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  1. (No offense JeffB but I'm writing a JeffB-length post here) It all started Thursday night after the debarkation round of testing. All three in my group were negative, but about 10:30pm got a call from the ship's doctor saying our son was identified as a close contact for a boy in Adventure Ocean who tested positive. We never really asked for details on when or what they defined as a close contact since I figured we'd never get that detail as I'm sure they'd cite privacy. (Adventure Ocean follows strict masking and 6-foot social distancing rules as well as avoiding shared toys/supplies so I really doubt it was a 15 minute close contact, but we know the pressure cruise lines are under.) The medical staff will only call you with results that late if they're positive (not that that stopped me from waiting up until after midnight for the first one). The next morning we got a letter saying "dear guest" saying "guest" was quarantined. This step in the process is the one RC needs to work on. The letter didn't specify who (aka, just our son or all 3 of us?) had to quarantine (ended up just being our son) and had no "for more information contact XYZ" info on the letter. While the letter did list all the free services we'd have during quarantine (room service, internet, movies, phone calls) it didn't do a good job of outlining really what to expect. In my comments to RC I'm going to urge they have guest services call those people directly and lay things out for them instead of just a form letter, especially since the letter said staff would check up on us throughout the day and no one really did. So we called the nurses station for some info, and the doctor called us back saying our son was indeed negative but they (I'm not sure who "they" is but I got the inkling it wasn't solely ship management) wanted another PCR test 24 hours later. Which meant 10:30pm again. By afternoon (Friday) we get a call that guest services wanted our passports, vax cards and health insurance info. We never really got details on who wanted this, but we think it was the Bahamas government. Because a bit later, the guest services manager called and finally we got a good line of communication going. Despite the negative tests, the Bahamas didn't want to let our son take a commercial flight home since he didn't fulfill the country's unvaccinated quarantine window (14 days, tell me that wouldn't suck). Apparently RC tried to get a waiver for us, but as of later Friday, the guest services guy was prepping us for a private flight home. The 2nd test Friday night came and went negative (and I'm going to assume all 4 other contacts were negative too, based on a talk with our pilots) and we got one more call from guest services that they'd have updated flight info by 8am this morning. We got that call and they were still working out the details of the flight, but were prepping for it to be a late afternoon/evening flight and we'd move to the Hilton for a few hours. Somehow that got moved up and by 9am we got our 1pm fllight time and were just instructed to hang out in the room until noon. At noon guest services walked us down and we were off the ship. They had a limo van (aka, party van) for us right off the ship, drove us right to the plane, got on the plane, flew right to our home airport and had the town car waiting for us at the GA terminal to take us home. Apparently whatever deal they had set up required actual door to door delivery, so I got dropped off at the parking lot to get our car, and our wife and son got the town car ride home. So count me as the "I'm not an actor but a true story" for anyone that has concerns about booking a cruise due to fear of being covid-stranded (even if you aren't the one testing positive), RC has you covered. I can't compliment RC enough for how efficient they were with getting us (and apparently 4 other groups for a total of 20 people in the "contact tracing kid" bucket) out of there and thus avoiding having to stay another 10-11 days for the Bahamas unvaccinated quarantine period.
    24 points
  2. We got back from our weekend sailing on Freedom and it was quite the experience. We had great weather (it’s been raining like crazy in SoFL) at Coco Cay and Nassau. Being on the Freedom with only 1000 passengers is odd and I think we prefer the action of a packed ship but this was certainly interesting and had many positives. We opted for the Coco Beach Club and it was overall a good experience. The elevated dining experience had some nice choices like grilled Caribbean lobster which was prepared and presented very nicely. There was literally nobody at the beach club (see pics). My only complaint is that there’s not enough shade by the pool and it’s odd that upon arrival the host doesn’t bring over a bucket or pitcher of cold water to wherever you are seated. Minimal gripe but still it’s hot as h*ll (keep in mind I’m born and raised in SoFL and I still think it’s hot!). Onboard Freedom there was little to no action which is to be expected. It was nice to go to the suite lounge and have the entire place to yourself for a change. I know this type of reduced capacity cruising won’t last forever so we just rolled with it. IMHO my family and I felt very safe with young children in regards to RC’s COVID safety protocol. They did a great job and the ship and stateroom were extremely clean. The kids literally wanted to eat at Giovannis Kitchen every single night so we did (the pizza!) and it did not disappoint. We are looking forward to things hopefully getting back to normal and more cruises in our future!
    21 points
  3. If I were Royal Caribbean, I'd be looking at adding a St. Thomas visit on every sailing from a Florida port.
    18 points
  4. I have always felt that cruises are cleaner environments compared to hotels. As a former frequent business traveler it was not unusual to pick up something on a business trip. Having had that occur on a number of trips I started wiping down everything in my hotel room from the TV remote to the telephone which I avoided at all costs, and I was wiping down my seat area on the airplane. That was before any notion of a pandemic. Even with that sometimes I'd get something from a common cold to some kind of crud in my chest. However I never did get any of that on a cruise. There has always been plenty of hand sanitizer on a ship but rarely in a hotel until now. Fifty plus cruises later and I'm still of the opinion that cruises are safer, healthier environments compared to hotels. Now even more so. Cruise lines took a pretty clean environment and made it safer with the protocols we know about. Hotels aren't doing most of that. Hotel employees are cutting back service so they don't come in your room as much but employees may or may not be vaccinated. Hotels are now putting sanitizer out in some places but still not as prevalent as on a ship. There will be cases occurring on cruise ships but there are also cases occurring in resorts and hotels. The difference is that they are detected on cruise ships because of the protocols. Make no mistake - cases are occuring at resorts and hotels but there is no reporting requirement, few protocols and zero awareness that cases are occurring. Out of sight, out of mind and out of the news but that doesn't mean it isn't occurring at land resorts.
    13 points
  5. Yes, it was cancelled! I felt the earthquake where I live (Kenai Peninsula). I heard the tsunami warnings going off for a couple of hours before it was cancelled. The earthquake felt a little different that others in that there were no hard jolts, but just a long 2 minutes of moving and swaying. My hanging lights and chandelier just swayed back and forth, and there was enough movement that my grandfather clock stopped! That was rare! People along the coast do take this seriously, and I watched a steady stream of cars evacuating low lying areas. The news reported that some of the coast guard ships based in Kodiak left port and headed out. While out on the water, a tsunami is usually barely detectable, and only materializes once it gets close to shore in shallow water.
    13 points
  6. We were the last ones off the ship. Had a limo van when we expected an ambulance. Driven right to the plane. I'll write something up when i get home summarizing the experience
    12 points
  7. Sofa bed comfort factor has been scientifically studied and determined to be directly proportional to adult beverage consumption.
    12 points
  8. Nearly 16,000 new cases in Florida announced today. Six cases on a ship. We know the virus has not been eradicated. We know unvaccinated are the primary transmission vector and we know that even some vaccinated will get the virus because the vaccines are not 100% just like other vaccines do not guarantee 100% protection. It is strongly possible that the infected guest "zero" could have become infected before leaving for the cruise. If those infected individuals did not cruise they would likely have never known and continued to spread it back home. Another example of spread being stopped because they went on a cruise. Now they know and can take appropriate measures at home while they recover. Protocols worked and cruising helped to limit the effect these individuals would have on their community. Sounds like a win, except for the innocent bystanders caught up in it on the cruise.
    12 points
  9. 11 points
  10. I hope more ports will impose such vaccination requirements since the lines (and Florida) are unwilling.
    10 points
  11. tonyfsu21

    Coco Cay (Sat 7/31)

    We had great weather today at Coco Cay & saw an empty Allure dock late afternoon to shift crew. What an experience at Coco Cay with only roughly 1/2 of Freedom passengers on the island.
    10 points
  12. For us, we’re going to lay low starting 2 weeks before our cruise in October. No going out unnecessarily. We’re lucky that we are home based, so no offices we have to go to. We were going to drive to Miami with our friends, but now (if cases remain high) considering taking separate cars. Especially since one of the friends will have just flown home from NYC a few days before we leave. I’m not risking it! Lol We’ve waited so long to finally get back onboard that to test positive would be just awful.
    9 points
  13. I don't disagree with anything you said, but to be fair, no one is testing people coming in and out of WDW. As a result, there isn't wall-to-wall media coverage of every single covid case. Because statistically, there have been. Again, no issues here with your plan. But cruises get singled out by media while theme parks slide by due to cruise lines subject to regulation. There, I feel better now
    9 points
  14. I really think we are at a point that everyone just does: you do you and I’ll do me what makes me feel comfortable and safe might not be the same for you and that’s ok no judgement here
    9 points
  15. I originally was hesitant to expand on the complexity of the decision I was referring to because I didn't want to get into the "to vaccinate, or not to vaccinate" discussion on the board. I understand it's my job to make decisions for my children, didn't need it clarified. I didn't say it wasn't my job, but I will expand on the point I was trying to make. The vaccine decision for any parent, in my opinion, is a very complicated decision to make. As a parent, I view my responsibility from the lens of "do no harm" first and foremost. I am sure there are some that might say that I should put more weight on the well being of others, but I am not ashamed to admit that I will put my child's safety and well being over anyone else, including my own. I am vaccinated. I made that choice after weighing all of the factors. My 12 year old is not, and I have no current plans to have her vaccinated. The current calculus behind that is related to risk of the vaccine vs the risk of the virus. I personally believe there is enough uncertainty around the long term effects of the vaccine to not risk it with someone that is unlikely to have an adverse result in contracting the virus. That could change tomorrow with new information, and I am not telling anyone else what they should think about it, I understand there are other opinions and decisions made based on their calculus. I am not saying I would never have them get the vaccine, just that currently I don't think it makes sense to risk it. Given the fact that RCL is willing to take unvaccinated children 11 and younger, I personally believe they should have made it an 18 and up vaccine requirement. That is my opinion based on all I described about the complexity of the decision. That's my opinion, obviously they can do whatever they want and they will, and whether or not I can cruise with them or not will not impact my decision to vaccinate my child one bit.
    8 points
  16. Our hospitals filling up have nothing to do with the current law. You have to remember we are the #1 tourist destination worldwide. We were doing absolutely fine with positivity rates less than 3% up until 3 weeks ago. We have THOUSANDS flying into this state everyday for leisure. Of course we’re going to see increases before anyone else. This virus isn’t going away. The death rate is not corresponding with hospitalizations. The vaccines are generally working in that it’s keeping people out of the hospital and from dying. Vaccine passports wouldn’t have stopped this IMO. All vaccine passports are good for is increasing the divide in this country. The blame lies in the messaging. It’s been poor from the get go. Do this, don’t do this. Shame rarely works. Distrust is huge right now. I don’t know the answer but locking us down again isn’t the answer.
    8 points
  17. I for one am totally shocked by this
    8 points
  18. Royal and Celebrity are beginning to look like a bunch of clowns inside a pinball machine - jumping around reacting to one thing and then bouncing back in the other direction. Sad, really
    8 points
  19. I have contacted the FL Attorney General to ask for an evaluation to see if Royal asking me to provide proof of vaccination in order to sail on a cruise for which I have already Paid in Full, violates SB2006. Maybe I will hear back, maybe I won't.
    7 points
  20. They'd have to drag me out of a lazy river at Coco Cay. (A precedent has been set - I had to be coaxed out of one at the Westin Scottsdale at closing time by hotel staff. I was unhappy about their decision).
    7 points
  21. 7 points
  22. I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV, but 6 out of how many? Aren't my odds just as high if I go to Disney or Universal? At least on the cruise ship there is contact tracing and testing. I personally like those odds a little better.
    7 points
  23. I was invited to the Indy simulation cruise next week but I'd have to fly and stay in a hotel the night before. The ship will be fully vaccinated for guests and crew. The ship will operate with full and proven effective protocols. The airport, airplane and hotel will be... who knows? Could be mostly vaccinated, could be mostly unvaccinated. Could be an airport worker doesn't want to lose their job and has bills to pay so they go to work with mild symptoms. No one is going to check or know any better. Protocols will consist of a $0.35 mask. The risks involved with this trip were heavily slanted to the parts of the trip that weren't on the ship. The ship would be the safe part. I declined the Indy invitation but if I get an invite to another Florida based simulation cruise I'm going.
    7 points
  24. Boarding day lunch at Portside BBQ. First night dinner at Playmakers. Keeping it a casual day. First sea day lunch, Izumi sushi. Pre-dinner stop off at Izumi for to-go sushi for a later snack before going to dinner at CP150. Port day...late lunch when getting back on the ship at Johnny Rockets. Dinner at Giovannis. Port day...lunch at Johnny Rockets, dinner at Chops. Port day but make it a sea day...dinner at Izumi hibachi..lunch at WJ since most other things were closed. Swing by Playmakers on the way to the aquatheater show for a snack for the show. Sea day..Izumi sushi lunch again and try Portside BBQ for dinner along with a trip to Chops for a late evening steak. Sea day...probably fooded out by now, so try some of the free stuff here and there (doghouse, El Loco Fresh) and top it off with a WJ dinner..just because I CAN with the UDP, doesn't mean I MUST
    7 points
  25. I'm glad that you are okay!
    7 points
  26. Matt

    All Things Galveston

    Or if you are @Galveston Steve and can wait it out in a nearby Whataburger should they need more time for the first sailing
    6 points
  27. This one is a dead horse and has been discussed and confirmed to death. Count backwards. Think of it like this... Saturday - the day you need the results, typically the sailing day, Day 0 Friday - 1 day before the day you need the results, Day 1 Thursday - 2 days before the day you need the results, Day 2 Wednesday, 3 days before the day you need the results, Day 3 Tuesday, 4 days before the day you need the results, Day 4 Monday, 5 days before the day you need the results, Day 5 Even Royal Caribbean covers it in the FAQ. Where Do I Take A RT-PCR Test And Submit The Results Before Cruising? | Royal Caribbean Cruises
    6 points
  28. Not me. They are reacting and adapting, a lock quicker than the CDC. MSC still says no test for vaccinated yet they tested everyone at the port yesterday, vaccinated and unvaccinated, including people who paid for tests for unvaccinated kids in the days before. They wouldn't accept those test and retested every single person who boarded. That isn't written anywhere in policy. Cruising during the restart is going to take some flexibility. Things will change sometimes daily.
    6 points
  29. Well I'm on my last full day onboard of Anthem OTS and about to go and get tested onboard for our back2back sailing next week...and guest services rang...their land based team informed them that unvaccinated kids cannot do back2back sailings!!! The land based team told crew that they had already communicated this policy to us. They hadn't and all onboard with kids doing a back2back were informed this morning that they are being kicked off tomorrow! I booked the back2back directly with RCL ... appealing behaviour! But apparently I can take the kids back home, where the covid rate has sky rocketed, let the kids run a higher risk of picking up the virus, and then return a week later, do a PCR test on all passengers and if negative, reboard the ship with the same unvaccinated kids. But I'm not allowed to get off tomorrow, pop down to the testing centre near the port, take a same day pcr test, and reboard the ship later on in the day as a new passenger. But turning up next week and doing the same is fine. BONKERS !!! We thought we had 2 weeks onboard so had spread out all the activities and were due to do certain activities/shows next week. If we had known beforehand then we would have at least been able to pack everything into one week. As it is I'm only being offered refund on next week's cruise and no compensation for this week's cruise! Very poor behaviour so far ... all I get onboard is "we're so sorry" ...
    6 points
  30. Free for all to use is how I would do it. With the river running right past the other side of the swim-up bar in Oasis Lagoon. You enter your order on the app while getting into the river, and pick up your drink while floating past the bar.
    6 points
  31. It is a parent's job to make these decisions for their children.
    6 points
  32. Well, here's another thing to do ....... pray that the spike in FL goes down like it mysteriously has in India first and now the UK. Steep rises followed by precipitous declines ..... ALL WITHOUT ANY NEW MITIGATION MEASURES in these two countries. In fact, Boris Johnson cancelled all mitigation measures in the UK on July 19th. Cases plummeted. NB, the UK has a high vax rate, India does not. It's early but this is a snap shot of FL's vax rates and new case numbers for the previous week (7/23-7/29. I've highlighted Broward (PEV) and Dade (POM) counties. Vax rates have jumped considerably from 3 weeks ago - like 20% or more. Note that these two counties also have the highest vax rates state wide and also have the lowest (below the state average) % positives. These are down a lot from a week ago. Note also % positives in these two counties is declining and by a lot. What these two metrics portend is herd immunity is being approached in S. FL counties with high vax rates. I'd predict steep declines in new case numbers over the next two weeks in these counties. If they get down below the 8% threshold the pre-boarding testing requirement could be relaxed. Fingers crossed.
    6 points
  33. Covid must hang around in a cloud for unsuspecting victims who unwittingly walk through it and become infected. This was all predicted by Star Trek.
    6 points
  34. Welcome to Royal Caribbean's brand new Odyssey Of The Seas. I can finally reveal to you this brand new Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship. Today, passengers will be stepping onboard for the first time! After 16 months since the global cruise suspension, I can finally say "WE ARE BACK"
    6 points
  35. No need to panic ......... From this morning’s Washington Post, they are reporting that an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation has a lot of people freaked out. It says “........there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans.” That comes out to 1 out of every 4,628.57 people. I like those odds! If you are vaccinated you are highly unlikely to suffer from COVID. If you are unvaccinated, you are in COVID's cross-hairs. I’m sure someone would say “yes, but that’s per week, meaning you face the same risk the next week!” Okay, so every week, I face a new metaphorical lottery of being that one person out of 4,628 or so who has a symptomatic breakthrough infection. I can live with that, and you can, too. Yes, it will stink to feel sick for a couple of days, but symptomatic breakthrough infections almost never results in hospitalization or death (something like 95%/99%. People accept that much higher level of risk all the time. The chances of dying in a car crash are roughly one in 107, and the average person is involved in three motor vehicle accidents in their lifetime. If someone told you they refused to ever get into a motor vehicle because the odds of dying in an accident were too high, you would urge them to get counseling for runaway anxiety. People are suffering from what is called "recency bias." What this means is that based on what you hear on day one, hour one or hour7, and so forth, influences your perception of future events. Is there any doubt, based on the "dire consequences" media narrative that people are scared? I absolutely do not want to be dismissive of those who are close to acquaintances, friends or loved ones who have suffered from COVID or health care workers in hiospital who see the surge and suffering first hand. I am continually struggling with how this group perceives the threat of COVID compared to those of us, including myself that have been fortunate enough to not be burdened by it. Still, in the big picture .........PERSPECTIVE PLEASE.
    6 points
  36. 6 points
  37. States that started spiking first are already at peaking. Give it a couple weeks and it'll be over
    6 points
  38. Depends on what you are upset about and if you truly feel that Royal is responsible. You originally booked in January when no ships were sailing. Royal moved you to a better, newer ship with more amenities because your original ship wasn't going to be part of the first wave of their restart. They gave you the option to refuse the change and get a refund. They currently are only sailing to a handful of ports that they have negotiated agreements with. Grand Cayman isn't even accepting ships currently and the last I read they wouldn't until February 2022 at the earliest. As cruises get closer to their sail dates, they seem to be modifying all itineraries to only the ports that are ready to have Royal ships there. Things are very much in flux right now with respect to cruising, and other than having inept customer service and IT, I am not sure what more Royal can do for you at this time. If you can't deal with the uncertainty, then absolutely take a refund when offered and come back to cruising when things aren't changing from day to day.
    6 points
  39. Labor Day is not unlikely. The best advice, though, is to check the prices of the items you've bought or are thinking of buying on at least a weekly basis. Sometimes there are price drops that are unrelated to any "sale."
    6 points
  40. I wouldn't hate if more ports did the same and it was around around the Florida law...
    5 points
  41. I think we all share the same feeling...just have to remind ourselves how awesome it'll be when we do the embarkation walk onto the ship.
    5 points
  42. IMHO a cruise is 100% safer than an land all-inclusive. To stay in a hotel you don't have to say anything regarding your current health. My first time at a resort this guy was staying there with a rash, he thought it was bug bites, and it turned out to be a mild form of flesh-eating bacteria. To say that put me off resorts is an understatement. Like some people on this site, I carry medical grade sanitation wipes and always wipe my hotel room down. The only time my wipes ever came up clean-ish was on my RCG cruise. Most of the time I am thoroughly cleaning the room. There is literally no way to tell what March will be like. In my opinion, people need to do exactly what they can handle now and not place too heavy a burden on the future. I would hope that by March we will be settling into something more steady and reliable. But many people thought things would be over in 3 month, 6 or a year.
    5 points
  43. I don't have any concerns with getting on a cruise (just got off one). I always thought the petri dish stories to be overblown, if you keep your eye out and avoid obviously sick people, don't lick the railings, wash your hands, etc. I don't view a cruise ship as an inherently "more dangerous" environment than any other hotel complex.
    5 points
  44. My husband and I used to live on RC ships full time for about 3 years before Covid hit. We had an awesome time and a fantastic life traveling all over the world, running around to catch the next flight, next ship...Then Covid hit the world and from one day to the next we found our selves grounded at our base-camp (aka home), locked up and waiting for this whole nightmare to pass. In my mind I was positive that we will be back on a cruise ship shortly. I kept myself busy with running my own windjammer in our kitchen, the cancellation aftermath, re-booking, new cancellations, moving bookings, changed ships, changed itineraries, keep track of FCCs, refunds, payment dues. Spent hours, days, weeks, months by talking to RC customer reps over the phone. Meanwhile I kept a close eye on the virus situation around the world. We were determined to return to cruising as soon as possible ,,,if it is safe and enjoyable. We currently have over 30 cruises booked, and we planned to return cruising full time on Aug. 8th Odyssey. However after a long discussion with my husband ( we are young and healthy btw) we decided not to go back to cruising just yet. I follow all the cruise news, kept in touch with some crew members, and of course kept in touch with a few full time cruiser friends who we met during our voyages. At this point and time, cruising for us would not be the same experience yet, it is too complicated taking flights, crossing international borders, restrictions, testing before flights to certain countries etc. I do not want to pretend that everything is normal, just because I can board a cruise ship. We just got an email from one of our friend who went on a cruise for the first time since Covid shut down, and he said the atmosphere is not the same at all. With a heavy heart, I've called Royal and cancelled all of our cruises for August and September. We haven't gone anywhere in the last 15 months because we were just fully focused on reclaiming our cruising lifestyle. We had to change plans and will travel within the US, dry land and follow the cruising industry. If the time is right we will be back. Just follow your gut feelings.
    5 points
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