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CntPAcruiser

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About CntPAcruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Harrisburg area
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Only been to Caribbean so far, but enjoy it

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  1. You can make your own "custom" iced tea by brewing any desired double-strength tea in a glass and then adding ice. I do this quite a bit since I drink decaf tea. You can also make iced coffee in a similar way, though it won't be as strong using ordinary brewed coffee. But they have milk and cream readily available at the abovementioned venues, so you can make it as rich as you like. In fact, if you wanted to add some of the soft-serve, you could make a sort of coffee frappe.
  2. When Navigator, sister ship to Voyager, was "amplified" and the fitness center in front was demolished and replaced with more cabins, a smaller fitness center was added, but no locker rooms/showers (and no steam/sauna facilities). So it is doubtful that Voyager has locker rooms for its fitness center either.
  3. We used Native Choice in Costa Maya to travel to the Chacchoben ruins. You are right that it is a distance, and the tour itself at the ruins involves lots of walking, some of it on uneven ground, and climbing (hills and stairs). At least for the van ride there and back we had a guide with us answering questions and talking about the history and culture. It was informative and made the time pass quickly.
  4. I don't think there's an easy way to tell which local tour might be good/safe/reputable without some advance research. Among the clues I can think of might be, number one, that payment is at the end of the tour, condition of their vehicle, and otherwise, your "gut" feeling. If it's too cheap (and that varies greatly by port) or somehow seems shady, then it just might be. We have always either found a tour operator in advance using CC port of call boards and the website that is a good trip advisor, or if we had nothing arranged in advance, occasionally we found a group tour operator with a small bus or van near the port. We've never just used a taxi driver or solo operator who offered to drive us around, but I've seen many of these recommended by name on the CC port of call boards. If not making arrangements in advance, that might be a way to find a reputable operator.
  5. Recently disembarked Grandeur from an 8-night cruise. There were reportedly about 400 total diamond and diamond plus members on board, and yet the lounge was never crowded except at the very start of the evening's happy hour. We generally went down between 5:30 and 6 p.m. and even the lounge itself had plenty of seats (though the overflow area in the South Pacific Lounge was still in use for the entire time). They also had the "drinks and food must be consumed in the lounge" signs up but were not enforcing it. The very unusual thing (by our experience) was that all drinks were brought from a "pantry bar" by servers taking drink orders and running for them. They would take a tray of glasses out and return with a tray of drinks. There was no bar setup in the lounge (though there would have been room—they did it on Vision) or the overflow area (even though that area has a full bar, it was not used). Wait times for a drink ranged from 10 to 30 minutes. Drinks coming to the lounge from the pantry were a crap shoot. Several times I got either the wrong drink or a badly mixed drink. One scotch and soda was made with Sprite instead of soda water. Two gin martinis were undrinkable, etc. It was very disappointing not to be able to see and talk with the bartenders and tip them directly ... and see what they were using to mix our drinks. Several times I'm sure we weren't getting the brands on the list, and at least once when getting a voucher drink from a bar elsewhere on board, I had to stop the bartender and request the diamond brand when he poured well gin to mix a martini. And even at the other bars, I received several badly made drinks, including a Negroni without Campari! Overall it was frustrating not to be able to just enjoy this perk without all the hassle of trying to hunt down a server in the lounge and get a decent drink, and the concierge was of no help whatsoever. A complaint to the food & beverage director likewise resulted in little improvement to the situation. The servers were a little more available after then, but that's it. As a side note, almost every pour I saw at one of the bars was measured, and glasses of wine were also carefully measured. One of the diamond plus ladies we encountered was upset that there were no more "concierge pours" for glasses of wine.
  6. As much of a comeback as straight rye is now making, most places are still making Manhattans with bourbon, and both Ted Haigh (the "Cocktail Doctor") and Gary Regan provide for "rye or bourbon" in making a Manhattan. When using bourbon, it's a matter of balancing the drink by using less sweet vermouth; bourbon doesn't take as much. It would be a dream to have a real bourbon and a straight rye on the Diamond list, of course, but that is some heavy dreaming! You would probably be shocked to learn (or maybe not—I see now that you are a Michigander) that in Wisconsin, both Manhattans and Old Fashioned were often made with brandy! It wasn't until I moved away from that area and began learning about cocktails that I realized the originals were whiskey cocktails.
  7. Royston on St. Kitts. Customizable van tours, and I believe he has a rainforest hike tour as well. More info. is available on the St. Kitts port of call board.
  8. That is the greatest omission on the list, and I'd even settle for one of the lesser bourbon bottlings. You can't really make a Manhattan with Tennessee whiskey.
  9. I can only go by the design from Oasis and Allure, but assuming the thermal suite on Harmony is about the same, it can at times be crowded and noisy. These are not very large areas, so it doesn't take that many people being in there to feel less than relaxing at the busiest times. You can always find other times of the day, however, when it is less in use. It can also depend on the sailing and how many people buy the thermal suite pass. The sauna, steam room, and aromatherapy rooms themselves are small and can only accommodate a few people at a time.
  10. In addition to the list of spirits, the bar setup in the Diamond lounge will have basic mixers like club soda and tonic, OJ, cranberry juice, but not fresh lemon or lime juice. They might have sour mix and can make a "sort of" margarita (shaken, not frozen), and a lemon drop "martini" is a popular order. Gin or vodka martinis, Manhattans (no bourbon, so just Tennessee whiskey, but nearly passable) and the Irish Whiskey and Scotch variants are also possible. They may also have Rose's lime juice for making gimlets. Most bartenders will make up a rum punch on request, and lastly, with Campari included on the list of spirits, you can have an Americano, Negroni, Campari and orange, or Campari and soda. With some creativity and research, there are quite a few interesting cocktails that can be made from the list.
  11. We have done a southern cruise several times, mostly out of San Juan in November, but once out of Florida, and have always had good sailing, at least closer to the ABCs. The ABCs themselves are arid and warm almost all the time and we love them. You can always have rougher seas coming back into port in Florida.
  12. I roll the clothes in a towel to get out the excess water so they aren't as heavy. The line dips a bit, but that's what the clips are for--to keep the hangers in place.
  13. To facilitate drying bathing suits and water shirts, I bring four plastic hangers and several plastic clip-type clothespins. This way I can hang the hangers on the clothesline in the shower and keep them from sliding around/keep them separated using the clips. Instead of just one or two things, I can hang four things in the shower to dry.
  14. We used Native Choice to see the ruins at Chacchoben and felt it was an excellent excursion. You have to get yourself (on foot) to their office in the town, not difficult, and once there, you will be well taken care of. Transportation is in large vans with a driver and guide, who will provide information about the history and culture and answer questions as you travel to the ruins. On our tour, we arrived before most of the buses, got our local guide, and were escorted around the ruins away from the large tour groups, so it felt like we were the only ones there. We were able to get great pictures without a bunch of people "in the way." Very highly recommended!
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