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About karl_nj

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  1. For main dining room dinners, Royal still offers traditional early/late seating assignments, where you keep the same wait staff. NCL moved over to "freestyle dining" in 2001. Some people prefer the flexibility that NCL offers, others like the traditional cruise ship dining. Royal also offers My Time Dining, which is their version of NCL's "freestyle". When I'm traveling with my kids, I prefer to stick with the traditional dining, so I tend to avoid NCL for those trips.
  2. Yes, but the drink is somewhat unlikely to be $14 pre tip. Depending on the ship they tend to generally top off at $12 or $13. Some drinks are less. So that $14 drink is likely a $12 drink with 18% added making it $14.16. Or you are sailing in Europe and then they just charge you $14, and then they hide the tip in the price
  3. Doesn't the $49 price not include the 18% service fee? So it's really $57.82? $46 would be $54.28? So about 4 $12 drinks/day at the $49/day price, or 3.8 drinks if you snag $46?
  4. Sounds like the safest option. It's certainly possible that when you choose to pay at Final Payment, Air2Sea works differently then Princess/Cunard EZAir. I do agree that getting seat assignments is quite important when traveling with kids, so i'll keep this in mind for the future, in case I ever want to use Air2Sea again. It's also possible that these people lost their seats for other reasons, and whoever they spoke to at the call center didn't accurately describe what happened. People lose their seats when airlines change plane types, people run into ticketing issues even when they book directly with the airline, and there are often issues when one computer system talks to another system and doesn't accurately transfer every piece of data.
  5. That hasn't been my experience. There might have been another reason for not being able to reserve seats. Some of the European airlines don't offer reserved seats, even for long haul flights. This FAQ even says that you should be able to: http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Air2Sea/17054737_Air2sea_trade_flyer.pdf, and http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Air2Sea/18066051_Air2Sea_Pay_Later_FAQ.pdf although it's vague on "when". When I used Air2Sea for my Norway cruise, I actually had the opposite experience -- I was able to book seats in the Air2Sea system, even though I wasn't "supposed" to be able to reserve seats w/o paying an extra fee, as I was flying SAS. However, this was a few years ago, back when Air2Sea made you pay for the flight at booking, not with Final Cruise Payment. I've also used a similar service that Princess runs, EZAir, for Princess and Cunard. Much like Air2Sea now, you don't need to pay for the flight until Final Cruise Payment. I was able to reserve seats for my QM2 transatlantic flight back, but that was on Delta and they let you reserve seats, even before final payment. I forget if I was able to reserve seats when I used it for a Princess Alaska cruise. I vaguely recall being able to do it for one leg of the trip, but not the other, as I was flying two different airlines. You do get the airline confirmation number, so you should be able to login to the airline website directly, once the booking is made. If the seat selection made in Air2Sea doesn't get transmitted, another option would be to try to pick it on the airline website. You should confirm your flight in the other system after booking anyway. I ended up having to cancel the Princess Cruise (before final payment), so i'm very happy that I used EZAir for my booking. So that is another advantage. I do concede that I have not personally used Air2Sea since they changed the system to not require payment for the flight until Final Cruise Payment. TL;DR: My experience has been that not being able to book seats is more related to specific airline rules, and not using Air2Sea.
  6. I found a receipt for last summer on Adventure, Virgin Pina Colada was $4.50. The prices might have been a bit higher on Anthem last month.
  7. Didn't they also used to have a "Diamonds in December" promotion, where Diamond members could get 2x the points for December cruises or something like that? I haven't seen anything like that recently.
  8. Photos are handled by a different company, The Image Group, who handle this service for most of the cruise lines out there. So we can't blame Royal Caribbean's crummy software developers for this. The Image Group has their own terrible IT department.
  9. I live in Bergen county, not far from the GWB. Out of the 3 NYC area airports, JFK is the hardest to get to, but it's not as bad as you imagine. You won't be driving yourself anyway, so does it really matter? It just means that the car service or uber bill will be more expensive. JFK has many terminals, and they are all quite different. It's not like EWR that has one nice one (C) and two crummy ones (A and B). So I can't really answer your question on how "good" the terminal -- it really depends on the airline much more then other airports. I tend to use all 3 airports. I can actually get to LGA faster then EWR if I leave really early in the morning. Something to think about next time you need to fly Domestically. Make sure you look into booking the flight though the cruise line. I've gotten great prices for international flights, especially for one way flights. I used Royal Carribean's version to fly round trip to Denmark for a cruise to Norway, and Cunard's for a one way flight back after a QM2 transatlantic. I flew in a few days early for the Norway cruise, to explore Copenhagen, and stayed in London for a few days after the transatlantic.
  10. Those Castaway Cay cabana's are really nice though... my mother-in-law booked a suite on our last Disney cruise and rented the cabana for all of us to enjoy. It was certainly something. Not planning on checking out the new Disney ships when they come out? Since you are Platinum it seems like you already get many of the Concierge-class perks. Perhaps you could slum it in a regular balcony cabin for a 4 nighter 🙂 You also forgot to mention that Bayonne is way easier to get to compared to Manhattan, for us New Jersey-ites. 🙂 (and don't even get me started on the Brooklyn cruise terminal...) Have you thought about any of the more luxury cruise lines? Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea, etc? Or do you prefer the ship-within-a-ship concept, where you get luxury on a mega cruise ship?
  11. Yeah, sounds like royal gives you the best of all worlds. All the advantages of self carry off. But you don’t need to schelp all your bags off yourself. It works like it would if you ask bell services for help at a hotel. Nice! Enjoyed your posts for this trip. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. I don’t have any immediate plans to cruise in haven or star class anytime soon. Kids traveling with us + multiple cruises per year + saving for things like college necessitate other priorities, but it’s certainly fun to see what sorts of experiences are available.
  12. Agree about the bathrooms in those mini suites on breakaway (and similar ships). Especially the showers. Amazing showers. You forget you are on a ship. But the balcony is so tiny for most cabins. That was a bad design decision. I much prefer the direction Royal went in. It’s interesting that the same shipyard made Quantum class and Breakaway class. In some ways they are so different in regards to design decisions.
  13. Yup. We haven’t had any expiring money in the US like has happened in some other countries. It’s a big boost for the US economy to have people in foreign countries to hold dollars, so I think the government does their best to encourage that
  14. Very nice. How does Haven handle it? Not quite as well? Cape Liberty is much better these days compared to the Manhattan or Brooklyn cruise terminals. So it goes pretty smoothly even for the us peons sailing in steerage. Two weeks ago they didn’t even bother doing customs, since immigration was handled in Boston. I was finishing my coffee in the MDR at 730am and opening my front door at 828am. I was shocked. Everything was super smooth. My luggage number was called early, all my luggage was in one place in the terminal (4 bags!). They had people helping at the parking payment machines and at each exit gate. Was very impressive. But you never know when things can go wrong, so having that sort of service available can come in very handy...
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