand us for being late out of the room. I was so embarrassed that we rushed out of the room. I now wished that I had looked around the room some more. I really don't understand how those shoes would just disappeared from closet floor. Can someone on the Ruby go to Lost and Found on Passenger Services on the 6th floor and help me locate those shoes? Thank you!
  5. We bought our 100 CCL shares on Wednesday. Faxed brokerage statement Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday noon, shareholders credits were reflected on the cruise personalizer. We left that Saturday. I was impressed!
  6. I actually posted this message on the celebrity board by mistake. Oops, I think I need to detox first before I post anything on this board. --------- I want to stay on the Ruby and sail with the ship to its next destination--Hawaii! But back to reality. The kids need to get back to school and I need to get back to work. This cruise shows that California is a beautiful state and the weather was fantastic. It's a very easy cruise for us as we are from LA. If you have any questions about the ship or the itinerary, I will be happy to answer them.
  7. Even though we are only platinum members, we felt the platinum perks made the cruise experience that much more enjoyable. Princess excels at treating it's return customers.
  8. I want to stay on the Ruby and sail with the ship to its next destination--Hawaii! But back to reality. The kids need to get back to school and I need to get back to work. This cruise shows that California is a beautiful state and the weather was fantastic. It's a very easy cruise for us as we are from LA. If you have any questions about the ship or the itinerary, I will be happy to answer them.
  9. I guess I haven't been on a Princess cruise for a while because the new cruise personalizer format is not very user friendly or at least it's not very intuitive for me. I have been looking all over the pages in the cruise personalizer for the dates when the 2 formal nights will take place during my 7-day Pacific Coastal cruise on the Ruby. day 1 Sat, 03/28/15 Los Angeles, California day 2 Sun, 03/29/15 At Sea day 3 Mon, 03/30/15 San Francisco, California 7:00am – 11:00pm day 4 Tue, 03/31/15 At Sea day 5 Wed, 04/01/15 Santa Barbara, California 7:00am – 6:00pm day 6 Thu, 04/02/15 San Diego, California 7:00am – 6:00pm day 7 Fri, 04/03/15 Ensenada, Mexico 7:00am – 2:00pm day 8 Sat, 04/04/15 Los Angeles, California Does anyone know which 2 dates that the formal nights will take place on this particular cruise? TIA.
  10. Thank you for the link. I guess I should have re-phrased the question. The 1-day pass that everyone talks about on this forum (the pass that people are getting at Walgreen's)--those are good for MUNI buses only, correct? Are these 1-day passes good for Street car (the F-bus that goes along the Embarcadero) and/or the Cable cars?
  11. We'll be in San Francisco on a Monday. I see that there is a F-street car that runs along the Embarcadero. I was googling the info, but I can't seem to find specific answer to my question. I understand from these boards that we can buy cable car daily passes from Walgreen's at Fisherman's Wharf, but I also read that these cable car passes cannot be used for the F-street cars. The F-street cars are MUNI and I have to buy MUNI passes. I am just wondering whether these are the same passes or different passes. If you live in San Francisco or if you have been to San Francisco, perhaps you can shed some light on this. Thank you!
  12. There is milk and juice at Horizon Court (buffet area) in the morning. If your kids are still drinking off sippy cups or spill-proof cups, bring extra and fill them up to leave in the fridge. The mornings (before 10:30am) are the only time you will have a chance to fill up those cups. At lunch time and dinner time, if you want to get milk and juice, you will have to eat in the dining rooms. You can order milk/chocolate milk and juices off the kids menu. But they do come in small glasses. So remember to tell the waiter to bring you large cups of milk or juice so you can fill up your kids' sippy cups to take back to your rooms. One thing though, if you bring sippy cups, remember to bring a small sponge or wash cloth and dishwashing detergent so you can rinse out these cups thoroughly in your rooms. If you allow your kids to drink soda, you can buy the soda cards or buy the sodas by the can. Or you can put a case of your favorite soda in your suitcase to bring on board, if you wish. In the Horizon Court, there are tea/coffee corners where you can make ice or hot tea easily. Kids may like ice tea. You can also get your water bottles filled at these tea/coffee stations. It is easy to do laundry on the ship. But depending on where you cabin is, it maybe a haul to go from your room to the laundry room. Check ship's floor plans for the location of self-laundry rooms. I usually bring 2 large plastic bags (one for dirty laundry and another to hold clean laundry), a roll of quarters (you can get more quarters from purser's office), powder laundry detergent (I put 2-3 loads worth in each ziploc bag), spray 'n wash stick for stains, and dryer sheets. But they sell laundry detergent and dryer sheets in the laundry room, but I prefer to bring these things from home. Sometimes, I would bring a few plastic hangers to hang up some pieces that don't dry well. Yes, for some reason, one drying cycle can never dry my clothes properly and I refuse to put in more coins for a 2nd drying cycle. In my experience, just hang up the semi-dried clothes in your closet or bathroom, turn room heating on, then go to dinner. Everything will be line-dried by the time you get back from dinner. Look at the Kids' patters as soon as you get into the cabin. Let your kids pick and choose the activities they want to attend. Find out when kids club registration takes place and remember to register at the designated time. I believe Princess still gives each child a free t-shirt to color. It's a nice Princess Kids' Club t-shirt! Even if you miss this activity, you can still ask the ladies who work there for a t-shirt to color. There is really nothing "educational" about their kids' program, but it is a good babysitting program for parents to have a few hours of peace and quiet. Kids will do crafts, play games, and watch movies. Of course, they also meet kids their own age. A lot of parents want to spend every moment of family time with their kids, but since you are paying the same cruise fare for your kids, you might as well maximize it. Princess offers a pretty good kids program. Send your kids there when you see something on the Patter that you want to do. We are the type of people who don't spend too much money on food when we get into port. We try to get back to the ship to have lunch and dinner. But sometimes kids get hungry and need snacks before we get back to the ship. This is when the extra cereal boxes (Kellogg's frosted flakes, corn flakes, fruit loops, raisin brans) we get at breakfast come in handy. Mind you, check to see if the ports allow you to bring food off the ship. I think it's OK for Alaskan cities. I would bring extra ziploc bags to bring bagels, cookies, or pastries if those are something your kids would enjoy as snacks. The key is not to pack a whole meal, but a small snack to tie them over until you get back to the ship to have a proper meal. The last thing you need during excursions are whiny, tired kids. Oh, back when my kids were your kids' ages, they didn't have iPads. We would bring portable DVD players so they can watch their favorite movies (they were too old for coloring books) while we ordered food from the extensive menu in the dining room. Of course, the kids ate fast, so when the parents are still talking and enjoying the long dining experience, the kids need something to do while the parents finish up the entree. We take out the DVD player again, so they can watch some more movies until the desserts arrive. Now the iPads, iPhones, iPods have replaced Gameboys, Nintendo DSs, and DVD players. So as long as you have something to keep your children busy while the adults eat, everyone will enjoy the dining experience that much more.
  13. merela

    EVA air

    The best Eva Air lounge is in Taipei. They actually have different lounges for Gold card members and Silver card members. Silver card members only has lounge privileges in Taiwan, but not overseas. But in Taipei, the Silver card members get to sit in an outside area (not a separate room) that was cornered off by some ropes. There is a simple sandwich, snack, and drinks area. Gold card members will have access to lounges overseas and a large, newly renovated lounge in Taipei, if one flies there. I believe, in airports of other cities, Eva always use other airlines' lounges.
  14. Taipei is a fun, fun, fun city. I am a little biased not because I was born there, but I have been living and visiting the city as an adult, and then as a parent, that I think this is one jewel of the city that most people neglect when they talk about visiting Asia. People are friendly; subway system is efficient and clean; food is superb. The only thing bad is the hot and humid weather during the summer months. But there is air conditioning everywhere, even on the public buses, so you are only hot and humid for a short time. Free Wifi is available at all government and subway stations. (http://www.tpe-free.taipei.gov.tw/tpe/EN-TPE-Guide_Foreigner.html). If you have a smart phone (iPhone), I would upload Google Map. I use Google Map to get around Taipei. It even shows bus stops and the bus #s at that stop. OK. If you have already booked a hotel. Type in the hotel address in Google Map, then you look around the hotel area for a 7-11, Family Mart, or OK Mart. There should be one within a block of your hotel. If there is one, then you are set for all 3 meals (and snacks) and all the convenience of forgetting to pack underwear, for example. You can buy everything at a 7-11 in Taipei. Starbucks is owned by the corporation that owns 7-11. So if you feel like a cup of joe, go to 7-11. You will get a great cup of coffee at fractions of a cost of a Starbucks coffee. The fun of buying your breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and dinner at a convenience store might wear thin after awhile. But there are tons of restaurants in Taipei that caters to every taste and regional cuisine. The bakeries in Taipei are also to die for. They are everywhere. If you don't know where to eat, go to any department store you can find in the city. Head towards the basement of every department store. There should be a food court there. Here is the link to Taipei's subway system: http://english.trtc.com.tw subway map: http://english.trtc.com.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1056373&CtNode=49780&mp=122032 I don't know where you are staying, hopefully it is near a subway station. There are many places to see, just by way of going on the subway. I would highly recommend going to Mao Kong Gondolas for one day (end of the Brown Line, Taipei Zoo), then go to Tamsui for one afternoon on the Red Line. Then another day, you can go to Beitou's hot springs on the Red Line as well. If you want to venture out further and see the northern coasts of Taiwan, go to http://www.taiwantrip.com.tw/Main/Lang/?redirect=/About/&lang=en-us and click on "North". This website is a government website. All the transportation listed are small buses that will accept as payment Taipei's subway EASY card (http://english.trtc.com.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1056512&CtNode=33389&mp=122032). If you run out of money on the EASY Card, you can replenish the amount by going to any subway station or any 7-11 or Family Mart convenient stores. Taipei 101 and CKS Memorial are both on the new RED line extension of the subway system. The Sun Yat Sen Memorial is on the Blue Line. The Blue Line runs through the heart and soul of Taipei, besides the Taipei Train Station, it goes to ZhongXiao-Fuxing Station. There is an Airport Bus (#5201, #5202, #5203) that will take you directly to Exit 1 Entrance of the Zhong Xiao-Fuxing Station for NT$150 pp. Zhongxiao-Fuxing stop is where Taipei's most profitable department store, Sogo, is located. The Blue Line also goes to the City Hall. The Taipei City Hall will lead you to the newly developed XinYi District where all the nouvelle riche of Taipei society live nowadays. Very modern corridors between different department stores (but all owned by Mitsukoshi-ShinKong) that are interesting to walk through. Exit 2 of the Taipei City Hall subway stop will lead you to the Taipei bus terminal. Another airport bus will take you here for NT$145pp. You can go to the airport the same way. If you have a party of 4, I would see if one of the taxi drivers that's hanging out at the airport bus ticketing area can take you to your hotel all for between NT$800-$1000 (please bargain with the taxi driver). This will save you the hassle of lugging your bags through the subway staircases. I think that's the basics for having fun in Taipei. I will be happy to field any questions you have.
  15. merela

    EVA air

    I fly from LAX to Taipei frequently and there are only 2 airlines that offers non-stop flights between LAX-TPE: Eva Air and China Airlines. I choose either airlines based on the fares offered for the dates I want to travel mainly because the services (friendliness, cleanliness, food, on-board entertainment) both airlines provide are about the same. Safety issue is rather random and it is often not within our control, so I don't factor it into when I choose either airlines. China Airlines is more generous with their frequent flyers program while Eva Air is more stingy about it. The only thing I can complain about both airlines is the poor English that the announcements (apart from the captain), mainly the stewardesses, make while onboard. One would think that this is something they can practice and perfect, but 60% of the time, I don't understand a word they are saying. Eva Air does have something that none of the airlines in the world has--the HELLO KITTY planes. Google Eva Hello Kitty planes and you will see lots of photos on these specialty flights. http://evakitty.evaair.com/en/FlightRoutes.aspx You have to book on certain flights and on certain days to be on the Hello Kitty plane. My kids have been on them and they loved it! There is even Hello Kitty print on the toilet paper. Although it is a Taiwanese airline, you can feel as comfortable as any other international airlines flying the same routes. Hope this information helps.
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