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LandlockedCruiser01

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About LandlockedCruiser01

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Chicago metro area
  • Interests
    Baseball, board games, swing dancing, general aviation
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Royal Dolphin Swim at Cozumel

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  1. I take it this means you were kidding around. Oh well, asked and answered. On my cruise, the butter in the MDR was real indeed. The butter in the Lido buffet looked real (slightly melted, rather than separated), but I never used it. Too many calories in food as it is.
  2. That doesn't sound right. I don't remember seeing any pump bottles on my cruise. In the MDR, there were little porcelain cups of butter, like the ones dipping sauces come in. In the Lido buffet, there was a tub of butter with spreader knives kept next to it. I'm sure it wasn't good butter like Kerrygold (the Steakhouse might have it, though), but it was real butter, not margarine (which is what I Can't Believe It's Not Butter really is).
  3. Yes, it's very much the US and maybe Canadian cultural thing, that all travel must be in couples, groups, or families. For the longest time, solo travel was looked down upon. Heck, when I was in an all-inclusive resort at age 19 by myself (went with a friend, had a falling out), I almost got jumped by four guys while walking to my room. This is changing, and solo travel is almost normalized in the cruising communities. (Costa and MSC did not allows solos to book online until recently, though.) But for other types of vacations, it's still considered taboo. Organized tours (which are overpriced) even exist to accommodate people who don't have a someone to go with.
  4. I wonder if it depends on who else cruises out of a particular port. That is, who else besides you, solos and non-solos, typically cruise out of that port. If a particular port has many solos, you won't stick out, and will be dismissed as just another hungover passenger, provided that you don't have shifty eyes and/or nervous body language. On the other hand, if a port is all about couples and families, a solo cruiser will be scrutinized like a flu virus in a biology lab. I was detained for half hour in Port Canaveral, given several minutes of questioning in Miami, and borderline ignored in Long Beach. I guess it happened because Port Canaveral, being a Disney port, is overwhelmingly family-centric. So, a single person sticks out like a sore thumb, which makes the agents' hair stand on end. Long Beach has a hugely diverse mix of everybody and their brother, combined with the "you do you" West Coast mindset, so a single person looks as normal as a family with 2 kids. Or maybe it depends on which agent you get: a rational thinker or with a pillar stuck up their rectum (uptight).
  5. The old cliche "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" rings true here: it's all in the tone and facial expressions. The way this person said it, it sounds like the old "you're so brave!", reworded as a politically correct "I statement". In the cruising world, "brave" is as much a compliment as "nice guy" is in the dating world. It sounds good on paper, but the connotation is usually negative. If you want to truly compliment a solo cruiser, words like "awesome" or even "independent" are much better.
  6. I bring 5 pairs. * Gym shoes for daily wear, in transit, onboard, and ashore * Spare gym shoes if the original pair gets soaked or damaged * Casual dress shoes for non-formal nights * Nice dress shoes for formal night * Bathroom slippers for going to and from the pool or sauna I rarely, if ever, wear sandals because I have a thing with sandal belts rubbing against my feet. And wearing socks with sandals is not an option, obviously.
  7. On my latest cruise, I had lunch in Ensenada: a fish taco, a shrimp taco, and a Pacifico beer. The taco were amazing, and followed the authentic Baja California recipe, nothing Americanized. The fillings were tender and flavorful. I made a mistake of putting on too much pickled onions. I thought they were simply marinated, but they turned out to be very spicy. My mouth burned for almost an hour afterwards. But it was worth it.
  8. I went to Sea Day Brunch on my last cruise. It was so good! The steak was tender and juicy, the potatoes were crispy, and the vegetables were flavorful. The only meh part was the eggs; they were too runny for my taste. I also had banana cream pie for dessert (not pictured). It was as good as you described.
  9. Small correction: Platinums get priority. Diamonds get a guarantee. (Or maybe that's just for regular cruises.)
  10. Carnival's maitre d's e-mail address is tied to the ship, not their personal name. Whoever is serving as the maitre d' will reply to you and sign off with their name, but their e-mail address is shared. The e-mail is in this format: XXmaitred(AT)carnival.com, where XX is the two-letter ship name abbreviation. Here is a mostly-complete list: FA = Fantasy FS = Fascination EC = Ecstasy SE = Sensation IS = Inspiration IM = Imagination EL = Elation PA = Paradise SP = Spirit PR = Pride LE = Legend MI= Miracle DE = Destiny TI = Triumph VI = Victory CQ = Conquest GL = Glory LI = Liberty VA = Valor FD = Freedom SL = Splendor DR = Dream MC = Magic BR = Breeze SH = Sunshine So, for example, Freedom's maitre d's e-mail would be: fdmaitred(AT)carnival.com
  11. I don't think that's true. I was able to e-mail the Inspiration maitre d' before my recent cruise, to request to be seated at a large table. He even replied to me, saying he'd do it. (It helps if you provide your booking number and seating time.) Did they block external e-mails sometime after the first week of September?
  12. That's still a counterargument. It may shut some people up, but it gives others an opportunity to say: "No, it's not. Cruising alone is..." The beauty of A&A is that you're technically agreeing with them, giving them no leg to stand on in arguing back. Better yet, it can trick them into arguing against themselves. (Cf. "rabbit season, duck season" scene from Looney Toons.)
  13. This is going off on a sociological tangent. It seems like people's reactions to your solo status is closely tied to their perception of you a priori. If you come off as respectable, assertive, and interesting, you being solo will not harm your reputation, or even help it. The woman who complimented me initially met me in a flattering situation: in a piano bar where I made a good first impression. If, she first met me, say, during an awkward approach in the nightclub or upon seeing me drop my tray in the Lido buffet, her reaction to my solo status may not have been as positive. That's a very astute observation. When people find out, directly or indirectly, that I was cruising solo, there was quite a divide between men and women. Most men reacted as nonchalantly as they would to me saying "I like grilled chicken on pizza"; in other words, pretty much "that's not common, but you do you". Women, on the other hand, divided into two camps: positive and negative. They'd either praise me or compliment me, or they'd react more like you described; there were few neutral reactions. On this cruise, everyone I talked to reacted positively, even the people on the AquaLink (a water bus) in Long Beach the day before. On my previous cruise, it was more of mixed bag; the worst one was "That's bizarre!" Here's what I would have done today: use a tactic I call "agree and amplify", or "A&A" for short. Next time someone criticizes you for cruising solo, go A&A on them. Say something like: "I know, right? The nerve of those people cruising alone! Not acceptable!" It works against even backhanded compliments like "you're so brave". The dead-last thing you want to do is try to justify your solo status.
  14. That's the idea. Us solo cruisers catch sometimes heat for doing what we do. So I wanted to draw attention to when we get complimented for it, and bring some positivity to this forum. I thought that woman's comment was spot-on. The decisiveness means finding what you like, and just going with it. I mentioned in another thread that some of my friends take a long time to decide on things, sometimes resulting in an activity/outing getting filibustered by indecision.
  15. It's not uncommon on this forum to vent about criticism, side glances, and what-have-you we all get. After all we're a minority, albeit a vocal one, among the cruising families, couples, and groups. Let's switch things up in this thread: Let's talk about the compliments we got while cruising, specifically for being solo in the first place. Obviously not backhanded ones, like "I could never do that"---that's destructive criticism---but sincere ones. It does happen. I'll start with my own. One lady, who I initially met in the piano bar, told me, when she found out I was cruising solo: "Man, that's awesome. You gotta be very independent and decisive to pull that off." I pretty much agreed with what she said. That was truly the best reaction I ever got when I told someone I cruised solo. Most people I met had more neutral reactions.
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