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About MNgardens

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  1. Sounds like the slightly larger ships are working best for you now, which is fine. All travel is good!
  2. I am not at all a fan of the pricing shenanigans but... Cruise Junky's comparison above is not an apples to apples comparison. What is the daily cost per person? Azamara at $5499 (ouch!) divided by 13 = $423 pp/day. Unknown taxes. Oceania Marina carries almost twice as many passengers. What are the taxes, etc for the $6499 cruise? The required daily gratuity adds $16/pp aka $32/stateroom. $16 x 26 = $416 ($32 x 26 days = $832.00) $6499 + $416 = $6915. Unknown taxes It works out to $266 pp/day. I think that is a fairly priced cruise. So yes, a considerable difference but once this promotion ends and prices stabilize, perhaps not as stark. Some itineraries are more desirable than others and we don't have the ports listed nor the number of sea days. And, the Oceania one may be part of a B2B as "first leg" is mentioned. Lots of factors to consider, including ship size, casino pro and cons, and in my family's case, the inability to be away from work for a month. This promotion will come and go. The traveling public is really spoiled for options and we have many good choices.
  3. I would say it depends... On your previous cruises were you going to activities mostly on sea days? Am I correct in thinking that you are on a very port intensive cruise with only one sea day? In that case, on the sea day spend your credits on a bunch of spa treatments and hit some exercise classes. Are you a restless person looking for constant stimulation (perhaps better suited to a big ship) or an extrovert who uses the activities as an avenue to meeting new people? The smaller ship makes it easy to fall into conversation with new acquaintances. If you go go go while off ship in port, will you be looking to stay up really late and sleep in, or return to ship, have a leisurely dinner, go for after dinner drinks and a show, and then go to bed so you and your husband can get off the ship in the next port as it docks? For me, there is a distinction. Only you know which way you are.
  4. Go to a website such as cruise timetable or such other and find out how many ships will be in port and what their loads are. If it is a day when there are 7-10,000 cruisers, it will be difficult to not feel over run at Coki, Sapphire, Magen's, and Secret Harbor. In that case I would research Hull Bay, which is not as famous but is off the beaten path with a little beach restaurant behind it, or Lindqvist aka Smith Bay Park (not far from Sapphire but with no services.) Lindqvist has the prettier beach but there is an entrance fee. The website VINOW dot COM can start you off
  5. Here is a good article about how a Celebrity ship, crew, and passenger volunteers are preparing 10,000 meals to deliver to Freeport on Grand Bahama island. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/after-hurricane-dorian-celebrity-cruise-ship-bahamas-reroutes-deliver-food-n1050796 "...A rotation of the company's cruise ships will be passing through Freeport to help provide meals and other items, including lawn chairs for sleeping, pillows, bedding, towels and medical supplies..." "...The ship was carrying more than 5,400 pounds of food — to make everything from cold cut sandwiches to hot dishes, such as chicken, rice and beans. In addition, more than 300,000 bottles of water were being handed out by the cruise operator's ships. In the coming days, the company is looking to establish a field kitchen on land to continue providing meals..."
  6. I am old school. I print out the itinerary and then cover it with post it notes with prices and travel agencies noted. If I were clever I would have them in chronological order...
  7. Azamara is under the corporate umbrella of Royal Caribbean. By now we have all seen the hurricane devastation in the Bahamas. RCL is donating $1,000,000 to charitable partners in the Bahamas. Details are here- https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/hurricane-disaster-relief. They will be matching additional by the public. https://www.padf.org/hurricane-dorian-royal If you have been feeling uncertain as to what you could do to help, this could be an option. In this day and age it is really hard to tell the genuine agencies from the inexperienced or scams.
  8. Do the promotions cycle through in any predictable manner? We just had the 30% off and now the Double Upgrade. I don't remember the name of it but I remember once seeing a promotion with a lot of shore excursion credit. Will the next one be first pax at full price, 2nd pax at 50% with free wifi? Have the long time cruisers seen that certain promotions always show up at a certain time of year?
  9. I am someone who is slowly migrating TO Azamara. Windstar is slowly pricing me out of their product. Azamara gets me an interesting itinerary at a price where I can afford to treat additional relatives to a fabulous experience. I hated the casino, love The Den, never see the shows and think the food and wine is fine. Azamara ships are larger than the Windstar ones but it is not overwhelming and never feels crowded. This size is going to work for me.
  10. I vote for Secret Harbor. The whole beach is really family friendly. There is a swim platform that the kids could swim to and then jump off of and climb back up. The water is gentle. The dive shop sells ice cream bars and snacks and the restaurant can make pizza and other snacks. The best snorkeling is a bit farther out but even closer in they will see some fish. I taught some people to snorkel there in July when we were staying at the hotel. First day they found a sea turtle in the sea grass beds. I think for your shelter the best bet may be to head away from the restaurant/bar and to the extreme left as you enter the beach. That end tends to be less crowded. If you head to the extreme right you will be in front of the dive shop (ice cream!) but the sand is coarser. Aqua Action dive shop handles the rental of the non hotel beach chairs at that end. I have read that it is possible to prearrange chair and umbrella rentals but I have never tried that. https://www.aadivers.com/ I am saying all this with the warning that I have not been there over Christmas and potentially don't know what I am talking about for that time period.
  11. Coral World will be open. You could tour their facility in a couple of hours or choose to do a few of their activities such as swim with a sea lion/dolphin or SNUBA. We regularly take people there. After CW you could spend time on Coki Beach which is right next door. It has calm water and good snorkeling. There are chair and snorkel rentals on the beach. The ice cream shop has the best waffle cones I have ever tasted. https://coralworldvi.com/
  12. Another idea I am kicking around is getting two balcony staterooms with a connecting door.
  13. from the Coral World website: https://coralworldvi.com/directions/ By Taxi: Taking a taxi is the easiest way to get to Coral World. Taxis are readily available at the cruise ship docks, hotels and the downtown shopping district. The taxi fare from the Havensight cruise ship dock and downtown is approximately $9 per person for two or more passengers. The taxi fare from the Crown Bay cruise ship dock is approximately $10 per person for two or more passengers. Rates vary from each hotel depending on its location. The taxi ride from downtown and the cruise ship docks is 20-25 minutes long. It is basically adjacent to Coki beach so if you find a taxi taking people to Coki, you're good to go.
  14. In 2016 we did three of us in a CC suite. The fold out sofa they had at the time was changed in the remodel. They provided at our request an "egg carton" foam topper for the sofa bed. I slept fine. My sister and I swapped who slept on the sofa bed or twin bed halfway through the cruise but I could have continued on the sofa bed. During the day the sofa was closed up. Sometimes the topper was rolled up in a corner. Other times it was removed. I would book a CC again but if traveling with my 82 year old mother I would prefer a shower stall over a tub.
  15. Thanks for the replies. My mom, sister and I travel well together and I now have more information. I appreciate the group's input.
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