Marylin, The balcony cabins on the A and B decks are typical small, but they are totally covered and pretty private. On the C deck, the balconies are more than 50% larger than on A and B and are half covered. When you stay back in the covered section you have privacy, but if you go out to the open section the folks in A and B above can look down (but you can also look up). On D deck are the mini-suites which have totally open balconies in full view of A, B and C decks. We love those C (Caribe deck) balconies and have em booked for the Grand's April transatlantic and the Emerald's October transatlantic. As to Egypt, I haven't looked at your itinerary but I assume you are going to Alexandria. Its about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour ride from Alexandria to Cairo and the Pyramids at Giza. We spent two weeks in Egypt last year and loved every moment. Going to the Pyramids and Cairo is worth the effort, but you should either book the cruise tour or arrange for a private tour. My only problem with a cruise stop in Egypt is that you need abourt 10 days to really see this country and its truly one of the more amazing places on earth.
Hank, your last sentence pretty much sums up the one downside of cruising. After several attempts at "seeing Europe" by cruising, we have come to accept that a cruise is a "sampler"; a way to get just a taste of a lot of places in a short time. Then, the ones you really like, you go back to and stay for a week or two.
We now look mostly for long cruises in warm climates with many sea days. For us, this is the best cruising has to offer--relaxation; a chance to decompress, recharge and explore interests that there just never seems to be time for at home.
Originally posted by Hank:
I believe only those in the big suites (not the minis) get priority tendering. Also, if you are a Diamond Member (you get this on the 11th cruise) or DiamondPlus priorty tendering is one of the perks. Of course the best perk (IMHO) is that Diamond and above get to use the Concierge Lounge with its free cocktail hour every evening. This is probably the best perk offered by any cruise line (for those of us who drink).
Argh! Been doing this too long. My above reference refers to RCI cruises. Sorry bout that!
No worries, Hank. I know exactly what you mean. There was one time last year when I was cruising in the Caribbean, and I actually forgot the line I was on!
Marylin, I agree with the others that the Caribe Deck balconies are wonderful! The cabins themselves are the same size as the balcony cabins on A and B decks, but the balconies are much larger. Yet, the cabins are large enough, so I don't think you can go wrong with one on Baja or Aloha Deck. My preference would be Baja because I prefer to have cabins both above and below, rather than a public area, but that's just me.
You said you sailed on Princess years ago. Do you have a Captain's Circle number? If not, give Princess a call (or have your TA do it) to see if you might qualify for any repeater's benefits on board.
Thanks for the information. I actually used to work on the ships, for Sitmar and then Princess, as temporary contract help with the children's programs on board; they used to just bring gals on each cruise to help run the children's center (I have a friend who still works for Princess that got me into this) and you would basically work shifts working to watch the children, 5-6 hrs. in a day. I did about a half-dozen trips (wish I'd done more), but now they don't run this program in that same way any longer, I think they have full time employees. Anyway I did somehow get a Captain's Circle number and for years received information from them, but no longer do. I could try to see if they still have me in their system, but this has been nearly 20 yrs. ago. It was a great travel experience, and just to be behind the scenes a little was interesting!
Marylin, I guess you are older than 18 if you remember Sitmar. But seriously, we loved that line and our daughter's first cruise was on the Fairwind when she was a 5 year old. She still fondly remembers that cruise (she is now 26) and it started her love affair with cruises (like her parents). I really miss the table side flambes, the fresh pasta prepared by the maitre'd s every evening, the wonderful midnight buffets (could never eat that much these days) and the warm Italian crew. The kind of food you have to pay for in the alternative restaurants used to be the norm in the dining rooms of Sitmar.