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Everything posted by twangster

  1. People showing up like its 2019 is going to be a problem outside the terminal.
  2. If it happens again visit the loyalty ambassador on board. They sometimes have the CAS letters on display at their desk. If not look in the cruise compass for when they are open and they'll get you one. At all bars including the MDR you have to ask them to use the CAS beer/wine discount. By default they don't go searching your account to see if you have have used it already.
  3. I feel like the other lines haven't put any effort into looking at the process with fresh eyes. Instead they put up signs to wear a mask and have put more hand sanitizing stations in the terminal but that's about it. Even then that's the port doing that, not the cruise lines. For muster in one case they made it a longer process with more standing in long lines. For the other they immediately directed me to go to muster upon boarding with my carry on luggage. Do not pass Go, do not collect a beverage. Sit and wait for enough guests so they can perform a safety demonstration and only then are you free to start your vacation. I feel like their "new" restart procedures were developed by an outside agency that has never cruised before. Royal put a lot of effort into rethinking boarding day when they created Oasis class. They had to in order to manage the higher passenger count. All ships benefited from that reimagining the process. For the cruising restart I feel like Royal once again took a deep dive into the boarding day process and spent some time to look at it from the moment you step out of a car or off a bus including the muster process. On those other lines I feel like they haven't invested very much effort into looking at the boarding day process. It's like they think of the cruise starting once you are on the ship. "Boarding sucks and it was will always suck and that's just the way it is. That doesn't matter because the cruise only begins on the ship and not a minute before. We have no control over what happens in the terminal before the cruise begins".
  4. I've had an opportunity to cruise a few cruise lines during this 2021 cruise restart. All of them have been with reduced capacity. Having recently encountered two terrible boarding day procedures I've got give credit to Royal Caribbean for implementing the best boarding day process I've experienced. On those other lines it took hours for me to board the ship. Neither of them improved the muster drill routine to a notable extent. For both the other cruise lines their boarding day process cast a dark cloud on the start of my cruise vacation and in both cases it took a few hours after finally getting on board before it felt like I was on vacation. Even then I felt exhausted and didn't feel like doing very much on the first night. Contrast that with Royal where I was car to cabin in 20 minutes. Upon boarding I was free to grab a bite to eat and a beverage then I could visit my muster station at my convenience for a one-on-one safety briefing that took less than 60 seconds. Upon boarding Royal I immediately felt like I was on a cruise vacation. It was like I got an extra cruise day to enjoy. I was quickly into vacation mode and it was all stress free. I will say people arriving before their appointed time is a problem on all cruise lines. Don't be that person. If you arrive before your time you are part of the problem and you deserve the long wait times you will encounter. However once you are allowed inside the terminal there is no excuse for the other cruise lines to make boarding such a stressful and lengthy process. Hat's off to Royal for creating the best boarding day process.
  5. Drink packages in North America have 18% gratuity (service fee) added during the check-out process. There is no per drink gratuity charged when ordering a drink when you have a drink package. If you order drinks on a pay as you go basis without a drink package, then you pay 18% gratuity per drink.
  6. That confused a lot of people. Under the old way it was buried in fine print resulting in guests not knowing that it was included. Going forward they took an approach that clarified gratuity and make it very easy for everyone to see. Naturally some people will see this as a money grab which it isn't. People like it when they are transparent and clear. Now some people are calling foul because they made it transparent and clear. They can't win.
  7. Only if you booked a refundable rate or asked your TA to book it as refundable.
  8. AA has a hub in Miami so they have limited service to FLL. Delta on the other hand has typically been cheaper to FLL compared to MIA. Southwest mostly flies to FLL but had just started MIA service before the pandemic. It all depends.
  9. Bars are not closed to children, they just can't order alcoholic drinks. A family with children is free to visit any bar that isn't designated as a vaccinated only area and sit down with their kids. Parents can order a glass of wine, kids could order a soda, or order nothing. Bar's do not require that anyone present order something while seated there. You can literally plop yourself and your kids down and just sit there, so long as it's not designated as V only.
  10. Not automatically. Suite guests in the Royal Suite product (Quantum and Oasis class) are free to purchase things in the cruise planner that overlap with Suite perks. A GS guest could for example purchase The Key (if it's offered) and other than embarkation lunch or priority access to select activities really get no other benefit they don't already get. The system doesn't look at your cabin and guide your purchasing. If you are successful with Royal Up within the timeframe when the cruise planner is closed in the days before the cruise talk to the suite concierge upon boarding.
  11. Pre-pandemic and no single graph can capture all variables or all scenarios (interior vs. balcony vs. suite, different regions, etc.) but in general terms this was loosely the trend that I often observed pre-pandemic: Source: cruisemarketwatch.com That was 2012 and the trends were changing with many more people cruising leading up to 2019. Lacking anything else I still think it loosely applies.
  12. As written the PVSA can only be bypassed for interests of national security so like ATRA it will take Congress to change or modify the law. Congress has the power to do many things. I never would have predicted the ATRA (Alaskan Tourism Restoration Act) would have passed through Congress but it did, quite easily. I have no insight if the new bill will receive similar support in the same Congress that passed ATRA.
  13. Be aware at the moment the first sailing on March 4, 2022 does not have any C&A balcony discounts loaded. I had a longggg call with C&A who engaged resolutions who engaged revenue management who engaged promotions. They are aware and are looking into it. Other March sailings feature the C&A balcony discount.
  14. If it moves forward I think we'll see new opportunities. New ports, new native corporations taking ownership of existing, etc.
  15. Makes sense. If cruising is such a vital part of the state's economy we shouldn't have that dependent on a foreign nation. If I'm not mistaken there are lobbying groups in Victoria that would love to see a cruise ship ban enacted or the current ban made permanent. If they are successful they could cause a lot of harm to Alaska's tourism industry. It's better to get ahead of that in case it comes to fruition. https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2021/09/16/alaska-senator-introduces-bill-permanently-allow-cruise-ships-sail-alaska-without
  16. Gambling for sure but I've heard bar sales are pretty slow in China. Very few would consider a drink package, bars rarely have a line, bartenders standing around with little to do sort of thing. One issue faced by cruise lines in China is breaking the stereotype that cruises are just for gambling. The concept of cruising for a vacation has been hard to put forward but Royal was making headway in this area with an increasing Chinese customer base that was booking Royal in other regions having experienced the product in China. Guests were beginning to see cruising as more than just gambling.
  17. Your choice. Both are acceptable scenarios.
  18. I think it buys them some time to evaluate the pandemic and hurdles they faced with getting her to China, whatever those hurdles may be. October 2022 isn't that far into the future but a long time in terms of the virus and variants. If China remains "hurdled" then maybe she spends the winter in Florida. If the pandemic winds down to something easier to manage then maybe she heads to the Pacific. They'll have a better idea in the coming months. Cruises typically have a long sales cycle . They want it open so they have a longer window to sell it. It says a lot about the uncertainty of the pandemic that they aren't opening the winter of 2022 on Wonder just yet. My guess would be keeping her in Florida since she is there. Then in the spring they could send her to Europe and onward through the Suez. That's a SWAG without any foundation to support it.
  19. On Odyssey last week our CD Mike S. from Canada was explaining that he is heading to Wonder next. He explained that Bobby Brown is the "take out" CD for all new builds but Bobby is retiring. Bobby is also heading to Wonder. The plan, Mike explained, is for him to assume Bobby's role as "take out" CD for new builds going forward. It's also customary to have two CD's on take out cruises consequently there will be three CD's on the Wonder to start. There will be Bobby with Mike in training as take out CD and a 3rd CD since it's a new build. In hindsight he did add a comment about Wonder's future that was a glimpse into this change citing "some hurdles to getting her started in China". He said "it might come to Europe, it might come to the states, nothing has been announced". It's been announced now. Crew rumors are cheap and easy to come by so I found it interesting but never imagined it would come true so quickly.
  20. Yes to Portside BBQ. I'm guessing they've known this is coming for some time now and they have been able to schedule some minor updates to suit the US market. There is some time between the anticipated turn over date and the inservice date. Maybe they are keeping her in the shipyard after accepting the ship into the fleet. Not really sure.
  21. It's coming back at least to fulfil the Allure TA Westbound to Port Canaveral in Florida that it's assuming. After that is unknown.
  22. They already earmarked a DL on Wonder on deck 4 like her sisters (or most of them). The "Golden Room" will presumably be repurposed to Jazz on 4. There are star cabins, just not very many at the moment.
  23. Paging @Lovetocruise2002 - I think she verified RC would test.
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