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About BarbinMich

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Detroit suburbs
  • Interests
    travel, genealogy, photography, gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Celebrity, HAL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Thanks for clarifying the smoking policy on those outside decks.
  2. I wonder how many participants the book clubs attract. I'm in several clubs here at home and they're both around 10-12 when everyone shows up. IMHO, that's about the maximum so that everyone gets a chance to talk about the book. Our Cruise Critic group on one of our last TAs had a book club which read The Nightingale, set in France during WW II and "stars" a very brave young woman (dubbed the nightingale) who helps Jewish folks escape to Spain (going over the Pyrenees). Her own village, which was near the border with Germany was occupied by the Nazis and terrible things happened to the locals as a result.
  3. Not only don't they wrap around, they're only two uncovered small areas on each side. Not sure why Princess bothered unless it's the only place a pax can smoke (which would make them undesirable for non-smokers). We have been on the Royal twice: once for a 14-day EB TA and once for a 10-day in the Caribbean. It's a beautiful ship inside, but its lack of covered outside spaces (like Promenade deck on older ships) was disappointing. Did enjoy the covered area aft and outside Horizon buffet, which I don't think a lot of pax area aware of, when we were in the Caribbean.
  4. Exactly why I thought the Royal was ill-suited to cruising in Alaska (in addition to its size). Those two places are highlights of an Alaskan cruise IMHO. On the older ships like the Star which we took to Alaska a few years ago, one can have a good experience at Glacier Bay on Promenade deck with the ability to pop inside to warm up plus they were offering hot beverages to those outside on Promenade. And don't have to spend extra $$ to have a balcony <g>.
  5. I thought book club was only offered on longer cruises like Trans-Atlantics when there are a lot sea days. Curious as to what Caribbean itinerary they offer book club. Thanks.
  6. If one is a past pax on Princess (31 cruises/347 days) and would like to continue sailing on that line because they prefer that line and on a given preferred itinerary such as a trans-Atlantic and they liked being on the Plaza in an OV cabin because it's very handy, a good value and one can enjoy the view of the water, then it's upsetting to have to choose between a balcony and an inside.
  7. Probably not, but one would think that a business that depends on customer satisfaction and loyalty for their success, they would be more sensitive to those past pax who routinely booked OV on Inside cabins on Plaza. Since they eliminated those cabins on the Royal etc., one could conclude that either they don't care about those past pax and/or they're only looking at their bottom line. However, in looking at the numbers there are only 95 cabins on Plaza on the older ships with a capacity of 190 to 264 pax (I believe the IS cabins have those drop-down "bunks"). So even on the older ships with 3,000 capacity like the Star, etc., that's a real drop in the bucket so probably the new design starting with the Royal wasn't that much of a gamble for them. Nor, apparently, was "dropping" the wraparound promenade--another one of my favorite features on the older ships. IMHO, there's nothing like sitting in a deckchair in the shade and gazing out to sea hoping to see flying fish or just the huge beds of seaweed when crossing the Atlantic (we've done a number of TAs from FL to Southampton so have had a lot of sea days). And a number of pax like to walk or jog laps on that deck. Nothing comparable on Royal etc. The emphasis on the new ships seems to be more geared to the inside of the ship rather than to the outside, not counting the pool areas.
  8. Some of the activities like steel drum classes are just on itineraries in the Caribbean. Per Wikipedia, steel drums originated in Trinidad and Tobago. Ironically, I don't believe Princess has sailed to Trinidad for some time. We stopped there in 2010 on the Grand's "Circle the Caribbean" itinerary and it's a lovely island with beautiful beaches and amazing birds. I believe there is more crime now than there used to be. We also had a bad experience with our private tour driver when he had tried to shake us down for more $$ than had been quoted to us online. Up to that point, he had been a very good driver/guide.
  9. Did they take a survey? They already had many, many more balcony cabins than they ever had OV cabins on the older ships since we've been cruising (early 2000s) so I guess eliminating OV cabins came down to replacing OV with the spa etc. as a higher revenue producer or something. Finally, they also eliminated many inside cabins at the same time and I don't think they replaced those either. Bottom line: they replaced cabins on 1/2 of a deck with different facilities and forced their loyal pax who booked those cabins to book a balcony or an inside in a less convenient location.
  10. I stand corrected although my main point is that there are essentially no OV cabins on the newest ships. Those mentioned on the Sun deck come at quite a premium, not to mention the problem with the wind in their location. I probably said this above, but the pre-Royal design ships had a lot of OV cabins on Plaza and now there are none in that location or anywhere else except those fwd on Sun. As someone who used to cruise up to 3 times a year and who liked having a window as many of our cruises were TAs and thus 12-17 days long, I was deeply disappointed when such cabins were eliminated in the Royal etc. I can't imagine it was for lack of selling such cabins on the older ships. I feel that it was to make more money by only having balcony cabins even if there was a lifeboat blocking the view. Occasionally we have booked an obstructed cabin on Deck 8 on an older ship if no OVs were available on Deck 5, but we were always tried to get one that had at least a "slice" of a view. We are not "balcony" people (husband has to stay out of the sun) and were extremely happy with Princess (30 cruises/340 days onboard) and their OV cabins on Deck 5 (Plaza); they were a good value for doing 3 cruises/year. And they were convenient to so much that we rarely needed to use an elevator (except to access the buffet). At least HAL, the other line we've often sailed on, has such "window" cabins on their equivalent of Princess' Plaza deck at least thru the Zuiderdam--we haven't been on their newer ships. But that line tends to be a bit more expensive than Princess. I guess we're in a "dying" demographic for the cruise business.
  11. Between 2002 and 2016 we stopped at P Cays ten times, generally only when doing the eastern Caribbean itinerary (St. Thomas, St. Martin) and usually it was the last stop. We traditionally cruised there in Jan. Have no idea why the change.
  12. Just to clarify denmarks very complete list of possible shipboard activities: most are offered only once on a cruise, even on those with lots of sea days like Hawaii and transatlantics (and I assume transpacifics, Tahiti, etc). Typically on a sea day there will be 2-3 activities in the piazza.
  13. There are OV cabins on Deck 8 of the Royal/Regal/Sky, but many of them are obstructed by a tender/lifeboat below the balcony. We stayed in E222 on the Royal and the tender was below the balcony so the view straight down was of that tender; but looking straight out was unobstructed. So I think they're a good bargain. Traditionally, we booked OV forward (of the Piazza) on Plaza (5) deck on the older ships. These cabins have no obstruction and are extremely handy IMHO (except to the buffet). We were extremely disappointed when the Royal came out without those cabins! Replaced by the massage rooms, etc.
  14. Are you asking about cruise activities on Hawaiian cruises or cruises in general? If the latter, there are hardly any activities on board on port days. But on sea days there are always lots of daytime activities such as trivia, bingo (a charge for cards), lectures (on longer cruises, not on cruises in the Caribbean which are usually 7-days, sometime 10 or 11-days), etc.
  15. I think the "key" is cruising only in the Caribbean vs cruising elsewhere. Traditionally, we sail in the Caribbean in Jan. (we're from Michigan <g>). Otherwise we cruise on transatlantics as we enjoy them very much. There are always 2-3 daytime lecturers, and, amazingly, the nighttime entertainers vary even on all those consecutive sea days. And there are 3 production shows scattered through the nightly entertainment over the 12-14-days these cruises usually take. Pax have the option of complaining about repeat performers to management. If enough people complain, maybe they'd change their M.O.
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