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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2013, 10:12 AM
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Jim, I hope you're enjoying your cruise!
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 10-31-2013, 04:53 AM
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Location: Wonder Lake, Illinois
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Thumbs up Brilliance OTS
Arriving in St. Kitts aboard Brilliance. Beautiful warm sunny day today!! Seas have been a little choppy, making you seem to have been into the two bottles of wine every five minutes, but t's a good wobble walk! Wonderful cabin a GS is, but in reality, two things stand out right away. 1) It's really just a little bit larger than a JS, although very nice, and 2) There are way too few electrical outlets in the cabin. All of the electronics (TV/DVD/Stereo/etc) uses all except the ones on the dressing table. Nothing in the bathroom, nothing at the "bar", by the bed night stands. Plug in the coffee maker or the hair dryer, and you're done. My friends, also on with us, uses a C-Pap breathing machine when he sleeps, and we had to remember to bring a 12 foot extension cord, just in case, and just in case showed up. Other than that, no negatives at all-food is amazing, crew is very helpful and ALWAYS smiling, entertainment is 1st class. C&A area is now in two location, Deck #6 near the shops, and also one near the Schooner bar area. They have a sign up book, and so far, almost every time slot for the next week is full!! Glad I got our name on this afternoon to book our transatlantic on Liberty!!
More to come as the cruise progresses! BTW, one week is NOW not enough-love this concept of back-to-back or two week cruises!! Don't feel like I have to start packing up already!!
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for the update, Jim! I wish I was in St. Kitts today.
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:45 PM
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Talking Bye-Bye, but now, Hi! We're back
Arrived into Tampa Bay this morning, I BELIEVE, late, around 7:30am. Captain Sig fought 55 mph headwinds and some fairly big "chop" upon passing Cuba and entering the Gulf all the way back to Tampa. Truely an event trying to float in the solarium or the pool with the water surging fore-aft so quickly! Interesting, since I've only run into waves like that at a beach somewhere.
Plus comments; Ship has been refurbished nicely; the various new food venues in the solarium, Rita's area on the aft deck behind the Windjammer, Giovanni's taable replacing Portifino's are great, and widely used, especially the Park Cafe area in the solarium!
Staff were wonderful, very friendly and helpful, and everywhere all the time! Steve, the cruise director and Tom the activities director were both funny and, also, everywhere. And the entertainment was first rate!! Great guest entertainers, plus the Brilliance OTS singers and dancers, and they also now have a "flying" act in the centrum which is short, but very well done! Diamond lounge and concierge club are both in the former Viking Crown area; concierge area very small portion but the diamond lounge was the rest. Both were filled to the brim every night; almost 1100 diamond and above on this cruise, and two men we met had over 1100 points, one with 1850! As a GS guest, we got to go to the bridge tour, and also to the captains quarters for a meet and greet: impressive both.

Minus comments; balcony cabins seem to be slightly smaller, and the shower doors have been removed and replaced with shower curtains. There are no where near enough electrical outlets in the cabins. So much cabin "goodies" were plugged into every outlet in the GS, that there were two US and two European outlets on the dressing tablePlug in the coffee pot or the hot water plate/pot and you're done until they are done. No area big enough for a laptop if you needed to use one, even tho they say there is a pull out "desk" spot. You could write a letter on it, but that's about it. Neither we, or our four other couples, we abe to hear any announcements without opening the cabin door. On Mariner, there was a speaker on/off switch with a volume control at the dressing table-that I know of, none of the cabins have this function. Your account function on the TV to keep track of your bill was usually not working properly, which took 4 trips to the customer service desk to finally fix. These above comments were not crew faults, but more like shipwide working equipment faults. I would have thought that the refurbish would have corrected these glitches. Short of removing the cabins and re-wiring them for more outlets, I don't know what else they could have done. I did have a problem, which was corrected by a crew member at the desk as fast as he could call Miami, getting my TWO Visa card on board credits I had bought. They easily found one, but could not find the other until I provided him with a printout of both, which he copied and faxed to Miami. Within the day, it had been fixed, and I had the credit.

Lastly, two things. We LOVE two week cruises, and have already booked a JS on Liberty next year from Barcelona to Port Everglades (which only needed $200 to book while on the cruise!!) However, secondly, if the level of treatment to the staff and crew by some of the most self-centered, me first now and forever, my way or the highway people, is the "norm" for so many of we "older" travlers, I may have to reconsider so long a trip. I really had to put my "cop patience" to the test way more than once, or they would have thrown me off the ship like a few of our fellow travelers should have been. One man we and our friends called, to ourselves, "Chef Boy-r-Dee" because he loudly and consistantly criticized the food, and the service, and was "on" the staff like white on rice. "Shut up!!" was the nicest thing I told him after I cought him picking on a windjammer worker because the area was closed to prepare for dinner!! I only let my wife near the shops after dinner before the shows because some of the "ladies" would knock you down and over to get to the "sales" items!

The cruise was great, and I may have turned a couple of my friends on to booking another cruise! They all bought a next cruise booking number after telling them it never expires, and they get an on board credit when they Do book one.

Hope I didn't ramble too much! I really DO love to cruise!!
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:12 PM
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Welcome back to reality Jim, and thanks for the report!

When I did my back-to-back cruises on Liberty Of The Seas last December there was a jerk Diamond member who seemed to relish picking on the crew and walked around like he owned the ship. I had befriended some nice people on the first day of the first cruise and we hung out together every afternoon. We called the jerk a name I can't use here. Suffice to say, when one of us caught sight of him we'd announce 'here comes the *******'. The bartenders would laugh when we said it and shake their heads. They hated him too.
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