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Miracle 10-08-2006 Review (LONG, of course)


LHP

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Another wonderful cruise!!! I am still amazed at Carnival’s ability to find some way to exceed our expectations after 20+ years of cruising with them.

 

This time it was the way they catered to our youngest son’s special needs. From Assistant CD Sarah’s emails to me before we left home (letting me know Funship Freddie’s schedule) to her follow up emails to us before we left home, when she realized they were going to have a Halloween party on our cruising and that costumes would be involved. Then she arranged for Funship Freddie to depart the Past Cruisers Party after he had made his rounds….so that our son could attend. They literally took Freddie out one door and brought our son in another door. But I am getting ahead of myself….

 

We arrived 2 days ahead to have some fun before the cruise. We were suppose to stay at the Embassy Suites - Convention Center (but it did not open on time) so they moved us to the Embassy Suites - Westshore and basically threw in a free day for our inconvenience.

 

The ES-Westshore was very convenient to the mall. There are plenty of places to buy liquor for those “evil” smugglers out there. There is a Walgreens within walking distance as well. The Walmart is within their free shuttle service….but we never used it. The hotel itself was “tired” in some places, but they are doing some remodeling. The staff was wonderful. The full breakfast that is included was excellent….as was the free booze at the evening managers cocktail time. They have free internet, a nice workout room, outside pool and whirlpool. It was nice to have a separate living room with a good size kitchen area that was another separate room. They picked us up from the airport for free and the cost to the pier was $22. We used the Addi taxi service twice and they were great drivers!! That is who the hotel recommends. They only charged us $20 to the Channelside area and back on Saturday from the hotel. But it is $22 from the airport to the pier.

 

EMBARKATION: What can I say….VIP Check In baby!!!! We arrived at around 10:30 and were immediately directed to the VIP desk where we sat down and were processed. Then we were escorted to the VIP holding area…where we sat and visited until we boarded at around 11:30am. We usually drop out carryons at the room, but the fire doors were closed with a note attached not to open until 1:30pm. The doors were unlocked and we could have gone ahead and dropped our stuff…but we elected not to. They were steam cleaning our carpets and we did not want to disturb them.

 

We just went up to Lido and found a comfy place to wait and eat…..and eat….and eat. Our son was thrilled to get his pizza…and I was thrilled to get my first (of many) grilled Rueben sandwich. At 3:00pm, our roll call group got together and enjoyed meeting each other. Rob was nice enough to make name tags for everyone. Just a quick “name to a face connection” really made the cruise fun, when you saw folks around the ship the rest of the cruise.

 

CABIN: We did wait until 1:30pm to go to our room 5291. This is an interior room that is at the very end of the hall. We love the location, but a word of warning. You are underneath a service area and you will hear some beating and banging during the day. At night, there was not a problem….and the noise during the day did not bother us…but you need to be aware. Our cabin steward (Jose) was not the best on we have ever had…but he wasn’t bad. He was efficient, except for a couple of slip ups with getting ice and watching to make sure I had my breakfast door hangers. I told him I used them every day and that I would need more. I had to leave him another note to get some more during the cruise. He never asked us if we wanted the fridge opened. We were only going to use it to keep the water I had brought cold…but that wasn’t a big deal….so we didn’t ever ask to have it opened. We just used the ice. There was a couple of times we had to go get ice ourselves. His assistant did an excellent job on the bathroom. It literally sparkled every evening after he left. Jose made sure we had our towel animal fix every night and all our important paperwork, except the customs card on the last night. We just went to the Purser’s desk to get one. I have always tried to make sure that our cabin is very orderly when we leave, to make their job a little easier.

 

The cabin did seem small after having a balcony and a 5A on the last 2 cruises. But there were just the 3 of us this time, so we did ok.

 

FOOD: Pizza was fine. Lido was fine. Deli was great. Formal dining room was fine. The soups were good. The beef fare was good. (even my cut of the sirloin steak on the first night which is always tough and dry) The chocolate in the desserts is a little strong for my taste. The Tiramisu was wonderful. Hubby said the lobster tail was a little “off” this time, but still ok. Just a little chewy. Other seafood was great all week. (appetizers and entrees) Our tablemates loved their lamb. Our waiter Jimmy was excellent. (as was his assistance Valery(sp?) . It was so great having a waiter with a name I could pronounce!!! My room service every morning was prompt with the coffee hot and the bagels warm. Only one morning did I get some coffee that tasted as though it had been sitting for to long. My son loved his turkey sandwiches. We did not go to the Chocolate Buffet. There is some lemon tart dessert that has a hard crystallized base that wasn’t very good.

 

ENTERTAINMENT: Hubby loves the shows. Some were better than others, but all were entertaining from his point of view. I am always parked at karaoke starting at 8:30pm on some nights and 9:00pm on other nights. The first hour is “family” karaoke where children are allowed to participate. After that first hour, Adam did an excellent job of holding it to adults only after the second night. On the first couple of nights, a lot of adults sang during the “family” hour…so he would pepper one or two of the kids in during the second hour…which was only fair. Then the 3rd hour was strictly adults only.

As usual the first night was very slow….so I got to sing my socks off. Adam and I had a lot of fun doing duets to close the show every night. He drinks Jack Daniels and coke for anyone who wants to show their “appreciation”. It was a very slow week for the Legends show. Adam and I literally had to beg to get the positions filled. We only had ONE “competition” and that was for Frank Sinatra. The rest of the slots were filled with us finally finding ONE person who would do the it. And then there was the “Aretha” slot that Adam decided he wanted me to do. Now folks, I can sing. But I can’t Aretha in the original key. I am a female with a low tenor voice. And especially after singing my socks off all week, by Saturday night….my voice was really in the basement.

And as we all know….Aretha is a high soprano with an edgy voice. Adam promised me that the orchestra could do the song in any key I needed. Well, be aware the songs are canned (prerecorded) and the orchestra simply fills in with some body…but it must stay in the same key. I did not find this out until rehearsal the day of the show. They use canned music so that the sound guy (Chris - who is wonderful) can feed you some leads from the floor monitors if you get lost or forget the words. The canned music also includes the background vocals that add so much to a performance. So anyway, I asked it I could just lip sync it and they said no….since doing it in the original key was a screeching mess. So, that night I simply dropped it an octave. Which means I hit it the right notes, but it sounded more like James Brown than Aretha Franklin.

 

All things considered, it was a blast. The costumes were great. The whole experience of working with the dancers and professionals on board was GREAT. I would highly recommend everyone give it a shot at least once.

 

Tony Ray plays in the small bar area outside the Level 2 dining room. He is GREAT, Michael in the piano bar stole my heart. Karaoke ended at 11:30 -midnight and the piano bar stayed open until 1:30am…so I would leave karaoke and go straight to the piano bar and sing some more. Michael has the passenger microphone for anyone who wants to do solos or sing harmony with him. A word of warning, if you have some special songs that you would like to perform and you don’t know the words…bring your lyrics. Some piano players have books with the lyrics in it…he does not. Since I have been doing karaoke, I have gotten lazy and forgotten many of my lyrics….getting to stinking dependent on the TV screen. (Note to self…work on that!) I did not get to listen to the guy in the casino. The chamber music trio were excellent. I heard them several times.

 

PORTS: Grand Cayman does have a Jimmy Buffet place now. We looked around but they had a fake shark and my special needs child doesn’t do well around those…so we headed out. We went to Kirk’s to look for hubby a Rolex or a Breitling. The prices were about what we expected. He didn’t get that fuzzy feeling…so he did not buy one. (They would not throw in a winder.) We ended up at Senor Frogs and guess what…they have karaoke all day!!!! Well, I did not have my custom disks with me and they did not have any of the songs I do…so I did not get to sing. But I will be prepared the next time we go there,.

 

Cozumel - We DOCKED!!! At Punta Langosta (which is right across from Carlos and Charlies). When we boarded the cruise, the sail paper said that we would be tendering at Cozumel. It was announced the night before that we would be docking. There was a little delay getting cleared to get off. Personally, I think Carnival and the “governing officials” are having a lover’s spat and Cozumel officials used this as a little “power play” to make a point. Anyway, we grabbed a taxi…$14.00 one way (up to 4 people) to Paradise Beach where I had the breakfast of champions….frozen marq and a plate of nachos. Freddie did a wonderful job keeping us happy. Our son had a ball. I relaxed.

We went back to the ship for a late lunch. Our son decided to stay in the cabin and take a nap after lunch and hubby and I walked back off the pier to the surrounding shops for awhile. Cozumel has a shop that also sells Rolex now…so we stopped in to look again. (it is in the same shopping center as CarlosNCharlies) Their prices are exactly the same as Kirks. Basically, you are looking at a 15 % discount, PLUS an additional 5% off the retail price in the US.

 

Belize: We can not take excursions (for the most part) because our son tires easily. So we just tendered in and walked around the area of the dock that is INSIDE the fence. There are several bars, lots of stores and a “famous” pharmacy where you can buy anything for the right price. The drug prices are posted. It was so weird to see that.

I wandered into Diamond’s International to look around (like I always do and there is a LONG story about my experience with DI...but I will post that later if anyone has any questions). I found this port fascinating. Belize is a beautiful country, full of history, with a lot to offer. However, they still have a lot of hurdles to overcome. Sadly, the poverty of the country makes the people react a little to aggressively. There are many tour operators who are working together to try to get tourist more comfortable with Belize. I talked with Gilly Young for about an hour. He runs gillytours@yahoo.com … set up outside the Wet Lizard (inside the fence) for independent tours. When we go back, we will be touring with him, because he can customize a tour to fit our son’s special needs.

 

Costa Maya: We took our son swimming at the pool at the end of the pier and had some drinks. We walked around the shopping center for awhile. Then hubby took our son back to the ship for lunch and a nap. Then we walked around the shops again for awhile and headed back to the ship after he bought a watch (part of the LONG DI story).

 

CLUB O2: This is where I will probably start crying trying to type this. My son that is with us is 15 years old. He has a form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. He has always enjoyed Camp Carnival, but hasn’t done much with them since Funship Freddie was introduced…because Freddie makes so many appearances with the kids. Since we had Freddie’s schedule, our son felt comfortable enough to do to the teen disco every night (since he knew Freddie was “in the box”) and he had a blast. The director kept an extra eye on him. He made some friends. A girl asked him to dance. There were some kids who made fun of him, but he is very self assured about his condition and has very thick skin. He really had a great time. It was the first time that he had done things like this on his own, without Mom or Dad staying with him as a teenager. He really stretched his wings. He did well. It was so exciting to see him being more independent and being comfortable with it.

 

DEBARK: A breeze. We were told to be at the piano bar at 8:15am (which we were) and by about 8:30am we were off the ship and on our way. We grabbed a taxi and went to the airport.

 

OVERALL: Great cruise…Great crew…great staff. Lots of fun. I would do this ship again in a heartbeat!!

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Great review LHP. I loved the Miracle, I was on the same deck. Im going back on the miracle for the 9 day Christmas/ New years cruise.

 

I am soooo jealous. This was one of those cruises that you just did not want to get off. Sometimes on a 7 day cruise, I am ready for home by the time the cruise ends. Not this one. The Miracle won the 2005 Eagle Award which (from what I understand) is a competition between all the Carnival ships based on the comment card ratings.

 

It was one of those cruises that just "clicked". Phil is a new social host (he has literally been one for 3 weeks) and he is such a cutie. You can tell he is a genuinely nice young man. Laura's enthusiasm was contagious. She was doing the Win Lose or Draw and she was like a giddy school girl watching the people draw their clues. And yet, she wasn't over the top. Great balance of professional fun and true joy.

 

I did not get to know Chris Roberts that well (the CD) because we were so involved in everything else. I did not go to the shore talks or the debark talk or any of that because we have "been there, done that" so many times. But the short time I got to talk with him at the Captains party, (Sarah introduced us as Funship Freddie's worst nightmare) Chris told us that whatever they needed to do to make our son more comfortable ....just to let them know, because that is what they were there for.

 

The Maitre D' stayed parked at our table for 15 minutes one night to reassure us that he would let us know any night there were any "characters" outside the front door taking pictures. Sure enough, they had a show girl one night and Freddie the other outside the Level 2 door, so they just escorted us up the stairs so we could go out the upper level to avoid them when we left.

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As a mother of an autistic child I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading your review. We are going on the Conquest in less than two weeks and I really needed to hear from a mom w/ a special needs child. I am so thrilled that you had a good time... and the fact that your son socialized with other children!?!?! FANTASTIC!!!! I only pray that my daughter will do that one day. Frankly at this point kids just bug her to death. She has no "use" for them. :D

 

If you have a chance could you give me any hints on how to make our cruise a successful one like yours? We have been in contact w/ the Special Needs Dept. to let them know about Olivia (and myself as I am on fore-arm crutches due to a disability). Also, how often does "Funship Freddy" come around? We were hoping that we could put Olivia in CC at least 1 to 2 hours a day so that we could enjoy some alone time. That never happens at home, as I'm sure you are aware. :rolleyes:

 

Any hints would be very much appreciated!!!!! Once again... CONGRATS on your wonderful cruise! We will definately keep the Miracle on the "must-do" list for our family. :)

 

Cindy (counting down the days until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

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LHP, I've been waiting for your review of the Miracle and am thrilled to read that you had such a wonderful time! What a great crew and that they took care of your family so well shows that they do care about their individual customers.

 

We've had some family situations lately that have caused us to drop our Liberty cruise in January, we changed it to the Miracle out of Tampa. From reading your review I see we've made a good choice. :)

 

Thanks for writing your review in such detail and it's good to have you back posting on CC!

Ms B

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WTG on your Son! My God Son is Autistic and I know what his mom goes through with him and his specialties. Scott is a top notch lighting pro. he has to check out all the lights to make sure they are all on and will let you know if they are burned out. And again if you don't change it right away. And he will check it the next time he is there even if it is months between to see if you changed it.

 

But I have to ask about the DI. I went in there looking for the ring our Shopper was wearing during the shopping talk. I ended up with the "Well if it fitst this hand..." :eek: Never say that it Always fits that other hand! I ended up with a Diamond/Fire Opal/ Tanzinite ring that I am scared to death to wear it..I might loose it and it was too expensive! :( The most I have ever paid for a ring in my life. So what was your experience? Oh yeah mine was in Jamacia!

 

Alice Faye

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edited

 

WTG on your Son! My God Son is Autistic and I know what his mom goes through with him and his specialties. Scott is a top notch lighting pro. he has to check out all the lights to make sure they are all on and will let you know if they are burned out. And again if you don't change it right away. And he will check it the next time he is there even if it is months between to see if you changed it.

 

Alice,

I just cracked up at this comment. My 8 y/o daughter Olivia is autistic as well and she does the same thing. She calls it her "job" and she checks all of our lights on Saturday. Every single Saturday. :D One of her worries about our up-coming cruise (in 11 days... who's counting ;) ) was the fact that she would be gone on a Saturday and couldn't do "her job." LOL! She solved this by telling the person watching our dogs to make sure she checks them. She then took her around and showed her the "correct" order for each light and very patiently explained how to do the job. What made things really funny is once Olivia walked off the girl asked if she really had to do this. She wanted me to write everything down since she was afraid she would forget how to do it. :D I laughed sooo hard. Needless to say, Olivia will not ever know that we are just going to risk the lights going out while we are gone. ;)

 

Aren't autistic kids fun sometimes??? :)

 

Cindy (counting down the days (11!!!) until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

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As a mother of an autistic child I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading your review. We are going on the Conquest in less than two weeks and I really needed to hear from a mom w/ a special needs child. I am so thrilled that you had a good time... and the fact that your son socialized with other children!?!?! FANTASTIC!!!! I only pray that my daughter will do that one day. Frankly at this point kids just bug her to death. She has no "use" for them. :D

 

If you have a chance could you give me any hints on how to make our cruise a successful one like yours? We have been in contact w/ the Special Needs Dept. to let them know about Olivia (and myself as I am on fore-arm crutches due to a disability). Also, how often does "Funship Freddy" come around? We were hoping that we could put Olivia in CC at least 1 to 2 hours a day so that we could enjoy some alone time. That never happens at home, as I'm sure you are aware. :rolleyes:

 

Any hints would be very much appreciated!!!!! Once again... CONGRATS on your wonderful cruise! We will definately keep the Miracle on the "must-do" list for our family. :)

 

Cindy (counting down the days until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

 

 

The following was Funship Freddie's schedule on the Miracle. Since it and the Conquest are both 7 day cruises...I would imagine the schedule would be similar.

 

Asst CD Sarah emailed me this schedule before we left.

 

Embarkation day 2:15pm-3pm gangway

 

> 7:15pm children's orientation meeting mad hatters ball 8:10pm disco

> family welcome aboard party

>

> First sea day 5pm captains party

>

> First Port Day - 5pm repeaters party

>

> Second Port Day - 7pm-8pm pictures outside the dinning groom

>

> Third Port Day - deck party 10:30pm

>

> Last sea day 11am Freddy hunt and walk down 7:15pm disco farewell

> party

>

 

Just remember that there can be an unscheduled appearance from time to time. Also, on your cruise there is the Halloween party and Freddie (and the M&M character) will be at the main party from 7:30 - 10:00PM - 20 minutes on and 10 minutes off. They held this in the Atrium bar on the Spirit, but I am not certain where it will be held on the Conquest.

 

On our cruise, Freddie really stuck exactly to this schedule and we did not have any surprises.

 

If you don't mind me asking, how old is your daughter? Her age will affect the advice I give because the activities are so different for each age group.

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LHP, I've been waiting for your review of the Miracle and am thrilled to read that you had such a wonderful time! What a great crew and that they took care of your family so well shows that they do care about their individual customers.

 

We've had some family situations lately that have caused us to drop our Liberty cruise in January, we changed it to the Miracle out of Tampa. From reading your review I see we've made a good choice. :)

 

Thanks for writing your review in such detail and it's good to have you back posting on CC!

Ms B

 

So sorry you had to change your plans. I just loved this cruise. This was our 3rd Spirit class ship and by far my favorite.

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If you don't mind me asking, how old is your daughter? Her age will affect the advice I give because the activities are so different for each age group.

 

Thank you for the schedule! Olivia is 8 years old and I know that the character will be an issue for her, so I appreciate the "heads up" on this. I didn't know he was around so much.

 

Any advice that you can give would be very appreciated. This is my 4th cruise, but my 1st with children. Our 3 girls will be in seperated in Camp Carnival, which will be interesting. Olivia won't care, but our youngest (5) will not be happy. Once she makes a friend she will be fine... I hope. :) All I know is that because of these boards I'm learning all kinds of things. :D

 

Thanks again!

Cindy (counting down the days until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

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But I have to ask about the DI. I went in there looking for the ring our Shopper was wearing during the shopping talk. I ended up with the "Well if it fitst this hand..." :eek: Never say that it Always fits that other hand! I ended up with a Diamond/Fire Opal/ Tanzinite ring that I am scared to death to wear it..I might loose it and it was too expensive! :( The most I have ever paid for a ring in my life. So what was your experience? Oh yeah mine was in Jamacia!

 

Alice Faye

 

Ok, let me preface this story by saying that I am a DI customer. I have bought 2 tennis bracelets and a diamond/sapphire ring from them and all 3 pieces have appraised at or above the price I paid. I am very pleased with all 3 pieces and I wear them every day.

 

I started with DI buying tennis bracelets because I had always wanted one, but I did not care for the xoxoxo or the ~~~~~ styles that were available at the time. DI design their own tennis bracelet settings and I found one that I loved. It was only a one carat and was very reasonable price wise. It was not an expensive piece at all. A couple of years later, I found a 3 carat that used matched stones that really complimented my first bracelet...so I bought it and wear them together. This was a more expensive piece but still less than what I had priced in the US for the same weight, cut and clarity. I love both bracelets. Then a couple of years later, I ran across a diamond/sapphire ring that I loved. I was pleased with the price and have really enjoyed it.

 

Now I realize the DI only carried "commerical stones". But to the naked eye, a G-H looks just as good as a D. I designed a setting that is going to require a 3.5 - 4.0 carat marquise stone. I have a friend that is a jeweler and she said stones of that size at a reasonable price are hard to find. So she said to just look while I was down there and see what they had. I already knew the basics. She gave me the price range...so off I went to look. At first I wasn't going to bother, because it does take a lot of time. I did not look at Grand Cayman or Cozumel. But we did not have a tour booked for Belize and there wasn't a lot to do if you stayed "inside the fence" ...so I said "what the heck". It will give me something to do.

 

I wandered into Diamond’s International to look around. I told them I was looking for 3.5 - 4.0 carat marquise diamond. As I said before, I have done business with them in the past, but only in areas that I was completely knowledgeable. I have always been pleased with my purchases.

 

Anyway, I talked with Melinda and Zorro (that is really his name) and they only had one stone of that size and showed me a 3.31 marquise. They were very upfront about this stone being laser drilled. They showed me where it was noted on the certificate and that it decreased the value by about $11,000.

 

I told them I would think about it, but I doubted I would be interested in a lazer drilled stone. It is not as bad a fracture filling, but close.

 

Hubby and I had some drinks, talked it over and then hubby and son went back to the ship. I went back to Diamonds International to tell them I was not interested in the stone.

 

I walked back to the watch section to talk to Tamara (Carnival’s Super Shopper) and saw the exact Breitling watch that hubby had been looking for. I told Melinda and another manager (Nicholas) that I was not interested in the stone, because of the lazer drilling. They tried to call Costa Maya (since that was our next port) to see if they had a stone there…but could not get through.

 

They offered to bring the lazer drilled stone to Costa Maya, so that I could compare it to a regular stone, but I declined. I told them I was not interested in a lazer drilled stone. They asked me to stop by their store at Costa Maya and look at what they may have. I said I would. I made a comment to Tamara about the watch that hubby had been looking for and showed her. And how I really wished hubby was with me, because it was the exact watch he had wanted. (We had looked in Grand Cayman at Kirk's but they did not have that one. ) But there wasn't time to tender out to the ship, find my husband, tender back into port and make the purchase before the ship sailed. Amin (who manages the DI watch store) said that Costa Maya does not handle the Breitling line. Oh well, guess it wasn't meant to be.

 

So the next day, we arrived in Costa Maya.

 

We took our son swimming at the pool at the end of the pier and had some drinks. We walked around the shopping center for awhile. Then hubby took our son back to the ship for lunch and a nap. Our 15 year old son is functional enough to stay in the cabin by himself as long as the boat is docked. So hubby got him something to eat and then got our son settled in for a nap after swimming.

 

While I was waiting for hubby to get back, I walked into the Diamond’s International and was surprised to see the Belize manager (Nicholas) there. He and Amin had brought the laser drilled diamond from Belize, the Breitling watch I commented on that hubby wanted and some other diamonds to compare.

 

I was amazed that they would drive 6 hours to bring a stone that I had clearly told them I was not interested in. It turns out the Costa Maya store only had a $90,000 stone and they knew I was not going to pay that much.

 

This is where DI disappointed me. Nicholas disappointed me by trying to convince me that laser drilling does not affect the value of the stone. He really started the hard sell that I don’t tolerate. Nicholas did not know that Zorro had already told me it depreciated the value of that stone by $11,000.

He started that "my friend" business. I finally dismissed him completely.

 

Amin (watch manager) on the other hand was wonderful. He manages the DI Watch store there in Belize and he really knows his stuff. I did not buy the stone, but I did buy the Breitling watch (and they threw in a winder.) Hubby loves it. We have been pricing this watch for over a year. We saved about $1,000 off the discount internet prices that I had found.

 

They don’t sell Breitling at the Costa Maya store, so DI gets big points for being willing to bring the watch from Belize, because they saw I was truly interested. However, that one manager (Nicholas) really turned my stomach. Zorro (the other manager from Russia) was very up front and honest about the affect lazer drilling has on a stone. But Nicholas was ready to lie through his teeth if necessary.

 

So folks, the word is know your stuff before you go. Hubby is just beaming with his Chrono Cockpit Breitling with the Stainless and 18 K gold band. It is the navy blue face with the 18K gold 3 Chrono dials. It looks really good.

 

But I would never make a purchase of over $10,000 from them unless I had really done my research and knew my facts backward and forward.

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Thank you for the schedule! Olivia is 8 years old and I know that the character will be an issue for her, so I appreciate the "heads up" on this. I didn't know he was around so much.

 

Any advice that you can give would be very appreciated. This is my 4th cruise, but my 1st with children. Our 3 girls will be in seperated in Camp Carnival, which will be interesting. Olivia won't care, but our youngest (5) will not be happy. Once she makes a friend she will be fine... I hope. :) All I know is that because of these boards I'm learning all kinds of things. :D

 

Thanks again!

Cindy (counting down the days until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

 

 

 

AAAAUUUGGGHHH... I just typed a long detailed (wonderful) note to you and this stupid website flashed "Service Unavailable" when I hit submit..so I lost it.

 

I hate when that happens.

 

I have to run get my son from school...but when I get back, I will attempt to recreate the fabulous (LOL) advice I had for you!!!

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Alice,

I just cracked up at this comment. My 8 y/o daughter Olivia is autistic as well and she does the same thing. She calls it her "job" and she checks all of our lights on Saturday. Every single Saturday. :D One of her worries about our up-coming cruise (in 11 days... who's counting ;) ) was the fact that she would be gone on a Saturday and couldn't do "her job." LOL! She solved this by telling the person watching our dogs to make sure she checks them. She then took her around and showed her the "correct" order for each light and very patiently explained how to do the job. What made things really funny is once Olivia walked off the girl asked if she really had to do this. She wanted me to write everything down since she was afraid she would forget how to do it. :D I laughed sooo hard. Needless to say, Olivia will not ever know that we are just going to risk the lights going out while we are gone. ;)

 

Aren't autistic kids fun sometimes??? :)

 

Cindy (counting down the days (11!!!) until we are in Heaven on the 'Quest!)

~ please ignore spelling... I'm dyslexic ~

 

Ok, hopefully this stupid website won't spaz on me this time.

 

As the Mom of a special needs child, I am going to be open and direct.

 

First of all, you made an excellent choice by selecting a cruise when school is in session and less children will be aboard. That way the counselors are free to give Olivia the extra attention she may need.

 

Second tip, have realistic expectations. For example: When DJ (our son) was 10, they took the 9-11 year olds swimming. DJ does not swim. And I felt it was unrealistic to put that burden on the counselors to watch him, when they had so many other children at the time. So Dad (or I) went with him to the swim sessions so that he could participate safely and have fun with the other kids without burdening the counselors. Now they would have done it, but they were greatly relieved to have a parent that took their needs into consideration and the safety of their child so seriously.

 

Third: Olivia will be in the 6-8 age group which do not "travel around the ship" as much as the 9-11 year olds. This is good!!! Also, she will not have a lot of older children that may bother her. She is on the top of the age scale and that is good.

 

I do a lot of volunteer work in the expanded resource department of my son's middle school...so I know that AS kids have many individual needs. They can run from Atypical (like my son) to typical AS (like his best friend).

You know your daughter. You know what her triggers are. (like mascots are one of DJ's triggers)

 

On the first night, there will be an orientation around 7pm. Take Olivia and introduce her to the staff. Olivia will have the same counselors all week. There will be paperwork to fill out. This is very important. List EVERY CONCERN you have ...write on the back if you have to....because this is the only way they are going to really know your daughter. A little later that night, there will be a family time event. This gives the children a chance to get to know their counselors with Mom and Dad there and become more comfortable. Camp Carnival opens for "business" at 9AM the next morning and is open on and off until 10PM.

 

I am going to be very blunt. While Camp Carnival can't give any child one on one services, they have always done a wonderful job with DJ. At this age, DJ was the kind of child who was very passive. He was not aggressive. He was happy sitting in the corner doing his own thing. In fact, he could be easily overlooked because he was so quiet. However, I know that different children have different tolerance levels. Just be aware of what Olivia's levels are. Again, it is great that you are sailing during a time when there should be few children. But try it the first day and if things are a little rocky ...DO NOT GIVE UP. Try it again the next day. If Olivia is like DJ, some days are better than others. Show the staff that you are sensitive to their needs and the needs of other children in their care and they will work with you any way that they can.

 

Please let us know how it went when you get back. You are absolutely right about one thing...AS kids are a hoot. I wish I had 1/3rd of DJ's imagination.

 

Have a great cruise!!

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Great review! I love reading about other people's trips, even if I go on a different ship.

 

What really caught my eye was your comments about your son and his special needs. As I was reading and you mentioned him not doing well with certain things, it was starting to sound very familiar. When you got to the part about the Club O2, I was not surprised to find he has Asperger Syndrome.

 

I have a 15 year old also with Asperger Syndrome and we cruise with him as well. For the most part he does well, but becomes overwhelmed by crowds, too much noise, etc. Last New year's eve on the Victory was an example. He was supposed to meet us and didn't show up. We began to worry with so many kids running around "drinking". Well, it turned out he was so overwhelmed he couldn't remember where to meet us and ended up going back to the room where we finally found him asleep. I was very proud of how he handled himself.

 

We are going back on the Victory this year and will be there again on New years, so we now know we have to handle it differently.

 

My question is--did you let them know ahead of time and what accommodations did they make for him. We have never said anything.

 

Thanks.

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Great review! I love reading about other people's trips, even if I go on a different ship.

 

What really caught my eye was your comments about your son and his special needs. As I was reading and you mentioned him not doing well with certain things, it was starting to sound very familiar. When you got to the part about the Club O2, I was not surprised to find he has Asperger Syndrome.

 

I have a 15 year old also with Asperger Syndrome and we cruise with him as well. For the most part he does well, but becomes overwhelmed by crowds, too much noise, etc. Last New year's eve on the Victory was an example. He was supposed to meet us and didn't show up. We began to worry with so many kids running around "drinking". Well, it turned out he was so overwhelmed he couldn't remember where to meet us and ended up going back to the room where we finally found him asleep. I was very proud of how he handled himself.

 

We are going back on the Victory this year and will be there again on New years, so we now know we have to handle it differently.

 

My question is--did you let them know ahead of time and what accommodations did they make for him. We have never said anything.

 

Thanks.

 

When he was 5 years old, we never let Carnival know ahead of time. We would simply fill out the paperwork at Camp Carnival and make notations on there as to his special needs. They have always done an excellent job. But when they came out with Funship Freddie, we had to do some things differently. Our son is 15 and has panic attacks when exposed to mascots (fake sharks, real insects and thunder). When he was younger, the panic attacks were so severe that he would literally lose all "reason". (IE: Run out in front of a car to get away...or fall down the stairs to escape.)

 

After Carnival came out with Funship Freddie, we thought we would have to stop cruising Carnival. However, we have been able to use it as a learning tool to teach our son how to compensate and have some measure of control.

 

At first, we would simply go to Camp Carnival on the first night and get Freddie's schedule. That helped a lot, because we would know what areas to avoid each day. But we would still have at least one unexpected encounter.

 

On the Spirit in Alaska, it was the last night of the cruise and Freddie stepped out of the disco as our son was walking by. They came "nose to nose". Even though my husband or myself has always been with him, our son was "gone" before hubby could even turn around and assess the situation. Our son knew I was in karaoke at the other end of the ship and made it to me without killing any of the Senior Citizens in their walkers along the way. As panicked as he was, he still maintained some control and demonstrated to himself that he can extracate himself from the situation in a safe and reasonable manner.

 

Now, we have gotten to know so many of the Cruise Directors and Assistant CD's that all I have to do is email them with our cruise date and they email me Freddie's schedule and put out the alert.

 

For example, Noonan is the Assistant CD on the Fantasy (when we sail in December) and he and our son already have a code phrase..."Freddie is in the box".

 

Since this was the first time that our son stayed at an event on his own (since the introduction of Funship Freddie) we did talk at length with the Club O2 director so she could keep an "extra" eye on him.

 

On this cruise, one night... it was suppose to end at 10:45pm in the disco and it ended at 10:30pm. Dad wasn't there yet to pick him up and they were clearing the disco for the next age group....so our son simply walked down to karaoke (where he knew I was) and waited with me for Dad to find us. As soon as Dad arrived at the disco and saw our son was gone...he hoped our son had come to me ..which he had. Like you, we were so proud to see him deal with a change in the plans. You know how important routines are to our AS kids. They definately don't like surprises!

 

Life with AS kids is a wonderful adventure. They are so smart. Our son is Atypical in that crowds do not bother him. He is very social. But he is pretty typical in all other areas. Cruising has given us a safe environment in which to allow him to spread his wings and learn to cope!

 

I just feel better having everyone aware of the situation. Our son thinks all the attention is because he is the youngest Platinum member on board. Our son gets a kick out of that (at least on the last 3 cruises). So I just let him go on believing it!!

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