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PurdueFlyer

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  1. Feb 2020 flew Atlanta-> Dubai for a 7-night Persian Gulf sailing on Jewel. that's a hike. Was originally booked on a 9-nighter Singapore to Hong Kong, so that would have been further to travel, but we cancelled it a few weeks prior to sailing as covid was starting to become a "thing" in mainland China and we got skittish. swapped to the Dubai sailing instead during the same time frame. I'm glad we did it though, as Royal has since pulled out of Dubai. we are becoming more interested in more exotic destinations which means longer sailings and / or further to get to the departure ports. it's a trade-off but the vacation bank is limited in America.
  2. Interestingly enough, I am having a hard time finding concrete pricing for a Hop on / Hop off ticket outside of booking it as a shore excursion. It appears its operated by Grayline, but I can't book on their website. I get this error: but ... there's nowhere to input the date! bizarre. I then went to viator.com which is a sub-set of Tripadvisor. lots of good information and reviews on the bus HERE , but again, the website says "this experience isn't bookable for now." Hmmm. Check the cruise planner today, as there is a Memorial Day sale going on. We are on the 6/14 sailing on Adventure. We wanted to go to Peggy's Cove and there were a few options to do that, one being a Peggy's Cove + Titanic Cemetery (Fairview Lawn) combo for $53 pp. There was also a Peggy's Cove + Hop on / Hop off bus combo for $69 pp. As you alluded, the HoHo includes a stop at Fairview Lawn which is on the outskirts. I was weighing the extra $16 per person for that shore excursion knowing we would have the balance of the day to use the HoHo as we pleased once back from Peggy's Cove, including to get to Fairview Lawn. However, we decided that we'll probably get enough commentary on the ride out to Peggy's Cove, and since the downtown sights are close together, we can do those on foot. We ended up booking the Peggy's Cove / Titanic Cemetery combo for $53 instead. I'll put the $16 we are saving towards booze, or Ubers from the Newark airport The current HoHo pass on the cruise planner is showing $40 which is 15% off the normal $49 price. That still seems steep to me, as Halifax isn't that big. But you do have unfettered use of it for the entire day. I'd wager you can get your own transport out to Fairview Lawn for less than $80 and do the downtown stuff on your own, but there's the kiddie factor too. sorry for the long post!
  3. its different now, you have to have have INTL travel scheduled, and you can only start calling to book your appointment 14 days before the date of travel. Once you are within the 14 day call-in window, they will assign you an appointment within 5 days business days of your trip. At the appointment they process everything and hand you the passport. Some people have appointments the day they are leaving for the INTL departing flight. its really a horrible process frankly, you can't book or even search for appointment availability online. You have to call the 800 number. Appointments are gone with in seconds of someone else cancelling it, so you have to call the 800 number multiple times a day. and of course most people don't live in the city where they can get an appointment.
  4. apologies for the bump ... we are sailing on 6/14 out of Cape Liberty. I am getting my passport renewed on 6/3 (walk-in appointment, so I'll have the new one in hand when I walk out of there). Should I wait until the new passport is in my possession to do online check in? Or can I input the old passport number and then override it later with the new one? I don't want to screw up the process. I can't remember if that field is editable once you've done it. I don't really care about check-in time since we'll be in Newark all morning at the hotel, so I'm not in a rush to check in online right now. Plus if I wait, maybe the RoyalUp will have gone through by then
  5. I second Long Beach, I've done the Westin there twice, and took a public bus to San Pedro for $1.25. Then walked 15 minutes to the port. Easy Peasy. The whole LAX arrival / ground transport process is a nightmare followed by a $60 uber ride. blah. You can technically do it on public transport from LAX, but its time-consuming and involves transfers. You can book a car service from LAX but its alot more expensive than the Uber. Be warned that Ubers aren't super prevalent in San Pedro in the mornings when the ship returns to port. Both times we had a little bit of a wait trying to catch one, so I'd befriend some other LAX-bound Uber-riders and maybe try and share one. And don't book a flight home too early from LAX.
  6. 2 weeks ago for me, they were still pretty steadfast about it.
  7. agree the "frictionless" checkin process is super easy and better now, since they are strictly adhering to the check-in times you select (it's a shame it took a global pandemic to make that transition lol). however, anytime you group people into "buckets" like CAS tiers, they are invariably going to compare what one gets versus another. maybe on the day of sailing, the app should allow you to move-up to a different time, but maybe only make those additional times visible to you depending on what CAS tier you are? kind of like an airplane seat map that might show that the exit row is open if you have Super-Tungsten status on Delta, but if you have no status, the row shows full. this creates the appearance of your CAS status giving you an added perk of flexibility while Royal can still maintain order at the port by deciding what times to release, and for whom. Also would drive more people to the app in general. I think there's a Royal IT wishlist thread somewhere on here
  8. I've successfully whacked 2 cruises now under the "I dont like the protocols" guise and both times got a full refund, in cash, no questions asked. first one was a Barbados sailing that was paid in full long ago. we would have had to book shore excursions at all ports via Royal Caribbean if we wanted to get off the ship. hard pass. my travel agent balked and I said "just call them, please." ten minutes later it was refunded. second one was for a Freedom sailing in Feb with my S/O right before final payment was due. Said we weren't comfortable with the new mask requirements (despite the fact I'm on Navigator as I type this) and we'd rather just go somewhere else later this year once things get a little more normal-ish. again, no questions asked. I'd call Royal and just explain the new requirements are fine for your cabin's occupants, but not for the other cabins'. at least for me, there wasn't any pushback. trying to reprice things for "solo" travelers gets a little weird and is probably a rabbit hole you don't want to go down.
  9. I have stayed in downtown Long Beach twice now (on Navigator as I type this). There is a Westin, Renaissance & Courtyard all basically around the corner from each other. I'm a Marriott guy but there are others also. downtown Long Beach has its problems like any other city, but it's a block from the beach where you can walk or bike on the paved path all the way down to Belmont Pier & beyond. plenty of places to eat and get libations. the residential areas in Belmont Shores are lovely and sprinkled with mom-and-pop accommodations if you don't want to stay downtown. You can't beat the ease of getting in and out of the Long Beach Airport compared to LAX, but its only served by a few airlines, the largest being Southwest. There's also Delta to SLC and American to PHX/DFW. I think Hawaiian flies there now also. full disclosure: I despise Uber, and I'm kind of a public transport nerd, so this might not be for everyone, but- There's a public bus operated by Long Beach Transit (LBT) from LGB Airport to downtown that cost $1.25. the Uber was $39. The next day I took another bus from downtown to San Pedro (drops off by the Crowne Plaza) and it's about a half mile walk to the pier. again, $1.25. @bazingau, after the last cruise, we flew back home from LAX, and the Uber from the Port to LAX airport was $65 and that was in light traffic.
  10. agree 100%. it took so long to get there, but when I finally got to taste that forbidden fruit, I realized that most of the time, the lounge is only good for sitting around and looking at other diamonds. it's nice having the concierge there for questions, but depending on the sailing the lounge is usually packed during the nightly event so running in and grabbing your hors d'oeuvre and drink loses appeal if you can't find a seat. if the drink is free anyways you might as well get it anywhere. likewise, the priority check-in is nearly worthless now. I havent seen a diamond-dedicated check in line at Miami, Tampa or Los Angeles since I re-started cruising in September. there's usually a separate line for "Pinnacle / Suites" and that's it. but even this seems moot with the adherence to strict check-in times at the pier. I check in on the app and am always shepherded right along in the process until I'm onboard. so it's quick, but doesn't feel very "elite." personally I enjoy the balcony discount if you like to book direct, but its really about the free drinks for me.
  11. apparently 775(ish) guests aboard per the concierge. seems pretty quiet here. the weekend 3-nighter had around 1400.
  12. Well, I didn't "take myself to Chops or something" but I did learn something else. You can use OBC to add extra gratuity for staff on the ship, instead of using the little envelopes they give you and putting cash in them. I asked at guest services if this was possible, and she said yes. You have to fill out a little piece of paper with the crew member's name and work position and write in the amount that you want to tip them. So I frittered away an extra $60 of OBC ($20 each for attendant / head waiter / assistant waiter) instead of my own cash. Something to keep in mind if you practice additional tipping at the end of the cruise anyways and have remaining OBC that you can't figure out how to spend.
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