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NS8VN

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  1. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from 4ensic in Internet   
    Absolutely 100% VOOM.  200 mb is not very much data and I doubt it would be as fast as VOOM.  Can't speak for ATT but most phone companies allow you to call and text over WiFi so that you would be able to continue to use your phone fairly normally through VOOM.
    So for faster and unlimited data VOOM is the undisputed winner.
  2. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from 4ensic in liquor store on the ship   
    I would suggest pricing a couple things at home that you might be interested in and writing that down.  There are some good deals on cruise ship liquor stores, but sometimes you will find the prices aren't that much different.  Plus if it is only a couple dollars difference is it worth hauling home?  But they might also have a brand you can't get as easily at home, so then value isn't just a dollar for dollar comparison.
  3. Thanks
    NS8VN got a reaction from WaterBaby in Internet   
    Absolutely 100% VOOM.  200 mb is not very much data and I doubt it would be as fast as VOOM.  Can't speak for ATT but most phone companies allow you to call and text over WiFi so that you would be able to continue to use your phone fairly normally through VOOM.
    So for faster and unlimited data VOOM is the undisputed winner.
  4. Like
    NS8VN reacted to FoxboroCruiser in Majesty Of The Seas 1994   
    Someone mentioned they liked old pictures of RCL ships.  Here are a few shots of the Majesty Of The Seas from our honeymoon the first week of May 1994.  We cruised from Miami on May 1st for 7 nights  - Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios Jamaica and CoCo Cay.
     
     




  5. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from Fuzzywuzzy in Charging For Telephone Calls   
    Did you seriously just retort by calling someone fat?  Ha, I thought creating an account just to complain about a pound fifty was something, but you certainly have lowered that bar!
    Can't wait to see how you top yourself with your 3rd post.
  6. Like
    NS8VN reacted to twangster in Charging For Telephone Calls   
    It seems like the issue is that your plan doesn't include local phone calls.  
    The website states that local charges may apply.
     

     
    If it is true that few companies set up a free number and the charges are due to a phone plan that doesn't include local calling, it appears this is not something unusual for the UK. 
    What am I missing that makes it 'outrageous' for Royal to act like most other businesses? 
  7. Like
    NS8VN reacted to mbk999 in When the Empress was Queen   
    I found a bunch of pictures from our honeymoon cruise in 1993.  We were on Premier's S/S Atlantic (one of the Big Red Boats).  We were docked at Nassau at the same time as the Empress (was it the Nordic Empress at the time?).  I just remember being awed by how big she was.  I think the Atlantic was ~30,000 tons and their S/S Majestic was ~17,500 tons.    The "Big" Red Boat is off on the right (with the life boats on the top deck).   I have no idea what the little ship on the left is, I just know my wife will never get on that ship unless it was a tender vessel....
    Apologies for the non-twangster image quality, a scan of a crappy 25 year old print.

  8. Haha
    NS8VN reacted to leonard in Charging For Telephone Calls   
    I cant see why on earth Royal Caribbean charge you for phoning them about a query with your booking or for paying for your holiday. It cost me £1.50 to pay the balance on my cruise because they would not accept payment online. I know this cost is very small compared with the cost of the holiday but I resent paying for a phone call which I am forced to make because their website is not adequate. To me little things like this  demonstate how companies  treat their customers. I wont be sailing with them again.
     
  9. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from JerseyJoe in Missing Straws   
    First they came for my straws, and I said nothing.
    Then they came for my plastic cups, and I said nothing.
    Then they came for my ocean cruises, but by then the internet had also been shut off to save electricity so I could say nothing.
    😲
  10. Like
    NS8VN reacted to Matt in power strips   
    Well said.  I think it's important for anyone reading this thread understand that while we can make some good recommendations based on our own experiences, ultimately there is always a chance the person you encounter at the port may have a differing opinion.
  11. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from 4ensic in power strips   
    Yeah, it's a good litmus test to see if the source you are reading/watching is good or just another "doesn't know [stuff]" wannabe influencer.
  12. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from 4ensic in power strips   
    You should have gotten a picture.  We could have used it when someone asks if they are allowed and, tucked in the dozen "nope, not allowed" posts someone has to chime in that theirs wasn't confiscated that one time.  It would be a great visual to post up in response.
    As far as finding your own: all items confiscated are tagged with the owner's info.  Whether someone feels it is worth going through the pile to claim theirs is another story.  I'm betting each cruise ends with piles of those either donated or junked.
  13. Haha
    NS8VN got a reaction from Kelaine in Drinks Package clarification needed   
    You buy it for the duration and by the night, which is what your cruise is sold as anyway.  You can purchase it on the ship after a day or two and save those days, but since you will almost certainly find it at a discount online before the cruise you will rarely save money by skipping a day or two on the ship and buying at full price (exception is if you are Diamond level and get a discount when purchasing onboard).
    Don't look at it as days or anything else, just calculate your total cost for the package.  Then figure out whether you would get any other package if you don't get the Deluxe package and deduct the cost of that (example: if I don't get the Deluxe then I would get the Soda, so I would figure out how much more I'm spending and use that figure in the next part).  Then figure out if you would get enough alcoholic beverages/premium coffee/fresh squeezed OJ/bottled water, etc over your entire cruise to make that worth it.  Typically it comes out to 3-4 mixed drinks with nothing else, but beer is usually cheaper than that but then also non-alcoholic drinks do add up.  For my wife and I on any given day we would often get enough OJ, coffee, and bottled water alone to make it nearly worth it, and then enough alcoholic drinks to also make it worth it by themselves.  So for us on a 5-day cruise without the child it was no question a good purchase.
    That said, on a longer cruise drink fatigue is a real consideration.  As is a port extensive itinerary (sea days and private island visits are catch-up days).  For me having our child with us would decrease the drinking a bit at least, so something to consider.  Start with the most basic math and figure out how many drinks over the entire cruise would make the package "worth it" and go from there.  The fixed cost and the ability to try new things without paying extra is also worth something to many people, so even if you don't know if you will come out ahead you might find it worthwhile in other ways.
    Finally, you can get plenty of use out of the package on embarkation day and I got a coffee on debarkation day morning.  If you want to get a dozen coffees before going through customs you can, but they might wonder why you seem so nervous and pick you for enhanced screening 😲
  14. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from bhageerah in power strips   
    Yeah, it's a good litmus test to see if the source you are reading/watching is good or just another "doesn't know [stuff]" wannabe influencer.
  15. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from CazV in power strips   
    You should have gotten a picture.  We could have used it when someone asks if they are allowed and, tucked in the dozen "nope, not allowed" posts someone has to chime in that theirs wasn't confiscated that one time.  It would be a great visual to post up in response.
    As far as finding your own: all items confiscated are tagged with the owner's info.  Whether someone feels it is worth going through the pile to claim theirs is another story.  I'm betting each cruise ends with piles of those either donated or junked.
  16. Haha
    NS8VN reacted to twangster in power strips   
    Like this table coming off Navigator last month?

  17. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from SpeedNoodles in power strips   
    You should have gotten a picture.  We could have used it when someone asks if they are allowed and, tucked in the dozen "nope, not allowed" posts someone has to chime in that theirs wasn't confiscated that one time.  It would be a great visual to post up in response.
    As far as finding your own: all items confiscated are tagged with the owner's info.  Whether someone feels it is worth going through the pile to claim theirs is another story.  I'm betting each cruise ends with piles of those either donated or junked.
  18. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from Baked Alaska in Closing the border and Cruise ports   
    There are various reasons that this probably is not something that would be happening, especially not at this time next year, but that gets in to a completely different discussion more suitable for other forums.
    Should such a thing happen however it is very likely that Royal would contact those affected with information on how it impacts them.  This is similar to when a travel warning is issued and Royal passes this information along to passengers along with recommendations.  Regardless, I wouldn't worry about it too much as far as cruising goes.
  19. Like
    NS8VN reacted to jce2 in Poor help from guest services with travel   
    I think it is pretty clear from the OP's tone where the real problem lies here.  Thanks Twangster for you invaluable tips and views.  Your Alaska periscope VBLOG has been the singular best item I have encountered so far in my search from cruise knowledge
  20. Like
    NS8VN reacted to Fuzzywuzzy in Poor help from guest services with travel   
    Here we go again.
  21. Haha
    NS8VN reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in Reviewed: All Inclusive Resort vs A Royal Caribbean Cruise   
    Oh, I see.  You're in rebound mode 😄
  22. Thanks
    NS8VN reacted to twangster in Reviewed: All Inclusive Resort vs A Royal Caribbean Cruise   
    I recently had an opportunity to try a fly-in vacation at an all inclusive resort in Jamaica so I'd thought I'd share my thoughts on my experience versus a Royal Caribbean cruise.
    I booked using a Priceline "Express Deal" for a "5 star resort".   I ended up at the Hyatt Ziva Rosa Hall in Jamaica's Montego Bay.  I used a 10% off coupon from a previous Priceline stay which brought our nightly rate for two during spring break down to $400 USD per night all in (taxes, resort fees, gratuity, meals and drinks).  This for the least expensive "resort view" double bed room.  For this resort that was pretty much entry level.  Pool view and suites only went up fast from there.  I did not include the cost of flights in this price because those vary based on origination and cruises don't have flight costs bundled in.  The best rate I could find for this resort without using Priceline or my 10% coupon was over $550 per night for the same room, same dates.  
    The resort itself is beautiful.  The property consists of two resorts, the Hyatt Ziva (family friendly) and the Hyatt Zilara (adult only).  We were free as adults to walk between them at will.  Both resorts have their own pools and share many facilities such as beach activities, restaurants and bars.  

    First Observation - Solo Rates
    As a frequent solo cruiser I often lament the dreaded single supplement.  Cruise fares are advertised on a double occupancy basis with a per person rate.  To cruise solo, you must double that advertised per person rate.  Hotels and resorts generally advertise a room rate.  Since this was an all inclusive resort including drinks and food, rates were also based on occupancy.  In this case a single person paid just $50 per night less than two people in the same room.  Even with my best deal finding, coupon clipping abilities that's just a 13% savings for a solo traveler.
    On this trip I traveled with a friend who I have cruised with before but with just a $50 difference in the rate for a solo traveler it's hard to give the fly-in resort a win on solo pricing.
    Second Observation - Food
    The resort featured seven restaurants available to us included in the price.  These included an Italian, French, Brazilian Steakhouse, Asian and Seafood restaurant as well as more common options such as American bar food and a pizza station.  Breakfast was pretty much a buffet style affair with eggs cooked to order stations satisfying our daily start with a made to order omelet.   Fruit was plentiful.  Lots of pancakes, waffles, etc. 
    Every restaurant offered upcharge options such as this common offer available regardless what restaurant we visited:

    The menus looked great and the variety appealing.  However meal after meal was just okay.  Mediocre might be a better description. 
    The Italian restaurant may have been our next best meal over breakfast.  The Brazilian style steakhouse offered one of those red/green discs you turn over based on your supply and demand needs.  My travel companion noted that the highlight of her meal was the salad she made for herself at the salad bar.  The meats came regardless what color our disc displayed and I sampled a few of them before just having several small servings of the 'tenderloin' beef.  Having eaten at Brazilian style restaurants in cities such as Atlanta this was not a highlight meal.  
    Those breakfast omelets turned out to be the highlight of our culinary experience.  Watch out for the Scotch Bonnet Sauce, it's hot, hot, hot but very good.  A little goes a very long way.  The breakfast venue offered stunning views outdoors as we enjoyed our start to the day.  

    Side note - room service food was included but we never tried it.
    One other included venue was a jerk food station with several sauces and corn bread.

    It was okay but you had to carefully pick through the chicken to avoid bones as they just chopped it all up into pieces and served it on a plate.  Like most other food, it just was missing something and I'm a jerk fan (you are what you eat).
    By the third day we declared Royal Caribbean food a hands down, no contest winner.  
    Third Observation - Beverages
    Adult beverages were included, including the stocked mini-bar in the room.  The mini bar was stocked with a couple of Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light cans, some common liquors (rum/vodka/tequila) and a couple of cans of mixers. WATA (local play on words for bottled water was also plentiful).
    Pool bars offered a decent selection of frozen concoctions, Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light on tap plus your standard variety of mixed drink cocktails.  
    We sampled many of the frozen concoctions.  So many we were left with a sugar buzz but not much of an alcoholic buzz.  I never like to accuse anywhere of watering down drinks but either my tolerance rose substantially for four days or those drinks were mostly water.  
    The included wines were hard to drink.  Wine menus were offered with each meal but everything was at an additional cost ranging from $45 to "OMG there is no way we are getting that bottle".  The house wines left a lot to be desired.  As my glass lowered even slightly they were very good about refilling it.  However it's not often I leave a full glass of wine at the table at the end of a meal.  The wine was just that bad.  "Maybe if I don't drink it, they won't refill it" went through my mind.
    Cocktails like vodka-tonic were basically well drinks with nothing top shelf available.  
    Bars opened at 10am but Mimosa's were available at breakfast before that time.  We each had three one morning yet felt nothing.  
    Best option turned out to be Red Stripe on tap.  Despite how much beer can fill you up, if you desire to become even moderately buzzed, stick with beer.  Fortunately I like Red Stripe.
    It didn't take long to declare Royal Caribbean adult beverages a hands down winner.  Even the included Diamond happy hour wines on Royal Caribbean have found a new respect from me.  I longed for them during every dinner at the resort.  That says a lot.  
    Fresh off Navigator with the hand crafted cocktails in The Bamboo Room I was very disappointed with the adult beverages at the all inclusive resort.  
    Even standard Royal Caribbean frozen drinks, mixed drinks, any drink, outshined any drink I ordered at the resort.
    Fourth Observation - The Resort Itself.
    Beautiful resort with well kept grounds.  Staff were excellent and well trained.  Everyone we met was happy and went beyond expectations to assist and be helpful.   No complaints whatsoever at any time with the resort itself or any employee.  Just very pleasant and accommodating people.  I was quickly on a first name basis with many of them. 




    Our lunch restaurant view one day:

    Some of the more expensive rooms feature a shared pool exclusive to those adult only rooms with outdoor lounging beds on the patio and in water loungers. On the adult only Zilara side of the resort these pools featured a lazy river type channel to the main pool.  Very nice, but expensive. 

    Meeting rooms and convention space.  Immaculate grounds.  Very well kept with attention to details.

    Each resort had it's own swim up bar which was immensely popular.  Yes even Jamaica has spring breakers but nothing that was a problem.  Pools had lifeguards.  One pool next to this one had sport activities such as water bike spin classes, in water yoga, pool volleyball, etc.  Lots to do.


    Cabanas available for rent.

    Cabanas pricing started at just $89.  Beach cabanas $99.  Aqua cabanas pictured above $139.  The most expensive Royal Palm cabanas included a fruit plate, 15 min. message and lunch delivered for $250. 
    Compared to Royal Caribbean's private destinations of CocoCay and Labadee the resort cabanas are a strong winner for value.  While not as large as the new Oasis Lagoon pool on CocoCay, the resort pools were pretty incredible.  
    Clearly no ship can build these massive fresh water pools, there is just not enough space on a ship pool deck to do it.   Not pictured were gas fire-pits around the grounds with resort seating around them at night.  Very peaceful and relaxing. Included Hobie catamaran 15 minute sailing, paddle boards and kayaks.  
    Night time entertainment was pretty much musicians.  One played a violin or fiddle with a machine generated track of background songs and he was very, very good.  We listened to him for hours.  
    No ship can compete with a resort spanning hundreds of acres with massive pools, a fitness center, fire-pits and so much more.  Hyatt Ziva is very well maintained and beautiful. 
    Win for the resort especially with the reasonable cabanas. 
    Honorable mention to Navigator's new resort style pool deck.  For a ship it's the next best thing to a resort.  
    Summary
    I'm really glad I tried an all inclusive resort because you hear so many people trying to draw comparisons. 
    Departing Jamaica after boarding the plane and getting airborne I had some drink coupons so we enjoyed an airline Mimosa in a plastic cup.  We both felt more from that half-sized mini-Mimosa then we did from the three in a row we had at breakfast one morning at the resort.  
    Drinks on Royal Caribbean are a clear and strong winner.
    When we landed in Orlando for our connection we both clamored a real meal of airport food.  It says a lot when Outback in an airport is a fantastic experience after three days of blah.  Even with a plastic knife and fork.
    After clearing immigration we had to wait for our luggage before rejoining the rest of America in the terminal.  We talked with some other people who stayed at different all inclusive resorts more expensive than ours (the word Secret is in the name).  I had to ask.  "How was the food?".  Long pregnant pause before their response... "Well, it was just okay, but we really like the resort."  Pretty much exactly how we felt.  Just okay.
    Food on Royal Caribbean is a strong winner without bringing Royal specialty dining into the picture.
    Chair hogs.  We learned on our first morning get out early and stake your claim.  I grabbed a coffee and claimed loungers under umbrellas while my travel buddy worked out in the fitness center.  Some of my message posts this week were from that very poolside lounger. 
    WiFi was included but not much better than O3b internet on newer ships.  It struggled with Pandora.
    Upcharge opportunities.  At every turn there were offers to upgrade just about everything, at a cost.  A frequent source of complaints from some cruisers comes from upcharge opportunities on a cruise.  I've heard people frequently claim "I though it was all inclusive".  At this five star all inclusive resort we were inundated with opportunities to upgrade our experience including photographers taking pictures available at an additional charge.  We didn't purchase any of them, just as I frequently don't when cruising.  I just had to mention the irony of cruisers comparing it to an all inclusive resort.
    Transportation to the resort from the airport was not included and amounted to $33 per person round trip plus tip.  Not much different than airport to port and/or hotel costs for a cruise.  No clear winner.
    Airfare is difficult to compare but I can say that airfare to Jamaica (with a stop in Florida each way) was more expensive for the same spring break week had our flights ended in Florida.  How much? Somewhere between $100-$150 for two people.  
    My overall conclusion is that a Royal Caribbean cruise is a winner for my needs and my culinary expectations, which aren't much as a non-foodie.   A cruise is simply better value.  Despite having gratuity included in the all inclusive resort pricing it was pretty clear that a few extra bucks here and there made a better experience and our bartenders kept our drinks full or replaced with a new one before we could say no.  
    I've seen that some people don't understand where Royal is heading with the CocoCay investment.  We pretty much hung out around that resort pool a lot.   I get it now, more so than before.  Oasis Lagoon at CocoCay is calling my name.  Give me a 3 night cruise with Royal Caribbean food, drinks and a long day in CocoCay any day.  
    I don't regret my Jamaica vacation.  It's very beautiful there.  However I'll never feel like I am missing out by taking a cruise.  When my friends talk up the all inclusive resorts I'll just nod and smile knowing I have another Royal Caribbean cruise booked where I can enjoy the food, and drinks, and so much more.
    For what's it's worth, the Hyatt Ziva is available for cruise ship "resort for a day" from independent websites.  A couple next to me at a bar mentioned "it's almost time to get back to the ship".  We watched Adventure of the Seas sail past us just after sunset one night.
    The rate I saw for a day pass was $152 per person per day.  Suddenly Cozumel resorts for a day options looked like incredible deals and the food and drinks I've had at places like Nachi Cocum for a third of that price make them look like incredible bargains.  
     
  23. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from 4ensic in Disembarkation and TSA Precheck   
    No.  The port is controlled by CBP, not TSA.  Pre-Check applies to TSA security screenings at airports before travel, customs is a separate screening done after international travel.
  24. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from DublinFC in Disembarkation and TSA Precheck   
    No.  The port is controlled by CBP, not TSA.  Pre-Check applies to TSA security screenings at airports before travel, customs is a separate screening done after international travel.
  25. Like
    NS8VN got a reaction from Ken23 in Voom Surf vs Voom Surf + Stream   
    Pro tip @Balsam:
    If you ask a question on a forum looking for advice, don't attack people for the advice they give.  The second you tell someone they have "more money than sense" it really shows the lack of respect you have.  If you want to be disrespectful to those offering their help, maybe you shouldn't ask for help here.  Or anywhere.
    Seriously.  Ellcee gave you her reasoning for getting it and offered a few differences between the two.  You responded with a completely unnecessary and unprovoked personal attack.  Extremely judgemental, rude, and disrespectful.  All to someone who simply offered a response to your question.  You have since doubled down on the personal attacks.  What kind of person does that?
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