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Monday, October 7, 2013

AMA Waterways – La Marguerite – 7 night Mekong River Cruise

AMA Waterways – La Marguerite – 7 night Mekong River Cruise - Vietnam, Cambodia & The Riches of Mekong, September 2013 – Customer Review
La Marguerite
Angkor Wat
http://www.amawaterways.com/ships/la-marguerite

G'day Carrie,
Just back in Saigon from 2 days in Vung Tau having a drink with a couple of ex Army buddies who are resident there.
I enjoyed my cruise; everything went well apart from one hiccup. The two days in Phnom Penh were cut to one due to the political unrest in the city with several main streets being barricaded. Most passengers toured the 'killing fields', the prison & Royal palace.
Was impressed by AMA that all land content was included in the cruise price, all boat transfers along the river, pick up by buses, ox-cart & rickshaw rides. Pax only had to tip the various drivers a dollar here & there. Food on board was good, breakfast was plentiful and with lunch & dinner, wines & beer were gratis. After dinner, local beer & local vodka, rum, gin, Scotch was also free.  The staff were always friendly & eager to please. All staff = 40 crew members.
Peter's Category C cabin
Ship caters for 92 but we had 78. Mainly Canadians (some agents on Famils) & Americans, and a couple of Brits. I flew the flag for Oz.
I had 4 days in Siem Reap beforehand and checked out several attractions there including Angkor Wat. The other pix show my cabin, the ship, life along the river, different villages & temples.
I would recommend this cruise to everyone, very slow & easy.

Cheers.............Peter.
Note: Peter traveled solo occupancy in a category C cabin.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

San Francisco


San Francisco – Made for love, culture, food, shopping, architecture, sightseeing, history.

 My boyfriend just took me to San Francisco to celebrate my big 40th birthday!  We had never been before and knew that if we planned nothing, there would be a ton of things for us to do.  Well, we didn’t really plan anything and it is very true, it was non-stop adventure!

 One of the very few things I had to do was go over the Golden Gate Bridge.  There is something to be said about that majestic structure.  When I saw it for the first time, I gasped.  We were so far away from it and yet it appeared so strong and in front of us like it was the Mayor of the city watching over its special places.  We rented bicycles and rode over it.  A great, fun and active few hours.

From the air, San Francisco looks flat, but when you start walking those streets, they are up and down and I’m talking ladder hiking up some of the streets.  Lombard Street – the world’s most crooked street.


Our new favourite restaurant where we could eat at every day was so delicious!  It is a must to try when in SFO.  We found this place in the Chestnut Street Shops area.  After we finished eating, we walked through the rest of the street and found many more cafes/restaurants that we wish we were hungry for.  They all looked so good, and the people of San Francisco packed those places.



 

I have to mention Fisherman’s Wharf because it is a famous seafood lover’s paradise.  I however needed to grin and bear it for my boyfriend as he was in heaven.  Shop after shop of any seafood you could eat.  One of the sayings was:  “If it swims, we have it.”  Most of the shops below have been there since 1907!

 

 
We stayed at the fabulous


Luxury and class at its finest.  Spectacular views of the city, atop a hill in the middle of every place you desire to visit. 

The Room      
The Lounge

  
We loved this city so much that we have decided to make it out annual getaway! 

 I highly recommend stopping in San Francisco for 2 days prior to a cruise.  Get a taste of this port before sailing up to Alaska or through California to Mexico.  You will need the rest on the ship from all that walking!

 Jackie Froese – Travel Executive

KVI TRAVEL

1-888-768-6777 ext. 305

Jackie@kvitravel.ca

Monday, April 8, 2013

Regent Seven Seas navigator inspection


Regent Seven Seas Navigator Report
 
On Monday, April 1, 2013 Carol and I were guests aboard the smallest of Regent’s three ships, the Navigator.  Looking back on the visit, a few remarkable impressions stand out.
 
At just 28,550 tons and 490 guests, the Navigator is a “boutique” in today’s cruise market.  When you consider the crew size of 325 (1 ½ guests for every crew member), you begin to understand what the Navigator is all about.   Understated elegance with personal service makes the guest feel comfortable immediately.
 
We found ourselves forgetting the size of the ship because all of the amenities found on larger ships are still present—only scaled down from the newer jumbo ships.  The full height atrium with glass elevators contributes to the “full size” feeling, as do the staterooms.  The smallest you will find aboard are 301 Sq. Ft.  80% of the 245 staterooms have balconies, while the rest have windows.  Even the passageways are wider than found on larger ships.  All of this contributes to the spacious feeling we found.
 
The ship itself is a perfect fit for Regent’s all-inclusive concept.  The company, admittedly, is not the cruise line for everyone.  Regent is a good match for the 50+ guest who prefers to pay one price for their vacation and then put their wallet away.  Regent’s pricing can cause a bit of sticker shock at first, but when guests consider that items like airfare, transfers, pre and post cruise hotels, gratuities, shore excursions, premium adult beverages as well as soft drinks are all provided at no additional charge, the bottom line comparison to other cruise lines is favorable.  On certain departures, bonuses that can be used for spa services are also offered in the base price.  This kind of pricing requires a knowledgeable agent to make the bottom line comparison and explain the value.  This is why Regent values their relationship with Vacation.com and the member agents.
 
On our visit, we only had time for lunch, but my report would not be complete without commenting on the food and service in the dining room.  We have been on 39 cruises on dozens of ships and the food and service in the main dining room was on a level with specialty restaurants on other ships.  The house wines were a treat and the glass never emptied.  The main course and desert will always be remembered.  We envied the guests who were boarding as we departed.
 
If you are the kind of cruiser who prefers a higher category stateroom on the larger ships and spends money while onboard, you must take a closer look at the Regent sailings.
 
Philip and Carol Doyle
KVI agents
Fort lauderdale, Florida
954-817-9042

 

Monday, October 15, 2012


Hi Everyone,

 

Jackie Froese, one KVI’s Head Office Luxury Travel Boutique Managers, has sent in an interview with her clients who have just returned from an Azamara cruise in the Mediterranean.  Here it is…  

 

My clients just came back from 2 back to back cruises on the Azamara Quest on the Adriatic Coast - Venice, Italy, the hidden gem of Croatia to magnificent Greece, Sicily, Amalfi Coast, Isle of Capri, to Rome and back to Venice.  What a fabulous itinerary!

 

Longer stays, more overnights, night touring

 

I asked them how it went, and here is how they responded:

 

-How was your vacation? 

“We had the best vacation ever!!!”

 

-Would you go on Azamara again?

“Absolutely, they are our new favourite cruise line”

 

-What was one favorite thing that gave you a great smile? On the ship, off the ship.

“We loved sitting at the back of the ship every night enjoying a glass of wine and marvelling at the view and Rome was incredible”

 

-Did you love your room, did you take advantage of your balcony often?

“Room was smaller than average (compared to newer smaller ships) as was the balcony but I did sit out there every morning.  The bathroom was also very small which spoke to the age of the ship.” (Good thing Azamara is going through tremendous renovations now!)

 

-How were the amenities onboard?

“Exceptional, as was the service, really beyond compare.”

 

-Is there something you would like to suggest for what KVI/Azamara can improve on?

“The back to back itinerary was extraordinary, I would suggest marketing that strongly as people probably do not initially consider it—especially on Azamara where it seems the itinerary changes from cruise to cruise”

“We will certainly call Jackie Froese when we are next looking to cruise (which will be sooner rather than later!)”

 

Absolutely fabulous!  Thank you for your positive and constructive responses Heather and Brent!

 

Please think of going on an Azamara Cruise Vacation.  With brand new options of:

INCLUSIVE AMENITIES

-                  NEW! AzAmazing Evenings event on every voyage

-                  NEW! Select standard spirits, international beers and wines at all ship bars

-                  NEW! Selection of international beers plus wines at lunch and dinner

-                  Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas throughout the ship

-                  English-trained butlers for suite guests

-                  Self-service laundry

-                  Shuttle service to and from ports, where available

-                  Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

 

BOOK NOW

Prices will increase on November 1, 2012. Your 2013 Europe voyage will include:  

-        ChoiceAir® credit of up to $2,000 per couple on select European sailings

-        Up to 50% savings on brochure fares

-        Gratuities

-         AzAmazing EveningsSM event on every voyage

-        A host of inclusive amenities

 

 

Jackie

Jackie Froese

KVI Travel


250-980-1600 (or toll free 1-888-768-6777) ext. 305
 
 
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Paul Gauguin 2012 - South Pacific Luxury Cruise




KVI's top-selling travel professional team, Scott & Kim Leeming have recently returned from their second adventure aboard the Paul Gauguin.  Kim has put togather an amazing review that deserves to be read directly on her own website, so rather than copy it here, I encourage you all to click the following link and take a look:

http://www.selectsailingsandtours.com/paulgauguin_review.html

Paul Gauguin Cruises was so impressed with Kim's review, that they have posted in directly on their own facebook page  (http://www.facebook.com/PGCruises).

This is a review, and a cruise, that you certainly don't want to miss.  The Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific has consistently been named as the world's most romantic cruise - something you might want to highlight when speaking with your valued clients...

Kyle

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


The Kimberley on Orion Expedition Cruises - April 2012 


Hi Everyone,

KVI Travel's agent in Australia, Carrie Stalbow, has just returned from an adventure aboard an Orion Expedition cruise.  Here is her excellent review!


A review by Carrie Stalbow
 

Sailing on the Orion could be thought of as an Expedition, rather than a cruise; and guests could think of themselves as Adventurers, rather than tourists.

To view my photo gallery please click here:
Run your mouse over the photos to see comments or double click to open in full.

How would I describe the Kimberley?

Truly awesome, rugged, surprising, secretive, huge, remote (We had no mobile phone signal for 10 days!), hot, dry, isolated, dangerous and all at once beautiful, red, natural, ancient, ecological, historic, silent, adventurous, challenging and a photographer or artist’s dream come true.  The Kimberley is incomprehensively vast – 3 times the size of England or you could fit all of Germany or Texas inside it. We got the feeling that we have gone to another planet, as we don’t see any other proof of human life-form, no tourists, no other sailing vessels, no buildings, no distant shore lights at night, only the Aboriginal Rock Art, which could have been painted by Martians for all we know! The Kimberley is totally unique to Australia.

Seeing the Kimberley from the Orion – simply stunning; our best cruise experience to date!

Why did we book on the Orion?

We were desperate to go away, and being a cruise specialist, I had plenty of information at my fingertips.  We had long dreamed of doing a Kimberley expedition on the Orion after being seduced at one of their promotional presentations. In fact all their exotic and remote destinations are on our “Bucket List”. I was lucky enough to secure a good rate on the very last cabin (a Junior Suite!) for the Kimberley cruise departing 13 April, which meant that we didn’t have to bother with international flights. We flew from Sydney to Darwin; we booked a few nights post cruise in Broome at Cable Beach Resort (highly recommended) and Perth, flying home from there. What a great decision and it will go down as one of our most memorable holidays ever.

What is life like onboard the Orion?

Let’s start with the specs for the “boaties” amongst you...take a look at the MV Orion description page http://www.orionexpeditions.com/ship/orion/ship

She is small, elegant, and the feeling I got when stepping aboard, was one of ownership…so this is what it’s like to be a billionaire with your own private mega-yacht, highly skilled crew at your disposal, tempting you to culinary delights, and spoiling you with exquisite comfort.  At the gangway, Captain Vincent (a 35yr old Frenchman) was there to personally greet us and we immediately felt at home.  We are very happy with our cabin; it is stunning, very roomy and stylish, wood finishes in a very traditional boat style and as we are in the bow, our ceiling slopes down over our bed heads...just like the forward cabin on a private yacht! It doesn’t take long to find your way around the Orion, being only 7 decks and 100 metres long, and there is just one of everything you need…one dining room, one tiny gym, one tiny reception, one tiny library, one tiny hair/beauty salon, one tiny shop, one massage room, one lecture theatre, actually 2 lounges and deck seating areas, one Jacuzzi on deck. If you need showgirls and casinos – forget it; this is not the cruise for you. However, the entertainment duo, Kathy and Terry were very versatile, lulling us with mellow music to sip cocktails to in the lounge; inspiring us to the dance floor with lively Rock n Roll numbers on the deck, testing our brains with quizzes, and coordinating the fabulous crew show at the end of the trip.

The ship has a very casual feel about it, and mostly we were in shorts and T-shirts, no formal nights, just “smart casual”. No ships’ photographers snapping at you and selling you over-priced mug-shots. Nor do they push drinks at you; drinks are reasonable, and there is a Wine Package available.  The atmosphere is one of a private party to which everyone is invited and participates.

We go to “school” every day to the lecture theatre, where the expedition team does an excellent job of educating us on the region; its history, fascinating geology, evolution, culture and Aboriginal art history; what we are likely to see and even how to take the best photos. The expeditions are organized with efficiency and flexibility, and the witty and animated team whips us into an excited frenzy for the next days’ adventures. Camaraderie develops amongst guests sharing challenges, achievements and fishing prowess.

For more details on the ship, see http://www.orionexpeditions.com

Who are the passengers on board?

Our fellow passengers are people of exceptional character and spirit with a healthy thirst for knowledge, a down to earth, unassuming, friendly and relaxed manner, and we feel more like we are having a private party with them on our own boat. There was a spread of age groups, ranging from a 21 yr old student travelling with his mum, to a spritely 93 year old lady who participated in everything going. Out of 100 pax, I’d say 80% were Australian, and then a mixture of European and American. Mostly, I would say, the guests were 50’s to 70’s with the majority being pretty fit, spirited, well travelled; more like explorers than tourists. In fact we were often engaged in lively past travels conversations; one couple had done a tour to see the Gorillas in Rwanda, and another had stayed at the Ice Hotel in Norway and countless tales of previous cruises. They were from a very mixed range of working backgrounds; we met a bus driver, several teachers and nurses, retired farmers, business people, professionals, academics, an Aboriginal lecturer and even a retired Qantas Chief Pilot (I knew I knew his face!). We were lucky enough to be entertained by one of our fellow passengers, who just happened to be a concert pianist, and we were treated to a magical half hour recital before dinner one evening. Another lady was a modest but revered sculptress in Australia who has completed many public commissioned statues around the country. We left the ship with so many new friends, and already there has been lively email and phone communications, and we have plans to meet up next month. For me, this social aspect of cruising on such a small ship was a major highlight.

How good is the food?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say 12! Dinner menus feature signature dishes crafted for the Orion by Sydney chef Serge Dansereau of the famed Bathers Pavilion Restaurant, Balmoral, Sydney and served by delightful Philippine waiters who will know exactly how you like your coffee after a day or so. And yes, they actually have good coffee on the Orion – a first for us on cruise ships. Often on cruises, you will get quantity but not quality, well this is not the opposite, as there is more than enough, but the standard is the best we have ever experienced at sea. Dining is usually in the Constellation Restaurant and is intended to be a leisurely and sociable experience without fixed table assignments. By the end of the cruise, this is a surefire way of getting to know almost all of the 100 pax on board. We were also treated to a spectacular Seafood BBQ on the deck one night (including our own fishermen’s catch of that day), and an Aussie BBQ on the deck another night. Passengers can also choose to book a table on the deck on their own or with a group as a nightly alternative. We chose to dine alone on the back deck one evening…very romantic; under the stars, no wind, warm…magic!

Excursions on the Zodiacs (motorized rubber boats)

This is how we disembark at each destination when not docked, and all excursions on the zodiacs, tender or on “BeeKay”, Orion’s own fishing vessel are included.

We step off the back deck straight into the open zodiacs, usually just 6 of us, to a max of 10, and zoom straight off on an adventure….I’m Katherine Hepburn in ‘African Queen’, I’m Paul Hogan in ‘Crocodile Dundee’, I’m ‘Red Dog’!! This is so exhilarating and every sight we see is a “WOW” – no wonder I took 688 photos in 10 days. We get up close and personal to crocodiles and other wildlife, stunning rock formations and waterfalls (actually went under King Georges Falls which was a very welcome cooling off). Landings are either “wet” on a beach or “dry” to some boulders to explore, walk or climb further. The expedition team even found us a wonderful freshwater swimming hole area, aptly named “Crocodile Creek” (but no crocs of course, only our lovely waiters serving us Margaritas from the rocks to sip whilst we swam). What a life, I could get used to this!

Are there fishing expeditions?

Fishing expeditions on the M.V.Orion are conducted daily depending on suitable locations, schedule early a.m., mid-morning and late afternoon usually for a 2 hour outing. The most successful excursions were those that fished the top/bottom of the tides. The boat, “BeeKay” used was a 7-8 metre aluminum run-about fitted out to accommodate 4 fishing from swivel chairs. All tackle/baits provided by the boatman; he would even bait your lines if needed. Fish caught varied from golden snapper, queen fish, cod, sharks, tuna; fish of all sizes certainly the dinner plate variety. For those into fishing, this is an expedition not to be missed.

What makes the Orion so special?

It’s always the little extra touches that do it:

·       For example, we have been out on the Zodiacs for over an hour, and we are hot, thirsty and disheveled, when all of a sudden they swing the boats around behind a rock, and there are our waiters hiding on another Zodiac with an Orion umbrella up, popping champagne corks ready to hand us the flutes, together with ham and cheese croissants and enormous smiles! 

·       All the staff on board go out of their way (literally) to ensure you are looked after if not spoilt:  I happened to be in the upper lounge on my own (trying to write this up) and desperate for a cup of tea, and yet no staff were around. I happened to see the singer walking past and asked her if she could ring a waiter to come; instead she went all the way down to the other lounge with my order and my cuppa promptly appeared. And as I mentioned earlier, the teas (an enormous loose leaf selection) and coffee on this ship are the best we have experienced, and we are both very fussy!

·       Everything is highly personalized, and the atmosphere on board is always upbeat and fun. We always felt completely safe and enriched by the attentive, excellent humored and knowledgeable Expedition team on board.

Where does the Orion go?

On this Kimberley cruise, we sailed from Darwin to Broome for 10 days. The destinations within the Kimberley are: Wyndham (from where we did the spectacular and included flight over the Bungle Bungles, Argyle Diamond Mine and Lake Argyle), King George River, Vansittart Bay, Hunter River, Raft Point, Montgomery Reef, Talbot Bay, and Yampi Sound. She also does this trip in reverse, and stays in the Kimberley region for 5 months from April to September. For more details on the itinerary see http://www.orionexpeditions.com/expeditions/kimberley/voyage_summary

And for other destinations see www.orionexpeditions.com 

Leaving the ship we are sad, emotional, and lonely, we feel like we are leaving our closest family and friends. Luckily for us, many of the passengers, like us, were extending their holiday at Cable Beach in Broome, so for a few more days, the party continued at the Sunset Bar on the beach at 5pm until eventually everyone went their separate ways.

There are so many other expeditions and areas covered by the Orion, and I would love to do one of the Borneo cruises to see the Orangutan sanctuaries or the primitive PNG destinations or brave the challenge of Antarctica…. I can dream, can’t I?
- Carrie Stalbow
KVI Travel Australia
+61 (0)419 682231
carrieoncruising@kvi.travel
www.kvi.travel

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carnival Magic 7 day Caribbean from Galveston

Feb 5, 2012 Carnival Magic 7 day cruise from Galveston with stops in Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.

I read some reviews prior to booking this cruise and they were all over the board. This is my 15th cruise, and I’ve cruised with 6 different lines. The Carnival Magic is my favorite ship thus far, and I’ll explain why in the overview.

Transportation:
I was traveling with two girlfriends and my 85 year old father in law and his girlfriend. We flew into Houston George Bush Airport and grabbed a yellow cab to Galveston. The fare was $133 plus tip and there are plenty of vans to accommodate up to 6 people. Transfers on Carnival are $80 rt and $60 rt from Houston Hobby Airport. Galveston Limo offers scheduled service for $50 ow pp. It’s about a 90 minute drive from Bush airport.

Hotel:
We stayed at the Quality Inn and Suites on the Seawall in Galveston. They offer a free breakfast, wi-fi, and parking, and prices ranged from $60-$120 a night. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping within walking distance of this hotel. We rented a car from Enterprise the following day and walked the downtown area known as “The Strand”. From there we took the Ferry Ride in hopes of seeing dolphins, and we weren’t disappointed. Check out Galveston.com for things to do and enjoy a relaxing day or two in this charming gulf coast city before boarding your cruise. We happened to arrive just before Mardi Gras and it was fun to drive the neighborhoods and see beautiful old homes and shops that were decorated for the festive event.




Galveston Home ready for Mardi Gras



Carnival Magic
Boarding time was 12:30pm, but we arrived at noon and were able to check in and board the ship early. There were no lines and we went straight to the lido deck for lunch.



Food:
The food options were plentiful, and I think we tried them all. My favorite was the pasta bar at Cucina Del Capitano. There is a $12 service charge for a menu option dinner, but lunch is free. You can select the type of pasta, sauce, and toppings and they will prepare it and bring it to you at your table. Very yummy. Pam liked the Indian food, Gene liked the Deli sandwiches and Panini’s. Liz enjoyed the salad bar, and Jan preferred the buffet. The Mongolian grill was very good, as well as the pizza, and there was a tasty BBQ offered during sea days on the lanai deck.

We booked the cruise a month before sailing and early dinners were N/A, so we requested the same waiters and time for our anytime dining and it worked very well for us. Lobster is still on the menu along with some of my other favorites, prime rib, chateaubriand, fillet mignon, and panko breaded shrimp. The famous chocolate melting cake is offered every night, and espresso is free with dessert.

Entertainment:
We set sail on Superbowl Sunday and were happy to see that the game could be watched at the Seaside Theater, Showtime Theater, bars, and in our staterooms. Perfect superbowl food and appetizers were provided as well.

My favorite show was Destination Unknown on Wednesday night starring illusionist Jason Byrne and the Carnival Magic singers and Dancers. I think a young boy in the audience summed it up at the end of the show when he shouted out, “Awesome!”

The welcome aboard show gave us a taste of comedians Just June, and John Wesley Austin and we saw several acts in the Punchliner Comedy club which offered 5 shows a night. Two family shows and 3 adult only shows. Midweek, new comedians Mutzie and Tommy Drake arrived on board to bring different styles and more laughs for the audience. It’s a good idea to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early as each show becomes standing room only.

We enjoyed the 70’s show “The Groove Line” and the interactive sports related show “Win”, and Marcus Anthony had the crowd dancing in the aisles with sweet soul music on Friday night. We sang with Imani in the Piano Bar, but couldn’t quite stay awake long enough to go dancing in the Vibe nightclub.

Karaoke was offered several times a day at the ocean plaza on the Promenade deck which could be good or bad depending on who was on stage. This was the first time I’ve seen it in an open venue and the jury is still out as to whether this is a good idea.




MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA
Everyone was anxious to visit our first port of call, but we decided to stay aboard for a couple hours longer and try out the water slides and kick back in the hammocks on the Serenity deck while there were no crowds. This was a good move as we were able to walk off the ship without any lines or waiting. We grabbed a taxi, did a little shopping and hung out at Doctor’s Cave Beach. Admission is $5 and the drinks aren’t cheap, but the water is clear and warm and we were able to get slow but free wireless internet. A block or two away at the Flamingos shop next to food 4 less, I paid $3 for faster internet and caught up with family and friends back home.





This man feeds the tarpons twice a day at the Paradise Bar and Grill.



GRAND CAYMAN
We walked and shopped andgot some nice photos of the cool caribbean buildings before grabbing a taxi out to cemetery beach for some good snorkeling. From there we flagged the local bus (van) and headed to a beach with food and drinks. The taxi is $5pp, and the bus is $2pp and runs every 10 minutes, so it is pretty easy to get around. Grand Cayman is very clean and upscale with no signs of poverty. There were huge tenders to take us ashore, and we didn’t have any problem with lines.





Cemetary Beach offers shade and good snorkeling.


COZUMEL MEXICO
Carnival has a nice new pier with lots of shops and some restaurants. Taxis have regulated prices for different zones and 7 of us shared a ride out to Paradise Beach Resort for $28. For only $2 you can get a chair by the beautiful big pool or hang out at the beach under an umbrella or palm tree. For $12 more you can enjoy the water toys which include a trampoline, kayaks, and snorkels. This is a great spot and good price and I would recommend it to anyone.







Overview:
Aside from the wonderful shower massage, the thing I liked best about the ship is the ability to escape the crowd. Deck 5 has a full walk around deck and I was able to walk a mile every morning and only pass a handful of people. There are two very large hot tubs on each side of this deck and I never shared my hot tub with more than four other people. There is a café on deck five with fresh waffles and a limited breakfast and I never saw a line there. You could enjoy a peaceful breakfast on the lanai and never know that you are sharing the ship with 3600 other people. Of course you could order room service and get that same feeling as long as you were in a balcony cabin which I highly recommend. This ship truly has something for everyone and I was very impressed.

Disembarkation
It took about an hour to get through customs and get a cab. Many of the cabbies had worked into the wee hours of the morning for Mardi Gras and were unavailable for the ships’ passengers. The taxi driver assured me that there are normally plenty of drivers.

Princess and Disney will set sail from Galveston in September giving passengers more options. I think this is a good alternative for west coast folks who are tired of the Mexico itinerary and don’t want to travel to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale to get to the Caribbean. It’s certainly convenient for the local Texans who make up over half of the passengers on these sailings.