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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/25/2019 in all areas

  1. 7 points
    There's a "Soak Up Adventure Sale" going on. Whenever a promo or a sales event is announced by Royal, I do mock "incognito" bookings of cruises I have already reserved and those I've been planning to book. I've been doing this for about two years now and I have yet to see a real and substantial reduction in the price. I am the type of consumer who finds this an insult to my (limited) intelligence. It's like stores who jack up prices to create the illusion of a sale. As an aside, I hate that Bed, Bath, & Beyond (my budget) prices their items 20% more than other stores so you can feel you're getting a discount when you use their never expiring coupons. Don't get me wrong, I love Royal and I'm "loyal to Royal", but this approach to marketing is not one of my favorites.
  2. 7 points
    Precruise hotel for the night is the Homewood Suites Port Canaveral. One package the hotel offers is a "Park n Cruise" deal. First time being able to take advantage of, they have an evening reception with some snack and complimentary beer and wine. Reason for it being the first time, only done Monday through Thursday. Tonight's theme is Octoberfest. They also offered soup and salad. The beer offering For the record I did enjoy a "pint" or two of lager. Have to start this vacation off the right way!
  3. 6 points
    The next part of our day was the sunset sailing we'd booked with the catamaran Restless Native by way of TripAdvisor. We almost missed it! Having seen it docked at the slip right by Calico Jack's earlier in the morning and again in the afternoon, we assumed that's where it would be located for boarding. Nope! Nowhere to be seen, even as it was getting really close to the boarding time noted on our tickets. Thankfully, Cathy insisted we ask another catamaran docked there if we knew where the Restless Native was boarding, and we were directed to the compass rose located on the main dock, in between both cruise ships. We made our way there and met up with the group, and pretty much just in time! The catamaran was actually docked past the Norwegian Gem, I guess to avoid conflicting with the route of the other catamaran we'd seen. To be clear, this was my fault. The email I got after booking did say we'd meet up on the dock in between the ships. But that little side slip area is pretty much in between the two ships, and after seeing Restless Native there twice we made the mistake of ass-u-me(ing). After boarding and taking one of the bench seats at the rear of the boat, we settled in for our night's trip. The sky was already looking promising, but we still had about a half hour before sunset. They were serving rum swizzles from the moment we set out, and we all enjoyed at least one; by the time the night was done I'd had three, but the fact is that the earlier ones were noticeably weaker than the ones that were served later. I made sure to keep one eye on the sun as it slowly sank lower in the sky. Now, at this point I feel like I need to pre-apologize to @Marc Van Niekerk -- I read his blog after taking these pics and coming up with a narrative, and wouldn't you know it but he beat me to the punch! I can't believe our two sunsets were a couple thousand miles apart, because his photos looked an awful lot like the ones I'm about to post. Marc, I swear these really are my own sunset pics and not copies of yours! 😅 So the main event is nearly here, but the low-hanging clouds on the horizon are making me more than a little nervous about whether we'd actually get anything good. Maybe 5 minutes before sunset, the sun started to peek through. The gentleman sitting at the cabin window facing the front of the boat was kind enough to let me slip in for a few moments to take these shots. Just a couple of minutes later, as sunset was creeping closer and the view was getting even better, everyone in the netting at the very front of the boat was blocking the view out of the cabin windows. I had a feeling this might be all there's be, and I decided I had to get creative with capturing the shot before I lost it. There was no way I could stand in the front or even on the side without falling or hurting myself, my foot just wouldn't have that. So I climbed up the steps to the deck, grabbed hold of the cabin roof with one hand, used the roof to brace the camera. The effort was totally worth it. As expected, that was all she wrote. The sun disappeared behind the clouds and never peeked through again. But we did get to see some very nice post-sunset colors in the sky as we sailed back to the dock. We pulled up to the dock about 7:30, right on time.
  4. 6 points
    CGTLH

    LIVEish, Back to Back to Back on Mariner!

    We all know the adage... good luck sleeping tonight... One final thought, this is the best thing to see.
  5. 5 points
    ::yawn:: Man, this Windjammer breakfast doesn’t seem as good as... Oh. Right. ::sigh::
  6. 4 points
    mk-ultra

    Bermuda Triangle SMH....

    The Bermuda Triangle is indeed a terrifying stretch of ocean. Every time I've crossed it, buffet lines were long... the casino went all take-my-money... I was up-sold on everything imaginable... Crazy dangerous.
  7. 4 points
    As with last year, we made our second and final day in Bermuda all about Horseshoe Bay. You already saw the posts I made from there on my phone, so I'm not going to repeat those comments about timing and such. This post is all about the amazing pics I caught with the DSC-RX100. First up, the beach itself looking towards the end with the little grotto.The pink wasn't as visible today as it was the last time, might be due to the earlier hour. This bird was there all day. Perched there when the beach opened up, never moved even once during our whole time there. The water started off reasonably calm... ... but the tide was definitely coming in. Before long, we were getting some nice spray off the rocks. This rock looked interesting. I wondered what the waves must have been like to undercut it that way. I found out a couple of minutes later. As crowded as the beach was getting by noon time, no one was going all that far out into the water; just about everyone stayed close to where they'd set up their umbrellas and/or loungers. They'd have had a much less crowded time in the water if they'd just walked over where I was standing. Although I'm sure this snorkeler appreciated having all the space to themselves. The other thing that was different about this day was the number of birds I saw. There were sandpipers... ...sparrows... ...and as you can see in that shot, a variety of bird I haven't seen before. At first I thought it was some kind of Grackle, but then I realized it wasn't solid black; it was actually black with numerous white dots on its body and white edging on its wing feathers. Got some much closer and better shots of it here. I think it's a European starling based on some Wikipedia searching today. This is going to be my last post to this blog for today; I still have to edit the photos I took during sail-away and our final sunset, plus arrival back in Bayonne, so that should be coming tomorrow or maybe not until Sunday.
  8. 4 points
    I've got enough photos edited and cleaned up that I'm ready to start blogging our time in Bermuda proper. Let's start with the ferry ride to Hamilton... The ship arrived in port later than last year; we didn't get cleared to disembark until about 9:15. This was fine, as the first ferry to Hamilton didn't leave until 10:15 and it let us be more relaxed with getting our transit passes and walking to the ferry terminal. It's the same terminal for both the orange line to St. George's and the blue line to Hamilton, which is why the ferries alternate. From the terminal, we had nice views of the ship and the Clocktower Mall. Since I had the good camera, I decided I'd re-take the photos from last year and get some cleaner shots. Once underway, I got a nice view of Anthem from the seaward side. In some lucky timing, the North Star was raised for this shot as well. We passed a few clusters of tiny one-person sailboats on the way. It was hard to tell for sure, but it looked like they were practicing some for some kind race. We continued to make our way up the channel, and started seeing more of the traditionally colorful Bermudian homes. The vegetation was an odd mix of lush greens and browns, not as vibrant as I remembered from last year. It wasn't until much later in the day that I realized why. We finally pulled up to Front Street, the main waterfront road going through Hamilton.
  9. 4 points
    twangster

    Radiance Dry Dock/Refurb schedule

    She is getting one after the Alaska season next year. Radiance has a revenue cruise from Alaska to Tokyo Sept. 4, 2020 and then she enters a multi-million dollar refreshment. From there she sails from Singapore to Brisbane in November 2020 to launch the new homeport of Brisbane for the 2020 Australia season. Once that wraps up she heads North through Hawaii to Alaska for the 2021 Alaska season. No word yet on what the "multi-million dollar refreshment" will include.
  10. 4 points
    CHRIS WONG

    Hello! I Am A Crew Member!

    NEW VIDEO! Today I talk about how many hours a day I work onboard!
  11. 4 points
    WAAAYTOOO

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    This pretty much says it all. You don’t NEED a TA until you need one.
  12. 4 points
    One last small thing... As it happens to work out (with a lot more planning than it should have taken) this was a crystal block cruise for me. With that my collection is complete - one crystal block from each class of Royal Caribbean ship in the fleet. Not sure how this became an obsession, rather silly really and it's really sort of meaningless but it became a target to shoot for and justification to book yet another cruise.
  13. 4 points
    SUCCESS! Through persuasion from mother in law and myself.... Hub's bringing his suit for formal night!! He was going to do a button down shirt and nice pants, but... I got jacket and tie and dress shoes from him!! I did promise him though that he only had to wear it for dinner and once dinner was over he could run back to the cabin to put on his jeans again.
  14. 4 points
    Travel alert done! Apartment so locked box for mail no light timers bc apartment! Fresh perspective ✔ Happy go lucky attitude: Confirmed!
  15. 3 points
    CGTLH

    LIVEish, Back to Back to Back on Mariner!

    It is finally my turn for a return trip on Mariner! Last time on Mariner was for the Double Dip to CocoCay Royal Caribbean Blog cruise. Hard to believe that was over 7 months ago!
  16. 3 points
    twangster

    Bermuda Triangle SMH....

    This explains it. Money keeps disappearing from my wallet on cruises. Now it hits me...I've been sailing through the Bermuda money triangle.
  17. 3 points
    mk-ultra

    Guide to Chair Hogs

    I'm merciless with chogs. On my last cruise, there were 4 sorta suite "cabanas" in the suites-only area that folks staked out at 8AM, clipping towels to chairs. They'd literally be empty 90% of the time I walked by... hour-after-hour. After seeing one empty for over an hour I just un-clipped their crap, folded it up on a table and made myself at home. After reading a book for ~2 hours, I had an indignant couple ask me to leave "their" cabana. Nope. Take your stuff and find an empty one (if you can dislodge one of the other chogs). If you really want to, complain to a crew member that I "took" the cabana and see how far that gets you.
  18. 3 points
    For this post, I chose to upload PNG files instead of JPEG images, as the JPEG files were showing some noticeable banding and other artifacting. Apologies for the much larger file sizes and slower download, but I spent too much time cleaning up these shots to let JPEG compression mess them up. After getting off the Restless Native, we were walking back to the ship and it occurred to me that I have this nice new camera with real glass and a good sized sensor; why not see what it can do with the ship all lit up for the evening? So before boarding, I grabbed these shots. Needed a bit of post-processing, but overall pretty impressive for a six year old compact camera model. This wasn't enough for me. We had already talked about getting on the North Star and seeing the Bermuda skyline at night, so I figured I'd keep taking pictures and seeing what worked and what didn't. We got onto the standby line, fingers crossed that they'd have a couple of no-shows, and I snapped a couple of shots while waiting our turn. First up, this shot from the North Star Bar looking out over the pool deck. I was also able to get a nice shot of the North Star while she was fully raised above us. Didn't realize it had lights on the bottom of the capsule; I guess they need that for safety in case of any low-flying planes coming near. And then, it was our turn to board the capsule. We rose up into the dark, and I immediately saw that this was going to be difficult at best. You all know how the glass is pretty reflective in the day time? Well at night it's practically a mirror! They have blue lights inside the capsule, and the glass catches and reflects everything lit up by it like crazy. I must have taken a dozen shots of the skyline and dockyard area, but finding a spot where I could put the camera in my own shadow (or someone else's) to block out the blue lighting was nearly impossible. These two were the best I could manage, and required a lot of editing to minimize the blue that still got into the pics: But then I saw the pool deck from up high, and it looked like maybe I'd have some better luck there. Still required a pretty decent amount of editing, but I am darned happy with the end result. The only piece that I couldn't edit out was the reflection of the shoe you can see there on the bottom left. I'm wondering if I could get away with using the "healing brush" to make that last little bit go away... It looks even better at full size, but I don't how much @Matt would appreciate me uploading a nearly 5 MB file. 😉 After we came back down, I stopped on the little observation platform they have as you go down the stairs to the exit at the North Star Bar. I got one more shot of the dockyard at night, and without all that reflective glass it came out looking much better. And with that, we rushed back inside to quickly change our clothes and grab dinner. Cathy wasn't up for the MDR that night and just grabbed a few slices at Sorrento's. I was pretty hungry and wanted to share the day with my table-mates while finding out how they had spent the day, so off to deck 3 I went.
  19. 3 points
    CGTLH

    LIVEish, Back to Back to Back on Mariner!

    Humble room for this voyage, better photos are to come.
  20. 3 points
    The bus ride from the central terminal to the gardens is really short; like, 10 minutes tops. You actually get off at the hospital, and walk a short distance to a pedestrian entrance that takes you alongside the hospital parking lot to the next street over, where the gardens proper begin. The gardens are, if I'm being honest, set up a little oddly. There is a map showing where the exhibits are, but it's not one big reserved area like you'd find at, say the botanical gardens in New York or Butchart Gardens. Instead, they have a bunch of exhibits arranged around other buildings and park areas, and you have to find the paths that get you there. I wasn't up for deciphering the map, so we just found the nearest marked path and wandered to see what we'd find. First exhibit? The ficus tree! When I first saw this, my first thought was the tree in the pilot episode of Lost, that Kate hid inside when the "monster" made its first appearance. Right genus (Ficus), but wrong species; I looked it up just now, and the tree in Lost is a Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis), whereas the Ficus on Bermuda is the weeping fig variety (Ficus benjamina). Based on the plaque I found, these trees are apparently the largest that grow on the island. They have long hanging tendrils, hence the "weeping" part of their name. These tendrils grow into new part of the trunk, letting the tree gradually spread and become quite wide. Remember the brown foliage from earlier? The gardens weren't exempt. There was a completely dead tree next to the one I took the earlier pics from: This was damage caused by the hurricane that blew through the island just a couple of weeks earlier. It wreaked havoc on the gardens, destroying the floral exhibits and damaging a lot of the larger plants like the trees. But we still hadn't put two and two together, so we kept wandering around to see what else was here. First thing we found was an actual hedge maze, with a gazebo in the center. I'd heard a chainsaw running for a while, and this was why; not in this pic, but we passed a guy neatening up the hedges and keeping the paths well-defined. Next up we came across a large field with a variety of trees. Here, too, the damage from the hurricane was evident. Notice in this photo how two of the palm trees have completely lost all of their foliage. They look like poles that were randomly placed in the middle of the other trees and shrubs. This tree was interesting for the way its trunk had formed over the years. Look closely at it, you'll see what looks like a crooked finger rising from the ground to form the front part of the trunk. This next tree was the only one with any fruit on it; I'm guessing it's a date palm given the large cluster of immature fruits, but maybe it's actually coconut? Our last stop before giving up on finding anything more vibrant was this fountain in a small sensory garden that had also lost all of its other foliage. On closer inspection of the water, I found there were some fish living in there. Look for the orange shape under the water in the center of the picture. We decided to get the bus back to the central station, and slowly walked back to the hospital where the depot was located. Maybe a five minute wait for a bus going back to Hamilton to come by, and other ten to return to the station. We had debated trying to make it over to the aquarium, but my foot was getting increasingly unhappy and Cathy was getting hungry, so we walked back from the terminal to the ferry depot. The ferry depot is attached to a larger building that has a little cafe inside. We stopped there for a small bite, since the ferry wouldn't be arriving for another 15 minutes or so. Decent food, expensive as expected for anything bought in Bermuda. On the ride back, I got a nice view of Anthem and Norwegian Gem lined up at the dock. The Gem had been there since the day before, and we learned wouldn't be leaving until the next day, same as us. Yup, people on that ship were getting 3 days in Bermuda instead of only 2; Cathy and I were jealous, even if it wasn't as good as ship as ours. 😉
  21. 3 points
    Matt

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    That's a great question, and the answer is helping you when you want to have things re-priced, change rooms or when there is a problem. Anyone can book a cruise these days. The true value in a good travel agent is the time they save you when things need be changed, fixed or altered.
  22. 3 points
    SpeedNoodles

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    The value of a travel agent is really what service they provide you. My first agency charged a $100 booking fee, and likely would have charged if I needed to make any changes. I switched to MEI travel, and they do not charge for their services (most don't, but check FIRST). You want an agency/agent who will work with you the way you want. Do you want someone who will address your questions/concerns quickly? By phone? Email? Text? Do you want an agency who will check for price drops for you (and be willing to reprice if they do - my first agency didn't even know this was a thing and said I 'wasn't eligible". Not only do I not believe she understood cruising, we didn't click on a personal level at all and I just couldn't stand her). I personally want someone I can contact if something goes wrong, if I need to make a change, if something goes wrong, she'll advocate on my behalf. I wouldn't change my new travel agent ( @michelle from MEI Travel), for another agent, even if I might be able to get some OBC somewhere else. I wouldn't want to risk losing the great, personalized, service that I get from her!.
  23. 3 points
    Grenadyr

    Peanut allergy question

    I contacted special needs due to a allergy I have. Here is the response they sent me...
  24. 3 points
    Ray

    Deflated experience on royal caribean

    Couldnt help but notice you only joined this RC blog 23hrs ago, presumably just to complain and vent your anger at anyone who will listen!! Now you dont say who told you to cruise RC but it wasnt on here so im at a loss as to why you join here to let of steam? It's a shame you didnt bother to join here before you cruised because if you had then you would have found the most honest, friendly and helpful bunch of people going, with vast knowledge of all things RC. So you would have found out everything you needed to know about JOTS. BUT YOU DIDNT!!!!!!! So if your cruise wasnt up to what you expected thats not RC Blogs fault it's your own for not doing the necessary research before cruising. Given the fact you can remember Billy Bultin i can only presume you are more of an Ena Sharples 🤣🤣🤣
  25. 2 points
  26. 2 points
    cookingyo

    RCB Group Cruise 2020 Questions?

    RCBlog group cruises are fun. There are a lot of adult activities, we sometimes have cake, we definitely have booze, we also play Jenga and do shots, and try to get the pub singer to hate us. And as an added bonus you get to hang with the Cookingyo family. Well worth the price of admission to a group cruise. 🤣🤣🤣
  27. 2 points
    Yep. This is exactly right. No package discounts but a couple of fun group activities and at least 1 group excursion.
  28. 2 points
    Ray

    Bermuda Triangle SMH....

    Aliens???? I always thought it was the Loch Ness Monster sinking the ships while on a Caribbean vacation
  29. 2 points
    Love the non Agent Blair drill. From 7 short - 1 long blast it was 12 minutes to dismissal.
  30. 2 points
    Baked Alaska

    Bermuda Triangle SMH....

    I think that the Bermuda Triangle was Bigfoot's demise.
  31. 2 points
    RBRSKI

    Odyssey on sale

    Booked the Odyssey 8 Night for Christmas 2020 today!!!!!!!
  32. 2 points
    A note on the dining choices we made on this trip. On the 4 night, we purchase the Chops +1 on board after we talked them into including Izumi Hibachi. That was our dining sorted for the first 2 nights. We had selected My Time and had a later dinner planned for night 3 anyway but the sunset cruise made us too late for that so we ate in the Windjammer. On the final night we made it to the MDR and found that we felt like we had completely missed on one of the hallmarks of cruising, meeting new people over a meal, having a great conversation and the superb service of the MDR staff. Out waiter asked why we hadn't been and was understanding of the choices but as I say, we felt like we missed out. We resolved that on the second leg we would not repeat that and were we ever glad. For the 3 night cruise we also had My Time, but since we had a consistent time we were able to be seated in the same section of tables with the same servers and passengers seated around us. It was one of the best dining experiences we have ever had. I will say that we find some of the menu choices not to our liking but we can generally fond something to eat. The food quality was good and never a problem but the company and service are where this experience really shined.
  33. 2 points
    Day 6 / Day 2 Today was a port stop in Nassau. This is a cruise port we have visited several times and so we decided to go for an excursion booked through RCL to a place we hadn't visited before, Pearl Island. Part of our decision was that we discovered there were to be 5 ships in port that day and we didn't want the crowds generally associated with that number. Upon arriving we discovered that there was to be another ship in port bringing the total to 6. Ships in port this day were the Grand Classica (Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line), Carnival Ecstasy and Liberty, AIDAluna, Disney Dream and of course Mariner. When we had booked the excursion the initial time was from 9AM - 2PM however when we received out tickets on board the start time had been changed to 10:45. While waiting for the excursion to begin I had the opportunity to take some photos of AIDAluna and Carnival Ecstasy which were docked back to back on the outermost berth. As we started up the pier we passed the Mariner and then Disney Dream. We were lead to an area to the left of the usual exit point for the port area where we boarded the launch to get to the island. From here we had some pretty good views of all the ships in port. After about a half hour ride we reached Pearl Island and exited the boat. Once there it was apparent that a LARGE number of tickets for this excursion were sold on the AIDA ship as there were many people already taking some of the prime seats along the beach areas and the towels were not those of Disney, Carnival or RCL ships. We managed to find some nice seats on the opposite side of the island under a thatched umbrella structure. The view wasn't bad and it was a great spot to watch small birds on the rocks as well as some hermit crabs scurrying around while getting some sun. The island appears to have been claimed from a section of coral where they built some rock retaining walls and paths and brought in some sand. A very pleasant location with not too many people. There were also some seating areas under awnings that would have been quite comfortable. One unique feature of the island is the lighthouse which is open for visitors to go to the top for a view. There are also some water side seating areas. The beach area was a few steps down and had some very clear water and a number of water toys available for use. There are also some over water cabanas, but it did not appear that anyone had purchased those on this day. From the ocean facing seats we had we were able to see some passing traffic of tour boats. The top of the lighthouse was a nice place to take some overall photos of the island. Including the seating area outside of where the lunch was served. The included lunch consisted of Rice and Peas, fried fish, chicken breast, fried plantains and some punch drinks. The was a bar as well for additional cost. The food was good but the chicken was a bit challenging to eat as they had forks but no knives. The stairs up the lighthouse are steep and narrow with partial railings. Certainly not for those with accessibility issues. There was also a little table part way up the lighthouse. Not quite sure it had much purpose other than decorative, but I suppose you could sit in the chairs if you wanted. There were plenty of little birds around. Here is a picture of the outer stairs to get to the lighthouse. This mostly concludes the tour of the island. Once the passengers / visitors who had arrived first had to catch their ride back to the cruise port, we moved in to the prime seating by the beach to enjoy the water for a couple of hours. We left the island about 3:15 so we had a total of 4 hours in the island itself. Upon return to Nassau harbor we were dropped off outside the security area, very near the Pirate Republic bar. Returning to the port area, I had a chance to get some photos of the other ships in port. We then returned to the ship to prepare shower, relax and prepare for dinner.
  34. 2 points
    We wanted to get in a little exploration of downtown Hamilton before we boarded a bus for... wherever we decided to go next. We just turned right on Front Street after leaving the ferry terminal and started walking. We quickly came across a little park area, with a nice view of the homes on the other side of the channel. Hamilton is a busy place. Lots of cars and scooters. They even rent out tiny little electric cars for the tourists that only hold two people (barely) and only have enough charge for two or maybe three hours of driving around. We came across another park area with picnic tables, checker/chess boards mounted on posts, and some trees for shade. In the channel, we saw the ferry already heading back to Hamilton with its next load of passengers. We turned back as it was looking like the main downtown was ending. Since we knew we'd have to head inland to get to the bus terminal, we crossed to the other side of Front Street before heading back. We got another look at just how many people get around by motor scooter, as the entire length of the street for as far as I could see was lined with them. It's good to look around while you're walking. You never know when you'll find a surprisingly pretty view from what first looks like a service alley. Done with our exploration (which is to say, my foot was telling me to take a break already), we made our way up Burnaby Hill road, then turned left on Washington street and walked the roughly one block to the central terminal. We decided we'd visit the botanical gardens since they were closest to the terminal. As luck would have it, a bus from the main Hamilton line to the Dockyard (number 7 line) was right there and ready for us to board.
  35. 2 points
    PRebecca

    Thanks for the Tip- unread dot

    I spend WAAAYTOOO much time on the boards!! It's my favorite place online to be! You're all awesome with your humor and helpful answers. Know that folks appreciate your time and knowledge!!
  36. 2 points
    Before I forget, here’s a first sunset pic. I apologize for the scattered nature my posts.This whole live blog thing works much better before I’ve started using my Deluxe Beverage package, lol. 😂
  37. 2 points
    Just had my first Windjammer meal, and like a lot of you mentioned, the aft outside seating area had plenary of seating available. The free coffee is some of the best I’ve had on a cruise ship, and the breakfast selection is much better than CCL.
  38. 2 points
    WhiteSoxFan

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    I personally care less about the perks and more about the service. I want to be able to call or send an email and know that the TA is going to get back to me with the answer or fix in a reasonable time frame. Less hassle and time spent on my part for absolutely no additional cost to me. If you have a TA that has served you well in the past are you willing to risk that for a few extra dollars in OBC?
  39. 2 points
    Matt

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    This.
  40. 2 points
    melski94

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    I used Cruise Compete once. They have other agencies bid on your booking. I wasn't crazy about the service I received. I don't need much help but the one thing I asked seemed like a huge hassle. I also use MEI. I'll get some discounts from MEI but I know other agencies offer more. The biggest reason to use them is if and when something goes wrong. My past July cruise RC moved one of my rooms (my kids room) to a different deck. It took my MEI TA and her supervisor 3 days to get to a solution they knew I'd accept. The amount of business the agency does with RC gives them some power to help their clients when they need it. I've never had a problem in 5 years but all of a sudden there were problems in 3 of my cruises and MEI helped with all of them. Hopefully, I won't need this kind of help again but it's nice to know it is there if I need it.
  41. 2 points
    Neesa

    Do Travel Agencies Matter?

    MEI, MEI! I felt most comfortable when I used this travel agency, my TA is Sharla. They are experts at the RCCL vacation and believe me that makes a huge difference. Since I have booked I have received two price adjustments without lifting a finger, just turned on my computer to the email from Sharla, guess what you just saved money as there was a sale. I had used another TA previous due to booking with a group of friends and there is no way I would ever use someone not as familiar again. Any question I have I send off to her (or ask on here) the answers are kind and come fast and furious LOL. Go with the TA that is invested in your not only enjoying your vacation but that respects your needs, MEI. (No I do not work for them, not affiliated at all just a very satisfied customer) Good Luck and enjoy your planning, sometimes that can be just as much fun! I have previously said a trusting relationship and ability to communicate with an expert TA is better then a little amount of OBC any day.
  42. 2 points
    WAAAYTOOO

    Thanksgiving 2019

    Me too !
  43. 2 points
    Sweety

    Favorites at Windjammer

    Don't forget pistachio ice cream.
  44. 2 points
    Toss in what the menu for the month was
  45. 2 points
    SteveinSC

    Deflated experience on royal caribean

    This is why @Matt says to start out on the bigger ships, I guess. They offer SO MUCH that people can find their cruising groove on a ship. I started cruising before the bigger ships existed, so I dont really have any unmet expectations....Its all extra icing on the cake, and I love icing.
  46. 2 points
    Day 5 / Day 1 Today was turnaround day and since this was our first B2B it was a new experience. We purchased The Key for our first leg at a sale price since it included VOOM usage, priority lines for FlowRider, as well as embarkation lunch and special disembarkation meal. We knew all along that the priority disembarkation wouldn't be used. Breakfast was served in the main dining room on deck 5 and this was also the staging area for the disembarkation. The menu was a slightly modified MDR breakfast menu and included Salmon Benedict. This was a very enjoyable meal in a much more relaxed atmosphere than the usual Windjammer breakfast on disembarkation day. The directions for consecutive cruisers had been delivered to us and as we had the same cabin it really couldn't have been easier. We left all our belongings exactly where we had unpacked them and that was that. Our cabin steward for the first leg had informed us that he would not be with us for the second leg as his contract was ending and he was returning home to his family until his next contract. We made sure to leave him his gratuity on night 4. From the MDR in the back of deck 5 we headed to the Star Lounge at the bow of deck 5 which was the designated location for consecutive cruisers. There we were joined by about 15-20 others who were returning aboard. After a short wait, the Loyalty Ambassador and another crew member came around to give us our new seapass cards and explain the process. Once the ship was near 0, we would be escorted to deck 4 to exit the ship and be scanned out with our old seapass cards. We would them visit with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and wait in a lounge area for the ship to reach 0 passengers. Once that was completed we would be escorted back onto the ship where we would be required to scan in with our new cards. Everything went exactly as described and was even easier due to the Facial Recognition system in Port Canaveral cruise port. After a short wait in the lounge we returned and headed directly to the Solarium to enjoy the quiet ship to ourselves. We were back on board the ship by approximately 10:15. After an hour, we started to notice people walking through the Solarium and surmised that general boarding had begun. One item to note is that the letter we received indicated that we would have access to our stateroom before the general call. We found that the doors to the corridors were closed but I was able to open them and we could return to our cabin where I wanted to change to swimwear to get some time on the FlowRider. This come back to one of @Matt's pieces of advice that the best time to use some of those features is on embarkation day when people are still getting their bearings and possibly not dressed for the activity. This hits most of the highlights of the day. Not a day that I took photos but as with any day on a cruise it was very enjoyable.
  47. 2 points
    Day 4, Perfect Day at Coco Cay Apologies for taking so long to get more posted, it has been some busy times since returning home. The good news is that by taking some time to post more photos it allows me to relive the trip. I will begin by saying that the first glimpse of Coco Cay post renovation was very exciting. We have been here several times before and only missed it a couple due to weather but the renovated island is seriously impressive! Due to our aft balcony we had a fantastic view! I will also state for the record that I forgot to change the ISO setting on my camera from the sunset photos the night before (NEWB move!) and the sun was so bright it took me a while before I was able to review them on the camera to see the error of my ways. As a result things may be a little grainy and overexposed. The saving grace is that a few days later I will be back at Coco Cay to do it all over again! When we exited the ship there were carts at the ready to whisk us down the pier to the island proper. This is something we greatly appreciate due to the fact that my wife has very bad knees. It allowed us to save some time and energy. I will also note that some of the carts have ramps and space for strollers and wheelchairs which is an incredible plus for those who need such special accommodation. Signs abound on the island to help you find your way and the paths are paved with specifically colored pave stone to aid in navigation. From this point we elected to walk becuase there were no shuttles waiting and we were impatient to get to Oasis Lagoon. In hindsight we could have waited to again save some time. IT was hot already before 8AM for this Canadian. Along our walk was the entry to the Thrill Waterpark and our path was along Sandy Lane which was paved in red. This took us past Splashaway Bay and to Oasis Lagoon where Up, Up and Away loomed large over the chairs. We were looking for the Oasis Lagoon Cabanas which were over the bridge and past the Swim Up Bar which at this hour was pretty quiet. In fact, the whole pool area was very quiet still. We reached the cabana area and our attendant gave us wristbands and led us to our cabana. The cabana amenities are fantastic. We found several chairs, a sofa with towels, a table with an unlocked and lockable cubby in it as well as cooler filled with ice cold water. The view from the cabana was rather nice but no direct line of sight to the pool. On the table were menus for food and drink as well as a call button to page your cabana attendant. I pressed this before it was explained to me and I was surprised just how fast they responded. We preceded to relax for a while and take advantage of the pool area. We did press the button intentionally to order the island specialty Coco Loco as well as lunch which was prepared at the Snack Shack and delivered to us. I will add that the food was incredible and certainly lived up to the hype from those we had spoken to who had visited the island before. After a very satisfying lunch, I set out on a little photo safari around the island to see some of the other changes while my wife took full advantage our our shady cabana to relax and read. By this time the pool was much busier but not what I would consider crowded. I will also add that a DJ plays poolside and you could definitely hear that in the cabana area. The beach areas were fairly populated and the floating bar was too. The Beach Beds were along the Tram Route near where the construction was ongoing for the Coco Beach Club and looked quite comfortable as well. Chill Grill received some attention too since we were here last with fresh awnings paint and food selections. I made my way around the island and found a great view of Mariner at the pier as well as a pretty gazebo where weddings are held. Daredevil Tower in the water park is certainly what I consider on of the defining landmarks of the island There are ample locations to get wonderful photos of the ship and I managed to grab a quick shot of some people on the Zip Line That pretty much ended my photos for the day. I returned to the Cabana and we visited the pool a couple more times before heading back to the ship around 4:00. This blog will pick up with a brief description of our experience with turnaround on the Back to Back before I return with more photos from our second day in Nassau and an excursion to Pearl Island.
  48. 2 points
  49. 2 points
    SpeedNoodles

    Crazy Quest

    I believe that there's a group of Royal Caribbean Blog group cruisers who consistently win this game.
  50. 2 points
    Matt

    Guide to Chair Hogs

    Look for chairs closer to the kids pools. Evidently their kryptonite is children
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