bigboofer

bigboofer
Cruise Director

Hometown: McLean, Virginia
Joined: 01/26/2015
16
Cruises
8
Reviews
32
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About bigboofer

Retired in 2000 to travel the world to scuba dive remote locations


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bigboofer's Past Cruises

Celebrity Eclipse

April 2017 - Celebrity Eclipse to Caribbean - Southern

Sunny skies and calm seas

Visiting islands that we haven't seen in years made for an interesting cruise.

 

Embarkation was very slow since we had to have our passports checked by TSA for some reason. Once we got to the Celebrity checkin desk it went very quickly. Then off to lunch and exploring the ship.

 

While none of the islands where really new it was fun to see all the changes after 30+ years. Our visit to St. Kitts was special since our last visit was in 1978. While some changes have been made it was very little compared to our other stops. St. Martins had five huge ships so I guess 12,000 passengers let off  made it seem more like an ant hill than an island (our last visit was 1979). All in all a very relaxing trip.

 

Food was excellent with good variety and great service. Celebrity is very consistent in providing a high standard in cleanliness and service throughout the ship. Entertainment was OK with some very good acts or shows but a couple that where not to our liking. The ships company was very good.

 

Getting off in Miami was a breeze taking about 15 minutes in total.

 

 

 

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Celebrity Infinity

November 2016 - Celebrity Infinity to Panama Canal, Central America

Trip to revisit the canal

I booked this at the last minute to see the changes made to the canal since my last visit in 2000. The increase size of the new locks with water saving techniques will allow some truly large ships to now transit the canal. The downside is tolls have been raised so this has become a very expensive trip.

 

Ports of call where just stops with nothing special but thats not why you booked this cruise. I've been to Cabo several times before scuba diving so nothing special here. Other stops in the Pacific required what seemed like long travel times which I'm not interested in. The few stops on the Caribbean side where just stops. Colon would allow you to see how the locks worked up close but you just traveled though them. Cartagena has the castillo san felipe de barajas which really is a must see but ready for a traffic nightmare. 

 

Of highlight of the trip is the canal and Celebrity presents it very well with excellent guest lectures so when you transit you are aware of all the information needed to really appreciate what you are seeing. It really is an engineering marvel that after 100 years still provides what it was designed to do. Considering all the changes in transportation that have occurred that's really amazing.

 

The ship was fantastic with an excellent crew that really provided a wonderful trip. It was my first experience with Blu and it was well worth booking Aqua Class in order to visit. Various activities such as progressive trivia where enjoyable. The evening entertainment was hit or miss from our perspective but you can't please everybody all the time.

 

San Diego embarkation was a long line waiting to have you passport checked by by the port but after that it was quickly on board to enjoy the ship. Getting off in Ft Lauderdale was confusing because of the small size of the area and the large number of passengers. Its a shame that getting on and off a ship can be such a trying experience.

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Celebrity Reflection

October 2016 - Celebrity Reflection to Transatlantic

Great weather and smooth seas

We had a great time meeting many different cruisers and enjoying the many sea days that crossing offer.

 

The crew of the reflection was outstanding with many activities and lectures to pass the time or just doing nothing and enjoying the moment. Ship was spotless and food was very good. Entertainment was just average from our perspective while enjoyable it was just OK.

 

Getting onboard was quick and simple but leaving was the usual Miami hassle with delays and very long lines. We where lucky since they opened a Global Entry line which allow us to get out quickly. I'm sure the ship did everything possible but most of the mess I'm sure rests with the Port of Miami.

 

The only way to return from Europe!

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Seven Seas Navigator

March 2016 - Seven Seas Navigator to Transatlantic

Disappoint doesn't begin to describe this cruise

I have loved Regent since my first cruise with them in 2001 (then call Radisson) with impeccable service and spectacular ships but this cruise has changed everything.

 

The good points was the entertainment which was fabulous and not to be missed. The Jean Ann Ryan productions only lacked a "Playbill" program from being on broadway. Dancing was beautifully  coordinated with all the dancers in perfect sync (try to do that on a moving stage). The singers where equally good and the productions where fun to watch and well staged. The cast also handled the various games and actives which gave you the opportunity to really get to know some amazing your people on a one on one basis. Entertainment in the future will be provided by NCL Productions so we will have to wait a see to what level it will achieve. The addition performers where equally good and where not to missed.

 

For the most part the crew was truly up to Regent standards with cabins kept in perfect order by the wonderful staff we have come to love on Regent. John, the cruise director, was great  showing up everywhere, remembering names, always with a smile and took care of problems with a I'll get it taken care of it attitude. I would look forward to sailing with him again.

 

Staff in the Compass Rose dining room varied from the impeccable service expected on Regent to just going though the motions. How do you serve a Dover Sole with out deboning it for the diner? Why would you let your diners sit 20 minutes with out at least bring a bread basket instead of talking with the other servers. The pool grill staff was overwhelmed on nice days with long waits for drinks which is definitely not the norm for Regent.'

 

The itinerary was originally promoted with stops in Bermuda, Funchal, Gibraltar ending at Barcelona. This was changed after final payment was due dropping the stop at Gibraltar with no explanation being given and penalties imposed if you wanted to cancel (I know the cruise contract allows them to do anything the want but this isn't Carnival). I and a lot of my fellow passengers where disappointed on how this was handled by Regent.

 

The Bermuda stop was an overnight arriving on Palm Sunday with almost everything closed and having to leave early because of weather issues on Monday. I guess I should blame myself for not checking the calendar more closely. Our stop in Funchal was a total waste for the passengers since an engine failure got us in so late all the tours where cancelled but repairs to the engine where successful. Our arrival in Barcelona was on time at 2PM since they gave us an overnight in place of Gibraltar to a pier loaded with dumpsters and supplies. At least the tours offered where excellent and we got to see quite a lot of the city returning in time to see veranda and pool deck furniture loaded in the dumpsters (I think we now know why Gibraltar was dropped).

 

When you pay a lot for a cruise with a line known for providing a superior experience you are disappointed when you receive a third class product. We all received a $500 future cruise discount for missing Funchal but looking back I should have taken the substantial penalty and cancelled. We where only on the ship to help pay the cost of moving it to dry dock so with the exception of the entertainment I was disappointed with the new Regent (now that NCL has purchased them). Lets hope this is a one off experience.

 

 

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Celebrity Solstice

January 2016 - Celebrity Solstice to South Pacific - Australia

A big ship with a small ship feel

Our first cruise on Celebrity and we where very pleasantly surprised. The ship was must larger than we normally book but everything was handled very well. We didn't experience long lines  or overcrowding and found the other passengers to pleasant and engaging. Everybody was willing to share tips or ideas on ports or seeing New Zealand.

 

May have been our first but we have booked others on Celebrity and are really looking forward to our next. 

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Zaandam

September 2015 - Zaandam to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Weather was a challenge

 

Rain was the norm but seas where calm so it could be a trade off. For some reason the ship was VERY cold so I kept bundled up even in my cabin. Only gave it a good because the crew and ship operation was fine but entertainment was only average for me. Glacier bay was very nice since the weather was cooperating and the ship really made a effort to please. Embarkation/disembarkation was smooth.

Real reason for trip was the tour through the Yukon which had great weather. Trip became a problem when HAL allowed a contractor to dump us without being involved at Denali. I would be very careful in booking a expensive tour (mine was a Denali overflight) since they allow contractors to do anything they want, to your detriment, without being involved until its too late to help you. Their final word was it shouldn't have happened but too bad we can't do anything.

If you are a fan of Gold Rush  Haines is the home of Grandpa John and Parker and talking with the locals about them was interesting and show that they are real people.

The tour leader on our train trip from Anchorage to Seward son was a crew member on the Deadliest Catch which gave real information about the show and how hard it is to fish the Bering Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

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Zaandam

February 2015 - Zaandam to South America

"Cruise around the horn"

Just an OK cruise

 

The Zaandam and crew was fine but entree choices in the main dinning room where limited and became boring toward the end of the cruise (14 days). Sea conditions where very good considering how difficult this area can be but the weather in the fjords was limiting which is the luck of the draw. Ports visited where just average but seeing Cape Horn in sunlight was worth the trip.I wouldn't recommend this trip for a new cruiser since what you see is very limited. The Norwegian fjords are much more spectacular with Alaskan glaciers far better than what we saw. If you want to see glaciers at their best try and visit Tracy Arm in Alaska.

Fellow passengers help make the trip and we really had a good group on board. Many countries where represented and we had many good dinner conversations.

Holland America needs to pay attention to the embarkation process which can only be described as FUBAR. No organization with local staff that was very poorly trained and lines that never moved. It was so bad that my luggage made it to our cabin before we did which can only be described as a new low. The whole process was a mess considering most of the information was provided with online checkin. Printing out your own paper luggage tags I think could lead to miss directed bags.

The life boat drill was a complete waste since the noise of the port made it impossible to hear anything said. When this in conducted in an active port like Buenos Aries a written statement with the information covered should be handed out as you checkin.

 

 

 

 

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Seven Seas Mariner

October 2014 - Seven Seas Mariner to Transatlantic

Any Regent cruise is a good cruise

I gave this "only" 4 stars since we missed three ports for various reasons. Sierra Leone because of Ebola which I can understand but changing two weeks before sailing and just adding an overnight is really poor planning. We missed Cape Verde because of a medical problem which I can completely understand but not wanting to spend the fuel to try and make the port is not acceptable since you pay a lot of money for Regent and its "Luxury goes Exploring" tagline. We crossed that ocean at 13-14 knots which is really slow so we could make Barbados on time and resupply provisions. Missing St. Bart's wasn't a big deal but after missing so much you would think they would try and make something happen like St Kitt's.

This was a three week crossing and was fabulous except for the missed stops. Food was fantastic, service was impeccable, and fellow cruisers fun to meet and interact with. Dinner was always fun because you never know who you will meet and what can be learned in conversation. Regent at its best.

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Seven Seas Navigator

November 2013 - Seven Seas Navigator to South America

Azamara Quest

January 2012 - Azamara Quest to South America

Azamara Journey

May 2010 - Azamara Journey to Europe - Mediterranean

Seven Seas Voyager

November 2008 - Seven Seas Voyager to Transatlantic

Eurodam

August 2008 - Eurodam to Transatlantic

Paul Gauguin (RETIRED)

June 2008 - Paul Gauguin (RETIRED) to South Pacific - Tahiti

Seven Seas Voyager

June 2007 - Seven Seas Voyager to Europe - Northern Europe

Zaandam

January 2007 - Zaandam to Hawaii

Seven Seas Voyager

July 2006 - Seven Seas Voyager to Europe - Northern Europe

Maasdam

July 2005 - Maasdam to Transatlantic

Silver Explorer

January 2004 - Silver Explorer to South America

"Society Expeditions ship which was purchased by Silver Seas"

Prinsendam

June 2003 - Prinsendam to Alaska

Seven Seas Mariner

June 2002 - Seven Seas Mariner to Europe - Western Europe

Seven Seas Mariner

June 2001 - Seven Seas Mariner to Alaska

Westerdam (RETIRED) 120

April 2000 - Westerdam (RETIRED) 120 to Panama Canal, Central America

bigboofer's Tips

Barcelona, Spain - Please plan on spending more than a day here. This city has a lot to offer.
Gibraltar (U.K.) - Would love to rate but we didn't stop but did see it a sunrise as we passed.
Funchal, Madeira - Arrived at 2PM on Easter Sunday with everything closed and all tours canceled.
Lisbon, Portugal - When you visit Lisbon please book a tour with Dan with his motorcycle and sidecar at Bikemyside.com. His knowledge of the city is second to none and riding on his bike is a gas. Book early since he is so good he will be hard to get.
Miami, Florida - It always takes longer to get off than they tell you. Don't plan a tight connection
Punta Arenas, Chile - No reason to stop other than having to stop after being in the Falklands.
Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile - Do some searching to find transport to Santiago. We used tours by locals and it was great and much cheaper than anything the ship offered

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received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Solstice cruise review - A big ship with a small ship feel

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Reflection cruise review - Great weather and smooth seas

reviewed their Caribbean - Southern cruise on Celebrity Eclipse and gave it 5 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Seven Seas Navigator cruise review - Disappoint doesn't begin to describe this cruise

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Reflection cruise review - Great weather and smooth seas

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Solstice cruise review - A big ship with a small ship feel

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Solstice cruise review - A big ship with a small ship feel

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Reflection cruise review - Great weather and smooth seas

received a helpful vote on their Celebrity Solstice cruise review - A big ship with a small ship feel

added Apr 2, 2017 cruise on Celebrity Eclipse to their profile.