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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/19/2022 in all areas

  1. I rarely post but as I am on an upcoming Ovation cruise, I wanted to weigh in. We have only sailed Star since the restart. Our first cruise was lackluster at best. Nothing comparable to a pre-covid Star (which we have also sailed) experience. We are a family of 3, not very needy in the request to Genie experience. What we dealt with was lost bags, poor service and slow wait times. Things everyone deals with. We don’t care about the opinion of folks that sail every week and defend RCL due to Covid. Bottom line up front…we don’t all sail every week. We save thousands, spend thousands to give our families an amazing experience. It is RCLs responsibility to provide customer satisfaction. I do not need to understand I dang thing about their bottom line. They fail…someone will buy their ships and I will still sail. They are a business. I will support the best value for my dollar. Having been disappointed in Star, I can only imagine the disappointment for folks that dont have genies. For all you defenders of this company, You need to look at what keeps the ship afloat. Customer Satisfaction. I am tired of old timers telling me I should lower expectations for the company. They have ended many Covid related programs that protect me. Not to mention, FCC is expiring and Royal spent many months taking those 90 day deposits in the outset. Defend as you will, I am Diamond Plus and ticked. Not about brand loyalty but burned up about old timers telling new folks to expect less. They shouldn’t. Food for thought, my upcoming Ovation cruise will cost 51 per night. Doesnt sound like much until you divide it by 365. That is right. My upcoming cruise, without added excursions, cost 51 per night for an entire year. You are damned right I expect a Royal experience. Us whales keep the fleet afloat.
    9 points
  2. Most likely, but, judging from the prices I've seen in the Cruise Planner the past few months, it's gonna depend on your own personal definition of "SALE".
    8 points
  3. Today was a great day with an unexpected event added in. I booked my cruise a little bit late in the game, so by the time I got to “plan my cruise“, all of the shore excursions for Aruba were mostly sold out. What was left was overpriced trips in a motorcoach bus, which I did not want to do, or variations on touring the island and then spending a couple of hours at the beach. I’m not a beach person and definitely didn’t want to do any of those. So I ended up coming on the cruise with nothing planned for Aruba. We were allowed to get off the ship shortly after 8 o’clock this morning, so I was off by 8:15 and walking into town to just look around. For reference, from my door, out the ship, and to the edge of town at the end of the pier is .70 miles. Keep that in mind when planning your outing! It’s nearly a mile and a half just round-trip from ship to town. I walked around and looked around a little bit but it was all shops and not much else to see. I went into a souvenir shop and spent a while looking at things and buying a few things. Back at the pier, there were some merchants that had set up shop so I looked around their stands for a little bit. When I was done looking around I thought, I guess I’ll go back to the ship now. It was only 10 o’clock. I thought to myself, that’s it? That’s all I’m going do in Aruba? I felt annoyed with myself for not planning ahead and finding something, anything to help me explore the island a little better. I hadn’t felt comfortable approaching independent tour guides online because I’m traveling alone and I just, I don’t know, I just didn’t want to go with an independent guide based on something off TripAdvisor and nothing else. Just then I overheard a guy talking to two ladies standing next to me on the sidewalk. He was showing them a big colorful map and explaining where he would take them on the tour if he they wanted to join in. He pointed to a gigantic authentic military open-air truck nearby that was already half-filled with people, and said “that’s my truck, you hop in and I will take you all over the island and show you all of the main landmarks for $25.” They didn’t want to go but I told him I was interested. Seeing that the truck was already full of people and talking to the guy face-to-face somehow made all of the difference. I would not have booked a tour with anyone online with no knowledge of them for some reason, but logical or not, it felt right to go ahead and join this tour on the spot. The guy showed me the map and there were things on there I had wanted to see, such as the lighthouse and the natural bridge. I had exactly $35 cash left in my purse, (I did not take anything besides cash), so I hopped into the truck and within a few minutes, away we went! There were 12 of us, all of us off of the ship, and we were ready to have some fun. The guy cranked up some tunes and we blew through town and out into the heart of Aruba. The wind was so fierce I thought my face might be peeled off, but I got used to it after a while. The guys name is Edmond, and he didn’t have a name of his company on his truck or anything like that, but if you come to Aruba and look for him, look for the largest open air truck out of all the other open air trucks waiting by the pier (painted camouflage). He’s a former Marine and he is very proud of Aruba and happy to show it off. The tour lasted three hours. It is so great to do a tour like that in a huge vehicle like that with tires that are about 8 feet tall. Everywhere we went was off-road and we bumped and flew through the air and laughed and clung to our belonging so they wouldn’t fly away and yes, we ate dirt from off-road vehicles in front of us and we had our skin scoured by the wind, but we did not care. We laughed and listened to reggae tunes and got to know each other and had a big time. Eventually people asked me if I was traveling alone and they were both horrified and intrigued when I said that yes, I was. We saw the Gold Mill ruins, the lighthouse, the natural bridge, and several other things, but most of all, we saw the heart of Aruba, driving all over the back roads from one place to the other. That was by far the most interesting part of the whole day, was seeing the real true Aruba and how people live on the island. It’s nothing like I pictured. I had this idea Aruba would be one big shiny resort, brand-new and sparkling clean. That is not the case in the least. For one thing, Aruba is one big dust bowl, and most parts of it are either dirt or concrete or sand, rocks and scrubby areas, and lots and lots of big cactus. The majority of the beaches look like Mars. The homes are all one-level concrete rectangles, and you can see that the majority of people in Aruba don’t have a lot of money. Backyards are just dirt or concrete, there’s rubble everywhere, and everywhere we passed homes, there was quite a bit of evidence of cockfighting paraphernalia, such as rows and rows of cages in yards and such. I asked Edmond about it and he confirmed that yes, it’s all cockfighting, and no, it’s not legal here. But it’s so out in the open. I guess the authorities look the other way? Anyway, it was really interesting to see something behind the resorts and to see so many locals. Everywhere we stopped, there were local citizens out selling this or that. Lots of people were selling coconut water. They would take a coconut out of the truck, chop off an end and stick a straw in it. Every single person on the truck including Edmond bought one of those coconuts and sat around drinking the water and exclaming over how great it was. Finally one of the ladies asked me why I wasn’t going to get one. I just kept saying “I’m good, I’m fine “, but she was kind of aggressive about wanting me to get a coconut and join in. I finally said, “I don’t have enough cash. I have just enough cash for the tour and a tip for Edmond and that’s it. “ She immediately said, “I buy you one.“ Next thing I know, she was putting a giant coconut in my hand and had paid for it. How nice is that? It is so great to know that there are still kind hearted people out there who don’t want to see anyone left out. Edmond said that Aruba has an extremely low crime rate… Less than 4%. He said they are a mix of all different cultures and backgrounds and they are proud to say they all get along great and they love tourists. This is part of the reason why the official slogan for Aruba is “one happy island.“ The tour lasted three hours and was SO FUN and then I was dropped back at the ship. By this time I was completely coated in sweat and dirt and dust and my hair was a giant tumbleweed from being blown in the wind for three straight hours. I went back to the ship feeling so, so happy that I had more to remember about Aruba than a gift shop. And I was able to take lots of video from the truck as we drove around, so I can show my husband. He would’ve loved this, and the part he would love the most is seeing the homes and the “real life“ of Aruba. Back onboard, I had a long shower and then went down to the Promenade for a snack. it was 3 PM and I had not eaten anything all day. Sorrento’s was the most logical choice and I got in line behind a handful of people and guess what? There was exactly 2 slices of pepperoni left. There were two employees back there hustling like crazy to get more pies in the oven and it was just so sad. There was a lady standing around waiting for a vegetarian pie to come out of the oven and she told me, “these guys work their butts off every single day. Why is there only two of them? They need about five more people back here. They stay busy constantly.” I couldn’t agree more, and the same goes for café promenade. But I waited around for the pizza to come out of the oven and got a slice, and then I went over to the bar at On Air. I’ve only used three bars this cruise so far, but on air has the friendliest bartenders. I had them make me a virgin piña colada and then I sat on the promenade and had my (delicious) piña colada and pizza and caught up on texts. I stopped at Café Promenade for a cookie, and the person in line in front of me ordered several desserts and asked for two spoons and two forks. She ended up needing a bigger plate and I have to say, the employee behind the counter wasn’t exactly rude, but she was borderline rude. Not nearly the friendly attitude that I see everywhere on Royal under normal circumstances. But it was the kind of rude that seemed born of exhaustion, you know what I mean? And I’m sure there’s a lot of that going on right now. After that I spent some time in my room and talked to my husband on the phone a while, then I went to the wind jammer for dinner and loaded up on some good food. And I do mean “good”, not great. Not even the desserts. I took a little walk around boardwalk and discovered that the aqua theater people were having a rehearsal and lots of people had gathered around to watch. So I grabbed a chair and watched that for a long time and that was so interesting. I planned to go see the Ice Show again tonight (because it’s that good!) and then go to the love and marriage game show, which I was really looking forward to. But I am just too tired. And I have a tour tomorrow that leaves at 8:15! So I have put myself to bed. Right as I was getting into bed, I tried to open my safe to get my things out to prepare for tomorrow. I messed it up somehow and the safe started beeping and beeping and wouldn’t stop and it wouldn’t open. I had to call maintenance. They were here within 20 minutes and had it fixed with a turn of a key. Here’s an interesting thing. In the cruise compass for tomorrow under “today’s top deals,” they have a salon special. It’s a Keratin Express Blowout. The cruise compass says “call the spa to inquire about today’s special. “ I thought that sounded like something I might want to do, so I called the spa and asked about it. The lady said, “oh, we don’t do keratin blowouts. We don’t have the product.” I thought, “really? You might want to talk to the people who print the cruise compass.” But of course I didn’t say anything. But is that not a classic case of miscommunication? I know they have a template for these cruise compasses, but they edit it for each cruise because each daily compass has that day‘s weather and the time of sunrise and sunset and things like that. So they could’ve removed that keratin special if they wanted to. No big deal, but that spa is going to get a whole lot of phone calls tomorrow over nothing! anyway, that was my experience in Aruba. Tomorrow is Curaçao and I’m looking forward to it. I’m doing a guided tour of the Hato caves and a few other places. I’m sunburned and tired, but feel like I really had a great day and got a very good experience in the special port I have never been to! we are here until 1030, which is right now, so we should be leaving it any minute!
    8 points
  4. Katrina

    Helo pad

    THANK YOU MATT!!! I have heard you say more than once to go to the helo pad for the sail away. We did last weekend on Navigator of the Sea and yes the ship is beautifully redone, but the helo pad was by far one of the coolest sail aways that we have done thus far. So THANK YOU for all of your helpfull information. And we also took your advice on booking your room by the elevator. Yep, the next 3 cruises that we booked, our rooms are by the elevator. So much better. Loyal to Royal!! Thanks Matt...
    6 points
  5. My wife and I have a cruise booked out of Barbados with two other couples. The two other husbands and I lived in the Southern Caribbean for two years on a church mission. We all lived on Barbados as well as the other ports on the itinerary. Yes it will be expensive to fly there, but it is worth it for us to take our wives back to the places that was such an important part of our lives nearly 20 years ago! We can hardly wait!
    6 points
  6. I understand that the main point of this thread is about The Ovation, however this is fleet wide, and worldwide, seems like nothing is untouched. We love cruising (preferred choice of vacation travel) and understand that during these times it is not always easy to have everything go smoothly Bottom line is on a ship you are a fully “captive audience”, and really don’t have any choices when shows are canceled, or venues are closed. We sailed on the Allure a few months ago a few days not all most activities throughout the day into evening were canceled this included some venues onboard closed, no big shows. This was not listed in the cruise planner, and we heard the announcement mid-day. When we do a “land trip” (very rare nowadays) and things go south we can easily move to a different place, go back home or stay. Granted, we have not done much traveling over the last three years and on a ship, this is a totally different ball of wax. You can always reach out on social media go to guest services, and that is about it, you can’t “leave and go to another place", check out, walk to another show down the street. I have never heard about anyone doing that on a cruise, leaving early by choice. Lastly all the prices have increased greatly for onboard and shore excursions. We do our best with vacation dollars, we live nowhere near a port, then you add the cost of testing and other expenses we hope that the ports of call are open and the staff aboard the ship can handle the full capacity. I am not “ready” to say well this is the way it is going to be, that might make us change the way we travel with vacations. You pay (in some cases) a premium price, I expect premium service.
    4 points
  7. 90% sure a Vision Class ship can fit? OR Only 90% of the ship will fit in the port like an old Cadillac too long to close the garage door?
    4 points
  8. Pre-cruise day in Rome. Afternoon. After lunch we had the much-awaited (for me, DH was just about hanging on by this time ) visit to the Colosseum, which I booked through Walks of Italy: https://www.walksofitaly.com/rome-tours/colosseum-arena-floor-tour/ This tour also includes the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill and the guide (Dario) reversed the order so that we visited these first. He said that, for most people, the highlight of the tour would be the Colosseum itself so he always preferred to leave that till last. I'm glad he did, because DH definitely perked up once we got inside the Colosseum. Since this was a paying tour, the group was much smaller. The company guarantees there will be no more than 25 people per group and ours actually had 19. Dario was excellent, very knowledgeable and personable and, of course, the smaller group size meant he was able to better engage with the members of the group. One thing I really liked was how he made the effort to inform us about where and when to expect bathroom breaks. I really enjoyed the tour, even though the weather decided to have a meltdown and start pouring with rain just as we were sitting in the arena floor. You can see how wet it was in this last one. We had to shelter under a restaurant canopy on the way back to the hotel, even though it was really close by, because the rain was so heavy.
    4 points
  9. Our pre-cruise day in Rome. Morning. With only one full day in Rome before the cruise I wanted to ensure we made the most of it, while also getting in the visit to the Colosseum. Having visited the Vatican on a previous trip, but never central Rome, and to avoid us simply wandering around aimlessly, I booked us on the "free" walking tour "Marvels of Rome" through Guru Walks: https://www.guruwalk.com/walks/37444-marvels-of-rome-walking-tour This gave us a decent overview of the monuments in the centre of Rome. The guide was not the one originally indicated (Colin) but his replacement (Paulo) was excellent, very knowledgeable and passionate about his subject. The only issue I had with the tour was that the group was far too big, over 50 people, which prevented any meaningful interaction with the guide. However, for the cost of the €20 tip at the end, it was fine. The tour was followed by lunch in a side street off the Piazza Navona that the guide pointed out to us at the end of the tour, after recommending we avoided eating on the square itself.
    4 points
  10. I, for one, am most curious as to what type of emergency the CD would be best suited to address?
    3 points
  11. JennyB

    😞 positive test

    I mean, I'd rather get it AFTER the cruise and not while ON the cruise. But please know I just prayed for you. That is all.
    3 points
  12. Another Reason to go on Celebrity. Their casino's are 100% non smoking and its wonderful. I am still Prime with Royal and always plan to be. I am also Diamond plus with 405 points BUT I love celebrity so much more than Royal. The food is so much better, no smoking in casino, The design of the ships, the pool areas, the upgraded level of service.. The only thing I like Royal better for is the entertainment. I will still go on Royal for new big ships and when friends want to go on Royal or I need a quick 3 night cruise but I have decided to mostly focus my bankroll on Celebrity and having status in their casino. I know I am halfway to pinnacle on Royal but I just like celebrity better.
    3 points
  13. I suspect there may be a RCB Group Cruise associated with one of the early sailings of Icon. I'll be waiting on that.
    3 points
  14. So far Stepan has been very responsive and e-mailed us back sometimes with in the hour, but no more than the next day. He did confirm that the Star class WOW bands will be available for our sailing and every request has been granted so far. (Although we haven't asked for anything too crazy :)) We are now 3 weeks out and getting very excited!
    3 points
  15. If you have an emergency then talking in person with guest services would be your best approach
    3 points
  16. Your question depends upon where you are staying pre-cruise. Funny, my spouse and I were discussing this a few days ago about how people plan Los Angeles trips without understanding the realities of Southern California. Disneyland-If you are staying near Long Beach terminal, which is already about an hour drive from LAX, traveling from Long Beach to Anaheim is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Figure in parking and shuttling from the Disney parking lots, if you leave your hotel at 7am, you can expect to be at the Disney gates by 9am. The same holds true for pretty much any major theme park in the area. If I may, I suggest doing things like visiting the Getty Museum, which by my memory was free, and then doing a walking tour of the "Hollywood" area. Lots of free things to do and some iconic foodie stops such as Pink's Hotdogs. A baseball game is not a bad suggestion, but Dodger Stadium is on a hill and the only parking at the stadium goes up a narrow road up and down the hill. Meaning, a baseball game is at least a 6 hour endeavor if it is a short game. Many people have a misconception that Los Angeles encompasses Orange County, San Diego, the northern greater Los Angeles areas, etc. All of these locations are a long commute. Having lived in South Orange County, I tell you that for us, it is a CHORE to venture out even to Disneyland, which is only about 30 miles away. It is easily a one hour drive each way. San Diego Zoo from Los Angeles is easily a 3 hour drive each way. If you have an idea of where you are staying, I can definitely tell you hot spots, trendy places, or local's secrets to experience. Without knowing where you are staying, I can only say this: Plan on ONE activity a day and no more-or you will likely be disappointed.
    3 points
  17. TNMIKE

    Special dinning on QTS

    So far, we have done Wonderland, and Chops on this 7 day Alaskan adventure. Both if them exceeded my expectations. the service in this ship has been excellent to far. I would highly recomend both !
    3 points
  18. ellcee

    Staffing Issues Query

    I'm loyal to no one and I fully acknowledge it sucks to be on a cruise and not get what you paid for. It's not okay. But as said many times in this thread alone, this is the state of the world right now. I'm feeling it in my own job - hiring for a job in my dept and usually get a bunch of resumes - I'm getting next to nothing. Add people getting sick and things are even more complicated. Friends in other fields seeing the same. My dogwalking company was short a few weeks ago and people didn't have coverage for their pups. None of this is okay but for a while this is what it is. No, it doesn't make sense to me that cruise ships are at full capacity right now....but don't we all know this a risk when we book cruises right now? I canceled my march one because I wasn't comfortable around so many people at this time. I scheduled for September hoping for the best but knowing what I'm in for.
    3 points
  19. smost

    Royal Up offers

    We sailed at the end of April with a GTY cabin and we were offered RoyalUp and won it
    3 points
  20. One reason, the itinerary. You're going to different islands than you can elsewhere. So when you say "You can go to almost all of the same ports", almost is the key word. There's other ports. Variety is the spice of life.
    3 points
  21. I’m on the ship also with my girlfriend here is a nice picture we took at Labadiee
    3 points
  22. Here you go:
    3 points
  23. Okay, just a few minutes ago I hid a extremely expensive, or not, item for all to look for. I'll give you a hint and wish you good luck. I will not give anymore information or clues. This is on the Ovation of the Seas and will be available for those that start their cruise May 20, 2022. Find yourself in a place that is synonymous with a stroll in the park. The prize that is available can be found if being active in the search well before the evening meal hours. Mark or Jennifer, that provides a frozen dairy delight, and are key players in capitalism will have the extremely expensive, or not, surprise on the other side of the trellis (loosely defined). The key to retrieving this prize is to mention MY NAME. That is all, no further clue will be given. I only request that if you are the very lucky person to find this extremely expensive, or not, item, let me know in this thread. Thank you.
    2 points
  24. Linda R

    No sales on spa?

    I was just on the Odyssey. Gals came around certain places and handed out $50 off any spa treatment cards. A manicure was $49. So it only cost me the tip. Also did a pedicure using another coupon. They gave you 2 at a time. I loved it and hope to see it again sometime! I think the spa was not busy and they were promoting business. They also threw in a free mini facial after the manicure. I seem to see better offers for spa treatments on the ship.
    2 points
  25. SPS

    No sales on spa?

    I've noticed that the Spa discounts appear less often than on other items in the Cruise Planner. (I always book a Day 1 massage for my wife in the planner.) I think one major driver of this is that the Spa is actually run by a third party company, OneSpaWorld, not Royal Caribbean. That is not to say discounts won't become available, they just seem to appear less often than items like Drinks, Excursions, etc. One good way to get a lower price on spa services is to book them for port days instead of sea days. The spa quite often has lower prices while the ship is in a port of call when/where demand is lower.
    2 points
  26. JennyB

    No sales on spa?

    I personally have not seen pre-cruise sales in the Spa, but they do run "sales" on board...usually it's not really a "sale" as much as it might be a package of more than one thing at a "discounted" price...hubby and I did a couples massage on our 25th anniversary cruise and it was discounted but not enough that we will ever do it again on a cruise!
    2 points
  27. The inaugural sailing of Icon might be a bit different than Wonder because it is supposed to debut in the UK first before coming to the US. I could be wrong, but there may be fewer bloggers/vloggers onboard on the 1st sailing because it would require flying to the UK. The first sailing leaving from the US might have more of that "vlogger" atmosphere, lol. I really enjoyed being on the inaugural Wonder sailing, although some entertainment was not fully ready. If this is important to you, you might want to wait a few weeks in case the same thing happens on Icon.
    2 points
  28. Go to your cabin steward and say I want to talk to your manager. Then when that person comes, repeat. Eventually you'll get ahold of them or get thrown in the brig.
    2 points
  29. Thanks everyone! My boys are serious golfers, the reason they want to play while on vacation is they have Jr PGA events the week we return. We do have quality travel bags, and we are playing on St. Kitts during the cruise. We'll see how it goes.
    2 points
  30. You start at zero and have to work your way up. I am currently doing this now with celebrity.
    2 points
  31. if you watch youtube videos on any industry or simply observe your service industry surroundings, you know everything has been hammered by the great resgnation/covid. Cruise companies have to deal with visas and other country's covid mandates. I am sure its a nightmare to get staff back from all corners of the world. Cruising may never be what it was pre-covid. Also, I am sure alot of staff have simply rethought their career plans and left cruise service altogether. We all came back with 2019 expectations/desires for how things should be but have to face the reality it may never be that way again or it will be years. Yes they could book less passengers per cruise to mitigate some of it, but as TWangster said, they have billions of dollars in debt to repay. This is the new reality of cruising ya'll. https://www.thestreet.com/investing/carnival-cruise-line-crew-shortage-leads-to-cancellations?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOO
    2 points
  32. June 24 is a long way out. There can be a vast improvement by then since I would think most staff would have already had Covid and recovered and any fresh staff that were hired will have at least a months experience, if not more, under their belt.
    2 points
  33. That's tough having two genies get covid on the same voyage. Hope you still make the most out of the trip.
    2 points
  34. If you watch any YouTube videos from people sailing on other lines, the stories are the same. Staff shortages are everywhere and are not unique to Royal Caribbean.
    2 points
  35. I’m so sorry you caught Covid! Not a surprise though… It just seems like we should all pretty much expect it these days. especially with the ships at full capacity, it’s just not possible to keep even a little bit of distance from each other anymore. Like tonight when I was standing in line for the wind jammer, the guy behind me absolutely had to stand on my heels every second, as though he would get to the food faster if he did that. I would take a little step forward and he would take one right with me and still be standing on my heels. I didn’t want to crowd the lady in front of me, as she was wearing a mask and obviously trying to be careful. I plan on testing the day after I get home and then testing several days later. I hope you’re feeling well and that you guys don’t get ill. Thank you for reading and for commenting. I hope you guys get well soon.
    2 points
  36. endofturn

    Cash/tips

    I normally tip the porters $2/bag which is usually 2 smallish bags, we don't pack crazy. That's cash I have to bring. If there is a shuttle driver I'll tip them $2 as well if it is a group of people they are transporting. Bartenders 75% of the time I'll let the auto grat stand. It is 18%, so that's over $2 already automatically. If I'm really hammering them or if they are extra nice to me or funny I'll tip more on the slips. Tour shuttle drivers I'll tip $5, tour guide $5. Then I'll have like $50 in cash that I'll split somehow between my waiters in MDR and cabin steward, depending on who I think did more on like a sliding scale. I'm no star class passenger so I don't have a ton extra to throw around but I do budget like $75-$100 in cash just for tips.
    2 points
  37. Just returned from a trip to Alaska on Ovation. Staffing issues are REAL. Lines are never ending. Wait times are long. They booked to capacity. After 10 Cruises on RCCI, I may think twice on booking another. They (the management) should take a look and lower the bookings until staffing can be corrected. SAD at the once in a lifetime trip was tainted by a company we have been loyal to. RCCI's shut down made them forget who their true customer guests are. Do better RCCI!
    2 points
  38. Ampurp85

    Cash/tips

    I say tip what you feel is warranted. With the exception of my room steward, I tip as I go. I don't like to wait to the end and have to hunt down anybody. I could only eat in the MDR the first night and never go back, the same with any other venue.
    2 points
  39. Jill

    ICON CLASS UPDATE

    So what we know is that it’s been installed on the promenade. Question is: what is it? Hubby thinks it’s a new Death Star as Royal prepares to take over the cruise industry
    2 points
  40. Thanks for sharing your detailed thoughts on your Allure experience! My wife and I were on the ship last week May 8 to 14 and had similar experiences. It was very crowded but we found ways to have our own space at times. I found that depending on the time of day you could get easy access to food / drink / activities if you timed it right (off-peak hours I'll call it). I am curious how the covid situation has been on the ship, as sadly by day 5 I had contracted it and once we returned home so did my wife. We hand sanitized constantly and were semi-liberal with mask wearing, which probably caused me to get it (either during the theatre showing of mama mia, or during the my time dining with long lines and big crowds). Suffice it to say we had an all around great vacation and can't wait to do royal again, though next time we may opt to spend a little more for a newer ship.
    2 points
  41. TheRick

    Cash/tips

    I could tip the extra at the end. I’m a little rusty. I don’t think I’ve been on Royal Caribbean since they got rid of skeet shooting. I also plan on tipping extra no matter the quality of service. There could be reasons if the service is not the very best, they could be having a bad day or maybe they’re homesick and no matter what, they are assisting me and the least I can do is appreciate the effort.
    2 points
  42. Linda R

    Cash/tips

    I tip bartenders $1 or $2 each time I order. I also give room stewart some extra money on the first day of the cruise. Anything beyond the normal tipping is always appreciated.
    2 points
  43. Because the people are so friendly...Never saw one without a smile and saying hello,
    2 points
  44. Often more cheaply and without the red tape of touching US soil (on some of the itineraries).
    2 points
  45. Simply, it was a place to put a ship that otherwise would still be in layup. Plus the Europeans can fly directly to Barbados
    2 points
  46. Today was a good day. It was also an extremely windy day. Last night the sound of the hangers in the closet swinging around and bumping into each other woke me up a few times, but I went right back to sleep and really didn’t care. (I did take the unused hangers out of the closet today though and laid them on the floor.) The ship has been rocking for a day and a half, the wind is fierce, and the ocean has lots of little whitecaps. I have heard that Aruba is windy and it looks like that will be the case. The ship is still rocking and quivering even now while I type this. Somehow the aqua show still went on and the balancing guys still did their balancing routine, although it was somewhat abbreviated from normal. it was a kind of fragmented day but a good one. I slept late and then went down to the promenade for a “fun fitness class.” I did this on Sunday as well and it was definitely fun and surprisingly challenging. Of course you’re doing your fitness class on the promenade which means the 40 or so people packed into the Cafe Promenade chairs sit back and stare and some even take out their phones and videotape while you’re doing grapevines and claps and squats and all that stuff. But at one point an adorable toddler came out of nowhere and joined in, randomly waving her arms around, and then her dad got into it as well and it was just too cute. I had a very late breakfast at Park Café just as they were closing. I had the Egg McMuffin Panini which we are not supposed to identify as an Egg McMuffin. I got a giant croissant and took it back to my room and stuck it in the refrigerator. I went up to the pool deck and the wind was blowing like crazy. Towels were clipped to chairs but still billowing and flapping in the wind. It was also overcast and I was not interested in swimming at that point. I went back to the room and was able to FaceTime my husband for about an hour and catch up with each other and that was terrific. I rested for a while, sat on the balcony and watched the Aqua theater people have a practice session, walked around the promenade some more, sat out on the boardwalk when the sun came out, and watched people ride the carousel. A bunch of families came racing through the boardwalk and they all had a piece of paper in their hands. There was some kind of organized scavenger hunt going on and part of the quest was to take a picture next to the carousel and a picture next to the hotdog place. I tried to join in a couple of trivia rounds, but apparently you need to get to the Schooner bar a good 30 minutes before trivia starts if you would like to have a chair or even if you would like to stand in the standing room only section and still be able to see and hear the game leader. I got there 15 minutes before it started and it was so packed that I was looking at standing pretty much out on the promenade by myself and straining to hear the questions being called out. I didn’t want to play trivia that bad so I gave up on it. I had dessert for lunch and then got to feeling a little bit lonely and disconnected. This seems to hit me on day three or four of my solo cruises, I am learning. A fleeting loneliness, I guess. I went up deck to the Flowrider to the boogie board section, and sat in the stands and watched everybody learning to use it. It was the perfect pick-me-up. That place was hopping with so much enthusiasm and excited faces and huge smiles and lots of laughter. I mean everyone there was in such high spirits and in a great mood. People would be so incredibly thrilled with themselves when they learned how to stand up on the boogie board on their knees. Every time someone wiped out and went flying they would laugh and laugh. There was lots of fist bumping and high-fiving each other among the riders as well. The families in the stands were taping on their phones and clapping and cheering. It was a really festive atmosphere, the most excited bunch I’ve ever seen around the Flowrider. I stayed an hour and a half soaking up the sun and watching all the good times and I felt much better after that. I went over to have a round of mini golf, but there was a backlog of people on the course and several groups of people sitting around waiting for their turn on the first hole, so I skipped it. At that point it was almost 4 and it’s become a tradition to head over to the Rising Tide bar around then. I get a club soda and ride the bar up and down while I catch up on emails and texts. The Internet signal is a lot better on the promenade than it is in my room. Just the same, I can’t upload pictures here on this page and I can’t send any video clips to my family, it just seems to be too much for the Internet to handle. Later I went back and the mini golf was mostly empty so I tried to play. But every time I set my ball on the ground, the wind would snatch it away and roll it all over the place before I could hit it. There was a lot of people playing ping-pong today, and some kind of really lively basketball competition among a bunch of different three-man teams on the sports deck. There was also a beanbag toss competition, the scavenger hunt, and most of the shops were open all day and evening. Side note: on the pool deck this afternoon, I saw a man with no shirt, tropical print swim shorts, heavy duty wool socks that came up to his knees, and super thick heavy military grade army boots on. There’s a story there somewhere. Did he forget to pack his flip-flops? Is it comfortable in this heat, walking around in those boots? We will never know. A quick nap and it was dinner time. I decided to get to the Windjammer right when it opened so I went up to get in line at 5:50. There was about 150 people in line in front of me with the same idea. But I got in and got a plate of healthy food and took it back to my room and ate on the balcony. I just wasn’t up to fighting the mob in the Windjammer for a table and it was hot and stuffy in there. A tip for new solo cruisers: if you’re going to eat at the buffet, bring a few objects with you to help secure your table. Here’s the thing when you’re by yourself—if you get up to go get seconds or get dessert, you will come back to your table to find it has been cleared and there are new people sitting there. Likewise if you get your drinks first, set those drinks on the table and then go to get your food, same thing. You’ll come back and the table will have been cleared and someone else will have claimed it. So bring a beach bag or a baseball cap or a few things like that, set them across the table, and if possible grab a minute with one of the nearby employees and let them know you’ll be right back, and you should be in good shape. Having those objects on the table indicates you haven’t left yet. The sun came out but the wind picked up even more to the point where the pools were just rippling like crazy and the lifeguard couldn’t keep his hat on. Whenever I was walking through a silent hallway I would hear the walls creaking. After dinner I went to karaoke. Great singing but the crowd was subdued compared to last night. There was a huge crowd of people that had to stand in the doorway to listen because all the chairs were filled up. One of the people performing was a lady I also saw do karaoke on my last solo cruise on the odyssey in March. Small world. After karaoke it was time for Jeff Tracta in the Amber theater. He was SUPER. Absolutely make reservations to go see him and make sure you stick to those reservations because he will sell out and you won’t be able to get in. I think he’s only doing two performances this whole cruise. Every seat in the Amber theater was taken. He’s a singer and actor but he does impressions so all of his act was impersonating different singers and actors and he was just so good. It sounds like nothing special the way I’m describing it, but it really was amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect and didn’t have high hopes but he was just terrific. Then it was time to scurry up to my balcony and eat the croissant I had saved, and watch the aqua show for I think the fourth time? If you’re a fan of the aqua show, a boardwalk balcony near the very end is a great idea. If you’re hoping to be sound asleep before 11 o’clock at night, then a boardwalk balcony is a terrible idea. When I came back to my room this evening, I had a note in my door. It says that they will be doing cleaning and maintenance on balconies starting at 9 AM in the morning so to make sure and keep our curtains closed for privacy. Tomorrow we are in Aruba from 8 AM to 10:30 PM so it will be a good long day and I’m sure people will maximize the opportunity. I’m looking forward to getting off the ship and seeing what I see. I made a request on day one with my room steward to have a printed copy of the daily compass brought to my room each day and that’s been happening, so that’s been great. There just seems to be better information on the printed copy, a more complete picture I guess, then scrolling to selections on your app. But they definitely want you to use that app. The mood on the ship today was high energy and good spirits. Fatigue has not set in yet for us 5000 folks. The high spirits may have had something to do with the fact that today, it seemed like everybody was drinking like there’s no tomorrow. I have a weird observation… And it’s probably just a misconception on my part, but it seems to me that they’re treating ice like it’s a rare commodity on this cruise. It’s hard to find plain old ice to put in your drinks. At the Windjammer, you do not have access to an ice machine like you do on other ships. You simply have access to the grab and go drinks which either don’t have ice in them or have only a few mostly melted shards of ice bobbing on the surface. so I miss not being able to have a glass full of ice and have a really *cold* drink. At the Rising Tide bar each day, I get a very small glass that’s only half full of ice and then a room temperature can of club soda to go with it. Naturally the ice melts almost instantly. One day I went up to the bartender and said could you put more ice in my glass, please? He tipped exactly 3 cubes into my glass with a big flourish, like he was doing something grand. Same experience at Starbucks. It’s a small thing, but I guess going eight days without access to an ice machine might be an issue for some people. I had my club soda at the poolside bar my first day and they were also very sparing with the ice cubes. Weird. on the Odyssey, there was an ice machine next to the water dispenser and you could fill up your cup or portable thermos whenever you want it. Not the case here. I realize these are incredibly trivial things to comment on, but I’m just sharing what’s happening here. anyway, looking forward to tomorrow and I plan on bringing my phone and taking pictures! Like I said, it was a little bit of an up-and-down all over the place kind of day, but it was still a really great day and the evening was just crammed with wonderful entertainment. That has absolutely been the highlight of the cruise so far, the great entertainment.
    2 points
  47. You don't have to look very far these days to see staffing shortages in many aspects of life. The hospital where my mother was had nursing shortages. Then when she finally got back to a nursing home they had support worker shortages. There are crew shortages with airlines leading to cancellations and delays. While in Vancouver we heard of crew shortages on the BC Ferry systems. You show up and no ferry today or they have a skeleton crew and the food venues are all closed for lengthy ferry rides. Amtrak has crew shortages. A bar I visit has employee shortages some days. It's everywhere so the only surprise is that people are surprised there are cruise crew shortages, like somehow cruise lines should be exempt from the shortages that are hitting so many businesses.
    2 points
  48. Totally get it! I felt the same way on the Oasis this past Spring Break sailing. Happy that sailings are happening again but wowza, I honestly forgot how many people they can get on a ship, spoiled by our previous few sailings. ( except Odyssey 11/21 Thanksgiving ) people everywhere on that one also. But I would prefer that to another shut down any day of the week, I am holding my breath though wondering if they are getting slightly arrogant and ramping up to quickly, fingers crossed everything proceeds well. The stock price plummeting again is also concerning. Be that as it may, have a great time and relish your sailing. I would rather be on that crowded ship with you, then home right now! Cheers to you, thanks for taking us along. I would like a picture with the description of the sangria please....ah so thirsty about now. Have the best time At least you are having a much better experience then @10-42gees, I am willing positive karma his way for sure!
    2 points
  49. My kids favorite memory of Coco is the first time we were there in a day bed on the old south beach (before the perfect day extravaganza)....it started raining and they were all like "What do we do now" as they watched all the people run out of the water, pack up their crap and leave......it wasn't a thunder storm, so I took them into the water....which was warm, and the chilly rain splashed on their faces while they swam.....20 minutes later it stopped, sun came out...and we were the only people around for the rest of the day.
    2 points
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