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Deedeelynn

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  1. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to raahc in Windjammer Themed Dinners on Harmony   
    Not sure if anyone is still interested (I just joined these forums today), here is what I found from a very recent cruise of Harmony.  Please note they can change at any time:
    Day 1:  Grill 
    Day 2:  Crepes
    Day 3:  Indian
    Day 4:  Caribbean
    Day 5:  Mexican
    Day 6:  Mixed Grill/Crepes
    Day 7:  Mongolian
    Hope this helps.  Cheers!
  2. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    The port area is very nice with some shopping, a few waterfront bars and no pushy vendors.



  3. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Too soon it was 12:45pm and time to head back to the real world.  The barge returned victims back to the excursion boat.

    With that we were off towards Tortola.




  4. Love
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    The desired effect worked and full relaxation mode kicked in.




  5. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    There are several bars that we were free to visit.





    This beach is popular with the yachting and sailing crowd.


  6. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    My excursion today was Escape to Jost Van Dyke booked through Royal and later cheaper when it went on sale and I saved $19.  Jost Van Dyke is one of the smaller islands in the BVI with a small permanent population.  I've been to Jost Van Dyke before and booking this excursion was the very next thing I did after booking this cruise.
    Very close to the end of the pier is the staging area for excursion boats.

    The boat has both inside and outside seating fore and aft.   

    The forward outdoor seating does some sea spray but it was very refreshing.

    Around 25 minutes later we were approaching this little slice of heaven right here on Jost Van Dyke.

    The water here is quite stunning.

    I wasn't quick enough to capture the decent size sea turtle that popped up close by in this general direction.

    On previous trips here the boat anchored and we swam to shore.  This excursion comes with a barge that takes guests to shore where you can just walk onto the beach without getting wet.

    There are numerous bars that line the beach.  Our designated section was at the end of the beach at Ocean 7 names after seven sisters that founded this bar.  Loungers and umbrellas were reserved for us.  We received tickets for one drink (beer/soda/water) and one meal each.


    It's such a beautiful beach. 

  7. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Chops was $48 plus 18%.  Since I'm D+ I used a C&A BOGO offer to get a second visit for free.
    The Café menu:


  8. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    I've been in cruise mode having a great time making new friends so I apologize for the lack of updates.
    This was our sail out from San Juan at midnight.

    The fountain on Paseo de la Princesa that I capture earlier.

    El Morro at night.


  9. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to JLMoran in Solarium Bistro   
    And breakfast, too!
  10. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Walking back to the ship I just had to capture it with some water blur effect and the nearly full moon.

    It was too early to go back on board so with several hours until all aboard time I wanted to go back to Paseo de la Princesa.




    I always enjoy stops that include the ability to take pictures of the ship at night so I couldn't let the opportunity go to waste.


    Time to head back on board.

  11. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    My destination was sort of El Morro and anything I happen to see along the way so I just started walking up hill vaguely in that direction snapping a few pictures along the way.

    I walked past a church with open doors so I couldn't resist a photo.

    Eventually I reached the edge of the field in front of El Morro just in time for sunset.


    Behind me the lights along the road towards Castillo San Cristóbal caught my attention so I went that way.

    I wasn't really feeling the photography juices flowing so I had to figure something out. 

    Maybe some long exposure light streaking photos would do the trick.

    This is why I love golden hour.



    Castillo San Cristóbal.  With my camera doing a 30 second exposure I used the light on my phone to "paint" the area closest to me with light.  

  12. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Drink sale of the day, half off Margaritas!

    My plan for this visit to San Juan was some photos during golden hour after sunset so I waited for the WJ to open at 6pm and had some dinner before venturing off.


    Walking up hill I found a view that included Empress in the distance.

  13. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    @JLMoran asked me if they ever have a piano player in the MDR during dinner.  

    I was fortunate enough to be picked for the Hotel Director's Table once again.  I learned that it's not always just the top elite that get invited based on numbers.  The Captain or Hotel Director has the ability to choose. 
    Once again Jorge our Guest Services Manager joined us.  This is the last cruise for Julie our Hotel Director and Jorge as well.  While Julie goes home for 2 months Jorge is heading to Majesty for a few months.   


    Some of my tablemates tonight were the pier runners at CocoCay.  Long story.  The ship called one of their emergency contacts when they were late.  Another step in the protocol I didn't know about.
    I asked Julie about the previous Eastern cruise when guests were left at CocoCay.  She confirmed there were 3 guests involved and they all made their way to San Juan at their expense.  They contacted Mariner first and confirmed they had space before leaving the guests.  When the decision to skip San Juan due to civil unrest was made it was Jorge who contacted the port agent to make arrangements to get the guests over to the BVI at Royal's expense. 
    I asked about the process when a guest misses the ship.  Multiple security wearing body cameras enter their cabin.  They document everything on camera.  They will open the safe and look for passports, wallet, credit cards and money.  Money is counted very visibly on camera.  They collect it all and put it in a bag.  If they see diapers in a cabin of missing guests they'll grab some of those too.  Everything is put in a bag and readied to be handed off to the local port agent.  
    She said when a guest does make it at the last second (pier runner) it's very sobering for them to see their stuff in a sealed bag when they realize how close they came to missing the ship.  If a guest does miss the ship they hand the sealed package to the port agent who later gives it to the guest.  In the case of the last cruise and missing CocoCay guests the sealed packages were left with Mariner's security team.
    Julie is very personable and it was interesting to hear more stories from her lengthy time at sea starting as a revenue manager.  She shared a picture a friend (crew) on Mariner took using a drone showing Empress and Mariner at the pier in CocoCay.  She airdropped the photo to me so I airdropped the Milky Way photo from my Empress Western cruise the week before back to her.  Since the drone photo isn't my picture I'm not going to share it here but it's a pretty cool picture. 
    Some of my table mates will be on a Navigator B2B I have coming up.  Another will be on a Vision Panama cruise coming up with me.   Last cruise a table mate at the HD Table will be on an Oasis B3B with me later this year.  You meet so many nice people at these events and I greatly appreciate the invitation. 
    Once again we were presented with a memento of our dinner experience.


    Loyalty does pay.
  14. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    The end of day 2 finds us at sea on our way towards San Juan.
    I was sitting in Boleros enjoying some latin music with a glass of wine when I noticed a sunset happening behind us.


    Our progress so far...

  15. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Dinner at Chops
    I was offered a window table but they were pretty busy so I chose one row back so someone else can enjoy the windows this time.  Still a great view.

    Bread of course.

    Wedge Salad.

    Beef Carpaccio. 

    The 16 oz. bone in.  Yum.

    The sundae again.

  16. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Quick update.  
    Uber to port had me there just before 10am.  I took the opportunity to take some pictures of terminal G, I’ll post those soon.  
    Boarding started at 10:45am.  First on board.  I ran into the Pinnacle doing a B4B who was with me on my B2B.  Julie our Hotel Director saw me and came over to chat greeting me by name.  There will be 12 pinnacles on this sailing.  It’s also the last cruise of her current contract.  Jorge the Guest Services Manager saw me and welcomed me back.  
    Right now I’m sitting at the Schooner Bar where Wayan and Roland recognized me and welcomed me back.   
    Just like that I feel like I’m home.   
  17. Haha
    Deedeelynn reacted to Skid in Straws?   
    We were in a place yesterday that put paper straws into their drinks (sodas) that were served in plastic cups! I was too tired to question them, but how weird is that?
     
  18. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Perhaps at the Chill Grill.  Chill Grill offers the same food options as the Skipper's grill.

    They have three Panini type sandwiches.  Portobello & Mushroom, Shaved Rib Eye Cheese Steak and Cuban Sandwich.  The Cuban and Shaved Rib were good.  The Shaved Rib Eye is similar to a Philly Cheesesteak in concept.  I didn't try the Portobello & Mushroom sandwich.

    They also have burgers and dogs.


    As well as a Taco bar with Corn and Flour Tortillas, Pork, Chicken or Beef Carnitas plus the regular toppings.  

  19. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Cruise Summary
    Don't let the pictures fool you, Empress is not a large ship.  Cabins from interior to suites are not as generous as they are on newer and larger ships. 
    In some cases the pullman beds for 3rd and 4th guests that are flush into the ceiling on other ships are mounted externally to the walls.  This is what cruising was like in the mid-80's when she was originally ordered by Admiral Cruises.  Incidentally that is also how Royal Caribbean found themselves in possession of CocoCay - through the acquisition of Admiral Cruises.  It is fitting to visit CocoCay while sailing Empress.
    On Empress you'll find a Royal Caribbean ship with all the core cruising essentials and more - a pool, hot tubs, kids splash area, a pool bar, a Viking Crown Lounge, a Windjammer, a Main Dining Room, Chops Grille, Schooner Bar, Boleros, Main Theater entertainment, Casino, game shows, trivia, rock climbing wall, pool deck activities, live music and dancing.
    When I booked these cruises I wasn't hesitant about booking B2B or 14 nights on Empress because I know and love this ship.  What I should have done is booked B3B or B4B as some of others that I ran into daily had done.  
    Did I miss a Diamond Lounge?  Not really.  The regular top Crown and Anchor members had our regular spot and we would see each other there nightly.  We enjoyed our three free Diamond Happy Hour drinks.  The bartenders took care of us.  
    I still maintain that Chops Grille on Empress is the best Chops in the fleet.  Large windows to the sea with great service and great food.  
    Without question Boleros on Empress is the best in the fleet.
    There is no inherent motion simply because she is a small ship.  Some nights I accidentally left my bathroom door open and it was never swinging or creaking in the night.   
    With only 1,840 guests maximum it never feels crowded.  Certain events were popular and well attended but not overly packed.  
    Voom.  Like any ship that uses the older satellite technology there are times when Voom struggles on Empress just like it does on other ships that use the old technology.  I hope the IT Manager's request for an O3b upgrade comes through, that would make Empress the perfect ship.  
    The new Empress itineraries that include small ship ports look outstanding.   St George's and Hamilton?  Montreal?  Wow!
    Perfect Day - just wow!   I'm glad to see the classic CocoCay beach experience remains with Chill Island but with new food and beverage additions.  Oasis Lagoon is massive and really nice. 
    The complimentary choices mean you don't have to spend a dime to have a Perfect Day but when you want to AMP up your vacation there are choices like Thrill Waterpark to do so.   Captain Jack's and Skipper's Grill with their patios overlooking the Harbor Lagoon are places where you just want to hang out.  The large paved pathway that circles CocoCay is friendly to accessible needs, much more so than CocoCay ever was before.  
    Louis the Loyalty Ambassador once again took great care of me.  With no Diamond Concierge Louis helped to fill that void.  
    Julie our Hotel Director put it best.  She is a small ship but she has the biggest heart plus you can get anywhere in 5 minutes or less.  This is a huge benefit of small ship cruising.  The majority of the crew report up through the Hotel Director and If these crew and the great service are a reflection of the Hotel Director then Julie has done an outstanding job on Empress. 
    There is a part of me that wants to perpetuate a myth that everyone should avoid this ship.  Only then will prices remain low and I can have her all to myself but that wouldn't be fair to the ship or her crew that make Empress not only the biggest little ship but the Royal ship with the biggest heart.
    I hoped you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing. 
  20. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    With our Perfect Day complete, it was time for us to go.
    Navigator first.

    Then it was our turn.

    With the last of my C&A wines on ice, it was time to pack.  Then to my balcony to enjoy the ocean.
    The final night theater production Three Sequins and Feathers was back on but since I'll be back next week and I needed to pack I skipped it.  It's great show.

  21. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    After lunch I wanted to see how busy it felt with two ships in port so I wandered around and jumped in the pool.  I found some loungers in the second row to throw my stuff on while I checked out the pool.
    I had no issues swimming up to the bar and ordering a Margarita.

    Around Chill Island it was easy to get loungers, some front row.




    The floating bar was very popular.

    Back at the Harbor there were loungers to be had.

    Despite two ships at Perfect Day I never felt like I couldn't get anything such as food, drinks or a place to relax.  I think it handled the guest count quite well and Coco Beach Club isn't open yet.
  22. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    A new addition to CocoCay is the Chill Island Snack Shack.


    All CocoCay dining venues now have hand washing stations.

    The Snack Shack menu is complimentary.

    I came back later when they were open.  Note the two windows in the middle have a platform for kids to order.

    The Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich.  Yum.

    I think I found my new default snack on CocoCay.  It was really good.

    This sandwich was made in the kitchen within the building.  I had a two minute wait while they prepared it since it was a slow time.  It isn't something from the ship that was cooked hours earlier, it was quite good.
  23. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    This area of Chill Island has some activities.



  24. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Continuing down the beach you'll find the floating bar.

    One thing I noted was an abundance of umbrellas that are now complimentary.  In the past umbrellas had a $20 to $25 charge. 

    Something I don't recall seeing at CocoCay are Beach Beds.  These have been a feature at Labadee but I don't recall seeing them at CocoCay before.



    These are located at the end of the beach area just past the floating bar.  Past this area is closed while Coco Beach Club is being built.  

    It also marks the end of the WiFi coverage area.

  25. Like
    Deedeelynn reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Beach Bungalows that used to be near South Beach have been relocated to the snorkel beach area.  You can see them in the distance at the end of the beach closest to the ships. 






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