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Everything posted by aqlollipop

  1. And even if things DO end up sold out, keep checking back because they will add times, and people change their plans and cancel. I was disappointed when I looked at excursions like 3 days after they opened and a few that we were interested in were sold out, but I checked again like a month later and they were back! So I cancelled my back up plan and rebooked.
  2. I've not done a greek cruise yet (heading out on the first of the season this May!), but I usually pick the cruise line's excursions if I'm going to do one at all, for the reason you mentioned, the guarantee back to the ship. Additionally, in ports where the ship is tendered if you are on a ship-sponsored excursion you will get tender priority to get off without having to worry about booking an early tender. I think some of the recent bad buzz about Virgin's excursions is coming out of the new Caribbean ports. I expect there will be some adjusting there and things will sort out. They've already had a season in Greece, so I figure those should be more reliably decent. I booked that Delos tour, and the fact that the word "tour" is used in the title, implies to me that there is some sort of guided activity on the island. Could be wrong, I guess I'll find out! I've taken excursions through Virgin on nearly every sailing I've done, Caribbean and Europe, and only 1 was kinda meh. But even that, wasn't Virgin's fault. Every other cruise line in port that day had the same tour running. It was just the way it was if you wanted to see that particular attraction. So I guess what I'm saying is, if it looks like something you want to do, give it a try!
  3. Excellent review! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us! 2 things I noted in your break down: on keeping the water chilled, the carafes do fit in the refrigerator in the room so if you don't want to be adding ice all the time, you can keep one or both carafes in the fridge! And second there are power/USB outlets on both sides of the bed. On the side that has the big white thing, they are on the wall all the way past the big white thing, behind the chair. ☺️ Again, thanks for sharing your voyage! I love that itinerary, even though I too, wish it were longer!
  4. Actually, I'm not sure this is still true. When we were on the New Year's sailing, while trying to book Ship Show we got an error message saying that we were already booked for something else at that time (dinner reservations), after we cancelled the dinner reservations, we were able to book the Ship Show no problem. All that said, don't worry about it if you are doing this right when you get on the ship, everything will work out. The Ship Show won't "sell out" in the time it takes for you to cancel a dinner reservation.
  5. Gunbae is not my favorite meal on the ship, but they do have my favorite drink on the ship, the K-pop Disco Water!
  6. On the website, under the "Destinations" tab, there's a link for Shore Excursions. From there, you can look at each port and see what the possibilities might be. My experience is that it's usually pretty close to accurate. There may be some that are not offered or some that are slightly different. But it does give a good general idea of what could be available on your trip.
  7. My daughter and I did this same tour to El Yunque last month, the tour guide told us there are few mosquitos in the rainforest area because there are bats that eat them! We saw none on our tour, and I am also one they tend to find!
  8. Right there with you @giraffic Fingers crossed 🀞🀞 they find a way to do it impacting the fewest number of sailings. I'll be optimistic and hope that at worst, they arrive a few days later in Athens and our itinerary is shortened/adjusted accordingly. Not an outcome I would love, but better than an outright cancellation, maybe...
  9. What it comes down to is this: Test Kitchen is just incredibly polarizing. People either love it or hate it. And that's ok, and it doesn't matter why they love or hate it. Personally, my husband and I are fans, we even like both menus! But because we like it doesn't mean it's right for everyone. We took our family over the holidays, and some enjoyed the experience, others barely took 2 bites of the food. I knew going in that would be the case, and told people they didn't have to join us there, but everyone wanted to try. And that's kinda the spirit of it, just trying something different. Now, if you are used to that type of meal on land, I can see where it is probably underwhelming. That's a valuable opinion to share so that other folks who share your experience can go in with the correct expectations. For others, it's going to be a new experience, which may be good or bad. And some people don't want to try something that different and that is also ok. The nice thing is there are many restaurants and dining options to choose from, so no one has to go to Test Kitchen if they don't want to. And certainly, if you've tried it and hate it, you don't have to go back.
  10. You will have a great time. I totally understand the pressure of being the leader of the hoilday trip! But with the 1:45 boarding slot you are set. I don't know how big your group is, but I do know Virgin does assist groups 8 and over with dining reservations. My group was just under that, which made it more challenging from the outset, but still doable. If you are a bigger group inquire with your travel agent about what assistance Virgin might provide.
  11. I'm on the 10 day Greece & Croatia, I think it's been sold out for a while, in any case it hasn't been available for quite some time (pre-dating the current troubles). I am also hoping they figure out what they are doing sooner rather than later, just for my peace of mind. I'll be disappointed if it ends up cancelled but I'm pretty sure I can make some lemonade out of lemons regardless.
  12. Thanks for sharing your experience. When we got to the Terminal there was one person waiting there seated in a wheelchair, so that's where my (wrong) assumption came from. We didn't wait around so don't know how long she waited or what happened beyond that. Such a bummer that they can't seem to get this aspect of their service sorted out.
  13. Thank you for the correction! I was going from hazy memory and didn't bother to double check while writing my novel lol πŸ˜‚
  14. I just want to be another voice of reassurance. I was just in your shoes @gsutiger2. I was the "leader" of our small group on the fully booked Valiant New Year's sailing. We were a group of 7, ages 19-80 and only my husband and I had sailed Virgin before. We also used a TA and had her do the leg work in advance on reservations which helped a TON. Here are my tips for you to manage your pre-trip anxiety: 1) Make sure everyone in your group downloads the Virgin app to their phone as soon as you are booked. You will all want to go into the "Check-in & Get Ready to Sail" section and go to the last page of that to select your boarding time. Someone in each cabin will need to do this but should be able to do it for both sailors in the same cabin. Obviously, select the earliest time available. 2) Get connected in the app. As leader, you will want to make sure you are connected in the app to everyone in your group. Again, we found if you connected to one person in a cabin, you were connected to everyone in that cabin. I believe this can be done with "Share & add your mates", we did it in person using the QR codes in the messenger section, which is also where you will be able to see everyone that you have successfully connected to listed. 3) Work with your group to decide your dining preferences before the 45 day reservation mark (90 if RS). Get the plan together, make the list of what you want each day and what time, and send it to your travel agent in advance. Be Flexible. Even though travel agents can make the reservations, they can really only work with what is available in the system. I talked to my agent ahead of time about what we were hoping for but gave her leeway to do what she needed to so we had "something". Before sailing we had reservations, but we were going to need to do modifications on board. Some restaurants wouldn't do reservations for parties larger than 6 before boarding, so we had those reserved for 6 with plans to modify on board. Sometimes (often) we didn't get exactly the time we wanted, but we just made plans to modify, or altered our plans for that day to accommodate. 4) As you get closer to sailing, discuss with your group if there are any evening shows you want to attend as a group. The event calendar will be available in the app and you can get a rough idea of what will be available when. In my case, my group was happy to let me handle that, so I just chose a day/time for each event and made plans to book those on board for the whole group. Any other activities we decided would be handled individually. 5) On boarding day, I had a piece of paper with all our dining reservations printed out, all the shows I wanted to book listed on it, as well as the cabin numbers of everyone in our group. I had a buddy, my husband, to help me. We all had separate boarding times so we boarded separately, with hubs and I boarding first. I advise heading straight down to Razzle Dazzle on deck 5. There they will have helpful people to sort out any thing you need sorted with your dining reservations. While you are sorting that, you and your buddy can be getting on the wifi. If there's any line at Razzle Dazzle you can work on the modifications you need in the app and you can book the events you've planned to book (one doing that while the other works with the dining reservations). Once dining is sorted, if you are having trouble booking the events, head over to the Red Room, deck 6. They've got helpful people there doing the same thing for events that Razzle does for dining. On boarding day the app can be sluggish and unresponsive because everyone is jumping on at the same time trying to do the same thing, so don't panic if you are struggling with it, everyone else probably is too. That's why they have helpers available. And then, my friend you go drop your stuff in your room, head to the dock and grab yourself a drink and some snacks because vacation has started! I do advise having a picture of that list of cabin numbers on your phone, the number of times I had to know other group members cabin numbers surprised me! Also, just know that you do not need to have reservations for everything you do on the ship. Mostly it's just the evening shows and a few paid for events. Having the reservations for dinner is just a nice anchor to the day, but it is always possible to call an audible. We cancelled one of ours to do the Ship Show dinner show, and one of our nights we left with no dinner reservation because it was a late port night and we thought we'd want to eat in port, but everyone was tired. And we were able to get a reservation at a restaurant with just a few hours notice! Did we have our choice of any restaurant on the ship? No, but the restaurant we got turned out to be the one my daughter wanted so it worked perfectly. But even if it hadn't we'd have been fine with pizza or the galley. Also important to note if someone decides to bail on dinner or an event, it's ok, tell them you'll handle it. When checking in, just tell the person that some members of your party won't be joining you. Again, we were on a completely full sailing, I was totally stressed about it going into boarding, and it was a complete non issue, it just all was fine. Have a fantastic voyage!☺️
  15. Nondrinkers at our table got shots of cranberry juice. I presumed that was so that no one got accidentally soju'd if the nondrinkers were getting water.
  16. I agree that the wheelchair assistance at the port is terrible. We just went through this with my mother. At embarkation, wheelchair guests were waiting out front just like everyone else, and while there was some seating, it was very limited, and I don't know that there was enough. At disembarkation, as mentioned there was flat out no where to sit. My mom was quite distressed at the choice she had to make: stand for an indeterminate time waiting for a wheelchair, or walk herself out. Neither option seemed doable to her at the time but we went with the walk as we felt we had more control over what was happening that way. But it wasn't good. I have a hunch if she had requested wheelchair disembarkation from sailor services on board, they might have wheeled her off the ship and then she could have sat in that wheelchair to wait for the port wheelchair. But I'm not sure honestly. I know I did see them bringing wheelchairs on board.
  17. To the topic posted though, as mentioned Scarlet and Valiant are nearly identical, if you've been on Scarlet, the biggest difference you will notice is in the Social Club. Valiant has more tables! Another fun "spot the difference" is Valiant's melting ice cream staircase toppers on deck 16 above the pool. I just got off and I miss her already! I've realized that I love the way the ships smell! I'm not sure what it is, if it's a particular product or what, but I caught a whiff of it at home yesterday, probably lingering on something I brought home, and it just took me right back...
  18. I was on Valiant New Year's and saw him perform. He was even roaming Extra Virgin on our last night greeting passengers! So last sighting of Carlos on Valiant is the evening of Jan 6! I did hear that the flu ripped through the entertainment staff during the Christmas cruise week, so many performances were cancelled, perhaps that's where the idea that Carlos wasn't on board came from.
  19. Deck 7 on whichever side of the ship is shadiest is the best bet. Another possible option could be deck 16, there are some couch type loungers that have built in shade covers, but they are fixed in place so will provide shade only depending on the time of day and direction of the ship. They are facing several directions and are more comfortable than they look. πŸ™‚
  20. Never been so sad to see a menu. I can almost accept the loss of Fairy Toast as I rarely ordered it, but the loss of the cheese tots is pretty much unforgivable! 😭 At least they still have the waffle... sigh.
  21. There are no obstructions. The lifeboats are all down on deck 7/8. As far as looking forward goes, I'm not sure if you mean straight out or the reverse of the picture I posted. But I would say no. However, you really are unlikely to be looking towards the front of the ship, simply because the angle on the balcony makes that rather awkward. Mostly you'll be looking out or back as pictured. Hope that helps.
  22. I've been in one of those rooms. Honestly, it's going to come down to personal preference and how silent you need your room to be. When we had that room we were rarely in the room when things were happening in the Red Room, and when we were, yeah, we could hear it, but it was certainly not worse than the noise of our neighbors playing their music over a speaker on their balcony. Shows are done in there usually by 11, and yeah there is daytime stuff on sea days, but again, you could get noisy neighbors anywhere on the ship. The one perk of deck 8 is the slightly larger balcony. The balcony extends further out than others so you get a bit more space out there, which was nice.
  23. I just looked at the paper event guides I kept from my cruise (SL) in May. They showed Squid Ink open until 10pm every day. I didn't keep every day but I did have port days. It looked like they mostly opened at 10am, except when we were at Bimini when they didn't open until 5pm.
  24. Every time I've gotten Afternoon Tea it's come off bar tab. Multiple sailings. I think it's charged through the Sip bar same as if they are charging a drink so comes off bar tab.
  25. I've stayed in 9102. You don't need to worry about the lifeboats. They are still a deck below. Here's a picture from the balcony. Obviously you can see the boats and they are closer than when you were on deck 11, but not obstructing. My recollection is there is no boat directly out from the balcony.
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