First Mate
Rockford IL
Joined 03/2015






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An Architect who LOVES to Cruise and wants to teach people how to "Blueprint" their next vacation so they can "Travel Like an Architect"

Past Cruises


May 2016 - 7 Night Cuba (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Adonia

Capitalism Hits Cuba......

This was a FANTASTIC cruise. Only the second time in over 50 years a cruise ship has made it to Cuba.  fathom is a NEW NEW line, and has a few "kinks" to work out - and they are working HARD to do this.  If you are easily annoyed - wait.  AND... BEWARE!!!  This is NOT your Grandmothers Cruise Line.  NO formal nights.  Short (dressy) in the Main Dining room are the norm. Entertainment is local.  There are on-board "brain" activities in place of sitting and watching show girls.  Food was some of the best of the 8 lines we have sailed.  The Impact Guides are a refreshing change to the stale Cruise Director and staff of the main stream lines.  

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Nieuw Amsterdam

January 2016 - 7 Night Tropical Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam

Great Friends, Great Time, but HAL Fell short of Expectations

We had come to expect 5* service from HAL.  Our dining service was one of the worst ever.  Two hours to get thru eating.  Missed items.  Wrong items.

Our room steward was one of the best

Ship was clean, and it good condition.

Our room was NOISY, and we had read it had "thunking" problems on line.  It did, and HAL is unable to address this.  Not one night of good, quiet, sleep.

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Azamara Journey

September 2015 - 12 Night Best Of Holy Lands (Athens To Istanbul) Cruise on Azamara Journey

Best Cruise EVER

We had a FANTASTIC time on this trip.  The crew of the Journey reminds me of what cruising used to be.  Impeccable service delivered by happy crew.  Most important, and lost on the other guys, is the ATTITUDE of the ENTIRE staff.  Never an excuse (and really never a reason for one).  Ship is clean and neat.  The decor could use an "update" in style (kinda oldish for me).  Ports of call were UNBELIEVABLE.   This is NOT a party ship.  All live entertainment and bars were closed a bit past 11pm.  A main show, guitar player and piano man who both had overdone sound tracks to cover for their playing.  But because the ports were SOOOOO intensive, we really did not care.

Would go again in a flash.  The included drinks (and boy did the drinks flow - and WITHOUT ANY signature needed), and included tips really make this line compete quite affordabally with other higher end lines.  

Easy on and easy off.  Very few lines for anything.  Food was top notch, all the time.

AND..... ATTITUDE (listen up other lines) was positive, happy, upbeat, and NO EXCUSES or B.S. - ever!!!

Happy to answer specific questions.  This was our 15th cruise on 8 lines.

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Carnival Inspiration

March 2015 - 4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Inspiration

Spring Break - What would expect?

Had to be in LA for a business conference.  SOOO.....  as long as air was paid, we booked the ONLY cruise that left the day after the conference.  We KNEW it was spring break.  This was/is the shortest cruise we have EVER taken.  SOOOO much fun.  Kids were a BLAST to be with - drunk, immature, and all.

MOST disappointing was the food.  Just TERRIBLE.  This was our third or fourth Carnival Cruise.  We know they are the starter line, but the main dining room was barely edible.  Just basic cafeteria food.  MOST unhealthy.  Could not even get a good burger.

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February 2015 - 14 Night Eastern/Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Eurodam

One of the BEST.

Our first HAL.  The service was the BEST ever.  Clean, nice ship.

Entertainment was quite thin.  Not much variety.  All done by 11pm.  Had late dinner and because of that missed most of the entertainment.

Whole ship was empty by 11pm.  OLD people who go to bed early.

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Norwegian Sun

April 2009 - 19 Night Exotic Americas (Santiago to Los Angeles) Cruise on Norwegian Sun

Cruise Tips



SMALL ship sailing. Better know what you are getting into.

Grand Turk Island

Go snorkeling on a private tour. Or rent bikes and GET OUT OF THE PORT. there is a VERY cute town, but you can't walk it. The immediate port is STUPID.

Nieuw Amsterdam

Nieuw Amsterdam

DO NOT do any time dinning!!! ALWAYS a wait. If you do late dining you will NEVER get to the show. If you have a unique diet, like no dairy or gluten, DO NOT tell them, as it takes them FOREVER to get you things, and they will simply not bring a dish (not offer a substitute) if there is an issue.

Paphos, Cyprus

Skip the long trip to ruins. Just stay in port and enjoy the ruins.

Patmos, Greece

Rent a scooter and see the WHOLE island. Only $20 for all day. Make sure to see the Convent Of Evangelismos (better than St. John's) and the house of Simandiri.

Haifa, Israel

If you want to see the temple, and you do, get there before noon.

Kas, Turkey

Take a boat trip to the sunken city. We used a local company for 1/4th the cost of the cruise line for 5 hours, including a lunch.

Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey

Be prepared to walk walk walk. Don't get a cab that wants to wait. This could take 3-4 hours. Hire a cab just to get you to the entry (top one) and then get another, at the exit, to take you back.

Ashdod, Israel

The Kotel is a great thing to see, but make reservations MONTHS in advance.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Get to the Acropolis entry when it opens. It will still be crowded, but it will be better. Get a hotel on the train line away from the old city, you can save a bunch of money, and get a better hotel.

Azamara Journey

Azamara Journey

Book thru a TA, they have some great incentives for Azamara

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