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

  1. 88 points

    Don't do any of these things

    Hi everyone, I know we get heated debating which dessert is the best one to order, or if a balcony room is worth it, but let's keep these basic rules in mind when chatting here. No profanity No personal insults No political discussion 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.
  2. 55 points
    Okay, I'm just relieved that this is direction this thread is headed in...
  3. 36 points
    Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us
  4. 34 points
    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.
  5. 33 points

    Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

    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.
  6. 33 points

    The Key - my experience last week

    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!
  7. 32 points

    Why are people addicted to cruising?

    Look man, it's not an addiction. I can quit whenever I want to.
  8. 32 points
    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.
  9. 32 points
    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!
  10. 31 points

    Feeling Discouraged....

    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.
  11. 31 points

    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!
  12. 30 points
    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 !
  13. 29 points
    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
  14. 29 points
    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!
  15. 29 points

    I'm all packed and so excited

    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.
  16. 29 points

    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.
  17. 28 points

    I did what I said I wouldn’t do!

    I said I wasn't going to book another cruise and I held firm on that... I booked two.
  18. 28 points

    We get to plan a new Cruise!!!

    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......
  19. 28 points

    Guide to Chair Hogs

    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.
  20. 28 points
    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.
  21. 28 points

    What's Still Missing?

    Chairs that automatically dump off people's towels when they haven't been used in 30 mins!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
  22. 27 points

    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.
  23. 27 points

    Dear Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

    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!
  24. 27 points
    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!
  25. 27 points

    Oasis Denied and MEI Awesomeness

    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.
  26. 27 points
    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. 26 points
    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.
  28. 26 points

    Best Eleven Days

    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.
  29. 26 points
    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.
  30. 26 points
    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.
  31. 26 points
    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'... 😄
  32. 25 points

    I did what I said I wouldn’t do!

    .......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.
  33. 25 points
    Omg I thought the same thing....
  34. 25 points
    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
  35. 25 points


    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.
  36. 25 points
    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.
  37. 25 points
    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!
  38. 24 points
    Baked Alaska

    Lift & Shift Tagline

    The name of it sounds like a tagline for underwear: "Lift & Shift for that Royal Wedgie."
  39. 24 points
    Ovation of the Seas, 11 Nights departing from Sydney Australia to New Zealand For many years I avoided Alaska cruises on the premise that bikinis are better than parkas. Then I finally did an Alaskan cruise. Just wow! Why did I wait so long? That experience got me looking even farther from home and I realized the same could be said for Australia and New Zealand. Learning from Alaska I decided to just do it. YOLO! I've always wanted to visit both Australia and New Zealand so hopefully this will be a rehearsal for more cruising down under. Practice makes perfect. This is me doing my single digit dance. It's a long flight to Australia, I take off early one day and land two days later. Somehow it ended up being 2 days and a few hours to get there with a connection. Fortunately it takes less than 6 hours to fly home. Strong tailwinds I guess. With the time change it's already well into tomorrow there. I can never keep that straight. All I know is that this cruise is costing me two days of my life just to get there so I have high expectations. This is an 11 night cruise but weather permitting we'll have one day sailing through Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. With the three sounds all on day 9 the itinerary looks longer than it is. Here's hoping for good weather. Just one tender port so that's a plus. I tendered on Ovation in Hawaii so that doesn't concern me. With the time change it seems that Sydney always celebrates New Years Eve before North America so on that basis I'll get to watch the Super Bowl a day before you folks in North America. I'll post the outcome here, get ready to place your bets. Super Bowl Monday here we come. The game starts mid-morning so there may be some day drinking involved. At least it's on a sea day. Flying into Sydney two days prior and staying downtown my plan is to take the train into the city and sleep for the rest of the day. Other plans include the Sydney Bridge Climb and a tour of the Sydney Opera House after which I'll either crash hard or have some gas left in the tank to explore a little bit more. If I have time I may try to find Alice. Maybe I'll get up early (or be up already) to watch Ovation come into port. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go... 'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane...
  40. 24 points
    Well, actually we’ll fly on down, but you get the idea. Warnings/Disclaimers: This blog is the sole opinions and thoughts of just the old guy who is writing it. It doesn't reflect the thoughts, opinions, clarity, good sense or tact possessed by those sailing with me. And to be clear, I don’t have the sense of humor, literary skills, or good judgement of most of you who post these live blogs. But I'm going to do it anyway. I guess I can be labeled as a “lurker” on this site. I read it daily but have made only a few comments. So today I take the plunge and become one of you by just jumping in the deep end with a live blog! Two weeks from today I will be in the air traveling from Palm Springs, California to Miami to begin our next Star Class adventure. In 2017 we sailed on the Oasis in a crown loft suite and thought we had found the ultimate way to cruise. But no, there was more to discover! In 2018 we booked another crown loft, this time on the Allure. A month or so later while checking for a price reduction I stumbled across something called the.Royal loft Suite! After watching a quick YouTube video of that suite I quickly booked it. YOLO as someone on this blog always says. We sailed in July with Dave Mac as our Genie and there was no turning back. In May of 2019 we cruised in the RLS on the Harmony with the amazing, wonderful Ariceli who I think has spoiled us for life! As I said, there’s no turning back now so two weeks from tomorrow we will be in the RLS on the “new” Oasis and will have Allan as our Genie. If this blog goes as planned you will see and hear much about each of us and what we will be doing during the week. So let me introduce our merry band of sailors: Stacy, my bride and partner. I many times refer to her as Pollyanna, which is defined as “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person.” Defines her to a T. She sees the good in everything and everyone. Poor thing. My Pollyanna uses those traits everyday as she toils as an RN, or BSN to be accurate, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. She is our cruise planner, specializing in the culinary aspects of the Star Class experience. As she takes her break from those 12 hour shifts at the hospital she will be seen around the ship with a permanent smile on her face and a blended Love Connection drink in her hand. I expect she will pop in on this blog and provide you with some of her excessive cheerfulness! Shari who I refer to as Polyanna2. Yeah, no kidding. Another one. Stacy’s identical twin sister. The Oasis is a big ship but I’m not sure there’s room enough for this goodness! She and her family have cruised with us the last three trips but this time she will leave them behind at jobs and school while she gets a well deserved week of relaxation. Shari is the 24/7 caregiver for her mother-in-law who suffers from dementia. That’s a task where that Pollyanna thing coms in pretty handy. I expect the twins to be side by side everyday and although they act and talk alike you can tell them apart by their hands. Shari’s will be holding a Bud Light! Daughter Taylor, almost 21. Young T, as I call her, is a preschool teacher with with a gaggle of I think 3 year olds. Can you imagine? A classroom full of germ carrying, tantrum throwing, runny nosed 3 year olds and Taylor is too young to drink! T is the calm, chill one in the group. She gets that from me. You will find her sleeping late, spending lazy days in the sun and with one of two things in her hand. Her Starbucks or a virgin Pina Colada. I told our Genie that I think T holds the Harmony record for most virgin Pina Coladas consumed in one week! We might also find her in the casino which she discovered last year. Daughter Kaitlyn, 30 something. The party girl of the bunch. She is also a nurse like her mom. But she is in the other Intensive Care Unit – the one for adults. Same hospital as her mom. On December 19th Katie received her Doctorate of Nurse Practioner degree which we will be celebrating on the cruise. So now she has more letters behind her name: Dr. Taylor, RN, BSN, DNP, EIEIO. I asked the Genie for time in the engine room for this one because she can talk and drink like a seasoned sailor! You’ll recognize her by her flaming red hair the the gin and tonic in her hand. Or a Margarita. Or a vodka and soda. Or…well you get the idea. Rounding our our group is yours truly, Jim. The quiet one of the group. I will usually be found on that massive balcony at our suite, on the quiet suite sun deck or in the suite lounge. With a Jack Daniels and sprite in one hand and a camera in the other. My plan is to try and share as much here in words and photos as I can. I have enjoyed and learned so much from reading others blogs here so I hope to return that favor. I’m sure much of the blog will deal with Star Class aspects as I try to justify why we spend a bazillion dollars every year to do this! I will be doing Genie recon for those sailing after us and will certainly try to answer questions anyone has once we board. We plan on eating everywhere except the Chef’s Table this year. We’ll even work in the MDR for a breakfast or lunch and a couple of trips to the Jammer. I think we will do all of the shows. Even Cats. Yep, I’m gonna do it. I’ll spend the afternoon in the suite lounge slamming the Jack and sprites and then go experience the feline extravaganza! We have no plans for Cozumel or Falmouth. Just maybe a little shopping and back on the ship. We are looking forward to Labadee which we all love. A relaxing day on the suite beach. In the lead up to our sail day I plan to share more about our travel plans, our night in Miami, our previous experiences with RC and how we survive the Miami airport as we disembark on Super Bowl Sunday. I might have to involve Jack in breakfast plans that morning! I know its somewhat early to post but I’m hoping we can all share and get to know each other by our sail date. It’s not too early by Matt or Sabrina’s standards but it is early! So come along for the ride with this crazy bunch as we embark on our 3rd Star Class adventure. It’s a long way from my first sailing on the Song of Norway.
  41. 24 points

    Feeling Discouraged....

    $50 is very generous. Whoever said that the daily grats don’t get the room attendants doesn’t know what he** they’re talking about. They most certainly do. Ignore that forum. Someone is just trying to make themselves look like big spenders. That kind are usually making up for some personal shortcoming.
  42. 23 points
    I always try to stay positive but Royal has implemented an unprecedented change that should be a cause for concern for everyone. They are changing a ship, swapping an Oasis class ship to a Freedom class ship and arbitrarily moving guests into new cabins with no recourse, no refund and few options. This is unprecedented and it should be a cause for concern for anyone booking a Royal Caribbean cruise. The ship and cabin or cabin category you book may not be what you find yourself sailing. Without notice or communication your ship and cabin can be substituted to something else. We all know that the cruise contract allows Royal to make certain changes when they are required to do so. Historically that has resulted in itinerary changes that substitute different ports of call. That's different than swapping in an entirely different ship. Historically when Royal redeploys a ship the future cruises on the impacted ship are cancelled and they have typically offer some sort of compensation in the form of a small on board credit. That's not happening now. In the case of Allure of the Seas from Galveston Royal Caribbean has decided to postpone building the new terminal there which means that Allure can't sail from Galveston as they had planned. This morning I have discovered that rather than cancelling Allure bookings Royal has substituted Liberty of the Seas in her place and arbitrarily changed cabins to a different cabin category downgrading in the process. The options they have offered - accept their change or lose the deposit. Imagine booking an international flight in First Class that includes lie flat seats, complimentary meal and beverage service and everything else that goes with First Class only to discover the airline has swapped in a smaller plane and placed you in another seat that doesn't include any First Class benefits. That is what Royal Caribbean is now doing on future cruises without changing the fare paid or offering any compensation. This change is unprecedented. Why Should This Matter To You The cruise you book can and will be changed by Royal Caribbean to anything they want without notice or compensation. They aren't just changing some ports on an itinerary, they are now changing the entire ship and cabin category. Let's say you booked Oasis of the Seas. You may find that ship has been redeployed due to the pandemic and now your cruise is moved to another ship. Maybe even a smaller ship that doesn't offer your type of cabin or any of the features and activities for the ship you booked. I can understand why they need to do this. Cancelling thousands of bookings at a time when there is no income is a recipe for bankruptcy. However for us, the cruising public on the receiving end of these unprecedented changes, it represents a whole new level of risk when booking a cruise. This pandemic has created unprecedented changes at so many levels. This move by Royal Caribbean represents a new twist to vacation planning on a level we've never experienced before. I've long said I don't care where the cruise goes, just get me on the ship. The problem now when booking a cruise is I don't know what ship I will actually be sailing on.
  43. 23 points
    I wasn't sure I would live blog this trip but Empress is secret favorite of mine and she doesn't get much attention here in the live blogs. Empress is a small ship yet she doesn't feel small on board, as long as you pick the right cabin. In the wake of the abrupt Cuba changes fares have been very reasonable including Junior Suite rates. On a small ship the added space and balcony of a Junior Suite goes a long way to not feeling the size of the ship. The fact that cruising solo in a suite will net me triple Crown and Anchor points wasn't lost on me. That's a whopping 42 points for the price of a 7 night cruise in a balcony on an Oasis class ship. Since I'm flying to the ship I always prefer a B2B. If I'm coming all this way I might as well cruise twice. I thoroughly enjoyed my last Empress cruise so given the great last minute rates and affordable suites I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sail this little beauty again. Itinerary 1 - 6 nights Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel Itinerary 2 - 8 nights Key West, Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel, CocoCay I like to scuba dive so the opportunity to visit Belize again was appealing. This will also be my first trip to see the new Perfect Day additions. Cozumel is a perennial favorite as is Key West. Costa Maya is also an easy port to spend a day at. Put it all together and the answer computed to... YOLO, why not? I am going to take a more relaxed approach to blogging this one. It is after all a small ship and I've got two weeks to spread my posts over so I may not be as active on this one as I have on other cruises. Flying in the night before my plane takes off in a couple of hours. Time to finish packing and get moving.
  44. 23 points
    Danielle OG

    Thank you

    Hi everyone, I am leaving on my very first cruise tomorrow (starting the drive today) and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Matt, and everyone else here! I feel so confident going into this cruise. Between these message boards and Matt's live videos, I had all of my questions answered. This community is so positive and it just makes me that much more excited for my vacation! So again, thank you so much and happy cruising to you all 🙂
  45. 23 points
    Day 1 IT'S CRUISE DAY!!! But first, more Queen Mary pictures in daylight. The Queen Mary was a fast ship. Faster than today's cruise ships of this size or larger. She routinely cruised at over 28 knots and during sea trials she reached just over 32 knots. This enclosed promenade deck would have been popular on those cold North Atlantic winter crossings. The Verandah Grill towards the aft of the ship was an extra cost restaurant. In other words the concept of specialty dining started decades before modern cruise lines embraced the idea. During World War II the Queen Mary was put into service as a troop carrier bringing troops back and forth between the US. and Britain. She was painted grey and earned the name the Grey Ghost. Her top speeds allowed her to elude german u-boats. On one crossing she carried a staggering 15,740 service personnel with a crew of 943 for a total of 16,683 souls on board. That remains the highest count ever carried by any vessel, a record that is unlikely to ever be broken. During this time they removed all the fine china and crystal and converted every square inch to the goal of maximizing space for the troops. Gone were the cabin class 1st class accommodations, it was all about squeezing troops on board. During the war when she was a troop carrier he was fitted with anti aircraft guns. A lego model has been constructed and is on display in a room called the shipyard. Sir Winston Churchill would routinely sail her during the war to coordinate efforts with the allies. In this photo he is sitting by this very fireplace. How about these lifeboats? The bridge: The Captain's quarters have been preserved in their original condition. She even had a fitness center back in the day with modern exercise equipment. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend a stay on the Queen Mary.
  46. 23 points

    Every Activity on Every Ship - Listed

    So, a while ago, while roaming the internet, I stumbled across this awesome list of which activities were on which ships throughout the Royal Caribbean fleet. It was perfect! Maybe I lost it, maybe it was taken down, but I couldn't find it any longer. So I set out to make my own. After going through every deck of every Royal Caribbean ship's deck plans, I noted everything I could find onboard. Bars, dining, entertainment, I listed it all. Here is the result: View in full screen I find it incredibly useful and I thought that I'd put it here because you all might like to use it too. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. Disclaimers: This is my own creation and all information used is from https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/deck-plans (unless otherwise referenced) Therefore, there may be certain inaccuracies because of either certain things missing on the deck plans, or me missing something out If this is the case, please feel free to let me know and I will update it to reflect these. As said, I have not been on all these ships so do not have first hand experience for all these venues and activities, so please do let me know of any errors I may have made. It is quite large so it may take a moment to load, and you will need to zoom out. I intend to update it as new ships debut, or as ships get refurbished/amplified so it is hopefully always an up to date reference point. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!
  47. 23 points
    📸: Royal Caribbean International “Whenever you are with me, life plays a beautiful symphony!” --- Avijeet Das For Hubby and I, there is no better way to spend quality couple time together than to go on a cruise. We started off that way on our honeymoon back in 2002 and we have tried to get away around this time every year to celebrate our anniversary. Symphony was on our radar almost two years ago. Being huge OA class fans and having sailed every Oasis class ship so far, sailing this one was a given. I booked this cruise knowing that this summer would be our first chance to sail it since she spent last summer in Europe. Even upon booking back in the Fall of 2017, prices were crazy for this ship. However, because of fixed vacation times, that is just something that we are used to. How did the title for this blog come about? Other than being fond of cruising and shopping, I also love music. Trained in classical music since I was a little girl, and with a ship named Symphony, I could not resist to draw parallels between this blog title and music. So why Symphony No. 17? Symphonies written by the same composer are often given a generic name that involves a number so that one can identify which piece it is by that composer. Playing on that thought, this is cruise #17 for us, and, as coincidence would have it, it is also our 17th anniversary on this sailing. Notice the theme? In addition, a Symphony is typically written in four movements. So there lies the logic behind the rest of this title. I expect that those will be our four experiences on Symphony this sailing. <Music geek off> Let’s begin…
  48. 23 points

    New way to count down to cruise day

    🎶 99 days til we go on the cruise! 99 days til we go! Sun goes down and comes back around, 98 days til we go on the cruise! 98 days til we go on the cruise! 98 days til we go! Sun goes down and comes back around, 97 days til we go on the cruise! 97 days til we go on the cruise! 97 days til we go! ... 🎶 😁
  49. 23 points

    This is SO awesome had to share...

    This was posted somewhere on Cruise Critic. Not sure where it came from but it's awesome!! It's drink packages explained and for those that "already know this stuff" it's noted that any changes to the RCCL Drink policies are noted in red in the article. This document ALSO contains Harmony's Bar Menu and Drink Listing WITH prices!! LAST BUT NOT LEAST...the last 4 pages documents the names of special drinks and how they are made so you can make them at home for yourself OR you will know what to order on your next cruise. I love this pdf and wanted to share with you all. Enjoy!!! Cruise News Harmony 2019 Drinking.pdf
  50. 23 points

    Hi I'm Jane and I'm an overpacker!

    So I just got done reading @Whizbank live blog and she stated that she would pack lighter next time. I'm now sitting and looking at the suitcase I'm going to have trouble closing today. Ugh! So thought I'd share some things I'm going to do for the European cruise this summer (16 days in Barcelona and on the ship) as an accountability post lol. Please chime in with suggestions and encouragement lol. I know like the drink pkg we have beaten this to death, but hey, it's fun! 1. Royal has amazing storage in their rooms, both interior and outside.I have sailed 5 classes now and fit everything every time. Majesty had a dinky closet but a great big side table and window ledge. Others have hidden shelves, ottomans, other closets. Obviously the longer cruises are a bit more challenging which leads to.... 2. Rewear! I have favorites that I take on every cruise that I could totally wear over. Some things I will wash when I get home that I only wore once (or not at all) and they aren't even really dirty. I get if it's super hot you might have to selectively rewear, but I don't pack that way. 7 days, pack for 9 lol. Ugh! Do I need 2 formal dresses? Heck no. Is it ok if people are me in the same outfit twice... Absolutely. Do I need extra clothes not at all... That's where #3 comes in... 3. Laundry! I will freely admit I haven't used it in the ship and I won't risk any favorite clothes (I worry about too hot dryers). But I spend everywhere else...Porters, drink pkg, extra 2 dollars for my favorite 🍷 etc.... A bag of laundry will not kill me to pay for! And my bathing suits, etc, are wet when I came back...I can hand wash them in the shower. Now again, with how long everything takes to dry I am not bringing detergent and hanging everything... But a small stain is solvable by a quick rinse. 4. Packing cubes.... That was a long thread earlier. I personally love them but didn't use them correctly. I was in 3 different places pre-cruise, cruise and post-cruise. I should have packed the cubes that way rather than every time I wanted an outfit having to go through different ones. I could have put my pre-cruise two outfits in a bag with a bathing suit and pair of jammies and never opened the rest! 5. Shoes.... Sigh. I did do better this time. I wore my tennis shoes on the plane and once again, it wasn't necessary for me personally to have them. I will just wear my walking sandals on the plane too. I took my lighter weight sandals this time and didn't fuss with the 3 inch heals I would wear once or twice. I actually packed 2 pairs of flip flops in case one pair broke....omg WHY? Which leads to... 6. This next cruise no matter what I'm going with the Rick Steve's packing rule which I never do but am going to start! I love his travel blogs and YouTube videos and he says "always pack for the expected, not the unexpected". Ok...I'm a pack for the unexpected....my shoe might break, my phone cord might break, I might spill coffee on my 4 sweaters... All 4! All the unexpected back-ups come home unused and talking up space. I'm not traveling to the middle of Africa where I might have trouble getting something!!!! (If you are, you are probably better at packing than I am anyway and not reading this!). Next time I will truly try and follow this. Heck I will pack a $100 extra dollars just for things I might need to get and when I don't, take myself out to a nice Cafe somewhere! 7. Go with your history and your gut. Every trip I pack shorts "just in case I feel like wearing them" and workout clothes "just in case I want to work out". Ok...I've now been on 6 cruises. Not once have I put on shorts or tshirts (Im a sundress girl) and the only time I've set for in the fitness center is to take pics on day one. If I haven't used something at home (do I really want that dress) or on a ship, it is just not gonna get used here! 8. Compare with the other lovely people in your family. In March my family brilliantly brought 3 tubes of toothpaste. Seriously. We all packed our regular travel kits and we all have toothpaste. Oh well. Next time I'm going back to the family ziplocks...1 toothpaste and common shampoo, soap, etc. And I'm getting slightly better at judging amount we use. For example, I love using the bath & body works squirt soap better than the bars. They smell nice and I just like them. We don't need a whole bottle...I can bring a half-used one and then I have 2 more oz and space at the end of the trip! Same goes for shampoo, lotion, etc! 9. Suitcase stuffing. I'm a stuffer. If the suitcase is at 40 lbs and not full, I can stuff just one more extra dress or pair of shoes just in case. Nope. The problem is that it takes me forever to fit everything in at home. I don't have that time on the trip and what happens is I frantically stuff everything in and one day I'm gonna break the zipper. I have had to buy and check an extra suitcase at Disney before (ok...I could get into souvenir shopping here. I didn't buy the rum in Nassau because I knew I wouldn't have the space or weight lol). So next time, things will fit better at the start. I will do what you are supposed to... Pack and then unpack and take out a bunch you don't need! Because I don't need the stress at the end of the trip! So I've now spent time I should have been packing avoiding it but when I get home, this is what's I'm going to re-read before I pack!!!!!! Jane
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