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KJones

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  1. Like
    KJones reacted to MG728 in Nonrefundable deposit Question   
    Hi All, I'm updating my post- it took me days to get through to an agent. I had booked through Costco travel and called them first.  I never complained about the uber long wait or my multiple calls and just asked nicely. I was fully prepared to possibly pay $100 per person and a rate increase if necessary.He did not charge me any fees and changed my reservation, and to make it even sweeter, the price of my rooms had gone down! I hope anyone else in this situation has the same results.
  2. Like
    KJones reacted to ticoman in Royal Caribbean Booked 7 of us in two adjoining rooms that only fit 4 total   
    Thank you @FionaMG and @Neesa.  I have followed your advice and will report back.
  3. Like
    KJones got a reaction from Neesa in Royal Caribbean Booked 7 of us in two adjoining rooms that only fit 4 total   
    Unless you booked through a TA, I think you may have to keep calling RC to move your cabins closer together. This close to the cruise it may be difficult since I imagine there won't be many unoccupied rooms. I wish you luck!
  4. Like
    KJones reacted to CruisingNewb in Alaska (June 10 Sailing) Recap and Thoughts   
    Hi all!
    After having our flight home cancelled twice and spending two additional days in Seattle, we are back home.  Here is my report on the Alaskan cruise and the Ovation!
    Embarkation
    Our check in time was 11am and we showed up at 9:20 am to find at least 30 people in front of us.  After listening in on conversations, it was apparent that most of the people in front and back of us were not entirely prepared to check in.  Oh well, their loss.  Thanks to this Forum, we were prepared and when the gates opened, we were on the ship by 11:10 am.  Easy peezy.  MY SUGGESTION for easier boarding....just print everything and have them in order. Set Sail, vaccine records, covid test, just have physical documents ready.  Internet was intermittent and people trying to check in with screen shots were having trouble.
    FOOD!
    I start with food because that is our thing and the first thing we did other than making reservations was eating at the Windjammer!  Food was overall a 9 out of 10.  
    Windjammer - only ate there for one lunch and 5 breakfasts.  Breakfast could use some variation but food was hot, looked good, and filled our tummies with overall joy.
    Izumi's - ate lunch and dinner there.  Rolls were overwhelming.  Sashimi plate was excellent for cruise sushi!  Fried chicken appetizer was yummy. I though 2 times was enough for Izumi though.
    Wonderland - food was overall imaginative, fun, and tasty.  Some stand out dishes included desserts and the liquid lobster.  Would not go more than once per cruise, but would definitely go every cruise.
    Chops - Solid steakhouse.  Good wine selection.  Bone-in ribeye is outstanding.  Lobster bisque and mushroom soup were outstanding! Ate there twice.
    Jaime's Italian - OUR FAVORITE.  I am a classically trained chef turned lawyer.  Fresh made pasta was exactly what sold us here!  The sauces were tasty and in the correct proportion to pasta unlike Americanized Italian places.  Funny, Jaime's is British-Italian, but the food here tasted closer to what we have eaten in Italy than most places.  Stand out dishes included Pavlova dessert, ALL pastas, Meat plank, and burrata cheese!
    MDR - This is the only place where I experienced service issues but I will address those later.  Food was overall okay.  Above average.  Nothing stood out, nothing was bad.  Oh...order the Baked Alaska! Last time I had Baked Alaska and Cherries Jubilee was in 1984 LOL.
    Room Service - prompt, hot, edible.  
    Hot Dog Stand - good enough to satisfy cravings.
    Sorrentos - Not bad at all.
    Fish and Ships - fried to order and worth at least one trip.  By the way, I am not sure this works for all ships, but UDP worked here for fried lobster tails and premium items.
    Cafe Two70 - Nice change of breakfast pace and quiet place to enjoy breakfast, enjoy incredible views, and play some card games or board games with the kids after breakfast.
    La Patisserie - Not quite Starbucks, but got me going in the right direction every morning and every evening.
    Solarium Bistro - It was okay.  I was happy.
    DRINKS!
    Since I watched many bartenders open new bottles of liquor and paid attention to them making my drinks, I can say that the drinks were not watered down, but not exactly super strong, except for limoncello!!!  Wine selections were nice considering this was a cruise ship.  Cocktails were tasty.  We loved the Bahama Mama and anything with KRAKEN! 
    Service
    Guest services lines were a little long at times.  I am always up at 4am and go to sleep at 11:00 pm so this was not an issue for me.  The ONLY issue we had was that the pre-purchased Arcade credits were not properly applied to our kids' sea passes and there is no way to figure out arcade balances other than stopping by Guest Services or manual computations.
    Service at all specialty restaurants and bars was excellent.  MDR service wasn't bad.  It was slower than I would expect, but I am not one to eat in 45 minutes and run off.  A 90 minute full service meal is more than acceptable.
    Ship Condition
    Did I mention that the Princess Ruby ship in front of us was rust stained and looked dilapidated?  Ovation was immaculate!  Enough said.
    Activities and Entertainment
    Enjoyed all of the shows and trivia.  We did Flowrider, Ripcord, Bumper cars, Northstar....pretty much did everything.  I highly recommend Northstar at a port and not at sea.  We did it twice, once at port in Seattle and once at sea.  Nothing much to see at sea.  Ripcord by iFly was simply AMAZING.  Do it.  All ages.  Do it.
    Internet
    We had one surf and stream and one basic.  Get basic.  Either way, internet is slightly better than DSL from 2005.  
    Complaints
    A. Stupid people.
    B. Dumb people.
    C. Some public toilets did not flush automatically and were inconvenient when I forced my kids to poop outside the room in the public restrooms.
    D. Nothing to do from 4am to 6am.  
    E. Too much to do from 8am to 11pm.
    F. Either Pixels has two different versions, or I fell asleep at the first one.  My friends showed me pictures of the second showing and it looked quite different than ours.
    G. Make Solarium pools aged 25 plus please!  Too many teenagers and college kids.  It was gross.  Spent more time in the indoor pool with little kids and enjoyed it more.
    HIGHLIGHTS, KEY TAKEWAYS and TIPS
    1. Got to meet Chris Wong.  Nice guy.
    2. Stop gambling while you are ahead.  I made out with winnings of about $370 from penny slots.  Not bad.
    3. Take advantage of the trivia games in between activities and meals.  It is a waste of time to go back to your room for 30 minutes and come back out.
    4. If you get the Food packages, RESERVE AS SOON AS YOU BOARD!  We saw too many people complain about wait lists because no reservations.
    5. If you are unsure of the Deluxe Beverage Package....I drink one glass of wine or beer a month.  Period.  On the cruise, I had at least 4 cocktails, one beer, one glass of wine, and 3 specialty Americano or Lattes each day.  On top of that, I had one soda a day and took back 4 bottles of water to the room each day.  It is worth the money to get a package.
    6. Find the secret spots early.  The outside seating at Windjammer ALWAYS had seating, and we spent breakfast there while the ship's back was turned facing Dawes Glacier.  Trust me.  Also, Deck 5 next the the Art Gallery, but aways from the smoking section...chairs facing the ocean and unusually warmer than most places on the ship considering its outside seating.  Grab a glass of wine from the Wine bar and sit here to relax.  Quiet and peaceful.
    7. READ THIS ONE. Finding whales and other sea life....Watch the TV channel that tells you where you are and shows the ship's front camera.  While watching, you will often see streaks of water (wake) left behind by dolphins, orcas, or whale....then grab your binoculars and look outside, you will see them passing!  Great way to find sea life.
    8. BIGGEST TIP FOR ALASKA RIGHT NOW! DO NOT OVER PACK.  We each had one carry one rolling suit case and a back pack.  Wore suits and dresses on formal nights.  You do not need all of that clothing.  You simply do not.  Pay $35 to have underwear and T-shirts washed.  Its cheaper than checking in suitcases on the plane.  Plus, our flights home were cancelled twice and we were lugging around our luggage alot of that time.  Thank God we packed light.  You do not need all of that clothing.  
    HUGE THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND MATT for making this trip so amazing despite Covid, anxiety, the long wait, staffing shortages (which we experienced none), and despite raining the entire 13 days we were in Alaska or Seattle.  Thank you!
  5. Haha
    KJones reacted to OrlandoDad in Changing who sleeps in what stateroom   
    I thought I read somewhere it was something like within 3 cabins....but I am not at all sure about that.
    My kids will be two doors down....one cabin in between us.  First time I see whoever is staying between us, I will make it clear to them that if they are disturbed by my kids in any fashion whatsoever I would like to know, and my kids will wish security came and got to them first 😀
  6. Like
    KJones reacted to LinRon2 in Berlin 'Discovery' excursion from Warnemunde more than worthwhile for us [a highpoint of cruise]   
    We just finished our 10 day Baltic cruise on the Voyager OS [June 5 sailing from Copenhagen].  We had signed up for the Berlin "discovery" excursion but were very hesitant given the excursion entailed a 3.5 hour bus ride both ways.  I looked for any info on this board before we went, but didn't find much [that was recent].  So thought I'd provide a word here now [june 20, 2022].  Of course, Warnemunde is being given as one alternative on Baltic cruises instead of St. Petersburg [given the Ukrainian conflict etc] and Berlin is one excursion choice at that port. 
    Well, in a word, we had a great time.  The bus was modern, large, comfortable...and we had rest stops along the way.  It was quite interesting viewing all the alternative energy structures across the German countryside [wind turbines and solar panels].  The 3.5 hours went by quick both ways. 
    But the highlight of the trip was a professional guide that joined our group once in Berlin.  He was great and we visited all the major bucket list sights (Brandenburg Gate, Bundestag, checkpoint Charlie, remnants of the wall memorial, and other sights) where we exited the bus for short guided walking tours at every site.  Then, after seeing the sights, we were given 3 hours on our own.  We wandered the streets buying some german chocolate at a large department store [selling nothing but chocolate] and stopped at a cafe for brats and beer  We finished up perusing some requisite souvenir shops before getting back on the bus for the ride back to the Voyager OS. 
    Whatever doubts we had about the long bus ride, it turned out to be a high point of our cruise.  Berlin is a great city and so much history there, it would have been a shame to NOT have visited [even if just for the day].  Hope this helps anyone thinking about this excursion [actually there were several versions on a Berlin trip; but the trepidation is probably that long 3.5 hour bus ride like we were wary of].  For us, the ride was enjoyable and not the ordeal it might sound like when reading.  And the guide that was provided really made the trip ;more than worthwhile.    
  7. Like
    KJones reacted to RedCruiser in Excursions through RC or independent companies   
    Yeah we're heading on the last one of rotation so thought we might get it for cheap! Have to keep our eyes peeled, thanks for your reply 😁
  8. Love
    KJones got a reaction from RedCruiser in Excursions through RC or independent companies   
    We are also doing an Alaska cruise in September and the excursions are definitely more expensive than the Caribbean excursion pricing we've been accustomed to. However, I've also looked at independent tours for the same ports with similar activities and RC isn't that much more for most of them.
     
    The hours that the ship is scheduled to be in each port should be listed on the itinerary and your Cruise Planner calendar.
  9. Like
    KJones reacted to AspiringCruisePlanner in Royal Caribbean's/Bank Of America's Visa Reward Card?   
    Louder @smokeybandit!  Even if you only use the card for RC purchases, you're missing out.  Also, something to be aware of is the points expire after 5 years.  So if you plan on not cruising for a while or wait to save up, you could be loosing those points.
    The best card out there IMO for the occasional or active cruiser is the US Bank Altitude Connect Visa.  Earns 4x points on travel, including cruises.  4x at gas stations! 2x at grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services, 1x on other purchases.  Points never expire and can be redeemed for cash, merchandise, or travel.  No foreign transaction fee.  It does have a $95 annual fee, but it's waived for the first year and the $500 sign up bonus is very nice.  The annual $30 streaming credit knocks the effective annual fee to $65.  Not saying this is for everyone, but for an average consumer that travels even occasionally this card kicks butt.
  10. Haha
    KJones reacted to smokeybandit in Cruise was a gift   
    Are they hiring?
  11. Like
    KJones reacted to TXCruiser in RC is asking for additional payment on a lift and shift...   
    Ok, so the issue finally got resolved after 1 hr and 40 min with me waiting on hold most of the time while the Costco Travel agent was dealing with talking to RC.  They didn't really elaborate on what the issue was.  I was only told that it was taken care of and they sent me a new email showing that indeed the invoice was paid in full.  I'm definitely looking forward to the cruise that is really 2 years in the making if you consider the Spectrum sailing that didn't happen in summer '20.
     
    TXCruiser
  12. Like
    KJones got a reaction from Suite Snob in Gift card   
    @DixieSAre you talking about RC gift cards/ certificates, or the Visa/Discover branded gift cards that are more like debit cards?
  13. Like
    KJones got a reaction from MichelleB1234 in Help me decide between 2 St Thomas excursions   
    They also have a small boat to bring people ashore who didn't want to jump directly into the water.
  14. Like
    KJones reacted to Pooch in And now for the rest of the story…   
    Showing my age here, anyone else remember Paul Harvey?
    As you have all been so kind and supportive through the trials and tribulations of my brother’s attempt at his first cruise, wanted to fill you in on the final outcome.
    1. Royal refunded port taxes, fees, prepaid gratuities and DPB.
    2. AON insurance issued FCCs for 90% of the unrefunded cruise fare.  This was confusing because they issued 2 FCCs but he only received 1.  They are reissuing the 2nd.
    3. SWA returned the points used for the cancelled flights and gave them $650 in LUV anytime vouchers.
    So in the end he had to eat 10% of the cruise fare ($177 we had a very suite deal) and the cost of the insurance ($148).  We are now looking for another cruise to book. I will take one for the team and go too (the things I do for my brother😄😄).  I won’t ever be able to recreate the deal we had on Harmony but at least he got what I consider reasonable compensation for his ordeal.
    Thanks to all here, my RC family! 🥰
  15. Like
    KJones reacted to Shari in Price reduction on our next cruise   
    I just repriced and saved $1136 on our October Panama cruise do to a cabin price reduction not a new sale.  Check your cruise fares everybody.
  16. Like
    KJones reacted to Eddie Ireland in Cinque Terre   
    Thanks for this, my wife and I are taking our motorhome to Italy for 2 months in August, Cinque Terre is on our list. We are going to stop in La Spieza for a few days and do the full hike. It's nice to see the pictures and hear good feedback.
  17. Haha
    KJones reacted to wordell1 in Cinque Terre   
    Now you tell me....😀
  18. Thanks
    KJones got a reaction from wordell1 in Cinque Terre   
    I commend you guys for doing the Monterosso - Vernazza section of the trail. It's the most strenuous section by far!
  19. Like
    KJones reacted to Fred321 in Data Plans Off ship   
    Thanks for all the suggestions.  I am thinking about the Orange European Sim Card - I think its a decent price if it works, its says it 4g-5g speeds for $50 good for 14 days (averaging $3.57 a day VS most USA carriers I looked at are $10 a day and only 2g speeds) the current "special" allows up to 30GB data
    Has anyone used this sim card?
    *For those that asked, I currently use straightalk, they dont offer international.
  20. Like
    KJones reacted to USCG Teacher in VERY Surprising Royal Up acceptance! 😁   
    Here I am, 51 days out from my Oasis of the Seas cruise out of Bayonne, and low and behold I see those magical words in my email inbox: Your Stateroom Has Been Upgraded.  My minimum $700 bid moved me from a JS guarantee to a 1 Bedroom Aquatheater Suite!  I am beyond stunned, the timing, the acceptance, all of it!  So Suite Snob crew (this is in fact a term of endearment!), help a dad who's never stayed in anything bigger than a Promenade View room taking his kids on their 1st cruise with the lowdown: what do I do now?  Do I cancel my MDR reservations if we're going to do CK, or will the concierge do that?  I suddenly have so many questions that I hadn't even thought about!  Any advice/pointers/experience would be greatly appreciated!
  21. Wow
    KJones got a reaction from PPPJJ-GCVAB in Cinque Terre   
    I commend you guys for doing the Monterosso - Vernazza section of the trail. It's the most strenuous section by far!
  22. Like
    KJones reacted to FireFishII in Cruise Planner   
    I also agree with @HeWhoWaits.  I just looked at my credit card statement.  I had to laugh at how many refunds I had received from RCCL because of the things I had purchased and then canceled when I found a better deal.  My husband almost had a heartache when he saw how long the list was.  He thought those were all the items I had purchased, not realizing that some of the items were repeats. 
    My advise: keep an eye for those discounts but go ahead and purchase them when you see them.  You can always cancel and repurchase when the price goes down.
    WARNING: Don't go just by the % off.  Sometimes RCCL will increase the price but then offer the item at a bigger discount - which may be the same or more than the old price/discount.
  23. Like
    KJones got a reaction from Suite Snob in Less bookings   
    Depending on the company / policy, some insurers sometimes will let you transfer the policy to a different/ similar trip if you cancel the original trip before a certain period.
  24. Like
    KJones reacted to CruiseGus in Maya Chan Taxi Question   
    is this new?
    Or was it just a large(r) Van Taxi that they contract with when taking one of the bigger groups out in the mornings.  Then individual taxi drivers on the way back (I'm sure they have there regulars).  I know I've had my return ride fairly quickly with them, but when driving past some of the other beach resort out that way I have seen long lines waiting for their taxi's.
    Anyway i will give my THUMB's up to Maya Chen, as long as you go knowing the restroom facilities are typical non-resort Mexican and there may sea weed on the beaches (that applies to all beaches in that area, no exceptions).  Their service is just superb!  Repeat visit is always on the list for this resort.
  25. Like
    KJones got a reaction from Baked Alaska in Multiple 3Day dining package   
    You could also get the 3-night package, and see what discounts are offered on board
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