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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/25/2019 in Posts

  1. 15 points
    Cococay was so much fun. We just got back onboard for the day. We took lexi to the waterpark and got a cabana there, she loved it we stayed a little over 3 hours. The wave pool was her favorite but I really enjoyed the dueling demons slide and the sling shot. Then when we got back Luciano had a surprise waiting on us! He is so great. Now we are going to hang out at the pools and wait for a nice dinner at 150 Central Park.
  2. 13 points

    Thank you all!

    I sail in 2 days!!! I'm flying tomorrow the day before sail date just in case anything happens I would have some buffer. (A tip given to me by this community) Just wanted to thank this entire community for answering all of my questions and concerns, providing tips/advice/suggestions which were all amazing I'm going to experience my very first flight and cruise ever in my life! Thanks to everyone here i'm going in well prepared from airport to ship dock! Grateful that this platform was created and the wonderful people who were able to gather and genuinely help each other out! See everyone next week and a happy new year!
  3. 12 points
    After dinner I ventured back out to try my hand at some night photography. I also ran to the CVS to pickup up supplies I neglected to pack. Paseo de la Princesa was still lit up in Christmas colors. Oasis started the Aqua show but her aft was out too far to get a good view of it from Anthem. Not long later she started away from the pier. Not long after it was our turn. Once out at sea Oasis was off our port side but too far for a decent picture. We share St. Maarten tomorrow she we'll sail together through the night.
  4. 12 points
    tiny blonde

    Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

    Rage is not a phase of grief, it's a component, and I doubt that they are "past it." It takes years to get over the rage at having your child snatched from you, from life! Think of them as being insane, because that's what grief is like, when it's acute, by which I mean severe. It's not insanity, in that it's normal and predictable, but it's indistinguishable from insanity. Maybe their rage is at the grandfather, maybe it's at God, maybe it's at the whole world, but RCCL is a convenient scapegoat for them. Let's hope the jury is strong and clearheaded and impartial, because the family cannot be those things, and will not be for quite some time. Also, don't forget denial, which is more powerful than you would believe. If they've looked at the video, they have not been able to see what it shows, because denial protects them from losing their minds permanently. My daughter was killed 31 years ago (not by me, but by someone else), and I was quite out-of-my mind for at least a couple of years, and sporadically for even longer. Her father was even more crazed than I was, and it went on for a very long time. Guilt, which all parents feel when they have failed to protect their child, creates even more misplaced anger. At its core, the anger is at themselves, for having trusted Grandpa with the baby. Please, no "sorry for your loss," I know that you would not wish this on me or anyone, just try to learn from someone who has been there. May it never happen to your family. I blame the lawyer, who is just using these poor people, and their suffering, to make a bundle from RCCL. I know lawyers, too, and some of them work for the benefit of the oppressed, and others work for their own benefit. This guy is a slime ball, in my opinion.
  5. 12 points


    Agree 100%. I love cruising and always want friends or family to cruise with us. On a previous RCCL cruise, when I was the point man, there were only 2 aft balconies left and we needed 3. All 3 paid the same price, but my wife and I gave up the aft balcony and took one on the same floor right beside the 2 aft balconies (without discussing it with the other two couples). Seeing the looks on their faces and enjoying the conversation about their great balconies... especially when both parties realized what we had done for them, made any sense of missing out fade to a feeling of having really done a good thing. That was 2016, and they still talk about it. It was a small gesture that made an impact on the 6 people involved.
  6. 12 points


    When I used to fly a lot frequent flyer programs were a thing that I paid attention to. Top frequent fliers often get free upgrades to first class. Two years straight I received complimentary first class upgrades 99% of the time. The only time I didn't was when missing a connection due to flights delays. It was interesting to hear complaints and claims of upgrade shenanigans from folks who weren't at the top level. Claims of upgrades being given to employees or military or someone in a lesser level were commonplace. The wisdom I'll never forget was "Upgrades are not an entitlement. Book a seat in the cabin your want to fly in". If a stranger was given an upgraded cabin on a sailing 99% of guests would never know. How Royal chooses to hand out upgrades before sailing is a mystery because it rarely happens. A loyalty ambassador in days of old sometimes had unused inventory at their disposal. They might offer upgrades on board. Loyalty ambassadors have no input to a pre-cruise upgrade. Now with cruises selling out and with RoyalUp the loyalty ambassadors don't have upgrades to hand out very often. It's entirely possible someone wanted that cabin for a specific reason. They may have asked and been denied by Royal, unless they were willing to pay to upgrade those guests to a suite. We'll never know the mechanics of why that cabin was chosen to be upgraded. You were not owed an upgrade, Royal was not disloyal. You can choose to dwell on this and let it impact your cruise or you can shrug it off and let it go. With thirty two cruises under my belt at the D+ level I'm not going to waste a moment to fret that at some point someone else got an upgrade. In all those D+ cruises I was never upgraded. I cruised in the cabin I booked and I enjoyed all thirty two cruises.
  7. 11 points

    Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

    Would have to be a hell of a defect, he stuck his head though the opening a minute or so before holding the child up to it If his short term memory is that bad I wouldn't let him watch over my pen, never mind a kid
  8. 10 points
    I'm writing this in the past tense because, well, the cruise is over. I knew I would be busy on this one so in fairness I'm going to skip a lot of things about this magnificent ship. I've always enjoyed Anthem and Quantum class in general as evidenced by this being my fourth time on Anthem. I wouldn't keep coming back if this wasn't a great ship. Itinerary: Day 1 - Bayonne embarking Day 2 - Sea day Day 3 - Sea day Day 4 - San Juan Day 5 - St. Maarten Day 6 - Antigua Day 7 - St Lucia Day 8 - St Kitts Day 9 - Sea day Day 10 - Sea day Day 11 - Sea day Day 12 - Bayonne debarking I've done a couple of previous Anthem live blogs, you'll find those here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5068-anthem-112517-712-b2b/ and https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5387-anthem-11918-9-night-bahamas/ Spoiler alert - I still love this ship after my latest cruise. Without further adieu, let's get this started.
  9. 10 points
    Day 10 - Evening Being on the port side heading North I get the sunsets on the way home. Time for a drink in the Music Hall.
  10. 10 points
    Hello, I hope it's okay to do a live-blog style recap (instead of it being live). I also took pictures of all the cruise compass pages and MDR menu. Please let me know how to best upload these, or whom I should contact to get them added to the cruise compass section. ----------------- This is my first cruise, with DW and in laws, for 8 nights from FLL to Eastern Caribbean, on Adventure of the Seas, 12/21/2019 sailing. The ports visited: St Thomas, St Marteen, San Juan, and Labadee. We originally considered booking on Allure, but finally we decided on Adventure. This fact will become important later. We did a GTY balcony room, and scored a spacious balcony on deck 6 fore. We bought the refreshment drink package (non-alcoholic) and the surf voom package. No specialty dining option because we figured we’d have enough to eat. Our dining time was traditional seating at 8:30. We booked our travel through MEI travel, and had Michelle as our contact person. She is extremely helpful and friendly, and really responsive with our questions. Due to inclement weather, the day before our departure the captain sent a note that they’re rearranging our ports of visit, but generally still keeping the same ports and same time-ish for each port. I did book excursions with a 3rd party, so I called them and let them know of the change. He was very accommodating (partly due to the fact that the whole ship is on the same boat as us, literally), so he has to work around the change. I wanted to do a live blog but I figured I’d rather write a review afterwards so that I can enjoy my vacation. That’s why I didn’t create a thread beforehand. I just jot down the basics of what we did each day. Day 1 We drove for 1 hr from Palm Beach to FLL, and parked our car at Discount Parking. Definitely would not recommend this vendor. It seemed like they only had 1 shuttle dedicated to cruise passengers, so we had to wait a long time to get taken to the pier (and also at the end, we had to wait almost 1 hour at the pier to be picked up). I did see a lot of Park N Go shuttles, so next time we will try that one. Due to inclement weather (again), the terminal was moved from pier 29 to pier 18. There was no communication about this from Royal Caribbean. I only found out from the facebook group. I don’t know how people would have found out otherwise. The check-in was quick. There is a short line for the security, then the ipad person took our pictures, and quick picture in front of a backdrop, but other than that off we go to the second floor, which connects to a gangway going to deck 4. We arrived at the terminal around 12:30, and stepped to the ship around 12:45. Although it’s almost one (and therefore our room should be ready soon), since we didn’t really have carry on, we went straight to WJ for lunch. There was a special gingerbread town decoration at the entrance of WJ Of course we started utilizing our drink package. We ordered pina colada and mango daiquiri. On the first day, they let you use your set sail pass instead of your seapass card to order drinks. After lunch, we went to our rooms to find out it’s all ready. The seapass cards were waiting in front of the room. Inside the room, all the excursions that we have bough with Royal Caribbean (including explanations about drink package and internet package) are waiting on our bed. I thought the whole thing was extremely well-organized. The room is very spacious for just the 2 of us. There is plenty of storage. The only negative thing is that the balcony still feels a bit closed in, and basically feels like a glorified port hole. I guess this is what you get for doing a GTY. But a balcony is still a balcony, so no complaint here. The closets and drawers offer plenty of storage space. Within 10 minutes, the stateroom attendant knocked on our door, introduced himself, and informed us about the muster drill. Collin, he is very nice and attentive, and we were very pleased with his service throughout the cruise. There were several times when I came back to the room carrying plates of food from WJ, and he saw me, and he opened the door for me. This happened as early as day 1 btw, so he was definitely quick in memorizing our faces lol. After the drill, we went exploring around the ship, with drinks in hand of course. The ship is fairly nice-sized, but not too big that I feel like it’s a floating city. I know this used to be considered “top of the line” when it was first launched, but now that there are much larger ships around, Adventure of the Seas is considered medium-large. There were Christmas decorations around the ship, so it felt really festive. However, they’re also “blocking” some access areas especially on deck 4 and 5, at both ends of the ship (so near Centrum staircases). Not a big deal because most of the time it was never that crowded, except during special occasions where you feel like the added stairway would have alleviated the crowd jam a little bit. Also, there were ship photographers in front of the Christmas tree, preventing you to take your own pictures. You can have your pictures taken, but then you’d have to pay to get them. During the sail away, we went to deck 12 aft to watch. It was windy and slightly raining. After the sail away, I tried a the flow rider for a little bit. Bad idea. It was hard, and I think my neck got whiplashed when I fell? I only noticed the soreness the day after. I saw some other people having fun on it, so good for them. Also the flow rider area is VERY windy throughout the cruise, because it’s at the top deck, aft. When the ship was docked it was okay, but whenever ship was on sea, it gets very windy. I also tried the slides. There are two slides: yellow and blue. The yellow one is supposed to be faster, but it also has a slight “bump” in it, meaning you cannot rest your head completely but you had to hold it up a little bit. This became a problem due to my sore neck, but was a lot of fun otherwise. I have been to a lot of water parks in Orlando, and I can say that these two slides were definitely top notch in terms of speed, thrill, and drops. Also because the ship was rocking, no two “sessions” were the same. It keeps you guessing and anticipating with every turn. I must have done each slide at least 10 times throughout the cruise. I also talked to one of the lifeguards (Matthew) which was very friendly. He said that one passenger hurt his head on the yellow slide because he laid down his head completely during the bump, so he cautioned me not to do that. He also mentioned that he used to work on Allure, and this was his second week on Adventure. He also didn’t know how to do flowrider in the beginning, but they have crew-only hours to train them, and after several times, now he can at least stand comfortably on it. I guess it made me feel better for not getting the hang of flow rider right away? Then we wasted some time at the solarium reading / enjoying the hot tub. There was a 5pm raffle for $500 voucher at the spa, although we didn’t win ☹ By this time, it’s already 6 pm ish, so we checked out WJ, which was American-themed. They had a welcome onboard cake, and beautiful dessert spread. I took 2 platefuls of food (one for savory things, one for sweet things) to our room, where the cruise compasses for day 1 and 2 were already waiting. I took pictures of them all so that we can plan out the night and the next day over dinner. Before dinner, they had a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It was just a countdown to light the Christmas tree. I expected some singing at the bridge but there was none. This was where the promenade was full of people, standing by and getting around, and the added access (blocked by decorations) would have been helpful. At dinner, our table was right by the entrance. Because we emailed Royal Caribbean ahead of time, 4 of us were seated together. Our waiters were Franco and Antonio, and they were both very attentive. They even remembered our preferences (my steak rare). On the first two nights, we ordered hot tea, so by the third night, when we sat down, there were already tea bags prepared, and he brought out mugs of hot water without being asked. It’s the little touches like these that make long lasting impression. I went for double entrees right away: NY Strip and Salmon, while DW went for prime rib. The NY Strip was great, but I feel like the cook is one “over.” I usually order medium-rare at most restaurants on land, but this time I had to order rare in order to get the same cook. Just FYI. For appetizers we did calamari and shrimp cocktail, and for dessert we did chocolate cake, creme brulee, and blueberry cobbler. The appetizers tasted good but the portion was kinda small. Well I guess you could always order double appetizers, and that's what we ended up doing for the rest of the cruise. The desserts were good but not amazing. After dinner, we went to a comedy show. But shortly into it, we realized that it’s not our style (it was an adult show) so we just left and went back to our room and slept early. The nice thing about Lyric Theater is that, you can sit in the balcony on 4th floor (and it has a separate entrance that goes to deck 4 instead of deck 3). So that if you decide that the show is not your thing, you can leave without disturbing too many people. We ended up watching shows this way for most of the cruise. There is also a bar by the entrance on deck 4 (INSIDE the theater) so you can keep going back to order drinks, again without disturbing people.
  11. 10 points

    Earthquake in Puerto Rico

    Pretty normal day here in OSJ today.
  12. 10 points
    Day 12 - The End We got up early enough to ensure we could have one last breakfast at Gold dining and then headed off the ship about 8:45am. By this time they had called all the numbers already. Since the ship is so large, though, there will still quite a few people in the various stages of disembarkation. Interestingly, we did not have to do anything for Hong Kong Immigration — we already had our return paper in our passports when we picked them up yesterday. The port was holding people inside the building and releasing them in batches out to the curb/taxi/bus/shuttle area. Part of this was how big Spectrum is, and part was due to construction. All told, the process took us 30 minutes from gangway to sitting in our taxi. About 40 minutes later we were again waiting in line, this time to prove we had legit business in the airport before they would let us in the front door. This added security is due to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. It didn’t take us long, less than 10 minutes. Then off to drop our bags and head to the lounge. We just finished our survey for the first cruise of the trip. Sigh! Always a little bittersweet! I will jot down a few random thoughts after we get home tonight. Thanks for following along!
  13. 10 points
    Northstar costs money on sailings out of China. We decided to use some of our OBC to book the extended trip — $40 per person. We’ve not been on a ship with a Northstar before so we were looking forward to it. The day was beautiful, too! Here you can see The Balcony, a Gold suite exclusive sun deck (center) and the observation area over the bridge wings (off the Solarium): A crew member hamming it up for us 😉
  14. 9 points
    Sichuan Red We wanted to try the specialty restaurant Sichuan Red during this trip, since it is currently only found on Spectrum. It makes sense a ship built for China would have a Chinese restaurant, particularly Sichuan cuisine (southern and spicy). It was $35 per person, with a few upsale menu items. The $35 included a cold appetizer, a hot entree, a soup, and either a side dish or a dessert. However, there were a number of substitutions you could make, like the broccoli entree instead of a side dish. The server was patient in explaining our options. Also, if you bought an upcharge item, it came in addition to all the other food. It ended up be one metric crap-ton of food (that’s a specific technical measurement on this side of the world 😉 ). It was fantastic! If you don’t like at least a bit of spicy, this restaurant is not for you. But if you can handle it, everything we ate was amazing! If you get a chance, eat here for sure! Sour & Spicy Soup: Not even all the food we had. From top right — fruit appetizer (in case the pickles were too spicy), Chinese Lettuce Leaves with Sesame Paste Dipping Sauce, Green Pepper Chicken, Assorted Pickles, Sour & Spicy Soup, Mapo Tofu, Wok-Fried Chicken with Chilis, and Crispy Fried Sea Scallops (center, $25 upcharge). Not pictured: white rice, Sichuan Spicy Noodles, Stir-Fried Garlic Broccoli Spectrum does not currently offer any dining packages, FYI
  15. 8 points

    Follow our Royal Up

    Just got email that Royal Up bid was accepted. Upgraded to Grand Suite from Junior Suite for Feb 20th sailing on Grandeur. Put in the bid about a month ago for $135 over minimum bid of $300. Received email last night that RC tried to charge the payment card I put down on the bid, but I didnt realize the card expired. The email told me to either contact my original card issuer and RC would try charging again or to change payment method within 24 hours. I updated the card and sure enough about 24 hours after that first email I got a confirmation email of the upgrade.
  16. 8 points
    Day Four - Perfect Day at Coco Cay - Back to Chill Island & Departure I made my way back down towards the area of Chill Island by Diver's Den. I passed by some live musicians playing near the Chill Grill that were very good. I found more lockers for use on the back side of the rental area, again with nothing indicating that they were an added cost. At 1:00pm, much of Chill Island was packed, but I managed to grab a chair by a lifeguard stand as a couple was leaving. Wayfinding map of the island Musicians playing by the Chill Grill I decided to go back out snorkeling again. The water was much cloudier up near the shore this time since there were many people there, which stirs up the sand. Farther out though, it was just as clear as the morning and there were still many fish to be seen. If snorkeling at Coco Cay, I'd still recommend doing it earlier in the day though, just because so many other people were out snorkeling as well later in the day. It's a little more magical when there's fewer people about. I came back in and read for a little while longer before deciding try one of the beaches a little farther back. On the way there, I stopped by the bar next to Snack Shack to order one the island's specialty drink, the Coco Loco. This drink consists of a shot of rum at the bottom of a fruity slushy that I'm not sure the contents of. It was very good, though a little on the sweet side, even for me. I found an empty chair not too far from the Snack Shack, but it took a while to find. This part of Chill Island only had two rows of chairs, compared to the six or so back toward the snorkeling area. Chill Island beach by the Snack Shack I continued to read my book until I had finished it, and then decided to get one last swim in before making my way back to the ship. Since I was not snorkeling this time, I had my feet below me walking out, rather than floating. I realized the farther you go out, the finer the sand becomes, and takes on almost a mud like quality that you sink into, rather than pushing off of. The water was clear enough to see the footprints of people that had walked out still stuck in the mud-like sand. Happy with my time on the island, I went back to the area with the showers to rinse off and then waited by the tram area to be taken back to the main entrance. The tram arrived a little before 4:00pm. We waited about five minutes before departing. The tram was a nice way to see other parts of the island, though I still wasn't able to find any signage that South Beach was open while on board. Sandcastle by the tram stop On the tram back to the main entrance Back at the main entrance, many guests were heading back to both ships. Empress had an all aboard time of 4:30pm, but I don't know what Anthem's was. There was music playing us out, as well as some staff holding a limbo stick for people to do on their way out. Walking down to the ships, some aquatic life (possibly rays?) was spotted jumping in the water. I made it back to Empress around 4:10pm. I dropped my bag off at my room and changed before heading up to the sun deck to see us sail away from Coco Cay. It was a beautiful sight to see as the sun continued to set. So long to Coco Cay and the Anthem Sad that my last day of vacation was coming to a close, but appreciative of the beautiful sunset After taking my obligatory sunset photos, I went to the Windjammer for dinner. They had a bunch of different cakes set out at the dessert area, so I got the black forest cake, which was very good. Red Velvet Cake, Key Lime Cake, Black Forest Cake, Carrot Cake, and Chocolate Cake at the dessert station on our last night After dinner, I went to see the 7:00PM showing of the Production Showtime, which was something about the past, present, and future of showgirls. I found a nice seat at the front of the upper level that actually seems to be perfect for a solo traveler, as next to the seat is a pole that would block the view of a second guest. There is a similar seat on the right side of the upper level. The show was very good, a very big production. The entertainers continued to be wonderful, as they had been the entire trip. A seat made for the solo traveler. Once the show was finished, our cruise director, Elvis, invited us all to go to the centrum to see the Crew International Parade of Flags. I found a nice spot to watch, and really enjoyed seeing where the crew is all from. In the centrum for the Crew International Parade of Flags After the parade, I went to the back of the ship to Boleros, to check out something that had interested me in the cruise compass, Kamikaze Karaoke. I wasn't around when it started to see how it was set up, but the idea is that you put your name in and a song will be randomly selected for you. When I came in, the crowd was being serenaded to the tune of All-Star by Smash Mouth. Everyone was very good sports about the songs that they were given to sing, and the staff picked new songs for some people that had never heard of ones they were originally assigned. Around 9:30pm, I headed back up to the pool deck to see the last movie on the big screen, Rocketman. There were no captions on this one, so it was a little difficult to know exactly what was being said at some times, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Once the movie ended, I made my way to my stateroom to pack up my suitcase so I could be ready to do the self-assisted debarkation the next morning.
  17. 8 points
    Day Two - Morning in Key West I woke up around 7:00am the next morning. My ear plugs worked wonderfully, but I was woken up partly by what I am assuming were vibrations from the ship coming into port. A little scary at first before I made sense of it. I hopped into some athletic wear to go try out the gym, located above the Viking Crown Lounge. It was quite busy, but I suppose a lot of people had the same idea of getting in a workout before the day in port. I picked out an elliptical, but didn't stay terribly long. I realized that I'm so used to streaming music, I only had about five songs actually loaded onto my phone. That, and the squeaking of my machine, made me want to wrap things up quick and get along with my day. We docked in Mallory Square, along with a Carnival ship. I did not hear the announcement, but we got the all clear to disembark around 8:00am. Start of the day in Mallory Square I went to Windjammer for the first time to grab some breakfast, taking great care to wash my hands. I was happy to find that they had whole kiwi, which is a favorite of mine but I rarely think to buy on my own. I found a nice barstool type area on the left side of the ship, near the entrance and what is the Kids Area for food at dinner time. I enjoyed the waffles and fresh kiwi and much as the view. A much sunnier morning than the previous day. Once I finished up breakfast, I made my way back towards the rock wall. I was excited to try it out, as the last time I did rock climbing was back as a child at summer camp. When it opened at 9:00am, there was just myself and another family there. I got all set up with footwear and my harness, and the staff were very encouraging and helpful with tips on how to best scale it. I went on the easy side and, oh my gosh, I did not think it would be that difficult! All those little kids I saw flying up the wall the day before made it look so easy! The staff helped me get almost to the top before I had to call it quits and come back down. My arms were very tired, I think I was relying on them too much, rather than my legs. Even though I knew I was strapped in to the harness and very safe, when I got to the part where the wall starts tilting back near the top, it was an exhilarating sensation, a little scary. I thanked the staff, and happy that I gave it my best, went back down to my stateroom to grab a shower before heading out. Around 10:00am, I made my way to deck two to disembark and start my day. I did not have a rigid plan of where I was going to go, but had a couple places in mind that I wanted to visit. In hindsight, I should have planned things out just a little better, as I did a lot of back-tracking to areas I'd already been. But, one of the benefits of solo traveling is that you know what pace is doable for yourself. What might have been too much walking in circles for some of my friends/family, was fine with me. A basic map of Key West had been provided with our Cruise Compasses the night before, so after taking a few minutes to orient myself, I started off on my journey for the day! The Empress in Mallory Square
  18. 8 points
    A few random comments: 1. The Christmas tree decoration does look like a mixed blessing. Overall I think I prefer it being there, because as I mentioned, the promenade was only full when there is a party (and there seemed to be a party like every night lol), but other than that there's plenty of space to go around. I do appreciate Royal Caribbean making it more festive for the season 2. Some people have asked me this: on the MDR, you are allowed to order as many appetizers / entrees / desserts as you want, up to your stomach capacity and your shame level I guess? I see a lot of people order doubles, so we know we're not the only ones. And the food that I mentioned above (and for the rest of the reviews) are not all my food. These are what me and DW ordered and we share most plates. Starting on day 2, once the in laws knew you can order doubles, they each ordered double appetizer every night, one of them is usually the shrimp cocktail. They were very good! I myself ordered double entrees every night, one of them was always the NY Strip Steak (it's that great!). I may or may not order double appetizers, but always double entrees. I only took pictures and notes of the "new" dishes that night though. Maybe in future sailing I'll take better notes of who ordered what. 3. I forgot to mention this: almost every night, DW went to WJ around 6-7 to stake out the food that night, and took some of the best ones. A few times I accompanied her and helped bring the food. We would nibble a little bit in our room, and then finish the plates later at night, and put out the plates right outside our room. This way we won't miss out on both WJ and MDR food. I still don't know the best way to get both. Should we try MTD reservation around 7 pm next time? The problem is that WJ closes at 9, and we won't be done with our MDR dinner until around 9:30 (especially because we order doubles lol). If you have any ideas please let me know. 4. I really like the location of our staterooms (6224, 6228), because it's really close to the fore elevators and stairs. I tried to use the stairs whenever possible (to burn more calories). The Imperial Lounge and Lyric Theater is just 2 floors below, and Cafe Promenade is 1 floor below. I used Cafe Promenade every morning to get my latte, and in laws went there for snacks a lot. The balcony for deck 6 looked a bit worse than the upper decks (as you can see from the pictures 🤣) but I guess it's more secluded? Clarifications about ice show: I'm also surprised to hear that we had to get tickets, as this is the first time I've heard it. Not sure if they're changing it or if it's difference between 6 and 8 nights. Basically on cruise compass of day 2, it says that the tickets would be distributed from 8 - 10 am at the Promenade. But we were in a hurry between Mass and breakfast, so we skipped it. I did see that there was a long line for that booth. They announced via the PA system that the tickets are free (and you could get as many as you want), but you do need one to get in. I'm guessing because they have 4 showings, this is their way to make sure the attendance is all spread out? By the time I got back from breakfast, it was 10:15 so the booth was gone. I thought that they would have another distribution later on day 3. But when I got the Cruise Compass for day 3 (around 7pm on day 2) I didn't see any distribution time, so I called guest services and they said guest services had all the remaining tickets. They had a lot left, but only for Day 6 9pm showing, so I had to take them. As you can see later, this worked out better. And if you do not have tickets, you can go into a standby line (right next to where the photo kiosks are). 5 minutes before start, they let you in. By that time, we couldn't find 4 seats together, or even 2 and 2. There were still more than 4 seats left, but they were all singles. You could also stand and watch from the back (near the bar area). If we didn't have tickets we would have done that, but since we had tickets for a later showing, we opted to go out, but not before watching the first 10 minutes 😁 Day 4 : St Thomas Day 4 is St. Thomas. This is the part where I was worried the most. On 12/20, when the weather in FL was rainy and windy, the ship captain decided to switch around the order of ports a little bit, while keeping the same ports. I think the port times were also changed but not too much. I had previously booked an excursion with Godfrey Tours on the 25th, so I had to call them to inform them of this change. He assured me not to panic because everyone on the ship will also be affected. He just needs to know the name of the ship and the new date, and he told me this kind of change happens all the time. Bonus points: St. Thomas is still US territory so the call was not an extra charge on my phone plan. I started the day by going to the gym, and just lifting weights this time. Seeing that our excursion is at 9:30, we took our time in the morning. I woke up well after the sunrise, and we were already docked. We just had a quick breakfast from Cafe Promenade, while DW brought in breakfast from WJ to the room. Around 9 ish we left the boat. Unlike the embarkation, the gangway is now on deck 1. This was true for all the Caribbean ports, the gangways were always on deck 1, sometimes fore sometimes aft, depending on how the ship docked. When you disembark you have to scan your seapass card so that Royal Caribbean knows who's on the ship and who's not. After you disembark, on the pier, there was a towel station where you can check out towels. We docked at the Crown Bay Pier (on the Western side of the island) next to Celebrity Equinox, and while waiting for the tour bus to arrive, we looked at the shops a little bit. The excursion was called: See, Shop, Splash, where you can see the major attractions of the island, have some time to shop, and then they drop you off at the beach of your choice for about 1.5 - 2 hrs. There were several vendors for this type of excursion, but we booked from Godfrey Tours. It was 5/5, excellent tour. The driver was very friendly and explained everything well. The tour "bus" itself was more like an open-air passenger tram? So the passenger on the outermost side has to be careful not to let his leg sway out of the car. The driver first dropped us off at the Amalie ("downtown" area) and let us shop for 2 hrs. I think there were many good shops, but we mostly shopped at the local shops ("tents") for their artisan product. The real (brick and mortar) shops mostly sold diamonds, watches, liquor, you know... the expensive stuff. Afterwards the driver picked us up and we started tour on the island, mostly just going to the mountain top and see views of the island from the top. We get to see both sides at different point. It's truly breathtaking, and also cool that you can see the other islands from the top. We slowly made our way to the top point where there is a large souvenir shop that also serves banana daiquiri. Behind that shop, there was an observation deck where you can also see more distant islands, and a place where Former President Clinton used to spend his vacation. We bought a large cup of virgin banana daiquiri, and you get to keep the cup as a souvenir. In the picture below, we were facing South. So our ship was on the right side, and on the left side there were 3 more ships. Afterwards he dropped us off at Magens Bay. This beach was rated as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by National Geographic (according to him, but I think I've heard that too). There was a $5 entry fee per person, but the other beaches on the island are free. Out of 5 families on the bus, 2 families chose this beach, the other families went to some other beaches, so just went around and dropped us off and picking us up afterwards. The beach itself was truly spectacular. I forgot to take a picture of the beach and the sand because I didn't want my phone to drop to the ocean, but imagine the iphone background picture, that's pretty much what the sand and the water looked like. There were minor waves but it's very gentle. FIL took this picture. I also brought my waterproof camera with me so I did take some underwater picture. I did a bit of snorkeling at the far end (I brought my own mask). It's not a great snorkeling spot, but you could see SOME fish there. This is a view of Magens Bay from the top: After the beach, the tour bus dropped us back at the pier. We had about 1 hr so we shopped a little bit more. Recall that the tote bags on the ship were $10, with good quality. The tote bags here were also $10 with less quality, or $20 with the same quality as the ones on the ship. Frankly I was surprised, because I tote-tally (ha!) thought shops on board would be so overpriced. We got back to the ship around 4 pm. On the pier, before the gangway, Royal Caribbean set up dispensers with water, orange-infused water, and cucumber-infused water. I like the cucumber ones, but where were these on the ship?? I couldn't find it in WJ. As we get back on, there was another towel station set up right after the security checkpoint, but it was crowded, so we just decided to hang on the towels a bit longer and return them later on deck 11. We went back to the main pool and set up shop there, while in laws went to rest. I did a few more slides and flow rider. This time the flow rider was for boogie boarding, so I had better luck, although still painful. I can hold for maybe 10-15 seconds and then wipe out, but there's no way I can go to "sitting" position like some other people I've seen. After I've had enough of water slides, we went back to the room. This time I got a towel monkey. At least I hope it's a monkey... Then we went to a 7pm show. Because this was Christmas Eve, this was a special Christmas show performed by the singers and dancers (same as 2 nights ago), but different pieces. They're all Christmas songs, with broadway-esque moves. There was even a tap-dancing number as well. Overall 10/10, but the family in front of me had noisy children that stood up randomly during the show, and the parents just refused to calm them down. Random comment about seating: the center section of balcony is usually reserved for suite guests, diamond guests, and the Key members. There were signs indicating as such. But this is the ONLY show where that seating was enforced. I saw attendants waiting on that section and verifying everyone's seapass cards before you are let into the section. On the other nights / shows, we could sit in that section without any trouble. I guess they must have anticipated this show to be a full house (and judging from the seats on the balcony, I think it was). After dinner, we went to the MDR for dinner. We found out that if you arrive a bit late (8:05), then the crowd is gone and you can go straight to your table. This is the night where I forgot to take picture of the MDR menu, so I just included the menu from the monitor in front of the MDR. Oh yes that's the thing: you can "scout" what the menu that night would be on the monitor in front of each MDR (decks 3-5), so that you can decide if you want to go for MDR or just skip to WJ. I imagined it might be a tad rude to leave after you're handed the menu by the waiter 😬 For appetizers, we went with seafood cake which was dense just like the crab cake. For entrees we did fish of the day (tilapia with cilantro sauce, VERY DELICIOUS!). I truly appreciated how the ship serves fresh water fish even though we were on a boat in the middle of the ocean. And tilapia happened to be my favorite fish ever. We also did more NY strip, mushroom risotto. And for dessert we went for panna cotta, chocolate cookie, and chocolate cake. I think the cake was okay, on par with what you get from WJ. Rich and moist, but it's a LOT. I really liked the panna cotta (again, the no sugar added dessert), because the freshness and acidity it brings to wash down all the fat I ate. After dinner, there was no more "show" to go to so we just relaxed at one of the lounges (I think Boleros). I also looked around for more shopping on the Promenade. I wanted to buy more totes because now that I know the ones in the port were not as good quality, but sadly they were not for sale anymore. One thing that I noticed is that many crew members were wearing santa hat because this was Christmas eve. I thought that was really nice. When we came back to the room, there was also a Christmas greeting card with Hershey kisses from our stateroom attendant. Aww... Around 10:15, there's a Christmas caroling going on at the Promenade. This was their "party" of the night. There were lyrics distributed on deck 5, but we just watched it from the balcony on deck 6 (because it's so close to our rooms). But you can see how the Promenade was full of people. Finally, at 11 pm, we went to the Lyric Theater for a Christmas Eve mass. The choir members were children from one family, they were really cute! The mass ended around 11:45, so not quite Christmas yet, but we were totally wiped after a full day, so we went to bed early.
  19. 8 points
    Your wish is my command — here are the photos that had not yet made it into the blog! Caramel Apple Blossom, Consecutive Cruiser Lunch Chocolate Lava Cake, Gold dining Dover Sole, Gold dining Shrimp Cocktail, Gold dining Baked Eggplant, Consecutive Cruiser lunch Spicy Prawns, Silver dining Crab Cake, Silver dining Vegetable Tempura, Main dining room Black Cod, Gold dining Creme Brûlée, Gold dining (sorry about the missing bit!) French Onion soup, Gold dining (not very photogenic, but delicious!) Holiday Ham, Gold dining Oslo Bucco, Gold dining Spice Cake with Rum Sauce, Gold dining White and Dark Chocolate Mousse, Gold dining
  20. 7 points

    Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

    The following is an except from an article on the Fox News website. Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Wiegands, has since called Royal Caribbean’s motion to dismiss “baseless.” “It is clear that Royal Caribbean’s tactic is to blame Chloe’s grandfather rather than to accept that Royal Caribbean did not implement industry standards for toddler safety aboard its ships which ultimately led to Chloe’s tragic death,” Winkleman said, in part, in a statement shared with Fox 43. Winkleman further claimed that Royal Caribbean was supplying “two deceptive views from its CCTV cameras.” On Friday, attorneys for the family filed two further motions: one to strike the video footage, claiming the "the authenticity of the videos" had not been established; and another asking the court to make Royal Caribbean "to produce all video footage from all of the cameras," of which Winkleman had said there were 13 in total. The video footage seems pretty conclusive in my eyes. Even allowing for camera angles the grandfather was a long way outside the window. He would have banged his head on the glass if the window was closed. The court would have received the videos directly from Royal Caribbean so I don't believe you can dispute their authenticity without implying some kind of conspiracy occurring in the background. I suppose if you can exclude all the evidence that proves something to be true then anything is possible.
  21. 7 points
    Ok Here We Go!! I left my home at 8:00am and made it to PC by 9:45. At 10:00 I was onboard the shuttle and was heading to the ship. At 10:20 I arrived at the pier. And at 10:45 we were onboard! Todays lunch!
  22. 7 points

    Dealing with Noisy Neighboring Cabin

    Stop 😂 😂 isn't a millenial thing, it's a young person thing. You'll always find these types of issues with the younger set, no matter which generation they're from. From a Gen X-er
  23. 7 points
    We take an approach where "post cruise" is not a recognized state of affairs. There are only two states: pre-cruise and cruise ... when the cruise is over we move directly back to pre-cruise mode! 😁⚓🛳😁
  24. 7 points
    Subic Bay - pt. 2 A few more shots from our shore excursion:
  25. 6 points
    Day 10 - Sea Day Morning finds us in much the same conditions as last night albeit down one degree in temperature. We are roughly parallel with the central Florida area (Orlando). Last night my cabin attendant washed down my balcony so it was useable again.
  26. 6 points

    Carolyn Kraft

    Do you have any idea how vile you are? The fog itself is a safety issue, do you really want your cruise captain navigating somewhere they cannot see? And on top of that, two people are missing and likely dead and you're concerned about your vacation being ruined? I do not, and will not, feel sorry for you. Get a grip on reality lady, and have some respect for the families who are grieving.
  27. 6 points
    Hopefully you don’t possess my irrational hatred of Raisins. Nothing ruins a piece of Apple pie faster than those.
  28. 6 points

    When is your next cruise?

    I just booked Allure for 1/23/2022!! 741 days to go, lol. At some point I’ll even tell Mr. SpeedNoodles that I booked it. That day is not today.
  29. 6 points

    San Juan Airport Fix Rates List !!

    Thought I share this for those who are searching taxi fares to/from San Juan Airport. This is the most up-to-date from the Holiday B2B cruise in December, 2019. Enjoy!! 😎
  30. 6 points
    After multiple sailings on Navigator, I am 99% certain that it is triggered by 1)using the app to check-in AND 2)scanning your passport to fill in the check-in information rather than handkeying into the app. On our 4th trip we had a group of 20 ... every person that did both of the above was marked for expedited check-in, every person that did not do both was not. Not conclusive but that did match what i was told by Royal rep on our 2nd and 3rd trips and also matches the text i found buried on a Royal web-page after the 3rd trip when i got frustrated and spent a day digging. Impact of getting expedited is pretty minimal but darn it, if it's offered i want it !
  31. 6 points
    I am always hearing about how little the crew get paid and now people will be angry because gratuities go up. It's truly damned if you do, damned if you don't. Maybe people just like being fault finders.
  32. 5 points

    Parking Garage @ Cape Liberty

    Not much to add here: stay in right lane, get there by 10:30 am, tip the porters/longshoreman, park and walk back to terminal. We had a starboard side balcony and watched the huge traffic jam at 1:30 pm on embarkation day. I will ADD that post cruise, as we paid for our parking and were leaving the garage, a big, burly longshoreman said to us "yous guyz have a safe and pleasant journey home." Very nice touch.
  33. 5 points
  34. 5 points
    I saw another display from the food and beverage team on Anthem in the Esplanade. When I first saw the Bionic bar being replenished I thought... "they are making the robots so lifelike these days" Yes, even Bionic Bar drinks are subject to 18% gratuity. I guess this is why. 🙂 Don't shoot the messenger.
  35. 5 points
    Anthem has a Bionic bar featuring two robots named Shaken and Stirred. Covered by the drink package or pay as go you use your sea pass card to order a drink from a tablet then sit back and watch Shaken or stirred make your drink for you.
  36. 5 points
    Good time to mention two70°. This is a multi use venue that can anything from rock shows to theater entertainment at night, to trivia to quiet reading time with incredible wake views. The bar in two70° has great sea views during the day. Upstairs.
  37. 5 points
    Day 5 - At Sea Final day. I hate final days, because you know you have get off the ship and head back to the Real World. Unless, of course, you’re Super Mario. But I think even he gets off the ships every once in a while. Despite the late night, I was up relatively early, and we ate breakfast at WindJammer. The lack of speed in the MDR made us give up on them as an option, and besides, the buffet never seemed crowded. The only real drawback is that one could easily overdo things at breakfast, so I tried to limit myself to one pass at the buffet. Seemed to work, as I was able to load my plate but not to excess. After breakfast, we took Olivia up to Adventure Ocean and… there were no kids in the 9-11 room. Curious. Since it was exactly 9 we figured that maybe some kids would come in later. Olivia didn’t want to be the only one there, so we took a walk around the upper deck and came back about 10 minutes later. Still no kids. Looking into the 6-8 club, there were very few kids in there as well. As a result, Olivia opted to hang out with the rest of us by the pool. This was, to be honest, a bit of a strange phenomenon for the kids. During our August cruises, the kids clubs were usually full, so there wasn’t much concern about meeting new kids and having fun. But here it was the opposite, and I can see why Royal has started to move towards a merged 6-11 program. Since Hannah and I had sushi making mid-morning, we opted not to swim and instead played a round of minigolf – something that I’d yet to do on a cruise. It was fun, as far as minigolf goes, plus the views were really nice at the front of the ship. On A Roll took place, unsurprisingly, at Izumi. The idea here is that all the items you need to create your sushi are mise en place, and the chef instructs you on how to assemble each item. We made a California Roll, Shrimp/Avocado Roll, Spicy Tuna Hand Roll, and two Ebi Nigiri. As you can see from the pictures (and Matt has described before in the blog), this is a massive amount of food, which we then got to eat! Note: We were not allowed to take the food out of the restaurant (apparently there is a health regulation against this), so I highly recommend you bring along a “non-participant” to “help dispose” of the sushi. Once we were stuffed to bursting, we headed back upstairs to meet with my wife and Olivia. They were now hungry, so we headed over to Windjammer. Hannah and I weren’t all that hungry due to maki overload, but we still grabbed some veg in order to balance out our food pyramids. I should note that at Windjammer they have an assistant waiter there with a guitar whose sole purpose is to sing songs featuring “washy-washy”. They are not great songs, but I definitely appreciate their attempts to hammer the point home about washing hands.
  38. 5 points

    Skipping Cococay. What to do instead?

    Hang out at Captain Jack's on the island. Captain Jack is a bar, but there is live music throughout the day, swing seats and a fun vibe. It's also completely shaded and tends to get a nice breeze.
  39. 5 points

    FCC and Price Drops

    Here's a truly bizarre FCC rule that few know about. You can actually apply an FCC to a paid-in-full cruise. I thought maybe I was misunderstanding when my Michelle first told me this but she actually applied our (much maligned) Oasis FCC to a future cruise that had already been paid in full. The full value of the FCC ended up being a credit on our credit card. I was very surprised that they actually allowed this, but they did. So while they say that the FCC has no cash value, it actually CAN be, in a way...it can go to your CC as a credit. ALMOST the same as getting cash back.
  40. 5 points
    Enjoying your trip report so far, thanks for sharing! Regarding your experience with Air2Sea, you are correct that it generally doesn't save much money on domestic flights vs. booking it yourself or through your travel agent. But, given that you were flying in on embarkation day I would say that you still did the right thing by going through Air2Sea. Had your flight been delayed, it would have been Air2Sea's / Royal's job to make sure that either the ship waited for you to arrive, or if the delay was too long for that, they would have had to get you to the next port where you could board the ship on their own nickel. If you ever do an overseas trip and need a flight there and/or back, definitely go through Air2Sea. They get some killer pricing on international flights, and on many of those they don't require you to pay them until final payment date.
  41. 5 points
    We have made it in the port and we are checked in. Waiting on Luciano now 😁 The tree was still up so I thought I would put a photo up!
  42. 5 points

    Romance for first time cruisers

    Just remember that there are cameras *everywhere*... 😉 (not including your stateroom, of course)
  43. 5 points


    How is your friend being upgraded an insult to you? I get you think upgrades should only come down to the highest C&A members first, but that's how it works. Free alcohol every night in Diamond Lounge, priority boarding, free print photos. Heck, the free drinks alone are a perk unrivaled on any other cruise line.
  44. 5 points

    Earthquake in Puerto Rico

    Great cruise so far. Less cloud cover today, temps rising. Shorts and tshirt on my balcony now. As the Captain said with each passing hour it's getting warmer and warmer so he knows he's going the right direction 🙂
  45. 4 points

    Sunscreen restrictions???

    Side topic... I wish they would ban the aerosol sunscreens on the ship. Not only does a good portion of the product fly on to other people, it makes for a slippery surface on the decks. Many catamaran excursions have ban the use of the aerosol products to avoid slips and falls.
  46. 4 points

    sitting on the balcony

    Just as long as you understand that your balcony is "not that private".
  47. 4 points
    Interesting. Since the Genie was restocking the drinks, that sort of confirms that he (the Genie) procured those drinks on his own. Normally there is a bar attendant who takes care of the drinks. Since Royal only has Coke products, I think your Genie got those Pepsi’s for you. Great service on his part.
  48. 4 points
    Review of Spectra’s Cabaret I enjoyed the technical aspects of the 270 theatre and the performances individually were good but the show lacked a storyline. I thought it was a futuristic storyline but then it went in a completely different direction. I was confused. Lindsay’s review is that it was 54 minutes too long and 55 minutes of his life he will never get back. He felt the entertainment was better watching people fight over food in the people jammer. 🤣
  49. 4 points
    Other Evening Fun There are the production shows, and then there are the Royal Interactive/Game shows that are a ton of fun. The Love & Marriage show is always a hoot. I'm amazed at the people that volunteer and have no issue sharing details that just shouldn't be shared. And it always seems like the couple that has been married for 55+ years has their children or grand children in the audience, and the newlywed couple has their parents or grandparents there. The cruise director lead this one and he was quite funny. The only criticism I'll give of this show is that they tend to repeat the questions on the ships, so you know the questions that are coming if you are seeing it again. Quest is another fun show to watch (or participate if brave enough). Again, I'm amazed at what some will do. The activity manager ran this one, which was a bit disappointing as we like to see the CD, but it was still well done. And there is the Battle of the Sexes show. This was my first time attending this one. It started out with a innocent challenge (if that's the word), and then they got riskier / braver. Quite a few laughs. PS - Girls won! DH and I also just enjoy listening to music in the evening. I tend to love the Schooner Bar music when the piano player is there so we stopped in the first night. I found the guy ok, but DH really didn't like him. We were spoiled on Navigator, our most recent cruise, as that guy was the best Schooner Bar player we've seen (he did a lot of impov and would play with the audience or people walking by), so this guy had tough shoes to fit into. Needless to say, we never returned to hear him again. As an alternative, we often stopped by Boleros. There was a group called Switched On that we quite enjoyed. It was a lead singer with a 3 person band and they performed known songs as well. So we tried to catch them when they were listed in the compass and we were between shows. Another fun event is the 70s Show on the Promenade . It's fun music and hilarious when they come out with their 70s hair. It's quite loud during this time so hope no one with a promenade room was trying to sleep. While I"m sharing a picture of the Promenade during the night, here is one during the day. (You can see the Adventure 'car' on the bottom right corner) One thing that we didn't see on Adventure was the Stowaway Piano person. Not sure if we just didn't catch the person of if they isn't one on this ship.
  50. 4 points
    The transformation is especially evident at night as the pool deck explodes into color. The pools are ringed with color changing lighting that continually rotates through the color spectrum.
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