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About woodofpine

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About Me

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    Englewood, FL, USA
  1. Hey like one poster said, most of us are just looking to get along. There are miserable cretans out there, and I've learned that those that are rotten in their 20-50's don't turn into fine wine as they get older. But really, the miserable out there - yah - they try to spread 'the wealth', but just imagine! They have to live in that skull 24/7! That's almost funny!:D
  2. It depends... How BIG are they? How Big are you?:D I'll bet a couple of the tougher security guys could probably handle you - I think they've got those plastic locking bands for wrists and whole lot more.;) Shoot - read the cruise contract, and they can probably throw you into the sea if they want!
  3. If they bumped the fare incrementally they could even offer bottled water for free at dinner (or do a first bottle's on Us, the next pax buys) and turn a 'hot botton' into a marketing valued 'What a great line!' moment. Amo - the line monitors this board... What will we get as consultants...:D;):D
  4. So as a history buff... I gotta ask - ancient ad and manifest mavens... What were the fares?:)
  5. I didn't cruise Proesia. I was on Magnifica a couple weeks post christening. I thought we had a very nice MDR service crew. I traveled with a group of 10 and had a table of 6 teens. I asked my daughter how they felt service was and she was sort of 'Eh!'. But she is that way often (teen) and I think 6 teens (even well behaved) would be difficult to engage as a head waiter - particularly given the style of MSC (Euro formal). I've posted before about a booking glitch I had. The people I dealt with at customer relations did a fine job. General bar and public lounge service I experienced was friendly and punctual, up to par with other lines. I didn't see our cabin steward much - but those duties were performed well, no issues. Embarkation in Venice was insane bordering on disaster, but this was mainly attributable to the passenger antipathy for patience and queing. On that note, crew are conditioned by the med locals that would over run them. In those situations, if you allow the crew and yourself a 'moment to breath' and engage them friendly with a smile, they reciprocate. Embarkation unfortunately does get much opportunity for that, onboard it works - ashore too. Overall - contrary to opinion of bashers on this forum, my MSC experience was very good with respect to crew service
  6. Hey - keep the positive attitude! You're going right? So - enjoy! You're UK based, more familiar with continental ways than many of the miserable ax grinders. Make up your own mind. Pre-cruise excitement is half the fun (ok - maybe a third). I've learned to keep an open mind (sounds like you got that, you're looking to try something differrent), and to keep expectations modest (not because of the CC bashers so much as general policy); I've most enjoyed the cruises I've done when I've gone in with modest expectation and only been let down once when I was overly 'psyched' (or advert enthralled [not MSC]). You'll have a good time; enjoy!:)
  7. This reminds me of people I've counseled that are somewhat dysfunctional. I'm pretty confident NCL and its agent document their activity thoroughly and can back up their rendition of events in a situation like this - its a common occurance. This points to the difficulties an international vacation carrier faces when dealing with a highly senior citizen loaded customer base. Then it faces loud unobjective family; children that still accept an elderly parents person's perceptions as gospel - and get emotionally passionate aggressive about... what? The fact they weren't there to protect the alternatively unimpeachable but apparently incapable or incapacitated parents... In the end, the couple received appropriate medical care in Columbia and returned home without incident. No wonder the line pulls its wagons in a circle...
  8. Bottled water is availanle was 'mit gaz' or flat and was nicely labeled stuff. I'm not picky. But AmoMondo's post. Amo is a gracious poster here and a strong supporter of the MSC product - but the MSC approach can be a bit 'off putting' even for repeater that knows the line well. Granted, its a 'culture' thing - but passing by the wayside even ashore. Having hung around the boards for a while, it absolutely pushes a hot red button in a lot of cruisers coming over from RCI/Carnival Corp. lines. I question the value of how they do it - strictly from a business development standpoint. Sure its 10 euro a week revenue (per couple), but how many new customers get driven into a negative mind set by it. Gotta wonder.
  9. I agree with this whole heartedly. MSC's crewman are conditioned by the hard realities of Mediterranean region passengers. This is the demographic that largely views queing as an option (for fools). They put the press onto crewman. I found a smile and friendly approach was welcomed (in relief) and rewarded. But as to 'distinctions'... If you go to the Carnival forum, there is a thread on 'How many lobster tails???' Getting something extra is not considered a 'favor' in RCCL/CCL cruise culture. For better or worse, gluttony is king and tends to be expected.
  10. My experience is limited to one Med cruise. Policies in the Caribbean have been revised over the past couple years. In Europe on MSC, some report you may have to argue to get tap water. Others report that you simply get a sluggish or dismissive response to a request. A few report that their servers were prompt and OK with fielding a request. My experience was that our head server initially 'balked' indicating that they don't 'usually' serve tap water in the MDR, they would need to run out - blah blah... I had TA vouchers for mineral water so I just rolled with it. Also - I'm a 'crew friendly' passenger and came to know and greatly like this head server; he was early into his first MSC contract having prior been with Princess (and whose naval academy schedule forced him out of the Princess rotation... I learned plenty from him, he was strong career pro). BUT - since he was a recent Princess crewman; I know he was used to offering and providing tap water. So the handling of it was definately a trained MSC thing... MSC is like a continental hotel or restaurant of 30-40 years ago when tap water was a tug or war or - NO. It is far less so these days on the continent - but I hear that tap water literally had to be legislated into restaurant availability in France. MSC is old school coin. Tap water won't be present or offered in the MDR. On request, you can anticipate some 'trained' resistence - perhaps mild, perhaps strong. In our case, after a few days, we'd trained the waiter to provide tap water and the waiter had trained us to buy some also. Probably just the way the line likes it. My impression is that the head servers are monitored or scored on their beverage tabs. Our fellow was good, but he worked within the system.
  11. Jurisdiction - the scholastically most multi-rooted tree in the legal forrest... And these psycho-momma infant mortality cases are bizzaro enough without that weirdness. Some vacation!
  12. If you are comparing CCL and RCCL, Carnival projects an all's 'fun vacation party' image. I've not sailed RCCL but from what I see of their media and friend's reports, they project a 'sporty fun vacation' image with big investment in mega-ship bells and whistles. MSC projects its Italian tradition and European hotel vibe. My personal opinion is that all big ship lines are more similar than dissimilar over all. I found MSC's staff to be friendly and very helpful when called on - willing to go the extra yard. The overall service style I found similar to Celebrity - a bit more formal and less 'all over you' engaged than some lines. Again, a bit more European - and many prefer that. I was on a new ship, but it was evident that daily upkeep and maintenance was a high priority. Entertainment was interesting, shows were a little shorter in length 25-45 minutes and usually very visual. The line is highly aware of its multi-lingual passenger base and some things you might not note. We switched cabins due to a booking glitch - a glitch the line's staff did a fine job helping fix (the direct opposite of a near identical experience on Celebrity). On account of the cabin switch - with a German couple - we noticed that cabin phone messaging had a multiplicity of languages internally programmed. The line programs cabin phones in advance to the presumed language of the passenger's national origin (ours English). I wouldn't have noted it but for the switch when our phone messages were briefly 'German'. I thought that was pretty cool and well considered by the company.
  13. You're going to have to sleuth if you are serious about this as a geneology project. You may have success with the archival resources of some of the companies involved or the US Martime Administration. http://www.marad.dot.gov/ You'll note that the USMA has a 'Data and Statistics' section and I imagine that there are 'hard' archival records of sailings etc. Good luck - my grandfather immigrated from the UK via RMS Baltic (Liverpool - Philadelphia) in 1910. While in route two years later, the Baltic (also of the Whitestar Line) wired the line's newest grandest ship RMS Titanic warning of reports of ice...
  14. I'm a little surprised by the comment of the poster that likes MSC (no issue there) but on the basis of 'graze all day'. If my experience in the Med is uniform to the fleet (as I believe it is), MSC does not offer all day buffet like some lines. MSC follows a schedule of broad but fixed buffet times. There were a couple hours in the late morning and 2-3 hours in mid/late afternoon when general pool deck buffets are closed. The line offers a fairly basic 'afternoon tea' late afternoon in the MDR. As I recollect, most or all cabin service was charged extra. I'm not going to the debate concerning MSC's food; but pmacher61's review referral stands for what it is - a survey sample (a large one, of cruise enthusiasts). MSC doesn't offer regular water in the MDR, generally discourages requests for it, and for practical purposes (to avoid resistance) requires purchase of bottled mineral water in the MDR. This is an older style (somewhat 'tight') European tradition that most USA TA's diffuse by including voucher booklets for mineral water at dinner (you may find yourself purchasing additional). I understand that USA/Caribbean sailing may now have a more flexible disposition (arising from consumer reaction). MSC also charges for coffee in the MDR. MSC coffees (basic, espresso, capuccino, etc.) are definately superior in quality to most competitors (in keeping with a Euro-Italian offering at charge). There is also good quality gellato offered for charge on the pool deck. Some of the foregoing distinctions differentiate MSC markedly from lines under the RCI/Carnival umbrella. Generally, it isn't a matter or 'right' or 'wrong' - its a matter of expectation. MSC comes from a distinctly Italian-European restaurant management tradition rather than a more broadly international one. Not knowing that going in, some cruisers are turned off by these distinctions - again its a matter of expectations. Happy cruising.
  15. I've embarked a couple times from San Juan, but I'm not especially well oriented to that terminal. Your shore excusion operators can find this out when they arrive; its pretty obvious what ship is where. St. Thomas has two major cruise terminals. The primary and far biggest is Havensight a mile or two east of downtown. Havensight has a fairly huge shopping village at the piers with bars, etc. Crown Bay is the second cruise terminal (used heavily by Princess); it is slightly west adjacent downtown. Crown Bay was formerly a USN submarine base/pier, converted over to cruise ships during the past decade. It has a far more modest (or typical) retail shops area, but it is walking distance from downtown (10 minutes or so). Shuttle cabs ply the stretch between both terminals at modest charge. I don't know for certain, but MSC probably uses Havensight. As a newer less established operator in the Caribbean, MSC may be assigned a pier on availability upon arrival. One can end up at either, but Havensight is the most likely (unless you're on Princess).
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