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DunkelBierJay

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DunkelBierJay last won the day on June 17 2018

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About DunkelBierJay

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  • Birthday 11/28/1964

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    Tennessee

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  1. Nice camera...it looks to have similar functionality to my sx530hs, which has awesome zoom for what it is. It has 50x zoom up to 100x optical zoom and gets great detail with moon pics. I am certain that I want to go to a camera that features interchangeable lens capability. The hard part is convincing my wife that the money is well spent. I've been going nuts with Snapseed and Lightroom lately while I complain about my current limitations. It may be working...she was looking at DSLRs on her iPad last night. The trick is to get her to buy it even though I am really the one paying for it. Less pain that way.
  2. You're allowed to bring them, but if you put them in the toilet instead of the trash, there will be issues. You're actually more likely to get sick on land than at sea. The measures taken for sanitation on cruise ships are extraordinary. The press will harp on any outbreak and make a big deal of it. The main thing no matter what you do is wash your hands with warm soapy water frequently and use the provided sanitizer dispensers when you have the opportunity. One measure I like in the buffet is to use a towel on the tong and serving spoon handles...another is use automatic doors or a hand towel on the handles when not available.
  3. I've had my eye on that camera for a while...same for the Canon M50 which is cheaper...I have a Canon sx530hs which is basically a point and shoot with manual, aperture priority and shutter priority, and I have been getting the knack of it. It's frustrating having limited ISO and F-stop settings with a limit to 15 seconds on long exposure...I really like nailing low light and long exposure images and am very limited right now. Since mirrorless is where things will be in the future, I don't really want a DSLR...I want an entry mirrorless and upgrade from there, and maybe get an attachment for lenses. Aren't these expensive hobbies wonderful?
  4. I will say that this is a sick bundle! It may be a DSLR instead of mirrorless, but the camera body has the moveable display and is a touchscreen...what a great step up from my point and shoot world...
  5. Yes, you can get them for Platinum at the loyalty desk too. I wish they mailed them, but I guess they save cost and process by putting the burden on the members.
  6. I couldn't tell from the post if you had cruised before, but a Vision Class ship in its final chapter in the fleet isn't comparable to the new builds that RC operates. I am disappointed in the service problems you experienced, especially the cabin attendant issue. That's inconceivable to me from my experience. While some have been better than others, all have been fantastic in our experience. Many in this forum recommend that first timers or those new to RC sail on Oasis or Quantum Class first...or Freedom/Voyager. In some ways, I agree with that because you can have a classic experience on those ships as well as a newer experience. I see that you can be limited to a classic experience on Grandeur, which I hope to sail on before she leaves the fleet. In terms of calling on ports and itinerary changes, none of that is in the cruise line's control, and they do their best to deliver the best experience that they can. With the weather being what it was, I am sure the solarium was packed until you got to warmer weather. I loved the solarium on the Vision Class ship I sailed on. I get what you mean by Nassau, but I have learned that pre-planning what to do before getting there vastly improves the experience. It's a lousy place to walk around and doesn't compare to ports like Cozumel. You definitely don't have to go to Atlantis to have a good time there. It also seems strange that a ship re-supplied in Nassau on that itinerary. Maybe something else was going on.
  7. You definitely don't need a taxi in Nassau -- the city is right outside the port, and is only a few blocks either way...one idea is to go to the Graycliff Hotel...you can buy access to the pool for the day for $20...there's a phenomenal chocolatier there and a great restaurant. It can be a little pricey, but fun... Another idea is to get a taxi or #10 bus to Baha Mar and make a day of it...much cheaper than Atlantis and more low key
  8. Not really, we knew the deal going in. It was a great cruise overall, and we didn’t feel neglected in any way. We also got a lot of swag every night. Since there were so many D, D+ And Pinnacle on board, they put on a great event for Gold, Platinum and Emerald that was similar to other top tier events we went to, and Michael Bayley MC’d. I thought that was cool. They only criticism was the way they publicized the Hall & Oates concert before the cruise. It went to everybody on the cruise as well as to what I believe was a general publicity email to many who weren’t booked. The only ones admitted were D+, Pinnacle and Star Class. In the end, we didn’t mind because we used the time to pack while the concert was on the tv. I didn’t think it was all that good. H&O are a little long in the tooth now.
  9. Thanks. Somehow the pics didn’t post with the original submission. They should be there now. Lots more pics on my Instagram accounts with more to follow — jay_spiegel_ and highseasnomad.
  10. This is a recap, and not a highly detailed live blog. If you have questions, please let me know in the replies October 31 & November 1 — Pre-Embarkation We flew from our home near Nashville to Miami on a late flight and were one of the last arrivals of the day. This presented a problem with getting a ride share to take us to the Mercury Hotel in South Beach as it is quite a distance. One Uber and two Lyft drivers bailed on us. While annoying, it is understandable. We ended up taking a taxi and ran into construction traffic on I-95 delaying our arrival. We entered our hotel room at about 12:30 am. We stayed at a quirky Art Deco hotel a block west of Ocean Drive near 1st Street. for brunch, we at at a Popular Cuban restaurant called Puerto Sagua. I highly recommend it. It was an easy walk to Collins and 7th where it is located. After brunch, we walked along the shoreline to the southernmost ended of South Beach and watched Navigator sail away. You can see a time lapse on my Instagram at: I got my dunkel bier fix for dinner at the Bavaria Bier Haus in Bayside Marketplace right on the water by the marina next to Port Miami. See the first attached pic for an incredible sunset effect by the surrounding skyscrapers. November 2 — Embarkation We had breakfast at a local eatery called Big Pink, checked out and took a Lyft to Port Miami. MacArthur Causeway was closed and traffic was being routed to the Venetian Causeway and to I-195 to the north. Our Lyft driver was astute and chose the latter. While I missed driving opposite cruise ship row that morning, our driver did a great job with the circumstance. When we made it to Dodge Island, we dealt with the effects of getting to Terminal A caused by the construction of the Norwegian terminal next door. Soon, were we curbside at the terminal and entering the building. A couple of months ago, I cancelled the Key due to reviews. I didn’t realize that the icon was still on my SeaPass in the app, and when I showed it, we were ushered into the Key line and found ourselves bypassing waiting guests and were on board immediately it took five minutes when I realized what happened, that somehow we still had the Key, I chose not to take advantage of the other perks it offered for the duration of the cruise. We ate lunch at El Loco Fresh, and were set up for the rest of the day our CP balcony room was ready right at 1:00 pm, and we were unpacked by 1:30 pm my wife had a manicure in the spa scheduled for 1:45, so I did the slides on board starting with the Ultimate Abyss. We chose My Time dining, during sail away. We watched Hairspray in the theater that evening. The cast was incredible. November 3rd & 4th — Sea Days 2 & 3 Readers of these boards will have varying styles of cruising on sea days. I love sea days because of the relaxation available. Hi lites: -we purchased a thermal suite package and started using it — very nice, however, the weight room in the fitness center is above the spa, so there are related sounds and bangs -we ate dinner at Chops on Day 2. It was execellent -Day 3 was the same with dinner at Izumi Hibachi — it was fun as always November 5th — Day 4 — Sint Maarten We chose to make this an easy beach day and took the water taxis from the port to the middle of Philipsburg for $7 round trip. We got off the water taxi after a five minute ride into the middle of the town. We turned right, headed toward the Lazy Lizard and rented two beach chairs and an umbrella for $20. It included a bucket of six beers or two cocktails. Lunch was extra for about $13 a plate. I had the curry chicken with voodoo shrimp appetizer. It was...BY FAR...the best meal I have had on a cruise vacation anywhere. We chose the Lazy Lizard because of reviews on Trip Advisor. Photos attached. That evening, we watched 1977 in Studio B. The drones and the skating did not disappoint. November 6th — Day 5 – San Juan, PR I have been dying to get to this port for a while. We did the standard walk up the hill to Castillo del Morro and walked around absorbing some of the history of the magnificent place. We chose not to go to the other fort, and instead walked down the hill on the west side and and toured Casa Blanca where Ponca de Leon lived. The grounds were beautiful and the house was incredible considering how people of that time lived. We ate at the famous Barrachina restaurant near Cristo Street. I tried the mofongo combination with chicken, beef and shrimp along with a piña colada. It’s a little touristy, so it won’t be my choice for my next visit to San Juan. We did some shopping and headed back to the ship for a thermal suite session. We watched Hiro in the Aqua Theater and were mesmerized. Flowing Hiro, dinner was at Wonderland, an experience Royal Caribbean cruisers should experience once in a lifetime. November 7th — Day 6 — Sea Day - we lazed around and ended the evening watching Flight in the Main Theater November 8th — Day 7 — Perfect Day at Coco Cay Seas were as smooth as a glass before sunrise. It was a beautiful and surreal experience walking onto deck 15 to see a Carival ship lit up as she passed by our starboard. A little later, a Norwegian ship sailed across our wake. They looked close enough to touch and were beautifully lit up.Sadly, I was dealing with condensation on my camera lenses, and didn’t have time to get a really cool photo. -we found loungers behind the swim up bar on Coco Cay and lazed around until lunch at the Snack Shack where we had the popular crispy chicken sandwich with fried mozzarella and marinara. It is a big step up from the standard fare from the old Coco Cay. The transformation of the island is mind blowing. November 6th — Disembarkation -I booked a late flight out of FLL, so we took our time getting off the ship -we had breakfast in the main dining room and left the ship by 9:00 am -we took a cab from the terminal to Miami Brightline on NW 1st in downtown Miami for $15. We bought Select tickets which gave us lounge access in the very nice, new train station - the ride from Miami was about 30 minutes and included beverages and snacks served by an attendant in our carriage. The train experience on this line is as a good as any I have had in Europe. It was excellent. I was sad to have to get off in Fort Lauderdale. -tickets may be pre-purchased online or at the station — the process is pretty seamless -FLL is 3.5 miles from the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station, so a quick ride share will get you to/from the station and airport -overall —> this short experience far surpassed dealing with a cab or ride share up I-95 — if you are flying out of FLL on a later flight, or if you are coming from a location near a Brightline station elsewhere in Florida, Orlando (future station planned) for example...THIS is how I would get to Port Miami, or Port Everglades — it is well worth it, especially considering the net cost was about the same as a cab would have been and a little higher than a ride share. I will be figuring other ways to use this service while in Florida in the future — included are pics of the Fort Lauderdale Brightline Terminal and the inside of a carriage
  11. Icon was a joke Michael Bayley played on the crowd... the actual announcement is the 2020 President’s cruise which will be sailing on 10/25/2020 on Allure to the Med, the week before the transatlantic. Sorry if my post was confusing...
  12. “It’s going to be really awesome.” -Michael Bayley now, for the real announcement...really...the 2020 President’s Cruise will be to... ”Just because you vote, it doesn’t mean we are going to do it...” -Michael Bayley “We have five options for you some are pretty crappy because we want to steer you a certain way...” -Michael Bayler option 1 — 2 day Empress repositioning (toilets will be flushing) option 2 — 30 day MSC Cruise with 29 sea days option 3 — 7 night Ovation Alaska (Aug 7) — “Empress is still winning.” - Michael Bayley — good crowd response option 4 — 7 night Oasis from NYC (August 4) option 5 — 7 night Allure Mediterranean (after amplification) — good crowd response Coin Toss by Super Mario — Allure of the Seas Mediterranean in August (I believe) California itineraries — “maybe” in 2021 — no commitment Michael Bayley is a hoot, btw...
  13. Another interesting point about The Key on my sailing on Symphony on 11/2...I purchased it originally at $19.99 and later cancelled it to use the money for more specialty dining...when I looked afterwards, it was showing as sold out. Now, today, it is for sale again at $29.99...it had hit a high of $34.99. I wonder if they added capacity for it or if people are cancelling it leading up to the sailing. With the prospect of Chops/Jamie's embarkation day lunch being in in the MDR, it isn't interesting to me any longer. I wonder if it's the same for others.
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