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Ugly Betty Fan
Deck Hand
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Ugly Betty Fan

Number of posts : 54
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Registration date : 2007-08-23

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PostSubject: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 10:33 am

Hi everyone,

I'm coming over from Cruise Critic and was glad to find out about this board from Hopeful Henry! Would you believe they banned me beause I posted too much my first week there?!?! Shocked What's the point of having a message board if I can't ask questions?! Henry assures me that it's different over here.

So, just be forewarned, I will be asking LOTS of questions!

As I said, I'm a first timer and I'll be posting this over on the Princess board too since that's our first cruise. We're going on our first cruise during the holidays on Grand Princess in 2008 and, we're excited!!

So here are my first set of questions:

1) Everyone keeps telling us to get to Florida at least one day early (we're traveling from New York City). Can someone recommend a hotel that is close to the pier and it won't cost an arm and a leg in cab fare to get from the hotel to the pier. I've never been to Fort Lauderdale and the only knowledge of Florida I have is of Walt Disney World. It doesn't have to be fancy, just clean and in a decent location.

2) I'm traveling with my parents and my Grandmother, we currently have traditional first sitting, but, I've been told to consider Anytime Dining. In your opinions, which is better?

3) Formal nights - I'm completely lost. I mean, I know enough to get a long, formal gown but, how dressy does the ship get? Will I be out of place with a gown from JCPenney or Macys?

4) JetBlue - Would you chance waiting for JetBlue who only put their seats up for sale a few months before departure or would you book with one of the other carriers who allow you to book almost a year in advance?

Ok I'll stop now, I don't want to scare everyone here like I did on Cruise Critic!
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Westchester Cruiser
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Number of posts : 106
Age : 74
Location : White Plains, NY
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Registration date : 2007-08-09

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 11:00 am

Hi Ugly Betty Fan,

I enjoy that program too Wink Now, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out...

This forum is NOTHING like Cruise Critic and I mean that only in the BEST possible way! No one is going to ban you here because you asked too many questions, I can't believe how out of control CC has become and, I am sure in time, we'll see more and more defecting to other sites including this one. Ok, I'll get off my OnMySoapBox now and start answering your questions.

1) When traveling from any cold weather destination like NYC (by the way, I'm up in Westchester in White Plains), it's always very smart to get to your cruise port a day or two early - just in case of snow, hail, icing - you know the routine, I'm sure. In Fort Lauderdale, we usually stay at either the Hyatt Pier 66 - here's the link http://pier66.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp or the Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel (formerly a Marriott) here's the link to that one -
http://www.fortlauderdalegrande.com/ Both are very close to the cruise terminal and, are clean and easy. My best recommendation is to try to get a hotel via Priceline.com you'll get a much better hotel than you would paying standard rates online.

2) Personally, I perfer traditional seating, regardless if it's first or second. I like having the same tablemates and the same waiter every night but, that's just me. Others love Anytime Dining, it's really just a matter of your personal needs and tastes. The menus are identical so if you decide to go with Anytime Dining don't think you're going to "miss" anything by not having traditional dining.

3) I've seen it all on Formal nights! You'll be just fine in a gown from Macy's or JCP - if you want to be a bit more dressed then just add some jewelry to the outfit Wink

4) Personally, I like to book as early as possible so, it's my opinion to go with one of the major carriers but, that's me. I know lots of people swear by Jetblue.

And don't be afraid to post, we want you to ask questions and feel:w:
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Ugly Betty Fan
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Ugly Betty Fan

Number of posts : 54
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Registration date : 2007-08-23

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 11:07 am

Thanks Westchester, and thank you for taking the time to respond in length to my questions. I can already see the difference between here and CC and let me add I think I am going to like it here!
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Boca Brats
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Boca Brats

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 11:48 am

Welcome Ugly Betty Fan, I'd believe ANYTHING they do to ANYONE over there on CC. Relax you're among friends now!

As far as hotels, Westchester gave you two good one and, I agree with her advice on Priceline.com I've booked wonderful hotels that way for a lot less than I'd normally pay, even got upgraded to suites a couple of times too! So don't think just because you use priceline.com you're going to get the worst hotel in the joint, that's not normally the case in my experience.
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Ugly Betty Fan
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Ugly Betty Fan

Number of posts : 54
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 11:52 am

Thanks for making me feel so welcome everyone. And, yes, I'll try priceline.com

As a matter of fact one of the reasons I didn't try priceline is because I just assumed that i'd be given the worst room at check in because i'd get the room at such a discount but, I'm glad to hear that isn't the case.

Here's another question, I see you guys have a group cruise here on cruise freek on our sailing. Can we join even if we booked with another agency?
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeThu Aug 23, 2007 12:15 pm

Hi Betty,

Love that show! Welcome to Cruise Freek Forums! If you booked with another agency you'll have to get permission to transfer the reservation to another agency. Not all agencies are willing to do that but, if you can, all you need to do is contact Host Bob (Screen Name RDeagazio here on the boards) he is the travel agent in charge of the group and, he'll walk you through the simple steps to transfer your reservation to the group.
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Tommy Bahamas
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeFri Aug 24, 2007 11:55 am

Hi Ugly Betty Fan,

Welcome, you're going to find it much friendlier here than on Cruise "Cynic"!

You post as many questions as you can ask! And, we will all be happy to answer you!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeFri Aug 24, 2007 12:13 pm

Welcome to Cruise Freeks!!

I'm not surprised, but am shocked, that CC would ban someone for asking questions. Wink
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Joe A
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeFri Aug 24, 2007 2:07 pm

I'd believe anything that "person" (and I'll refrain using foul language here) would do. It's no longer a message board over there, it's turning into a club for the queen bee's special pets!

Wow, that feels good to get that off my chest! lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeSat Aug 25, 2007 12:29 am

Amen Joe!!

Ugly Betty Fan.. if you'd like information on our group cruise on the Grand Princess, please feel free to email me at the address in my signature line. I'll be happy to help you in any way I can. Welcome to Cruise Freeks!
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Da Bronx Bombers Fan
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Da Bronx Bombers Fan

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeSun Aug 26, 2007 9:52 pm

Ugly Betty Fan wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm coming over from Cruise Critic and was glad to find out about this board from Hopeful Henry! Would you believe they banned me beause I posted too much my first week there?!?! Shocked What's the point of having a message board if I can't ask questions?! Henry assures me that it's different over here.

So, just be forewarned, I will be asking LOTS of questions!

As I said, I'm a first timer and I'll be posting this over on the Princess board too since that's our first cruise. We're going on our first cruise during the holidays on Grand Princess in 2008 and, we're excited!!

So here are my first set of questions:

1) Everyone keeps telling us to get to Florida at least one day early (we're traveling from New York City). Can someone recommend a hotel that is close to the pier and it won't cost an arm and a leg in cab fare to get from the hotel to the pier. I've never been to Fort Lauderdale and the only knowledge of Florida I have is of Walt Disney World. It doesn't have to be fancy, just clean and in a decent location.

2) I'm traveling with my parents and my Grandmother, we currently have traditional first sitting, but, I've been told to consider Anytime Dining. In your opinions, which is better?

3) Formal nights - I'm completely lost. I mean, I know enough to get a long, formal gown but, how dressy does the ship get? Will I be out of place with a gown from JCPenney or Macys?

4) JetBlue - Would you chance waiting for JetBlue who only put their seats up for sale a few months before departure or would you book with one of the other carriers who allow you to book almost a year in advance?

Ok I'll stop now, I don't want to scare everyone here like I did on Cruise Critic!

Hey Ugly Betty Fan,

This is coming straight from a fellow New Yorker. Grand Princess was the first ship we ever sailed and we absolutely fell in love with it and cruising. You couldn't have made a better choice for your first cruise!

As others have told you, yes, get to Ft. Lauderdale at LEAST one day early, with airline security and the fact that it's going to be the holiday rush, you'll be very glad you did.

The Priceline.com advice is right on the money but, if you don't like gambling about which hotel you might get, we've stated at the Hampton Inn in Fort Lauderdale, here's the website: http://www.hamptoninnftlauderdale.com/

It's not the best, it's not the worst but, for one night and free shuttle service to the cruise pier, it's not a bad choice. So keep it in mind.

As far as dining, we love anytime dining, you won't miss a thing by not taking traditional dinner, this way you can be flexible with your meal times and not have to worry about rushing back from shore tours or missing shows because of dinner.

Clothing, I"ll leave that to the ladies.

JetBlue - if it was any other time than the holidays, I'd say wait but, considering it will be the holidays, it's much safer to book a major carrier than to take the chance to wait it out.

Hope this helps - going to check out the cruise you're talking about, sounds like something we might actually be interested it in.
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Ugly Betty Fan
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Ugly Betty Fan

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeMon Aug 27, 2007 2:02 pm

Finally have a free minute at work to check all your responses out. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me in such great lengths. This board is THE BEST!

I'll take everything you guys have told me into consideration in our plans.

Now, here's my next set of questions:

1) What exactly happens at Princess Cay? Is it like a giant beach party? Are food and drinks available? How about Restrooms?

2) Shore tours - is it better to book with the cruise line or is it better to go off on your own with a tour company that you've been recommended?

3) Religious Services - we're Catholic, I'm hoping that some type of Christmas service will be held but, I'm not holding my breath that a Catholic mass will be available. Does anyone know how Princess handles this type of thing?

Ooppss - gotta run but will post more later.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeMon Aug 27, 2007 6:42 pm

To answer some of your questions:

1. Food and drinks are served on Princess Cays ... I spent my whole day lounging in a Beach Bungalow when I was there (loved it) but they do have other activities.

2. This is pretty subjective ... some folks prefer booking through the cruise line, they feel a bit more secure that if the excursion is late in returning (doesn't happen often) the ship might wait for them (whereas if you go wandering off on you own and aren't back in time, the ship can leave without you). Others prefer booking excursions direct with the tour operators, or through an operation like Shore Trips.
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Loves 2 Cruise
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Loves 2 Cruise

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeMon Aug 27, 2007 7:38 pm

Another New Yorker here - to answer your question about mass, we're also Catholic and have been on several Princess sailings during the holidays. Yes, there is a midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

Here's a link directly from Princess:

http://www.princess.com/news/article.jsp?newsArticleId=na627&submit=pk
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Hopeful Henry
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Hopeful Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeTue Aug 28, 2007 11:50 am

Great Screen name Ugly Betty Fan Very Happy
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Ugly Betty Fan
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Ugly Betty Fan

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeTue Sep 04, 2007 6:36 pm

Sorry it took so long to get back here! Thanks everyone this place sure beats Cruise Critic!!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie/First Timer Here   Newbie/First Timer Here Icon_minitimeWed Sep 05, 2007 1:22 pm

Glad you like it here!!
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