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  1. Yes, I have approached bartenders and asked to purchase the drink card? I was told they can't sell it before it's advertised and that even if they did it would not do me any good since again no bartender would honor it before it's advertised.
  2. I'm with you @WAAAYTOOO, I also want to make sure the people who most responsible for making my cruise so enjoyable get their tips. So I agree with you, I hand to them in person. I often wondered if they have to put these tips into the pool defeating my intentions.
  3. My wife and I visited Key West for a day last winter, although it was on a land vacation not a cruise. We toured both the Little White House and Hemingway's house. We enjoyed both tours but found the Little White House more interesting and organized than Hemingway's house. The Little White House is a guided tour with a maximum number of guests while Hemingway's house is either a guided tour or self-guided, your choice. We did the guided tour and the issue we had was the people who are self-guided wander in, out and through the guided tour. We often missed what the guide was saying and had some difficulty keeping up with him as he made his way around the house. Lastly, admission to Hemingway's house is cash only so be prepared before you go.
  4. I have flown into JFK internationally a number of times and have not had any issues. I live on long island, about 20 minutes from JFK, and on my last trip the time from gate to front door was just over an hour. It was also 5AM so there was zero traffic. On that trip I used Lyft, but normally I use a limo service which works equally well. JFK has 6 terminals and each one is different. If I researched it properly, Aer Lingus arrives at Terminal 5 and I have no experience with that terminal. I always land at terminal 4 (Delta) which is a very large terminal so there is a lot of walking and a large curbside pickup area. You need to arrange with your ride where you will be picked up, there are signs marked Passenger Area A-D, and whether the car will be on inside or outside road. When you come out of the terminal you have to cross the street to the island and pickups can happen on either side of the island although Uber and Lyft are always on the outside. I also highly recommend using the mobile passport app, it definitely saves time through customs. Truthfully, I think your biggest issue is not JFK but the car ride home. The Belt Parkway and Staten Island Expressway can be a nightmare. Accidents, construction and rubber necking can easily double the time it takes to get to NJ. If you have any choices on arrival times I would try and stay away from morning and evening rush hour.
  5. Following along. Can't wait to see your pictures. I have an Alaskan cruise booked for summer 2020. Thanks for taking the time from your vacation to share your experience.
  6. I always get 2 more envelopes, one for the waiter and one for the assistant waiter. I also make a point of giving to them at the end of our last meal with them. I've talked to others who have left the tips at guest services, but I always want to make sure I give it to them personally.
  7. Are you booked through a TA? ! would ask their opinion as I've read some posts where a TA was able to solve these issues. My experience was I had no luck with Royal as I had booked on my own.
  8. My lone experience with having a cruise cancelled was as follows: 1. Royal offers to price protect your cabin fare on SELECT cruises. These cruises were either on the same ship or a second ship sailing from the same port. These cruises were earlier and later in time than the cancelled cruise. What Royal didn't offer was protection pricing for the week the cruise was cancelled on any ship. In my case, that was the issue since I didn't have the freedom the move my cruise to a different sailing period, even one week earlier or later. 2. Royal offers you OBC on any re-booked cruise even if it's not price protected- in my case $200 3. Royal offered to cover up to $200 per guest for nonrefundable airline charges, if you re-booked. 4. Lastly Royal offers to fully refund your deposit if you don't re-book.
  9. Yes, as @tiny260 said, you can take towels off the ship. We usually get fresh towels the night before and have them in our cabin so we are ready to go the next morning. Royal almost always has a towel drop right when you get back on the ship so you don't have to carry them back to the pool deck.
  10. HI @2Beeze I am planning an Alaskan cruise from Seward to Vancouver for August 2020. We are thinking of spending a few days in Vancouver after the cruise so I am very interested in your opinion on the best things to do there.
  11. Never used Mobile passport at a port but I certainly recommend it for use at the airport. I used it for my wife and myself the last time we landed at JFK and sped through customs. I hope it is as useful at the port.
  12. I posted the following previously, but its worth posting it here again: There is some good information at this site that explains some of the differences in travel insurance and directs you to different companies depending upon your priorities. It's not a one stop site but I found it a good place to start. https://www.reviews.com/travel-insurance/
  13. For those that are curious, the following is the email I received the last time RC raised gratuities: As you prepare to set sail, we wanted to notify you of an update to our daily gratuity charges. As of January 2, 2018, Royal Caribbean will be increasing the automatic daily gratuity charge from $13.50 to $14.50 per guest, per day for regular staterooms and from $16.50 to $17.50 per guest, per day for suites. The daily gratuity is shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams. We’d like to extend the opportunity to pre-pay your gratuities before your sail date at the current rate. If you’d like to pay onboard, your gratuity charge applied will be at the new rate.
  14. This is a great tip which I had never considered. Thought I would highlight it since it is hidden deeper in this review from 2017 and not sure if others would read the entire review as I just did.
  15. MEI Travel is a sponsor of this blog. Many posts contain positive reviews of their agents. I recently started using Michelle Cunningham (@michelle) and can give a her a very positive recommendation. You can email her at michelle@mei-travel.com.
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