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Everything posted by twangster

  1. They needed to trial it on a Voyager class ship with dreadful internet to begin with. Navi and Mariner as examples.
  2. In 2013 when Voom was introduced it was revolutionary. A total game changer for cruise ship internet in an era when the internet at sea model was typically a small, expensive bucket of minutes for very slow throughput closer to 9,600 baud modems. Along comes 4Mbps! And no unlimited! Connected 24 x 7! Voom! In that era the average home had around 15 Mbps so getting 4 Mbps at sea was pretty outstanding. Fast forward 9 years and while Voom has remained constant our expectations have grown substantially. In current times the average home internet is over 200Mbps with some homes opting for gigabit speeds. From experiencing 1/4 of average home speed when at sea in 2013 to two percent of home speeds in 2022 that 4 Mbps speed now seems dreadful. As a society we also consume much more video content now compared to 2013. We have unlimited mobile plans so riding transit we can stream hours of video that we couldn't do in 2013. Pop up ads in 2013 were still pics. Now pop up ads are more likely to be video content which slows down a 4Mbps connection as the ad slowly loads making the situation even worse. While we have changed over these last 9 years, Voom has not.
  3. A2S can be a little more than just a wrapper. In some cases RCG is contracting with airlines to add specific flights for the purpose of getting cruisers on ships. Both Celebrity and Royal have benefited from flights being added to specific gateways cities that the airlines were not offering before. RCG committed to seats on these planes and sold them at lower prices through A2S compared to what a consumer could find on the airline's website directly. It happened in the Bahamas, Barbados and in Europe for Apex cruises. There may be other examples beyond these. They also did it for Bermuda but then that restart itinerary was cancelled and with it the A2S flights they sold. There was a wholesale agreement that involved A2S (or the Celebrity version) and the airlines. One thing A2S can't do is predict or override an airline that cancels flights on short notice. Not even the employees of that airline can manage the chaos created by the airline industry right now. A2S isn't a magic fairy that can sprinkle pixie dust in the air and overcome the issues created by airlines in these current times. Anyone who has that expectation has the wrong expectation.
  4. The bottom line is that society must learn how to live with this new virus much like society has learned to live with other viruses. We collectively have taken great strides forward from the days when there were lockdowns and vaccine passports implemented in some form in various cities and countries. Those have all but disappeared and we are free to go watch Top Gun in a packed movie theater sitting beside strangers with no protocols for 3 hours. Yet cruising is still subject to excessive government regulation and the only industry subject to the scrutiny of government oversight related to the virus to this extent.
  5. I don't know the actual structure of the A2S department. Is it outsourced? Is it staffed by Royal employees trained specifically on air? Do they have direct access into each airline platform? How deep in each airline platform can they get? I don't know.
  6. They may not have direct SABRE access. I can make Air2Sea reservations through Royal Caribbean's website as a guest booked on a cruise. You can too. Anyone can. We are not accessing the reservation platform for each airline. We are not directly in the SABRE platform. The original post mentioned nothing about A2S.
  7. Now we are deviating from the original context. "Are Royal's Phone Answerers Legally Required To Be TAs?" removing the legal condition from the question... A person who is hired to work in a contact center (phone answerer) for any company does not necessarily need to be industry certified to work as a contact center agent. The company will likely establish policy and training requirements that an individual should meet before they begin to interact with customers. That's just basic business sense, but those are defined within the company. In the context of Royal Caribbean a contact center agent can access Royal's reservation systems and not be certified by a 3rd party to do so. Royal doesn't use SABRE, Royal uses its own in-house reservation system so no 3rd party can impose requirements for accessing their system. Unlike legacy airlines that tended to outsource their booking and reservation platforms, cruise lines mostly have their own in-house platforms.
  8. The simple answer is no. Legally there is no requirement for any one to be a travel agent who is employed or contracted to work in the travel industry.
  9. I can't find the policy on the web site but my past memory says that inline skates are not permitted. You can bring your own roller skates but inline skates are not included in that definition.
  10. Before 9/11 when you could bring liquids onto planes in carry-on I brought dozens of wine bottles back from South America. Declared everything and CBP said "Welcome home". Always declare it and have never been required to pay duties or taxes that they could impose.
  11. Back in 2019 Ovation was using pre-punched cards. That didn't last through the end of 2019 though.
  12. Yes. Normally upon returning to the ship when you go through the security on the ship you will place bags on the x ray. Once they see the bottles they will flag you to go to a table where they collect the items which will be returned to on the last night of the cruise. Your cruise is slightly differemt. September 25 is from Barcelona. In Barcelona there is a wine store right in the cruise terminal after security. You can bring those bottles right on the ship to your cabin. In the Med they implement different policies for wine on board.
  13. On Royal with their inconsistency I'd be very careful to predict the outcome. It's no different from me booking a cruise then "selling" it to someone else on the premise I won't show up. A stranger might not make that deal but between friends and family what's to stop someone it? "Hey sister... I can't sail next week so I'll sell you the cruise for half of what I paid. I won't show up so you get the cabin to yourself!". Or... if you are ballsy sell it on eBay or a cruise forum on the internet. "Trust me, I won't show up and you get a cruise for half the current rate." Or... "Your casio offer is about to expire and you can't cruise right now. How about you book it with me in the cabin and I'll sail without you?". Or.. "I'll book you a cabin using my CAS rate then I'll stay in my other cabin". These are examples of what Royal goes out of their way to stop.
  14. Royal continues to refine C&A access to the CL and SL on all ships. They have established hard counts for D+ and P and once a ship has CAS members over that predefined threshold that level is restricted from the CL/SL. Multiple ships I've sailed recently asked all guests to badge in and out of the CL/SL. They were collecting data on how many guests, suites or otherwise, were actually using the facility and how long they stayed. By gathering data they would have a basis to make additional policy updates. On Quantum in Alaska during the second Alaska cruise for this year the suite concierge told me that D+ numbers were over the threshold all summer long. The first projected date that could allow them access to the CL was in September but that is subject to change as the ship continues to book up.
  15. The ship has a manifest of passengers that becomes the official documents submitted to every country involved with the cruise. There can be only be one of you actually sailing. Can you book multiple cabins? Sure. Can you board the ship and be in multiple cabins? No. I have at times booked multiple cabins on a refundable basis. A JS and a balcony for example while I contemplate which I want or try to entice family and friends to join me. As my mind clears I settle on one and eventually let go of the other. This can take months sometimes. Unlike some airlines that will automatically cancel one of your bookings, cruise lines let you make multiple bookings and might even let you make final payment on all of them. I'm not sure about that, I never get that far. On boarding day you can't be lead or be checked in on multiple cabins. So what happens to the cabin that is discarded on boarding day? That may depend. Any discounts like C&A, age, state of resident, fire/military/police, casino, etc. could be removed from a booking when you are removed from that cabin that contains another guest. Is this a sure thing? We all know that Royal can be inconsistent so has someone got away with it and a second guest was able to sail? Probably. But I'd be hesitant to use that as proof that is policy or what will always happen. My gut tells me this will likely end badly or not as you may desire. However I've never taken it that far as to see what happens on boarding day and don't think I ever will.
  16. I've seen belly flop contests in the aqua pool.
  17. The answer varies slightly depending if you are staying in a junior suite or a full suite. Junior suites have access on a space available basis. On some ships this is implemented differently. It could mean only being able to make reservations that day. Full suites have priority access and can usually make reservations for the week. Reservations times can vary daily so if your itinerary has a late stay at a port one day you could request a reservation for a later time for that one day. Full suites typically will be contacted by a suite concierge using email in the days before the cruise. Guests can typically reply and request reservations for the week and the times can be different each day. Once on board there can be some flexibility to change reservations but there can be days when all times have been reserved and they won't be able to accommodate a request to change CK dining times. If you make the request to change a reservation days ahead you may have better success. Asking to change a reservation with a few hours notice will not likely be successful, unless Star Class. It varies week to week and by class of ship. Quantum class have fewer suites and CK reservations don't tend to book up like they do on Oasis class.
  18. This goes to show it never hurts to ask. Plus a travel agency calling the travel agent support queue often yields better results that an individual calling a cruise line directly. That's not always the case but my travel agent has often been to get things done that isn't what the policies say.
  19. In the US terminal workers and ship crew have no means to scan a QR code. While the official CDC vaccination card is a sure thing for boarding a cruise, it isn't the only document that satisfies the requirement. A QR code by itself won't work. If the QR code is accompanied by your printed name, birthdate, manufacturer of vaccines, dates administered and their associated codes unique to your dose that may suffice. If that information requires scanning the QR code for it be revealed that won't work. The CDC vaccination card is like a passport - it reigns supreme over all other methods of proving you are vaccinated just like a passport is the best way to prove citizenship. If you have the CDC card, why make it harder on yourself to board?
  20. Ironically they sometimes sell them on the ship. I first encountered the ulu when I lived in the Arctic fresh out of college. They are the utility knife of the North used by many native cultures beyond Alaska. Later in life the ulu knives I had obtained in my youth were lost over the years so I have acquired some on Alaskan cruises. I found a nice one in Skagway that I purchased in a store that featured more authentic native art. I was able to bring it on board without any issues. Onboard they had some mass produced ulu in the gift store that I purchased as souvenirs to give away. They all went in my checked airline luggage when I flew home after the cruise. If in doubt stop any security officer on board and ask them if you can buy an ulu on land and bring it on board. BTW - they make great pizza cutters at home
  21. Food is personal so a CK menu I love might be panned by others. When CK was relatively new to me I'd make a point of eating there as my primary dinner venue every night. I don't always book suites, maybe 30% of the time, and not all ships have a CK, so CK hasn't always been available to me. When CK was available to me I made a point of eating there and by eating every dinner there I discovered which entrees I loved and which I loved less. Now that I've had an opportunity of eating there many times I am better prepared to make decisions what nights I should dine in CK. I do prefer the ambiance and service in CK compared to the MDR. I often cruise without specialty dining because I don't find all of it that special or worth the higher prices as specialty has gone up over the years. Good for Royal to be able fill their restaurants at higher prices, it's just not in my value proposition most of the time but that is largely because I cruise often. If the MDR doesn't have anything that interest me the better service and ambiance of CK will always be a better choice for me. Since I don't tend to do specialty very often and now that I know which CK menus I love I am in a position to elevate my cruise dining for the week by cherry picking which nights to visit CK compared to MDR and if I feel like it a specialty venue on that cruise. Often specialty lunches offer better value when I crave something I like in a specialty venue then I'll have a lighter dinner having filled my belly on a specialty lunch. You need to discover which CK menus work best for you. That could be all or few of them depending on your tastes. You are different than us so don't pan CK without trying it frequently. If you are eligible to eat there, eat there often so you'll know for future cruises.
  22. Sometimes shoreside persconnel in far away lands have never been on a cruise so they read from an internal support page. I'd suggest waiting until the suite concierge emails you in the days before the cruise. Reply to them. Ask them. Ship based crew always know exactly what the situation really is and if they don't they can make a phone call on the spot to a ship based manager, deck supervisor, GSM, HD, etc. If they say no you still have time to pack it. If they say you can have a rollaway, you are set.
  23. Well you won't be allowed to board the ship without showing the Bermuda paperwork that shows you paid it, so if you have a plan that works around that, let us know.
  24. I've seen rollaway beds in Loft Suites as recently as March on Harmony. As I was debarking the ship from a loft suite I saw one in the hall that the suite attendants were moving out from my neighbors loft suite.
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