Jump to content

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/07/2013 in Posts

  1. Matt

    Don't do any of these things

    Hi everyone, I know we get heated debating which dessert is the best one to order, or if a balcony room is worth it, but let's keep these basic rules in mind when chatting here. No profanity No personal insults No political discussion This includes tropes about politicians and generalizations about political parties No debating religion Keep your posts relevant and accurate to each specific thread. We can all have our little fun within each thread but please make sure the information you're putting out there is correct and current. Topics not related to Royal Caribbean may be removed. Posts or comments encouraging cruisers to break any Royal Caribbean policy is not allowed and will be removed.
    136 points
  2. Okay, I'm just relieved that this is direction this thread is headed in...
    70 points
  3. I am happy to announce that I will be joining the brand new Odyssey Of The Seas this week. I look forward for the opportunity to go back to work, and once again help create vacation memories for Royal Caribbean passengers (you guys)! Watch out for my upcoming videos on YouTube. Chris Wong
    48 points
  4. Hi guys. I’m here to share my recent experience with RoyalUp, a program that allows people with existing reservations to bid for an upgrade to a higher room category. The reason why I’m sharing my experience is because prior to and after the upgrade, I had a ton of questions that I’ve been trying to look for answers all over the internet but couldn’t find any. Hence, I’d like to share my experience with everyone and hopefully it can give some answers to my fellow cruisers! A brief introduction: (or skip to the end for the answers to the “FAQs”) I’ve booked a last minute 4-night sailing onboard Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, also known as Cruise to Nowhere. It is basically a hospitality restarting program by the Singapore government with no ports of call. Strict restrictions are also put in place for the safety of the guests. I’ve booked a Junior Suite (J4) for me and my wife. The price displayed on the RC’s booking website was SGD 1399pp for 4-nights before pre-paid gratuities and port taxes. There wasn’t any other suite options left for booking, which I presumed was fully booked. Almost immediately after completing the reservation transaction, I received the RoyalUP email, and invited me to place a bid to a higher room category. Even though I could clearly see that none of the higher suite categories were available for booking, I still decided to give it a try at bidding for RoyalUp. Long story short, I placed bids on all categories, ranging from Grand Suite to Royal Loft Suite and kind of forgot about the whole RoyalUp thing. Until around 24 hours before the sailing, I received an email saying that my bid for a Grand Loft Suite was successful. My bid amount was SGD 1210 per person hence SGD 2420 was charged to my credit card on file immediately. In general, I paid about $2710 per person ($1399 (JS) +$1210 (RoyalUp) +$100 taxes and pre-paid gratuities) I’ve checked the price of a Grand Loft Suite on a different sailing date, and it cost around SGD 5400 per person and before taxes. Which means, I’ve gotten nearly a 50% off the original price. From Junior Suite to Grand Loft Suite is a big jump. In terms of Royal Suite class, it was upgraded from Sea Class to Star Class. At this point, I was very excited! But at the same time, I have a lot questions that needs answers to. To be honest, even with a “huge discount”, SGD 2710 (SGD 5k+ for 2 people) is almost double the original budget hence to me, it is still a lot of money to fork out for a 4-day vacation. As we know, Grand Loft Suite is a Star Class suite and it is practically All-Inclusive such as free specialty dining, deluxe beverage package, internet package etc and it comes with a Royal Genie. So naturally, some questions flashes through my mind, and since it was an upgrade through RoyalUP: “Am I going to get a Royal Genie as well?” “Will I be treated differently in terms of services than those guests who paid the original price?” “How about the things I’ve pre-paid on Cruise Planner such as beverage package and internet package since my suite already includes all those packages?” I’ve tried searching for answers on the internet but I couldn’t find any. However, after I’ve completed my sailing, I kind of gotten all the answers I needed. So now, I’m going share them with you guys. My very own set of FAQs: Q: Am I going to get Royal Genie as well? A: Yes! Even though I gotten the upgrade 1 day before the sailing, the Royal Genie got in touch with me via WhatsApp on the morning of the sailing and she already took the liberty to arrange all the activities for us! She already pre-booked all the shows, specialty dinning and some activities such as iFly and Flow Rider. And she was extremely flexible and accommodating on all our requests to change meal timings, shows timings. All you need to do is just let her know your preference and leave everything to her. Q: Will I be treated differently in terms of services compared to those guests who paid the original price? A: Not at all. From my observations, only 2 groups of service crews knew you are an “upgrader”. They are the Royal Genie, and the cruise terminal staff. Usually, Genie will contact you 1 month before your sailing to get to know you better. However, she does know that you are an upgrader since she contacted you just 1 day before the sailing, not the usual 1 month. As for the cruise terminal staff, our information was given to them by the cruise line at the very last minute hence our information was “hand-written” on their paper. They did “congratulate” us on the successful upgrade by the Cruise Line which is why I knew they knew we were an upgrader. Nevertheless, they escorted from the moment we reached the terminal until being handed over to the Royal Genie. Very good service rendered. Q: How about the things I’ve pre-paid on Cruise Planner such as beverage package and internet package since my suite already includes all those packages A: They will be refunded to you and the Royal Genie made sure of that. It will be under “refundable” onboard credit and you can requested to get them in cash on the last night of the cruise. Otherwise, it will be refunded to your credit card. Q: How about my SeaPass card? Will I be recognized as a Star-Class guest? A: You will be identified as a Star Class guest on your SeaPass card, not the original room category that you were booked on. Q: Do I get the same perks and benefit listed under Star-Class suite even though I’m an upgrader? A: Yes! Complementary Dining Package, Beverage package, internet package, complementary mini-bar for the whole cruise with replenishment daily, complementary room-service, complementary laundry (I don’t think they set a limit on the quantity of clothes). For Izumi, there is no limit in terms of the amount you can order. If you have a Ultimate Dining Package, I believe per meal you will get USD35 credit per person for Izumi as it is based on A-la-carte pricing. But for Star-Class, there is no limit on that. The wait staff made it known to you before you order. Q: How about those chargeable activities? A: For our sailing, the chargeable activities are iFly (~$40) and Northstar (~$20) and strictly by reservation only. However, with the help of our Genie, reservation was done before hand. There is no charges for Star-Class guest for these activities. However, you are only entitled to 1 free session for each of these 2 activities. If you would like to go for a second-time, you will have to pay the charges. All other FAQs regarding Star-Class: Q: Can Royal Genie fulfill all your requests? A: Yes and No. I’d emphasize that your request must be reasonable. If you would like to change your dinner venue to another restaurant at the very last minute, you can kindly check with her. Most of the times it can be fulfilled. However, if the restaurant is full, she might suggest to change to an earlier or a later time for you. I’m not sure what kind of magic they have, but I’m definitely against them pulling out other guests from their original dining timing just to slot you in. Firstly, you are putting Genie in a difficult position, secondly, you are causing unhappiness to the affected guests. So I’d suggest to give the Genie some leeway. Do not force you request onto them. If it can be done in a gentle way, go ahead. If not, please do not force or blame them. Q: Do I need to tip the Royal Genie? A: Absolutely. They are not a receiver of the automatically gratuity system on board. Hence, the tips relies solely on you. Royal Genie is not just a regular butler, they are there to learn about you and make arrangements for you which you didn’t even think of. My wife somehow mentioned to the Genie that this is our 2nd anniversary trip when we were casually chatting. (but did not mention in details). The Genie caught it and arranged for a surprise decoration and cake in the room for us. My wife and I were surprised as initially, we really can’t figure out how she knew about our anniversary. It is only when we tried to recall every single thing we said to the Genie, and realized that it must have slipped out of our mouth at certain point. Their attention to details are just simply unbelievable. Hope this post is useful for whoever is looking for the same answers as I did. Happy cruising!
    47 points
  5. Pooch

    Thank the good Lord!

    6 tests over 3 states & 4 households all negative!! Harmony here we come
    46 points
  6. I've had an opportunity to cruise a few cruise lines during this 2021 cruise restart. All of them have been with reduced capacity. Having recently encountered two terrible boarding day procedures I've got give credit to Royal Caribbean for implementing the best boarding day process I've experienced. On those other lines it took hours for me to board the ship. Neither of them improved the muster drill routine to a notable extent. For both the other cruise lines their boarding day process cast a dark cloud on the start of my cruise vacation and in both cases it took a few hours after finally getting on board before it felt like I was on vacation. Even then I felt exhausted and didn't feel like doing very much on the first night. Contrast that with Royal where I was car to cabin in 20 minutes. Upon boarding I was free to grab a bite to eat and a beverage then I could visit my muster station at my convenience for a one-on-one safety briefing that took less than 60 seconds. Upon boarding Royal I immediately felt like I was on a cruise vacation. It was like I got an extra cruise day to enjoy. I was quickly into vacation mode and it was all stress free. I will say people arriving before their appointed time is a problem on all cruise lines. Don't be that person. If you arrive before your time you are part of the problem and you deserve the long wait times you will encounter. However once you are allowed inside the terminal there is no excuse for the other cruise lines to make boarding such a stressful and lengthy process. Hat's off to Royal for creating the best boarding day process.
    44 points
  7. Having just gotten up the courage, after much support from my teenaged daughters, to actually be brave enough to show my cancer scars in a bathing suit on my upcoming cruise, I'm just crossing my fingers that I don't show up as a "cringe-worthy" line item on this lovely list.
    41 points
  8. Alternate title: Thousands do exactly as millions do every day on airplanes and travel, albeit with better protocols
    41 points
  9. Embark tip: The best way to go with the test result is printing it, but if you want to have everything digital, before arriving to the port make a screen shot for the results of all the people in your cabin. The reason is sometimes the internet signal in the port is not good and it can take a loooong time to be able to show the results, and there is nothing that can be made before showing the results. When you do the screen shot make sure that is the full page and you can see clearly the name of the person, type of test, date it was taken and, of course the result. Debark tip: Make sure to put something distinctive on every piece of your luggage so you can recognize them right away: A ribbon (NOT red, please), a bright tag, a pompom, duck tape, etc. This is not only for you to spot your luggage but for other people not to take it by mistake. You have no idea how many times it happens that when someone go to get their baggage they cannot find it because somebody took it and is already gone. The other thing you can do that is very helpful to find quick your luggage is to take a picture with all the pieces when they are ready to be left outside your cabin with the number tags and whatever you put on them to be recognized, so next day at debark if you don't find them right away it would be easier for the agents to help you. This is really a good way to do it.
    39 points
  10. Good luck to all my fellow crew members who are currently on Quantum Of The Seas. Lets prove to the world that cruising can be done in a healthy and safe way! Hopefully it won't be too much longer before I get asked to rejoin a cruise ship, and head back to work. I'm amazed at how much love for the cruising there still is, and it's people like you that will keep this industry alive!
    38 points
  11. Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us
    36 points
  12. UPDATED 10 Aug 2022 (Added Voyager of the Seas deployment, updated Adventure of the Seas dates) Construction of Royal Caribbean's new Cruise Terminal is progressing on schedule, with completion planned in time for the arrival of Allure of the Seas on 13 Nov 2022. Galveston is the fourth busiest cruise port in the USA and the 10th busiest in the world. Cruise ships calling Galveston their home port include: Allure of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Arrives 13 Nov 2022 from Ft. Lauderdale. Repositions to Port Canaveral 27 Oct 2023) Harmony of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Arrives 1 Nov 2023 from Miami) Liberty of the Seas - 154,407 GT - 3,648 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Repositions to Fort Lauderdale on 30 Oct 2022) Adventure of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,114 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Returns to Galveston 10 Nov 2022 from Cape Liberty) Grandeur of the Seas - 73,817 GT - 1,992 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Arrives 4 May 2022 and repositions to Miami 2 Nov 2022) Radiance of the Seas - 90,090 GT - 2,143 Passengers - 6-10 night sailings plus a 15-night Panama Canal crossing (Arrives 30 Jan 2023 from New Orleans. Repositions to Los Angeles 21 Apr 2023) Voyager of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,602 Passengers - 4-6 night sailings (Arrives 9 May 2023 from San Juan) Carnival Vista - 133,500 GT - 3,934 Passengers Carnival Dream - 130,000 GT - 3,646 Passengers Carnival Breeze - 130,000 GT - 3,690 Passengers Carnival Jubilee - 182,800 GT - 5,374 Passengers - LNG Power (Arrives 17 Nov 2023 from Southampton) Ruby Princess - 114,561 GT - 3,080 Passengers (Arrives Dec 2022) Norwegian Prima - 142,500 GT - 3,215 Passengers (Special sailing 31 Oct 2022. Home ports in Galveston 15 Dec 2023) Disney Wonder - Nov/Dec/Jan holiday sailings each year Cruise Terminal 1, which serves mainly Carnival, is the largest single-berth cruise facility in the world at over 257,000 square feet. Cruise Terminal 2 which currently serves Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney, was expanded in 2017 to accommodate larger (Freedom Class) cruise ships. Planning & Tourist Info You can't beat this website for information on everything that is happening in Galveston: www.galveston.com Transportation Fly into HOU (Houston Hobby Airport) if you can. It's much closer to Galveston than IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport) and you won't have the Houston traffic to deal with. Tip: HOU is a large hub for Southwest Airlines. They often don't show up on the travel booking sites so you need to book at www.southwest.com. You can't beat their "bags fly free" policy and "no change fees". Here are some options for getting to Galveston from the airport: Galveston Limo - provides very affordable shared rides from the two Houston airports with either their scheduled service (8 trips per day) or you can arrange a private car. Owned by a local family of good folks. Galveston Express Lyft and Uber - Lyft and Uber now operate in Galveston. Lyft has a contract with the Port of Galveston to bring passengers to and from the cruise terminals. Uber has chosen not to sign a contract with the Port, but can still operate in other areas of Galveston. Enterprise Rent A Car - Enterprise is the only rental car company on the island. You should be able to rent from Enterprise at the airport and drop it off on the Island. The Island location is open on Saturday, and before cruises shut down it was also open on Sunday, so you can drop off on the weekends as well as weekdays. Check with Enterprise directly for updated hours and shuttle arrangements. Arriving By Car I-45 is undergoing several phases of construction that will continue through 2022 and beyond. TxDOT is widening I-45 all the way to Galveston Island. I-45 south ends on Galveston Island. When arriving on the island, if you turn off at the "Cruise Terminal" exit (Harborside Drive) you will hit a traffic back-up as you approach the cruise terminals. To avoid this traffic jam, as you drive down I-45 and arrive on the Island, continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends and follow these directions: Continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends. Continue to 23rd street and turn left. Follow 23rd and it will dead end at the entrance to the cruise terminals. This route will avoid the lengthy backup on Harborside Drive. As you enter the Cruise Terminal area, turn left to bypass the Carnival Cruise drop-off area, then you will see your Royal Caribbean ship at Terminal 2. Drop your luggage with the porters, and then proceed to your parking location. It is highly recommended that you drop your luggage at the terminal before parking. This prevents you from lugging all of those suitcases on and off of a shuttle bus. Parking If you search "Galveston cruise parking" you will see plenty of parking options. I highly recommend making a reservation on line with one of the parking companies, especially if you want an indoor or garage space as these will sell out (especially now, with so many ships sailing from Galveston). Prepaying usually gets you a 5-10% discount and a guaranteed parking space. Things to consider in addition to price: Elevation - heavy rains can quickly flood the streets of Galveston, and not just during a hurricane. Leaving your car in an elevated spot will provide peace of mind against flooding if an unexpected storm comes in. Walk or Shuttle? - most parking lots have shuttle service, but some offer "park & walk" for a discount (shuttle companies have to pay a fee to the Port of Galveston for each trip). You must select which option when you book online. Walking to and from the terminal avoids waiting on crowded shuttles and can be an enjoyable stroll if the weather is nice. But heat, humidity, and rain can make the savings of a few dollars seem insignificant. I like to drop off the family and luggage at the terminal, then go park the car and walk back to the terminal, but occasionally I have to wait for the rain to pass or put up with a hot/humid walk. Parking Garage, Inside Building, or Outdoor Lot? - outdoor surface lots are cheaper, but your car is exposed to the south Texas sun and weather. A building provides better protection and security. The parking garage provides protection, security, and gets you elevated and safe from almost any flooding. Discounts & Loyalty - there are extra savings if you sign up for loyal programs online and apply for any applicable discount. Reserve your parking after your account is set up and tagged with the applicable discount. You can combine loyalty and one discount but you can't have multiple discounts. Security - all parking is at least fenced and gated. The buildings are enclosed and locked. Some facilities have security cameras. The Port of Galveston claims that the Port Police patrol their lots 24/7 which you won't find at the private parking lots. Electric Vehicle Charging - more and more lots are offering EV chargers. If you drive an EV like I do, you will appreciate having your car fully charged when you disembark. This perk is currently free at all parking facilities where it is offered. Remember that even a 110 volt plug will fully charge your car over the course of several days. Here is my comparison of some of the parking options. I have parked at all of these except Falstaff. Hotels Galveston hotel prices are quite variable depending on day of week (weekends obviously much higher), whether there are major events happening, and the season (summer is the busy season here). Booking hotels during Mardi Gras (February), Lone Star Biker Rally (early November), Art Walk (every 6 weeks) and other major events will be much more expensive. Some hotels have a 2 night minimum on weekends. Ever since travel resumed following Covid, hotel prices on Galveston Island have gone way up. I love staying on the island before a cruise, but if the price is too high I stay along I-45 in Webster, League City, or Texas City where you'll find much lower hotel rates. There are a couple of hotels near the port and the historic Strand District in Galveston. It's a great idea to arrive a day or two early and enjoy the island ambiance. The Harbor House is very convenient to the ship and to many nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. Caution: Our room had a smell of mildew when we stayed here in May 2021, but others have reported no such issue. The Tremont House is also very walkable to the Strand, the Port and nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. This is my preferred pre-cruise hotel and will become a Marriott property in late 2022! The Tremont House is located in a beautiful historic building. The Tremont's rooftop bar has wonderful views of the island and port area. The lobby bar has live jazz on most Friday and Saturday nights. There are plenty of other hotels on the Island, many along the Seawall facing the Gulf of Mexico. Hotels providing transportation to the port or offer park & cruise options can be found here. Call the hotel that you are interested in to confirm that they provide cruise parking. Galveston Dining (And A Few Drinking Establishments) Please avoid the tourist traps and chain restaurants that will leave you disappointed. Eat at these locally owned restaurants that use locally sourced, fresh food, including fresh Gulf seafood right from the docks in Galveston. All restaurants are casual dress unless noted, and all are family friendly (even most of the bars). Many serve craft beer on tap from Galveston Island Brewing. My only connection to these places is that I have personally eaten at them multiple times and I love them all! Rudy and Paco - 2028 Post Office St (21st and Post Office) - Arguably the best restaurant on the island. Wonderful food with a South and Central American flair. Best service on the island. A little expensive but worth it. We like going for lunch because it's very affordable (lunch served weekdays only). No shorts allowed at dinner. Reservations suggested and are a must on weekends or when The 1890 Grand Theater has an event. Riondo's Ristorante - 2328 Strand (24th and Strand) - Our favorite Italian restaurant on the island, and they also serve great seafood and steak. Beautiful historic building built in 1895 in the Strand Historic District. "Farm to Fork" sourcing and they make their own pasta. Tell them you "want a table in the vault." Katie's Seafood House - 2000 Wharf Road (On the water, adjacent to the Port of Galveston) - This new restaurant opened in mid-2019 and is the only restaurant in Galveston that catches their own seafood! Great food, good service, and a wonderful view of the Port of Galveston from their covered outdoor deck. Cafe at the Tremont House - 2300 Ships Mechanic Row (Mechanic Street) - Beautiful historic hotel built in 1879 near the Strand Historic District. Enter the main entrance, up a few stairs, and the cafe is just off the lobby to the right. Nice salads, flatbread pizzas, Panini served in a casual atmosphere. Most weekend evenings there is live jazz in the lobby, which is why we go here (in addition to the good food and casual, historic atmosphere). There is a beautiful bar at the opposite end of the lobby with several Galveston Brewing options on tap. Before or after dinner, take the elevator to the top floor, turn left, and walk to the end of the hall to the rooftop bar to cap off the experience. Eatcetera - 408 25th Street - Lunch only (until 4 pm, closed Sunday). Gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, Panini. Vegan and gluten free options available. Brews Brothers Brew Pub - 2404 Strand - Huge craft beer selection, creative American bar food. Very casual. You wouldn't expect it for a bar, but the food here is excellent. Burgers (try the "Mission From God"), fresh made chips (try them with Buffalo Sauce & Bleu Cheese), local fish tacos, salads, etc. Texas Tail Distillery - New larger location at 2416 Post Office - On-site distillery for whiskey and vodka. Try the honey whiskey and other infusions. Friendly staff, fun place to try crafted drinks with local liquor, or try them all with a flight of shots! New: several food trailers located adjacent to their new location! Blvd. Seafood - 28th and Seawall - One of the best seafood restaurants on the island. There isn't a lot of curb appeal outside but the inside is very nice. The food and service are both quite good and the seafood is all local. The red snapper is amazing and always comes fresh from Katie's Seafood Market. Grotto Italian - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Classic Italian restaurant featuring delicious veal, chicken, seafood, pizza, and house made pastas. This one breaks my rule of avoiding the Landrys restaurant chain, but we tried it again in February 2020 and are convinced it's a great option. Blake's Bistro - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Great burgers, gumbo, seafood. Overlooks the resort pool and the Gulf of Mexico. This one breaks my rule of avoiding the Landrys restaurant chain, but we gave it several tries in February 2020 and added it to the list. The Cove Poolside Bar - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Beautiful outdoor poolside bar with a swim-up bar too, all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The pool is heated so expect swimmers even in cool weather. Great place to people watch and enjoy a drink with one of the most picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico on the island. Gypsy Joynt - 6105 Stewart Road - Funky family-run spot with great comfort food. Excellent pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. Breads/buns baked fresh multiple times per day. Casual, funky atmosphere. A little off the beaten path but definitely one of my favorite casual places for lunch or dinner. Maceo's Spice & Import Company - 2706 Market Street - Excellent muffaletta's, sandwiches. Simple menu to eat in or carry out in this little spice shop. Hey Mikey's Ice Cream - 2120 Post Office Street - Ice cream is made in the store. Unique treats like Ice Cream Nachos (share with a friend) and traditional favorites. You gotta' go here! Note: this place is owned by a nice island family. It is sometimes closed over the winter holidays. Mod Coffeehouse - 2126 Post Office Street - comfortable with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music many weekend evenings. Coffee, tea, espresso, latte, home baked goods. Jimmy's On The Pier - 9001 Seawall - On the 2nd story above the fishing pier (enter the souvenir shop, exit to the left, and up the stairs). Very casual with great views of the seawall and Gulf. Owner has their own farm and livestock for a true "farm to table" concept; other items locally sourced. Fish tacos, burgers, seafood, local beer, full bar, etc. Mama Teresa's Flying Pizza and Italian - 416 21st Street - This is the place for pizza. They also have nice Italian dishes. Convenient to the Post Office Street Arts District for a nice after-dinner stroll. Embarkation Experience Protocols will be changing regularly until we get through the Covid craziness, but here is what we experienced in May, 2022. Check-in times are being enforced. Currently masks are optional in the cruise terminal. Once inside, there are several lines. If you have unvaccinated passengers in your group (i.e. kids) they direct you to a special line all the way to the right. The purpose of the first checkpoint is to make sure you have 1) proof of vaccination 2) proof of negative Covid test 3) passport or other citizenship documents 4) boarding pass. The next checkpoint is the scan for weapons/liquor. Your carry-on luggage goes through the scanner and you walk through the metal detector similar to an airport security scan. If they discover liquor or prohibited items, there is a table right behind security where those items are dealt with. If you have an unvaccinated child that needs their pre-boarding Covid test, that happens next. Following this, you walk into the next room where you do the actual cruise check-in. There are quite a few check-in stations and this process takes quite a bit longer than pre-pandemic. This is where they take a photo of your vaccination card, verify your negative Covid test, check your passport or other citizenship documents, and take your photo if you failed to upload it before the cruise. We observed that if you had completed all the online checkin steps, had your documents in hand and ready, and generally had your act together then things went much quicker. After checking in, you take the escalator or elevator upstairs to the waiting area. With the check-in times being spaced out and enforced, there isn't much waiting. You will likely move directly toward the ship, especially if you are in a Suite. The final checkpoint is completed in the upstairs waiting area where they scan your SetSail Pass. After this you walk to the gangway and directly to the ship! Disembarkation Experience After having your SeaPass Card scanned, you disembark the ship, walk down the enclosed gangway, and walk down several long ramps to get to the ground floor. Just inside the luggage hall is the facial recognition area that replaces your discussion with a Customs and Border Protection officer. You are directed to look toward the facial scanner, and immediately (if all is well) you are cleared to proceed. This is an incredible improvement to the old system of waiting for a face-to-face discussion with a CBP officer and it was a big time saver. The next step is to claim your luggage and proceed to the terminal exit. Just before exiting the terminal you will be asked by a State Agent whether you are bringing back alcohol or cigarettes (see the next section for details). Bringing Back Liquor & Cigarettes If you sail from the Port of Galveston, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has agents sitting at a table after you clear Immigration. They will ask you if you are bringing back any alcohol or cigarettes. If so, you will need to pay the state tax for importing them into the state, whether they are purchased in the ship's duty free store or in a foreign port of call. Although Texas state tax is due, these items are still exempt of any Federal duty. The law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). Tax due for a 750ml bottle of wine is $3.25, for a 750ml bottle of distilled spirits is $3.50. These rates include a $3.00 "administrative fee". Cigarette tax is $1.50/pack or $15.00/carton. Other tax rates are available online. You can pay with a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or cash. They will give you a receipt and a sticker to place on the bottle. Failure to pay the tax and obtain the appropriate stamp will subject violators to a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year. Galveston Webcams Galveston has some great webcams. If you want to see what the cruise port looks like, or if your friends and family want to watch you sail away on Royal Caribbean via several live full-motion HD video cameras, go here (they have a pretty big following when ships are arriving and departing the port). There are several Carnival ships here as well, and they often block the view of the Royal Caribbean ships when they are alongside the dock. Cruise ships can be seen on the Cruise Cam, Strand Cam, Marina Cam, and Emerald Cam.
    34 points
  13. Galveston Steve

    Carolyn Kraft

    I’m on Enchantment of the Seas right now as well. I have a different perspective. Tuesday afternoon a 600 foot tanker ran into an 80 foot fishing boat at the entrance to the Houston-Galveston Ship Channel. 1 person confirmed dead, 1 person in the hospital. The Coast Guard abandoned the search for two other missing crew members today and they are presumed dead. The crew of the Pappy’s Pride fishing boat and their families are having a horrible week, much worse than I ever hope you or I have. I’m happy to be enjoying time on a cruise ship with my family this week. Due to this tragedy there has been NO ship traffic in or out of the ports of Houston, Galveston, or Texas City since Tuesday afternoon. The economic impact of shutting down tanker and other ship traffic in this area is staggering. After Enchantment waited offshore all day, the Coast Guard was gracious enough to allow her into port Wednesday afternoon as she passed within yards of the wreckage site at a very slow speed while the responders were still securing the wrecked vessel, controlling the environmental damage, and searching for two missing human beings. After waiting all last night and all day today, Enchantment was escorted out of port this afternoon in heavy fog with two pilot boats off our bow to ensure we safely traversed the fog. I was deeply moved as we passed the crash site at a very slow speed so as not to disturb the small fleet of boats and the crane platform that were continuing the recovery operation in the channel. Enchantment of the Seas was the ONLY ship allowed to come in or out of the area since Tuesday afternoon. Then Carnival Dream was finally allowed in this evening after she waited offshore all day. As of this moment the area remains closed to all other ship traffic. Only a few small service boats have been allowed in the area. Royal Caribbean provided text and email updates about every two hours yesterday as we waited to learn when we could board. Enchantment’s captain provided several updates last night after we boarded, and several more updates throughout the day today. There was little information that they could provide because they had no control over the weather or the tragic situation in the Galveston Jetties, but they checked in with us regularly to let us know they were communicating with authorities and trying to get us underway. They also did not offer false hope or speculation because they knew the situation was fluid and telling us one thing and then changing their story would have drawn much criticism. We’re now underway to Cozumel and I’ve been having a great time, all things considered. I’ve used my cell phone as a tool to find out as much as I could about what was happening with our situation, much of which is spelled out above. May God bless the crew of Pappy’s Pride and their families. May those who perished Rest In Peace.
    34 points
  14. Look man, it's not an addiction. I can quit whenever I want to.
    33 points
  15. I wonder if grandpa has ever come back to his car in a snow storm and found his car full of snow because he didn't know his window was open? Probably has a wicked air conditioning bill in the summer when the windows in the house are open. Drive through restaurants must be a PITA for him. Is the window open or not? So confusing. Is he a Mac IT professional because Windows seems to give him a lot of trouble.
    33 points
  16. Since it seems to come up a lot, and although Twangster's detailed blog is far superior, I thought there may be one or two who might be curious about a recent experience. I purchased it for my 4-night Mariner of the Seas cruise to Nassau/Coco Cay. I was a solo traveler and I had a $25 onboard credit, so the price came to $55. Between Voom and lunch on embarkation day, I'd already gotten my value, so it was really a no-brainer purchase for me. Embarkation: They called The Key people with the Pinnacle/Diamond/Diamond Plus members when they opened up the doors. I suspect they just threw us in with them because it was so early and there were very few people in the terminal yet. Delivery of carry on luggage to stateroom: A few of us wandered around trying to figure out where to drop off our carry on luggage when we first boarded - they were a little behind and didn't have a sign on the theatre door, or anyone in the theatre to take the bags yet. In about 10 minutes we all figured it out (all 5 of us at that point) and someone did show up to start the process. Unfortunately that person hadn't been provided with any luggage tags, so anyone who hadn't tagged their luggage had to wait a little while - I had my luggage tag on my one rolling carry on. They also had business cards with Voom codes on it - but none of them matched the names of anyone who was there, so staff was confused. In the end they just gave us a card for whoever (sorry Adam Davis, or whoever's I had), and we were on our way. I assume they managed to work it out in the end, but it was never an issue for me. Lunch at Chops - was a nice treat! Reserved seating section at shows - I only went to the comedy show really late on Embarkation day and on the last night. There was a section roped off for The Key next to either higher C&A or suite folks - it really didn't matter at this show because there was really hardly anyone in the theatre. The first night I sat in The Key section, the last night I sat somewhere else - it didn't matter. But this is Mariner, not a Quantum or Oasis class ship, so I imagine it would make a difference on one of those ships. Reserved times for Flow Rider/Rock Climbing Wall/Sky Pad/Perfect Storm - they had at least 2 hours set aside during the week for each activity. They weren't at the most convenient hours, but, at least on my sailing, it wasn't necessary for a separate time - there was never a line at any of those activities - I never saw more than a few people in line for any of them and most of the time nobody was using them. Apparently this was a "sit by the pool and drink" cruise for folks. On the 2nd day, I happened to stop by my cabin to pick something up and someone knocked on my door and delivered a fruit plate that was complimentary for The Key people. That was unexpected. Priority tender - We only tendered at CoCo Cay - I went down to get on the tender about an hour after we anchored and there was a line (not a ridiculous line, but a line as you'd expect there to be). There was no staff along the line at all to ask about The Key benefit, and I'm just not the type to walk past a bunch of people who are waiting to also get on the tender to get in front of them, so I just got on with everyone else. I was able to get on the tender right away anyway, probably because I wasn't trying to get on the first tender of the day, so it was just fine with me. I could have been more assertive, but that's just not me. And the ending result would have been exactly the same in this case. Disembarkation Day - it was nice to have a quiet, unrushed breakfast in the MDR. It was the only time I'd sat with other people during a meal - almost the only time I'd spoken to any other people all week (I did talk to the iguana and the chickens on CoCo Cay earlier, that's a whole different story #retiredzookeeper) and I did enjoy that. After breakfast, I ran back up to my room, grabbed my carry on, and went down to Deck 4, where there happened to be a staff member manning the line. I asked him about The Key disembarkation, and he personally escorted me to the gangway past a long line, which was REALLY nice. I liked the program, and it was defnintely worth it on a short sailing. I was getting Voom anyway, and there were just enough things that I was going to enjoy along the way that it made it worth it to me. I very much doubt that I'll get it on my Ovation sailing to Alaska in June - I will be going with my husband, who has no interest in Voom, and we will be meeting up with old friends, who will not have The Key, so we won't be taking advantage of reserved seating with shows and special times for activities since they won't be able to partake with us during those times. We'll evaluate it again on our Symphony sailing in Feb 2020 - things may have changed with the program, or the hubs may decide he wants internet access, so we'll see then. Hope this helps someone out there!
    33 points
  17. Hi all! After having our flight home cancelled twice and spending two additional days in Seattle, we are back home. Here is my report on the Alaskan cruise and the Ovation! Embarkation Our check in time was 11am and we showed up at 9:20 am to find at least 30 people in front of us. After listening in on conversations, it was apparent that most of the people in front and back of us were not entirely prepared to check in. Oh well, their loss. Thanks to this Forum, we were prepared and when the gates opened, we were on the ship by 11:10 am. Easy peezy. MY SUGGESTION for easier boarding....just print everything and have them in order. Set Sail, vaccine records, covid test, just have physical documents ready. Internet was intermittent and people trying to check in with screen shots were having trouble. FOOD! I start with food because that is our thing and the first thing we did other than making reservations was eating at the Windjammer! Food was overall a 9 out of 10. Windjammer - only ate there for one lunch and 5 breakfasts. Breakfast could use some variation but food was hot, looked good, and filled our tummies with overall joy. Izumi's - ate lunch and dinner there. Rolls were overwhelming. Sashimi plate was excellent for cruise sushi! Fried chicken appetizer was yummy. I though 2 times was enough for Izumi though. Wonderland - food was overall imaginative, fun, and tasty. Some stand out dishes included desserts and the liquid lobster. Would not go more than once per cruise, but would definitely go every cruise. Chops - Solid steakhouse. Good wine selection. Bone-in ribeye is outstanding. Lobster bisque and mushroom soup were outstanding! Ate there twice. Jaime's Italian - OUR FAVORITE. I am a classically trained chef turned lawyer. Fresh made pasta was exactly what sold us here! The sauces were tasty and in the correct proportion to pasta unlike Americanized Italian places. Funny, Jaime's is British-Italian, but the food here tasted closer to what we have eaten in Italy than most places. Stand out dishes included Pavlova dessert, ALL pastas, Meat plank, and burrata cheese! MDR - This is the only place where I experienced service issues but I will address those later. Food was overall okay. Above average. Nothing stood out, nothing was bad. Oh...order the Baked Alaska! Last time I had Baked Alaska and Cherries Jubilee was in 1984 LOL. Room Service - prompt, hot, edible. Hot Dog Stand - good enough to satisfy cravings. Sorrentos - Not bad at all. Fish and Ships - fried to order and worth at least one trip. By the way, I am not sure this works for all ships, but UDP worked here for fried lobster tails and premium items. Cafe Two70 - Nice change of breakfast pace and quiet place to enjoy breakfast, enjoy incredible views, and play some card games or board games with the kids after breakfast. La Patisserie - Not quite Starbucks, but got me going in the right direction every morning and every evening. Solarium Bistro - It was okay. I was happy. DRINKS! Since I watched many bartenders open new bottles of liquor and paid attention to them making my drinks, I can say that the drinks were not watered down, but not exactly super strong, except for limoncello!!! Wine selections were nice considering this was a cruise ship. Cocktails were tasty. We loved the Bahama Mama and anything with KRAKEN! Service Guest services lines were a little long at times. I am always up at 4am and go to sleep at 11:00 pm so this was not an issue for me. The ONLY issue we had was that the pre-purchased Arcade credits were not properly applied to our kids' sea passes and there is no way to figure out arcade balances other than stopping by Guest Services or manual computations. Service at all specialty restaurants and bars was excellent. MDR service wasn't bad. It was slower than I would expect, but I am not one to eat in 45 minutes and run off. A 90 minute full service meal is more than acceptable. Ship Condition Did I mention that the Princess Ruby ship in front of us was rust stained and looked dilapidated? Ovation was immaculate! Enough said. Activities and Entertainment Enjoyed all of the shows and trivia. We did Flowrider, Ripcord, Bumper cars, Northstar....pretty much did everything. I highly recommend Northstar at a port and not at sea. We did it twice, once at port in Seattle and once at sea. Nothing much to see at sea. Ripcord by iFly was simply AMAZING. Do it. All ages. Do it. Internet We had one surf and stream and one basic. Get basic. Either way, internet is slightly better than DSL from 2005. Complaints A. Stupid people. B. Dumb people. C. Some public toilets did not flush automatically and were inconvenient when I forced my kids to poop outside the room in the public restrooms. D. Nothing to do from 4am to 6am. E. Too much to do from 8am to 11pm. F. Either Pixels has two different versions, or I fell asleep at the first one. My friends showed me pictures of the second showing and it looked quite different than ours. G. Make Solarium pools aged 25 plus please! Too many teenagers and college kids. It was gross. Spent more time in the indoor pool with little kids and enjoyed it more. HIGHLIGHTS, KEY TAKEWAYS and TIPS 1. Got to meet Chris Wong. Nice guy. 2. Stop gambling while you are ahead. I made out with winnings of about $370 from penny slots. Not bad. 3. Take advantage of the trivia games in between activities and meals. It is a waste of time to go back to your room for 30 minutes and come back out. 4. If you get the Food packages, RESERVE AS SOON AS YOU BOARD! We saw too many people complain about wait lists because no reservations. 5. If you are unsure of the Deluxe Beverage Package....I drink one glass of wine or beer a month. Period. On the cruise, I had at least 4 cocktails, one beer, one glass of wine, and 3 specialty Americano or Lattes each day. On top of that, I had one soda a day and took back 4 bottles of water to the room each day. It is worth the money to get a package. 6. Find the secret spots early. The outside seating at Windjammer ALWAYS had seating, and we spent breakfast there while the ship's back was turned facing Dawes Glacier. Trust me. Also, Deck 5 next the the Art Gallery, but aways from the smoking section...chairs facing the ocean and unusually warmer than most places on the ship considering its outside seating. Grab a glass of wine from the Wine bar and sit here to relax. Quiet and peaceful. 7. READ THIS ONE. Finding whales and other sea life....Watch the TV channel that tells you where you are and shows the ship's front camera. While watching, you will often see streaks of water (wake) left behind by dolphins, orcas, or whale....then grab your binoculars and look outside, you will see them passing! Great way to find sea life. 8. BIGGEST TIP FOR ALASKA RIGHT NOW! DO NOT OVER PACK. We each had one carry one rolling suit case and a back pack. Wore suits and dresses on formal nights. You do not need all of that clothing. You simply do not. Pay $35 to have underwear and T-shirts washed. Its cheaper than checking in suitcases on the plane. Plus, our flights home were cancelled twice and we were lugging around our luggage alot of that time. Thank God we packed light. You do not need all of that clothing. HUGE THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND MATT for making this trip so amazing despite Covid, anxiety, the long wait, staffing shortages (which we experienced none), and despite raining the entire 13 days we were in Alaska or Seattle. Thank you!
    32 points
  18. Tasteless food... isn't that a symptom of CV?
    32 points
  19. I am both excited and terrified to begin my first live Blog here of my first ever Star Class sailing and also….our wedding! I can only hope it is HALF as good as the amazing bloggers I read religiously here! 48 DAYS! Here we go! The Story- My husband and I (I will explain!) booked this cruise for our wedding 2 YEARS ago during a Black Friday sale at an amazing price! We both LOVE cruising…so much so that we have a YouTube channel called BoosCruize so it seemed natural that we would choose to tie the knot in a small ceremony on the high seas! So after much research we decided on the Star Loft Suite 1720 on Oasis Of The Seas! This suite had a HUGE rectangular balcony that could fit guests and also give us the ocean view we wanted….and a Genie to help us pull it all off! What could go wrong?!? Enter…COVID As you can imagine we basically needed a new pair of britches every other day for the last two years as things changed. It’s a good thing I buzz cut my head or I’d probably be bald and NOT by choice LOL A year later we weren’t even sure if this cruise would happen but we also KNEW we wanted to be married. So when a company came to us and asked to throw us a huge West Coast “David Tutera” style wedding in Hollywood that will be published for magazines we obviously said YES! We now have two bi-coastal weddings Lol It was amazingly gorgeous but nothing was our choice. It was all chosen for us….right down to our tuxes. We feel BEYOND blessed but it also wasn’t what we had in our head two years ago. So now here we are….our guest list of 50 has gone down to 12 due to covid complications. Are we upset? HECK NO! We completely understand and are going to have the time of our LIVES on a gorgeous ship surrounded by people who love us! We can’t wait! Who: We are an LA couple. Jarell is an international Flight attendant (yaasss benefits!) and I am an actor who just moved from NYC in time for a pandemic to close Hollywood Where: We are sailing on the Oasis Of The Seas out of Miami in the Star Loft Suite 1720 with stops at Coco Cay, St.Thomas, and St. Maarten When: We sail November 7th-14th, 2021 I think that covers most of the back story and introductions! So happy to meet you all and take you along with us on this very special journey that is over 2 years in the making! Can’t wait to see who our Genie will be! For good measure I have included a photo of the happy grooms from our West Coast Wedding!
    32 points
  20. People talking out loud to their phones held at arm's length.
    32 points
  21. I was on a call today and we were told that in reality it is taking them more like 45 business days on the first round to complete the cancellations and while they have put that out for the other two rounds, they hope that they can do those faster. Royal is supposed to be sending an apology to all guests as well. Not posting this for people to attack on it, or comment really... Just wanted to post it somewhere so people would see this and maybe ask for everyone to be understanding of those that are working on all of these cancellations. The person that you call in at the call center is not the person that is working on the cancellations. Your Travel Planner does not have a way to speed the process up. This is a Pandemic that was not planned for and everyone that is left working is working hard to process these cancellations.
    32 points
  22. I know what you are thinking. January 2022? Did I read that right? In order to secure a great price on one of only two Star Class Ultimate Panoramic Suites on Oasis I booked this a couple of months ago when the itineraries where first released. Within minutes of them going public I secured the 2nd of these two suites in the name of research and, well it seemed like a good excuse to book a cruise. That's nice and all but why start a blog now? I am so tired of @Matt beating up on my fellow Canadian @Lovetocruise2002 even though we all knew he has the record for starting a cruise blog the longest before any sailing in the history of these boards that I had to step in and take action. So back off Matt! Seven hundred and twenty nine days. Itinerary as it stands today includes Puerto Plata, DR, St Thomas USVI and San Juan Puerto Rico. This may be my only 2020 update. I'll do my best to update this blog at least once in 2021. Until then, let it be known I hold the record for the longest pre-cruise early blogging award!
    32 points
  23. Like just about anything in life WE set the price that companies charge for packages like this. If people are willing to pay they'll keep charging that rate. If collectively WE don't buy something at their price point they will eventually lower the price. As long as people are paying they will continue to accept people's money. The deluxe drink package isn't required to have a great cruise. If the math doesn't work for you, don't buy it.
    31 points
  24. CHRIS WONG

    We Finally Met!

    Matt and I finally met! Chris Wong VLOGS meets Royal Caribbean Blog!
    31 points
  25. Ok, first, if you're reading a forum where people are shaming other people, leave that forum. That's unnecessary. We don't do that here. There's no reason for you to feel badly about a cruise like that. $50 is plenty because it truly is on top of what is expected. If you WANT to leave more, that's fine - if you want to leave less, there's nothing wrong with that either. I've left less, I've left more, depending on my particular room steward.
    31 points
  26. S.Marie

    Lurkers Unite!

    Hi everyone! I pride myself on being very social when I meet people in person, but online, I’m a certified lurker ?. I read the message boards, take notes ?, and have learned so much from everyone on this blog (thanks @Matt for this awesome platform) but I rarely make a post or comment. Maybe it’s because everyone has already said what I was thinking (and y’all don’t need to see my “ditto” response ?)... Maybe it’s because I can’t come up with any interesting new questions or topics that are worth posting ?... Maybe it’s because I’m afraid that my post will be the equivalent of the kid sitting alone at the lunch table in a crowded middle school cafeteria ??... Soooooooo... This post is dedicated to all of the lurkers out there just like me! Say hi, hit like, or drop a comment of your choosing below! Or don’t. ? You are still loved and welcomed here!
    31 points
  27. I got to meet and talk with Michael Bayley last week. The President of our company is so nice! As you can imagine he is a very busy man, so I couldn't speak to him for too long, but thankful he wanted to be in my vlog.
    30 points
  28. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't understand the intense level of negativity of some reviews. I spent many years unable to enjoy "luxury" vacations and now, as I am finally able to pursue my love of cruising, I try to look for the best in every cruise I take. Not every ship is for every traveler. Some want the bells and whistles, some want more intimacy. Bashing one ship or another because it doesn't meet your expectations seems pointless. I've seen many complain about the smaller, older ships yet my husband and I LOVE the smaller, older ships. We don't care if the wood trim is a bit outdated, if the furniture shows a bit of wear, or if there's no ice-skating rink or extravaganza-type entertainment. We get that these smaller ships are not for everyone, but I don't understand the hostility in some reviews. On the flip side, we hate the mega-ships with their millions of bells and whistles, but just because those ships are not for us doesn't mean they aren't great for those who are seeking that kind of vacation. There are folks who have legitimate complaints - issues arise and when they do they should be addressed and rectified as best as possible - but in reading some of the things people say, I get the impression that they will look for fault everywhere. Those folks will never be satisfied. When I'm on a ship, I'm not sitting in my own living room, I'm not sitting in traffic, I'm not being bombarded by news and media all day long, and I can forget the world for just a little bit. To me, that's everything. It doesn't have to be perfect. The crew works hard under very difficult conditions. I appreciate that and try to be kind in my interactions with them. I give extra tips even though tips are already included in most things. Bottom line is, I get back what I put in to my vacation. Just my two cents.
    30 points
  29. Level 1: It's T-minus 45. Got checked in and got my preferred time slot! I'll unnecessarily fret about how long it's taking to validate my vax card, but oh well Level 2: T-minus 30. Holy cow my luggage tags are ready. My luggage has dust on it in the garage and I'm not touching them for another 4 weeks but gosh darnit I'm printing these luggage tag right now! Level 2 isn't much more exciting than Level 1 but those luggage tags are some physical artifact that the cruise is near. Level 3: T-minus 2. My armpits are soaked from that 15 minutes of anticipatory hell constantly squinting and wondering "is that a second line or just an eyelash?", but the covid tests are negative. Level 3 is a Richter scale tier difference from Level 2. Level 4: Liftoff. On board the ship. My flights made it, I got a great absolutely terrible night's sleep at the hotel like a kid on Christmas Eve, and I got through check-in with no issues. Let the fun begin. Obviously Level 4 might as well be light years from Level 3.
    30 points
  30. twangster

    Test Cruise Invite

    Invitation Received Choice of Allure or Ovation.
    30 points
  31. Omg I thought the same thing....
    30 points
  32. ISince we are docked at the downtown pier, we decided to go out into town for a while. Beside us is docked NCL Breakaway. Out in the bay, offshore, is the NCL Escape. She is tendering her peeps ashore with lifeboats. Glad I’m not on Escape ! We walked down to the Plaza and decided to have a couple of beers and some chips and pico de gallo. This was the first alcohol that either of us have had the entire cruise ! The cold Coronas tasted pretty good. More about this, later. At some point, Dan mentioned something about maybe getting a cheap massage. Oh yeah....that sounded like a GREAT idea. After finishing our beers and chips, we asked our waiter if there was anywhere close where we could get a massage. It seemed we were in luck ! No more than 20 paces down the side street was a spa. The decision was made. If the price was right, we were getting massages. Trust me, this is no foo foo spa. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place but the price seemed right. $70 each for a 90 minute massage. Done. They put us in a “room” for 2. I put “room” in quotations because it is really just 1 big room with curtains to separate the “private” areas. Good enough for us. I will just say up front that this was one of the best massages I have ever had. Most masseuses hurt me. I guess I’m just a wimp but the whole “deep tissue” thing is about as far from enjoyable as I can get. But this lovely lady’s touch was perfect. You start out on your belly, of course, and I was really settling in...enjoying every stroke. She did my back, neck and shoulders. Heaven. Then she moved to my legs....and trouble began to brew. Here’s where the forewarning from the beer and chips photo comes back into play. As if, by some awesome force of nature and gravity combined, the moment she started pushing “up” (towards my torso) on my legs, the beer bubbles began to be pushed up from my belly. Had I been standing, I would simply let out a diminutive “burp” and all would have been fine....but I was laying on my stomach and those beer bubbles were trapped between my stomach and my throat. I tried to maneuver in a way that would allow them to escape, but nopesville. They just kept accumulating in a most unpleasant location, soon to be joined by some chips and salsa (thank you, hiatal hyneria). It was both horrifying and hilarious at the same time. I thought the legwork would never end. Finally, after what seemed like hours, she whispered “turn over on your back, please”. As soon as I moved, the loudest, most manly, horrific belch came roaring out. It was so loud I’m sure they heard it across the street. Dan said “are you ok ?” I was so relieved. I just muttered “yes, I’m fine”. The moral of this story is NEVER drink a beer before having a massage !
    30 points
  33. Pooch

    Buffet service?

    I hope never! I prefer the staff handle the serving utensils. Sorry but people are pigs!!!
    29 points
  34. Just remember: This isn't about you or your vacation. This industry cannot stomach a huge outbreak right now. It could kill them if they can't continue to prove that cruising is safe. We should understand that they know more about this than we do (these cruise execs have spent their lives focused on this for the past 22 months), and if they think it'll help they're probably right. At least more so than we can claim to know. They are FULLY aware that people don't like wearing masks and that it drives down demand to make people wear masks any more than they have to. They know this will cause people to cancel. So obviously they feel this is necessary or they wouldn't do it.
    29 points
  35. I got an email invite for a test cruise on the Nigerian Prince. All I have to do is give them my bank account number and ssn
    29 points
  36. I hope not to stir up any trouble here but… I will NEVER take the daily gratuity charge off. The employees (both in front of and behind the scenes) deserve every penny of that and more!
    29 points
  37. Hi everyone, For 6 months, I was working in the shops onboard Independence Of The Seas. I actually got the opportunity to meet some of you guys, and I just wanted say thank you for saying hello! I actually made some YouTube vlogs of my experience during this contract, and wanted to share it with you guys. I'm trying to show what being a Royal Caribbean crew member is like, and I think a lot of you guys will find this very interesting! In this first vlog, I show you the sign-on process. Me, walking on to the ship as a new crew member - followed by a ship tour. https://youtu.be/TwY2wMDjpBk I'm have begun my next contract onboard Mariner Of The Seas for 7 months, starting my new role as a Casino Host. I hope to meet more of you soon, and ask me any questions you may have about being a crew member! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel as well. One day, I hope to vlog for Royal Caribbean full time! www.youtube.com/ChristopherWongVLOGS Chris
    29 points
  38. Odyssey October 2021 Italy/Greece. 9 nights with overnight in Athens. Will spend a few days in Rome before cruise. So Excited! This itinerary has been on my radar for a few years. Each year we cruise to celebrate another year cancer free. This cruise will be the 5 year mark. I was given a 15% chance to make it 5 years. I have every intention of making this cruise. Stage 4B endometrial cancer. I also have Lynch Syndrome which is a hereditary cancer gene that puts me at risk for another 12 cancers. So looking forward to living life to the fullest!
    29 points
  39. I can't start into the actual cruise until I mention the Queen Mary. As a cruise geek this is the ultimate way to kick off any cruise. The Queen Mary is an ocean liner that began service in 1936. She was built with one mission in mind - sailing the North Atlantic between Southampton and New York. Before the days of airplanes flying between the continents there was only one way to make the journey - by sea. She isn't a cruise ship exactly, she just had two destinations repeated week after week. However you can see where many of the things we have come to enjoy on modern cruise ships have evolved from the days of ocean liners. The Queen Mary ended service in 1967 and was sailed for the last time to the harbor in Long Beach California. The City of Long Beach bought the Queen Mary outbidding a Chinese scrapyard and so the QM lives on now as a museum and hotel. I've stayed here before since Carnival sails from Long Beach right next door, within walking distance of the QM. On this occasion I booked a Deluxe King room for $129 per night plus local taxes. This is pretty competitive with local hotels so given the opportunity to stay on this historic old ship I'll do it every time. The QM isn't a small ship. In dimensions she approaches Voyager class and she was too big for the Panama Canal the day she was built. This cabin was considered first class in the day but the decor is more modern compared to what a guest in 1936 would have experienced. While not a suite it was a large step up above third class. In 1936 a one way first class fare was $1,074. As a means to conserve limited fresh water supplies, guests could choose hot salt water, cold salt water, hot fresh water or cold fresh water. Those aren't functional today, the modern shower control above and to the left controls the water now. Several vents that double as thermostats. Want it warmer? Slide to left. Want cool air? Slide to the right. These are not operational today, modern thermostats are used but it's cool to see how guests would have warmed their cabins in the cold North Atlantic. Working portholes! No balconies on ships in those days, these portholes were a luxury. The flat panel TV's were added during a renovation to meet modern expectations for a hotel room.
    29 points
  40. I needed to share my joy with someone so here seems like the place. We leave Sunday on the Allure just hubby and I to celebrate 25 years of marriage then on the 27th we board the Empress with our three children for a family cruise. I'm so freaking excited even though we just cruised in December. I cannot wait to be without the kids for a vacation and I'm also excited for Cuba.
    29 points
  41. twangster

    Missed the Boat!

    I think this thread has served a purpose. Cruisers old and new have learned the ship will actually leave without you when you don't return in time. Of the 6,000 on board, 5,998 made it back. I was on a cruise two weeks ago and I saw 60 - 80 people slowly walking up the pier well past all aboard time. None were in a hurry. One drunk girl lay on the concrete pier and rested (or passed out) . I had to check my watch thinking I was an hour off. I wasn't. Crew were waving to them to hurry up. The bridge blew the ship's horn. People are way too cavalier and just assume the world revolves around them. I tire at the muster drill waiting for the stragglers to show up. I tire on an excursion waiting for people who show up late. Hopefully this video will serve to educate everyone that a ship will leave without you. It is your responsibility to be on time. The cruise community has a name for these types of people. "Pier Runners" and it transcends all cruise lines. This is about personal accountability and yes, two ships full of passengers will make fun of you when you miss the ship. Lesson learned - don't be late.
    29 points
  42. She tested positive. End of story. The mix up that resulted in her getting a bracelet did not cause her to become infected. She knows her vaccination status. She chose to play like she was vaccinated using the bracelet to go into areas she knows she didn't belong. The signs don't say "purple bracelets only", the signs read "Vaccinated Guest Area". She knew she was breaking the rules. Got a free ride home in a private jet. Hard to complain about that. Mixups are going to happen. No system will ever be perfect. She needs to take accountability for her actions rather than trying to cast shade on the cruise industry.
    28 points
  43. @Matt 's "perfect" MDR menu:
    28 points
  44. I said I wasn't going to book another cruise and I held firm on that... I booked two.
    28 points
  45. jticarruthers

    Muster 2.0

    There's an easy fix for that though .... Passenger attempts to buy drink ... ding ... i'm sorry sir the computer says you haven't completed the EMuster so your charge privileges have been deactivated, please follow these instructions to reactivate your account.
    28 points
  46. Perspective is the word of the day. My cruise was a luxury. A break from life and the daily grind. It's a bummer I have to reschedule, and have to cancel my PTO request.....but ......I have an awesome family, I have my health, and....now.....I get to pick out, and plan another cruise to replace the one we just lost! So....as upset we are at losing a vacation, and the hassle of canceling hotels and excursions and such....just ask yourself......
    28 points
  47. I like to help the greater cruise community. I find a chair for myself that is available. Then as I have observed an area for a while, I move chair hog stuff and return to my chair. Some innocent person comes along and starts using the now empty chair. Chair hog returns and confronts innocent person who can honestly claim they didn't do it, the chair was unused. Walking to breakfast if I notice a series of hogged chairs that are still hogged when I return from breakfast I grab the towel and drop it off somewhere. Chair is freed up. I consider it a community service.
    28 points
  48. In the words as sung by Britney Spears... ? Oops, I Did it Again ? For those who are wondering what is he talking about? (or thinking I've enjoyed one too many happy hour drinks) I just finished 14 nights on this little beauty last week. You can read about that B2B experience here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/14213-empress-b2b-14-nights-on-the-biggest-little-ship-july-2019/ Those cruises were great but they were Western Caribbean and this 8 night cruise is Eastern Caribbean including a stop at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Royal hasn't visited the BVI very much in recent years so when I saw the BVI added to the itinerary in the wake of the Cuba cancellations I knew I had to do it. Icing on my cake comes courtesy of another visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Itinerary Miami Perfect Day at CocoCay Sea Day San Juan Tortola St Thomas Sea Day Sea Day Miami Our Perfect Day ends at 2pm so we can make it to San Juan for a 3pm arrival after a day at sea. We stay until midnight in San Juan so if all goes well I hope to get some evening and night pictures around San Juan. Sailing in a Junior Suite I have scored one of the most forward deck 9 JS cabins this time. I love this small ship and her big heart. It's a good thing I love this ship because this will be my fourth cruise on her. My Crown and Anchor points haven't been posted yet from my last cruise on her so with the "paint still wet", I'm heading back to the love of my life, or at least the love of my life right now. Because I'm flying I don't like taking just one cruise so with a night off the water in between, I'm doing a side-to-side over to Majesty right after this cruise. A few years ago I started dreaming about a tour of the small ships and this marks another step towards completing that goal. I think I set a record this time having packed my suitcase a full two days before the cruise. Basically I took my cruise clothes from the dryer and put them right back into my suitcase. " You see my problem is this I'm dreaming away Wishing that heroes, they truly exist I cry, watching the days Can't you see I'm a fool in so many ways But to lose all my senses That is just so typically me Oh baby, oh " Okay that doesn't make total sense but it's the only part of the lyrics that somewhat fit so I'm going with it.
    28 points
  49. Chairs that automatically dump off people's towels when they haven't been used in 30 mins!!! ???????
    28 points
  50. I love the new member rant posts.
    27 points
×
×
  • Create New...