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Everything posted by betatke1480

  1. Yes she was big enough. I think the height needed was either 42" or 44" and she was above that. Unfortunately she was too short for the waterslides. She wasn't scared at all. We did it 3 or 4 times, and she would have done it more if we'd have had more time.
  2. We did the sunset cruise in Aruba and it was amazing. I believe it had been booked through RC, but it was on the Freedom GC.
  3. I wish I would have taken a picture of it. All I did was take a picture of where I hid it.
  4. Now I wonder what will happen to my hidden message... Maybe you can have your Genie sneak you into 9730 and see if it's still there in August. ?
  5. Mine comes from my Fraternity. I am a member of the Beta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and 1480 is my scroll number.
  6. I never reached that honor, doing the typical young man thing of dropping out of BSA shortly after I got my driver's license. I was 1 merit badge short of Eagle and reached Brotherhood in OA. I can't remember the Lenape name my dad had for his Vigil name but it translated to Big Puppy, which all of the gentlemen that picked it for him were quite happy at being able to poke just a little bit of fun at him. He worked for the council and was the Lodge Advisor.
  7. @Lovetocruise2002 We hid a little note for you in the room. I think I put it somewhere easy for you to find with clues, but not somewhere that it will be taken by someone else or found by the cabin attendant. ?
  8. So now that I'm back home and had some time to reflect, wanted to recap the cruise and the last day. For debarkation, we had to have our bags ready by 7am for the porter to come get them from the room. We would not be leaving the ship until 9, so this was annoying to have to get up early, especially since on Anthem they came and got us and the bags at the same time. I have a feeling this is a Port Miami issue though. We did have breakfast delivered to our room in the morning, and then we met Smitha on the Promenade to have her walk us off the ship. Unfortunately, Port Miami does not allow the Genies onto the lower level, so she took us to the elevator and we said our goodbyes. She apologized that she couldn't take us farther, as she knows other Ports the Genies can escort all the way to the CBP line. Getting through customs was easy with Facial Recognition, although I am slightly concerned of where this information comes from, but that's a conspiracy theory for another day. Once outside, it was an absolute nightmare trying to get transportation. RC offered an airport transfer to FLL for $30pp, and in hindsight I wish we would have taken it as we got hit with surge pricing on Uber. I tried Lyft as it would have been 1/3 the price, but we had 5 people, and the "XL" vehicles they kept trying to send us were far from XL. Eventually we got a ride and made it to the airport safe and sound. Now for the recap: As Abby and I were breaking this cruise down, we're not sure how to feel about it. Overall, this experience was probably a 7 out of 10. The problem is that we are used to RC cruises being a 7 on the low point with spikes of 10+. So this was a "good" cruise, but not "great". Even our non-SC cruises always have multiple memorable "wow" moments or crew members, but this was just kind of flat across the board. Our last two cruises have been group cruises, so perhaps that's tainted our thoughts a little. Plus this one we had the in-laws, so that added some stress. And there was nothing overall negative on this cruise, just not the large number of WOW moments. Kids: AO Staff was amazing, and there was never a long line to drop off or pickup. Virginia really liked the new AO layout. She also loved the new Splashaway Bay. She was really bummed she couldn't do the big water slides. She missed that they didn't have Pajama night on the last night. We also missed the "talent show" that they used to do on Oasis. She had a great experience with the Ice Show. Entertainment: We did not do the headliner show, comedy, or Cats. The main production show was pretty good. The dancing and acrobatics were better than the singing. The Ice Show is always amazing, and Virginia had a great time riding in the Swan. Aqua80 is also fantastic. That was the main reason we booked the ATS room because Virginia loved it and we wanted to watch it several times. I think we saw it 5 times, and it was great each time. The other musicians around the ship were fine, nothing spectacular. The cruise director was fine, nothing great or terrible, which is how I like my CD. Food: Room service was hit or miss. A lot of errors or delays. Smitha told us she'd had several issues and asked that we mention them so that perhaps they would be taken more seriously. Giovanni's took forever, almost 2 hours. 150CP was excellent as always. I was surprised at the lack of options in the WJ. There were half as many stations available as what we just had on Freedom, and the only thing I can think is that they make it smaller since there are so many other options to eat. Playmakers was good, and never appeared super crowded, showing the difference in demographic. The buffalo chicken crunch roll was my favorite item eaten on this cruise, it was fantastic. The campfire cookie is also very good. El Loco Fresh was also fantastic. The guac is really good. We never made it there for breakfast, and I wish we would have. Izumi is always good, and we had a great experience on both the Sushi side and Hibachi. Johnny Rockets was good as usual. Portside is also a good addition. The turkey leg was my favorite item, and the wings would be better without so much sauce. The mac and cheese could use help, but the beans and cornbread were great. Also, FRESH ICED TEA!!!!! Genie: Smitha was super friendly and personable, and got more so as the week went on. We finally started seeing some of her personality on day 6 and wish we would have seen it earlier in the cruise. I do feel like the experience was more of a "personal concierge" than a Genie though. There wasn't the WOW experience, but I feel like that was more a factor of how much physical ground they have to cover. I also believe she had some other difficult families. While I can understand this, from a selfish perspective, that shouldn't detract from my experience. I feel like she was hindered by RC policy and decisions. I can't imagine having to cover rooms so far from each other. It did confirm that we had such a great experience with Shane on Anthem. Room: We love the room for being able to watch Aqua80 all the time. We also loved that Virginia had her own room. However, it definitely felt dated and not as high-end as the loft on Anthem. It felt more like a large "standard" room. Maybe the loft allows for more special feeling, but we are looking forward to the UPS on Oasis in a couple of years. The fact that my head hit the ceiling in the shower was disappointing, and the bathrooms didn't have the large, opulent feel of those on Anthem. Crew: All of the crew were friendly, but there were no rock stars like we've had on every other cruise. Our stateroom attendant was very nice, but you can tell the difference between loft attendants and standard attendants. The manager in Portside was excellent. Overall: We had a good cruise, it was definitely relaxing and enjoyable, we just miss those super memorable moments. Our cabin attendant making a towel animal with Virginia was super heartwarming, but that was about the only standout moment. I love this itinerary with only 3 ports, but I'll be glad to not do it for a while. Falmouth seems like a waste, and we were pretty bummed with El Cozumeleno. Now we are looking forward to Ovation in June with a bunch of cruise friends. We missed all of you on this cruise! Thanks for following along, I hope everyone enjoyed.
  9. Yesterday was our last sea day, and as I type this I'm looking at Terminal A in Miami, which is gorgeous, but not what you want to see when you've been on a cruise. Breakfast was in our room, and then Abby and I just loafed around the ship while Virginia was in Adventure Ocean. It was very cold and windy on the pool deck, so we mostly stayed inside. For lunch we went to Johnny Rockets and enjoyed the Family Carnival. There's something about that #12 from JRs that gets me every time. After lunch we went on the Bridge Tour. It was fascinating to me how different the Oasis bridge was from the Anthem bridge. We did finally meet Allan on the bridge tour. We also had a new watch-woman take charge, so luckily we made it home. Then of course we had to do the Ultimate Abyss one last time: The Ultimate Abyss this time was the one time I felt like I would have to raise a "Star Class" flag. We went to get in line, and they had special time for The Key guests. I went to that line, at which there was nobody waiting, and she asked if we had The Key. I told her no, but that we were Star Class and showed her the card. She thought for a minute, then went to ask her supervisor before coming back and allowing us to go ahead. After taking Virginia back to Adventure Ocean at 2, we went back to the room to get stuff packed, and then start drinking all of the alcohol that had been brought to our room. By 5 pm we were in the Pub, and by 5:45pm my FIL was having to put my MIL to bed. She's going to need to practice more before the Unofficial GC in Alaska. Dinner took us to Portside BBQ again, where I got the turkey leg. I think turkey leg, bbq beans, cornbread, and banana dream is the perfect order at Portside. All of these items are sooooo good. After dinner we went to Sugar Beach and got ice cream, then it was back to the room where we had a small surprise from Smitha. Virginia got a couple of new toys and there were a couple of items for Abby. Around 11:30 it was finally time for bed.
  10. Today we were in Cozumel. There were 4 other ships with us at the International Pier, and I believe 2 more downtown. Empress was docked next to us and I wish I would have gotten a good picture, because that is quite the size disparity. It was very windy today and fairly chilly for Cozumel. All of the locals were wearing sweatshirts. First we went downtown to make a few must stops: COZ Coffee, Choclateria Isla Bella, and Sucré/Salé. All are in the same block, and are fabulous local places to frequent. After that we went to El Cozumeleño. Typically we would have gone to Nachi, but we thought we’d give Cozumeleño for Virginia since the pools are bigger. We got there a little later than we wanted, at around 10:45, but we were in port until 6:30 so we still had plenty of time. At check in, there was some confusion as to how many people we booked, even though it was clear on the paperwork I had, per instructions. All of us had to have our passports scanned, then they asked for the balance in cash or card, even though the paperwork clearly states no cash accepted. Then they kept one of our Drivers Licenses. There was very little information given, just a “pools are that way”. We went out to the pools and could not find any loungers. We finally found a couple of regular chairs over in a shaded area and snagged them. Soon the sun was covered by clouds, so there wasn’t a concern of sun or shade. The Gulf was very choppy, so no going into the ocean. Pool was cold, but that’s standard here. The facilities were clean, although there was a lack of a smoking area and it seemed like a RJ Reynolds convention must have been there as 70% were smoking all over the entire area. We sat for over an hour before we ever had a waiter come by and see if we wanted drinks, and any time we ordered, it took 20-30 minutes to get our drinks. The food at lunch was mostly “edible”. The American food looked very unappetizing. The Mexican food was not very good, the only decent items were the tacos, and the meat was well seasoned, but just a mix of chicken, beef, and pork all in one. The chips were stale and very thick. The guac was very bland and flavorless. The three of us went and ate first while my in-laws watched the table, and then we switched. When they went, they couldn’t find the guacamole and asked where it was and they were told that they shouldn’t be in the lunch area that they should have asked for guacamole from there waiter. All in all it was a pretty poor experience, and quite strange at that. Next time in Coz we will definitely be back at Nachi. We left the resort around 2:45 and headed back to the port to shop where Virginia got her hair braided. She’d been dying to have it done since she saw a couple of the girls do it on the Freedom GC. Back on board we relaxed for a bit and had Playmakers brought to the rooms for dinner so we could just relax. We had planned on eating it outside on the balcony, but it was too damn windy, so it was inside for us, and then watching the Aqua show from inside. (By the way, I think I’m at 4 buffalo chicken crunch rolls on the week. Probably my favorite item that I’ve eaten all week.) After dinner since we were still on the room, our state room attendant completed turndown service while we were in the living room, and then she had Virginia help her with the evening’s towel animals, which was very sweet. Tomorrow is a sea day as we steam back towards Miami way too quickly. No big plans for the day except a bridge tour after lunch.
  11. Last night we celebrated my FIL’s birthday with Izumi Hibachi and it was fantastic. Food was great, and Smitha had decorated the table with Happy Birthday confetti and had a cake for us after dinner in the restaurant, which was great. After dinner was back to the room and watching the Aqua80 show for the third or fourth time. Today we are in Cozumel.
  12. I’m low maintenance. It’s the little princess that can be an issue. ? It’s definitely been an interesting contrast from Shane. No request has gone unanswered, and basically any change or request we’ve made has been handled. I know that if we speak up about something, it will be taken care of quickly. I would say that we’ve had a “standard” Genie experience. Nothing has felt above or beyond, but I don’t feel like we are not getting our value, if that makes sense. I’m sure part of Shane’s success was that it was part of the GC, but I also think he is an “special memories” kind of guy. Separately we sent out laundry Tuesday morning and still haven’t had it delivered. Our cabin steward did tell us it was ready and she could bring it tonight if we needed it, but we were used to getting back in about 12-24 hours on Anthem.
  13. One thing I forgot to mention that we’ve found interesting is that the AO staff is responsible for monitoring Splashaway Bay. There is not any standing water, so no drowning risk. We just thought it interesting from a profit center point of view that it’s a “pool” but not under lifeguard purview. We have also noticed more uniformed security than on any other sailing we’ve done.
  14. So far today has been pretty lazy. Just been loafing around the ship. Breakfast was in the room, then V was off to AO and Abby and I just wandered. Stopped in for trivia in the schooner. Watched some woman who was double-fisting ice creams cones berate a bar manager on the pool deck for making people stand in line at one ice cream machine when there were four on the deck. I can’t understand how you can get that angry on a cruise ship. Lunch was in Johnny Rockets and the. Some games on the boardwalk before it was up to the escape room. I live escape rooms, and this one was very fun. We made it with 17 minutes left and got our patches. I would do this one again even and make sure I focused on different puzzles. We came back to the room and had cold food and melted drinks. Seems silly since we were obviously in the escape room. Oh well, I can ice down my tequila shot. Talking with Smitha before the escape room and she confirmed that next week she has one ATS, one UPS Deck 14 forward, and two on deck 17. That just seems like too much running. I’d think they would split that up much better. Tonight is Izumi Hibachi for FIL’s birthday. And @Lovetocruise2002, not sure whose hands these are on your window. ?
  15. Yeah, everything has been taken care of, and when we send her an email it's handled quickly. But as you remember from Anthem, Shane was literally everywhere, so it's quite a big change. I'm sure some of it is the physical distance between SC rooms, and that they don't seem to have grouped the genies geographically as @twangster alluded to earlier. I would think they would give one Genie ATS, one the UPS, and then two on Deck 17 or something similar. Instead I know the we have Smitha, and Izzy has the room below us and one across the way. I have no idea what other rooms Smitha has, but I'm sure she's putting in a lot of miles.
  16. They are holding the guacamole class in Giovanni's. Talk about a confusion of cultures...
  17. As I write this I’m sitting on my balcony watching Aqua80 again. #poorme I really want to know what shoes they were so I can buy them as water shoes for the beach. we got off the ship for about an hour today and walked around the port, and then we did my favorite thing to do in Falmouth or Nassau: enjoy the pool on a much more empty ship. My MIL definitely took advantage of the $18 DX today. Around 3 pm it was back to the room for snacks. Chips and Guacamole from El Loco Fresh, and more tequila! Smitha definitely read the survey and I get at least one tequila shot in the room every day, plus captain and Diet Coke for Abby, milkshake for Virginia, and then one or two random drinks. Today was a Kraken Colada and a Sexy Ocean. It was nice watching @Matt periscope while taking a shot and eating guacamole. Dinner in PortSide was pretty good. God Bless actual brewed iced tea! Between the 4 of us we got pretty much everything except the brisket and turkey leg. We will have to get those for lunch. the chicken wings and burnt ends were good. While not “traditional” burnt ends, they were very good. Sliced turkey and sausage link were dry. Mac and cheese was just ok. BBQ beans were phenomenal. Cornbread was also pretty good. Skip the brookie and get the Banana Dream. It’s amazing. flavor wise, Portside was very good. I consider myself a barbecue connoisseur, living in STL and having lived in Memphis for 4 years, and it’s serviceable. As mentioned, some was dry, but flavors were all good. I wish there was a better system for paying and getting your order. It took some time. I think it would be a fine replacement for another restaurant if you have the UDP and are trying to cut down on food coma. They offer takeout, and it or Playmakers are my choice for balcony snacks and food. I also think Portside and Playmakers are the two best value props if you don’t have a dining package. I am in love with the buffalo chicken crunch rolls at playmakers. And we had the Campfire Cookie in the room tonight. You should get one. We only saw Smitha once today We didn’t need her to get off the ship today since we didn’t have an excursion She stopped by the room around 5 just to check in on us and told us she probably wouldn’t be seeing us at dinner since we were up on 15 and she had her other families, and that we were planning on eating at an in between time, which we understood. She also had us down to go to the adult comedy tonight, but we had told her to cancel that so we could watch Aqua80 again as it was rescheduled from Day 2. So far the Aqua80 show has been packed every time. Tomorrow is a sea day as we steam to Cozumel. We will probably try to hit up some trivia and we are doing the escape room in the afternoon.
  18. Labadee was super relaxing as always. Last night was dinner was in Giovannis, and Star Class Food Coma is starting to set it. It was tough to get through all of the food. We had another "well-done" steak sighting with my MIL. Can't take them anywhere. The carpaccio and the mozzarella di buffalo tasted quite good. Dinner tonight took almost 2 hours, so there was a lot of waiting in between courses. I also really wanted lemon sorbet, and they didn't have any. After dinner we went back up to Adventure Ocean to get Virginia and head to the Ice Show. Smitha met us with our seats, drinks, and popcorn. We were sitting in the first row on the side, which was uncomfortably close, but was with a purpose. Smitha brought Virginia a tiara, and for those that have not seen the Frozen in Time show before, it's the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales on ice. During "The Ugly Duckling", Virginia was one of the girls in the swan on the ice, and she absolutely loved it. She kept saying she was so nervous, but she did great. Genie moment made! Today is Falmouth, so we will probably just walk around in port for a bit then come back on the ship and hit the pool. Tonight, dinner is in Portside BBQ so I can't wait.
  19. From Missouri and Irish, so I used to eat nothing but steak and potatoes. When I had surgery, my limit of red meat went way down.
  20. Also, not sure why some uploads from my phone have been turning sideways...
  21. Back to DEFCON 1. Red alert avoided. Pretzels have been found in the windjammer.
  22. We've only seen Smith, Izzy, and Joyce. Allan may be here somewhere. I thought Smitha said she had 4 other families, unless I misheard her. She's been great personality-wise. On par with Shane in that regard. Shane was just "there" when we were on Anthem. Some of that could be having all of the GC activities and a lot easier to know where we were. It could also be that there are just a lot more "zones" we could be at on Oasis. It's been a good Genie experience, but just seems a little more like the standard experience. Lots of food, and just having our schedule organized. Nothing bad, just a different experience. Virginia loves the room. She loves having her private space and she loves watching the divers. Also, be careful with the master bathroom sink. The water pressure is very high.
  23. So far I've only seen three, and Smitha said depending on the week she has 4 or 5 rooms, and previously I believe they only had 3-4 rooms depending on the week.
  24. Labadee arrival at 7 am this morning. We were a little late getting cleared to get off of the ship. We had breakfast in our room again, but a normal portion this time. Smitha came and got us at 9 am, and we took the magic elevator down to the gangway and then headed to our Cabana, B2. Water was a little choppy today, but other than that is was great. The buffet was upscale, but not near what we had on Anthem in July. There were the usual suspects in addition to lamb chops, ribs, steaks, and pork chops. Of course my first drink was the obligatory Labadoozie. All aboard is 3:30 but we were back on board at around 2, got cleaned up and then got our 3 pm food delivery. And Smitha must be trying to get us drunk because we had more shots of tequila, Captain Morgan, mudslide, lava flow, etc. Tonight is Giovanni's for dinner and then the Ice Show afterwards. A couple of observations: Anthem in July was our first SC cruise. Our genie was amazing, but he just had us and I believe one other family. Smitha has us and 4 other families, and you can tell. She is fantastic, and is very personable, but Shane was "everywhere", where as we don't physically see Smitha as much. It is odd that they added 2 more SC rooms during dry dock, but still only have 3 Genies. Another thing is the room. We had the loft on Anthem and the 2BR ATS on Oasis. The room location and layout are great, but there are a few things that don't make it feel like "Star Class". The furniture is outdated, and I wish it would have been upgraded during the Amp. In the shower in the Master Bedroom, my head hits the ceiling, although I know that won't bother @Lovetocruise2002 and her hubby. I know those are quibbles, but just observations. I'm assuming this is part of why SC rooms on Oasis and Allure are so much less than Symphony and Harmony, even post amplification.
  25. 150CP was delicious for dinner. I forgot to get pictures, but it was very good. I had the scallops and halibut. Abby had the pork belly and duck. MIL had pumpkin bisque and lobster thermidor. FIL had bisque and beef tenderloin (medium well, the savage!). Dessert was the fried cheesecake. I miss the salts, but the garlic butter bread is amazing! After dinner was One Sky. Smitha met us there and took us to our reserved seats. The show was ok. It was interesting to see what set pieces they reused from Come Fly With Me. The singing wasn’t great, but the acrobatics and dancing were quite good. We were really confused by the towel animals left for us. Pretty sure one is a rabbit and have no idea about the other. tomorrow we have a cabana in Labadee. B2, our favorite. It will be interesting to see how the buffet differs from July in Anthem as I know the Anthem CK manager took pride in making it more upscale.
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