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ABFrenchie

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ABFrenchie last won the day on November 28 2017

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  1. The Sunset Pier at the Ocean Key Resort (end of Duval street, by Mallory Square) is a great place to grab drinks and get a bite to eat. I'm a little biased - I got married there, but went back last year and the food and drinks were still great.
  2. Had a not so great experience with it last year but it was probably just a fluke based on our individual circumstance. We filled out all of the paperwork and got our luggage valet tags. However, one member of my party was in the process of being upgraded through Delta the day before disembarkation, so the customer service rep for luggage valet could not check him into his flight (something about the seat assignment being "pending"). Because they couldn't check him in, he couldn't participate in luggage valet. We said no problem, we'll just put the bags under a person in our party who WAS checked in and had a seat. Guest relations confirmed we could do this. For some reason, attendants on the ship took the bags from the hallway the night before disembarkation, but luggage valet didn't take them to the airport. After leaving the port and while en route to the airport, we got a call from a rep stating the bags were still at the port. I Royal ended up shipping the luggage back to us a few days later, at their expense. So, slight inconvenience but not the end of the world. I'm still not entirely sure how a seat upgrade thwarted this process, but just something to keep in mind if anyone in your party is usually upgraded.
  3. Last year while on a RC cruise, I put a $500 nonrefundable deposit down on a May 2019 sailing of Symphony. I know the deposit is nonrefundable, but what about transferrable? We may be going on an Alaskan family cruise at that time instead (not on RC). Can we use that deposit we already put down on a different Symphony sailing date? Thanks!
  4. Well, it appears Hurricane Lane is going to thwart the Hawaiian vacation I'm set to start on Friday. I am currently panicking/looking into last minute alternate vacation options for next week. Before I dive into available cruise ships - does anyone happen to know of the cut off to book? I am assume the passenger manifest has to be finalized at some point before the ship sales. Many thanks! P.S. if you have a recommendation for a great activity filled all inclusive resort please let me know! It's just my husband and me, 34 year olds in need of sun and stiff drinks.
  5. I'm new to cruising with Royal so I am not that familiar with its deployment schedule. Stalking the Alaska Group Cruise blogs has me itching to plan a family vacation/Alaskan cruise in Summer 2020 (2 cruises already booked for next year taking up vacation days). How far in advance does Royal usually release its Alaska itineraries? Many thanks!
  6. I've stayed at the Excellence El Carmen in DR and have some friends who have stayed at other properties (specifically, Playa Mujeres and Riviera Maya). We all had great things to say about the Excellence brand. I would go back in a heartbeat if I didn't have cruise vacations planned for the next two years! Adults only, great variety of food options (this is one of the things I like about cruising), great pools and service. We had a swim up suite. The room was fantastic, we had a hot tub in our room. The spa was incredible. Before your treatment, you spend about 45 minutes doing hydrotherapy, using steam, sauna, cold water, thalassotherapy pools, etc. We then had a salt scrub, soak in a tub, and hour long massage. After your treatment, you're led to this room with beds that sway gently and you drink champagne for as long as you'd like. The treatment was only $250USD total and it lasted about 3 hours, so a great price. Just thinking about it makes me want to cancel a cruise and go back... The only downside I saw to El Carmen was that it didn't have much of a beach area. I prefer relaxing by a pool so it wasn't a deal breaker for me. The only other all inclusive I have to compare it to is Beaches resort in Turks & Caicos. I would take Excellence over Beaches any day.
  7. I find spa services to be "worth the price" because I'm on vacation and have that "treat yourself" mentality while aboard the ship. However, I do think the sticker prices are more expensive than land based services- if you hold out for a sale or book during a port day, the prices are more reasonable. The quality of service is very good. The sales pitch is annoying, but like others have said, a "no thank you" usually does the trick.
  8. Have you been on a Carnival ship with the Blue Iguana Cantina? If so, how does El Loco Fresh compare? My husband is obsessed with the tacos from BI although I much prefer RC a cruise line overall.
  9. Both. I've been on non Royal cruises where I didn't purchase a package and I've had a bit of sticker shock at the end of the cruise. Prepaying helps that sting! I also get my money's worth by utilizing a wide range of drink package inclusions - not just alcohol. Specialty coffee or juice in the AM, tons of bottled water to stay hydrated, sparkling water at dinner, daily fresh juice blend or protein shakes after the gym*, and the usual alcohol suspects - maybe a mimosa in the AM because why not, fruity pool drinks during the day, a getting ready for dinner glass of wine, glass of dinner wine, and a post dinner drink with entertainment. *I've read that protein shakes are not included in the drink package but on Harmony last fall we were never charged for the protein powder.
  10. I have to change my password every single time I log in because the website doesn't seem to remember the prior change. So frustrating...
  11. On the Harmony in November, we were told we could not use the deluxe drink package benefit at all on the wine dispensers. I love the wine dispenser idea but the selection on the Harmony was skewed to higher end wines that will set you back more than $12 a glass! If I recall correctly, they even had a wine that was $100 for 1oz (Gaja I believe it was called).
  12. We used the steam/press service on Harmony in November and our clothes turned out just fine, no damage. With formal night on Day 2, we made sure to turn our clothes in to our statement room attendant as soon as we unpacked on Day 1 (same day service increases the charge by 50%, I believe). When traveling, I also use the Downy wrinkle release/shower steam method. I find that blow drying and hand smoothing/pulling on the fabric after spraying wrinkle release also helps to lessen the wrinkles. I have also used a clean flat iron (for hair) on a lower temp setting to eliminate stubborn wrinkles.
  13. I give up on the new website. My next cruise is over a year away, maybe if I check back in 2019 the website will work for me. I've had to change my password every time I login. When I select the cruise planner, I'm rerouted to login again. So I do, and I select the cruise planner, and I'm rerouted to log in again...
  14. While I haven't specifically gone Keto on a cruise, I do try and eat mindfully and save my empty carbs for booze :) I found it pretty easy to limit my meals to protein, veg and fat in both the WJ and main dining room. The WJ always had a platter of cured meats/cheese, a meat carving station of sorts (beef, ham, etc), vegetables, a mountain of bacon, salad station, etc. You should have no problem finding something Keto in there. In the MDR, I would ask the waiter to nix the starch and double up on the veg with my protein. There is usually one sugar free dessert on the menu in the MDR each night, although they probably wouldn't count as low carb just because they are sans real sugar. There is usually a cheese plate on the dessert menu though that may be a better option for you!
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