News Heading into Wednesday August 19th 2020 NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT YOLO THE VARIOUS TICKERS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH. THE TIME STAMPS ON THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE LATER THAN OTHERS ON THE WEB. THE CREATOR OF THIS THREAD COMPILED THE FOLLOWING IN A QUICK MANNER AND DOES NOT ATTEST TO THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETTING YOUR OWN SOURCES AND DOING YOUR OWN DD.
GNCA Genocea -1.8% as holders file to offer 21.39M shares
VRNA Verona Pharma Initiates Multiple Dose Part of Phase 2 Clinical Trial with pMDI Formulation of Ensifentrine in COPD (Overnight News).
AXDX Accelerate Diagnostics up 13% on FDA emergency use nod for COVID-19 test (Overnight News).
CYDY CytoDyn requests “Fast Track Approval” in U.K for COVID-19 trial (Overnight News).
HUD Dufry to buy rest of Hudson in $311 million deal (Overnight News).
BTG B2Gold Continues to Operate Unimpeded at its Fekola Mine in Mali (Overnight News).
REGN Regeneron teams with Roche to triple supply of its COVID-19 drug (Overnight News).
MTP Midatech Pharma Announces Exercise of Warrants and Issue of Equity (Overnight News).
ON ON Semiconductor Announces Upsize and Pricing of Private Offering of $700 Million of 3.875% Senior Notes (Overnight News).
RXT Rackspace Technology Announces Results of Global Cloud Budget Survey, Uncovers the Hidden Complexities of IT Spend Management (Overnight News).
GS Booking app Omio raises $100 million in travel recovery bet (Overnight News).
CHGG Chegg Prices Offering of $900.0 Million of 0% Convertible Senior Notes Due 2026 (Overnight News).
FUTU Futu Announces Pricing of Offering of 9,500,000 American Depositary Shares (Overnight News).
BCOV Streamed Video Content Dominates Media and Entertainment Consumption According to the Brightcove Q2 2020 Global Video Index (Overnight News).
ORCL Trump Expresses Support for Oracle to Buy TikTok (Overnight News).
BX Takeda preparing to sell Japan consumer health unit to Blackstone: Kyodo (Overnight News).
NOVA GAF Energy and Sunnova Launch Strategic Partnership to Expand Roof-Integrated Solar Options for Homeowners (Overnight News).
EQNR Equinor’s share saving plan allocates shares (Overnight News).
AAPL Apple Revamps Music Radio Service With A Rebranded Beats 1, And Two New Stations (Overnight News).
World’s largest shipping firm says demand will ‘significantly decline’ this year(Overnight News).
NI NiSource Inc. Announces Pricing and Preliminary Results of its Any and All Tender Offer
WU Western Union Now Available at CARD Bank (Overnight News).
INBX Form S-1MEF (registration adding securities to prior form s-1 registration [rule 462(b)]) filed with the SEC
GILD Gilead comes up empty with U.S. application for filgotinib for rheumatoid arthritis
MIDD The Middleby Prices Upsized Offering of $650 Million Convertible Senior Notes Due 2025
U.S., China to expand airline flights between them to eight per week. (UAL, DAL, CEA, ZNH)
JUUL MO Juul E-Cigarette Getting FDA Review to Stay on the U.S. Market
HRMY Form S-1MEF (registration adding securities to prior form s-1 registration [rule 462(b)]) filed with the SEC
CDNS Cadence's John Wall to Present at KeyBanc Future of Technology Series
EHTH EHealth chief bullish on future, increases stake to 703K shares
ZNGA Zynga Becomes Largest Mobile Game Maker by Market Share
CNDT Conduent +3.2% as it names Icahn's Gary to board for settlement
RMAX RE/MAX 2020 Broker Owner Conference Features Memorable Speakers, Valuable Lessons and the Launch of New Tools, Training and Technology for its Global Network of Entrepreneurs
CNNE Cannae Holdings Announces Investment in Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II’s Recently Priced $1.3 Billion Initial Public Offering
BFT Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II Announces Pricing of Upsized $1.3 Billion Initial Public Offering
RIO Rio Tinto cuts 2020 refined copper outlook on smelter restart delay in Utah mine
AR Antero Resources Announces Pricing of $250 Million Offering of Convertible Senior Notes
III Asia Pacific Sourcing Slumps in Q2 on Pandemic Concerns
QHRC Quest Resource Holding to Present Virtually and Host 1x1 Investor Meetings at the 11th Annual Midwest Ideas Investor Conference on August 26th & 27th
REV C Citi Resigns Role on Brigade CLO Deal Amid Escalating Loan Feud
REV C Citigroup wins freeze on funds mistakenly sent to Revlon creditors
RDFN Late-Summer Housing Market is Unseasonably Hot, Prices Up 10% and Pending Sales Up 13%
RPAI Retail Properties Of America Prices $400.0 Million Offering Of Senior Unsecured Notes
SRNE Sorrento Therapeutics -10.4% after CFO's ouster
STAR iStar Pricing $400 Million of Senior Unsecured Notes
CWT California Water Service Group Honored as Silver Stevie® Award Winner for COVID-19 Employer Response
JNPR Archdiocese of Brisbane Selects Juniper Networks to Provide AI-Driven Wi-Fi Solutions Across Its Operations
ROP Roper Technologies Prices Public Offering Of $300 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2022, $700 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2025, $700 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2027 And $1 Billion Senior Unsecured Notes Due 2031
TTEK Tetra Tech Wins $29.7 Million USAID Renewable Energy Contract
SPKE Spark Energy Announces Class A Common Stock Share Buyback Program
DMYD dMY Technology Group II Announces Closing of Underwriters’ Over-Allotment Option in Connection with its Initial Public Offering
GVA Granite Inliner receives C$12M sewer maintenance project in Canada
BPYU Brookfield Property REIT Inc. Announces Final Results of Tender Offer
Part 1 https://www.reddit.com/JackSucksAtLife/comments/ggowsv/the_future_of_jack_part_1/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share May 2021: Multiple live streams stream the battle for supremacy between turd boi420 and JackSucksatlife. In the end turd boi420 ( the better channel ) prevails. Jacksucksatpopuppirate reaches 900k. Jacksucksatroblox hits 1.4 million subs. Snail mispronounces Kai and snails finds it hilarious. Both the original ace and jack Massey welsh hits 1.2 million getting many live streams about this too. Jacksucksatstuff hits 1.2 million. Jack creates a video called creating a play button for my door but it gets demonetized, rumours go around the is found crying Jack responds with " only pussies cry and I'm more of a dog person myself ". Kai posts a picture of a hamburger with his face on it and everyone laughs. Jack also slices a Jaffa Cake in half with a fake lightsaber. On Jacksucksatroblox Jack plays Roblox with Jeb Bush. Jack is said to have a small brain by many of his viewers which makes Jack angry so he slaps a picture of Kai. Editor Kai is still a brush. June 2021: Turd boi420 hits 2 million subscribers in June even though that's not the only thing Turd boi hits as he also hits the original ace with a chair ending their friendship. Jacksucksatdrinking reaches 300k. LittleJacksucksatlife and Jacksucksatgograohy hits 600k. Samsmellsofapricots hits 500k. Jacks Twitter hits 300k. JackMasseyWelsh hits 200k and so does Ejsafc. Jack opens up his PO box again and gets sent things like a gæ rhombus, an Eggplant with Will Smiths face on it and a big picture of Kai. Jack does his weekly Q&As again for a month and his Q&As are collectively called Ight Imma head Out, STOP WILL SMITH, Funnei memes, How 9/11 REALLY went down and Jacksucksatlife: The movie. Jack is hit with an eggplant on the street as well. On Jacksucksatstuff Jack gives himself the nickname the sexy boi. Jack also slaps 100 ( actually 10 Jack just did clickbait ) Youtubers. Meanwhile, Jack finally deletes after 2 years Deleting This video soon. Editor Kai is still a brush but now has 400k subs. July 2021: The Original Ace comes back from the hospital and immediately calls out turd boi420. Turd boi420 responds with doing the original ace review. Jack is gone for most of the month on holiday to Germany and has a particularly LOVELY time. Before he goes he does open up his PO box and he finds a picture of himself smacking Flossy, a kazoo with the words slightly taller as a female boy rather than a female girl and a skirt once worn by The Rock. The rest of the month the channel is taken over by Kai making the views skyrocket. Kai does many videos like paying people on Fiverr to become my girlfriend, Hahahahaha funny meme guys and AUSTRALIA IS NOT REAL! Editor Kai is still a brush. August 2021: Jack returns from Germany and starts busting out loads of content. Jack resurrects Editor Thomas only for Thomas to die a week later which brings Jack to the conclusion " if you try to resurrect someone they'll just die a week later " -Jack Massey Welsh 2021. In Jacks PO box he receives a picture of Barack Obama with the words we're always watching you on it, a pigeon mask with eggplant colours on it and some Mexician maracas. The turd boi420 vs original ace drama heats up getting more personal. Look what's outside door window is the new highly unfunny meme on JackSucksAtLife. Littlejacksucksatlife and Jacksucksatgeography hits 700k. Jacksucksatpopuppirate hits 1 million subscribers. Jacksucksatroblox hits 1.5 million subs. Turd boi420 makes a life review. Jack explains to Mini Muka the reason he has more subs is because he simply has bigger p*nis. Editor Kai is still a brush. September 2021: Turd boi420 sends a letter to Jacks house as a recruitment to stop the original ace, Jack declines so turd boi420 comes over to Jacks house and slaps him saying that the tables have turned so that Jack slaps his table in fear of it working for turd boi420. In Jacks PO box he receives a flag of North Korea, A picture of Wallace looking for cheese ( he's not dabbing )and A sack of air. Jacksucksatstuff, The Original ace and Jack Massey Welsh all get 1.4 million subs. Jack Instagram hits 300k. After finally reaching 50,000 likes on that one video Jack FINALLY releases I got 99 problems but a hoe ain't one in collaboration with Kai. On JackSucksAtRoblox Jack does a video where he gambles in the Roblox casino and his channel gets a strike for it not being family-friendly enough Jack replies with " Its a Roblox channel how can it not be family-friendly?". Jack does a collaboration with the Kai camel. Editor Kai is still a brush but now has 500k subs. October 2021: The turd boi420 vs the original ace war continues as things heat up with the original ace diss track being made. Soon after that, the original ace vs turd boi420 boxing match is announced. Meanwhile in JackSucksAtLifes PO box he gets a kazoo with a minion on it, a mantlepiece with its everyday bro with the Disney channel flow and a miniature Donald Trump-wall. The virgin ace hits 1.5 million subscribers. LittleJackSucksAtLife and JackSucksAtGeography hit 800k. Jacksucksatdrinking hits 400k. Turd boi420 creates a new channel called turdboi gaming. A few days before one of his viewers is getting married so Jack kisses them on the cheek saying nO lOnG tErM dAmAgE. On the JackSuckAtRoblox channel Jack cheats in Roblox causing him to be IP banned from Roblox and the words Jack, JackSucksAtLife, JesusSwag4Dan and JacksucksAtRoblox are all censored on Roblox. Editor Kai is still a brush. November 2021: The undercard of the turd boi420 vs original ace boxing match is announced, it is Kong vs Flossy, Will Smith vs Little Jack, Croatia vs Serbia, Ronald McDonald vs Colonel Sanders, Kai camel vs Augustus, Anakin vs Obi-Wan and Jacksepticeye vs Jacksfilms. In Jacks PO box he gets Star Wars s*xual fanfic, dabbing Luigi and the loss meme but with Will Smith. Turd boigaming hits 100k. Samsmellsofapricots and ejsafc both hit 600k. Topless Jack is created on the Jack Massey Welsh channel. Jack is harassed by a commenter so he controversially calls him a pee-pee head who does not deserve his milk. Jack reacts to Shrek Is love, Shrek is life and immediately gets prepared in case Shrek drops by. Jack is shown a dabbing kazoo and harrases his fans saying that all he cares about is the money and he isn't supposed to care about all the stupid peasants around. Editor Kai is still a brush. December 2021: The original ace vs turd boi420 boxing match is decided that turd boi420 wins, on the undercard Kong beats Flossy, Will Smith defeats Little Jack, Croatia vs Serbia results in a draw, Ronald Mcdonald Mc defeated by Colonel Sanders, Kai Camel defeats Augustus, Obi-Wan defeats Anakin and Jacksfilms vs Jacksepticeye is won by Jack Doherty. In Jacks PO box he has a picture of turd boi420 beating the original ace in a boxing match with you suck on it, a paper kazoo and one of Editor Kai's old toothbrushes. After harassing Roblox for long enough Jacks account is unbanned. Little Jacksucksatlife and Jacksucksatgeography hit 1 million. Jacks Twitter hits 400k, Samsmelsofapricots hits 600k. Ejsafc and JackMasseyWelsh hits 300k. The Slightly Taller as a female boy rather than a female girl remix is created and gets plenty of views. Jack gets hit with a swirly and LOVELY face at the same time making the video unavailable in all countries that aren't Russian. Editor Kai is still a brush but now has 600k subs. January 2022: Because of the picture turd boi420 sent him last month in his PO box Jack starts beef with turdboi, lighting a picture of turd boi420. In Jacks PO box he gets a chair with the turd boi420 logo on it, a turd boi420 lamp and a big pair of boobs, jugs, bambzookas, wongs, wah-wahs and zingers. Turd boigaming hits 200k. Jacksucksatdrinking hits 500k subs. Jacksucksatroblox hits 1.6 million subs. Jack reaches 2.2 million subs. Indian Jack is now the most unfunny meme on JackSucksAtLife just above a video of a pigeon eating an eggplant. Jack signs back up for Fiverr but tells people and he's said stuff like "I stupid Kai smart" "turrrrrdboiiiiiiiiiii" and the classic "Hello is this quality content?" " no this is JackSucksatLife". For this month Jack is sponsored by the greatest game known to man raid: shadow legends, one of the biggest mobile role-playing games of 2019 and it's totally free! Currently almost 10 million users have joined Raid over the last six months, and it's one of the most impressive games in its class with detailed models, environments and smooth 60 frames per second animations! All the champions in the game can be customized with unique gear that changes your strategic buffs and abilities! The dungeon bosses have some ridiculous skills of their own and figuring out the perfect party and strategy to overtake them's a lot of fun! Currently with over 300,000 reviews, Raid has almost a perfect score on the Play Store! The community is growing fast and the highly anticipated new faction wars feature is now live, you might even find my squad out there in the arena! It's easier to start now than ever with rates program for new players you get a new daily login reward for the first 90 days that you play in the game! So what are you waiting for? Go to the video description, click on the special links and you'll get 50,000 silver and a free epic champion as part of the new player program to start your journey! Good luck and I'll see you there! Editor Kai is still a brush February 2022: Turd boi420 decides to steal Kais 100k plaque which makes both Jack and Kai mad. In Jacks PO box he gets a tape with a video of a person unsubscribing from him and subbing to turd boi420, A group of people dabbing and a lamp. Jacksucksatpopuppirate hits 1.2 million subs. Jacks Twitter hits 400k. Jacksucksatstuff hits 1.5 million subs. Jack creates the sequel to I HATE VILLAGERS by creating I HATE VILLAGERS EVEN MORE ARGHGGHGGHH. Since his sponsorship with Raid: Shadow Legends ends Jack does a video exposing and roasting the game. In response Raid: Shadow Legends bans any person subscribed to Samsmellsofapricots, JackMasseyWelsh, ejsafc, JackSucksatLife, Jacksucksatstuff, Jack Massey Welsh, JackSucksatgeography, Jacksucksatpopuppirate, Jacksuckaagroblox, littlejacksucksatlife or jacksucksatdrinking. Jacks fans create the nickname Jack the big boi Jack tells them to stop and then we do it some more. Jack creates Jacksucksattwerking instantly getting 200k. Editor Kai is still a brush. March 2022: Turd boi420 vs Jack Massey Welsh vs Kai Ross-Best for Kais 100k plaque is scheduled in CoolMathsgames. In Jacks PO box he gets A turd boi420 vs Kai vs jack massey welsh scarf, a piece of LOVELY fanart and underpants that Jack pooped in once. JackSucksatDrinking hits 600k subs. Jack reaches 2.5 million subs. Turd boigaming hits 300k subs. LittleJackSucksAtLife and JackSucksatGeography hits 1.2 million subs. Jacksucksattweking reaches 300k subs. Jack and his fans raid raid: shadow legends and manage to shut the servers down for 6 hours and get #MakeMobileGamingGreatAgain 3rd trending in the US. Editor Kai does a video with his doppelganger and it gets 2 million views. Jack does the video addressing the mean comment from Captain Sparklez in his last video. Jack say that turd boi be die after cool math game ( unliterally ). Editor Kai is still a brush but now has 700k subs. April 2022: Turd boi420 vs Kai vs Jack in Coolmathgames is won by Kai. After that both Jack and Turd boi420 are mad so they both go to Kais house and slap him at the same time. In Jacks PO box he receives a poem from Kai about him winning back his 100k playbutton, fish food and a book full of dank memes. Little JackSucksatLife hits 1.5 million subs. Jacks Instragram hits 400k. JacksucksatRoblox hits 2 million 1subs. Turd boi420 hits 3 million subs. Turd boi420 reveals he is actually JackSucksatLife it is later revealed as an April fools by turdboi the great prankster. After the recent backlash Raid: Shadow Legends is confirmed to be shutting down at the end of May. Ali-A calls out Jack for shutting the game down and ruining other people's fun of the game. Jack responds with saying Ali-A suck moster d**k. FBE releases the video kids react to JackSucksatLife where they are not very happy with the content. Jack makes a reaction video where he shouts at young people for not liking his content for 12 minutes. Editor Kai is still a brush.
Quest for the Best Burger - Part 2 (Red Squirrel, Cloisters Bar, Hollyrood 9A, The Cambridge Bar (Again), Boozy Cow, Black Fox, Five Guys)
What is Edinburgh's Best Burger? Link to Part 1 Inspired by a recent flurry of posts on /edinburgh regarding the best places to go for burgers in town my friends and I set out to answer that question once and for all. We had some simple rules:
Order anything that has their name attached to it (e.g. Red Squirrel Burger)
No paid extras (e.g. 50p extra for bacon)
The following are listed in the order we visited. Red Squirrel - The Red Squirrel (£12.50) - Lothian Road Straight in with the most expensive burger so far, I'm going to go ahead and say that of the 12 places we've been in Edinburgh this is the best standard burger I've had. Every single component of the burger felt top quality and it tasted fantastic. Didn't have all the bells and whistles like double patty, bacon, pulled pork, etc. but they absolutely nailed what a great burger should taste like. Sweet Potato fries were accidentally ordered as an extra (which was against the rules) but they were great too. Last note on the setting which I really like which will tie into my comments on Hollyrood 9A. Cloisters Bar - The Ultimate (£13.95) - Tollcross This is the best burger in Edinburgh. I really don't need to say any more, it was outstanding. It was an absolute monster to eat and it came with proper chips (i.e. not McDonald's fries). Even though it was the most expensive thing I've ordered at any of these places I feel it was better value than a number of others. My friend and I didn't care much for the tiny tables (we're quiet tall) but the food was too good for this to be a real problem for me. Hollyrood 9AThe Black Deer (£11.50) - Cowgate The main rule I came up with for this contest was that anytime I saw a burger with the restaurants name on it I had to order it. However Hollyrood 9A is owned by the same people as Red Squirrel and they get their burgers from the same suppliers. If I had ordered The Hollyrood I have not doubt it would have been great, after all Hollyrood 9A is oft mentioned as one of the best places to go for burgers in Edinburgh. However trying something different I was a bit disappointed and for me (this is personal preference) I didn't like the setting as much as Red Squirrel so I can't truthfully say I'd go back. If you want to eat a great burger in a bar like setting, go to Red Squirrel. If you want to eat an equally great burger in a pub like setting, go to Hollyrood 9A. The Cambridge Bar (Take 2) - Smokehouse (£10.95) - George Street One of the things I was fairly criticised for the last time around was not giving the Cambridge Bar a fair chance. For whatever reason I went and ordered the cheapest thing on the menu where almost everywhere else I've ordered the most expensive burger. So we went back to give them another chance, this time with more people. I'm afraid to say they still haven't convinced me. The burger I had was very nice and had I ordered it the first time around it would have been the best I'd tried. But by this point I had been to Red Squirrel and Cloisters and the bar had been raised so much higher. It's a nice burger... but it's not the best in Edinburgh. And I still think it looks like a Belhaven pub on the inside. Boozy Cow - Dirty BBQ Pulled Beef Burger (£11.95) - Princes Street The grease proof paper from Byron's rears its ugly head once again. Please stop serving burgers on bits of paper. Unless you're enormous most of these burgers are a struggle to eat with your hands (obviously this wasn't a problem at Byron's). But if you try to use a knife you end up getting bits of shredded paper sticking to the burger. The burger was fine but worse than Cambridge and it was more expensive (the two burgers were much the same). The bucket of cheap fries isn't really worth the extra £1 in my mind. Black Fox - Foxy Burger (£11.95) - Leith Walk The grease proof paper at Byron's and Boozy Cow was an annoyance, but here it's a fucking crime because this could be one of the best burgers in Edinburgh. It's got more to it than Red Squirrel, it's slightly cheaper and it tastes really, really good (2nd best). But two things held it back. The first is the aforementioned paper (I don't want a damp bit of litter on my plate, goddamnit!) and the second was the godawful fries that came with it. It's the first time where they've actually detracted from the meal. Don't get me wrong, I like McDonald's fries as much as the next guy but these were lukewarm, soggy and tasteless. At the end of the day the burger is all that matters and I'd definitely go back. Five Guys - Bacon Cheeseburger (£8.95)/Hamburger (£6.95) - Princes Street/Fountain Park Double review for Five Guys, I went to two of them within two days. First visit was to Princes Street and I honestly wasn't impressed at all. The whole thing felt (and tasted) like a burger van burger, only inside a building. There was no-one ahead of me when I ordered but I was still waiting almost 10 minutes. I've no problem standing at a collection point when I've just paid £2.50 at McDonald's but when I pay £9 it's annoying. Also it was my first time in Five Guys and I could have done with having the whole 15 Toppings explained to me. A couple nights later I was leaving the casino and popped into Five Guys. This time I got the cheapest burger they did and went berserk with the toppings. It was much nicer, better than most things you can get at 11pm. The burger is greasy as shit, it really does taste like something you'd get from a burger van, but it tastes okay for what it is. However all I can think is how much better BRGR is for significantly less money. As a final note my friend bought their chips and said they're some of the best he's had; he might go back just for a couple portions of chips. Our final verdicts (percentages represent the number of people who went and what they thought). Would Visit Again:
Black Fox (100%)
Red Squirrel (100%)
Hollyrood 9A (66%)
Cloisters Bar (50%)
Bread Meats Bread (33%)
Boozy Cow (100%)
The Cambridge Bar (100%)
Cloisters Bar (50%)
Bread Meats Bread (33%)
Hollyrood 9A (33%)
Would Not Recommend:
Five Guys (100%)
Bread Meats Bread (33%)
My personal ranking (best to worst):
Cloisters Bar (best burger)
BRGR (best value)
Bread Meats Bread
The Cambridge Bar
So that's the end for now. There are no plans for a Part 3. One place I still want to visit is OX184 down on Cowgate. Their restaurant is open at 1am so I'm tempted just to see what it's like at that time of day. If you've any other recommendations (or you want to tell me what a clueless twat I am for ranking them the way I did) then please leave a comment, I really enjoyed reading them all last time.
Baltimore Maryland - Carnival Pride Compared To Royal's Grandeur Of The Seas
Because of the bridge, there is a limit to the size of cruise ship that can come into Baltimore. I thought that might make for the fairest possible comparison between two ships across different lines. Please keep in mind that while I have attempted to be as comprehensive and unbiased as possible, this is from my perspective. As a result, some items (e.g. youth program) I reviewed may have no relevance to you while other items (all-inclusive drink package) I didn't review at all may be extremely important to you. Many times where I say "on the Pride/Grandeur", the statement is true across the entire Carnival/Royal line but I have stuck with this usage specifically because I do not know enough to know which is specific just to the ship and which isn't. About Me: I am in my early 40's and cruise with my wife and two daughters (ages 10 and 12). I primarily cruise Carnival because of the cost to value factor but we have no brand loyalty and all three cruises booked in 2018 are on 3 different lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian). Besides cost, I choose cruises based on itineraries as I like to go to at least one new place each time I cruise which is hard to do without also leaving from new ports each time. Ship Factoids
Cruise Cost I'm a deal hunter and, in both cases, the cruise was booked at least 9 months in advance and the price was monitored daily for price drops. The prices below are per person per day keeping in mind a family of 4 sharing a single interior cabin.
Cruise Fare Including Taxes/Fees: Pride = $58.54, Grandeur = $66.13
Daily Gratuities: Pride = $12.95, Grandeur = $14.50
Add-on Gratuity: Pride = 15%, Grandeur = 18%
I will cover the cost of specific items like room service separately. The add-on gratuity is here because I didn't really have anywhere else to fit it but if you order a drink at a show or eat in the specialty dining, this reflects what will be tacked on to the bill automatically on the respective ships. The $9.14 a day difference may not seem like much but for a family of 4 over a week adds up to $255.92 Cabin Size/Amenities An interior cabin for 4 passengers was compared. The Carnival Pride is a slightly larger ship but has fewer cabins and can accommodate fewer passengers. This was very apparent in the size of the cabin as it seemed luxuriously spacious in comparison to the Grandeur. The Pride has a mini-fridge where as the Grandeur does not. The Grandeur has a flat screen TV on an adjustable wall mount while the Pride still has a big old CRT TV. You can find the average square footage by searching online but I don't think it will really help to appreciate just how tiny the Grandeur rooms were in comparison. Internet Internet at sea sucks which is nowhere more apparent than on the Carnival Pride. That being said, the cost for their value plan when booked in advance is $4 per day. On the Grandeur, the price was $15.95 per day. At that price, surely it was going to be blazing fast in comparison right? WRONG I only got a 24 hour pass and after the first hour, I went to customer service to cancel and get a refund. I talked to several people who said the same thing (no coverage in the cabin, only works when everyone else is asleep, etc.) but I also talked to someone who said he was video chatting on a daily basis so I will just leave this with a caveat emptor Technology The Carnival Pride has the Carnival Hub App which is a game changer. This free phone app gives you access to your stateroom charges, deck plans, activity guide, menus, etc. An optional capability for a one time fee of $5 for the entire cruise, allows you to chat with other guests on the ship. With younger children, this was huge. And because it was only local communication (no satellite uplink required), it was fast and reliable. Apparently RC has a similar app but it isn't available on the Grandeur. The Grandeur has touch screen displays at the stairs on each deck which allows you to get an activity guide, see today's menu as well as map out how to get to something on the ship. This was really cool and the Pride didn't have this though it was available from the Hub App. The Carnival Pride had a number of kiosks through-out the ship where you could check your room charges as well as on the TV in your room and the Hub App but the Grandeur had none of these - you had to go to Guest Services and get a print out each time (what a waste of paper). The Grandeur had self-service soda machines for people who purchased the soda package but the Pride does not. Gift Cards This may seem like an odd thing to review but as I mentioned before, I am a value shopper and can get gift cards for at least 10% off which is a significant savings. Online and on the Pride, I could use a gift card to pay for anything (cruise fare, taxes, gratuities, excursions, etc.) and the process was easy - just enter the gift card information. The Grandeur was excruciating painful in comparison. When the gift certificates arrived in the mail, I discovered that I had to hand write information and then mail them back to Royal and that it could only be applied towards the base cruise fare. Once received, Royal then marked my account as being handled by a travel agent (I'm not making this up) which meant I could no longer have full control of my account online and had to call and explain each time any time I wanted to make a change. Bring Your Own WateJuice/Soda I'm not covering alcohol but I believe both ships allow each adult guest over the age of 21 to bring on a certain size bottle of wine/champagne. Carnival Pride's official policy is that each guest, regardless of age is allowed to bring 12 cans/cartons of juice/soda/sparkling water. These must be placed in your carry-on luggage. Bottles (plastic/glass) are specifically prohibited. The Grandeur's official policy is that no outside drinks are allowed aside from the alcohol allowance mentioned previously. In practice, they seem to look the other way for bottled water. Effectively, you can bring bottled water on the Grandeur but not the Pride. You can bring 12 cans/cartons per person of juice/soda on the Pride but not the Grandeur. Both ships make medically necessary allowances (you can bring on distilled water for a CPAP machine for instance). Food/Dining We always get "early dining" but both ships offered 3 options (early, late, my-time). The only difference to note was that early dining is 6 PM on the Pride but is 5:30 PM on the Grandeur. The quality of the food in the main dining was great on both ships. The service in main dining is also excellent on both ships. The only difference between the two was the options offered. On the Pride, there is a section for "rare finds" where you might get to try something that you might not otherwise have such as frog legs or rabbit. On the Pride, there is also a section for "local" which is representative of whichever port you just departed from (Caribbean jerked chicken for instance). The Grandeur didn't have these on the menu and by the end of the cruise, the offerings seemed repetitive. The buffet dining is a different story all together. The Windjammer on the Grandeur is tiny in comparison to the Pride's Lido. This was problematic for two reasons. First, seating. Second, offerings. The Pride has a ton of places where you can tell someone what you want and how you want it and they will make it for you (Blue Iguana for tacos/burritos/fajitas, Guy's Burger's for hamburgers, The Deli for hot/cold sandwiches, the Pizza Pirate for pizza, etc.) as well as a number of cuisine specific self-serve (my wife loves the Asian food from Chopsticks). On the Grandeur, I didn't really see any made-to-order food options in the Windjammer except for breakfast at the omelet making station which the Pride also has. While I have tried a number of specialty dining options on a number of ships/lines, the only equivalent specialty dining that I experienced on both ships was the sushi restaurants (Pride = Bonsai, Grandeur = Izumi). Both were excellent. I think the Grandeur had the edge in terms of range of offering but the Pride had two options that I thought were unique. First, there is a "boat for two" for $22 which comes out on a literal boat and was too much for my wife and I to finish. Second, they had a "surprise and delight" feature (again, $22 for two) which was the chef's choice. Again, I think the Grandeur had a wider selection of options but the a la carte pricing was a bit more. EDIT: My wife just informed me of one other difference which I was unaware of as I skipped the second formal night on the Grandeur. On the Pride, when they had lobster and filet mignon on the menu, she was allowed to order as many as she wanted. On the Grandeur, she was told only one lobster tail per guest. Because I didn't come to dinner that night, she ordered one for me and then ate two. Excursions Since this is a highly personal choice, it is hard to provide any meaningful comparison but there are two things worth pointing out. On the Pride, excursion prices are fairly stable and you likely will not see any discounts unless you follow John Heald and find one of the rare promo codes. On the Grandeur, the prices seemed to change all the time and every week I was getting an email offering a certain percentage off different excursions. I'm not sure either is superior but as they are different, I wanted to point them out. The second thing I wanted to mention I struggled if I should include or not as it has more to do with itinerary. The Pride tends to arrive at port early in the morning and depart around early dining giving you quite awhile to book whatever excursion you want. The Grandeur had weird arrival/departure times which made excursions more difficult to plan. Nassau for instance (Pride 8AM - 5PM, Grandeur 1PM - 11:59PM). Entertainment Kids: I couldn't keep my youngest daughter out of the youth program on either ship so I would say they are equivalent. Both ships have an arcade as well as age designated areas and lots of things for the kids to do. That is where the equivalency ends as Carnival wins this category hands down. On the Grandeur, kids are not allowed in the first row of shows and in the first 3 rows must be accompanied by an adult. On the Pride, every comedian must have a family friendly show in addition to the adult only show. The Pride has two water slides and a Splash Zone. The Grandeur has a rock climbing wall. The Pride has a ton of family targeted entertainment such as Hasbro The Game show where as the Grandeur seemed to tolerate those under 16. The Pride had events such as the Dr. Seuss breakfast ($5 per person) and Build-A-Bear where as I don't remember a single thing like that on the Grandeur. Adults/General: The Grandeur only had 1 location where it put on shows (The Palladium) which is a two deck theater. On the Pride, there were two locations - the Butterfly lounge which doubled as the Punchliner Comedy Club and the Taj Mahal which is a three deck theater. The Grandeur did shows with a live band which it called an orchestra. The downside to this was they took up a lot of space which limited the size of the performance of whatever act was performing. On the Pride, they put on shows that use moving floors, backdrops with projected scenes as well, pyrotechnics as well as raised/lowered floors. None of that was possible on the Grandeur. On the Grandeur, there only ever seemed to be a single show that was repeated twice to accommodate differences in dining times. On the Pride, there seemed to be multiple different shows every night where the one in the main theater was repeated. For instance, there might have been three comedy routines in the Punchliner (1 family friendly by the first comedian, a later adult only by a second comedian and then the last show would be another adult only by the same comedian as the family friendly). That same night, they might have a magician in the main Taj Majal theater perform the same act twice. Laundry On the Grandeur, you need to check towels in/out using your sea pass card where there is a $25 charge for any towel not returned. These are roughly the same size as the bath towels - just colored blue. On the Pride, 4 towels are in your state room (more available upon request) and are giant beach towels. The cost if one is lost is $22. Oddly enough, you may also buy a brand new one for $22 if you want one to keep (they are nice towels). The Pride has self-service launderettes on nearly every deck. The price recently went up to $3.25 to wash and $3.25 to dry for a total of $6.50 to do a load of laundry ($8 if you also need to buy detergent but we bring our own pods). The Grandeur doesn't offer any self-service laundry and charges $34.99 to do a small bag of laundry. Room Service Continental breakfast is free on both the Pride and the Grandeur. The only notable difference is the hours (Pride = 5AM-10AM, Grandeur = 6AM-11AM). Room service is $7.95 + 18% gratuity on the Grandeur. It is more complicated on the Pride due to recent changes. The Pride stopped offering complimentary room service 24 hours a day but expanded the menu. From 6 AM until 10 PM, there are still complimentary room service items available but it now offers several other items during this time that range from $2 to $6. From 10 PM until 6 AM, an expanded menu is available with items ranging from $2 to $6. Miscellaneous I like beer - different styles of beer. The Pride doesn't have a lot of craft beer options. The Grandeur didn't have any. I ended up drinking Newcastle the entire Grandeur trip. On the Pride, I at least had a handful of options. The Pride does not change the clock to match local times when in port but the Grandeur does. I watched both systems cause problems with other guests and do not feel one is superior to another. The important thing to remember is that even though you are on "island time", you must remain vigilant if you are supposed to be in a certain place at a certain time. Trivia on the Pride is on the honor system (self-scoring) where as you are instructed to swap sheets on the Grandeur. The Pride gives out "ships on a stick" and sometimes medals as prizes where the Grandeur gives out a wide range of items (pens, highlighters, key chains, carabiner, etc.). Both ships have a section of the casino marked as non-smoking. Until the Grandeur, I thought that was like saying you have a non-peeing section in the pool. I was so surprised on the Grandeur of the lack of smoke smell that I actually played black-jack several times. This was not the case on the Pride where I would actually go up a deck just to avoid walking through it. On the Grandeur, while in port, my daughter couldn't sign herself in/out of the youth program despite my authorization that she could do so. I can't remember if this was also the case on the Pride. I think we may have only noticed this again because of the weird port arrival/departure times. The Pride had a dedicated "game" room, library and chapel. If the Grandeur had these things, I didn't find them but they did have a bookcase that served as their library. The Pride has bathrobes available upon request for any category cabin and any loyalty level guest. The Grandeur only has bathrobes available for higher level cabin categories/loyalty levels. I have only cruised on the Grandeur once but towel animals didn't seem to be important. On the Pride, we had a new animal every single night in our room but on the Grandeur it seemed to be once every few nights. On the Pride, one morning the entire Lido deck was covered in towel animals - in extremely creative ways. Nothing like it happened on the Grandeur. This may not seem like much but the kids were kind of let down. This really isn't about the ships so I hesitated to add it but I feel it is an important distinction. Royal's website is a hot mess compared to Carnival's. Closing Thoughts While the Pride provides much better value dollar for dollar, we had a great time on both ships and would go on either again for the right price/itinerary. If I didn't cover something that you want to know about, please ask. Both ship's have "The Quest" for instance which I didn't cover but would be happy to discuss if someone wants to know more.
A little background on us. I’m 35 my wife is 28. We aren’t major gamblers by any stretch, but we usually hit up a local casino maybe once a month, twice if we do good, and usually gambling about $100 a piece each time. We are both huge sports fans, especially college sports (Notre Dame). I’m a bit of a tightwad most of the time. The morning of April 2, 2016 I asked her if she wanted to marry me (both of us have been married once before), she said yes. I bought tickets that morning, didn’t tell anyone our plans and drove from South Bend Indiana area to Chicago O’Hare, and arrived in Vegas right around dark. The first couple of Hotels I tried for were booked, but we ended up finding a room at Planet Hollywood (which we spent all of about 4 hours in). We then flew out the next morning, spending a total of about 12 hours in Vegas. This time around, after finding out my kids would be with their mom over Spring Break, I decided to save up and actually plan a trip this time. We debated Florida, Canada, the Smokies, and ended up deciding on Vegas. Tuesday – March 27 We stayed the night at Blue Chip Casino (BOYD Gaming) in Michigan City Indiana (halfway to O’Hare). Both of us had comps for a free room and Buffet’s as well and about $75 worth of food credit that we had been saving for our Vegas trip. They also gave me a $25 gas card. We decided to gamble $100, and lost pretty quickly. After eating our “free buffets” we decided to go to bed, anticipating an early morning. Wednesday – March 28 Once we got to O’Hare, we went and checked our 1 bag in at the Spirit Airlines desk. Everything at Spirit is A la Carte, and I had paid for 1 checked bag, however the lady in front of me discovered that their checked bags cost even more if over 40lbs. I had gone with Spirit to save a buck, and overall the experience wasn’t terrible, but I’ve had much better experiences with other non-discount airlines. After arriving in Vegas, we rode the bus from the airport to the Rental Car facility, and in short time had our new car for the week. The nice lady at Payless tried selling me several extras, and I politely declined each of them. I’ve come to expect the sales pitch no matter what rental company I use, and overall my experience with these guys was very good. We ended up changing reservations last minute for our Hotel due to additional offers I received while at Blue Chip. After checking in at the Fremont (all 6 nights) we unpacked, stopped at IN & OUT Burger, and made a run to Wal-Mart for snacks and drinks. We then decided to go check out the Nuwu Dispensary, we were both very impressed with the selection, cleanliness, and friendliness of everyone we talked to there (we are novices at this lol). After making a “small” purchase, we decided to drive out to Mount Charleston for the evening and ended up catching the sunset before driving back into town. We spent the rest of the evening walking around Fremont Street mostly just people watching, before we grabbed a snack from the Café inside the Fremont and went back to our room for the night. The food was average at best, but the price was right, even if I hadn’t used my points. Thursday – March 29 We slept in until about 9:30, and slowly made our way over to the Hoover Dam. On our way to the Dam, we stopped at Sunset Station for their Brunch Buffet, and were really impressed, especially for the $7 price. After gambling a little and not winning we continued to the Dam. Waze had me going some crazy roads that I’d never taken before to get there, and took us about 3 times longer than I had ever remembered. After getting closer and seeing all of the traffic/road construction I now knew why. All of the lower parking lots were full, so we drove to the little gift shop on the Arizona side (I was surprised to see the road now ends here), got a couple of little souvenirs for our boys, and walked around a little bit before exploring Lake Meade a little and driving back to Fremont. After relaxing for a little bit we again decided to walk around Fremont Street and ended up getting Margaritas and Enchilada Nacho’s at Nachodaddy’s. I would highly recommend this place if you want a good drink and great nachos, we both loved it, and our bartenders were great. After walking back to the Fremont and going back and forth on winning/losing at the slot machines, my wife got a bonus feature on the machine she was playing, when I noticed a guy standing behind her watching. He looked really familiar, and after seeing “Deez Nuts” on the back of his jacket, I realized he was the youtube star from the Deez Nuts video. He posed for a picture with my wife and then went on his way. We gambled for a few hours and went to bed about even on the day. Friday – March 30 After grabbing coffee from Dunkin Donuts inside the Fremont, we decided to drive down to Primm, because my wife had never been to California. We stopped at the truck stop and decided against topping off on gas, due to the price being over $4/gallon. We walked around the shop, found some more souvenirs for the kids, and ate lunch at Qdoba. After driving around behind the outlet mall, I realized there wasn’t a sign saying welcome to California, so I hopped on I15 and continued South/West until she got to see her sign. We went a few exits and decided a trip all the way to Baker wasn’t worth the drive, so we turned around just past the giant solar farm on the right. In the stretch from about a mile outside of Primm to where we turned around, we passed probably a dozen of each Nevada State Police and California Highway Patrol, many of which were on motorcycles and all of which had at least 1 car pulled over. About the time we made it back into Vegas, my buddy’s flight from Washington DC had arrived (he’s getting ready to leave for Japan for the next 3 years) so we went and picked him up at his hotel (Hooters). My wife won some money on the “Vacation” machine in Hooters and we decided to go walk the strip, which wasn’t a bad walk at all. We ended up going through the MGM, across to the Aria/Monte Carlo area and decided all the bars were a bit too busy due to a Golden Knights game getting ready to start. We walked over to Excalibur and rode the monorail to Mandalay Bay. We spent the rest of the evening here, and I decided to bet on Notre Dame Women, which turned out to be a good bet. My buddy, being born in Connecticut bet on UConn and that pretty much set the tone for his luck the rest of his trip. My wife and I ended up getting a giant hot dog/pepsi combo for $3.99 at the Café inside the Fremont after returning, and it was a better bet than the Chinese food we had tried earlier in the week. Saturday – March 31 Another buddy of ours had moved to Vegas about 6 weeks ago, while his wife and kids are moving out there today. He called me late Saturday morning, and had us meet him out at the RV Dealership he works for. After getting a tour of their half million dollar Motorhomes (built here in Indiana), we hopped in his convertible and rode out to Red Rock Canyon. The line to get in was about 100 cars long, and it looked like they were only letting a few in every 15 minutes, so we drove out along that area and headed back a different way to the south side of town. The company he works for sponsors the Horse Arena at the South Point Casino, so we rode over, watched some of the show, and got the behind the scenes tour of the stalls, practice arena, and got to meet the horses/cowboys. We ended up spending most of the day at South Point, and we really enjoyed it, probably our favorite one on the “strip” so to speak. We ate dinner at Baja Miguel’s and all enjoyed our food. Later on Saturday night we rode back to downtown. My buddy that now lives in Vegas, took us to Container Park, which was really cool. After that we walked back down Fremont Street and I had bet earlier on Michigan beating Loyola in Men’s basketball. Another good choice, however I had to find a casino with a sports book that could cash me out. We ended up going to “The D” and really enjoyed the atmosphere/older machines. My wife ended up playing the old school Horse Racing Quarter Machine upstairs and stayed on it for quite a while. We ended up heading back to the Fremont, where we gambled the rest of our “$200 limit” for the day, and did pretty good. After several hours of gambling, we decided we were hungry, so we walked over to the Café at Binions, and were really impressed with what we had. Sunday – April 1 We ate the Breakfast Buffet at the Fremont (comped), took an Uber back to our rental car on the other side of town, picked our buddy up at Hooters and headed north to Zion National Park. A couple hours later we arrived and were somewhat surprised that it wasn’t completely packed. My buddy has a free pass (Military) so we saved $30 on the gate fee. We spent most of the day at Zion, climbing, hiking, and exploring, it was my 4th time there, but the first time for my wife and buddy, and while my wife isn’t a hiker like me, she really enjoyed it and mentioned that it was one of her top 3 things we did on our trip. On our way back to town we stopped at Casa Blanca in Mesquite for a few hours, we didn’t do any good, but enjoyed the change of pace from the Vegas casinos. Monday – April 2 We walked the strip again, and ate the brunch buffet at the Bellagio. It was really good, but if I hadn’t used the buy 1 get 1 free coupon I had, I wouldn’t have been quite as impressed. We walked around the strip some more, and ended up buying tickets to X-Country for my wife and I for the 10pm show at Harrah’s. The lady at the Box Office didn’t offer any discount, but when I asked about using my players card, she gave me a $10/ticket discount on the tickets. After that we drove across town to Sams Town (Boyd Gaming) and gambled for a few hours, I remembered a Steak House from several years back that I really enjoyed here, but we ended deciding against it for our anniversary meal. After going back to our hotel to change and shower, we ended up going to Viva Zapata’s (based on Reddit reviews). We weren’t disappointed! The food was amazing, the atmosphere even better, and the wait staff was the best! Our waiter asked what brought us out there, I told him it was our 2 year anniversary and we had flown in from Indiana to celebrate. We were enjoying the live Mariachi music, but started getting a little anxious as we were waiting on our bill (we wanted to get to Harrah’s by 9:30). A few minutes later here came the wait staff/musician to our table, put giant sombrero’s on us, gave us a couple of churros and each of us a shot of Tequila (no charge) while they sang us a song. I tipped them well and we were on our way to the show. My wife is a huge country music fan, and while I enjoy some of the older stuff, I’m more of a metalhead. I was pleasantly surprised at the price of our tickets, and for the money, the show wasn’t bad. 1 of the dancers really stood out from the rest though, but all in all it was a good experience. I wanted to go see Absinthe but found out they weren’t playing on Monday night. After our show we walked down to the Bellagio Fountains to see a show before heading back to the hotel. Tuesday – April 3 We spent most of the morning packing up from our 6 nights at the Fremont, I checked with the Casino host to see about possibly comping more than 2 of our nights, but she showed me where my score in their algorithm was only a 65, and needed to be 100 to qualify for more. I still only paid $165 for the 4 nights I had to pay for, which was more than fair in my opinion, considering how little time we actually spent in the room. We went to Hooters and gambled for about 20 minutes, winning a couple hundred dollars, then took my buddy to the airport. Our flight wasn’t until 6:30pm, so we drove back North and had to try another Reddit suggestion for our last meal in town. We ended up at Hamburger Hut as we love to eat wings, and although the location and building were a bit sketchy, we ordered hot wings, a hot dog, and chili fries, this was our favorite food of the trip. We also really enjoyed hanging with some of the locals while we ate lunch. After eating lunch we hit up Walmart by the airport to find some last minute souvenirs to take back home, and then returned our rental car and waited a few hours for our flight back home. What I would recommend Sight Seeing - Zion National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, Container Park (especially if you have kids) Food - Hamburger Hut, Viva Zapata’s, In & Out Burger, Nachodaddy, Hotdogs at South Point, Breakfast Buffet at Sunset Station, also saved a bunch of money by getting snacks and drinks for our room at the grocery store on day 1. Casinos – As a gambler, the ones off the Strip seemed to pay better, but the ones on the strip were much classier and had newer slots you can’t find elsewhere. My 3 favorite were the Fremont, The D, and South Point. My wife really enjoyed seeing the sights at the Bellagio, the Flamingo, and others on the Strip. No matter what, if you’re going to gamble, get a players card, it saved me a bunch of money. Transportation – If you like to do more than just stay in town and walk all week, I’d highly recommend getting a rental car like we did (about $200 for the week for a nice sized car), but if you don’t plan on going on long day trips like we did, UbeLyft would be great. Entertainment – XCountry at Harrahs wasn’t the top show I’ve ever seen, but 2 tickets for $80 something and a happy wife, I can’t complain at all. Watching all the entrepreneurs on Fremont Street as well as the stage shows for free was hard to beat, and any trip to Vegas should include the Bellagio Fountains, the Flamingo Habitat, and any other free entertainment you can find along the strip. What I wouldn’t recommend Airlines – don’t go with the budget airlines expecting to save a bunch of money if you plan on taking a bag with you, checked or carry on, prefer to pick your seats out in advance, or want to get a snack while flying. Food – While we didn’t really have any “bad” experiences, the café and Buffet at the Fremont were probably my least favorite, but I can’t complain because I didn’t have to pay for anything at either of them. Also I was looking forward to checking out Heart Attack Grill (based on Ducktales review), but they were packed and took Cash Only fyi. Sight Seeing – Fremont Street after dark really isn’t the place to take your small kids but be sure to take them to Container Park during the day, Hoover Dam (unless you go early), Red Rock Canyon scenic trail on a holiday weekend. Pawn Stars was packed and if you’ve seen it once, the excitement kind of wore off, and they apparently charge for parking now. I parked up the street for free and only had a short walk, but the people trying to push you to buy extras outside of the store really kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
NB: I posted an off-site link to this last week, but figured I'd just re-post the entire Gift Guide here. I've edited it slightly, and also included some information about Black Friday specials. The end-of-year holiday period is just around the corner. And for many of us, holidays means gift-giving and gift-getting. As they say, it is better to give than to receive. But we all know that receiving gifts is great too, especially if it involves playing cards! Playing cards make great gifts, if when carefully selected to suit the tastes and style of the person that you're buying for. It's always good to plan ahead, and to think about the kinds of playing cards that would make good gifts for others. But we also have to think about the kinds of gifts that others will be buying for us, because we really don't want Uncle Bob or cousin Mary getting us yet another unwanted pair of socks, toiletry set, or ugly t-shirt. So let's be smart about this: a well-timed and careful whisper in the right person's ear can help get things moving so that a lovely deck of custom playing cards ends up heading our way these holidays. We're in this together, and at the suggestion of the good folks over at PlayingCardDecks.com I have done some hard work for you by putting together this 2018 Ultimate Playing Card Holiday Gift Guide. It's not a comprehensive list, nor is it intended to say that these decks are necessarily the "best" or the only ones out there - so please don't go screaming about decks that aren't on this list. I haven't seen every single deck that's come out in the last year or two, and obviously these are my own choices based on my own personal experience - you might suggest others that are equally as good. But it will give you some great ideas for playing cards you can pick up as gifts. It's also the kind of thing you can post on your social media, or email a link to your family and friends, as a small hint of what they might want to consider getting for you. This is really about showing them love by making their job easier in finding you the perfect gift, right?! So whether you're a keen playing card enthusiast already, or whether someone in your life sent you a link to this list as a not-so-subtle hint, I'm here to help you out. I'm confident there's something on here for almost everyone. I've especially focused on playing cards that were released in 2018, but haven't limited myself to that entirely, because I want to give you lots of choices. PS: Don't miss the very bottom of this Gift Guide, where you'll find some great promo codes for the upcoming Black Friday weekend, which will give you up to 25% off the regular price for these decks!
For the Card Gamer
Once in a while, what you're looking for in a deck of playing cards is pure class. Whether it's for playing a game of poker or for a game of traditional cards, it's nice to have a deck that looks classy and sophisticated from the moment that its tuck box makes its first appearance. And when the cards do emerge from the box, the feeling of refinement is only confirmed by the classic beauty and style within. If you are looking for something sophisticated and elegant that is also very functional, with clearly recognizable indices and suits, the decks in this category are for you. These decks are practical, while at the same time making a stylish statement. ● Visa Playing Cards (2017) - These lovely decks (available in several colours) have a luxurious look from the tuck box onwards, and the metallic gold and silver used for the card backs and court cards makes them look super stylish and elegant. ● Cobra Playing Cards (2018) - The tuck case immediately impresses with blind embossing and gold foil, with serpents decorating both the box and the fronts and backs of the cards, and a graphic design that is just all round classy. Courtesy of Cartamundi's B9 Cardistry Finish, the cards are supremely soft and inviting, while still having a standard look that ensures they are very practical. ● Hudson Playing Cards (2018) - This recent release is a tribute to the Hudson Playing Cards that were produced alongside the Hudson River until the factory wound up operations in 1871. While the card faces are fairly standard, the card backs are very stylish, and the tuck box - as to be expected from Theory11 - is super classy, with extensive use of foil accents and embossing.
For the Cardist
Card flourishing has a long history in the magic industry, but in recent years the art cardistry has developed an independent existence, and is gaining legitimacy as an art-form in its own right. For best results, cardistry benefits from a deck of cards that is colourful and has striking patterns, which will enhance the visual aesthetics of card flourishing. These cards need not necessarily be very functional for playing games or card magic - although often they can serve a dual purpose of being used for this as well. But of primary importance in card flourishing is the visual appeal, and having a design and pattern that looks great when the cards are being handled. ● Virtuoso FW17 Playing Cards (2017) - When it comes to cardistry, it's hard to look past one of the dominant forces in this growing art-form: The Virts. Based in Singapore, they were the first produce a deck entirely optimized for cardistry, and their Fall/Winter deck is the latest version of their popular and smooth performing series. ● School of Cardistry v4 Playing Cards (2018) - Any mention of cardistry is hardly going to be complete without the lively presence of Jaspas Deck, the bubbly personality behind the New Deck Order and the School of Cardistry. This is the fourth edition of their deck, which continues their exploration of what they describe as a new standard for cardistry: non-standard faces that are all identical! Optimized entirely for cardistry, this hypnotic design and energetic purple and orange colours of this deck won't go unnoticed. ● NOC Summer v2 Playing Cards (2018) - The NOC decks have been popular with cardists for half a dozen years already, since their minimalist design is ideal for the simplicity and elegance of card flourishing. For the summer of 2018, these snappy decks were released in three great new colours: blue, orange, and a limited edition pink.
For the Collector
There are people who collect decks out of sheer love for their variety and novelty - you may even be one of these people! The decks featured in this category are creative decks that have extra touches that make them particularly appealing to the card collector, such as an individually numbered tuck seal. They often have lavish tuck boxes, other intriguing features that generate interest, and have been produced by well-known designers with a solid reputation of creativity and success. ● Top Aces of WWI Playing Cards (2018) - One of the latest decks from popular designer Jody Eklund, noted for his attention to detail and history, comes a deck that is a tribute to the flying dare-devils of the first world war. As always, Jody's artwork is exquisite, and each court card features a notable historical figure from the era. In this Signature Edition each deck comes in an elegant tuck box that is individually numbered. ● House of the Rising Spade Playing Cards (2018) - Stockholm17 is a designer from Sweden with a large following, and this deck represents his latest effort to hit the market. A limited edition two deck set, it consists of two different decks: Cartomancer, which is a tribute to the tarot deck; and Faro, which features cards without indices and a one-way design, just like the vintage decks of the 1800s. ● Planets: Saturn Playing Cards (2018) - This is the sixth and newest addition that makes up the popular Planets series, representing all the planets in our solar system. The collector will be in love once he sees the luxurious tuck box, which is arguably the best yet, and features gold holographic foil, white foil, interior foiling, and embossing.
For the Connoisseur
At times we might be looking for something stylish and classy that we can use for anything involving playing cards, whether it is card magic or card games. The important thing is that we want to show class and style. Certainly the custom playing card industry has produced some very original and stylish decks, bursting with character and energy, while still having somewhat of a traditional or more serious look. Here are some examples of such classy decks that are on offer. ● Green Wheel Playing Cards (2018) - Green and brown are the dominant colours in this elegant deck, which has a lush split-pip design. The bicycle theme and look is inherited from its popular predecessors, the Red Wheel Playing Cards and Blue Wheel Playing Cards, which both have an elegant use of metallic inks, and which I also highly recommend. ● Aphelion Luxury Playing Cards (2018) - Created by Italian team Parama Playing Cards, this deck has a box that makes an instant statement of style with its gold foil and embossing, while the metallic gold inks of the court cards ensure that any standard deck placed alongside it looks very ordinary. ● Makers Blacksmith Playing Cards (2017) - From publishing house Art of Play comes one of the finest tuck boxes you'll see, with elegant gold and silver foil in intricate lines stamped all over a jet black box. Oh, and the cards are great too - highly detailed characters inhabit the court cards, with a simple black and red colour scheme emphasizing the customized artwork!
For the Magician
Magicians definitely have their secrets. Admittedly, most magicians prefer to work with a standard deck, and have developed such skills with sleight of hand that you can hand them an ordinary deck of quality playing cards and they can work miracles with it. But once in a while, there's a need to perform miracles of an extraordinary nature, and they're looking for something with that added extra that gives them the means to accomplish the impossible. Here are some specialized decks that will be ideal for anyone interested in serious card magic. ● Mechanic Optricks Red Playing Cards (2018) - This brand new release features card backs with hypnotic flip-book animation. Yes, really! But the real draw-card lies in the innovative gaffs that are included, especially the Optibox Gaff (makes your tuck box look empty even when there's a full deck inside), and the Anamorphic Gaff (creates an optical illusion that a card is being seen right through the deck!). ● Marked Maiden Back Playing Cards (2017) - Don't tell anyone, because it is top secret, but yes, marked decks are really a thing - but only for card magic, not for cheating! This looks like an ordinary Bicycle deck, but the markings are very easy to read, so you don't have to strain to figure them out or decipher them, and many consider it the best modern marked deck for exactly that reason. ● Bicycle Magic Playing Cards (2018) - This deck isn't so much a deck to be used for card magic, as it is a tribute to the art of magic itself. The card backs and faces include mischievous imps, along with various items long associated with magic, like wands, top hats, gloves, and dice, while the court cards feature delightful images depicting different magic acts. The art style/colours have a distinctly vintage feel, making this an ideal collector's piece for a magician to appreciate.
For the Artist
Even if you're not an artist, you can still enjoy something that is artistic. A deck of playing cards is the perfect canvas for showcasing some colourful and artistic designs, whether they have been created by famous artists, or by artists who have just used playing cards as their chosen medium to create something colourful and beautiful. ● Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards (2018) - These playing cards pay tribute to famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and the card back design is based on his 1943 work "Broadway Boogie Woogie", which expresses his fascination with New York. Colourful and playful, it is ideally suited to card flourishing. ● Untitled Playing Cards (2018) - Along with the sequel Untitled V2 `Reflections' Playing Cards (2018), this vibrant deck was created by noted photographer Adam Borderline. It is a tribute to abstract art, as well as to the creativity and fluid motion that are essential to cardistry. ● Masterpieces Playing Cards (2017) - More than a deck of cards, this is a miniature gallery of individual works of art. Created by Bocopo Playing Cards, it was a collaboration that involved 8 artists, 348 hours of work, and 58 illustrations. Each face card has a unique and fresh design that is its own work of art, and tells a different story.
For the Animal Lover
Do you love animals? Or do you have an animal lover in your life? How about a deck featuring dogs, or cats, or else some great artwork of animals from around the world? These beautiful decks are sure to please anyone who appreciates our four legged friends, whether they are family pets or the kinds of animals you'd normally only see at the zoo. ● GAIA Playing Cards (2017) - With stunning and realistic artwork by talented young artist Ben Sinclair, these playing cards feature delightful hand-drawn pictures that showcases animals in different ecological habitats and biological communities. Amazing art, and a beautiful deck that is also available in a Moonlight Edition that offers a nocturnal perspective. ● The Dog Playing Cards - Friends of canines will love this deck, which features a close-up of a dog on every single card, not just the court cards. And each single card pictures a different dog, making this deck a real treat to look through! ● Sweet Cat Playing Cards - Created to help support abandoned cats, this is a deck that friends of felines will appreciate and enjoy. Much like the Dog deck, it features a gorgeous photo of a different furry friend on each and every card.
For the Children
Children especially like decks that are colourful, and that are lively and fun. Here we have some more light-hearted decks that are sure to amuse kids and adults alike. If you're looking for something playful, and that is designed to keep the inner child happy, then these are decks for you. ● Rainbow Unicorn Fun Time Playing Cards (2018) - This deck first started as a joke, but has gone on to become a legend in the card playing world, and has even appeared on TV. When noted cardist De'vo is involved, you know that it's going to be special, and this quality deck offers a whole lot more than rainbows and unicorns, and is fun for all ages! ● Chicken Playing Cards (2018) - I've been amazed by how popular this deck has proven with children and teenagers, who find the playful feathered friends pictured on this deck irresistible. A whimsical deck with extensive customization, the highlight has to be the delightful court cards, which feature our fowled friends in all manner of exalted poses. ● Sharks Are Wild Playing Cards (2017) - Aimed at preschoolers, this deck isn't just a collection of playing cards, but is also an award winning game, designed to help youngsters learn sequencing (i.e. counting forwards and backwards). It has colourful cards where various sea creatures replace the usual pips.
I'm a real sucker for decks that look highly unusual, and have a great amount of novelty. Admittedly, not many of these are the kinds of decks that would quickly make it to the table for a card game, although many of them are certainly functional and playable. But the prime appeal of these kinds of playing cards is to the collector who appreciates the unusual elements that decks like these bring to the table. Here are some prime examples. ● Music Box Playing Cards (2017) - Novelty doesn't come much bigger than this: the Music Box deck doesn't just have the luxuries of gold foil, a custom numbered gold key, and a cherry wood look. This deck's real claim to fame is that it plays music! It has a unique tuck box design that plays 30 seconds of "Claire de Lune" when opened, and has the genuine sound of an old fashioned music box with a metal comb flicking over metal teeth. ● Burger Playing Cards (2017) - Part of the Deliciousness series from Flaminko Playing Cards, this deck celebrates the almighty burger. The design suggests two halves of a bun, complete with sesame seeds, which have a tactile feel courtesy of UV spot printing on the box. Each suit has been individually customized to depict foods that you'll find on an actual hamburger bun, including the patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese! ● $100 Bill Gold Foil Playing Cards - Looking for high bling at a low price? The tuck box and all the cards in this deck are entirely made out of gold or silver foil, depending on which deck you choose. The card backs feature the image of a US $100 bill, and the shiny surface of gold or silver catches the light, and is sure to make an immediate impression of luxury. Yet all this shiny-ness can be yours for under $8!
Are looking for something with softer colours or a more feminine look? Just because they're heavy on pink doesn't mean that these decks are strictly "girlie" decks - guys might like them just as much! So regardless of whether you're male or female, if you're looking for something pretty in pink, you'll find something here for you. ● Sakura Spring Playing Cards (2018) - This unique all-pink deck is dedicated to the Japanese cherry blossom. It is entirely done in different shades of pink, with a simplified look that is a true exercise of harmony and beauty. ● Hanami Playing Cards (2018) - Another wonderful deck that captures the elegance of cherry blossoms, the Hanami deck features a palette of soft colours and a captivating design that will especially be appreciated and enjoyed by cardists. ● Madison Rounders Pink Playing Cards (2018) - Daniel Madison's highly popular series of Madison Rounders finally arrives in a colour that everyone has wanted to see: pink! Thin crush stock ensures that it handles as smoothly and softly as it looks.
Not only does PlayingCardDecks sell playing cards, but over the last couple of years the man at the helm of operations, Will Roya, has also used his expertise and experience in the magic industry and the playing card industry to produce a number of high quality custom decks. Here are several great decks that have been produced under the PlayingCardDecks banner in 2018. ● Ancient Warriors Playing Cards (2018) - This is great as a limited edition and matching two-deck set, one in a red/gold colour scheme, and the other in black/silver, with metallic inks. Each suit represents a different culture of ancient warriors (Crusaders, Japanese, Zulus, Aztecs), with gorgeous detail, and aspects of each civilization are also reflected on the Aces and pips. ● Strigiformes Owl Playing Cards (2018) - One of my favourite decks from 2018, this deck is full of owls. It has just the right colour combinations to give a true nocturnal feel, and the artwork is incredible, especially on the court cards. Every card has highly customized pips, along with intricate and ornate details, and a terrific graphic design. ● Royal Vortex Playing Cards (2018) - Looking for bling? Look no further! This deck was created in honour of PlayingCardDecks' first anniversary. To celebrate, it has a gold and black colour scheme on the card backs with an enormous amount of gold foil. The card backs are also designed to give the impression of a hypnotic and eye-catching optical illusion.
It's amazing how many different decks have been created that are based on your favourite characters from TV shows, films, comics, books and more. You can check out the entire range of licensed decks, but here are some of my favourites. ● Bruce Lee Playing Cards (2018) - This is the second and completely revised edition of a deck that is a beautiful homage to a popular martial artist. The vivid black and yellow will appeal to cardists, and one notable feature of this updated deck is that each card features a different philosophical Bruce Lee quote in easy-to-read white capitals! ● Saturday Night Live Playing Cards (2017) - It's a famous TV Show, and now it's a deck of cards! All the customization in this deck is inspired by the show. And because it's a Theory11 deck, you can count on a spectacular tuck box, with lots of foil accents and embossing! ● Princess Bride Playing Cards (2014) - This deck is a wonderful tribute to the classic comedy film of the same name. The court cards all feature characters from the film, such as Westley, Princess Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Vizzini, and the giant Fezzik, and include memorable lines from the film like "Prepare to Die!" and "Inconceivable!" The number cards are also absolutely exquisite, and the entire deck is heavily customized, really captures some of the magic of the film.
Some of the most eye-catching decks are the ones which look the oldest - even though they are made of high quality playing cards that are brand new. Whether it's a result of a vintage or a deliberately distressed look, or whether they are a modern replica of a classic deck from the past, these decks look like they have arrived into the present straight from the past, and yet look and feel fantastic. You'll find more by checking out the full range of vintage decks. ● 1883 Murphy Varnish Playing Cards - This is a high quality replica of a 19th century deck originally created to promote Murphy Varnish. It is a famous transformation deck, which means that each card features clever artwork that incorporates the pips as part of a larger picture, which in this case is both entertaining and ingenious! ● 1889 Texan Playing Cards - Want an authentic look straight that's more than a hundred years old? The Texan deck was first printed in 1889, and USPCC has brought it back into circulation, using a yellowed tinting on the cards to give it an authentic antique look, and with court designs that are typical of that period. ● Vintage Classic Playing Cards (2017) - This deck is brand new, but looks much older than it really is, courtesy of the faux-aged look and yellowed tones. A black triangle on the edges of the cards creates beautiful fans and spreads that card flourishers will love, while each card has a unique dirty, weathered, and worn out look that will instantly grab attention.
Yes, I know we already have a For the Cardist category earlier in this list. But you didn't really think I could get away with having only three cardistry decks in this list, did you? Plus you might just need a cardistry deck for yourself as well as for the cardist in your life! There are lots to choose from, but here are some of the favourites that came out this year and have made it into my own collection. ● Off the Wall Playing Cards (2018) - This unconventional deck comes from Art of Play, and has a surf-skate theme that opts for a deliberately styled casual look, yet with a bold choice of energetic and vivid colours include a vibrant blue, orange, and yellow, along with some black. The stylish and borderless card backs are loud and dashing, but isn't that exactly what cardistry is often all about? ● Superfly Spitfire Playing Cards (2018) - Inspired by modern streetwear, fashion, and culture, this deck is the third in the Superfly series from Toomas Pintson. It has eye-catching colours with a vibrant teal-green, yellow, and black, plus a unique card back design that reminds me of a finger-print, and of course the distinctive "Superfly" branding on the cards themselves. I love the fact that each card has one pip that picks up the finger-print style design of the card backs. ● Casual V2 Playing Cards (2018) - One of the more elegant and sophisticated cardistry decks I've ever seen, the luxurious look and feel of the tuck box already impresses. The card backs have a clean geometrical design consisting of triangles and parallelograms, and use complementing tones of brown, mint green, and gold. The gold uses pantone/metallic inks for a truly elegant look, and also returns in heavy doses on the court cards. Thin crush stock completes the perfect cardistry package.
Occasionally what you're looking for is something absurdly expensive and over-the-top. Something with lots of bling. Bring on the gold foil, the embossing, the iridescence, the UV spot printing, the exotic tuck case, and whatever other luxury you can think of! And especially: gilded edges. Here's a few examples of such gilded luxury. ● Unicorn Rainbow Gilded Playing Cards (2018) - This exclusive deck was created for the Magic Live! 2018 event, and is a limited edition with a tuck box that has embossed glitter, and an iridescent foil. But the best is inside the box: the cards have metallic gilded edges for a stunning and shiny iridescent/rainbow look. Unicorns don't get better than this! ● Ombre Edged Playing Cards (2017) - Unlike most gilded decks, the Ombre Edged deck doesn't feature gold or silver edges, but the gilding uses red and blue to match the card backs and courts. These colours are carefully blended together with a gradient look that makes this deck like no other, and the tuck box is cleverly designed to show off the gilding even when the deck is inside the box. ● Spirit II Gilded Playing Cards (2018) - These stunning decks have all the bells and whistles collectors love: embossed tuck boxes with foil accents, individually numbered seals, and fully customized artwork on every card, which is inspired by the mystical stained glass windows of ancient cathedrals. Gilded edges in gold and silver just add to the feel of luxury.
While most of us love customization, there are times where we don't want much in the way of customization, but are looking for something more ordinary, with a standard and traditional look. Decks like these will fit the bill perfectly! All of these selections are available in both red and blue backed cards. ● Honeybee Elite Playing Cards (2018) - This is a new edition of the popular Honeybee series from Penguin Magic. It has a honey-comb style borderless back design, the super-soft thin-crush stock from USPCC which handles smoothly, and has been receiving raves from card handlers world-wide. ● Arrco Playing Cards (2018) - The Arrco decks are an iconic and practical deck, with a signature back design and superb handling that made them popular with everyone who used them in the late 20th century. Now this classic and beloved deck is back in print, with the air-cushion quality and handling from Bicycle. ● Copag 310 Playing Cards (2018) - Cartamundi has been making a real splash with their new B9 True Linen finish card stock. It's slightly thicker than a normal Bicycle deck, but is amazingly soft, and handles fantastic straight out of the box. These decks have been receiving rave reviews, and with good reason! As an added bonus, you can also get popular gaff decks (e.g. Svengali deck, Stripper deck, Gaff deck) with the same Copag card-stock and designs.
Cheap decks (under $5)
Fortunately you don't have to spend a huge amount of money to get a top quality deck of playing cards. To keep things in balance after some of the more exotic decks available, it's good to know that there's a solid range of low-cost decks that are under $5, and yet are high quality playing cards. Here's a few fine examples of great decks from this budget price range, that offer something cheap without sacrificing quality. These make the ideal stuffing stocker, and there's a whole lot more available - see a complete list in the under $5 range. ● Stargazer Playing Cards (2017) - For this price, this deck can't be beat. Not only do you get a tuck box with shiny silver accents, but the cards have a stunning borderless design that creates amazing fans and spreads. The cards have an inky black background, while the artwork features bursts of light touched with purple and pink, inspired by a classical design transported to a colourful starry night sky. ● House Blend Playing Cards (2018) - Need some more caffeine in your life? The House Blend is a play on the classic Bicycle rider-back deck, with alternate coffee-inspired art on the card backs. The tuck box has novelty embossing reminiscent of a coffee filter, while the courts cards and pips have adjusted colours in shades of brown to fit the coffee theme. ● Wild West Playing Cards (2017) - At a bargain price, you can travel back in time to the Wild West, where all the familiar names are represented among the court cards, including famous names like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Jessie James, Belle Starr, and more. This is a fully custom deck with a real wild west feel.
If a deck is very popular, it's often a strong indication of quality. After all, there must be something special about it that draws people in, whatever that magnetic quality might be. These decks have proven to be best-sellers in the past year, and it shouldn't be difficult to see why! ● Cherry Casino (Tahoe Blue) Playing Cards (2018) - The popular Cherry Casino series has a retro casino feel, and this versatile and practical deck has an immediate touch of style and class courtesy of the bold metallic ink that is used for the signature "tahoe blue" colour on the tuck case. Inspired by the clear colours of Lake Tahoe, this inviting pearlescent blue is also found on the card backs in a metallic ink, while the card faces are standard enough to make them ideal for card games or card magic. Also don't miss the newest addition to the family, Cherry Casino (Reno Red) Playing Cards. ● Memento Mori Blue Playing Cards (2018) - Created with the involvement of popular magician and youtuber Chris Ramsay, this best-selling deck has an elegant tuck box with a wrap-around design featuring the shape of Ramsay's own skull. The card backs return to this design, which gives interesting possibilities for card flourishing, and the courts are designed in a similar style. The blue version of this deck was released in 2018 and is like the original, but has a more subdued and cooler colour palette. ● Monarchs Blue Playing Cards (2012) - One of the all time most popular decks from Theory11, and even featured in the film Now You See It, this best-selling deck has a stylish navy blue tuck box laced with royal gold foil that exudes class and sophistication. The card backs and faces have a classy design that is not too complicated or distracting, and gold metallic ink emphasizes the regal feel of the court cards. Happy shopping, and happy holidays! Promotions for Black Friday weekend at PlayingCardDecks.com as posted by Will Roya: [source] ● Nov 22/23 - Black Friday - promo code: black18 - 25% off entire purchase plus 3 free random decks on all purchases over $100. Nov 22 5:00pm - Nov 23 11:59pm. ● Nov 24 - Small Business Saturday - Starting at 9am, over 100 items will be added to the clearance section for 24 hours only, with savings of up to 50% off. ● Nov 26 - Cyber Monday - promo code: cyber18 - 20% off entire purchase plus 1 free random deck (no minimum purchase required). Promo codes are good for one use per account and not valid on Pip Box Club or gift cards. Promo codes can not be combined with any other codes or offers. All times are in pacific coast time. Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.comhere.
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