Author Topic: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019  (Read 589 times)

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Carolyn Jane

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Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« on: November 15, 2019, 11:52:51 PM »
Insignia Incident
Nov. 15-23, 2019
15 Nov 2019.  Friday, Hinesville/Jax/Miami.  We had rain all night, and light rain on the drive to JAX.  Parking...well, we do the daily garage, and ended up on the top level but near the elevators.  The plane was to leave at 1244, but it was late coming in, and late leaving.  But it didn't matter, as we were just heading for a hotel on arrival.  Flight was bumpy, thunderstorms in the area. 
Called for the hotel shuttle, and shared it with a couple taking a Carnival cruise tomorrow, on Horizon.  WE have stayed in this hotel before, not our favorits, but this was a short notice cruise, and our favorites were too expensive. 
I had checked in online and signed up for the 11:30 shuttle to the port.  Then it was up to the room for a nap.  Well, an interrupted nap.  We have stayed here at least two times before, but not noticed the airplane noise.  They are taking off right over the hotel.  Also strange about the room is that there is a sensor on the bathroom ceiling that turns a fan on as you walk past the door. 
It rained while we napped and relaxed, but by the time we were ready to head out to eat, it was wet but not raining.  We are near a strip with some restaurants.  Last time we ate at an Italian place, but it seems to have been replaced with something else.  We ended up at a Cuban place.  It was interesting and okay.  Back in the room, we are watching HGTV (I always need my David Bromstad fix).  There should have been some College football on, but it was all basketball.    I got out my papers for the cruise, and realized that I was missing one form I needed.  I have it on the computer, and the ipad, but it was not correct and is sitting on the floor at home.  But I went downstairs and they had me email the form to the hotel, and they printed it out for me.  So, we are all set.  I think we will be too early to the ship tomorrow...I understand they board guests on groups, with the highest suites first...Since we upgraded from an inside to an OV, we are quite last, but...Tomorrow will be interesting.

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 08:26:00 AM »
16 Nov 2019.  Saturday.  Miami.  The day started with breakfast at the hotel as usual.  Lots of folks heading for Carnival cruises.  We vacated our room about 1040 to go down and wait for our 1130 shuttle to the POM.  Then things got interesting.  The bus arrived, towing a trailer.  The man asked if there were any folks for MSC.  He wanted their bage in the back of the trailer.  Then Symphony.  No takers for either.  Then Conquest, then Horizon.  We were standing there with no tags on our bags.  Well, he got full before everyone was loaded.  There was another couple there for Horizon.  Either his bus was full, or his trailer, don't know which.  He said another shuttle was coming.  Hmmm...  Eventually the hotel arranged for a taxi (with voucher) for the other couple, who were doing park & cruise.  They were from Orlando.  We crowded into the taxi with them.  No voucher.  He dropped them off at Horizon, then took us over to Terminal J to Insignia.  The meter had been at about $35  when they got off at Carnival.  Voucher would cover that.  It was $40 by the time we got to Insignia.  I really wanted to negotiate, but ended up doing the easy thing and paying the $30 we would have paid the shuttle.  He was happy.  By this time it was 12:30. 

We went into the terminal to find a line.  There was a lady who was scanning passports and looking you up on a manifest.  But if you have the magic Blue Book that we never got, you could go right up the escalator to checkin.  So a few minutes later, we were heading up the escalator and all the long way around the railing to the checkin area.  But first, you had to fill out the health questionnaire that the other lines have scrapped.  St checkin, they wanted passport, and then a credit card for account which you had to sign a receipt as if you had already purchased...  Except for the convenience of the Blue Book, none of the papers I was told I would need were ever asked for. 

We went straight to our cabin, which we suspected would not be ready, and it wasn't, but we dumped off our bags anyway.  They we went out to the elevators to go up to deck 9 where the buffet is.
     We found a place outside aft and made a circuit of the buffet.  I had a light plate of a pork cutlet with white rice and broiled tomatoes.  And a little bit of salad.  And then chocolate ice cream.  Mary had some fruit and potato salad.  And iced tea.  Finishing that, We wandered forward to the pool area.  There were some folks out in the sun in bathing attire, but not in the pool.  There are a lot of nice loungers with thick pads, and I remarked that they were high enough that I might be able to get up from one.  We went to the shady side of the pool and tried them out.  Not bad.  We stayed there, watching a couple of couples venture to the hot tubs.  They seemed to be gingerly getting in - one couple never did, just the legs.  I walked over and tested the water in the pool, and it was cool.  Temps were not high in Miami, and there was a breeze.  And of course, this is not Carnival with hordes of kids hitting the pool as soon as they have stuffed their faces. They announced all cabins were ready, so we came back down to unpack.  Oceania prepares cabins by loyalty level.  The higher you are, the sooner your cabin is ready.  Highest level is 11am, I think, the lowliest is 3pm.  But it was earlier than 3. 
   We went back aft to the elevators by our little corridor (we are the only non-crew area on deck 3) and there were a few others waiting, including a lady on a scooter.  It was not one of the makes rented by Scootaround or Special Need at Sea, and she seemed a bit inexperienced at manoeuvering it.  She was trying to get situated to back into the very small elevators, and did a fast forward into the trash can between the elevators.  When one came, we hopped in with several other people, no room for her. 
Unpacking finished, we relaxed a bit until time for muster drill.  We went up the stairs to deck 5 (our cabin is on 3) and found our place in the GDR (Grand Dining Room) and were checked off the list.  We were then instructed on how to don life vests, which we did not have to bring, and then led out to our life boats.  That was short and sweet, and we were back down the stairs to our cabin.  While we were resting before dinner, our steward, Sandip from India, came in to separate our beds.  They are now separated, but still together.  He did not move a night stand to between them. 
Cabin decor is shades of gray and white.  We have one 18" porthole and the sill is very deep.  There are two sets of outlets at the desk, one is EU and two USB ports, the other is EU and two US outlets.  Trouble is, the US outlets are close together, like on Princess, so you can only plug in one thing at a time.  At each bed are one USB and an EU outlet.  My problem is that I did not bring a EU adapter this trip.  However, there is another US outlet at the side of the desk under the drawer.  Ideal for plugging in the computer, which will reside in the drawer. 
In the bathroom there is a shaver outlet inside the medicine cabinet.  There is also a blue nightlight below the medicine cabinet that is automatically on when the light is off.  How nice.  There are lots of drawers in the cabin, three in each bedside stand, four in the closet, and three at the desk.  All soft close.  There is no metallic surface to hang a magnet other than the door, so our lizard collection is on the inside of the door. 
     We went to supper and asked for a shared table.  We eventually were paired with a woman traveling with her mother to celebrate the mother's 80th birthday.  She uses a walker (uses a scooter at home but is a bit of a reckless driver).   They were interesting conversationalists.  We gotr out of dinner just in time to go to the show.  A Broadway musical collection.  The singers are okay.  Noone was flat.  Five piece orchestra   I think.  There was a man on drums, one on piano, one that played clarinet/saxophone/flute, and one out of my sight.  There was also one behind that I couldn't see what he was doing - another keyboard, or soundboard?  After the show we wandered the shops and didn't see anything we would be interested in spending money on.  No EFFY for sure. 

Back in the cabin, Mary has menus to fill out, since I reported her buckwheat allergy.  We can feel a little bit of motion.  Our cabin is really at ground level.  We could look right out onto the dock.  And had a good view of the pilot boat as it came to pluck off the pilot. 

17 Nov 2019.  Sunday, at sea.  Up too early.  After being unsuccessful at getting back to sleep, I am up correcting things I wrote last night.  Sitting on my bed with laptop on my legs.  Mousepad on my right.  And the phone rings.  At 0805.  It wakes Mary up.  By the time I unwind myself from the covers and computer and get to the phone, either there was noone there anymore, or the didn't like my voice.  They had better not do it again.  At least, not before noon.  Time to figure out how to sign up for the internet, and go get something to eat. 

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 08:26:00 AM »

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 10:29:57 PM »
Much, much later.  1000pm.  It's been an interesting day.  We were warned yesterday that it might be a little rouigh in the Florida Straits.  It was.  I went up to the Terrace Cafe for breakfast just before 9am.  I had a little social thing I wanted to go to at 0930, and Enrichment talk at 1000.  I got up to the cafe, made a pass around and found a table.  Told the waiter yes, I would like juice, and water.  Then I went back to see what I might fancy.  They had sticky buns, eggs benedict, and lots of other stuff.  And I began to realize, as I was unable to walk a straight line, that I really just wanted to sit down.  So I got a sticky bun, found my table and my orange juice, and nibbled.  That done, I went back down to the cabin for my sea bands.  It was going to be one of those days.  I went up to Horizons on deck 10 forward for Coffee Chat & Needlepoint.  Seems the social hostess, who also is one of the singers, had free needlepoint kits.  Coin purse, eyeglass case, etc.  I had done one of these back in 2002 on Star Princess.  Since I had crocheting with me, I didn't take one (guess they were free?).  I fact, I didn't feel like doing much of anything so I just chatted.  I left there and went down to the Insignia Lounge on deck 5 for the enrichment lecture about the Maya.  During that talk, my sea bands really took effect.  I visited the bathroom on the way back to the cabin, where I took a nap.  Mary was still in bed. 
     Probably about 1300 we went up to the Terrace Cafe for brunch.  It was Mexican buffet day.  I had a small piece of grouper and some rice, and chips and salsa/sour cream/guacamole.  Yum.  We left there and went to the Horizons lounge and sat while they had line dancing lessons, crazy golf, and Baggo toss (known as corn hole on other lines).  Left there are they were readying for tea service, so to make the second enrichment lecture which was more about Belize and Costa Maya.  The lecturer is Sandra Cares and this cruise she will be making her 900th lecture for Oceania. 

We came back to the cabin and I grabbed Essie to go to the informal Meet & Greet for Cruise Critic members.  We had no idea how many of us there would be, as the roll call was started a year or more ago, and it seemed most cancelled or just abandoned it when Cuba was cancelled.  Turned out there were six of us, plus Essie.   There were two other travel groups having meetings there at the same time.  The waiters brought us bar snacks: pretzels, potato chips, and nuts.  I had a diet Coke.  We ended in time for the others to go to the cocktail party to meet the captain.  I didn't go, came back to the cabin to relax.  We eventually changed and went to supper.  Well, there may not be any formal nights on Oceania, but the ladies certainly were a bit dressed up tonight.  At a table not far from us was the Captain and his wife and she certainly had on a glittery gown. 
   We were seated with two other ladies who also turned out to be sisters, though they do not live together.  And both retirees from the Federal Gov't.  Dinner seems to take a long time - it was over two hours from the time we went to dinner until we left the GDR.  The entertainment tonight is an Irish comedian and we just weren't interested, so wandered through the shops, priced a couple of jewelry items that were far, far beyond our $200 OBC...In fact, we are going to have trouble finding something to spend it on...
Back in the cabin now, I think I can take off my sea bands.  The motion of the ocean has delayed our arrival to Costa Maya by 3 hours.  Noon instead of 0900. 

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2019, 12:00:22 AM »
18 Nov 2019.  Monday, Costa Maya.  We were docking at 1000, earlier than previously predicted.  Only ship there, but at the far end of the perpendicular pier, and of course, the gangway was all the way forward.  Got lots of steps today.  I was up early and went up to breakfast, then walked around taking pictures of nearly empty venues, including the large library.  Some people think it is the largest at sea, or the second largest, but they apparently haven't sailed Cunard.   Then it was to  the 1000 talk about castaways.  Interesting, but not as much as the Maya talks.  After that, I took some more pictures, then headed back to the cabin.  Mary finally got up and we went up to the buffet for brunch (for her) and lunch for me.  A light meal, as I had had breakfast.  It was Italian buffet day. 

We went ashore and wandered around, bought two tshirts with lizards on them, and some magnets.  Wandered some more, took some pictures of the totally empty pool and lounge chairs.  We have 650 guests, and I would bet only 400 went ashore, and some of those were on tours.  Not really much going on. But they are expecting four ships tomorrow.  We took the tram partway back to the ship.  It only goes as far as the T in the pier.  Then the engine detaches and hooks up to the other end of the car, as there is not enough space to turn around.  Back on the ship, we relaxed at the bar outside the dining room, had cokes and little sandwiches from the tea cart.  Back to the cabin we napped, then made our first acquaintences with the shower.  It is compact.  The shower head is detachable, but wants to point itself at the back wall, so when rinsing, you have to hold it to point where you want it.  I don't care for the Bulgari shampoo/shower gel.  Feels like it leaves a residue in your hair.  Maybe I'll just try the bar soap next time.  Wish I had brought some of the hotel shampoo. 
     We had wonderful table mates at dinner tonight, and went to the show afterward.  A guitarist, not really my thing, and a bit loud.  Cruised through the shops again after, they are having sales on purses and costume jewelry.  Nothing that would fit into my $200 OBC.  I think  I may have to investigate the spa to use the OBC.    After the show, we sat in the Martini Bar listening to the jaz pianist and had Bloody Marys.  When he took a break, we came back to the cabin.  Not really our kind of piano, hard to sing along although he invited us to.  We turn our clocks back tonight.Very calm tonight, probably because we are moving slowly, not far to Harvest Caye. 

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2019, 01:02:42 AM »
19 Nov 2019.  Harvest Cays, Belize.  Tuesday.  We anchored today and tendered using the Belizean tenders, which hold many more folk than the ship tenders.  But some of the tenders were lowered for maintenance.  I was up early and went to breakfast.  Had two different eggs, and it was probably a mistake.  By mid-morning, was not feeling well.I walked a bit on deck, and stayed to watch the NCL Breakaway come in and turn prior to docking.  Water must be fairly shallow, as she kicked up quite a bit of mud while turning. 
   I came back to the cabin and took a nap, and felt some better.  While I was napping, Mary went up and had her cheeseburger and fries.  After awhile we went ashore in a nearly empty tender.  the first place we saw when we got on the island was Jade Maya.  We saw a lot of stuff there we liked, but did not buy.  Mary did buy a magnet and hotplate at another place, and I got a pair of earrings and necklace in silver.  We wandered around, through the wildlife display...Boa constricter, toucans, macaw, iguana, butterflies...  I took my shoes off to walk through the same to take pictures of the lagoon, beach, etc.  The sand is not the sand of Half Moon Cay, Mahogany Bay, or Princess Cays.  This was very course and full of small shells and pieces.  Not comfortable for the feet, nor in your sandals.  The beach looked okay, with lifeguard, and the pool looked much like Margaritaville at Grand Turk.  I would have liked to go in. 
  After our wanderings, we caught the next nearly empty tender back.  WE got off and went straight up to the Horizon Lounge for afternoon tea.  They had cookies, cakes, scones, four kinds of little sandwiches and probably other stuff.  After three small sandwiches, I was ready to come back for another short nap before dressing for dinner. 
   Tonight we shared a table with a couple on their first cruise.  She is 78, he celebrated his 88th a couple days ago onboard.  They are from upstate New York, transplanted to Florida.  After dinner, we relaxed in the Martini lounge before heading to the Insignia Lounge for the show, Acoustic Sessions.  Lots of popular music from the last 60 years.  the show band was augmented by the string quartet, and there was a dance couple added to the singers.  It was very good and well received. 
Back to the martini bar again to listen to the piano player and have Bloody Marys again.  We have retired now, as the pianist went on break.  Tomorrow is Roatan, and it looks like we have drawn the tender ticket.  There are to be two NCL ships there, and Carnival Legend at Mahogany Bay.  Wish they had allowed us the spare dock at Mahogany Bay.  There is nothing for us at Coxen Hole, so will likely stay aboard. 

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 12:04:32 AM »
20 Nov 2019.  Wednesday, Coxen Hole, Roatan, Honduras.   We anchored, along with NCL Dawn, and A.R.C. Gloria, Colombian Navy tall ship.  We have seen her before.


 NCL Getaway was docked, and Carnival Legend could be seen up the way at Mahogany Bay.  I managed to catch a shot of us from Dawn's bridgecam. 


I went to breakfast in the GDR, then wandered around a bit, checked my account at the Reception Desk to make sure the promised prepaid gratuities were actually prepaid.  I then went up to the spa and booked a massage.  One way to use up my OBC, as there is nothing onboard but a few drinks for us to spend it on.  I am going to owe a little bit now, what with the hot rocks added, and the 18% gratuity.  Highway robbery, that.  She asked what I was going to do until my afternoon appt., and I said find a place to get a diet Coke, and take a nap.  I did both...  Mary came in while I was starting the nap, and said she wasa going ashore.  I did get a short nap, then went up for the massage.  80 minutes worth.  Not the deep tissue, but the sports version.  Felt pretty deep to me.  I am still a bit oiled up. 

After the massage, I went to afternoon tea and had a few little sandwiches, and tea.  Then I took a few more pictures and relaxed in the library, loading them into Shutterfly.  It was slow going, but still, they went.  I came back to the cabin in time to change for dinner and wash off some of the oil.  I think I may have been supposed to shower in the spa after the treatment.  Mary was back from shore, had found a tank top and visor for Erin, and a wood mosaic ot plate, much like one we got at Mahogany Bay several visits ago.  We dressed and went up to the jewelry 'sale' at the boutiques, and Mary bought a morganite pendant to use up her OBC, and a bit extra.   Then it was off to supper.

Our tablemates tonight were a couple from Charleston, married 55 years.  She had a bit of a hearing problem...  We didn't find as much to talk about with them as the other people we have shared supper with.  The show tonight was a second show from the comedian, and we didn't go.  I dragged Mary up to the Horizon Lounge to the jigsaw puzzle tables, and she made some contributions.  I sat in the lounge and finished uploading my pics to Shutterfly.  They certainly went much faster, with everyone at dinner...  And I had a cup of tea.

  Speaking of dinner, which is very good, we note that people seem to be dressing up a bit more each night.  At least the women are.  We left the Horizon lounge to come back to the cabin, going outside on deck 10 to get to the aft elevators.  Only one set of elevators go to our cabin area.  We have our own private stairdase from deck 4 down to our corridor on deck 3.  We discovered that it had rained, though was not at that time. 

Cozumel tomorrow, we are told we will be at Punta Langosta (downtown pier) where we were both times with Armonia.  We will have to take Essie & Lizzie to visit their friends at EFFY.  Which means in the morning, we have to change their clothes, since it would be embarrassing to take them there, wearing the same clothing from their last visit...  We give back our hour of sleep tonight. 

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 12:19:47 AM »
21 Nov 2019.  Thursday, Cozumel.  We were docked downtown at Punta Langosta, next to Crystal Symphony.  Unfortunately she is a little larger than us, and all I could see from her portside cam was a little bit of our aft.  I took pics of her, as I figure this is as close as I will ever come to being on a Crystal ship. 



I went up to breakfast late, ending up at Waves Grill by the pool.  I finally found cottage cheese there, by the fruit.  So I had that for breakfast with pineapple.  Went out and took a few pictures and loaded them into Shutterfly.  Went up to the top deck and managed to get into Polo Grill for some pictures.  Haven't managed Toscano yet. 
  We did not go ashore until after 1pm.  Weather was warm with a breeze, not so hot as Sept.  They already have Christmas decorations up at the shopping center at the port.  We walked down to EFFY, stopping into one other shop on the way.  We chatted, showed the girls, and bought little jeweled pendants such as we had found last time.  Mary got a flamingo, I got a frog.  Walking back along the shore, we stopped in several other ships, but didn't buy.  I am coming home with nearly all the money I brought...

Interesting sign at Senor Frog's.  Saw the slogan on a tshirt and nearly bought it... It says Keep Calm.  You are on the Fun Side of Trump's Wall. 



Back on board, we rested, then went up to tea.  Interesting sandwiches:  egg salad with tomatoes and green peas; sliced radish with sliced white grapes... I had one of each plus a ham with cheese.  Mary had a scone.  Back in the cabin I rested some more, and we went to dinner, a bit later than usual.  Had another good meal with a nice couple.   After dinner, we settled in the Martini Bar waiting for the piano player.  He didn't apear until after the show let out.  It was another Broadway based show in which I believe the cruise director was to play a part, but we were too late eating and finishing dinner to make it, as it was half an hour earlier than usual. 
   There has been a bit of motion on the ocean since we left Cozumel, and we were seated in the rear of the GDR.  I have donned my sea bands in case it is rocky in the morning.  Sea day tomorrow. 

Carolyn Jane

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 11:42:19 PM »
22 Nov 2019.  Friday, At Sea.  The last night has arrived.  We are packed and almost ready.  I was up early and has a light breakfast at the Waves Grill.  then it was off to Sandy's talk on the Aztecs.  She talked a little about Cuauhtemoc, the last king of the Aztecs.  After the talk, I went up and said 'Cuauhtemoc lives on', and showed her a picture on my phone of the TS Cuauhtemoc in the Panama Canal.  She had no idea.  I was sorry to have missed her talk on Bananas in the afternoon, but have managed to see half of it on the TV.  I went up to the 10th deck aft and managed to catch Toscano, the other alternative restaurant, with the door open in preparation for a wine seminar.  Got pictures of my last missing venue.  I came back to the cabin but Mary had not yet left for brunch.  when she left, I went up to the areas on deck 4 to wait for the steward to make up the cabin.  then I went back down and tried for a nap, but it didn't happen. 

Soon it was time to shower and dress for dinner.  I did not 'dress', but others still did.  Especially to man with the many tuxes and dinner jackets.  Tonight it was a red DJ with red bow tie, and his wife was in a sparkly red dress.  One of the daughters was in silver sparkles.  Last night the wife had silver and black.  I wonder how many bags they have, and if they are getting off tomorrow...

After supper, we sat in the lobby and listened to the string quartet until they finished their set, then went up to the Horizons Lounge.  Mary ws going to work on the puzzles, but said the light was not good enough tonight.  Shortly after, the entertainment staff came by and deconstructed them.  Start anew next cruise. 

The show band assembled, with the entertainers.  I think they play up there each night for an hour or so, and tonight was ABBA night.  The entertainers did eight songs, and after they were done the band did several more requests and a lot of people were out on the dance floor, including the red DJ.  When the band finished, we came down to the cabin for the last bit of packing.  The seas have been a little rougher today, but not so much as our first sea day.  However, the outer doors have closed signs on them, and there are white bags by the elevators. 

Thoughts...If we sail O again, I must remember to pack pink packets of Sweet & Low, as they only have Splenda and Truvia.  As well as real sugar.  They have a program called Vero Water, where water is in glass bottles in your cabins and is poured from them at the tables.  So there is no ice in your water.  But you can get ice in the bars in your drinks.  I will bring my own shampoo, as I don't like the Bulgari stuff provided.  It doesn't seem to get hair squeaky clean.  I'm sure I will think of more things later.

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Re: Insignia Nov. 16-23, 2019
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 11:42:19 PM »