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CruisinUngs

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  1. Wow
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    I did a little Googling on my lunch break, and I think what made the woman I spoke with give me a different story on the difficulty side of it was that I specifically commented that I was in the financial industry and IT. Based on what I read (mostly from the "Getting a Job in Bermuda Page" on bermuda-attractions.com, which I remember was the site I was using to learn about places like Crystal Caves and does seem to be a legit Bermuda-focused / possibly Bermuda-managed site), those jobs are in high demand and not as readily / frequently filled by Bermudians. Because Bermuda is a tax haven, a fair number of hedge funds and banking companies are set up there, and a lot of their employees are expats.
    I will say that she was probably off about the cost of a house, just based on what I read on that site, even what your tour guide said might have been on the low side! Seems just a two-bedroom apartment in Hamilton will run around $4,000 a month, and "only" $3,200 outside Hamilton, while renting a full house that's ocean-facing (not ocean-front!) and equipped with a pool and private garden runs over $15,000! 😱
    And there's no 10-year "landed resident" status that I could find a reference to. If you're not Bermudian or married to a Bermudian, you cannot buy a house at all, full stop, unless you're someone very privileged. And even then, you can only buy a home already owned by another expat (which the site says is basically the top 5% of properties, at exorbitantly inflated prices).
  2. Like
    CruisinUngs got a reaction from Neaxan in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    I wonder for they will start complaining about that. Is that standard for all sailings on Symphony or just this TA?
  3. Thanks
    CruisinUngs reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    There are a lot of Pinnacle members on this sailing.  Usually, it's just a few rows in the middle that are reserved for Suites and Pinnacles and then Star class guest have their Genie reserve seats wherever requested.
  4. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to Neaxan in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    From ISkate we hurried to the Boardwalk to get in line for Hiro, the Aquashow. Finally we’d get to see one! Guess there had been a lot of complaints as the movement of the ship hadn’t changed much since yesterday but they were still running the shows. Unfortunately, our seats again weren’t the best as a) we weren’t the first in line due to ISkate and b) the whole center part of the Aqua Theater is reserved for PiT (Pinnacle in Training), Pinnacle and Suites. Hiro is a brilliant show with a storyline (see Twangster’s blog for details), but there’s so much going on with dancing, high diving, fighting, synchronized swimming and slacklining – you just can’t take it all in. I guess you’d have to watch it at least twice to see all the details – good luck with the standby line 🤣 Fun part: we kind of got our revenge for the seats. The screeches from the high status crowd when they got wet from the dripping aerialist amused us immensely 😈 With another detour for a cocktail, we just fell into our beds.


















    Side notes
    12.2 steps
    Planning on getting up early for our way into Port of Miami, as Symphony is rumored to turn before docking. Estimated arrival time is 4.30 am in case you wanted to watch, Matt.
    If you suffer from night blindness, Escape the Rubicon is really hard. Speaking from experience here.
    Found yet more staircase artwork I liked – and some elevator art:




    Stopped by at Vintages – here’s the current menu for tapas:


  5. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to Matt in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    The face you make when you realize someone else is live blogging from a ship and you're stuck at home 
  6. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    Day 3 – Crystal Caves, Bermuda
    The bus dropped us off at the stop for Crystal Caves, which is actually the start of a walking path that leads you to the caves. Next to the path is an ice cream shop, and across the street from the bus stop was the Swizzle Inn. I'd been told it was a short walk from Crystal Caves, but I had no idea it was literally right across the street from its path entrance!
    We were both ready for lunch, so we decided to do that before going to the caves. As soon as we were seated and I had a chance to look through the menu, I ordered a Rum Swizzle. I had to try one, in the name of research!

    I'm not a big rum fan, and it was definitely no Kraken in this brew, but it wasn't bad by any stretch. I'm just glad I only got the single serving and not the next size up (a half-pitcher) -- that is one strong drink! I was feeling a hefty buzz before I'd even gotten halfway through what was in my pitcher! Knowing I had to navigate a lot of stairs in the caves, I figured it was better at that point to finish the drink quickly, and hope it cleared out by the time lunch was done. Swizzle Inn, swagger out!
    The food was pretty good. I had locally caught Wahoo, which to me was about the same as a good swordfish steak. Cathy wasn't super hungry and just had a flatbread pizza. Then I saw they had bread pudding as one of the dessert options... Yeah, I'm weird that way; I love bread pudding, especially if it's got a good vanilla sauce (which this preparation did).
    With a full belly and the vestiges of my swizzle still in me, we headed out to the path that would take us to the Crystal Caves. It had rained while we ate, and everything was still pretty wet, but that didn't discourage the large group of people ahead of us. We ended up having to wait for the tour at three o'clock, which was OK as my feet were pretty worn out from all the walking earlier in the day and could use the rest. Cathy took the opportunity to check out the gift shop, and got a couple more items for the girls along with a small stone bracelet for herself.
    Our turn to see the caves came around, and we made our way through the gate and descended the 83 stairs down into the caves proper. Along the way, we could see open pockets where the water from the sea was already visible, as well as some smaller stalactites and columns.



    When we got to the bottom of the stairs, our guide directed us to the smallish dark opening in the ceiling. This was the original entrance to the caves, the one that the boys who lost their cricket ball crawled through in their effort to find it.

    Now here is a part I didn't know about the caves. The water level changes with the tides, to the tune of between two and three feet deeper at high tide. Our tour happened to be going through pretty much at peak high tide, so when we went down the floating walkway to reach the rear of the chamber, several of us had to bend over almost double to get past some of the stalactites without hitting our heads or getting our back's badly scraped by the stone.


    Our guide stopped us about two thirds of the way back to talk about the water here, and how deceptively deep it was. It ranges between 50 and 75 feet deep at the spot we were standing, and it's so clear and the refraction from it so strong, that you don't realize that the rocks below that you think are fairly short are actually themselves between 40 and 50 feet tall.





    We made our way to the far end of the main chamber, where I noticed there was a small opening in the columns that had a light mounted inside the space there. I leaned down and got what I think was actually one of the prettiest photos of the space, despite what the brochures typically show. The limestone in that space looked more like mother of pearl than rock. I was kind of wishing I could explore that space more instead of this main chamber.


    Our guide turned the lights down and showed how, depending on the angle of the light that was hitting the water, you could see just the cave floor below, or the reflection of the ceiling above forming what looked something like the Manhattan skyline, or the head and long neck of a dragon.

    The actual tour only lasts about 20 minutes, and that was plenty. Caves are supposed to be chilly places, but either the smaller space created by high tide, or the high humidity there, or the sheer number of people being taken through all day made the place feel like an oven by the time we started walking out.
    We headed back to the bus stop, where we met a mother and her two daughters holding a picture of their father, her late husband. They came here on the Disney Magic, and were visiting Bermuda to honor his passing, as it was one of his favorite places to vacation. I took their picture when they asked, the three of them holding his photo and standing with the Swizzle Inn, one of his and his widow's regular places, behind them. After that, we spent the time waiting for the bus just talking about Bermuda, how beautiful it was and how nice the people were. We learned that the Magic was in Bermuda for three days, not just two; if we didn't already know how much more expensive it is to sail Disney than sailing with Royal, we might well have decided to book a return trip on that ship so we could get that extra day!
    The bus to Hamilton arrived, and just like before it filled up before we could get on. Partly it was our mistake, we were standing at the wrong end of the stop and a bunch of people who got there after us boarded first; partly it was because it was getting to be rush hour there, and with this stop mid-way on the trip to Hamilton any bus was going to be more crowded when it arrived.
    Just like before, we waited about ten minutes and another bus arrived. This time we were at the front of the line and got on right away, but we knew that there was no way we were making the 4:30 ferry from Hamilton back to the ship. Sure enough, we arrived at the bus terminal in Hamilton just a few minutes before 4:30. Could we have walked really fast and gotten to the ferry pier in time? Maybe, but it was raining again and we didn't feel like chancing it. A bus going to the dockyard was right there and leaving momentarily, so we got on and just accepted that we'd have an hour's ride back to the ship, instead of the 20-minute ferry trip.
    We got to the dockyard closer to six than five-thirty, and hurried back on board as best we could with our tired feet. We had a reservation at seven-thirty for Wonderland, and while we weren't dressing up, we did want some time to rest and get cleaned up.
  7. Wow
    CruisinUngs reacted to whitsmom in Beverage package question   
    Well, I just looked and the Drink Package is now $99/day
  8. Thanks
    CruisinUngs reacted to Susie in Johnny Rockets milk shake with Refreshment Package   
    I will test it. If I remember, I will report back.
  9. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to JennyB in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    that's a BIG NOPE!
  10. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to Neaxan in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    No worries for us mere mortals there. Only PiT, Pinnacles and Suites were in the danger zone, at least for our show. No central seats for the low status crowd - couldn't quite contain my schadenfreude when royalty got wet without sitting in the splash zone 😈
  11. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to cruiselife in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Between the stairwell art, the Flight pictures, and all the other added features all I can say about Symphony is...

     
  12. Like
    CruisinUngs got a reaction from coneyraven in Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda -- 7 Days over Halloween   
    Happy belated birthday! Sounds like a blast. Love the egg drop contest and that a young girl won. 
  13. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to coneyraven in Grandeur of the Seas to Bermuda -- 7 Days over Halloween   
    Howdy,
    Just got back late last week, of course, it's raining now here in the mountains of Western Maryland....
    To summarize things, this is the first 7-nighter that Grandeur has done in years ..... having 2+ days in Bermuda was AWESOME!!!
    We booked this at 575 Days out (the minute we heard about it, we jumped on it).
    Mike S. & CiCi are, by far, the BEST CD & AD I'd ever seen ....... Mike has a sense of humor that had everyone laughing ALL THE TIME!!! Including Captain Thor, which, to his credit, has a pretty wicked sense of humor too.  It was fun watching them play off of one another through the cruise.
    Oh, and worth noting since today is election day --- NO POLITICAL ADS FOR 7 DAYS!!!!!  YES!!!!!! 
    Day 1 --- Thursday 10/25
    This was the smoothest we'd ever seen the Port of Baltimore (it's always been quick, but this was unprecedented in my book).
    We arrived at the Port around 10:00 am to a small line of cars that weren't permitted to go into the lot, we waited about 10 minutes, then we were able to drop off
    luggage, pay our parking fee and park .... The real surprise was when we walked into the terminal, the boarding process had already began.  By the time we got our SeaPass card, THERE WAS NO LINE..... JUST UP THE RAMP AND BOOM -- At the R bar for our first Bloody Maryland's
    The weather was cool and breezy, not shorts and T-shirts, that's for sure ....
    Sail away was smooth, the only real bummer was that the sail away party had been moved into the Centrum, yet, most folks were up top to witness going under the Key Bridge.  Oh well, the frozen drinks never ended so we were happy.
    Day 2 --- Friday 10/26
    What a blast, it was a little warmer, but was still pretty windy, we figure, due to the nor'easter that was due to form off the coast .... the seas, however, were surprisingly smooth.
    Saw something I'd never seen, an airplane contest in the Centrum ..... too funny, those things were flying everywhere ....
    The highlight of the day was that it was my 56th Birthday .... being also the first Formal Night, I chose to have my Birthday Dinner up in Izumi .... as always, that place does NOT disappoint ..... the real surprise for me was when a cake w/ candle showed up and they sang Happy Birthday to me.  Best birthday I've had in years.
    Day 3 --- Saturday 10/27 -- arriving in Bermuda
    One of the things that was interesting was that we weren't due to arrive until 4:00 pm --- The reason why was obvious when I checked Marine Traffic and noticed the P & O Arcadia AND, I believe, the Disney Magic.  We had to wait for the Disney Ship to leave so we could dock.  Those that were watching PtzTV could see how we pulled into the turning basin and waited on the Disney ship to leave ..... The hold-up there was, again, the wind, they needed help with tugboats to pull away from the dock, which took longer than expected, then the tugs had assist us pulling in (didn't want to slam into anything) -- we ending up docking at King's Wharf instead of Heritage Wharf (the Acadia was there) --- that was a new thing.  On top of it all, there was another vessel behind us --- A Viking Cruise ship that ended up docking in Hamilton.
    Once we docked, getting off the ship was as smooth as always, not much was open that late so we ended up going over to the Bonefish for snacks and a few drinks .... which ended up costing $107 --- but, whatever, you're on vacation .....
    NOTE to Future Bermuda Cruisers that we discovered later in the cruise, shopping is LESS Expensive in Hamilton vs. the Dockyard, that shouldn't surprise anyone.
    Day 4 --- Sunday 10/28 --- Getting to Tobacco Bay
    Transportation wasn't impossible, but it was a bit of a challenge if you didn't know what you were doing.  Our goal was to get to St. George and Tobacco Bay.  The only part of the island we hadn't been to.
    The Ferry for to St. George wasn't operating due to its season being over (it won't be operating again until April 2019) --- and, being a Sunday worked against us.  We (a lot of us) rode the ferry to Hamilton, then walked a couple blocks to the main bus terminal --- multiple routes go to St. George (1,3,10,11) and each one seemed to arrive 15 minutes apart from one another --- the 11 was filling up when we arrived, then those in front of us got on a #10 15 minutes later, then we were able to board a #1 15 minutes after that.
    Suffice it to say, St. George is, by far, our favorite part of the island ..... the walk to Tobacco Bay was a bit rough due to a hill you have to walk over (which takes you by church ruins which are stunning) --- when we left Tobacco Bay, we ended up taking a cab back to St. George to the bus stop --- $3 pp ---- worth every penny.
    Also got a wicked sunburn ..... but isn't that what you're supposed to do?
    Love, Love, Love Tobacco Bay.
    Day 5 --- Monday 10/29 --- Last Day in Bermuda
    Since the All Aboard time was 4:30 ---- it gave us time to not be in such a hurry ....
    We ended up taking the ferry back to Hamilton just to do some shopping --- we spotted the Washington Mall the day before, so now, being a Monday, everything was open.  That's when we discovered the price differential from the Dockyard .... plus, seeing Hamilton on a weekday, boy, those businessmen can really sport those Bermuda shorts .... you know, I COULD DO THAT!!!   The real take-away was how nice everyone is.  Everyone says "hello" when you pass them on a sidewalk.  Very refreshing.
    Day 6 --- Tuesday 10/30 --- Halloween -- 1st Sea Day
    For us, today was Halloween, this way the party could go late into the night since the night of the 31st, that was the last night of the cruise.  All I can say is, I've never been a part of a party like the IN MY LIFE!!!!  We WILL do another Halloween Cruise one of these days....... SO much fun, I can't even begin to describe .....  Some of the costumes were unbelievable ..... the staff and crew all got into it ..... since this day also doubled as our 2nd Formal Night, they pretty much did away with the dress code and encouraged folks to show up in costume if they chose to do so.  Oh, and for what it's worth, Tyna and I went  as the Skipper and Gilligan (we were with another couple that went as Maryanne and The Professor) .... sorry, no Ginger.  For those that were a part of this and saw my Facebook posts, watching Gillegan attempt a portion of Michael Jackson's Thriller is the kind of thing you can't unsee.  BEST CRUISE EVER!!!!!!
    Day 7 --- Wednesday 10/31 -- Second Sea Day
    Amazing Weather, ended up spending a portion of it in the pool, however, you could feel the chill as the day wore on as we got closer to the Chesapeake.  Ended up having Lamb Shank in the MDR --- it really made us question why we pay extra money in the specialty restaurants some times, because, this was just that good.  Tyna ended up getting a steak .... she described it as being "like butta" --- best meals of the cruise.
    Oh, and I don't want to forget this activity, they did an Egg Drop from Deck 8 in the Centrum to see who could land their egg, unbroken, closest to a target on the Centrum floor (Deck 4) --- every participant was given a kit with supplies and an egg, so it was just like a school science experiment as to who could build the best device to float it down. 
    Who thinks of those things?  People were watching from all decks cheering everyone on .... We were on Deck 9 on the opposite side from where they were dropping them on 8 so we could see it all .... in the end, it was a young girl that won.
    Getting off the ship ...
    We all know it's like herding cattle .... but in all honesty, just like when we got on, it was the fastest I'd ever experienced .... the line never stopped moving.  In and out in a matter of minutes.
    In the end, it's no surprise to anyone here ..... WE LOVE LADY G!!!!  She's due to go into drydock in March, so, perhaps that's a good thing ...... It'll feel strange that the next two cruises for us are NOT on her ...... but we know we'll gravitate back to her.
    Below are a few random photos ..... if you need explanation on any of them, just ask ..... the dude as the GI Joe was, by far, the best costume of the night .... even the crew kept coming up to him wanting photos










  14. Like
    CruisinUngs got a reaction from JennyB in Freestyle Drink Dispenser Menus   
    Same but I think @twangster switched his image hosting service which could be the issue. Maybe he will take a look after this TA and hook us up.
  15. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to twangster in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    Day 9 - Lunch
    Johnny Rockets
    Since I'm staying in a boardwalk balcony cabin, one free meal at Johnny Rockets is included for up to four guests.
    Onion rings and fries

    Smokehouse Burger

    Soda is included (since a boardwalk balcony also includes the soda package) but their milkshakes are not.  Absolutely stuffed I skipped dessert.  
  16. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to betatke1480 in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    The selfie @twangster took of himself as he soared through the air dangling from one of the drones was amazing.  It's a shame you and @Matt missed it since you skipped the photos. I can't believe they took a volunteer from the audience for that role. Shows a lot of natural athletic ability, obviously.  
  17. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to princevaliantus in Self-service merchandise machines on Symphony of the Seas??   
    This won't fly as we all know that we treat our smartphones better than we do our kids. Most people would rather put their kids in the daycare than put their smartphone in one of these bays. One word or is it two? ... Power Bank!  Small & portable !!  
  18. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to Neaxan in LIVE - October 28 - November 9 - Barcelona to Miami - Bringing Symphony home   
    Day 8 - Part II
    Dinner was at Windjammer – well kind of. We were still quite full from Johnny Rockets, so it was more a litte bit of salad and a few desserts. As this is likely our only evening in Windjammer, we did a bit of recon. A bit more choice than TUI Cruises, but overall we’d say they’re on par as TUI has way better gelato.











     
    Side notes:
    12.6 k steps
    Do Americans ever use spices on fries and the like? I start to understand your penchant for ketchup and other condiments.
    No idea what the h*** Aqua Theater is for. If they can’t run a show in the conditions we had today, they’d need perfectly flat seas to do it. Is the Caribbean sea always completely flat or do they just cancel most of the shows?
    If you see the Starbucks on board, you'll come to the conclusion that being a Starbucks addict is a requirement to get promoted to officer with Royal.
    Towel animal of the day: peacock (at least I'm certain of that one)

    More staircase art – I think we’ve got them all now – well, the ones I liked anyway.





    Finally, the best piece of art on Symphony of the Seas:

  19. 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   
    Completely understand. I will wait for you to edit the pics instead of just dropping them on us as they are awesome. I’ll calm myself down, get a drink and patiently wait. 😇
  20. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to jce2 in ALASKA 2020 IS OUT!!!   
    RC site doesn't show it yet but i was able to call and book it this morning.  I called and got a very helpful RC rep.  He said he wouldn't expect 2020 to be out until Dec-Mar.  I told him I had heard RC had announced "week of November 5".  He checked and Yes! He was almost as excited as i to announce he could book it.  I don't know the full rotation but i can tell you June 19-26, 2020 is the standard south-bound route.  I did wind up paying a bit more than 2019 rates (to be expected) but got exactly what i wanted including the aft corner on deck 8.  Alaska here i come!!
  21. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to JLMoran in Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda, Oct 13-18, 2018; Not Even REMOTELY Live, Because 20th Anniversary   
    I hear you, believe me. Not happy at the slow roll myself, so I'm going to try and push myself to finish the photo edits for the Bermuda days this week so I can get the remaining posts up ASAP. The "problem" is that I have around 200 photos just of Bermuda, and trying to cull them down to the best ones and edit only those is slower-going than planned; I can't decide!! 😅
  22. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to KLA in Reviews on two activities   
    As a pescatarian, I approve this message. 
  23. Love
    CruisinUngs reacted to twangster in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    After Captain's Corner I met up with @Neaxan and her husband!
    We sat and talked for a while and I learned a great deal about their perspective of how Royal compares to the cruise lines they have sailed.  It's always interesting to talk with fellow cruisers and gain insight into other's thoughts and ideas. 
    I had intended to return to the Thermal Spa but the water slides were open and with little lines I just had to try them.  To my surprise they are actually still doing work on them such as painting feet to stand on at the top and a line to stay behind until it's your turn.  
    To be honest I can't remember Harmony's slides but these don't have any colored bands or lighting that enhances the experience.  Neither did the Abyss.  Just a dark slide into left, right, down, corkscrew and so on until you start to see daylight and the landing splash zone.   There are some sections of clear tubing but they slide past so fast you don't really have a chance to 'enjoy the view'.  I thought Harmony had colored bands in one slide that you zoom past.  Anyways, still really fun and I enjoyed all three slides.
  24. Like
    CruisinUngs reacted to twangster in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    Captain's recorded update #3
     
     
  25. Haha
    CruisinUngs reacted to rjac in Symphony OTS Live! - Transatlantic Oct. 28, 2018 "Coming to America"   
    Probably avoiding a pod of whales, Pirates or Russian submarine. 😲
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