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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/26/2022 in all areas

  1. In threads like these it's important to understand the difference between what the benefits are officially supposed to be versus what some guests may have been able to exceed beyond that. When responding I choose to lean closer to what is supposed to be allowed, here's why: Over the years when crew have exceeded policy and allowed something that ventures past the published benefits that is always great to hear and well received by the benefactors. The problem becomes when that experience becomes the expectation. Other guests or when on a different ship with different management/genie may not realize the same stretching of the policy. When that occurs some guests who believe they are entitled to it feel they are let down or being cheated because they are not getting something that others have. Years ago there was a long serving Hotel Director who was able to get away with doing things that he wasn't supposed to do. He could get away with it given his tenure and reputation. He would do special things that other Hotel Directors could not. In the days before genies existed one such benefit he was in the habit of providing was a Pinnacle party on CocoCay. He would host the event that included special food and beverages and all the Pinnacles who participated loved it. Over time his generosity became an expectation. Some other HD's did something similar. Others did not. When sailing on a different ship with a different HD some Pinnacle became offended when the special event was not offered. Instead of appreciating the uniqueness of what that one HD did they decided to complain when they didn't receive the party they had become accustomed to. Upon receiving these complaints the cruise line president at the time said "What Pinnacle party? That's not supposed to be happening". As a result they clamped down and killed the event for all ships and all HD's. The HD at the root of it was strongly reprimanded. This cycle has occurred many times over the years when one loyalty ambassador, or guest services manager, or hotel director, or genie gets in the habit of doing something beyond the intentions of the cruise line. It always results in the company having to set the record straight and stopping it. It sets the wrong expectation and when expectations are not fulfilled you have unhappy guests. Now with social media guests are able to communicate faster and written words are read by many who don't participate actively in the discussion. They cherry pick threads like this not getting the nuances and that becomes their expectations. When their expectations are not met it ruins their experience. Someone else got something they didn't. How unfair. Time to complain. All this to say understand what the genie is supposed to do. That should be the basis of your expectation. If there is a request beyond that it may or may not be realized.
    12 points
  2. The Midnight Sun: The sun did not get any lower than this. It just circled around until it was in the east and then rose again. Super interesting!
    8 points
  3. We were not the only tourists today in Honningsvag. The Viking Venus arrived ahead of us: Also, these two characters were in the protected bird sanctuary. Perhaps on their honeymoon?? MDR dinner was pretty good. Asparagus soup, Cottage Pie, and strip steak: Ribbbbittt!
    7 points
  4. Day 6 - Honningsvag Seems like in just one day we went to a completely different planet. Honningsvag is at the 71st parallel, which is above the tree line. The landscape is very desolate and windswept. We did the Bird Safari excursion and chose to go as early as possible in hopes of seeing the maximum amount of wildlife. We were not disappointed! Reindeer, puffins, razorbills, golden eagles, white tailed eagles, kittiwakes, oyster catchers, cormorants, gannets, guillemots, shags, and seals. The drive from the ship was about 45 minutes and the guide was excellent about describing what we were seeing.
    7 points
  5. 6 points
  6. Day 7 - At Sea I thought I’d use today to talk about the stray observations I’ve had so far. I usually wait until the end, but we’re going to be so busy the next few days I’ll probably forget everything from the beginning of the cruise! - We have passengers from 52 different countries onboard. I love it! Americans are less than half the group, which is rare on Royal outside of China. So many languages! - This cabin (9656) is listed on the Royal site as holding 8 people. NOPE. There’s no way. Maybe 6, if four of them were tiny humans. Better 4 or even 2. It is perfect for the three of us. - There are a lot of new staff in training, in all areas. Also, a number of the crew have had their contracts extended or are expecting an extension shortly. The ship doesn’t feel particularly understaffed, but it does feel a bit stretched. No complaints about service so far though! - This is a great itinerary, but if I had a choice I would take one that included Longyearbyen. If I’m going this far north I might as well go all the way! - Our weather so far has been absolutely phenomenal. It may not hold, but I’m so grateful for what we’ve had so far. - Shows have been a bit limited so far, at least on the production side. Supposedly we’ll have one later in the week, but so far everything has been magicians or guest singers. Not sure if that is covid related, or due to the large number of languages to accommodate, or what. - Food has so far been quite good overall. MDR service has been not quite as good a pre-pandemic (same as the other two cruises I’ve been on since the restart). I think the dining room staff is less experienced than they were before. - While I’m certain the answer to my walrus question is going to be no, we have seen Minke whales a couple of times, which I wasn’t expecting (not sure why I wasn’t expecting it, but there you go). - We have been exiting the ship on deck 2. This is because all the ports we’ve been to lack a long enough gangway ramp; our choice has been deck 2 or stairs to deck 5 that no wheelchair passengers could navigate. In order to accommodate the tidal flux, we’ve had to shift ballast in the ship to lift our dock side up so we could exit on deck 2. This has meant almost crawling out of the ship at times, the clearance was so low. Apparently the ports have been unwilling to buy new gangways due to pandemic related cash flow problems. Half way through!
    4 points
  7. They frown upon bears in the suite. No pets allowed unless registered service animals. A lot of what you are asking about can vary by genie and ship. Some ships have strict rules about how far a genie can go and seating for non-Star guests is unlikely to be allowed but you can always ask.
    4 points
  8. We had a JS GTY on Ovation in May. We did indeed get double points (actually quadruple because it was booked during the double whatever you would normally get promotion).
    3 points
  9. That was me! Shout out to @Sea Squirreland Leticia, we were only in a CLS and she cleared us into the theater albeit no reservations and we enjoyed the show that was finally happening after so many cancelations. I remember thinking what kind and generous people we were sailing with. We were really touched. We didn't have reservations because they were not available to book as the shows schedules were crazy. Not for lack of trying.
    3 points
  10. I agree with Twangster that it depends on the Genie but our Genie on Oasis was able to take care of folks that had a missed showing of the 80s Aqua show. We only knew this person through these boards. Our Genie was able to work it out and in my opinion, that is what makes Genies special. Shout out to you Leticia.
    3 points
  11. We had a similar situation this past Christmas on Oasis where another couple joined us without star class or suite benefits. As others have said it depends on a host of factors; how many, whether they have the unlimited dining and refreshment packages, policies can vary from ship to ship and genie to genie so the extent to which they are included in activities and dining may vary. When the genie initially reached out he asked if others were joining us so that allowed me to ask how the process for scheduling dining and entertainment would work for our friends. I didn’t request any star class benefits for our friends and acknowledged up front that I knew they were not entitled to any. Our genie said he would take care of it and he did. He surprised us by including our friends in CK on night 1 (filet night) but at the last moment the food and beverage manager said it wasn’t possible. Which we totally understood because it was a Christmas sailing with reduced capacity limits. He included our friends in our escape room session, BINGO and rising tide bar. Our friends tipped our genie throughout the cruise. Dining was made easier due to the fact they had the unlimited dining package and refreshment package. Dining in your suite will not be a problem.
    3 points
  12. The problem is where do you draw the line that X is too many? 2? 4? 8? Whatever number you come up with, there's going to be someone that says "C'mon, what's one more person going to hurt anything?" This is no different that first class on an airplane. Doesn't matter who you know in the first class cabin. If you didnt buy a seat there, you dont get their benefits.
    3 points
  13. A lot depends on how many “extra” people we’re talking about. Of course, @Mattis correct…the official answer is “no”, but if you are just looking to have 1-2 people join you for a show, my guess is that you will be accommodated. More than that ? It would put the Genie in a very uncomfortable position of having to really bend the rules. Don’t be “that guy”. From my experience, when you ask the Genie this question, he/she will recite you official policy and tell you that only Star Class passengers will be entitled to SC amenities. They will never put anything in writing or even over the phone, that contradicts official policy. But when you speak with them personally, they will let you know what they can and cannot do for you and the other passengers. My experience has been that the reserved seating for an extra person or 2 has never been a problem. Regarding food and drinks in the suite - this will not be a problem. More likely than not, you will have waaay more food and beverages in your suite than you and 25 people could ever consume. We have yet to be in SC when we did not have to tell them to STOP with the food and drinks ! It just keeps coming and coming and coming ! They do not care who comes to your suite nor what they eat or drink. I have had as many as 35 people in the suite for which food and beverages were provided. You do NOT need to worry about this one… I agree with @twangster. Leave the bears at home. They will be constantly trying to climb on the railings of the balcony and are likely to scare your neighbors. . …and the tip you would have to give your suite attendants for cleaning up after them would be prohibitive.
    3 points
  14. So my certification from Matt Hochberg's Travel Agent and Driving School isn't valid?
    3 points
  15. The bottom line is that society must learn how to live with this new virus much like society has learned to live with other viruses. We collectively have taken great strides forward from the days when there were lockdowns and vaccine passports implemented in some form in various cities and countries. Those have all but disappeared and we are free to go watch Top Gun in a packed movie theater sitting beside strangers with no protocols for 3 hours. Yet cruising is still subject to excessive government regulation and the only industry subject to the scrutiny of government oversight related to the virus to this extent.
    3 points
  16. Unless you modified the truck or installed roof mounted flood lamps or something like that, etc etc, you should be fine! Most commercial/public garages have "headache bars", usually hanging overhead using chains or ropes, before you enter the garage. If you touch a headache bar, don't enter. The height is also posted before you enter. WARNING TO ALL: If you enter the garage but your vehicle is higher than the posted height limit, don't feel confident. The posted height is referring to the lowest place in the garage SOMEWHERE, not necessarily at the entrance. The headache bar is equivalent with the lowest part of the garage, SOMEWHERE.
    2 points
  17. Neesa

    Hotels for Port Miami

    We stayed here in March, we drove over the day before and they had a parking deck for a safe parking situation. The pool was okay, the food was quality albeit a little pricey. You could walk across to the Publix for any forgotten items. The hotel was clean and no nonsense, we could see the ships with the port view room. Easy short drive over to the port, no complaints this time. We stayed here due to be Hiltons Honors members and have no problem staying in the future.
    2 points
  18. Similar situation. If it is just myself and the wife, we cruise suite class. If it's a larger group (July for example, our kids, their spouses, and grandchildren); we skip the suite, and we book a row of balcony cabins and open the balconies (6 rooms this trip)
    2 points
  19. The “at home” proctored tests solve all of these problems.
    2 points
  20. T5 at PCN this morning had facial recognition.
    2 points
  21. You're not wrong. I definitely need more sea birds in my life!
    2 points
  22. I know someone who is going to be very excited about this post ! Yes, I’m looking at you, @SpeedNoodles.
    2 points
  23. Thank you ... this is not a surprise and it is nice to have confirmation. Separately, your summaries are a treat. Really well done, and Norway is stunning (so the pictures help me feel like I am there). Radiance class ships are one of our favourites. Lots of connection with the sea. We have done 20 foot swells ... looking forward to the 30 foot versions to set a "new record". Can't wait for your next post. Thanks again, Curt from Canada
    2 points
  24. FionaMG

    Final Payment Question

    It doesn't apply to most of you on the site but for the minority, of which I am part, who are paying dollar amounts with cards in another currency, it's worth keeping a regular eye on the exchange rate. If it's in your favour, even if it means paying before final, it can sometimes save a decent amount.
    2 points
  25. Wait if possible, We did the immediate family last holiday season, told the kids that it was an inside cabin (they were happy just to go on a cruise). When we got to the dock it went from a fun trip to a fantastic trip. The kids were blown away, so was the rest of us! It is hard to do, but sometimes bending the truth is worth the wait.
    2 points
  26. This is why the genie can't reserve front row seats for bears. They block the view for everyone in the rows behind them!
    2 points
  27. We ate dinner at Chops as we sailed out of Tromso. I have to say this Chops experience was just decent. Not bad, but not excellent — either in food or in service.
    2 points
  28. Honestly, for us, its no longer the fear of getting Covid. Cruise Industry policies for Covid protocols mean very little to us now that we have done a post-pandemic cruise. The single biggest thing for us is for the CDC/Government to do something about Covid quarantining in general. I am a vaxxer, pro-masks (for us-those who chose not to mask are no longer my concern), and pro-mitigation. We loved our cruise so much that even IF we got Covid on the cruise (having been vaxxed and having had Covid twice now), we would have thought it was worth it. BUT it is after the cruise that affects us. We wouldn't be able to go back to work and earn back the money we spent on the cruise. We would have to be stuck at home quarantined while thinking about how much fun we had, etc. Kids would have to stay home from school/summer school, etc...
    2 points
  29. A big pet peeve of mine as a frequent solo traveler is that Celebrity hasn't been very welcoming to solo travelers. Today they have announced they are taking step to change that. What is yet to be determined is if they are carrying this through new love of solo cruisers with the Always Included, Indulge and Elevate plans which have to date required solo travelers to pay double the price for those plans based on double occupancy yet receive only benefits for one person. I haven't looked into solo cruise fare discounts to see how effective this will be but it is welcome news for solo cruisers who wish to sail with Celebrity.
    1 point
  30. Put a 50 cent piece on a sturdy table or counter, put the copy of the document on top of the 50 cent piece where a raised seal would normally go. Now, SLAP, yes slap your hand, not a fist, SLAP your hand down on the paper and coin real hard. Voila, you now have an unreadable raised seal on the paper. BTW, it's against the law, I wouldn't do it. I put a person in jail for a long period of time for doing it for official purposes.
    1 point
  31. During our port stops last week, the casino did not open until 11:30 pm (1 hour after we left Aruba) and at 10:30pm (1 hour after we left Curacao)!!!
    1 point
  32. Moby Dick

    Hotels in Seattle

    Note to anyone staying in Seattle before, after, or both, this is our experience with SEATTLE SHUTTLE. On our May 13th Cruise I had a reservation with them to pick us up at the Crown Plaza at about 10:30 AM to take us to the port and then a reservation to take us from the ship on May 20 and back to the Crown Plaza. On the morning of May the 13th, NO SHUTTLE SHOWED UP. We had arranged, with our Genie, to be at the port at 11:00 AM. So, at about 10:45 or so, I called SEATTLE SHUTTLE and I was told that the driver for our Shuttle called in sick. I asked if that was it or what was going to happen, we were standing outside the hotel waiting on a ride to the Port. The lady on the phone said that she was working on getting a replacement driver. Well, at about 11:15 or so, nobody showed up. I called back and the lady said she was still working on it. I also asked if SHE had any intentions of calling me and letting me know that there were issues. She had no answer, just that she was working on it. I told her to forget it, I'd take a taxi if I had to. This is all after at least, I say again "at least" a dozen calls to confirm our reservations leading up to our arrival to Seattle, including the night before. The lady actually got to where she answered the phone, "Hello Jay". I finally asked the hotel's bell captain what we could do and he gave us a phone number, I called and within a few minutes we had a big black Suburban with a gentleman driving in what looked like a chauffer's costume (lol) and it was only $25.00 more than the shuttle was going to cost. It actually worked out really well. The Suburban driver actually got us closer to the Genie/Star drop off location than the Shuttle company said that they could do. BTW, the hotel's bell captain got a very good thank you gratuity.
    1 point
  33. bobroo

    craps - vig on bet or win?

    This week on Liberty I payed 4% upfront for lay bets. It was a great money maker when the table was “normal” and part of a light to dark strategy.
    1 point
  34. I don't understand why someone would become a TA just for discounts. There just aren't that many anymore. That's not to say they aren't out there but It's not just "free travel all the time"
    1 point
  35. You can review the Cruise Compass from previous cruises right here on this site: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass?ship=279 While the available cruise compasses may not be the same itinerary it should provide an idea of they types of events offered for entertainment. Caveat - some recent cruises may have modified entertainment offerings based on pandemic issues for that particular cruise.
    1 point
  36. It appears to be local time. At the beginning of the test, they ask you where you are (Country, State). The results were reported using that time. They did not ask where I was going (other than which cruise line). I can't be 100% sure because I am in the same time zone as the Port. Hope this helps. We did our four tests in series, as I had to assist everyone, even my wife Plan for about 30 minutes per test, provided there is little wait time for a proctor, which was the case for us. If assisting minors, you will be asked for your ID as well as theirs.
    1 point
  37. Side note for what it's worth - During the President's Cruise Q&A w/Michael Bailey - Michael Bailey was asked about both the pre-cruise testing and vaccine requirements. He stated he was hopeful the pre-cruise testing requirement would be removed "in a couple of months" as conversations with the CDC were moving in a positive direction. However, he did not exude any confidence that the vaccine mandates would be removed anytime soon due to the requirements of other countries. So we'll see what happens.
    1 point
  38. My understanding is that Royal partners with legitimate travel companies and allows them to resell their products. I don't think Royal allows individuals to register as a travel provider and gain access to their systems. I've never looked into what their expectations are for a travel company to become a registered travel agency that can resell their products. I suspect you'll find they are looking for bonide travel companies that intend to handle volumes of business, not a handful of bookings spread across a number of years like an individual would for their own needs only. As an individual you would need to find a host agency to work under as you seek to become a travel agent. However most legitimate travel agencies are looking for agents who intend to make a profession as a true travel agent. That's how they make their money. There is no business value for a legitimate travel company to have an agent who just wants to manage their own travel arrangements but nothing beyond that. https://careertrend.com/how-to-become-a-disney-travel-agent-13642081.html From that URL: Warning There are some companies that claim to be legitimate host agencies, but they are really "card mills." This means that they sell travel agent credentials to people who simply use them to try to get discounted travel. Legitimate travel vendors such as Royal Caribbean will not accept bookings from these companies. Choose your host agency carefully.
    1 point
  39. I’d edit that, but I got such a good chuckle from it!
    1 point
  40. I do have to identify myself by agency name/phone number and/or CLIA/IATA number. We can access CruisingPower (the Royal/Celebrity TA site) or through our consortia (like Sabre). I can't just go to royalcaribbean.com and book for someone and get credit/commission on it.
    1 point
  41. @smokeybandit Here you go! Chops breakfast menu for suite guests on the Mariner of the Seas last week.
    1 point
  42. Traveling Mike

    Voom internet

    I wish it was the speed of 56K modems. I just got done with a transatlantic and the Vision of the Seas it was unusable. I am a computer programmer, and I would not get any pages to load unless we were very close to land. I was getting up at 3 in the morning and still could not get my emails. Out of 14 days I made them reimburse me for 10 days of non-usage.
    1 point
  43. I can't really answer your exact question, but no you don't need any type of certification to be a TA. Most do work under a host agency with a CLIA/IATA number. Some TAs are paid a salary, but I don't know how that works as they are employees and not ICs. Royal's phone reps are most definitely salaried employees. They are call center employees and don't necessarily work for Royal Caribbean either. Some of us get more training/certifications to learn more and look more professional, but it's not a legal thing to do.
    1 point
  44. Today would be a good day to announce major protocol changes with all the other stuff in the headlines that would push cruise protocols to the back page.
    1 point
  45. Ok, better late than never, right? We woke up on Monday the 6th and were very thankful for the 3 hour time difference since we got in so late. We didn't have to be at the Marriott to meet with the land tour director until 3pm. We had our free breakfast at the Embassy Suites which was the standard Hilton free breakfast fare with the addition of an omelet station and a pancake/French toast station. I got the impression the omelet guy was new, and most of the ingredients in mine were a little bit burnt, but otherwise the food was ok for a free breakfast. We decided to go ahead and check out of the Embassy Suites and move over to the Marriott as they would hold all our luggage until our room was ready. Again, it was easy to get an Uber from mid-town to down town. We checked our luggage with the bell hop, took a picture with the bear in the looby, and walked a few blocks to the Anchorage Museum and Discovery Center. I read reviews that it would only take an hour or two to get through the museum, and they were wrong. After 3 hours, the kids were done (and hungry), but we still had quite a bit to see. Needless to say, cranky kids always win, so we missed couple sections. This museum is a good mix of art, history, and kid's science. I wish we would have started with the kids section and skipped a couple of the modern art bits, as that's just not our thing. It was interesting, but I guess I'm more of a landscape girl. The exhibits on local cultures were fascinating and DD and I could have stayed another hour or two just in that area. At about 2pm, DS had really had enough, and was ready to gnaw his own arm off. We headed back towards the hotel and stopped at Alaska's Gourmet Subs. DH had a meatball sandwich and said it was good, but he's had better. DD and DS both got the peperoni pizza (no one was ready to try reindeer sausage yet). DS said it was ok, but DD said it was the best pizza she's ever had. Big words coming from a super taster! We got back to the Marriott just after 3pm and walked up to the table with the Royal Caribbean sign. Turns out there's an orientation we get to sign up for! We thought this was great because we had no real details for the land package. I mean, we knew where we were supposed to be going, what things were included, and had the list of the optional excursions, but not much beyond that. They offered the orientation at 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7pm. If your flight got in after that, the tour director met with you in the lobby the next morning. We selected 4pm so we would have the night free. We checked into the room, got our luggage delivered from the bell hop, and headed back downstairs with our pre-land tour covid tests in hand. We were ushered into a little room with 5 other people who were on the 3B tour and met our tour guide. She passed out a more detailed itinerary, which had listed most of the expected times we would be at places and when we needed to leave our bags in the halls, etc., but there were still some gaps. She also gave us a list of optional excursions, which didn't quite match what was listed on RC's excursion list. Her list was much shorter and one of the options we really wanted was not being offered. The way excursions work is that you sign up from her list, then she calls to see if there is room on the excursion, and if so, your card is charged. After 30 minutes, we were sent on our way. No one ever asked to see our covid results. With our new list of excursions in hand, we headed back to the room, ordered Chinese via Uber Eats, and called it a night. Bags had to be in the hall by 6am the next morning, and we had to be ready to get on the bus at 7:30am.
    1 point
  46. We took this excursion as well. One of the best excursions we have ever done. TBH I was surprised that I enjoyed the turtle farm. It is much more complex than I imagined it to be. Hell was kinda lame but the turtles and stingray city were awesome.
    1 point
  47. It is a normal parking garage. There are no extra large spaces and I expect a truck that big will encroach on one or both of the spaces on each side and stick out pretty far. Parking garages are just not designed for huge trucks. My suggestion, if you must take it, is to park on the top deck in a corner. Personally as a vertically challenged driver, I hate when a truck like that parks next to me. Takes up all the space between our vehicles and I cannot see around it to pull out safely. Also not sure of the height limitations.
    1 point
  48. We also did the champagne cat a number of years ago. It was one of the best excursions we ever did. Really enjoyed it. As I recall, we stopped at a sand bar and did some snorkeling. Really fun. Dan still wears the long-sleeved T shirt he bought on that excursion.
    1 point
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