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  1. As an Orlandoan who looked at the space center for years with side-eye and scorn, I recommend it highly. We went last fall with on a 6th grade field trip, and wow. As you are someone who is about my age and understands the shuttle era in the 80s, the entry fee is worth it just to walk around and stare at the shuttle Atlantis.
  2. Agree with Waaaaytooo here, on Brilliance the bartender seemed offended if we didn't let him top us off on the way out of the lounge... While a smaller ship, the Radiance class concierge lounge is pretty darn cool.
  3. We had a party of 7 in November. One person bought a pass, the other 6 divided the cabana cost. The shore excursion desk on the boat was adamant we could only have 6, but the cabana desk in the water park just marked down 6+1 on her tracking paper and away we went. Service was great and overall it was worthwhile.
  4. Chocolate martinis were my wife's nightcap on Brilliance this past February. Schooner bar took a lot of care in making a heck of a drink, and it was fully covered by the package.
  5. If you are interested in Cabanas, check again this week. We just had one near the wave pool for the Mariner cruise on 11/15. When I bought it it was a break even value ($50 park tickets for 6, $299 cabana), and the day was amazing. The cabana attendant was great, the location was good, and they even provided us room for a +1, extra water and cans of Coke when requested. I would have recommended the experience with an extra cost, let alone for break even. That brings us to today... and for a sailing next November on Mariner the water park passes are $80, and the cabana is $299. That's $180 free bucks along with the shade and service. Check your cruise planner!
  6. I was going to suggest to look into the port valet, then saw Matt's already got it covered above. For the difference in cost on our 5 day trip in February, the added convenience was well worth it. Our prior trips we parked in the garage across the street, and that walk over with the bags post cruise is such a bummer.
  7. We have done Chef's table 3 times, and it was worth it each time in varying circumstances. #1 - Booked online way in advance for an Anniversary dinner. $85 and wonderful. #2 - Our MDR server called over the Chef's table waiter on night 2 of a 3 night sailing. He needed to fill his table and offered the 7 of us dinner at 50% off. Absolutely worth it for $40. #3 - Recently on Anthem with the UDP they gave us a 35% credit, more or less applying the nightly amount we had paid for the package to the price of Chef's Table.
  8. We stayed at the Newark airport Doubletree for one night pre-departure. Our plane got in later (7:30) so we just needed the lodging and access to lobby dinner that night. It was a good rate and a good place, but it was not close to anything. If you want to explore a little then the other options probably make more sense. They have an airport shuttle, so the only Uber expense was to the port and it was about $22 with tip at 10:40 AM.
  9. Thanks for the photos sir, they along with the price point are just about sending me to the travel agent to book a sailing next Jan/Feb. As you noted in the intro, we can definitely get a lot more room on the Empress than some of the big boys for the price... My question to you is, as you walk around her is do you think it is "worth it" to go past the Junior Suite level for 2 adults? I know that is a personal decision, but without a suite lounge it may be silly to go for a slightly bigger room unless the on board service finds ways to make up the gap.
  10. I found the El Loco Fresh offerings on Navigator to be pretty similar to the new offerings in the restaurants on CocoCay. It was definitely worth skipping the WJ hassle.
  11. Just back from this one, Hugo was the cruise director and here were the themes: - 70's for night one, 11PM on the promenade - Formal-ish night on day 2 - 80's for night three, also on the promenade at about 11
  12. Agree with others, it is a typical RC show with some "smaller" costumes, but my 6 and 11 year old both enjoyed it. They use a lot of more recent music in the show, so they were more interested in it than something like Don't Stop the Rock... which they also sing every now and then. Good fun, worth seeing.
  13. There were about 5-6 water park cabanas available around the less intense water slide tower on Saturday. They face the "landing" pools for the mat and tube rides, and are behind 2-3 rows of lounge chairs.
  14. If you take 417 East from just south of Disney around to 528 East it will cost you about $5 in tolls, but should bypass almost all of the morning rush. It took us 55 minutes from mid-Orlando to the port on a Monday in March, and I think you'd find it about 1:15 - 1:20 going around the bypass.
  15. Sorry to have derailed the thread, and thank you all for the input . I'll have to roll the dice with the next loyalty ambassador we meet, since this last one seems to have been a champ.
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