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Posts posted by karatemom2

  1. 1 minute ago, Teechur said:

    Most of my experiences there were great! When we were robbed, we were out honky-tonkin' in some edgier parts of Tijuana and Ensenada. I was back a month after getting shaken down in Ensenada and ran into one of the cops, off-duty. He apologized and said it was the only way they could survive on their low pay. We actually had a beer together and parted with a handshake. 


    Later on, I rode three times in the Rosarita to Ensenada bike rides. Great fun but 50 hard miles!

    I always expected to retire around Cabo, but good fortune smiled upon me, and I was able to afford Maui instead.

    Good times, and thanks for reminding me of what fun I had as a younger man. 😉

    Wow. How cool and exciting! Oh to be young again. I married into a family of sailors who regularly did the Newport to Ensenada races in the 80s and a couple of us wives would drive the van down to pick up our husbands and a couple of crew and then drive home while just my brother-in-law and his wife would sail the boat home together. We had some adventures for sure - but never anything scary. In fact, only ever kindness to a couple of wild young brides on the loose!

  2. 5 minutes ago, Teechur said:

    I visited Mexico dozens of times during my life. I've been to all of the major resorts, Mexico City, and many smaller towns. I even drove from Southern California to Cabo San Lucas/La Paz and back in the 1990s just for the experience. (It was mostly boring.)


    Twice I was robbed at gunpoint by crooked cops. Both times were in Baja, once in the 1970s and once in the 1980s. The first time, the cops were drunk. It was just part of what you had to accept there.


    I quit going to Mexico about 15 years ago because there are better places to vacation, (and I live in Maui). Even so, I may still return on a cruise ship.


    Not trying to scare anyone, just recommending situational awareness. 👌

    Sorry that happened to you. We have driven as far as Ensenada, also Tijuana and Rosarito Beach over the years. Our friends regularly drive between their homes in Arizona and San Felipe. Our friends in Cabo, La Paz, and PV sail back and forth. Fortunately neither we nor they have ever experienced anything similar to what happened to you. 

    Sadly there is potential for bad people anywhere you go - as you said, situational awareness is key. One has to accept a certain level of risk in any type of foreign travel. Obviously visiting ports by cruise ship carries much less risk then driving through long stretches of land. 

    • Like 1
  3. 3 minutes ago, AZaTaz said:

    And you basis this on what information? Please indicate where you got this knowledge. I am not trying to be confrontational but I live in Arizona on the boarder and have for my whole long life and spent much time in Mexico.

    Same. We live in Southern California and visit regularly from Baja to the ports on the coast of Mexico on an almost annual basis, not to mention having friends who actually live in La Paz, San Felipe, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta. Some of these statements seem a little over the top. No wonder people get scared. 

    • Like 1
  4. Honestly, it is just a good idea to be careful anywhere you travel. We cruised the Med last year and many people were almost hysterical in their warnings about Barcelona and Marseilles. It was way overboard. Yes, there are pickpockets - but common sense prevention and circumstantial awareness are really all that’s required for a smart traveler. I absolutely loved both places and felt absolutely safe and confident in my ability to be alert without being paranoid. 

    The ports in Mexico are fabulous if you don’t allow irrational fear to take over and you employ the same common sense you use anywhere. There are many places I would avoid in Los Angeles where I feel less safe!


    The Mexican people are generally warm and welcoming. There are so many fun things to do and see. I particularly love Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Todos Santos is a great excursion and an absolutely charming, authentic town. 

    Go and enjoy!

    • Like 1
  5. 49 minutes ago, jimlouisesophie said:

    With the violence in Mexico, is it safe to take the excursion to Todos Santos while in Cabo San Lucas?  The ship offers this excursion.  We have traveled throughout Mexico in the past with no problem, but with the cartel promoting violence, we are now concerned.  Thoughts please?

    Cabo San Lucas is one of the most Americanized ports in Mexico - tons of retired expats there and other areas of the Baja Peninsula. It is exceptionally safe and welcoming. We have been there many times as well as other Mexican Riviera ports and have never felt the least bit unsafe. The areas that cater to tourists are very secure. 

    The excursion to Todos Santos is excellent. It’s a lovely little town and you will be with a well organized tour traveling through very safe areas. You really don’t need to be at all concerned. Much of what you read in the news is not at all reflective of anything we have experienced on any of our many, many trips to the Mexican Riviera ports where we have been traveling for the past 30 years. We even have many friends who live in these cities very safely and happily!

    • Like 5
  6. 33 minutes ago, rockraiders said:

    Anyone been on a cruise ship tour of the Rainforest Sanctuary? I’m booked but now I am having second thoughts. The other option was taking the local bus to Totem Bight then walking around town. We’ve haven’t been to Ketchikan. We will be traveling for a month so an expensive excursion is out of the question. 

    Yes, we have done this tour. It’s a pretty hike through the rainforest and you have a chance to see bears during salmon season. But it’s nothing that special and you can do more on your own for much less money. 

    If you really want a cost effective way to see Ketchikan and the surrounding area, rent a car. It’s easy to drive - there is only a single road that goes either direction out of town. You can go to Herring Cove and look for bears, drive yourself to Saxman and Totem Bight, head out to Ward Lake and Lunch creek for beautiful hiking. 

    Here is a link for the car rental company - choose the in town location for pick up - and a handy map of the area. 




  7. According to its Yelp and TripAdvisor pages it appears to be closed. It was still open on our last visit in 2022, but it seems like it has since shuttered. What a shame. It was always a favorite shop to visit in Juneau - so many beautiful things. I’ve purchased teacups and Matryoshka dolls there in the past. 

  8. 1 hour ago, Coral said:

    It was probably my 10th time also. I have to say I have done a lot of excursions in Ketchikan and honestly can not recommend any of them. There are some I prefer over others (such as Totem Bight to Saxman Village) but this is my least favorite port for excursions. It is a cute town to walk around. At least the first few times. I still walk around here but I don't do any excursions.

    We have found the best thing to do in Ketchikan is rent a car. There are so many beautiful spots to explore outside the city and it’s basically one road in either direction. We like to go for hikes and try to spot bears at Herring Cove during salmon season. There are some really pretty waterfalls in both directions as well. 

  9. 9 minutes ago, FancyPants21 said:

    Yet again... you have it wrong. I don't understand what is so confusing.


    I did order drinks... just not through a water and not on the app... I stood in line at the bar.

    Thanks so much for your report. We are really looking forward to our cruise on the Sky next month. 

    I completely understand the experience you are sharing as we have noted the same on our recent cruises on both the Sky and Discovery. We are very used to waiters being present and actively taking orders in places like Explorer’s Lounge, Princess Live, Vista Lounge, etc. and this service does seem to be quite diminished. Like you, after having very hit or miss experience with Ocean Now, we just get our drinks at the bars. Much less frustrating. 

    • Like 2
  10. I have purchased a number of clothing items and actually found most of them good quality. Several have lasted for years and some favorites like my quilted jacket are still a staple. You just have to be careful of what you select. T-shirts are generally not something that stand the test of time. 

    • Like 1
  11. There can be massive temperature swings in Alaska in all of the summer months. August can have days that are quite cool and rainy. You could definitely do it with a carryon if you are content to limit your wardrobe choices and stick to very basic layers.


    If I were to try this, I would wear jeans, boots/walking shoes, a turtleneck, pullover and warmer waterproof or water resistant over jacket of some type on the plane to make sure I had a good basic starter wardrobe on my back.


    Then I would pack in a hard sided rolling carryon meeting the size requirements: (I think you could make all of the following fit)


    One additional pair of jeans

    A couple pairs of warm leggings that pack tightly

    Maybe one more pullover

    Two turtlenecks

    One to two pair of lightweight dress pants for dining room evenings (my choice is black)

    A couple of nicer lightweight blouses, maybe one dressy enough for formal night 

    Lightweight sweater to wear over blouses and turtlenecks to mix it up

    A few pairs of warm socks

    Black flats to wear on the ship to dinner/other onboard activities



    Over the shoulder carryon to take place of purse (you can put purse inside)


    Hair tools



    Disposable plastic rain ponchos

    Hand warming packets


    This would probably provide a good basic wardrobe, with some regular repeats and at least one load of laundry during your cruise.





  12. It was a fun one and done experience for us on a recent trip after many visits to Ketchikan, just to say we did it and try something new. I wouldn't put a high priority on it compared to other activities, but we found it entertaining and enjoyed a nice fresh seafood meal at the restaurant nearby on the docks afterwards.

  13. 12 minutes ago, rvamama33 said:

    This sounds amazing! My daughter will be turning 8 (so I guess she'll be in the kids club that's age 3-7...). She loves to bake with me at home 🙂 This will be the first time I don't make her birthday cake myself! 


    I think my daughter was 8  or 9 when she did it. They take the group of kids down to an area of the kitchen that has been prepared with a station for each child and each one gets a hat and apron that they get to keep. They each get to bring one parent to watch.


    Their stations are set up with their cakes, cut in two layers and all of the frosting, fillings, and toppings. The pastry chef does a brief demo for the kids on how to decorate the cakes and then they get to make their own creations using the materials provided. My daughter ended up making the most beautiful cake using mostly the chocolates and cherries provided along with frosting and some of the other decorative elements. It was reminiscent of a black forest cake. When the children finish, they each get a photo with the chef holding their cake, and then the cakes are taken to the pantry with your child's name and stateroom number so you can request that your waiter deliver it to your table that evening for dessert. 


    Of course there was a charge for this, but so well worth it. She was beaming with pride when they presented her cake to all of us at our table that night. Just a super program - called Jr. Chef. I do hope they are offering on your ship!

    • Like 1
  14. Just now, Teechur said:

    My Tommy Bahama shirts all require dry cleaning (aside from T-shirts/polos).

    Does Princess offer that onboard?


    Yes, they do offer dry cleaning. We have had suits dry cleaned onboard and I had a dress dry cleaned once. They all came back in perfect order.

    • Like 1
  15. 19 minutes ago, ChutChut said:

    Don't know how old your daughter is or even if Princess still does this, but they used to have a Junior Chef program (my daughter did this on two different cruises) where there were each given full sized cakes and then were free to decorate with whatever icing toppings, etc. they wanted. My daughter really like it and Princess delivered the finished cake to our cabin. It could be sort of cool for her to decorate her own cake, etc. (if Princess still does this). 

    This was a great program! One of the favorite things my daughter ever did on one of our cruises. What a good suggestion - I hope they are still offering it. So much changed after COVID, but it would be wonderful if they brought it back. 

    OP, you don’t mention your daughters’s age, but if she happens to be in the Kids Club demographic and you are interested in this, be sure to inquire the first day when you sign her up as space was always very limited and it was first come, first serve. I believe they allowed 10 kids. 

    • Like 1
  16. Yes, it's always better to fly in the day before IF YOU CAN. But sometimes, like the OP, you can't for whatever reason.


    So here is the reality - there have been a number of cruises where we had to fly in same day due to work or family commitments. And may the odds remain ever in our favor, we never had a single problem and made every cruise. So it is quite probable that the OP will have no issue. If there is, as the OP pointed out, they are prepared to deal with it. 


    Sometimes you just gotta roll the dice! Best of luck to you and I hope you make it and have a great cruise!

    • Like 2
  17. 3 hours ago, chubbypiggy said:

    For the benefit "complimentary afternoon tea in stateroom", do you need to pay for the $5 service charge if you didn't pay for the one time $14.95 app charge for delivery?


    We have never been charge anything for delivery of our Elite tea service. We do generously tip the crew member delivering as they generally go above an beyond to bring it in and set it up for you. 

  18. I believe I have seen in the cases where they display the multilayer dessert cakes included with the Plus benefit, that they have some shown with special messages. You may be able to buy one of those cakes and request a special birthday message. Just something about which it might be worthwhile to inquire.

    • Like 1
  19. 2 minutes ago, STLCARDS82 said:

    How much is the classic soda plan?


    From the Princess description:


    The Classic Soda Package is USD $14.99 per day plus 18% service charge (totaling $17.69 per day) for all itineraries except Australia. The package is AUD $23 per day which includes a service charge for all Australian based vessels. A tax may be added at the time of purchase for certain itineraries or ports of embarkation. You will be charged the full amount for the complete voyage at the time of purchase.

    • Thanks 1
  20. Wow, I'm so sorry for those of you on the Sapphire who are experiencing this. I can understand and totally sympathize with your disappointment. I'm sure Princess will offer some level of compensation, but for many it will likely still feel inadequate to make up for what they missed.


    I think it might behoove some of us here who have the very great privilege and blessing of being in a position to cruise often, to please remember that is not the case for the vast majority of people. Sometimes I think this place is just an echo chamber and it might benefit all of us to remind ourselves that not everyone has the same rose colored glasses about Princess or cruising in general.


    Many people save up for months or years, to splurge on a cruise in Alaska. For a lot of people, this could be a once in a lifetime trip that has been a long time coming, and so yes, of course, they have EVERY RIGHT to share their disappointment here. It is Cruise CRITIC, after all. I think we need to allow people a little grace and understanding if they feel angry or cheated.


    Basically telling them that this is the norm for cruising, they need to go with the flow, they aren't cut out to cruise, be happy with what you are getting, is not very nice or very helpful. Just because a lot of people here get to cruise multiple times a year or return over and over again to favorite places like Alaska, does not mean it is true for everyone.


    Can we try to maintain a little empathy instead of just telling people to get over themselves? 


    To those affected by this, I'm so sorry for your disappointment and I hope that Princess compensates in some satisfactory way and that you are still able to get the opportunity to enjoy as much of what Alaska has to offer as possible. Wishing you all the best!

    • Like 24
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  21. 19 minutes ago, RSF Cruiser said:

    If an elite and non elite are in the same room, do both get the elite benefit - especially laundry and wine tasting?

    In our experience, yes. My daughter is Elite and her new husband is not, yet they allowed him to join her in all of her Elite perks on their honeymoon last year. 

  22. When you are cruising in Alaska, the salmon served onboard may have been caught in Alaska, but it is not brought in from the ports fresh. It comes in large quantities at the embarkation port and is frozen. That’s not to say that when prepared and served onboard, it isn’t good, because it usually is enjoyable.

    But, for truly fresh Alaska seafoods, take your opportunity to dine in the ports while you are there. It is a different experience. 

    • Like 4
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