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About jb008

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Interests
    Reading, relaxing on a beach, and drinks with little umbrellas :)
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity & Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. If you have luggage taken ashore and you're going to collect it yourself, do yourself a favor and buy a bright colored luggage strap and run it vertical. It'll make it 10x easier to pick your bags out of a crowd both in the cruise terminal and at airport baggage claim. I bought a 2 pack for $9 and it was money well spent!
  2. jb008

    Waving of Napkins??

    I'm a country bumpkin and just clapped for the chefs and then told our server and assistant server thank you and gave them envelopes with cash (and a note saying thank you and that the cash was in addition to the gratuities I did through my stateroom). I hope they let me sail again, even with the napkin-clapping faux pas.
  3. jb008

    Embarkation Day Lunch

    On Oosterdam (12/28/18) the MDR lunch option was NOT included on the list of lunch options. I think the door was also closed, but someone opened it for us while we were talking towards it. I asked if lunch was being served and they asked if I was a mariner member and then asked for my cruise card, then printed a ticket and seated us. I didn't think to ask if I needed to be a mariner member to eat there though. [We had 1-* transferred over based on our Princess cruises, I just called into the Mariner society with both my Princess and HAL #'s and they took care of applying the status to my Mariner account].
  4. jb008

    Yet another OBC question re excursions

    One option, you probably can get them to change you to a different tour once you're on the ship (or change the time) without incurring the penalty. Especially if there's a reason for the change, like one that more strenuous and switching to less (or if they mention walking in the pre-tour presentations). Pay for your 2nd most favorite option (that you'd be willing to go on) and then try to switch to a diff excursion once onboard. Your paid excursion should refund to the stateroom acct, while the non-refundable OBC should then be tapped first to pay for anything. You'll still tie up $$ between now and the cruise, but the paid excursion refund will be refundable at the end of the trip.
  5. jb008

    Yet another OBC question re excursions

    Second that - White Pass Rail Road is a good example, everyone's literally on the same train whether you book through HAL or an indy tour. You can also probably find the same tour operator for some of the other tours too; our helicopter tour to Mendenhall Glacier had a non-cruise line guest in our group of 4 people who took the tour. He was a pilot with Delta and was staying at a local hotel who recommended the tour (and tour co) to him. Credit cards, cell phones, and US laws apply in Alaska... of all the places you might go, this is one of the safest to do a 3rd party tour imho.
  6. jb008

    Yet another OBC question re excursions

    The online system does tell you how when spots are started to be limited on excursions... so you could keep an eye on some and only book in advance if the tour(s) you want start to get down to limited availability.
  7. jb008

    Personal water bottles

    Or a travel size squeeze bottle of some dish soap. There are options out there that are dye and perfume free. Dish soap also works well to spot treat when I inevitably get some form of food onto my clothes, and a drop or two works well if I want to wash laundry in the sink. They also sell dish sanitizer tablets, that would be another option to disinfect a bottle. Restaurant supply stores should carry them, some grocery stores might, or there's always amazon.
  8. I don't seem to have a copy of my luggage direct form. I don't remember if the earliest flights could depart was 11:30A or 12 noon in order to participate. That may be worth checking. Self assist with luggage at Port Everglades wouldn't be that bad though, biggest issue is if you'll need to wait for an elevator once shoreside. We did Luggage Direct and were to the airport by about 8:30 AM (Luggage Direct debark was immediately after self-assist), although hustle off and get to security, the lines were already forming with the LD disembarkation happening). Even with a delay on the ship being cleared to dock you should have plenty of time to make an 11:55 flight.
  9. We packed thermals (aka long underwear) as it doesn't take much space but can make a big difference as an extra layer under jeans. I also packed (but didn't use) a pair of hard shell rain pants. I'm a big fan of fleece as a mid-layer and then a rain coat as a hard shell outer layer. Rain coat doesn't breathe well, but will cut wind very well and with the fleece can insulate pretty effectively under light activity conditions. Fleece also dries fast and wicks well. I know people say it won't insulate when wet, but as long as it's not drenched I find it's still a decent insulator for me when I'm hiking... <shrug> We did a helicopter tour of Mendenhall Glacier by Juneau. I wore thermal underwear top & bottom, jeans, long sleeve tshirt, fleece full zip, rain coat. I also packed a thin wool knit cap and thin good quality gloves (TNF e-tips, fleece soft shell glove that blocks wind very well). We were comfortable, but only on the glacier about 1/2 hour (also weren't very active though, versus a hike). I wore waterproof trail shoes (LL Bean ones) and then the tour company gave us studded overboots (like this https://cozywinters.com/shop/stabilicers-overshoe.html) to wear while on the ice.
  10. jb008

    Personal water bottles

    You could pack denture tablets with you to clean out the bottles. We just brought some dish soap and washed them out in our cabin sink. A few tricks I learned from bringing a refillable bottle on our last cruise... wide mouth bottles are much easier to refill from a glass. Also water dispenser was slow... fill the glass basically full with ice, add a little water so the slurry will pour, and you can fill the bottle much faster. Also, there will be idiots who refill a small mouth disposable bottle by placing it under the dispenser and you will question whether it's worth using a refillable bottle to save a a little money but risk communicable diseases in the process.
  11. jb008

    Waving of Napkins??

    That's a little more complicated, hand sanitizer is only partially effective against noro, yes everyone should use the hand sanitizer but they also need to be good about washing their hands frequently and in an effective manner. I don't remember the exact protocol, but basically hand washing should be a ~30 second affair... yes any hand washing is better than none, but proper hand washing involves scrubbing the nail beds and a good long lather and rinse. I think I remember X's safety video suggesting say the ABCs while you wash to encourage longer scrub duration. Watch and be prepared to be terrified! 😛
  12. Since the new board now supports larger files, attached is a copy of the Patters from this 2017 cruise for people's reference Happy Sailings! CO_27May2017_AlaskaNB_Patters.zip
  13. jb008

    Waving of Napkins??

    There is a reason that sneezing into an elbow is a suggested practice by the Centers for Disease Control!!
  14. jb008

    Last Minute Cruises

    I get nice drop and go / last minute fares from the cruise lines through their email lists, and notice that the past guest rates through their loyalty programs are often a little bit better pricing. There's some 3rd party websites that also seem to specialize in last minute specials. I've booked the last couple cruises after final payment and have been very happy with the deals I've gotten (On our recent Crown P. cruise I think we paid about 60% or less of what the peak pricing was for the same cabin, and on Coral P. even after forfeiting our deposit and OBCs the "last minute fare" sale still saved us a couple hundred pp., on Ooster we didn't get as good of a price break on the cabin but the last minute sale perks and our TA obc netted us ~18% back as OBC). As was mentioned above, the sting can be flight prices/options. I accumulate a lot of credit card airline points and have used a buy1-get1 voucher that has made the flights booked <75 days out manageable prices... but being willing to be flexible on the days/airports you'll fly, or accepting really long layovers or inconvenient flight times helps (e.g., we disembarked at 8a, but didn't have a 1st flight til 3:45p and then had a 3+ hr layover on the connecting flight but that was about the only choice by the time we booked). I keep a simple excel sheet of all the cruises and pricing (plus perks) I've done in the last 7 or so years and it helps me keep a general idea of what pricing might look like, I also have kept some notes on itineraries of interest for a couple years to also get a feel for what pricing might look like. For example, I have notes on a few New Year's sailings for the most recent holiday post-final payment prices for a couple lines I like... now I'll know next year what a "good" deal would look like relative to that historical rate in the event a promo rate happens that gets very close to (or beats) last year's "best" price.
  15. I posted the Oosterdam menus for the 12/29/18 W. Carib sail we recently completed. It sounds like menus in the region will be pretty similar other than maybe a ship chef dish/speciality or two? Hope this helps, enjoy your upcoming cruise!!!