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bigred

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About bigred

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Cruising

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  1. We cruised on the Star Princess in Jan. of 07. We had been on her before to Alaska when "regular" seating was the order of the day. We like traditional seating SO after reading all the opinions - good and bad - about anytime dining AND there being a wait list for traditional seating . . . we made a standing reservation for every night at 6PM at a table for 6 in front of a window. We did this as soon as we found our cabin and it worked perfectly. There were six of us but 2 weren't sure they wanted a fixed time. Well, they wound up with us 5 of the 7 nights. We loved our waiter and assistant and the food was awesome (especially the chilled soups and the warm dessert soufflets (sp?)). We are doing Hawaii on the P of Am in Jan 09 and plan on trying to do the exact same thing cause Freestyle is not OUR style. Bigred
  2. We sailed on the Costa Atlantica her first season in the Caribbean. We loved, loved , loved Costa. The ship is the exact same model as the Carnival Spirit which we booked to Mexico specifically because we loved the Atlantica so much. We immersed ourselves in the European culture on board. My mother was from Germany and I speak fluent German so I met many cruisers that I could converse in German with. My husband's mother was from Sicily so we took Italian lessons to brush up on our Italian and conversed with the crew. The food was right up our alley . . . Italian cuisine. Excellent. I give Costa an A+ for ambiance, service, style and food. Meanwhile, I just got an e-mail from our dear traveling partners who are on the Costa Med. as we write this. They said the ship was gorgeous, the food terrific, and the ports of call great. I second the vote for the Toga Party and the great Caesar with the thumbs up/thumbs down talent show. How many of the guests were carted off to be fed to the lions? I don't know but I was laughing too hard to keep count! What a fabulous time! Bigred
  3. OK. First, our best moment in Alaska will be hard. Loved whale watching in Juneau, train into the mountains in Skagway, the orcas that shadowed our ship one day for miles, the baby seals just born and floating on the icebergs, the calving iceberg, etc. but my personal favorite was a private moment I had at 4 AM (still fairly light out in July). I was standing on our balcony, all alone, just me and Alaska, when down below I spotted a huge sea otter frolicing in the ocean. He stayed there for at least 20 minutes and it was such a magical moment. Second, we love sea days. After 10 cruises, we have really learned to appreciate and enjoy our ship and our balcony. That being said, our next cruise is in Hawaii which will be port intensive. But we've just gotta go! Bigred
  4. We have booked our Hawaiian cruise for next January on NCL Pride of America. We are experienced cruisers but have never been to Hawaii. We are cruising for a week and then staying on either Kauai or Maui for a week. So, has anyone taken this cruise? I have been doing a lot of research and I have some definite ideas but would like to hear your opinions. Definitely interested in whale watching, dolphin watching, luau, botanical gardens, waterfalls, rain forest, anything nature. However, a little leery of anything to do with volcanoes. We are pretty adventurous . . . whitewater kayaking and such. I would do the ziplines but Paul is scared of heights. We are traveling with two other couples. We like the unusual and off the beaten path. I am always digging around until I find something no one else has ever done before. We would rent a car and go on our own as a definite possibility. Let me hear from you all. Thanks in advance. Bigred
  5. I don't know if this still works or not but when we sailed on the Pride, we did the pre-check in at the QM (we also stayed on board the night before - loved it). Then we had the most spectacular brunch on the QM and then walked over at our leisure to boarding. Even then we were a little early so had to wait in line until the doors opened but then everything moved swiftly. There were a lot of people who got in our line (which was shorter) until they got to the front and found out it was for the pre-check-in people and then had to go all the way to the end of the other line. Oh, forgot to mention that the QM staff took our bags directly to the ship for us and we never saw them again until they appeared in our cabin. If the QM is still a hotel, it is an experience not to be missed.
  6. Oops! Sorry about the previous post. Hit the wrong button. Anyway, I want to second the info about the whale watching out of Juneau. It was awesome to say the least. We saw lots of whales and some very close to the boat even tho we were supposed to stay a certain # of feet away. But no one apparently told the whales! They send planes out to locate the whale pods and then radio their position to the boat. They even guaranteed that we would see whales and we sure did. Would do this one again in a heart beat. Also we took the train in Skagway up into the mountains and back. Spectacular vistas and lots of wildlife. Bear right next to the tracks and bighorn sheep in big herds. Took a ton of pictures of both of these excursions. We also just explored Ketchican by ourselves and found it to be very easy to navigate on foot. Found some interesting shops including a quilt shop (for us quilters) and bought some carved fossilized walrus bone. But hope you have a balcony cause the wildlife along the way is to die for. We saw orcas along side, seals with new babies, walrus, eagles, sea otters right below our balcony in the harbor, and much, much more. This is definitely the trip of a lifetime. Have a ball! We did!
  7. Sorry about the typos. I guess I'm rushing. That should read on sea days, not one sea days. Ta Ta for now.
  8. Sorry about the typos. I guess I'm rushing. That should read on sea days, not one sea days. Ta Ta for now.
  9. This is my final farewell ans Bon Voyage to Cruisefreak and Princessone! We have to be at the airport tomorrow morning at 8AM so this will be my last post before sailing. It would be lovely to run into you both on the ship . . . who knows! Anything can happen. Wish I had one of those cruisecrazies pins to waer but alas no time left to get it. Just a hint, in case you're interested in saying hi, I go to tea one sea days in the afternoon. Check your Patter. Guess that's it. Course, if you see some redhead with Flat Stanley it's probably me! Red sky at night, sailor's delight! Wishing you only red sunsets! Marianne
  10. This is my final farewell ans Bon Voyage to Cruisefreak and Princessone! We have to be at the airport tomorrow morning at 8AM so this will be my last post before sailing. It would be lovely to run into you both on the ship . . . who knows! Anything can happen. Wish I had one of those cruisecrazies pins to waer but alas no time left to get it. Just a hint, in case you're interested in saying hi, I go to tea one sea days in the afternoon. Check your Patter. Guess that's it. Course, if you see some redhead with Flat Stanley it's probably me! Red sky at night, sailor's delight! Wishing you only red sunsets! Marianne
  11. Dearest Joey and David, I know that I already wished you all the best on our roll call but thought I would add my 2 cents worth here again. I don't know how to make all those fancy cartoons to wave goodbye so you will just have to imagine my salute as you sail away! Actually I will try to do that for real but you'll never see me. Can't wait to share our adventures with each other here on our favorite boards. BON VOYAGE! AUF WIEDERSEHN! ADIOS MUCHACHOS! As my mother always used to say (but in German): When angels take a vacation, the heavens smile! May the heavens smile on you both! Marianne
  12. Hi Joey and David . . . Yup, I think this Flat Stanley thing is right up my alley. I already took his picture "packing" the suitcases. And when he's not busy (LOL) I took a picture of him on the refrigerator with the caption, "When everyone is running around, I just hang out in the kitchen!" Have a great cruise yourselves, OK? Bye for now!
  13. I can handle any problem at sea or in port but I can not handle GOING HOME! One year we sailed Costa Atlantica and the day we docked in Florida, they were sailing for Italy and we came THAT CLOSE to staying on and heading out. My husband knows that one day I will refuse to return to Wisconsin. That is why he has promised that we will move to Florida ASAP. Anyone want to but a law firm in Wisconsin? LOL Anyway, that is why, when everyone else runs off the ship to make their plane, we take our time getting off and stay in Fl. for a few more days. I HATE WINTER!
  14. Well, we had quite a different experience on Costa. We sailed the Costa Atlantica shortly after her maiden voyage. We had a balcony cabin ( and FYI it is the same ship basically as the Carnival Pride ). We loved EVERYTHING about this cruise ship and line. Here are some highlights. Cabin has sofa and table area so nice like a little suite. Ship was absolutely gorgeous. I took pictures of all the decor as it was so beautiful. Took Italian lessons . . . an officer taught this class everyday and whenever we saw him on board, spoke Italian to us. It was great. It is totally European service and style. If you loved Europe, you'll love Costa. The food was to die for! Yes, mostly Italian ( well, since I married Italian it was exactly what we love ) but they also have the traditional steaks, prime rib and seafood. They also had a great cigar bar that pleased my husband no end. Some people complained but we really enjoyed that all the announcements were in six languages. Since I speak 4 of them it was fun to hear! Wow, what a great mix of people from all over the world. Not the glut of Americans like most ships. So, you really met so many interesting people and learned so many new things. We enjoyed all of the entertainment BUT the high point was the last night. Our cruise director did an excellent job all week . . . a real gentleman! But the last night he let it all hang out. On Costa, the last night is Toga Party night. They give you sheets and pins to make a toga over your clothes. Then, Caesar (our CD), and his entourage march through the dining room in regal manner and lead everyone to the theater where the talent show is held. The audience gets to vote on the talent but Caesar has the final say. . . thumbs up or thumbs down. It became riotous when the audience would not allow Caesar to throw a little old white haired granny to the lions. There were scantily clad Roman girls, streamers, balloons, noisemakers, confetti and exotic drinks. What a blast. Laughed so hard my sides ached all night. This cruise was fun, exciting, beautiful, delicious and all around perfect. We have been on 9 cruises with #10 this weekend, on 5 cruise lines. This was by far the best ship and best cruise line. Our favorite cruise though was to Alaska. Hope this gives you some idea. If you have any other questions, post them here and I will look up my cruise journal and try to answer them. Good luck with your decision.
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