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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/19/2020 in all areas

  1. 19 points

    Good news & bad news

    The bad news is, my dad told me last night that he's moving from where we leave near each other in Michigan to the Seattle, WA area. I'll be sad to see him go, moving so far away. The good news is....what a great excuse to plan an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle!!!!!! I may or may not invite him along. LOL
  2. 19 points

    Well, that was a surprise...

    Our younger daughter will be graduating from college in May and our older daughter has been teaching middle school in London for the last 2 years. With the prospect of having both girls working to establish their respective careers in both the US and UK, this summer seemed like the last time that we could vacation as a family in the foreseeable future. So last summer we booked Allure out of Barcelona for a Mediterranean cruise as kind of a last hurrah. At the time of booking, it was evident that this would be a relatively expensive endeavor since Allure would be recently AMPed, we would need to arrange for three trans-Atlantic flights, hotels reservations in Barcelona for both pre- and post-cruise site seeing and we would be traveling at peak season in July 2020. But bite the bullet and pay the fare. We did. Yesterday, I did a mock booking for our cruise and was surprised to see that current pricing was significantly below what we had paid. In part, this was because a senior discount (yes, I'm old) and a Resident discount was available that had not been applied to our initial booking. Bottom line, a call to RCI to inquire resulted in a re-calculation of our reservation. Not only were the discounts applied but the current BOGO60 and several other current sale discounts were added that reduced our costs by almost $1500.00. Excursions and drink packages, here we come.....! 😀 My lucky day! Barca, here we come!!
  3. 16 points
    NOT QUITE YET... ....is this going to be a Live Blog. I am NOT looking to set the new World Land Speed Record for starting the earliest Live Blog. It will turn into a live blog MUCH later when we get closer to sail date. I just wanted to announce to the world that the long anticipated 8 night Symphony itinerary for 21 - 29 August 2021 has finally shown up on the website !!!! I've been stalking this cruise for months. They announced the itinerary - Labadee, Aruba and Curacao - months ago, but never opened it for booking until today. I quickly snagged one of the Deck 8 Aqua Theater Suites because I could not afford (or didn't want) any of the other Star Class rooms that were left. Believe it or not, some of the SC rooms were already gone by the time I got there !! The aft-facing Star Loft was there but I don't really want that one. I have NO interest in that awful Ultimate Family thing and the Royal Loft is WAAAY out of my price range on this cruise (and so was the Ultimate Family thing, to be fair). So let the fun begin. I BELIEVE that this will be the first Oasis class ship to go to Aruba and Curacao. I could be wrong about that. For sure it will be the first time Symphony has been there. This will also be my first cruise on Symphony and I'm very excited. 3 ports in 8 days is my idea of heaven. Interest, anyone ?
  4. 15 points
    Having not edited any of these photos, here we go. Dinner was in Izumi on the Sushi side. There was only one other couple in the entire Sushi side. Both hibachi tables were full. Easy to tell that few people know about specialty dining on the first night. Smitha came by while we were at dinner and asked what we wanted for snacks to eat during the Aqua80s show. We finished dinner early and made it back to the room to watch the 8:30 show. When we came in off of the balcony we had our snacks of chips and nachos, plus more chocolate covered strawberries (up to 12 so far), and our drinks. Even though we asked for hard liquor, Smitha had our drinks delivered for the show. One let down was not getting soft pretzels. Shane, our genie on Anthem, had them pulled from the pub. We asked Smitha for them since Virginia is a huge fan, and she wasn't able to get any to our room. We'd even asked about them pre-cruise, so that was kind of a bummer. As soon as Virginia came back to the room from Adventure Ocean, she was immediately asking for soft pretzels, so it's a big time bummer around here on that front. The 8:30 show was very good. They took a couple of elements out due to the wind. Oasis is a ship that you can rarely feel any movement. Not sure if it's because we are all the way aft, but the seas are definitely rocking tonight. It's cold and windy on the balcony, and the ship is moving enough to rattle the hangers in the closet, which is quite a bit for Oasis. Random thoughts from the day: AO check-in is super easy now, and Virginia loved the new set-up. Izumi was fantastic, as usual. While we love the room, it is disappointing they didn't update the SC rooms during the dry dock. After having been in SC on Anthem, Oasis just feels dated in styling. Also, we loved the loft for the large amount of space it gave us, and miss having the two stories, but the private bedrooms and a true "living room" are really nice. The Aqua Theater show is amazing. Having not seen Aqua80s before, it is a big upgrade from Oasis of Dreams. Also, watching from our balcony gives you a completely different perspective of the talent and "guts" required to do some of the things they do. Also known as a "big box of NOPE" from me on some of these things. I will say the noise is a little loud in the living room, but in the bedrooms it isn't too bad. I did a room tour, but the file is too big to upload. Perhaps I'll upload it on dry land.
  5. 15 points
    Many updates coming tonight!! For now, I will leave you with a little teaser of how the day went today!
  6. 14 points
    Friday - Miami Day!!! Today was a long day. We booked a full 3-part tour that included a double-deck bus tour of Miami, a boat tour of the Miami harbor (with an emphasis on the islands between Miami and Miami Beach, where many celebrities live), and a short air-boat ride in the Everglades. We booked it through Trip Advisor, and figured it'd be a convenient way to see a variety of things with little effort. One of our traditions is to take some sort of harbor tour in each port we sail from at least once. It was touristy to a cliche, but we were ok with that. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g34439-d11451472-Miami_Combo_Tour_City_Sightseeing_Biscayne_Bay_Cruise_and_Everglades_Airboat_Ride-M.html) We caught a Lyft around 7:50 am, as there was a lot of traffic/construction/road closures around the Kimpton and ride shares were taking a little longer to find us. We arrived VERY early to the Miami Beach area from where the tour departed, and did a little walking and people watching. We went to CVS (since I lost my hair tie in the hotel in a matter of about an hour, and I forgot to bring makeup remover wipes. There was a pigeon in CVS. I seriously just wanted to catch it and rehome it outside with its pigeon friends, but I managed to quell the desire. I'll be frank here. I didn't take a lot of photos. While we sat on the top level of the bus, and we could see a lot of things, to get good photos I would have had to stand up, which would have put me at risk of (quite literally) losing my head to low branches. We were taken through the lovely Art Deco regions of South Beach, then headed over to Little Havana, were we debussed and were told we could get some "free Cuban Coffee" at store right where the bus was parked. I don't drink coffee, but Mr. SpeedNoodles does, and he was told by his Cuban coworker that he MUST get some Cuban Coffee. We peeked into the store where people were getting their free coffee, and it was a paper cup about the size of a ketchup container at McDonalds, so we wandered across the street in search of a shop that he'd see on one of his many, obsessive, Google Street View "walks". We just couldn't find it. Until...... some very kind local recognized what we were looking for and pointed us to a coffee shop that opened at 10am (it was 10:15, and he simply shrugged and said "Island Time"). He wasn't wrong. Within minutes they opened the door. And Mr SpeedNoodles was in heaven. Communication was somewhat tricky since we don't speak Spanish, but with some pointing and back and forth he managed to get two very strong coffees before we had to get back on the bus. It was a beautiful little shop and almost made me wish I drank coffee. After only 35 minutes (too short!) in Little Havana, we headed back to the Biscayne Marketplace for lunch. While they led us into a specific restaurant (with a promise of free appetizers), we chose to go a more economical route and we just hit Five Guys. The menu at the other place was not only overpriced, but the just didn't have any items on the menu that interested us. After lunch we boarded the harbor tour boat, and had a lovely 90 minute tour into the "islands" area. On the way we slipped right past Explorer of the Seas, who was in port exchanging passengers. We had a fantastic, high-energy, tour guide for this part, and we really enjoyed him (great job, Ricky!). I've never heard anyone so seamlessly go back and forth from English to Spanish. His jokes worked in both languages, judging by the laughter on the boat. I got several pics, but really nothing worth sharing. Little islands hosting extremely expensive houses owned by people I'll never meet. I'm not much of a celebrity person. Frankly I was just as thrilled sailing past the big MSC cargo ship while it was offloading containers - I thought that was pretty cool. PLUS we saw an actual, live, swimming, wild sea turtle come up twice on that side of the bay. I'm all about the wildlife. As anyone who's followed any of my previous blogs knows, I will be just as thrilled sitting around talking to local pigeons and sky rats (i.e. seagulls, for those not previously indoctrinated), as anything else that I do. #formerzookeeper #completenerd We were told to meet a "double-decker, non-open-top bus" at 2:15 to go to the Everglades right there at the Biscayne Marketplace. We did so. We got on the bus, with about 15 other people (not many, but who are we to judge?). Off we went! We were really looking forward to this part, having never been there. The bus took off....east ... across the bridge (full view of Navigator, Explorer, MSC Divina, Carnival Legend, Regent Seven Seas, and a Viking ship) .... but .... Ok, I'm no geography genius. But aren't the Everglades BACK THATA WAY??????? We're on the top deck, so we have no communication with the driver. The driver isn't communicating with us. Other passengers are looking likewise baffled. Others, not so much. We are all wearing the green "I'm on the 2:15 Everglades tour" sticker. Traffic was nothing less than awful. An hour after boarding, we arrive back at the tour company main office, where we are asked to debus and get on yet another bus. Ummmm, sure! It seems it would have been more efficient to bring THEM to US since we were already farther west, but again, I'm no geography/traffic genius. We get everyone on the bus. It's the first non-bilingual driver/guide we've had (it didn't bother US, but we the English speakers were definitely a minority on this one). Harry was our driver and guide. Harry was different. Harry made up a lot of ecological "facts" (Harry, they are Turkey Vultures, not "American Vultures", and they didn't come to the Miami area to breed in the winter. I've raised TV babies in Minnesota in June. They're just here to stay warm and eat. And don't even get me started on his opinions on the South Florida "Indian Tribes" -lawd man, you don't know who your audience might be). We arrived at the Sawgrass Recreation Area shortly after 4pm.. The cold front had moved in, and it was 65 degrees and windy. Most people were not dressed for the weather. This was very good news for the gift shop, as probably half of the bus passengers went in and purchased sweatshirts. or jackets. I had brought a zip up hoodie with me (#becauseMinnesota), and MrSpeednoodles will go out and grill at 11pm in January at 10 degrees in shorts and flip flops, so he didn't care. The problem? Gators don't like wind. The crawl back up into the grass and hide so that they don't drift all over the place. Frankly, I didn't care. I'm all for Gators. They're super tasty. And fascinating, ancient, creatures. And I would have been trilled to see one. But I was happy to see the Cormorants drying their feathers as well. I would have loved to see some egrets, or otters, but the weather just wasn't right. That's ok. The airboat was pretty hecking cool, and I know I want to come back during warmer weather and maybe book a smaller, more private boat and ask to focus on birds and mammals. Someday. I had some time to have a short conversation with this female Boat-tailed Grackle (we have regular Grackles in Minnesota. The females aren't nearly this pretty). Unfortunately the camera didn't really correctly portray her beautiful brown color. (I know - average birds. I appreciate sh** like that). The tour people seemed really super disorganized. It was easily an hour between when we got to the Sawgrass Visitor's Center and when we actually got onto an airboat. The airboat tour was 30 minutes, and we didn't see any alligators (and not much of anything else). Nobody can control the weather, or the animals' behaviour in the weather, so we really didn't care. The trip back took another 90 minutes in awful traffic. The driver ended up just going back on city roads, through Hialeah (Big Havana). Nothing he could do about the traffic either. We'd been planning to go to Ceviche 105 for dinner, but by the time we got back to the Miami Tour Bus Company in Miami Beach and hailed another Lyft it was after 8pm. We'd been going all day, and hadn't had any food since 1pm. We were tired and blood sugars were low. By the time we'd get back to our hotel, shower, change, and get to the restaurant it would have been at least 9:30. Which is apparently when people in Miami leave their hotels and head out on the town. But be real here. We're middle-aged-plus Minnesotans. We arranged for the Lyft driver (a fascinating man from Nigeria! Thanks, Daniel!) to drop us off a block away from the Kimpton at Whole Foods. We picked up some pizza and sushi (not to be mixed, we each wanted different things), and a bottle of wine (O. M G. Wine at a grocery store??? This is UNHEARD OF in the land of 10,000 lakes! How incredibly convenient!). We ate, drank some wine, and watched half of "Guardians of the Galaxy" (I challenge anyone to guess who my favorite character is.) and Mr Speednoodles is already asleep. I'll be there right after I fix all of the typos in this blog (no guarantees, I will offer no compensation for emotional trauma caused by grammatical/typographical errors). !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMORROW IS CRUISE DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. 13 points
    50 days to go! I've enjoyed reading all the build up to past Star Class Cruise blogs and live info that I decided I would try and do one too... It is almost 2 years ago I booked this trip, beyond excited!! As in the title its a 50th Birthday (mine), we booked a Grand Loft suite on the Ovation along with my husband JJ, daughter SJ and her friend. On this trip we have approx 20 friends joining us in various rooms, one other couple in Star Class, a few in Suites. We leave on Easter Saturday, 11th April from Sydney and staying at The Hilton the night before, we live in Sydney as most of our other friend do... Our other Star Class friends are flying in from Scotland. (24 hrs away)! It is a 9 night Cruise with ports of call at Noumea, Mystery Island Vanuatu and Brisbane. We received our Genie questionnaire earlier this week and just about to fill in and send off.... More to follow!
  8. 12 points

    First RCI Cruise! Enchantment Mar 2-6

    I’ve heard it said that the two longest weeks in cruising are the one just before you sail and the one right after you come home. I can’t remember which is supposed to be worse than the other, but right now, 10 days out, is pretty rough. I have a cruise crush who only sails solo, and only on another line, but he writes the best live blogs and I wait for them like I was the one cruising. I’m going to try to ease my impatience by following his example and start a pre-cruise live review. February of last year, my sister and I took our first cruise together. It was a first cruise for both of us, and I think we weren’t quite sure what we thought of it. I liked about 90% of the ship we sailed on, but was fairly annoyed by the other 10%. I decided that I could enjoy the heck out of any cruise if I had the right companion, or barring that, if I had easy access to the outdoors. I discovered that I need a lot more time on deck than my sister, or for that matter, my husband, with whom I took my second cruise last October. So I was surprised when the sister asked where we were cruising next. After I informed her that pretty much all ships go to Cozumel, at least out of Galveston, I told her that if she was serious, I thought I could put together a cruise we could both enjoy. One of the things on her wish list was a shorter cruise. We’d sailed on a 5-day itinerary, and by the end she was feeling impatient to return to her grandkids and her routines. A 4-day on Enchantment of the Seas looked like a winner. To be continued ...
  9. 12 points
    Everything was covered at Playmakers for SC. probably not staying up for the balloon drop. after Muster Drill we grabbed a drink at Schooner Bar. We were delayed out of Miami due to an Alpha call and an ambulance needed. Now we’re going and beat the Norwegian Encore out of port since it had to turn around. Heading to Izumi for Sushi tonight and we can’t wait. Then watching the Aqua80s show from our balcony at 10:45.
  10. 12 points
    Day 4 - Cruise Day!!! After a leisurely start to the day, checked out of accommodation at 11am. Then proceeded to the cruise terminal via the light rail. Boarding times were being enforced, but managed to get on after 12.30pm. Expedited arrival made the process quick and barely 15 min later was on board Ovation!! We set sail at 5pm. First impressions Of course you notice the size to start with! Also being barely 4 years old everything is relatively new. I’ve found the ship very well laid out and each space flows into the other really well. You also definitely know there is somewhere around 4,500 people on board but haven’t had any big issues as yet. The Room Very impressive. The Family Junior Suite is a great room. Well laid out and plenty of storage. Also is generous size of around 300sqft. One unique feature is there is 2 bathrooms in this category one is just a toilet and basin the other has a bath and shower combo. Solarium Bistro - Dinner Had dinner booked at 8pm, the space is lovely but unfortunately was not so impressed with the dinner. Ordered the pasta of the day which was Spaghetti Bolonaise which came barely warm and very bland and tasteless.
  11. 12 points
    As mentioned previously, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival is in Miami this weekend, so prices for hotels nearer to the cruise port were CRAZY expensive. We flew into FLL via SWA and then Ubered to our hotel, the Hyatt House Miami Airport. UberXL for 5 passengers and all of our bags was $80. The Hyatt House is great. We got a 2 Bedroom suite, so Abby and I are in one room, the in-laws in another, and Virginia is on the couch. No pictures because we exploded our crap into the room, but you walk in and there's a full kitchen with a bar and 3 bar stools. Then there is an "L"-shaped couch and TV. On either side are the two bedrooms with en suite bathroom. For all 5 of us the room was about $300, which for us all to be in one room is great, and we have a common area to share to watch TV. The hotel does have basic snacks in the bar downstairs, and is walking distance from a Publix, as an option for dinner or supplies pre-cruise. There isn't a lot of restaurants nearby, but we used DoorDash for some Cuban sandwiches from Rincon Criollo, which were pretty tasty. Tomorrow we have full breakfast included, so we're looking forward to taking advantage of that before we Uber over to the port. Landing was a bit dicey in FLL as there as a big wind shear right as we reached the runway, pilot on got the left side wheel down, and felt a little like we were about to flip and roll. Luckily he saved it and we're alive to tell the story. I do have to remember to start taking pictures for the blog, and promise to do better once we start on our Voyage tomorrow!
  12. 12 points
    Update from the field: Mr SpeedNoodles has already declared the Oasis Class his "favorite class of ships". We've only seen the pool deck and Deck 4 so far.
  13. 12 points
    We're here in Miami!!!! We've been having a fabulous time in Miami. It's my third time here, and Mr Speednoodles' first time. While I'm in charge of cruise planning, he's always in charge of pre-cruise planning (hotels, food, activities). He did a fabulous job. Our Sun Country flight left Mpls/St Paul International an hour late (we really don't know why - they told us that we'd be leaving early and then sat at the gate for an extra hour with no explanation). It was fine. Other than being wedged into a middle seat, it wasn't a big deal. Mr SpeedNoodles was appropriately dosed with Xanex and deeply buried in a movie that he'd downloaded on Netflix. We still hit Miami by about 11:30, and by some stroke of luck our luggage was the first onto the belt, so we hauled butt out to the rideshare area to secure our Lyft before the crowds descended. Within 10 minutes we were off to the Kimpton Epic. (For pics of the Kimpton, refer to my Navigator blog - I was able to get many photos on that trip: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/16871-navigator-911-hits-the-high-seas-dec-2-dec-6-2019/). We arrived at the Kimpton by 12:30. Our room wasn't ready, so we stowed our luggage, made a quick change from Minnesota layers to Miami shorts, and hailed another Lyft to make our first culinary visit - We. Were. Hungry. !!!!! Mr. SpeedNoodles had been drooling over this place for about 3 months now, so we Lyfted ourselves over to Little Havana to have lunch at La Camarona Seafood Market. Recently it was just that, a seafood market, but not too long ago they'd taken a sledgehammer to a wall (that's literally how it still looks) and expanded into a dining section. We were jonesing to get a fried snapper sandwich and we were NOT disappointed. The service was speedy and friendly - the food was awesome. It will now be a regular stop for us when in Miami. We started with a shrimp empananda (which we ate so quickly that I neglected to get a photo #badblogger), followed with some A-MAZE-ING fried shrimp and we both had the snapper sandwich. After lunch we hailed another Lyft and weaved our way over to the Wynwood area to grab a beer, some alligator bites at Kush, and wander around looking at the urban graffiti. My photography devotion was seriously lacking (beyond food and drink), so I didn't get a lot of photos of the artwork. Some of it was absolutely spectacular. More than once I tripped over one of the thousands of rental scooter parked absolutely everywhere while ogling the beautiful walls. Being absolutely overstuffed, and deciding that one, or both, of us would surely kill or maim ourselves by trying to ride a scooter back to the hotel (and believe me, we seriously considered it after a few fairly strong beers at Kush) we called another Lyft to haul us back to the Kimpton to get ready for.....dinner. (Is there a theme here? I'm sensing one.) \ Kimpton Epic has a small wine bar available from 5pm-6pm, so we grabbed a glass and headed up for a much-needed shower. Our plan was to go to Joe's Stone Crab on South Beach for dinner. We decided on Thursday because we read (on their website) that it's very crowded on Friday and Saturday, and get there before 7pm or there will be quite a wait. Well, our plan was to be there at 6pm. Guess when we arrived? At 7pm sharp we put my name on the waiting list - they do not take reservations or bribes (as if we could out-bribe anyone on South Beach!! BWWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!). The promised to seat us within (ready????) 2 hours. Well, we came all this way, we've been planning on it for months, and we had plenty of lunch and snacks to tide us over. We found a spot at a drink rail and prepared to wait "within 2 hours". After 45 minutes I wandered off to the ladies room and came back to find Mr SpeedNoodles had given my chair to some woman!! THE NERVE! I walk up and he says "hey, these folks are from Northfield, MN!" (guys, literally not 20 minutes from our house). So 1700 miles away from home and we end up chatting with what are, for more or less, neighbors! It was a mom and her two college-aged daughters spending some time in Miami together. We had a lovely time, and wished they'd been booked on Symphony as well. After 1:40 minutes my name was called (cheers all around - literally, the entire bar cheered every time someone's name was called) and we were seated. I don't know how many people they put through there every night, but the dining room is enormous and they were still rotating people in regularly at 10pm. It is an absolute machine. Every single person, from host, to waiters, to bus folks, were working their a**es off. They never rushed anyone through a meal, but the millisecond they vacated a table, it was cleaned to perfection and reset in less than a minute. It was amazing to watch. Mr SpeedNoodles got the Joe's Classic Meal (Stone Crabs, sides, and Key Lime Pie) and I got the Cold Trio (Stone crabs, 1/2 lobster and King Crab). This was the night that I learned that I wasn't a fan of cold seafood. An expensive lesson, to be sure. I found it annoyingly cold, without drawn butter, and without the flavor I'm used to on each species. That being said, I simply didn't know that I didn't like cold seafood before this, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt. Mr SpeedNoodles loved his (and the Key Lime Pie and unique cole slaw was pretty amazing) and I found the entire spectacle worth trying once. I'd even go back again, arriving closer to the 6pm hour, and just ordering something else. They have a great business philosophy. We caught or 5th (that's right, FIFTH) Lyft of the day to get back across to the Kimpton and passed out (neither of us were able to get any sleep the night before, so it'd been quite a while since either of us had slept).
  14. 11 points
    We have a new pilot....they let anyone pilot a cruise ship, plane, you name it these days!
  15. 11 points
    It's very windy (the itinerary channel refers to 45 kts Apparent wind) tonight. The AquaTheature show was canceled, but we had reservations for Hairspray at 8:30pm, so that didn't bother us. At the assembly drill the captain informed us that he was adding about 60 extra miles onto our route to Saint Maarten to hopefully avoid some rougher seas. After watching all of the other ships depart from the port, we took off toward downtown Miami to turn around in the basin. We took in sailaway from our balcony since we had to get ready for dinner at 6:15. While sailaway was supposed to take place at 4:30, we didn't start moving until about 5:35. We enjoyed dinner at Wonderland. The staff was incredible, and the food was inventive and, we thought, pretty darned tasty. We booked it twice this week and I'm glad that we did - there were other things we wanted to try! I was useless with food photos. I suspect that most of my photos will be from port days. The ship itself has been covered well by people much better at it than I am. (Apologies to friends back home - I promise to spam Facebook later with ship photos for you later). The internet is, as the internet speed test showed, "very slow". Still, I am managing ok 🙂
  16. 11 points
    And now folks, we are now caught up! Its now Saturday afternoon. We have received the dreaded luggage tags and departure information. The seas are much calmer now and we are moving at about 20kts towards Galveston. We should be tied up around 6:30am. Earlier in the cruise Johnny mentioned that he wanted to see the bridge. We had talked to Francis about this, and apparently due to "security reasons" this is no longer a suite perk (we got a tour on Anthem) so he signed us up for the all access tour that cost $. Oh well, its something that the geek side of me enjoys so why not. We met this morning in the MDR for the first part of the tour, where one of the managers discussed how many meals are prepared etc. On average 125, 000 meals are prepared weekly. We toured the galley, and saw all the different areas where food is prepared. Shrimp Cocktail anyone? Jonny was impressed at the stacks of covers Bakery operations where 50,000 rolls are baked a day This is the main hot line. Each dining room has its own dedicated line. All food for the windjammer is made in the deck 3 galley. The specialty restaurants have their own galleys. Meals and portions are tracked as they go out so they know what is moving. Following the galley, we headed below to tour the provisioning area. We met with the manager who spoke about how the provisioning happens. Since about 2007, RC has been keeping track of their provisions and what meals are ordered. The provision manager orders the supplies 3 weeks ahead of time. He knows based on historical trends what to order more of and when. All of the loading of the 496,000lbs of provisions happens in 5 hours on turn around day. Currently since we are at the end of the cruise, the ship is nearly empty. You can see some of the remaining fruit being gathered up by crew members. Normally, these stacked metal pallets are full of supplies All of the galleys and food storage areas are completely encased in stainless steel. These are washed down completely every day. The provision manager is actually looking forward to Sunday because he hopes he gets inspected by the health department. Apparently enchantment just was. He feels that with the inspection and the anticipated good marks, he uses that as a tool to show the crew why they go through all the trouble of the extensive cleaning that they do. Next up was the laundry area. We couldn't see all of it for some reason, I couldn't hear what he said very well. I did catch that their main washers have a 9 ton capacity. I should get one of those for my house, that will make laundry much easier. Here is a folding machine Pressing shop All along "I95" the main passageway down the middle of the ship. You can see the weeks recycling all bundled up ready to be offloaded. Crew mess We hit the engine control room where the mechanical parts of the ship is controlled. More elaborate deck plans Close up shots of the propulsion systems and stabilizers Next stop the bridge. The crew gets some more detailed maps of the ship, obviously Emergency plans Finally the bridge. Here are the controls on the port side wing. These mirror those on the center, and starboard side. These guys have a great view Someone was a little excited to drive the ship. We apologize to our shipmates who suddenly felt the ship turn hard...... After the tour we got a sheet of fun facts about the ship that I will post later. I'm off for some more advantures!
  17. 11 points
    There was a little bit of wandering around after dinner. Johnny and I ended up seeing the parade of room attendants on the promenade. They all were carrying towel animals. One was given to him, which made his day. later, we headed to Studio B to catch the ice show Encore, An Ice Spectacular. This was a “review” of musing through the years, from Broadway Musicals to modern pop and rock. I though it was interesting, it started off with Phantom of The Opera, which they must not have a full license for, because they changed the lyrics for the show. The skating and the choreography was very good. There were plenty of spins, triples, flips, lifts etc. I did feel bad, one skater was having an off night, and just could not land his jumps. The show still was very enjoyable. Love and Marriage came later. Always entertaining. The evening was topped though by accidentally twinning with the cruise director, Cory.
  18. 11 points
    Next we headed to the moment we have all been waiting for, which seemed like a lifetime. If you thought it couldn't get any cuter. Here is a 26 day old baby sloth sleeping with his mother. Did I mention that we got to hold them too? This guy was 11 months old. Julie may or may not still be crying..... Afterwards, Julie had to ask the sloth if he approved of her shirt (which is a sleepy sloth riding on a Llama). We believe he said yes, but it was taking him so long to nod that we had to get back to the ship before he could finish.
  19. 11 points

    My Liberty of the Seas REVIEW

    My Review of Liberty of the Seas Quick background info. This is my 6th or 7th Cruise, all but 1 was with Royal. The other was with Norwegian. We live in Washington state and my whole family loves cruising and usually love most things about Royal. Gonna hit a few of the details that I think would be useful to someone traveling with kids, if ya don't mind. Ok so we picked this cruise because we were looking to spend a little less this time around. Airfare is a large portion of our cost so flying to a closer location brought this number down on airfare. That was the reasoning, but it didn't really work out that well. There is a much longer distance to travel from the airport to the cruise port so the money we saved on airfare we spend on ground transportation. Getting a shuttle or other ground transport was similar to the price to rent a car for a week, so we opted for the convenience of a car rental. We have a young family and we needed 2 carseats, but didn't want to carry more junk on the plane so we just bought a new booster and booster with back from walmart(4 miles from houston airport). We had to drive a few miles without the proper seats for the kids but it only cost about $52 for the 2 carseats and the car rental company would have charged about $250. All said and done it ended up being a wash, but atleast the flight was a couple hours shorter which is nice especially when traveling with small children. The other cost we thought about was the Cruise itself, which is cheaper to sail on a little older ship to the western caribbean out of Texas. The ship looked pretty good and we were very happy with the pool, kids waterplay area & waterslides. I did not feel like it was a ship in need of an amplification on the pool deck, although i'm very interested to see it's upcoming changes. The Galveston cruise terminal on the other hand could use some upgrades(yes I know they are coming). Embarkation was really easy, but we arrived at the cruise terminal by 9:30(yea that's super early). It looked like the design of the transportation drop off and porter set up was not ideal and had we shown up during peek time I bet it would be a madhouse. Disembarkation was slow and the ground transportation a mess. MDR service was FANTASTIC as it usually is, and the Windjammer was a chaotic disaster as usual. After the first couple days we avoided the windjammer like the plague. I think the Windjammer food is usually decent, it is just so stressful to eat there. Although this time I thought it lacked a variety of edible food. Day 2 it seemed like everything in the entire buffet was cooked in Fish oil. Wasn't impressed all around. DISCLAIMER - a lot of this feeling comes from eating there with 3 small children, it isn't nearly as bad when it's just the Wife and i. The main thing Liberty should get in an amplification is food venues. If you miss the dining room hours for breakfast and lunch there is only the EVIL Windjammer or Sorrento's pizza. I thought the pizza was very good, but it's basically the only thing we ate if we missed the main dining room. No I didn't forget about the Promenade Cafe, they don't have food that anyone actually eats. Just a couple of doughnuts and a salmon bagel sandwhich for breakfast. In general the customer service was very good on the Liberty, but Adventure Ocean staff this time around wasn't very good. Usually we love Adventure Ocean, but this particular staff just didn't seem as good. The kids didn't want to spend much time there as they usually do either. That brings me to the 2nd most important thing Liberty should get in dry dock... Adventure Ocean remodel. Ice show was good, but it fell short after seeing the FANTASTICALLY AMAZING show on Mariner last year. Singers and Dancers were not very good on this sailing. The comedian was the worst I've ever seen. The comedian juggler was great and we Loved the Piano Lounge Singer in the Schooner Bar. Cruise director Cory was decent and we enjoyed to trivia and games. Casino was a casino. I gambled for a few hours on a few nights and ended up ahead $100. Smoke drifted quite a ways, a better ventilation(or no more smoking) could definitely be nice. Also, I'm so over smoking on the pool deck. Sorry to all you smokers out there, but they should restrict smoking to an area far away from the crowds. On sea days a lot of time the only seats open were on the smoking side. Post cruise we had time to kill so we took the kids to Pleasure Pier for a few hours. This is a small amusement park on a pier over the ocean, It was small but it was mighty. I thought it was gonna be like a parking lot carnival with sketchy rides, but I was really impressed at the quality of the rides.They are built in quality rides, not the tractor trailer death trap style. There isn't a lot of rides but it's a great way to kill a few hours. Best part is my 8 and 12 yr olds could go on every ride and they had 6 or 7 little kiddie rides as well that my 3 year old enjoyed. I honestly wasn't that excited about the Western Caribbean itinerary(probably because of rumors) but we ended up really enjoying all 3 ports (cozumel, grand cayman, falmouth). Overall we had a great time, and anytime I'm on a cruise it's better than when I'm at home working. I did feel like the Liberty had the crappy leftovers as far as shows and performers go. It was interesting to see Texas and Galveston and I'm glad we sailed from this port once. I think once is enough though, we'll keep our Caribbean sailing out of Florida from now on. We have Oasis OTS scheduled for next Thanksgiving(this sailing is priced very reasonably!) I would have liked to do the Group cruise on Harmony that same week, but the price was just so much higher. Hopefully the wife and I can leave the kids behind and sneak off just the 2 of us to an Alaskan cruise between now and our Oasis cruise. I hope this is useful to someone. Happy cruising! ~J~
  20. 11 points
    So back to yesterday. Following the trivia, we let the kids hit the pools before dinner. The kids really like the splash away bay and would stay there the entire day. Earlier, Lydia did the cupcake class. She said she had a lot of fun doing that. Here are some pictures of that. We originally did not sign up for this, but got cornered while at breakfast the other day. Lydia promptly exclaimed she wanted to do that as soon as the crew member asked about it. How can you say no after that. We did get it for 30% off at least.
  21. 11 points
    Jolly Ogre

    Lesson Learned

    You have to make sure you bring a lot of singles for the...."entertainment"
  22. 10 points
    I've taken a look at the dates on the other blogs so that I am not too early to start mine. I figure there is at least one blog already for the same week I am going, I have already got my set sail pass, and luggage tags (allegedly) will be up for print some time today, I am well within my window to begin blogging? Part of the early start is so that as I prepare and pack, I can pick up last minute tips, hints, advice, and guidance from folks out here. You all are a wealth of information and even though I don't post often, I do read daily and feel like I have gotten to know so many of you 🙂 Itinerary: Baltimore to King's Wharf, Bermuda back to Baltimore. Prologue: I had always wanted to go on a cruise but my former spouse (key word being FORMER) would pitch a fit if I suggested it. I won't list his complaints, I have seen you all are familiar with all of them. FINALLY during our 12th year of marriage, my parents offered to take the family on a cruise. Our daughter was 5 at the time and I was so looking forward to it. Without going into detail, the cruise was awful. Wait. No. My x was awful which made the entire trip one that I remember with just sadness. We went for the Thanksgiving week that year and on the 6th of December (a few weeks after) I was escaping in the middle of the night with two packed suitcases and my baby girl. I share this so everyone knows that "cruise" has held such unpleasant memories and feelings for a very long time for me and there was a time that I swore I'd never go on one again. (I thought I had gone on RC but I found my old card in a box of papers a few months back and turns out we'd taken a line that must not be named...) Fast forward ten years. Yup. Ten years. December 2019 was my 10 year anniversary of sneaking those packed suitcases out of the house in the dead of night. I celebrated last year with my daughter (we are both doing amazingly well, are incredibly happy, and have not once regretted the decision to evacuate) and by deciding that I would like to try another cruise because it's not fair to let that one bad experience taint an entire vacation option. To be fair, the cruise was miserable because I was stuck with a falling down drunk x who was being a jerk face and refused to do anything other than drink endless Grey Goose martinis and sleep in the dark room. There were a few highlights like taking my daughter to swim with dolphins but overall.... 😔 The universe sent me a sign last year in the form of a Fraternal organization that I am a member of decided to take a group cruise. It was so spur of the moment and the price was so good and there is another single lady that has a similar background to me as it pertains to the x so I had a room mate to share the cost and I just decided to, as they say here, "YOLO Book It!" I am really excited for this cruise. We will be going to Bermuda, which I have never been to. (The previous one was to the Bahamas). Sailing out of Baltimore MD which is right near where I live in Washington DC (NOVA) area. Last weekend, I had breakfast with the group who is going. There are 32 of us! Our travel agent is the wife of one of our members (it's an International organization) as well as a member herself. The "core group" that is going from my Chapter is myself and my single gal pal and two other married couples we are quite chummy with. I have been slowly preparing since we booked so have been buying a few cute outfits and other goodies. For Xmas, Santa gave me a huge box of those Chlorox with Hydrogen Peroxide wipes and the special luggage tags and a charger thing that I have seen recommended out here by many so my gal pal (GP) and I can charge our stuff up. Side note: we are all a bit on the older side (40s, GP is in her 60s, etc) and no kids coming with. Many of us work long hard jobs so we are looking forward to relaxing and decompressing versus "party all the time". I hear the Neil Diamond Cruise Director guy has left this ship so I am a bit sad about that. Things I am looking forward to: Not working. Although I will stress a little about leaving my assistant in charge without me there for a full week. Prepping her now. She can do this. It will all be fine. (Right?) We are going to be touring the Crystal Caves on a special tour our TA set up for us. We are docked in Bermuda for three days so there is no worry about missing the ship if it runs late. I hear we are going on a pub crawl. I don't drink but I adore a nice pub (there were some gorgeous ones in London when I went). Karaoke and Trivia. Mocktails by the pool. Sunshine. This will be my first real vacation in over ten years. (I think y'all know what I mean when I say that I have gone on holiday but have ALWAYS had either my daughter or parents with me so that's not always a "vacation"....) I plan to live blog as the internet allows. I am going to plan my packing here as that kind of helps me focus and make sure I am not forgetting things. I am taking my fancy camera as the wife of one of the couples we will be with does photography so hoping she helps me learn more how to use the camera. And with all respect to those who like bigger ships, I am so looking forward to sailing the Grandeur before she leaves Baltimore because I feel like I prefer the smaller, quieter, less "Mall of America" ships. (Even though I have never been on any RC ships so a research project is probably called for 😉) I've also found very little in reference to what Grandeur has with menus and food etc so I'll share that for those like me who are trying to find things and can't. My GP also booked this as a YOLO and both of us are kind of apprehensive about our first solo vacations in YEARS. We have spent so many years taking care of others that going on a cruise by ourselves and not having to tend to children or elderly parents is like...... what do I do? My ultimate goal is to erase that prior "incident" and make happy new memories with friends. I am calling this the "DO OVER CRUISE!" On that note.... 60 Days to Go!!!!!!
  23. 10 points
    Today has been a sea day and it’s been pretty lazy so far. We learned a valuable lesson about communication. We emailed our breakfast order to Smitha last night, ordering 6 scrambled eggs and 6 fried eggs to split among 4 of us. This morning, 12 plates of food arrived... we had 6 full orders of scrambled eggs with bacon, sausage, and hash browns. Plus 6 of the same with fried eggs. Whoops. After breakfast we went to the pool. Virginia was bummed she couldn’t go on the big water slides since she’s not tall enough, but she did the smaller one. Lunch was at E Loco Fresh and it was very good. The line was long but moved quickly. Everything was very tasty. We can back to the room, hoping there wouldn’t be any more food, and there wasn’t thankfully. That was until the doorbell rang at 2:45 and in came two trays of food plus kraken lava flow, captain morgan, anejo tequila, milkshake, and two unknown alcohols... Food coma here we come. Now it’s time to get cleaned up for dinner. Tonight is formal night and dinner in 150CP, then off to One Sky at 10:15 Top Tier event was today and I watched the replay to get numbers 157 emerald 316 diamond 187 diamond plus 41 pinnacle Top Cruiser: 8551 points (Super Mario)
  24. 10 points
    Heard at lunch: "This ship, including the Eatin' Package is ruining me for other cruises." - Mr SpeedNoodles
  25. 10 points
    See ya later Liberty! We are headed to the airport. Our wallets a little lighter, waistbands a little tighter, and our hearts full of wonderful memories of a great time with family and new friends we met on board.
  26. 10 points
    Hotel was great for the night, and the free breakfast this morning was good. They had an omelette bar, waffles, scrambled eggs, etc. having been up since 7 am, we are restlessly waiting to go to the port. If Virginia had her way we would have left the hotel at 7:30. She was going around to all four of us saying “come on and get going. We need to get our taxi to the ship.” We will probably leave here around 10 am and get to the port around 10:30 ish. Already planning what we will eat for lunch and what my first drink will be. We are leaning Playmakers for lunch and I’ll probably get my Kraken Lava Flow so that I’ll really feel like I’m on vacation. Virginia is currently in her “pillow car” driving us to the port.
  27. 10 points
    Day 1 - Embarkation Day!!!!!! Yay! The best day of all! We woke up at 8:30 and took our time showering and packing up. My goal was to get to the port by 10:30. We rolled our bags out of the Kimpton around 10:20 - I was so annoyed that I was getting out of the hotel so late! I ordered a Lyft, and within about 50 seconds he rounded the corner to pick us up. Fastest. Ride Share. Ever. We got to the port within 20 minutes (7 minutes to get there, the rest just trying to maneuver through traffic to be dropped off. Our driver was exceedingly patient). A porter descended upon us before we were even out of the car and whisked our bags away. We checked in in the Expedited Check line (in in?). We could have checked in with The Key line. Neither one had more than one person in line, so it was simply a matter of where my eyes wandered first. A quick run through security with our carry ons, up the elevator, and we waited to be let onto the ship. We waited all of about 8 minutes. Shortly after we claimed our spot, they called the Diamond/Diamond Plus members (Pinnacles were screwed?), and then The Key. Boarding was seamless. Having cruised twice already out of Terminal A, this came as no surprise to me, but Mr SpeedNoodles had never experienced anything like it, and he was newly impressed. We boarded the ship right next to the MDR, where they happened to have someone waiting to make our specialty reservations. CHECK! Done. We went down one floor to drop our carry on bags off on Deck 3 of the MDR (another Key benefit). It was still only 10:50 am. We swang by Boleros to exchange (or purchase new) Wow bands, but there were at least 30 people in line, so we bailed on that idea. We instead decided to make a quick stop at the Bionic Bar. On Ovation the robots "names" are Mix and Mingle. On Symphony they are Rock em and Sock em. Sock em made a reasonable Long Island Iced Tea for Mr SpeedNoodles, and we then decided that an early lunch would not be a bad idea (we skipped attempting any breakfast in the morning before departing the hotel). Lunch was on deck 3 in the MDR for The Key - Chops menu. I took no photos of lunch as, really, most people have seen plenty of photos of shrimp, soup, a burger, etc. We enjoyed lunch, or server was quite nice, and we were ready for our day. We went up to Deck 15 (pool deck), grabbed a drink (they had no Kracken yet, I had to "settle" for a Tequila Sunrise with Patron Reposado (cuz Momma doesn't do Cap'n Morgan - it isn't a substitute for Kraken). We wandered until the rooms opened up at 1pm. We're quite pleased with our room. We have an oceanview balcony on deck 12 midship. It's a very similar layout to Ovation, except the balcony is much deeper! We unpacked, threw our swimsuits on, and headed to the extremely uncrowded Solarium to hang out in the hot tub (margarita in hand to celebrate National Margarita Day) before the assembly drill.
  28. 10 points
    Thursday morning we found ourselves docked next to Harmony of the Seas. This is my first time seeing an Oasis class ship up close, and they are MASSIVE. I'll be on Oasis next year so I will soon get to experience them first hand. While everyone was getting ready for the day, I did a coffee run and snagged a few pictures. Here you see the famed "gated community" that is a favorite of many user here. @Lovetocruise2002 will recognize these shots.. I tried to get an Aricelli sighting, but alas, she was off doing what genies do! Once on the dock, that canyon feel between the two ships is really neat. We met up with our fellow excursioners, and were whisked away to Chakanaab for our dolphin experience. We had a great time with the dolphins. We got plenty of interaction time. There were kisses, and cuddles and petting the dolphins. We got to do the dorsal tail pull, and the experience where the dolphins push your feet and you end up standing up. Lydia being light and a cheerleader did really well with this, and was completely out of the water! Unfortunately we don't have pictures from that. They don't allow your own cameras because they want you to buy their package. For us, as a group of 5 would have been $275 for the pictures, no thanks. Following the dolphin encounter, we got a brief encounter with a manatee as well. Lunch and drinks were included in this excursion as well, which was pretty tasty. After lunch, we did some snorkeling and beaching etc. It was a very fun day over all. These were the dolphins that we met, This is an overview of the area the dolphins are in. They all remain in the middle area which is quite large. There are smaller pens on either side where they do some of the interactions. If you are doing the dorsal tow etc, your experience will be in the large middle area. Helpful hints, wear water shoes if you have them. The platforms you stand on are metal grates, and if you are barefoot, they aren't that comfortable. With our day done there, we headed back to the port. We browsed the shops, tasted some tequila, bought some t-shirts and souvenirs. No matter what side you fall on the political spectrum, this shirt is funny... Soon enough it was time to say goodbye to Cozumel.
  29. 10 points

    Anthem & Potential Coronavirus

    Great news !!!! They awarded us C&A points for the entire 8 day Anthem cruise even though it was shortened to 5 days !! 16 points for us since we were in a suite. Only 190 to Pinnacle !!!!
  30. 10 points

    I think I created a monster

    ...and I'm okay with it. 🙂 My wife came home yesterday and said she was looking at short cruises for this fall (we are already booked for two weeks in 2021). Tonight we emailed our TA to go on a 4-night on Navigator in November. Up until this happened, I thought I was the cruise monster in the relationship.
  31. 10 points
    Following our visit to the park, we headed to our next stop which was horse back riding along the beach. This was something Heather has wanted to do for a long time. Bucket List Item ✔️ I don't have as many pictures from this because it isn't exactly easy to take pictures from the back of a moving horse.
  32. 10 points
    Dinner time. For fun we got all matchy matchy. Here are some pictures of the fam. This time I remembered to take some food pictures. Appetizers consisted of, escargot, Roasted Poblano Soup, and the Arugula and Radicchio Salad with Goat Cheese. For entree’s we had the braised beef short ribs, creamy wild mushroom risotto, and the lasagna. I’m still trying to figure out why Heather ordered the lasagna. I’m Italian, and MDR lasagna doesn’t stand a chance against my homemade lasagna. As expected, she didn’t like it. Oh well. For dessert, there was some cheesecake, chocolate cake, and a warm apple fritter that Lydia had. Following dinner, there were some more beverages and adult time while the kids went to adventure ocean. Later that evening was the 80’s music trivia face party which we held on the promenade and was a blast. The cruise director Cory was all decked out in 80’s wear complete with big hair and the promenade was rocking. I pity the people who have those rooms. It’s got to be loud in them when all these parties happen.
  33. 9 points
    This just happened to me recently. I am having surgery TOMORROW (replacing my much-beleaguered left knee...none-too-soon, I might add) !!!!! ...and when I went to the hospital to have my pre-op interview, I, as is my long-time habit, looked for my keys before I left the nurse's office, so that I would have them in my hand and NOT be searching the bottomless abyss that is my pocketbook, when I was ready to get in the car. Nothing...nada...nope. No keys. Anywhere. I pawed, unzipped and finally, panicked. The nurse became alarmed. She said, "let me look. Sometimes it takes a second pair of eyes....". Then I saw...the valet parking ticket that had been given to me when I pulled up to the parking valet....and I realized that my keys were at the valet station. I felt like such a crotchety, forgetful, manic old lady...oh wait.... ...which reminds me of ANOTHER funny story ("I'll be here all week, folks"...😇). A couple of days ago when the Corona Virus first exploded, Dan and I were discussing it and I said, completely straight-faced, "oh, don't worry...it is only killing the old people". I thought Dan was going to roll off the bed, he was laughing so hard. The really sad part is that I didn't get why he was laughing at first. Then it occurred to me....
  34. 9 points

    Cruise Nightmares (literally)

    MY nightmare would be if RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com shut down, I would have NO WHERE to get my Cruise information from anymore.... 😞
  35. 9 points
    I handed Mr SpeedNoodles the NextCruise flyer that our stateroom attendant left on our bed today. He said "let's do it, but only if it's an Oasis Class ship". I'm just dying, lol.
  36. 9 points
    Post cruise thoughts, observations, etc etc. We had a great time on this cruise. Liberty is a great ship there is plenty to do, and the crew that we dealt with are outstanding. My earlier observations about how quickly hallways are cleared continued throughout the week. I don't know if the crew was better, or the passengers were more conscientious than on Navigator, but unlike navigator, I never saw piles of dishes, and glasses everywhere, room service trays did not linger etc. I even saw a couple crew members wet vacuuming and squeegeeing the deck in the splash away bay area. I'm not sure what supervisor they pissed off to get assigned that task, talk about an effort in futility! Comparing Liberty to Anthem and Navigator, I do say we really liked the Music Hall on Anthem so we are happy that came to Oasis for our next few cruises coming up. I really liked El Loco Fresh on Navigator, so I hope for future guests Liberty get that venue. Funny story about paying attention to your bills. Heather purchased some lanyards for herself and the kids, and somehow the cashier charged Heather an 88K tip! Yup, you read that right 88 thousand dollar tip. When looking at the receipt, it looks like there was some sort of glitch, and the system took Heather's account number and placed it in the tip area. We thankfully saw that quickly and guest services quickly took care of that. Lets talk about food. The food on Liberty was better than that on Navigator, but not quite as good as Anthem IMO. I find this interesting since with menus being standardized across the fleet there should be little variation. Speaking of little variation. I witnessed a family discussing the food with a waiter just outside the MDR. They apparently were on a B2B. The waiter asked them why they had not come to the MDR for the second week, and was very concerned that they weren't there, and that somehow his service was the cause of their absence. They assured him that his service wasn't the case, and that they chose to eat elsewhere due to the lack of variety in the MDR. He advised them to talk about this in the post cruise survey, which I also did. While I like the food, I would like to see a better rotation in the menu choices. (I know this is a huge undertaking, but one could hope) I would do this same itinerary again if given the opportunity. In all of the ports, I saw multiple different excursions that I would like to do, so I guess I do have to come back. I would also not hesitate to use the Air2Sea program again. Everything has worked out well. Could I have done transfers to the airport cheaper and maybe not have had this long of down time here waiting for our flights, probably, but again this has had a semblance of So that is appealing. Well those are my thoughts for now. We should be boarding in about 20 minutes, so time to do all the last minute potty breaks etc. Thank you everyone for reading and following along. All of your comments and reactions were truly appreciated. Now my 256 day long dry dock starts, so time to live vicariously through all of you guys!
  37. 9 points
    So currently still sitting in the airport in Houston waiting for our flights. The shuttle ride was uneventful. We got here around 11am and through security quickly and settled in for our long wait. Our flights were scheduled to depart at 4:30. Heather and I are diligent about monitoring flights etc to be aware and proactive about delays. We are flying United and have their smartphone app. All morning our flight has been stating "on time." A neat feature of the United app is that we can see where our plane is coming from. Clicking on that link, we have been following that the plane that is arriving in Houston is starting to get delays. We soon discovered that the plane was going to be departing for Houston over 3hrs later than scheduled. At this rate, we would absolutely miss our connection to Albany. (Our flights still showed on time) Heather quickly went to the United counter to inquire about our flight status. The agent confirmed our suspicions and was able to schedule us on different flights. We will arrive in Albany 20 minutes later than originally planed, but that sure beats the next day. United was nice enough to give us $50 in food vouchers as well. I feel lucky since we now beat out all the other passengers who may be looking for new flights. The departure boards only just updated that our original flights are delayed. We got our flights changed at noon Houston time.
  38. 9 points
    Left the hotel at around 10 and we were in our room by 10:35. We barely had time to snag a glance at the propellers in Terminal A. Smitha was waiting for us at the suite lounge, so we didn’t even have a chance to stop there. Sandwiches and desserts were brought to the room, as well as a birthday cake for Abby. we also celebrated with champagne on the room. Then it was off to explore the ship with my in-laws. Lunch at playmakers. The buffalo chicken crunch rolls were the best thing we had. The rest of the food was good, but those were the favorites. Had a Michelob Ultra. Then off to the New Adventure Ocean. We ran into a teacher that Virginia had on the Anthem GC last year. The teacher is in the 6-12 year old class and told Virginia if she wants to move up from 3-5 she can. We are going to play it by ear and see what she wants. after registering for AO we walked the pool deck then grabbed the first Kraken Lava Flow before a trip down the Ultimate Abyss. Much slower than expected, but was fun. I’ll come back and add pictures later. Now back to get more to drink before Muster Drill.
  39. 9 points
    After dinner we dropped the kids off at adventure ocean, and we started the arduous chore of packing. Since we have the transfer, we have luggage tags #1. Conveniently our departure time lines up with the suite departure time, so in the morning we will meet Francis to be escorted off the ship. The gangways are still down, so it will be deck 1 for departure. with most of the packing done we headed off to the farewell show. In the cruise compass, it was described as a comedy show. Turns out it was a variety show, with a comedy act stuck in the middle. The comic was Dean Austin and he was very funny. After the show we hit the silent dance party. If you have not done this, you should, it’s a great time. They hand out radio headphones with two channels. Each channel has different music playing on them, so you get groups of people singing along and dancing to different songs which results in fun people watching. This is one of Lydia’s favorite events. Johnny gave it the college try, but soon realized all the cool kids were sitting and watching, so he came and sat on my lap. Of course I wasn’t about to let an opportunity to make him do something slip by, so when the YMCA came on, he of course was made to do the motions. These two kept at it, and weren’t impressed by us cool kids. Shortly later, Johnny had no more room in his fun bucket, and that he was tired and ready for bed. We let the ladies continue with their fun, and we headed back to the stateroom. About two minutes after his head hit the pillow, he was out.
  40. 9 points
    Our last meal in the MDR and I finally got a halfway decent sunset. This evenings menu. Appetizers that we chose were the Asian Style pork tacos, and an iceberg wedge salad. Entreés were the lamb Chops, Steak Diane and the Garlic Tiger Shrimps ( which of course, I didn’t get pictures of🤦🏻‍♂️) For dessert, we got the Tres Leches and the Cherries Jubilee Sadly our dinner came to a close, and we said our parting words to our Waiter Bryan from the Philippines and his assistant Raju from India. Raju will be departing with us for a return trip home before continuing on with RC on Oasis. Both received well deserved extra tips from us and we wish them well.
  41. 9 points
    I was up at the crack of dawn, a.k.a. 8:30 (ok, you haters, that's EARLY for me! I'm still on night-shift time!) to get the rest of the house ready and to PACK! We leave early tomorrow morning (yay!). The dogs know something's up and the kiddo (#TheFezz) was heckin' clingy. We had everything done, ready to go, bags by the door - Mr. SpeedNoodles was ready to head up to get some early shut eye, when halfway up the stairs he slowly turns, looks at me, and said "did I give you my underwear and socks?" Ummmm, no? BWAHAHAHA - we NEARLY left without his underwear and socks !!!!!!! Good grief. We'll be up at 0330 to get our butts to the airport. Almost 19 Sun Country flights leave Mpls International Terminal between 6am-7:30am (and it's the small terminal). Check in is usually a zoo so we need to give ourselves plenty of time. #TheFezz giving me the evil eye after I brought the bags up.
  42. 8 points

    Cruise Nightmares (literally)

    Now I'm afraid to fall asleep tonight 😲
  43. 8 points

    Kudos to RCI Security

    So glad you got your door decoration back !! So smart to tell Security. I don't know that I would have thought to do that. Note to self: No stealing door signs. They WILL catch you and throw you overboard !
  44. 8 points

    Is bigger really better?

    Voyager class (Explorer) is a real sweet spot for me. Not so big, easy to get around yet big enough to have a lot to offer. Other Voyager class include Voyager, Navigator, Mariner and Adventure. Freedom class is basically Voyager Plus. They are literally a stretched version of Voyager class. This includes Freedom, Independence and Liberty. The extra length allows a few more venues and more cabins so more guests. The Radiance class is notably smaller by a large margin. Radiance, Brilliance, Serenade and Jewel. Fine ships but no promenade. They were built to be smaller so they could go through the original Panama Canal (the ships above couldn't fit the original canal). No promenade means several venues are not present. No ice skating rink, no adult water slides. Indoor solarium for adults so good ships for all cruise seasons. Looking bigger than Freedom class also gets you into newer ships. Newer ships come with more recent innovations. Oasis class is something that everyone should experience at least once. They are unique and much larger than previous classes. All that extra space allows them to add more venues, activities and entertainment options. The production shows are very good on these ships, much better than previous classes. There is so much going on it helps to disperse the crowds so you don't feel all the additional guests. With so much going on it's hard to try or do everything with just one cruise. Some people feel these ships are too big and they prefer smaller ships. That's fine, to each their own but you have to try one to see for yourself.
  45. 8 points
    Don't you secretly hate those people who are going the opposite direction to you ? I know it's wrong....
  46. 8 points
    Day 3 - Pre-cruise - Sydney The last day before the cruise! Went for a great walk around the harbour and the Barangaroo area finishing with the nice lunch. A relaxed afternoon and evening one again. Organising everything for the cruise tommorow.
  47. 8 points
    Less than 24 hours until our flight leaves. Guess I should start thinking about packing... I do love knowing that we have laundry services. One of my favorite perks of Star Class.
  48. 8 points
    After our trip along the beach on the horses, the benefit of having our own dedicated guide became quite apparent. Our plan was to go to the beach for a bit. William informed us that all the other guides had a group chat going. It was at this time that we learned of the third ship (Carnival) was in port as well, and that all of the beaches were very crowded and that finding a place to sit and get chairs etc would be very hard at this point. We headed there to check some out. He showed us one that wasn't as crowded, but there was no place to change, use the bathroom etc so that one was quickly crossed off the list. We went to another spot that had amenities, but would cost $10/pp. This place really didn't have any beach, so there was a quick veto from the kids. After a brief discussion among the group, we decided that our fun buckets were overflowing, so we would head back to an empty ship and enjoy that. We were quickly whisked away by William and headed back to the port. Overall we had an amazing time there. We highly recommend Bodden Tours if you are ever in Roatan. Back at the port we grabbed a quick snack of some amazing tacos for $3, Next to the taco stand was a place touting the benefits of fish therapy. Yup that's and actual thing. People pay money.... to let fish eat the dead skin off their feet.... This couple that let me take their picture said it felt kind of wHeird..... These are the supposed benefits of this. I'll pass.....
  49. 8 points
    Not so fast Charlie Brown. This live blog: Feb 19, 2020 to Aug 31, 2021 = 549 days. My live blog: Jan. 18, 2020 to Jan 16, 2022 = 729 days.
  50. 8 points
    Day 1 continued - Pre-Cruise After packing completed, off to Auckland International Airport. With Premium Check-in it’s a fast transit through into the departure area. A great flight of just on 3 hours. A 3 course meal for dinner and managed to watch a movie. (Menu attached) Once in Sydney took the train to Central (Sydney has an excellent Airport Line!) then transferred to the new Light Rail Line to the hotel close to Circular Quay (Cruise terminal) Good weather and about 28 degrees celcius.
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