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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/20/2019 in all areas

  1. 19 points
    I recently had an opportunity to try a fly-in vacation at an all inclusive resort in Jamaica so I'd thought I'd share my thoughts on my experience versus a Royal Caribbean cruise. I booked using a Priceline "Express Deal" for a "5 star resort". I ended up at the Hyatt Ziva Rosa Hall in Jamaica's Montego Bay. I used a 10% off coupon from a previous Priceline stay which brought our nightly rate for two during spring break down to $400 USD per night all in (taxes, resort fees, gratuity, meals and drinks). This for the least expensive "resort view" double bed room. For this resort that was pretty much entry level. Pool view and suites only went up fast from there. I did not include the cost of flights in this price because those vary based on origination and cruises don't have flight costs bundled in. The best rate I could find for this resort without using Priceline or my 10% coupon was over $550 per night for the same room, same dates. The resort itself is beautiful. The property consists of two resorts, the Hyatt Ziva (family friendly) and the Hyatt Zilara (adult only). We were free as adults to walk between them at will. Both resorts have their own pools and share many facilities such as beach activities, restaurants and bars. First Observation - Solo Rates As a frequent solo cruiser I often lament the dreaded single supplement. Cruise fares are advertised on a double occupancy basis with a per person rate. To cruise solo, you must double that advertised per person rate. Hotels and resorts generally advertise a room rate. Since this was an all inclusive resort including drinks and food, rates were also based on occupancy. In this case a single person paid just $50 per night less than two people in the same room. Even with my best deal finding, coupon clipping abilities that's just a 13% savings for a solo traveler. On this trip I traveled with a friend who I have cruised with before but with just a $50 difference in the rate for a solo traveler it's hard to give the fly-in resort a win on solo pricing. Second Observation - Food The resort featured seven restaurants available to us included in the price. These included an Italian, French, Brazilian Steakhouse, Asian and Seafood restaurant as well as more common options such as American bar food and a pizza station. Breakfast was pretty much a buffet style affair with eggs cooked to order stations satisfying our daily start with a made to order omelet. Fruit was plentiful. Lots of pancakes, waffles, etc. Every restaurant offered upcharge options such as this common offer available regardless what restaurant we visited: The menus looked great and the variety appealing. However meal after meal was just okay. Mediocre might be a better description. The Italian restaurant may have been our next best meal over breakfast. The Brazilian style steakhouse offered one of those red/green discs you turn over based on your supply and demand needs. My travel companion noted that the highlight of her meal was the salad she made for herself at the salad bar. The meats came regardless what color our disc displayed and I sampled a few of them before just having several small servings of the 'tenderloin' beef. Having eaten at Brazilian style restaurants in cities such as Atlanta this was not a highlight meal. Those breakfast omelets turned out to be the highlight of our culinary experience. Watch out for the Scotch Bonnet Sauce, it's hot, hot, hot but very good. A little goes a very long way. The breakfast venue offered stunning views outdoors as we enjoyed our start to the day. Side note - room service food was included but we never tried it. One other included venue was a jerk food station with several sauces and corn bread. It was okay but you had to carefully pick through the chicken to avoid bones as they just chopped it all up into pieces and served it on a plate. Like most other food, it just was missing something and I'm a jerk fan (you are what you eat). By the third day we declared Royal Caribbean food a hands down, no contest winner. Third Observation - Beverages Adult beverages were included, including the stocked mini-bar in the room. The mini bar was stocked with a couple of Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light cans, some common liquors (rum/vodka/tequila) and a couple of cans of mixers. WATA (local play on words for bottled water was also plentiful). Pool bars offered a decent selection of frozen concoctions, Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light on tap plus your standard variety of mixed drink cocktails. We sampled many of the frozen concoctions. So many we were left with a sugar buzz but not much of an alcoholic buzz. I never like to accuse anywhere of watering down drinks but either my tolerance rose substantially for four days or those drinks were mostly water. The included wines were hard to drink. Wine menus were offered with each meal but everything was at an additional cost ranging from $45 to "OMG there is no way we are getting that bottle". The house wines left a lot to be desired. As my glass lowered even slightly they were very good about refilling it. However it's not often I leave a full glass of wine at the table at the end of a meal. The wine was just that bad. "Maybe if I don't drink it, they won't refill it" went through my mind. Cocktails like vodka-tonic were basically well drinks with nothing top shelf available. Bars opened at 10am but Mimosa's were available at breakfast before that time. We each had three one morning yet felt nothing. Best option turned out to be Red Stripe on tap. Despite how much beer can fill you up, if you desire to become even moderately buzzed, stick with beer. Fortunately I like Red Stripe. It didn't take long to declare Royal Caribbean adult beverages a hands down winner. Even the included Diamond happy hour wines on Royal Caribbean have found a new respect from me. I longed for them during every dinner at the resort. That says a lot. Fresh off Navigator with the hand crafted cocktails in The Bamboo Room I was very disappointed with the adult beverages at the all inclusive resort. Even standard Royal Caribbean frozen drinks, mixed drinks, any drink, outshined any drink I ordered at the resort. Fourth Observation - The Resort Itself. Beautiful resort with well kept grounds. Staff were excellent and well trained. Everyone we met was happy and went beyond expectations to assist and be helpful. No complaints whatsoever at any time with the resort itself or any employee. Just very pleasant and accommodating people. I was quickly on a first name basis with many of them. Our lunch restaurant view one day: Some of the more expensive rooms feature a shared pool exclusive to those adult only rooms with outdoor lounging beds on the patio and in water loungers. On the adult only Zilara side of the resort these pools featured a lazy river type channel to the main pool. Very nice, but expensive. Meeting rooms and convention space. Immaculate grounds. Very well kept with attention to details. Each resort had it's own swim up bar which was immensely popular. Yes even Jamaica has spring breakers but nothing that was a problem. Pools had lifeguards. One pool next to this one had sport activities such as water bike spin classes, in water yoga, pool volleyball, etc. Lots to do. Cabanas available for rent. Cabanas pricing started at just $89. Beach cabanas $99. Aqua cabanas pictured above $139. The most expensive Royal Palm cabanas included a fruit plate, 15 min. message and lunch delivered for $250. Compared to Royal Caribbean's private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee the resort cabanas are a strong winner for value. While not as large as the new Oasis Lagoon pool on CocoCay, the resort pools were pretty incredible. Clearly no ship can build these massive fresh water pools, there is just not enough space on a ship pool deck to do it. Not pictured were gas fire-pits around the grounds with resort seating around them at night. Very peaceful and relaxing. Included Hobie catamaran 15 minute sailing, paddle boards and kayaks. Night time entertainment was pretty much musicians. One played a violin or fiddle with a machine generated track of background songs and he was very, very good. We listened to him for hours. No ship can compete with a resort spanning hundreds of acres with massive pools, a fitness center, fire-pits and so much more. Hyatt Ziva is very well maintained and beautiful. Win for the resort especially with the reasonable cabanas. Honorable mention to Navigator's new resort style pool deck. For a ship it's the next best thing to a resort. Summary I'm really glad I tried an all inclusive resort because you hear so many people trying to draw comparisons. Departing Jamaica after boarding the plane and getting airborne I had some drink coupons so we enjoyed an airline Mimosa in a plastic cup. We both felt more from that half-sized mini-Mimosa then we did from the three in a row we had at breakfast one morning at the resort. Drinks on Royal Caribbean are a clear and strong winner. When we landed in Orlando for our connection we both clamored a real meal of airport food. It says a lot when Outback in an airport is a fantastic experience after three days of blah. Even with a plastic knife and fork. After clearing immigration we had to wait for our luggage before rejoining the rest of America in the terminal. We talked with some other people who stayed at different all inclusive resorts more expensive than ours (the word Secret is in the name). I had to ask. "How was the food?". Long pregnant pause before their response... "Well, it was just okay, but we really like the resort." Pretty much exactly how we felt. Just okay. Food on Royal Caribbean is a strong winner without bringing Royal specialty dining into the picture. Chair hogs. We learned on our first morning get out early and stake your claim. I grabbed a coffee and claimed loungers under umbrellas while my travel buddy worked out in the fitness center. Some of my message posts this week were from that very poolside lounger. WiFi was included but not much better than O3b internet on newer ships. It struggled with Pandora. Upcharge opportunities. At every turn there were offers to upgrade just about everything, at a cost. A frequent source of complaints from some cruisers comes from upcharge opportunities on a cruise. I've heard people frequently claim "I though it was all inclusive". At this five star all inclusive resort we were inundated with opportunities to upgrade our experience including photographers taking pictures available at an additional charge. We didn't purchase any of them, just as I frequently don't when cruising. I just had to mention the irony of cruisers comparing it to an all inclusive resort. Transportation to the resort from the airport was not included and amounted to $33 per person round trip plus tip. Not much different than airport to port and/or hotel costs for a cruise. No clear winner. Airfare is difficult to compare but I can say that airfare to Jamaica (with a stop in Florida each way) was more expensive for the same spring break week had our flights ended in Florida. How much? Somewhere between $100-$150 for two people. My overall conclusion is that a Royal Caribbean cruise is a winner for my needs and my culinary expectations, which aren't much as a non-foodie. A cruise is simply better value. Despite having gratuity included in the all inclusive resort pricing it was pretty clear that a few extra bucks here and there made a better experience and our bartenders kept our drinks full or replaced with a new one before we could say no. I've seen that some people don't understand where Royal is heading with the CocoCay investment. We pretty much hung out around that resort pool a lot. I get it now, more so than before. Oasis Lagoon at CocoCay is calling my name. Give me a 3 night cruise with Royal Caribbean food, drinks and a long day in CocoCay any day. I don't regret my Jamaica vacation. It's very beautiful there. However I'll never feel like I am missing out by taking a cruise. When my friends talk up the all inclusive resorts I'll just nod and smile knowing I have another Royal Caribbean cruise booked where I can enjoy the food, and drinks, and so much more. For what's it's worth, the Hyatt Ziva is available for cruise ship "resort for a day" from independent websites. A couple next to me at a bar mentioned "it's almost time to get back to the ship". We watched Adventure of the Seas sail past us just after sunset one night. The rate I saw for a day pass was $152 per person per day. Suddenly Cozumel resorts for a day options looked like incredible deals and the food and drinks I've had at places like Nachi Cocum for a third of that price make them look like incredible bargains.
  2. 17 points
    I'm going to Alaska, why push Perfect Day Coco Cay excursions on me in Alaska? I'm going to Hawaii. No where close to Coco Cay: I understand that nothing else but Perfect Day matters to Royal Caribbean, or is that "Perfect Day Royal Caribbean"? Next ship... "Perfect Day of the Seas"! I was looking forward to Ovation of the Seas but not sure how I'll feel sailing the newly named "Perfect Day Ovation" Will Michael Bayley rename himself to "Perfect Day Bayley"? Perhaps the Key should be renamed "Perfect Day Key". Should I get the Unlimited Dining Plan or wait for the "Perfect Day Unlimited Dining Plan"? Enough Perfect Day! Seriously thinking about cancelling my 3/4 night B2B on Navigator to Bahamas. Or should I say the "Perfect Day Bahamas". /rantover
  3. 16 points

    Oasis Transatlantic Cancelled

    My FCC has been issued for the Oasis cancellation. This is a day earlier than they stated in their email. My situation was complicated because I used a previous FCC to pay down this Oasis sailing. True to their word, they re-issued that original FCC and my total FCC from this Oasis cancelation is in fact 100% of the cruise fare. FCC calculations never include port fees and taxes so those are out of the equation as expected. They have applied this new FCC to a Panama Canal booking I had. That booking required a $450 deposit because of the 16 night length. With this Oasis FCC applied to that cruise they are refunding a portion of my Panama cruise deposit because I have now over paid it based on the combined $450 deposit and Oasis FCC. FCC cannot be used to pay taxes and port fees on another booking so for the price of taxes and port fees I am getting a free ocean view Panama canal cruise. This new cruise comes with $50 of OBC. In addition to that, my Oasis FCC exceeded the cruise fare portion of my Panama canal cruise so I am left with $156 in residual FCC that I can apply to yet another cruise. So while I did "lose" some OBC and other perks on my Oasis booking, I am thrilled with a full refund plus a Panama Canal cruise with $50 in OBC for the price of ports fees and taxes. Should I live blog that cruise? Hmmm.
  4. 15 points
    Ok, so I just got off allure on March 31 and was not happy the Chicago forecast predicted snow this week. That might have had something to do with it! Or....I was feeling guilty that my daughter was graduating from university of Illinois and I didn’t go to mom’s weekend! Or....I was still not 100 days til we head to Barcelona and board our first European cruise! Or it might have been the excitement of finally making platinum but I totally flipped and decided to give my daughter the choice of a trip for her graduation. And she picked a cruise! And in searching I realized that the 4 day cruise to Havana and key west was pretty much the same as the 5 day to Cozumel. Within 24 hours of coming up with this crazy idea, we booked it with my husband’s blessing...which was nice because he will be teaching summer school to pay for the other summer cruise. So in 66 days, my 22 year old, my 16 year old and I will be boarding majesty! With this cruise I will have been on 5 different classes and to 11 different ports. I never thought when I booked my first cruise in 2015 that I would take more cruises in 4 years than trips to Disney! My obsessions still war (someday Disney cruise) but I have to say that 4 cruises in a 13 month period will make all those long hours of babysitting worth it! And I must say, this blog might encourage my yolo book it tendencies a bit too much. I will need lots of advice on where to go in key west and Havana! Jane
  5. 15 points

    Oasis Crane Crash

    Spooky strange.... Please let me know when you have a dream about a middle-aged woman in Virginia winning the lottery. 😉😊
  6. 13 points

    Oasis Crane Crash

  7. 12 points

    Your funniest cruise story

    I have 2. 1st story I work for a national mens clothier. I go off and buy what I think is a great outfit for my husband. White/navy blue striped cotton sweater, and navy shorts. One a.m. we were at the pool and it was kind of chilly, but he knew it would warm up, so he wore this outfit. It is @ 10 a.m. and he is sleeping on a lounge chair next to me...snoring. Passengers are walking by and glaring. Thus, I nudge him so he will stop snoring. He stops snoring, but they are still walking by and mumbling under their breath. Huh? I don't get it, why are they looking at him this way. A few mins later a bar staff member walks up to me and asked if I needed a drink. I looked at him, looked at my husband and broke out in laughter. His outfit was almost identical, just different stripe design on the sweater. I am positive all those passengers thought he was part of the crew sleeping on the job! 2nd story We as a family (siblings and cousins) decided that we were going to surprise my Mom for her 80th with a cruise. She got wind and said she was not going. We (siblings/cousins) decided we were still going and celebrate my Mom's Bday without her. My brother is a practical joker. He went to Staples and had a 24x32 picture of my Mom printed up. In his mind, she was going on this cruise with us no matter what. He took it with him on the ship, but kept it a secret. Formal night rolls around and VOILA he pulls this picture out for the photos.. I can't recall the Captain's name, but he was European and needed staff to translate. There is my brother asking the Captain to take a picture of him holding this huge picture of my Mom. The captain could not wrap his head around he was being asked to do. I am pretty sure when he got back to the bridge, he told everyone, now he has seen it all for the photo ops. My brother also makes calendars for every family member as a xmas gift. Every month is a photo. That yr. her bday month was the picture of the Captain holding this picture of her
  8. 12 points

    Virtual stateroom tours

    I got trapped in the bathroom of the Grand Suite and couldn’t get out. While I was there I found this mildly amusing typo.
  9. 12 points
    Text message received just now with a status update: I'm happily surprised how quickly this has progressed. Once my bank account receives this direct deposit I'll update again.
  10. 12 points
    We made it into Fort Lauderdale last night and took an Uber XL to the hotel. Our suite is huge and much more than we needed for the one night stay. However, the views of the water and the walk we were able to take on the beach this morning made it worth it. Getting ready to leave for the port in about an hour. There is quite a bit of sea grass here, but the water is still beautiful. Everyone is so excited!
  11. 12 points
    Cruise day 1!!!! Finally here!!!! We arrived at the terminal with a great Uber driver who shared all sorts of stories from Cuba. I love getting here early...we arrived about 955. A porter led the car all the way in, grabbed our bags and we were in the doors. We literally were 5 mins check in and security with no lines whatsoever... Even at the picture! We are now at 1042 waiting to board! My family of course didn't load the apps yet so we did that...argh! We are ready to go!!! Starting to board!! Jane
  12. 11 points
    DJ Dan

    The Royal Suite!

    Hello Fellow Cruise Lovers out there. My wife and I went on a vacation of a lifetime and got a spectacular rate on the Liberty of the Seas Royal Suite #1640. Since we were with a group of our friends, we decided to go all around the ship and in our cabin and shot a music video. I hope you enjoy. If you have any questions about the experience or anything Royal Suite, I am happy to answer them. Cheers! YOLObookIT
  13. 11 points
    Barbara T

    Oasis Crane Crash

    Just reserved on Harmony in August. Ended up costing about $800 more than first cruise but still grateful got something to my liking. Just didn't want to book in summer when kids are out. The less kids the better since I have 4 of my own and it's an anniversary trip.....lol
  14. 10 points
    (Sorry For The Bad Photo Quantity. In Ten Days I Will Have Better Photos) The DJ Onboard (I Will Be DJing On The Radio All Ten Days) More Photos In Ten Days
  15. 10 points

    Johnny Rockets shakes...:(

    I reached out to the head of RC Food and Beverage. There is no change in the policy and milk shakes are still included, provided you pay the cover charge to dine there. Unfortunately, some crew members are misinformed. Best you can do is speak to a manager at JR about it.
  16. 10 points
    Day 5 (I think?) Bonaire! Such a beautiful day today. We docked about 8:30, and the captain gave us the all clear right at 9am We were the second ship in port today, the first was the old Monarch We decided to rent a couple scooters for the day and just tour the island on our own. Turned out to be a fantastic idea! The guy we rented from was awesome, picked us up at the port and took us to two brand new (in November) Yamaha scooters. These are the bigger models that you actually have to have a motorcycle endorsement on your license to ride. My wife and I are both endorsed, and decided to get our own, instead of riding tandem. We set off to see the sights! The beauty in these islands just amazes me the shape of the corals that have washed onshore and now line the shore are just incredible Saw some incredible kite surfing down at the south end We rode the whole south end of the island, and stopped back in Kralendijk to grab some lunch, and then headed north We stopped at 1000 steps and went down and got in the water with our snorkels. Wow! After the snorkeling, we were beat and decided to head back. After stopping for fuel (and putting in a whopping $2.48 between the two bikes) We got back to the rental shop about 3:30 and he took us back to the port where we walked around for a little bit and then headed back on the ship. We hadn’t had a chance to catch the Iskate show yet, so we headed down to studio B to take it in. I was a bit skeptical walking in, but then the show started and I was hooked! Tonight’s dinner was the Windjammer, and then up to the room. We are beat and want to get some good sleep before we hit Curaçao tomorrow!
  17. 9 points
  18. 9 points
    I wonder if they'd fit under the Duluth Harbor Lift Bridge? (I'm still pushing for cruises out of Minnesota/Wisconsin). #agirlcandream #ibelieveinme
  19. 9 points

    Peer Pressure

    As mom always said when we were young be careful who you hang out with. Hanging out on the messag boards with Matt “Yolo Book It” Hochberg, Mrs Star Class @Lovetocruise2002, and “Upgrade Math” @WAAAYTOOO has led us to our first Star Class booking. We decided to go from our Grand Suite Up to the Aqua Theatre 2 bedroom November 2020 on Oasis. We’ll be bringing around my brother in law, his wife and their 2 kids. They better not decide to discontinue the Royal Genie program between now and then. #YoloBookIt
  20. 9 points
    Solarium at night Nice being trusted with towels and not worrying about being possibility of being charge $25 for one...
  21. 9 points

    The Key - Questions!

    I received good news via email today! They made an additional Key available for me! I'm glad I won't have to watch my 13 year old eat lunch at Chops without me now 🤣 Hello, Hope this email finds you well, I am glad to inform we were able to obtain the additional spot that you requested; to book The Key service, please call us as soon as you can in order to pay for it please. Payment can only be made today. Regards, Kevin Velasquez Resolutions Specialist Royal Caribbean International®
  22. 9 points


    A car is a car. Four wheels, seats, seatbelts, an engine and turn signals. Yet even within the same consumer sector of the auto industry people develop clear likes, preferences and loyalties. Cruising is no different. The devil is in the details. Seems appropriate. For some people one detail is important. For another person that same detail is minor and not worth considering. Royal does have the best loyalty program. That is consistently acknowledged, but even then not by everyone. For some people a loyalty program is important. For someone else not so much. Is a ship a ship? Each has dining venues included and those that aren't. Each has interior cabins, ocean view, balconies and suites. Each has some sort of show in a theater. In that sense they are all the same. Yet they are different, sometimes in striking ways. A suite on Carnival offers a bigger room but very little if anything once you leave your cabin. A suite on NCL or Royal offers more than just a bigger cabin. Entertainment on ships like Oasis or Quantum class far exceed some other lines, but then again that is a personal opinion. For someone else the cast splashing around a pool or skating on ice is meh. I think everyone should sample different lines. That is the only way to know if the differences have meaning to you, your needs and your expectations. As cruise consumers we are fortunate to have such variety to sample from and find what floats our boat (ship). I sailed Carnival a bunch before leaving them. I tried the newest ships, the oldest and stuff in between. Yet I longed for something different that I can't quantify in words other than to say I wanted a little bit more. I sampled Royal for that very reason. I liked what I saw, even though it tends to be more expensive than Carnival. At least until my loyalty perks finally kicked in and leveled that playing field in Royal's favor. Absent of those perks, Carnival is cheaper. For some people price is the single most important factor. Food is food. A comedian is comedian, a show is a show. Save a few hundred bucks and they overlook details that I can't. I wanted more but that's me.
  23. 9 points

    How Many Booked Cruises?

    I was really trying not to cruise as much as last year. The darn things book themselves. I wake up in the morning and another one has been booked. The frickin' things are like rabbits.
  24. 9 points
    Hi everyone!! I can't even say how much I love the live blogs between cruises so I thought I would see least try andjot some things down this trip. I have never purchased voom before but we have the 2 dogs at home and I need to get updates as I have a new sitter and a very untrained 11 month old puppy!! I'm guessing that this will be a pretty uneventful blog since I plan on spending most of my time reading in my deck chair and using that deluxe drink pkg!! We have a ton of firsts on this trip... First time in Miami and labadee, first interior cabin and most of all first time on an oasis class ship. We have done vision, Voyager and freedom class but never the big ones. I'm excited for the neighborhoods, worried about deck chairs in the solarium and on the sky deck. Our group consists of my husband on his 3rd cruise, me (on my 5th) and our 16 year old daughter (her 4th). We are headed to St Maarten (I think this is the day I stay onboard and get the hopefully empty solarium), San Juan (we will walk to El Morro and just enjoy old Town for the brief time we are docked) and labadee (can't wait!!! My first Royal beach). We have the BOGO purchased and hope to get sabor night one and 150 night 2, but I'm worried about getting in so we shall see. We also have the izumi hibachi booked and the Brazilian steakhouse (leaving the vegetarian 16 year old to fend for herself that night). We leave out if O'Hare at 530am Saturday...ugh... and will be happily in the Miami heat by 10. We went relatively cheap and are staying at the Hampton inn and suites a couple blocks away from the beach. It will be a very low key day as work and the weather have been truly kicking me in the butt this winter. Feel free to ask me questions...I will try and keep up but this may definitely be more livish than live. I may try to Periscope too but with no 🐹 and no mike I'm nervous about even trying! And now I'm off to read the allure blog from last week!!! Jane
  25. 9 points

    Star Class - OVATION OF THE SEAS

    Sorry for being MIA the past few days......our trip back to Canada was a bot of a milk run. the acdc show we saw was in 270, but they played another night earlier in the cruise and I don't know if that was also on 270. Sea plea was busy but never felt overcrowded. My son was able to get on xbox once in a while. But there was no time limit for play, so the games are harder to get on to. The air hockey was open fairly regularly, tho I didn't make a big point in checking (sorry). i don't think anyone staying in star class should shun the MDR.....if the genie puts the bug in the wait staffs ears about your star class status, I feel pretty confident saying you will be treated like royalty there. Tho I'd advise against ordering the house wine......the Chardonnay was sickeningly sweet and immediately exchanged for a higher price point glass of wine. I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Luciano got us complimentary passes to the thermal spa......hubby requested, but didn't ask if it was complimentary.....but it wasn't on the bill, so guess Luciano made it happen. the concierge club is on deck 12 aft, which is a lovely spot, but also quite out of the way. I thought the breakfast and happy hour food up there has gone down a notch or three since we last sailed (2014). never got there for a proper happy hour, but stopped in, ravenous one late afternoon, after ordering pizza to the room that took close to half an hour to get to our room. Appies were standard fare......and the warm food was all deep fried. Disembarking was easy. We put luggage out the night before, took the rest of our stuff to CK where we ate breakfast. Luciano planned to meet us there at 9 (our requested time) to escort us off, so at 9 bells, off we went. We took the elevator with everyone else, got in the same immigration and customs line up as everyone else, but when Luciano handed us over to a staff from the terminal, she escorted us to a taxi line up that was very short, and waited with us til our bags were loaded. so, now we are home, in genie withdraw and jetlagged to the hilt. I do think star class was an amazing experience, one I'm sure we will repeat when we can. Money well spent. Thanks for following along, and if anyone has any questions in the future, I'm happy to answer them. Speaking of gonzo, with dream works apparently a thing of the past, how great would it be if RCI brought in the muppets as a major production?! happy sailing all!
  26. 9 points

    Oasis Crane Crash

    Fortunately Wonder Woman was in the neighborhood and flipped it back upright.
  27. 9 points

    Passports on Beach?

    We stuff it in our beach bag, below the beach barbies, used tissues and spare kids underwear. No intruder would dare dig into that bag.
  28. 9 points

    Lesson learned VOOM

    Lesson learned... Do not try to live blog on voom with one device and a 16 year old child. You might find that you type for a half hour, insert pics and then said 16 year old child will boot you off for the 90th time!!!!! We will be getting 2 devices when we go to Europe this summer on vision!!! Jane
  29. 9 points
    ohhh...I am almost to the point that I get a bottle of water....just 2 more cruises!...
  30. 9 points
    I will let others tackle your other questions, but I recently came across this pretty comprehensive chart on tipping so I thought I would share. There’s some instances that aren’t covered here, but it tackles the things most common to traveling. I’d imagine you don’t need to know customs for a haircut or a nail salon. The bathroom attendant one is rarely a thing anymore so don’t stress about that one. It refers to if you are in a very, very nice restaurant or hotel who would have someone who stands there and hands out towels or small toiletries. Even then, I’ve been told you only tip if you use any of the things that they hand out. I’m in my early 30s and I’ve only seen this a handful of times. I believe it used to be more common. Honestly, when in doubt do a quick google search “do you tip X” with X being the thing you are unsure about. Like “do you tip hotel check in” (no). I’ve spent my whole life here and have done that a couple of times. Our country can be very confusing when it comes to tips!!
  31. 8 points
    Long time reader, first time poster - thought nothing better to kick off participating on the message boards than a (sort-of) live blog! We've benefitted so much from other live blogs in planning our cruises, I thought I'd return the favor as much as I can - so if you have any questions, feel free to ask! It's been almost a week since we got off this wonderful adventure (pun intended)! One of our cruise rules as a couple is that we don't pay for Voom. One of our favorite things about cruising is the forced time to disconnect from those dreaded work emails. So this isn't live, but I will post day-by-day so it still feels live-ish. Cruising is me and my wife. Both of our 3rd cruises, 2nd together. Working our way up the C&A ladder slowly but surely! Pre-Embarkation Day Bought the drink package online during the Black Friday sales ($46pp + 18% gratuity). Third cruise, first time with the drink package. I didn't realize how much satisfaction would come from buying that first drink and seeing $0.00 on the bill. Worth it just for that feeling alone! We originally booked a Promenade View Stateroom, but price checking works! One night I was just checking the price of our cruise around 10pm before heading to bed, and saw that it would only call us $25 to switch from a promenade room to a guaranteed balcony. One quick-ish phone call to Royal later, and we had ourselves a balcony stateroom! We drove down (about 9 hours for us!) on Saturday. Stayed at the Best Western Ft. Lauderdale I-95 Inn. We've stayed here before to cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. Found a great rate, 15 minutes from Port Everglades. We at dinner at La Bamba's and spent the rest of the night watching the Final Four in the hotel. Had to get to sleep early for DAY 1! Embarkation Day We have the mantra of "first on the boat", which more accurately is "first gold C&A's on the boat!". We left the hotel at 9am. After hitting a little bit of traffic getting through port security, we dropped our luggage off at 9:30am (Terminal 29), parked at 9:35am in the Midpoint Garage, were in line for security by 9:50. Security opened at 10am, the doors to get on the boat opened at 10:30am, and we were on board with first drinks in hand by 10:45am! We called this a big success. We parked ourselves by the pool until around 12:30pm when we decided to go grab lunch from the Windjammer. My wife suddenly started feeling really light headed. It was enough of a scare that I tracked down a Windjammer staff member to call the nurse. Nurse was there within 5 minutes and did some quick tests right there in the Windjammer. We decided the best thing to do was for her to go get some rest (probably too much sun too quick) so the medical staff took her down in a wheelchair to our stateroom that had just opened at 1pm. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the wheelchair ride, which I think is quite comical looking back on it now that we know everything was ok! Wife still disagrees about the humor in it. I spent the rest of the afternoon bouncing back and forth between the pub and the balcony while the wife rested. Dinner that night was in the MDR, which was deck 3 for My Time Dining this week. Wife got the NY Strip and creme brulee. I had the spaghetti bolognese and chocolate cake. Something that you should know about us is that we are Royal MDR escargot fanatics. I mean, we dream about this stuff when we're not cruising. We had it every single night of the cruise. I eat the snails and my wife uses the bread from the basket to soak up the butter. We love it. Unfortunately we didn't decide to do this blog until a few days in, so no food pics until Day 3 or so. After dinner we spent some time listening to Perry Grant in the Schooner Bar. He was newer to the ship, and quite different from former Schooner Bar piano players I've seen, but quite hilarious with some of the extra talking bits he would do in between songs. He was a fan favorite the whole week - I don't think there was a single open seat every night he played in the Schooner Bar! That's all for now! Again, let me know if you have any questions! (Most of the rest of the posts will be heavy on the pictures, we just didn't take very many the first day)
  32. 8 points
    Just got done dining at Eden Restaurant. Was a very interesting meal to say the least, in a good way. Eden Restaurant is located on the lower level of Eden. Access is via set of stairs from deck 5. Note there is a wheelchair lift for those that might need it. When being seated you'll pass by the open kitchen and offered a welcome beverage. The menu is divided into five courses, each course having two options. After ordering you're brought a small little taster. Appetizers Raindrops Descending Frost First Entree Blue Velvet During the meal are small little acts performed by the Edenist --Note, the pictures showing the acts are not in any proper order or within the proper course timeline.-- Second Entree Tidal Pool Cove Another random performance Also if you want to have a perforer get a bit more closer and personal with you they can be summed. Just hold the summoning stone and make eye contact. Yes, that is a real candle Third Entree Life After Death (Sorry about not having a picture perfect plating. The beef had been a touch under cooked and was "attacked" before the shot could be taken.) Mangalitsa Yet another performance Dessert time Looking Glass Forbidden Fruit In addition you also get Eden Restaurant's rendition of The Globe Overall if you like Wonderland give Eden Restaurant a try. Keep in mind the menu does seem a bit seafood heavy. So if you're not a big fan, might want to pass. Now me personally, I could go for another few rounds of the Descending Frost and maybe another Cove. Side note: Pleasant having a dining package and not being presented a receipt at the end of the meal. I'm sure if one desired to leave extra gratuity they could request one. Overall, have yet to get one with any beverage package purchase. --Note: At ~10:30 EDT this post was edited enhanced/edited pictures--
  33. 8 points
    Quick visit up to The Retreat sundeck One unique thing is the Edge Villa guests have direct access to The Retreat sundeck from their room. Doors on the left side I'm going to assume lead to a locked door to the Villa. Also a bar up here, just didn't get the chance to take a picture.
  34. 8 points
    BTW, even if you find out in advance that your partner cannot cruise with you, do NOT cancel him/her from the reservation. Only bad things can happen if you do that. Just have that second person be a no-show.
  35. 8 points
    When I called Allianz from the airport as this was unfolding right after Southwest cancelled my flight the agent I spoke with suggested a claim for Trip Cancelation so that is how I proceeded. After submitting my claim I was presented a summary screen which clearly shows I filed for Trip Cancellation. Yet now the claim has been changed to require copies of records I don't have because I didn't fly to Cozumel based on Trip Interruption and Trip Delay. We'll see how this plays out once I can talk to the claims examiner tomorrow. This is exactly how I wanted this live blog to work. You get to see and feel what it is like working through a insurance claim, live as I work through this process and hopefully learn as I do.
  36. 8 points

    The Key

    Hi! Just got back yesterday from my Anthem cruise. We sailed from Port Liberty in Bayonne NJ... First...I purchased the Key because it made sense for me. I travel solo so I only had to pay for me. The price was $19.99 per day so considering that I would have purchased the Voom stream package anyway, it was a no-brainer. Upon arriving in Port Liberty...I was directed to a special security line and then the check in kiosk with the Key logo above it. The same security and check in as the upper loyalty levels. After checking in, I was seated in the second row along with the upper loyalty level folks...directly behind the passengers requiring assistance. My trip through the terminal went smooth, as all of the port employees knew about the Key and where to direct me. Upon boarding the ship, i went right to the theater and dropped off my carry-on. I was given a list describing the amenities that come with the Key and a wrist band that identified me as a Key member. Later, when I got to my cabin, I found my bag was stored out of sight in the closet which I thought was a nice touch. On the Anthem, lunch was available in Chops Grille or Jaime Oliver’s. I went to Chops and had a fantastic lunch. There were plenty of empty tables available and the service was typical Chops...perfect. When I received my SeaPass card at my cabin, the Key emblem was on the bottom and I removed my Key wrist band. There was a welcome envelope which contained the schedule with the Key access times for the Rock Climbing Wall, Flow Rider, Northstar and iFly...and my access code for the Voom WiFi. I also received information for disembarkation at Port Canaveral, Coco Cay and Nassau. On day two, I received a complimentary fruit plate in my cabin with a card from the Key program, welcoming me aboard. When I went to the shows (We Will Rock You and The Gift were great!) in the theater...I was directed to reserved Key seating in the third and fourth row center. Excellent seats! Manned by ship personnel to ensure only Key members could sit there. At ten minutes prior to the show, just as the stand by line was admitted, the rows were opened so that any available seats could be filled. In each port...we went to the lower level of the Music Hall and as soon as the ship was cleared by the local authorities, we disembarked. I was late getting to the Music Hall in Port Canaveral. When I got there, I was immediately escorted by a crew member holding up a paddle with the Key emblem on it, past the long line of passengers waiting to disembark, and directly to the security desk at the gangway. On the day before arriving back at Port Liberty, I received an envelope with the Key luggage tags and disembarkation information. This included a sit down breakfast in the MDR and then escort off the ship. After breakfast, we were to go to the Shore Excursion desk which was directly across from the gangway, and then right to the head of the line. I did not take advantage of this perk as I was with others who did not have the Key. We came down early for self walk-off and found ourselves near the head of the line. My conclusions...for me, the purchase of the Key made perfect sense, especially since I needed the WiFi anyway. Being solo, I did not have to pay for more than one as I would have had to do if there were others in my cabin. The VIP treatment at the pier, boarding, carry-on drop off, lunch, theater seating and disembarkation arrangements was very nice and convenient. Although I did not take advantage of the reserved times for the activities, I did see other Key members using them. I was impressed that every employee at Port Liberty...and every ship’s crew member I interacted with...was aware of the Key and the access that came with it. There was no confusion or misunderstanding. All in all it was a very impressive, pleasant and smooth experience and I will definitely do it again. Happy sailings!
  37. 8 points

    How Many Booked Cruises?

    9 for us at the moment from now till March 2021. My family KNOWS I am nuts 🙃
  38. 8 points

    Prayers for Oasis Crew

    Just was informed of the Tragic accident the Oasis was involved in at drydock. Our prayers are with all affected by this. I was scheduled to go out on Sunday.. Would have been my 4th time on this unbelievable Ship. May God watch over all.. JoCo
  39. 8 points

    Oasis Crane Crash

    Here is some experienced cruiser advice for anyone with a cruise on Oasis departing in the next oh.... 3 or 4 months. Sit down and make a written contingency list of substitute places, people, events, opportunities, or even cruises. Make it a written list and the longer the better. And under each one write how you would get to the Grand Canyon, visit Aunt Edna, kick back at a caribbean resort, spend some quality time in Montreal, etc. etc. Explore each of those possibilities what a room might cost per night, daily allowance for meals, airfare, car rental. Get yourself some ball park numbers for each of those proposals. Figure out some sort of ranking system as to the ones you like the best, the amount of hassle, and perhaps most importantly the potential cost; taking into account Royal might not immediately pony up the money you have already paid for your trip. Be prepared! Be Proactive! Do some of that legwork now. Waiting till you get a email from Royal saying your trip has been canceled and they are working closely with an insurance company to issue a full refund---ahhh, important time will have been lost to plug something else in. About 5,500 other passengers receiving the same email will be saying the same words "Well, just put me on another boat." Sorry Charlie, 5,500 people are not just going to get on another RCL ship next week. Please don't get mad and frustrated at Royal over this. This is a part of cruising we passengers all risk. At sometime in your cruising career your are going to encounter a hurricane, miss an important flight, have all your checked bags lost, a war being fought, all kinds of potential disappointing events that are going to step on your cruise buzz. We are all rolling the dice. Let this be a good lesson on how to make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons.
  40. 8 points

    Oasis Crane Crash

    Going to be a lot of damage topside as well. The Aqua theatre will be out of commission for some time.
  41. 8 points
    I'll go out on a limb here: For the most part, I've found that when you treat anyone with kindness and respect, the other party will do the same. I've found that to be especially true in the travel/tourism industry. I'll give you an example: Two weeks ago, my wife and I spent a wonderful week in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We wanted to have dinner at an oceanfront restaurant called 'Hemmingways' on our last night (Friday). Being that my cellphone was expensive there and we had a car, I stopped in on Tuesday to make a reservation. The nice lady said "sorry, we're booked to half Friday, and since it's supposed to rain Friday, and half of our seating is on the beach, we can't add any more reservations now." She went on to say, "come by Friday morning, and we'll see if anything has changed." I stopped in Friday morning at 10:00 only to be turned away without a reservation again by the same nice lady as there was still rain in the evening forecast. She was as pleasant as can be, and I was to her as well. She did say that "if you and your wife can be here at 5:45 this evening, I will try to help you". We arrived at 5:45 and it was not raining. She said "I was hoping you would come back, and I was able to save the best table on the beach for the two of you". We had a really good, albeit pricey, meal with a front row view of the sunset over Grace Bay Beach. Point is, kindness, respect, and working with people goes a long way. Talking down to people and issuing threats seldom works. Based upon the reaction of the OP to other posts in this thread, I can see what happened.
  42. 8 points
    Assuming is rarely productive. In every one of my Air2Sea emails it clearly states it. What happens when my flight is delayed or cancelled? Assured Arrival is our guarantee to assist our ChoiceAir® guests when they encounter any flight disruptions that occur through no fault of their own. We have a team of Emergency Travel Specialists standing by that proactively monitor flights and act as a liason between our ships and our guests. This team is available to assist you 24/7 @ 800-256-6649 (domestically) or 305-539-4107 (internationally). I travel for business often and stuff like this happens often. Frequently a change may result in a booked reservation that has to be ticketed at the airport. When I flew a lot that happened 5 to 6 times a year. Un-ticketed does not mean you are stranded. I understand you wanted someone in an RC uniform to solve your concerns. That is not a reasonable expectation. I think you'll find the same on your next cruise line. In the future print out those Air2Sea documents or whatever your next cruise line calls their program and bring them with you.
  43. 8 points
    In Labadee, my 19 yo, 15 yo and I participated in the Dragon Fire Flight Line. We have done Dragon's Breath Flight Line in the past and we were eager to try something new. The biggest difference between the two zip lines is the position going down. The Fire has one in a Superman prone position and in a seated position on the Breath line. While both were fun, we all agreed that the Dragon's Fire Flight Line was superior to the Dragon's Breath. We pre-booked this excursion in October for our March spring break on sale at $79 each. You can pay as much as $129 each. I find that the earlier booked, the more choices of times. The weight for this excursion if 75-275 lbs. If you are close to either end, I suggest you book earlier in the day as the wind may pick up in the afternoon and weight changes could occur. I also like booking early as we have time to spend the rest of the day at the beach. Minimum height is 48 inches and all participants need to wear strap sandals or shoes, shirt and shorts. I booked an 8:30 time and our ticket had a meeting time of 8:00. After signing a waiver, each of us was weighed and given a wristband. At 8:20, we boarded the truck to go up to the mountain. This is different than Dragon's Breath where you get your gear and head to the practice center. No practice on Fire! Up top, you notice the two different platforms. In a typical RC move, Fire is slightly longer than Breath however Fire only has 2 lines whereas Breath has 5. The line on the left is the Fire, on the right is the bridge to the Breath and you can see the fence for the uphill section of Dragon's Tail Coaster. Now we put on helmets and the gear. You are essentially hooked up to a mat (for a lack of better words) that starts at your upper chest and ends at your feet. Your arms are out and can move freely up, sideways or to your hips. The guide explains the 2 positions: Rocket with your arms at your hips or Superman arms out like at T. Landing position is to tuck your chin to your chest and cross arms. The guide will tell you which position based on your weight and break people into groups. Climb to the top of the platforms and here is the hardest part of the excursion: the trust fall! Logically, you know you are hooked up to the safety line as well as the back line but it is still scary to allow yourself to fall forward into position. Now your feet end are hooked up and you are actually quite comfortable. There is something about stepping off a platform that freaks me out and in this respect I prefer the Fire and Breath compared to land based zip lines as someone else starts you. No backing out once you are hooked up. All clear! 3-2-1 and I'm off flying like Superman over the trees and beautiful ocean. The landing was very smooth and smoother than the Breath line. There is a ladder to help get you down by unhooking your feet first and then your back. I was the last one down and done by 8:52. Overall it was an amazing ride! If you have done the Dragon's Breath before, try this as well! If you only choose one zipline, then I highly suggest the Fire!
  44. 8 points

    Formal night attire

    On our last cruise I left the tie behind, went suit but no tie and it made for good pictures which is what the wife is really worried about. I looked and felt comfortable so it worked.
  45. 8 points

    Formal night attire

    This reply is for MEN ONLY. Women, DO NOT read this post! Okay, now that we men are together by ourselves.... here's where I stand on formal night. Women like to dress up. Sorry but they do. Ask the wife what she's wearing. Ask her to suggest something for you. She is thinking not just what you or she will look like, she'll be thinking what you'll look like together, standing in that line or in front of the photographer. Of course you can suggest a slight downgrade "Honey the jacket is nice but I don't think the tie is necessary" might get you out of the tie, but if the wife wants to dress to the hilt.... sorry bud, you will too. Think about it... it's all really about making them happy, and if a night or two of pinched collars, tight shoes and sweating in a jacket will do it, it's really a small price to pay. When dinner's over suggest grabbing a drink to take back to the room. Then change out of that monkey suit as fast as you can and continue on with your plans for the night.
  46. 8 points

    Formal night attire

  47. 8 points
    The worst day of the cruise... The day is here, the day we leave our home on the seas... We pulled into Miami around 5am, and from what I could tell, we were cleared and self disembarkation started around 6:45am We headed up to Chop’s about 8:15 for our breakfast, it was delicious We decided not to use our Key benefit for disembarking because we wanted to leave with my cousins, they had the latest departure possible, so we wandered around the ship a bit. The next cruise is the Zumba chartered cruise, so the pool deck was oddly empty, and they were craning in a ton of equipment We were let off the ship about 9:20, and going down the gangway, we passed the crane When we got to the baggage area, our bags were already off the belt and waiting for us, assuming because of the Key Going through customs was super easy, nothing like I was expecting. We were out on the curb about 9:30. Driving away from the port, the last view of the ship, you can see the crane putting crates up on top We had decided to rent a car for the four of us to drive up to Ft Lauderdale, that ended up being quite an adventure with shuttles and Uber’s to finally get us a car at the Miami airport, and we had to try a couple of them before we found one to fit all of our baggage We stayed at a hotel for the evening, and now we are at the airport waiting for our plane. Thanks so much for following along, this has been fun, and I think it actually caused me to take more pictures and remember things more to be able to document them. I don’t know when our next cruise will be, but likely something from the west coast, burning a couple days flying back and forth just makes it hard. I am jealous of all you guys that can just hop on a long weekend cruise!!
  48. 8 points

    Symphony Review - WOW!

    Decor and Art Work One thing that I love about Symphony is the art work and decor. It's so fun exploring, and makes taking the stairs vs elevator that much more fun (except when you run into the stowaway piano player in the elevator). Every staircase has a different piece of art. We participated in an art scavenger hunt that was fun. 🙂 I've already posted the candy apple that is near Studio B and the big statue in the promenade. Some stair photos our kids joining in with this one The space between the two elevators (going from ground to the top) And of course the Solarium at night There is also interactive art work that is really neat sound art on the Boardwalk (big pink wig) and outside Schooner Bar top of Windjammer has chef's drawing pictures (both within the art) entrance to MDR level 5 capture you and puts you in the art art that changes to another picture with the use of the xray vision on your phone And not art, but need to mention as well about the musical stairs going up to the WIndjammer. All very cool fun touches!
  49. 8 points

    Star Class - OVATION OF THE SEAS

    The loft suite are completely and utterly aft. The nearest staircase or elevator is about 150 steps away. Be prepared, if you have this suite, to do a LOT of walking. Conceirge Club Lounge is 300+ steps and two long corridors away. Not complaining, lord knows I need the exercise. the club is large, quiet and also completely aft, hence the beautiful view. some photos of the long corridors you'll take to get here on deck 12 (or has my husband calls it "dick 12" in his best Aussie accent), some signage at the elevators, including an interactive sign. apologies for the poor photo quality......my husbands phone takes better photos but I can't download them right now for some reason. Will sort that out and post those later......
  50. 8 points

    Symphony Review - WOW!

    The Promenade We were recently on Mariner and Independence and so the first thing I noticed about the Promenade is how wide it is on Symphony. It's just so much bigger with space to walk (but of course it does get crowded). Here's a picture (and you can see them ready for the balloon drop for night 1) And of course, another big difference is the choice of car. I never understood the meaning or why they selected this, but it sure is unique. I'll give them that! This is quite cute. A view of the big statue in the middle (and a "few" people with it) Note: The balls behind, where it says "wish" are large crystal balls that go from the gound level, all up the top of the elevators (in open area). It's really beautiful, and various balls have positive sayings such as 'wish', 'believe', etc. The promenade houses Cafe Promenade for small snacks, Sorrentos, Starbucks for caffeine fix. It also has the Bionic Bar, which is really fun to watch and order drinks. One really fun piece of art work is at the bottom of the stairs when you go from the promenade down to deck 4 to theatre/Attic/Studio B Anyone hungry for a treat?
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