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Everything posted by BrianB

  1. I just went now and checked for my Dec 12 cruise on Anthem…. All 12 excursions are available for Puerto Rico. Except Zip Line and Accessible Tour are sold out.
  2. Ditto! The servers at the casual dining areas such as Cafe Promenade and other places deal with volume and are mostly counter people or bussing tables. The food you’re getting is mostly already paid for with your cruise fare so you’re not spending more for the meal or snack. However…for me…on Royal, there’s always one or more crew members there who go far above and beyond and really extend themselves. Their friendliness, cheerfulness and welcoming attitude is very much appreciated and I’ll give them a cash tip. It’s totally up to you…they’re not expecting it and are always pleasantly surprised by the gesture. Enjoy your cruise!
  3. So far for me sailing from Bayonne…..(things change from ship to ship and port to port)… Reservable shows will only allow you to reserve them once during your voyage as they want everyone to have an opportunity. Especially with seats and rows closed off for ‘physical distancing’. As a side note; the Anthem has just started opening up more seats. They removed the reserved covers from the second row seats in the lower level of the theater. As soon as you get to the port and connect with the internet on the ship, even prior to boarding, you can make reservations…if they open them up, that is. Sometimes they haven’t been available to reserve until early afternoon. Also, you can view the safety video while in the terminal…as long as you’re connected to the ship’s WiFi.
  4. Yep! There’s that constant balancing of feeding your addiction versus paying for it. Gotta do what ya gotta do!
  5. Maybe not a suite related comment…but regarding boarding issues….. There are always things that can delay boarding which may cause a back-up at the terminal. In October, I was on a back to back on the Oasis where we had to stand in a line in the customs/luggage hall for over an hour because US Public Health did a surprise inspection. They want the ship empty of passengers when they inspect. That caused a backlog in the terminal. Pre-pandemic, we’ve had boardings delayed because of surprise Coast Guard inspections. We watched as all the crew, wearing life jackets, had to man their evacuation stations. That took a few hours. I’ve also experienced a delayed boarding because a couple partied too hardy on the last night and wouldn’t wake up to answer their phone or their door. Eventually security had to go in and wake them…and then wait while they packed…before they could get a zero count. Thanks a lot. And of course there are the usual late arrival issues when the ship is delayed due to weather, current or emergency situations. Bottom line…I always pack a hefty dose of patience for boarding day.
  6. Priority boarding procedures are not the same at every port. At Port Liberty in Bayonne…the only suite priority since the re-start has been Star Class suites. Everyone else (except Key) got on a single line. Sometimes there were workers giving instructions, but mostly it was a bit chaotic and confusing. Other times, there was no line and we just walked right in to the terminal. For this trip I purchased the Key and was looking forward to finding the Key signage and immediately entering the terminal by 11:30am. This is part of the Key program to take advantage of the carry-on drop off perk and the Chops lunch which is served between noon and 1:30pm. When I arrived, there was no line so I just walked in and was aboard in less than 20 minutes.
  7. I’ve found that the best way for me to take advantage of lower Cruise Planner prices is to book the lower price first. Then…if I’m satisfied and all worked out well…I’ll cancel my first purchase. I learned (by reading other posters comments…thank you very much!) about cancelling something like a CocoCay Beach Club reservation to get a lower price…only to find that there are no more slots available…and the one cancelled has already been taken. Also, as mentioned above, all purchases have the total amount listed prior to finalizing the sale. I did notice some beach club listed prices were the final price…and some added tax to the listed price. Strange…but still a bargain so I booked them. Again, prior to cancelling the reservation that I had locked in earlier at a higher price.
  8. On the Anthem…the free room service and 25% dining discount no longer appears as a benefit. That’s too bad as I was depending on that instead of MyTime dining, which still starts at 6:45pm…too late for me. But Chops lunch is back in the MDR and it was delicious as usual. Also, the early Royal Theater access sounds good, but I have yet to see that in place. In fact, on all of my Oasis and Anthem cruises since the restart…there has been no early access to the theater for anyone; Key or suites…even though that’s listed as a perk for both. Anybody outside the theater when the doors open (usually 45 minutes early) are welcomed…as long as they have a reservation. The only priority service for the shows is that provided to Star guests by their Genies, which is the reserved seating.
  9. I agree the menu at 150 is meh………but I do like the Veal Medallions. I’ll go once just for that meal…as they are always done exactly as I ordered and are delicious. And of course the servers, or should I say the ‘culinary guides’ are excellent…as is the ambiance. Plus the cheesecake balls with Nutella are delicious. But I choose 150 only for that meal.
  10. I just checked CVS online…for central Jersey, also….still showing two weeks of appointments.
  11. There's no way to know how many actually sail until sail away. I usually wait until after dinner on day 1 to get the 'final count'.
  12. Oh, well…the 150% solo discount is much better than the Shareholder credit.
  13. Great post…lots of good information for those who travel with family groups. Especially being port-specific to Bayonne. Glad you guys had a great, fun cruise. Thanks for posting this!
  14. Lots of advantages to the ship’s excursions vs lots of nasty risks with non-ship excursions. I’m glad you’re pleasantly surprised rather than being very upset with an excursion-related issue. Hope your son heals quickly!
  15. I have used CVS multiple times. I book the rapid antigen test (not PCR…I click the antigen) exactly two weeks out from the date I want as they open the schedule for two weeks max. Sometimes I book it right after midnight when the date opens. I’m in central NJ and haven’t had a problem. Yet.Good luck!
  16. Final count for the Anthem Nov 28…2444. Nearly 400 less than last week…more than 200 less than Nov 14.
  17. I was on the Oasis when the Windjammer opened for dinner back in October. During Sept the low passenger count didn’t make sense to open it as most went to the MDRs. Reduced capacity was great as it felt like there was hardly anyone on the ship…but we missed the WJ.
  18. Seems like more windjammers are opening for dinner every week as passenger counts rise. Yes, it is nice to run in and grab a quick meal and get back to the party…and no, it’s not super lame!
  19. …add a pickup truck to that line and you’ll have a great country western hit! Seriously…I wish your husband, and your horse, full and complete recoveries. Many thanks for administering these forums.
  20. The major issue I see quickly approaching regarding cruising from Bayonne…is the procedure at the terminal. Pre-Covid…whatever time we arrived, we entered the terminal and went through security…then checked in. We then were directed to seats and waited for boarding to commence. Now, of course, due to physical distancing protocols, if anyone arrives before their specified arrival time…they will most likely be forced to remain outside until their time. Many are used to the pre-Covid procedure and don’t realize it has been changed so they just show up early. To be fair, the arrival time has never been enforced before and even receiving pre-cruise emails warning about sticking to your time apparently is not very effective. There are usually long lines of people waiting outside. The problem is NJ in winter is very cold, windy and wet. Forcing people to remain out in the cold with very little cover…in particular those who didn’t bring their own car…will be a problem. I’m hoping Royal is planning on doing something to prepare for this eventuality.
  21. I’ll do google flights and set notifications on price drops…but like the others, I book directly with the airline.
  22. Schedules, itineraries, protocols and just about everything else is subject to change as circumstances evolve. Now there is the new ‘Nu’ variant. Keep informed and up to date on Royal’s website as much as possible. Don’t wait for individual notification as you might miss it or be missed during distribution. Due diligence is key. It appears that for the foreseeable future, the one constant is…nothing is constant.
  23. After so much travel…including so many cruises…I’ve learned that anything can happen. Especially after reading stories on this forum and others. Although these incidents seem to be very few and far between, that doesn’t really matter when it happens to me. The best I can do is make sure I do my research and exercise due diligence regarding where I spend my money. The biggest takeaway from all the stories is the benefit of good travel insurance. That and paying attention to protocols, policies and changes regarding my trip. I don’t want to be surprised and have to struggle to get something done at the last moment. I’ve also found that for me, the investment in good, waterproof luggage is so important. I always do walk-off so I need strong, long lasting wheels. And I’ve seen many times where loaded luggage carts are sitting on the pier in a sudden downpour. But…all that planning doesn’t matter if the worst happens. Ergo…insurance!
  24. Maybe that’s the plan…but I’m still happy with the price. Plus, I know things are in flux and changes are going to happen as time goes on. We’ve seen expiration dates be extended on lots of things, or adjustments made…so, I’ll see. I think the room service and dining perks should be extended if they are going to continue with the 6:45 MyTime dining. Either way…I locked it in at a good price!
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