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  1. 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.
    113 points
  2. Okay, I'm just relieved that this is direction this thread is headed in...
    55 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!
    40 points
  5. 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
  6. Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us
    36 points
  7. 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
  8. Look man, it's not an addiction. I can quit whenever I want to.
    33 points
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. People talking out loud to their phones held at arm's length.
    30 points
  16. 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
  17. twangster

    Test Cruise Invite

    Invitation Received Choice of Allure or Ovation.
    29 points
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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!
    28 points
  25. @Matt 's "perfect" MDR menu:
    28 points
  26. I said I wasn't going to book another cruise and I held firm on that... I booked two.
    28 points
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Chairs that automatically dump off people's towels when they haven't been used in 30 mins!!!
    28 points
  32. Don't tell anyone please....I have been stalking my "possible sailing" scheduled for Thanksgiving this November because I lost my August VP cabin this past August and I really needed this cabin. (only 1854 or 1804) and both were previously booked so unavailable for this sailing. Of course we have no assurance this sailing will go, BUT it appeared available Friday night, OMG can I switch ?? Enter Sharla our MEI guru, I called her and shot off an email, understanding fully it was after hours so I did all I could do. Within minutes of my email I received a response simply saying " I'm on it" I was flabbergasted, this amazing lady interrupted her personal evening and secured my preferred cabin, shhh don't tell anyone SHE.IS.AMAZING. I am so thankful for the day I reached out on this blog and was put in contact with Sharla, I feel like she is more then a TA, she is a friend. Thanks @Matt for being the conduit for our amazing advocate all things Royal, @Sharla. [email protected] LISTEN CDC, we are more then ready to sail, let's go!
    27 points
  33. arebee

    Embarkation Lunch

    Us poor people go to the windjammer for a cheese burger.
    27 points
  34. The NCL article shocks the system, how very very sad. BUT, your loyal patrons are here standing by waiting to sail again. Speaking for my family we found ourselves comparing our land vacations to sailing every time and each and every time sailing came out on top. We know you are looking outside the box for ways to get us sailing again for everyones safety BUT glance back and look within also. Our TA family is working so hard and partnering with your patrons for an amazing sailing future. Concentrate on accuracy + speed. Raise the bar and pay attention to the details of our refunds and FCC 's. Please take a look and be as transparent as possible, maybe add one more step to make sure your loyal customers are made whole, the first time. There is a lot of confusion on this end. Re: monies out vs monies refunded. We want you to succeed, we enjoy so much and choose to spend our very hard earned monies with YOU. Please remember we will be at embarkation on the other side of this awful situation. Every aspect of our interactions matter, everyone needs to be important no matter what the exchange. Please don't relax to soon pertaining to your customers at this time, we do our best to advocate for you and cruising at every nasty insult, looking forward to sailing again soon, 12 June 2020 would be great! Don't let this NCL news bring us down! Thanks for reading RCCL rep, we know you are here somewhere!
    27 points
  35. who are working especially hard during this Covidilemma - waiting on hold with the cruise companies (ALL of them!), rebooking, refunding, repricing, upgrading - WHATEVER. I imagine they are all putting in LOTS of extra hours to help their clients. (We're looking at you, M.E.I. folks, but also so many more of the great ones out there!). We appreciate you!
    27 points
  36. I know catchy title but the worst happened this week. I have a cruise for this Sunday, 8 March 2020 on Oasis of the Seas. We booked this cruise a year and half ago and was really looking forward to it. I woke up Tuesday morning with the room spinning out of control and feeling very nauseous. I knew that feeling, it was the flu. Knowing I couldn’t just ride it out I had to go to the doctors and get a note indicating my status to inform RCI. Under the rules I had to be 14 days well to sail and I was well within that window. So off I went to the walk-in clinic where they jabbed a cotton swab so far up my nose I thought they were hitting brain. Nurse puts it in a container and says I will be back in 10 minutes to let you know the results. PA walks in next and says what I already suspected- Influenza Type A....UGH! There goes the trip. At this point I send an email to @michelle at MEI to let her know what was going on. Michelle let us know our options - Go to insurance (always get insurance people) and get the money back or she would TRY and rebook us but no promises. She had me choose 3 cruises by priority and she would give them a call. This morning I woke up to a new cruise in December 2020 and all the previous items for the Oasis cruise will be refunded and the cruise money itself will transfer over to new cruise. I just have to replan the cruise for what we want to do. I love doing that already so I’ll have fun doing a new cruise planner. I found about MEI from this blog, as I have never had an agent before, and this is a classic case of why they are so important. I have learned so much from this site so thanks to @Matt for starting this blog forum. Plug for Michelle - she did an awesome job in a very short amount of time and I am so thankful for her help. If you ever thought of an agent but said no, I could do it myself, think again...I would still be on the phone with the flu trying to fix this mess. Instead I was home in bed taking Tamiflu and getting rid of this flu without having to rebook or fight the insurance for a refund! Thanks again and maybe this thread can help someone else in the future if the worst happens to you pre-cruise week. Oh BTW - someone should be getting a Royal-up for Junior Suite 12636 soon since I had to cancel. And, I did have a flu shot this year so It didn’t work so well.
    27 points
  37. Cell phones. My travel agency, while waiting on hold to reprice a cruise offered this piece of advice. Change your screen saver or lock screen image to be your SetSail Pass or something the cruise line can use to identify you. That super cool wallpaper that comes with your phone looks great but with a device locked no one from the ship can figure out who owns the most recent lost cell phone. By using an image on your lock screen that the cruise line can reference if you lose your phone on board you stand a much better chance of getting it returned. Makes sense. When you get home put it back to that super cool default lock screen image but while on board consider something that works to help you getting repatriated with your lost device.
    27 points
  38. 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.
    26 points
  39. I was on the recent extended Empress cruise (due to Dorian), it was my first cruise, and I just wanted to say that was the best consecutive eleven days I've ever experienced, and I'm an old guy that's seen a lot. I'm a huge Royal Caribbean fan now, can't imagine riding with anyone else from here on out. I don't know if it's appropriate but I'm posting a sunset photo taken the night before arriving back in Miami.
    26 points
  40. Cruise Summary Don't let the pictures fool you, Empress is not a large ship. Cabins from interior to suites are not as generous as they are on newer and larger ships. In some cases the pullman beds for 3rd and 4th guests that are flush into the ceiling on other ships are mounted externally to the walls. This is what cruising was like in the mid-80's when she was originally ordered by Admiral Cruises. Incidentally that is also how Royal Caribbean found themselves in possession of CocoCay - through the acquisition of Admiral Cruises. It is fitting to visit CocoCay while sailing Empress. On Empress you'll find a Royal Caribbean ship with all the core cruising essentials and more - a pool, hot tubs, kids splash area, a pool bar, a Viking Crown Lounge, a Windjammer, a Main Dining Room, Chops Grille, Schooner Bar, Boleros, Main Theater entertainment, Casino, game shows, trivia, rock climbing wall, pool deck activities, live music and dancing. When I booked these cruises I wasn't hesitant about booking B2B or 14 nights on Empress because I know and love this ship. What I should have done is booked B3B or B4B as some of others that I ran into daily had done. Did I miss a Diamond Lounge? Not really. The regular top Crown and Anchor members had our regular spot and we would see each other there nightly. We enjoyed our three free Diamond Happy Hour drinks. The bartenders took care of us. I still maintain that Chops Grille on Empress is the best Chops in the fleet. Large windows to the sea with great service and great food. Without question Boleros on Empress is the best in the fleet. There is no inherent motion simply because she is a small ship. Some nights I accidentally left my bathroom door open and it was never swinging or creaking in the night. With only 1,840 guests maximum it never feels crowded. Certain events were popular and well attended but not overly packed. Voom. Like any ship that uses the older satellite technology there are times when Voom struggles on Empress just like it does on other ships that use the old technology. I hope the IT Manager's request for an O3b upgrade comes through, that would make Empress the perfect ship. The new Empress itineraries that include small ship ports look outstanding. St George's and Hamilton? Montreal? Wow! Perfect Day - just wow! I'm glad to see the classic CocoCay beach experience remains with Chill Island but with new food and beverage additions. Oasis Lagoon is massive and really nice. The complimentary choices mean you don't have to spend a dime to have a Perfect Day but when you want to AMP up your vacation there are choices like Thrill Waterpark to do so. Captain Jack's and Skipper's Grill with their patios overlooking the Harbor Lagoon are places where you just want to hang out. The large paved pathway that circles CocoCay is friendly to accessible needs, much more so than CocoCay ever was before. Louis the Loyalty Ambassador once again took great care of me. With no Diamond Concierge Louis helped to fill that void. Julie our Hotel Director put it best. She is a small ship but she has the biggest heart plus you can get anywhere in 5 minutes or less. This is a huge benefit of small ship cruising. The majority of the crew report up through the Hotel Director and If these crew and the great service are a reflection of the Hotel Director then Julie has done an outstanding job on Empress. There is a part of me that wants to perpetuate a myth that everyone should avoid this ship. Only then will prices remain low and I can have her all to myself but that wouldn't be fair to the ship or her crew that make Empress not only the biggest little ship but the Royal ship with the biggest heart. I hoped you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing.
    26 points
  41. With our fabulous dinner over around 10pm I was too full to retire so I changed into shorts and went for a walk outside on deck 6. Venturing forward we were sailing into some sea mist from the warm waters yet cooling air and there were some clouds in the sky but I also glimpsed what I thought was something I've photographed before in the night sky. So I went back to grab my camera and mini tripod. I've often sailed into the sunset but tonight we were sailing into the milky way. Capturing the milky way requires long exposures but on a moving ship in the ocean it took some playing around to find some settings that worked. With the 10 to 15 second exposures I was using I managed to catch some lighting in a distant storm on the horizon. The bow is dark at night so the bridge crew can keep watch. The long exposures captured enough light to make the bow look like it's illuminated but it isn't, that's just low levels of ambient light The sea mist, clouds and moving ship didn't make for the best astrophotography conditions but I'm pleased with the results. More lightning: On land the stars would be more precise and clear, that's the problem with shooting from a moving platform, but I'll take the results.
    26 points
  42. I just want to say that it is so awesome to have found you guys! I feel like everyone here understands all of my questions and my general obsessing about my upcoming cruise! I am VERY excited about starting a new type of adventure (I'm most sure this will not be my only RC cruise already... lol)... Just sayin' thanks ... I found my 'herd'...
    26 points
  43. UPDATED 4 August 2021 Construction of Royal Caribbean's new Cruise Terminal is in progress, 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 11th busiest in the world. Cruise ships calling Galveston their home port include: (this is a fluid situation and dates may not be accurate) Independence of the Seas - 154,407 GT, 3,858 Passengers - 7 night sailings, followed by 4-5 night sailings (Beginning 15 Aug 2021. Repositions to Port Canaveral 29 Oct 2021.) Allure of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Arrives 13 Nov 2022 from Barcelona) Liberty of the Seas - 154,407 GT - 3,648 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Resumes 3 Oct 2021. Repositions to Fort Lauderdale on 30 Oct 2022) Adventure of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,114 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Arrives 29 Oct 2021. Repositions to Cape Liberty 29 Apr 2022. Returns to Galveston 27 Oct 2022.) 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) Carnival Vista - 133,500 GT - 3,934 Passengers Carnival Dream - 130,000 GT - 3,646 Passengers Carnival Breeze - 130,000 GT - 3,690 Passengers 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. Currently the pricing for the scheduled service from Hobby Airport to Galveston is $25/person one way if you book online. Owned by a local family of good folks. Galveston Express - Their pricing starts at $30/person each way. 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, stay to the 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? - all 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). 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. Garage, Inside, or Outdoor Lot? - outdoor surface lots are cheaper, but your car is exposed to the 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 these programs online and reserve after your account is 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 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, so if that bothers you I'd suggest choosing another hotel. 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. They offer cruise parking (for a fee) which includes shuttle service to the ships at their sister property, the Hotel Galvez, when you stay at least one night at either hotel (call to confirm details). 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. You may be able to get a nice rate on priceline.com using the Name Your Own Price tool (select "Galveston East - Harbor" and choose 4-Stars... there's only one hotel in that category and you can name your own price until you get an acceptable offer). 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 has a wide range of hotel prices 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. 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: food is now served on site! 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 - 2711 Market Street - 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 across the street from Gypsy Joynt. 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 This section will be updated when we sail on Independence in late August 2021. Everything will be up in the air with new protocols for a while. Disembarkation Experience This section will be updated when we sail on Independence in late August 2021. Everything will be up in the air with new protocols for a while. 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 and 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.
    25 points
  44. Last week I received an email from revenue management letting me know that my March bookings involved a pricing error but they would honor the bookings. I had two suite cabins booked, one for me and another for a family member. To give you an idea of the error involved my suite would normally go for 234% more while the other suite would normally be 255% more each on a solo basis given our unique qualifiers (CAS status, age, state, etc). Both suites have the capacity for 6 guests. I had booked both suites with a single guest in each cabin. I offered to let the bookings go. An email exchange followed that turned into a game of phone tag as we both worked around busy schedules but we eventually talked on the phone. Revenue management was very clear I could keep the bookings and they would honor the pricing. They requested the phone call to make sure I understood they would honor them. I told her to cancel them. I didn't feel right taking advantage of what was clearly a pricing error. I knew it was a error when I booked it and give Royal a lot of credit for offering to honor the bookings despite the thousands of dollars they would lose by doing so. A family of four booked in one of these suites would have gone for 500% more than I was booked for. Between the two suites it amounted to an error that would cost Royal over $10k in revenue if both suites were booked at capacity not to mention losses in gratuity and onboard spending. Simply stated it didn't sit right with me to take advantage of the company especially during these dark times with so much lost due to the pandemic. Call me a fool but I slept better knowing I did the right thing. BTW - nice people in revenue management.
    25 points
  45. .......put down another deposit. Good grief. Our May Symphony was canceled, so rebooked for October with FCC, which will likely be canceled. Can’t Lift and Shift because we already have Odyssey booked for next October. This itinerary is rarely offered: St Thomas, St Maarten (our favorite), CocoCay. Next date: May 29, 2021. Start “browsing” availability. Hardly anything left. Panic! Go from JS this past May to oversized balcony October down to regular balcony next May. Call friends who we are booked with. Scan cabins. Find 2 together and bingo zippy, we are booked. I SWORE I would not give them anymore “real” money. Fail. (It is a refundable deposit ) Hi, my name is Jill and I’m a cruisaholic.
    25 points
  46. Omg I thought the same thing....
    25 points
  47. We had a chance to visit CocoCay on TH 6/27 off of the Mariner of the Seas. Summary - Amazing, outstanding, a true game-changer. - Flexible enough to meet the needs of everybody. - You can have a great time with excursions or without. - Thrill Park is great. If that is your thing. - Overall, highly recommended. Our group - 2 families with children (11, 8, 7 years old) - We booked the full day Thrill Park via Cruise Planner at $47/adult as well as the kid rate (I forgot the total). - 2nd RCCL trip (1st was Harmony) Our Day (Part 1: Thrill Park) - RC provided a map and a 1-page fact sheet the evening before. We felt very prepared. - Checked out towels and then met the gang for breakfast at 7:30am. - Left the boat at 8:30am. It was very fast. No towel check-out was provided at level 1. You will need to get towels in advance at the pool deck. - Trams were waiting on the pier to talk folks if desired. - Less than 5 min walk from the boat to the entrance to the island and the Thrill Park. Live music, dancers, etc. lots of energy. - Easy entry to the Thrill Park, use your sea pass. RCCL staff is onsite. - Locker to your right after entering the park (free). - We divided into two groups. One group went straight to the Devil's Tower. They rode it once and had a very small line. Within an hour of opening the wait time was 45-60- minutes. Key point: Plan ahead and arrive early. The other group secured lounger chairs under umbrellas (between the Devils Tower and the other Slide section) and headed over to the Sling Shot (the half pipe ride), Twister, and Racers. - Easy to find chairs. Lots available with lots of shade. - Easy to find beverage (adult) and water. - All the water slides are strong. Fun, thrilling, scaring, high energy, etc. - After the slides, we hit the wave pool. Recommended as well. Make sure you watch the young kids. The pool is crowded and life guards can see only so much. - We also spent time on the adventure pool. Both adults and kids were using the attraction. Lots of fun. - After about 2.5 hours on the Thrill Park we decided to go to Chill Island. One of the reasons was the wait on the Tower Slides was getting long and we saw storms in the distance and wanted to hedge our time. Out Day (Part 2: Chill Island). - Relaxing. Laid back. Really a different vibe and energy. - Rented snorkel equipment. My kids saw stingrays and fish. - After about 2 hours, headed to Chill Grill for lunch. Taco bar and grilled chicken wings were strong. We also liked the fact you can pour your own beer (w Seapass Card). Kids loved the ice cream. - BIG ISSUE: TONS of birds are seagulls are onsite at Chill Grill and are very aggressive. They are swarming on guests and attacking their plates while guests sat at picnic tables. I saw a bird swoop down and steal a chicken wing from a guest who was about to it eat. This needs to be fixed. Think the movie "The Birds". - Went to Oasis Lagoon for the rest of the day and drank our share of Miami Vice, Kracken and Diet Coke, and beer. The Pool bar is strong and the staff are fast. - The pool itself is very large and can accommodate a lot of folks. Loud music. Party atmosphere. - Some lighting delays throughout our day, but no biggie. - Took the tram home. General thoughts - Great time. Really strong move by RCCL. Disney will have to up its game. Huge contrast to other cruise private islands. - Easy to navigate and everything is pretty much 10 minutes away. Walk or Tram. - Totally different vibes between the water park and Chill Island. - Even though we only were at the water park for 2 hours, it was so fun we still feel as though we got our $$$ worth. - Staff was great. - The island and layout are such that the crowded feeling is likely to be minimized. - Easy to get food, adult beverages, water etc. Lockers are free. - We did not rent a cabana. They looked very nice. Our hesitation is that if you rent a cabana you may feel limited to stay in the cabana and consequently miss other areas of the island. We liked our approach of spending time at the water park, the beach, and the big pool. - Talked to a few officer types at the island and they shared that RCCL plans on building a hotel for guests on the island and back-to-back CocoCay stays will be offered in Jan 2020. - The day before we stopped at Nassau and stayed until 8:30pm. I really wish we could have stayed that long at CocoCay and shortened our time in Nassau. - The birds at Chill Grill are an issue. - Other guests we were talking too on the ship felt the same about the island - it is fantastic. - Have a high-level plan so you can make the most of the day. You don't have to plan every minute, but at least consider where you want "Home base" and what you want to do on the island in some order. Hit the waterpark early to avoid lines. Hope his helps. Have.a blast. Andy
    25 points
  48. You're lucky i'm not in charge, i would ban smoking indoors (to include the casino) and make the only place for smoking, in the aft (designated section) upper decks. If you get caught smoking in a non-authorized location, you would be dropped off at the next port. I'm surprised that Royal Caribbean hasn't been sued yet, by an employee that has been diagnosed with cancer from second hand smoke due to improper ventilation in the casinos.
    25 points
  49. I for one have stopped trying to promote the cruise industry and agree wholeheartedly with everything they said. The last thing I need is more people to book cruises (driving up the cost for me). It's terrible out there folks. The sea was 90' yesterday (away from the Promenade deck). I hear that 99% of all cruise ships got stranded (away from a boring existence) yesterday. Everyone on board is sick (of being on land). I went missing (and none of my clients know I'm on a ship). There were 75 mph winds (for anyone driving on the interstate with their hands out the window in Florida). Yep, it's not a life for the faint of heart. Avoid cruising (so I can book cheaper cruises). If they don't want to go, please don't try to correct them.
    25 points
  50. I pop over to that "other" site every now and then. Was just checking it out during lunch today and it never ceases to amaze as to how ugly it gets over there. I see so many people (even mods) who just get salty and vile with people posting simple questions. My wife was laughing at me the last time i was reading over there because i let it get under my skin way more than it should, if at all. So many trolls as well. @Matt it really makes me appreciate all of your hard work that has gone into this place, not to mention the great attitudes of everyone here. Thanks again everyone! My time spent here makes me really enjoy cruising much more than I ever intended. I always log off knowing more than I started out and generally have a good laugh as well. Cheers!
    25 points
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