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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:55 AM
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Default Alternative dining option on Constellation

I know I am driving everyone crazy with this nickle and diming about stuff, but I keep thinking of them.

As I read the reviews on Cruisemates (not reader reviews) about Constellation, they talk about an alternate dining venue that is set up each night in the aft portion of the Grill. Supposedly has waiters and linen, etc. They say it is open from 6:30 to 9:30, and you need to make a reservation. It is not a buffet. There is a menu.

Has anyone had any experience with this?

Thanks again,

Sid1962
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Old February 25th, 2009, 02:45 PM
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Haven't been on the Constellation- but I have been on other Celebrity ships. The alternative casual dining is excellent. This is where Celebrity trains their waiters so service is excellent (the wait staff wants to be promoted to the main dining room). It is not the same menu as the main dining room - the food is very good. Since it is a smaller venue, the food is more cooked to order. There is an additional charge of $2 per person (that covers the tip), but we had such excellent service we tipped extra.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Alternative dining option on Constellation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid1962
I know I am driving everyone crazy with this nickle and diming about stuff, but I keep thinking of them.

As I read the reviews on Cruisemates (not reader reviews) about Constellation, they talk about an alternate dining venue that is set up each night in the aft portion of the Grill. Supposedly has waiters and linen, etc. They say it is open from 6:30 to 9:30, and you need to make a reservation. It is not a buffet. There is a menu.

Has anyone had any experience with this?

Thanks again,

Sid1962
Hello,
We just returned from a Connie sailing and did try the Alternative dining. This dining has limited menu choices that include one special each evening. If you do elect to dine casual, may I suggest the Bacon Spinach for your salad choice and the scallops as your appetizer. These two selections brought us back to casual dining on 2 more occasions. Casual Dining also offers an Entree "special" each evening.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Thanks for the info. We will be sure to try the salad and scallops. Do we need reservations, and if so, how do we make them?

We have decided that we are not going to do the formal nights any more, and really didn't want to do the buffet. So this will be a great alternative.

Thanks again,

Sid1962
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Alternative dining option on Constellation

Sid1962,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I know I am driving everyone crazy with this nickle and diming about stuff, but I keep thinking of them.

As I read the reviews on Cruisemates (not reader reviews) about Constellation, they talk about an alternate dining venue that is set up each night in the aft portion of the Grill. Supposedly has waiters and linen, etc. They say it is open from 6:30 to 9:30, and you need to make a reservation. It is not a buffet. There is a menu.

Has anyone had any experience with this?
Celebrity's "alternative casual dining" does offer a sit-down dining option with full table service for which you don't need to dress to dining room standards. Although it's advertised as "reservations only," they will accept walk-ins if they have space. Practically, it's a reasonable safety valve if you want a change of pace, but it is not intended as something that you would do every night of the cruise. There are three menus that rotate, so you would encounter the same menus every third evening if you were to do that. Also, Celebrity offers very little in the way of "alternative casual entertainment" -- a musician at a bar behind the buffet area and stateroom television are about the only options.

You should also be aware that the pizza and pasta bars in the buffet area remain open through the dinner hours and one of the serving lines in the buffet area becomes a suchi bar in the evening. These facilities do not require reservations, and the pasta bar does have salads.

Norm.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:35 PM
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Norm,

Thanks.

It's good to know that the pasta and pizza bars are also open during this time. When we were on Summit in 2004, we loved the pasta for lunch.

As I mentioned above, we just didn't want to do the formal night thing. We didn't do it on Adventure of the Sea last October, and were pretty happy about it. We were talked into going to the main dining room on one formal night (by the head waiter) even though we didn't bring any formal attire. We just felt a little out of place, and don't want to experience that again. Hence the questions on the alternate dining venues.

We by no means would wear shorts and the like to dinner; slacks and a nice shirt. We just didn't feel like lugging all the formal attire, or me renting a tux. We have done that a ton of times, and truth be told, for us it's wearing a bit thin.

So we will avail ourselves of the alternate dining venues on the formal nights. We will also do Oceans at least once.

Do you recall who you need to see for reservations by any chance?

Again, thanks a bunch.

Sid1962
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Old February 26th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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Sid1962,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
As I mentioned above, we just didn't want to do the formal night thing. We didn't do it on Adventure of the Sea last October, and were pretty happy about it. We were talked into going to the main dining room on one formal night (by the head waiter) even though we didn't bring any formal attire. We just felt a little out of place, and don't want to experience that again. Hence the questions on the alternate dining venues.

We by no means would wear shorts and the like to dinner; slacks and a nice shirt. We just didn't feel like lugging all the formal attire, or me renting a tux. We have done that a ton of times, and truth be told, for us it's wearing a bit thin.

So we will avail ourselves of the alternate dining venues on the formal nights. We will also do Oceans at least once.
Ah, are you aware that the "formal" evenings are the evenings when the main dining room serves up its best menus of the cruise the extra touches that don't happen on other evenings? Those are precisely the evenings when I would NOT miss dinner in the main dining room. By all means, either pack or rent the tux!

But your choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Do you recall who you need to see for reservations by any chance?
IIRC, there's a telephone number that you can call before 5:00 PM to make a reservation.

Norm.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Norm,

Again, thanks for the info.

Yes, we are aware that the dining on formal nights offers more than on other nights. But as I said, we have done formal nights, and at this point do not feel that what we would need to take/rent is worth it. We hope to eat at the alternate venue, then either take in a show, or scurry on over to the thalossotherapy pool to relax in the bubbles.

Now hopefully the a cappella singers are there......

Sid1962
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Old March 4th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Default Formal Nights

Ah Norm... we were on the Constellation in September and Parrot Pop was NOT out of place wearing a black jacket and pants..We were not drummed out of the dining room..there were a few others dressed less formally..i.e. without a jacket..and NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY at our table for eight wore a tux.. and these were certainly experienced cruisers.. We will being doing the Pacific Princess shortly and Parrot Pop will bring his dark and light sport jackets.. and even, I repeat even.. on an NCL cruise with freestyle dining he will do the same t hing.. The hassle of bringing a tux or renting one is a bit much for u s.. and as somebody said is "old hat'..did it for more than 20 years..enough..Oh yes.. I will be dressed to the "nines"..
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Old March 12th, 2009, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Formal Nights

Parrot Mom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Ah Norm... we were on the Constellation in September and Parrot Pop was NOT out of place wearing a black jacket and pants..We were not drummed out of the dining room..there were a few others dressed less formally..i.e. without a jacket..and NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY at our table for eight wore a tux.. and these were certainly experienced cruisers.. We will being doing the Pacific Princess shortly and Parrot Pop will bring his dark and light sport jackets.. and even, I repeat even.. on an NCL cruise with freestyle dining he will do the same t hing.. The hassle of bringing a tux or renting one is a bit much for u s.. and as somebody said is "old hat'..did it for more than 20 years..enough..Oh yes.. I will be dressed to the "nines"..
Yes, you are correct that a "tux" is not strictly necessary. The dress standard for the "formal" evenings is what's now called "modified black tie" -- which means that gents may wear either a dinner jacket outfit (or tuxedo) or a dark business suit and ladies may wear either a full length dress or a formal cocktail dress.

I do think that most passengers on Celebrity tend to be a bit dressier than most passengers on Princess, though the short cruises (four or five nights) in the Caribbean aboard MV Century may well be an exception.

Norm.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Formal Nights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Parrot Mom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Ah Norm... we were on the Constellation in September and Parrot Pop was NOT out of place wearing a black jacket and pants..We were not drummed out of the dining room..there were a few others dressed less formally..i.e. without a jacket..and NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY at our table for eight wore a tux.. and these were certainly experienced cruisers.. We will being doing the Pacific Princess shortly and Parrot Pop will bring his dark and light sport jackets.. and even, I repeat even.. on an NCL cruise with freestyle dining he will do the same t hing.. The hassle of bringing a tux or renting one is a bit much for u s.. and as somebody said is "old hat'..did it for more than 20 years..enough..Oh yes.. I will be dressed to the "nines"..
Yes, you are correct that a "tux" is not strictly necessary. The dress standard for the "formal" evenings is what's now called "modified black tie" -- which means that gents may wear either a dinner jacket outfit (or tuxedo) or a dark business suit and ladies may wear either a full length dress or a formal cocktail dress.

I do think that most passengers on Celebrity tend to be a bit dressier than most passengers on Princess, though the short cruises (four or five nights) in the Caribbean aboard MV Century may well be an exception.

Norm.
Over the years I think you and I have battled Norm, but I have never met a nastier group who think that Celebrity people are snobbish than on the Princess board that we are on.. Even on an NCL cruise that we have booked (horrors..lol), we will dress....
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Old March 15th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Formal Nights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
Parrot Mom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Ah Norm... we were on the Constellation in September and Parrot Pop was NOT out of place wearing a black jacket and pants..We were not drummed out of the dining room..there were a few others dressed less formally..i.e. without a jacket..and NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY at our table for eight wore a tux.. and these were certainly experienced cruisers.. We will being doing the Pacific Princess shortly and Parrot Pop will bring his dark and light sport jackets.. and even, I repeat even.. on an NCL cruise with freestyle dining he will do the same t hing.. The hassle of bringing a tux or renting one is a bit much for u s.. and as somebody said is "old hat'..did it for more than 20 years..enough..Oh yes.. I will be dressed to the "nines"..
Yes, you are correct that a "tux" is not strictly necessary. The dress standard for the "formal" evenings is what's now called "modified black tie" -- which means that gents may wear either a dinner jacket outfit (or tuxedo) or a dark business suit and ladies may wear either a full length dress or a formal cocktail dress.

I do think that most passengers on Celebrity tend to be a bit dressier than most passengers on Princess, though the short cruises (four or five nights) in the Caribbean aboard MV Century may well be an exception.

Norm.
Norm:

I hate to correct you but the dark business suit has been eliminated from the dress code. It now only states suit. I don't know if that is conforms to "modified black tie", whatever that might be as that is not in any of Celebrity's dress codes..


Formal

Ladies: Cocktail dress, gown or dressy pantsuit

Gentlemen: Tuxedo, suit or dinner jacket with slacks

Don
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Old March 18th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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When we were onboard Constellation this past November, we went to the alternative dining on 3 occasions. I highly recommend it. I believe for the first night, we made the reservation through the buffet manager. We requested a 4 top window table at 7 p.m. We were so impressed with the fact that our request was honored and the service was wonderful, we opted to book the same time/table for two more occasions, but we did that through the maitre' d at the alternative restaurant in the evening. My husband spoke to him after our first night's dinner and said how much we enjoyed it. We asked him if it would be a problem to make a standing reservation for a couple more nights, and he said no problem. One night we actually had our regular waiter from the dining room. Seems none of his diners showed up in the formal dining room so they sent him to the alternative dining that evening. We had a lot of fun with him that night. It is usually a venue where they are training waiters for the main dining room, so the servers go out of their way to make a good impression. It is recommended that you leave a $2/pp gratuity, but we left more than that since we received such wonderful service.

Jo-Ann
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Old May 15th, 2009, 01:43 AM
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Glad to hear all the positive reviews regarding alternative dining. We have sailed X numerous times and have yet to try it. Based on this page we certainly will on future cruises.

I must agree with a previous posting ...I would never try it on a formal night. These to me are the highlight nights. My wife insists the only reason I like cruises is to wear my tux. if it were up to me I'd wear my tux every night. I know that is not for everyone, however, I do enjoy dressing up.

Thanks for the info.

Charles
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Old May 15th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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If this is true, it is a shame, as it appears that those touches are what seem to many to make the dining experience special.

Having said that, it won't affect us very much. I know that I am very much in the minority, but it still bothers me to spend $30 additional for a meal that I already paid for in the cost of my cruise. We are perfectly happy to dine in the MDR or casual dining.

And I might add that the food in the MDR on our Century 4/25 TA was back to the Celebrity standard. On our last Celebrity cruise on Galaxy in 2008, the food was not up to par for us, & we were glad to see that it appears to have been the exception, not the rule.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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Hi Sid1962:

We've eaten in the Informal Dining on the Constellation many times and have received good service. The wait staff, IMHO was a little more "rough around the edges", as daysatsea indicated, it's a training ground for the gents who are moving towards food service in the San Marco (main) Dining.

I agree with Norm regarding the dress on Princess vs. Celebrity, after my 2-week Amazon cruise on Princess. IMHO pax do tend to "dress up" more on =X=.

Sid1962, I hear you about running to Thallossotherapy after dinner. That's why I like the main dining. Nothing like a soak after dinner (if I'm not enjoying the show).
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triton
Hi Sid1962:

We've eaten in the Informal Dining on the Constellation many times and have received good service. The wait staff, IMHO was a little more "rough around the edges", as daysatsea indicated, it's a training ground for the gents who are moving towards food service in the San Marco (main) Dining.

I agree with Norm regarding the dress on Princess vs. Celebrity, after my 2-week Amazon cruise on Princess. IMHO pax do tend to "dress up" more on =X=.

Sid1962, I hear you about running to Thallossotherapy after dinner. That's why I like the main dining. Nothing like a soak after dinner (if I'm not enjoying the show).

Hi Triton,

Regarding the dress code of Princess vs X...it can also be said that there appears to be a higher dress awareness on X vs RCI.

I for one happen to enjoy dressing up and look forward to as many formal nights as possible. This I realize is not for everyone so we each have to decide for ourselves.

Charles
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Old May 15th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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So true, ChazR. It's interesting to watch how pax behave, or carry themselves when dressed up, isn't it? I know a few complain, but when it's all said and done, feel better for poking those studs through the shirt, lol.

I didn't know that about RCI, thanks for sharing that piece of information. I need to them out, but will save that for our next "family vacation" with our 2 college kids. One of them has been on =X= with us (twice) and she loved it. I know they will enjoy the activities for the young adults on one of the RCI ships.

Happy sailing to you!
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:19 PM
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We used the alternative dining (which I will from now of refer to as AD as I am tired of typing it out all the time) on all but 2 nights on our 3/27 Connie cruise. The other nights we had pasta and stir fry.

In any case, alternate dining is the way we will go on X from now on until Select Dining is available and we see how it operates.

Triton, you are correct when you viewed the servers in AD as being rough around the edges, Yet everybody we had was friendly, and did their jobs very well, if sometimes nervously. We did on one occasion have a server whose command of English was a liitle off, but with patience and humor we were able to communicate adequately. It was in no way a big deal.

We found the area where we were seated - aft, port side, near the windows - to be so much better than the main dining room. It was a lot quieter as well. Another plus is that we always had a view of the sea, and sometimes a sunset depending on where we were on the itinerary.

The tables were well set, with tablecloths and the usual six zillion types of silverware. There were wine glasses which were removed if wine was not ordered.

All of the times were we were there, including both formal nights, people were dressed casually, but not sloppily. We saw no jeans, and no shorts or tank tops, etc.

When we first were there, it wasn't that crowded, but towards the end of the cruise, it began to fill up more and more. We typically dined at around 7:00 PM or thereabouts. I can't speak for other times.

We are booked on Infinity for a canal transit in October (East to West), and we plan on following the same dining and dressing "protocol" we did on Connie; not doing formal nights, and using AD rather than the main dining room I do agree that dressing up on occasion is fun, and people do really look nice, especially (and don't laugh) the men who wear kilts or military dress uniforms. But for us those days are over.

Triton, by any chance did your Amazon cruise run into propulsion problems, and had a delay? A cable caught around a propeller? Did you then stop in St. Lucia?

Sid1962
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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Why yes, Sid1962, we were on that particular cruise. Were you folks on it as well? Just curious if we may have met? The problems were off Devil's Island, or Island Royale. In any event, we were in the private Lotus Spa deck, and had a nice view of the island. We were delayed just a couple or three hours.

The last time we had AD on the Connie, we ran into an old bartender on the Mecury (maybe from 6 years back), who was just learning how to wait tables. He was nervous, but very good. Hopefully he's earned his apron, and moving upwards on =X=. I think on our next Infinity cruise in September, we'll do the AD more. We've been always fortunate to have a table for 2 though in the regular dining. I like your dinner time of 7 PM, that would be perfect for us.

We only saw one gentleman with his formal kilt on our Amazon cruise, and yes, it was very cool! We see more kilts and formal wear / kilts on the larger =X= (Mil Class) ships though. It's always fun to watch...makes me want to trace my Irish heritage to see what color I should wear, lol. I learned that the Irish wear kilts too, but are solid in color, not the interesting shades, colors and patterns that the Scottish wear.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 07:46 PM
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Triton,

We were on the Connie and were in St. Lucia at the same time Pacific Princess was. As a matter of fact, you were docked across from us in Fort Lauderdale.

The reason I asked was out of curiosity. We shared a water taxi in St. Lucia with a couple from the Pacific Princess, and they told us about the difficulties. I will try and see if I can read your review.

Small world as they say.

Sid1962
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Old May 15th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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Wow.. you heard a discouraging word from a Princess cruiser.. that is very unusual..lol We were on that cruise too..the PP..Can't remember which port that they had the divers in.. It must of been St. Lucia...but no major problem getting out of there.. Read his review...I can attest to the problems he had..no more Princess... it will now be Celebrity
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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Indeed it is a small world! We were going to take the water taxi to the other side for shopping, but they informed us that there were no stores open over there, only the small stores and kiosks there at the pier. I saw the big Princess ship (Sea?) in front of the Pacific Princess, and the Costa ship, but somehow missed the Connie! It was quite the heavy downpour that day!!

It looks like you will be embarking on the Infinity the day we disembark, in October? We disembark in Ft. Lauderdale on 10.11, from the Panama Canal cruise. Guess we'll miss each other again, lol.

Parrot Mom, I hear you, =X= for us too...although I loved the ports on our Amazon cruise...but I guess this is the wrong forum to discuss this, lol.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Well for the heck of it..we are trying the NCL Gem..t/a.. and then back to our Celebrity.. At least Triton.. the people on this board are really classier..lol. You should see what I put up on the "other board"..
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Old May 16th, 2009, 06:43 AM
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Triton,

Yes, we are on the 10/11 out of Fort Lauderdale. I will look for a guy with a moustach, sun glasses and a tropical shirt (based on your avatar)...how many can ther be? lol.....

I think we are talking about different days in St. Lucia. We were there on 4/2, and it was a beautiful day with no rain. Also, the couple I mentioned above said the cruise originated in Fort Lauderdale. So, while it is sort of coincidental, it may be like the old adage: "We went to different schools together."

As far as any shopping across from the main area in St. Lucia, there is some. There are a bunch of stalls where vendors have the usual souvenier type stuff. However, just a few yards away is a fairly new or renovated building wherein you have the usual Diamonds/Emeralds/Tanzanite International type stores. There is an internet cafe there on the second level that we used. The Connie was docked at this location that day.

Now, before you disembark, please be sure to have them check the T-pool for the correct temperature....we do like it to be waqrm without being hot.....just kidding.

Sid1962
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Old May 16th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Sid1962:

That cruise was half full with back-to-backers. The first leg which originated from Ft. Lauderdale had problems too! I heard that the ropes which tie the vessel to the pier slipped off and got caught up in the propeller / pods. They were stuck there overnight and through the next day. Divers came in to fix it.

On our leg, which originated in Manaus, we had problems too. Attempting to leave Devil's Island, our propulsion unit wouldn't work. We were tendered on Isle Royale. After close to 4 hours the captain announced the problem was "fixed for now". Again, Princess flew in divers from Florida. While we were in St. Lucia, the divers replaced the seals.

Yes, will make sure the Thallossotherapy pool is warm, but not too hot.
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