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About KristiZ

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  • Birthday November 5

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  1. ^^^ This! Personally I would say your advantages far outweigh your disadvantages. I have cruised Alaska 3 times, twice with HAL and once with Royal. While I enjoyed the smaller ship (HAL) very much for this particular itinerary, I was NOT trying to entertain teens. And absolutely don't put it off. You never know what life will throw your way!
  2. Yes they do! Sometimes (rarely anymore I think) the DotD is in a souvenir cup, which means no discount. But you can ask for it without the cup no problem. All the bars will also advertise both items, or at least tell you about them if you ask.
  3. Be sure to keep an eye out for the 10-drink card. It's a great deal and can be shared. Hopefully it'll show up in the middle of your trip! Also, the Drink of the Day is a decent deal. If you're not too picky 🙂
  4. Thinking back, the $16 bottles might have been on Explorer a couple of years ago when they were trying to "clean out" their cellar in advance of a refresh. I remember they had one or two bottles that were "the last one on the ship". So I apologize if I got your hopes up, @ncnickel But hopefully you'll be able to find some interesting options, at least!
  5. Not dumb at all! I would recommend buying by the bottle in the dining room (once you've guzzled up your own, of course! 😉 ). That way you have far more choice than you would with the gift packages. They will store your bottle if you don't finish it and pour more for you the next night. Unless you want to take it with you back to your cabin. You can do that too. Bottle prices will run you $16ish to $more-than-you-can-ever-want, just like restaurants on land. As I recall, when we got gift bottles in the past they were marked, so no fees. Not sure how it's handled these days, but I'm sure there's some kind of plan. Someone else will likely know the answer!
  6. Yeah, they don't actually celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. It's pretty much an American deal. (The date is of a fairly minor victory over the French in 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war.) 🙂
  7. They can likely at least seat you at tables next to each other. To be honest, 2-3 tables might be preferable -- it's too hard to talk to people if you're all in a long line at one table! You could rotate each night so you get a chance to visit with everyone at least once. Just my opinion 🙂
  8. Personally, I ask the staff what they recommend -- sometimes the specific bartenders have a "specialty" or two. If you like sweeter stuff, go for things like Midori Collins or rum & coke. Also, the wine isn't that bad 😉
  9. So many variables can factor in, but here are a few: The ship itself might arrive at port earlier or later than planned -- things like weather, availability of a pilot, delayed departure of a prior ship, etc, etc -- so the arrival times noted are always just a plan, not a promise If the ship has to clear customs in the port, getting off the ship can be delayed (or not -- if the ship arrives early, that helps sometimes) The bigger the ship, the longer it takes, generally if they can use more than one door for disembarking, that speeds things along Tendering will always take longer than walking off. Especially since people with Royal-purchased excursions will have priority for spots on the tender (as will some others like Key or Pinnacle or Suite guests, usually). Plan an extra 20+ minutes at least if you have to tender. The Cruise Compass will often give you an estimated time for the tender process Returning to the ship, you "must" be there at least a few minutes prior to All Aboard. HOWEVER, because things happen, most people plan to be there 15-60 minutes prior depending on their personal stress tolerance 😉 I'm sure others will have more to say!
  10. Cons: Often a bit more expensive, sometimes crowded Pros: Super easy -- no searching out the meeting spot somewhere off ship, sometimes exclusive access (like to a museum that is closed to the general public that day)
  11. Hi! Welcome to the boards! I was on a similar route last March, and I know there are several others on the board who have done those islands. We took Royal excursions on our trip, but I think it would also have been easy to do your own thing in all those places. My favorite thing was the Advanced Snorkel on Mystery Island. One bit of advice, in case you're not Australian -- all those islands will take AUD for buying things, but very rarely will they take USD. Didn't occur to me until we were already on our way. Oops! 🙂
  12. When is your cruise? If it is soon, your cruise documents will tell you which terminal will be used. If you're farther out, you may need to do some sleuthing on the various port websites. Likely it will be the new international terminal, but it will depend on the other ship traffic on the specific day.
  13. Your paperwork/receipt from Air2Sea will show your actual airline confirmation number. Use that to access your reservation directly with the carrier and confirm you have seats (you probably do). Then use it again at 24 hours prior to actually check in and print your boarding passes.
  14. I have done some recent cruising around the region, including S Pacific last March. I find there are cruise planner discounts offered, often (but not always) around the same time as they come up in North America. As for drink package pricing -- right now seems to be one of those times Royal is doing an across-the-board increase in prices 😞 I'm not sure we will ever see $49USD per night again. I hope I'm wrong. The "new normal" should shake out in the next 3-4 weeks. There is often a sale the first week in September so watch for that!
  15. Yes, unfortunately the rule is pretty opaque and I think it has changed over time. Your nationality and country of residence definitely impact how it is handled. For example, in my case I flew in from South Korea and out to Japan and it was allowed. Your flight connection city can also impact this — if you make a connection on your way home it is easy to meet the transit requirement. To be honest the whole thing was stressful, not knowing for certain if it would work!
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