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About Epicureangirl

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Travel, cooking, wine appreciation, home design/decor/architecture, gardening, investing, dahlias!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Often sailing HAL, but excited to be trying Azamara soon!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    South East Asia (Hoi An Vietnam has my heart)

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  1. So now that it's been reposted in full, all my glaring typos and autocorrect replacements are evident to me, so apologies to those reading! Mimosa's were included on the in-room dining breakfast menu only. When eating in the MDR there was still a charge for Mimosa's and no specific Club Orange menu for breakfast. They only gave me the in-room breakfast menu at evening turn-down when the following day was a sea-day. I'm not sure if that is normal as I don't usually eat my breakfast in room and look for that menu. The one morning that I did take advantage of the in room dining for breakfast, I had ordered 1 mimosa and they sent up two which was nice as they are in small glasses. That menu also includes steak and eggs as well as a smoked salmon Eggs Benedict, without the usual upcharge. My Benny was perfect, which really surprised me as I thought it might be a bit cold or overdone by the time it was delivered. There are many breakfast sides and pastries available to order, as well as steel cut oats, parfaits and other things that are not on the regular in-room dining menu. I'm guessing that suite guests have always been given this extended menu, but it was nice to have more of a choice of in room offerings.
  2. The Address definitely has the style I like. It looks like for the flights I want, I may end up staying 2 nights before and 3 after (giving me a chance to try two hotels out). Sadly the first night I probably won’t get to the hotel until 1am. I really bristle paying so much for a room when I can’t even check in at a reasonable hour to enjoy the surroundings. That looks like a fabulous location, thanks for the suggestions. I was planning to stay out of the Palm with the traffic nightmare, and am not really a beach person so Dubai Mall area could work quite nicely. Thanks again!
  3. Thanks for your recommendations, I will be looking these up right away! I am hoping 3 nights post-cruise will be enough to get more of a feel for the city.
  4. Unfortunately, when I went to book this morning the last suitable stateroom had gone, I'm not sure if someone was holding it in their 'cart', but I kept checking back and it finally reappeared. Being able to book QUICKLY online became more important then calling some TA's in Florida to discuss prices on a cabin that was no longer available. So with thanks to all of you, I have booked my first Azamara cruise (celebration emoji belongs here)! The big-box won my business this time after switching my card over to the Exec membership. After looking at what my credit card would have charged me to be billed in US $, booking directly with a US TA wasn't doing me any favours on the price. I may have saved a little, but without knowing what exchange rate would be applied, it was really difficult to know where the price would be in the end. If I finally figure out 'the' best US agency to deal with, one that books group space especially, I will have to try that route next time. Perhaps if there is a CC meet and greet someone will whisper the name of their TA in my ear. 😂
  5. Okay, now I'm really confused. I found a website (very "red white and blue" both figuratively and literally), and the quote WAS about $500 less. But then I see fine print that "taxes, fees & port expenses add $155.69 per person". Which pretty-much eats up the $500 saved (is a cabin for 3). I thought that when I used the big-box site my quote included all of that. I will keep looking to see if I can come across an agency that had booked group space, but my time is running out. There is only one cabin left that has room for a 3rd person.
  6. I think that maybe some of the agencies that quoted would possibly do this, but that I will have to call them? The OBC is what is in the email quote, but they all say call for special offers. Maybe they will give me a better option (cold hard cash back)? Thanks for your input.
  7. This not naming names with TA's is killing me! I want to find these sites! All my cruise quotes of course say to call... maybe that's where the cash option becomes a possibility? I did get a new quote in last night that looked $150 better than big-box, but that might be easily eaten up what the credit card charges on the foreign transaction (I'm going to have to look at the fine-print on my credit cards to figure out which one to use in that case). Thank you!
  8. For Azamara, the quotes I am getting (from US agencies) are all identical, other than the differences in OBC. I am guessing Azamara doesn’t let TA’s publish lower fares? Or have you been able to get a lower rate on the same cabin type? If I go the big box route, the gift card is one bonus, but on top of that the 2% back (again to be spent in store) is hard to ignore.
  9. And the rudeness of others amazes me. Considering the environmental impacts of cruise travel as an industry, I don’t think anyone on here should be preaching about this topic at all as it’s very hypocritical. An environmental high-horse is easy to fall from.
  10. I was well aware that what I posted would not sit well with some, and I am well informed on what you are saying. I never suggested that it should be thrown into the ocean or garbage. Many types of plastics are recyclable and do not have to end up in the landfill. They can buy from companies that use recycled plastic in their packaging too. I know how to check which plastics are recyclable before I buy it and how to sort everything. Still, I think the customer-facing side of MANY businesses try to portray environmental stewardship by taking away the bottles, suggesting they don’t wash the towels etc (which also saves them money), but in the back of the house, they don’t recycle and pollute on many levels because it’s inconvenient and expensive to do otherwise. I’m not pointing fingers at Azamara, I have no idea what they do on their ships.
  11. I have been to a couple of hotels recently that have switched over to dispensers (when I had been used to getting the little individual bottles) and I was instantly disappointed when I saw the dispensers. The little bottles are a small souvenir that I get to take home and enjoy after my trip (the scent transports you back to your great holiday memory)! I have discovered and enjoyed many beautiful products from many beautiful hotels. Those dispensers don't look great forever and so far they have been very irritating how many times you have to pump to get a decent amount out. I would rather the cruise lines work on reducing packaging for the food they buy, or having a better recycling program then forcing the cheap looking dispensers into the teeny-tiny shower space. As for the test-drive of new product choices, I have tried Elemis and honestly I thought it was a cheap brand (based on it showing up in discount stores like Marshall's and the look of the packaging), but L'Occitane bought the company so clearly they thought it was great stuff! And I have to say that Malin and Goetz is quite hip and much more attractive to men with straightforward and bold scents (not florals). It is also a New York originated brand which (if I were American) would make me more likely to support a made in the USA product. Still, Malin and Goetz feels young, but not necessarily luxe. It is a moot point though because neither will FEEL luxe when pumped from a dispenser. And I don't hate the environment, I am ready to make different sacrifices but don't really want to start with those darling little bottles.
  12. That's fantastic. I don't know if that will be possible for me (I am always tempted to try out the specialty restaurants at least), but my husband would be thrilled to leave the ship without a balance to clear!
  13. Yes, we're probably using the same competitive bidding website. I'm still waiting for more quotes to come in but the first ones that have arrived are a bit lower. Yes, thank you for reminding me that I would actually have to use that OBC. I reminded myself that since this cruise is almost all-inclusive I would probably spend much less on board than I usually do on HAL. Spending money at the big box store never seems to be much of a problem. 😉
  14. Thanks so much -- it is the same Big Box store I was talking about and not naming names... 🙂. I have basic membership, but can easily switch to Executive -- the math doesn't lie, it is very worth it! I have been getting quotes in from US agencies today, but the OBC they offer still is less than the cash card and dividend combined.
  15. I'm getting ready to book my first Azamara Cruise (for March 2020) and was going to book through a big-box agency that will give me a little bonus (not nearly as impressive as what seems to be available in the US). Is there any advantage to book directly with Azamara when the pricing is identical? Is Azamara more likely to offer OBC or any type of compensation if the price drops before final payment? Are any Canadians using US TA's instead of Canadian for increased OBC or other benefits? I am not used to using a TA, I've always booked directly through HAL but am ready to try something new (and better). Thanks!
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