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  #91 (permalink)  
Old July 6th, 2012, 05:37 PM
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There won't be any entry to the Virtual Cruise today.

I spent some time interviewing Bruce Begovitch. I found what he is doing for Carnival, besides being a Cruise Director so interesting, I spent most of the afternoon trying to write the article.

Tomorrow I have an early morning tour when the ship stops in Messina, so the last sea day, I'll make it up with a posting covering both days.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Kuki, I hope you visit Taormina!!
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Old July 7th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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Have you ever went to bed feeling fine and wake up feeling terrible. Well, that's me today. I have come down with some sort of respiratory bug. My fever was 101.1 this morning and I am not up to going out to Messina. Betty is out there somewhere. I wonder if she'll find some Mafia Don and forget about me?

I have taken some pictures of our cabin. It is 8468 on the Breeze and it is a nice aft balcony. With the standard Carnival "plenty of space" and large balcony. It is probably the best overall cabin on the stern of the ship.















I still need to upload the Venice pictures to the gallery but when you take over 200 it's hard to whittle them down.

We're still having fun but Amoxicillin and Aspirin are my best friends right now.

Take care,
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Old July 7th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Oh Mike,
SO sorry to hear you got sick, give the meds a good 24 hours to kick in and you should be much better...Nice cabin shots....take care and get better quick.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Mike I sympathize with you,since my last 2 cruises I was sick, and I sure hope its a short time bug. Cabin, looks great, and the aft balcony makes me want to sigh.....Feel better!
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Old July 7th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Mike, thanks for posting pics of your cabin. Sorry you feel bad; that just makes it tough to have a good time. I hope you feel better and can have fun the remainder of your cruise.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
We're still having fun but Amoxicillin and Aspirin are my best friends right now.

Take care,
Mike
Hope you feel better fast. Not that it makes you feel better, but many many people on the ship are fighting some degree of respiratory bug.

Today on our bus back from Taormina, someone a couple of rows back was sneezing all the way back. Guess the entire bus will have some sort of related thing to that tomorrow or the next day.

I still think it's all relative to the extreme heat everyone's faced on this cruise, then into the air-conditioning.. and back and forth.

Hope we see you tomorrow. We're all talking about going "sliding" tomorrow around 11 AM.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 01:41 AM
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Breeze - Day 10 - At Sea-
I was getting on the elevator (I’d been on Deck 5), and I was heading to “my office” on Deck 11. On Deck 10, the elevator stopped, and a somewhat buff looking man in his 50s, wearing a full-on spandex exercise outfit got on (looking like he was going to the gym to work out). Then he got off on Deck 11 with me.

Too funny!

I was up on deck by 7 A.M. this morning, and all the folks with “Chair Hog Virus” were already scampering around, turning to and fro, trying to decide which loungers and chairs would be the best spot for them to mark, and never come back to.

It was yet another hot, sunny day, and the ship’s public areas, and decks did indeed feel crowded.

Loungers and chairs, both in the sun, and in the shade were at a premium on Decks 10,11 and 12, both at the central pool, and aft pool.
There always seemed to be some available on the widened Promenade Deck - Deck 5. Lots of sea day activities going on throughout the ship all day.

The afternoon trivia in Ocean Plaza was the busiest trivia group I’ve ever seen. They were lying on the floors, and filling the nearby aisles.
Throughout this cruise, I’ve noticed many, many people carrying the Blue “sail and spend” cards, meaning there is a large number of first time cruisers on board.

I’m making an assumption many of the blue card holders might be Europeans, as it would have been a bit of an unusual choice for first time cruisers. Of course, people may be experienced cruisers, just making this their first Carnival cruise.

On sea days, I try to do a lot of observing, while the ship “is in action”, with all the passengers onboard.

One such observation, which I think is a simply addressed thing to improve; there are no paper napkins by the self-serve ice cream and yogurt dispensers. With the heat we’ve been experiencing, those cones begin melting very quickly, and I’ve seen more than one just fall out of its cone, and onto the floor.

Another thing to note is there are no bars on Deck 11. At one point in the later afternoon, I did see a small temporary bar set up near the Seaside Theater, but this area is really under serviced for beverage serviced; and therefore costing the company a considerable amount of revenue, I believe.

At every port of call on this cruise, just prior to sail-a-away there are announcements looking for passengers arriving back to the ship at the last minute.

Fortunately, though close, on this cruise, we’ve left port with everyone back onboard.

But John Heald coined a great phrase. He’s be on the PA system, and say “there are the last “pier runners”!
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Old July 8th, 2012, 02:32 AM
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Day 11 - Final Port of Call - Messina, Sicily

As I headed up to Lido Deck this morning for coffee, I passed a young lady (in her 20s I’d say) stumbling up the hallway, obviously in the clothing she had been wearing the night before, and looking quite hung-over.

I’d hazard a guess, she did not spend the night in her own cabin. For her sake, I hope she wasn’t booked on a tour today that required a lot of hiking.

Along with some friends, I’d booked a ship’s tour for today; Taormina On Your Own. This tour provided transportation to and from the mountain side resort village of Taormina, with about 4 hrs. time to do whatever we pleased.

It is a lovely town, with some spectacular views to the sea below. The buses drop you at the bottom of the mountain, and you’re required to take an elevator up to the town.


There appeared to be several beautiful hotels in town. But, essentially, it’s a town compromised of a few churches, a Greek Theater, and mostly hundreds of shops, kiosks, and cafes.



We did stumble into a little cafe for lunch, and were rewarded with OUTSTANDING pizza. Also test drove the Canolli from another cafe.



It’s very scenic, but a lot like being in a shopping mall built into some almost ancient buildings. Aside from a ton of Italian souvenir and jewelry shops, most of the top recognizable clothing brands are also represented.


Still, it was a very enjoyable day. I got a purse for Mrs. Kuki. Good trade I thought! (OK, that is a very old joke). But, I did purchase a purse for her, and a beautiful Italian table cloth for my mother.

I’m not coming home empty handed dear!

Upon returning to the ship, we found hundreds of passengers, standing in line, in the heat, waiting to pass through Italian security control to get back into the pier area, by the ship. It was quite a mess, as the crowd was funneled through a single door into the building, to pass through security.

A group of us have been meeting nightly on the Lanai by Ocean Plaza, for drinks and conversation, prior to going to dinner in the Sapphire Dining Room, for “As You Wish” dining.

At about 6:15 John Heald came over the PA system, with the sold purpose of advertising the spa specials, specials available in the shop, and mentioning how spectacular the deals were.

I understand some announcements are necessary. But the blatant advertising announcements are too numerous, and eventually do come over as disingenuous.

BTW… the results of our switching to As You Wish Dining, from the traditional assigned dining time - where we’d found our service lacking - has been nothing but positive.

And tonight at dinner we truly struck gold, getting a table with Magdalena, in the center of the Sapphire Room, on the lower level, on deck 3.

She may be the best dining room server I have ever encountered and enjoyed, including those on the luxury lines. She really should be training the rest of the dining room servers on how the job is done properly.

The first thing she did was go around the table, asking (and writing down) everyone’s name. Then, throughout the meal service, she addressed everyone by name.

She made the time for some friendly banter, made some recommendations on the dinner selection, and provided almost an almost perfect dinner service.
It’s only a shame we didn’t find her until now. But, we’ll be certain to ask for one of her tables again, for our last dinner, even if we do have to wait for a spot to become available in her section.

Since the switch to As You Wish Dining we’ve never had to wait for a table. We’ve arrived at several different times, and have been seated immediately.
 
Last night there was a woman banging on my cabin door until about 4 in the morning. I finally got up and let her out. (Ok another OLD joke ).
 
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Last edited by Kuki; July 8th, 2012 at 05:10 AM.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 04:06 AM
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I haven’t previously posted my disclaimer, asking for your forgiveness.

All of these posts, uploading pictures, and embedding pictures is done either late at night, when returning to my cabin, or early in the morning.

Please forgive all the typos and grammar mistakes. Other than spell check, I do not take time to do any further editing, so what you see is often a “raw” end product.

Despite the errors I do hope you have enjoyed cruising along with me, and Mike.

I leave the ship early Monday morning, to hopefully catch my 8 A.M. flight to North America. I’ll try and post more while I’m passing a few hours in the lounge in the airport in Barcelona.

During my overseas flight I'll try and complete with what I think is a very interesting inteview with Butch Begovich, and get it posted by Tues. or Wed.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Kuki, I so love Taormina as well...my desktop has a great shot of the town entrance....but, we didn't take an elevator??

Sounds like your cruise was filled with fun, and, friends, new, and old, and, a good time was had by all...Safe travels home.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Kuki, I so love Taormina as well...my desktop has a great shot of the town entrance....but, we didn't take an elevator??

Sounds like your cruise was filled with fun, and, friends, new, and old, and, a good time was had by all...Safe travels home.
Trip.. look in my photo gallery, there's probably a similar picture there

I am not at all surprised you loved it; shops, shops and more shops.

Though I'm a bit surprised you didn't have problems walking up and down some of those hilly streets.

A few tours did drop off at the top of mtn. But the majority were in a massive parking area, at the bottom.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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I came down to the Lanai, outside of Ocean Plaza to try and check in online for my flight tomorrow.

"Uncle Bob" happened to be sitting here, so he was on for the full cruise.

He was so kind about the inteview I wrote that's on our Home Page (sure, what's he going to say to my face ).
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Old July 8th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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Kuki, I was a soldier, walking all over ...daunting, yes, but, I so wanted to not miss a thing. I might have been at the back of our tours, that's why I did most on my own, so not to make anyone wait for me.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Betty is busy packing and I just did our online check-in for tomorrow evenings flight to Amsterdam. It's going to be a long day at the airport but I will post all my photos and my final update from there. I'll have fast Internet and I am about out of minutes.

It's been a wonderful cruise with new and old friends getting together. It really was special and I'm sad to see it end.

After tomorrow you won't hear too much from me until mid-August. I'll check in but I don't know from where or when.

Post more tomorrow.

Take care,
Mike
ok ok Betty: I'll help pack.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Mike, thanks for your reports! Have a great tour through Europe; I am envious.

Marc
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Old July 8th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Gentlemen:
I am a new comer here. I would like to commend you on this very complete and factual real-time review. I have written several real-time reviews in the past and know how time consuming it can be. Thank you again!
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Old July 9th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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Woke up at 4:30 AM to do self assist disembarkation, to make and 8 AM flight.

Disembark was delayed until 6:15 by Spanish authorities. Yet, by taxi, the trip to the airport is short, and I did make my flight, as well as my connecting flight in Frankfurt. Arrived home, as did my luggage.

Door to door, it was a 17 hr. travel day.

Will end with odds and ends and a bit of summary, once my head clears.
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Old July 9th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Welcome home Toots
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Old July 9th, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Welcome home Kuki. Will be watching for your finish up on the cruise.
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Old July 10th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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A big thanks to you, Mike and Nancy for all your posts on this cruise. Allowed me to "almost" feel like I was there with you. Hopefully, we will be on the Breeze in Nov and I sure enjoyed all the advance pics and info. You guys did a super job!
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Old July 10th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Thank you Kuki and Mike for your virtual review. I know it cost money to use internet on the ship; and sometimes the connection is slow; but you guys still put together a wonderful report.
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Old July 11th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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Though I haven't yet wrote the final stages of this Virtual Cruise, my Blog post this week in fact is about an aspect of this cruise....

Cruisemates Blog » Great Service Makes The Food Taste Better – Kuki
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Old July 11th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Kuki:

I'm sorry that my daughters & you never got a chance to meet, and also that your dining room experience was lacking. I was following your posts, and when I picked my oldest daughter up from the airport Monday night, I asked her about their service at their table. Obviously, it was the servers you had, as Jen stated her service was very good, as well as the food! She will be platinum on her next cruise in January, so she knows what to expect. And I agree...."Great Service Makes The Food Taste Better".
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Old July 11th, 2012, 04:06 PM
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I hope you let John Heald know about this fine young woman.
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Old July 15th, 2012, 10:58 PM
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I was going to write a summary for this report, but since I've managed to complete my review of the ship for CruiseMates, that's now up on our Home Page, I'll just post the link to the review here....
Carnival Breeze Ship Review; food, entertainment, staterooms, itinerary and service.

If any of the folks who were on the ship the same time have been reading, I'd love for you to share your opinions and experiences here as well.
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