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About SargassoPirate

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    The Sargasso Sea
  • Interests
    Raiding and Plundering

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  1. We are with you. Why cruise if you are disconnected to the ocean? She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have cruised on one mega-ship - the Oasis -mostly just to see what it was all about. We had a good time, but after it was all said and done, it's not an experience we would repeat. Our deal breakers nowadays is a wrap-around promenade, a comfortable balcony cabin, and an interesting itinerary with as few tender ports as possible. We don't need a floating amusement park. Fortunately, there are many cruise lines and many ships to choose from.
  2. Publix near Total Wine also has a good selection of wine and when I buy four bottles they always throw in a nice canvas carrying bag so the bottles don't clank together.
  3. We often build in a land tour before or after a cruise, so we pack as light as possible. On most evenings in the MDR, slacks and a polo shirt works for me. On more dressy nights - whatever the cruise line chooses to call it - I wear a pair of black slacks, a black ribbed T-shirt, and a black sport coat. Other than the sport coat, everything else gets worn multiple times throughout the trip, so the sport coat is the only "extra" for the cruise. The sport coat adds less than two pounds to my bag. As long as I am more dressed up that the guy who wears shorts, a wife-beater, and a backwards ballcap to dinner, I'm good.
  4. The Mexico of today is not the Mexico of 30 years ago when I would cross over to Tijuana for a good restaurant. Nowadays, if a ship I am on ports in Mexico, I enjoy a quiet, uncrowded day on the ship. I don't get off the ship in other ports as well. My cruise, my life, my decision.
  5. Value is relative to what one wants on a cruise. Fortunately, there are many lines and ships to choose from. We've never been a fan of onboard production shows because they are over-amplified. We never choose a cruise based on entertainment, but rather the things that are important to us - the itinerary, the promenade, a sofa or comfortable chairs in the cabin, time of year (fewer feral children running loose) and the price. A six-thousand passenger floating amusement park during spring break is not for us at any price.
  6. It would never work for me to try to talk She Who Must Be Obeyed into any trip that she is not interested in. And the reverse is true. While we love to travel together, there are times when we have taken trips without the other. For example, I sometimes take extended solo motorcycle trips. SWMBO went on a photo safari in Africa with a longtime girl friend. I took a solo cruise around South America a few years ago. We have agreed that when it's time to take up the rockin' chair that we are not going to have regrets about things that we wished we had done. To that end, when I broached the subject of a world cruise, SWMBO said that she had no interest in being on a ship that long. I told her I would miss her while I was gone, but if I didn't do a world cruise I would regret it the rest of my life. After several years of research, I finally put a stake in the ground and have my solo world cruise booked for 2022. A solo world cruise will cost more since I'll be paying the single supplement, but I booked an inside (which suits me just fine since on previous solo cruises I book an inside).
  7. I am probably in the minority, but if She Who Must Be Obeyed and I never had to sit through another over-amplified production show, I would be a happy cruiser. Sometimes, when the show is too loud and the singers are screeching, we leave and take a few turns around the promenade and preserve the hearing we have left. We don't cruise for the entertainment, but rather to enjoy being at sea on an interesting itinerary. Our next cruise on HAL is about a year away, so we'll see what's changed by then and how we feel about it. In the meantime, a bad day at sea is still better than a good day at the office.
  8. Wahooo! Thanks. I was thinking that on our previous HAL cruise, the fine print required that it be consumed in the cabin. No way to enforce that anyway.
  9. Correct me if my memory has faded, but here is what I recall about specialty dining over the years. When specialty dining was first rolled out, the extra charge was billed in the sales pitch as the gratuity for the crew working the specialty dining area. We signed the bill for the upcharge amount and that was it. The food and the service was well worth it. Then, another 18 percent mandatory gratuity was added. A gratuity plus a gratuity. We signed the bill and that was it. The food and service was still worth it but, as the popularity of specialty dining increased, starting to slip in its appeal. Then, the bill presented at the end of the meal included a line for us to write in another gratuity amount, over and above the original basic gratuity and the mandatory 18 percent gratuity. Our last few experiences with specialty dining has been less favorable than the MDR and a regular waiter. That's a gratuity, plus a gratuity, plus a gratuity. Not worth it anymore.
  10. And Happy Thanksgiving to you. The wrap around promenade is to the point of being a deal breaker. Besides walking around it in the mornings, I love sitting on a comfy deck chair with a good book and whiling away the afternoon watching the sea go by.
  11. After trying a couple of the giant floating amusement parks, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I found VO when invited along on a cruise with some friends. We loved their ships that feel like ships, no feral children running loose, and the relaxed atmosphere without being nickel and dimed at every turn. While we don't cruise exclusively with any one line, we have gravitated to lines that offer a more traditional cruising experience, among those are VO, HAL, Cunard, and the smaller ships of Celebrity and Royal. When the promenades that go all the way around the ship disappear, so do we.
  12. She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn't drink so a beverage package would never work for me. What I do is order a bottle or two or three of scotch (depending on how long the cruise is ) to be delivered to our cabin on embarkation day. The liter sized bottles are more pricey than on land, but a heck of a lot cheaper than by the drink. It's supposed to be consumed in your cabin only, but I'll occasionally take a wee dram with me while out and about in the evening for a turn around the promenade.
  13. We use our big box warehouse club travel department. Their website is much more user friendly. It's easy to search for a particular cabin that you want. They also offer great OBCs and have always been able to negotiate price drops with the cruise line.
  14. I agree with the first time HAL cruiser's observations since they echo our impressions on our first HAL cruise years ago. We booked it quite by accident when looking for a transatlantic that would get us to Europe at a particular time. We loved it, and always consider HAL when looking to book cruises.
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