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Sue Do-Over

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About Sue Do-Over

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ohio USA
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe

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  1. We are also fan-lovers. ONCE we got a box fan on Carnival, but since then, have always been declined on Princess and NCL. One steward said they could be requested from disability services, but that was it. Don't know if it's because they don't have enough for everyone, it's a PITA for stewards, they mess with climate control, or that a couple of naughty types used them to push cigarette or pot smoke out the window, and ruined it for all of us. Let's blame the naughty ones.
  2. Google Docs, with an excel spreadsheet. We didn't bother to protect it from outsiders, but did stick to: * first names only * ages in ranges (kid, teen, young adult, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, seniors) * city or state, but not full address or phone numbers * split email address into two fields: Sue Do-Over / gmail.com hoping to keep spam-bots from finding usable emails. Had one page for names and basic info, used another for the tour groups going. * Host/ coordinator * Vendor (i.e. RomeinLimo) and website, name or number for reservation * Meeting time/place * Price per seat/person * Payment in cash/to driver, paid on website, etc. * Description or limitations: No shopping, lots of walking, lunch-on-the-go, no Winery, OK for kids, etc. We used it heavily on a 12-day Med tour with 9 port stops. A total of 20 or so tours were organized. We hosted some, and joined others, and sometimes split up our own family based on interest or mobility. During the Meet & Greet, it was universally agreed that anyone late to the meeting point/van during a tour would put $5 in the kitty for the guide's tip. It wouldn't be forced, but would serve as a little 'incentive'. It made for some laughs... one guy came running up waving his $5 shouting "I'm SO SORRY! Handed it to the driver, bowed, and sat down with great fanfare and applause. Funny how as little as $5 can encourage good behavior.
  3. Pros and Cons of each... Cruise Line: tends to book super-early flights, which may include really inconvenient times, to ensure that you land in plenty of time to make embarkation, and fairly late flights home at debarkation. They promise to get you there, but not that it'll be convenient. EXAMPLE: booked on 5:30am flight, landed in MIA at 7:15am. Between waking up at 3am and waiting 5 hours to board... made for a long day. Flight home boarded at 6:16pm, with connection landed at 10:45pm. Another super long day sitting at the airport, but "we made our flight!" TA: potential for upcharge, or for additional goodies, depending on the length of your relationship with said TA. Gives you someone to yell at if it's messed up, but also may mean you depend on the TA to intercede if you have to change the reservation for some reason. Can be good, or bad, to have them in the middle, and it totally depends on whether you prefer to delegate responsibility and authority or not. Self: you have full flexibility to choose departure time and airline, and take the responsibility for making sure you allow enough time for potential delays, bumps, etc. Our personal preference is to self-book. We often still book the super-super-early flight, and hope for/ volunteer for bumps. The vouchers make up for the early wake-up call, and we score them once every 3 or 4 trips. Once we split up, he went to Miami and I went to Ft. Lauderdale, and we met up at the ship with $1200 in vouchers. Neither the cruise line nor TA would have wanted to play that game with us.
  4. Purchase a pre-paid Visa/Mastercard 'gift card' and use it to pay for the reservation. You'll have receipts, proof of prepayment, and not have to convert or carry a lot of cash the day of the tour. On our bus (12 pax) tips were offered in both US dollars and rubles... the guide accepted both with gracious thanks.
  5. We have zippered pouches that hang from a beltloop. They look somewhat like the waist pouches, but instead of an uncomfortable belt that simply can't be worn with swimwear, it has a 3" loop on one end. It's designed to be threaded on a belt and tucked inside your pants, hanging behind your front pocket. At the beach, DH ties it to the drawstring on his trunks and lets it dangle inside, I attach mine to a sturdy safety pin (like a diaper pin) and tuck it inside my swim-shorts, or thread the strap from my top through it and tuck it into my 'bra'. Sorry, those of you in bikinis will need a different solution. Grammy made herself a fabric version out of a scrap of nylon, making a drawstring pouch big enough to hold ship cards, credit card and a few bucks. Onto the bra-strap and tucked inside.
  6. You don't have to share your medical history if that makes you uncomfortable. Easy, though, to order a half-portion or appetizer-size portion, or just say 'skip the potatoes'. Some find that using the smaller utensils that you may have 'trained' with before surgery are helpful, and your waiter will bring you a smaller plate if that helps you maintain portion control. The big plate will be whisked away quickly. The wait staff is trained to alert their team leads if a dietary issue is mentioned (shellfish, gluten, dairy allergy, low salt, etc.) so be ready for a *very* helpful person to come check to ensure that your needs are met. We once shared a table with a young man who had recently had oral surgery, and needed soft/blended foods. They bent over backward to identify items that were already soft or that they could blend. Ultimately, the amount of attention you get is directly correlated to how much of your medical history/concerns you share.
  7. On a recent NCL (think it was the Epic), we were surprised to see a separate room off the elevator lobby with a half-dozen scooters parked and charging. Made us wonder if the rental company simply leaves a set number aboard, rather than unload/load between each cruise. There were several accessible staterooms nearby, and it seemed like a win-win -- no need to store them in cabins, not blocking the halls, plenty of outlets, and less hassle for the rental company (which helps keep their costs down). On a Princess ship, we caught a glimpse into a storage room stacked to the ceiling with bedside commodes, shower chairs, and what appeared to be a Hoyer lift (used to move patients from chair to bed). The special needs team will be able to tell you whether a HC cabin is required, based on your own needs. With a common storage area, any cabin becomes more accessible.
  8. We virtually always fly in the morning of the cruise. BUT, we book the crack-of-dawn flight, so that if it's delayed or cancelled, a later flight still gets us there on time. The only exception for us is flying to LAX, there's nothing early enough, and the red-eye leaves us too crabby to enjoy the first day of our vacation. For your back-up plans: * Print or write down the alternate flights that still work. Faster at the counter if you can say "Sure, we can fly to Miami instead of Ft. Lauderdale". or "The 10am through Charlotte is good!" We often volunteer for bumps when there are options that work, and so far (knock wood) it's always worked out. * Take photos of passport, drivers license, medical insurance cards on your phone; keep them together in a folder so you can find them easily. Of course, our phones have passwords, and the folder is named something obscure like 'Baby Photos'. Actually, my adult daughter has photocopies of our docs in her safe, and we have copies of hers, just in case. * Add the customer service 800#s for your credit cards to your phone contacts. * We rarely/never book ship excursions, but often create or print a list of their costs, so that we know what is available on shore, and what prices to negotiate. i.e. if a specific port has dolphins, or ziplines, or caves. Gives us a quick reference if weather shuts down one of them.
  9. We generally do Anytime/Freestyle, but somehow end up at the dining room at the same time each night. We offer to join a large table if no 2-tops are available. On one cruise, another couple apparently had the same idea. Somehow... we ended up at the same exact table, with the same couple, 3 nights in a row. Never met up at the hostess stand or in the hall, just one couple would already be seated when the other was led in. It was strange! By the third night, we'd all run out of our most interesting stories, and kind of floundered around. On another cruise, we were seated with a friendly couple. BUT, after we ordered our meals, they announced "it's time to pray". OK, fine... we aren't religious, and usually just sit quietly while tablemates offer a prayer to whomever they choose. THIS couple, however, GRABBED OUR HANDS, lowered their heads, closed their eyes, and began a long, long, long litany of thanks and blessings for their own health, marriage, their children, their pastor, a couple of friends in need of support, maybe even their dog, we lost track. When one paused, the other would say "Praise God" and the other would pick up. It went on for what felt like a VERY long time. Occasionally squeezing our hands, perhaps to encourage one of us to take a turn. DH and I looked at each other wide-eyed. We were honestly too bewildered to pull away immediately, and after a moment it would have been even MORE uncomfortable... so we just sat there, with our hands growing sweaty, waiting for the Amen. Dinner conversation didn't touch religion or politics, so that was good. But now, we keep our own hands in our laps!
  10. Instead of the giant clothespins (above), try the little plastic tabs from a loaf of bread. They fit neatly over the skinny clothesline in the shower, are sturdy enough hold a towel on a beach chair, and don't take up any room in my luggage. Bonus: they don't get broken if I sit on the suitcase to squeeze it closed! Use a little caution if hanging up delicate/snag-able items.
  11. You'll get an email from NCL telling you that you've been upgraded. Just scribble out the cabin number on your luggage tags, and write on the new ones. All the tags are the same color for each sailing.
  12. On disembarkation morning, you 'check out', and leave the ship with all of your luggage, and go through customs. They must completely clear the ship of passengers before permitting new guests to board. They won't store your luggage on board, and the pier luggage handlers leave as soon as the check-in desks close, along with all the other workers. The airport transfers don't run all day. They run full from pier to airport and return full of arriving guests, continuing the loops only until the last of the arriving guests have been delivered to the pier. Since boarding closes at 2pm, the last pickup at each airport would be 1pm, meaning the last run from the ship would be at noon - at the latest. If you'd like to see some of the city: 1) Cancel your airport transfer. 2) Book Luggage Express (where your suitcases, collected from the hall the night before) are delivered to the airport and tagged for your flight. They get shipped in a truck, not on the passenger busses. This way, you don't have to drag them around the city. 3) As soon as you exit the terminal, walk 100 yards to the right to the Intrepid aircraft carrier museum, it's worth the time. Then... 4) Take an Uber/Cab or walk to Times Square, it's several blocks, but walkable. Get on any of the city-tour Hop-On-Hop-Off busses, there are several options, and you won't have any trouble finding one. Spend a little time gawking at the street performers, remembering that they expect/demand a $1 if you take their pictures. Smile!! OR 4) Buy an all-day transit pass at the subway station practically across the street from the pier, and explore on your own. Finally, 5) Cab/Uber from Manhattan to any airport is about $50... which is probably what you paid for two transfers, anyway.
  13. This was a terrible accident... an accident. The railing and window are well above waist-high, like railings all over the ship. The child did not slide or wiggle through an opening at floor level, nor was she placed there by a member of the crew, which are the only ways the cruise line is reasonably responsible. She was lifted, by an adult, onto the railing/ledge, and the grandfather failed to hang on to her. Whether she squirmed loose or he simply let go doesn't matter. I wonder if the cruise contract somewhere mentions sitting/leaning over railings? I'm sure I've heard that caution repeatedly, along with directions to use handrails on stairs, use caution on wet floors/decks, warnings about open flames/cigarettes, and other common sense reminders. If it is either stated in the cruise contract, which each adult must acknowledge, or announced verbally at the muster drill, which every passenger must attend... the cruise line can prove that they provided notice to every passenger.
  14. In the big picture... kids/preteens/teens cost the cruise line more. They use 'free' kids programs - which require staff, supplies and facilities space. They do not shop in the giftshop or jewelry store. They do not gamble in the casino. They do not buy fancy drinks or wine. They do not buy spa services like massage and tooth whitening. Their room stewards (typically) have to make more beds, sometimes on a ladder. More towels to gather and replace, more trash, just 'more'. When 3 or 4 people share a room, their belongings are 'everywhere'... which means the stewards have to move stuff to make the bed, move stuff to empty the trash, move stuff to wipe the counters... and on and on and on. And that's perfectly well behaved, neat and tidy children who never run down the hallways, cannon ball into the pool, leave ice cream cones and half-empty sodas everywhere. I traveled with my kids starting when they were 8 and 10... we tipped extra.
  15. Perhaps one of the mesh/net hammocks, rather than this giant canvas thing with a metal frame that requires a great deal of space to accommodate the frame and the wooden cross pieces. I'd also be stunned if a cruise line let someone secure something heavy (once you're in it) to any structure. Sure, there MIGHT be a sturdy bar or rail... but also the somewhat less sturdy sprinkler system, etc. I guess people rig up all kinds of privacy curtains and holiday lights inside, and flags and decorations outside, so maybe I'm wrong. The OP might just be trolling to see what ridiculousness we can all be fooled into debating. Smile!
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