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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/24/2019 in all areas

  1. 20 points
  2. 18 points

    Hi I'm Jane and I'm an overpacker!

    So I just got done reading @Whizbank live blog and she stated that she would pack lighter next time. I'm now sitting and looking at the suitcase I'm going to have trouble closing today. Ugh! So thought I'd share some things I'm going to do for the European cruise this summer (16 days in Barcelona and on the ship) as an accountability post lol. Please chime in with suggestions and encouragement lol. I know like the drink pkg we have beaten this to death, but hey, it's fun! 1. Royal has amazing storage in their rooms, both interior and outside.I have sailed 5 classes now and fit everything every time. Majesty had a dinky closet but a great big side table and window ledge. Others have hidden shelves, ottomans, other closets. Obviously the longer cruises are a bit more challenging which leads to.... 2. Rewear! I have favorites that I take on every cruise that I could totally wear over. Some things I will wash when I get home that I only wore once (or not at all) and they aren't even really dirty. I get if it's super hot you might have to selectively rewear, but I don't pack that way. 7 days, pack for 9 lol. Ugh! Do I need 2 formal dresses? Heck no. Is it ok if people are me in the same outfit twice... Absolutely. Do I need extra clothes not at all... That's where #3 comes in... 3. Laundry! I will freely admit I haven't used it in the ship and I won't risk any favorite clothes (I worry about too hot dryers). But I spend everywhere else...Porters, drink pkg, extra 2 dollars for my favorite 🍷 etc.... A bag of laundry will not kill me to pay for! And my bathing suits, etc, are wet when I came back...I can hand wash them in the shower. Now again, with how long everything takes to dry I am not bringing detergent and hanging everything... But a small stain is solvable by a quick rinse. 4. Packing cubes.... That was a long thread earlier. I personally love them but didn't use them correctly. I was in 3 different places pre-cruise, cruise and post-cruise. I should have packed the cubes that way rather than every time I wanted an outfit having to go through different ones. I could have put my pre-cruise two outfits in a bag with a bathing suit and pair of jammies and never opened the rest! 5. Shoes.... Sigh. I did do better this time. I wore my tennis shoes on the plane and once again, it wasn't necessary for me personally to have them. I will just wear my walking sandals on the plane too. I took my lighter weight sandals this time and didn't fuss with the 3 inch heals I would wear once or twice. I actually packed 2 pairs of flip flops in case one pair broke....omg WHY? Which leads to... 6. This next cruise no matter what I'm going with the Rick Steve's packing rule which I never do but am going to start! I love his travel blogs and YouTube videos and he says "always pack for the expected, not the unexpected". Ok...I'm a pack for the unexpected....my shoe might break, my phone cord might break, I might spill coffee on my 4 sweaters... All 4! All the unexpected back-ups come home unused and talking up space. I'm not traveling to the middle of Africa where I might have trouble getting something!!!! (If you are, you are probably better at packing than I am anyway and not reading this!). Next time I will truly try and follow this. Heck I will pack a $100 extra dollars just for things I might need to get and when I don't, take myself out to a nice Cafe somewhere! 7. Go with your history and your gut. Every trip I pack shorts "just in case I feel like wearing them" and workout clothes "just in case I want to work out". Ok...I've now been on 6 cruises. Not once have I put on shorts or tshirts (Im a sundress girl) and the only time I've set for in the fitness center is to take pics on day one. If I haven't used something at home (do I really want that dress) or on a ship, it is just not gonna get used here! 8. Compare with the other lovely people in your family. In March my family brilliantly brought 3 tubes of toothpaste. Seriously. We all packed our regular travel kits and we all have toothpaste. Oh well. Next time I'm going back to the family ziplocks...1 toothpaste and common shampoo, soap, etc. And I'm getting slightly better at judging amount we use. For example, I love using the bath & body works squirt soap better than the bars. They smell nice and I just like them. We don't need a whole bottle...I can bring a half-used one and then I have 2 more oz and space at the end of the trip! Same goes for shampoo, lotion, etc! 9. Suitcase stuffing. I'm a stuffer. If the suitcase is at 40 lbs and not full, I can stuff just one more extra dress or pair of shoes just in case. Nope. The problem is that it takes me forever to fit everything in at home. I don't have that time on the trip and what happens is I frantically stuff everything in and one day I'm gonna break the zipper. I have had to buy and check an extra suitcase at Disney before (ok...I could get into souvenir shopping here. I didn't buy the rum in Nassau because I knew I wouldn't have the space or weight lol). So next time, things will fit better at the start. I will do what you are supposed to... Pack and then unpack and take out a bunch you don't need! Because I don't need the stress at the end of the trip! So I've now spent time I should have been packing avoiding it but when I get home, this is what's I'm going to re-read before I pack!!!!!! Jane
  3. 18 points
    Update: My custom creation from the Skagway Glass Blowing Experience arrived in the mail today! And to think... that's my hot air trapped inside the globe. My other purchases from their shop arrived yesterday but since many are gifts for family and friends no pics. I opted for the flat base so I could put it on a table. As dorky as this sounds, whenever I look at this I'll be brought right back to Skagway and this awesome Alaskan cruise experience on Ovation of the Seas.
  4. 17 points
    Another trip... My first one as Platinum. No I will never make diamond and I don't really get anything for Platinum other than requesting the cool robe which I will do on the next cruise lol..... The Basics: First time on Majesty of the seas. The Crew: Myself, my 22 year old daughter Morgan and my 16 year old Madison. Dad stays home to work and pay for the girls trip! The Itinerary: Fly into fort Lauderdale 2 days early, relax, eat and drink, get in ship and go to key West (first time), sea day (relax and drink), nassau and then fort Lauderdale for 3 days (relax, eat and drink.. sense a pattern lol?) We booked this cruise as a total yolo. I was home in April feeling very guilty about not going to my daughter's last mom's weekend at University of Illinois. I started thinking, ok, we'd have spent a bit, let's travel instead after she graduates for a little 3 day weekend. Which turned into, hey let's travel 4 or 5 days. Which turned into hey, we can take a cruise!!! The 16 year old was all over the itinerary (let's go to Europe etc) but the 22 year old was exhausted finishing her final design project in material science engineering and said she would go anywhere if she could get the drink pkg and sleep! I was looking at 5-7 day cruises and an amazingly long cheap celebrity cruise (which now I wished I'd booked but I will get there!!!) and then happened on Cuba! We could go to Cuba!!!!!! My husband was such a good sport (history teacher who would be teaching summer school and not going) and said go! So we booked it in April. I've never YOLO booked a cruise like that. Within 2 days we had airfare and a hotel and airbnbs and were ready to go as long as Morgan passed all her classes lol. 2 days later the announcement came about the change in Cuban policy. Worried but cautiously optimistic we continued to get excited. The May escalation day came and went. Our biggest worry was if they would ever assign us our guarantee cabin! And then June came. First of all, I sprain my ankle. Badly. It's not broken but can I walk in Havana? Doesn't matter...we have an all day fun classic car tour! But it didn't matter. We were devastated when it was announced that travel would be banned to Cuba. We were cautiously hopefully that we would be grandfathered in but that was not to be. So now what? We had booked majesty only because of Cuba. I obviously like smaller and older ships ok...our first cruise was on vision in 2015 and we will be sailing it again after trips on other classes... But I'd have done a 7 day on a bigger ship. So I looked at our options. None. We would pay double to cruise another ship at the same time. We do have cancel at any cost insurance but my last dealings with Allianz and insurance were heartbreaking at best and we lost 10000. I just couldn't face that again even if we could find other dates in the future that could work (which we couldn't... The college grad has to get a real job sometime lol). So we were optimistic again... Maybe we would finally get to see cococay (since we couldn't tender on our trip in 2016). Nope....Nassau. The lemons keep flying. But we are making lemonade! Girls were just happy to be going on a trip, I'm happy that I will finally finish school next week, maybe it won't rain in Florida, this trip is gonna rock!!!! Any cruise is an amazing cruise! So we booked a specialty make your own sushi class, get an excursion in Nassau and think about packing!! So we leave in 6 days! I will update as we go. Unlike @TheHobbys if I lay out my suitcases, my Schnauzer will eat everything in the suitcase so I will have to pack and close. That will be today and tomorrow's project since I work all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! We will get hair cuts and pedicures and look forward to our first kraken lava flow on the ship!!! I'm looking forward to an amazing 8 days with my girls, wondering if we can all go 4 days without voom...we are gonna try!... and for the first time getting on a cruise less than 6 months after the last one! Jane
  5. 17 points
    Cruise Summary Wow! What an awesome Alaska experience. There is a part of me that wants to say this was my best cruise to Alaska. However looking back I thought the same thing on every Alaska cruise I've taken. There are a couple of ways to interpret that sentiment but the truth is that Alaska is such an amazing destination that each cruise can top the last one. Every visit to Alaska is different. I chose to focus on Alaska on this cruise and in writing this trip report. The ship itself is very similar to Anthem from a core ship experience. Anyone who has sailed Anthem will feel right at home on Ovation. Apologize for no menus and less about the on-board experience of Ovation, but I took this cruise for Alaska so that became the focus of this thread. There were some special aspects of this cruise and it starts with the itinerary. This itinerary may never be repeated. That would be a shame because it included a lot I love about Alaska. I was curious how an early season cruise would compare but now I'm sold on the idea that any time for an Alaska cruise season is the perfect time for an Alaska cruise. I was also curious how Ovation of the Seas would compare to Radiance and Voyager class or Celebrity's Millennium class for an Alaska cruise, the ships I've sailed before to Alaska. Each has features I like. Looking back over this experience there is a lot to like about Quantum class in Alaska. Great indoor pool space for families Great indoor Solarium for adults, one of the best in the fleet North Star (more on this below) Two70° SeaPlex Flowrider New ship feel, new technology, new decor Great Windjammer experience (I have always liked the WJ on Quantum class) Great entertainment Better suite amenities including Coastal Kitchen Affordable balcony options for a reasonable fare difference I was curious how viewing angles would work out for glacier visits. I prefer to move around during glacier visits and seeing everything from multiple perspectives. I was very pleased with how this worked out on Ovation, better than I thought it would. I didn't think I'd like the glass dividers in places on the top decks but they were a blessing at times to block the wind with large spaces between them I could still take pictures. Not everything was perfect. These are areas that I felt had some room for improvement: The crew pressure wash the outer decks from 5am to 7am. During this time they are closed. This is a required maintenance exercise but they could have adjusted times to recognize the long days of Alaska. Sunrise is around 5am. Runners want to run. Arrival into ports is often occurring at this time. I don't recall this being an issue on any ship I've sailed before including three cruises on sister ship Anthem. Smokers were complaining there was no where to smoke. I don't smoke but I know if you close all the outdoor smoking areas at the same time to wash them down guests are going to break the rules and some did. The Cruise Director lost an opportunity to hype certain events like sailing under the bridge in Vancouver or the fact that every port of call was an inaugural port of call. The CD and staff seemed unaware that this was a special cruise itinerary or the ship's first ever visit to Alaska. Voom internet was a disappointment but if you have read this thread I've covered this already. North Star Experience. North Star brings a new aspect to Alaska cruising allowing guests to see things from a very different angle. This really sets Ovation apart from other ships that have sailed in Alaska. Despite a single complimentary reservation for North Star I found great availability to enjoy it on standby basis. Groups larger than 2 may find less enjoyment in the standby line unless they are willing to split up. While the $49 charge during glacier visits was higher than I expected I understand why a charge is required. Having done that extra cost version of the North Star Alaskan Experience I might even do it again. I've devised some ideas how to reduce glare from the curved windows in my North Star photos that I look forward to trying in North Star in other regions before I return to Alaska and enjoy North Star there again. For me North Star really has value in Alaska where in other regions it's simply a cool activity to do. You get a bird's eye view just like an Eagle soaring in the sky above the ship. When I cruise Alaska my focus is Alaska and not ship entertainment or activities. I have more cruises booked on Ovation in other regions some with many sea days. This allowed me to skip entertainment or activities on this sailing knowing I can try them another time. I did not visit the MDR once. For my needs and a desire for a quick meal experience the Windjammer fulfilled my needs perfectly. Despite some cool meals I ate most of them on the aft outdoor seating area for the Windjammer. Daily complimentary room service breakfast was appreciated with a balcony to enjoy a coffee while watching marine life below or an incredible sunrise unfold in front of me. For Diamond Happy Hour the use of the entire Music Hall worked well but I still missed access to the Concierge Lounge, a stated benefit for Diamond Plus members. I understand the reasoning offered for blocking access to the Concierge Lounge but it remains a disappointment. If you've enjoyed my pictures in this thread what you may not understand is that mere photos don't do it justice. To experience Alaska you have to go to Alaska. I know Royal offers great entertainment and activities but I feel like Alaska is a destination where you shouldn't try to do everything on the ship just because it's offered and available for you. A number of times I found myself nearly alone enjoying incredible scenery, peace and tranquility. Apologies to Nick Weir and his incredible team that produce awesome Royal entertainment but I came for Alaska. At times I put the camera down and just enjoyed the moment live and in person. What you don't see in this thread are those moments. Those are some of my best memories and for you to experience them you'll need to book a cruise to Alaska for yourself. Thanks for following along and I thank you for viewing.
  6. 16 points
    Ok you guys, I'm SO excited. Mr. SpeedNoodles and I have not been on a vacation for 10 years (yes, you read that correctly). We've had time off from work, hauling the hounds to dog shows, but those are work. Lots of fun, but lots of work. This year is our 25th wedding wedding anniversary, his 50th birthday, we found a hound(s)/house sitter, and we are READY TO GO!!! I'll focus this blog mostly on the ship, since there's no way my photos of the scenery will do any justice of it, and Twangster did a superb job on his. Hats off to him - they were absolutely incredible! I don't know that I'll be able to post daily, but I intend to do the best that I can. We will have 36 hours in Seattle before we get on the ship, so we're super excited about that! Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick .....
  7. 16 points
    Juneau Excursion - Five Glacier Float Plane Conveniently located right next to the ship you'll find the float plane base for Wings Airways. On previous visits it's been hard to miss the float planes coming and going all day long. Looking for something different in Juneau I found the Five Glacier Float Plane excursion offered through Royal Caribbean on sale so as they say...YOLO, booked it. The DeHavilland Otter is by no means a new aircraft having been in service for decades. They are the workhorse of the North. Wings Airways has five of them. A map in their office illustrates our flight path. They also hand out a card with the names of the glaciers. Glaciers will be Norris, Taku, Hole in the Wall and the West and East Twins. Our pilot greets us and we head down the ramp to the plane. Our plane today is N339AK a.k.a. Red Stripe. The plane features bubble like windows that let you stick your camera or your head out to get fantastic views. Headsets are provided and a recorded sound track narrates our journey. We have a quick safety briefing and then we are off. A short taxi and take off and we rise up gently into the sky with an amazing view of the Celebrity Millennium as she was arriving in Juneau. The view looking back down Gastineau Channel with Juneau in the distance. The scenery is breath taking. You can see how the bubble windows let you get a great view in many directions. Our first glacier flyover. The surface of the glacier has numerous pools of glacier runoff water that have an amazing turquoise color. Different section of the glacier feature varying formations of glacial ice. We circle around and continue up the mountain range. It's hard to put into words the views and what we observe as we fly over them. Massive waterfalls look tiny in the these photo. The scale is hard to describe. The twins. West on the far left, East on the right. On the flight up the left side has a better view but on the return the pilot gives the passengers on the right the awesome glacier views. Looking down the valley you can see the glacial silt from hundreds of years that has shaped Taku Inlet. Back over the glacier you can really see the differences as it progresses downslope. It's hard to fathom the scale of the size but the face is hundreds of feet tall. A section has recently broken off exposing the intricate details from within the glacier. It's a pretty massive glacier. The river is tidal from where it connects with the Gastineau Channel that we sailed up to reach Juneau. The ever changing nature of the glacial silt makes navigation challenging and the narration over the headset describes small boats that inevitably run aground and have to wait until high tide to free them. On our return to Juneau I spot a sand bar that I spotted from the ship as we approached Juneau. We gently land on the water and begin to taxi back to the float plane base. What an amazing experience. The rest of the fleet has arrived and is preparing to take waiting guests on their tours. Here is a ten minute video I put together from short clips I took in between taking still pictures and simply gazing out at the amazing views. When I booked this excursion I questioned if doing another flightseeing excursion was a wise idea since I booked the flight excursion in Icy Strait Point . I'm so glad I kept both. This flight flew very close over the surface of the glaciers and I really got a better appreciation of the differences in glacial ice formations along sections of the glacier.
  8. 15 points
    We are sitting at lattetudes waiting to get off majesty. We finally broke down and got voom on day 3 but it's hard to go back and recreate. If voom cooperates I will have it the whole time on my vision Europe trip! Might actually live blog instead of livish. I have tons of pics but it takes me forever to load then lol. We were on the ship by 11am and in our time by 1. The windjammer is very well set up with a middle "market" and a forward area that they open up at busy times. The food was always fresh, hot and we hit it for lunch and the last night dinner (we were just too tired to do a 2 hour dinner!). On the sea day we had Mongolian barbeque which was amazing! I didn't love the Caribbean jerk meats at the last night, so I was forced (lol) to eat crepes and tons of amazingly fresh shrimp cocktail! The main dining room was incredible. Best we have had since our first cruise on vision 4 years ago. The food was very well prepared and always hot. And our wait staff was amazing!! We were at a table for 10. They brought special vegetarian dishes out for Madison, and dealt very well with two of our tablemates who were always late (an hour on night one!) . The bar service at the mdr was great... I was always asked if I wanted more wine and by night two they were asking if I wanted the specific type. Service was also amazing in the schooner bar!!! They didn't carry Oberon (the red I got to really like on Allure)...I could only find it in the main dining room. On day 4 I asked them (should have done it sooner) if I could get it. They went and got two bottles for me, would pour it as soon as I got up and didn't charge for the bottle, just by the glass. It was a nice touch of service!!! Loved the schooner bar for sure! Andrew was a great piano player who played the whole 3 hour set with no breaks and dealt with all the drinks really well! Our room attendant was fine... Not amazing, not horrible. Often he left empty glasses (used) and didn't always wipe down everything, but we always had towels and we never had to wait for the room to be set up. We had one extremely bad service moment in the whole trip... Everyone was really super except for the guy organizing the sushi class. We had decided to prepay and have the sushi making class for dinner on the last night. I have to get off the ship now... Will comment more on this in a few!!!! Jane
  9. 14 points
    Thought it would be a good idea to post a quick photo look around of the offerings a Skipper's Grill on CocoCay. I'm going to assume that Chill Grill would have the same offerings. Per signage, the hours of operation are 11:30 to 3:00 Starting off it was nice seeing the beverage station outside of the buffet area. This area also has a soft serve machine. Getting a closer look at the beverage island area. Better view of the drink dispensers I'm not sure if the beer by the ounce dispenser is covered by the beverage package or not. Also want to say a hand washing station was on the other side of the dispensers. Fruit carving just so you know where you were. Skipper's Grill was divided up into multiple sections. Once for cold salads and pre-made sandwiches. Some sandwiches being made. Grill stations with the classic hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, corn, and not shown fries. Next up was a taco/mexican station, here they had chicken, beef, pulled pork, rice, and beans. (Need to double check if I have any pictures) One highlight was the freshly made flour Finally two different topping stations. One geared towards burger fixings and the other for taco fixings. Finally a photo just for drool factor. This plate was a cuban sandwich (made with a soft sweet style bread), rice and beans plus some of the pulled pork. Also forgot to mention there is a small bar counter within the Skipper's Grill area. Don't recall if they did blended drinks but they did carry plenty of beers and spirits. Only major complaint I had was food temperature, nothing seemed really that hot. Most of what I tried was almost warm, some stuff was hot but for the most part it wasn't consistent. I might mark that as being there probably when they first opened around 11:30. Overall they weren't that busy at the time.
  10. 14 points
    Day 7 - Juneau Morning came early and it found us in the Inside Passage making our way South so we could pick up the inlet that heads North into Juneau. I was determined to get some good sunrise pictures so I was up at 4am and top side. Soon colors started painting the sky right before my eyes. A glimpse of a glacier perhaps. I was not disappointed this morning. Alone as if the ship was deserted I enjoyed this moment solo. Eventually a few other guests emerged to share the moment. A time lapse of a few minutes sailing down the Inside Passage.
  11. 13 points
    Update day -1 of trip!!!! For the first time in my cruise history I have not packed a single item yet! Ugh. Usually i stay up super late the night before charging things, clearing pics off my phone etc, but life has totally gotten away from me this week with work and my silly ankle. I'm working today until 4 and then I am on vacation for 10 days!!!!! My ankle is still not great. Maybe the silver invisible lining if no Cuba is that this cruise will have less walking. 9 days post sprain the ankle is still swollen. Oh well...pool deck and adult beverage here I come. We will just Uber everywhere in fort Lauderdale. My girls are packed and ready to go. I haven't told them I've ordered matching tshirts, water bottles and totes for the treppagirlsvacay! I also have bought a ton of pamper items (face masks, lotions, chocolate) that I will pack in the tote bags. Good thing kids only graduate every 4 years because I'm spending a ton of money... Though not as much as I spent on college lol! So that is where we are at! We leave tomorrow and I will start taking pics soon I promise! Jane
  12. 13 points
    Just got off Harmony on a brand new itinerary: Port Canaveral, CocoCay (2nd time this ship visits here), Cozumel, Roatan (first time for Harmony), & Costa Maya Here are a few stray observations I had: 1) I did NOT purchase Voom, but discovered that if I simply connected to the Harmony-Guest wifi (for the app updates and schedules), I was easily able to send/receive iMessages to anyone, including those back at home! 2) The Stowaway Piano Man was on this sailing. I had the privilege of riding the elevator with him! 3) First time Harmony visited Roatan. The captain changed our arrival / departure times. Roatan local time was 2 hours earlier that ship time (that remained on Eastern time). Original ship scheduled time was 8AM - 5PM (ship time). New schedule was 9:30AM - 6:30PM (ship time). Evidently, the local vendors didn't want to be there at 6AM (their local time / 8AM ship time) to open up shops, so the captain delayed the arrival / departure time. 4) Got WOW bands for everyone in our group. They worked extremely well, and could be used anywhere on the ship in lieu of a seapass card. They also worked for entry into Thrill Waterpark on CocoCay. Every station on the ship had portable readers that read either your WOW band or your seapass card. This worked for everything from towel checkout to shops to entry into reserved shows & events. You still needed your seapass card for getting off the ship, and for entry in the ports back onto the ship. 5) The Soda cups for the freestyle machines were the same old-style ones I've seen before. I did see a few of the new ones (with straw and looped carry handle), but didn't know where they came from. I had a boardwalk balcony cabin, so got complementary soda cups. Even those that were for sale on board (with various drink packages) were only the original style ones... 6) There seemed to be professional photographers on the ship most every night, and not just formal dining nights. I didn't recall seeing this many days with photographers and various backgrounds on prior cruises. 7) Did the escape room (and made it out with 5 1/2 minutes to spare!). This event was extremely popular. Spoke with someone in guest services, and they said the escape room was completely booked within two days (all days and all sessions) of it becoming available to book on the cruise planner. Glad I booked it as soon as I saw it available! 8 ) CocoCay - Two things: A) Plan on doing the "highest" waterslide and the slingshot ride as soon as you can. With the volume of people on Harmony, the lines were extremely long (2+ hour wait for these two rides) past about 10AM. The lines finally shortened closer to about 3:30PM to 4PM. B) The lockers in Thrill Waterpark were complementary to use. Cost was included in the Thrill Waterpark ticket purchase. You just found a open / available locker, put our stuff in, and locked it. We could then open it and access our stuff, and simply re-lock it as needed. I have no idea if lockers outside of Thrill Waterpark were complementary or not... 9) Cruise Director, Marc, was excellent!!! Overall, we had an awesome cruise!!!
  13. 13 points


    Fair warning....please no political discussions here. It's a no-win and you'll never convince others of your opinion. Let's keep the bickering to whether or not the drink package or The Key is worth it! Thanks!
  14. 12 points
    We are beyond excited! I think I read this blog every day for the last two months! Thanks @Matt !! The information here is priceless and the people are amazing! Tomorrow we board the Navigator of the Seas!! As Bart Scott said years ago... “Can’t Wait!!”
  15. 12 points

    I had to share this

    Back when I blogged my first cruise on Freedom last year, I had posted a couple of pictures I'd taken of some art my younger daughter had drawn / painted while we were staying in the hotel pre-cruise. Here's the photo again, for those who hadn't seen... What a difference a year of high school can make! This was Kara's final project for the year in year in her Freshman Drawing and Painting class: Hand drawn, hand colored, all her own work and effort. I cannot begin to say how proud I am of her, and I can't begin to imagine the career and life she'll have ahead of her as an artist. Yes, she already has determined that being an artist is her career choice; she wants to major in illustration in college, but may double major in photography after taking photography 1 this year as well, and discovering that even with her benign tremor she is able to compensate well enough to take photos that have gotten her repeated praise from her teacher in that class as well, along with winning many "picture of the week" contests in her class and having some of her photos showcased at gallery events the school has held. #seriouslyproudpapa
  16. 12 points
    On Anthem an out of control kid ran into the Staff Captain, literally. This brat had been punching random guests waiting near elevators while the parents did nothing. Small kid like 5 or 6 so not a death punch but still, you don't do that. He's running around and slams into the Staff Captain who walks into the area by coincidence. Staff Captain grabs kid and tells him to slow down, calm down, etc. Father doesn't like a crew member admonishing his kid so he starts getting into it verbally with Staff Captain. Along the way the father escalates it into "I know where you live and I'm coming for your family". Boom - cabin arrest. Next morning the whole family was put off in San Juan. Around eight of them including grand parents who all got to fly home at their own expense. Big tough Jersey attitude didn't fly with the Staff Captain. Threatening his family was the last straw. I'm sure this guy went home and told his friends "I didn't do nothing, we were just kicked off" and maybe by New York or New Jersey standards that's just friendly banter but it didn't work on the ship. That was our first stop on a 11 night cruise after one sea day coming down from Bayonne. Nice way to lose what must have cost several thousand for the cruise plus then having to buy plane tickets same day to fly home.
  17. 12 points
    My favorite?? Anything I order and they bring to me. As long as I don't have to make it and they bring it to me, that is my favorite. I....am.....on....vacation!!
  18. 12 points

    Always Windjammer, so gratuities still?

    Welcome @SummerJoy72. As far as I know, the gratuities go to the dining staff in general, not only for those working in the MDR. The staff in Windjammer work extremely hard. Some may work in both venues. Personally, I would not have the gratuities adjusted.
  19. 12 points
    I think a lot of people become focused on Dawes Glacier and miss an incredible experience in Endicott Arm. Glaciers are cool but you can only take so many pictures of a glacier. Endicott Arm is constantly changing as you sail down it. For me it's as incredible as the glacier is if not more. While I was down here on deck 5 I thought I'd check out the outer viewing areas on this deck. I like being down here when we are sailing through lots of ice. I thought I saw something on a piece of darker ice. Sure enough a Bald Eagle was perched on the ice, watching. The surrounding terrain is pretty amazing. Remember that drizzle we sailed through? Beautiful blue skies now. That's Alaska weather. Incredible volume of water coming down these waterfalls. Time to head up for a different perspective. They were running the North Star on a test run without any passengers. The Solarium was a popular viewing location but I still prefer being outdoors and moving around too much to try to anchor in a chair. It really is pretty amazing. I knew we were getting closer and I didn't want to be fading at the glacier without anything in my stomach I popped into the Windjammer for a quick breakfast. Talk about a meal with a view! Time 7:34am
  20. 12 points
    Incredible views from that plane......glad I wasn't on it
  21. 11 points
    I am here now on Adventure of the Seas. Left out of Port Bayonne/Cape Liberty yesterday. When they scanned our carry ons at security, they saw our three cases of soda and told us that only one was permitted per stateroom, and they took two away. Bummer! Yes, we knew the policy, but a lot of others on the boards said to give it a try, so we did. (Please do not judge😀). The ship is ROCKING like crazy! We are heading now to Bermuda and it has been nonstop back and forth. Never needed Dramamine in our lives, and everyone that we know is taking it! CONSTANT MOTION! Thank God we packed it! Food is great, easy to find lots of great food! Great mix of people here, all ages. We were told there are currently 200 children on board. My son is 15 and went to the teen meet and greet last night and already has a pack of friends now to run around with. We have a dry erase board on our stateroom door and someone keeps drawing naked genitalia on it?????? My hubby is mad about that, but it is kind of funny to me😂😂😂😂😂 I am open to any questions anyone has about the Adventure of the Seas. May take me a day or two to reply, since I am having so much fun!
  22. 11 points
    You ever wonder how to start a summary? Trying to figure out just how to write out your experiences, how to try and accomplish multiple goals? Not only are you trying to engage an audience in your real-virtual-interactive story, but you are also creating a memory of your adventure. It's amazing what writing down or typing your experiences can do for you. I have had a blast writing this blog and watching as others follow along and being able to interact with them in a semi-real-time setting. It has been a learning lesson for me as I attempted to communicate our experiences with others - while hoping to make it entertaining, so that everyone would want to continue reading. Ok, enough of that sappy stuff 🙂 but had to get that outa the way. Now to try and remember what the heck happened recently, since I didn't write anything down on the actual days. Backing up a couple of days here, the last two days of our trip were seemingly very busy. Both days were at sea, which I really enjoy. However, after snorkeling on Labadee and hanging out in the suite area beach, we sure wish there was a route that would start with Labadee and end with Labadee. But having the final two days be at sea, allowed us to enjoy the ship a little more and also allowed the kids to hang out with the new found friends. I think the kids preferred being on the ship, away from us #LittlePunks Honestly, it's all good - we don't require much, just come and eat dinner with us and say hi every now and then. I swear, there were a couple of days where they woke up late, missed breakfast but got dressed really quick and bolted out the door as fast as they could to meet up with their friends. The next to last day, Thursday, we had the We Will Rock You show at 2:30 followed by the Chef's table at 6:30. I know somewhere back up in this post I said to go see the WWRY show multiple times, and yes, do it. We had all the shows booked early in the cruise, but released all our times thinking it would be easier to have our genie book them all. Yeah, being the planners we are - that sorta backfired on us. Next time - we book our own show time. That way if we really enjoy one of the shows, then we can go back and see it a second time. We would have gone and seen WWRY and Spectra twice - had we seen it towards the start of the cruise. Chef's table. If you like wine, this might be a cool experience for you. They start with a blonde wine and end with a bold red - or at least that's my interpretation. Our meal lasted just over 3 hours. But - it was honestly because of the company of the other guests there. Six of the other guests were all in the royal suite as SC, so we were able to hit it off with them right off the bat. I felt a little bad for the other couple who were at the end of the table that were not really engaging in much of the conversation. Now granted, it's a long table we were sitting at …. There were six people on each side of the table. Kinda hard to lean forward and holla at the person at the other end of the table. The food was just ok. It felt like just a little better presented version of different foods from all the different restaurants. We already had all of it before. The rest of the day was just lounging around and playing down in the casino. At least we won a little bit on Thursday to have some extra play money for Friday. Friday - sad day. Most of the morning was spent packing up, oh yeah guess what … yeah, #LittlePunks bolted. Oh well, we would do the same thing at their age. Our packing goal was to have about 75% of everything packed, most of the room clean (yes, we keep our room pretty clean and picked up), all persons have a shower and all drawers emptied. That way, the next morning all we have to do is pack up the final toiletries and pj's. This allows us to not be all stressed getting off the ship, which has been stressful in the past. We took a break in the middle of the morning go to take a quick tour of the Control Room. Yen got us a couple of spots to tag along with the all access tour. Yes, I said couple because the kids had 'other plans' #CuteBoys #Games If you haven't done a control room tour, it is really interesting. Honestly, for me it was just cool to be able to see stuff that I've watched on tv. I've seen how the Anthem was built on the science channel multiple times … What, you don't have shows you like to watch multiple times? #DontJudge After a quick lunch break, up in our favorite place the CK, we took off a quick bridge tour. Um, yeah, so there were only 5 of us … we counted for two. The kids were #TooBusy to hang with us and go on the tour. Was still fun even though we had done the same thing on Oasis a couple years ago. After the tour, it was back to finishing up packing a little bit. We did a little bit of quick shopping for a t-shirt or two, but didn't really see any RCL stuff that we wanted. Usually, there is a couple of cool trinket type things we like to pick up, yeah, not here. There was a little casino playing involved that entertained us for a little bit. But then, guess what … yup #TimeToEat. It almost felt like the people on the Wall-E spaceship … wonder around from one place to another, grazing. Hmm … did you hear that cattle call? Ok, ok … I can't say anything about eating so much because it was time to hit the Coastal Kitchen for the last dinner. And you know what that means …. FILET! Yes, I was on a filet-binge this trip after the first night or two, knowing it would awhile before I would enjoy the … sweet … flavorful … tenderness … mmmm … of a filet. Oh, I didn't tell you? Yeah, most of the house enjoys the non-meat version of food. Sure, I can go get some type of meat but last few times I got one of those rotated chickens, I couldn't finish it all. So, yeah … there you go. It was a great filet … I knew what was to follow, however. The #MeatSweat #WildDreams #YouKnowOtherStuff was all on the way, but well worth the sacrifice. We gave the kids a midnight curfew since we had to get up early the next day and get booted, I mean, escorted off the ship. Something about new cruisers come on board shortly thereafter - meh. Back to the casino for another hour or so at a game that we had a lot of fun at. After we regained some of our play money, we wandered up the Brass and Bock to catch up with the other family we had met at Chef's table. We hung out with them for a little bit, ordered some fried pickles and sat out near Sorento's to people watch. It was hard thinking it was closing in on midnight and we needed to get to bed before the chaos of leaving the next day. Saturday - #GetOffMyShip We had set the latest disembarkation we could at 9:30. Up at 7 to get our coffee and stumble down to the La Pastatier (I still can't spell it) to grab some of those bags of goodies. It wasn't until almost the last day before we found out those were included. Now we know - now ya'll know. The Coastal was open for breakfast, so we went up there to say bye the gang who took amazing care of us. We left out primary server a thank you card and a few dollars. Back up to the room to wait out the remaining time. The kids were waking up and still groggy after partying hard the previous night. Yen came and got us at 9:30 and walked us off the ship and down through customs. Everything went pretty smooth until we got outside and then we were shuffled into the rest of the crowd hunting rides home. #NoMoreSC 😞 We booked a Lyft ride to airport for about $28 bucks or so. Took him about 20 minutes to get to us after booking on our phone. The ride back to the airport was fairly quick, even though the Lyft driver was fairly new and missed our turn to the zone for the Southwest flights. No worries, we helped him navigate all the way back around to get to our terminal. We checked in and ditched our luggage and headed to the departure gate. Security was a little of a pain, since there was only one point where they funneled everyone through. #WishWeHadAYen Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until about 2:15 and it was just after 11 when we got all through security and to the gate. We grabbed a little bite to try and waste some time, then went and found us a seat. I think all of us zoned out and put in our earbuds to listen to stuff on our phones. About an hour before we were supposed to leave, they came over the speaker and said the airport was shut down and flights delayed for an hour or two. Sigh … more time to wait at the airport. Well, come to find out, a United plane had a flat tire and went off the runway. Noone was hurt and things were ok, they just needed a couple of cranes and a can of fix-o-flat. Our delay turned out to be almost 6 additional hours we were not expecting. We finally boarded right around 7pm - ugh. Finally, decent flight and watched a movie to pass the time. Next thing we knew, we were touching down in Nashville. Ah, finally home. #Exhausted Thank you for following along on our journey. I took almost 1,000 pictures during the entire cruise that now need culling and figuring out how to organize them. I've posted quite a few along our adventure here that hopefully will help others out on their future Anthem cruise. There are a few more that I'm going to post in a random post over the next couple of days. If there are any questions about our cruise or pictures you might be looking for, just let me know. You can either reply to this blog or send me a DM. Once again, thanks to everyone for making this a great first time blogging experience! I look forward to our next cruise and my next major blog - Harmony May 31, 2020 Thanks! John and Carrie Hobby
  23. 11 points
    Ok....my stupid tab crashed on my phone. Yikes! I was very witty the first time, now I'm crabby lol! We were very excited to leave this morning. I like having later flights to be able to sleep in, but I hate getting to our destination after 5. This flight was much cheaper though so we left late. We had to say goodbye to Annie and Tiger Lily which is very hard to do! (Oh yeah, and my husband who is teaching summer school!) I gave the girls their presents... Matching shirts, tumblers and tote bags which they liked!! The flight was super turbulent, and we left late. I've never had to abort a takeoff before... We started down the runway and then slowed down because there was some tail cross wind that was too high. Still... We were excited to get out of Chicago... It was cold this morning! We taxied to the Hilton Marina hotel. We have stayed here before and it is just fun to look at the port and the intercoastal waterway. We had a laid back evening. After snacks by the pool, we walked a few blocks to Walgreens to get snacks and shampoo, and then decided going out to dinner was way too much work. We just had chicken tenders and quesadillas at the pool bar and called it a night. This may be the most boring blog on the planet. The last month has been exhausting for all of us with finals (the girls) and work (me). We are so happy to just spend time together and relax. I asked the girls if they wanted to do the water taxi tomorrow and go see stuff, they pretty much said, nah, let's lay by the pool land do nothing. So we will do nothing (I will take a few pics of the pool area) and then we will Uber to Las olas for dinner. We are saving la Bamba for when we have a microwave for leftovers so we were thinking hitting a pub or burger place but there are a million of them. I guess we will just have the Uber drop us in the middle and then we will see what looks good. @tonyfsu21 and @AGSLC5 are there any restaurants that stand out (not super fancy, we don't want reservations, just a bar or something where my 16 year old can go in) and if we get there by 6 on a Friday night, will it be insanely packed? I will end with a picture of our friends who come on every trip with us! Jake the dolphin, Jeffy the panda, and Suki the 🐻 say goodnight!!!
  24. 11 points

    Lost SeaPass Card in Nassau

    If you think that's bad...imagine leaving the sea pass card in your room and getting locked out and trekking down to guest services in your underwear at 2am..... Only time I 'lost" a seapass card..... I'd take losing a seapass card fully clothed anytime over that again.....
  25. 11 points

    Booked by mistake

    I actually just called and cancelled. It was very easy and took less than 5 minutes! That will teach me to book after a glass of wine!
  26. 11 points
    Nice shout out from Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet tonight!
  27. 11 points
    Dawes Glacier My reservation for the $49 North Star Alaskan Experience was for 10am. Best times for glacier viewing on this sailing were between 9am and 10am. This will vary for each sailing depending on arrival time and ice conditions. After check in for the North Star Alaskan Experience there is a waiting area in a roped off section of the North Star Bar. Hot chocolate is complimentary. As we waited the ship began it's turn. Incredible weather compared to the drizzle we sailed through earlier today. That's Alaska weather. The glacier is approximately 1 mile away at this point. This illustrates just how big it is - that's it's this visible from this distance. When it was our turn we were led up to board the North Star. By the time we boarded North Star the ship had turned and pointed down the inlet in the direction had had arrived from. We started our way back down Endicott Arm. I used wide angle lens for this next shot so it makes the glacier look small but the views are pretty impressive. Seeing the ship from outside the ship really makes you appreciate the scale of the mountains beside us. Rotating out over the side of ship is pretty awesome. On Anthem the North Star only goes up and does a slight left/right move. This ride takes you right over the edge of the ship looking down at the glacial ice floating below us. It's a pretty awesome experience. When I first learned of the $49 charge I was skeptical but having done it at both Hubbard and Dawes Glaciers I am sold and would do it again on another cruise to Alaska. Plus I still had my complimentary ride in the North Star booked for later today.
  28. 11 points
    Day 9 - Approach to Endicott Arm Yesterday the Captain projected a 5am arrival to the mouth of Endicott Arm. Consequently I was up early and top side to capture it. Time 4:57am. The moon was clearly visible. This is the direction we are heading. That valley to the right of center is where we will be in an hour or so. Glacial ice coming towards us was a sign we are on the right path. This one struck me because at a distamce it looked like a small fishing boat. The sun was thinking about rising. The entrance to Endoctt Arm is close to the entrance of Tracy Arm and I suspect that is where this boat was heading. Looks like some rain in the distance. No worries, that's Alaska. It might look like a dead end but that is where Endicott Arm leads. On a growler, the name for medium sized chucks of glacial ice, I spotted a Bald Eagle keeping an eye on us. The ice was quite fascinating, very different sizes and shapes. Upon closer inspection this one had a small colony of birds on it. Time to move around and see it from another perspective. Time 5:51am.
  29. 11 points
    Day 7 - Juneau - continued After the glacier flight it was such a nice day I wanted to go up the Mt. Roberts Tramway to catch the view. Lines were short and I knew they would get longer later so up I went. A ticket on the spot was $35. Stunning views. Celebrity Millennium There are a series of trails, some short, some long. The short trail has some wood carvings on display, some in the form of mini totem poles. You can walk up the trail from town but it's not for the weak knee'd. inside the restaurant and shop area they have a bear on display. Wood carvers using only hand tools can be observed. Lady Baltimore is a rescue Bald Eagle that is unreleasable back into the wild. She spends her summers in residence near the top of the tramway but unfortunately hadn't arrived yet for this season. Time to head back down. A video from inside a tram as we went up. Back on the ship I saw the North Star in operation. However it was performing maintenance runs only and not accepting guests when I was there. In better light compared to our early morning arrival here is Juneau "downtown". As I walked the upper deck I noticed a strange mist hanging in the trees. It's pollen being released by the trees. It was kind of cool. Suddenly one tree would let loose it's pollen as if someone flipped a pollen switch on. A look over at the Millennium looking quite nice with her recent refresh. After dinner I went back up top side for a sunset. Returning to my cabin I discovered a crystal block gift from the Crown and Anchor Society for crossing a threshold on this sailing. The first block is awarded at 140 points and then every 70 points thereafter.
  30. 11 points
    We have arrived in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Given an early Royal excursion I went to the theater, got my sticker and waited. Shortly after our number was called and off we went up the pier. The tour company offers a Five Glacier Float Plane tour and a Taku Lodge and Salmon Feast Float Plane tour. As we waited our chariot arrived. My tour is the Five Glacier version. Conveniently located close to the ship the float plane base is an easy walk. At this point I'm going to hit the pause button. I have some video clips as well as still photos and I want to see how it will work out if I clip together the various short video clips to compliment the still pictures. Back in a day or two.
  31. 10 points
    And if you sail to Alaska there is the option 4. Voom 1990's Internet Speed at the price of Surf + Stream
  32. 10 points
    After breakfast and some pool time, we took an Uber to the port. Unfortunately, we ran into an event (some type of triathalon), so the trip took much longer than anticipated. We are staying in 1758 which qualifies as Star Class. We arrived relatively early (about 11:30). We had no problem finding the Star Class flag and the attendant with the flag. It took the Star Class person a bit of time to find a porter to help, but once she tracked one down, we were whisked away (with luggage) to a private lounge area. We were offered a nice place to sit, and one of the genies came over and took our passports. After a couple of minutes, he returned with our boarding cards and we boarded the ship, luggage and all. Although early, our room was prepared and beautifully set up with birthday decorations and a birthday cake for my husband. From the time we arrived at the terminal to arriving in our cabin with our luggage took no more than 15 minutes. Back up -- we were the Allure going to Nassau, Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. Sorry about the lack of upfront information! Before we left, I had exchanged several emails with our genie, Alan. I let him know which shows we wanted to see (my son is a theater kid, and wanted to see Mama Mia all three times!), our food likes and dislikes, and our general schedule. I also let him know it was my husband's birthday. We really enjoyed all of the work that Alan put into making our cruise perfect for us, as I will try to detail as we go through the trip. We first met Alan when we got to our cabin. He greated us effusively and let us know everything going on for the day. We asked for a lunch recommendation, and he recommended Coastal Kitchen. As we had a big breakfast and planned for dinner at Chops, we decided to have a light lunch and CK was perfect! In addition, we had so much food in our room when we arrived, we did not really need lunch at all! Alan also explained the entertainment schedule for the week, and set up spa appointments. The cabin attendant, Marco, came and explained how to use the room. There were many buttons and switches that controlled the lights, curtains, and shades. He also explained how to use the hot tub on the balcony (use there was a hot tub, and we used it!) The hot tub was an amenity we were not expecting, so that was a great surprise. We stayed in cabin 1758 which is next to CK, and it was a simply spectacular cabin. It offers an entirely separate bedroom with a door separating the bedroom from the living area, two bathroom areas, a huge amount of storage space, floor to ceiling windows, and an expansive balcony. We were just astonished by the cabin, and ended up spending as much time as we could in it. I far preferred sitting on the cabin balcony to sitting at the pool. I could feel like I was alone on my own ship as opposed to sharing it with 6000 other people! After eating and getting oriented, we spent some time outside before the muster. Our son took advantage of the zip line several times as well as the flowrider before it got too busy. We also played mini golf, which for some reason was empty. After the muster, we just relaxed and unpacked until a fabulous dinner at Chops and then Mama Mia. At Chops, we enjoyed the filet and lobster. I know some do not like Chops. I love it, and I am not much of a meat person. To me, they did a great job with the lobster and sides, and provided top-notch service. The Mama Mia case was excellent, and we go to many shows. Honestly, the cast on the ship rivaled many I have seen in LA. We later learned that it was that cast's last cruise on their contraperhaps they did a spectacular job the last week? Regardless, the show was great.
  33. 10 points
    Jolly Ogre

    No passport. How bad will it be?

    Well it really depends on where you are going as well. 1. You might not be able to board the ship. 2. You will be fine. 3. You will be detained, imprisoned and executed. Number 3 is not that likely though.
  34. 10 points
    Day 4 - La Spezia. What a wonderful day , finally the weather was much better and finally it was a full day without any conference calls. As I shared at the beginning of this blog my main plane was to rent a car , drive to Milan and retrieve my cell phone from the airport lost and found, but since I already got a new cell phone and my numbers were duplicated I decided it can wait. We did not had any plans because of my cellphone so we decided to take it easy and just visit the city , let our legs take us wherever it feels like. We started to walk on the boardwalk of this nice city and we were stoped by some girl offering us to buyt tickets to Portovenere which is a nice town near the bay , we said thank you but skipped it as we already visit it last time. 200 m after another one offered us a private bought tour to the same place, we refused that also until finally we came to something which looked crowded , apparently it was the ticket booth for the HOHO boat to Cinque terre , you pay 35 Euro for a full day boat services which allows you to get off in each of the villages and get on the boat again later for the next village. Just to compare, same excursion with RCL will cost around 120 $. As we saw its almost the time for the boat to leave, we had a short discussion between us if to take it or not as it's a full day activity and decided to go for it , my spouse told me "you want to take it so you will have many pictures for the blog right ?" Well I can not argue with her 😂. On the boat we took the time table we got and tried to calculate the best route and strategy to maximize the number of ports we visit (without drinking package) , we found out the best route for us. We past Portovenere but decided not to go off there so we continued all the way to Manarola , a very lovely village with great views. We spent half an hour there. we took the boat to Verenazza where we proamed around and ate quick lunch. Next we stopped at Riomaggiore as it was already in our way back...  continued...
  35. 10 points
    Slow start today. The shower is great, hot water and plenty of room. The drainage system works quite well. Didn't pay attention to the room service times so missed breakfast. Nothing sounded good on room service menu so we got ourselves together and headed down to deck 5 to see what's what. Amazing how dead the ship is while everyone is in port. Ended up at Cafe promenade. Tons of stuff. Dave got cheese pizza and a chocolate dessert. I got A ham and cheese croissant with some kind of dressing on it A vegetarian sandwich with eggplant, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and some dressing Cheese and tomato salad Fried artichokes I didn't get the muffalata sandwich or the king Arthur or the shrimp roll, or the pepper salad, marinated spicy cheese, marinated olives, or stuffed potatoes There are also 4 kinds of cookies, 6 kinds of desserts, cheese, vegetarian, and pepperoni pizza. Am I making everyone hungry? After all that Dave got Ben and Jerry's chocolate ice cream while I let stuff digest. I think we will head up to deck 11 in a few.
  36. 10 points
    Here's the rest of the crew. We have Carrie, Brielle and Jake. All tagging along.
  37. 10 points
    BREAKING NEWS! We interrupt your obsessive reading about cruises to bring you this important report. We are no longer in “Guarantee” limbo. We have been assigned a spacious ocean view balcony on desk 8 starboard rear. More news as it becomes available. We now take you back to your regular cruise programming.
  38. 10 points
    Day 3 - Bermuda First, let me say .... omg getting old sucks. My mind says 'hell ya we can do this' .... then my body goes #wtf. 6:45 ... phone rings. Now, before yall go and get all worked up, it was actually legit. The past two mornings we have had our soy lattes and a strawberry banana smoothie delivered at 7. See, we just thought we would be awake by then. Well the first morning they knocked and knocked then rang the door bell (yeah, we roll like that ... gotta have a door bell). This time, they called us before to make sure we were awake. Tomorrow, yeah ... let's delay that stuff till about 9. If we get up earlier, I'll go hunt down coffee. We had arranged with Yen to get off by 930. Since we had to all be back by 3. This should give us plenty of time to snorkel at horseshoe bay and make a run to Hamilton. Yen escorted us all the way off the ship and to the shuttles. We would have been happy to find the shuttles, but let her spoil us. The shuttles were $7 per person one way. Not even realizing I should have brought plenty of cash, I was lucky I had some left in my wallet. I do have 'secret' money hidden in my wallet for emergencies ... don't you? Lol The shuttle ride is packed with close to 26ish folks. Glad I put on extra deodorant and made my son put extra on. The roads are narrow, glad I wasn't driving. Seeing that makes me realize to NOT do one of those mowped scooter tours. We made it to horseshoe bay in about 20 minutes. It was pretty crowded. We meandered up a rock cliff, past a sign that said don't do it ... but all those other people were ... ok, so me and my daughter decided to scramble up there for a quick picture. Like I said, it was crowded. Looking out I was expecting to see calm or semi calm water ... nope, big old crashing waves. Well crap, there goes the snorkeling plan. Yeah, horseshoe bay .... don't try and snorkel. My son and I acted his age, he's 12 ... put our flippers and masks on and ran out there. Three waves later we lose a flipper.... stupid wave. Luckily, they float so we found it and I ran them back to our towels. Oh, yeah, um, I forgot to mention ... the water was COLD ... yeah, that was unexpected. Once you try and slowly get used to it, a wave comes and breaks and laughs at you. Now your cold and wet. Then another wave comes and knocks you back. It was actually fun jumping waves. I was surprised by how much grass there was. It wasn't seaweed, but rather some type of scratchy grass. We had a lot of fun but had to be careful. There was a pretty strong current that was pulling back out. There were a couple of people that got to far out and the lifeguards had to go get them. After getting hammered by the waves for a couple hours, we were all 'beat' lol. Yeah, no Hamilton run .... another shuttle ride back to the ship and back on board by 1. The boys claimed the showers first, while the girls took off to hunt down lunch. Oh yeah, we brought a lot of sand back ... and grass in our pockets. We ran down to JRs to grab a burger and shake, but they don't open till 2. I wasn't waiting 30 more minutes, so we snuck into CK. My BH was already there snacking on a salad so we joined her. I got a really good burger while my son ordered a pasta that he liked. The adults retired to the room and the kids went to go meet yo with new found friends. A nice nap was just what we needed. But, 2 hours later we woke up and realized just how mean those waves were......ooowww Guess what, it's time...... to eat...... again. Back to CK for another filet. Cruise totals: filets .... 3
  39. 10 points

    Lemons to Lemonade

    I am not sure where our August cruise will be re-routed to but I am traveling with a friend and we decided that we would rather be a ship with more to do since we can't go to Cuba. Knowing that my travel agent would be busy and that our vacation dates are locked in, I started looking for options. I could not believe that I found a grand suite on Harmony for our dates that was actually less than an inside cabin on that cruise and was only a few hundred more per person than our Majesty sailing. So for around $300 each, we are now cruising in a grand suite on a seven day cruise instead of a 5 day cruise in a junior suite. I'd still rather be heading to Cuba, but being a southern girl, I squeezed the lemons and added some simple syrup. I am sure we will have a great time. The itinerary is not perfect, but it does stop at Coco Cay. By the way, Sharla from MEI is our agent and she has been fabulous to work with. I was afraid the deal I found was a glitch in the system and asked her to book it fast, and she grabbed it for us!
  40. 10 points
    ...and the RC internet developers.... oh, wait.....
  41. 10 points
    Status Update: It's been a while since I updated the thread and it's been an interesting journey. I've been on a cruise recently with limited communication so that delayed working through this process. It took numerous attempts to escalate. Escalation and appeal is by email only - they don't let you talk to a person in this process. This is going to get lengthy but I want to you to see how this unfolded and how their claims process works. A couple weeks ago I received a voicemail from someone at Allianz in response to my email appeal. They left an extension number and "direct" phone number. I've made numerous attempts to call that number prior to cruising. One occasion the contact center that answered informed me that their computers were down and they can't transfer calls when computers are down. On another occasion the contact center repeated past information about my claim being denied and refused to transfer me. On another occasion they stated they need more information and had sent me an email (didn't get it but got have received other emails from them with my denial status). I checked spam filters and junk mail and made sure their domain was whitelisted. They couldn't tell me what additional information was required. "I'm sorry we can't tell you that on the phone, it has to be sent to you in an email". Three attempts to have the email sent and resent were unsuccessful despite numerous emails about being denied. On my eighth attempt to return the phone call from the voicemail, I convinced the contact center agent to transfer me to the extension provided. Phew. A human answered. My claim of trip cancellation was changed to trip interruption because they could find no proof that my airline had incurred "24 hours of cessation of services". I informed her I was documenting this for an internet forum and asked very specifically what does "cessation of services" mean? Basically the airline has to stop flying. All flights, anywhere. I asked her to clarify specifically with Southwest Airlines. Do you mean that every single flight that Southwest flies anywhere has to be grounded for 24 hours for cessation of services to be satisfied? Her response, correct. The Airline has to cease operations. If one Southwest plane takes off anywhere completely unrelated to me getting to Houston then cessation of services has not been satisfied. They use FlightStats are a data source and had documented in my claim that Southwest did not cease operations. But wait. I checked my policy and no where is cessation of services mentioned for this coverage. It's because of the date of the incident she said, side stepping my comment. Had I got sick on April 5th and cancelled then it would be Trip Cancelation but because it occurred on April 7th it's Trip Interruption. My policy doesn't state anything related to date of cancellation. No where does it state a number of hours or days before a cruise or trip for a claim to be cancellation versus interruption. We went down this rabbit hole several times until I asked her to read to me where in my policy is a date qualification noted. She stated I would have been covered if I flew to Cozumel and boarded the ship side stepping my request. Coverage would have been up to $250. I told her Southwest doesn't fly to Cozumel. My airline couldn't get me there. She then went back to cessation of services. I repeated that's not in my policy as a qualifying condition (it is for car rental coverage in a different section, but not for trip cancellation or trip interruption). Then she went back to trip interruption however since I didn't try to fly to Cozumel, I'm not covered. I repeated I couldn't fly to Cozumel because Southwest doesn't fly there and asked her why isn't this trip cancellation? I pointed out that as soon as Southwest cancelled my flight on that day I called their claims department and was informed I am covered and was advised to file trip cancellation. She stated she didn't know why I was given this incorrect information. Then she stated: Oh look, here is something in your policy that I overlooked. "Non-refundable payments and deposits. Payments and deposits you made before your trip was canceled, less any published refunds you’re entitled to receive." At this point she started looking at my receipts and confirming I paid an additional amount for transportation services (Houston to Galveston shuttle). "This is my fault, I missed that section of your policy". The words I had been waiting to hear... "Okay, I am going to process the full amount of the cruise fare and shuttle less the port fees and taxes as indicated by Royal Caribbean". Success. I have some thoughts on this experience but I'll leave it up to you to decide if you think they were hoping with enough road blocks, unrelated terminology and verbiage that isn't in my policy that I might just give up and go away.
  42. 10 points
    Day 11 - Sea Day I woke early and checked our position. Never get tired of a sunrise over the sea. The day progressed and eventually led to the craze know as the 2 for $20 sale. Deck 5 was a viable route to avoid the crazy shoppers that rival a black Friday experience. Late afternoon the Food and Beverage team put out a cake in the Windjammer. It grew foggy. At times they sounded the ship's whistle every two minutes per standard fog protocol. At this point we were within the Strait of Juan de Fuca in between Canada to our North and America to our South. Whale sightings became frequent. The Captain called out some of them over the PA. At one point I looked down from my balcony and a whale was right beside the ship. I could clearly hear each breath as it surfaced for air. Amazing! A pod of Orca's was on the other side. More whale call outs by the Captain. Pretty cool. Afternoon turned into evening and the fog lifted some, enough to barely make out Canada to our North. Our progress... Evening turned into a sunset. Ugh. Time to pack.
  43. 10 points
    Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, continued... It's been a struggle but here are some of my favorites pictures from several hundred taken this day. However I wanted people who are taking this awesome cruise to get a preview of what to expect so here comes a bunch of photos. After breakfast I ran back to my cabin to clean my lens. Looking forward to where we are going. Looking down from my balcony it's amazing to see these pieces of the glacier floating by so close to the ship. We had entered a section where there were a lot of small pieces of glacial ice. I remember this side channel from a previous cruise. It was estimated this is where the face of the glacier was ~100 years ago. Note the presence and size of trees. It takes several decades for trees of this size to arrive. Remember 100 years ago this was solid glacial ice and no vegetation was present as the ice moved down the channel. I like to move around the ship so back to the bridge wings off the Solarium. They were getting more crowded but people tended to move forward, take a picture and back away so someone else could. For those that sought to stay in place the Solarium has awesome views. Starboard bridge wing. Looking back where we came from. The walls of the canyon are very steep and drop off several hundred feet. We are in deep water. First signs of the glacier! Time 8:30am The paid North Star Alaskan Experience ride was carrying guests at this point. Larger pieces of glacial ice was becoming more common. These pieces are called growlers. Actual icebergs are pretty uncommon at these glaciers which tend to calve resulting in these smaller pieces which are harmless to the ship. We slowed and inched closer to the glacier. Each growler is unique and display what has been locked inside the glacier for scores of years. With my telephoto lens I was able to see the glacier quite clearly even at the distance of over a mile from where we were. Crowds where starting to form to take it all in. Large waterfalls line the sides of Endicott Arm. These are pretty massive and the volume of water in each is pretty impressive. Here a mile or so from the glacier the vegetation is very different compared to where the glacier was 100 years ago This early low vegetation is beginning a life cycle that will eventually turn into a soil that eventually will support larger and larger vegetation One hundred years from now trees will most likely be found here just as they are in that earlier photo of the side channel. I took a time lapse video approaching this point. The North Star Alaskan Experience review has been posted to Royal Caribbean Blog here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2019/05/23/review-north-star-alaska-experience-ovation-of-the-seas
  44. 10 points

    Diamond Plus

    I've sailed a number of times now since The Key program has been available. Only once have I purchased it when I did the review on the initial Key cruise on Oasis in November. I've cruised six times without buying The Key as a D+ with the Key available for purchase. I've experienced zero impact to my D+ benefits. As far as I am concerned I am glad Royal has a developed a new source of revenue that doesn't require me to buy into it or have any impact to me. This means they can keep the cost of cruising low for the rest of us without cutting service levels. I have no problem with that. The most impact was one sailing when Key guest were called to board after suites but before D+. This "delayed" the D+ call by 47 seconds. Yep, I boarded 47 seconds later that I would have otherwise. No big deal. No impact.
  45. 10 points

    Diamond Plus

    Let me get my disqualifications out there first. I'm a lowly Platinum member with RCL and we've only been regularly cruising for about 10 years. Part of the reason our club status isn't higher is because we have cruised on other lines. I still feel like Royal's loyalty program is very good. Compared to other programs like frequent flyer for an airline it is not time limited. You simply continue to accrue points as you cruise even if it takes you years to get to the next level. There are shortcuts to the top if you want to spend the money to get there. Nobody guarantees that benefits won't change but I think their system is pretty straightforward as to what you can expect at each level. Maybe because we're still newby's we don't have as high of expectations. We enjoy the little "welcome back" statements from the staff when we join the line to board or the loyalty reception that we now get to attend. Ok the drinks are watered down at the event but we're still pinching ourselves that we're on a cruise. As far as food and service 20 years ago that isn't in our minds as we felt that the cost of a cruise was beyond our reach back then. While we have cruised others so technically we have loyalty points with them we continue to look at Royal first because we think their ships are newer and better, price is fair compared to other vacations we might take and generally we love the people on a cruise. I think this is a little like reading after cruise reviews. You read about someone's terrible experience on a cruise you were just on and had the time of your life. Any you wonder were we really on the same ship?
  46. 9 points
    Oops, just wanted wanted to add that the best thing we brought is our magnetic hooks! Hubby bought four magnetic hooks at Home Depot for $6. We have three people in our inside stateroom and there are not enough places to hang wet swimsuits, towels, etc. All of the walls are metal of course, so it works great for us! Also, there are only two outlets in the room to charge things, so plan accordingly!
  47. 9 points
    Just some final thoughts to wrap things up! This was our first cruise on an Oasis class ship. Our prior RC cruises were on Majesty, Explorer and Liberty (in that order). My wife and I have entered the bigger and newer is better stage of our cruising lives and the Allure exceeded our high expectations going into the cruise! My wife, from the time we booked over a year prior, kept stating that this cruise would be "epic" and she was not wrong! I was just hoping it would not be "NCL Epic"... no mechanical failures and dock crashes! 😱 We now want the "WOW" factor that these ships deliver. We definitely agree with @Lovetocruise2002 and the Oasis class is now our favorite class of ship! We still want to sail and experience Anthem too since she's in our backyard (no airfare - woohoo)! One of the most common misconceptions that I hear from folks at home that have yet to sail on an Oasis class ship is that it must be so crowded with 5.5K-6K+ passengers onboard. I think they believe it will be like Penn Station or Grand Central Station everywhere you go! Every person that we have spoken to (including all of the great feedback and insight on the forum) that has sailed an Oasis class ship has completely dismissed that assumption. These ships are so well designed to handle and disperse crowds (I hear the Quantum class has some traffic issues). OK... Yes, when you're entering or exiting any venue after a show it will be crowded, but that's certainly not unique and is unavoidable since everyone is leaving at the same time. Yes, on a sea day the pool deck and solarium will be busy by mid to late morning. That has been true of every ship we've sailed to date. However, we had no problem walking through the pool deck and solarium at any time of day. Yes, the Royal Promenade will be busy when they have some sort of show or event... true of any ship. We would avoid the Promenade if something was going on and would take an alternate route to traverse the ship (pool deck, Central Park, etc.). Yes, the Windjammer will be crazy busy by mid-morning especially on sea days! ... and Yes, you will have to wait for elevators during certain peak times of the day (around meal and show times, etc.). We would try to take the stairs if it was just a couple of decks. At other times, we could be the only people waiting for an elevator on our side of the deck! However, most of the time there were no crowds! You can probably see in my pics that most of the common areas were not crowded. I could walk through Central Park and maybe encounter a handful of people walking around (not of course including those seated in the restaurants). When we walked through the Boardwalk it was never crowded. Very few people on the Sun Deck and bridge wings. There are so many places to go onboard for peace and quiet when you would like some. Some Positives/Comments: We elected for My Time dining, our first choice, and booked our times (6:00 PM every evening except for later times on 2 port days - Jamaica & Cozumel) in advance on the Cruise Planner. We had the same awesome server team (Kadek, Oleksandr & Jose) every night (even on the later evenings) and we were seated at the same window table 6 of the 7 evenings (we had specialty dining only for lunch this cruise - Chops, Giovanni's and Izumi). The odd evening when our usual table was occupied, we elected to wait maybe 15-20 minutes for another table in the same section to open up. We wound up with the other window table in our section next to our usual table! The Key was worth every penny especially at $19.99! The overall experience was so amazing that we all feel we have to purchase the Key from now on as long as it's offered and reasonably priced! We are only Platinum level in C&A and it's unlikely we'll be able to book a suite anytime soon so the Key was the only way to get some of that amazing VIP treatment! We all wanted the VOOM package anyway, so for effectively less than $10/person per day more, it was a no-brainer for all of us! The Nellie's Beach over-the-water cabana was amazing (cabana NW4)! The attendant (Regis) and driver (Willie) made it even more special. If my wife an I had cruised alone, we would not have splurged for this cabana. If you go with family and/or friends, we highly recommend renting one of these cabanas! All of our specialty dining meals for lunch were outstanding (Chops - the Key complimentary lunch, Giovanni's - CP balcony cabin complimentary lunch, and Izumi). The Key debarkation breakfast in the MDR was really nice, but the expedited and escorted departure from the ship through the terminal and through security was amazing! We were led directly to our waiting luggage and proceeded through a special customs line (aisle we entered was marked for Star class) and were out in less than 10 minutes! Nice change in how they organize your photos taken by Royal throughout the cruise! It has changed since we last sailed in OCT 2015. The days of walking through the photo gallery hunting for your individual photos (often buried under someone else's photos) sorted by day and/or event are apparently over. They now create binders for each stateroom and you are assigned a specific tower and slot in the Focus photography store/gallery. Your photo tower info is printed on your SeaPass card. Just find your assigned tower and slot and grab your binder... the pics taken up that point are all together! Ahhh, the little things! Some Negatives/Comments: Checking in at the terminal and boarding the ship was horrible to say the least! We took the time to complete the pre-cruise check-in process and set up our profile, uploaded our photos, scanned our passports and linked our credit card well before the cruise. However, when we got to the check-in area, we were delayed as the terminal employee insisted she had to take another photo, re-scan our passports, etc. What is the purpose of offering pre-cruise check-in if you need to go through the entire process all over again at the terminal? The delay was compounded as all four of us had to wait while she went though the check-in process! Once we finally got past the check-in stage, we entered the waiting area and asked for assistance as we all purchased the Key and did not know where to wait to board. They looked at our printed SetSail passes and our digital SetSail passes, but stated we could not advance to the Key waiting area since the SetSail pass did not indicate we had the Key! Even after I showed them proof that we purchased the Key (invoice from the Cruise Planner), we were told we had to wait in another section along with everyone else. They seemed very confused and had to consult with each other. We could tell that it was going to be at least 30-60 minutes from that point. We grabbed another terminal employee to explain the situation... he explained that the suite and Key guests have already boarded the ship! He finally let us jump on the line to board the ship. I cannot believe that no one had iPads or printed lists in the boarding area (as they have in the check-in area) to confirm our reservation and Key status. Lesson learned... make sure you get a new SetSail pass printed with the Key logo at the terminal before entering the waiting area (one of the groups behind us had these) if your SeaPass does not have the Key logo! The Prohibition Party was not what we expected. We understood there was a story aspect to the party, but expected more music and dancing. I think the band only played a handful of songs the entire 2 hours of the party! We mistakenly expected a normal lounge/club style seating arrangement, but they set the club up theater style and we wound up sitting in the second to last row. A bunch of folks got up half-way through the party and left... It was fun for all of us to dress in 20's garb, but I don't think we'll ever do the Prohibition Party again. Once again, we had an amazing time overall and can't wait until our next cruise. My wife started planning our next cruise with our friends during the cruise! They have narrowed it down to Harmony, out of Port Canaveral (very convenient for our friends), in either April or May 2021... I think my wife is more obsessed than me with researching now! 😊 We definitely have to include Perfect Day as one of the stops this time. I don't know if we can wait that long! LOL! Now, Mariner and Navigator 4-night cruises have caught our eye... hmmm... may something to satisfy our hunger until Harmony? We didn't take advantage of Next Cruise promo because we did not nail down a month/year with our friends and the Summer of 2021 schedule has not been released. We met with a Next Cruise rep for info, but he confirmed that if we wanted the fully refundable deposit option, we would have to put down the normal deposit ($500 instead of $200 for non-refundable) and the OBC would be reduced to $75 (instead of $100 for a balcony cabin). Thanks for following and I apologize for the delay! I just found out this weekend that another really good friend of ours booked Allure for her family of four (6/30/19 sailing - same itinerary)! She's a hardcore Disney cruiser (18 cruises on Disney and counting!) and is a little overwhelmed with Royal's process with only 4 weeks to plan... she forgot that we just sailed on Allure and that another one of our friends just sailed on Harmony (same itinerary too)... I think we all can help! 😜 If anyone has any questions, please let me know!
  48. 9 points
    Day 9 - Afternoon Shortly after leaving Endicott Arm and re-entering the Inside Passage there were dozens of whales in the area. A tell tale sprout of water was the easiest way to spot them. Some were closer to the ship but many were more distant in just about every direction I looked. When Humpback whales prepare to dive deep they go through a series of breaths designed to prepare their lungs for an extended submersion. It starts with surfacing to deep breathe. The body barely skims the surface as they swim shallow for several breaths. Here you can see the blow hole they exhale and breathe through. After several deep breathes they are ready to dive which is characterized by curving their body driving their back higher above the surface. This is why they are known as Humpbacks. Then they began to dive sometimes forcing their fluke or tail into the air. Once you see the fluke disappear like this they have likely submerged deeper looking for food or to swim underwater for a greater distance. They can stay submerged for several minutes. Our position as we started the trek to Seattle. Sometime after 4:30pm I headed down to the Diamond Lounge for happy hour while continuing to whale watch.
  49. 9 points
    I hadn't spent very much time in Two70° so I thought I'd pop in to show what the views are like while the ship is in a channel. First I passed through The Via.
  50. 9 points
    Day 8 - Evening What do you know? The North Star had a small line. The Haines-Skagway ferry was arriving. Sail away time. Back down the inlet we came up from Juneau. Time 8:34pm. So relaxing. Waterfalls on both sides. Movie diehards wrapped in blankets. Sunset sky over Haines as we sail past once again. Time 9:22pm. This is why I tend to miss many shows when on an Alaskan cruise. Time 9:34pm. Here is a time lapse of our departure from Skagway to Haines in the Taiya Inlet:
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