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meab

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  1. We just got back from San Juan. We walked to the area from the ship, and just sat on the lawn watching all the people flying kites. It was breezy and beautiful. And then some people approached us, did we want their kites - they were leaving and didn't need them anymore. So, we had surprise kite-flying-fun, and it was great. And when my kids were done flying kites, they passed them along to other people who were just watching the fun. (PS the kites were like the plastic ones with cartoon characters on them that you can usually get inexpensively every spring in most stores) I don't know what the last people with the kites did at the end of the day; I did see one of the plaques about the area talking about how there was a lot of plastic and string litter left on the field due to all the kite-flying, and how it has hurt the environment. I actually didn't even see any vendors selling any kites.
  2. I'm back. I asked the guy in the cart who came around how much without the souvenir cup. He said with alcohol $12, without $6. Later when I was ready, I walked up to the bar over by Columbus beach where we were hanging out, and I got a Labadoozie, without alcohol, in a regular plastic cup, for $4.50. Also, there were lots of tropical drinks you could purchase in either a coconut or a pineapple - they were also $12, or $9 with the drink package, just in case anyone is looking this up later.
  3. I was kind of wondering the same thing. I'll be traveling with several kids who will likely be in the water the whole time, or at least not lounging on a chair. I didn't know if I can just rent the umbrella/2 chairs at say, Holland House, if I am traveling with more than 2 people.
  4. I asked this over on the Private Island board but didn't really get any concrete answers, and figured I'd try here: Just wondering how much Labadoozies cost these days (with or without alcohol). I will not have the drink package. Does it still come in the souvenir cup? Do you have to get the souvenir cup (I don't really need a souvenir cup!)? Thanks in advance.
  5. Just wondering how much these cost these days (with or without alcohol). I will not have the drink package. Does it still come in the souvenir cup? Do you have to get the souvenir cup (I don't really need a souvenir cup!)? Thanks in advance.
  6. Just back from Regal with kids, and we were on Diamond a few years back, and Golden and Caribbean a few years before that. So we've spanned every age group now between 7 months and almost 17! The consensus in our family is that the 3-7 club and 8-12 club are super fun. (Teenagers are just a little more picky, and kind of too old for organized games, etc. but too young to do the adult stuff on the ship. Not Princess' fault.) We like that the programs are large enough to have other kids to hang around (be careful on time of year though!), and the counselors are always very nice. Lines like Royal Caribbean and Disney have so many kids, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. With Princess and HAL, there was much more personalized attention. The facilities themselves are also really great. The 8-12 room had skeeball, air hockey, foosball, tons of video games, plus the usual crafts, games, etc. I didn't get a great look at the 3-7 room this time, but it looked fun with a lot of the same games, and some kind of climbing structure too. The hours were mostly 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10, although on the kids dinner nights, the club didn't open back up until 8. For port days, they requested you sign up ahead of time, but it ended up being ok to drop the kids for an hour or two while we were still in port but back from our excursions. We had kid-dinners available this past cruise on both formal nights. I wish I had known - we brought along dress clothes for everyone and still had family dinner those nights. But it would have been nice to have a kid-free dinner on another night. Oh well. The kids enjoyed the pools on the sea days. There were a mix of people there, but if you really didn't want to be around kids, you could have gone to the retreat pool. My kids ate tons of pizza (both poolside and at Alfredo's) and I think became great friends with the soft serve guy on deck 16 too. Your kids will have plenty of fun, don't worry. However, do note that the rooms are pretty tight! That was a bit of a drawback!
  7. hickmaid: search online for a tournament chess set. they usually come with a carrying bag, and the board is a flat mat that rolls up. the pieces fit into zipper pockets inside the bag for storage. you can find all types to suit any budget. my son and his friends like to bring theirs to chess tournaments to replay their games in between rounds!
  8. OK, we are back from Regal, 7 night eastern caribbean, and I wanted to report back on the chess situation! We found NO chess. There were some days that the Wheelhouse Bar set out the library's board games - there were several options but we did not see a chess set at all. (To be honest we were usually on our way to something else, and a chess set MAY have been on the cart...just not obviously visible, and no one around to ask). Figuring there would be some chess onboard, we did not bring a travel set. Not to worry, we had plenty of other things to keep us occupied all week (including a few chess apps on our phones), but I will say it was a bit of a bummer for my boys chess-wise after their HAL cruise last year and the Crows Nest! So if it's important to your teens, tell them to bring their own set. I asked my son if maybe they had a chess set in the teen club, but he didn't notice one there either.
  9. Thanks for the tips/pointers on the buffet from everyone. I promise my kids and I did not starve without little boxes of milk and eggs benedict! Ha! I think I'm maybe with CruiseMstr's wife - it was so large and overwhelming in the buffet area. As someone else said, it's a bit necessary when you have so many people onboard, to reduce long lines, etc. However, it can also be frustrating. And I don't know how I forgot to mention Alfredo's earlier. We enjoyed a few meals there, including embarkation lunch. And looking back, considering how we were always lost in the buffet, embarkation Alfredo's really was the best choice for us!! Thanks for reading my review. It's just my own personal opinion and observations, but I thought maybe it could help someone!
  10. Thanks for sharing your review. We're considering california coast next march on Ruby, so your notes are much appreciated!
  11. I forgot to mention specialty dining. We didn't do it on Regal. We did the Crown Grill a few years ago, and didn't feel the need to splurge on the upcharge again. Sabatini's - the new menu wasn't super appealing. On HAL, we dined one night in Tamarind, and it was top-notch amazing! Food can be really subjective, so it's hard to review. Regarding what i previously wrote: I just found that the buffet on HAL seemed more varied. Lunches had a nice salad bar, variety of sandwiches, something unusual (like one day was Indian buffet, one day was Asian)...the sushi offerings on Regal weren't too enticing for some reason. HAL had a big selection of sushi, especially on embarkation day. On HAL we were a little late arriving to the dining room on one formal night, so we went to the buffet instead, and it turned out to be really great. Unlimited lobster tails were available there, as well as pretty much anything that was on the menu in the MDR that night. I felt like on Princess, the dinner food at the buffet was not the same as the MDR options. It just felt more like "buffet" food, although I did notice they changed it up a bit like "Brazilian night" and things like that. Also, Eurodam had a more accessible drinks station like for lemonade, water, etc. On Princess, it was hard to find the water/lemonade station, tucked away in a corner of the horizon bistro. Maybe they figure most people have a drink package? Also, on Regal, it seemed the lemonade was out of order several days. On Eurodam, there were boxes of milk and chocolate milk available, which my kids enjoyed. We did not see milk like that on Princess. I don't really have menu pictures and that sort of thing, sorry. Enjoy your trip on the Eurodam. We are still missing those french fries at the Dive-In!
  12. I forgot about Mustering - Princess wins on this. on HAL we were out on deck standing in the heat in a big group. Princess: it was funny, indoors, air conditioned, and we didn't need to bring our life jackets.
  13. Just got back from Regal this morning, 7 night Eastern Caribbean. Last spring break, we were on HAL Eurodam, 7 night Western Caribbean. Couldn't help but draw comparisons the whole time! Rooms - I think Eurodam wins. We had category C oceanview; this year, DB deluxe balcony on Regal - rooms and bathrooms were TINY! Buffet - another one where Eurodam came out ahead. We were constantly getting lost in the Horizon Court/Bistro. Lido Buffet on HAL was easier to navigate, and we felt the food options were better and changed more frequently. For example: HAL had things like eggs benedict on the buffet, and the daily options changed all the time. Also, crepes in the morning! Regal didn't have any crepes, and we didn't see eggs benedict either. That's just breakfast as an example, but we felt HAL had a better variety on the buffet. Main Dining Room - food was good, we felt Princess and HAL were about on par. The only downside on Princess was that there was always a long wait for Anytime Dining. I don't understand how it's not better organized, because as I recall, Princess was one of the first cruise lines to use the anytime dining model. We arrived at 5:30, needed a pager already. One night, we had an estimated wait of 30-40 minutes. When traveling with kids, that's not always an option! Service in the MDR was pretty good on both lines. Poolside food - I was expecting the Princess pizza to be just awful after all the reviews on here. I found it wasn't too bad at all. My son really enjoyed it, although he did note it was best if you already had a seat and could start eating the pizza while it's still hot! Burgers were good. I tried a veggie burger one day and it was not my favorite. I have to say though that HAL probably also gets a slight edge here - DIVE-IN FRIES ARE THE BEST! The pizza was less convenient on HAL though. International Cafe - ok, HAL doesn't have this. The closest might be the little snack bar in the Crows Nest. IC was fantastic! I think we ended up eating there every morning. 2 words: Nutella Donuts! Plus, we had the coffee card on Princess, and that was great as well. A win for Princess in this area. (The sandwiches and salads were good too) Library/Internet/Lounge - HAL wins here too. The Crows Nest was a great gathering spot. My kids liked to hang out up there and pick up a chess game. Great views, and a good spot to relax and hang out. The library on Princess was a little tiny and disappointing. Even more so, no chess onboard that we could find. When Wheelhouse Bar opened for board games - NO CHESS. So that was a bummer. Entertainment - Princess is the hands-down winner in this category if you ask me. We did enjoy the Billboard Live and dueling pianos on HAL, but the stage productions on Princess were really fantastic. We saw Born to Dance (Broadway shows) and Bravo (a little more opera-type songs). They were much more upbeat and lively than HAL. Also, there was always a lot of activity going on in the Piazza, like games, dance lessons, contests, live music, etc. Kids Programs - for the teens, I'd say Princess and HAL were about the same, although the facilities for teens were better on Princess (ie their own outdoor space). for the younger kids, my kids liked HAL, but again, the facilities on Princess were way more fun. (skeeball, foosball, etc) So HAL wasn't bad, Princess was just better. Also, for comparison, I think we had about 150 kids on Eurodam and about 200 on Regal. Elevators - we liked the panoramic glass elevators on HAL. also appreciated the days of the week on the carpets on the floor on HAL, whereas Princess had inspirational travel quotes. I'm not making a judgement here, just noting the difference. Crew and Staff - I feel like we really enjoyed the service on Princess. Everyone was super nice and helpful, even when I made a stupid mistake like marking the wrong box for disembarkation. I feel like we came off the ship with at least 10 staff names remembered. From the Eurodam...I'd have to look back at my notes from last year, but I only remember one or two staff being truly memorable. HAL was not bad here by any means, but for now, I think Princess wins this category. Pool - I liked that HAL had the glass covering for one pool. Princess seemed like there was a lot of wasted space on the main pool area with that stage in the middle. I kind of wished there was more pool space, especially on sea days. I know there's another pool in the retreat area, but since we travel with kids, that's not really an option. It was really tough to find chairs by the pool on Princess. I think maybe the issue here is that Princess vs HAL seemed to have the same amount of pool space, but fewer people on the HAL ship so it seemed less crowded. Ping Pong - again, not a main thing we look for when cruising, but on HAL, the ping pong tables are in the corner by the pool, with glass all around, so there's no major issue with wind. I don't know who decided to put the ping pong tables on Regal all the way on the top deck, but it was really really windy there. Not appealing for ping pong. Promenade/Walking Deck - I think HAL wins here, I like the low, covered wrap around deck for walking after dinner, etc. I never managed to walk the track on Regal, but I did see it :) Stargazing - this was fantastic on Princess. They shut the lights on the topmost deck and we could see so many stars - amazing! They pointed out various constellations, and it was a great program. Didn't have this on HAL, so a win for Princess. Escape Room - hoped to report back on this, but we used the Princess Patter on my phone, and it gave the wrong location for the sign up. By the time we found it (Outrigger Bar!) it was full and they had left. Kind of a bummer. Also a note that maybe their tech features aren't quite at 100%. (Location was correct on the paper Patter). If you have any questions, I'll try to answer. Our family's takeaway is that both were great and we'd do either one again in a heartbeat. Even if it looks like on my list that HAL "won" in more categories, there was just something about Princess that was really nice. I can't put my finger on it.
  14. meab

    Water

    thanks for the reply on the gatorade! i'll give it a try in my carryon.
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