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  1. Thanks
    CruisinUngs reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Scissors - can I bring a small pair   
    I have never had any problem bringing scissors onto the ship.  I have them in my jewelry bag.  I do not, however, try and take them on the airplane.
  2. Thanks
    CruisinUngs got a reaction from JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    What a great review. I really loved all the details and they way you expressed your opinions. Informative but entertaining. I know this became a little bit of a task so appreciate the time. Pictures are amazing!
    Happy Anniversry to you and Cathy.
  3. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 6 - Debarkation Day (a.k.a., The Day of Great Sorrows)
    I woke up at 6:15, much too late to catch us going back under the Verrazano but early enough that I got some great pre-dawn views of the New York City skyline and surrounding area.

    I saw the ferry crossing the river and remembered that it was Thursday; people were already up and going to work.

    Before long, we were pulling into the port, the sun still not yet risen.

    The sun came up, as it must every day, and we were that much closer to the time we'd be very politely told to please GTFO.

    I re-checked my folio and confirmed that the gratuities had indeed been removed. Our only charges were for the clothes we'd bought on board, my wine overages, and the tips I'd left. I emailed Heather so she knew that there was nothing more to worry about besides getting the charge properly applied so the staff could get the tips they'd earned.
    We grabbed our carry-ons, and after leaving Allen a much-deserved WOW envelope we headed up to the Windjammer for our final breakfast on board.
    It was absolute chaos there. I got cut off while trying to get on the omelette station line, and then when we were told there was another station that was basically empty, I think I may have inadvertently done the same to a woman who had been standing there; meanwhile, the other woman who had cut me off before... very deliberately and actively did it to both of us. Again, in my case! I shook my head, looked apologetically at the other woman who I was afraid I'd cut off, and very happily answered "no" when asked by her if the woman who'd cut us both off was my wife.
    After breakfast, we headed down to Two70 to wait for our turn to get off. We actually got there just in time to snag one last round of cappuccinos, plus a couple of bottled waters, with our packages still in effect. I overheard the couple in front of us on the coffee line comment that they were going to be right back on board, apparently doing the CA/NE sailing that evening. Ooooohhhh, was I jealous!
    The final GTFO call came at 9:50, sooner than expected. We headed off the ship and made our way back into the port terminal. The porters were calling out for anyone who wanted to get a porter and skip the long customs line, but the line was moving pretty quickly; with so little luggage to deal with, we (and most of the others we saw) just trundled our bags along and stuck with the main line. I'm guessing that porters are not big fans of these short sailings when it comes to the tips they were losing out on.
    When we got to the customs area, they were separating out people with passports from those who just had their driver's license and birth certificate. We got in the passport group and, like @firebuck on his sailing, we just had to look into a camera for a few seconds and were cleared to leave. Meanwhile, the no-passports line was crawling forward. People, when you go on a cruise, bring your passports! They really do save time and aggravation!
    Ship to curb was all of 30 minutes, tops. Once we got outside, I paid for our parking and we were on the road. We got home at 11:30, much to our older daughter's surprise. She had come home to walk the dog and wasn't expecting us home yet.
    Here's my sea pass. Now I just need to get a gold one and a purple one!

    And here is the sand from Horseshoe Bay that had gotten trapped in my water shoes, and that I found all over my suitcase when I unpacked that afternoon. I certainly wasn't going to just throw it away! You can clearly see the red flecks that give it that distinctive pink color.

  4. Wow
    CruisinUngs reacted to bcarney in Serenade secrets?   
    Thank you, and I'm from Michigan - we already have snow, about an inch on the ground today.
  5. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to KathyC in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    They were on our Serenade sailing last week as well.  I think they mentioned they have an exclusive contract with RCCL for the next 50 weeks.  They were perfect for my average age of 75 cruise.  LOL 
  6. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to FlowBro Ty in Oasis OTS Western Caribbean 10/21/18 To 10/28/18 Recap   
    -Day Four Falmouth Jamaica-
    By FlowBro Ty
    Today We Are In Falmouth Jamaica. Today Wil Be A Long Day And A Fun Day. I Will Be Climbing The World Famous Dunn's River Fall And Going River Tubing. .
    I Got Up At Seven And Saw That For Most Of The Moring We Where Hugging The Coast Of Jamaica. At 8:45 I Went To The Windjammer For A Bite To Eat. I Am Not A Breakfast Person But Since Our Next Meal Will Not Be Till Around One I Will Grab A Bite To Eat. I Had Three Yogurt's And Two Milks And Some Water Orange Juice. On The Oasis Class The Windjammer Looks Over My Favorite Place One The Whole Ship The Sports Deck. I Was Temped To Go On The Flowrider. But I Had To Be The Theater To Get My Tour.  We Docked In Falmouth At Nine Thirty   And They Had The Gangway Open By Ten. And I Was On My Tour To Dunn's River Falls. On The Way To Dunn's River We Got Pulled Over By The Jamaica Police To Do A Insurance Check Or Some Thing Like That And After Two Minutes We Where Back On The Road. Also We Passed Through Ochos Rio I Saw One Carnival Ship And A Holland America Ship. After An Hour And A Half We Were Here Dunn's River. The Water Fall Water Is Very Cold And To Climb It You Must Have Water Shoes. And To Get To The Top It Takes About A Hour. And After We Were Back On The Bus The Time Was Around Twelve Thirty. After We Headed To A Meal At Some Hotel On The Water. They Had Jerk Chicken And Some Pasta With Meat Sauce With A Whole Dessert Spread. Back On The Bus The Tour Gide Told Us That It Was On Of The Oldest Hotel In The Area. And In Less Than 15 Minutes Were At The River Tubing Place. The Gide Said It Was Over A Mile Long And Had Some Class One Rapides. It Was Pretty Fun. This Is Just Like Kelly Park In Apopka FL, After A Hour We Where Back On A Bus Head To The Ship. To Get Back To The Port From Ochos Rios Took A Hour And Fifteen Minutes. And Around Four I Was Back Aboard The Oasis Of The Seas. At Five We Went To Go See Oasis Of Dreams The Aqua Show. Every Time It Blows My Mind How They Do That On A Ship. After That I Went To The Teen Flowrider Session. It Was More Packed With People Then The Regular Session. After That I Went To The Room And Went To Bed. Tomorrow Will Be A Fun And Long Day At Sea Onboard Oasis Of The Seas.                                                   
  7. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to Neaxan in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    They have a cocktail called Down the Rabbithole at the Wonderland bar and it comes with your choice of a red or a blue pill so I thought it would fit right in 😂
  8. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 5 - Sea Day (continued)
    We Will Rock You was abso-freaking-lutely amazing!! What everyone says about it starting slow is certainly true, and there's no denying it's one of the most contrived plots out there to get the songs to fit some kind of narrative. But man, what a show! All of the performers were great, and the band was phenomenal; their guitarist looks like she's still in her 20s but she was crushing it like someone who's been playing for over 40! The sets looked really good, and I'm amazed at how many set pieces they have for this one show that they swap out in really short order, some of them rising up out of or dropping down into the stage floor. After seeing @twangster's pics from the backstage tour for Hairspray and how crowded the backstage area was with all the set pieces for that show, I can only imagine what backstage (and under the stage) must look like with this one!
    One of the supporting actors had some mic trouble early on, which caused him to have to switch over to a hand-held mic in the middle of his scene; he totally took it in stride and just kept acting through the sound drop-outs until the hand-held was brought out to him, and spoke clearly and loudly enough through it that I think everyone in the theater could make out his lines. His cast-mates help get the mic out to him, moving as if it was all part of their choreography for the scene. Some definite pros at work, there.
    Apart from that one small technical glitch, the show went flawlessly. The actors who play Galileo Figaro and Scaramouche were absolute stand-outs, belting out song after song; they also looked like they had some good on-stage chemistry going, so parts like them falling for each other were more believable. They and all the cast and band members totally earned the standing ovation they got at the end of the show.
    If I had seen the evening showing, it would have been a fantastic way to wrap up the final sea day. But we saw the matinee, and we still had half of that day left to go. How the heck was I going to top that on-board experience?
    Well, before I could do that I had to spend a little more time on the gratuities situation. My TA had emailed me back during the show and she was not happy. Royal had no record of the charge for my gratuities and were saying that they must have never processed the charge. A quick check of my most recent credit card statement put the lie to that; that charge was literally the very first one on the page! I emailed Heather back and let her know that; she said that as long as they did indeed roll back the on-board charges for gratuities that I had requested, we'd be good and she would straighten it all out so that Allen and the wait staff would properly get their gratuities from me. So I put that on the back burner again, as I wouldn't really know about the reversal until the next day, and got back to enjoying my final day of this trip.
    We decided to get one last time in at the thermal spa, and spent about an hour up there. Had some nice conversation in the sauna with another New Jerseyan, who owned a shipping warehouse not far from where my wife used to work when our kids were younger. After taking advantage of everything the thermal spa had to offer, we checked out for the last time. Cathy got in three visits all told, while I had only gotten in twice; while it was nice to have this as another thing to do on our trip, we agreed we wouldn't spend the money on it again as we didn't really feel like we were able to use it enough to justify the price. Maybe on a longer trip with more sea days, but not this one.
    Remember how I said that the chefs at CK had almost pulled out all the stops yesterday. They saved the absolute best for last. Check out this menu.

    I'm not gonna like, I ate like a man on death row getting his last meal. I started off with a final round of escargots, plus the forest mushroom terrine...

    and the fennel soup...

    These were paired with a pinot noir, "Spy Valley". I've honestly been afraid to try pinot noir before, after seeing the movie "Sideways" with Paul Giamatti; at one point his character talks about how pinot can be really hit or miss, even from bottle to bottle within the same vintner, and I tend to believe that script writers don't usually put statements like that in there without doing at least some research on it first (lest the critics pounce on it); so after hearing that, I'd never felt like spending my money to try it out. Well, I had the drink package, and Amar recommended it as a good pairing with these entrees, so I figured why not? It was better than I expected, and I may get a bottle for at home at some point, but for now the one glass was enough.
    For my entree, I had the saffron linguine, and shared an order of the cauliflower fried rice with Cathy. Sorry, forgot to take pictures of those last two. I paired these up with a glass of my favorite Chianti, the Marchesi de'Frescobaldi Chianti Ruffina, "Castello di Nipozzano" -- aka "#684". 😅
    Cathy changed up her appetizer from the usual Caesar salad and had the Pizzette, followed by the sirloin steak and the shared cauliflower fried rice. Everything was phenomenal, the chefs really outdid themselves tonight. And we hadn't even had dessert yet!
    Before I get to the desserts, let me give the final riddles of our trip. First up was this, which Cathy and I both had heard before and I'm guessing you may have as well: "Poor people have it, rich people need it; if you eat it, you'll die." We both just just needed a few minutes to dredge up the answer from memory, and shortly had two pieces of Dove chocolate to enjoy with our dessert.
    The second was another stick puzzle, which neither of us figured out. I'm not going to give the drawing this time, I'll just type it out since it involves numbers:
    | + | = ||
    Pretend it's Roman numerals, so you have one and one equals two. Long sticks for the roman 1's, short sticks to form the plus and equals sign. Now, move just one stick so you get an expression or equation with regular decimal numbers that totals 130. Yes, it can be done, and yes the answer will have you smacking your head.
    So, time for dessert!
    The dessert menu was also a set of impossible choices. Cathy and I both had the Chocolate and Berries Sundae; mine with chocolate and strawberry ice cream, while Cathy got chocolate and vanilla. But I didn't want to miss out on the Dulce de Leche Crème Brûlée, so I decided to order that as well.
    With a cappuccino.
    The crème brûlée was fantastic, and while the sundae was also very good I just could not eat all of it. I finished off the strawberry ice cream part, and Cathy got to enjoy some extra chocolate on top of her own. While we enjoyed our desserts, Amar had one final gift for us for solving so many of his riddles over the trip -- It was a key ring that had small replicas of all the local currency notes from Mauritius, which he wanted us to have as a keepsake and reminder of our trip and time in CK. We really appreciated it, it was quite a unique key ring!
    He had some time for chit-chat, and we asked him how much time was left on his current contract. He told us he was on Anthem for just three more sailings -- the final CA/NE that was leaving the next day, followed by one more trip to Bermuda and then a 9-night Bahamas sailing. After that, he was going home for a little over 3 months before coming back to work on Anthem in March for his next contract. He said that while he was at home he'd be helping his mother finish getting her house remodeled, as the contractors working on it needed pretty constant oversight to make sure they were doing a good job. He was hoping they'd finish before he had to leave again, or they might end up leaving his mom with some shoddy work at the end.
    We also had a chance to talk more with our head waiter. We found out he was from India, descended from the British colonists who had stayed there after the country won its independence and who had married the native people. He was missing his family a lot, especially his youngest daughter who he wasn't getting to see grow up nearly as much as he'd like. It was tough to hear, and a reminder that the folks who make our trips so phenomenal are giving up a lot to have these jobs and support their families through them.
    Amar brought out the final check for me to sign to cover my typical wine overage. I had been tipping him a bit extra each night already, but tonight I made sure to give him an extra-large tip for all the great service he'd given every night. We had only gotten one WOW envelope, and I hadn't thought to pick up another from Guest Services, so this was the best way to be sure he got that extra.
    By this point I was rapidly realizing that I really should not have ordered so many things, or at least not eaten every last bite of them all. Between the sheer amount of food, guzzling down my cappuccino and getting a caffeine rush, and the ship starting to really rock and roll as the weather got worse through dinner, I was getting a little unsettled. Since we still had to pack and get our bags out for pickup, we went back to the cabin where I could be pretty sure the motion would be a lot less, and where the distraction of packing would help me get through the queasiness. We had both packed just about exactly the right amount of clothes and other stuff, so packing was pretty much just a matter of tossing all the dirty stuff into the suitcases. We had group 50 for our tags, which was close to the last departure group.
    While we were packing, we heard the wind positively howling outside the balcony door. The ship movement was modest enough in our room that I wasn't worried about taking a peek outside, and as soon as I opened the balcony door and looked down at the ocean, I understood why the movement was so pronounced through dinner. I couldn't take a picture, but just take the rough seas @Neaxan had put some video of in her live blog and change from day to night; you'll have a pretty good idea. All I could see around us in the bright moonlight was big waves and massive expanses of white froth. There wasn't any rain as far as I could tell, it was just tremendously windy and that seemed to be the main thing churning up the ocean.
    Packing done and our suitcases in the hall, I was feeling just about back to normal. And we still wanted to do our plan of getting in some hot tub time. So we threw on our bathing suits and headed over to the Solarium. I remembered a tip from JimZim in his YouTube review of Anthem -- if you go to passenger deck 13, and walk all the way forward, you can get into the lowest level of the solarium by the hot tubs without ever having to set foot outside. Well, we found the door, but neither one of us could open it! It wasn't locked, we could turn the knob and we saw the door shift a tiny bit if we really put our weight into it. But the air pressure difference was so tremendous between that hallway and the Solarium, probably because of the observation wing doorway that was right next to where this door opened up, that it flat-out would not budge!
    So, we walked back to the nearest stairwell and went up the one deck to the pool level. The automatic doors here were working normally, and we were able to get into the indoor pool area and finally into the Solarium. Being all the way forward, the ship was moving pretty noticeably; the pool are was roped off, but the hot tubs were still open and there wasn't a soul there. We chose one and got in, and enjoyed the hot water and the jets on our still-stiff legs. A handful of people came into the area after us, but there were still three unoccupied hot tubs and everyone got to enjoy their own private space.
    I made it about 20 minutes before the combination of the hot water and the ship's motion here got me feeling green around the gills again. I headed back to the room while Cathy stayed a little longer, took a quick shower to cool off and finally went to bed to just sleep it off.
    The final day's drink tally:
    1 fresh-squeezed orange juice 2 cappuccinos 2 cocktails (my "She's a Geisha" from Izumi, and a margarita I had while watching We Will Rock You) 2 glasses of wine I definitely was feeling the drink fatigue by the end of today, amplified somewhat by my mild seasickness. I realize in hindsight that I let myself fall into the trap of worrying about "catching up" with my drink package and the "shortfall" from our first port day, when I needn't have bothered. Fact of the matter is that I'd had enough on the other days that I didn't need to have anything extra today, and I could have skipped the margarita and one of the two glasses of wine with no problem.
  9. Sad
    CruisinUngs reacted to betatke1480 in "Side to Side" Live - Oasis & Enchantment 11/10-11/23   
    @JLMoran I’m a card game guy. On the ship, either 3 card or Ultimate. I was on 3 card last night and hit a straight flush on my third hand. *Spoiler alert* I gave it all back today. 
  10. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to betatke1480 in "Side to Side" Live - Oasis & Enchantment 11/10-11/23   
    No Pressure.  Lol.  

    Thank you.  I feel like a new person.  This is from our family pictures, separated by one year.  Should have about another 50 lbs to go...
    Also, you know it's time for vacation when you get a text from school saying "Your daughter has been tormenting one of the boys at school today, and decided to pull her pants down and shake her butt and him."  SMH.....
  11. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to betatke1480 in "Side to Side" Live - Oasis & Enchantment 11/10-11/23   
    Day -2 - Pre-cruise
    As I looked out this morning, the weather in beautiful St. Louis, MO confirmed that it is indeed time for a cruise.

    Nothing like a dreary day with the first flurry of snow for the year covering the roof tops to remind you that it's been 364 days of dry dock, time to start the live-blog, and offer a miserable picture to test out how to insert them into the blog and have them sized correctly. 
    We will being a pseudo-side to side on Oasis and Enchantment out of Port Canaveral.  Oasis will be a 7-night Western Caribbean starting November 11 through November 18.  One night spent in Port Canaveral, then a 4-night Bahamas sailing on Enchantment from November 19 through November 23.
    Day 1 - Port Canaveral, FL
    Day 2 - Sea Day
    Day 3 - Labadee
    Day 4 - Falmouth
    Day 5 - Sea Day
    Day 6 - Cozumel
    Day 7 - Sea Day
    Day 8 & 9 - Port Canaveral
    Day 10 - CocoCay
    Day 11 - Nassau
    Day 12 - Sea Day
    Day 13 - Port Canaveral
    We have a beach bungalow booked for Labadee.  Falmouth we will probably stay in the cruise terminal.  Cozumel we will be going to Nachi Cocom, then heading downtown to Coz Coffee and Chocolateria Isla Bella.  CocoCay we have a Cabana booked, and then probably the cruise terminal again in Nassau.  
    Who is Sailing:
    It will be my wife, Abby, our 4 year old daughter, and I on this sailing.  I cruised once when I was a kid on the Big Red Boat.  My next cruise was last year with Abby on Majesty of the Seas, and went to Grand Bahama and CocoCay (which we missed due to weather.)  I get cruise incentives from my land-based casino, so we booked that cruise after final payment date on a whim.  It was right before we left on the sailing that I found RCBlog, and now I am fully indoctrinated.  This will be our daughter's first cruise, and she's been counting down the number of "sleeps" left since we were at 20.  She can't wait to meet new friends in Adventure Ocean, and has been trying to convince us that all of her friends from school can come with us.  So while this is our second RC cruise, it will be our first 7-nighter, first Oasis Class, and first just about everything else including first time in each of these ports.  
    Other logistics
    Packing has been ongoing for about a week.  Hoping to get it all finalized tonight.  We fly out tomorrow from STL to MCO via Southwest.  Tomorrow night will be in the Country Inn & Suites near the port.  We will have a rental car from MCO to the hotel, returning it at the port.  For the night in between cruises, we had the same hotel booked, choosing it originally due to the on-site laundry facilities.  After @Matt posted the blog about the Holiday Inn Beach Club, we changed our stay there, due to in-room laundry, as well as everything else on property.  Possibly even taking the rental car to Publix to cook dinner for ourselves.  After we debark Enchantment, we are taking a shuttle from PC to MCO for our flight back.
    On Oasis we have a JS on deck 6 booked.  The location should be great for it's location, and we envision Johnny Rockets for breakfast most mornings.  On Enchantment, I've done the best I can do to ensure that my daughter will become a full on suite snob by booking a GS.  The pricing was great for the upgrade, plus we got a great deal on the Oasis sailing by booking during a WOW sale last year with KSF and free gratuities.  (Although I feel like I'm probably heading to #suitesnob status as well.  Looking at booking Oasis again in Feb of 2020, and my eye is on a Crown Loft Suite...)
    Other thoughts
    -We will be #TeamNoDX.  I had weight loss surgery in February and can't really drink much (down 200 lbs in about a year).  My last drink was 2 weeks before surgery, but I imagine I may have to have at least a sip or two while on the ship or at Nachi.
    -We have the 3 night dining package booked on Oasis.  We plan on being #TeamCK (more influence from our favorite Stubborn Canadian (wouldn't let me tag @lovetocruise2002 for some reason).  If we can't do CK, we may opt for Solarium Bistro.  On Enchantment we don't have any specialty dining booked.  We'll either see if there are deals available, or take advantage of the MDR service in our room, especially on Thanksgiving Day.  
    -Pictures will be with my iPhone 8 and the moment lenses.  I'm opting not to bring my DSLR this trip, just so I can enjoy the journey, and work on shot selection vs. shot quality.  Once I get a better idea of what shots to take on a cruise, and how to frame them, I move to bringing my DSLR.  
    -We are excited for our daughter's first cruise.  This will be her second time flying, but the first was with Grandma and Grandpa, so we're looking forward to that also.  We are doing the Dreamworks Breakfast on Oasis, and the girls will be doing the Cupcake class on Enchantment.
    Finally, I'm hoping to do the live blog justice.  Lots of great influences on the site, and I hope I hold a candle to some of them.  We do have VOOM, so I'll try to be as interactive as possible.  If there are questions, I'll try to get them answered.  
    Now it's off to iron my best shorts and t-shirt for formal night and finish packing.  
  12. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to FlowBro Ty in Oasis OTS Western Caribbean 10/21/18 To 10/28/18 Recap   
    Day Three Labbadee Haiti Part Two
    I Went To Sorrento's And Tonight They Had Barbeque Chicken Pizza. There I Met Up With @Twangster Fan Me And Him Ate Two Pizza. They Where So Good. After That I Went To Dinner And Had A Creaser Salad. For The Main Entrée I Had A Baked Potato With Lots Of Sour Cream.

    For Dessert I Had Cheese Cake And Three Scoops Of Ice Cream. After Dinner I Went Strait To Bed. Tomorrow Will Be A Long Day In Jamaica.    
  13. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to FlowBro Ty in Oasis OTS Western Caribbean 10/21/18 To 10/28/18 Recap   
    Day Two Continued 
    Tonight I Had Frozen In Time In Studio B. It Was Very Good. I Saw It Last October On The Oasis. The Sand Art Guy Did A Great Job. This Voyage He Did The Tin Solider. 
    After This I Went To Dinner. I Had For The Appetizer I Had Cesar Salad. It Was Pretty Good But Today They Put To Much Dressing In The Salad. For The Entrée I Had The New York Strip Steak It Was Very Good. For Dessert I Had The Royal Cheese Cake With Two Scoops Of Ice Cream.It Was So Good. After Dinner I Went Back To The Room To Go To Grab My DJ  Stuff To Make A Track For My Local Radio Station. Today I Went To The Pool Deck To Record It. I Did A Ten Minute Mix. After That I Went To Bed. Tomorrow Will Be A Long And Fun Day In Labbadee Haiti. 
  14. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to FlowBro Ty in Oasis OTS Western Caribbean 10/21/18 To 10/28/18 Recap   
    By FlowBro Ty  -Day One Port Canaveral- 
    Today Is Cruise Day! I Sleep In Today Because It Is A Perfect Way To Start A Vacation. For Breakfast I Got Up And Drank A Smoothie For A Snack Until I Got On The Boat. We Loaded The Car The Night Before To Save Time. We Left The Home At Ten And Next Stop Turkey Lake. The Port Is An Hour And A Half Away From My House. After A Hour And A Half Being Cramped In The Back Of The Car We Arrived At Park Port Canaveral. This Is A Nice Place And This Is My Second Time Using Them. It Is Less Than Five Minutes Away From The Port. And We Always Had A Good Experience Here.  Today They Where Boarding At Twelve Forty Five Because The Coast Guard Were Doing A Routine Inspersion On The Boat. Because We Were In A Suite We Used Suite Check In. It Took Us Five Minutes To Get Past The Security People And Upstairs. When We Got There Then We Where Past Check And Headed On The Ship In Less Than Ten Minutes . So We Were On The Ship By 12:50. For Lunch We Tried To Go To The Windjammer But There Was A Line Down The Stairs So We Went To Wipeout Café. Not Disappointed The Food Was Good And Had No Line. I Had A Hamburger With Cheese And My All Time Favorite Free Drink Strawberry Kiwi Water. So Good.Then Since We Were Near The Flowriders I Had To Go On It. So I Did. There Was No Line For Stand Up Or Bogie Boarding Until 3:00. One Of The Workers Was Blown Away Because I Did Every Trick He Told Me To Do And I Did Not Wipe Out. Also Had A Great Chat With One Of The Worker. Now It Is Time To Head To Muster Drill. 

  15. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 5 - Sea Day (continued)
    After finishing my cocktail, I wanted to get to lunch ahead of our 2:30 showing of We Will Rock You. I had told Cathy ahead of time that I wanted to have lunch at Izumi one day on the trip, and this was my last chance, so I went down to deck 5 while Cathy headed over to the Windjammer.
    Since I was solo, I just asked for a seat at the sushi bar. That actually required a short wait, as all the seats there were taken along with the tables. They were doing a busy lunch business today. Fortunately, someone was just about done and I got seated in about five minutes, ten tops.
    The meal was... OK. I have to agree with @ellcee, it wasn't bad by any stretch but it also wasn't amazing. She had already eaten there when we met up, and given her underwhelmed reaction to their ramen (which I had originally planned on getting), I decided to go with two sushi items instead -- the Tuna Wasabi appetizer that @Matt had written about in his own review a while back, and the DX Sushi Combo. To go with the meal, I had one of Izumi's signature cocktails, "She's a Geisha".
    The cocktail was actually very good. It's a mix of sake and various berry juices, and it was really light and refreshing. The sake flavor was noticeable, but not overpowering, and it was clearly just the right amount for this beverage. I think the right to think of this, or any of Izumi's other signature cocktails (all of which have sake as the base) is a Japanese style wine cooler. But with good (rice-base) wine instead of the crap those store-bought mass-produced drinks have. And none of the sulfites for preservatives that in my case always give a monster headache.
    The food part was good, overall, but the one area they fell short was the tuna. In both the Tuna Wasabi and my combo, the tuna was mild to the point of being flavorless. It was most noticeable in the tuna nigiri, where it's just the tuna and rice; I never use soy sauce with my sushi (I feel like it masks the fish flavors too much), so I could really pick up on how bland the tuna was. I've had a lot of tuna sushi and sashimi, along with seared ahi tuna, and there's always that distinctive flavor -- not the overwhelming one from the canned stuff that's often overcooked, but still distinctive and tells you you're eating tuna. This tuna was just there on the plate, and with the nigiri the dominant flavors were the rice and the bit of wasabi used to hold the fish on it.
    With the appetizer and the spicy tuna roll that comes with the combo, the amount of jalapeño was overwhelming. I couldn't help feeling like they were trying to make up for the tuna's lack of flavor by putting in more jalapeño than should have been necessary. It stopped being a complement to the main ingredient and just took over.
    What made this problem with the tuna such a standout factor was that the rest of my sushi was really good. The octopus, which I'm not the biggest fan of but will eat when it's part of what I ordered, was firm and had a solid chew but wasn't the least bit rubbery. The eel and salmon were both great, with rich flavor. And all the other fish were equally good. But the tuna was so off compared to the rest it was hard not to have it bring the rest of the meal down.
    I skipped dessert, as I was figuring on having another cocktail while watching We Will Rock You, and just settled my bill. I still had about half of my "She's a Geisha" left, so I took it with me and wandered over to the Music Hall. There was a family at the pool table, with the husband and son playing, and they asked if I wanted to play the winner. I wasn't sure after my practice the other night if I'd offer them any real challenge, but the pool gods decided to smile on me for an hour or so.
    For the most part, I played better than I have in years, although my first break was an absolute embarrassment to pool players everywhere and I had a couple other mishaps that couldn't remotely be blamed on the ship shifting suddenly. In spite of those blunders, I actually managed to win both games that I played, and both were nicely competitive. The husband and son both were great sports and we had some good conversation while playing, no one taking the games too seriously. Karaoke started in the stage area after my first game, and all through the second game I was happy to hear no bad singers. Everyone carried the tunes well enough, and I didn't really hear any blown notes or songs done horribly off key. The only one that was a bit of a letdown was the first singer, who performed "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. She did really well through the song until the final lines, where the song just got just a bit too high for her range and she was forced into her falsetto range.
    Having finished my second game of pool, I saw that the Royal Theater's doors had opened to start seating for We Will Rock You. It was still almost 45 minutes to show time, but I wanted a good seat close to the stage. So I thanked my opponents for the good games, wished them a good rest of their trip, and headed down to Deck 4 where I took a seat and eagerly waited for what was going to be the headline show of the trip for me.
  16. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to Auto in It's All Greek to Me...Rhapsody November 3-10   
    Day 0: Travel and Venice
    I was up bright and early (actually dark and early in these parts) today, and finished the last minute packing and loading of the van for the drive up to the airport. It took a little over an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the airport, which is about the minimum time it takes to drive to Frankfurt from our place. We parked and then made the long hike from the parking garage to the check-in counter, hauling all of bags and corralling the 4 kids along the way. We were informed that the gate was the furthest away in the airport, and sure enough, it was at the extreme end of the terminal. We stopped for lunch and to let the younger girls play on a little playground in the terminal along the way. Boarding started about 10 minutes late, and it turned out that we were at a bus gate, so we had to go down the stairs and board a bus that then drove us the length of Terminal 1 and most of Terminal 2 (if you have ever been to Frankfurt, you know that this took almost 10 minutes) out to the plane. The flight was uneventful, and a perk of flying Lufthansa is beer and wine are included in the complimentary beverage selection, which both my wife and I took advantage of.
    We collected our bags and made contact with the hotel to arrange a shuttle to get us there. We stayed at the Best Western Titian, which was about 5 minutes away from the airport. It was a very nice hotel, friendly staff, and pretty convenient for a place to stay the night before a cruise. After we checked in, we inquired at the front desk about the best way to get downtown Venice, and if it was still flooded. From there, we caught a bus just down the street from the hotel and rode it to the end of the line where we caught a water bus and headed down to Rialto Bridge. By this time, it was dark out, but cruising the Grand Canal is always special. We wandered around the bridge, and then went to our favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza place for dinner. It was excellent as always, and we went out in search of our favorite gelato. Bellies full, we continued our journey to St Mark's Square to take in the after dark ambiance and listen to the music from the various cafes around the square. Unfortunately, being there off-season, the bell tower and basilica were already closed by the time we got into the square, but St Mark's is one of the most magical places I have been in Europe, regardless of the time of day or year.
    After taking the obligatory pictures of the Bridge of Sighs, we got back on the water bus (or vaporetto, if you prefer) and made our way back up the Grand Canal to the bus station and reversed our journey back to the hotel. We were in bed by 10, and at least I had a hard time sleeping with excitement for tomorrow's embarkation...
  17. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 5 - Sea Day
    I was glad today was a sea day, because when we woke up the skies were completely overcast and it was threatening to rain at any time. Would definitely be a day to stay indoors and take advantage of Anthem's accommodations for inclement weather. Unfortunately, I had to take care of a couple of unexpected issues, like the sewer stink that flooded out of our bathroom this morning when we opened the door! Nothing like what @twangster had happen; this was only a stink and no sewage backlog. But good lord was it pungent in there!
    The other unexpected problem was that I found Royal had been charging me the daily gratuities, even though I had pre-paid them through my travel agent. With two of the days looking like I had been charged twice!
    Before dealing with that, we had to get down to breakfast before things closed. I wanted to change the venue this time, as I was a little tired of Cafe Two70, so we decided to go to the Main Dining Room. On Anthem, this meant going to the American Grille room, and it was a madhouse! The place was packed, and even though we had asked to be given a shared table so we could have some companions and conversation, we ended up seated at a two-top. Granted, the tables were really close-packed so we had no trouble talking to our neighbors. They were a very nice couple from Buffalo, NY, who were on their honeymoon. We talked about Bermuda and agreed it was gorgeous, and that we had to get back as soon as we could. We also talked about our experiences on this ship so far; it was interesting to get their point of view, as they had previously sailed only on Carnival and this was their first time on Royal. They said Anthem was definitely a good bit nicer than Carnival's ships, and that it definitely had better food and a nicer crowd (not nearly as many drunks as they tended to find on Carnival, and they liked that it wasn't such a constant party atmosphere). But, they felt Carnival had the edge on activities.
    For us, the food in the main dining room wasn't really any better than if we'd gone to the Windjammer, and it took a long time to both place our orders and then get our food. My pancakes were actually cold; not just room temp, but like they had been in the refrigerator and not quite reheated enough to reach room temp. On the other hand, my omelet was totally fine, probably because it was cooked to order. Cathy had the buffet, and felt it wasn't as good as the one on Freedom; fewer choices, and what was there also just on par as if we'd gone to Windjammer. I was able to get my fresh-squeezed OJ, at least, and it was as good as I remembered.
    So, with breakfast out of the way, it was time to go and visit Guest Services. For the sewage smell issue, the person I spoke with was very apologetic, and paged both our floor attendant and maintenance to check it out. He also looked up my reservation and said he had no record of my prepayment on the gratuities, but after showing him my invoice and confirmation email from my TA, he offered to remove the gratuities without any further action on my part. I still wanted to get to the bottom of this part, so I emailed Heather and asked her to look into it.
    While I was doing all of this, Cathy was at the logo store taking advantage of the two for $20 t-shirt sale. She scored a few more t-shirts, including one for me, and caught up with me just as I wrapped up with Guest Services.
    With that out of the way, we went back up to our cabin. Our floor attendant was already there and taking a look at the problem. He agreed there was a smell, and shortly after we arrived Allen, our cabin attendant, arrived. He checked and told us the problem was that the ship had run into some bad weather last night that had been tossing a ship a fair bit (which was surprising, because we never felt that once); all the movement caused some rooms to have the bathroom floor drain's trap clear out, allowing the sewage smell to come up through the now cleared pipes. He poured some water down the drain to re-fill the trap portion, and left to check on some other rooms. And then maintenance came by not half an hour later, to further follow up on the problem. The timing was good on that as I was just heading out for my iFly session.
    By this point, about 11 AM, it was actually raining, albeit lightly. So we stuck to the indoor paths as much as possible for getting to iFly, stopping at La Patisserie along the way so Cathy could get another latte. I should have asked her to just meet me there rather than waiting, because by the time we got to the checkin area my group had already been taken inside and my spot was given to someone on the standby line. There were no other openings for iFly that day, unless I wanted to wait around for my own shot at a standby slot, but I was OK with this. My feet were still sore from all the walking over the last two days, and I wasn't sure how they'd hold up being buffeted by the simulated winds inside the iFly chamber. Plus, the day was already feeling a bit rushed and it was good to have a chance to slow down.
    Since the weather wasn't great, we went down to the Solarium to just relax and enjoy a beverage or two. I got another Lava Flow, but I had to make do with another rum; somehow @twangster had teleported from Adventure of the Seas onto my ship and run off with all the remaining Kraken! 😉
  18. Like
    CruisinUngs got a reaction from Neaxan in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    @Neaxan thank you thank you! You were honest and hilarious. Really enjoyed it!
  19. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 4 - Bermuda (continued)
    The shuttle bus left Horseshoe Bay at 1:30, but we didn't get back to the Dockyard until almost 2:30 because of traffic and rain. With our all-aboard time at 4:30, we didn't have a lot of time to finish up our day. And we still needed to eat some lunch, we were both getting pretty hungry. Rather than burn a lot of time at any sit-down restaurant in the dockyard, we went back to the ship and just grabbed some small items at Cafe Promenade to take the edge of our hunger and let us get back off-ship ASAP.
    We headed back out to the dockyard with about an hour we could safely spend without risking being pier runners. Even with that decent amount of time, we were kind of hurried to get our shopping done. We ended up only making it to the craft market, where we got our traditional souvenir holiday ornament and a couple of prints, and one other store where we got some limited print coasters and a few t-shirts. After that, we made our way back to the ship, cutting it a little close as we boarded at 4:15, but not all pier runner territory. To our surprise, as we waited in the security line we heard one of the staff holler down from the card scanner area to the people at the entry booth that there were still over 250 passengers not yet on board! We looked back and there were nowhere near that many in line to board, so it was looking like there'd be at least a few pier runners today!
    I have no idea if that ended up being the case or not. Our room was on the opposite side from the dock, and all I wanted at that point was to enjoy my traditional sail-away margarita from our balcony and take in one last sight of Bermuda.

    We sailed away promptly at 5:00, so either everyone made it on board in time or there were some people (possibly happily) left behind.
    We had to get ready for dinner in CK, as we were eating a bit earlier to make the evening's showing of Spectra's Cabaret. As it happened, while this night wasn't formal night it was still the night when the kitchen pulled out almost all the stops. That's right, almost all the stops...

    This was a set of impossible choices. There was no way I could decide between salmon sashimi or the risotto, nor could I choose just scallops or lobster. So, I did what every enterprising cruiser does in this situations... I got 'em all! Sorry, escargots, but there is only so much room in this stomach and you got the short stick; considering Amar brought me a second lobster tail without prompting, I was glad I left them behind. Appetizers were paired, at Amar's recommendation, with the "Conundrum" blend from the "Adventurous Whites" section; yes, I actually had white wine and I enjoyed it! It was very dry, which I appreciated, and only a little fruity with a slightly spicy finish. With my entree's I also had white wine, this time the "Mer Soleil" Chardonnay; also very nice, and I have to say after having this and the Chardonnay served at Chef's Table back on Freedom that I do like that kind of white. I may have to pick up a couple of bottles for at home when I have meals that traditionally do get served with a white wine rather than a red. 
    Cathy kept it far simpler than me, and just had her favorite Caesar Salad and the gnocchi. She said the gnocchi was very good, not too heavy and really good flavor.
    Then it was time for dessert. Cathy got the crunchy chocolate bar, which had her back in heaven again; we're all chocolate lovers, and she said that was a really good dessert. I had the Baked Alaska and, as usual on this sailing, an iced Bailey's and coffee. Here's the Baked Alaska.

    And lest I forget, our meal once again came with riddles! First was this one: "The one who makes it, sells it. The one who buys it, never uses it. The one who uses it, never sees it." I actually figured this one out after a very small hint from Amar, with confirmation that "it" was a real thing and not some metaphysical concept or the like. After this, we got another stick challenge – There are 12 sticks arranged into a square, like so:

    Moving exactly 3 sticks, change the four squares into three squares; you cannot double up any sticks, and you cannot have any sticks jutting out on their own. This one neither Cathy nor I was able to figure out; when Amar showed us the solution, I shook my head again. And the solution he showed isn't the only valid one; we showed this puzzle to our kids and my older daughter came up with a different solution that was still valid.
    And now, it was time for...

    We arrived a solid hour early, actually getting to Two70 as the first show was ending. This was good, as it gave us our pick of the available seats. Make note -- if you want to have a chance to see the cast up very close as they leave the main stage area in a couple of parts and walk around the perimeter, then find the third ring of seats, which are a set of tall couches and love seats. Cathy asked to sit here as her back was bothering her and she wanted something with a taller back than the other seating, and wow was it the perfect place to enjoy the show!
    I respected the "no photography" announcement, so I can't show you anything of the actual show, but both Cathy and I were very impressed. This was the kind of show we'd been waiting for, and it really was incredible how they blended the singing, dancing, aerialists, robot displays, and projection wall into one seamless whole. It's not Cirque du Soleil, as I had first imagined it to be. It's something all its own, and you really do have to see it to appreciate it. And if you sit where I indicated, you'll have two times that either the emcee, Spectra, or the full show cast walks past and you can fully appreciate the costuming and the performers' talents. Spectra actually took time on his pass-through to say hello and shake people's hands, including mine, which I thought was a very nice touch. When the show ended, we gave the cast a huge round of applause. And we were even more excited now at the prospect of seeing We Will Rock You the next day, as that show was supposed to be even better!
    Not wanting to go to bed quite yet, we decided to wander the ship a bit. There were some interesting chairs laid out in front of Wonderland and by the Music Hall, so we decided to have a goof and do our best Game of Thrones impressions. Cathy played Circe Lannister.

    I, on the other hand, was Ned Stark.

    After having our bit of fun, we went up to the pool deck and Solarium to see how they looked at night. The Solarium was surprisingly empty.

     We contemplated getting our bathing suits having a private dip in the Solarium's hot tubs, but didn't want to take yet another shower before bed when it would be really late; we figured we'd do that on our sea day tomorrow.. 
    At this point, Cathy was ready to call it a night. I was still pumped up between my evening Bailey's coffee and Spectra, so I continued to wander for a while. I stopped off at Boleros and tried out a Royal Mojito; not at all bad, but not as good as the one I had in Old San Juan back in April. While I sipped my drink, I decided to finally pay a visit to the casino and see how the craps tables might treat me. Not nicely, as it turned out. As soon as I joined the table went cold, and I lost to 8 shooters in a row; I ended up leaving before I could even get a chance to be the shooter, having lost $40 in about 10 minutes. I saw the same thing happen towards the end of my trip on Freedom, and I'm starting to wonder if I make any table I join colder than a Polar Vortex hit in January.
    Just for grins, I put $10 into the one $1 Double Diamond slot machine they had, as that has been a somewhat reliable slots game for me. No luck here, either. Out $50 total, I cleared out of the casino and decided it was time for me to get to bed as well.
    Tonight's drink package tally:
    2 cappuccinos 2 glasses of wine 3 cocktails Definitely ahead tonight, but still "making up" for yesterday's big shortfall.
  20. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Black Friday   
    Yes, excursions frequently go on sale and are very easy to cancel and re-book. Sometimes you'll catch a sale price without even having an official sale going on. It definitely pays to check prices at least once a week.
  21. Thanks
    CruisinUngs reacted to BeatArmy2010 in Scissors - can I bring a small pair   
    We usually have scissors in the toiletry bag and have never had any issues. We have been called to the naughty room for a pocket knife.
  22. Thanks
    CruisinUngs reacted to melski94 in Scissors - can I bring a small pair   
    I brought a small pair in March.  I think the blade has to be less than 4 inches.  I had them in my checked luggage as I wasn't sure if it would get thru TSA. 
  23. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to One72pilot in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    On Harmony last week and Captain Gus told us the difference between a ship and a boat... “A ship has a captain. A boat has a frustrated husband”. 
  24. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to Pooch in My Time Dining   
    Just off Majesty with MTD.  Went to the MTD desk when we boarded to request a table by a window. Hostess told us to go in and pick out a table which we did and had that table waiting for us each night.  It was pretty darn perfect!
  25. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to twangster in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    Day 11 - Last Sea Day
    Sometime around 4:30pm I was in Central Park having a glass of wine when the sky caught my eye.  Have I mentioned I love Central park?

    I saw the early signs of a sunset so I headed up to the Solarium.
    The Solarium Bar is back open!

    When sailing into the sunset the Solarium is a pretty great location to take it in.

    I was joined by several sunset enthusiasts tonight.

    It was really kind of special.  Our last sunset in the Atlantic before making Port Canaveral tomorrow for Symphony of the Seas first ever U.S. port of call.

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