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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/24/2019 in all areas

  1. 28 points

    What's Still Missing?

    Chairs that automatically dump off people's towels when they haven't been used in 30 mins!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
  2. 24 points

    I'm all packed and so excited

    I needed to share my joy with someone so here seems like the place. We leave Sunday on the Allure just hubby and I to celebrate 25 years of marriage then on the 27th we board the Empress with our three children for a family cruise. I'm so freaking excited even though we just cruised in December. I cannot wait to be without the kids for a vacation and I'm also excited for Cuba.
  3. 19 points

    Missed Final Payment date

    "MY FRIEND" (lol) was able to get it ALL taken care of as if nothing had happened! P. T. L. #dontmissfinalpayment #mightstranglethehubby #iamthefriend
  4. 18 points

    I'm So Excited!!

    After tons of research, I finally booked our cruise!! We will be going May 2020 on Symphony!! It's only our second cruise and first to the Caribbean...and first on Royal Caribbean. We are beyond excited....My brother in law, sister in law, and niece are going...Also, my mother in law is going and she got a junior suite and is paying for our daughter and my niece! I just had to share! 🙂
  5. 18 points

    What's Still Missing?

    Smoke free casinos.
  6. 16 points
    I made it onto a famous @twangster image! Can't believe my wife and I were in the presence of royalty and missed the opportunity to meet @twangster personally!
  7. 16 points

    Super Mario is Super!

    Apparently it’s an 8,000 cruise point milestone for Mario onboard the Navigator!
  8. 15 points
    Finally the 2019 Alaska cruise season is beginning and so has the single digit dance! Looking back I always put off an Alaska cruise despite all the good things I heard over and again. Now I can't get enough. This will be my fourth cruise to Alaska and hopefully it will not be my last. Why did I wait so long to cruise to Alaska? Itinerary Day Port of Call Arrive Depart 1 Vancouver 5pm 2 At Sea 3 At Sea 4 Icy Strait Point (ISP) 9am 8pm 5 Sitka 7am 6pm 6 Hubbard Glacier 8am 11am 7 Juneau 7am 9pm 8 Skagway 7am 8:30pm 9 Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier 7am 12pm 10 At Sea 11 At Sea 12 Seattle 6am source: CruiseCharts.com The Ship This is a special cruise in many ways. This will be Ovation's first cruise to Alaska and the first time a Quantum class ship visits Alaska. It will be the largest cruise ship ever to visit Alaska edging out the NCL Bliss by a small margin. It's a repositioning itinerary unique for this season, starting in Vancouver and ending in Seattle. There are two glaciers on the itinerary, Hubbard and Dawes. The itinerary includes two ports not normally on Royal itineraries from the South - Sitka and Icy Straight Point. It's eleven nights compared to the normal 7 night Alaska cruise. This will be the earliest in the Alaska cruise season for me, beating out my previous early Alaska season cruise by several weeks. Hubbard Glacier is pretty far North and it's not normally on Seattle based itineraries. Sitka is infrequently on Royal itineraries. Icy Strait Point is a favorite port for me and usually only found on Royal's North or South one-way Alaska itineraries. When considering any Alaska cruise paying attention to the times in port is important and Royal has planned some awesome times in each port on this itinerary. Ovation is a "cold weather" ship which should pair very well with Alaska. The ample sized indoor pool will be great for families leaving the beautiful Solarium for adults to enjoy the sweeping views forward as we sail the Alaskan inside passages. Combined with the sweeping views aft from Two70° and this is shaping up to be a fantastic Alaska cruise experience. Pre-Cruise Plans I fly to Vancouver with a connection in Salt Lake City arriving noon the day before the cruise departs Vancouver. I found a nice but inexpensive hotel near the airport with a free airport shuttle. Vancouver features a train system that will allow me to reach downtown pretty easily while saving substantially by not staying downtown. Once settled I plan to visit downtown and may even head out to the Lion's Gate Bridge Sunday evening to watch Ovation arrive being the largest cruise ship ever to visit Vancouver harbor. Cabin I normally scale back my cabin to Alaska so I can splurge on excursions but Ovation changes the math. Quantum class ships have a much higher balcony cabin count relative to interior or ocean view cabins. Because of the balcony cabin ratio on Ovation the marginal price difference to book a balcony was small enough to motivate me to spend a few extra hundred dollars and book a balcony plus it's eleven nights. In years past an interior cabin was less than half the price of a balcony so the savings basically paid for the excursions. Consequently this year I am in a 2D ocean view balcony on deck 11 forward port side. On these ships I like being close to the pool deck so I can take the stairs and my cabin is a few steps to the elevator lobby. Specialty Dining None planned. My travel agent did throw in one specialty dinner so I'll probably visit Jamie's based on an Anthem cruise where I really enjoyed Jamie's over all the other options. Excursions To experience Alaska you need to get out of the ports and see Alaska. To this end I always plan a healthy Alaska excursion budget and this year's excursion budget approaches $900 per person. When I booked this cruise I grabbed a bunch of Royal excursions as place holders while I looked at all options. Several cruise planner sales occurred and I was able to save hundreds by cancelling and rebooking my excursions. With those price drops I couldn't find many cheaper options and all things being equal I always prefer booking excursion through Royal in case of itinerary changes. I did find one Viator excursion in Sitka that looked interesting so I booked it outside of Royal. Icy Strait Point (ISP) With Royal gaining access to Glacier Bay in future years I thought a fly over Glacier Bay National Park would be a great way to look forward to a future visit by ship. Going on a bear hunt to shoot pictures has always appealed to me in ISP so these are my two excursions for this day leaving lots of time to explore ISP on my own. Sitka The raptor center in Sitka sounded like a great way to see some birds including (hopefully) some Eagles. Throw in a nature walk and it sounded like a winner. Having hopefully seen bears by this point, I though beers and bears sounded pretty good so I found this Viator option in Sitka. Juneau Visiting Juneau I have always watched the float planes coming and going but always found something else to do. So this year I am going to continue my small plane obsession and see some glaciers from the air in a SeaPlane. Skagway Glass blowing has always fascinated me and having done many of the other must do Skagway activities this year is going to blow. I figure what better way to find a keepsake memento from an Alaska cruise than on a glassblowing activity leaving me a lot of daylight to explore Skagway on my own. Internet I bought Voom Surf and Stream on sale for $11.99 per day. Given the 11 night duration this was more economical compared to buying it on board with my Crown and Anchor discount and waiting until day two. While Ovation uses the newest O3b satellite platform I'm not sure that is going to help North in Alaska where O3b has "limited services". source: www.ses.com/our-coverage A Royal O3b enabled ship has never ventured this far North into the limited services area so I'm not sure what to expect from Voom. If the ship switches to conventional satellite internet I know from past experiences that can be hit or miss at times while cruising Alaska. Consequently this may not be a live blog and I might have to finish and post pictures once home. With that the count down continues... more to come.
  9. 15 points
    Now that it is officially single digits until sail away, I figure it is not unreasonable for me to get this live blog started! (though I AM endlessly amused by the people who have recently started their posts far in advance of their sailings. *cough @StayFrosty @Lovetocruise2002 @Matt cough*) I will be transparent in that, since this is my first live blog, I can't guarantee I will be able to stay on top of it the way I might like, but I will be doing my level best to share with all of you for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I have gotten so much out of other's live blogs and genuinely want to give back to this community in any way I might be able to. But it isn't ALL altruistic. I think, if I'm able to stay on top of a live blog, it will make a great memory in a bottle of my trip to allow me to revisit wistfully on extra stressful days. I think I will start with a bit of background organized in a format that I'm shamelessly stealing from one of @Lovetocruise2002's blogs. Pre-cruise report: Sailing: May 12-19, 2019, Allure of the Seas, 7 Night Eastern Caribbean cruise Sailing with: Me (32), and my parents (not my age to tell) Flying from: PHL to FLL on Southwest and returning on American (boo baggage fees, yay nonstop flights at reasonable times) Pre-cruise hotel: Ended up with Holiday Inn Express Ft. Lauderdale Cruise-Airport (the one on 17th Street) We cycled through many different hotels before we ended up with this one. Like the sane person I am, I would check on hotel prices about once every 2 weeks starting 8 months in advance and if I saw a great price at a hotel that looked convenient or interesting I booked it just to guarantee the price. At one point I had 4 hotels booked at the same time. You may be starting to get the impression that I take as much enjoyment from planning my vacation as actually taking it. You would be correct. And thank you kindly for enabling that! Other hotels that were considered and discarded: Drift Hotel - liked that it was close to the beach, disliked that it didn't seem to have as many amenities as other hotels, such as having someone there to hold our luggage if we got there far before check-in. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise - liked that it had 2 queen beds (not doubles) for a good price. Disliked that it didn't seem very walkable Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port - this was the #1 hotel until the price recently came down for the Holiday Inn on 17th Street. I liked that it had the normal things like a free airport shuttle, concierge, pool, but it also was across a smaller side street from a shopping center that has restaurants, a Big Lot & a liquor store where my dad could grab some wine. But you just can't beat the convenience (from what I hear) of hotels in that 17th Street strip so while this hotel was walkable...the Holiday Inn Express won out. The itinerary is as follows: Day 1 – Fort Lauderdale Day 2 and 3 – At Sea Day 4 – Basseterre, St. Kitt's Day 5 – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas San Juan, PR Day 6 – At Sea Day 7 – Nassau, Bahamas Day 8 – Fort Lauderdale We have booked a third party excursion on St. Kitt's through Thenford Grey. I've heard good things about him on here and elsewhere so I'm excited for this tour. We were originally slated for St. Thomas as a stop, but as many of you have probably already seen, Allure is having some propulsion issues and we will now be stopping in San Juan. There are many people in my sailing's FB group who are devastated by this news. While I respect that reaction, I don't want to start letting negativity seep into my vacation before it has even started. So goodbye trip to Secret Sands beach we had through Royal and hello to last minute research into self guided walking tours through San Juan. I'm actually legit excited about this change as I would prefer getting to know the history and culture of a place than simply laying around on the beach all day. And that FOOD. So time to dust off my super rusty 14 year old spanish lessons and go with the flow. WEPA! And for Nassau, we have been before and my parents have no desire to get off the off again. With a ship like Allure to explore and relax on instead, I will not be arguing with that. Cabin: We have a hump balcony Junior Suite on the 8th floor. Very much looking forward to "having" to walk through Central Park to get back to the room. ~*~WOE~*~ Pre-purchases: Besides the excursions which I covered above, we will be trying out The Key (I see it as a great little upgrade to Sea Class) and my mother and I have the refreshment package. I’ve been sober coming up on 2 years now and I love that the refreshment package lets me get mocktails and interesting non-alcoholic drinks so I never feel like I’m missing out, feel out of place around a bar, or have the temptation to grab that tasty looking boozey beverage. Since my mom doesn’t drink either, my dad then gets the 2 bottle of wine allotment to himself and will supplement that with the occasional beer here and there. Nowhere enough to warrant a drink package for himself. The last time we were on a cruise, he would decant half of his bottle of wine into an empty (clear) water bottle from the room. The moment he proceeded to do this with his bottle of red as well was the moment I was mentally buying him a portable wine tumbler for this trip. None of the crew members said anything, but seeing him walk into the MDR with a clear water bottle full of dark red wine was not our proudest hour. Though if you asked him, he would quip that Jesus paid him a visit and turned that water into wine. *facepalm* Random Pre-cruise thoughts: I am going to take as many pictures as I can remember to, though it’s not ingrained. Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to check out or take pictures of for you. I am open to requests. I will make sure to detail how easy or difficult it was for me to get reservations in Coastal Kitchen as a Junior Suite. That is something that seems to have very mixed results so I’m curious how it will work out. Ideally we would have reservations there every night except for the night we have Giovanni’s reserved. If all goes according to plan, I shall be running a completely unofficial and entirely arbitrary “Allure’s Best Steak” competition since I plan to have steak in Chops (Key lunch), Coastal Kitchen, Giovanni’s, and the MDR (Key breakfast). I will be sure to let you know my thoughts. I will also make sure to note how I am liking the Key since that’s such a new feature and it seems to vary wildly from ship to ship. I have reached the point in trip antsyness where I’m overthinking my packing and buying unnecessary things from Amazon to help. Because buying a toiletry bag is the most important thing in the world right now! I promise future posts will have more pictures!
  10. 13 points
    Oh the other thing I forgot to mention, when we came back before my mom went up to the pool deck we made a nice little trip down to Next Cruise and....YOLO booked the Junior Suite for the Anthem 2021 11 night sailing! Worth it for the room, the balcony and the Coastal Kitchen access. Also we don’t have to pay for flights since it’s out of NJ. This is my logic and I’m sticking to it. Those 22 points aren’t too shabby either. The thing I was surprised by was that it’s still only a $100 per person deposit even for the longer sailing and now you have 2 months to make changes to your booking without penalty instead of 30 days. Very good surprises. Booking confirmation!
  11. 13 points
    Embarkation day success! Tampa Port security was a breeze as was check in. We have never had so many friendly people around us before. We arrived at the port between 1015-1030 and we're through security within 5 minutes. Check in took no more than another 5 minutes. We had the pleasure of enjoying some company and conversation of Candice and Roy that we had met on the message boards. Once onboard we headed straight for the helipad and were the only ones out there exploring. The windjammer buffet was packed full with no available seating in or outside so we decided to go to the park café. We were able to get a salad and sandwich from there which was more than enough for us. We grabbed drinks at the pool bar which was not busy and by that time it was still only 1300. Our rooms were ready by 1330 and all of our prepaid paperwork was waiting for us (Excursions & arcade credit). The only confusion was with our BOGO dining package. We where initially told that a reservation would be made on our behalf for the first night but that was not the case. We called Chops after the must drill and were told that both Chops and Giovanni’s was booked full for the first two nights but we could pick a different day. We ended up stopping by Chops on the way to the windjammer just to double check and the were actually able to get us into Giovanni’s at 1730 that night. The food at Giovanni’s was phenomenal. Corin and I were in agreement that we apparently had never eaten good food before because our taste buds were stimulated in ways we had never had. I would list exactly what we ordered but I couldn’t pronounce it let alone remember what it was called. (I do have pictures of the menu for anyone interested) we split the pork belly appetizer and each ordered the filet mignon main dish. Both were FULL of flavor and melted in your mouth. By far the best restaurant experience we have ever had. We have Chops booked for day 5 and the chef’s table on day 6 so our standards are very very high for the next two. We wrapped up our evening watching the ship pass under the bridge out of Tampa from the helipad and then taking a dip in the pool while (it seemed like) everyone else was eating. So far we really feel like Royalty with Royal Caribbean. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures. *Sorry for the lack of pictures form the first day. Was a little hectic.
  12. 11 points
    Day 9 Azores, Ponta Delgada: We booked the “Sete Cidades Hike” through Royal Caribbean for todays adventure. Now bear with me as this story may get long winded. We had breakfast and headed to the Pacifica theatre to be assigned to our bus/guide for the day. We showed our tickets to the attendant and we were given a red “9” sticker and were told it was a “6” (if you looked at the sticker like a normal human you would assume it was a 9 because there was “shore excursions” watermarked into it). I verified we were to use it as a 6… Our number was called, and we headed to board our bus. There was someone at the entrance of the bus to take our tickets that said “Sete Cidades Hike” and told us to find a seat. Our bus started the tour and made it maybe 5 minutes from port before our guide announced overhead that there were two passengers on the bus that were supposed to be on a different tour. I’ll give you three guesses who… The bus went back to the port dropped us off and we found the right bus. Now remember we were explicitly told that our 9 was a 6 right? Guess which number bus we were supposed to be on? 10 that’s right, bus 10. So we were given a 9 and told it was a six, handed our tickets to the to be checked and given back and still managed to end up on the wrong bus… WOW. We boarded bus 10 to actual applause that we made it (and made them 15 minutes late). Thankfully it all worked out and our guide was kind enough to inform the group that it was not our fault for the mishap. The RCCL shore excursion staff must have been hit with a confundus charm that morning. The hike was very good. The pictures don’t do it justice. We got back to the port around 1pm and we were both starving. We decided to quick board the ship to eat lunch and then get off again for a couple hours…or so we thought. The line to board the ship was longer than expected so we boarded and ended our day in Azores without any shopping 😕
  13. 11 points
    OK, my friends and my wife are tucked in for the evening... early rise tomorrow for Labadee, but let me see if I can catch up to today! Yesterday, SUN (5/19/19), we elected to take the port shuttle coordinated through the hotel... fortunately, we were the only pickup and made it to the port in short time. We got off of the bus and they unloaded and handled the checked baggage from the drop off point at the terminal. Now, this is where we all really got annoyed... the people at the port are mostly clueless about the Key! We were able to quickly get through security, but when we got to the next area and had our SetSail Pass scanned, we had to basically go through the entire check-in process again. We had already uploaded our pics using the app, added our credit card, and scanned our passports. However, she still completed the entire process (except for the credit card info) all over again... We were finally directed to the boarding waiting area, that’s where they really dropped the ball. We all had printed out our SetSail passes and had the app open, but because the SetSail pass did not clearly state we had the Key (only listed Expedited Arrival), a couple of the port employees would not let us advance to the suite and Key waiting area to board. These employees did not have the ability to scan our SetSail passes to confirm what we were stating. Even after we showed them a printed copy of our Cruise Planner purchases that clearly showed we purchased the Key, they escorted us to another waiting area and told us we had to wait there with everyone else. When they started boarding other C&A members after they cleared out the suite and Key guests, we got a little more insistent and tracked down another port employee. He finally let us by and allowed us to board the ship! We made our way to the Amber Theater and checked in with the crew member coordinating the carry-on drop-off... that was flawless. They took our carry-ons and tagged them and moved them into another area to be delivered to our cabin. We mentioned the problem we had in the port and she basically smiled, apologized and indirectly confirmed that there are issues (assuming educating/ training these port employees). ... and off we went to Chops to take advantage of our Key complimentary embarkation day lunch. We only had to wait a few minutes before we were seated. Despite all of the unnecessary confusion and stress at the port, it only took us 45 minutes from the time we arrived at the port to the time we were seated at Chops. We all went with the filet mignon which everyone enjoyed including my friend who is very picky about his steak. Service was excellent and as expected for a specialty restaurant. Here are shots of the Key lunch menu, my steak (no sides on plate yet - not a great shot!), the delicious wild mushroom soup, some of our desserts, and a shot of my wife, Christine. . While we were there, we received the announcement that the cabins were ready... we went to the cabins and all of our luggage and carry-ons were there. We unpacked and then started to explore the ship. We stopped at the Trellis bar in Central Park and we started to break in our drink packages! My first, based on many of your recommendations, was a Lava Flow! We later had our muster drill in Studio B... by the time we made our way to the upper decks, the ship had already left port and was passing the beach and entering the Atlantic. Missed leaving port somehow... the ship was so smooth and we lost track of time so none of us knew she had already left port! Wandered over the the Sun Deck and the bridge wings... We explored a little more of the ship and went down to the MDR for our 6:00 PM, My Time dining... we had made all of our reservations months ago in the Cruise Planner. Here is the first night’s MDR menu... Although it’s only been 2 evenings, we absolutely love our waitstaff (Waiter: Kadek, Asst: Oleksandr & Beverage: Jose) and our window table for 4! Here is the view from my seat! I had the the French Onion soup (decent, not the best), Maryland Crab Cake (okay, not great) and the Chicken Marsala which was very good... everyone was overall very happy with their selections. We we headed over to the Amber Theater to see Mamma Mia for the 8:00 PM show. We arrived 15 minutes before showtime and just had to show our SeaPass, which had the Key sticker affixed from the start, and we were directed to the reserved section. Our seats were two rows behind the booth... loved the seats! A little less than 10 minutes before showtime, they started opening up the reserved section to general admission. We all thoroughly enjoyed the show! After the show, we wandered around a little more and the wives retired to our cabins. As a side note, we booked adjoining CP balcony cabins and they were able to remove the partition (about 1/3 the length of the partition can be removed) allowing us to walk between the two balconies. Pics to follow later I’m sure! My friend and I headed to Casino Royale and played some single deck blackjack for a couple of hours and finally retired after midnight... he won a little, me not so much! Not too bad though... 😎 OK... time for me to get to bed or I’ll be a zombie tomorrow! I’ll try to catch up as the week progresses!
  14. 11 points

    Autographs by Matt

    In case you missed Matt's day at Coco Cay someone while he was doing his video asked for his autograph His reaction was funny. Another person approached him on Chill Island. Again, he was in shock Matt is becoming the RCL Rock Star! OBTW Matt I am sailing in July and already have 1 magnet for my cabin door, (Adventure) along with others in our group. I would def. buy a Matt signature magnet if the price was right. Think about it for the group cruise. MATT APPROVED with your signature might be fun!
  15. 11 points
    After the show there was an Elvis impersonator in the main theater but that isn't my genre so I skipped it. The cloud cover remained but i saw a sliver of a sunset on the horizon forward. I left my cabin to see what I could capture of this so called "sunset" from the Solarium. The bridge wings were closed so I had to settle for a shot through the glass with a reflection in it. Out of the Solarium and back into the indoor pool area where there are windows that slide open. By this time most guests had settled in for the night so I used the opportunity to take some pictures around the ship. Here are some: The VIA: The lobby art is in motion. It's a series of paddle like blades that swing back in forth. Finally the Esplanade without hordes of people. This next piece of art is from artist Celilia Lueza called "Epiphany II": Izumi: Wonderland: Some folks may not have sailed this class or a ship with similar decor so here is a typical elevator lobby : With that it was bed time.
  16. 11 points

    Majesty Of The Seas 1994

    Someone mentioned they liked old pictures of RCL ships. Here are a few shots of the Majesty Of The Seas from our honeymoon the first week of May 1994. We cruised from Miami on May 1st for 7 nights - Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios Jamaica and CoCo Cay.
  17. 11 points
    ok so we were hesitant that anyone would be participating in the 70's Disco Inferno party but life is too short, so our group jumped in head first and had an awesome time! For reference, i was going for a Disco King look and ended up looking like a 70's porn producer LOL we made our entrance down the aft glass elevator dancing the whole way. by the time we hit the promenade, crowds were cheering us on. had many onlookers grab us for photos and chat about our outfits. great time had by everyone and we even made the RC TV loop for the remainder of the week. most fun we've ever had on a cruise! our group - me, my wife, sister in law, sister in law and brother in law my brother in law killed it with his acrylic goldfish heels! who loves ya baby?
  18. 11 points

    Where is Odyssey of the seas going?

    I'm not sure that phrase has ever been uttered before in the history of mankind... 😉 I juss keeding
  19. 11 points

    Happy Sailings

    May you have calm seas and joyful memories. May 2019 4 - 4ensic (Independence) 4 - bmhightower (Radiance) 6 -CruiseLife72 (Mariner of the Seas) 9 - AshleyDillo (Harmony) 10 - jaguarsfanfl (Mariner) 11 - scanman18 (Symphony) 12 - spiralqueen (Allure of the Seas) 12- Rene Desmarais (Freedom of the Seas) 16 - hmcdowell31 (Empress) 17 - Andrew72681 (Navigator) 19 - Hoski (Allure of the Seas) 19 - JohnK6404 (Allure) 19 - b_resh_uh (Allure) 25 - mamabdw (Adventure of the Seas) 25 - melski94 (Symphony of the Seas) 27 - ashleybee (Mariner of the Seas) 27 - Hoski (Empress) 30 - 2Beeze (Grandeur) 31 - JohnUK (Explorer of the Seas) 31 - Dragonfly1274 (Adventure of the Seas)
  20. 11 points

    Favorite Cruise Hack/ Tip

    Sorry, but the reason I never talk about it is because I feel, in my not-so-humble opinion, to be at best an unsolicited sales offer and at worst a border-line racket. The shopping seminar is more about which stores have paid RC to advertise as stores to go to, rather than an educational overview of which areas of the city/island truly represent a good place for value or deals. Any store that is mentioned in these seminars have paid to be mentioned. Moreover, there is often a kick back for sales referred. Not to mention that "little hook up" is a ploy to get you into the store. If you want to learn about the port you are visiting and/or the best areas to shop, I recommend utilizing the internet and getting recommendations from other cruisers who have gone to these places.
  21. 11 points
    If they had a good TA they wouldn’t have missed final payment lol
  22. 10 points

    Will we break even with DBP?

    I couldn't agree more .... it's one less thing to worry about ..... Besides, I tend to turn a profit by the end of Day 1 ....lol
  23. 10 points
    Day Four - Icy Strait Point My day starts with an excursion booked through Royal Caribbean called Glacier Bay Flightseeing. Originally $399 but offered on sale for $319. The meeting point was inside the first building at the end of the pier where many excursions depart from. It's very well organized with large displays that matched the number printed on my ticket. We boarded a bus for the 10-15 minute ride to the Hoonah airport. Our chariot to Glacier Bay on this occasion. The right seat or copilot's seat was offered so I jumped at the chance. On the taxi out to prepare for take off our pilot spotted a couple of deer. Soon we were airborne with a great view of the town and local marina. Not long after I spotted Icy Strait Point with the profile of a familiar ship in the distance. Hard to miss North Star. Our pilot made the turn and we headed off towards Glacier Bay. Everyone gets a window seat! Alaska is quite beautiful. As we flew North and the peaks increased in altitude so did the amount of snow. In the distance I could make out the ice fields that feed the glaciers. We were in the mountains now at an elevation of around 7,000 feet. The ice fields are massive. It's hard to appreciate the scale but it's basically a sea of snow. What's amazing about this excursion is not only to see some glaciers, but to fly above and behind them, to see the ice fields that feed the many glaciers in this area. Climbing still we head towards some of the highest peaks in this region. You can see how the snow has deformed from it's own weight pushing down slope beginning the multi-decade process of moving towards the face of a glacier. Flying in close proximity to the peaks and seeing this with your own eyes is incredible. Pictures don't do this justice. Again you can see the snow where it has advanced downslope from it's own weight, like a land slide, compressing the layers below it into glacier ice and squeezing oxygen out in the process. At this point we are flying above a valley of snow and ice with peaks on both sides. In the distance another valley of glacial ice is approaching from the opposite direction. Flying beside these rock peaks is an incredible experience. They are so beautiful and experiencing them up close like this will stay with me when I see a peak way off in the distance. More evidence of motion in the sea of snow and ice below us. We are literally flying around these peaks, not above them. As we descend along with the valley of glacial ice below us we begin to see signs of melting with pools of turquoise blue water on the surface. Turning around one more peak... We are presented a magnificent view of the John Hopkins Glacier as seen from the glacier. You can clearly see the moraine or dirt trails on top of the glacier. With a banking turn so both sides can see the glacier below us you somewhat appreciate how wide this glacier is but it's to fathom it's scale. At this point more peaks are right beside us. Then we turn to follow the channel of water, the John Hopkins Inlet. Turning the corner the scale of this all suddenly become clear when a ship appears in Glacier Bay. Originally looking small next to the rising sides of the valley (and the highest peaks are well behind us) I realize it's the Norwegian Bliss. The Bliss is pretty much the same size as Ovation being slightly smaller than Ovation by a narrow margin. In other words it's a pretty massive cruise ship, the largest to visit Alaska until Ovation arrived on this cruise, yet it seems so small in the vastness of the space. Seeing something familiar, a large cruise ship, set the scale for what we had just seen and it blew my mind just how big all of it really was. Continuing our flight down Glacier Bay I spot another glacier. The Lamplugh Glacier, something the folks on the Bliss will reach soon after our flyover. Next is Reid Inlet and Reid Glacier. We continue to fly South back toward the entrance of Glacier Bay park and with the peaks of the mountain range behind the snow capped peaks of these smaller mountains give way to lush green vegetation below the snow line at lower elevations. It's all still very breathtaking and I could have taken many more pictures. A suspended frozen lake in a bowl on the side of this mountain. Our pilot does a fantastic job bringing us safely back towards Hoonah. In the distance to the South I spot the North Star. Not that North Star... Ovation's North Star and Icy Strait Point. Our pilot spots a whale excursion boat so we bank overhead in time to see a whale surfacing near the excursion boat. No pictures of that one, had to see it live. With the lush green land near Hoonah below us we gently land from where we had departed. Back in our van and heading to Icy Strait Point my mind raced to process all that I had seen. Our driver dropped us off near the entrance to Icy Strait Point by the old cannery. I chose to walk back to the ship along the shore. Here is this excursion compressed into a 7 minute video made from clips I took in between taking photographs. At the 3 minute mark is the John Hopkins glacier and around the 5 minute mark you can see Ovation at Icy Strait Point. It's hard to put into words everything that I experienced on this excursion. At $319 it was the most expensive excursion on this trip but I have to say it was well worth it. I've heard naturalists and others countless times talking about "The Ice Fields" but now I've seen them first hand. I can visualize the process of snow falling, compressing, hundreds of feet deep turning into glacial ice, having oxygen squeezed out and turning blue then slowly creeping it's way down a slope to the eventually find itself on the face of a glacier where we get to watch it calve countless years later. Pretty awesome experience and I look forward to seeing Glacier Bay by ship now that Royal can begin sailing there in future years. When I do all this will come flooding back to me having seen this same area from high above it and from the opposite perspective.
  24. 10 points
    St Kitt’s recap continued: We first drove around the city of Basseterre a bit to see some of the important sites. Thenford was great about sharing background information on everything and he seemed to know half the island as he would constantly point people out like “that man walking there is a prominent lawyer on his way to work. His son and daughter are also lawyers and his brother is the Attorney General of the island”’ The jail, also featuring a prisoner (in the dark blue in the shadows) being led out. The home of many prominent law offices. These buildings used to be where the wealthy families on the island lived. Then they moved to Frigate Bay. HQ for the labor unions which were vital to the growth of their economy. War memorial for fallen soldiers who served in the British West Indies troop in the World Wars. We then left the city and made our way over to Romney Manor/Caribelle Batik Lots of little plaques to show what plants were in the garden and their origin. Very interesting and gorgeous. We then saw a batik demonstration which is where they use wax and dye to create patterns on fabric. They had a shop attached with lots of batik made items. Watch tower for old plantation. Next stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress. It had phenomenal views but a killer walk to the top. Out of the question for anyone with mobility issues. On our way down I heard an 8 year old going the other way say to his dad “dad, this is HARD” and I muttered “you said it kid”. It wouldn’t have been as bad as it was if it weren’t for the heat and humidity. But....it was worth it. If you go here with small children, please please PLEASE keep them close as there’s many tall drop offs without railings or ropes and stone at the bottom of the hypothetical fall. I saw this one little boy running around and my second hand anxiety was through the roof for him. After the fortress our next stop was a lookout point where you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea at the same time. There were lots of vendors here including men with monkeys and a donkey. That part was upsetting watching the casual animal abuse like dudes feeding the monkeys beer or a woman GRABBING the donkey roughly by the face and clinging onto it. I’m shocked it didn’t bite her. But the view was amazing. After this stop it was time for the beach drop offs if you so chose. The first option was a place called Shipwreck bar and the attacked beach. It looked really neat, but we were beat and ready to go back to the ship. Since I was curious about this, the way it worked out was Thenford told the people who wanted to stay what time he would be back for them (3:15) and the rest of us went on to the next stop. The other beach option was Carambola. They were told a 3:30 pick up time. The rest of us went back to the port for shopping time or ship time. Overall it was a great excursion option that offered a lot of bang for your buck. Make sure to rest up though as it’s a bit tiring.
  25. 10 points

    9000+ Members! Woot!

  26. 10 points
    My trip back toward my hotel meant a transfer from bus to train at Waterfront station so I took the opportunity to walk downtown on this slow Sunday evening and to visit the Canada Place cruise terminal. The side of the terminal that Holland America uses and the site of last weeks "kissing ships" when the two company vessels scraped balconies with each other. Ovation was still setting lines when I arrived. Beautiful skies tonight with the sun close to setting. One of Ovation's smoking areas captured from an angle you don't see too often. The proximity to downtown and easy access to the transit system make this a great port. With that it was approaching 9pm and time for me to head back to my hotel. With nearly 10 miles under my feet it was time to grab a sandwich at Subway and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones in my hotel.
  27. 10 points
    After an hour or so to decompress in my hotel room I made plans to head downtown using the local transit system. My hotel is in between two Canada Line light rail stations. Using the transit feature of Apple Maps it calculated my route to my destination. This included walking to a train station, transferring to a bus and then walking about a mile. Walking a mile? Well yes, given that my destination was the Prospect Point lighthouse through Stanley Park which is loaded with trails for biking, jogging, strolling, etc. After sitting all day in planes a walk was perfect. At the train station I purchased an "All Day" Compass Card for ~$16 CAD which ended up on credit card at ~$12 USD. This would get me there and back to my hotel so all in all a pretty decent fee for a day pass. Stanley Park is beautiful and you could easily spend a day exploring it. I was on a mission to reach the lighthouse so I'm hardly doing it justice with these simple photos. First glimpse of the Lions Gate Bridge that separates Vancouver Harbor from Burrard Inlet and passages towards the Pacific Ocean. I timed my arrival for low tide which today was 6:41pm. Actually I was a little early so I could explore the area before the main event and the real reason I made this journey. With tides on the way out I could see much more beach exposed compared to high tide. The original Prospect Point Lighthouse was built here in the late 1800's. Long before the bridge was built in 1938 the original lighthouse was in response to numerous shipping incidents like the SS Beaver that ran aground on the rocky shores in 1888. These narrows have tricky tidal currents that I could see as the tide went out. Looking out under the bridge there were patches of smooth water and areas with strong currents marked by swirling water and waves. Interesting sea life including these purple sea stars. Some seals playing or feeding in the water. The large difference in tides is apparent and you can see the high tide mark along the wall. Where I'm standing would be over my head at high tide. This is important because technically there isn't enough height over water for Quantum class ships to pass under with the standard safety margins that are required for safe navigation. However using the tides to their advantage the extra 12 to 15 feet of tidal differences allows ships like Ovation to pass under the bridge if they time it just right. Before Ovation can arrive and dock at Canada Place, the cruise terminal in downtown Vancouver, a few ships need to get out of town. This included the Star Princess and two Holland America ships, Westerdam and Noordam. The area is popular with the outdoor type folks and the backdrop of the bridge made for a popular selfie station. If you look along the waterline to the far left you see a tiny ship on the horizon. Ovation of the Seas! A cargo ship also had to enter the port just before Ovation arrived. As I waited the sun was moving lower on the horizon making pictures in this direction challenging so I used the lighthouse to block the sun and I hid in it's shadow as Ovation approached. One thing I noticed was how the currents had settled down, the rippling and waves were gone, the water was smooth. This too is important so any ship can stay within the narrow channel and pass under the bridge at it's highest level. Ovation continued it's approach with a tug at the ready just in case. Closer, inching closer... Success! Clearing under the bridge with a large safety margin North Star was under. I could hear the roar of the crowd on the ship all cheering and celebrating which is rather ironic because it marks the end of their journey. The bigger challenge was the funnels and aft part of the ship. Also under with plenty of clearance. Woohoo! My cruise can continue as planned! To be honest it was a bit anti-climatic. I expected her to be closer to the bridge. I was confident she would fit, they wouldn't risk the bridge or the ship but I feel like Anthem passing under the Verrazona-Narrows bridge in New York is tighter.
  28. 10 points
    Today has been a bit of a (good) whirlwind so forgive me if this recap is a bit scattered. I guess like the Sound of Music says, let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. We checked out from our hotel around 9:45 because I assumed that it would take a bit to get an Uber and I wanted to be on our way to the port by 10. Turns out our hotel checkin wasn’t the only smooth thing. Lots of Uber drivers were hanging around the area and it 2 minutes for our XL to get there. It cost us $10 plus tip to get the 3 of us from our 17th Street hotel to the port drop off. If you have lots of luggage I HIGHLY recommend using the XL feature on Uber. There’s no way our stuff would have fit into a sedan. We were at the port by 9:51 and sitting in the suites waiting area by 10:03. I’m pretty sure most of that time was spent walking from the drop off area, through the debarking stragglers, and to the check in area. Since people were wondering, at Port Everglades they have the Key grouped with suites for security as well as check in. I didn’t get a picture of the security set up, but basically it looked like there was one short line for suites/pinnacles & Key and a long winding line for everyone else. Once through security, we went over to the check in area. We told the employee directing people that we had both a suite and The Key so whichever line was shorter. It happened that the Key was shorter and we were literally checked in and through to the next step before my dad even realized what the guy with the iPad was for. I’d say a minute is being conservative. Very fast and streamlined. Next on to the waiting area! We made our way over to the suite waiting area as it looked much nicer than the Key area. The Key area was the same seats most people had, just in an area fairly close to the doors to get on the ship. Suite waiting area. We will have to be careful not to get too used to this! They said they hoped to start boarding around 10:30. It took a bit longer than that, but not overly so. I believe they started calling groupings at 10:45ish. The order that I was able to hear was Star Class (back to back didn’t get an announcement. They just got escorted off and then back on first), then Suites, then Key. I assume the order after that was by loyalty level. I was very happy that I knew from message boards to go to the Amber Theater for bag drop off bc there really wasn’t any signage until you got INTO the theater. Also I was happy that we were able to board with suites and juuuuust best the huge rush of Key people to drop off bags. We were the second ones at bag drop off and when we turned to leave the theater there was a rather long line forming. At this point it was around 11. I think we wandered up to Central Park to explore and be close to Chops for when it opened for lunch. This was meant to be 11:30. I went to order a virgin strawberry daiquiri from the Trellis bar and break in my refreshment package but I was told that they didn’t have any strawberry pure mix so my backup drink of strawberry lemonade was also out. Disappointed, I just grabbed a bottle of water and figured I’d grab one at another bar. This would turn out to be more difficult than anticipated. But let’s put a pin in that and get back to lunch! Over we all went to Chops around 11:20 since I had heard of people being let in as early as that for lunch. Well turns out there was an unannounced change in opening time. It went from 11:30 to noon and as we were just about to go off and do something else while waiting, I noticed a line building up behind us. I decided then that I was going to hang out in line because if we had left to return at noon there was no way we would have been able to get in before it was full. Also it was a gorgeous day and what difference does it make to kill time there versus elsewhere? They opened promptly at noon and we were quickly shown to a table after giving the host our room number so he could confirm we had the Key. That’s when we found out from our sever that the delay was due to a surprise health inspection. Understandable and unavoidable. Menu is the same one that has been going around of the more limited options. I went with the shrimp cocktail, filet & chocolate cake. The shrimp were very well cooked but rather small. I’m not sure if that’s how it is on Allure or if it was due to the health inspection. The filet was very tender and the peppercorn sauce had a nice kick and depth to it. My dad really enjoyed the red wine sauce he chose for his filet. I wasn’t as impressed, but I tend to prefer kick with my meat. The chocolate cake was passable but not great. Warning: I like to bake so I tend to be very critical of desserts. You will likely see me saying that many desserts are mediocre. Does this stop me from eating them? Of course not. 😂 Oh and since we were delayed in getting started at Chops, right after we ordered I excused myself to make a quick trip up to Coastal Kitchen to arrange for dinner reservations. At least on this sailing they are not allowing Junior Suites to make reservations for the week all at once. Though they aren’t making you wait until the day of. I was able to get a 6pm reservation for tonight and then was able to schedule dinner for the next day when we showed up for our existing reservation before we were seated. So not the end of the world. But back to lunch. Coastal Kitchen was quite quick to arrange and by the time I went back down to Chops the appetizers had not even arrived. I’d say overall lunch there took about an hour and a half. It was nice and relaxing but quite a lot of food for lunch. We knew the rooms were ready at this point and since we were very close to it, we headed over that way. Overall I’m very pleased with our room. It’s larger than the hotel room we had stayed in last night and there’s tons of storage. The balcony is also amazing since it’s one of the hump rooms so it’s rather deep. the balcony has 2 full sized loungers as well as 2 normal chairs and a table. The loungers have room to fully recline. The room had information about how to connect to the internet (no codes), and more information about Key benefits on Allure. We bummed around the room for a bit until it was muster time. We were muster station E1. Our door said we would be in the Royal Promenade somewhere. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to figure out where exactly. I was worried for naught. I think we went up to the Solarium to watch sail away at this point but everything is blending together because sleepyyyy. I know at some point we also stopped by the Boardwalk because I saw these really cool art installations showing the different stages of making the horses for the merry go round. At some point we also swung by guest services to get our sea pass cards punch for our lanyard and to see about either getting stickers or wristbands for The Key since they weren’t in our staterooms and I knew from past posts that we would run into issues using the reserved seats at shows perk if we didn’t have that. The guy trying to triage the guest services line to weed out the easy things for them was able to hole punch for us but was very confused by our Key question. I thanked him and said we would wait for someone at guest services to help. It was then that my mom saw someone give someone else Key wristbands so we were able to flag him down and tell him that’s what we were also looking for. He seemed surprised that they were not in our room but gave us 3 once he saw by looking up our room number that that’s the number we had purchased. Since we had an 8pm show, I went with 6pm dinner reservations to be on the safe side. At 6pm we went to Coastal Kitchen and the host saw us through the glass and immediately buzzed us in. We were quickly seated and our server was great. He checked in very often and had excellent recommendations before we even asked. The menu for Day 1 was very different from past Day 1 menus I had seen from other live blogs. classics side. For future posts I’ll only post the rotating menu portion to avoid duplication. I got the crab cake and roasted chicken and Andrew suggested an order of the cheese tortellini for the table to split which sounded like a splendid idea. The crab cake was pretty good. The aioli was great and had a nice kick to it. It didn’t have quite enough crab vs filler for it to be a truly great crab cake, but I’m also spoiled by the crab cakes I get whenever I visit my friend who lives in a town on the Maryland coast. The chicken was very moist but there was SO. MUCH. CHICKEN. The head waiter actually stopped by at some point to make sure everything was ok with my dinner because I barely made a dent in it. He looked much less worried once I explained that I had had lunch at Chops and there’s only so much food I can fit. The tortellini recommendation was great because I don’t think I could have a full serving of it as it was a bit heavy with the cheese but it was very tasty. I forgot to get a picture of the dessert menu, but here it is from the app. I got the chocolate & olive oil cake. I somehow missed the & and was surprised when it was a layered bar. My mom got the panna cotta which I grabbed a picture of because it was so pretty. The chocolate portion was excellent but incredibly rich and I could only eat about a third of this because it was just SO MUCH chocolate. The olive oil cake under it was rather tough and coarse. Since I’ve never had olive oil cake I’m not sure if that is just what the crumb is like for that kind of cake or if it was over baked. Our 8pm show was Mamma Mia and we used the reserved seating perk. The seats in the theater were the first 3 rows in the slightly elevated section behind the sound booth. These are my ideal seats as I am the kind of person who likes lower mezzanine seats for broadway shows so I was a happy camper. View: I had fun also watching the conductor on a little screen in the sound booth. I still have no idea where they tucked those musicians away at. Under the stage? If anyone has taken the behind the scenes tour who knows, I’d love to find out as it baffled me the whole show. The show was very good and well done. I’ve seen it on broadway many years ago (prob sometime in 2008 or 2009) and I would say it was similar to the talent level of a traveling broadway show. Which is to say very talented, but not winning a Tony. The time seemed to sail by and I’m very happy we got in to the time we did as the other times were 9:30 or something like 2 or 2:30. We turned in after the show as it’s been a long day of doing many things and nothing all at once. Here’s some miscellaneous pictures I also took but am too tired to seamlessly work into this entry: Umbrellas near Central Park & boardwalk (& prob elsewhere) Sad settled on mango and tropical virgin daiquiris. Still no strawberry though I asked at every turn, ever hopeful. There’s some sort of strawberry mix shortage which I hope is fixed by tomorrow. It became a running joke through the day. If I saw a strawberry on something like my mom’s panna cotta we’d make a comment like “do you think I could have a bar tender turn that into a daiquiri???” The Royal app has awesome push notification reminders when things you have added to your calendar are 15 mins away. confirmation that virgin frozen drinks are $7 each. Fruit platter we got which I believe is from the Key. I noticed the rainbow bubbles during the day in Central Park and thought they were cool then. But they are MUCH more impressive at night. 52946388-4336-420B-BDD7-70DD58894E6D.MOV Bonus video I captured of when my mom was trying to sneak the cash envelope out of my dad’s pocket while he was half napping. Then he woke. Ok it’s now 1:44a and that means BED! I think I’ll try to do more frequent but smaller updates as this was quite a lot to do all at once and it was hard to remember what happened when. Life is so hard!!!! 🤣
  29. 10 points

    Taking Food to Room

    Not to offend anyone, BUT ...Containers? Ziplock bags? Come on people! You are on vacation and not on the "Trailer Park Trash of the Seas"!! Use the plates. That's what they are there for.
  30. 10 points
    I'm just going to finish this beer. Then I'm going to bed. Seriously. Gross. Have you ever watched My 600 Pound Life? I may need to call Dr. Now after the Star Class Food Coma Syndrome (SCFCS). That should be a thing. Really. Batman just said, I'm going to lie down and moan. And he did. I'm a bit concerned. Do Apple watches check your breathing? I am a Samsung girl. I wouldn't know. I just know, He's set an unimpressive excersize ring closure. I'm concerned I don't have a portable mirror to check for fog later tonight. Later tonight? When do you go brain dead? Nevermind. He's moving. And we couldn't even put a dent in this mess. Plus, I feel like this is taking way too long to type. & I feel like exercise might be spelled funny. I feel like hitting submit might not be fortuitous at the moment. Thank God for word prediction. OH well, I'll just kiss this post up to God. After all, you were warned of PUI early on.
  31. 10 points

    Upcoming Homeport Changes

    Next week 12 ships (almost half the fleet) will be changing home ports, with 6 of them going to Europe. You can see the article here. SHIP CURRENT HOME PORT NEW HOME PORT Adventure Port Everglades Cape Liberty Allure Miami Port Everglades Brilliance Tampa Amsterdam Enchantment Port Canaveral Galveston Harmony Port Everglades Port Canaveral Independence Port Everglades Southampton Mariner Miami Port Canaveral Oasis Dry Dock/Repairs Barcelona Radiance Australia Vancouver Rhapsody Tampa Venice Serenade Port Everglades Copenhagen Vision Galveston Barcelona
  32. 9 points
    Hello Royal Caribbean Blog members! My wife Corin and and I will be embarking on our first cruise which happens to be a TA. Go big or go home I guess. I will be doing a daily blog with a few photos and updates starting on the 4th. Stay tuned! *Crossposted on cruisecritic.com under CruisingWithMatt
  33. 9 points
    Here Is A Photo Of Mariner Dock In Terminal 1 Here In Port Canaveral. Other Ships In Port Today Was. The Carnival Sunshine The Carnival Liberty. The Norway Sun. .The Disney Dream (Sorry But No Photos At This Time). Here Is All Of The Non RCI Ships -Sail Away Time! Up First Was The Carnival Sunshine. She Left At 2:00 Pm To Sail To Charleston SC Where She Will Be Home Ported For The Summer! Next Was The Carnival Liberty. Now For My Favorite Ship In PC Today.... Mariner Of The Seas! Next Up We Have The Norway Sun. Last And Least The Mouse Filled Boat.The Disney Dream And This Last Photo Is For @Matt All Right. I Hope You Enjoy These Photos!
  34. 9 points

    Will we break even with DBP?

    This comment is one of the biggest reason why I buy the package, I have time to pay it off before the cruise and then during the cruise I don't worry about cost of drinks or food.
  35. 9 points
    So for dinner tonight we had 6:30 reservations at Giovanni’s Table and that was going to be followed by a 9:00 showing of the ice skating show (Ice Games). We were seated quite promptly at Giovanni’s and overall had a wonderful dinner, though there were some culinary duds in the mix and some pacing issues which we later found out were due to some large tables slowing down the kitchen. That’s fine, but I would have preferred a bit more communication from our server on the delay and cause of it. A shot of the mostly completely attacked bread basket which was full of very good crusty Italian bread. I’m such a snob about Italian bread and this was very very good and fresh. The right contrast of crusty but pliable exterior and a light, fluffy interior. They give you olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette sprinkled with Parmesan cheese for dipping. For my appetizer I got the pancetta (slow cooked pork belly). It was good but not great. A tad dry and not as flavorful as I was expecting. My mom and I got an order of the bolognese pasta to split as our pasta dish. It was just....ok. I would definitely get another pasta if we went back. My dad loved his wild mushroom risotto but I’m not a mushroom person. You can see his pasta in the background of the next picture. My new love. Giovanni’s filet. Hands down, as a filet this beats Chop’s filet. The sauce is better, the mashed potatoes are better, and the steak is either a better cut or prepared better. It’s very juicy and tender with a lot of good flavors. As an overall steak, it’s the second best on the ship of what I’ve tasted. Number 1 is still Coastal Kitchen rib eye. To get back around to the pacing issue I noted earlier. We got there at 6:30. At 7:30 our appetizers had been cleared and we were still waiting for our main dishes. She asked if we wanted desert around 8:10 when I told her that we did, but as a note we had a 9pm show. She then apologized for all the delays and explained what caused them. She picked up the pace on clearing everything and taking our dessert orders. But before she took our dessert orders she brought out......a cake with a candle in it for my mom’s birthday! I had come by the night before and spoken to the host about getting a candle put in a dessert for her and brought to the table but *without any singing* because my family can’t stand that. I had asked if at all possible to have it be carrot cake because it’s her favorite dessert but said I totally understood if they couldn’t make it happen. Well, turns out they weren’t able to swing that BUT they did bring her over a dessert from 150 Central Park instead! It was very nice how she did it and very much appreciated. By the way, it was excellent and very refreshing. I got the hazelnut chocolate cake for dessert. Ok so I take back anything I said about not having had a phenomenal cake on Royal. Here it is. This cake. This very cake. Was so f***ing good. That I paused between bites to just savor it. So rich. So moist. Such a great crumb. The frosting. So decadent. I just. Y U M. Also my dad was obsessed with the tiramisu but since I don’t like coffee I was trying to clear my tastebuds after trying it. Overall, we finished with Giovanni’s around 8:30 so it took a good, full 2 hours to eat there. Time accordingly. We stopped by the room to change shoes and somehow lost my dad to the siren call of the bed. My mom was a trooper though and joined me for seeing the Ice Show. We got there around 8:40 and used Key seats. Excellent seats there: overall the ice show was super fun and cheesy in the best way. I was surprised by how much they must have spent on song licensing because they had stuff from some pretty famous and varied musicians. From Michael Jackson to Barbra Streisand to Elvis to Christina Aguilera. It was also fairly interactive so if you have no desire for them to interact and play with you, don’t sit in the front row. It was a great end to the night and now it’s BED.
  36. 9 points
    I only see an empty space where that arrow is pointing, right between two other people. Guess it goes to show that bots are like vampires in that regard; they don't show up in photographs or mirrors. 😁😉
  37. 9 points
    The Case of the Disappearing and Reappearing Stacks In order to pass under the bridge in Vancouver they lowered the exhaust stacks at the top of the ship's funnels. This along with timing the transit to occur at low tide provided the necessary safety margin to sail under the bridge. May 13 - Vancouver harbor: May 15 - At sea.
  38. 9 points
    Day 2 (cont): For lunch I decided to go with the roast beef sandwich from Park Cafe. I was curious what it was like on an Oasis class ship since I had tried it on Enchantment and was less than impressed. There it was a dry, tough, flavorless leather sandwich. Here it was a tender, flavorful, juicy delight of a sandwich. The other sandwich does not even deserve to be called the same thing. I also decided to eat out on the balcony since I had decided that today was Balcony Day The vast majority of my afternoon was spent reading and dozing out on the lounger on our balcony. It was a perfect, lazy way to spend the day. And it came with the bonus discovery that some of the bars were starting to get strawberry mix back in stock. Not all of them, but Trellis had them and I was a happy camper. Fast forward to dinner time. Coastal Kitchen again. We found out as we were being seated that the host was the one who went ahead and made the reservations for the rest of the week. I don’t know if he got clearance from his boss to allow JSs to book for the full week or what changed, but I know that we all agreed that he will be getting a nice tip from us at the end of the cruise. His actions have made a huge positive difference in this sailing for us. It was especially comforting to know that the reservations were not accidental and were actually meant for us. Our server tonight was not quite as good as Andrew last night and while the host thought he was doing us a favor by sitting us near a window, I think we may request to be put back in Andrew’s section for the rest of the nights. I went with the lobster salad and the rib eye. Our waiter also brought out a surprise order of the pappardelle for the table to share which I tried out. The lobster was quite good and the vanilla dressing was interesting and a better compliment than I was expecting. The rib eye was just. Amazing. Possibly one of the steaks I have ever had and we go to well regarded steakhouses every year for restaurant week so this isn’t being compared to an Outback steak or something. It blew the Chops filet out of the water. Incredibly, melt in your mouth and slightly falling apart tender while bursting with flavor. And in case you can’t tell, there were 2 slices of meat on the plate. I basically ignored the sides so that I could focus on fitting as much of that steak in me as possible. The ratatouille was actually quite good and I’m not normally a huge veggie person. The pasta wasn’t BAD, but it wasn’t great. I had things on my plate that were great so after one bite to try it, it sat pretty ignored. For desert I got the chocolate bar. It was like a moussey Milky Way bar. Quite nice. We then went back to the room to get changed out of formal gear so we could see the Ocean Aria. I somehow lost track of time since I had in mind that the show was 9pm instead of 8:30. Suddenly my mom mentions that we should probably head out as they say to be there 15 mins before show start. That’s when I realized my mistake and we booked it down to the Boardwalk. We made it to the theater about 5 mins before it opened up to everyone and found that it was PACKED. But never fear! The Key seating is here! We showed our newly stickered sea pass cards to the woman fiercely guarding 3 prime rows and she ushered us in with a smile. This was a fun a short-ish show. , though it caused me a ton of anxiety for them. I know they are professionals but everything looks so dangerous!! After the show was over, my dad excused himself to go back to the room and my mom and I went down to the casino to try our luck. I’m not 100% sure if my mom even made it over to a machine since she discovered a Phillies game on at the casino bar and that they had plenty of the strawberry mix. Clearly utopia. I went to one of the roulette tables that had a free space and did quite well for myself. I’m not exactly a high roller, but I went in with $60 and walked away with $137 in the space of about 30-50 mins so I consider that worth it. My mom’s birthday hit 3 times in quick succession so that really helped me rack up some chips quite quickly. I cashed out as soon as I saw the dealer was about to change and that it coincided with my mom checking in on my status. Then it was time to turn in for the night! No clue what tomorrow brings, but probably more Solarium than today.
  39. 9 points
    The victory ship was a self guided tour. I believe they do guided ones on the weekend. $10 adults $5 veterans. Very cool and it took us a little over an hour to see everything at a very relaxed pace. Tomorrow we board Brilliance!
  40. 9 points
  41. 9 points
    Bravery or stupidity... We will find out 😂 Here's the Itinerary.
  42. 9 points

    When the Empress was Queen

    I found a bunch of pictures from our honeymoon cruise in 1993. We were on Premier's S/S Atlantic (one of the Big Red Boats). We were docked at Nassau at the same time as the Empress (was it the Nordic Empress at the time?). I just remember being awed by how big she was. I think the Atlantic was ~30,000 tons and their S/S Majestic was ~17,500 tons. The "Big" Red Boat is off on the right (with the life boats on the top deck). I have no idea what the little ship on the left is, I just know my wife will never get on that ship unless it was a tender vessel.... Apologies for the non-twangster image quality, a scan of a crappy 25 year old print.
  43. 9 points

    Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition

    Actual conversation on our aft balcony : Are you seriously drinking champagne and eating grapes right now? Yes. Life is very hard for me. Which one is that? The Moet. Want to try it? Yes....... Tastes like a Brut. Did you say that because that's the only kind of champagne you know? Yes. I wanted to sound smart. What did you think of it? It was smooth. I mean, not as smooth as my Coors Lite. BTW, do you remember singing along to the guitar player last night? No. And I'd like to offer a blanket apology to anyone in the Pub with us. Sorry.
  44. 9 points
  45. 8 points
    Dinner on the first night lead us to our favorite meal from Harmony, Jamie’s Italian. It’s our eight year old daughters favorite, and she nearly screamed when I let her know yesterday that Oasis wouldn’t get a Jamie’s when it gets Amplified. Jamie’s features the updated menu that rolled out when Navigator was relaunched, which for my wife meant I was missing the crispy Salmon she adored on Harmony. The location is also a big departure from Harmony where the restaurant is off of Central Park, here it sits off the rather noisy WindJammer buffet. This does however mean it gets some stunning ocean views during sunset. Garlic bread Calamari Bruschetta (which I caught one bite late) Short Ribs Shrimp Linguine Truffle Linguine Pan roasted salmon. This one was a bit of a miss as the red sauce didn’t help the dish Tagliatelle Bolognese. This is my second favorite bolognese out there, only behind Lidia Bastianich’s recipe. Which unfortunately takes a full day to make.
  46. 8 points
    I was growing thirsty so I found a solution to the problem. At a local bar... That solved my thirst issue but with a growing hunger I needed to find some food. This was solved at the Sitka Hotel. Fish and Chips. Plus a local porter to wash it down. From here I set out to self explore Sitka on my own. It's a very nice town with a population of 8,900 making it the 5th largest town in Alaska. It's very easy to walk with numerous sign posts such as this one to help you find your way around. The airport is on an island accessed by this bridge. The site of Baranof castle that has long since been lost but this was also the site where the purchase of Alaska was concluded when America bought it from Russia. Finally back to the visitor's center downtown to queue up for the shuttle back to the ship. The line moved quickly with a number of buses ready and waiting to bring us to the ship. Sitka is only accessible by air or sea. The total road available is 14 miles.
  47. 8 points
    At the gate waiting for our 3PM boarding for flight to Miami. We are TSA precheck, but for the 2nd consecutive time my wife was stopped for a random check. The agent, however. was soooo nice. She asked DW "Do you have a cell phone in your bag?" With the affirmative reply, she said "show it to me and have a great trip". Personally, I think she was great with us because she was looking at my t-shirt and smiling.
  48. 8 points
    On the way up to Vancouver we flew past Mt. Hood which is hard to miss unless it's cloudy which it became right after I took this photo: Unfortunately those whisps of clouds turned into full cloud cover that we flew within for the remainder of the flight.
  49. 8 points

    Fast Track To Diamond Status?

    I'd push my friends into their own cabin for 6 extra points. #noshame
  50. 8 points
    Batman has declared if we both die of heart attacks, and let's face it, we're both at that age, it's Derick's fault. We told him no late night feeding tonight. Not only did he not oblige, he went overboard. I'm 5'2" and almost 50 for God's sake. I can eat nothing without gaining 12 pounds. This is completely wrong on so many levels. If anyone knows where I can order a tapeworm and a detox place that accepts high deductible policies, please lmk.
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