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Everything posted by IRMO12HD

  1. Maybe check with Good Sam or an RV group? Even if it wasn't right by the cruise port, you could Uber to the port . . . Or an RV dealership?
  2. @WAAAYTOOO, have a great trip! Would you mind relating at which hotel you stayed in Newark?
  3. My granny used to say: honey, whiskey and lemon juice; adjust proportions as appropriate :-)
  4. Great pictures inside the Opera House! I love your perspective choices :-)
  5. And it's so functional, with its handy retention loop (unless they've changed from this one)
  6. My daughter and I stayed at a Rydges in Cairns -- what an awesome hotel! The concierge and desk folks were so friendly and helpful :-). Thanks for the pictures -- they brought back so many memories of our stay in Sydney. We, too, did the Bridge Climb.
  7. Barangaroo Reserve is a great place to walk -- with great views of the Sydney Bridge from the other side. Have a great time; I, too, will be avidly (and enviously) following :-)
  8. I was a "passenger" when my husband did the "flying." It was an hour, I think, and he accomplished four takeoffs/landings (I think he got a little extra time because the simulation 'hiccuped' once. I will say that it was super realistic, and the owner was fantastic! He actually met us at the cruise ship pier and we walked over -- it might be about a quarter mile or a little bit more; but an easy walk. If mobility is an issue, I'm sure it would be easy to get a cab there and back. Just to give you a hint as to how realistic it is -- while we were 'taxiing,' we had a close call with a building -- and I ducked!
  9. Good point, @DBeas0106! That personal touch/contact counts for so much. On our last cruise, it was a full ship charter (on the Brilliance), and the bartenders (and wait staff, and stewards) were all sporting Harley Davidson shirts by the second day of the cruise (it's one of our traditions to bring shirts for the crew) -- and they loved it!
  10. What beverage tips can you offer? Here's one that I learned on Brilliance in November/December: if you want a double shot of alcohol, but don't want to pay the extra $, ask for a "strong shot" -- it's like a 1-3/4 shot, but only counts as one. Honestly, I don't know if this is a universal thing, or peculiar to Brilliance -- but it worked!
  11. Another option is Segways! We have done this two times in Grand Cayman, and love it :-). They are guided rides, so you're in a group, but EXCELLENT pre-riding instruction (you have to complete a skills 'test'), and enough variety to make it interesting. You also get to ride the Segways on 7 Mile Beach, and have about 1-1/2 hours on the beach at a beach club.
  12. @Quilter620, I have been on two full ship charters (High Seas Rally 2017 and 2019 -- Brilliance of the Seas) and a partial charter (High Seas Rally 2013 - Freedom of the Seas). The following are my experiences: 1. C&A points were awarded as usual. On the 2019 HSR cruise, we had a Junior Suite, and received double points as expected (14 points for a 7-night cruise). I agree with Atlantix2000 that it would behoove you to confirm with the chartering organization to ensure that you'll receive standard C&A points. As far as the other C&A benefits, we just made Platinum with the completion of this cruise, but we did receive our Gold letters with attendant benefits/price reductions in our cabin on the first day. I don't believe that we had a Diamond+/Diamond Lounge on Brilliance -- it was used for other things. They did use C&A status for boarding purposes as well. 2. Activities. Our activities included both those associated with High Seas Rally, and some of the 'ordinary' Royal Caribbean activities. I'd be happy to scan/share the daily Cruise Compasses if you'd like to see them. Interesting note, though -- we had (perhaps) 3 children on this cruise, but as far as I know the children's areas (i.e., pool, Adventure Ocean) weren't open or staffed (I'm not 100% sure of this, though -- there are no hours listed in the Cruise Compass for the Kids' Pool, for example). 3. Dining. Everything was pretty much 'My Time Dining,' as far as I could tell. We queued up on Deck 5, and were seated pretty quickly. Most evenings we ate in groups of six or eight, and the staff preferred that we were all together before we were seated. We didn't elect any specialty dining, but it was available. We did do the Chef's Table, however -- it was awesome! Unfortunately for me, it coincided with our Pirate Biker Bingo, so I had to skip out of two courses in order to play my Bingo cards -- didn't win anything, but at least they saved me some of the wine from the courses I missed :-) 4. Due to the charity/fundraising nature of our cruise (it benefits kidney dialysis), there was no CruiseNext (or whatever it's called) 'office' or activity -- all other support activities were present and staffed (Shore Excursions, Guest Services, Internet, Spa, etc.) Hope this helps! Feel free to reply with any additional questions, and let me know if you want me to include the Cruise Compass dailies.
  13. Fantastic virtual tour! I'm really excited about cruising on Allure in November 2020 after her amplification. One question -- what is the futuristic looking white circle in the Solarium? I noticed water and jets -- is it a shower? Or just a water feature? I've not yet been on an Oasis class ship.
  14. Wheshewww! I know that's not a word, but it's what I'm feeling -- I definitely have a lot to learn about creating and completing a live blog! Got home at 1 a.m. Will update my not-so-live blog after a few hours of sleep -- with pictures! To bed now, though.
  15. Day2 - At Sea Sheesh! Am I ever going to catch up??!! It's really Day 4, so I'll give a quick review of Days 2 and 3, In my defense, I'm typing with my thumbs on my Samsung Tab A. Day 2- woke up at 8:11; remembered I had volunteered to sell raffle tickets from 9-11. No time for coffee, let alone breakfast so I hastened to my post in the Centrum. Sold about 180 raffle tickets (pretty good odds -- 1 in 200 chance of winning $2000 at $20/ticket (did i mention how generous bikers can be?). Brunch in the WJ, dinner in the MDR. Still waiting for crab cakes to appear on the menu. No dice but there was lobster (or mzy e crawfish on steroids). I tried to be good, and had one lobster tail and herb crusted salmon (really good!). Early shore excursion the next day so went to bed early. Day 3 Oooffff! 5:45 came way too Early! 0645 (that's military for 6:45 am) show up time in the Pacifica Theater for our Segway tour on Grand Cayman, It was great, just like last time, and we got to ride on the beach ( I didn't know the can go through (shallow) water, but they can! Walked around Georgetown looking for a new smaller SD card for my camera -- it's an older DSLR that doesn't like the 16GB card in it now -- but no dice, do I'm stuck with my phone (or this tablet) for now. Dinner in the Windjammer -- including some awesome Caribbean meat pies -- and then an early night.
  16. Day 1 - Embarkation (cont, Enjoyed a sailaway party zs we pulled out of Port Tampa with a beautiful sunset just beginning to show a hint of its colors. Ate in the MDR with friends, two of whom are HSR 'Virgins;' -- it's their first High Seas Rally, so they get to wear orange wristbands. Although it may sound like a stigma, it's really not -- it's kind of a license to make mistakes;-) We had the first HSR Giveaway show of the cruise. Remember that fundraising aspect? The first 50/50 drawing was worth $10,420.00!! Between that and the other raffles going on that first Day, over $16,000.00 was raised for dialysis -- in just ONE day!
  17. Wow, it's already Day 3! How to summarize? Day 1: Embarkation went smoothly, besides actually getting on the ship itself! We took the trolley (free!) From right outside the Marriott to Stop #7 -- Cumberland Ave -- right across the parking lot from Terminal 3. Aside from one grumpy Xray operator, Security was effective and pleasant. From Marriott to check in was about 30 minutes total (including the obligatory group photo before entering the terminal. Getting on the ship was a mess - not RCCL's fault -- lots of new cruisers, not a commanding voice on the PA system, and a lack of understanding of C&A boarding priorities. We made it though; grabbed table and chairs on the Pool Deck, and launched our drink packages. And yes, I had a Kummelweck! Cabins were ready at 1 (we boarded about 11) and we had our bags by 3 pm
  18. Eight hours until wheels leave the tarmac -- and my checklist is complete! Packed Got passport! Household tasks complete Uber scheduled Got cash * So all of these are pretty common checklist items (trust me, I didn't include the whole list -- I could be typing forever, and you'd fall asleep before you got through it!). The reason I put a star by the last one is because I don't usually carry much cash (much to my husband's chagrin), but for this cruise, I will! Remember those fundraising raffles? They start the minute we start the boarding process -- and I want to be ready! Here's a picture from the 2017 Pirate Bingo event; photo credit is to the HIGH SEAS RALLY'S T.V. CREW, and I found the picture at https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/cruises/2019/07/03/themed-cruises-wacky-time-at-sea-from-knitting-to-disco/1628552001/. Yup, I didn't know that we made USA Today! I wish I had one of the 50/50 raffles -- those wads of cash are too big for most hands to hold! Again, it's for a great cause -- and the interesting thing is, although the stories in the news focus on the parties and the <interesting> competitions during the Rally, the charitable functions are often overlooked. It's not just the money raised that should get attention -- it's the impact that the rally has on people's lives. This video from the 2013 High Seas Rally (on Freedom of the Seas, before the HSR moved to a full ship charter) shows that impact. You can see it at Time to go to bed!
  19. 🎶 Only Four More Days Until We Go On Brilliance!! Only Four Short Days 'til We Cruise!!! 🎶 Two days before we leave for Tampa -- well, make that 1 good night's sleep, 1 day, and then a very short night's sleep before we catch our O'dark 30 flight. I've been watching the weather reports pretty closely, but think we'll be all right getting from Eastern Washington to Western Washington, and then down to Western Florida . . . Had a bunch of stuff to get done around the house today, and so my suitcase is still sitting on the bed waiting to be filled. Another thing that needs to be filled . . . In looking at other Live Blogs, I realized that I haven't filled in too many details about our itinerary, so here goes! Sailing: November 30 – December 7, 2019, Brilliance of the Seas, 7 Night Western Caribbean cruise Sailing with: Me, my husband, and about 1780 of our new biker friends-to-be! Flying from: Pasco, Washington (yes, the state of Washington; 120 miles away from that city and university that Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t believe exists)! Pre-cruise hotel: Marriott Waterside in Tampa (with about 1,000 of our new biker friends-to-be) Itinerary: Day 1 – Tampa Day 2 – At Sea Day 3 – Georgetown, Grand Cayman Day 4 – Cozumel Day 5 – At Sea Day 6 - - Key West, Florida Day 7 – At Sea Day 8 -- Tampa Cabin: Junior Suite – our first one! Pre-purchases: We got a decent price on an internet package at $12/day and my husband and I will both have the Deluxe Beverage package. We loved the Segway excursion in Grand Cayman so are repeating it. In Cozumel, I’ll be exploring the Amazing River. In Key West, we’ll just kind of party with everyone else; plus, we will participate in a gigantic T-shirt swap! Oh, and I booked the Ship All-Access Tour for myself -- one of my cruise bucket list items, believe it or not! First departure from an "ordinary" cruise -- we'll be greeted in line by raffle ticket sales for both cruises and 50/50 drawings. These are the first examples of the fundraising that goes on during the High Seas Rally. It's not unusual for the the first 50/50 drawing to involve thousands (yes, $x000.00s) of dollars to the winner (and therefore a like # of thousands to the dialysis fund).
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