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Posts posted by Zacharius

  1. 53 minutes ago, coneyraven said:

    Since it's technically part of the U.S., wasn't sure if the rules were different than, say, going out of Tampa.

    It's not just "technically"  part of the United States. It's a full fledged part of the United States, albeit not a state. Immigration is handled in the same way, by the same agency, as if you were departing/arriving Tampa, Seattle, San Diego, or NYC. For example, once you clear immigration in San Juan, you have free reign within the United States without immigration checks.

  2. 2 hours ago, Cruisely said:

    Sooo.... I have a friend that I really want to bring on my Western Caribbean & Perfect Day Symphony of the Seas cruise. But, she has never been on a cruise ship before and says that she is scared of sloshing around in the ocean and getting seasick. I have already told her that the ship is so big that she won’t feel it move or get seasick, but she is still hesitant. 

    Thanks! ?


    I wouldn't necessarily say that's true, though. You can absolutely feel the ship moving sometimes, even in relatively clear water. Throw in a storm and it can get downright awful...on my last cruise, we had a day where I swear most of the people on the ship were sick, including my wife who almost never gets seasick.

    I think the biggest thing is to realize cruising isn't for everything. Don't ever feel like you need to convince someone to enjoy what you enjoy, because if they go and dislike it they'll hold it against you.

  3. I hate the MDR. We'll either make it a nicer evening a do a specialty restaurant, or do a relaxing buffet. To me, the MDR has mediocre food in a stuffy environment...I'd rather pay a bit extra and get a better meal, or just have a super chill "let me try a bunch of different things and have some drinks in the buffet" type dinner (the buffet is so relaxingly quiet at dinner).

  4. One option I love is Google Maps. Just head to their webpage, scroll in to the London area, and type in "hotel". It'll then give you the chance to type in dates (April is too far out right now) and it will give you prices on the map. You can't book through Google Maps, but it'll provide you a list of prices from different vendors. I ALWAYS recommend booking directly through the hotel itself, even if it's slightly more expensive, as you avoid any potential problems with a middle man. Also, more and more hotels are offering perks by booking directly with them versus a third party...could be things like free WiFi, free breakfast, late check out, early arrival, etc. Not always, but it's gaining popularity now that some of the biggest chains are doing it.

  5. One thing you need to consider is that often you're not buying the same ticket as you would be from the airline...may be the same flight, same route, but the T&Cs of the ticket can be very drastically different as often they are specially negotiated between the airline and cruise line to benefit them, not you. These can include things like excessively high change fees, no allowance for re-route (so for example you're scheduled to fly OKC to Miami via Dallas on AA...but suddenly the OKC to Dallas flight is cancelled, and while others may be re-routed via Chicago to make it to Miami, you won't be because your ticket says you MUST travel through Dallas), etc. These are real things, as ridiculous as they may sound.

    Also, I've yet to see much savings on domestic US tickets by booking via the cruise line. One way, long haul is a different story. But domestically, you're often just putting a middle man between you and the airline in exchange for very little. Yes, they cruise line will TRY to get you to the cruise at the next stop if you miss it, but there's no guarantee or promise of it happening.

  6. 42 minutes ago, DunkelBierJay said:

    Thanks. I would have advised them of that if they hadn't already gone to Guest Services. I sort of wish they tried to have a conversation with the attendant first, but they are learning, and overall I am proud of how they're handling things. I think it's the first time, they didn't see an attendant not long after entering their rooms. They entered a few minutes after 1 pm on Sunday and didn't see her all that day. I can't think of a time I hadn't seen my attendant relatively soon after getting in a room.

    The first day is always hectic, and you just want a clean room to come back to. If they hadn't been able to find their attendant yet, what can they do? Have to go somewhere...and Guest Services is the logical option. That's where I would have gone in their situation. Not their fault they couldn't find their attendant and just wanted a clean room to go back to.

  7. Cruises aren't for everyone. I've done a few and, honestly, I'm still not convinced. I kind of treat cruising as a way to find a place I like to which I can then spend a week on a land vacation. The first cruise I went on, I hated...then I was convinced to try it again several years later and it got a lot better. The smaller the ship, the better to me.

    Maybe try it again...but maybe not. Life is too short to have vacations you don't like. If you don't think cruising is for you, don't let anyone else convince you otherwise. Take your money and do what makes you happiest.

  8. 18 hours ago, skwak said:

    Thanks everyone.  We are probably overthinking the dangers of Nassau.  We are there from 12:00 till 12:00.  Plan would be to get off as a family for 2 to 4 hours during the day and shop, drink and maybe go to Junkanoo beach for a bit.  Then we would return to the ship for dinner.  afterwards maybe the adults will get off for a few craft beers at Pirate Republic Brewing:


    Sounds harmless and safe enough.

    Look at the State Department alert, they mention neighborhoods. Jump on Google Maps and plug in those neighborhood names, see where they are, and avoid them. It won't be hard. You'll be fine.

  9. Honestly, a lot of it is based on what you are comfortable with. I've been to Nassau both with and without a cruise, have walked around at will, and have never had a concern. Part of that is because, frankly, I spend time in...how do I put it...less-than-safe places around the world on a fairly regular basis. I also...uh...blend in. BUT, my wife is neither of those things and hasn't had any concerns about the parts of town I have taken her to.

    There are some areas that aren't great. You are not likely to wander upon them. There are also some bad people that will prey on tourists, which is the case in every place that gets thousands of tourists on any given day.

    Be smart, keep your eyes open and your valuables close, and you'll be fine.

  10. 1 hour ago, Pima1988 said:

    It won't be a problem at all.  The big problem is deciding which will be your 1st drink. 

    For me it depends on our itinerary.  New England I stick with my Jack and Ginger.  Mexico it has to be margarita on the rocks.  Caribbean than it is a toss...sea breeze, Kraken and coke, maybe even a mojito.  


    My first drink on my last cruise was a Bud Light. I hate Bud Light. I had no intentions of using my drink package on cheap beer. But the first thing I did after getting on the ship was to go for a dip in the pool, and I immediately sprained my thumb getting in. Thought I was going to have to get back off the ship and find an urgent care, but decided it wasn't dislocated or broken...just very, very painful. So, a Bud Light in an aluminum can did a pretty damn good job of acting as an ice pack. I drank it at the same time, might as well, but...it wasn't great. It was the only beer I got all week.

  11. 2 minutes ago, FreedomClassKid said:

    Despite being only a teenager, I thinks its absurd due the fact that it was banned so they don't support communism. I'm not against any cruise lines as its the government but its wrong. Why not ban china and other communist countries. Also does this ban apply to British cruises (P&O)

    It's easy to say communism is the reason for this. But the truth is, as always, somewhat deeper. I'm not going to get in to all of the details, as that can get political really quickly, but don't fool yourself in to thinking communism is the main reason for this in 2019. It isn't. Also, most countries have a way of changing their tune if it benefits them. In the case of US-Cuba relations, US doesn't really gain much from Cuba...they do, however, from China.

  12. 23 minutes ago, AGSLC5 said:

    Please don't take this the wrong way but I'm curious where do you consider a fair port to go to? Keep in mine these cruises are 4 and 5 nights so they are limited with distance.. They cant make it to the Eastern Caribbean or Southern Caribbean in the short time frame.. Thats why I think they keep picking Mexico, Nassau, and Coco Cay because where else can they go?

    Yeah that was my point earlier...there's only so many places to go in a short time. And a place that someone will like, another will hate. And then factor in places that are already full because other ships don't have to change destinations and have been booked in to there for ages. Nothing about this is ideal, but options are limited for the cruise line at this point.

  13. 23 minutes ago, FoxboroCruiser said:

    Seems like they managed to change the port for the current cruise... Just wish we received the same.  Looks like MOST voyages are getting new ports.  We get that it's difficult but wouldn't you be disappointed too?  Seems to me they could have figured out something better than a seas day, that's all.

    One concern we have is how is the crew going to react to this situation?  Many of them are likely losing their jobs when RCCL send the Empress out to pasture a second time.  I hope they find a way to motivate them to still be happy and helpful.  As professional as a person can be, something like this situation has to have an impact.  One hope we have is that many people cancel and the ship is less crowded..

    We have a vow renewal ceremony scheduled for Key West on Tuesday, and a number of other things planned in and around this trip.  Many I can't get my money back for.  I ma not a negative or pessimistic person by nature, but the added disappointment of not getting a new port stings, and I don't just blindly assume that RC did all they could to find a better solution than a second sea day on a small old ship.  We're disappointed, but are trying to rally and find ways to make this work.

    Every situation is going to be different. Maybe they got lucky and had port availability in the general vicinity of the northern Caribbean for this week, or next week, or the week after, but that doesn't mean they to four weeks from now, or two months from now.

  14. 22 hours ago, Harmony Family in August said:

    Thank you so much! This was so helpful! I so appreciate it. We are super excited. My youngest gets extreme anxiety around large crowds. He is very outgoing so we will be talking about the ship with him like now so he will know what to expect. 

    If you do go to St. John, try to stay away from Trunk Bay. It's the busiest beach over there. If you get there early enough, you can camp out far away from others (when we got there just about 9:30am, we were just about the only ones on the beach) but by the time you get there it could be quite busy. There are a myriad of other beaches that a taxi can take you to. Trunk Bay does have the perk of restrooms, showers, chair/equipment rental, and (I believe) recently re-opened food (though I could be wrong)...but of course that's a direct correlation to it being the busiest, so determine your priorities and go from there.

  15. 5 minutes ago, Keeves said:

    I have trained myself to open my car window if I ever have to get out of the car while the key is still inside. Being sure to leave the door unlocked isn't enough, because the odds are too high that my hand will lock it anyway as a reflex. So BEFORE I get out of the car, I make sure to open the window all the way.

    My car doesn't have a key, just a fob, which is both better and worse...better because I can't lock myself out (if the key is inside the car, all I have to do is touch the door handle and it will unlock), but worse because literally anyone can do that too if I leave the key inside (as I have accidentally done twice...luckily not for long periods of time) and drive off in to the sunset.

  16. 44 minutes ago, Harmony Family in August said:

    Hi we are going on Harmony of the seas in August. We have a 14 and 8 yr old. Our youngest has special needs so when we stop in St Thomas it will be from 12-8 pm. We would like to find a less crowded beach or more private beach to go to. I have been doing a lot of research and it seems that St John might be a great area to go to. We would like to go on our own like rent a car or take a ferry over. Is this possible to go to for 4 hours and get back in time to port? Suggestions? 

    I cannot address how easy or difficult this would be with special needs, and of course depends on the specific needs, but I have absolutely done this and is my number one recommendation for St Thomas. Here's how we have done it:

    1) Get off the ship ASAP, grab the first taxi, take it to the ferry. Know the schedule of the return ferries, and ask your driver to meet you back there so you don't need to wait for any taxi when you get back. Have his number (assuming you're American, most phone companies treat US Virgin Islands like any other state so calling/texting is easy and included) just in case.

    2) Ferry across, grab a taxi on the other side to the beach of your choice.

    3) Reverse the trip for the way back. Make sure there's at least one more ferry that can get you back to the ship on time in case there's any issue...so for example (just making up times here) if you know you need to be back on the ship by 7:30pm, and there's a ferry that drops you back to your taxi at 6:00pm, leave on the one that gets you there at 5:00pm...knowing the 6:00pm ferry is there, just in case).


    With a nine-hour port day, we have been able to spend four hours easily on the beach at St. John, plus stopped for lunch and beers before the return ferry, and returned to the ship over an hour before "all aboard".

  17. 22 hours ago, monctonguy said:

    If you think that's bad...imagine leaving the sea pass card in your room and getting locked out and trekking down to guest services in your underwear at 2am.....:36_flushed:


    Only time  I 'lost" a seapass card.....


    I'd take losing a seapass card fully clothed anytime over that again.....:4_joy:

    God that's my nightmare. This happened to my uncle...at a Vegas hotel...at 11pm...on a weekend. Not exactly the quietest time to have to walk down to the lobby in your underwear.

  18. 11 hours ago, Fuzzywuzzy said:

    Definitely sounds like Security does this kind of thing more than you would think.

    2000-5000 people

    Multiple ports each journey

    Multiple journeys each year

    Even subtracting out the people who don't leave the ship at any given stop, you still have a lot of people leaving with their cards each day...odds are someone is going to lose one, quite possibly even every day.

  19. 1 hour ago, toodle68 said:

    We are looking at a New Zealand cruise in 2021 and the costs of the flights for anything but coach is beyond our means.. but wife is not thrilled at sitting on a plane for 15 hours, never mind in coach. I have a feeling some of my long distant vacation plans are going to be a tough sell.  If we had the vacation time and money, I would do the Vancouver to Hawaii,  Hawaii to Sydney and then the 2 cruises that take you around Australia and New Zealand. Only about 60 days vacation needed ?

    Think about it this way...yeah, 15 hours seems long. And it is long, especially in economy. But the chance to visit some of these amazing places may be worth one day in economy (15 hours out + 13 hours back, or vice versa depending on where you're going, is just over one day). If you're doing, say, three weeks in New Zealand, that's 504 hours. A 28 hour roundtrip, though long, is a small price for 504 hours of reward IMHO.

    I practically live out of a suitcase for work. I hit every populated continent at least twice a year, and I am in New Zealand at least 3-4 times a year for work. I've also been lucky enough to vacation twice in New Zealand. As many places as I have been in the world, if I had to choose just one to spent every moment of my life, it would be New Zealand. Get on that plane.

  20. 2 hours ago, monctonguy said:

    Bringing up this old thread.....as I am watching flights like crazy for my Nov cruise(as this will be my longest and most expensive cruise ever) so we need good flight deals.


    Have been watching for a cpl mths now...we are about 170 days out.....flights are around $280 USD return out of Portland and have been up/down $30 or so. However, when I check seat selection it looks like very limited seats left(on the cheapest flights at least)...so I am worried about waiting till the 90 day mark to pull the trigger.


    That being said, seems strange flights could sell out 6mths in advance  to Orlando...I would think this would be a popular route with lots of seats....


    I am torn right now as to what to do.....Is everyone still sticking to and swearing by this 90 day price rule?


    I still don't accept any 90 day rule, personally. I fly 125,000+ BIS miles each year and book flights for even more on behalf of others, and I just still don't see it. But my point here is that a seat map is NOT an accurate reflection of inventory, for several reasons. The flight could be almost completely booked but show endless available seats (because many people, for various reasons, don't or can't select seats), and it could be empty but show very few seats (airlines can save physical seat inventory for various reasons, or they could be allocated to codeshare or other partners). There are (paid) ways to find exactly how many seats are for sale in various fare buckets, but the seat map is not an accurate way to find true inventory.

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