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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/05/2019 in all areas

  1. 88 points

    Don't do any of these things

    Hi everyone, I know we get heated debating which dessert is the best one to order, or if a balcony room is worth it, but let's keep these basic rules in mind when chatting here. No profanity No personal insults No political discussion No debating religion Keep your posts relevant and accurate to each specific thread. We can all have our little fun within each thread but please make sure the information you're putting out there is correct and current. Topics not related to Royal Caribbean may be removed. Posts or comments encouraging cruisers to break any Royal Caribbean policy is not allowed and will be removed.
  2. 55 points
    Okay, I'm just relieved that this is direction this thread is headed in...
  3. 36 points
    Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us
  4. 34 points
    Galveston Steve

    Carolyn Kraft

    I’m on Enchantment of the Seas right now as well. I have a different perspective. Tuesday afternoon a 600 foot tanker ran into an 80 foot fishing boat at the entrance to the Houston-Galveston Ship Channel. 1 person confirmed dead, 1 person in the hospital. The Coast Guard abandoned the search for two other missing crew members today and they are presumed dead. The crew of the Pappy’s Pride fishing boat and their families are having a horrible week, much worse than I ever hope you or I have. I’m happy to be enjoying time on a cruise ship with my family this week. Due to this tragedy there has been NO ship traffic in or out of the ports of Houston, Galveston, or Texas City since Tuesday afternoon. The economic impact of shutting down tanker and other ship traffic in this area is staggering. After Enchantment waited offshore all day, the Coast Guard was gracious enough to allow her into port Wednesday afternoon as she passed within yards of the wreckage site at a very slow speed while the responders were still securing the wrecked vessel, controlling the environmental damage, and searching for two missing human beings. After waiting all last night and all day today, Enchantment was escorted out of port this afternoon in heavy fog with two pilot boats off our bow to ensure we safely traversed the fog. I was deeply moved as we passed the crash site at a very slow speed so as not to disturb the small fleet of boats and the crane platform that were continuing the recovery operation in the channel. Enchantment of the Seas was the ONLY ship allowed to come in or out of the area since Tuesday afternoon. Then Carnival Dream was finally allowed in this evening after she waited offshore all day. As of this moment the area remains closed to all other ship traffic. Only a few small service boats have been allowed in the area. Royal Caribbean provided text and email updates about every two hours yesterday as we waited to learn when we could board. Enchantment’s captain provided several updates last night after we boarded, and several more updates throughout the day today. There was little information that they could provide because they had no control over the weather or the tragic situation in the Galveston Jetties, but they checked in with us regularly to let us know they were communicating with authorities and trying to get us underway. They also did not offer false hope or speculation because they knew the situation was fluid and telling us one thing and then changing their story would have drawn much criticism. We’re now underway to Cozumel and I’ve been having a great time, all things considered. I’ve used my cell phone as a tool to find out as much as I could about what was happening with our situation, much of which is spelled out above. May God bless the crew of Pappy’s Pride and their families. May those who perished Rest In Peace.
  5. 33 points

    Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

    I wonder if grandpa has ever come back to his car in a snow storm and found his car full of snow because he didn't know his window was open? Probably has a wicked air conditioning bill in the summer when the windows in the house are open. Drive through restaurants must be a PITA for him. Is the window open or not? So confusing. Is he a Mac IT professional because Windows seems to give him a lot of trouble.
  6. 32 points

    Why are people addicted to cruising?

    Look man, it's not an addiction. I can quit whenever I want to.
  7. 32 points
    I was on a call today and we were told that in reality it is taking them more like 45 business days on the first round to complete the cancellations and while they have put that out for the other two rounds, they hope that they can do those faster. Royal is supposed to be sending an apology to all guests as well. Not posting this for people to attack on it, or comment really... Just wanted to post it somewhere so people would see this and maybe ask for everyone to be understanding of those that are working on all of these cancellations. The person that you call in at the call center is not the person that is working on the cancellations. Your Travel Planner does not have a way to speed the process up. This is a Pandemic that was not planned for and everyone that is left working is working hard to process these cancellations.
  8. 32 points
    I know what you are thinking. January 2022? Did I read that right? In order to secure a great price on one of only two Star Class Ultimate Panoramic Suites on Oasis I booked this a couple of months ago when the itineraries where first released. Within minutes of them going public I secured the 2nd of these two suites in the name of research and, well it seemed like a good excuse to book a cruise. That's nice and all but why start a blog now? I am so tired of @Matt beating up on my fellow Canadian @Lovetocruise2002 even though we all knew he has the record for starting a cruise blog the longest before any sailing in the history of these boards that I had to step in and take action. So back off Matt! Seven hundred and twenty nine days. Itinerary as it stands today includes Puerto Plata, DR, St Thomas USVI and San Juan Puerto Rico. This may be my only 2020 update. I'll do my best to update this blog at least once in 2021. Until then, let it be known I hold the record for the longest pre-cruise early blogging award!
  9. 31 points

    Feeling Discouraged....

    Ok, first, if you're reading a forum where people are shaming other people, leave that forum. That's unnecessary. We don't do that here. There's no reason for you to feel badly about a cruise like that. $50 is plenty because it truly is on top of what is expected. If you WANT to leave more, that's fine - if you want to leave less, there's nothing wrong with that either. I've left less, I've left more, depending on my particular room steward.
  10. 31 points

    Lurkers Unite!

    Hi everyone! I pride myself on being very social when I meet people in person, but online, I’m a certified lurker 🤣. I read the message boards, take notes 🤓, and have learned so much from everyone on this blog (thanks @Matt for this awesome platform) but I rarely make a post or comment. Maybe it’s because everyone has already said what I was thinking (and y’all don’t need to see my “ditto” response 😂)... Maybe it’s because I can’t come up with any interesting new questions or topics that are worth posting 🤔... Maybe it’s because I’m afraid that my post will be the equivalent of the kid sitting alone at the lunch table in a crowded middle school cafeteria 😢😬... Soooooooo... This post is dedicated to all of the lurkers out there just like me! Say hi, hit like, or drop a comment of your choosing below! Or don’t. 😁 You are still loved and welcomed here!
  11. 30 points
    ISince we are docked at the downtown pier, we decided to go out into town for a while. Beside us is docked NCL Breakaway. Out in the bay, offshore, is the NCL Escape. She is tendering her peeps ashore with lifeboats. Glad I’m not on Escape ! We walked down to the Plaza and decided to have a couple of beers and some chips and pico de gallo. This was the first alcohol that either of us have had the entire cruise ! The cold Coronas tasted pretty good. More about this, later. At some point, Dan mentioned something about maybe getting a cheap massage. Oh yeah....that sounded like a GREAT idea. After finishing our beers and chips, we asked our waiter if there was anywhere close where we could get a massage. It seemed we were in luck ! No more than 20 paces down the side street was a spa. The decision was made. If the price was right, we were getting massages. Trust me, this is no foo foo spa. It’s a hole-in-the-wall place but the price seemed right. $70 each for a 90 minute massage. Done. They put us in a “room” for 2. I put “room” in quotations because it is really just 1 big room with curtains to separate the “private” areas. Good enough for us. I will just say up front that this was one of the best massages I have ever had. Most masseuses hurt me. I guess I’m just a wimp but the whole “deep tissue” thing is about as far from enjoyable as I can get. But this lovely lady’s touch was perfect. You start out on your belly, of course, and I was really settling in...enjoying every stroke. She did my back, neck and shoulders. Heaven. Then she moved to my legs....and trouble began to brew. Here’s where the forewarning from the beer and chips photo comes back into play. As if, by some awesome force of nature and gravity combined, the moment she started pushing “up” (towards my torso) on my legs, the beer bubbles began to be pushed up from my belly. Had I been standing, I would simply let out a diminutive “burp” and all would have been fine....but I was laying on my stomach and those beer bubbles were trapped between my stomach and my throat. I tried to maneuver in a way that would allow them to escape, but nopesville. They just kept accumulating in a most unpleasant location, soon to be joined by some chips and salsa (thank you, hiatal hyneria). It was both horrifying and hilarious at the same time. I thought the legwork would never end. Finally, after what seemed like hours, she whispered “turn over on your back, please”. As soon as I moved, the loudest, most manly, horrific belch came roaring out. It was so loud I’m sure they heard it across the street. Dan said “are you ok ?” I was so relieved. I just muttered “yes, I’m fine”. The moral of this story is NEVER drink a beer before having a massage !
  12. 29 points
    Hi everyone, For 6 months, I was working in the shops onboard Independence Of The Seas. I actually got the opportunity to meet some of you guys, and I just wanted say thank you for saying hello! I actually made some YouTube vlogs of my experience during this contract, and wanted to share it with you guys. I'm trying to show what being a Royal Caribbean crew member is like, and I think a lot of you guys will find this very interesting! In this first vlog, I show you the sign-on process. Me, walking on to the ship as a new crew member - followed by a ship tour. https://youtu.be/TwY2wMDjpBk I'm have begun my next contract onboard Mariner Of The Seas for 7 months, starting my new role as a Casino Host. I hope to meet more of you soon, and ask me any questions you may have about being a crew member! Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel as well. One day, I hope to vlog for Royal Caribbean full time! www.youtube.com/ChristopherWongVLOGS Chris
  13. 29 points
    Odyssey October 2021 Italy/Greece. 9 nights with overnight in Athens. Will spend a few days in Rome before cruise. So Excited! This itinerary has been on my radar for a few years. Each year we cruise to celebrate another year cancer free. This cruise will be the 5 year mark. I was given a 15% chance to make it 5 years. I have every intention of making this cruise. Stage 4B endometrial cancer. I also have Lynch Syndrome which is a hereditary cancer gene that puts me at risk for another 12 cancers. So looking forward to living life to the fullest!
  14. 28 points

    I did what I said I wouldn’t do!

    I said I wasn't going to book another cruise and I held firm on that... I booked two.
  15. 28 points

    We get to plan a new Cruise!!!

    Perspective is the word of the day. My cruise was a luxury. A break from life and the daily grind. It's a bummer I have to reschedule, and have to cancel my PTO request.....but ......I have an awesome family, I have my health, and....now.....I get to pick out, and plan another cruise to replace the one we just lost! So....as upset we are at losing a vacation, and the hassle of canceling hotels and excursions and such....just ask yourself......
  16. 28 points

    Guide to Chair Hogs

    I like to help the greater cruise community. I find a chair for myself that is available. Then as I have observed an area for a while, I move chair hog stuff and return to my chair. Some innocent person comes along and starts using the now empty chair. Chair hog returns and confronts innocent person who can honestly claim they didn't do it, the chair was unused. Walking to breakfast if I notice a series of hogged chairs that are still hogged when I return from breakfast I grab the towel and drop it off somewhere. Chair is freed up. I consider it a community service.
  17. 28 points
    In the words as sung by Britney Spears... 🎵 Oops, I Did it Again 🎵 For those who are wondering what is he talking about? (or thinking I've enjoyed one too many happy hour drinks) I just finished 14 nights on this little beauty last week. You can read about that B2B experience here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/14213-empress-b2b-14-nights-on-the-biggest-little-ship-july-2019/ Those cruises were great but they were Western Caribbean and this 8 night cruise is Eastern Caribbean including a stop at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Royal hasn't visited the BVI very much in recent years so when I saw the BVI added to the itinerary in the wake of the Cuba cancellations I knew I had to do it. Icing on my cake comes courtesy of another visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay. Itinerary Miami Perfect Day at CocoCay Sea Day San Juan Tortola St Thomas Sea Day Sea Day Miami Our Perfect Day ends at 2pm so we can make it to San Juan for a 3pm arrival after a day at sea. We stay until midnight in San Juan so if all goes well I hope to get some evening and night pictures around San Juan. Sailing in a Junior Suite I have scored one of the most forward deck 9 JS cabins this time. I love this small ship and her big heart. It's a good thing I love this ship because this will be my fourth cruise on her. My Crown and Anchor points haven't been posted yet from my last cruise on her so with the "paint still wet", I'm heading back to the love of my life, or at least the love of my life right now. Because I'm flying I don't like taking just one cruise so with a night off the water in between, I'm doing a side-to-side over to Majesty right after this cruise. A few years ago I started dreaming about a tour of the small ships and this marks another step towards completing that goal. I think I set a record this time having packed my suitcase a full two days before the cruise. Basically I took my cruise clothes from the dryer and put them right back into my suitcase. " You see my problem is this I'm dreaming away Wishing that heroes, they truly exist I cry, watching the days Can't you see I'm a fool in so many ways But to lose all my senses That is just so typically me Oh baby, oh " Okay that doesn't make total sense but it's the only part of the lyrics that somewhat fit so I'm going with it.
  18. 27 points

    Muster 2.0

    There's an easy fix for that though .... Passenger attempts to buy drink ... ding ... i'm sorry sir the computer says you haven't completed the EMuster so your charge privileges have been deactivated, please follow these instructions to reactivate your account.
  19. 27 points

    Dear Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

    The NCL article shocks the system, how very very sad. BUT, your loyal patrons are here standing by waiting to sail again. Speaking for my family we found ourselves comparing our land vacations to sailing every time and each and every time sailing came out on top. We know you are looking outside the box for ways to get us sailing again for everyones safety BUT glance back and look within also. Our TA family is working so hard and partnering with your patrons for an amazing sailing future. Concentrate on accuracy + speed. Raise the bar and pay attention to the details of our refunds and FCC 's. Please take a look and be as transparent as possible, maybe add one more step to make sure your loyal customers are made whole, the first time. There is a lot of confusion on this end. Re: monies out vs monies refunded. We want you to succeed, we enjoy so much and choose to spend our very hard earned monies with YOU. Please remember we will be at embarkation on the other side of this awful situation. Every aspect of our interactions matter, everyone needs to be important no matter what the exchange. Please don't relax to soon pertaining to your customers at this time, we do our best to advocate for you and cruising at every nasty insult, looking forward to sailing again soon, 12 June 2020 would be great! Don't let this NCL news bring us down! Thanks for reading RCCL rep, we know you are here somewhere!
  20. 27 points
    who are working especially hard during this Covidilemma - waiting on hold with the cruise companies (ALL of them!), rebooking, refunding, repricing, upgrading - WHATEVER. I imagine they are all putting in LOTS of extra hours to help their clients. (We're looking at you, M.E.I. folks, but also so many more of the great ones out there!). We appreciate you!
  21. 27 points

    Oasis Denied and MEI Awesomeness

    I know catchy title but the worst happened this week. I have a cruise for this Sunday, 8 March 2020 on Oasis of the Seas. We booked this cruise a year and half ago and was really looking forward to it. I woke up Tuesday morning with the room spinning out of control and feeling very nauseous. I knew that feeling, it was the flu. Knowing I couldn’t just ride it out I had to go to the doctors and get a note indicating my status to inform RCI. Under the rules I had to be 14 days well to sail and I was well within that window. So off I went to the walk-in clinic where they jabbed a cotton swab so far up my nose I thought they were hitting brain. Nurse puts it in a container and says I will be back in 10 minutes to let you know the results. PA walks in next and says what I already suspected- Influenza Type A....UGH! There goes the trip. At this point I send an email to @michelle at MEI to let her know what was going on. Michelle let us know our options - Go to insurance (always get insurance people) and get the money back or she would TRY and rebook us but no promises. She had me choose 3 cruises by priority and she would give them a call. This morning I woke up to a new cruise in December 2020 and all the previous items for the Oasis cruise will be refunded and the cruise money itself will transfer over to new cruise. I just have to replan the cruise for what we want to do. I love doing that already so I’ll have fun doing a new cruise planner. I found about MEI from this blog, as I have never had an agent before, and this is a classic case of why they are so important. I have learned so much from this site so thanks to @Matt for starting this blog forum. Plug for Michelle - she did an awesome job in a very short amount of time and I am so thankful for her help. If you ever thought of an agent but said no, I could do it myself, think again...I would still be on the phone with the flu trying to fix this mess. Instead I was home in bed taking Tamiflu and getting rid of this flu without having to rebook or fight the insurance for a refund! Thanks again and maybe this thread can help someone else in the future if the worst happens to you pre-cruise week. Oh BTW - someone should be getting a Royal-up for Junior Suite 12636 soon since I had to cancel. And, I did have a flu shot this year so It didn’t work so well.
  22. 27 points
    Cell phones. My travel agency, while waiting on hold to reprice a cruise offered this piece of advice. Change your screen saver or lock screen image to be your SetSail Pass or something the cruise line can use to identify you. That super cool wallpaper that comes with your phone looks great but with a device locked no one from the ship can figure out who owns the most recent lost cell phone. By using an image on your lock screen that the cruise line can reference if you lose your phone on board you stand a much better chance of getting it returned. Makes sense. When you get home put it back to that super cool default lock screen image but while on board consider something that works to help you getting repatriated with your lost device.
  23. 26 points
    I can't start into the actual cruise until I mention the Queen Mary. As a cruise geek this is the ultimate way to kick off any cruise. The Queen Mary is an ocean liner that began service in 1936. She was built with one mission in mind - sailing the North Atlantic between Southampton and New York. Before the days of airplanes flying between the continents there was only one way to make the journey - by sea. She isn't a cruise ship exactly, she just had two destinations repeated week after week. However you can see where many of the things we have come to enjoy on modern cruise ships have evolved from the days of ocean liners. The Queen Mary ended service in 1967 and was sailed for the last time to the harbor in Long Beach California. The City of Long Beach bought the Queen Mary outbidding a Chinese scrapyard and so the QM lives on now as a museum and hotel. I've stayed here before since Carnival sails from Long Beach right next door, within walking distance of the QM. On this occasion I booked a Deluxe King room for $129 per night plus local taxes. This is pretty competitive with local hotels so given the opportunity to stay on this historic old ship I'll do it every time. The QM isn't a small ship. In dimensions she approaches Voyager class and she was too big for the Panama Canal the day she was built. This cabin was considered first class in the day but the decor is more modern compared to what a guest in 1936 would have experienced. While not a suite it was a large step up above third class. In 1936 a one way first class fare was $1,074. As a means to conserve limited fresh water supplies, guests could choose hot salt water, cold salt water, hot fresh water or cold fresh water. Those aren't functional today, the modern shower control above and to the left controls the water now. Several vents that double as thermostats. Want it warmer? Slide to left. Want cool air? Slide to the right. These are not operational today, modern thermostats are used but it's cool to see how guests would have warmed their cabins in the cold North Atlantic. Working portholes! No balconies on ships in those days, these portholes were a luxury. The flat panel TV's were added during a renovation to meet modern expectations for a hotel room.
  24. 26 points

    Best Eleven Days

    I was on the recent extended Empress cruise (due to Dorian), it was my first cruise, and I just wanted to say that was the best consecutive eleven days I've ever experienced, and I'm an old guy that's seen a lot. I'm a huge Royal Caribbean fan now, can't imagine riding with anyone else from here on out. I don't know if it's appropriate but I'm posting a sunset photo taken the night before arriving back in Miami.
  25. 25 points

    I did what I said I wouldn’t do!

    .......put down another deposit. 🙄 Good grief. Our May Symphony was canceled, so rebooked for October with FCC, which will likely be canceled. Can’t Lift and Shift because we already have Odyssey booked for next October. This itinerary is rarely offered: St Thomas, St Maarten (our favorite), CocoCay. Next date: May 29, 2021. Start “browsing” availability. Hardly anything left. Panic! Go from JS this past May to oversized balcony October down to regular balcony next May. Call friends who we are booked with. Scan cabins. Find 2 together and bingo zippy, we are booked. I SWORE I would not give them anymore “real” money. Fail. (It is a refundable deposit 😁) Hi, my name is Jill and I’m a cruisaholic.
  26. 25 points
    Omg I thought the same thing....
  27. 25 points


    You're lucky i'm not in charge, i would ban smoking indoors (to include the casino) and make the only place for smoking, in the aft (designated section) upper decks. If you get caught smoking in a non-authorized location, you would be dropped off at the next port. I'm surprised that Royal Caribbean hasn't been sued yet, by an employee that has been diagnosed with cancer from second hand smoke due to improper ventilation in the casinos.
  28. 25 points
    I for one have stopped trying to promote the cruise industry and agree wholeheartedly with everything they said. The last thing I need is more people to book cruises (driving up the cost for me). It's terrible out there folks. The sea was 90' yesterday (away from the Promenade deck). I hear that 99% of all cruise ships got stranded (away from a boring existence) yesterday. Everyone on board is sick (of being on land). I went missing (and none of my clients know I'm on a ship). There were 75 mph winds (for anyone driving on the interstate with their hands out the window in Florida). Yep, it's not a life for the faint of heart. Avoid cruising (so I can book cheaper cruises). If they don't want to go, please don't try to correct them.
  29. 24 points
    Baked Alaska

    Lift & Shift Tagline

    The name of it sounds like a tagline for underwear: "Lift & Shift for that Royal Wedgie."
  30. 24 points
    Ovation of the Seas, 11 Nights departing from Sydney Australia to New Zealand For many years I avoided Alaska cruises on the premise that bikinis are better than parkas. Then I finally did an Alaskan cruise. Just wow! Why did I wait so long? That experience got me looking even farther from home and I realized the same could be said for Australia and New Zealand. Learning from Alaska I decided to just do it. YOLO! I've always wanted to visit both Australia and New Zealand so hopefully this will be a rehearsal for more cruising down under. Practice makes perfect. This is me doing my single digit dance. It's a long flight to Australia, I take off early one day and land two days later. Somehow it ended up being 2 days and a few hours to get there with a connection. Fortunately it takes less than 6 hours to fly home. Strong tailwinds I guess. With the time change it's already well into tomorrow there. I can never keep that straight. All I know is that this cruise is costing me two days of my life just to get there so I have high expectations. This is an 11 night cruise but weather permitting we'll have one day sailing through Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. With the three sounds all on day 9 the itinerary looks longer than it is. Here's hoping for good weather. Just one tender port so that's a plus. I tendered on Ovation in Hawaii so that doesn't concern me. With the time change it seems that Sydney always celebrates New Years Eve before North America so on that basis I'll get to watch the Super Bowl a day before you folks in North America. I'll post the outcome here, get ready to place your bets. Super Bowl Monday here we come. The game starts mid-morning so there may be some day drinking involved. At least it's on a sea day. Flying into Sydney two days prior and staying downtown my plan is to take the train into the city and sleep for the rest of the day. Other plans include the Sydney Bridge Climb and a tour of the Sydney Opera House after which I'll either crash hard or have some gas left in the tank to explore a little bit more. If I have time I may try to find Alice. Maybe I'll get up early (or be up already) to watch Ovation come into port. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go... 'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane...
  31. 24 points
    Well, actually we’ll fly on down, but you get the idea. Warnings/Disclaimers: This blog is the sole opinions and thoughts of just the old guy who is writing it. It doesn't reflect the thoughts, opinions, clarity, good sense or tact possessed by those sailing with me. And to be clear, I don’t have the sense of humor, literary skills, or good judgement of most of you who post these live blogs. But I'm going to do it anyway. I guess I can be labeled as a “lurker” on this site. I read it daily but have made only a few comments. So today I take the plunge and become one of you by just jumping in the deep end with a live blog! Two weeks from today I will be in the air traveling from Palm Springs, California to Miami to begin our next Star Class adventure. In 2017 we sailed on the Oasis in a crown loft suite and thought we had found the ultimate way to cruise. But no, there was more to discover! In 2018 we booked another crown loft, this time on the Allure. A month or so later while checking for a price reduction I stumbled across something called the.Royal loft Suite! After watching a quick YouTube video of that suite I quickly booked it. YOLO as someone on this blog always says. We sailed in July with Dave Mac as our Genie and there was no turning back. In May of 2019 we cruised in the RLS on the Harmony with the amazing, wonderful Ariceli who I think has spoiled us for life! As I said, there’s no turning back now so two weeks from tomorrow we will be in the RLS on the “new” Oasis and will have Allan as our Genie. If this blog goes as planned you will see and hear much about each of us and what we will be doing during the week. So let me introduce our merry band of sailors: Stacy, my bride and partner. I many times refer to her as Pollyanna, which is defined as “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person.” Defines her to a T. She sees the good in everything and everyone. Poor thing. My Pollyanna uses those traits everyday as she toils as an RN, or BSN to be accurate, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. She is our cruise planner, specializing in the culinary aspects of the Star Class experience. As she takes her break from those 12 hour shifts at the hospital she will be seen around the ship with a permanent smile on her face and a blended Love Connection drink in her hand. I expect she will pop in on this blog and provide you with some of her excessive cheerfulness! Shari who I refer to as Polyanna2. Yeah, no kidding. Another one. Stacy’s identical twin sister. The Oasis is a big ship but I’m not sure there’s room enough for this goodness! She and her family have cruised with us the last three trips but this time she will leave them behind at jobs and school while she gets a well deserved week of relaxation. Shari is the 24/7 caregiver for her mother-in-law who suffers from dementia. That’s a task where that Pollyanna thing coms in pretty handy. I expect the twins to be side by side everyday and although they act and talk alike you can tell them apart by their hands. Shari’s will be holding a Bud Light! Daughter Taylor, almost 21. Young T, as I call her, is a preschool teacher with with a gaggle of I think 3 year olds. Can you imagine? A classroom full of germ carrying, tantrum throwing, runny nosed 3 year olds and Taylor is too young to drink! T is the calm, chill one in the group. She gets that from me. You will find her sleeping late, spending lazy days in the sun and with one of two things in her hand. Her Starbucks or a virgin Pina Colada. I told our Genie that I think T holds the Harmony record for most virgin Pina Coladas consumed in one week! We might also find her in the casino which she discovered last year. Daughter Kaitlyn, 30 something. The party girl of the bunch. She is also a nurse like her mom. But she is in the other Intensive Care Unit – the one for adults. Same hospital as her mom. On December 19th Katie received her Doctorate of Nurse Practioner degree which we will be celebrating on the cruise. So now she has more letters behind her name: Dr. Taylor, RN, BSN, DNP, EIEIO. I asked the Genie for time in the engine room for this one because she can talk and drink like a seasoned sailor! You’ll recognize her by her flaming red hair the the gin and tonic in her hand. Or a Margarita. Or a vodka and soda. Or…well you get the idea. Rounding our our group is yours truly, Jim. The quiet one of the group. I will usually be found on that massive balcony at our suite, on the quiet suite sun deck or in the suite lounge. With a Jack Daniels and sprite in one hand and a camera in the other. My plan is to try and share as much here in words and photos as I can. I have enjoyed and learned so much from reading others blogs here so I hope to return that favor. I’m sure much of the blog will deal with Star Class aspects as I try to justify why we spend a bazillion dollars every year to do this! I will be doing Genie recon for those sailing after us and will certainly try to answer questions anyone has once we board. We plan on eating everywhere except the Chef’s Table this year. We’ll even work in the MDR for a breakfast or lunch and a couple of trips to the Jammer. I think we will do all of the shows. Even Cats. Yep, I’m gonna do it. I’ll spend the afternoon in the suite lounge slamming the Jack and sprites and then go experience the feline extravaganza! We have no plans for Cozumel or Falmouth. Just maybe a little shopping and back on the ship. We are looking forward to Labadee which we all love. A relaxing day on the suite beach. In the lead up to our sail day I plan to share more about our travel plans, our night in Miami, our previous experiences with RC and how we survive the Miami airport as we disembark on Super Bowl Sunday. I might have to involve Jack in breakfast plans that morning! I know its somewhat early to post but I’m hoping we can all share and get to know each other by our sail date. It’s not too early by Matt or Sabrina’s standards but it is early! So come along for the ride with this crazy bunch as we embark on our 3rd Star Class adventure. It’s a long way from my first sailing on the Song of Norway.
  32. 24 points

    Feeling Discouraged....

    $50 is very generous. Whoever said that the daily grats don’t get the room attendants doesn’t know what he** they’re talking about. They most certainly do. Ignore that forum. Someone is just trying to make themselves look like big spenders. That kind are usually making up for some personal shortcoming.
  33. 23 points
    I always try to stay positive but Royal has implemented an unprecedented change that should be a cause for concern for everyone. They are changing a ship, swapping an Oasis class ship to a Freedom class ship and arbitrarily moving guests into new cabins with no recourse, no refund and few options. This is unprecedented and it should be a cause for concern for anyone booking a Royal Caribbean cruise. The ship and cabin or cabin category you book may not be what you find yourself sailing. Without notice or communication your ship and cabin can be substituted to something else. We all know that the cruise contract allows Royal to make certain changes when they are required to do so. Historically that has resulted in itinerary changes that substitute different ports of call. That's different than swapping in an entirely different ship. Historically when Royal redeploys a ship the future cruises on the impacted ship are cancelled and they have typically offer some sort of compensation in the form of a small on board credit. That's not happening now. In the case of Allure of the Seas from Galveston Royal Caribbean has decided to postpone building the new terminal there which means that Allure can't sail from Galveston as they had planned. This morning I have discovered that rather than cancelling Allure bookings Royal has substituted Liberty of the Seas in her place and arbitrarily changed cabins to a different cabin category downgrading in the process. The options they have offered - accept their change or lose the deposit. Imagine booking an international flight in First Class that includes lie flat seats, complimentary meal and beverage service and everything else that goes with First Class only to discover the airline has swapped in a smaller plane and placed you in another seat that doesn't include any First Class benefits. That is what Royal Caribbean is now doing on future cruises without changing the fare paid or offering any compensation. This change is unprecedented. Why Should This Matter To You The cruise you book can and will be changed by Royal Caribbean to anything they want without notice or compensation. They aren't just changing some ports on an itinerary, they are now changing the entire ship and cabin category. Let's say you booked Oasis of the Seas. You may find that ship has been redeployed due to the pandemic and now your cruise is moved to another ship. Maybe even a smaller ship that doesn't offer your type of cabin or any of the features and activities for the ship you booked. I can understand why they need to do this. Cancelling thousands of bookings at a time when there is no income is a recipe for bankruptcy. However for us, the cruising public on the receiving end of these unprecedented changes, it represents a whole new level of risk when booking a cruise. This pandemic has created unprecedented changes at so many levels. This move by Royal Caribbean represents a new twist to vacation planning on a level we've never experienced before. I've long said I don't care where the cruise goes, just get me on the ship. The problem now when booking a cruise is I don't know what ship I will actually be sailing on.
  34. 23 points

    Wanted to thank everyone

    For being so helpful and nonjudgmental even when asking a lot of questions! This forum is very helpful for cruises! I will recommend it to everyone!
  35. 23 points
    I got off the elevator and decided that the least I could do was help guide him all the way to the act of this ship to Windjammer. I asked him if he minded me walking with him to the Windjammer and he took my arm and we trekked all the way across the pool deck. He told me he had paid extra to have a wheelchair and assistance but that someone complained about it? I didn't really quite understand the story and didn't really ask for clarification. He said he took a 16 day cruise and he's going to Africa in April. Pretty amazing travels he has done. We got to the Windjammer where I asked the greeter if he minded helping my new friend. The greeter was amazing and he took his arm and started asking him what he was wanting to eat and helped him to the handwashing station. I didn't think to catch his name tag but as soon as my room service is delivered I am popping back over to Windjammer to get his name so I can fill out a WOW comment card for him.
  36. 23 points
    Danielle OG

    Thank you

    Hi everyone, I am leaving on my very first cruise tomorrow (starting the drive today) and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Matt, and everyone else here! I feel so confident going into this cruise. Between these message boards and Matt's live videos, I had all of my questions answered. This community is so positive and it just makes me that much more excited for my vacation! So again, thank you so much and happy cruising to you all 🙂
  37. 23 points
    Day 1 IT'S CRUISE DAY!!! But first, more Queen Mary pictures in daylight. The Queen Mary was a fast ship. Faster than today's cruise ships of this size or larger. She routinely cruised at over 28 knots and during sea trials she reached just over 32 knots. This enclosed promenade deck would have been popular on those cold North Atlantic winter crossings. The Verandah Grill towards the aft of the ship was an extra cost restaurant. In other words the concept of specialty dining started decades before modern cruise lines embraced the idea. During World War II the Queen Mary was put into service as a troop carrier bringing troops back and forth between the US. and Britain. She was painted grey and earned the name the Grey Ghost. Her top speeds allowed her to elude german u-boats. On one crossing she carried a staggering 15,740 service personnel with a crew of 943 for a total of 16,683 souls on board. That remains the highest count ever carried by any vessel, a record that is unlikely to ever be broken. During this time they removed all the fine china and crystal and converted every square inch to the goal of maximizing space for the troops. Gone were the cabin class 1st class accommodations, it was all about squeezing troops on board. During the war when she was a troop carrier he was fitted with anti aircraft guns. A lego model has been constructed and is on display in a room called the shipyard. Sir Winston Churchill would routinely sail her during the war to coordinate efforts with the allies. In this photo he is sitting by this very fireplace. How about these lifeboats? The bridge: The Captain's quarters have been preserved in their original condition. She even had a fitness center back in the day with modern exercise equipment. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend a stay on the Queen Mary.
  38. 23 points
    Wow, the ship really wants to make amends over this. I got a call from the Windjammer Manager about 20 minutes ago. Got another apology and thank-you for reporting the issue at Guest Services so they had the formal record. Was told not only are they going to speaking to the supplier, but also their own QC team that picks up the shipments. After this, I was asked to confirm our table in the MDR, and then offered complementary specialty dining in any venue of our choice. Initially asked if we wanted it tonight, but we already had all of our plans timed out around MDR schedule so I asked if it could be a different night. Was told no problem, and that he’d send his business card so I could call him after I had a chance to talk with Cathy and figure out which night and venue. It arrived about 10 minutes later, attached to this: Say what you want about Royal; when they are politely notified about a matter like this, with zero histrionics and no demands or even requests for compensation, they seriously go out of their way to let you know it’s being treated with all seriousness, and that you are part of that treatment.
  39. 23 points

    Every Activity on Every Ship - Listed

    So, a while ago, while roaming the internet, I stumbled across this awesome list of which activities were on which ships throughout the Royal Caribbean fleet. It was perfect! Maybe I lost it, maybe it was taken down, but I couldn't find it any longer. So I set out to make my own. After going through every deck of every Royal Caribbean ship's deck plans, I noted everything I could find onboard. Bars, dining, entertainment, I listed it all. Here is the result: View in full screen I find it incredibly useful and I thought that I'd put it here because you all might like to use it too. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. Disclaimers: This is my own creation and all information used is from https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/deck-plans (unless otherwise referenced) Therefore, there may be certain inaccuracies because of either certain things missing on the deck plans, or me missing something out If this is the case, please feel free to let me know and I will update it to reflect these. As said, I have not been on all these ships so do not have first hand experience for all these venues and activities, so please do let me know of any errors I may have made. It is quite large so it may take a moment to load, and you will need to zoom out. I intend to update it as new ships debut, or as ships get refurbished/amplified so it is hopefully always an up to date reference point. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!
  40. 22 points
    Wishing you the best through this weekend and beginning of next week. Stay safe, stay dry and enjoy that UHDP (unlimited home drink package)!
  41. 22 points

    Corny Jokes

    Why must you knock before opening the refrigerator door ? Because you wouldn’t want to catch the salad, dressing. ba-dump-bump
  42. 22 points
    Same! I seriously feel you pain. This summer is our first staycation in I don’t even remember how long. It feels weird. Our solution? Desperate times and too long in dry dock make you do crazy things. With nowhere to go, we are building a pool, hot tub, and cabana right in our backyard! All inspired by Oasis Lagoon of course. Excavation just happened two days ago. You can take the cruise away from the girl, but you cannot take away the love. 😉
  43. 22 points
    It has been a crazy few days. Lots of back and forth between go and don’t go. Ultimately, a few things sealed the deal for us. Never were we worried about the virus on the ship. I am still of the mindset that the ship is likely one of the cleanest places at the moment. Quarantine on the ship was also an afterthought, because how bad could it be in the ATS? What really made us re-think over the last few days was the possibility of being further quarantined in Trenton (military base). That is where they are taking all the Canadians on the Princess ships. That does not sound like a great time. Yesterday, Delta also waived change fees for all travel this month, and Royal revised their “Cruise with Confidence” policy in that we would get back our FCC that we redeemed for this sailing. So really, we would lose nothing by not going. It was beginning to get harder to justify going. The ultimate deal breaker is that Plan B, was better than Plan A. This blog is officially, “To be continued...” in 166 days. We are sad, but at the same, for the hockey people out there, we feel like we just won the Stanley Cup of cruising! When one door closes, another one opens. 😉
  44. 22 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!!
  45. 22 points
    We clean up pretty nicely when we want to there’s always one in every crowd.
  46. 22 points
    I promised Sabrina that I would do this, so here goes. First: I am the worst live blogger EVER since I hate to take pix. I DO realize that long, text review/live blogs are less effective b/c nobody wants to sit and read line after line of text. I hate it myself ! So I am going to TRY and be brief-er than usual and TRY and incorporate photos, which are 2 things I am not very good at (brevity and photography). Who: Dan and I (Raye) What: S2S cruises on Brilliance and Oasis. Where: Tampa then Miami When: 24 - 30 Nov (Brilliance out of Tampa) then 1 - 8 December (Oasis out of Miami) Why: Because we can...and this will be our first S2S At home, writing this but leaving for the airport (DCA) at 2PM. Uber, cost $81.56. We have to have an XL due to luggage. Honestly, it's not that far to the airport. We live about 20 miles south of DC so it's not more than 15-17 miles to the airport. Kinda high, IMO but still cheaper than parking the car in Long Term Parking for 15 days. We will pass some time at the American Airlines Admiral's Club prior to boarding and then fly First Class to Tampa. Flight is at 5:00, arriving TPA at ~7:30PM. Will Uber from airport to the hotel (Tampa Marriott Water Street); used rewards points for the hotel. We could have used airline miles for the air but we're saving those reward points for a yet-to-be scheduled Alaska trip !! One piece of luggage still missing as it is awaiting inevitable forgotten, last-minute items. So looking forward to Brilliance. #1, we have never sailed on Brilliance before and #2, it has been many years since we sailed on a Radiance class ship. PS. I am already having fits with just 1 pic. I don't know how the rest of you do it !! More, later from the Admiral's Club !!
  47. 22 points
    Update on the noise issue. The noise had become so obnoxious that I finally felt compelled to contact Joyce, our Genie, and complain. It was non-stop all day, every day. If it wasn’t the band, it was the DJ or some incessant babbling from a contest or whatever. I asked that we be allowed to speak with the Hotel Director. So now we have another example of how a Genie really can make things happen. Within minutes, Joyce was here and personally witnessed the unacceptable noise coming from the band and pool deck. She had the Cruise Director on the phone and they both agreed that the noise level was unacceptable. Since the Cruise Director (Bobby Brown, in this case) “owns” the entertainment venues, he was the one to affect the problem. He walked all the way from the Flow Rider area up to the pool children’s splash zone area (while on the phone with Joyce) to see if they could determine which speakers were the culprits. As we had suspected, it was the ones by the new Lime&Coconut bar. He adjusted them somehow and BOOM - problem solved ! Joyce said that if the problem resumes, just let her know immediately. We will drop the request to speak to the HD unless the problem resumes. Yes, you can still faintly hear the music (most notably the bass), but this is a cruise ship ! There’s going to be music. It’s no worse (now) than it is in the ATS. I’m satisfied.
  48. 22 points
    However, on a positive note, we just got back from seeing Phoenix, and I cannot say enough GOOD things about that show. They were really good. I would go back and see them again in a minute. I am not as impressed with the Music Hall on Oasis as I was with the one on Anthem, but they did the best they could with the space they had. It’s a sight more useful now than it was as Dazzles. Also, a huge bit of news, Dan and I finally met the Twangbot. He seemed very real. Almost human-like. A very advanced bot, indeed. He sat with us at the concert. It was quite an honor for us.😁😍
  49. 22 points
    Hello All, we just got back from a 5-day Bermuda cruise on the Anthem of the Seas and I wanted to share my "lessons learned" as a "pay it forward" for all the great forum members who provided advice to me for several questions I posted. We are a 4 person family (42M, 39F, 13M, and 10F) and we had 2 balcony rooms booked on Deck 13 forward. I hope I can help some newbie cruisers with the info below! 1. Do Show Up Early on Embarkation Day: Our ship was schedule to leave from Bayonne, NJ cruise port at 4:30pm. Coming from NH, we drove to Danbury, CT the night before and stayed at a hotel (Did you know Ethan Allen owns a hotel?). That put us about 1.5 hours from the port. We got there right at 10:30am when the terminal opened and there was already a good number of cars in front of us. I dropped off the family and our bags and the porters quickly put our checked bags on the carts. I parked the car in the garage, met up with the family and headed inside to check-in. Check-in was painless, and we were literally stepping onto the ship at 11am exactly. They told us our rooms would not be ready until 1:30pm, so we mainly stayed in the outdoor pool until we could drop off our bags. We hit Windjammers at 1pm and they announced that all rooms were ready at 1:15pm. 2. Windjammers is great, but watch out for peak times if you hate crowds: As you probably know by now, Windjammers is a (extremely large) buffet that serves breakfast and lunch. I think 99% of all passengers can easily find several things they like on their diverse and plentiful buffet stations (vegetarian, vegan and GF too). However, it can get VERY crowded at peak times. One of those peak times is lunch on embarkation day. I think it was the only place open for that meal since not all passengers had boarded yet. While we were able to get our food fairly easily. finding an open table was tough! You really just need to hang out near a family that looks like they are wrapping up and pounce as soon as they get up. Hail one of the Windjammers employees to clean the table for you. The only times I would say Windjammers wasn't moderately to severely crowded was during lunch on the 2 days in port. 3. Prepare to be STUFFED: RCL should just partner with medication companies that have drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc... cause I can guarantee you will come back at least 5 lbs heavier. We purchased a 3-night specialty dining package and got an extra night free from our Cruise travel agent (CruiseOne). We ate at Izumi (2 times), Wonderland, and Jamie's Italian. If you like sushi, Izumi is wonderful! At Izumi, you get a $35 credit per person... so we had $140 to use each night. We got at least 6 specialty rolls, a few makimono rolls and the sushi deluxe and easily stayed under. I think we had everything on the menu after the 2 visits. Wonderland is almost a dinner and a show... the dinner IS your show! Here, you don't order... they just bring you just about everything on the menu. It was pretty amazing. Jamies was great as well... they bring you samples of all their apps (charcuterie, fried rice & cheese balls, calamari, cheeses, olives, etc..) and then you choose a main and a dessert. I got the truffle noodles and they were amazing! We only ate at the main dining room once and it was OK. My wife's fish (Barramundi) was a little "fishy", but my fish (can't remember the name) was good. The shrimp cocktail were very small... but the birthday cake (RCL is celebrating 50 years) and the cheese cake was very good. FYI, all the specialty dining and main dining room have kids menus. I highly recommend visiting Solarium Bistro for breakfast (also a buffet, but much smaller than Windjammers... but WAY less crowded). You'll find all the common staples for breakfast. Café 270 is great for lunch and dinner/late night snacks (only certain nights is it open). Great paninis on pita bread, wraps, salads and dessert. Sorrento's pizza was great for late night craving, but they also serve breakfast (no, not pizza... mostly breakfast sandwiches). Room Service for breakfast is free as long as you order from the "Continental Breakfast" section. All other times its a flat $7.95 per order (regardless of how much you order... so ahead, get one of everything if you like... it will still cost $7.95 total) 4. To deluxe beverage package, or not to deluxe beverage package... that is the question: I was on the fence on this one up until a week before the cruise. I do like to drink, but I try to stay clear of everything with sugar. I'm not a big wine drinker, so just bringing 4 bottles on board with me was not that enticing. I pulled the trigger and paid the $50/day. My wife doesn't drink, but I was in a stateroom with my son... so I only had to pay for me. I knew from other posts that knowing that the drinks average about $10-13... just having 5 would be my break even point. Yeah, I ended up get my money's worth and then some. No, I didn't go on a bender and forget most of the hours of my cruise and end up naked in the engine room! It really wasn't that hard. They have mimosa and bloody mary carts setup for breakfast. Sir, would you like a Mimosa... why, yes please! Can I make you a spicy bloody mary with bacon and horseradish? Of course. How about a vodka, club soda and extra lime while you hang out by the pool? Sure! Can I get you a Jack and Diet Coke while you wait for the show to start? Yes please! As long as you pace yourself, be sure to eat and stay hydrated, stay away from sugar drinks (I never once ordered a pina colada or strawberry daiquiri, which were so prevalent I couldn't open my eyes without seeing someone having one), and keep any minor "overindulging" until after dinner (so you can sleep it off), take some precautionary Advil or Tylenol before bed... you'll do fine. Never had an signs of a hangover (mostly from following the rules above). I probably averaged 8-12 drinks/day. I know that sounds like a lot (and probably is according to my doctor!), but I did find that their drinks are a little "light" compared to your average bar. They do jigger pour every drink which means you are only getting 1.5 oz of booze per drink. Sometimes they would pour a little more. They also tend to give you a tall glass for your standard "spirit & mixer". So, if you order a "rum & coke" you are getting 1 shot of rum... and then like 10oz of coke. Of course, they are doing this to get you to take longer and therefore, order less drinks. Be sure to ask for a lowball glass. I also got my money's worth by ordering a few Patron Reposados tequila (which are like over $15/shot in most bars). Be sure to ask for a bottle of water with each drink. Even if you don't want it now, you can put it in your fridge and bring ashore when you visit a beach or go shopping. 5. Bring your Cruise Compass with you wherever you go!: The Cruise compass is a printout brochure of the next day's open times, activities, shows, etc.. You stateroom attendant will put it in your room every late afternoon. Review it, highlight it, and do some planning. I was kinda disappointed to see that RCL hasn't created a digital version of this yet. They do have the iQ app, but it only shows you your dinner reservations and the shows that require reservations. I'm hoping they enhance this soon as it could be a real value-add to their guests. We attended some great trivia sessions, info sessions on the ship and Bermuda pier and shopping, listened to some great small musical groups, super funny comedians, and attended some great onboard shopping sales. While it's great that RCL offers so much to do everyday, the hardest thing was making the schedule work! Many times we came up with a plan, only to realize we couldn't do it because we had a dinner or show reservation that conflicted. We found compromises and made it work the best we could. We definitely weren't disappointed or had any FOMO! 6. You kids will love the Adventure Ocean Club or the Teens Club: Both of our kids were excited about the kids and teens club. For those under 13, parents needs to check the kids in and out (for the kids 10-12, you can give consent to allow them to check themselves out). There is a morning, afternoon, and night programs they can join... all are included. The only exception is after 10pm its $7/hr per child (very reasonable) and they can stay until 1am. The counselors are excellent and they do fun and educational activities with the kids. The Teens club is free to come and go and my son made a some friends and they often went swimming and played in the Seaplex together. 7. Make your show reservations in advance for the ones you can... and make the other activity and dining reservations as soon as you get on board!: I made reservations for "The Gift" and "We will Rock you" a few weeks in advance on the RCL website. The only thing I couldn't make reservations for in advance for shows was "Spectra", but I was able on the second day of the cruise. We also made all of our dining reservations as soon as we got onboard. On the second day, we tried to make reservations for the iFly (indoor skydiving) but they were already booked up for the whole cruise! :( Lesson learned! Also, if you are like me and like to sit up front at the shows... show up about 30-40 mins early and you will have your pick of any seat you wish. They have waiters taking drink orders and usually have popcorn and snacks/candy available for purchase... so the waiting isn't so bad. We had front row middle for "We will Rock you" and it was awesome! Spectra was a great cabaret style show, but I think they had some technical difficulties with their vistavision (these are the 19 projectors that can make the 270 degree backdrop appear as just about anything you can imagine!) The robots with the flatscreens were working fine and are amazing! 8. Bermuda is great, but not a lot to do in the port: This doesn't mean we didn't have fun! We took people's advice and waited until the 2nd day to go to the famous "Horseshoe Bay Beach". Luckily, it was overcast and a little showery on the first day, and the second day was mostly sunny and 83 degrees! Of course, many other guests followed the same plan. Anyways, on the first day we decided to stay in the port area (Royal Navy Dockyard, aka King's Wharf) and check out the shops. We went to the clocktower mall and explored the shops. We also went into the "Diamonds International" store which was heavily marketed by the Anthem's Shopping Director (Paige). While seeing all the very beautiful jewelry and rare gemstones is great, the customer service is horrible if you aren't looking to spend a few thousand dollars. After seeing pieces that were $5k-$20k, I asked one of them what is the cheapest jewelry they had for sale... she said they had an earring set that was $1000. When I said you are still way above what I'm looking to spend... she didn't say "I'm so sorry, we don't have anything under that pricepoint".... Nope, she just turned around and walked away. How f'n rude! We ended up finding a much better service at a jeweler in the clocktower mall and my wife got a great sterling silver ring made with a stone made from the pink famous sands for a much more reasonable price. After about 2 hours, we pretty much saw everything in the port area. We went back on the ship (which can take about 10-15 mins as you have to go thru security), had some lunch, and then put our bathing suits on an went swimming at Calico Jacks. This is the black pirate ship that is literally the first thing you reach after getting off the dock area. It's a bar/grill that has its own swimming area. There's no beach... they have a ladder into the water and have plenty of foam noodles you can borrow so you can just float and relax. They also have a plank on the second level that you can jump or dive off of... as well as a giant inflatable slide. Unfortunately, they don't keep the slide wet... so almost everyone came to a halt before hitting the end of the slide. They charge $10/pp to get a wristband to use their water access. Rum swizzles were $10. We also checked out the "Frog & Onion Pub" for a quick snack and a "Frog Grog" and bought some swag. The second day we took a shuttle to Horseshoe Bay Beach. I wouldn't recommend paying the $35/pp shore excursion to the beach through RCL. They have public shuttles for $7/pp that are continuously headed to the beach. It's about a 20-25 min beautiful drive. Our driver the way out to the beach was great, he pointed out all the landmarks and gave details about the homes, resorts and golf courses. You can rent loungers, beach chairs, umbrellas and tents at the beach... but they are a little pricey. We got 2 loungers and it cost $44. They do have guys who will drag your lounges/chairs to wherever you want, but be sure to give them a tip (we gave him $5). The water was stunningly beautiful. Perfect temp! Some pretty good waves due to the weather over the past day, but nothing too bad. The grotto area to the right as you enter the beach was really neat. I would recommend water shoes/socks as it can be a little rocky in that area. While you aren't supposed to climb up the massive rock cliffs... there were dozens on the top of the bigger ones. Some of the smaller ones teens were jumping into the water. There is a bar/grill at the beach, but the prices are a little inflated (Burger & Fries for about $12). Recommend bringing waters with you... and if you can, pack some snacks (Café 270 will pack food to go). Be sure to leave the beach by 3pm to ensure you get back with enough time for any "unexpected" happenings. The shuttle drivers guarantee that if you get on one of their shuttles at 4pm... they will get you on the ship without issue, but I'm not willing to play with those odds! 9. Adults can take naps too! With shows/activities often scheduled to 1am, I strongly recommend trying to find a time for a quick siesta in the late afternoon before dinner. It will keep you fully charged to enjoy the nighttime events! Also, try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night if you can. No reason to go to Windjammers at 6am just because it's open! 10. Be sure to keep an eye on your account! Your Seapass card can be used to purchase ANYTHING on board.. and I mean anything! Be sure to keep an eye on your account (you can use the iQ app, but send you an email at the end of the cruise). You'll automatically be charged for gratuities $14.50/pp per day, but you'll also see all your other charges. Remember, things add up quick! 11. Keep an eye out for flash sales and good buys on the ship: I ended up buying my wife and gorgeous diamond tennis bracelet on the ship. It is stunning, very sparkly and she was smitten as soon as she saw it. The regular price was $195, but we ended up getting it for $99 during a sale. OK, of course at that price.. it's not a lot of diamonds, but lemme tell you.. it really sparkles and she has already gotten tons of compliments on it. They also have 2 for $20 T-shirts which make a great souvenir. They also have duty/tax free booze for purchase, but coming from NH where liquor is state-controlled, the prices were already comparable. If you buy bottles on the ship, they hold it until you disembark (except on the last full day, where you can take it to your room). 12. Most importantly, have fun!: It's your vacation! Try something new... or stick to your favorite activities... it's all up to you! I hope this has helped you. Please feel free to leave feedback and any questions that I might be able to help with. If I can't, I'm sure another forum user will!
  50. 21 points
    I can't get that song out of my head. You know, the song by Van Halen? Even though it has nothing to do with the Panama Canal. I thought about titling this "The cruise that almost wasn't". Let me explain. My plan was to fly in the day before and stay on the Queen Mary. I was almost as excited about the Queen Mary (now a hotel in Long Beach, CA) as I was about the Panama Canal. Good ole mother nature had a surprise for me. Snow! Lots of it. At 5am I opened Lyft and Uber to compare prices and... no cars available. Rut Roh. Let's try again. Nope. Hmmm. A little bit of panic was starting to set it. A 3rd time. Ding! A car is on the way. I went out to my usual pick up spot in the falling snow. I wasn't going to let the driver get cold feet and bolt. By the time he arrived I had an inch of snow on my suitcase. It had snowed the day before but this is Denver so no shocker. However at this early hour the snow on top of the black ice from yesterday's melt made for very treacherous driving conditions. Cars were in ditches, accidents were seen all over. It was early in the season so people new to snow were learning the hard way how not to drive in the snow. It took almost 75 minutes for the normal 30 minute ride to the airport. My driver kept asking "Do you want to go back?. No flights leaving today". Then a text from Southwest - "SWA Flight 750 is cancelled". Odd, the inbound flight was on time, my plane was landing in Denver but the ongoing leg to California was cancelled. I wasn't about to miss my cruise, onward to the airport, even if I had to sleep there tonight I was determined to make it out of Denver on the first flight that I could. Southwest wanted to rebook me on the next flight out scheduled at noon that was delayed until 5pm. By this time I was at the airport. Delta had a 9:15am flight to Salt Lake. I stopped by the Delta ticket counter and asked if the 9:15am was actually going. Yep. Book it. On the spot I booked a one way to Long Beach on Delta. I've played this game with Southwest before and they tend to eventually cancel everything so I put my faith in Delta and for $500 I was on my way. Or so I thought. At the gate I discovered our flight and cabin crew were missing. They had overnighted in local hotels but they were stuck in the now worse traffic and accidents heading to the airport. We were delayed. Eventually they made it and we boarded. With 3 inches of snow on the plane we had to de-ice. Another delay. Finally we took off 75 minutes late. Late enough that I would miss my connection in Salt Lake. So much for getting into Long Beach in the afternoon. I was rebooked on a 5pm flight from Salt Lake to Long Beach. Salt Lake also had light snowfall. I heard the pilots talking as the plane boarded in Salt Lake - "We're de-icing". Another delay. After a 14 hour travel day I made it to the Queen Mary in California. Phew.
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