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PlaneHunter
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Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:04 am



http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/oo169/Planehunter/Caribbean2014SanJuan/Map1.gif~original

Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz



Intro
Let's go cruising! That's what my wife and I decided in early 2014. We had never been attracted to a cruise ship vacation, but somehow we changed our minds after reading some exciting itineraries. We checked various options and finally selected an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor which would include Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. Here's the routing:


Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz

After booking the 7-day cruise, we had to find flights to and from San Juan. Fares were quite affordable, but the cheapest options, mostly offered by Air France/KLM and Delta, couldn't attract me due to a number of reasons (timing, aircraft types, onboard products etc). Finally, we found a combo on STA Travel which would get us on a British Airways 747-400 and an American Airlines 777-300ER between London (LHR) and New York (JFK) as well as on American 757-200s between New York and San Juan. Flying from Munich would have been significantly more expensive than flying from Prague, so we decided to head to the Czech Republic this time to start our journey (British Airways A320 on schedule twice). What we found most convenient were the late departure time from Prague and a night stop at JFK on the outbound journey. In order to be on the safe side, we also decided to spend one additional night in San Juan before and after the cruise.

Part I of my new trip report series will focus on the outbound flights between London and San Juan as well as the cruise ship and most destinations. The visit to St. Maarten and the return flights will be featured in part II.

[Edited 2014-12-13 00:54:03]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:05 am

Friday, May 2014
London (LHR) - New York (JFK)
British Airways BA183
Scheduled times: 20:05-22:45
Actual times: 20:14-22:43
Flight duration: 06:45 (hrs)
Distance: 3451 miles
Economy Class, seat 53E

Boeing 747-436
G-CIVW (s/n 1157)
Delivered in 05/1998


1st flight on G-CIVW
20th 747-400 flight
25th 747 flight



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Reserving seats in advance on American Airlines is free of charge, but British Airways wanted €24 per person for doing so on the LHR-JFK leg. Of course I declined and was hoping to get decent seats during online check-in. 24 hours before departure, I tried my luck, but only got error messages. After several failed attempts within two hours or so, I called British Airways (which had issued the ticket, by the way). The agent was friendly and helpful, but he couldn't tell me why the online check-in didn't work in my case. He just suggested to keep trying - and after I had expressed some concerns, he ensured that there were still plenty of open seats on the 747 and that we would get nice ones in the end...well, I couldn't share that optimism.  eyebrow 

Unfortunately, the situation didn't change and we had to hope for the best on departure day. Only few people were in front of us when check-in opened at Prague Airport, but that didn't help. It turned out that all window/aisle seat combos as well as all outer row middle/aisle seat combos had already been gone on the 747 - and the agent couldn't even give us seats together on the A320.  Embarrassment
There was nothing we could do and had to accept what was left. So we chose an aisle/middle seat combo in the rear center section on the 747 and could at least secure middle seats behind each other on the A320. Not the best way to start vacation!  thumbsdown 

Anyway, the eventless afternoon flight on packed A320 G-EUYN passed quickly and we had the pleasure to deboard via stairs at a Terminal 3 remote position. After the bus ride to the terminal, another bus ride to Terminal 5 and a lengthy security check, we could head to the gate area and I could enjoy spotting for a longer while. British Airways A380 and 787, something to try in the future:



747-436 G-CIVW was prepared for our flight to JFK, one of the newer birds in the active fleet which has shrunken to 43 frames:



Boarding commenced on time, but before we could enter the jetbridge, my wife was selected for an additional handbag search. I have also experienced that at CDG and FCO, but nowhere else. Flight attendants provided a friendly welcome and we soon took our seats in row 53. Despite not being the latest model, the 17.5 inches wide seat was quite comfortable...



...and I also found legroom sufficient (31 inches of pitch according to Seatguru). The seat pocket had come loose on the right side, but that didn't bother me:


Most seats were occupied in the end, but the other middle seat next to me remained empty, so I could enjoy some additional personal space. Of course I was still disappointed that I hadn't been able to secure a window seat, but due to the late departure time, daylight would soon disappear anyway.

Safety card, inflight magazine and shopping guide:



Headphones and amenities:



Our 747s wasn't equipped with BA's latest IFE system, but there are still plenty of entertainment options which can keep you busy. Start screen:



Main menu:



That's all I was really interested in:


We left the gate slightly behind schedule, but then taxied to the runway without stopping.

Half an hour after takeoff, drinks were served. Now it was time for the first ginger ale of the trip:



Dinner followed shortly afterwards - and we preferred chicken over the alternative:


Presentation was nice and I cannot complain about quantity and quality either. The main course and the potato salad tasted quite good, with the chocolate mousse being the highlight. I also liked the white wine BA had offered.

Cabin lighting could be updated...



Surprisingly, I fell asleep for a while which rarely happens in Economy Class. The pre-arrival snack consisted of a tasty mustard chicken & rocket sandwich and a chocolate bar, in my case accompanied by black tea with milk (which is always good on BA):


We touched down after a windy approach and arrived at the gate two minutes ahead of schedule. Lines were rather short at immigration, so we could head to the luggage carousel soon. While waiting there, we were surprised to hear our names in an announcement, telling us to see a customer service agent. That raised some concerns, but when we met the (very friendly) agent, she just handed out our boarding passes for the American Airlines flight to San Juan on the next morning.  thumbsup  The ground agent in Prague hadn't been able to issue these - and I guess the long connecting time had also been the reason why the online check-in hadn't worked. However, our pre-reserved window and aisle seats in row 34 had been replaced by ones in row 12 which I didn't find amusing...at least not yet.  Wink

[Edited 2014-12-13 00:21:45]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:06 am

Saturday, May 2014
New York (JFK) - San Juan (SJU)
American Airlines AA1357
Scheduled times: 08:35-12:30
Actual times: 08:37-12:49
Flight duration: 03:32 (hrs)
Distance: 1598 miles
Economy Class (Main Cabin Extra), seat 12F

Boeing 757-223
N174AA (s/n 998), oneworld livery
Delivered in 02/2002


1st flight on N174AA
14th 757-200 flight
17th 757 flight



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After a pleasant stay at the Hampton Inn JFK in Jamaica, we returned to the airport two hours before departure. I hadn't been to Terminal 8 before and found it quite nice:



While heading to our gate, I spotted an American 757 in oneworld livery and when I checked closer, I realized it was parked at gate 47 - our gate! Some time later it was clear that the plane would indeed operate our flight to San Juan.  thumbsup  Due to the gate layout, it was impossible to get a better picture, unfortunately:


N174AA, one of 76 active frames in the ever shrinking 757 fleet, has been wearing the oneworld livery since November 2009.

Since we belonged to boarding group 4, we were among the last few passengers to enter the cabin. I wasn't amused about that because I was expecting a difficult hunt for trolley space in the overhead bins. We reached row 12 almost immediately after turning right at the door and we found our seats being occupied - but these two people quickly jumped up, realizing their mistake. I hadn't been fully aware of American 757's cabin layout and when I took my seat I noticed with surprise that we had been moved to Main Cabin Extra.  thumbsup 

You get a standard Economy Class seat...



...but you can enjoy four to six inches of extra leg room compared to standard Main Cabin. Great!


I'm really wondering why we had received these better seats on that totally packed flight (I didn't see any empty seats). But it wasn't a regular upgrade because Main Cabin Extra passengers usually enjoy priority boarding, too - and we had been put into boarding group 4. Anyway, we simply enjoyed the extra space.

Seat pocket exploration...





Very detailed fleet overview - but I doubt we'll ever see an MD-80 in new colors:





We left the gate almost on time and started a 30 minute journey to the runway. AA winglet and Lower Manhattan, with the One World Trade Center standing out:



Lovely day for flying:



Liftoff!







Another view of Lower Manhattan:



Heading out over the ocean before turning south:



The friendly flight attendants in the 40s and 50s started serving drinks after a while and in order to warm up in that very cold cabin, I asked for coffee which tasted okay:


Actually I was planning to buy a sandwich or anything else, but there weren't any buy-on-board menus and the flight attendants didn't actively offer anything either when passing by. I remember an onboard sale had been mentioned during an announcement before takeoff, but I didn't see a reason to run after them. I'm not sure if they sold anything behind us, but I don't think so.

The cabin temperature kept falling and at one point I made a complaint. The very flight attendant confirmed that she had heard that repeatedly and mumbled something about First Class. However, nothing happened. And when I asked for a blanket some time later, I was told that they didn't have any.  Yeah sure

Land in sight after more than three hours over the ocean:



Turning in for final approach:



San Juan is quite a big city - did you know that it has a population of nearly 400,000?



We touched down after a flying time of 3 hours and 32 minutes and parked near a US Airways 767-200ER:



[Edited 2014-12-13 00:28:02]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:07 am

San Juan & Caribbean Cruise
Half an hour after arrival, a very friendly and talkative taxi driver took us to the Sheraton Old San Juan in the city's historic core. It's ideally located on the waterfront, just across the cruise ship piers:



Later in the afternoon, we walked around Old San Juan which is beautiful:







Rather cool police motorcycle:



Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site:





View from the castle:



Cementerio Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis:



On the next morning, we went to our hotel's roof terrace and enjoyed the view of our 290-meter-long cruise ship which had arrived at dawn:



By noon, we walked to the pier and had a closer look at the 110,000-gross-ton ship...



...which has a passenger capacity of 2,974 and a crew capacity of 1,180:



Carnival's trademark is the red, white and blue funnel, shaped like a whale's tail:



After a smooth check-in process, we stepped on board. This is the Atrium America:





Glory Atrium:



King Boulevard:



The Ivanhoe Theater holds about 1,400 people:



Two-story (à la carte) Washington Dining Room:



Rosie's Restaurant:



Pool deck with flume:



During a renovation in 2008, the ship received a large movie screen on the pool deck:



Nice views of the city...



...and our Sheraton:



As you may have already noticed, the ship has a "Heroes and Heroics" theme - and what a coincidence that our stateroom's decor was featuring Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis:



The stateroom size was absolutely sufficient:



Every day, we'd find different towel animals:



Cheers!



We left San Juan in the late evening and arrived at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, on the next early morning:



The bay was full of nice boats:



After disembarking, we took the Skyride to Paradise Point which offers excellent views of the harbor and Charlotte Amalie:



Our ship looked quite small from up there:





After a sea day, we arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados, on day 3. There were some nice ships around:



The Topaz, allegedly owned by a leading member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, ties with the Saudi king's Prince Abdulazizis for the title of world's fifth largest private yacht, both holding a length of 147 meters:


According to various websites, the yacht's cost has been estimated at approximately $527 million - which is more than what Carnival invested into building our cruise ship.

We spontaneously booked an island tour together with some other passengers and a friendly and talkative driver took us to various remarkable places. Boat tour anyone?



What a beach!



Nice little houses...



...and animal traffic:



St. James Church:





This is where Ronald and Nancy Reagan sat while attending services during a visit in 1982:



Popular viewpoint...



...old windmill...



...and more stunning views:







Nice little snack bar...



...and a chilled beer at a beach bar:



Farewell music provided by some cool guys:



Coast guard vessels...



...and the Topaz again, next to another ship...


...called Freewinds, a former cruise ship which has been using by Scientology to deliver courses for almost 30 years:



[Edited 2014-12-13 00:47:06]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:09 am

On the next morning, we were going to enter the harbor of Castries, St. Lucia...





...passing George F. L. Charles Airport (SLU):





LIAT ATR 72-600 V2-LIH taxiing down the runway:



Pilot vessel taking care of our ship:



After disembarking, we booked a boat tour along the coast. Quite a change from our giant ship:



Both the guide and the skipper were very cool and friendly and took good care of us. After a speedy ride, we reached the famous Pitons, two volcanic plugs in a World Heritage Site:



This is the Jade Mountain Resort, a very exclusive luxury hotel:



It's located next to Anse Chastanet Beach where we made a lunch break:







Of course we had to try some local food:



Scenic fishing village, passed on the way back:



Short stop at Marigot Bay, setting of Pirates of the Caribbean:



This is the St. Lucia Arch, also known from the mentioned movie:



Almost back in port:



We left Castries in the late afternoon:





Approach to SLU...not!





Some nice evening scenes from various days:





On the next morning, we arrived in Basseterre, St. Kitts:





We decided not to make a tour this time and just walked around the pier shopping area...





...and the city for a while:





Lovely sunset shortly after leaving the island:





Here's just a small selection of food pictures taken during the dinner sessions - both food quality and service were really good:







Some more evening scenes:









This area on the (adult only) Serenity Deck belonged to our favorite places on board:


The last destination during our lovely cruise was Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It's not hard to guess where the PlaneHunter went to on that island.  WinkStory to be continued...

[Edited 2014-12-13 01:07:27]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 8:09 am

Conclusion
British Airways offers a decent long-haul Economy Class product on the aging 747-400s. While the inflight entertainment system is outdated, seating comfort is still fine. Catering was good and I cannot complain about the service either. I wasn't amused about the check-in and seat issues, but that won't keep me from flying BA again.

American Airlines left me totally unimpressed apart from the fact that we could sit in the Main Cabin Extra section. The seat itself was okay, but inflight entertainment (TV features on main screen) and service were disappointing. At least the long-haul flight on the return journey was much better (details to follow in part II).

Best Regards,
PlaneHunter



P.S.: Just in case you missed them - here's a selection of my previous trip reports: D.C. Tour, UA First & LH 747-8 Upper Deck Business (by PlaneHunter Oct 26 2014 in Trip Reports) Seat Plus Bed: FRA-MCO, Lufthansa 744 First Class (by PlaneHunter Sep 1 2014 in Trip Reports) Delta 757 Hops, Beautiful Boston & Alitalia A330 (by PlaneHunter Aug 11 2014 in Trip Reports) Freeport Just For Fun: Bahamasair & Silver Airways (by PlaneHunter Jun 15 2014 in Trip Reports) Swiss A330 To Sunshine State: ZRH-MIA In Business (by PlaneHunter Apr 21 2014 in Trip Reports) Throning On A 777: JFK-VIE, Austrian's New J Class (by PlaneHunter Mar 15 2014 in Trip Reports) Homey Herringbone! AC A330 Executive First Suite (by PlaneHunter Feb 1 2014 in Trip Reports) Flat Bed On Euro Leg: SQ 777-300ER, Business Class (by PlaneHunter Dec 13 2013 in Trip Reports) ZigZag To MAN: Volotea 717, TVF 738 & Packed 757s (by PlaneHunter Dec 4 2013 in Trip Reports) The Hobbit 777 Meets Retro Jet: LAX To CPH, NZ/SK (by PlaneHunter Oct 12 2013 in Trip Reports) Triatlón Mexicano: Interjet - Volaris - AeroMexico (by PlaneHunter Sep 21 2013 in Trip Reports) Snow Chaos & Rebooking: KLM 744 To MEX In Business (by PlaneHunter Sep 1 2013 in Trip Reports) Short Hops, High Quality: Luxair, VLM & CityJet (by PlaneHunter Jul 31 2013 in Trip Reports) Night Stop In Beirut: Turkish A333 & MEA A320/A332 (by PlaneHunter Jun 28 2013 in Trip Reports) Rushing Thru Romania: Carpatair S20 & Tarom A318 (by PlaneHunter Apr 30 2013 in Trip Reports) Flybe E175, Helvetic F100 & The Beauty Of Scotland (by PlaneHunter Feb 11 2013 in Trip Reports) Berlin A.Net Meeting, Air Malta & Wind Jet (R.I.P) (by PlaneHunter Jan 26 2013 in Trip Reports) 100th Report: LOT 787 Dream)Liner, 1st Day Of Ops (by PlaneHunter Dec 16 2012 in Trip Reports) Air Macau, Tiger Airways & Grounding Fiasco At SIN (by PlaneHunter Dec 10 2012 in Trip Reports) Delayed By Over 6 Months: LHR-SIN On Qantas A380 (by PlaneHunter Nov 29 2012 in Trip Reports) No A380, But Still Great: ICN-DXB, EK 77W J Class (by PlaneHunter Nov 21 2012 in Trip Reports) Taipei 101 & Flawed Prestige Class On Korean A330 (by PlaneHunter Oct 7 2012 in Trip Reports) Double Letdown To BKK & TPE: UL A330/A340, CI 744 (by PlaneHunter Sep 24 2012 in Trip Reports) 5* Carrier, Hilton Suite & Dubai's Epic Landmarks (by PlaneHunter Aug 10 2012 in Trip Reports) India's Finest? BKK-BOM-LHR, Jet Airways 738 & 77W (by PlaneHunter May 18 2012 in Trip Reports) 3x Asian Quality: CGK-SIN-HKT-BKK On GA, FD & PG (by PlaneHunter Mar 27 2012 in Trip Reports) Blast From The Past: Sriwijaya 732 & Lion Air 739 (by PlaneHunter Mar 7 2012 in Trip Reports) Widebody Hopping & KUL Spotting: SIA A330, KLM 77W (by PlaneHunter Feb 21 2012 in Trip Reports) QF A380 Grounded, Bags Lost - LHR-SIN, TK A330/340 (by PlaneHunter Jan 30 2012 in Trip Reports) Type Downgrade, Class Upgrade: EgyptAir Business (by PlaneHunter Dec 31 2011 in Trip Reports) Long-Haul Cabin On A 737: MUC-CAI On PrivatAir (by PlaneHunter Nov 29 2011 in Trip Reports) 1 Day, 2 Highlights: Big A.net Meeting & LAN A340 (by PlaneHunter Nov 15 2011 in Trip Reports) Imperfect Giant: CPT-JNB-FRA On SA A332 & LH A380 (by PlaneHunter Oct 21 2011 in Trip Reports) BA Vs. LCC, African Way: JNB-DUR-CPT, Comair/Mango (by PlaneHunter Oct 8 2011 in Trip Reports) Africa's Best Airline? FRA-JNB On SAA A340-600 (by PlaneHunter Sep 23 2011 in Trip Reports) Fuel Dump & Return To CDG: Enroute To LAX On 9/11 (by PlaneHunter Sep 11 2011 in Trip Reports) Greek Quality: Aegean, Olympic & Istanbul Spotting (by PlaneHunter Aug 29 2011 in Trip Reports) Exploring A Virgin: VS A343/A346 & Dubai Delights (by PlaneHunter Aug 8 2011 in Trip Reports) Superb Stübli & Crew: LAS-LAX-ZRH-MUC, LX J Class (by PlaneHunter Jul 20 2011 in Trip Reports) Grand Canyon & More: Scenic Flight On Dornier 228 (by PlaneHunter Jun 21 2011 in Trip Reports) San Francisco Sunshine...and A Frontier Fiasco (by PlaneHunter Jun 3 2011 in Trip Reports) Fully Flat Bed To SFO: SWISS' New Business Class (by PlaneHunter May 7 2011 in Trip Reports) Mountains, Meals & More: SunExpress Vs. Pegasus (by PlaneHunter Apr 23 2011 in Trip Reports) Crossing Two Oceans: AKL-SFO-MUC, NZ 777 & LH A346 (by PlaneHunter Apr 10 2011 in Trip Reports) Bad Weather & Other Bad Luck: Touring New Zealand (by PlaneHunter Mar 14 2011 in Trip Reports) Trans-Tasman Treat: Aerolineas Argentinas A340-200 (by PlaneHunter Mar 5 2011 in Trip Reports) Detours To Sydney: Wildlife, Tiger, REX & QFLink (by PlaneHunter Feb 22 2011 in Trip Reports) Thai Fails To Impress: MUC-BKK-BNE On 744 & 777 (by PlaneHunter Jan 23 2011 in Trip Reports) Painful Delay & My 100th Airline: AF A380, VO F100 (by PlaneHunter Dec 25 2010 in Trip Reports) Fifth Freedom Tidbit: Kuwait Airways A300-600 (by PlaneHunter Dec 2 2010 in Trip Reports) Ship Vs. Plane: Porto Santo Line & Sata Air Açores (by PlaneHunter Nov 17 2010 in Trip Reports) Awesome Approach, Splendid Scenery: LIS, FNC & TAP (by PlaneHunter Oct 30 2010 in Trip Reports) Guernsey, Ash Cloud Alarm & Mostly Empty SQ 77Ws (by PlaneHunter Sep 26 2010 in Trip Reports) Totally Thrilling: Scenic Flight On Lufthansa A380 (by PlaneHunter Aug 5 2010 in Trip Reports) Cirrus D38, Adria CRJ & Captain Niki Lauda On Duty (by PlaneHunter Jul 27 2010 in Trip Reports) Monarch Hot Meal, E195 & More: PMI-ALC-MAN-MUC (by PlaneHunter Jul 4 2010 in Trip Reports) Premium Meal & Palma Spotting: MUC-PMI, DE 757-300 (by PlaneHunter Jun 6 2010 in Trip Reports) The Dead Slow Transfer: PEK-MUC On Air China A332 (by PlaneHunter May 29 2010 in Trip Reports) Cancellation Brings Joy: HKG-PEK On Dragonair A330 (by PlaneHunter May 21 2010 in Trip Reports) A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG On SQ (by PlaneHunter May 1 2010 in Trip Reports) The Next 5* Carrier? MUC-MCT-DXB, Oman Air A330 (by PlaneHunter Mar 25 2010 in Trip Reports) Turkey For 1.5 Hrs: Daytrip To AYT On Sky Airlines (by PlaneHunter Mar 13 2010 in Trip Reports) CO Scores Again: ATL-IAH-EWR-FRA On ERJ, 752 & 764 (by PlaneHunter Mar 6 2010 in Trip Reports) Riding The Ultra Long-Haul Twin: Delta 777-200LR (by planehunter Feb 12 2010 in Trip Reports) Pacific Coast Jaunt: 3 Carriers, E120, E140 & Fog (by PlaneHunter Jan 30 2010 in Trip Reports) The Ultimate 737: LHR-IAH-PDX On CO 777 & 739ER (by PlaneHunter Jan 6 2010 in Trip Reports) Bye Bye, Hell! TRD-OSL-TXL-NUE - DY/AB/HE DH4 (by PlaneHunter Dec 13 2009 in Trip Reports) My Trip To Hell: NUE-CPH-OSL-TRD On Cimber & SAS (by PlaneHunter Nov 21 2009 in Trip Reports) SFO-YUL-FRA: Map- & Sleepless On Air Canada's 77W (by PlaneHunter Nov 10 2009 in Trip Reports) Sin City Gloss & Virgin America's Chic First Class (by PlaneHunter Oct 30 2009 in Trip Reports) Seat Dilemma & Canyon Glamour: FRA To LAX, AC 763 (by PlaneHunter Oct 11 2009 in Trip Reports) On Par With Air France? DTW-AMS-MUC, KLM A330 (by PlaneHunter Oct 3 2009 in Trip Reports) Goodbye, Red Tails! DC-9-40/50 & Chicago Tour (by PlaneHunter Aug 27 2009 in Trip Reports) Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL (by PlaneHunter Jul 19 2009 in Trip Reports) "Mission A380": Disappointing Legs On BA/BD/EI (by PlaneHunter May 30 2009 in Trip Reports) Delights Of Doha, 773 & 77W: DOH-DXB-LHR On EK (by PlaneHunter Apr 23 2009 in Trip Reports) A380 Really A Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK (by PlaneHunter Mar 25 2009 in Trip Reports) Quality & Style: HKG-LHR On Air New Zealand 744 (by PlaneHunter Mar 10 2009 in Trip Reports) Taiwan Trio: TransAsia, UNI Air And The Taipei 101 (by PlaneHunter Feb 21 2009 in Trip Reports) "The Wings Of Taiwan": EVA Air A332, 744 Combi (by PlaneHunter Jan 31 2009 in Trip Reports) SHA-SZX, Shanghai 757: Delayed By The Military (by PlaneHunter Jan 6 2009 in Trip Reports) PEK-SHA, China Eastern A330 & Shanghai At Night (by PlaneHunter Dec 13 2008 in Trip Reports) Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330 (by PlaneHunter Nov 22 2008 in Trip Reports)

[Edited 2014-12-13 00:48:39]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
Luxair747SP
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:27 pm

Servus PH,

Nice to see another report from you online.
The service on BA looks quite alright! And also the food seems to be fine for such a rather short transatlantic flight.
I also like the destination pictures as the landscape truly is looking fantastic!

And great to see another 747 flight, still my favorite plane!

Thanks a lot for sharing
Cheers
Johannes
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:34 pm

Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 6):
Nice to see another report from you online.

Servus Johannes,

thanks a lot for your feedback!

Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 6):
The service on BA looks quite alright! And also the food seems to be fine for such a rather short transatlantic flight.

Yes, BA's offerings were truly satisfying.

Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 6):
I also like the destination pictures as the landscape truly is looking fantastic!

Thank you. I must admit we really fell in love with the Caribbean - great landscapes and very friendly people everywhere. We want to go there again soon, many more nice islands to discover.

Quoting Luxair747SP (Reply 6):
And great to see another 747 flight, still my favorite plane!

The number of active 747s keeps shrinking quickly, so one has to take any chance.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
767747
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:00 pm

Nice report, PH!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
We checked various options and finally selected an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor which would include Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. Here's the routing:

Sounds like a great itinerary!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Unfortunately, the situation didn't change and we had to hope for the best on departure day. Only few people were in front of us when check-in opened at Prague Airport, but that didn't help. It turned out that all window/aisle seat combos as well as all outer row middle/aisle seat combos had already been gone on the 747 - and the agent couldn't even give us seats together on the A320.  
There was nothing we could do and had to accept what was left. So we chose an aisle/middle seat combo in the rear center section on the 747 and could at least secure middle seats behind each other on the A320. Not the best way to start vacation!   

That's annoying, and I'm surprised that BA charges for seat assignments for an transatlantic segment in Y. I wonder why?

BA does look nice, but AA looks pretty meager, which is not surprising as they are one of the US airlines that is extremely weak on Y offerings. In comparison, Delta serves free snacks on all flights, and usually has a pretty comprehensive BOB menu.

Looking forward to part 2!

Matthew
I love to fly!
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:06 pm

Quoting 767747 (Reply 8):
Nice report, PH!

Many thanks, Matthew!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 8):
Sounds like a great itinerary!

After finding that one, we stopped looking for others. And it was a good decision. Next time we may book a Western Caribbean cruise.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 8):
That's annoying, and I'm surprised that BA charges for seat assignments for an transatlantic segment in Y. I wonder why?

That's what many airlines do in these days, unfortunately. LH has also introduced that.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 8):
BA does look nice, but AA looks pretty meager, which is not surprising as they are one of the US airlines that is extremely weak on Y offerings. In comparison, Delta serves free snacks on all flights, and usually has a pretty comprehensive BOB menu.

I can only agree, DL seems to be far ahead.


PH
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jwhite9185
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:23 pm

Nice report as usual PH. Shame about the seating issues on BA, but seems as though you had a decent pair of flights anyway. Sure the 747 is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but still a novelty to fly on one anyway. Their upcoming refurb should keep them in the air for a while yet though, despite their retirement being in full swing.

Interesting to see the cabin of your AA 757 too - that one seemed to have the more standard AA cabin, where as the one I took last year in Y was very 1990's ( USA 2013 Pt 5: AA & BA's New WTP MCO-MIA-ATL-LHR (by jwhite9185 Jun 25 2013 in Trip Reports) ). Im guessing some have either had a refit or you were on a long haul configured machine? Either way, good to get a free upgrade to MCE.

San Juan looks like a nice place - possibly on my to do list now after seeing those pics.

Good pics from the cruise and around the Caribbean too.

Looking forward to the next part.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:34 pm

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Nice report as usual PH.

Hi James,

thank you very much for your comments!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Shame about the seating issues on BA, but seems as though you had a decent pair of flights anyway.

Yes, the journey was still quite nice. It's such a short flight from London to New York!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Their upcoming refurb should keep them in the air for a while yet though, despite their retirement being in full swing.

Hopefully BA will keep the younger frames for a long time to come.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Interesting to see the cabin of your AA 757 too - that one seemed to have the more standard AA cabin, where as the one I took last year in Y was very 1990's ( USA 2013 Pt 5: AA & BA's New WTP MCO-MIA-ATL-LHR (by jwhite9185 Jun 25 2013 in Trip Reports) ). Im guessing some have either had a refit or you were on a long haul configured machine?

Interesting, thanks! Good question. Just checked FR24 and it shows that my frame has mostly been used on international routes recently, including longer sectors to Brazil. But the one on the return journey, N604AA, had the same interior and has mostly been used on domestic routes recently. Well, who knows - maybe some AA experts can tell us more.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Either way, good to get a free upgrade to MCE.

  

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
San Juan looks like a nice place - possibly on my to do list now after seeing those pics.

I can only recommend going there - Old San Juan is lovely, there's a lot to see. And there are many nice restaurants.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Good pics from the cruise and around the Caribbean too.

Thanks!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 10):
Looking forward to the next part.

Hopefully online before year-end...


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
lychemsa
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:42 pm

I stopped flying to the Caribbean on American 2 years ago, using only JETBLUE, if possible.

My last flight on AA to Punta Cana was on an old 757; expensive air fare, cramped seating which really was like being in a cattle car, no entertainment and lousy food options. They used to offer a meal until about 2 years ago.

JETBLUE cabins are spacious; 34" legroom, new planes and great entertainment. Only snacks but I bring my own food.

I find the 31" on BA like on Lufthansa insufficient. AA to Europe still offer 32" but it's less common now.

BA seem to offer decent headphones in Y, unlike AA etc. I don't recall from my previous flight with them 2 years ago.
 
emek96
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:46 pm

Hi PH!

Nice report first of all. Cruise ship tours must be great, I have to one also one day. Is very expensive actually compared to 'standard' holyday ?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, the situation didn't change and we had to hope for the best on departure day. Only few people were in front of us when check-in opened at Prague Airport, but that didn't help. It turned out that all window/aisle seat combos as well as all outer row middle/aisle seat combos had already been gone on the 747 - and the agent couldn't even give us seats together on the A320.
There was nothing we could do and had to accept what was left. So we chose an aisle/middle seat combo in the rear center section on the 747 and could at least secure middle seats behind each other on the A320. Not the best way to start vacation!

What a fiasco! Wasn't the agent you telephoned to able to reserve your desired seats actually?

The seats on the BA 747 are looking really good, I usually prefer older long haul seats over new ones. For example the seats of the SQ 747s, the seats were more than 10 years old, but IMO they were more comfortable than the seats of their new 77Ws.
Also the food looks very good, the portion seems to be big (?), when I compare it to what I got some weeks ago on my CA flight from PEK to FRA, the meal was much too small.

Well, what you reported about AA sounds really LCC like. Only a small cup of coffee on a flight of 3 hours....

greetings
Elias
Lufthansa is the best airline in the world!
 
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:09 pm

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
I stopped flying to the Caribbean on American 2 years ago, using only JETBLUE, if possible.
B6 is always a very good alternative - especially if you don't need to connect from Europe.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
My last flight on AA to Punta Cana was on an old 757; expensive air fare, cramped seating which really was like being in a cattle car, no entertainment and lousy food options. They used to offer a meal until about 2 years ago.

Seating wasn't too bad on the return journey (row 34 on another 757), but the rest sounds familiar.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
JETBLUE cabins are spacious; 34" legroom, new planes and great entertainment. Only snacks but I bring my own food.

No doubt, that product beats AA's Y Class. I really need to fly B6 again soon.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
I find the 31" on BA like on Lufthansa insufficient.

It depends on the seat design - I found BA's 31" better than LH's, for example.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 12):
BA seem to offer decent headphones in Y, unlike AA etc. I don't recall from my previous flight with them 2 years ago.

Yes, AA still has these little headsets. Picture to follow in part II. But the rest of the long-haul product was quite good.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):
Nice report first of all.

Servus Elias,

many thanks for your feedback!

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):
Cruise ship tours must be great, I have to one also one day. Is very expensive actually compared to 'standard' holyday ?

It's a bit difficult to compare due to different concepts. And it depends on your preferences. But you can find a cruise like ours for 600-700 Euro per person - plus air fare, of course. I was quite surprised that Caribbean cruises are cheaper than Mediterranean cruises in general - probably due to more competition.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):
What a fiasco! Wasn't the agent you telephoned to able to reserve your desired seats actually?

He just said that he wasn't able to check us in and he didn't offer to reserve any seats. I'm not sure if you can still pay for desired seats within the check-in period.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):

The seats on the BA 747 are looking really good, I usually prefer older long haul seats over new ones. For example the seats of the SQ 747s, the seats were more than 10 years old, but IMO they were more comfortable than the seats of their new 77Ws.

I can only confirm that, newer seat models tend to be less comfortable.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):
Also the food looks very good, the portion seems to be big (?), when I compare it to what I got some weeks ago on my CA flight from PEK to FRA, the meal was much too small.

Interesting - will you write a report? Did you fly on the 77W?

Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):
Well, what you reported about AA sounds really LCC like. Only a small cup of coffee on a flight of 3 hours....

They offered drinks twice actually, but that didn't change much.


PH

[Edited 2014-12-13 08:10:41]
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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Ytraveller
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:42 pm

Hi PlaneHunter,

Amazing report! My family took the same exact cruise - same islands, same Carnival Valor - in spring 2013! What a coincidence.  


Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Reserving seats in advance on American Airlines is free of charge, but British Airways wanted €24 per person for doing so on the LHR-JFK leg.

Ridiculous! This happened to me in summer 2012: I was stuck next to my cranky sister for 10 hours, in the middle column of seats. My family will be flying BA again next spring, also on the 747. They want $45 per person, per flight!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
On the next morning, we were going to enter the harbor of Castries, St. Lucia...

I loved St. Lucia ... It was a bit cloudy when we arrived, but that added to the beauty. Also, I think we took the same excursion here!


http://i57.tinypic.com/29g0she.jpg


Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
On the next morning, we arrived in Basseterre, St. Kitts:

St. Kitts was also great. It was raining on the mountains, but again, that only made the scenes better:


http://i57.tinypic.com/20kbrlw.jpg


Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Here's just a small selection of food pictures taken during the dinner sessions - both food quality and service were really good:

This was the reason why we chose Carnival! Did you try the warm chocolate melting cake?  

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The last destination during our lovely cruise was Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It's not hard to guess where the PlaneHunter went to on that island.

Unfortunately it was raining when I went there.   Looking forward to your pics from Maho Beach!


My family will be taking another Carnival cruise next week, and I will be sure to post a TR!

Thanks for the beautiful pictures and report,
- Ytraveller  
 
emek96
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:29 pm

Hi again!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 14):
Quoting emek96 (Reply 13):Also the food looks very good, the portion seems to be big (?), when I compare it to what I got some weeks ago on my CA flight from PEK to FRA, the meal was much too small.
Interesting - will you write a report? Did you fly on the 77W?

I did FRA-PEK-BKK and return on CA, and yes I flew the 77W from and to Frankfurt, legroom was really amazing, also the seat width was more than enough (thanks to 3-3-3 layout).
No, I am not going to write a report, I still have some old work do in the next weeks.
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PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:44 am

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
Amazing report!

Hi Ytraveller,

thanks a lot for your feedback! Good to hear you liked it.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
My family took the same exact cruise - same islands, same Carnival Valor - in spring 2013! What a coincidence.

That's indeed a nice coincidence!

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
My family will be flying BA again next spring, also on the 747. They want $45 per person, per flight!

Rip-off!

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):

I loved St. Lucia ... It was a bit cloudy when we arrived, but that added to the beauty. Also, I think we took the same excursion here!

Cool. St. Lucia belongs to my favorites.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
St. Kitts was also great. It was raining on the mountains, but again, that only made the scenes better:

Very nice picture! We were told about St. Kitts' beauty after the stop there - but we didn't want to make a tour every day. Well, next time!

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
This was the reason why we chose Carnival! Did you try the warm chocolate melting cake?

Of course, several times! That was amazing!   

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
Unfortunately it was raining when I went there.

That's too bad, but that can always happen in the region.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
Looking forward to your pics from Maho Beach!

I will post many pictures, hopefully online before year-end.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):

My family will be taking another Carnival cruise next week, and I will be sure to post a TR!

Sounds great, have fun! Where do you go to? Would be nice to see a report!

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 15):
Thanks for the beautiful pictures and report,

My pleasure, thanks for dropping by!

Quoting emek96 (Reply 16):

I did FRA-PEK-BKK and return on CA, and yes I flew the 77W from and to Frankfurt, legroom was really amazing, also the seat width was more than enough (thanks to 3-3-3 layout).

Sounds very good. At least they still offer a spacious layout.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 16):
No, I am not going to write a report, I still have some old work do in the next weeks.

That's too bad.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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eastafspot
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:20 am

Hi PH,

Excellent TR as usual. BA doesn't seem too bad but as you wrote it was not the best way to start your holiday.
Beautiful cruise ship, you must have enjoyed a lot! I really like the pictures of these islands, and i would not mind to go to St Lucia one day   .

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Approach to SLU...not!

Haha nice!

Thanks for sharing, looking forward to more

[Edited 2014-12-14 03:13:40]
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Golden Wings Aviation, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki !
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:45 am

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
Excellent TR as usual.

Hi Leó,

thank you very much for your comments! I'm glad you liked it.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
BA doesn't seem too bad but as you wrote it was not the best way to start your holiday.

  

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
Beautiful cruise ship, you must have enjoyed a lot!

Yes, it was really nice.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
I really like the pictures of these islands, and i would mind to go to St Lucia one day

You really should. And there are many more great islands to discover.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
Haha nice!

 

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 18):
Thanks for sharing, looking forward to more

Part II should be online before year-end.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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sultanils
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 12:06 pm

PH my friend,

Thanks for the lovely and picturesque read. Brave man, going on a cruise, it’s not my cup of tea. Those ship do look impressive but why does the interior have to be so kitschy sometimes? Anyway, glad to see you also enjoyed the flights, except for that drowsy seating issue on BA and the cold cabin on AA. Cool to have flown the logojet too!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
which would get us on a British Airways 747-400 and an American Airlines 777-300ER between London (LHR) and New York (JFK) as well as on American 757-200s between New York and San Juan.

A nice combo I would say although I generall dislike widebodies with 3x3 seating.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Former appearance

How I miss those days when the BA fleet had special tail schemes...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
we soon took our seats in row 53

Looks oldfashioned but comfy nevertheless.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
so I could enjoy some additional personal space.

Always a bonus on longhaul!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Now it was time for the first ginger ale of the trip

Certainly a good start to have your signature drink. Was it served to your satisfaction?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
she just handed out our boarding passes for the American Airlines flight to San Juan on the next morning.

Nice proactive attitude there.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
However, our pre-reserved window and aisle seats in row 34 had been replaced by ones in row 12 which I didn't find amusing...at least not yet.

Again a seating issue   Luckily it turned out to be not that bad...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
After a pleasant stay at the Hampton Inn JFK in Jamaica

Jamaica? Enlighten me pls   (Yeah - you must mean the NY area the hotel was in  )

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
.but you can enjoy four to six inches of extra leg room compared to standard Main Cabin. Great!

That’s the only difference in Y+ on AA? No pre departure drinks, hot towels...?

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The stateroom size was absolutely sufficient

A pink coloured room, omg...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The Topaz

My kind of yacht - if I had the possibilty to choose 

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Approach to SLU...not!

Cool shot and very misleading!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
It's not hard to guess where the PlaneHunter went to on that island.

  No clue...

Sultanils
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:39 pm

Hi again,


Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 17):
Cool. St. Lucia belongs to my favorites.

Yes, me too. We took a bus tour of the island, and it was interesting to pass through the villages and see what "real life" is like for the natives.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 17):
Very nice picture! We were told about St. Kitts' beauty after the stop there - but we didn't want to make a tour every day. Well, next time!

Thanks   St. Kitts is indeed very beautiful, it seems less busy and "touristy" than the other islands.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 17):

Sounds great, have fun! Where do you go to? Would be nice to see a report!

We will be stopping at Costa Maya, Belize, Roatán, and Cozumel. I’ll definitely post a report!


- Ytraveller  
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:17 pm

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Thanks for the lovely and picturesque read.

Hi Nils,

thank you very much for your comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Brave man, going on a cruise, it’s not my cup of tea.

That used to me my opinion, too. Interestingly, it turned out during the cruise that many concerns hadn't been justified. Never say never, Nils!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Those ship do look impressive but why does the interior have to be so kitschy sometimes?

Well, there are many different interior design styles out there.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Anyway, glad to see you also enjoyed the flights, except for that drowsy seating issue on BA and the cold cabin on AA.

  

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Cool to have flown the logojet too!

That was a great surprise! My first oneworld logojet, btw.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
How I miss those days when the BA fleet had special tail schemes...

Oh yes, those were fantastic. I still have numerous models with nice colorful tails in a showcase at home.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Always a bonus on longhaul!

  

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Certainly a good start to have your signature drink. Was it served to your satisfaction?

Well, it wasn't Schweppes Dry...  

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Nice proactive attitude there.

Absolutely!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
Jamaica? Enlighten me pls (Yeah - you must mean the NY area the hotel was in

Jamaica, NY of course! We may visit the other one during our next cruise.  

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):

That’s the only difference in Y+ on AA? No pre departure drinks, hot towels...?

No. That's it.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
A pink coloured room, omg...

Oh, it wasn't pink! The picture gives the wrong impression.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
My kind of yacht - if I had the possibilty to choose

Only the fifth largest???  

Quoting sultanils (Reply 20):
No clue...

I won't disclose it!  

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 21):
Yes, me too. We took a bus tour of the island, and it was interesting to pass through the villages and see what "real life" is like for the natives.

Hi again! Sounds very interesting.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 21):
Thanks St. Kitts is indeed very beautiful, it seems less busy and "touristy" than the other islands.

Nice, we need to discover that island during a future visit.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 21):
We will be stopping at Costa Maya, Belize, Roatán, and Cozumel. I’ll definitely post a report!

Sounds great! That's the area where we want to go to next year. I'm looking forward to your report!


PH
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northstardc4m
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:00 pm

Deja Vu for me... did this cruise in 2013... nice report  

[Edited 2014-12-15 10:03:53]
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einsteinboricua
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Nice pictures of Old San Juan. Made me nostalgic. It's been nearly a year since I left Puerto Rico. Those pictures brought back memories  
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:12 pm

Quoting northstardc4m (Reply 23):
Deja Vu for me... did this cruise in 2013... nice report

Thanks, Peter! Nice to hear, I hope you enjoyed it.

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 24):
Nice pictures of Old San Juan. Made me nostalgic. It's been nearly a year since I left Puerto Rico. Those pictures brought back memories

Thanks! I can understand that, it's a beautiful town. And I'm sure there are many more nice places on the island.


PH
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American 767
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:14 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
N174AA, one of 76 active frames in the ever shrinking 757 fleet, has been wearing the oneworld livery since November 2009.

I flew on it on Thanksgiving weekend from MIA back to JFK. The outbound flight JFK-MIA was a 757 in the ordinary old colours.
Nice report. Thanks for sharing with us.

Ben Soriano
Ben Soriano
 
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:12 am

Quoting American 767 (Reply 26):
Nice report. Thanks for sharing with us.

Thanks for your feedback, Ben!

Quoting American 767 (Reply 26):
I flew on it on Thanksgiving weekend from MIA back to JFK. The outbound flight JFK-MIA was a 757 in the ordinary old colours.

Good catch!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
The777Man
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:54 am

Hi PlaneHunter!

Thanks for another amazing report with amazing pictures ! Great to see you try some new destinations. I'm not into cruises at all and don't think I ever will but good to see you try one.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
British Airways wanted €24 per person for doing so on the LHR-JFK

That's crazy ! That's a lot of money per person. I guess they don't have any bag fees though like most US airlines.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
I also found legroom sufficient (31 inches of pitch according to Seatguru)

Looks cramped to me.....

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
Dinner followed shortly afterwards - and we preferred chicken over the alternative:

That looks very good!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
you can enjoy four to six inches of extra leg room compared to standard Main Cabin. Great!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
But it wasn't a regular upgrade because Main Cabin Extra passengers usually enjoy priority boarding, too - and we had been put into boarding group 4. Anyway, we simply enjoyed the extra space.

I think it's the same on American as on United and Delta; the Y section with extra legroom is at extra cost unless you have status. You can purchase priority boarding but that's not included in extra legroom section.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
Very detailed fleet overview - but I doubt we'll ever see an MD-80 in new colors:

I think I read in a AA thread that for sure, no MD-80s will be repainted. Nice over view of their fleet!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
AA winglet and Lower Manhattan, with the One World Trade Center standing out:

Nice picture!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Half an hour after arrival, a very friendly and talkative taxi driver took us to the Sheraton Old San Juan in the city's historic core. It's ideally located on the waterfront, just across the cruise ship piers:

Very nice location!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Later in the afternoon, we walked around Old San Juan which is beautiful:

Looks very nice and similar to Cartagena, Colombia where I went in early May. Not so strange; both cities are in the Caribbean and were founded by the Spanish.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
we arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados,

Looks very nice!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
On the next morning, we were going to enter the harbor of Castries, St. Lucia...

Nice! I hope to hop around the eastern Caribbean in late spring next year.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Of course we had to try some local food:

Looks tasty !

Very much looking forward to your next part !

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
roberts87
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:34 am

Hello PH,

Excellent report as always! Love your destination pictures, it looks like you had a great holiday. I look forward to reading more!
 
byronicle6
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 22, 2014 2:41 am

Hi PH,

Once again, great report!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
We had never been attracted to a cruise ship vacation, but somehow we changed our minds after reading some exciting itineraries.

Cruising has never appealed to me either. But thinking about it now, the fact that it gives you the ability to see several islands relatively cheaply does make it slightly more attractive.... Maybe one day.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Later in the afternoon, we walked around Old San Juan which is beautiful:

   I also thoroughly enjoyed my time in San Juan. Wish i'd spent more time there!

Looking forward to the SXM part, and return journey
Travel is my thing
 
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OA260
Posts: 25359
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:55 pm

Hey PH  

Great to read you finally decided to go on a cruise ship   Congrats !

Nice flights and way to get there too. Never been on Carnival but from the pics some aspects remind me of Costa cruises which should be of no surprise being the same company/group just different brand.

Always nice to see pics of the Caribbean and for sure we all know where you were going to when you docked in a certain port  

Looking forward to reading the next parts.

Regards

Philip  
 
gabrielchew
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:30 am

Nice report Udo!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):

Unfortunately, the situation didn't change and we had to hope for the best on departure day. Only few people were in front of us when check-in opened at Prague Airport, but that didn't help. It turned out that all window/aisle seat combos as well as all outer row middle/aisle seat combos had already been gone on the 747 - and the agent couldn't even give us seats together on the A320. Embarrassment
There was nothing we could do and had to accept what was left. So we chose an aisle/middle seat combo in the rear center section on the 747 and could at least secure middle seats behind each other on the A320. Not the best way to start vacation! thumbsdown

That's a shame you got dud seats  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Presentation was nice and I cannot complain about quantity and quality either. The main course and the potato salad tasted quite good, with the chocolate mousse being the highlight. I also liked the white wine BA had offered.

The food looks pretty good. GLad you like the British catering!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
Actually I was planning to buy a sandwich or anything else, but there weren't any buy-on-board menus and the flight attendants didn't actively offer anything either when passing by. I remember an onboard sale had been mentioned during an announcement before takeoff, but I didn't see a reason to run after them. I'm not sure if they sold anything behind us, but I don't think so.

The cabin temperature kept falling and at one point I made a complaint. The very flight attendant confirmed that she had heard that repeatedly and mumbled something about First Class. However, nothing happened. And when I asked for a blanket some time later, I was told that they didn't have any. Yeah sure

Hmm, doesn't seem like the best service. I guess they "forgot" to load the catering, as it seems very odd for them not to proactively sell the BOB
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:46 am

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):

Thanks for another amazing report with amazing pictures !

Hi Lars! Thanks a lot for your kind words!

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Great to see you try some new destinations.

Always nice to add new countries and places.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
I'm not into cruises at all and don't think I ever will but good to see you try one.

You never try, you never know. I used to have the same opinion, but reality proved me wrong.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
That's crazy ! That's a lot of money per person. I guess they don't have any bag fees though like most US airlines.

One piece of checked luggage free of charge, no matter where you go.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Looks cramped to me.....

It was better than it looked - the seat pocket had come loose on the right side, so the picture may give a wrong impression.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
I think it's the same on American as on United and Delta; the Y section with extra legroom is at extra cost unless you have status. You can purchase priority boarding but that's not included in extra legroom section.

Priority boarding is included when you regularly book Main Cabin Extra.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Very nice location!

Absolutely! I would choose that hotel again.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Looks very nice and similar to Cartagena, Colombia where I went in early May. Not so strange; both cities are in the Caribbean and were founded by the Spanish.

I really need to visit Colombia soon. Trying Avianca alone would be a good reason.  

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Nice! I hope to hop around the eastern Caribbean in late spring next year.

So will you combine a BA 777 hop with flights on LIAT or other carriers? Any plans to visit SXM, too?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 28):
Very much looking forward to your next part !

777 report!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 29):
Excellent report as always!

Hi Robert, many thanks for your comments!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 29):
Love your destination pictures, it looks like you had a great holiday.

Good to hear! It was indeed a great vacation.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 29):
I look forward to reading more!

Should be online soon.

Quoting byronicle6 (Reply 30):

Once again, great report!

Thanks a lot!

Quoting byronicle6 (Reply 30):
Cruising has never appealed to me either. But thinking about it now, the fact that it gives you the ability to see several islands relatively cheaply does make it slightly more attractive.... Maybe one day.

Sure - and you can always combine it with nice flights.  

Quoting byronicle6 (Reply 30):
I also thoroughly enjoyed my time in San Juan. Wish i'd spent more time there!

I'd go there again, much more to see!

Quoting byronicle6 (Reply 30):
Looking forward to the SXM part, and return journey

Good to hear!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
Great to read you finally decided to go on a cruise ship Congrats !

Hi Philip, thank you for your comments! Yes, I'm really into cruising now.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
Never been on Carnival but from the pics some aspects remind me of Costa cruises which should be of no surprise being the same company/group just different brand.

Yes, they also use similar ships. But we want to try something else next time, currently evaluating another Caribbean cruises and we may try Holland America Line, Norwegian, Princess Cruises or Royal Caribbean. The very ships (rather new ones) look quite attractive and get good ratings - which one would you recommend in general?

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
Always nice to see pics of the Caribbean and for sure we all know where you were going to when you docked in a certain port

There was no alternative!  

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
Looking forward to reading the next parts.

Good to hear!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 32):
Nice report Udo!

Thanks, Gabriel!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 32):
That's a shame you got dud seats

   Just bad luck this time.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 32):
The food looks pretty good. GLad you like the British catering!

BA's catering has never disappointed me - except for the short-haul offerings between LHR and MUC.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 32):
Hmm, doesn't seem like the best service. I guess they "forgot" to load the catering, as it seems very odd for them not to proactively sell the BOB

Yes, very odd. Similar situation on the return flight.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
EL-AL
Posts: 1478
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:48 pm

Hey Udo,

Thank you for another great report, this time from the beautiful Caribbeans.


Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
cheapest options, mostly offered by Air France/KLM and Delta, couldn't attract me due to a number of reasons (timing, aircraft types, onboard products etc).

Oh I understand, you wanted to avoid 10 abreast 777!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
and an American Airlines 777-300ER between London (LHR) and New York (JFK)

Wait, what?!  Wow!
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1):
There was nothing we could do and had to accept what was left. So we chose an aisle/middle seat combo in the rear center section on the 747 and could at least secure middle seats behind each other on the A320. Not the best way to start vacation!   

Very diseppointing indeed. Middle seat for transatlantic is for sure not a good way to start, but look like you had a good flight anyway.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I took my seat I noticed with surprise that we had been moved to Main Cabin Extra.   

Great upgread, considering its not so short flight. Flight service is very poor, I don't really know how lower American legacy carriers can go.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
I'm really wondering why we had received these better seats on that totally packed flight (I didn't see any empty seats). But it wasn't a regular upgrade because Main Cabin Extra passengers usually enjoy priority boarding, too - and we had been put into boarding group 4. Anyway, we simply enjoyed the extra space.

Yes, but when you have seats assigned and check in luggage, what is the advantage of boarding first? Americans make big deal about it which I never understood.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
After a smooth check-in process, we stepped on board. This is the Atrium America:

Wow! Amazing! I am not a fan on cruise ships myself, but this definitely looks nice.

Thx for shearing! Jonathan
every day is a good day to fly
 
signol
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:18 pm

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:22 pm

Excellent as usual PlaneHunter!
A nice idea to start off from PRG, was it a long journey from MUC?
A shame you couldn't sit together, I guess sometimes it may be worth paying the £££.
BA's onboard service looks good. It's been a while since I last flew long haul with them!
San Juan looks like a nice town, well worth a visit. And some lovely pictures from your cruise! My wife gets quite seasick so I think it unlikely we'll take such a holiday anytime soon!
Thanks again
signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6538
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:15 pm

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Thank you for another great report, this time from the beautiful Caribbeans.

Hi Jonathan,

many thanks for your comments!

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Oh I understand, you wanted to avoid 10 abreast 777!

No...

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Wait, what?!

 

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Very diseppointing indeed. Middle seat for transatlantic is for sure not a good way to start, but look like you had a good flight anyway.

Yes, it turned out better than expected.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Great upgread, considering its not so short flight. Flight service is very poor, I don't really know how lower American legacy carriers can go.

They could at least sell something!

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Yes, but when you have seats assigned and check in luggage, what is the advantage of boarding first? Americans make big deal about it which I never understood.

Due to fees for checked luggage, many people take huge carry-ons - and those need to be placed somewhere. So boarding early means you are still able to find bin space.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Wow! Amazing! I am not a fan on cruise ships myself, but this definitely looks nice.

Yes, it was nice. And it seems there are many better ones. We will try another line in 2015.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 34):
Thx for shearing! Jonathan

Thanks again for dropping by!

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
Excellent as usual PlaneHunter!

Hi signol,

thank you very much! Good to hear you liked it.

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
A nice idea to start off from PRG, was it a long journey from MUC?

Well, PRG is closer than MUC actually - driving time is a bit longer though (2 hrs vs 2:20 or so).

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
A shame you couldn't sit together, I guess sometimes it may be worth paying the £££.

Sometimes, yes. But I didn't want to spend so much on that short evening long-haul flight.

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
BA's onboard service looks good. It's been a while since I last flew long haul with them!

Yes, it was a decent product.

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
San Juan looks like a nice town, well worth a visit.

Absolutely!

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
And some lovely pictures from your cruise!

Thanks!

Quoting signol (Reply 35):
My wife gets quite seasick so I think it unlikely we'll take such a holiday anytime soon!

Usually you can expect calm seas in the Caribbean - as long as you avoid the hurricane season.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:01 pm

Hi PH,

Fantastic report as always, really enjoyed all the lovely pictures   BA has actually been my most flown LH carrier last year thanks to all their mistake fares (or actually IB's). I definitely enjoy the service but the interiors on those 744s and very poor and just falling apart. Anyway, glad to hear that BA is finally refurbishing them!
Another negative part is the seat selection, they ask absurd prices just to reserve a seat. I have been quite lucky most of the time and was able to snatch a window seat.
Looks like you had a fantastic time on the cruise ship. All those islands you visited are just beautiful and peaceful. The cruise ship itself also looks very nice, love the interior.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
We checked various options and finally selected an Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor which would include Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. Here's the routing:

A very nice list of islands  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):
The pre-arrival snack consisted of a tasty mustard chicken & rocket sandwich and a chocolate bar

Had that on my LHR-YUL flight back in November, very tasty indeed!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 2):
That raised some concerns, but when we met the (very friendly) agent, she just handed out our boarding passes for the American Airlines flight to San Juan on the next morning.

Nice service there!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Thread starter):

As you may have already noticed, the ship has a "Heroes and Heroics" theme - and what a coincidence that our stateroom's decor was featuring Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis

That is a very nice coincidence

Thanks as always for sharing!

cheers,

Brendan
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:18 pm

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
Fantastic report as always, really enjoyed all the lovely pictures

Hi Brendan,

many thanks for your nice comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
BA has actually been my most flown LH carrier last year thanks to all their mistake fares (or actually IB's). I definitely enjoy the service but the interiors on those 744s and very poor and just falling apart. Anyway, glad to hear that BA is finally refurbishing them!

BA is my carrier of choice again for the next cruise, but this time it will be an A380 - well, hopefully there won't be any changes!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
Another negative part is the seat selection, they ask absurd prices just to reserve a seat. I have been quite lucky most of the time and was able to snatch a window seat.

Yes, absurd indeed. This time I decided to invest that money in order to secure a two-seater on the upper deck.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
Looks like you had a fantastic time on the cruise ship.

Absolutely. This year we'll try Royal Caribbean.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
All those islands you visited are just beautiful and peaceful.

Yes, wouldn't hesitate to go there again in the future.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
The cruise ship itself also looks very nice, love the interior.

I guess many people would disagree, but I also find it quite nice.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
Nice service there!

  

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 37):
That is a very nice coincidence

  

Thanks again for dropping by!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
martinair50
Posts: 90
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:04 am

Nice report.
I will be travelling on BAW and VIR and thus will need to change between terminal 3 and 5. Because of a schedule change there is a short connection. Do you think 50 minutes will be enough between the inbound flights? Often inbound flights from America arrive early, right?
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:54 pm

Quoting martinair50 (Reply 39):
Nice report.

Thanks!

Quoting martinair50 (Reply 39):
I will be travelling on BAW and VIR and thus will need to change between terminal 3 and 5. Because of a schedule change there is a short connection. Do you think 50 minutes will be enough between the inbound flights? Often inbound flights from America arrive early, right?

That's very very tight - even if the inbound flight arrives at the stand on time. You need to take a bus and pass security again. Better change your flights if you are able to.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
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dirktraveller
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RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:13 am

Hello PH,

Nice addition to your portfolio of trip reports! BA product seems to be rather outdated on today's standards, but it still looks like a comfortable Y class product, especially on board a B744 that is slowly disappearing from scheduled services (at least here in Asia it is, though).

From what I've seen on the photos, San Juan looks like an amazing place... I would consider visiting it if I ever made it to the Carribean someday. Many thanks for sharing this piece with us, PH!  .

Best Regards,
Dirktraveller
 
PlaneHunter
Topic Author
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: Caribbean Cruise - BA 744 & AA Logojet To San Juan

Fri Feb 06, 2015 8:41 pm

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 41):
Nice addition to your portfolio of trip reports!

Hi Dirktraveller,

many thanks for your feedback! Good to hear from you.

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 41):
BA product seems to be rather outdated on today's standards, but it still looks like a comfortable Y class product, especially on board a B744 that is slowly disappearing from scheduled services (at least here in Asia it is, though).

Yes, there wasn't much to complain about.

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 41):
From what I've seen on the photos, San Juan looks like an amazing place... I would consider visiting it if I ever made it to the Carribean someday.

It's a great city, I can only recommend to go there.

Quoting dirktraveller (Reply 41):
Many thanks for sharing this piece with us, PH!

My pleasure!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!

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