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Everything posted by Mike_

  1. Thar she blows! My wife and I have been wanting and waiting to go on Freedom for many years, but the heavens never quite aligned for us. Last week we were in San Juan leaving on an NCL cruise and as I took our traditional "first drink" photo, what photobombs me? Freedom! I have been chasing that elusive whale for many a voyage, and finally I have come in contact with her. I checked your "Events" page and saw that you had an upcoming cruise aboard her, so threw my harpoon and I am booking. See you soon! Mike_
  2. I noticed that the reviews were missing this week, which I assumed they removed to kill any "negative" reviews that were present. Hey, I'm a negative thinker. Instead I used cruisecritic and tripadvisor to zero in on good vs bad. Mike
  3. I leave the auto gratuities in place, because I think Royal has a better idea of how tips are distributed and who they should go to then I do. There is some percentage of how it's distributed that I saw on their tv channel. It's split with your steward and dining staff I think... and one other. I also tip my steward in cash, and my wait staff additionally on the last day/night of the cruise, not of these people provide extremely personal service to me, and it feels right to me. My first steward also told me he only gets paid for the rooms that are full... so if he has 12 rooms assign
  4. I don't have any problem washing my hands or using sanitizer. I wash my hand in the bathroom, I use the hand towel to open doors, I sanitize into a dining area, leaving a dining area, and sometimes when moving into a new location. It does not feel like an inconvenience to me at all, it's about keeping the ship and it's passengers as healthy as possible. If you think about it, in the buffet everyone is handling the same serving utensils. Wait staff are picking up glasses, cleaning dishes, bringing you drinks. It's general health and welfare. We all get shots and inoculations to ensur
  5. Oh my god, this song is sooooo stuck in my head still!
  6. ..and, any day on a cruise is a day not at work. ;) I'd take a cruise just about anywhere, from anywhere, anytime. I like them that much. :)
  7. I am not so sure of tipping either... at least my views are changing. On day one when we meet the attendant I introduce myself, ask for the extras I will need, such as extra pillows, ice in ice bucket, extra towels, etc. Then, when the cruise completes, I tip at the end. If he was great, and the room was exceptionally clean I will tip. I don't want to tip early because I don't want the attendant to think that's all they get, or that since they were tipped they can forget about me either. I have never had bad service, but I have had "great" service, and there is a difference. I c
  8. On NCL they gave seasick meds out for free at Guest Services. I called down, they asked some questions, and went and retrieved it. I also heard you can ask your cabin steward and they will leave it in the room. They ask questions about allergies, pregnancy, etc. On RCCL, I do not know if they give it out for free, but I can't imagine why they would be different. I do not use them, so I can't speak to their effectiveness.
  9. Elle, I have found personally that I do not beat the cruise ships on drink packages. The package for two can cost me $800 for two people, and I usually end up spending under $500 on a 7-8 day cruise, and that's with $1 tip for each drink. If the cruise is port intensive, more than 3 in a 7-8 day cruise, I loose. I end up on an excursion, walking around town, drinking some in town, etc. If your not on the ship you are not drinking for free; except in Labadee where your drink package is extended to the island. I prefer better beers or foreign types, and they are cheaper than domes
  10. Looks like fun! Free drinks? Did someone say free drinks? I think I heard free drinks. Who said free drinks?
  11. Well, I finally booked all the entertainment venues. I have not booked any excursions, but I am interested in doing something in Jamaica or Cozumel; not sure what yet. We decided to fly into Ft. Lauderdale two days early too, since it's a Sunday departure. So I plan on enjoying a few relaxing days before the party starts! Good luck to all, I am excited for vacation, and meeting everyone. Toot, toot! Mike_
  12. Okay, we're under 50 days until this group cruise and I am starting to get excited! The holidays are over, and I have not been on a ship in three months, and my palms are getting sweaty... Who is in on this cruise? What plans are you making? What excursions are interesting? Has anyone prebooked anything on the cruise yet, such as water theater show? I've never been to Jamaica or Haiti, so they are new ports to me. I was so excited, I booked another cruise in September. Ugh, this podcast/blog is supposed to be helping quench my addiction... I don't think it's helping.
  13. Matt, My initial feeling is that the smaller ships it feels like the center of the ships are where everything happens, and the elevators are located there. However, on these big ones the elevators are severely forward or aft, which always makes for a long walk. And, they appear less intimate. Just a feeling. Thanks, Mike_
  14. I feel like the Freedom of the Seas continually comes up in Podcast and comments as being a special ship... am I crazy or is it regarded as such? I am looking for future bookings and was thinking of giving this ship a try. Thanks, Mike_
  15. Matt, I am not sure I like these big ships yet, I will hold my judgement until we do Allure in February. My first two cruises were on smaller ships, Jewel and Vision, and I really like their sizes... I think. Very charming, lots to do, but the layout seems right to me. However, I have my eyes on that Freedom of the Seas... there are a lot of "love" comments on your Podcast about that one, I might have to give it a spin. :) Mike_
  16. And... the only way to limit those blues is the knowledge that you somehow talked your wife into booking another cruise while aboard. Crazy. I actually said to my wife the last day of our last cruise, "I think I am done with cruising for a while." The next day, I was already looking towards the next one. I am joining Cruisers Anonymous, this blog and podcasts are not helping.
  17. lol. I have started some strategies for eating less. First, I try to do sit-down breakfast if possible. e.g. MDR. Second, I try to eat only three meals a day, spaced 5 hours apart. Third, if I order two entres, because I can't decide, I only eat half of each. I know the above sounds crazy, but using it I have avoided that bloated feeling by day 5 when my pants stop fitting well. I wish I could eat Euorpean style. e.g. Coffee, scone. But I hate to miss a full meal :) Mike_
  18. Hello All, Just back from NCL Breakaway and the cruise turned out to be very good. Not to the level of RCCL, but still very nice. The stateroom may have been smaller, but I didn't notice. The balcony was smaller, but the showers were bigger than I was used to on RCCL. Instead of an enclosed circle, it was more rectangle; however the water leaked out the bottom of the door where a gap was( we had some heavy seas to Bermuda which I thought was really cool, but caused water to slosh around the bathroom sometimes). The food in the MDR was very good, as was the buffet. We ate a
  19. I was wondering if everyone goes through these ups and downs during a cruise. For example: Day one, I am tired from the travel and relieved that I made it to the boat. Day five or six, I feel so stuffed that I can't wait until I am off it. Day seven, at night, I keep drinking and wondering the ship remorseful that I have to leave her the next day. I was on a cruise out of Tampa last year on Vision of the Seas, and that ship partied from the life boat drill until we docked. That was an excellent cruise, no downs, only ups! Mike_
  20. I sense the casino is a thing... ;) Yes, I booked on the Breakaway. I have actually been to Bermuda before, twice. I was stationed there for two short tours while in the Navy. I was young and poor then and found it boring. I am older now, but still poor, so we'll see how this goes. I plan on doing all my eating and drinking on the ship. I want to rent a scooter for three days and spend each day on a different beach and just taking it easy. If I remember correctly, Bermuda rolls up the sidewalks at 5:00 PM, so not much to do there at night anyway. I am interested in what it will
  21. Stephanie, I am excited about being on one of the newer and bigger ships, I have only completed two cruises so far, Jewel out of San Juan, South Caribbean, and Vision out of Tampa, for a Western Caribbean. I always avoided Haiti, but Matt's reverence for Labade (sp?) piqued my interest, so I am now excited about going there too. Before I always chose cruises based on destination, now I am a little more attracted to the ships themselves. However, I did see a Southern Caribbean cruise that did Grenada, and some additional islands like Aruba, which I thought would be new an int
  22. Lol! Stephanie! Sorry I did not realize your secret identity. ;) Thank you very much, it was a pleasure and a breeze working with MEI today. They made everything super easy, answered all my questions, and provided great advice. Now the waiting begins :(.
  23. I'm in! I just received my confirmation from MEI. Thanks to AGSLC5 for reminding me of the tax promo! Now Winter 2016 is settled, thanks Matt.
  24. Matt, I am starting to pre-book my cruise for winter 2016 and I am very much interested in the group cruise. Can you tell me how many people went on the first one? I listened to the podcast, but don't remember any numbers. It doesn't matter per se, but the more the merrier! How do you handle dinner? Is everyone on their own or will we be grouped, etc.? I reached out to MEI and I thought the price was good for me, so I am 90% there. Good luck, Mike_ P.S. Was your wife jealous when you got back? Who gets left behind on the next one? :) http:/
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