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Everything posted by Zacharius

  1. Oh, I know there's an underwriter. But I definitely believe that the underwriter's primary obligation is to Royal Caribbean, not the traveler. If push comes to shove, they will act in the best benefit of Royal Caribbean, lest Royal Caribbean choose to funnel their insurance business to someone else. A third party insurer doesn't have that conflict of interest. Again, just my preference, but I will never buy insurance through a travel provider, no matter who underwrites it.
  2. This is definitely a personal preference thing, I think. I personally would never, ever put my travel insurance in the hands of the group actually operating the travel, because to me that's a big conflict of interest. The insurance that Royal Caribbean is going to put you through operates on behalf of Royal Caribbean, not you (and themselves as the insurance underwriter, of course). Just my choice, to each their own.
  3. You can always fly in to SEA and take the very easy road trip (via car, bus, train) up to Vancouver. Often can save a good chunk of change because you avoid Canadian taxes.
  4. I think, in addition to the drink packages, one has to also realize that it's easier for people to spread the word about things. 15-20 years ago, if someone got drunk on a ship and cause an issue, few people outside of that ship ever really heard about it. Now, someone can post their experience online and blast it to thousands and thousands of additional people. It's kind of like network news...are bad things happening more in 2019, or are we just hearing more about what has always been happening? I think the latter.
  5. I never put my cell phone in airplane mode, and I have never received even a penny of unexpected data charges. It's really simple - make sure things like data pushing and data roaming are turned off, and boom...no need to put it in airplane mode.
  6. There is an impact from MAX grounding, but it's often overemphasized. AA's MAX fleet is 24 out of 968 total aircraft, or 2.48%. United is 14 or 784, or 1.79%. Southwest was most hit, but still MAX is only 24 out of 754 aircraft, or 3.2%. The bigger impacts are the economy itself and the increased demand for travel. That being said, I wouldn't put it past AA/UA/WN to claim MAX groundings have some monumental impact on their fleet capabilities and they must raise fares as a result, but really...the three US airlines combined that operate MAX combine for only 62 out of 2,506 aircraft (2.47%).
  7. Also important to note that A/B/C may mean nothing if the plane is already coming in fairly full and continuing on. I've experienced, more than once, a 143 seat plane come in and have 60-70 people stay onboard...so even if you're A60 and excited about being an A, you may already be stuck in a middle seat. Unfortunately, that's just something you won't really know until you step onboard, and another reason I personally prefer airlines that let you select seats.
  8. Absolutely no. I get dressed up on a regular basis, as does my wife. No desire to do it on vacation.
  9. Just checking. I hear a lot of people make the argument/complaint that their airfare shouldn't cost more than their cruise since the cruise is what they really care about...I always try to let them know that it's just not quite fare to compare them.
  10. "International" is pretty vague. I can fly nonstop, round trip, next week from Los Angeles to Tokyo for $700. I would say that's pretty good. Strong US economy (assuming that's where you're leaving from, you don't say), lots of demand, and a generally fixed number of seats bring on high fares. I get what you're saying, but comparing the two aren't realistic or fare. Airlines and cruise lines operate on two very, very different economic models and cater to different types of travelers. An airline can offer a plane ticket and not much else...sure, a little bit extra for seat selection or bag check, maybe (many don't charge that either), but a cruise line generally has oodles of extra costs that they rely on - dining options, drinks, activities, etc. etc. These help off set an often under-priced cabin, whereas airlines don't have that option.
  11. I have definitely ventured beyond the fence and not had any issues. A few caveats - I am used to travel in "questionable" places and third world countries, and I blend in a bit with the locals (if you know what I mean). It's not an enjoyable place, I'll say that, but I personally haven't been fearful or uncomfortable. I understand many people do, so one has to judge their own comfort and experience level. It is, however, a good way to experience real Jamaica (or as close as you can get in a town that still has lots of tourists dumped in each day).
  12. Out of those two? Florence, easy. I personally find Venice to be...uh...let's just go with "not enjoyable". But that wouldn't be my top choice. Another option is to head down to Sorrento, just south of Naples, and combine it with a stop at Pompeii right next door. I personally prefer that area to Rome.
  13. Snapper is pretty common for fried fish head in the Caribbean. Was there snapper on the menu at some other time during the week that would have used the rest of the body?
  14. Not even all restaurants allow it. It really depends, both on individual restaurant policy as well as health code laws in the location where the restaurant is. I'm curious to see what official answers are, but my GUESS would be no for two reasons - (a) food safety issues, because that fish (of which the cruise line doesn't really know its origin) will inevitably be coming in to contact with other products, and (b) it is essentially bringing food on to the ship and then leaving the country, which may or may not run in to customs issues.
  15. Yes, this is definitely the case where flying in to/out of Canada adds some (sometimes substantial) money, often in the form of taxes. Flying in to a US city and then getting across the border by land is common for both Americans and Canadians. Just make sure you add actual cost on top of "opportunity cost" for lack of a better term, and remember that you're not protected like you would be a for a flight. Missing a train because a flight is delayed, or vice versa, often means you're SOL since they are not on the same ticket (much like purchasing separate plane tickets, let's say Southwest LAX-SEA and Alaska SEA-ANC...if Southwest gets you to Seattle five hours late and you miss your Alaska flight, too bad, neither airline cares and you may very well find yourself purchasing a last minute, walk-up fare). Just things to consider, always.
  16. Keep in mind that true "premium economy" doesn't generally exist on domestic US flights. You may be getting an "economy plus" product, but that's usually just a few extra inches of legroom. Premium Economy is generally a wider seat, more legroom, and upgraded amenities (such as better meals, etc.). Many people confuse the two, but they're very different (with very different pricing as well) The MAX is really a small part of it. It's an impact, but not a big one. MAX makes up only 4.5% of Southwest's current fleet, only 1.8% of United's fleet, and only 2.5% of American's fleet. Now, they can use the "MAX is grounded, our capacity is way down, we have to charge more!!" line to justify higher prices, but in reality it's not much of an impact on their fleet size. The biggest thing is that the US economy is just doing really, really well right now, so more people have more money to travel for both work and pleasure, increasing demand faster than fleet size. This is why prices are up. When the US economy goes back down over the next few years (because economies always go up and down), the prices may very well go back down. But for now, in this economy, they'll stay high because demand is high. I fly 125,000+ BIS miles each year, and book flights for others totaling several hundred thousand miles more each year. I have never, ever, ever seen any proof that using something like Incognito mode helps. An airline would, frankly, be stupid to do it...if American and Delta are offering the same price, but American sees your IP address constantly looking up the same flights and decides to raise the fare in some mythical effort to pressure you to buy, but Delta doesn't, you'll likely just go over to Delta. Thus, American has lost your business because of it. Not a very smart business move by American.
  17. Everyone's opinion and experience is going to be different. Only you know you and if you think you can do 12 days. If you're concerned about spending 12 days on a ship, remember (I assume) many/most of those days you'll stop in a port. If you're concerned about a 12+ day trip in general, only you know your time and money constraints.
  18. Technically they would call it antipasto or antipasti, depending on if it's before a meal or just a plate of meats/cheese/veg. Many Italians tend to be very pro-pasta.
  19. Still better than KLM's (airline) India team tweeting recently about the safest places to sit on a place to survive a crash...
  20. Considering the wings are filled with jet fuel, I wouldn't want to go swimming in them...
  21. Considering the wings are filled with jet fuel, I wouldn't want to go swimming in them...
  22. I'm a bit of a craft beer snob, and I can assure you I simply didn't drink any beer on my last Royal Caribbean cruise. Wasn't worth the calories for the mediocrity of the selection.
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