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Everything posted by JLMoran

  1. Has the beverage package raised its per-drink coverage recently? If I'm remembering right, the last time I bought it (2019) it only covered drinks up to $13 on a Q or O class ship, and $12 on other ships. Which still covered almost all alcoholic drinks except higher-end wines and spirits, but $15 per drink would have covered a couple more of the wines I'd typically buy. If it's still $13 per drink coverage, you're looking more at 5 alcoholic drinks a day plus a couple bottles of water to break even. Or 4 drinks plus a couple specialty coffees (not at Starbucks kiosks, though) and the waters.
  2. Haven't done Pax. Guessing that's a regional convention? And let's hear it for the 50+ D&D crowd!! I'll be 52 next month.
  3. I'm an OG D&D player, from the "Blue Box" days of the basic game and first edition Advanced rules. Late 70s / early 80s. When only the hard-core nerds and losers played, and it was determined by some to be covertly Satanic in nature. Not helped by the movie Mazes & Monsters, with a very young Tom Hanks.
  4. Count me among the introvert crew. It's right there in my official Meyers-Briggs result -- INTJ. I'm mostly fine being in the house with the pets and family, but I do like to get out and socialize every so often for conversation and laughs. Since it's still hard to do that latter part in-person, I've joined a weekly D&D campaign on Roll20 and that's totally satisfying the Social needs bar of this particular Sim. I'm the oldest by about, umm... 20 or 25 years. But the other folks don't care, they're just happy that I'm a good role player and party member. On the cruise ships, though, one of my favorite things is going to lunch in the MDR and asking to be seated at a random 10-top so I can meet a bunch of random people and have an hour of fun conversation, learn about people's hometowns / countries, and compare cruising histories. I dunno, maybe I'm more of an "extroverted introvert"?
  5. Congratulations! Way to tackle two big milestones in record time! Watch out @twangster, looks like someone might be gunning for your record-speed Pinnacle run.
  6. My employer has also transitioned all IT staff to full-time WFH, although there are other groups outside of IT that have to be on a "hybrid" schedule and go to the office 2-4 days a week depending on their job. I'm definitely happy to no longer have a commute, but like @Ampurp85 I now find myself regularly doing things like logging on at 7:30 or being on until 7:30 PM. Basically whatever the project and my time budget requires. And I definitely miss being able to pass by a co-workers desk and just stop for 15 minutes of chit-chat if neither of us is super-busy. Chatting over Teams is just not the same. But I'm saving so much money on gas, take-out food, coffee runs, etc that it's almost like I got a raise without doing anything different. And being able to just step away for a few minutes to make fresh coffee, throw in some laundry, refill the bird feeders while there's daylight, fire up the Robovac or whatever else needs quick doing is fracking awesome. I really hope the company doesn't change this for the next 8 years; after that they can do whatever they want because I'll be retired. Oh, and since my work computer is in the same room as my home computer, it's a lot easier to do a cruise itinerary / price check or look up excursions without worrying about the company network sniffers picking up the fact I'm slacking for a few minutes.
  7. Just saw this mention and figured I'd take a minute to clarify the specifics. In my case, I wasn't canceling a cruise that had been paid for with FCC, it was just a normal paid-up cruise that I used Lift & Shift to change from 2020 to 2021, after the line had canceled the 2020 sailing. But then I decided to cancel that moved sailing for a full refund (not FCC) when it was clear the pandemic madness wasn't ending any time soon; I had zero confidence that sailing wouldn't also eventually be canceled (which did happen), and I decided I'd rather have the money back. But because the original sailing was canceled after after final payment and I was now canceling the moved booking myself, I was initially told I'd have to pay a cancellation penalty based on the original sailing's L&S date. I pushed back on that, because my TA had been advised when I did L&S that no cancellation penalty would be applied should I decide to cancel the moved cruise myself. It was early enough in the days of L&S that they granted it to me.
  8. Anthem at Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda: View of Anthem's pool deck from the North Star capsule:
  9. Definitely do CK on the first night. That's filet night, and CK has the best filet bar none. That's also the only night you'll find the smoked tomato soup, which is amazing. If you only have 150 CP for one night and it's something you were looking forward to, I'd say to still do it. Worst case, it doesn't measure up to CK but it's still a very good / enjoyable meal. Just don't go there on night 1, you really don't want to miss that filet.
  10. I get an email for PUP about once a month. But they're starting to move more towards the "get points for booking a cruise" offers now, rather than the "fill out this survey" or "read about these sailings and take a quiz" offers that were the regular options in the beginning. Since I'm not booking anything right now, I'm only able to get points every two months or so.
  11. We’ll, if my Apple stock keeps growing the way it did from 2000 to 2020… But of course, if I’m going to do a round the world cruise I’m going suite or going home. Come on iPhones 14 through 25!!! Daddy needs a Grand Suite!!!
  12. And to add to @AshleyDillo' reply, I strongly recommend that you (a) buy the all-day pass, and (b) make the coaster one of the first things you do when you get off the ship. I did the all-day ticket and went first thing, and I was able to ride the coaster 4 times inside half an hour. No line, no waiting. My wife and daughters (both over 12) also had the all-day pass, but waited until 2 PM to go to the coaster since they had the zip line first thing. They waited in line for almost an hour, were lucky to ride on it once. Seems people are focused on the beach and zip line and other sunny activities until the afternoon, then go to the coaster as it's in a lot of shade.
  13. Thought I'd take a crack at another silly / fun topic, by taking a riff on Royal's ship names. It's simple: Take a well-known / well-loved book, and turn it into something that probably flopped by adding "of the Seas" to the end of its title. I'll start with a few. Interview with the Vampire of the Seas To Kill a Mockingbird of the Seas The Shining of the Seas
  14. Thanks for posting this! Going to bookmark that link you posted, I’m guessing that things won’t have changed much on this front by July of next year, when my family and I fly to Athens and out of Rome two weeks later for our Med cruise.
  15. I would wager a LOT of that is water retention. The cruise ship food is good, a UDP can translate into a lot of calories, sure. But I found it all to be noticeably more salty than I'm used to cooking at home. Betting that after a week of eating that much added salt, anyone's weight would be spiking up some.
  16. @adwo41, Scenario 1 is a definite “yes”. With scenario 2, I think what will happen is the same as if you brought a bottle from your cabin to the MDR, or bought it there; they will seal and store the bottle with your cabin number noted, and you can request it from any other venue when you want to have another glass.
  17. You are absolutely correct about this -- I am indeed on flight 1642, which does note "Operated by American Airlines" and departs JFK from Terminal 8. I was guessing that might mean I'm checking in through AA rather than BA, and using an AA terminal, but that's fine. I'm still taking it since the total airfare was still appreciably less per person than any other option, including ones that flew from JFK to Athens with just one stop. No fan of AA, but I'll deal with them once (and only for the flight there) for this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Especially since it lets us arrive in Athens at 8:50 AM and have two full days there, instead of a day and a half or less. Hopefully will manage to sleep a bit during the flight so the jet lag isn't outlandish.
  18. I re-read the confirmation emails from my TA on my computer, rather than my phone, and found the airline confirmation codes. Went to the BA site and entered both, have confirmation it's all the same class and flights. Still can't reserve seats this far in advance for the return flights, as that's apparently limited to top-tier loyalty members. (and I can't even get the option to reserve while paying a fee right now, maybe because I need to first sign up for their program or something) Forgot to note that on the good news front, my cruise fare for this trip dropped by over $300 per person back in July. I missed that email from her (got routed to spam folder ), so that was a pleasant surprise when she mentioned she had gotten that for me. Almost enough to pay for one flight ticket. Hopefully the fare will go down a bit more in the coming months, maybe along with the airfare.
  19. Were you Sandra Bullock's "character model" / reference source for The Net?
  20. So the flights for my 2022 Med sailing on Regal Princess finally opened up, and I figured I would book the flights through Princess' EZAir service to get the group rate pricing and lock in a flight with no payment due until final payment. Just like Air2Sea or Flights By Celebrity, right? HA!!! First off, "EZAir" fails to live up to that name in one gigantic way -- You cannot book a flight for your cabin and another linked cabin at the same time!!!! That's right -- if you want to fly with someone booked in another cabin that is already linked on your cruise reservation (like, y'know, your kids) you must first book your own flight and make note of the flight booking number. Then, you have to log in separately for the second cabin, start its own flight booking in EZAir, and then enter the first flight booking number in a "fly with friends" part of the form to actually try to get on the same flight. But I'm getting ahead of myself... I had found a British Airways non-stop flight from JFK to Athens for the flight out and it only had 5 seats left in Premium Economy. So I wanted to grab that for the four of us, but every time I went back to that "Fly With Friends" field and entered the kids' cruise booking number; because funnily enough, this is exactly how Air2Sea and Flights by Celebrity works. But all I would get was "Booking not found". So I emailed my TA and asked if she was familiar with EZAir, and if maybe our cruise reservations weren't linked and that's why I was getting "not found". This was on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, so I figured I might not hear back quickly. But I didn't get a call from her until Wednesday, because Princess had the EZAir service shut down for the entire Labor Day weekend, and then when she started calling them on Tuesday it would pick up but be dead. In any event, she had an EZAir rep on the phone with her, and asked the rep to explain to me how I go about booking the flights for both of our cabins. The rep flat-out refused to do that, and said that she would have to book the flights for me. And what followed was something straight out of my worst car purchasing nightmares. It was 20 minutes of high-pressure sales push, barely any time to register the details of the flight and figure out if it lined up with our planned schedule well enough, and absolute disdain every time I tried to ask a reasonable question like "with that flight time, do you have an idea of when I'd need to be at the Rome airport?" The rep found the same British Airways flight I'd found, and amazingly it still had 5 seats available and was still the least-expensive flight option. She booked that one from JFK to Athens and the return flight from Rome back to JFK, and so far so OK. But then she proceeded to set up the kids' flight -- and the price came back different than the final price for my wife and I. I asked why it was different and was literally told, "I don't know, I just get the pricing as I'm going through the booking. Do you want this flight or no? I need to know now." For clarity -- My own booking started at $1,600-ish per person but bumped to $1,900-ish because one leg of our return flight was going to be in Business Class instead of Premium Economy. I had no idea at this point if the price I was quoted for my kids was the starting price, or the price after factoring in whatever class that first leg of the return flight was going to be for them (if it wasn't also Business Class). And this woman from EZAir would not tell me!!! It was simply accept the flight and let her move on, or bail. So I accepted it. It actually turned out to be a lower final price than what my wife and I paid, by about $200 pp; but the confirmation emails don't make it any more clear why than the rep did. I don't see the class of airfare purchased on any leg, nor the seats the rep says were booked for the outbound flight. All I see are the flight numbers, the departure and arrival times, and that all of those match up for all four of us. And here's the icing on the cake. The rep sent the confirmation email for my kids' booking to the TA and was trying to drop the call before my TA even got the email to confirm she saw all the right info!! This woman was basically telling us she had no more time for us, her work with us was done, and she had to drop. The second my TA said she got the email, the rep disconnected and left us high and dry. The whole experience left both of us feeling appalled. My TA said she has NEVER had anything like that with any other flight booking service from a cruise line. It certainly didn't line up with my Flights by Celebrity experience, where I had a rep spend a very pleasant and patient 30 minutes with me reviewing my flights and offering alternatives after my original booking was changed by more than 2 hours from its originally scheduled time. Our only guess is that the rep is on some kind of time clock that affects their job rating, and/or that they are earning a commission for each booking. (would explain the high-pressure "book now or get off my line" attitude) I haven't logged into my Princess booking since then, but I really should so I can confirm there if the seat bookings are showing or if there's some other way to verify everything. Meanwhile, I'll begin looking for other flights and just try to confirm that we did get a solid rate and that I don't need to cancel this EZAir booking. I'll definitely be more appreciative of my future Air2Sea or Flights By Celebrity bookings, web site glitchiness and all!!
  21. In my experience, yes -- communications tend to be a bit slow. Not sure if it's because they have tight staff with tons of passengers they're managing, or some other reason, but patience with replies is definitely needed. Is your sailing still some time off? They might be prioritizing communication with near-in passengers where time is more of the essence. My own communications were many months before scheduled sail date, so I didn't have a problem with going several days to a week between emails.
  22. I don't recall if we had the option for a 1-day pass, I think it was for the full sailing only. And forgot to mention, the number of passes is very limited. So do make sure to go to the spa first thing once you've boarded. Hopefully you'll get an earlier boarding time and get first dibs on the spots.
  23. Wow, @AshleyDillo, that is the exact same menu as when I sailed on Freedom in 2018. Guess I won't be going to Chef's Table again until they make a significant change in the menu. Or maybe... I dunno... actually let the chef decide the menu and how it's prepared, like the name of this dinner suggests.
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