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About FionaMG

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  1. In the past they were part of Royal's sports staff. It's possible that in more recent years the responsibility could have been passed on to the company that runs the spa; I honestly don't know. But either way, for a cruise line that constantly emphasises the importance of guest safety, the current level of gym staffing leaves a lot to be desired.
  2. Good luck finding any staff to help unless you want something that you have to pay for, like a foot analysis. On my last three or four Royal cruises the gym staff have been conspicuous by their absence and/or their lack of interest. On Serenade a couple of years ago the instructor spent all her time hunched over her mobile phone (except when she was doing foot analyses). I never once saw her lift her eyes or walk around the gym to see if anyone needed any assistance. This was an 11-night cruise and I was in the gym every day! The gyms are an accident waiting to happen, especially since people are so inclined to "give it a go" just because it's included in their cruise fare, even if they wouldn't dream of setting foot in a gym at home. I have seen people in there on the treadmills in flip-flops and/or long floaty dresses and there is not a single instructor to be seen to warn them of the dangers. In the past Royal always instructors on hand in the gym but for some reason they seem to think the gym is a good place to save some money by cutting staff. MSC have them beaten hands-down in this respect. They make you sign a waiver, there is always an instructor present in the gym and they do chase people away who are not properly kitted out. On the plus side, the gyms are great, far superior to the ones you usually find in hotels at land-based resorts. As I understand it, they can be quite busy in the mornings. I usually go in the evenings, around 4.30/5.00 pm at which time they are usually quiet and you can get your workout done without having to wait around for the machines.
  3. I have been able to book excursions at 25% off prices previously advertised in the cruise planner (not on your sailing). Prices go up and down like a yoyo. However, since Royal practises creative maths, the trick is to book your excursions as soon as you see them at a price you're comfortable with. That way, you lock in your places at an acceptable price but can still cancel and rebook if you see it cheaper during a subsequent sale. Being somewhat obsessive in checking your cruise planner can definitely pay off.
  4. Oooh, yes, I would love to do that. That would make the perfect length of cruise to enjoy both the ship and the ports. I enjoyed following along. Thanks for sharing. ☺️
  5. If you have the Royal Caribbean app you can find the times on there. For example, for today on board Adventure: Sapphire Dining Room has: Breakfast: 7.30 am to 9.30 am; My Time Dining: 5.15 pm to 9 pm; Early Seating: 5.30 pm; Late Seating: 8.00 pm (no lunch time shown as the ship is in port) Windjammer has: Breakfast 7.00 am to 11.00 am; Lunch 11.30 am to 3.00 pm; Snacks 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm; Dinner 5.30 pm to 9.00 pm. Hope this helps.
  6. What about Virgin? Do they still do the Heathrow - Miami route?
  7. So if Explorer is still doing the 9-night ABC itinerary at that time, that would make an amazing B2B for anyone able to do it. (When is it my turn to win the lottery? πŸ˜‚)
  8. Oooh, that's a nice itinerary. I would love to do that one.
  9. I'm sure you'll have a great time. I myself would probably be fine on Rhapsody but hubby is easily bored and needs to be entertained so for him Rhapsody just doesn't cut it. Where did you see the announcement that Indy isn't coming to the UK next year? What are they bringing over instead? (I haven't looked that far ahead.)
  10. Absolutely! We were really keen to sail Anthem this year while she's over on this side of the pond but the prices were just stupidly high (which seems to be a general trend anyway for their sailings from the UK, regardless of ship). And when you factor in the European lines, particularly MSC and Costa, stepping up the quality of their service, with exciting new ships at comparably much more reasonable prices, it's easy to see that Royal are simply pricing themselves out of the European market. Not to mention the fact that they have some of their oldest, smallest ships doing some of the itineraries. I think they forget that while the ship may be less important to cruisers coming over from the US who understandably want to spend every possible minute visiting the ports of call, that is not necessarily the case for us here in Europe, since we can jump on a low-cost flight and spend several days in those cities for peanuts. We would really like to do the Greek Isles and/or Croatia but there's no way we're going to do it on a ship like Rhapsody, however much we like the Royal product. I really think Royal needs to rethink its strategy for Europe.
  11. The Ibis Sagrada Familia is a good choice if you're budget conscious. They have a decent, reasonably priced breakfast buffet and it's only a couple of minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia and the metro. The metro in Barcelona is very easy to use. You can get a shareable card that gives you ten journeys. Also, look up Runner Bean Tours. They are great and they offer a variety of walking and tapas tours. A couple of their walking tours are free. You just tip the guide at the end.
  12. I can't help thinking that as far as slow sales in Europe are concerned, it's less likely to be about Brexit and more likely to be about the astronomically high prices. We are doing the Caribbean again this year because it's actually cheaper for us to fly all the way across the pond and cruise there than it is to cruise in our own back yard.
  13. Why do they have to reposition empty? Is it something to do with that law about travel between US ports?
  14. MSC actually does precisely this in December, January and February with two alternating 7-night itineraries: Cozumel, Cuba, Belize and Honduras; and Cozumel, Cuba, Montego Bay and Caymen Islands. I can't help wondering if it's a deliberate ploy. But I guess it's not much help if you have to break the law to do it. 😞 Hope it all works out for all of you who have been looking forward to visiting Cuba.
  15. They will change them for you in the casino.
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