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Everything posted by DarkJedi

  1. There are actually a couple of different dive operations on Nassau, although Stuart's is the largest and best known. They dive only the southern side of the island and have several famous dive sites as they are tied in to the movie industry. Very good operation and do recommend them. When we have stayed on Nassau to dive we use them, almost every dive will have sharks. If you are a more advanced diver and comfortable with being a bit "away" from the crowd, let your DM know that you will be on the edges. You still have to stay with the group, but they won't hassle you about staying in a clump as long as they know you are diving safely. I've let them know I was dropping down in the Tongue and they have just waved bye and checked that I was OK when I floated back up and it was no big deal, they just need to know where you are and that you are safe.
  2. Stop by a local dive shop and ask for either a full rashguard or a dive skin. You can also do leggins and shirt, but I think you will find the full body nicer for what you want as it stays together. This way you can also make certain it fits nicely.
  3. Check out Chankanaab in Cozumel. You can do a discovery dive with dolphins there, use the chat and see if you can get a 2 for 1 deal. You put in far down the beach and scuba through the swim zone with the rock formations and statues, short surface interval and then dive with the dolphins in their pen. Afterwards you will scuba back down to the beach entry. As a side note, the wife is a veterinarian, while we were there one of the other pens had a mother and 2 babies being supervised by a vet. She went down during the surface interval and chatted with the vet and was very pleased with how they take care of their dolphins.
  4. Worth it? Yes, but I am biased. I think a lake is worth it just because it's underwater. If you have your own gear take it, there are tons of small operators that can take you out in small boats to very nice spots with only a coupe of people. Years ago we checked on CC and the recommendation was to just get a cab and ask for "Meat". Took the risk and it turned out that not only did the cab driver immediately know who I meant and where he was, but two other couples from our ship ended up being his other customers. Made for a great trip. The only real warning I will give is to watch your depth. The water is super clear and it is easy to end up much deeper than you wanted to go.
  5. Discovery scuba in Cozumel, you can do the dive with dolphins at Chankanaab Park. Go to their web site and wait for the little chat icon to pop up. Ask about any deals on the discovery dive and they should offer you a 2 for 1. When you get there you will check in where the dolphin pens are and they will direct you down the beach to the dive operator. You will kit up near the end of the reef/swim area and enter the water there, dive across the protected swim area to the dolphin area. Get out and wait for "your" dolphin to be available. While waiting you may have a chance to talk to trainers or the dolphin vet if they are around. Then you do your time with the dolphins. Afterwards you get back in the water and scuba back to the area where the dive booth is. Not sure how much time we were in the water but DW went in with 3000psi and came out right at 500psi as her first dive. Because of the price difference not a lot of people do the dive with dolphins, which with the 2 for 1 comes out to only about $30 more, we were the only two and got a ton of personalized attention.
  6. Nassau hands down for sharks. Because of the feeding and protection laws in the Bahamas there are plenty of sharks. In one week of diving we did 20 dives and saw sharks on 18 of the dives, almost always reef sharks as well as nurse. There are two main dive operators, Stuart's Cove and Bahamas Diving. Bahamas diving is closer to the cruise ship terminal and mainly dives the north and east side of the island. Stuart Cove is a farther ride across the island and mainly dives the west and south side of the island. Both are good operations, personally I prefer Stuart's Cove as I prefer the diving in that area more as it is closer to the Tongue of the Atlantic.
  7. Masks are about as personal as you can get, the best method is to try them on at a shop. Even two masks of the exact same type may fit slightly different. It should stick comfortably to your face with a slight intake of breath above water. Below water tightening the straps can actually cause creases in your face and make the mask leak more. For females, don't wear make up that will be where the mask seal sits, or bring make up remover and use it before wearing. If you simply can;t find a good mask, or if it isn't worth the trouble for a short time, you can apply something like petroleum jelly or food grade water resistant lubricant to the mask seal to help it seal better. Very useful trick for males with facial hair. I'm a big fan of freedive masks, even for scuba. But that is a personal opinion and not everyone likes them.
  8. Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, & Cozumel For diving from a ship: Cozumel: great diving relatively close to the cruise terminals. Lots of pelagic life, as long as you are diving within your limits very safe. Roatan: again close to the cruise terminals, or not too far to go to the west end and short boat ride from there. Not as much pelagic, more macro life. West end is entirely sanctuary so beautiful, but diving is either slow current or really fast current. Shallow and safe diving pretty much everywhere. Grand Cayman: a bit of a hassle to dive here but some stunning diving. Good mix of pelagic and macro life. Belize: Of the 4 spots the best diving, but very far from Belize City or the private islands to get to the dive spots. Depends on your available time more than anything which is why I put it last.
  9. Ulu knives are a bit trickier than other knives to use. The bowl is a nice touch, especially if someone is going to use it mainly as a chopper, for rolling cuts it is kind of annoying. Price for a basic Ulu is going to be cheap, if you want something really nice though you can actually get her something with a custom handle. Price range is anywhere from $50 on up depending on the material and carving. DW found a nice horn one she liked that fit her hand well in a small shop in Juneau called Caribou Crossing, 100% local artists, and checking prices at other places for similar it came up a little less money at $80. A lot more than the basic but beautiful work and came with a matching horn stand the it sits in on the counter.
  10. Clear customs and ask about baggage storage, you can have places hold any carry ons you have so you don't need to worry about them. I agree on using Narita Express, 60 minutes to Tokyo and 15-20 more to get to Shinjuku. Less than a 10 minute walk to Golden Gai area of Shinjuku and one of the best ramen places in Tokyo - Ramen Nagi. This also puts you in a major tourist area, after eating hop back on the train and in just a couple of minutes you are at Shibuya station, outside you will find the Hachicho statue and the world's busiest intersection. Plenty of small shops in the Shinjuku and Shibuya areas. You can also step of the train at Harajuku station between Shinjuku and Shibuya and visit the Meiji Shrine, it is about a 10-15 minute walk from the station to the main Shrine, if you just want the entrance it is maybe 5 minutes walk. Check a web site called hyperdia.com, put in Narita Airport and the latest you want to be back and it will tell you what times you have to catch which trains at which stations.
  11. We took two pair of Nikon Aculon 10-22x50 binocs. About $150 each but they were great for being able to scan and then zoom in on things we saw. Used them a lot just to watch and enjoy nature when I wasn't taking pictures, and they got used to find things to take pictures of. The one thing I strongly suggest is a pair of some binocs for everyone so you don't need to share when everyone wants to look at something. In our cabin we kept one pair right by the balcony door and just grabbed them anytime stepping out as a just in case.
  12. Rocks are on the train tracks, not the docks.
  13. The seats in each of the cars flip, so the seats always face forward.
  14. It is going to depend on your butler, none of our pre-cponcierge requests were fulfilled, and our butler on the Jewel thought anything more than bringing a pitcher of water and a tray of snacks was more than his job. He even told the suite next to our's that they needed to give him 24 hours notice for room service to be brought.
  15. We did this on May 6 so a Sunday. Probably around 10am. There is a small overhead rack area where we put small items, this is almost completely unused by most people, then we just kept the large cases in front of us. This was also how we traveled on the NEX from Narita Airport to Shinjuku Station on Saturday April 28 in the afternoon. Train was packed for that but still plenty of room, and plenty of room for luggage.
  16. Deck 19 on the Epic was Freestyle last year and was used as a clothing optional sun deck. No sign was posted saying that it was not allowed.
  17. Jewel has not completed a normal AK cruise yet, just the trans-Pac and the special 9 day. CD was JC Sanchez I think.
  18. The Legend should have the same cabins the Miracle has, if so that suite is fantastic and will easily handle 4 people.
  19. Some people have reported getting multiple starters and desserts, never tried it ourselves, we normally don't even get dessert there. We have never gotten charged even if the main course was over $20. We do have to sign the zeroed out bill. But other than that, go in and order just like you normally would. DW normally does 1 side, and depending on where I do 2 (especially Cagney's where I like to get the mushrooms to add to the steak). Portions are pretty big.
  20. Only got hit for one here. The funniest part to me was the spa, they would not book anything after the 15th and they tried to explain that they were going to be changing staff and that was why. So, changing staff in the middle of the ocean? The eventually started hand writing in appointments for people.
  21. Itty bitty co-gender area. Everything else is separate. If your want to spend time with people of a different gender, the spa is not the place.
  22. The cruise lines always claim that they do this, however there are reports of this not happening and people having major issues dealing with travel and return to the US. Many countries actually require you to carry your passport while in the country, and while people often say it has never been an issue, do you want to be the one to get the guy having a bad day who demands your passport? Your passport is no more valuable than your camera, phone, or credit cards, worrying that it will be the target of thieves is a foolish when you have other things of value they can convert faster to cash. Of course, if you only ever get off the ship with an approved and overpriced tour from the ship, you should be OK with nothing but your ship card. If you want to explore on your own, I suggest taking your passport.
  23. We did the Trans-Pac, food is good and while the ship is in need of drydock (fall this year) she is kept clean and in good order. We ran in to the same issues the OP did, customer service sucked and the hotel officers were not very good. The general staff was great and you could actually see how bad it was by watching how they acted when officers were around. The HD, Steven, is completely useless. Although if you complain about anything he will send you 4 chocolates to your room for the inconvenience. He just won't do anything about the problem.
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