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MarvinS

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About MarvinS

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    Alaska

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  1. I'm IT Manager for an electric utility, and have been with this company for over 17 years. I am blessed to get 240 hours (30 days or 6 weeks) of annual leave (includes both vacation and/or sick days) per year. I can carry forward up to 720 hours (90 days) to the next year. I also get 12 paid holidays (11 federal + "Alaska Day"). I can generally schedule my time off and take it whenever I need (2-3 weeks isn't a big problem), as long as I coordinate with others in my department, so that we are not all gone at the same time! This last May/June, I took about 3.5 weeks of vacation/annual leave, and tagged on a week-long conference for work, so was out of the office just over one month. ...and yes, being in IT, I travel with my laptop and occasionally have to VPN back into the office to approve timesheets or deal with various questions or requests as they arise. While on a cruise, I do completely "unplug", put the cellphone in the safe, leave the computer turned off, and enjoy the cruise. My co-workers know I will NOT be available while I'm on the ship!!! I have great staff working for me that can handle any issues while I'm away! Next summer (June 2020), I will be taking 2.5 weeks of vacation as we will be doing a B2B cruise on Freedom out of San Juan, Puerto Rico to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I will then combine that travel and attend another week-long conference for work, so will be be out of the office for just over 3.5 weeks. When traveling from Alaska, I really to combine personal vacations with trips for work (attending conferences), as the company gets to pay for the majority of my airline travel as airfare to/from Alaska can get very expensive! I, then, just have to pay for the rest of the family to join me.
  2. We visited CocoCay in May while on Harmony. In my opinion, there were only really long lines for two specific water slides: The "tallest waterslide" ride, and the "slingshot" tube ride. The lines for all the other water rides were very acceptable (0-15 minutes). The "dueling demons" slide also had a slightly longer wait, but not bad at all. I would suggest doing those two rides very first thing, and enjoy the remainder of the water park.
  3. I was on Oasis two years ago with a group of 14. They arranged 4 rectangular tables, end-to-end, with 7 on each side. We had our own dedicated server and assistant for our table alone. It worked out very well. I also just got off of Harmony the end of May with a group of 11. Similar solution... They arranged three tables end-to-end, with 6 on each side. We also had a dedicated server and assistant. This also worked out very well, with no issues whatsoever. In both cases, I simply had the reservations all linked together for dining pre-cruise. I did visit the MDR shortly after boarding, and verified the table location and arrangement. We requested early seating for both cruises.
  4. While on Hamony last month, we did play mini-putt golf late at night. I don't ever recall seeing any hours posted. We just went on and played whenever we wanted. The only significant thing that would keep you from playing mini-putt is that the course is NOT lighted. When playing later in the evening, the only light is spilled over from the sports court or other areas on the back end of the ship. It made the course rather dark at times, and that alone would drive most people away from playing late at night.
  5. No, we didn't specifically seek them out. We just instructed the kids that any time they posed for a picture, they were asked for their cabin number, they gave them ours. This helped to get the photos directed to the correct portfolio. Even on Cococay, there were many photographers taking pictures, so got many of the kids' pictures as they came off the of the various water slides. During the formal night picture shots, we were easily able to get 8-10 pictures per "background" doing various poses and combinations (kids only; parents only; full family; etc), so they added up fairly quickly. They even took 4 shots of our embarkation photo in various poses (standing only; waving; etc).
  6. On my recent Harmony cruise, I purchased the "All digital Photos" package for $249 pre-cruise. I saw this also advertised "on sale" on the ship for $299, so purchasing it pre-cruise was definitely far cheaper. Had two other rooms (with minors) linked to our cabin, and got over 150 pictures. I reviewed our pictures at a kiosk on the ship a couple of times. I noticed we were missing pictures (our embarkation group photo, and some specific formal night pictures), and just spoke to a representative in the kiosk area. I gave the approximate date of time of both photo sets were we missing, and they had were able to add them to my portfolio by the next day. This worked out very easily. With the facial recognition, it most certainly isn't perfect. There was another family on board that must have had similar "digital signatures" to us, as there were about 25 or so pictures from them that I had removed from our portfolio. Again, it was easy removing them. Got a link about 3 days after the cruise, and was able to easily download all the pictures in one ZIP file. Overall, we were very happy with the digital photo package.
  7. Yes, I would make that assumption. The waivers used to be in the cruise planner, but I haven't seen them there in a long time...
  8. Just off Harmony. The waivers are now done exclusively on the TV screen & remote in your cabin. I was able to deal with not only my waivers, but also everyone in my party that had rooms linked together. It was relatively quite easy...it just took a bit of time pressing lots of arrow keys and an "OK" button several times on the remote.
  9. Just got off Harmony with its very stop in Roatan. We did the Tabyana Beach Excursion and thoroughly loved it. We brought our own snorkel equipment with us. I would say this was the very best snorkeling off of a beach I've EVER been on in the Caribbean so far (haven't been to the ABC islands yet; that's next summer's cruises!). Literally just a few yards wading off shore, there were fish swimming around you that could be seen even without a snorkel. Swimming off shore just a little ways (50+ yards) there were many reefs with many dozens of different fish all around. The farther you go out, the bigger the reefs, and the better the views of fish. If you wanted one special snorkeling experience, I would wholehearted suggest you give this excursion a try. It got in on a cruise planner sale for $49.99/person which included a BBQ lunch (available noon-1:30pm), and lemonade & sweet tea to drink (all day availability). You will take about a 30 minute ride on a bus to get there. I didn't see any nearby beaches close to the port that had any sandy areas to really call a beach. The best beach areas on Roatan definitely require transportation of some sort away from the port.
  10. +1 agree with this. Just got off Harmony, and had minor kids in two other staterooms (age 16 in one, and age 18 in another). Had to go to the "focus photo" area and talk to a rep about linking the other two rooms to mine. It was absolutely no issue at all, and got all of our photos for all of us mixed together on my room. I did have a small issue in that they use some sort of facial recognition technology to try and match you and your family members together. Of our 155 photos (yes, we took a lot!), there were a good 25 photos from other families not related or connected to us in any way that I had to individually remove and delete from my portfolio. It was very easy to do, and just took a few minutes, so was really no big deal.
  11. After discovering that iMessage was working flawlessly when connected to the guest wifi (without VOOM), I didn't even try the RCCL app for messaging... I know I got iMessages just fine with notifications.
  12. You can not wear flip-flops on the water slides. They make you take them off and hold them in your hands as you go down the water slide. Those that wore a tight fitting thin soled water shoe were allowed to keep them on. I wish I had known this before going to CocoCay, as I would have definitely got some thin water shoes to wear continuously. The paver brick paths you walk on are not bad, and the sand had small bits of sharp coral in it. I would have greatly appreciated having thin water shoes to walk all around Thrill waterpark.
  13. Well, actually it is only three weeks of vacation. The last two weeks are actually a couple of back to back conferences I am attending for work. We started off the vacation flying directly to the cruise (Orlando). The next two weeks, we are visiting and staying with family that lives in southern Georgia. The conference I will attend will be back in Orlando, followed by another one in St. Louis, Missouri. Then (finally), I head back home to Alaska...
  14. I wouldn't call any of the rides un-popular. They were all actively being used. There were 6 rides on the tall tower: the "Tallest waterside" ride at the top, next down were the two slides (facing each other) where you stand on the platform at a steep incline, and the bottom drops away and you go flying down. Next, working your way down was a green one at medium elevation, and at the lowest level were two slides (the tamest) with one open air, and the other fully enclosed (and a little darker, but definitely not black) until they opened up for exit at the bottom. The shortest lines were for the lower, tamer rides. The two vertical drop slides had extremely short lines, as they go so quick. The other group of slides were three different rides. The "slingslot" and other inner tube ride were at the very top. You used the same staircase all the way for all the rides. It was a little confusing as to which line was for which ride as they snaked down the stairs. The other ride on this shorter tower was the four racer slides where you are head first riding mats. This one started about two-thirds they way up this tower. The shortest lines were for the racers (< 5 minutes). My wife and I passed our son (standing in line for the slingshot) about 4 times as we made several trips down the racer slides, one right after the other. We also did the other tube ride (either single or two-person tubes), and this one was probably my favorite. Again, reasonable lines on this one of 5-10 minutes average. We were certainly able to go multiple times. Bottom line, the only two rides with extremely long wait times was the "tallest waterslide" and the "slingshot". Everything else was very reasonable and enjoyable.
  15. Yes, I've saved all of the cruise compasses! I'm still on my vacation travels this month, but when I get back home (first of July), I'll get them scanned and off to @Matt for posting.
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