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Everything posted by Irieman

  1. Hi @FloridaCruiseGirl1210. I always do early bird check-in since SW reserves your spot within who purchased early bird first. So if you were the 30th person to buy early bird check-in you would be 45th to board. (The first 15 are reserved for business and those who want to pay even more) For me it's worth it not to watch the clock and try to get a low number based on the time I check in. Do note that there are still preboarders such as folks with wheel chairs so my scenario might not be absolutely true. Still, I have always felt that I had more than 2/3s of the plane available to to me at the worst using the early bird option.
  2. Matt recently posted a third party news article about vegan main dining room choices starting August 1st. https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2019/08/02/new-vegan-menu-be-added-royal-caribbeans-main-dining-room#disqus_thread Can fellow bloggers confirm this is now across the fleet. My partner and I are 6 months in on being plant based and are thrilled with the health benefits. Having these choices just makes us more loyal to Royal!
  3. I know "stuff" happens but it was being rerouted twice in 4 months to Nassua that made us bail to the smallest ship with a big heart. If RC could have found a different subsitute port it would have kept us on AOS. It's all good and with Twangster's 14 day live blog on Empress, we are more than excited to be one with the sea!
  4. Just catching up on the replies right now as I'm in the middle of a 27 hour road trip from Maine to Florida. As I said we were very disappointed in losing Roatan as a port. We went through the multiple emotional stages of itinerary change and came up with a substitute sailing. For the same price we booked the junior suite on empress for the same week. The ports are Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Key West. I know we've gone from the largest class to the smallest ship but for us it's still YOLO. It's a chance to experience a small ship and a different type of cabin. At some point I'll start an empress tips and tricks thread to get some great advice it for now we'll just get excited!
  5. Sailing on AOS the end of Janaury and just got the dreaded broken propulsion email. I am a super optimistic guy who loves sailing once or twice a year but this is the second port switch to Nassau in a month. First rerouted from Havana on Majesty and now we won't make Roatan so back to Nassau. I am sure we will have a great time but Roatan was going to be a highlight. Seems like Nassau is the Bermunda Triangle of cruise changes.
  6. Hi LarryR - post on all the boards that you want but Royal is your best shot. They know who the customer was that was in the room the cruise before yours. Assuming it's of value, like jewelery, I would reach out to customer service and see if someone has been looking for it. If it's a $20 item the owner probably has written it off and you will.... throw it out.
  7. I will admit liking it also. I do understand the criticism and am thankful that someone told me to read up on the story as it is hard to follow what is going on. Maybe more on topic is that I am amazed that it is staying for another drydock cycle. I shared last September that the stage manager on the back stage tour said that he was given word that a brand new mixing board was being installed which is a sign of a new production. He also shared that the current agreement with Cats allows for a finite number of cast cycles. Well, renegotiation won the day.
  8. Just want to share my experience from January. Airport Taxi line was organized but about 20 minutes. Not a big deal but if you are impatient then it will raise your blood pressure. Driver was nice and flat rates a plus. For us it was to a hotel. After that, we Uber'd everywhere else and had a fast and easy experience. Timed the embarkation just right. Arrived after the initial que so from Uber to Royal Prom took no more than 10 minutes. That was about at noon. Was simply amazed!
  9. Placing my vote for Willemstad, Curacao! A short walk across the walking bridge to the city where you have so many places to visit. Some highlights of what we did were the floating market, tasting Blue Curacao, visiting the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, strolling the streets of brightly colored buildings and taking lots of photos.
  10. Hello all - I have two cruises, not paid in full, that I booked about 90 days ago. I really would like to move them to an agent. Anyone have success doing that after the listed 60 day window? Thanks for any advice.
  11. Stockholder benefit.... Well, RCL stock has significantly out preformed both other publically traded cruise stock the last 10 years. Although I sold my shares to help pay my kids college tuition, It went from 30 to 70 for me. Add the dividend and I would say I was very happy with the benefits even though I never used the credit.
  12. Well @Father4 you can see it is a personal preference. I have enjoyed this thread seeing how others make their cruising choice. For me, I guess it's a sliding scale each time. In your case I looked up the choices of your itinerary and I have a slight preference for one over the other. With the ships, I have a much bigger preference for liberty so in this case the choice of ship wins out. Two other things. 1. I've been on liberty and from a kid's perspective there's just so many awesome memories to be had. Not just going to the ice show but being able to ice skate in the middle of the ocean it's just an example that my kids loved. 2. Finally, I always give the nod to the cylinder showers as compared to the shower curtains. That's just me but I do bring that up an awful lot 🙂 No matter what you choose, I am sure your entire family it's going to have an amazing time! Enjoy
  13. Hi @Jill. The decision to have the track at the pool deck seems worse after the Freedom and Voyager class upgrades during the last cycle. They added the panoramic rooms on deck 12 and significantly cut down the track distance by about 40 percent. Not that I am complaining because those are my favorite rooms. I am also a runner and walker so I do the deck 4 and 5 walk. I also walk some interesting routes on different decks. Get creative and find different loops all over the ship. Enjoy!!
  14. Hello FuntoSail, they are sister ships of the Oasis class so the showers will be similar. I love the Cylindrical shape. Always feels like I am on a Star Trek transporter pad! And no, I am not going on the Star Trek theme cruise 🤣
  15. I have been in that cabin twice and 100 percent love it. Absolutely plenty of storage and still feels and looks new compared to the other cabins. One thing to be aware of is that I prefer to have the rooms like the one in the video that are facing the side. The privacy allows you to not worry about clothing and also to look straight down at the sea. The pano rooms wrap all the way around to the front of the ship so those strolling around the helipad will have a clear look at your expansive window. 😀
  16. Yes, that is all you have to do. We proudly wore them on our first platinum level cruise. Even for late nights walking to the hot tubs. 😀
  17. I love the new rooms added to deck 12 of the Freedom and Voyager class ships. As @twangster said, they are updated and the access to the outside decks are wonderful. I also like the outside breakfast stroll to the Windjammer especially on port days. The only noise I heard on my Freedom cruise last month was the staff draging deck chairs above us at 7 in the morning. It happened twice. Nothing at all from the daily use. Honestly, it sounded like they had stacked them high and then dragged them to store. It was annoying at the moment but I would book the same 12 deck room everytime! Enjoy!
  18. Yes it goes so fast but I am thankful for the opportunity to cruise and visit different parts of the earth. Plus I always spend time making a video of the trip which keeps me in the moment. With that said, walking off the ship is such a terrible feeling. Then I snap out of it cause it's time for the great suitcase hunt!
  19. @Nay, I am just a few weeks off of Freedom and would like to suggest the main dinning room as a nice breakfast option on your last morning. We were in group 2 (shore excursion) and needed to be at our location by 7:45 - easily seated at 7am with a table for two - service was fast and the food was delicious. I believe the menu was limited but my french toast and eggs were far superior than the Windjammer equivalent. Have a wonderful time and let us know about your cruise when you get back!
  20. I asked the Technical director on Oasis last September and without an official answer, he listed off the licensing agreement for Cats is coming to an end and that at drydock, the sound board is being changed out. All point to a new show. Also stated, big production shows only change in drydock because the sets are so huge. I believe we were told the backdrop space goes up to deck 9 or higher.
  21. The sunset cruise sounds wonderful. As for beaches my one experience was taking a taxi to the furthest beach north of the ship trying to get away from the tourists. What happened is we ran into the local crowd on one of their holidays. I will post photos that include the name of the beach. It was beautiful but as you got away from the crowds there were some rocks to navigate to get into the ocean. A plus was you can walk to the famous light house. A shorter $15 taxi ride will get you to Eagle beach which has low rise hotels fronting it. It's large and sandy and looked great from the road. Just to the north of it is Palm Beach which has the high rise hotels, restaurants and nightlife on the strip. You may also want to post in the shore excursion area cause there is beach after beach in Aruba that all have a slightly different vibe.
  22. Final Thoughts Having been now waiting in the airport for 8 hours, I feel that I have been reflecting enough for my final thoughts through my firsts. 😀 My firsts My first time to the ABC islands and they shined. Caruaco, Bonaire, and Aruba did not disappoint. All beautiful but different: Caruaco more urban, Bonaire small town feel and Aruba tourist and sandy. First time renting a car. Fun but more to think through. First time being Platinum. Yes, we made sure to get the bathrobes and marvel at each other. As noted, wore them to the hot tubs at night. Yes, newbie loyal to Royal move bit who cares! First time using a taxi and flagging down any ride back to the port. So as you see it took 5 or so cruises for us to break free of RC booked shore excursions First time attending an art auction and buying art. Note that my intial post said we are not art auction folk... You just never know until you attend. It wound up being a highlight! First post cruise excursion. Again, not planned and turned into a highlight. Also a good bargin cause of the transfer to the airport. First time booking two cruises at once. Blessed that we can do that. Talking about being blessed You probably noted that I tend to use "we" in my posts. I am blessed with the most amazing cruise partner for me and that makes these adventures that much more special. I know we have just begun to explore all the places we can go via Royal and I will look forward to every one of them! One more This community had really helped us plan out this trip. I know there is so much to track down for our next cruises such as Cuba, all inclusive resorts in Cozumel, etc. I want to thank all who share their knowledge because it makes a difference! Next blog is Cuba in September unless a really good deal shows up 😉 YOLO
  23. @WAAAYTOOO After customs all 4 excursions with airport an transfer had their luggage loaded into a truck. (two San Juan tours, Bacardi factory, and the rain forest). That truck eventually was unpacked in a departure area of the terminal that is no longer used. Two sides of the area was fenced in and there was a woman keeping watch over the bags. I do not know if she was a Royal Caribbean or excusurion employee. I assume that the bags were in the truck until shortly before the four tours arrived at the airport. Honestly, when pulling up to the curb we all had the same reaction of the bags just sitting there until we saw the employee there keeping an eye on them.
  24. Back to San Juan As mentioned, we had a 6pm flight so a day ago we booked the rain Forrest tour with airport transfer. But first, one final meal at the MDR. The food was as good as ever and it was clear how much better breakfast is at the MDR. The French toast was twice as thick, soft and sprinkled with powder sugar. The omelettes were twice as fluffy and the hash browns considably better. After a stroll through the promonade to the star lounge for our wait to disembark. Yes there were some lines but getting the luggage and customs went smoothly. On to the bus for a 5 hour tour of the rain forest. As always, the tour guide makes or breaks the tour and we got a good one! Hector was informative and funny. The rain forest has rebounded well in just two years since it was heavily deforested from the hurricane. Our bags were at the curb as we arrived at the airport. It was a good transition day but no matter how you slice it.... We are no longer on the ship. Once back home I will post some final thoughts. Thanks for following along. It's a pleasure posting and I also find it a nice way to keep a journal.
  25. Last sea day full of surprised! Next Cruise - warm and windy today on deck so we eased into the day with a Windjammer breakfast and a mid morning visit to Next Cruise. We first booked our traditional January cruise on Allure to the Western Caribbean. It will be our second time on an Oasis class ship and our second back to the Western Caribbean. Then a wave of "that's a whole year away" came over us so we booked four nights to Cuba/Key West via Majesty. The ship and Cuba will both be new. Super excited! The Art Auction - Say what? We have never stepped into that realm on the ship but with a newly Platinum award of extra raffle tickets in hand off we went. It was a learning experience but very enjoyable. A glass of champagne, lots of action and also rather informative made it a fun two hours. Most importantly, we learned what art we liked and are coming home with two pieces. Who knew!! He last evening - A final MDR led to some time at Olive and Twist which took us to the last production show, Once Upon A Time. This particular show maybe our favorite non Broadway production on the cruises we have been on. All this led to getting our luggage out with four minutes to spare before the 11pm deadline. We have a flight leaving at 6pm tomorrow so yesterday we booked a debarkation day excursion to the rain forest. It's a rather good deal considering we would have to pay for two Ubers and figure where to store our luggage for 10 hours! Stay tuned for that bounus day recap. In the meantime here are some random thoughts. Leaving from San Juan is a weather treat! It's been between 80 and 82 for the entire 7 days. Lows around 75. - The freestyle coke machines had no lines ever. Maybe the cruisers were a different make up or the price increase to $10 a day has decreased demand. We stopped buying the soda package because of price. - talking soda machines, even without the chip mug, it was a great place to get water and ice fast. - This trip went fast, really fast.
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