twangster

twangster
Captain

Hometown: Colorado
Joined: 07/15/2016
35
Cruises
11
Reviews
146
Helpful Votes
891

About twangster


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Destinations: Caribbean


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twangster's Upcoming Cruises

twangster's Past Cruises

Explorer of the Seas

June 2018 - 7 Night Alaska Glacier (Seattle Roundtrip) Cruise on Explorer of the Seas

Adventure of the Seas

May 2018 - 5 Night Eastern Caribbean (San Juan To Cape Liberty) Cruise on Adventure of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas

March 2018 - 10 Night Southern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Serenade of the Seas

Liberty of the Seas

February 2018 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Liberty of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas

January 2018 - 9 Night Bahamas (Cape Liberty Roundtrip) Cruise on Anthem of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

December 2017 - 9 Night Eastern Caribbean Holiday (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Independence of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas

December 2017 - 12 Night Southern Caribbean (Cape Liberty Roundtrip) Cruise on Anthem of the Seas

19 Great Nights on Anthem

This 12 night cruise was the 2nd leg in a 7+12 night B2B cruise. I had a great time on Anthem and look forward to returning for a 9 night this winter that's already booked. The Captain is very sociable and did a great job keeping us informed as both cruises progressed. On the way back we altered course to avoid less pleasant seas and the Captain recorded an 18 minute video on channel 40 that went into great detail about the new course and the technology used to ensure a better ride. I had no bad crew interactions and during the Captain's Corner event in Two70 several other guests complimented the senior officers on their great crew experiences. On the 1st cruise of this B2B I ate in Chops and Wonderful on days 1 and 2. The remainder of the dinners, 17 nights in a row, were in the My Time MDR which I enjoyed. Some nights during prime time service was a little slow but no worse than a land restaurant in peak times. At no point in 19 nights did I question booking this B2B and on day 18 I sadly began packing my bags. Anthem is a perfect ship for the NYC area with its large indoor family pool area and enclosed adult only solarium. It has a lot of unique features you won't find on any other class of ship such as Two70, North Star and the SeaPlex. With Bumper cars, roller skating, circus trapeze and basketball on top of foosball, ping pong and an XBOX area I don't see how any kid of any age could be bored. Not to mention Ripcord indoor sky diving and the flow rider. So much to do. I'm really glad I chose to fly to NJ for this ship. No regrets.

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Anthem of the Seas

November 2017 - 7 Night Bahamas (Cape Liberty Roundtrip) Cruise on Anthem of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas

November 2017 - 8 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Freedom of the Seas

I'll be back...

An important question after any cruise is... "Would you sail this ship again?". YES! I enjoyed my time on the Freedom of the Seas and would not hesitate to sail her again. Wait staff in the restaurants were great. Food in the Windjammer and the My Time Dining room was very good. Cabin service awesome. Everything was clean. As for the ship layout and features I can see why so many like this class of ship. I really like having access to the helipad and the solarium pool being uncovered. Freedom is not a brand new ship and after sailing on Harmony a few weeks ago you do need to maintain perspective and research the ship. By doing so expectations were met and overall I'm very happy with the experience. Money well spent. The only problem - at 8 days it was too short.

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Harmony of the Seas

September 2017 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Harmony of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

August 2017 - 9 Night Bermuda & Bahamas (Baltimore Roundtrip) Cruise on Grandeur of the Seas

Celebrity Millennium

June 2017 - 7 Night Alaska Southern Glacier (Seward To Vancouver) Cruise on Celebrity Millennium

Allure of the Seas

May 2017 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Loved Allure OTS

Great cruise, had a fantastic time.  Enjoyed every minute.  It would be hard to find something to complain about.  Sorento's pizza is so hot I could barely hold onto the plate.  There - the worst experience was hot food!    Friendly and helpful crew everywhere.  

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Oasis of the Seas

October 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas

Won't be our last Oasis class cruise

Cruised on Oct. 8, 2016 as Hurricane Matthew moved North past Ft. Lauderdale.  RC delayed departure to give folks time to deal with flight delays which had the added benefit of a beautiful sunset departure.  

 

First time on Oasis and RC.  Loved the ship and found it very easy to get around.  Food was mediocre, even fruit seemed to lack flavor, but it was okay.  Next time we will get a specialty dining package and just factor that cost into the mix when comparing with other options. 

 

Since we were in a suite we had access to Coastal Kitchen which was great. 

 

Need another cruise on Oasis to see some of the parades and other activities we missed, there is so much going on it is hard to cover the ship in one cruise.  Shows were great, loved them all.

 

We loved Central Park, especially at night.  Great place for an evening cocktail or glass of wine.  What a beautiful ship. 

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Carnival Magic

October 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Galveston Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Magic

Another great Carnival cruise

Having done the Dream and the Breeze I had an idea what to expect on the Magic and she didn't disappoint.  This was a scuba diving trip for us with dives in 3 ports.  Diving and cruising is a great mix, get to dive different islands and come back to the ship for all the ship offers.  Some dive resorts have great diving but not so good dining or accommodations.  Usually the diving makes up for it but when cruising you get the best of both. 

 

Interior spa cabin on deck 11, cabin 11239.  Have done interior before and loved having access to the spa through the private entrance.  Dive buddy is a teenager who loved the dark cabin (not an early riser). 

  

Found Galveston not so great as a fly in to cruise port as the airports are far from the port.

 

Overall another great Carnival experience. 

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Carnival Breeze

July 2015 - 8 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Breeze

Awesome way to reintroduce my kids to cruising

Took my kids on a Disney cruise many years ago but they were small enough not to remember it now they have grown up. It was time to take them on another cruise and I selected the Breeze.  With my son over 21 we both bought the Cheers beverage package.  

 

Before Vista launched Breeze was Carnival's newest ship.  Having been on the Dream I sort of knew what to expect on this class of ship and the Breeze didn't disappoint.  Guy's Burgers was a bit hit with my kids and we ate there many times.  My daughter enjoyed the '3D' thrill theater although I found it in need of some repairs - broken seat, glasses falling apart, etc, but we used the pass to visit it many times and saw each short film.  

 

The Breeze breaks free of the traditional coral colored room theme and it is a welcome change.  Our spa balcony cabin on deck 11 had convenient access to the spa with a separate entrance with spiral staircase.  The spa was a great way to ease away the day and put me into a relaxing mood before bed.  

 

My kids have different tastes and I was able to spend time with each of them always finding something to do.  Our only excursion booked through Carnival was the Bob Marley tour and we all loved it.   

 

While not quite a mega ship the Breeze is very large but we never 'felt' the crowds.  I like the wrap around promenade deck that goes around the ship entirely outside.  A great way to walk off some of that food.  Many Carnival ships have forward public decks and this is one of the things I really like about Carnival ships.  Again the Breeze doesn't disappoint with several forward decks at different levels.

 

The Breeze was the perfect way to re-introduce them to cruising and my son is anxious to go again, especially if I'm paying Happy

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Carnival Breeze

July 2015 - 6 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Breeze

Carnival Imagination

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

Smaller ship, but very enjoyable

B2B on the Imagination.  Great crew and I love on these smaller ships a closer relationship with the crew.  Excellent service and food.  They surprised with a bottle of champagne in my cabin for doing the B2B. 

 

Weather closed Long Beach port as we returned so we went to San Diego as an alternate.  Since I was doing a B2B I just stayed on the ship where everyone else had to bus back to Long Beach.  I had the ship to myself for an extended period waiting for the next wave of passengers to bus down from Long Beach.  Plus I got to see San Diego from the water, an added bonus.

 

Catalina port also closed due to weather so I had a B2B with two stops in Ensenada.  Once was enough, but oh well, still had a great time. 

 

While the Fantasy class ships are smaller and don't have all the new features like rope courses or 4D theaters, they are still a great ship. 

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Carnival Imagination

April 2015 - 3 Night Baja Mexico (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Imagination

Carnival Valor

March 2015 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Valor

Carnival Dream

February 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (New Orleans Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Dream

Carnival Valor

June 2014 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Valor

Carnival Miracle

December 2013 - 6 Night Mexican Riviera (Los Angeles roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Miracle

Carnival Freedom

October 2013 - 6 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Freedom

Disney Wonder

February 2000 - February 10, 2000 Cruise on Disney Wonder

Norwegian Majesty (RETIRED) 20008

January 2000 - January 14, 2000 Cruise on Norwegian Majesty (RETIRED)

Diamon

July 1998 - July 27, 1998 Cruise on Diamon

twangster's Tips

Philipsburg, St. Maarten - I was very fortunate to visit on Christmas Day 100 days after the hurricane hit St. Maarten. Locals on the pier greeted us with smiling faces and held banners welcoming us. I had mixed feelings about a Christmas Day stop here as St. Maarten residents are very spiritual but I also know they need our support and they made us feel very welcome. I took an island tour by bus excursion. I’ve been here many times but it was interesting to hear about island history, the relationship between the Dutch and French sides and to see the parts I’ve never visited. Yes the damage from the hurricane was very apparent but it in no way impacted our day here. Nicholas our tour guide was excellent. With family in both counties and having served in the French army he knew the island well. Many of my fellow guests were lined up on the pier for various excursions and it was good to see thousands of us contributing to the local economy. We had a number of excursions to choose from. From sail boats or jet skis, snorkel and dive boats to land excursions like the tour I booked. After my excursion I took the water taxi to the beach and shopping district. There were many different bars and restaurants open to serve us along the beach and the drinks were ice cold. It was great to see everyone enjoying the wonderful weather and amazing water. There is no mistaking there is hurricane damage but I never felt unsafe or unwelcome. Some people focus on the damage but I chose to see the wonderful spirit of St. Maarten’s people and focus on the positive. Every where we went residents thanked us for visiting and asked us to come again. I tipped well and I hope you do to. The loss of employment and income is added insult from the hurricane and it felt good to give to them on this Christmas Day. I’ve uploaded nearly 40 photos to this app, check them out.
Fort-De-France, Martinique - I was hoping to visit the fort near the port but it was closed. There is a small city beach with no facilities near the ship but the nice beaches are a ferry ride away . The ferry dock is very close to the ship. Being a part of France they use Euros here and speak mostly French. Very European ambiance to the town near the pier. Quite enjoyed it.
Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey - Easy to access using a ride sharing service. The terminal is a little small so don't arrive too early. The Teardrop Memorial is right next door and worth a visit before entering the terminal.
St. John's, Antigua - I missed out on a helicopter excursion by waiting too long to book it. That's my fault. Instead I did a walking tour and visited a wonderful old church that is being renovated due to termite damage. At 175 years old the termites had a long run but they are using termite resistant wood imported from Texas to restore it. As Caribbean churches go its very large with seating for 2,500. There are 365 beaches on Antigua so as they, 1 beach for every day of the year.
Basseterre, St. Kitts - I went scuba diving here. Visibility wasn't great due to currents but we saw lots of sea life. Quite enjoyed it. Small dive boat but it worked well.
Anthem of the Seas Anthem of the Seas - Upon first boarding the ship on day 1 it seems crowded as people mill about slowly dragging their carry on luggage but once cabins open up and people settle down the crowds become much better. Find a venue to relax in and let the crowds disperse instead of trying to explore the whole ship the moment you board. Hint - Two70 after on deck 5 is a great to relax. If you weren't able to make iFly or North Star reservations before sailing visit Boleros upon boarding to do so.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - I visited on Dec. 5, 2017 and enjoyed my stop here. I know the larger island of Puerto Rico is struggling more than San Juan and that there remains some storm related damages yet to be fixed but I thoroughly enjoyed our stop here. My pictures speak for themselves. I am glad I visited and was able to inject money into the local economy in this phase of recovery. I'm looking at booking a cruise out of San Juan in February to continue that support. I stopped by the Princesa Gastro Bar and met bartender Angel who has a great selection of island rums. I had a great tasting experience in the wonderful ambiance of this amazing bar. This may become a new tradition for me on each future visit. I'm looking forward to my next stop here as well as helping local businesses to get through this.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - I was very excited to visit St Thomas in December shortly after it started receiving cruise ships again in the wake of 2017 hurricanes. I'm very happy with the progress that has been made. The lush green foliage has returned and you can see the energy and life of local residents has returned. I visited Magens Bay and it looks as beautiful as it always has. I ate at the Green House in downtown Charlotte Amalie, a restaurant I have visited many times in the past and once again enjoyed my favorite lunch, a blackened Mahi salad. The duty shops both downtown and at Havensight mall were all open. From a distance much of St Thomas is back to normal. There is no mistaking there are signs of hurricane damage in places and there remains a lot of activity to restore power to more residents every day. I overheard shipmates who only focused on the damage they could seek to find. I chose to focus on the beauty of St Thomas and it's residents who are ready and eager to greet us. St Thomas is back and ready for cruise ships and it's getting better everyday.
Cozumel, Mexico - I always love Cozumel. The color of the water is incredible. I've been here many times and rented a jeep, walked around outside the port area or have doe resorts for a day. This time I walked in the direction of town, found some bars on the water and enjoyed a margarita looking at the beautiful waters with the ship as a backdrop.
Labadee (Cruiseline Private Island) - I love Labadee. I've been 4 times and never hesitate to take a cruise with Labadee on the itinerary. The nature walk towards the spa and out to the point is great. Columbus Cove and Nellie's beach are sandy. Only the 1st beach near the base of the zip line is rocky as it is exposed to the waves of the Atlantic ocean.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica - I've been 3 times and like how they have developed the port area. I walked outside of the port area and sure I had many offers for taxis and other items but a quick no thanks with a smile and it was no problem.
Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas - Be prepared to have fun!
Baltimore, Maryland - Easy port. Long queues for Gold on RC to embark but the wait meant rooms were ready by the time I boarded. Front of the line disembarking and sailed through customs. Through security at BWI by 8:05am after a $24 Lyft ride. Turned platinum on this cruise so next time won't have the long gold/newbie queue to deal with here. Nice sail down Chesapeake Bay with a georgous sunset.
Nassau, Bahamas - Better than expected. My last visit was in '98 and I've avoided Nassau based on that experience. Fortunately we arrived mid day and with two other ships already in port before us I think the locals got wore out selling to those ships so we got a reprieve. Walked up to the Queens Staircase. It was super hot so that helped wear off many of the calories I had been accumulating on the ship. We departed at midnight and we had a beautiful sunset while in Port.
Royal Naval Dockyard, West End, Bermuda - First time to Bermuda. Interesting history, never knew about its role governing the colonies. Was hoping to explore more of Bermuda on day two but we had torrential rains so that will have to wait until next time.
Cococay (Cruiseline's Private Island) - Great day on Cococay. Jumped on the 1st tender and had island almost to myself. Pier construction is well underway. If you bring your own snorkel gear the mandatory vest is $6. 5 bars of cell signal limited to edge data rates. You can ask any bar for a free glass of water which they pour out a bottle. Was able to stroll the straw market hassle free which is a welcome difference.
Skagway, Alaska - Interesting port with lots of history. Skagway played a big role in the gold rush of 1898. The White Pass train ride was great. Very informative and super easy departing right at the ship. Don't worry about what side of the train to sit on, it reverses direction coming down so there is no wrong side to sit on, plus once out of town you can use the outdoor viewing platforms. Train offered free bottles of water. Best souvenir prices, much cheaper than Juneau. Ship is an easy 10 minute walk to the downtown area.
Ketchikan, Alaska - Misty Fjords NM boat cruise was very nice. Bit of a haul to get out there but we had incredible weather and it was gorgeous. Back in town walked around a bit including down the Creek Street shops. Some of the same type stores found in other ports line the pier areas but if you walk past those you can find some stores with local arts and carvings.
Juneau, Alaska - The helicopter to the Glacier was awesome but didn't think too much of the town. Red Dog Saloon is overrated and overcrowded. Bar stools so close I was bumping elbows the entire time I tried to enjoy a beer. Most expensive of all ports for the same souvenirs. I had read that and found prices 40% lower in Skagway for the same things. Good port to do an excursion and get out of town.
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska - Sailed very close to the Glacier and could hear and see it calving. Captain did a couple full circles so there was no bad place on the ship to experience it from. Awesome.
Seward (Anchorage), Alaska - Took the train down from Anchorage and walked to the ship. They had free shuttle buses from the train to the ship but I enjoyed the walk after sitting on the train. Saw a humpback whale feeding in the harbor right beside the ship. Easy embarkation, small lines and quickly on board.
Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Alaska - Touted as an experience closer to true Alaska it's a nice break from the same tshirt and diamond stores found in many Alaskan ports. It is purposely built to accommodate one ship at a time and the local native village that manages the port is keeping the big chain shops out on purpose. We went whale watching and had an incredible time. Next time I'm going to do the zip line :)
Vancouver (Canada Place), British Columbia - Pretty port. Arrived 7:15 am, disembarked at 8:10 am waiting for baggage to be ready. Breezed through Canadian customs. Short walk to the Skytrain, $4 CAD ($3 USD) and an easy ride to the airport. Delta got me onto an earlier flight and I was taking off at 11:20 am despite US Customs at the airport hauling me into secondary due to someone with the same name who is wanted.
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Most restaurants open at 11:30 AM on boarding day. There are many options beyond the Windjammer marketplace for boarding day food. You should get a boarding day cruise compass when you check in, it lists all the dining options, locations and times they open.
Carnival Imagination Carnival Imagination - There is a small public deck in front of the mini-golf area that is a great place to watch the ship enter or leave ports.
Oasis of the Seas Oasis of the Seas - Suite guests including Junior Suites have access to the Coastal Kitchen for dinner. Make dinner reservations early as prime time reservations book up quickly.
Carnival Magic Carnival Magic - The Taste Bar has free samples from different specialty restaurants at different times throughout the cruise. Drop by early in the cruise and snap a picture of the schedule on your phone.
Galveston, Texas - While convenient for TX residents it is not very close to local airports and logistically challenging as a fly to cruise port. We stayed in a hotel near the airport with a free shuttle. Flew in day before and took the free hotel shuttle back to airport to use the paid cruise line transfer to port.

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