Posts Tagged complaint

Cruise Highlights

Friends and coworkers keep asking how our cruise was, and my answer is generally along the lines of “meh”. However, the more I think about it the more I realize that that answer really isn’t fair. The vacation itself was actually very nice and relaxing and I had a wonderful time. The ambivalent feeling I have is really because I wanted the cruise to be something special. Instead, I came away thinking that I would have enjoyed a resort more.

As always, the devil is in the details. First, there’s the money. For an “all-inclusive” deal, Carnival sure spent a whole lot of energy trying to nickel-and-dime their guests. From the “Soda Card” I bought to the photo prints they offered for sale to the threat of fees if you lost any towels to the very over-priced bar drinks, it was difficult to not spend additional money.

Next, there’s the issue of time in ports. There simply not enough of it. The truth is, I’m sure there are many people who really enjoy the ship-board activities: drinking, hanging out by the pool, gambling at what passes for a casino and, well, eating. But I’m not really one of them. Well, except for the eating part. Then, when we finally get to a port and can leave the ship, we have to be back in time for the ship to leave port by 3 or 4 PM. I’d much rather leave at around sunset. I think those extra three hours in port would be very handy.

There are other things, like the food selections available at certain times of the day or even the specific foods unavailable during regular meals in the dining room, but I think that’s enough negativity. After all, I really did enjoy my vacation. My favorite parts were driving a 6-speed Jeep Wrangler around Cozumel and watching flying fish jump out of the wake from the ship and re-enter the ocean tens of yards away. (Look closely at the last shot below and you can see one of them.)

Here are some of the highlights from the pictures I took. (More can be found on my photo album site.)

Oh, and about the Canon 18-200 mm IS lens for which this trip was the real test? The results are mixed. I love the versatility of the lens and had no trouble with focus accuracy or speed. However, there was quite a bit of vignetting and pincushioning in a lot of the images. It was the only lens I took on this trip, so all of the images above were shot with it. The question I have yet to fully answer for myself is whether I am happier with this lens than I would have been with a compact super-zoom camera like the upcoming Canon 200SX IS. I think the answer is yes, but I’m just not certain. Without these two issues, the answer would be a definitive yes. Now, I think I’ll have to take another look at that camera when it comes out, along with its competitors.

The other result of this lens test is that I am that much more interested in the Canon 70-200 f/2.8.

PS: If you haven’t stopped by my photo blog in a while, please do so. Thanks!


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Power Interruptus

The other night we had a bit of a thunder storm and at on point a flash of lightning triggered a brief (less than a second) power hit. I have three separate UPSes (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) in the house — one for each of the two computers in the study and one by the TV, mainly for the TiVo. Well, two of the three completely failed to do their job. There’s actually a fourth UPS, but it’s already been relegated to surge protector status due to previous failures. And there’s probably a fifth (or more) in a closet. I seem to go through these things much faster than I would expect.

I can accept that they have a life expectancy that they could even be meeting it (doubt it), but my real problem is the fact that I receive no advanced warning that they are no longer providing protection. Actually, the fourth one I mentioned did give a warning when it was failing. It began emitting a high-pitched noise under heavy load, and what qualified as heavy kept getting less and less until it wouldn’t even run just the computer without complaining. Neither of the two that just failed are doing any such thing.

Luckily, everything came back up okay.

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The girls need new passports. The USPS web site says that our local post offices accept applications with no appointment through 4pm. Except that they don’t. They do require an appointment and close well before 4pm. Plus, the phone numbers for making appointments were not being answered.

My wife’s frustration level was very high and required the lure of an Outback Special to be mollified. Though I think that may have ended up being a disappointment as well…

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