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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/18/2022 in all areas

  1. Carnival has a great chart on their website that lists different ports and their vaccine or testing requirements. I wish RC would just rip the band-aid off and let unvaxxed be responsible for what ports require what when disembarking. Or just let me stay on the ship… I’m ok with that too.
    7 points
  2. Both Carnival and NCL have buried in their policies verbiage to the effect "guests are subject to local destination regulations". What neither are saying is what will happen to guests who book and don't meet local destination requirements at time of boarding. The Bahamas remains a key component and it was the Bahamas that started the vaccine requirement back in August and September of 2021 when Royal was trying to let unvaccinated cruise. However there are also a few other destinations in play. It appears to me that NCL and Carnival are gambling that the Bahamas will remove their regulations any day now but they are burying verbiage to protect themselves in case the Bahamas drags their feet more. As a consumer that should concern anyone who doesn't meet "local destinations requirements". Royal's approach continues to be they will relax requirements once the destinations have relaxed requirements. It's easy to glance at headlines and cast shade on Royal. In reality Royal's approach is more transparent and consumer friendly in the long run. They are not putting the onus on the guests to ensure they are compliant which will lead to bitter dissatisfaction for any guests who books NCL or Carnival but is denied boarding should it come to that. I have to think NCL and Carnival are both lobbying the Bahamas very hard at the moment as senior executives play chicken with the Bahamas. Yet they placed CYA verbiage in their policy to protect themselves if the Bahamas doesn't flinch. If it comes down to the wire and the Bahamas doesn't change their requirements it's their guests who don't meet the requirements that will lose. I might not like it but Royal is taking the better approach by sparing guests who don't meet local destination requirements. They are not opening the floodgates only to potentially drown anyone who has jumped prematurely into the water.
    7 points
  3. We have been trying to get to Coco cay since before this miserable pandemic and we are finally here on Oasis. This could not be better and cooler. I watched, we watched a million videos of this island and none of really prepared us for how freaking awesome it truly it. Kids are having a blast and there is no better value on vacations at all. We will be back here on Oasis or anthem and probably both. This splash away bay is just amazing. The dump buckets are just so much fun. This vacation was worth every penny even with a 7 month old which can be a bit challenging at times. 9 year old is having the time of his life. Just loving this! Loving this!
    6 points
  4. Three days and counting I’m a negative person, my wife could attest to that, but just to be certain, I got a medical professional to confirm it. I performed the proctored e-med test this morning and it was negative and I’m positive about that. Even better news, my wife is negative too. It would’ve been horrible if she tested positive because I would miss her while I sunned on the pool deck with a lava flow in my hand while she would be home coughing up a lung. I probably would feel a little guilty leaving her behind, but another cocktail would help me forget (and yes I know if she tested positive, I wouldn’t be able to go, it was just a joke). The test was pretty easy, although since I’m hard of hearing and still don’t hear well even with my hearing aids, I had to ask her to repeat herself a few time. Like my wife always says, not every sentence begins with, huh. I think secretly my dog was rooting for a positive test. He’s not very happy about us leaving, I can tell because he chewed holes into all our masks. Never ever has my dog wished for us to get the ‘Rona. The cats on the other hand, don’t give a crap about us, as long as someone feeds them and leaves them alone, they will ignore anyone just as easily as they ignore us. They are equal opportunity jerks. They probably figure they can poop in the houseplants and puke on the couch whether we are there or not. As I mentioned before, I want to leave today and my wife wants to leave tomorrow. After my passionate plea, she listened to me and agreed that I didn’t really want to leave today, so alas we are leaving tomorrow morning and by morning, I mean I’ll be ready by eight and we’ll leave by noon, hopefully. I’ll report back tomorrow for the first of our two travel days.
    5 points
  5. Day 5 – Perfect Day at Coco Cay We pulled in nice and early and were awoken by the ship maneuvering onto the pier. From the moment we opened the blinds and saw the island from our balcony we were blown away. Pictures don’t really do it justice. We had Beach Club access, so we knew there would be continental breakfast and coffee available there, so we were anxious to get ashore as quickly as possible, and we were on the island by 7:45. Thanks to a fairly remarkable Black Friday sale, we were able to score our passes for $79 for my wife and I and $54 for the kids. I assumed at that price point it would be worth it. After spending the day there, I would easily pay double or more for the experience. Everything was absolutely spectacular. The beach, the service, the drinks, the food, we even had strong Wifi signals. The boys loved going back and forth between the infinity pool and the beach and took their first real shot at snorkeling. Despite being told that the Beach Club beach was not the best location for snorkeling (and it may well not be), we were able to see several decently sized schools of fish, a few sting rays (including one that swam right under a woman on her float) and even a small shark! The complimentary floating mats were wonderful to laze about in the ocean on and the life jackets were perfect for letting my youngest really adventure out with us to see what he could see. There’s a pretty cool sandbar a ways off of the beach there as well, where we found a conch and some sea anemone. The lunch was also fantastic, as was our server Lenice. I loved the Bento-style boxes the appetizers were served in! The ceviche wasn’t the greatest, but the Babaganoush, hummus and shrimp cocktail were fantastic. My wife went for the grilled lobster and I had (with Lenice’s encouragement) a surf & turf. The kids went for a burger and mac and cheese, which were far better than I anticipated children’s menu items would be! As good as everything was, it was Lenice’s attention and service that impressed us the most. You know those servers who are watching your table like a hawk making sure everything is just right without making you FEEL like you’re being overly watched over? Personable, friendly and engaging and beyond professional, we were lucky to have met her. The bartenders there were equally fantastic, mixing up drinks for adults and the kids quickly (and in the case of the adults, strong!). We had every intention of exploring the rest of the island, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave the Beach Club, everything was just so…perfect! Late in the day, about and hour before we needed to be back on board a storm front started to roll in. We could see the dark clouds and even hear the thunder. Low and behold, we watched the little system break in two and skirt around the island! Not a drop of rain fell on us! As we walked out to head back to the ship, an empty tram just happened to be going by and he stopped to ask if we wanted a ride back to the ship. It really was a perfect day! This was far and away our favorite day of the entire trip. Coco Cay is a home run, and the Beach Club is a grand slam. I hope to be back there soon! After getting back to the ship and showering and changing, it was up to the Suite Lounge then over to dinner at CK (spoiler alert: it was good). After that, it was off to see Aqua80 again, but this time from the Aquatheater. The concierge suggested we arrive 15-30 minutes early to ensure a good seat. If you are a suite, Pinnacle, or Key guest (there was one more category that I can’t recall. Maybe Diamond or Diamond +? There were four boxes…)you may not need to be there THAT early, as there is prime seating reserved right in the middle for those guests. It took us a minute to figure out what that area was for, but then we saw a young lady standing off to the side of the roped off area holding a sign. We showed her our SeaPass cards and just like that, best seats in the house. At about 5 minutes before showtime, they dropped the rope and allowed anyone to take the remaining seats. The reserved section was about 2/3 filled at that point, so I wouldn’t count on being able to grab a preferred seat at the last minute. If you do not have access to reserved seating, you definitely want to be there that 20-30 minutes early if you want to choose your seats. It filled up fast, and there were more than a few arguments over saving seats in the rows around us. Also, as I heard the poor young lady with the sign have to explain a few dozen times: HAVING RESERVATIONS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE RESERVED SEATING AREA! Your reservation gets you in the theater, nothing more. In any event, do get there, because as amazing as the show was from our balcony, it was even better in the theater! I could have watched it every night of the cruise, because a.) I’m a child of the 80s, so the music was spot on for me and b.) each time I saw it, I picked up on something I missed previously. The cast of the show are really spectacular. After the show it was off to Sorrento’s for a late night pie then off to bed to get ready for our last two days at sea. I’m going to have to pause here again, because this is taking far longer than I anticipated, and I’m trying to pack up for another upcoming (much smaller!) vacation while also cleaning the house for guests coming over tonight. I hope to finish tomorrow! Thanks to all who have been following along, and feel free to keep the questions coming!
    5 points
  6. Suite guests have always gotten better benefits, but remember that they are paying for those benefits. As a Diamond Plus guest, you get to book an inside cabin if you like and get similar benefits. I'm not sure why there's so much disdain for suite guests because it's been this way for decades in terms of suite guests getting additional benefits.
    5 points
  7. In what I hope will be a fraction of the assistance this board provided me in getting ready for my cruise, I'm going to finally start (slowly) posting some information and pictures from my most recent cruise. I apologize in advance for both the holes in the narrative and photographs; this was DW and my first cruise in almost 15 years, and our first one as a family, so I was much more focused on be present in the moment. If anyone has ANY questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I'll be glad to do my best to help. For background, this cruise was originally booked for my family of four in the winter of 2018 (!!) for 2020, but I think we all know what happened there. Now, the boys are 7 and 11. After taking advantage of the opportunity to upgrade prior to Lifting & Shifting in 2020 to a Jr. Suite, then winning a minimum Royal Up bid in May of this year, we ended up in 1BR Aquatheater Suite cabin #12730. We also had the Deluxe Beverage package for the adults and no drink package for the kids. The suite concierge reached out to us about a week before sailing and secured our Costal Kitchen reservations for the week expect for day 6, where they got us 7:00 PM seats at Izumi Habachi. Two days before sailing, they also reached out for entertainment reservations, and we had them reserve seats for Aqua80 on Day 5 and the Ice Show on Day 6. Day 1 - Embarkation We were able to secure a 10:00 AM health check/embarkation time, and thanks to the amazing predictive ability of Waze, we arrived at the port after an approximately 1 hour drive at 9:55. The porters were already hard at work helping arriving passengers, and there was a short line up around the bend at the terminal. It looked crazy upon arrival, but as you get up to the front of the line, it's actually very well organized. There was a port employee directing cars from both lanes to the appropriate unloading terminal as they became available. We quickly drove up, dropped the bags, and were directed to a surface lot parking space. It was a short walk from there to the terminal building (well under 5 minutes). Despite it being just after 10, the terminal building was already quite busy and a little chaotic outside. We were first directed to the suites line, but then we had to go back to the main entrance so someone could check the two boys Vaccination Cards since they were under 12. They each got a little sticker, then back in line for security. All told, it took maybe 15 - 20 minutes from doors to gangway, no complaints. We watched the safety briefing while in line, then went straight to our muster station before lunch at the Windjammer. It was extremely busy there (as anticipated!), but we were able to finally secure a table and sit down for lunch. After that, we explored the ship, signed the boys up for Adventure Ocean, then enjoyed the pools thanks to all of you who suggested to pack our bathing suits in our carry on. Waterslides had no lines and the hot tubs were essentially empty! After a few hours, we went down to check out our cabin. I still hadn't told the family that we had been upgraded out of our Jr. Suite, and they were blown away by the cabin! The balcony IS everything that everyone makes it out to be, even as high as deck 12 (deck 14 looked pretty small, though!). We enjoyed sailaway and took in the sights from our balcony with a few drinks before getting ready for dinner at Costal Kitchen. Thanks again for all of the suggestions for the CK filet for night 1, it was everything everyone said it would be. The remainder of the night was spent exploring the ship, and we ended up spending some time relaxing in Central Park for a bit before turning in, an activity that would become a running theme. 5.HEIC 1.HEIC 3.HEIC 4.HEIC
    4 points
  8. It’s so nice to see such excitement and joy in a cruise blog ! It seems as though we have been receiving a steady diet of downer blogs but your enthusiasm and sheer happiness is a breath of fresh air. I am particularly happy to hear that your suites experience is a positive one b/c there seems to be so many disappointments relating to suites’ guests unmet expectations. So glad you had a great time !
    4 points
  9. 1st image: We can now see an *official* small glimpse at what the front of the ship will look like! 2nd image: This is a screen grab from 4:34 in the new “Making an Icon” video series by Royal Caribbean on YouTube. It caught my eye because it looks like some sort of theater space, possibly something like the AquaTheater because of all the little holes.
    4 points
  10. Day 4 - Nassau, Bahamas Another late entry to port allowed us a lazy morning before heading ashore. We decided to do breakfast in the MDR for a change of pace and for the kids to just see what it's like. We got there around 9:00 and there were only two groups ahead of us. We were at our table in under 2 minutes, and had pastries on our plate and drinks on the way a minute later. Both the food and service were quite good (although the coffee, as frequently noted, was not), and we were through the meal in under 45 minutes. We could've been out even sooner, but we were in no rush. We headed up to the Suite Sun Deck a bit before finally heading back to slather up in sunscreen before heading ashore. As an aside, the Sun Deck is a criminally underutilized space. It's really fantastic up there! Oasis' Sun Deck bartender, Dana, is worth the visit alone. After our first visit, she remembered all of our names, our cabin number AND what types of drinks we liked (not just a favorite drink, but more like a flavor profile. VERY impressive!). We opted to do the Blue Lagoon Deluxe Beach Break excursion through RCI. Our tickets told us to meet on the pier at 2:00, but we got there closer to 1:45. There were plenty of crew members shoreside point us to the gathering area, so finding the Blue Lagoon personnel was fairly straightforward. Once we got to our gathering point, things were a little chaotic; there were literally hundreds of people already there (good thing we didn't show up at 2!). Everyone who had any of the Blue Lagoon excursions (Dolphin Encounter, Sting Ray Encounter, Segway Tour, etc.) met in the same location, and then they lined us up by excursion to be loaded onto separate tenders to the island. The process was slow and HOT, there was absolutely no shade on the pier, and the sun reflecting the heat off of the concrete combined with the mass of humanity gathered there made it doubly so. Once we got loaded up, the tender took about 20 minutes to get to Blue Lagoon, and it was pleasant ride, both for the scenery and the welcome breeze! Once there, there were lots of employees everywhere directing you where throughout the island. The included lunch wasn't anything special, but it filled us up. Sodexo-esque hot dogs, burgers, BBQ chicken, fries, rice, and a salad bar. There was also a fruit punch or lemonade included. The island itself was quite nice, particularly so if you have little ones. The water is clear, bathwater calm and not very deep. I'm 6'3" and could easily walk the entire swimming area without the water getting much past my waist. There were drinks of adult and alcohol free available for purchase, but we didn't get any as we brought our own water. You can also walk through the sea life enclosures to view the stingrays and dolphins, even if your excursion doesn't include them (you just can't go down the floating docks and interact with them). Since we were the last ship to arrive, beach chairs were fairly slim pickings when we arrived and shade was at a premium, but you could always find some. Once some of the other ship's guests departed, you could find seats anywhere you wanted. As the last ship to depart, the return tender process looked insane but was actually quite easy. Three tenders were tied up, and the line to get on them at boarding time stretched back at least a hundred yards (maybe more, that's just where I could see to!), but once boarding began the line moved very quickly. All three tenders were heading back to Oasis, so the crew members all along the line were telling us to board any boat, it doesn't matter which one, just make sure you stay together with your family! Oh, an important note: once arriving back at the pier, we were required to show our SeaPass cards AND our passports to Bahamian officials to get off the tender pier and back to the ship. No one checked to see if we had them with us when we left, and despite the fact that it says to bring them on the paperwork, I'm guessing more than one family has forgotten to/ignored that. I'm not sure if you'd actually be detained as indicated or not if you didn't have it, but we opted not to find out. Final verdict? After a rough start and a forgettable lunch, we did rather enjoy our time at Blue Lagoon. It's a nice option for families with little ones who just want a no-frills beach day. That said, I probably wouldn’t do it again. I'd either try checking out Pearl Island or just staying on the ship. I get why so many people skip Nassau. Dinner at CK again. Very good (again!). Wait staff really getting to know us now; a glass of Merlot waiting for me and a Prosecco for my wife upon my arrival, Shirley Temples for the boys. Also starting to enjoy going up to the suite lounge for a beverage prior to dinner each night. The suite lounge is an underrated space, we enjoyed just relaxing there a bit before our meal. After dinner we opted for another quick family ride at Rising Tide for a digestif then the plan was hit the sack a bit early for an early morning arrival at Coco Cay the next morning. I say that this was the plan because tonight we learned the one major drawback of the Aquasuites: they are LOUD when Aqua80 is playing! We had been watching the show from our balcony the previous night, so we didn't appreciate just how loud it would be in the cabin while it was going on! It was over by 11:30, and we're all typically night owls, so it wasn't a huge deal for us, but if you like to go to bed on the earlier side, these rooms are probably not for you. In any event, we wandered back out to the balcony to see the last half our of the show again, then we went straight to bed to get ready for a Perfect Day tomorrow.
    4 points
  11. 270 is an amazing space but it absolutely sucks as a theatre venue.
    4 points
  12. I would continue my journey. Just as i would with a common cold or any other treatable, low level not very dangerous annoyance. Now, put a smoker beside me in the casino and I would have a problem. Not from the cancer, but the smell.
    4 points
  13. Pooch

    Black Friday Deals Questions

    Check your cruise planner a couple times a week. Buy when you’re happy with the price. If it goes lower cancel & repurchase.
    4 points
  14. ChessE4

    Suites vs loyalty status

    I sense a certain amount of frustration, which I have experienced, but I do think Royal supports loyalty. Most guests on a given ship are not suite guests, and the crew know this, yet they still greet everyone with a smile and work hard on our behalf. Thus, I believe the crew are being loyal to me as a guest. Royal as a corporation is loyal to me in other ways, such as the Diamond benefits. I really don't mind that it took us many years to reach Diamond, because I enjoyed each cruise along the way.
    4 points
  15. Day 3 - Port Canaveral So, due to the prior day's weather issues and our afternoon arrival in port, DW decided to rebook the Casita this morning. I was shocked there was availability given the capacity of the cruise, but we were happy to get one! It serves it purpose nicely if you just enjoying hanging out at the pool for an extended period and just want somewhere to stash your stuff and/or take a break for a bit. We had Casita #7, and it provided excellent sun protection for the first 3 or so hours, but by lunch time it provided very little protection. What it was also perfect for was as a place to sit outside and enjoy breakfast and lunch. Wait staff were thorough and responded quickly when summoned with the call button. It ended up being a very enjoyable morning. If I was not in a suite, I would book one again in a heartbeat. Unfortunately for me, I had not yet discovered the Suite Sun Deck on the bow. If I had, I would not have booked the Casita as the service and amenities there were far superior. That said, it was definitely a live and learn experience, and given that we still thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I couldn't be too disappointed! As for the actual port call, I'm sorry to say that on this itinerary that Port Canaveral is just about a total waste. It gets in too late to make a trip to KSC or Disney really viable, and the rest of the excursions provided through RCI seemed either to be the cattle-call bus tour variety or consisted of a long ride for a short visit somewhere. Now, as luck would have it, some family friends from NJ happened to be in Cape Canaveral that day for a softball tournament, so (thanks again to the suggestions of my more seasoned message board mates!) we arranged to meet at Grills for a late lunch. Based on quick Googling and poor research on my part, I assumed we'd be at Terminal 1, leading to a quick walk over. Turns out, we were at Terminal 6, around the opposite end of the complex. We walked off the ship and went to the taxi stand, where they informed us it would be $80 for a round trip for the four of us to go the 2.7 miles to Grills. That seemed beyond insane, so after a little finagling on the Lyft app, we got a ride for $13. I'm not sure if it was just my phone or it's an app glitch, but Lyft would NOT let me enter Grills or its address as a destination. Whenever I did, it would default to the Disney Cruise terminal zone. Oddly enough, I was able to enter Cocoa Beach Parasail across the street as a destination, and that did work. Anyhow, we arrived 15 minutes later than anticipated thanks to my incompetence, but the place was only half full at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon, so no big deal. Grills itself was quite good. The food and entertainment were excellent and the staff was very friendly. It definitely seemed to be a place that locals frequented but tourists were welcomed. After lunch and a bit of a walk about, we headed back to the ship where we checked out the previous night's formal portraits (they were quite good!), went hunting for small wonders, then got ready for another excellent CK dinner. After dinner, we again hit the Rising Tide to enjoy some more family conversation time and listened to the musicians before heading back to the the suite to check out Aqua80 from our balcony. I am not engaging in hyperbole when I say that Aqua80 is hands down, far and away the greatest, most impressive show I have ever seen at sea, and easily a top 5 that I have seen anywhere. The combination of elements with the music, the dancing, the diving, the fact that the stage itself serves as a key character, just incredible. We were constantly looking around trying to figure out what was going to happen next! A very specific warning for future residents of cabin 12730: when the high-rope walker comes out for his portion of the program, be careful because you CAN be seen in the background on the big screen in the theater for a short time! I'm going to stop here for the day, and finish up tomorrow or Friday. I hope something here was useful to someone, and again, please don't hesitate to ask any questions that you might have! This cruise was such an amazing trip for us due largely to the invaluable input from so many people on this site, I'd like to be able to pay forward their knowledge and kindness in some small way!
    4 points
  16. As someone who has done all our sailings in grand suites I feel very hated on and targeted. First..I wouldn't say I have deep pockets. Up until this year we would cruise on average every 18 months to be able to afford the luxury of a GS. Second...there are MANY Diamond and Diamond Plus perks that I think either match or exceed what one gets in the standard level suites (aka not counting Star Class) and while, yes, they come with repeated sailing, they are great and you get them no matter what type of room you have, length of sailing, or ship (in most cases). Third...that's kind of how things work....as others have mentioned there are plenty of other travel companies and places that do the same. You can pay a bunch for First class airline tickets OR save up points and get a free upgrade/flight... I'm sorry you...for some reason...feel slighted but....uhm...don't...
    4 points
  17. Thanks, @WAAAYTOOO! Maybe it's just my personality, maybe it was my ignorance as to the wonders of the suite life going in, or maybe it was this blog having me so well researched and prepared for reality. Probably a combination of all three. . In seriousness though, I really was blown away by the staff in particular and how hard they were working to make everything the absolute best it could be. I also think they may be past some of the onboarding growing pains with new staff that we were reading about at the start of the summer. I was also touched by how much the staff really went out of their way to engage with and include our kids; as a teacher and a parent, those things go a long way with me! You said it! My dad always told me that if you go looking for problems, you're probably going to find them.
    3 points
  18. This is why, as much as I didn't like it at first, Royal may have the best approach right now. They aren't shifting it to guests to figure out, Royal is taking the high road and shouldn't suffer blow back IF local destination requirements stay in place beyond early September. NCL and CCL have taken a big gamble. "Read the fine print" isn't going to go over weil if they have to deny boarding guests in the terminal.
    3 points
  19. I'm loving it USCG Teacher. Can't wait to see the end of the trip. I love how you find the positive even in the things that aren't perfect. That's a good trait. It is vacation after all.
    3 points
  20. As Matt frequently says, book what you want now. Check prices frequently, especially near holidays like labor day and black Friday. Then cancel and rebook if you find it cheaper. I've saved hundreds doing this. One other piece of hard won advice. If your travel agent scored an OBC, don't use it in the cruise planner. Save it for your gratuities instead. I once used mine on a shore excursion and got a great price. However, when we repriced the cruise, the OBC went away and the shore excursion automatically cancelled. It hasn't appeared at the same price since.
    3 points
  21. And the daily kids' menu doesn't change - check one day and you've checked them all.
    3 points
  22. It really depends on your sailing. Had three booked last year during BF and only one had a real deal...The other two just had Royals fuzzy math.
    3 points
  23. I know right. I was a math major and can’t figure their fuzzy math. . Sale no sale. I always ignore the percentages and look at total price in cart and buy if I think it is worth it to me!
    3 points
  24. So if you test positive, you are going to fly across the country and potentially infect an entire plane full of people?
    3 points
  25. This is a true statement. RC has a pretty great loyalty program (and suite program). The competition has done catching up to do. Let’s also not forget about the grand slam that is Coco Cay! None of the other cruise lines are making these significant investments in not only the programs but also the infrastructure.
    3 points
  26. Day 2 - At Sea This was the only, and I mean ONLY day where we had any sort of a problem. We had gotten a Casita to use as a "home base" for our sea day so we wouldn't have to fight the crowds and chair hogs on the pool deck. I went up to the Lime and the Coconut at a little before 9 while everyone else enjoyed room service breakfast and was quickly able to select my location. I went back to retrieve everyone else and by the time I got back up on deck at 9:15, they had closed Deck 16 due to weather. It was incredibly windy and someone (correctly!) decided it probably wasn't safe to have guests up there while underway. While I fully agree with and support the decision, there was really no communication about the situation, and many of the staff even seemed unaware. As a result of half of teh avaialble seating being out of commission, the pool deck was EXTREMELY crowded. You'd think that common decency would lead to people being more mindful of their belongings and aware of their fellow passengers, but no, chair hogs gonna hog. We were able to find one sole chair between two families that we piled our things on while we enjoyed the pool and bar for the rest of the morning, then (and take note here people) picked up our things and took them with us at we headed off to El Loco Fresh for lunch! Shocking, I know! Despite the over crowding, the kids had a blast in the pool. We decided to eat at Park Cafe for lunch, as I needed to try the legendary Kummelweck. It was pretty good! Maybe not worth of cult status, but definitely not a disappointment either. After lunch we played some mini-golf, watched some body and stand up surfing on the Flowriders, then headed off the enjoy the Boardwalk. Later that evening, the cost of the Casita was refunded to my account as OBC automatically, so that was good. It was formal night, so even though the dress code in CK is more relaxed, we opted to dress up both for the novelty of the situation for us and to take advantage of the photographers for some formal family portraits. Dinner at CK was excellent again (spoiler alert, it was excellent every night). Also, following up on a question I had asked pre-cruise, they were 100% able to deliver my favorite dish from the MDR, the Grand Marnier Soufflé for dessert. I had asked our server Alma about the night prior, and she quickly brought the Maître d' over to confirm that it was possible. He just told me to remind them upon my arrival, and they could make it happen. I did so, and he did his due diligence in letting me know that the soufflé might fall on the trip from the MDR to Deck 17, but was happy to bring it up. They not only brought me one, they brought two, and they were both as delicious as I remembered! While it was not implied or expected, I was sure to include an extra-additional gratuity to both my server and the Maître d' to express my gratitude. After dinner it was more enjoying the ship, and again ending up back in Central Park. The boys loved Rising Tide, and I was very surprised and pleased to see how welcoming of children (albeit well behaved ones) they were in what is essentially a bar setting. I was also surprised that they consistently gave them their Shirley Temples gratis despite them not having a refreshment package (and our being sure to point that out more than once). I'd imagine the fact that we tipped with our drinks and were quickly becoming regulars had something to do with that, but maybe not... After winding down after dinner and a few more photos, it was off to the room to enjoy the balcony before bed. IMG_3905.HEIC
    3 points
  27. Couldn't agree more and I have no kids. The beauty of it for me is that it can appeal to so many people in so many different ways. Kids, no kids, young, old, beach lover or not, pool lover or not, snorkeler or not, loud music lover or not, food over-indulger or not, water park enthusiast or not, spend money on a cabana or spend nothing extra... you get the idea. We went on a B2B 3 and 4-nighter last month and the double Cococay stop was one of the reasons. It wasn't the only reason but we may do the exact same thing in October.
    3 points
  28. I was unaware of this, it's buried in the fine print of the PDF. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/countries/crown-and-anchor/pdf/CAS-member-grid.pdf Thank you for posting, I would love to book an interior cabin and get access to the suite lounge! Only 590 points to go!
    3 points
  29. I'm finally starting to feel the excitement of a booked cruise after 3 canceled solo trips! The first two were canceled by Royal in 2020 and then this past January I chickened out and canceled my upcoming March cruise. I just wasn't ready. Was talking to a work friend one day and saying I had all of these FCC's I needed to use but the thought of cruising solo after basically being alone for two years did not interest me at all. She said she was interested and we booked. This isn't necessarily my dream itinerary but when we booked in March flying didn't sound so good and neither wanted the extra expense of hotels and flights. Luckily it's Oasis so there is plenty to see and do. The Ship - Oasis, first time on this ship for me!!! Out of NJ, about an hour and change from my Long Island home. I love the idea of getting in my car after the cruise, even better it's a Sunday, traffic wise. The Where - Orlando, Nassau and CocoCay. The Who - 2 ladies above 40, that's all y'all need to know. Staterooms - We have 2 balcony staterooms on the 12th floor. I don't think I've been that high in a while. Solo rooms tend to be lower but no solo room for me this time. I love this friend but not enough to share a room and thank goodness she's on the same page. Drink Package for both of us - I have dreams of making this package work for me and 100% forget that even in college and part of the pandemic learning to make fun cocktails I have a low tolerance. Wish me luck. Ordered water for the room because I had extra OBC. I drink a lot of water anyway. 3 Night Dining Package - I had a ton of OBC so I got this for both of us. I'm a little picky. I don't hate the MDR but can't do it every night, I've done Unlimited Dining but that's also too much food wise. Excursions - Orlando, not getting off the ship. I don't see a purpose and we have a perfectly good ship to run around or relax on. Nassau - forgot the exact name but the VIP Cabana for 2. Unlimited drinks and plenty of food. Gonna have to run to guest services Day 1 because it won't let me add my friend's name and when I bought it said "for 2" - now the price is double. Worst case scenario I'll buy it for her without telling her. This is something I wanted to do so it's not her fault if I messed it up. CocoCay- we did the beach club. From what I hear we'll be able to find loungers with little issue. She's looking forward to the food. I just want to be served and be lazy. Maybe I'll paddle board if I can find it, maybe I won't leave the lounger, we'll all find out that day. Randoms - I booked 2 days for casitas. I hear mixed reviews but yet again, I had extra OBC and if it means not having to be mad at seat savers well then it's worth it to me. Booked a massage for myself because, duh, vacation. It's helped to read all your blogs and how you've all fared - whether covid wasn't a big deal to you or not. Thanks for sharing (and if you made it this far, thanks for reading!)
    2 points
  30. T-Minus 12 Days I must admit, I’m quite envious when I hear about people booking over the water cabanas at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, or eating at Coastal Kitchen, or emailing back and forth with their Genie because unless I find a magic lamp on St. Kitts, I’m not getting a Genie. How I wish I could book a suite, I mean who doesn’t want to stay in the owner’s suite with all the space, all the amenities, and a bidet, I will miss having a bidet, but since I’m on a tight budget, my rump and I will rough it in a balcony room. Like many Americans, I live from paycheck to four days before the next paycheck. Being a cheapskate comes naturally to me. Some might even say it’s a gift. Okay, okay, no one calls it a gift, especially my wife. Here I will chronicle our seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on Harmony of the Seas while attempting to save as much money as possible without compromising on having fun. I pre-booked our cruise, the deluxe drink package, internet package, and two excursions. I rushed to book the cruise instead of taking the time to try to get the best deal possible; although, I’m pleased with our deal. The reason for rushing the booking was the sale was set to expire in 1 hours and 52 minutes and I didn’t want to miss out. Little did I know that this is the sale that never ends, it goes on and on my friends. I suspect that this current sale and all the extensions date back to the day when Noah chartered the Ark of the Seas from Royal Caribbean during the Great Flood. I think I might have been bamboozled by the threat of the sale ending. I booked all the add-ons we wanted; repricing, cancelling, and rebooking when the prices dropped. We saved on the internet package by booking one internet package with two devices instead of two individual packages. Originally, I booked the deluxe drink package for $77.99 per person/per day. My wallet wept that day. I cancelled and rebooked when the price dropped to $72.99 pp/pd. And did it once again when the price dropped to $65.99 pp/pd. My wallet no longer weeps uncontrollably, but it does whimper from time to time, not to mention, my liver is not so pleased either. I’m not going to go all Ebenezer Scrooge to the point we don’t enjoy ourselves, but we are not going to spend freely like the Real Housewives of the Seas. This is our first cruise in what seems like forever and that’s a might long time, but I’m here to tell you, there’s something else, the barometer. A world of measuring how we can save on future cruses, such as the four-day Catalina and Ensenada cruise we have booked in November. The November cruise we will be thriftier. There are a few things I won’t skimp on and they are as follows: 1. Gratuities. We prepaid our gratuities, but I plan on tipping above and beyond, because I may be a cheapskate, but I’m not an A-hole. Well, I may be an A-hole, but I’m not the kind of A-hole that would screw over someone else on tips just to save a few bucks. 2. My wife made it clear that she wants something special from the ship. I plugged the words “something special” into my husband/wife translator and it comes back as jewelry. 3. Souvenirs for the grandkids. I am thinking of something loud and obnoxious; payback is a…, well you know. 4. And finally, I will not lie, cheat, or scheme to get something for free. For example, if we eat at a specialty restaurant, I won’t lie to the waitstaff telling them there’s a toe in my risotto (or would it be risot-toe) just to get a free meal. Even if my risotto has a toe in it, I hate confrontation, so I’ll probably keep quite while eating around it. I’m almost certain that quality control on the Harmony of the Seas is good enough to catch a stray toe in the food being served, at least I hope so. I will be updating a few times leading up to our cruise with my observations on the preparations and then once we board I will live blog our experience.
    2 points
  31. Thank you, it’s been a tough day in my world and I have been less than kind in some of my other posts. I needed a good laugh. Safe travels!
    2 points
  32. Update: All is good now. We got our same hump balconies that we originally booked for Voyager. Huge sigh of relief. Now I can get excited about this cruise again.
    2 points
  33. I know the seats near the stage are painful but I thought the way they have rabbit holes where the performers pop up was cool.
    2 points
  34. That does JP8! I did get the boys the refreshment package. I can see them enjoying shakes and trying frozen mocktails of all sorts.
    2 points
  35. Through the restart the Bahamas didn't differentiate between staying on the ship versus getting off. When a ship arrives in a foreign port the entire manifest is presented to that nation and everyone on the ship, guests and crew is processed by that nation's immigration officials. Once you have been processed by their immigration officials you are legally in that country. It doesn't matter if you get off the ship or not. If you are not processed by another nation's immigration officials you would be in violation of the US PVSA laws having never visited another country. The Bahamas has always had one set of rules for fly in tourists and a separate set of rules for cruise ships guests, at least once they allowed cruise ships to visit. Early in the restart there were some countries that allowed ships to enter and only vax were allowed to debark but that was applied to children only since they had requirements that any person eligible to vaccinate must be vaccinated. I recall angry Carnival customers at guest services claiming no one told them their children couldn't leave the ship because kids under 12 (at the time) couldn't be vaccinated. They found out when trying to get off and the buzzer denied their children. As far as I know, only the Caymans has a policy that allows unvax to remain on the ship. Cayman's joined the party much later having remained closed to all cruise ships until more recently. Their policies have always been different than other nations.
    2 points
  36. Twangster is right. I just got off Independence. It is in the UDP. They push it hard for the first night when you sign up. Although confusing for the extra $10.....worth it. Great meal. Also, the Sushi Dinner is fantastic. Wear loose pants.
    2 points
  37. Also, congratulations to your mother for achieving Pinnacle Club!
    2 points
  38. Here in Chicago people will ask for meat by the dollar. I was once behind a lady when Sara Lea ham was $5.99/lb and she asked for $3.50 worth. Most places are used to this, the scale read .56 or something and another lady called the deli person an idiot. Screaming at her that the lady asked for $3.50 worth not $5.60 worth. I had to explain to her that the measurement was in pounds. She looked at me as if I was speaking Latin and then said the machine should only state the dollar amount, because the deli person could overcharge.......which I pointed was indeed listed. When I was younger, I worked at Circuit City, we would raise prices in October, so that when Black Friday rolled around the "sales" would seem amazing. In most cases the sales we had in Aug/Sept were cheaper than Black Friday deals. I am sure that is what Royal does, as I have seen it. The UDP was $247 not on sale for my Oasis sailing but $207 with 35% off. That number is based off of possibly a $284 price, because otherwise it would be $161.
    2 points
  39. Math and the magic of measurement are a lost art. Our scales at work measure in hundredths of a pound. I've been in the business since 1985, and every place I've worked, it's been like this. Here's a quiz....what's wrong with this? People will ask us for a half a pound of something. The scale will read .51, and when we hand it to them, they tell us it's 5 ounces, and that's more than they wanted.
    2 points
  40. Booked when testing was the norm, that's no longer the case and with my last couple of testing "runs" being frustrating as the pharmacies wind down, etc. trying to decide whether i want the hassle or just cancel it and do something else that doesn't require that extra step any longer. Being the last option to require something is good if there is demand, bad if there isnt.
    2 points
  41. Chris C.

    Chops Grille Menu

    Thank you both! I didn’t realize I could check the menu on the current sailing. I brought up the app and selected the ship’s current sailing and was able to see the menu for each restaurant. Thanks again!
    2 points
  42. L454S

    Jewel of the Seas Review?

    Just did 24 days(2 x 12 day B2B) Norway Arctic Circle and Iceland/Ireland June/July. Ship is showing some age here and there, but overall is still a nice place to spend time. It is NOT a floating amusement park, but that's why we like Radiance/Vision class ships. Even Voyager class to an extent. Dining room was a bit cramped as they were trying to eliminate using the upper dining deck. Both fixed and "My Time" were on deck 4. Was not a fan. WiFi was slow a lot of the time even with surf/stream pkg. Did both Giovanni's and Chop's. Both were very good as usual. Good service throughout, but language barriers popped up time to time as new staff were trying their best. This was our first cruises since the start of covid, was good to be back after 2 years Any specific questions? Would be glad to answer...................
    2 points
  43. Interestingly enoiugh, for my Aug sailing on Oasis to the Bahamas, under the Health button in the app, it says "You may wish to bring your vaccination record in the event it's requested at a local establishment". Tbis is the Travel Documents section where it says to bring passport (or birth certificate/govt id etc) and Negative Covid test result. For my September NE/Canada under Travel Documetns it says the Passport book or card .... Negative Covid test reult Arrive Can app competed and "you may wish to bring your vaccination record in the event it's requested at a local establishment when I clicked on "more" I looked at the US ports and it says Covid 19 VAccination Record Card is recomended for fully vaccinated guests, as local authorities and businesses insome ports we visit may ask guests to present their vaccination card for entrance. It appears the vax card is no longer needed. However, I will have mine on me.
    2 points
  44. I have gotten great drink and internet package deals on Black Friday, but it is important to book early and reprice often for things like excursions and dining packages. They never sell out of internet and drink packages......but if you want the unlimited dining package of Beach Club passes, book now at a price you are comfortable with. Those can sell out, especially on a popular sailing.
    2 points
  45. Last time I was at PDCC I had cute baby chicks pecking at my toes as I read a book on my kindle. For a solo traveler that was everything I wanted and more from PDCC......well and a funnel cake with ice cream. My Nov Odyssey cruise hits up PDCC, the fifth time this year, and Labadee. You would think you would get tired of it but each time you do something different, eat something amazing and see something crazy.
    2 points
  46. Now what I wrote earlier was before we even got to that huge, HUGE wading pool! That just topped everything off. I mean holy cow incredible. And HUGE! The Oasis lagoon was awesome too. Definitely coming back here more than a few times. Just so impressed and loved everything about this Island. We want to come back in like January or February. It was a little too hot for my wife. She burns very, very beyond easily and bad. We sunscreened up and she is still burnt up a crisp. Sunscreen twice. Oh by the way we were the only ship there today so that was a bonus.
    2 points
  47. Please don't take this as an attack, I truly don't mean for it to come off as such, but if you think C&A does an insufficient job of recognizing brand loyalty, good luck with the next cruise company you're headed to.
    2 points
  48. I grew up outside Philly, so no comment on the "steak sandwiches", lol, but glad you enjoyed them. I've never actually tried one to be fair. I don't get to eat Mexican much at home as my wife is picky so any all you can eat taco set up tastes good to me. Freshly making the tortillas is a nice touch though. That said, what you missed were the "snack shacks." One is between the pool and Chill Island. There are also snack shacks in the water park and on South Beach. They're really just small counter service places but they have great fried chicken sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, and the aforementioned funnel cakes. I like the chicken sandwiches how they come but one hack is to get a plain one and put the mozz sticks and marinara on top for a chicken parm sandwich.
    2 points
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