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mk-ultra

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mk-ultra last won the day on April 30

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  1. I'd start here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/resources/guest-special-needs
  2. Curious to find out if others have booked anything through this program. I'll be on Navigator late in December, and it's going to be 3 ports new to me. I called (web form barfed twice) to see what they can offer up based on my preferences. Waiting to hear back from Royal. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/privatejourneys/
  3. The snorkel-only trips are usually on top of a reef no more than 10-15 feet below you. You can bob around on the surface and still get a decent view of fish and coral. If you do want to dive down a bit, it's a really good idea to try it in a pool first. Learn how to clear your snorkel when surfacing (it's just giving it a good blow with your head tilted back a little). If you inflate your BC vest (buoyancy compensator) you won't be able to get underwater. I'd start with it fully inflated when you step off of the dive boat. If you're comfortable after that, you can let air out of it to let you dive below. Rackham's advise above about staying calm and relaxed with your breathing is spot-on. If you feel anxious, surface, re-inflate your BC and chill out on top for a while.
  4. I wouldn't book any cruise based on expectations of an Aquatheater show. Too many variables. Got off Oasis last Sunday and the show happened on my cruise (and was great) but things like wind and sea state can lead to it be cancelled for cast safety. It was cancelled on the previous two cruises (not my cruises -- just what I was told by a Genie).
  5. No bartender or FoH management on a ship is going to mess around diluting alcohol. You'll get a 2oz jigger-measured pour, which may seem light compared to non-ship bars that have a heavier hand. Tip: use the same bar and bartenders and tip. They may accidentally begin to overfill that jigger.
  6. Clear was a sanity saver in MIA. Regular security line: disaster. PreCheck: better but still epic for PreCheck. Clear: absolutely no one using it, and 4 employees handling the kiosks. BOOM. Straight through. For those of you with an AMEX card, check your benefits. Clear enrollment will be refunded. That's for Plat, not sure about other cards.
  7. I'm "prime" -- been in that tier forever. I only play blackjack -- not slots. Rating a table player is apparently voodoo. It's allegedly based on average bet and time spent at the table, but unlike Vegas I hardly ever see a dealer or pit boss track that your betting has changed. This is purely anecdotal, but I place a few high bets when I join. Same when the boss wanders over with his tablet. You can ask what they're tracking you at -- they don't mind. I've never used any of the free cabin offers, but I get 1 a year that has a $500 cash trade-in value. Once in a while a random $250 one. Those are the good ones. You can apply them to any cabin, any cruise... as long as it's within the expiration date. You can track your offers at: https://www.clubroyaleoffers.com/PlayerLookup.asp
  8. You’ll see full-face masks for sale online that incorporate the snorkel into them. These sound tempting. Do. Not. Buy. One. I’m a diver (SCUBA) and have never seen so many people having issues. 4 couples on my boat had brand new full-face masks and every one of them had issues. The snorkel itself can be connected with the ball valve vent facing front or rear. All 4 couples had the snorkel on backward. Meaning: you can be face down and not get air when you expect to. The mask WILL fog up. You’re exhaling into the mask instead of directly from your mouth through the snorkel. This is also unnecessary work breathing-wise. You have to move more air to get the same result. Clearing a fogged traditional (eyes and nose) mask is a 1-2 second job. Just get a little water in it and pop it right back on after tilting it to let the water out. The full face mask folks were struggling the entire time, with most choosing to swap out for an operator-supplied mask and snorkel. I'd ban these things if I could. It's the closest to safety issues I've seen in the water in a long time. If you do get one, make sure to try it out in a pool first. Well-tracked data is still scant on these masks, but I wouldn't use one.
  9. Just got back home. Much easier trip than the flight out Now, back to the real world. Boo-hoo.
  10. Oh, how the heck did I fail to mention this? I'd told Shane (Genie) I'm a big fan of Filipino food. Via Genie magic, I had a couple of surprise full-on Filipino meals in CK & got to meet the chef that prepared the grub. Included: Rice (duh) Pancit bihon Sinigang Chicken adobo Pork apritada Lechon Probably the best food I've ever had on a ship. Heck, some of the best Filipino food I've had anywhere (my friend Luis' mom is going to slap me for saying that - Filipina aunties can wield a chankla too).
  11. Sure. Suite-wise zero complaints. Caveat: I was solo. For one guy it was perfect. There is a battleship-grade door between the main bedroom and what would be 2nd accommodations in the entry area living room with the convertible couch. I think this is an awesome cabin for a couple and very serviceable if you have close friends or kids that can use their own space (they get their own toilet, but everyone needs to share the bath/shower). Didn't miss the balcony a bit. That surprised me. It's a brief one-deck jaunt to deck 15 and being outdoors. I love having a balcony, but nope... no regrets. The view absolutely trumps it.
  12. And just to end this on a happy note, got a surprise "...ppy Birthday Mark" cake in the cabin. Yes, I cut into it before remembering I'm supposed to take pics of this stuff. I'll never be an Instagram influencer. My birthday is in September and it came with a card starting with "We know this isn't your birthday." Loved that. And a ship (it's nice!) And a crazy heavy crystal block that just blew out my bag weight limit. Sweet!:
  13. And, the wrap-up. This is my [counts on fingers] I think my 7th Oasis class ship cruise. All of them have been split between Oasis and Allure, a mix of pre-amp ships and not. I love me some O class ships. This one was weird in nice ways. First time in Star Class, probably the most rare cabin in RCL's fleet, and dear-god-I-don't-know-how crazy good pricing by booking in 2019 for a new cabin product. Will I do Star Class again? Maybe? Everything about it was excruciatingly excellent. You will not wait for or want for anything. You'll have a great seat at every venue and the attention to detail is eye-watering. I say "maybe" because I'm a low-maintenance kinda person. It's a fantastic product, and Shane (my Genie) was awesome. For me, probably back to sky lofts. No complaints at all, just not my cuppa. Mind you: solo, so your mileage may vary a lot.
  14. Random note: these chaise lounges are insanely comfortable. Turns out they're made by a Norwegian guy who transplanted to Tennessee?! They definitely have that Scandinavian aesthetic, with the ergonomics to match. I want to get a pair for home. Asked Shane for a contact and will report back if they're available to us plebes.
  15. Argh. Navigated away while writing this post, and lost it. Anywho -- skipping forward to night 5, after the great beach break in Roatan. Dinner at 150 Central Park. Went with Shane's recommendation for the appetizer (seared scallops) and picked lamb Wellington for my main. Two dishes that are easy to screw up, especially when doing a lot of covers. Both: perfecto! Plate-cleaning-good. Washed them down with a couple of the signature garden martinis -- a perfect fit for hot weather. Had a side chat with the Maître d'hôtel about dessert wines. I lamented never seeing a Madeira or tawny port on offer on an RCL ship. I'm not sure where he got it, but I did get a surprise (and very good) ruby port to go with the (OMG do it) fried cheesecake for dessert. No food pics. Too busy stuffing my face. Imagine it looking delicious.
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