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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/29/2018 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    So how does the MSC Seaside stack up against Royal? Some background info: My family of 4 just returned from our weeklong spring break cruise on MSC Seaside. This is our 15th cruise, 8 with Royal and 6 with Disney. Our last 5 cruises in a row have all been Royal as Disney went from high priced to crazy priced. Additionally we really enjoy many aspects of Royal equal or better than Disney at this point. Every future booking that we currently have is on Royal so we are mostly drinking the Kool-Aid around here. I originally switched to this MSC sailing in place of an Oasis sailing as it was cheaper, a brand new ship, a better room, and better perks. We stayed in Room 11003 which was advertised pre-build as a 2 bedroom suite with a giant wrap around balcony. It actually ended up being a one bedroom suite with an above average but one sided balcony. Our travel agent was able to get us some OBC for this false advertising. Overall my thoughts below are mostly when comparing Seaside to Oasis class although I have been on Brilliance, Enchantment, and Indy. Let’s get to a bullet form of positives and negatives Here is a list of positives for Seaside as it compares to Royal: With our Aurea Package drinks and spa access is included on top of a cheaper room we easily saved $500 per person of additional cost from Royal. Doubles (and sometimes triples) drinks were no problem and sometimes encouraged by the bar staff. Mixed drinks were all from canned soda which is a better quality soda. Often they would give you the can with your drink. The cost of after hours kids club can be billed per night per kid and is less expensive than Royal. Their after hours pricing was $6 per hour, $10 for the night, and $50 for the week. The vibe of the adults only aft pool area was very cool. Overall I would rate the Seaside MDR slightly better than any of Royal’s that I’ve been in. Close but overall food quality I would score a bit better. PIZZA-No single item clearly dominates over Royal more than the nonstop fresh and quality New York style pizza. 50% of my weight gain on this cruise was directly from pizza I am sure of it. The kid’s water park was slightly better than any of the Royal splash pads. It was an enclosed and shaded area with 4 slides and a large splash pool and an additional toddler slide area. Room service was included with our Aurea package all day except from 11PM-5AM. A bowling alley, we bowled twice and really enjoyed this. Gelato and gelato ice cream bars are included with the Aurea package. The chocolate ice cream bar in particular was awesome. The main stairways are gorgeous in the atrium area. It is a beautiful ship for sure. Ocean views are everywhere. I told someone it reminded me of a Brilliance ship on crack. If Oasis class is called too inward facing this is certainly its foil. The value of our room size for what we paid was great; MSC is trying to buy some business of course since they are the new ship in town. The supporting team below the cruise director was very good. Tons of places to eat outside. All around the main buffet you could eat outside. The Jungle pool area was a hit for our family. It has a retractable roof that they usually had half closed. It created some warmth on the cooler days. It was similar to the Solarium but having it family friendly was a plus for us. Lots of shade too. The tipping was completely unexpected by the employees. I like to tip throughout my cruise on Royal but maybe because of the European origins of MSC, you couldn’t even add a tip to a bar item if you wanted to. From a cost perspective this is a positive but I actually like to tip so a mixed bag. Push buttons by your room entrance door that would put a color above your door so your cabin steward knew if you wanted privacy or wanted your room serviced. Plus they knew if you were in the room even if you didn’t ask for privacy since your room card had to be in the holder by the door. Way more roaming drink servers all around the ship than Royal. They did a better job with seating the theatre each night. Attendants would check every row and fill every seat and escort the last 50-100 people to the last seats available. Splitting parties as necessary. Very nice sports bar. The selection of the buffets was less than Royal but I thought the flow and food quality was slightly higher. The talk about tons of opera is completely unfounded. Across the 7 shows I doubt there was more than 10 minutes. There is some music from Phantom of the Opera and other musicals but Royal does entire productions so I think that’s a non-issue. The ocean views from many of the bars in the atrium were beautiful. Here is a list of negatives as it relates mostly to Royal: No kids club on day one, major bummer, it was only open for family time. As many have mentioned, it did have a faint sewage smell when we first entered. I don’t know if we just got used to it or if it improved throughout the week. The only place I continued to smell it all week was in the shower before I turned on the water. No Michelob Ultra on the ship, my wife’s drink of choice! My drink of choice Jack Daniels was not on the Aurea package. For $80 a person for the adults we both upgraded to the deluxe package so that I could have my drink of choice. Royal has Gentleman Jack as well which they don’t have. One plus to this was that the upgrade to deluxe gave us unlimited access to our room’s mini bar. It was stocked with 4 different beers, all of your major sodas, a few weird European juices, water, Pringles, a few hard liquors, and some other snacks. You would leave a form daily and your room attendant would reload it with no additional charge. We tried morning room service twice and it was late and very limited in selection. There was a special breakfast sandwich that you could pay $2 for but both times we ordered it they didn’t have it. One time our delivery guy went back and got us a few eggs Benedict instead which was nice of him. Overall though not much to get for breakfast by room service. The entertainment was good but not as good as Royal’s on Oasis class. They had a different 30 minute show every night. We went to all 7 shows so it was good but still what the Oasis ships offer can’t be matched at sea. The ceilings felt lower than some of the newer Royal ships in some areas. I have no data to back this up but being a tall guy I felt closer to the ceiling at times than on newer Royal ships. No hand washing was required for people that walked into the buffet. This was shocking after seeing Disney and Royal really push this. They had nice soap and water hand washing stations and sanitizer always available but many people just walked on by and there were no employees there to compel them to do the right thing. The service was good but as a whole I think I would rate it slightly lower than Royal’s. Not a single bar of soap anywhere, just pump stations in the showers and at the sink. Their towel policy was bizarre in that you could only trade them out at one spot on the whole ship. The main expectation was that they are kept and replenished in your room by your attendant. If you lose one supposedly it’s a $20 charge. Less vegan options at the buffets than with Royal. Essentially no arcade whatsoever. There were only 2 racing games and 1 air hockey table in the entire ship. Our kids love the arcade on Royal. Internet speed was good and 6 gigs to share for 4 people for $130 wasn’t a bad price but the no-worry nature of Voom can’t be beat. There are significantly less activities than on most Royal ships, especially on seas days. Our balcony wall was white so you couldn’t see anything from the chairs but white. The splash pad hours were poor. Closed the first day (and we had our suits) and on other days it closed pretty early. Water was everywhere in the kids pool area. No employees were using squeegees to keep it relatively dry. It made a shocking difference on a busy day and I think a few lawsuits and they will change this. Not enough covered hot tubs. Also the main pool area was totally devoid of shade for the most part. Embarkation was good but the first hour on the ship was very crowded and disorganized. We waited in places we didn’t need to wait because staff wasn’t directing well. No bar service in the theatre. Not enough room to eat breakfast outside on the balcony for the level room we had. Vegans don’t get offered dessert at dinner. No alcohol allowed near the pools or hot tubs. You can’t leave your drink behind the hot tub and sip it; you had to leave it by your chair. You could not get the same servers every day or the same table. In our dining room it was first come first serve. If we weren’t early we couldn’t get the server and table we wanted. Reservations are needed for the late night kids club (we never tested this room so not sure if it held up). Overall the kids clubs were nice but things appeared much more chaotic and we didn’t feel comfortable with our kids there to the same degree that we do on Royal and Disney. AdventureOcean staff really is great. The bowling is timed with no warning so we got shut out of our tenth frame. Kids weren’t allowed in the spa to tour even on the first day. Kids Club is closed and the Spa doesn’t allow kids, someone at MSC hasn’t connected the dots there. Let the families check it out the first day like they do on Royal. Essentially you can not use the spa on the first day if you have kids. While the pizza is amazing, they stop making it at midnight even though the buffet is open until 2am. Room service is the only way to get food for the really late hours when you shouldn’t be up anyway. Overall what is our final evaluation? I would say that we had a great time on this cruise. All in all I don’t think the Seaside or the American MSC experience is as good as the Royal experience but it’s not a landslide victory. I think if pricing or benefits drop the total cost of a Seaside cruise a fair amount lower than a cruise on one of Royal’s newer ships that it is worth checking out. We would sail on Seaside again but we didn’t rebook onboard and I am not looking at their website on a regular basis like Royals! If you fear the Carnival clientele I can say that the Seaside guests were similar to what I’d see on Royal except that there were many more foreigners as you would expect. I also saw numerous Disney Castaway Club Lanyards as previously loyal Disney cruisers look for a more reasonably priced cruise vacation. I think in the end Seaside is a great thing because it puts pressure on the big 3 and Disney in the Florida market. When there is competition and all of these companies keep trying to one up each other ultimately the consumer wins. I think the new sports bar on Symphony is a response to the sports bar on MSC Seaside and other ships as Royal has been lacking in that arena. Royal wouldn’t be dropping wheel barrels of money into Coco Cay if it didn’t feel the need to stay ahead of the competition. So if you can live with 7 days on a beautiful ship where you don’t earn any crown and anchor points this could be a ship for you to try if the stars align. I also think if you are a bigger ship person you might prefer this over many of the older Royal ships. However overall if you are a loyal to Royal type I don’t think it will convert you but you’ll enjoy the experience and probably enjoy jotting down all of the different nuances between the brands as my family did. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer them and thanks for reading if you made it this far!
  2. 5 points
    @ShakeDownCruise we were on the March 10th sailing. We too also decided to try Seaside because of the pricing. We enjoyed our trip, but still prefer RC and Celebrity. Here are our takes on it: Positives: Yacht Club was great, although we hardly saw our butler (but she did escort us when disembarking past the “regular” line to our own line where we were first to get off 😊). Having our own deck & buffet & lounge away from the crowds. Never had to look for a lounger. The pool was cold and the whirlpool was more like bath water LOL. We had breakfast out on deck 19 in the morning and lunch there in the afternoon. On Friday they had grilled lobster! Being escorted on and off when in port, especially in Grand Cayman (a YC perk). A butler brought us right to the gangway and we were on the first tender. On the way back, there was a HUGE line down the street. We saw a butler with a sign and just showed him our card. He brought us and others past everyone and right to the tender. Because we were black card holders (we did the status match) we received a free dinner in one of the specialty restaurants. We went to Butcher’s Block (delicious). We also chose to go to the French restaurant which was $23 US PP and it was fantastic (they had escargots, French onion soup, steak, crème brulee). Having access to the thermal spa area was a plus. Large area, didn’t feel crowded – they also have a room with “snow” to cool off. Mom really enjoyed getting gelato almost every afternoon at Venchi. We also enjoyed their chocolate martinis and bought some of their chocolate to take home for souvenirs. The room was wonderful and the bathroom was gigantic for a cruise ship bathroom . Cons: We didn’t feel like there were good choices/options in the Yacht Club dining room and a couple of nights we didn’t care for our meals. But the service was good and it was never crowded nor did we ever have to wait when we went around 6:30 pm. My cousin and her hubby had the Aurea experience and were on deck 9 with the extended balcony (9207). I don’t recommend this room. People on the decks above can look down on you and it was also above an outdoor restaurant. They did enjoy having the 2 massages with their packages and access to the thermal spa area. They said that the main dining room was a little chaotic. I know that it often took 2 hours for them to eat and they went at 6:30 pm (she said some kids were crying) -long waits in between courses. A friend was also on the ship and they had 8:30 dining and it also took 2 hours to eat. The entertainment was no where near what we are used to on Royal. We only went to one show because it wasn’t very good☹. The muster drill was chaotic. We met in the casino. There were a few workers demonstrating how to put on a lifejacket and instructions were over the loudspeaker. People were still talking, drinking, not paying attention. HUGE line up for self disembarkation. It took my friend an hour to get off.
  3. 4 points
  4. 4 points
    Well said Mark. I think all of us are as excited as Joe and his family! We are just so happy for them and can't wait to hear more!
  5. 4 points
    Hey ..... Am I the only one that feels like we're all on this cruise with Joe and his family? We all know the thrill of the anticipation of an upcoming cruise...... and being the first cruise, it is ramped up a bit .... But in Joe's case, this is an incredibly unique case in which he already has an entire family (us) going along with him for the ride. Joe ..... Thank You for allowing us to be a part of your vacation. Mark
  6. 4 points
    Well, the good thing is that because my Mom's plans are the reason we are changing the date...she paid for the change fee AND the difference in the price of the cruise. I offered to pay my 1/2 but she wouldn't hear of it. Can't wait to spend this week with my amazing Mom.
  7. 3 points

    Playmakers Menu

    I hope that such late night menu will be cheaper ... I do hope for better prices. to protest the price I am planning to take some sandwiches from the cafe and take it to the play maker in two weeks from now
  8. 3 points
    YES ! I do feel like I'm there with them ! How cool is this ?? I'm as excited as he is ! Well....maybe not quite AS excited...but very excited. 2 more days ? Can we make it ?
  9. 3 points

    I just can't escape Matt's podcast!

    Everything is going just as I planned
  10. 3 points

    Voom Internet Package

    Welcome to the forum! Voom is unlimited, so there is no difference between using an iPad or phone. Your phone cellular data needs to be turned off though or you could accidentally connect to [email protected], which is insanely priced for data. Put it in airplane mode and then turn wifi back on. Yes, you can connect as many devices as you want, but only one at a time.
  11. 3 points
    Here is the $25 birthday cake...choice of chocolate or vanilla and we chose chocolate. I purchased it 2 nights ago at guest services and there was a note in my reservation. The picture doesn’t do the cake justice. It was quite good but of course tonight’s dessert was the chocolate molten cake. The outside is a hard edible chocolate, the ‘beans’ are white chocolate chips. The only frosting was the green stuff. Cake was very moist and much better than the Royal Chocolate Cake but not better than the molten cake. The cake was brought out after dessert. That was fine as I wanted it to be a surprise so couldn’t tell people not to order dessert. Half of the cake was left so our waiter saved it for tomorrow night. Really rocking tonight. Dramamine taken by 3 of us. Captain says storm in North Atlantic affecting our waves here. We were late leaving SanJuan due to miscommunication...Capt Johnny was not happy. We’ll be arriving late to Labadee tomorrow...Royal iq showed the change to our zip line time.
  12. 3 points
    So we left home right at 11:30 as planned and headed out to EWR. And I took the long way there, instead of the more direct route, adding 30 minutes to our trip. By the time we found the long-term parking lot and took the shuttle to the terminal, it was already 1:10. Our flight was scheduled to board at 2, and we still had to get our checked luggage tagged and stowed, and then get through security! Lesson learned: Even when you think you know the way there, double check to be sure! Especially if you’re not using GPS!! We made it to the terminal at 1:55. We only had time to grab some sandwiches and chips from the grab-n-go place next to the terminal, then quickly scarf them down. The only luck here was that the plane was running about 15 minutes behind. After that, things went much more smoothly. Even though our flight took off 15 minutes late, we actually arrived in Fort Lauderdale 20 minutes early! We were all shocked, but happy as well. After grabbing our luggage, we needed a few minutes to find the ride sharing pickup area, not being familiar with the terminal. I hailed a Lyft and we were quickly at the hotel; definitely can recommend Lyft Plus for the hotel haul with luggage, and will use them again to get to the port The hotel is absolutely gorgeous! I’ll post more about it tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to better look around and get some pics, but it is worth every penny! Once we were settled in, we took @Lovetocruise2002‘s suggestion and went to La Bamba for dinner. The food was very good, but we were all so hungry I forgot to take any photos of anything except my Perfect Margarita (which lived up to its name!) Here’s a pic of the place from our table: After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We’re pretty wiped out and ready to call it a night.
  13. 3 points

    Newbie questions about Club Royale

    This statement shows your Net Win/(Loss) for play while using your SeaPass card. All winnings, including W2Gs (hand-paid jackpots) and all losses, are reflected in the Total Win/(Loss) for the period requested. A positive number indicates that winnings are greater than losses, where as a negative number () reflects losses are greater than winnings
  14. 3 points
    Sorry, this immediately came to mind LMAO!
  15. 2 points
    452 days have passed since I booked. Now it's just 6 days away! I'm single digit dancin'! I'm super excited, and I just can't hide it! No more waiting, no more holding back, it's time to get this ball rolling! This will be my live(ish) blog for our long-awaited first-ever cruise. My family and I will be on Freedom of the Seas, sailing out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. It's an Eastern Caribbean itinerary with four sea days and four port days, and we have a fair bit planned on those port days. BUT, that's not all we're doing! We're flying down to Fort Lauderdale 3 days early, as it saved us a ton on the airfare, so we'll be taking in the sights and activities around Fort Lauderdale for a couple of days before we board. AND we're staying one extra day in Fort Lauderdale after disembarkation, to get in one more beach day (and maybe an air boat ride) before flying back home. Here's the full cruise itinerary, plus what we have planned each day: March 31 - Embarkation from Port Everglades at 5:30 PM April 1 - Sea Day April 2 - Sea Day I'm doing Chef's Table this day April 3 - St. Kitts, 9 AM to 6 PM Dolphin push/pull/swim excursion in the AM Wandering around town in the PM, after we shower and have lunch on the ship April 4 - St. Maarten, 7 AM to 5 PM This is the big big day; we're doing an all-day beach and snorkeling tour around the island with Soualiga Destinations I'll be curious to see how the snorkeling is after the hurricane roared through there last year; haven't really heard much about that on the other recent live blogs to St. Maarten, so I will be sure to report back April 5 - Old San Juan, PR, 7 AM to 2 PM We're meeting up with a friend my older daughter met last summer, who lives in Old San Juan We plan to visit El Morro, and around that my daughter's friend said she'll show us some other interesting places, as well as the best places to eat; this might mean we'll miss a stop at Barrachinos as originally planned, but who am I to ignore the advice of someone who's lived there her whole life? April 6 - Labadee, 9 AM to 5 PM Wife and kids are doing the zip line in the morning All of us are doing the alpine coaster, as I got all-day passes for a really good sale price The rest of our time we'll be chilling in an over-the-water cabana! I heard @Matt's recommendation and rave reviews on his podcast, and I said, "This is my splurge item this trip!" April 7 - Sea Day April 8 - Return to FLL Why this itinerary? We needed a cruise that timed well with the girls' Spring Break week, but wanted one that filled up as much of that time as possible and also gave a good mix of port days and sea days. Our only other options were 7-day trips on Harmony or Allure that only gave us 3 ports, or a 10-day on Navigator to the Southern Caribbean that we'd have loved to take, but ran over the time we had (and before we knew we'd want to fly down early anyway). So this wound up being our "Goldilocks" cruise, especially with Freedom being liked by so many as a first-time cruisers' ship. We also wanted something kind of big for a first-time cruise, because we're celebrating 3 simultaneous milestones that will all happen in May / June of this year: Our 20th wedding anniversary Our older daughter graduating high school Our younger daughter wrapping up middle school Our TA actually has "20th anniversary" down on the reservation for the room my wife and I are in, and "High School Graduation" for the girls' room; I'll be curious to see if there are any decorations in either room when we arrive, or if the staff does anything out of the ordinary. Not expecting it, but ever-hopeful. Our Cabins We booked two D3 Superior Balcony rooms on deck 8, forward. The rooms are connecting, so my wife and I were able to book in one room together and the girls are in the other room. This was after looking at the prices of suites and realizing that we got more space and saved a ton of money going the two-balcony route. We plan to get the divider opened up as soon as possible, so even though we won't have a suite, we'll at least have a suite-size balcony! The rooms included $100 OBC each, we have no idea what we'll spend that on at this point. The girls are thinking of putting theirs into a purchase at the salon or maybe to get some on-ship merchandise. Drink / Dining / Other Packages I've purchased the Deluxe package for myself, and I'm planning to at least try and keep a running tally of everything I get to see if it works out. I think it will, but time will tell. The rest of the family has the Refreshment Package. Since it's our first cruise, we chose not to plan on any specialty dining and just use the MDR for all dinners. Not sure yet if we'll use the MDR for breakfast, at least on sea days, or go to the Wind jah-mehr for all the morning food. WJ will likely be our go-to for lunch, at least when we're not in port. Depending on whether any lunch specials are offered, we might try Giovanni's for lunch one day. For sure I'll be visiting Sabor, even if only for guac and margaritas. I did get the 4-device VOOM Surf and Stream package on a fairly good sale in the Cruise Planner. We mostly plan to use it for communicating with each other through iMessage and Google Hangouts (my wife is the lone Android user), and of course I'll be taking advantage of it to post updates here as I'm able. Updating this blog I'm only bringing my phone with me, no laptop since the one I have is employer-issued and I'm not working on this trip. I'll post updates as I'm able to each day, but they may be on the shorter side since typing on the phone is a lot slower than I can manage on a proper keyboard. So looking forward to this!
  16. 2 points

    texting while in Airplane mode???

    This is why i am not purchasing wifi package for myself, peace and quiet for 12 days , however my wife has demanded wifi pack so she can keep in contact with kids back home as our youngest is making us grandparents for the 1st time before we head away on cruise.
  17. 2 points

    Newbie questions about Club Royale

    Actually, that's not what I was saying in my second paragraph. What you describe is, indeed, how you earn points. If you've wagered $24,000 through the machine (factoring in replaying of winnings), you'll have earned 4,800 points ($5/point) which qualifies you to receive a certificate for a balcony or $1000 discount. This part is unchanged from my previous expectation. What I was talking about was the existence of a second metric that had been unknown to us. This metric seems to be that if you lose $X, you may also qualify for a certificate. I don't know what $X is, but I do know that I had ~2,500 points, and yet I qualified for a balcony certificate due to this other metric. This goes to the frustration that those of us who have been with Club Royale for a while have been expressing. In the "old days", the system wasn't fancy, but you generally knew what you were getting (not counting the issue of opaque points accrual on table games). For slot players, you'd earn a certain number of points. After that cruise, you could call Club Royale and get some cash value for those points (significantly more than the $20/1,000 points they offer in slot free play now) as a "cash rebate" for your next cruise. During your next cruise, you'd go to the casino cashier and they'd simply hand you money. That's all there was to the program, but at least we understood it.
  18. 2 points

    Playmakers Menu

    good idea , I love Dijon Mustard , it will also give a good option to give him a tip , he/she should not be blame for RC pricing I promise to report the reaction in the live blog.
  19. 2 points
    Rose City Cruiser

    Playmakers Menu

    Ask the wait staff if they have Dijon mustard for the sandwich
  20. 2 points
    Wow, Joe, are the expectations ever set high for you! I propose you film that first entrance for all of us to see!!! Only kidding, seriously, I am so excited for you too! Savour every moment!
  21. 2 points
    T-minus 2 days to embarkation... Today in Fort Lauderdale is gray, windy, and a little cool. Plus, there’s a riptide warning until Thursday. No beach for us today, and even the hotel pool is unlikely since it’s outdoors. We’ve decided to just make today a day to relax and hang out at the hotel. Which means @Lovetocruise2002 starts getting some pics of the place! Main lobby Atrium where the complementary breakfast is served While it only says “omelets” here, I found you can get fresh eggs cooked any way except scrambled (since they already have a platter for scrambled eggs in the hot buffet line). Many people were ordering eggs over easy or sunny side up. In addition to the fresh egg / omelet station, they have fresh grits and oatmeal, cereals, yogurts, assorted pastries (muffins, mini danishes) and breads, a juice station (one of those dispenser types, which my wife said came out really watered down), and a coffee dispenser that actually served good coffee (same flavor profile as a blonde-roast Starbucks). It’s really a step up from most complementary breakfasts and another element that makes you feel you’re getting your money’s worth for the higher price. Next is “The E Spot”, the hotel’s bar and restaurant. It’s right next to the atrium area and from a quick glance didn’t appear to use separate seating for those having a meal. To take advantage of the free happy hour, you need to show your room card. Drinks appear to be anything you want, as I saw multiple mixers and spirits getting poured along with bottles of beer and fountain sodas. There’s probably some limit on it, but the line was long and I didn’t want to hold it up asking a million questions of the poor bar lady. I’ll try and get a pic of the menu later today; I got a glance yesterday, and it’s typical high pricing for a hotel restaurant. E.g., $20 for a chicken quesadilla. I’d say just go the regular restaurants like La Bamba that are in easy walking distance. Last up is the hotel’s outdoor pool, which includes a whirlpool tub at the far end and a nice little waterfall.
  22. 2 points

    Playmakers Menu

    I do not have problem with specialty restaurants , we are even eat in one or two every cruise. but I feel I have good alternative with the complimentary options if its the WJ the MDR and sometimes park cafe. In this case we are talking about eating after 10 PM which , lets face it , you do not have many good options (if at all) unless plastic taste Pizza or cold sandwiches (which I like by the way) is enough for you. So maybe a good solution would be to have the regular menu during the day as a special restaurant , who know maybe there Hamburger will be so good that I Will even try it, during the night it would be nice if they offer special night menu which will offer cheaper deals
  23. 2 points

    Cruise Planner Question

    You are not suppose to share a drink package. That is one of the factors that likely lead to the new rule of each adult in the same cabin having to purchase an alcoholic one (if you decide to purchase). Actually, if you are caught sharing, they can (so I have heard) take away your package. Here is a blog by @Matt to the explain the packages: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/royal-caribbean-beverage-package-costs-info-tips Look for sales in the cruise planner. That will happen closer to your sail date. Following the postings here too as people and @Matt usually post it when there is a sale going on. But again, it varies by ship and sailing.
  24. 2 points
    @ShakeDownCruise and @bellemiche thank you so much for such a comprehensive comparison. I know that many here, myself included, have been looking for a true comparison from experienced RC cruisers. Many "good" reviews that I have read so far of the Seaside are either from first time cruisers or those coming from carnival (sorry, not trying to offend anyone but I have to read those with a grain of salt). Anyway, this feedback is much appreciated as I too am trying out YC on the Seaside come July. I'm pretty loyal to royal as well but like @ShakeDownCruise mentioned, the price was less than a JS on Harmony, I like newer ships, and Hubby did not want to sail Harmony again after just doing it last summer, so that left Seaside. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm looking forward to experiencing it myself but my next few cruises after July are also still with RC. I have a feeling it still won't compare with RC. While on board Anthem, a good friend was reading my blog while on the Seaside and I hear that CK food still rocks the Seaside 😉 And well, I love to eat and sleep on a cruise so that's a huge deal for me lol!
  25. 2 points
    San Juan Kids slept in and I woke them at 8:15. Breakfast in Mini Bites again. Off the ship and we took a taxi to El Morro. The trolley was supposed to be running but never saw it. Taxi cost $16 for 7 of us. The taxi told us it was walkable but I had a feeling my MIL would struggle going uphill to the fort. Here are a few pics of the fort and the stairs inside the fort. Birthday boy wanted hamburgers (same birthday dinner request since he was 3 and only day of the year I’ll eat a burger) so we headed straight to Johnny Rockets. I also had extra OBC to use since DH cancelled his zip line tomorrow. Little brother made sure to tell the waiter it was his birthday so they brought him a sundae and sang Happy Birthday to him. Fine Line started while eating lunch. My 2 younger ones wanted to see show and they have the best view in the theater plus it was shaded. 2nd formal night and lobster tonight.
  26. 2 points
  27. 1 point

    texting while in Airplane mode???

    WiFi calling, on all carriers I'm aware of, also allows for SMS over WiFi. I have mentioned before though that while pricey, for very occasional use, texting over Cellular-at-Sea isn't terrible if you're not going to be purchasing a data package - perhaps that was the confusion?
  28. 1 point
    Because we'd like to send you to college some day. As has been said on the podcast, the smaller ships and/or weekend cruises are more appropriate for veteran cruisers looking for a quick getaway or to scratch the cruise itch. I really enjoyed our past Enchantment cruise, but for us, that was a relax by the pool and watch the sea go by getaway cruise.
  29. 1 point
    Sorry, this is the first thing that came to mind when I saw @DocLC's post...couldn't resist...
  30. 1 point
    Enjoying reading on your family's journey so far! We are chasing that first "high" through this live blog!
  31. 1 point
    A few stray observations about the hotel: - All rooms, from second floor to 14th, open to a view of the central atrium; no one gets a plain hallway, although the few right across from the elevator doors don’t get to enjoy the view without moving a little to the side. - While none of the rooms have what you could call “a view” outside the balcony window, our room at the front of the hotel (407) has a definite flaw: The flood lights on top of the main entry’s roof that illuminate the hotel sign shine right into our window. It’s blindingly bright and makes seeing outside at night impossible. At least it’s fully blocked when the curtains are drawn, so we can sleep - This is clearly a frequent destination for cruisers. We ran into a gent on the elevator this morning who instantly asked us, “So where are you cruising to?” We laughed, told him, and when we asked where he was going he replied that he’s been living there for the last three weeks while his house is getting some renovations done, and that practically everyone he’s met and asked what brought them there said they were on a cruise. - The WiFi here is being upgraded, and it’s causing some annoying connectivity issues; random dropouts, failures connecting using either the last name and room number that the login form requests or the promo code we were told to try, and some pretty variable signal strength. - They are also upgrading the room locks. These rooms use cards that you hold up to a sensor on the door, rather than sliding into a slot. Sort of like a Disney MagicBand or Royal WowBand, just not worn. I’ve found the cards (or maybe the sensors) to be hit or miss, and it takes between one and three tries to get it to work. I think it’s this last part that’s being addressed with the upgrade, as the notice in the elevator indicated workers who came to your room would just just need to futz with the locks for a few moments and be done.
  32. 1 point

    Is this new?

    Not new but no need to respond to the question if your base currency is U.S. dollars
  33. 1 point

    Safe Travels Everyone!

    I’d like to wish a safe travel to everyone converging towards Fort Lauderdale today and tomorrow to catch a ride on the Serenade of the Seas! Looking forward to meeting new friends!
  34. 1 point
    Awwww, thank you so much. You just made my day!
  35. 1 point

    Harmony of the Seas Live 3/24 - 3/31/18

    I did not see any guided tours but to be honest I wasn’t really looking. Prior to our cruise I contacted a private guide on TripAdvisor but they told me they couldn’t give any tours inside the forts. Inside the fort, there were no obvious tours except a group of school kids on a field trip and that wasn’t guided either. The only guided tour I saw was after we left the fort. The tour stopped out the outskirts of the fort, took pictures and started walking back to town.
  36. 1 point

    Harmony of the Seas Live 3/24 - 3/31/18

    I haven’t seen one yet
  37. 1 point

    The New "Seamless" Website

    Great news..Royal Caribbean just called while I was away..lol and I just happened to be on the phone with the wife at the time...she answered the phone and was told that all our info had been corrected on the website..so I logged in to check...I'm in shock! Everything is correct. 😳
  38. 1 point
    Stunning, to say the least! I don't think it would be possible to find a more attractive family for modeling! Who could not be jealous of all your magnificent eyes?!
  39. 1 point
    Thank you so much. I had to schedule it and I scheduled on day 1 of the cruise with the ship photographer. He brought lights out on the deck and we timed it perfectly at sunset. I can't remember if he charged me a fee or not for the session. I want to say he did? This was 2 years ago so I don't recall. I do remember that I bought the CD from him with the digital files on it. I didn't have any of the pics printed there. He really REALLY didn't want to do it at all and was pushing for a black and white session in the studio. He kept saying it was too windy...and it was very very windy but that added a great element to the pics in my opinion. And the sunset background just made the pictures so special too.
  40. 1 point
    it's great that you can spend time together. My wife and i will be on Liberty in July with our 11 year old Grandson, he's cruised before, but only once and it was on Disney, so this will be an experience for him and I'm sure me as well. We got the idea last year on Liberty, we were sitting next to a women and a 10ish year old little girl, so my wife started up a conversation, turns out this Grand Mother has taken and will continue to take each one of her Grand children on what she called their double digit birthday cruise, so each time one of them hits 10, they get a cruise with her, I think she said her husband normally goes but that he couldn't on this one. So my wife and i decided to do the same thing, it just so happens that our oldest Grandson was already 11, it was actually harder to convince his parents then him, he was all for it, they didn't think it was fair leaving his 2 younger bothers at home, I told my daughter that they will get theirs when they turn 10.
  41. 1 point
    I hope so ..... they're fantastic -- We'll be back on her in October
  42. 1 point
  43. 1 point

    Dining in the Main Dining Room

    Night 1 takes longer than most nights, but rest of the nights it's right around 1 hour. They schedule 2 to be on the safe side. Both. There will be vegetarian options, but you can make other requests. As an example, I always order a vegetarian Indian curry dish. I'm not vegetarian, but love curry! Top 10 insider tips for Royal Caribbean's main dining room 25 must-read Royal Caribbean dining secrets
  44. 1 point
    That is an amazing itinerary. Have a blast.
  45. 1 point

    Dining in the Main Dining Room

    Rarely does it take the whole time allocation to eat. It depends a lot on the time that you are eating and obviously, how taxed the servers are. We always eat early - as soon as they open the MDR, usually 5:30. There is a very light crowd at that time and our results have been very good with getting prompt service and finishing up in a reasonable amount of time. We often skip dessert too so that makes it even quicker. If you are eating between 6 - 7:30 it will be much more crowded and that slows things down a lot. There is always a vegetarian option but I think they will work with you to offer other options if they know ahead of time that there are vegetarians coming. So I recommend that you alert the dining room of when you are dining so that they can be prepared. It's a fairly common request these days so I don't think it 's a big deal to have some additional food options on hand.
  46. 1 point
    Saw this today in a local nautical theme store.
  47. 1 point
    I hope so. It pains me when new cruisers and/or those new to RC want to go on Enchantment or Majesty first. There's nothing wrong with them, per se, but they aren't glowing examples of the best RC offers.
  48. 1 point
    Joe, I feel like you are a chick that we all raised and now we're watching you learn to fly on your own ! So excited for you. I know we are all just recalling the awe that we felt when we drove up to our first cruise ship. Even the little ones are SOOOO impressive and when you first step foot through the Centrum and see all the shiny glass and metal. It takes your breath away. Freedom is a beautiful ship. You are definitely not starting small like we did. I know you're going to have a great time. You have chosen VERY well with all of your options. I think the adjoining balcony rooms are going to be WAY nicer than a suite. There will be much more room and 2 bathrooms. I think you've thought of everything ! ...but of course, you haven't. There will be something that you will learn on this cruise that you will use on your next...and so on and so on. It never ends. I still learn something new every single time I cruise. Wishing you fair winds and following seas. Look everyone - our little Joey is going off on his own !
  49. 1 point
    The cruise industry has evolved just like the travel industry overall has. Don't get me started on how airline amenities have changed. Relative to the competition within the same market or price range it's all relative. From hotels, to resorts and cruise ships. Having said that nothing wrong with changing things up once in a while. Keeps things fresh.
  50. 1 point
    This is where I got to a couple of years ago ... for a few years I would absolutely have described myself as Loyal to Royal ... when it was time to plan a vacation I only needed to use one website (although it rarely worked properly ). Then I started finding myself drifting a bit and looking at other websites for the same style of vacation with different naming conventions (no more ... of the Seas exclusivity) .. now I actually have looked at websites that feature a whole different style of vacation even !! Next week will be my first spring-break on land for several years and next year's spring-break looks like it will feature Hawaii instead of a ... of the Seas. I'm still having great vacations so no complaints as an individual but feels like something went wrong as a consumer.
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