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Neaxan

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Everything posted by Neaxan

  1. I'd take a Baltic Sea cruise over a Med cruise any day. Bonus point: even Royal has longer itineraries there (up to 10 days). You could even do a Baltic Sea cruise and a Med cruise - or a Norwegian fjords cruise. Flights from Stockholm to Barcelona or Rome take about 3 hours and flights in Europe are quite cheap if you don't need any bells and whistles.
  2. It's Schiffstester Matthias Morr. He has also posted a VLOG of this cruise, that might be interesting to watch even if you don't understand German.. And you're correct, most drinks are included with TUI - here's an example of a bar menu to give you an idea. Btw, gratuity is also included and I'd rate TUI's MDR higher than Royal's. Can't comment on speciality dining as I've never seen the need to try it on TUI
  3. Passengers were mostly compliant with the rules - way more compliant than you'd see on land. A few outliers here and there, but the only real problem was the meeting of the 3 "sisters" - the upper decks were quite packed. 1.5m distance wasn't always obeyed at that time and not everybody was wearing a mask as they were outside. Haven't seen any passengers with face shields, most likely because you had to have a medical exemption to use them instead of masks. Don't see many advantages for a face shield because you only had to use a mask where you couldn't keep a distance. Seating at bars
  4. Finally, as promised, a recap of Schiffstester Matthias Morr's conclusion video: - Boarding times were enforced (usually TUI Cruises doesn't assign boarding times). Masks had to be worn in the terminal and in the queue in front of the terminal. Health questionnaires & temperature check for check in. B2Bs are currently not allowed. - Muster drill: when on board you went from your cabin to your muster station. Explanations were given in small groups. - Ship sailed at around 40% capacity (= 1200 guests), max would've been 60% (=1400 guests), 800 crew. Possible difficulties in s
  5. Just to clarify again - crew tested positive was for AIDA ships, not TUI. These cruises to nowhere are now starting for 3 German cruise lines: TUI Cruises (50% Royal Caribbean, 50% TUI), AIDA Cruises (belongs to Carnival) and Hapag Lloyd Kreuzfahrten (German luxury cruise line, owned 100% by TUI). Safety measures should be quite similar on all 3 lines as they were negotiated by the German branch of CLIA. Looking forward to a conclusion video by one of my favourite Youtubers - he's on Mein Schiff 2's first cruise. The video is scheduled for tomorrow, 8.30 pm (CEST). I'll report back anyt
  6. TUI Cruises is starting July 24th with 3 and 4 night cruises to nowhere from Hamburg. 60% capacity - they only offer balcony cabins, junior suites and suites. Masks only where social distancing (1.5m) isn't possible. Sadly have no leave days left, otherwise we might have used the opportunity to sail on Mein Schiff 2 for the first time.
  7. Guess I'm a mix of Ghost and Go-Getter. To be fair, crew on German cruise lines just isn't very chatty. Good morning/day etc. usually sums up the conversation so being on a Royal cruise was a steep learning curve. Go-Getter could be anyone, FOMO is a real thing On Symphony I had a spreadsheet to make sure we went to each restaurant and bar at least once. I think we only missed Jazz on 4.
  8. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but apparently all Pullmantur ships will be dismantled in Turkey https://www.elrincondeltripulante.xyz/2020/06/pullmanturs-ships-will-be-disposed-in.html
  9. I doubt that Odyssey's new inaugural has much to do with the rest of the fleet. I'm guessing even if they could speed up Odyssey a bit more, that wouldn't help much because a late transatlantic and shortened Caribbean season just isn't financially viable. Cruise lines also tend to avoid Mediterranean sailings in winter. So the only valid winter option based on weather and distance would be the Canary Islands and it might be difficult to fit Odyssey in the port schedules on a short notice. Maybe they'll add some earlier cruises for Odyssey once they're sure of Meyer Werft's progress and COVID
  10. Depending on forthcoming cruising regulations Royal might even be happy about a delay. Delivery means the remaining 80% of the price must be paid - also crew and port fees on top of that. P&O and Saga Cruises are currently doing everything to not have to accept delivery of Iona and Spirit of Adventure.
  11. Some possibilities for your ports: Nice: either walk into town for Promenade d'Anglais and old town or make a trip to Monte Carlo. Personally, I don't care much about Monte Carlo but apparently that's just me Marseille: I don't like the city so I'd suggest a trip - both Avignon and Aix-en-Provence are not too far and much more worthwhile. Personally, I'd prefer Avignon. Bonus point for Avignon: depending on when you're cruising you could see the lavender fields (June/July). La Spezia: Florence is definitely worth a trip but it's 2 hours from La Spezia. Lucca might be an alte
  12. We did Symphony's TA in an interior stateroom and absolutely loved it. For us it was spacious enough and as we only used it for sleeping & showering - so no need for more expensive staterooms. Our favourite spot were Playmakers and Central Park.
  13. I think you're onto something. I got the notice when booking my Eastern Med cruise on Odyssey - hubby and me were comparing itineraries for 10 minutes and couldn't figure out what had changed. We have an overnight in Athens, so this most likely triggered the notice.
  14. The CDC seems to be a real problem. European cruises might be coming back earlier than cruises from the US. European river cruises have already resumed, Hurtigruten plans to resume the postal ship cruises mid-June. TUI Cruises hopes to resume at least part of their cruises in August.
  15. We've booked an Eastern Med cruise on Odyssey for September 2021 - hopefully the covid craze will be over by then. @Ian T Thanks for mentioning booking through MEI - I had no idea they could handle bookings for non-US residents and thought I had only read about an exception for the group cruises. Will definetely consider this for our next cruise - especially if this makes repricing possible .
  16. That's about the only area where Royal could learn from Princess. When we were on Caribbean Princess in 2018 the Medallion opened your cabin door when you were near it - no need to get it out of your pocket. Back then I liked it because you had no hassle with the drinks, now it could be an asset regarding COVID-19. Ordering drinks online and getting them delivered anywhere on the pool deck was also a nice feature, but if I remember correctly you still had to hand the Medallion over to scan it. Sadly, I think Royal might currently lack the funds to implement something like this.
  17. I agree, Franconia is a nice region with pittoresque villages and towns. We live north of Ansbach, nearer to Bamberg. We regularly see US helicopter training flights around here.
  18. if you're docked at Havensight in St. Thomas, you can do the Skyride to Paradise Point. Easily walkable and great views.
  19. We got UDP for Odyssey - 12 nights (4 sea days) for 210 € - about $237. We originally wanted to buy the 5 night package but couldn't say no to this deal. Will rebook it if it gets even lower.
  20. Just booked our 2nd Royal cruise yesterday. Odyssey Eastern Med Sep 19 2021
  21. Up to now our only mistake was to think that Princess was a premium cruise line.... to my defense, it's portraited like that in Germany. But we experienced something funny when waiting for our shuttle from Alamo to Caribbean Princess. When staff made a list of who needed to go to what ship, one couple said Allure. This was in Fort Lauderdale, mind you. The look on their faces when they were told they had to go to Miami for Allure - priceless Luckily for them, their car wasn't processed so they could take it to drive to Miami - and they were still early enough to make it.
  22. Sorry I'm a bit late, but instead of post cruise depression I managed to get a post cruise cold. I'll try to keep this as short as possible. There were two major drawbacks for us on Royal: the class system (also called C&A) and the shortage of waiters in bars and lounges (Playmakers being the notable exception). I'm hoping that it isn't that bad on normal cruises with less top tier cruisers. As for the missing waiters, well at least you get to know your bar tenders.... Apart from that, we were really happy with our first Royal experience. The food was better than expected, staff was p
  23. Day 13 - Disembarkation Time to say goodbye - unfortunately. After our last breakfast at Park Cafe we waited in the Theater until our number was called. At least disembarkation was a breeze - no immigration, no costums, we just walked off. Wish I could say the same about getting to the car rental station. While the new terminal looks beautiful, they apparently didn't think traffic through. Bus and shuttle have serious problems turning and have to reverse out of the berths - this takes time and only worsens the chaos. Additionally, there are no lines for the bus - it's sur
  24. Day 12: The last full day of this cruise and only our second port of call – Cape Canaveral. As we booked the Kennedy Space Center Guided Tour, we had an early breakfast at Park Cafe. Meeting for the excursion was in the Royal Theater at 8 am. As we’d arrived early, we were already in line to get off the ship at 7.50 am. Unfortunately, this didn’t help much. Immigration in Port Canaveral was mayhem for non-US citizens. We stood in line for 2.5 hours, shortening our 8h tour to 5.5 hours. This was our first major gripe with Royal. While they can’t speed up the immigration process, their orga
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