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Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/16/2018 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Day 2: Kotor, Montenegro Today was a day to sleep in a little bit after staying up so late last night. Everyone got ready and we headed to breakfast at WJ. All week we were impressed with the selection and quality of the breakfast, and we never left hungry. Last night the Cruise Compass said that tender tickets were going to be distributed starting at 9:30, but the cruise director announced 9:45 at the show. So I planned to get to the ticket distro early to try to get off the ship as soon as we could. I had arranged a private driver/guide for a tour of the local area, and wanted to get there as soon as possible. BUT, while eating breakfast, my wife asked me when the tickets were being handed out, and when I looked at my watch and saw 9:43, I immediately sprinted out of WJ for deck 6. Too late, as I got tender 14 tickets. I must admit I knew nothing of Kotor, except for the pictures in @Traveler's blog. So at least we knew to be on deck to see the approach through the "Southern-most fjord in Europe." And it was worth it. Scheduled first tender was 1:30, but it seemed like they started calling later than that. About the time they called the first tender, I turned on my phone, and already had a message from the driver asking where we were. Tenders tickets were sloooowly called, and I got more and more upset about not getting earlier tickets. At one point, I had to go for a cooling walk around the Promenade deck to gather myself. At 2:45, ticket 14 was finally called and we made our way ashore. After walking a little bit from the terminal, we met our driver and went out of our tour. The first stop was Perast, home of the Our Lady of the Rocks church, in the middle of the bay. We opted not to go to the church, hoping to save a little time since the sun was going to set soon, and we wanted to see all that we could after losing an hour of time. Instead, we did a quick walk through the old town, which was so picturesque and cute. My wife found a little vender of pomegranate wine along the way, so we stopped to try it and buy a bottle. From there, we drove back through Kotor and up the Serpentine Road above the city. The views from up there were absolutely breathtaking, and we stopped at two elevations for pictures and to admire the view. Our driver was very personable and talkative. He gave us a history of the former Yugoslav republics and an overview of Montenegro, which I knew little about. He also was more than willing to take all the pictures of us that we wanted, a bonus since we never seem to have pics of our whole family while we travel. Rhapsody of the Seas and Riviera Princess in Kotor Bay After taking several, several family pictures and various combinations of selfies and daughters, we headed back down the mountain to Kotor town. The sun had set by this time, and our driver dropped us off at the main gate into the Old Town. From there we were on our own. Kotor is a walled city, and is just a maze of small streets and alleyways. It was pretty all lit up at night, and the city walls extended up the hillside to a castle high about the town, which also was lit and looked a lot like torch light above us. We probably spent about an hour wandering the town, stopping into shops and churches, and just enjoying the evening. With that, our stomachs told us it was time to head back to the ship and get dinner. We timed the return tender just right, and didn't have to wait at all to return. I'm too honest and surrendered our wine as we reboarded. We dropped our stuff at the room and went up to dinner. Our 7 year old wasn't feeling good, so my wife and I took turns staying in the room with her, while we dropped the younger two off at the kids club and my wife and oldest went to the Ballroom Fever show in the theater. When the girls got back from Adventure Ocean, they were so excited to show us their crafts and art work from the evening, and we started our collection of "treasures" that took up about 1/4 of a suitcase on the way home. All in all, it was a low key night, and we turned in around 10 or so. Our impression of Kotor was pretty good. It was so pretty, and had so much natural beauty. I was (and still am) upset about my tender ticket miscue, so we missed out on about an hour of our tour due to that. Also, with the ship arriving in the afternoon, our touring time was shortened by the early sunset, too. I would have loved to walk the walls, but there was no way we were getting our girls up without complaining/leaving one up there. Tonight was a time change +1 hour for Greek time, and tomorrow was Corfu.
  2. 4 points
    Day 5 - Sea Day Another beautiful day on a ship. We really spent today together as a family, and I totally took zero pictures... I’m updating this from my phone since I have no pics, and we are off to Nachi soon. We woke up and had Solarium Bistro for breakfast. It was serviceable. I do like that it is less crowded than Windjammer. After that, V went to AO, I went to the casino, and Abby went to run the track. We all got back together for lunch in the Windjammer. The food so far there has just been ok. Nothing to write home about. While we were there, one of the managers was making balloon animals, and made V a butterfly. That made her happier than anything so far this trip. In a small flash forward, it gave me a heart attack when it popped in our room at around 11 pm when we were just about to sleep... After lunch we went to the pool deck for a while. V loves the swirl pool thing. It’s actually warm. The rest of the pools are a little chilly. We were having some waves yesterday, so the pools were a little sloshy, but nothing too terrible. After the requisite pool deck ice cream cone, it was back to the room for a nap, and to get ready for another formal night. After Giovanni’s last night, we decided we’d go again tonight, this time taking V with us. We had seen the kids menu, so we thought we’d give it a shot on a walk in. They found us a table immediately, and we got to ordering quickly since we were going to the 7:30 show. We got V the butter noodles. For apps we got beef carpaccio, which was pretty tasty. Pastas we had the tagliatelle again. For our mains, I had the filet this time, and Abby had the prawns. The filet was just as good tonight. Virginia decided she wanted the prawns instead of her noodles. Our waiter was amazing with her, and when he saw this, he brought out an order of prawns just for her. It has been awesome to see all of the staff interact with her. For dessert, V got ice cream, and both Abby and I got the chocolate torte with ice cream. After eating it again, this has been the best dessert we’ve had. It is amazing, and not too rich. I can say that we are definitely #TeamSpecialtyDining. After dinner it was off to see the shows. First was Come Fly with Me. There was a little delay as the shipped experienced a blackout for a few minutes, and they had to restart the power system completely. The show was ok. Talent was good, but again there was not real story line. I was shocked at how rude so many people in the audience were. Many of them holding conversations at normal volume. It was very annoying. Due to the delay, we missed the start of Frozen in time. We got over there to see most of it though, and it was spectacular. In terms of storytelling, this was the best show, and very impressive athletically as well. Of all the shows, I would watch this again. On the way out, we had to grab a $3 box of popcorn. Seems silly to charge that much for a small box of popcorn... all in all it was a very nice sea day. V is still asleep this morning. She’s having so much fun. Going back to school is going to be rough on her.
  3. 3 points
    Sorry to report folks but your eyes aren't playing tricks. Starting tomorrow I'll be coming to you somewhat live from on board the Symphony of the Seas. This has been a cruise with right around 620 days of waiting. Booked the night reports had started to leak out that Symphony booking had opened up. Little did I know at the time of booking it would be a very short wait to learn this sailing would be part of something much bigger, an official Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise. Itinerary is somewhat port heavy, but still has time to relax. Day 1 - Miami Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Roatan Day 4 - Costa Maya Day 5 - Cozumel Day 6 - Sea Day Day 7 - Nassau Day 8 - Eviction in Miami For those that are new to reading my LIVEish. Check out my previous one to get an idea of what fine quality work I produce: Finally, I'll leave this image for fun...
  4. 3 points
    Writing quickly as I'm about to pick up Soccer and Cutie early from school and head to the airport. We'll get in around dinner time and I plan on just using Uber Eats. If anyone has a suggestion for Uber Eats near FLL, I would love to have it! As of now, College Ski's flight out of the northeast is on time and I'm happy to see an earlier flight already departed from the airport. In 10 hours, we'll find out the fate of Mr Ski and Football Ski! Excursions Day 2 - Cruising and I scheduled the On the Roll Sushi class for myself, College and Football. It is at 11:30 so a perfect lunch! Day 3 - Labadee. The ship is here from 7:30-3:30 which is quite early to me. We have the Dragon's Breath Flight Line scheduled at 7:30 for 3 of us and the Beach Bungalows. Both of these IMO were a great deal. $78 each for the flight line and $197 for the bungalow. It was just a random sale and I haven't seen it that cheap again. I actually have 2 bungalows booked and need to cancel the more expensive one. I couldn't figure out online how to cancel only one and not both. Day 4 - Falmouth - No plans. We've done Blue Hole and loved it but didn't want to make the drive again. I was thinking of the white water river rafting but never booked it. Day 5 - Cruising I never saw any Sky Pad reservations on the Cruise Planner. I plan on asking once onboard. Dinner Plans We love MTD and plan on eating in the MDR each night. I am not sure what I did but I didn't book the MTD reservations accurately. The first night I included all 6 of us but the other nights I didn't. When I figured that out the 6:15 slot wasn't available and we'll be eating at 7:15. It may actually work a bit better for us as it gives us more time to enjoy the pools in the afternoon, get a snack without feeling like you could ruin dinner, etc. We'll see if it works for the shows too. Trip Insurance Some of you may be wondering if I have Trip Insurance and I do. I do not have Cancel for Any Reason Insurance. I did investigate and read the fine print but from what I saw I would need to cancel at least 3 days in advance of the trip under the Cancel For Any Reason clause. For this trip, I would need to cancel about 18 hours prior to the cruise. We knew the risk and we were accepting what could happen.
  5. 3 points
    A safe place to start with any camera you don't know is to use "Auto". On most Sony cameras there is a dial on the top right of the camera that rotates. One choice should be "Auto" in green. For low light situations the camera will automatically adjust the ISO but in extreme circumstances that will create a lot of noise or grain in pictures. The camera will try to remove some of this when it creates the JPEG file but sometimes you need to use software to further reduce the noise in low light photos. You'll have to experiment and try different settings. For action photography such as the ice skating show you will want to use Shutter mode with shutter speeds of 1/200 or higher, such as 1/400 to capture people who are moving. The camera should have 'Scene' mode using that same dial that has Auto on it. Once in scene mode you can choose a particular scene such as 'sunset', 'landscape', 'night scene', 'portrait' , etc. With any new camera you will need to experiment and try different settings in different situations. You learn just as much from screwing up and not getting a perfect shot as you from picking the settings and getting it right. Take lots of pictures and learn what works and what doesn't by trial and error.
  6. 3 points
    RCVoyager

    Are Robes provided in Staterooms?

    It really was a lot of fun, and something none of us will forget. I have a copy of the photo that was given to everyone who did it by the Barenaked Ladies. They were amazing hosts. Totally accessable and did more appearances than advertised. I also have an 8 X 10 portrait that was also a gift from the band. It is the 5 of them and the 4 of us in our travel party. Not only that, but that was the cruise were we discovered Gaelic Storm which has become the favorite band of virtually everyone in my family and many of our friends. Great music, an unmatched stage presence, so entertaining, and the most fan friendly band you will ever meet. A couple of years later my brother became ill with ALS. The last time he saw Gaelic Storm he had a cane. Patrick, one of the two front men, asked him about it. He was visibly shaken as he had gotten to know us. We lost my brother 5 years ago, and Pat still asks me about him and his family every time I see the band. Even dedicated a song to him last Spring in Indy.
  7. 3 points
    Day 11 FINALLY! This is the first day with nothing planned in the morning – well, tbh we’re skipping the final choir meeting. Instead, we’re having a pool morning. Breakfast was in the MDR as we had the time to do it. Then it was up the stairs and on the waterslides. Unfortunately I only did one waterslide – the blue one. That was enough to wreck my swimsuit & waterproof bag for my asthma inhaler. Lesson learned: don’t take the bag with you on a waterslide – in other words, don’t go on the waterslide as I wouldn’t risk going anywhere without the inhaler. At least I can report that hubby did enjoy the waterslides immensely. I took the opportunity to swim laps in the pool while he was having fun on the slides. Unfortunately, the sports pool’s correct name should be „stand in the damn way pool“ so after half an hour I had enough. As we’d climbed the stairs already, we had lunch at El Loco Fresh. We really like the nachos and build your own tacos. At 3pm it was finally time for the postponed Hairspray matinee. Wow, what a brilliant performance! The cast is amazing and I’d haver never thought they could do all that on a moving ship. We really liked Hairspray, even though it’ll never be our favourite musical – these are still Phantom of the Opera and Dance of the Vampires. Time until dinner was spent at Playmakers again. I can report that on day 11 we finally managed to empty Symphony’s stock of Guinness. Guess the provisions master miscalculated a bit. While we were at the Boardwalk anyway, we finally managed to go on the carousel – must’ve been the first time for at least 20 years. We also managed to spend our arcade credit on Mario Kart – I won every time 😇 Tonight’s dinner was in Izumi – sushi night! If you’re on the drink package, try the Sake cocktails, they’re really yummy. For starters, we had the shrimp firecracker spring roll (sorry, forgot to take a picture). As main course we had five different rolls: Champagne Lobster in Yuzu Wrap, Crispy Philly, Izumi Spider Roll, Surf & Turf and Izumi Ryu Futomaki. The latter roll was the best sushi roll we ever had, the others were also very good, even though not really Japanese sushi. Apparently American sushi is more bells & whistles 😂 As planned, we went from Izumi to the MDR for dessert. This was a good opportunity to say goodbye to Baptiste and Juan – and to realize what we’d missed on our other visits. We had Tiramisu, No Sugar Added Coconut Rice Pudding, Royal Cheesecake and Royal Chocolate Cake – the latter was soooo good! After dessert we hurried to the Royal Theatre for the last headliner show, Adam Kario, a juggler and comedian. We were a bit late so we wouldn’t have gotten the best seats anyway, but as we were thinking of skipping the show (the other headliner shows weren’t really to our liking), we chose seats at the end of the row to sneak away if necessary. Much to our surprise, this headliner was by far the best, really funny and we definetely regretted our choice of seats. From the theatre we hurried to Studio B for The Quest – our first I might add. I came close to being forced to be the female captain of our team – luckily someone else volunteered eventually. I can report that Bobby did a brilliant job with The Quest, we had so much fun and were howling with laughter. I won’t get into details here as you know – what happens at The Quest, stays at The Quest 🤣 After The Quest it was back into the Theatre for the last adult comedy show – we sneaked out halfway through as it was mostly the same material as the last time. Instead of bar hopping, we went to the cabin to start packing. Side notes 11 k steps
  8. 3 points
    @RCVoyager Of course I googled- how could I not lol. The picture is hysterical. It’s such a large group that you really can’t see much but you can definitely tell. I think I would do this- but NOT be in the front lol.
  9. 2 points
    Yep, but fortunately the "auto" mode is generally a safe place to allow the camera to figure it out while you get used to it. As you use it more and learn it better you can start taking over and digging into the settings more. I consider the 'auto' mode to be "drink package compatible" meaning when you don't want to think about ISO and f-stop and shutter speed just put it in auto and enjoy your drink(s)!
  10. 2 points
    RatedPG

    Solo dining

    Does this count as "duck lips"?
  11. 2 points
    LandstromCruise

    Why do you cruise?

    @twangster my goal is to be able to cruise as much as you some day. And maybe even be able to do some awesome blogs as well. I’m no photography buff, so I know my pictures won’t ever stack up, but hopefully I can provide great insight to others some day. Your blogs have been very knowledgeable and I learn something awesome about the ships and ports when reading them. Hopefully you know people truly appreciate that, and I hope to be able to provide that as well some day.
  12. 2 points
    One of the coolest things I've done on a ship involves the bathrobes. January of 2007 on the Carnival Legend was Ships and Dips 1 which was the Barenaked Ladies Cruise. One morning an announcement came as an invitation to go to our staterooms, remove all clothing, put on the robe, and report to the Lido Deck. With robes on, 700 of us were staged for a photo. the band was there too. After about 10 minutes to set the whole thing up, we were told on the count of 3, drop the robes. You can still find the "Barenaked as Sea" photo on the internet. We were naked for about 5 seconds, and now 700 people I will never see again were part of one of the coolest things ever. You can check it out.
  13. 1 point
    If any one has followed my posts on Voom you may have seen my 'Day 2 Voom Strategy' that involves waiting until day 2 to purchase Voom on board. Since the price for the 'full voyage' Voom plans drop with each day passing you can save money if you can wait a day or two. As I sit here on a 10 night cruise it has occurred to me the same strategy can be used with a drink package on longer sailings. I've often avoided drink packages on longer sailings due to: High cost of packages on longer sailings. More nights equate to higher package price. Drink fatigue. Fix or six (or more) alcoholic drinks every day, day after day, gets old. Itinerary. Depending how many days are port days and times in port the drink package may be less desirable. On this 10 night sailing they offer the drink package on board up to day 5. Onboard prices are higher than cruise planner advance purchase prices but under the right circumstances, it might make sense to buy it onboard but waiting a few days. Let's look at this cruise. Using $48 as a typical price the cruise planner deluxe drink package: 10 nights x $48 = $480 plus 18% gratuity = $566 per person. That's too much for me. If you wait until day 4 of a 10 night cruise there are 7 nights left. With an onboard price of $57 x 7 nights = $399 plus 18% gratuity = $471 per person. A savings of $95 per person Not only do you save $95 but you avoid drink fatigue and depending on itinerary you might avoid paying for a few port days. Where this really becomes realistic is if you are Diamond or higher because of the Diamond Happy Hour drinks each evening. Where it becomes even better is if you are Diamond Plus or better. Diamond Plus receive 30% off onboard drink package pricing. $399 less 30% is $280 plus 18% gratuity = $330. That's a whopping $236 per person savings all by not drinking a lot for the first few days. How does it look for a 7 night cruise? Cruise Planner 7 x $48 plus 18% = $396 Waiting for day 2, 6 nights x $57 plus 18% = $403 Waiting for day 3, 5 nights x $57 plus 18% = $336, a savings of $60 per person. For Diamond Plus the day 3 price is $235 for a savings of $160 per person. At just $60 savings it's not really a great strategy for 7 night cruises, you'll save a little, but on longer cruises it can save you quite a bit more. You do need to ask onboard which day the drink package sales will cease because that can vary from cruise to cruise. The other gotcha could be onboard pricing which has been as high as $63 on some cruises recently. By following live blogs here in the message boards we can perhaps get an idea for any given ship. When looking at a 14 night transatlantic next year there is just no way I am going to drop $826 for the cruise planner drink package. Waiting until mid-cruise for a partial drink package might just be affordable though.
  14. 1 point
    Day -2 - Pre-cruise As I looked out this morning, the weather in beautiful St. Louis, MO confirmed that it is indeed time for a cruise. Nothing like a dreary day with the first flurry of snow for the year covering the roof tops to remind you that it's been 364 days of dry dock, time to start the live-blog, and offer a miserable picture to test out how to insert them into the blog and have them sized correctly. Sailings We will being a pseudo-side to side on Oasis and Enchantment out of Port Canaveral. Oasis will be a 7-night Western Caribbean starting November 11 through November 18. One night spent in Port Canaveral, then a 4-night Bahamas sailing on Enchantment from November 19 through November 23. Itinerary Day 1 - Port Canaveral, FL Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Labadee Day 4 - Falmouth Day 5 - Sea Day Day 6 - Cozumel Day 7 - Sea Day Day 8 & 9 - Port Canaveral Day 10 - CocoCay Day 11 - Nassau Day 12 - Sea Day Day 13 - Port Canaveral We have a beach bungalow booked for Labadee. Falmouth we will probably stay in the cruise terminal. Cozumel we will be going to Nachi Cocom, then heading downtown to Coz Coffee and Chocolateria Isla Bella. CocoCay we have a Cabana booked, and then probably the cruise terminal again in Nassau. Who is Sailing: It will be my wife, Abby, our 4 year old daughter, and I on this sailing. I cruised once when I was a kid on the Big Red Boat. My next cruise was last year with Abby on Majesty of the Seas, and went to Grand Bahama and CocoCay (which we missed due to weather.) I get cruise incentives from my land-based casino, so we booked that cruise after final payment date on a whim. It was right before we left on the sailing that I found RCBlog, and now I am fully indoctrinated. This will be our daughter's first cruise, and she's been counting down the number of "sleeps" left since we were at 20. She can't wait to meet new friends in Adventure Ocean, and has been trying to convince us that all of her friends from school can come with us. So while this is our second RC cruise, it will be our first 7-nighter, first Oasis Class, and first just about everything else including first time in each of these ports. Other logistics Packing has been ongoing for about a week. Hoping to get it all finalized tonight. We fly out tomorrow from STL to MCO via Southwest. Tomorrow night will be in the Country Inn & Suites near the port. We will have a rental car from MCO to the hotel, returning it at the port. For the night in between cruises, we had the same hotel booked, choosing it originally due to the on-site laundry facilities. After @Matt posted the blog about the Holiday Inn Beach Club, we changed our stay there, due to in-room laundry, as well as everything else on property. Possibly even taking the rental car to Publix to cook dinner for ourselves. After we debark Enchantment, we are taking a shuttle from PC to MCO for our flight back. Cabins On Oasis we have a JS on deck 6 booked. The location should be great for it's location, and we envision Johnny Rockets for breakfast most mornings. On Enchantment, I've done the best I can do to ensure that my daughter will become a full on suite snob by booking a GS. The pricing was great for the upgrade, plus we got a great deal on the Oasis sailing by booking during a WOW sale last year with KSF and free gratuities. (Although I feel like I'm probably heading to #suitesnob status as well. Looking at booking Oasis again in Feb of 2020, and my eye is on a Crown Loft Suite...) Other thoughts -We will be #TeamNoDX. I had weight loss surgery in February and can't really drink much (down 200 lbs in about a year). My last drink was 2 weeks before surgery, but I imagine I may have to have at least a sip or two while on the ship or at Nachi. -We have the 3 night dining package booked on Oasis. We plan on being #TeamCK (more influence from our favorite Stubborn Canadian (wouldn't let me tag @lovetocruise2002 for some reason). If we can't do CK, we may opt for Solarium Bistro. On Enchantment we don't have any specialty dining booked. We'll either see if there are deals available, or take advantage of the MDR service in our room, especially on Thanksgiving Day. -Pictures will be with my iPhone 8 and the moment lenses. I'm opting not to bring my DSLR this trip, just so I can enjoy the journey, and work on shot selection vs. shot quality. Once I get a better idea of what shots to take on a cruise, and how to frame them, I move to bringing my DSLR. -We are excited for our daughter's first cruise. This will be her second time flying, but the first was with Grandma and Grandpa, so we're looking forward to that also. We are doing the Dreamworks Breakfast on Oasis, and the girls will be doing the Cupcake class on Enchantment. Finally, I'm hoping to do the live blog justice. Lots of great influences on the site, and I hope I hold a candle to some of them. We do have VOOM, so I'll try to be as interactive as possible. If there are questions, I'll try to get them answered. Now it's off to iron my best shorts and t-shirt for formal night and finish packing. -Lance
  15. 1 point
    That varies by ship. Diamond happy hour used to be pretty consistent at 5-8:30pm but that has shifted to 4:30pm-8pm on many but not all ships. In 2018 I've had great success using my happy hour coupons in the MDR even thought that is not the written policy. Vintages on Serenade is one of the bars that does not participate. Bionic bars do not participate. Some specialty bars such as Wonderland on Harmony & Symphony do not on paper but if you ask nicely sometimes they do.
  16. 1 point
    Any 5 are fine.... smaller is fine as sometimes the bigger ones struggle to stay on the tree. Thank you again for your help! Thanks for the offer!!!! My wife and I have a "vacation" tree with ornaments collected over the 29 years we've been married. Hope to add lots of ships over the coming years:-) I could still use a Radiance OTS ornament from our Alaska cruise in June if anyone is sailing on her.....
  17. 1 point
    Ahem - and sounding like me would be a bad thing? 😛
  18. 1 point
    LOL - Yes, us too! We usually try to get an ornament on each sailing/trip we go on. Makes for some nice conversations with the family when we're putting the tree up! KJ1231 - Is that the type of ornament you'd like? Last time we were on Anthem I believe they had 2 or three sizes (I could be wrong). The picture I see from ebay looks like it's a smaller size. If so, that would be 5 of those - I'll see if they have different styles so they are not all the same. Is that ok?
  19. 1 point
    gabling - thanks so much for the offer!! Here is one that I found on ebay.....
  20. 1 point
    twangster

    Transatlantic dining package

    Nope. Oasis Eastbound.
  21. 1 point
    JLMoran

    Are Robes provided in Staterooms?

    @RCVoyager, very sorry for your loss. And that was really classy of Gaelic Storm. So many performers wouldn’t interact or get so involved with the passengers, never mind remember them over the course of years.
  22. 1 point
    WannaCruise

    Why do you cruise?

    Great family time where something for everyone. Variety of food Beautiful relaxing views of the water. Can't even out into words "that" feeling. Ton of activities from swimming to different amenities (eg slides, lasertag, mini golf, rock wall). Also fun organized actities in cruise compass. Amazing different shows each night Variety of food options. Also live having sir down every night with great friendly service. Different places to visit. Fun ship to explore.
  23. 1 point
    They are capacity controlled. If X number of people buy the dining packages they remove some or all of them from sale. Basically they want to avoid overselling them. Imagine the uproar if people buy a dining package and then get on board only to be told they have to eat in the MDR because the specialty restaurants are full?
  24. 1 point
    twangster

    Transatlantic dining package

    The UDP price does vary with cruise length but not for TA's that I've seen. It's basically $24 per night flat rate. On an 2019 TA I have booked the UDP is $336. It's a 14 night sailing so 14 x $24 = $336. Same ship on a regular Caribbean 7 night 2018 cruise the UDP is $168. 7 x $24 = $168.
  25. 1 point
    Mathew Jones

    The Key

    Under the Internet and More Tab. Also splashed on the Front of the Cruise Planner after I log in.
  26. 1 point
    If you are concerned about the website, you can always call Royal directly and have one their representatives do it for you. I have done this numerous times.
  27. 1 point
    I have to agree with you there! I do recall the filet at Giovanni's being superior. Hmm.....
  28. 1 point
    tiny260

    Cruising 101

    We were just on Liberty this summer with our Grandson, and even though we didn't have to we paid for Voom and used Whatsapp so that my Grandson could talk with his Mom each night and video chatted with her a couple of nights. Otherwise I leave the below information for family. Emergency Contact Number, 1888-724-7447 Ship Name, Liberty OTS Reservation ID, xxxxxxx, under the name, ???? Room number, 1286
  29. 1 point
    mickjacket

    Why do you cruise?

    First and foremost unplug, unplug, unplug. We are the type that don’t want the internet package, we love the feeling of turning off our phones and no distractions from emails or searching the web. Just me and the wife and lots of fun.
  30. 1 point
    LilLady

    Why do you cruise?

    We love to cruise for several reasons. 1. Top reason: Sea days and being surrounded by nothing but water. - where else can you find such spectacular views all day long from no matter where you are on the ship. 2. The ability to be totally unplugged. - We never get the internet packages. When we sail away from embarkation port, our phones go off. It gives us time to unwind, relax and really focus on each other. 3. The variety of activities - There is always something for everyone and unlike other vacation spots, no one feels like they have to do the "family" thing all the time. It's okay to go our separate ways for certain activities and then come together to enjoy other activities together. 4. Ability to visit so many different locations. - Typically on a vacation, you go to one place and explore that area. With cruising, you get to visit 3, 4, 5 or more locations on one vacation. Those locations usually include different cultures and history at each port. 5. Did I mention the views of the ocean?? 😀
  31. 1 point
    Atlantix2000

    Select coffee card

    The coffee cards are shareable and I'm sure you can buy more than one. However, there is an ongoing issue where some ships punch the card once per drink (any size) and others punch the card once per shot of espresso (1,2,3 punches for small, medium, large). The first method makes the coffee card a great deal (and this is the language the website uses). The second method means the coffee card can end up costing more than buying the individual drinks. If you buy ahead of time, print a copy of the website language so you can complain to guest services and get a refund if necessary!
  32. 1 point
  33. 1 point
    This is just all kinds of awesome! 😄 Good luck to Football Ski and his team! And safe travels for College Ski!
  34. 1 point
    craig403

    Cruising 101

    Just ask a crew member where the free wifi is. They always know.
  35. 1 point
    If you book with MEI before 11/18 you get gratuities paid for the first two in each cabin. On a 5 night cruise that's $145 per cabin.... I don't know if you get the same deal on a transfer. I have booked 3 cruises with Michelle (michelle@mei-travel.com) and gotten free gratuities each time AND it doesn't impact OBC from RCCL.
  36. 1 point
    Sweety

    CocoCay Pier

    I am on May 17th.
  37. 1 point
    Atlantix2000

    Cruising 101

    On days you are in port, you can probably find some free wifi somewhere. Some port towns offer municipal free wifi. A lot of restaurants on the islands also provide it to customers so pop in for a drink and call home. (Be sure to setup/enable wifi calling before leaving home.) My parents needed to reach me while I was on a cruise last year so they called Royal's main customer service number, provided our ship and room number, and were put through to Guest Services on board. We weren't in our room at the time so Guest Services left a message saying my parents had called and to stop by their counter to receive a complimentary call home.
  38. 1 point
    Thanks for this Blog! I really enjoyed it !
  39. 1 point
    The Forgotten Thought – Drink Package One thing I meant to talk about in my final thoughts and totally forgot about was the whole drink package thing. Specifically, was it worth it? I had never meant to buy it, figuring a five night sailing with an overnight port day where I might not be drinking on the ship at all might not be the best conditions for the package. And when I first looked back on it after getting home, I thought that buying it just because of the $42/night sale price was a mistake. I was feeling massive pressure to drink more the last two nights because of the fact that there was no bar option at Wonderland, so I ended up drinking hardly anything that day, exactly as I had thought might happen. But after working out the breakdown of what I really needed to "break even" every day on another thread, based on that $42/night, I've since realized that I wasn't ever "behind" on the package. What did I need? At $13 covered per drink, and everything alcoholic I had on board being that much or more, it worked out to one cappuccino and 3 cocktails (or glasses of wine) a day; that's one more alcoholic drink a day than I typically have at home. After going through my daily tally, I was actually ahead by four cocktails ($52) at the end of the trip, all of them from the last two nights. My worries about that were totally unfounded, and that pressure was all my own doing from psyching myself out. So, the drink package was totally worth it. I could have skipped out on those two extra cocktails that I felt I had to have each of the last two days, drank at my typical vacation level (including my daily cappuccinos and the odd OJ), and been totally fine. Will I buy it again, given I'm going back next year? It seems like $50 is the lowest people have been reporting so far for 2019 drink package sales. If I can get a rate at or slightly below it, I think I will do it again so I have that part of the trip paid in advance. The extra $8 per day would translate to a second cappuccino (which I was already having most days) and a couple of bottles of water, or one premium beer. I'd be OK with just the one extra cappuccino and leaving a few dollars on the table each day. Considering I typically indulge the most on embarkation day, I'd likely take care of any "gap" on day one and have nothing to worry about anyway.
  40. 1 point
    rjac

    Solo dining

    So, who at your table is going to say anything?
  41. 1 point
    ellcee

    Solo dining

    I just did my first solo cruise last month. I was asked quite a bit if I was alone and when I said yes the feedback was amazing. I had an older woman I met on an excursion that she didn't know but she was proud of me.. adorable. In general all of the women I spoke to had the same response, which I appreciated. Men seemed more surprised a woman would travel alone. No one but the staff said anything while I was eating about being solo - except for Chef's Table but that's a whole different experience. I loved dining alone. I had my Kindle. I enjoyed my food. I'm a people watcher so I tried to watch a little while being discreet.
  42. 1 point
    Day 2 I'm realizing that I'm not all that great at remembering to take pictures... I'm also realizing that it would probably be easier with a real camera, as I have conditioned myself not to be on my phone much, so it's hard to remember to get it out to take pictures... Either way, today was our first sea day. I was concerned about having the 7:45 am Character Breakfast since we had a late night last night, however my body woke up at 6 am anyway. Also, we are deck 6 aft, and the breakfast was in Silk, so just one floor down. If you have young kids, it was definitely worth it. The breakfast menu is the same as a standard MDR breakfast, but with catchy names for the kids. It was $10 per adult, but free for kids. We waited in the waiting area of Silk, and then were seated at our own table, with the waiter from Solarium Bistro from the night before. After placing our order, they had all of the kids come up and dance to shake out the wiggles, and then three characters came out individually. We had Shrek, Puss in Boots, and Princess Fiona. After each character came out and danced, they came around to each table and took pictures. Virginia expressed her desire to not have us in any pictures. We also learned she is scared of Shrek. After that, it was up to Adventure Ocean for the morning session. Virginia has had a lot of fun every time she's gone. There's been no crying when we drop her off, and it takes some coercing to get her to come with us. We're very impressed with all of the staff and programming. While Virginia was in AO, Abby and I had our mud scrub scheduled as part of the Ultimate Thermal Pass. While I'm not normally a Spa type of guy, it was $199 for the 2 of us to have the thermal suite all week, or $250 to add a 1 hour private mud scrub and a 1 hour private jacuzzi. We took the upsell. While very weird at first, I will admit that the mud scrub was very relaxing. They take you to a private room, where you use multiple levels of exfoliant. Then you apply the mud mask all over your body and enter a steam room. The steam room has 2 seats that face each other, and after about 20 minutes of steam, water starts to fall from the ceiling so you can get completely clean. Once finished, you apply moisturizers. My skin felt amazing afterwards, and it was nice to have a relaxing 60 minutes with just my wife and I. I'm not sure I would clamor to do it again, but I would think about it. After getting cleaned up, we picked up Virginia and had lunch at Wipeout Cafe. We figured it would be less crowded, and we could eat quick and head to the pool. The water in the pool was extremely cold, but after doing the circular wave pool, we went to a hot tub and felt much better. Then it was time for a nap, so Abby and V took a rest while I went back to the casino, and proceeded to give them back what I borrowed from them the previous night. I played for quite a while, but ran into some pretty lousy hands at UTH. I went for a walk around the jogging track, then thought I'd go back up to CK and see if I could rouse anyone. I knocked on the door, and two people in the suite lounge just looked at me through the crack, then turned their back. I guess no riff-raff mingling with the suite guests. I plan to go back up Day 3 around 5:30 and see if I can get reservations, although the Day 3 Cruise Compass still lists it as Star, Sky, and Pinnacles. After that adventure, it was back to AO to pick up Ginny and get ready for formal night. While we don't go full CLR style, we like to get a little dressed up. Before we went back to the room, I took Ginny to Sorrentos to get some pizza, and we just happened to run into one of Ginny's favorite characters. Night made, we headed up to get changed. Again, our cabin is in a great location. We got changed and were on the promenade around 5:30 to get pictures, with very little lines anywhere. Later in the evening it was a much longer wait. We took our pictures at several locations, and then went back up to change Virginia into regular clothes for AO. Another quick stroll through the promenade, picture with Captain Goran, whom Ginny had already met earlier in the day at AO, then time for a kid free date night. Dinner tonight was in Chops. This was our first Chops experience, and I was very excited. With my current diet, I am limited on red meat and carbs, so I was saving myself for the filet. It was absolutely amazing. Better than a lot of land-based restaurants. The service was amazing. None of my pictures turned out very well, except for the Red Velvet cake that we had to get for @Sweety. Abby told me to order, since I "have the inside scoop". I had the peppered bacon app, and she had the crab cake. The bacon was pretty good. The crab cake was on the dry side, and very crumbly. Flavor was nice though. Next was a Caesar salad for Abby, and the mushroom soup for me. The soup could have used a drop of creme fraiche to balance the earthiness of the mushrooms, but was nice. Both of us had the filet for main, and our sides were baked potato, mushrooms, cheesy tots, and mac and cheese. Baked potato was the best, as we seasoned it ourself. The rest of the sides suffered from lack of seasoning. This must have been common, as the table next to us asked for some sea salt to garnish their sides as well. Service was spectacular however. Dessert was the red velvet cake, and warm apple pie a la mode. Bother were excellent. (I should mention, Abby and I met in culinary school, where we trained to be pastry chefs. Neither of us do this professionally anymore, but we still dabble.) After dinner, we decided to call it a night, pick up Virginia, and head to bed. We had big day at Labadee planned for Day 3 in a beach bungalow.
  43. 1 point
    Day 1 Travel day was relatively uneventful. SWA is always very easy to deal with, plus we are TSA Pre-check, which is always better. TSA was a little delayed since a cat had attacked a woman just before we got to the airport, and there was apparently blood all over, so they had to move the regular line to the Pre-Check line. Luckily our daughter handled it well, and got a nifty Jr. Officer sticker, and who doesn’t love stickers? National Rent-A-Car was easy in Orlando. If you are an Emerald Club member, you just go to the garage and pick any car you want. We were out of the airport about 5 minutes after getting our bags, and on our way to Port Canaveral. Checked into the hotel and then headed out to dinner. We ate at Cocoa Beach Ale House per @Matt recommendation. It was very good. Abby and Virginia shared a pizza, which was very tasty. Dough and sauce both made in house. I had the Mahi Mahi sandwich, and it was also very good. After dinner was dessert at Twistee Treat? It’s soft-serve ice cream from a building that looks like an ice cream cone. Then it was back to the hotel to get to bed. We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites near the port. Originally, I picked this hotel both due to the proximity to the port, and because it has on-site laundry, and we would stay there again in between cruises. The room we had was a queen bed for the adults, and then two twin beds in a separate area, almost like an alcove, for Virginia. It was kind of a cool concept, but the bed was pretty rough, the walls were thin, and I’m not sure I would stay there again. Being right across from the elevator I’m sure didn’t help much. The next morning was cruise day!!! The upside of our room was being able to see Lady O from our window: We were up early, and needed to kill time, so we went and ate breakfast down the street at Southern Charm Café. It was very good, and I highly recommend it for breakfast. Their cakes and pies were homemade and looked delicious. We may try lunch here on “turnaround” day. Then it was to the port to return the car and board. With the Jr. Suite, we went through the suites line for security and check-in. We got to the port at 10:20, we were checked in by 10:36, and after a short wait in the holding pen, we were on-board at 10:45. It was absolutely amazing to step into the promenade, and the breadth that is an Oasis Class ship. We loved Majesty, but I feel like you could almost put her inside the promenade. We explored the promenade some, and then went straight up to 17 to try and get reservations for Coastal Kitchen. I had some concerns about this due to a couple of factors. The biggest of which was from recent Cruise Compasses that showed CK as Star and Sky Class only, and Pinnacles. We went up to CK, and our card wouldn’t work in the door. We waited for a while to see if there was anyone inside, or to try and catch someone, but had no luck. Virginia was getting anxious, so we decided to come back and try again closer to dinner. Luckily, Paul was at Grills, so we were able to connect via the Insider group on Facebook, and we headed to Deck 5, Aft, where Paul got this picture of us. Great thanks to Paul, and it shows how being an Insider is so great! (Shameless Plug). Off to Central Park we went to update our 3 night dining reservations, with no issue at all in getting our choices. Then it was to Park Café for a Kummelweck Sandwich, extra horseradish and mustard. Just as tasty as advertised. Neither Abby nor Virginia wanted one, so it was off to the promenade for Sorrentos. They both thought it was pretty good. Virginia liked it so much that we had to go back for two more pieces after muster drill to take to the room for “pre-dinner”. After some more exploring of the ship, taking a spa tour, and getting a stern talking to from Virginia that I didn’t pack swimsuits in the carryon, it was around 1 p.m. so we headed to the room. Luggage was outside the door about an hour after we got in the rooms, and thankfully nothing was in the naughty room. Muster went relatively quickly. As I type this, the “wash your hands” song is now invading my brain again….. After muster, Virginia needed a rest, so we went back up to the room for sail away and sat on the balcony. Then it was time to get her to lay down and unpack. After a fight, we got a successful nap, and then she woke up not knowing where she was. Once we figured that out, it was all good, and time to head back up to try Coastal Kitchen. We did confirm that the CC said Star and Sky class only for dinner. We get to 17, try our card… No luck. Confirmed that the first few nights it is only for Star and Sky. It might be open later in the week to try. We decided we would go try the Solarium Bistro, as we didn’t want the hectic mess of the Windjammer. This ended up being for the best, as Virginia didn’t handle dinner well, and it would have been tough in CK. Dinner was good. Our waiter, Angelo, was very attentive. Due to V’s issues, I didn’t get any pictures of the food. The appetizers were very good, my favorite being the mushrooms. I had the grilled shrimp as an entrée, Abby had the salmon, and V had the chicken kebabs. It was definitely nice to have a lighter meal. The desserts were also very good, and V’s serving of chocolate cake turned the night around for her. Then it was off to play a windy round of mini-golf before Adventure Ocean opened up. The check-in for AO took about 20 minutes, mainly due to a long line of people who had not registered yet, as well as some kids that were having separation anxiety. V took off like a freight train with no care in the world, so I headed to the casino as Abby took here ritual first night early bed time. At 10 o’clock, I left the casino up more than double, so it was time to go get V. Then it was off to bed early so we could be ready for the Dreamworks Character breakfast tomorrow morning. Random Thoughts -It astounds me how many people were buying the drink package on-board. Do some research! -The Pineapples walking around with their nametags on makes me giggle a little. If I ever reach that status, I don’t think I could have the ego to walk around with the badge on… -We were bummed about CK, but hopefully we can try it in the future. Solarium Bistro was good, and it was a peaceful option compared to the Windjammer. -We purchased the Ultimate Thermal pass for the spa. For two people, it includes unlimited use of the thermal seats, a 1-hour private mud bath/scrub, and a 1-hour private jacuzzi. Tomorrow is a sea day. We have the character breakfast in the morning, then the mud bath, and dinner at Chops. As I type this, I’m on my balcony enjoying the nice breeze. Vacation is great. Step count: 13,200 (half of which I had V on my shoulders. Should count for double)
  44. 1 point
    No Pressure. Lol. Thank you. I feel like a new person. This is from our family pictures, separated by one year. Should have about another 50 lbs to go... Also, you know it's time for vacation when you get a text from school saying "Your daughter has been tormenting one of the boys at school today, and decided to pull her pants down and shake her butt and him." SMH.....
  45. 1 point
    I've got a note to research this as Matt and I were discussing this when the announcement came out. There have been plans for extensive work to be done in the harbor in Havana including dredging, new facilities, and the movement of some of the cargo and tanker operations to the other side of the harbor so that side where cruise ships dock now is completely used for passenger vessels. I don't know the status of this project to be honest. What I can tell you is that a year from now, Carnival Sunshine is set to call on Havana, and she is about 103k GT with a capacity of over 3k pax. That's more passengers (though a slightly smaller ship) than Scarlet Lady. Havana can handle Panamax cargo vessels, but as best as I can tell, the current restriction is largely based on the cruise berths only being able to accommodate ships with a draft of around 29 feet, and the length is an issue as well - as they've already extended terminal 1 (possibly others?) to tie larger vessels. A ship of 900+ feet in length won't likely be accommodated there for several reasons (secure berthing, turning radius, obstruction of the channel, etc). In conclusion - possible changes to the port and harbor, or perhaps just tendering. Time for me to buy an updated nautical chart for Puerto Habana.
  46. 1 point
    Oasis November 18th- iluvwineandtravel
  47. 1 point
    The motions hasn't been that bad actually. Like walking on a subway train.
  48. 1 point
    Well the @twangster is very elusive and you will need to work harder to catch a rare picture opportunity of him , here is how : First, go to all the bars on the ship and order Kraken rum until the barman will tell you he don not have anymore. Be sure to buy one bottle for later , you will need it. Second collect some diet coke from the vending machine. Wait until 4 am a, leave the bottle of rum and the diet coke on the pool deck were it is visible from an excellent photo ops location, it might help if you will hang near the bottle a sign saying "the best Voom reception point on the ship" . Now all you need to do is to wait and cross you fingers, with some luck you might catch a glance of his shadow. Good luck.
  49. 1 point
    Root Beer is way better in it's non diet form. Still tastes medicine-y but something I'll crave every few years.
  50. 1 point
    JLMoran

    Watching movies onboard

    I can think of one thing greater -- sitting outdoors, watching a flick, and having the sea breeze with a Sea Breeze! 😁
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