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Scatmanjack

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  1. Love
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from l9dance in Vision suites missing?   
    Quadruple Crown and Anchor points?
    Double for Suite
    Double that for 2021-22 Sailings
    People trying to level up quickly
    Suites on smaller ships less $$$ than larger Oasis Class...
  2. Like
    Scatmanjack reacted to twangster in Double Points question for Crown & Anchor   
    Meanwhile your divorce papers can be served in Hawaii.
  3. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from cruisellama in Liberty of the Seas 06/04/2017 Trip Report   
    Let's Finish This...
     
    Falmouth, Jamaica
    Green Grotto Cave/Dunn’s River Falls excursion via Royal Caribbean
    Having never been to Jamaica before, we decided we wanted to do the Dunn’s River Falls excursion.  Not knowing if we’d return to the island in the future, we wanted to experience it despite the long journey from Falmouth to get there.
    Normally it is an hour or longer bus ride to reach Dunn’s River from Falmouth port.   We researched this beforehand and decided to do the combo excursion of Dunn’s River/Green Grotto Caves to break up the ride.   The caves are about half way between the Port and Falls.   Our tour guide gave us some interesting background on the island/scenery on the shuttle ride East.
    Some beautiful plants surround the welcome center- be sure to take the time to enjoy them and read the informative plaques about each species.  We met our guide in the welcome center and made our way to the cave entrance.   We were each issued hair nets and helmets.  Some of the clearances were quite low and the helmets were a necessary precaution to prevent accidental bumps.
    The caves themselves were contained within several segments in which you travelled into a room and exited back outside before entering into another system.  The tour guide did a nice job explaining the history of the caves- both historically and more recently events. 
    There are many geological formations to look at on this tour.  Numerous small cave entrances in the ceiling allow from dramatic vistas with small beams of light cutting across the rooms.   Long, dangling tree roots stretch multiple stories in their quest for water. 
    Towards the end of the tour your group makes it down a stone spiral staircase, and that term is being very generous, to an underground lake.  We are told this was used as the villain’s lair in the James Bond film ‘Live and Let Die’.   It seems like most of Jamaica has a James Bond ‘story’… The lights were turned off briefly at this point of the tour to give everyone the sensation of total darkness.
    Several types of wildlife were observed in the caves.   You will find swallows near the entrances in small mud nests they have built into the cave walls and ceilings.  Bats were also observed hanging from the ceiling in numerous locations.   No snakes were noted on our tour but evidently they are seen…
    Towards the end of the tour, the guide split the group up in two- keeping those families with children in one group and groups without kids in another.   Those with kids were sent down a small tunnel with ‘kid-sized’ entrances and exits.   About mid-way down this detour I noticed a rock formation near the floor that I had seen in the Royal Caribbean Excursion informational video.  It’s best described as a drum rock that resonated throughout the cave when struck.    I stopped our group and played a few bars to everyone’s delight.   We joined back up with the other group further up the path.   The guide has stopped at another drum rock and explained that they were used for entertainment and communication.  He seemed surprised that I had played the other one.
    Except for the ‘staircase’ climb, the paths were pretty even and well travelled for those with any mobility issues.   They did warn everyone about the ‘stairwell’ and there were benches at the top for those that chose not to make the trek down to the lake. 
    A brief rest at the cave welcome center allowed everyone to rest and catch their breath,  use the restroom, and change into swimwear before getting back on the bus.  Drinks were reasonably priced and the wife and I each enjoyed a Red Stripe on the remainder of the bus ride to the Falls. We even got some Jamaican change that would prove valuable later on the cruise…
    I had watched many a Youtube video of the Falls and read trip reports and was somewhat nervous that this would turn into a line of elderly people slowly walking up the rocks holding hands then entire way.   The entire trip up the Falls turned out the complete opposite.   There was a communal aspect of helping those who needed it, but we were free to ‘explore’ a bit on our own on the upward journey… 
    Let me jump back a bit…
    At the Falls, our group was walked down to the base of Falls and introduced to our guides- 1 was a Guide and one was a cameraman.  (There was little pressure to buy the video.)   The guides added several ‘play stops’ along the way that certainly proved their worth.  (In-Laws did same Cruise 2 weeks after us and did this excursion on own and without river guide- had to be a different experience for them…)
     
    Once again, there was a James Bond ‘tie-in’ as we walked on the beach to begin our ascent.   We were told this was the beach from Dr. No from which Ursulla Andress makes her famous entrance in the white bikini…
    The flowing water was cool and refreshing and provided some needed relief from the warm and humid environment.   The guides routed us to several areas for unique experiences that weren’t obvious to the naked eye.   We did a ‘waterslide’ down a channel in the limestone as well as the ‘Nestea Plunge’ into a pool.  Other highlights included walking under a waterfall and sitting in the some rapids as a family.  There were multiple exit points on the ascent if you felt like you’d had enough.   
    After all of our group had reached the top, we followed the exit signs back to the bus area.   This routed everyone through the market and the endless ‘sales’ pitches from the locals.   My wife and daughter were mostly ignored but evidently my beard made me a target as I was subjected to countless ‘respect the beard maaan…’ comments as I walked past the vendors.   A simple ‘no thank you’ with no eye contact didn’t stop them from hounding me.   This really made for a bad end to the trip and looking back I’m not sure why we couldn’t have taken same path we walked in on… (I know ‘why’ we were told to exit that way but still…)
    The drive back to port was uneventful with little commentary from the tour guide.
    Once back inside the port, the wife stayed behind to shop for our usual assortment of shot glasses, fridge magnets, etc… that we seem to acquire at each port.  My daughter and I headed back onboard and hit the pool. 
     
    We knew Falmouth would be a long excursion and planned accordingly by booking a reservation at Giovanni’s Table for dinner (We also knew the show was going to be a comedian we didn’t mind missing…Thank You RC Blog Cruise Compass Archive!)  .   We had eaten at Giovanni’s on a previous cruise and really enjoyed it.  We got cleaned up and took a brief sunset stroll on the upper decks before heading to Giovanni’s with one of our bottles on wine from home.   (This cruise departed 06/XX/2017 and the corkage fee had just been reinstated as of 06/01/2017 and we were charged it...) My daughter had discovered calamari on our previous cruise in this restaurant and was excited about having it again.   To our disappointment, the menu had been ‘updated’ in the previous 12 months and calamari had been taken off the appetizer menu.   Our server did indicate that if we had asked a day or two before, they could have had some for us… (tried asking for this on 12/17 cruise and it didn’t work).  
     
    The appetizers we chose included Caesar Salads, Beef Carpicio, Mozzerella and Tomates, Octopus .   The carpaccio was paper thin and practically melted when your fork touched it.  
     
     Our daughter didn’t find any appealing on the adult menu and they made her a custom dish of chicken over noodle with an alfredo sauce.  
     
    Some food allergies allowed for us to have some Red Velvet Cake smuggled over from Chops for dessert…
     
    The Drink Card appeared this day but I passed due to already booked alcohol activities for the following sea day…
     
    A couple packed Sea Days to go...
     
     
  4. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from cruisellama in Liberty of the Seas 06/04/2017 Trip Report   
    Going to attempt to share my thoughts on recent, June 4, 7-Night Western Caribbean sailing of Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston, TX…
    Ports are Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
    Party of 3… Mom and Dad in 40’s and daughter who is 10.
    We’ve sailed 5 times before with last two being Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral.
    We sailed out of Galveston once before in 2006 on Princess.
     
    We arrived in Houston Area on Friday evening from Hill Country stop for Nephew’s High School Graduation.   We spent Friday and Saturday evening at Marriott SpringHill Suites NASA/Webster.  We paid $143.75 a night by the time all taxes and fees were added.   Buffett breakfast was included.  We enjoyed this hotel very much and immediately booked it again for December pre-cruise stay.  It is located right off I-45 and has excellent retail nearby for last minute shopping.  The main reason we picked this location was its proximity to Space Center Houston- our Saturday activity.
     
    Having been to Kennedy Space Center in Florida after our last cruise in March 2016, it was nice to book-end our USA Space experience with a trip to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.  We ended up purchasing an annual membership for $129 since we will be returning in December 2017 to view the Apollo 11 command module that landed on the moon as it briefly goes on tour outside of the Smithsonian.   We did both red and blue tram tours and saw most of the movies.   Only regret was not purchasing the audio tour at the beginning.   The audio tour covers items on the tram tours as well.   I had thought it was only for main exhibit building.  Lesson learned for repeat visit…  I had pre-arranged tour tickets for both tram and Space Shuttle/Boeing 747 exhibits but neither of these were necessary as lines were minimal/non-existent.   Good balance of interactive exhibits for the kiddos and tech stuff for the Space Geeks…
     
    Sunday morning it was overcast with mild drizzles as we left the hotel.   As we got closer to Galveston the rain increased dramatically with frequent thunder and lightning.  We could see it moving slowly on the radar and hoped it would pass by the time we reached terminal.   It didn’t…  We had arranged for parking at EZ Cruise parking ($54 for the week) opting for the no shuttle option to save $20.   Original plan was to drop wife, daughter, and luggage at Terminal and for me to park car.   Well, the weather changed that plan as it took over 2 hours to reach Terminal from Harborside Drive.   Literally, it took 2 hrs to travel less than 1 mile due to traffic congestion/weather/flooding.   I saw the parking lot on the right at 28th Street and knew I had to get to 22nd Street to turn into the Terminal. I asked the family if we could carry luggage and we all agreed to tough it out on foot carrying 6 suitcases and assorted small bags (my wife swears she learned her lesson on this trip to pack lighter…).
     
    Security checkpoint was divided into two categories- Emerald +/Suites and those below those levels…  Being Gold, we walked back and forth in the switchbacks for 40+ minutes for our turn with the metal detectors and x-ray machines.   Once that was completed we reached the Royal Caribbean check-in desks.   Surprisingly the shortest line was at the ‘no prior cruise experience’ line.   Gold was longest with the Suites and Upper-level Crown and Anchor line moving right along…
     
    At 3pm we were finally onboard and in our stateroom after a brief stop for Pizza at Sorrento’s.  (We had been ½ mile from the ship since 10:30am…) We had an interior stateroom on Deck 7.  We were surprised by the installation of 4 extra staterooms in what used to be a large library.   Our room, 7449, used to be at a deadend and now had a short hall with 4 additional rooms on it.   This change happened after we booked our cruise and has not yet happened on the sister ships.   We love this location as it is only a few stair climbs up or down to major areas.  Avoiding the elevators is always a plus… We had hoped to do Flowrider that afternoon but it was not open.   The rain and Thunderstorms had passed by this point.   Looking at the Cruise Compass, the Flowrider was never listed as scheduled to be open on Sunday… (Late April 2017 Cruise Compass for same sailing showed it as being open…)  I did read a report several weeks ago about one of the pumps going out on it, so perhaps they were doing repairs that day.  
     
    They did have a massive crane next to the ship that day and were installing new communication equipment (the white balls) above the main pool.   They had portions of Deck 11/12 closed all week as they welded and did electrical work.   This was annoying as it routed traffic through smoking area on 11.  Towel Station was moved to Solarium as well...
     
    Wife and daughter each had a drink package- Wife had refreshment package and Daughter had soda package… We had gotten cups in our room and went looking for the Freestyle machines we had used on Freedom of the Seas on our prior cruises.   They were nowhere to be found and a crew member confirmed our worries that there were none onboard.   He said they had been scheduled for several years now but not installed yet… Not having the Freestyle Machines was a major drawback for us.   The low-cal/diet options, as well as all the drink varieties, were great to have.  The self-service aspect was missed as well.   In the mornings say before 11am, the only ‘bar’ on lower half of ship to get drinks is Café Promenade.   Wasn’t cool to wait behind 10 people ordering coffee to use our simple packages…  (Casino Bar might have been open as well but I am not going to walk into smoke filled room…)  Even during afternoon and evening hours, the barstaff always seemed to wait on customers ordering alcohol before getting to us for a simple Diet Coke or Ginger Ale order…  I don’t want to start a rumor, but it might be that bottled Powerade is included in drink package on ships without Freestyle Machine.   Purchased a couple and they never showed up in our Folio…
     
    The muster drill was moved back almost an hour due to boarding delays.   Can’t remember exactly when we left port but it was later due to above mentioned construction and boarding delays
     
    Dinner that evening was in the MDR at 5:30 Deck 5.   We had an assigned 4-top at the inner railing overlooking the chandelier.  It was a little too close to the front entrance for my taste, but being a private table I could live with the extra foot traffic.   Shorts were abundant.   (I confess to wearing them as well that evening due to luggage not being delivered yet...)
     
    We skipped the ‘welcome aboard’ show in the main theatre in favor of playing some board/card games we had brought with us.  Olive or Twist was a popular spot for several gamers… (Card Room on Deck 10 was discovered later in the week…)
     
    End of Day one…
    Days 2 -7 and photos/videos to come…
  5. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Galveston Steve in All Things Galveston   
    We are booked in August 2021 (rebooking of March 2020 cancellation) and if Liberty goes away, hopefully they will at least bring in a different ship to handle some of that business if they are sailing from USA ports by then...
  6. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Galveston Steve in All Things Galveston   
    So Matt is saying Liberty is getting dry dock in Spain in July...  Guess we need to start making other plans if we have Liberty/Galveston sailing booked for this summer...
     
  7. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from PPPJJ-GCVAB in Cruise planner purchases if cruise cancelled   
    You never know what will happen...
     
    When our March 2020 sailing was cancelled, I immediately logged in to cruise planner and cancelled everything.   Refunds to credit card within days....  People that left items booked waited months for $$$ to be returned...
     
    Just my experience...
  8. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Momof4crazytocruise in Cruise planner purchases if cruise cancelled   
    You never know what will happen...
     
    When our March 2020 sailing was cancelled, I immediately logged in to cruise planner and cancelled everything.   Refunds to credit card within days....  People that left items booked waited months for $$$ to be returned...
     
    Just my experience...
  9. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from teddy in All Things Galveston   
    We are booked in August 2021 (rebooking of March 2020 cancellation) and if Liberty goes away, hopefully they will at least bring in a different ship to handle some of that business if they are sailing from USA ports by then...
  10. Wow
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from teddy in All Things Galveston   
    So Matt is saying Liberty is getting dry dock in Spain in July...  Guess we need to start making other plans if we have Liberty/Galveston sailing booked for this summer...
     
  11. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from RCIfan1912 in Cuba back on the table?   
    Cuba back on the table?
     
    2022 would probably be earliest sailings from logistics standpoint...
  12. Love
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Ian T in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  13. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from MichelleB1234 in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  14. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from FManke in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  15. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Baked Alaska in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  16. Sad
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Neesa in Prices Going Up on Cruises   
    Just booked a cruise with MEI this week using FCC to cover Deposit and Fare.   MEI agent advised she would not be able to reprice cruise if there was a future price drop if I went this route and didn't pay separate deposit... 
    Paul
  17. Love
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Mrs. Thomas in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  18. Wow
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  19. Love
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from SteveinSC in Silver Lining   
    We just booked AFT Corner Balcony for 08/2021 on Deck 7 of Freedom Class with our FCC from 03/2020.   
    Went from Interior to almost the biggest balcony on the ship... 🙂
    Love the drop-down ceiling bed for our daughter vs the sofa bed...
    That Balcony.... drool....
    Trying to decide to show this video to the family or just surprise them...
     
  20. Haha
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Baked Alaska in C&A Points for cancelled sailings... official statement?   
    Within 12 hours of this post my points magically reset to the correct amount...
    It's a conspiracy...
     
  21. Haha
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from bytheslice in C&A Points for cancelled sailings... official statement?   
    Within 12 hours of this post my points magically reset to the correct amount...
    It's a conspiracy...
     
  22. Wow
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from Ogilthorpe in C&A Points for cancelled sailings... official statement?   
    Within 12 hours of this post my points magically reset to the correct amount...
    It's a conspiracy...
     
  23. Sad
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in C&A Points for cancelled sailings... official statement?   
    Within 12 hours of this post my points magically reset to the correct amount...
    It's a conspiracy...
     
  24. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from smap in Drink Package Best Deal   
    I have gotten Refreshment Package (i.e. everything but Alcohol Package) for $18/19 a day on Freedom and Vision Class Ships...
  25. Like
    Scatmanjack got a reaction from GregD in Give me Liberty annnd an $18 DX Package? I'll Take it! Liberty of the Seas Feb 16-23 Western Caribbean   
    We are on Liberty in a little over 3 weeks and the Flowrider better be functional by then... 
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