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Everything posted by 4ensic

  1. I'm a big fan of Solomon Jaye. As a beginning stage photographer, Solomon was the first performer to publish my photos of his act (singer, dancer, guitar player) and gave me a start.
  2. Thankfully, no. I pay the "RCI Tax" and book directly from Royal. Our group used to take some independent tours (and saved quite a bit of cash), but after a couple had a perfect storm of problems (Last stop before a T/A leg, coach had a severe oil leak that caused accidents on the main road on St. Maarten blocking its way back to port) the ship spent about 2 1/2 hours extra in port waiting for about 30 folks on that tour. Thankfully the couple booked through Royal. Now I guess if they'd have been OK if they'd have booked a different indie tour since the RCI tour held up the ship for everyone, but that's a pretty big gamble for a couple of dollars. A factor to consider is how far away the independent tour travels from the ship. Something close in would benefit more from an RCI tour further out being delayed more by traffic while a "Ring Road Tour of X Island" has more of a risk of being on the bad side of a traffic jam with a better chance for RCI coaches being closer in traffic.
  3. A couple of years back our waiter said that there are actually two Indian menus (meat and meatless) nightly on all ships. This was in response to the rise of middle class Indians cruising on Royal and requesting local dishes in the MDR.
  4. They'd chase the Jellicle Ball and bring it to their friend, not try to attend it.
  5. I fully expect the cruise from Tampa to Cozumel to be cancelled also, unfortunately. I wonder if they will have a non-revenue cruise just to reposition her for the Winter season. That would seem like a big missed opportunity at a time you'd expect Royal to try to maximize revenue. Oh well, their ship, their rules.
  6. Just notified yesterday morning this cruise was cancelled - but not the one afterward (Tampa - Cozumel). More to come on Monday.
  7. Hi BillyBob and welcome, If you prepay gratuities you are not expected to tip further, everyone including the behind-the-scenes staff are compensated by your payment. That said, if you give the bartenders a cash tip you may want to watch how strong they make the drinks. Some will pour you doubles or triples without asking if you tip them. You can certainly give extra tips to anyone who goes out of their way, but it isn't expected. Have a great time on your cruise, Brad
  8. It's too bad the Carnival Triumph was remembered for the geysers of feces. The same cruise also featured a total loss of power, so besides being stranded there was no power and therefore no cooking. For days.
  9. Off on a tangent here. The show with the most legs would be kind of a cool (and really inexpensive) choice for a small ship - The Fantasticks! (The only way there'd be a Can-Can is if they rewrote "Plant a Radish" to "Plant a 'Shroom".) 40 years continuous Off Broadway. And I'd bet some of the current performers were in a high school production. Stage build out: Raised diamond with two columns. That's all. The rights have to be inexpensive. Maybe RCI could negotiate with the rightsholders to have a CGI Jerry Orbach as El Gallo. Let's face it, an expensive set piece is the star of Flight, so RCI has relied on outside tech to impress an audience. Plus the show is guaranteed a 7 year run and including a virtual character that doesn't interact with the live cast is easier than trying to move around a ghost.
  10. There is a Broadway revival of Cole Porter's musical Can-Can http://cancanbroadway.com/, so maybe that signalled enough interest for RCI to purchase rights. Granted that's a bit of a stretch, more of a summer stock show than a current hit. It's so old I remember seeing it at the Muny in St. Louis when I was in grade school.
  11. Just picked this one up as a B2B with the T/A from Barcelona. It looks like a good way to add some extra 4X points (in a Jr. Suite) without paying for more airfare. See you onboard, Brad
  12. Agreed. After retirement I'm almost a hermit. On the cruise I talk to the theatre Production Manager, members of the RC Singers and Dancers, and every Headline act, giving my elevator pitch of free stills for their books or websites. Hector Ruiz (Hector Is Magic), Solomon Jaye, and ratpack singer Gary Williams are as friendly and outgoing in real life as they are in their acts. Hector's assistant even tried to set me up with her mother in Barcelona (we'll see how that goes). Without a couple of cameras, I'd never think about speaking to a performer or member of the production staff. The good and bad thing about a cruise is that almost nobody knows who you are.
  13. Really challenging to photograph. People skating quickly on a small patch of ice. Kind of like photographing squirrels who found a large Frappucino.
  14. From personal experience - I tore my ACL on the flight to friends' house the day before going to Barcelona for a T/A. They had crutches and an appointment at the Doc-in-the-box waiting for me. The cost of renting a manual wheelchair from one of the usual scooter rental companies for the cruise was about $175. There was a lot of walking in Barcelona and the crutches were tiring to use, so I bought a good wheelchair for about $250 and used it around the city and on the ship. United (and I'm sure all other carriers) flew the chair for free. To me, it was well worth the money spent. Note that if you plan ahead, there can be quite a bit of durable medical equipment at second hand stores for almost nothing. Or you can get a standard wheelchair on Amazon for about $110. The cab drivers in Barcelona were top notch. 5 of us were at a cab stand and a driver stopped, got out, and called the dispatcher for a van that could take all of us and the wheelchair. I've noticed that a lot of places have transport chairs (4 small wheels) for use instead of standard wheelchairs. They require a second person to push you. Best wishes on your cruise, Brad
  15. Interesting routing. Bypassing Malaga and Tenerife, but 3 stops at other Canary Island ports.
  16. Rhapsody T/A 11-30-21 Barcelona to Tampa.
  17. "Everybody you watch Got his brains in his crotch.... Ain't nobody got class?" Chicago!!
  18. Odyssey OTS 10-31-22 from Civitavecchia to Ft. Lauderdale. 13 instead of 14 days for the crossing, but still couple of stops in Spain.
  19. Just one - Rhapsody T/A 11-30-21. Lobbying singer Gary Williams the Rat Pack singer to appear on a small ship for a change. With 3 days in the Canary Islands, he won't even have to fly or spend an extended time onboard to perform (He lives on Teneriefe).
  20. I agree, a great place to meet new people is at dinner. People who share almost nothing in common at first, but turn out to be really interesting. I've eaten with: a professional landscape photographer, a blind photographer, a couple who owns a sheep station in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, a guy who'd owned a sporting goods store in Maine (and whose uncle ran United Artists and Orion Pictures), and a kindergarten teacher from Canada whom I'd marry if I was 30 years younger. Everybody has at least one or two good stories to tell or hobbies shared by someone at the table.
  21. Hi Julia, If you're looking for "good", the reserved Key seats are not bad, just behind the Front of House mixer boards (at least on the Independence of the Seas) and you don't have to wait in line for them. If you want the best, prepare to arrive about 45 minutes early and get about row 7-10, dead center. You'll be at eye level with the performers. If you know there will be audience interaction, the aisle seats from rows 2-5 or anywhere in the first row will give you a good chance to greet the performers. Row 1 isn't all that great. You're looking up the performers noses and they're looking straight out (into about row 8). The only reason I sit in the first row is that my camera gear would be next to someone's ear and I don't want to bother anyone sitting in front of me.
  22. Booking cruises reminds me of a quote from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail": “When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Son, the strongest castle in all of England.” – King of the Swamp Castle So now I'm trying the Rhapsody T/A from Barcelona to Tampa on November 30. Just hope this doesn't burn, fall over, and then sink into the swamp.
  23. Odyssey is ported in Haifa, Israel as of yesterday. Only citizens of Israel are allowed to book cruises on her for the time being.
  24. Well, the Med. cruises out of Civitavecchia didn't last long. So now friends and I are trying the Rhapsody out of Venice as B2B on June 19 and 26. Still not buying air tickets for a while, though.
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