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iluvwineandtravel

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iluvwineandtravel last won the day on March 24 2018

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About iluvwineandtravel

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  1. Adding a couple more photos from the loft suite we toured on the cabin crawl
  2. I am doing Norwegian Fjords on Celebrity Sihlouette april 27th.
  3. Overall summary: This was a fantastic cruise and we really enjoyed all the choices offered on the Oasis class! We tend to like the smaller ships too, and really like to connect with the sea, but I still felt I did that on Oasis. Usually, I make more relationships with the staff. Some of this was probably different this time based on the fact that we spent more time in the Diamond lounge and were not at the other bars as much since we did not have a drink package. I loved the diving show. It is one of my all time favorites! My next cruise is on Celebrity Sihlouette at the end of April to the Norwegian Fjords. We got to see her in St. Maarten and there were some people on our tour who were on it and were really enjoying it. Not sure I mentioned the wifi, ended up buying surf and stream Thursday with the mid week discount for the last 3 days of the cruise. The mid week discount was $54, but I was able to get it for $24 with my diamond discount. This saved me 75% vs. me having it the whole cruise with the pre-cruise rate. I also reflected on the fact, that I enjoyed being disconected the first few days of the cruise, and I was able to get cell service on wednesday in St. Thomas. Debarkation was super smooth process on sunday! We had an early flight at 11:15 out of Orlando with a 10:30 boarding time so we opted to do self assist. We could get off anytime between 6:45 and 7:30. We took our time getting up, and ended up departing the ship about 7:15. There were no lines and we walked smoothly off the boat and through customs. We ended up catching a lyft to the airport, but they offer a new smaller shuttle now for $25 per person as soon as you exit the ship and it loaded very quickly. In fact, 2 shuttles loaded and left while we were still waiting for our lyft. We had no problems getting to the airport and were through security at MCO by 8:30am. I was suprised it was not more crowded for the sunday after Thanksgiving, unless most of the crowds were leaving later in the day. Now have 150 days until my next cruise, although it looks like we are going to be able to do the first 3 days of the group cruise on Mariner in March!
  4. So. The final 2 days of the cruise were sea days. Friday was Black friday and they had big sales on the promenade both friday and Saturday. Both days offered many opportunities for trivia and both days had the afternoon Splish Splash diving show scheduled. Friday night was increadibly wavy so they ended up cancelling the show for saturday afternoon. I had wanted to do the guacomole tasting class at sabor on Friday, but the class was full and required reservations. When I saw it was going to be offered again at 10:45 am on Saturday I immediately signed up via the app. Friday we went back to lunch in the dining room and ordered off the menu this time. I got empanadas. Friday night was the second formal night so it was lobster night in the main dining room. My favorite. One thing I really liked about Oasis is that I could use my diamond drink coupons in the main dining room. They have not always allowed that on all ships, but some of the diamond plus and Pinnacle members told me in the lounge that had recently changed and that you could now use them in the dining room fleet wide. I really enjoyed it to be able to order a glass of wine at dinner. Both friday and saturday afternoon, we did the martini tasting in the Champagne bar. It was a very popular class. We made 5 different martini's each day. For the second class on saturday, he only charged us $10 unstead of $15. I enjoyed getting to mix up the different cocktails Friday night we also had reservations for come fly with me after dinner. I enjoyed the show, but it had more of a production feel than some of those types of shows I have seen on the older ships in the old days in the centrum that I used to love so much! We had reservations for cats on saturday afteroon. I would have liked to have seen it, but the boat was so rocky friday night that I did not sleep well, and I was not up for sitting through a 3 hour long show. I did get to see the set for it, which was super impressive! On all 3 sea days, the casino offered $2 mimosas which is fantastic if you don't have a drink package! On saturday, it was time for my guacomole class at sabor. I thought we would get to participate more like I did in the sushi class last spring on grandeur, but this was more of a watch the guy make the guacomole class. It was still very interesting, and I enjoyed some of the tips and tricks. I don't typically like tomotoes, but the fact that they grill theres' for the guacomole made all the difference to me and use the garlic paste. The guacomole and chips lived up to the "HYPE" that I hear about on RCL blog! We all got to order lunch and got a specialty margarita with the class. I ordered the Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita which was amazing! I could have easily drank 2! For my entree, I ordered the steak Quesodilla whcih as also good. Some of the couples in the class ordered one of each of the entrees and split them, a great idea! Some people came to the class and did not eat because they did not realize lunch was included and they already had plans. To me, lunch coming with the class was one of the key elements! I was full by the end of lunch, but the waiter convinced me to try the churros. They were hot and well worth it! Overall, I enjoyed the experience and enjoyed getting to try sabor, their margaritas, and getting to learn how to make more spectacular guac! Oh and I forgot to mention I also did the landscaping tour in central park on saturday morning after Twangster suggested it. It was super interesting since the guy who gave the tour has been at Oasis the whole time, and there were challenges with design the garden on the first Oasis ship. The story about how they spent so much time working on it on the transatlantic prior to the inaugaral sailing out of florida was impressive!
  5. Just adding a comment! after posting these photos of Chef's table. I went back and looked at the photos of Chef's table in March. It was fun to see how different each of the dishes looked despite it being the exact same menu! Both the scallops and lobster roll, as well as the presentation of the filet looked completely different. On grandeur, the contents of the bisque were poured into the bowl and then the soup was poured over it. This time the soup was presented in a different style bowl and had a more smoky flavor! I loved both dinners, but the Chef and the dinner on Oasis were by far my favorite. Interestingly, the Chef on Oasis was also on Grandeur with us in March, but he was not the Chef doing Chef's table on Grandeur as he did more of the specialty dining. On Oasis, the Chef assigned to Chef's table is also the Chef for Coastal Kitchen. He said he likes this assignment the best because he has more room for interpretation and to tweak the dishes! I am really glad we did it on Thanksgiving night, and was suprised there were not more people as the table was full on most of the other nights.
  6. Day #5 Thanksgiving- St. Maarten Day 5 was St. Maarten. We got into port earlier today, so the gangway was not as crowded with everyone getting off at once. We origonally had a catamaran booked that Twangster had reviewed earlier this year and that I had gotten at one of the cruise planner sales, but before the cruise, I decided we just wanted to explore the island since it had been a while since we had been to St. Maarten. We decided to do Bernard's Island #1 tour. We started out by crossing over to the French side and seeing some of the beautiful views. I enjoyed some of the photo stops along the coast. We got several small waters throughout the tour ( they also had sodas) , and a small glass of rum punch. We also had an iguana stop, but we saw them in several locations on the tour. Around lunch time we stopped downtown on the french side and had 1 hour of free time. Greg and I went to the french bakery and split a ham sandwich. After walking through the market, I went into the small store and purchased a bottled Corona for the road for 1.5 Euros or $1.75. I did not have an opener with me, but the guide opened it for me. We continued touring the island and then headed back towards the dutch side and to Maho beach. Maho beach and the bar were heavily crowded that day. We got to see a couple of planes land while we parked the tour bus, but overall we had seen enough without going in and hanging out in the crowded area. We got 45 of free time here, but Greg and I sat at the little outside seating area instead by the convenience store and purchased more 3 beers which came with 1 free wifi access code. It was a relaxing place to sit with music playing, and watching all of the cab drivers hang out. We also saw a couple of crew members sitting here on a tour while waiting for the rest of their party to explore the Maho beach area. Origonally, we had planned to be dropped off downtown, but we decided to head back to the ship at the end of the tour and relax a little before the Chef's table that we had scheduled at 6:30pm in the suite lounge. There was also a special champagne toast on the ship that night since it was thanksgiving. We had a few diamond drinks in the lounge and then headed to the suite lounge on the 14th floor where we were handed our glass of CAVA for the palate cleanser. There was only one other couple doing Chef's table with us tonight, and it was there first time. We did in in March on RCL on Grandeur of the Seas and we have done it once on Celebrity Millenium on an Alaska cruise. The menu on Oasis was the same menu that we had on Grandeur in March, but it was fun to experience a different Chefs interpretation of the menu in a different setting. I got the scallops, tomato soup which was amazaing, lobster roll, ( this was different than on Grandeur), and the filet mignon. Everything was absolutely delicious. the chef also brought a plate of the pasta for Greg and I to share, and he suprised us with a 3rd entree of turkey and cranberry sauce to share since it was thanksgiving. I only ate a few bites of the turkey because the beef and the pasta were both so amazing! We ended with a beautiful chocolate Martini, and the World, one of my favorite deserts! This was definately an amazing experience and Greg and I both agreed that this was our favorite thing from the week!
  7. Day #4 St. Thomas I was very much looking forward to the day in St. Thomas. I have been several times before, but it has been many years ago as we have done more pacific coast, new england and canada, Alaska, and European cruises lately, and the few times we have randomly done the Caribbean, it has been Western Caribbean. We did not arrive in port until around 10:30 am, and there was also a time change from ship time to port time. That made it nice to get up and lazily watch us sail into port on the balcony, but it also made the gangway very crowded with everyone wanting to get off the ship at the same time. In the past, we have always ported at Havensight, but the Oasis class is so large is must port in Crown's bay which is a $4 pp taxi ride away. We had signed up for a sip and bites walking tour through trip advisor which is now the same company as viator. I really wanted to to the food tour, but we got into town too late. We ventured out through the crowd and caught one of the open air taxi's to downtown and met in front of the Greenhouse restaurant for our Taphus sips and bites tour. Interestingly, we ended up being the only couple on the tour which was nice. Our first stop was supposed to be Bones Distillary, but there was a sign on the door that said "come back soon" so we had to venture to the next stop. The tour guide asked if we were hungry and wanted to get a bit or wanted to move on? The bite sounded like good idea, so he got us a meat pie at this famous local establishment on the corner that a lot of the locals went to. It was tasty. Next we ventured to one of our favorite stops, Side street pub. At side street pub, he asked the bartenders to just put all the ingredients on the table and we got to mix our own Painkiller! It was a lot of fun, and we added a floater on top! To make up for not getting to try the bones cocktail, the tour guide took us to a liquor store and we got to try it there. Next we were off to Gladys's cafe http://www.gladyscafe.com/ I was even more impressed with this stop after the tour guide told us that after the hurricane, Gladys fed everyone on the island until they ran out of food! Our tour guide was without electricity for over 5 months after the storm! We sat at the bar and had a pina colada there. I am not a fan of Pina colada's, but this one was one of the best I had had! There was a detour at our 3rd intended stop because they were unexpectedly closed for the afternoon so he took as to another bar in one of the alley's. This stop was enjoyable. First we ordered a Bushwacker, and we ended the tour with a Cruzan confusion. I enjoyed the bushwacker. One of my husband and I's friends was a traveling nurse on St. Thomas so she used to make Bushwackers a lot when we were first dating! Overall, this was a fun tour. After the tour, we ended up back at Side street pub and tried a couple of local Virgin Islands beers. They advertised free wifi, but we were never able to connect to the server. We made our way back to the ship, to diamond happy hour and then to our 6:30 reservations for the Diving Show, "Oasis of Dreams". This was definately the show that was the highlight of my week! We had dinner again in the main dining room with 7:15 reservations for MTD. We ended up having a laid back night after dinner, venturing back to our room, sitting on the balcony looking at the amazing moon and listening to music! It was a great port day!
  8. That is interesting. I just got off oasis and my calendar did up date with new reservations on the app as long as I was logged into the wifi. I did not even purchase voom until mid week. My husband did have the same problem with with wifi disconnecting. I also liked the rising tide bar a lot!
  9. Day #3 First Sea Day The first sea day was on Tuesday. I got up and went to the gym. This was also the morning of the cruise critic meet and mingle. Most everyone there won prices in the drawing and you got to pick the prize you wanted. So of the more popular prizes that went first were free voom minutes, buy one get one free specialty restaurants, johnny rockets, and 4 bottles of wine or champagne. My name was drawn late in the game. I got a RCL water bottle. After that, someone on our facebook group had organized a cabin crawl. We got to tour one of the loft suites on the crawl which had a great view of the aft and the flow rider area. We were also all able to tour the suite lounge and Coastal kitchen on deck 14. At 10:45, we had the top tier event in the aqua theatre with the special diving show. This was one of my favorite top tier events, and since I had no drink package this cruise I grabbed 2 glasses of champagne and 2 mimosa's as I walked in :). Here were the stats for the cruise: 3000, C&A members, 359 diamond members, 140 diamond plus members, and 24 pinnacle members. After the event, we went to lunch in the dining room which we like to do at least a couple of sea days during the cruise. I really love the tutti fruti salad bar that they mix up for you at the bar. I was planning to get that, but when I walked up to the buffet area in the dining room, they also had a station for custom stir fry that they made for you. Greg and I both got that! It was really good. On oasis they, have a seperate faster line in the main dining room if you are going to just get something off of the buffet vs. ordering from the menu. This was nice and an express lane option. We were seated on the opposite side of the dining room from those who were ordering off the menu. In the afternoon, we went to the wines around the world tasting in the main dining room. I enjoy the wine tastings, but have not done any of them in a while because I have had a drink package during many of my recent sailings. It was nice to get to go to the tasting again for something different. Before I knew it, it was diamond happy hour again, and we headed to the diamond lounge and then our early seating for dinner. Overall, it was a perfect sea day. Random Observations: They did finally offer a 3 night specialty dining package today for $85. I was trying to decide whether to do this or do Chef's Table. I opted for Chef's table on Thanksgiving night. There were no discounts for this this week, and according the the chef, he does not really discount it anymore on Oasis. I had a lot of onboard credit this cruise, and was able to easily make the reservation using the app
  10. Hi Joe, Yes. that is correct. We also did Chef's table for Thanksgiving night which was superb. It was the same menu we had on Grandeur in March, but appreciated having a different chef with a slightly different interpretation on oasis and really enjoyed it being in the suite lounge on the 14th floor. I think the food quality was higher at Chef's table, but I still really enjoyed the experience and food at Vintages as well!!! Yes you are correct about the number of courses, and the dinner at Vintages was more about presentation of the wines vs the food. The menu was a special menu just for them, although it likely pulled some of the dishes from the specialty restaurants and other locations. You could definately have more wine if you liked it. I did not feel limited in anyway and got more of several of them because i esp. love CAVA love Italian wines. The CAVA really served as a palate cleanser as well ( In fact, it was the palate cleanser that is served at Chef's table). :). I did not ask about a discount on the bottle of wine served with the meal, but that is a really great question!!!! They have only been offering this dinner for 3-4 weeks. It started on Oasis and is now spreading fleet wide so I am sure the offerings will evolve. I enjoyed it so much that I would have done it a second day if they offered a different menu.
  11. Day 2- Nassau This was our 3rd time to Nassau this year. We decided to stay onboard and explore the ship more since this was our first time on Oasis class. The views were really beautiful from the ship. We had a gorgeous view out of our balcony. We ended up having lunch in the windjammer again which was less crowded since it was a port day. We got a window seat and also enjoyed the beautiful view. I went to the gym in the morning and also really enjoyed the full walking track on deck 5, and the chairs on the back. It is crazy that you only need 2.4 laps to equal a mile on this ship! I walked a mile late in the afternoon and sat in the chairs at aft to enjoy the sailway from Nassau. We departed early at 3pm on that day! Tonight was our dinner at vintages. It started at 6:30pm. We went to the diamond lounge first and then made our way to Vintages. There was only us and 1 other couple at the dinner. For each course, you chose between 2 items, and then you got the wine that was paired to go with that item. I should have taken a picture of the menu, but for the first course I chose the octupus which was paired with Vilarnau Cava from Spain. I love Cava and have had this wine before. Many of the other wines were italian with a NAPA cab for the main course I ordered. Course 2, I chose lobster bisque paired with Nipozzano Chianti. The beef for my main entree was slow roasted and paired with a cab, and then I got a chocolate molten style cake for desert paired with a port. I liked the presentation of the Tiramisu my husband got much better, but overall I thought the dinner was a fantastic value and I really enjoyed the setting of the wine bar!
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