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About islandwoman

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    Melbourne Beach FL; Steamboat Springs CO

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  1. I had a different experience from that posted by BNBR. I bought The Key for my husband and myself for a recent Mariner of the Seas 3 day cruise from Port Canaveral to Nassau and Coco Caye. The "Private Activities Hours Schedule" was printed on the back of "The Key Unlock Exclusive Benefits" that we received at the boarding day lunch: Day 1 Port Canaveral 1: PM - 2:30 PM Ice Skating Day 2 Nassau: 10 AM - 11 AM Perfect Storm; 11 AM - Noon FlowRider; 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Skypad; 3 PM - 4 PM Rockwall. All of these times were while we were in port. We received early boarding along with the Diamond members. While thousands of passengers were waiting at the port, we were enjoying lunch in the main dining room. We were served mimosas along with an abbreviated Chops menu. Excellent service. We didn't attempt to debark at the earliest time in either Nassau or Coco Caye. When we arrived at the gangway, there was no priority line, but none was needed. We walked right off the ship without waiting in line. THERE WAS NO PRIORITY SEATING AT ANY OF THE SHOWS WE ATTENDED, but none was needed. There was enough seating for everyone who wanted to attend, even when we arrived late. On disembarkation day, we attended the breakfast in the Main Dining Room. It was from 6:30 AM until 8:30 AM. There was a full menu and service was excellent. WE STILL HAD TO BE OUT OF OUR CABIN BY 8 AM. We then walked off the ship - no waiting. I would recommend "The Key" for short cruises, as it seems that the best benefits are on embarkation and disembarkation days.
  2. I see that Holland America has sold the Prinsendam. Does that mean that HAL is trending to larger ships? When we sailed on the Rotterdam in November 2017, I was disappointed to discover that in her recent dry dock, HAL had removed the laundromat. I know that some of the HAL ships don't have laundromats. Is it a trend fleet-wide to remove them from all HAL's ships? I also heard that HAL was eliminating port lecturers. Is that true? What other trends do you see?
  3. I wouldn't want to book an independent tour in the same time slot as an AzAmazing evening. I tend to make my bookings as far out as possible. How long must I wait to find out when an AzAmazing evening will be scheduled? Or how might I make a reasonable guess?
  4. Please compare Azamara "Choice Air" with either "Princess EZ Air" or Holland America "Flight Ease". I have been able to book excellent-itinerary flexible business class flights using EZ Air and Flight Ease for about the same price it would have cost me to buy non-refundable coach seats on own. Is Azamara's "Choice Air" program similar? I am looking at Azamara b2b that begins in Tokyo and ends in Piraeus. Can I count on Choice Air, or should I plan to use my frequent flier miles?
  5. Sorry for the delay in answering. I was out of town and off line. We sailed on the Xperience, 48 passengers, so things might be different on your ship. We did both the north and south loops. We saw different things on each, but both loops were fascinating. I can't recommend either one over the other. On our cruise, a few women put on dresses for dinner, but for the most part, the passengers just changed into the clean clothes that they planned to wear the following day. If you want to do the snorkeling excursions, it might not be necessary to be a "strong" swimmer, but you should be comfortable with mask, fins, and snorkel. You will be in deep water. You should also be in good enough shape to swim (with fins) through choppy water and current (not strong currents or big waves) . You have several months to prepare, but if not, don't worry. There are novice snorkeling excursions, experienced snorkeler excursions, shallow water beach stops, and always excursions that don't even require getting wet. You choose. We saw seals, sea lions, penguins, tortoises, and lots of different birds. We weren't allowed to walk (or swim) up to them, but they came up to us.
  6. As far as I've been able to determine, Princess is the only line that has a World Cruise that doesn't interfere with North America's ski season.
  7. Yes, the Mariner. Somewhere I saw that reservations would be "required" to sit in the VIP section if you bought The Key. I don't see that anymore. So that is one less thing to worry about.
  8. The Key showed up today and I bought it. Unfortunately, it's only 3 days until my cruise and it seems to be too late to reserve seats for the shows. I understand that reservations are required to sit in the preferred seats. Can I make reservations on board?
  9. I just tried to purchase The Key, but got an error message that said "inventory not available". I suppose that means that it has sold out. So I just saved $138.
  10. How close to sailing can you book "pre-cruise" deals on Royal Caribbean? I'm thinking of buying The Key but wanted to wait until I was sure I wasn't going to get an upgrade.
  11. Those are tremendous! I asked my TA what we would receive for booking the Sydney to Sydney WC and he said $1,000 OBC per person and free gratuities. That's all! And since P&O Australia doesn't charge gratuities, the free gratuities doesn't seem like a benefit at all.
  12. I want to go to Africa, but I can't do that Grand Voyage in 2020.
  13. I don't understand what you mean by "echoing the WC".
  14. Well, this is interesting: 3 midship balconies have magically appeared on deck 10 of the Brisbane - Brisbane WC. Also 3 midship balconies have appeared on deck 9 of the Sydney to London segment, but I can't find any such cabins on the London to Sydney or even the London to NY segments. I'm looking for a deck 9 midship balcony RT from Australia or New Zealand. (I get seasick) I might want to book it in segments so as to increase my Elite benefits. But no such luck either way at this point.
  15. I'm trying to figure out whether Holland America will have a "Grand Voyage" anytime between April and November 2021, and if so, where will it go? (None on the web site) I see that the October 2020 Grand Voyage is a circle Africa, Ft Lauderdale round trip. I'm wondering if I can expect the same cruise in 2021? Does anyone know where HAL's Grand Voyage went this year?
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