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  1. Like
    SLJ reacted to StayFrosty in Annnd we're back...while we were gone...Royal update their cancel policy   
    I would argue that they are doing this for public relations reasons.  If they thought it was a major concern they would just cancel the sailings like they did in China but they are not. Now it could reach that point but we are not there yet.
  2. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to SpeedNoodles in Symphony of the Seas - an island is an island is an island? (Feb 22 - 29, 2020)   
    Final thoughts and things I learned:
    Mr. SpeedNoodles has declared Symphony of the Seas as his favorite ship, and wants to book more Oasis-class cruises.  We don't have one booked until Allure in Jan 2022 and I don't know where we'll fit one in between now and then.  But I've been informed.  Also he wants an AquaTheatre suite.  So if anyone runs across a fantastic deal, please clue me in. While we were able to do a lot on the ship, there was so much more that we weren't able to do.  We never even stepped into Jazz on 4 or The Attic. I had reservations for the comedy shows, but something always interfered. There's just SO much to do! We made it to a hot tub once - we really never got to spend any time on the pool deck.   As usual with me, no matter what I was doing I felt like I was missing out on something else. The staff was exceptional.  There wasn't one place on the ship where we didn't encounter helpful, friendly crew members.  If we dined in a specialty restaurant once, and ran into our waiter somewhere else a day or two later somewhere else on the ship, they remembered our names (WHAT WITCHERY IS THIS?????). I figured out a handy packing tip on this trip.  While I use packing cubes, and typically try to pack things together so they are easy to unpack on the ship (like items together that will be placed into the same drawer or closet), when I packed to come home I packed things in the cubes that would be washed together.  All I had to do was open up cubes that contained things washed together and dump them in the wash instead of sorting them at home.  It really didn't take much extra time at all but made laundry much easier. 30 SPF sunscreen doesn't do a damn thing to protect skin that hasn't seen the sun for 5 years. We got really good at using Lyft.  From the time we left the house to the time we returned home we used Lyft 11 times. I learned at the Quest that I cannot twerk, but the 70+ year old woman in front of me could. I saw my very first Booby.  As in Brown Booby - the bird.  A flock of them followed alongside the ship as we left St. Maarten, constantly diving after fish that must have been disturbed in our wake.  I took photos.  Not a Booby can be seen in any of them. You'll simply have to take my word. #birdlifelist We're pretty bummed that we have to wait until October for our next cruise!!! (But it's going to be a SUPER FUN cruise!) 
    Thanks for following along. (Now I need to go catch up on all of YOUR blogs that I've fallen behind on!)

  3. Like
    SLJ reacted to SpeedNoodles in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    As a first responder I'm dealing with life and death, life-altering issues all shift long. I'm putting this into the perspective that I feel it warrants. 
  4. Like
    SLJ reacted to SpeedNoodles in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    I agree. And it happens due to overreaction as opposed to actual threat. 
  5. Haha
    SLJ reacted to SpeedNoodles in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    Someone coughed on my Symphony Cruise.  Luckily they still let us dock at St. Maarten and Puerto Rico.  
  6. Like
    SLJ reacted to SteveinSC in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    I hope people cancel so my Royal Up bid gets accepted..... FACT
    I hope people cancel so theres less of a line at the Windjammer..... FACT
    Im going to enjoy my cruise..... FACT 
  7. Haha
    SLJ reacted to BB1 in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    It's strange how everyone's "facts" are so different. 
  8. Like
    SLJ reacted to Vancity Cruiser in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    The mortality rate of people who die from the Corona virus is less than 1%. And that is if you have pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, or diabetes. It is less than .5% if no pre-existing condition.
    Painting a picture of an apocalyptic scene of people dying all over the ship is a little far fetched.
    Even for those that are unfortunate enough to catch it, symptons are coughing, sneezing, and fever. Sounds kinda like the flu millions of people get every year.
    The deaths are from folks over the age of 80. These same folks would succumb to the "common" flu as well. Unfortunate but nothing to panic over.
  9. Like
    SLJ reacted to twangster in Another Cruise Ship Denied Entry to Port   
    No one died on any ship.  That's hyperbole. 
    To date 4 passengers who were once on DP succumbed after they left the ship.  No one watched them die on the ship as you state.  Did people die in their homes in China in the early days of this?  Yes.  All terribly unfortunate watching loved one die in their homes in China for those families but you are creating ship news that never happened.  
  10. Like
    SLJ reacted to Jzx1103 in New Health Screening   
    Yea you're not racist, you're just prone to fear and hysteria. Asian people who's not been to Asia recently are no more dangerous than any white or blacks that hasn't been to Asia recently. Royal is already banning anyone whose been to Asia recently. Which is enough!!! Btw if you're that fearful, you should just cancel your cruise instead of having those that really want to go be punished just because of their ethnicity. Better safe than sorry right?
  11. Sad
    SLJ reacted to Mickey in New Health Screening   
    So wrong the ban was lifted.  RCCL is worried about a discrimination lawsuit.  Shouldn’t they be more concerned about an outbreak on the ship?  Better safe than sorry.  I’m not a racist by any means, but will shun Asians until the outbreak is over.
  12. Like
    SLJ reacted to SteveinSC in Voyager denied entry to Vanautu   
    Twice, now, @monctonguy has referenced/quoted me, so I feel the need to say SOMETHING. I stand by everything I have said. Im not worried about this virus. Im going to go on about my life as I always have.... I control what I can, and worry about nothing I cant control. Hell, I barely worry about things I CAN control. Worrying doesnt solve problems...it creates them. 
    Saying people should be more concerned about things they are more likely to die from isnt trivializing corona virus.  I 100% believe people should be MORE concerned with other aspects of their health and everyday life than corona virus. Until the likelihood, the numbers of deaths, illnesses and avoidable accidents from the things society is blatantly "flippant" about come close to comparing....that belief wont change.   
    Would my level of concern be different if the epicenter was in the US? Well hell yes it would, just like i care more about a bowling ball over my head than one on the ground....but my opinion and ideas about this are based in fact, not hypothetical, and definitely not in speculation. 
    ....with that, Im done talking about it. Bowing out.....Happy cruising. 
  13. Like
    SLJ reacted to Matt in Voyager denied entry to Vanautu   
    Your statement is a microcosm of what you're essentially rallying against. Crew members have the flu. Not coronavirus. Yet, the port officials denied Voyager for absolutely no reason other than hysteria that MAYBE on the slimmest of chances coronavirus COULD be there (but it's not).
    If there was coronavirus, totally different situation.  But the sensationalism around the virus that the media is peddling has caused a benign situation to turn into a missed port of call. If this were 1 month ago, this would not have occurred at all.
  14. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to TXcruzer in What's check-in & health screening like in Port of Miami???   
    Cruised Oasis February 9,  19 minutes from sidewalk to Terrace Bar 
  15. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to Matt in What's check-in & health screening like in Port of Miami???   
    It's just a couple of extra questions.  Nothing like an actual physical or anything.
    So unless you answered yes to being in China or having contact with someone that has, it should be a negligible about of extra time.
  16. Sad
    SLJ reacted to Jzx1103 in Coronavirus and cruise from Shanghai   
    Great, so my father in law whose prone to mass hysteria called me this morning asking me to cancel my back2back cruise in March on the Brilliance and Harmony due to Coronavirus scare (two sailings which has nothing to do with China). My in laws were supposed to join us on the Brilliance on 3/2, and then we would go with friends on the Harmony on 3/8. He already said they're not gonna go and insist my family cancel too, actually went as far as to calling me out saying I'm not a responsible father to my kids if I still insist on going. I tried to calm his hysteria and said it's still too early to make that kind of rash decisions. If things get worse,  Royal will cancel themselves. I hate traveling with my in laws sometimes,  this wasn't the first mass hysteria drama we had to deal with with them.
  17. Like
    SLJ reacted to SpeedNoodles in Coronavirus and cruise from Shanghai   
    Welcome to the forum!
    300,000 people die of influenza every year and nobody bats an eyelash.  I'm keeping this all in perspective.
  18. Like
    SLJ reacted to JennyJenny in WAPO: The Demise of Formal Nights on Cruises: How dress codes are tearing passengers apart   
    As one of the Board of Directors for our local Junior League of Cotillions, I often am in situations or environments where everyone dresses like this (or fancier). We do it all. The white gloves including. We hold 2-3 Balls a year complete with orchestras and dancing. When I attend the evening events at my ballroom dance school, it is not unusual to see many ladies in full gown or gentlemen in tuxedos.... alongside younger "kids" in jeans and TOMs. Or the lady that always wears the most fantastic "cha cha" pants with ruffles from her ankles to her cooter!
    I have a lovely wardrobe of gowns and dresses. We recently held a full Victorian Ball and every lady in attendance had a hoop skirt on!
    I truly love taking a moment out of my day and spending time on myself to dress up. To do my hair. To put on a gown or dress that makes ME feel like a princess. It makes ME happy. I could prance off to Home Depot for light bulbs or meet friends at a dive diner for a chili dog (I have actually done this in a gown, long story) and at the end of the day, I have never once felt out of place or uncomfortable. When I dress up, it is about me and me alone. It's not for anyone else. Just me. 
    When I sail in April, I have not one but TWO gowns because I understand there will be two formal nights. I will also bring two dresses probably for 70s/White nights if they have them. When I board, I have a lovely dress and.... prepare to gasp... A HAT!
    And not a ball cap, an actual HAT!
    It's not as over the top as this one but I'd say it's "in the spirit of".

    I plan to swan about and dress for dinner and be presentable for breakfast or coffee in the morning because that makes ME happy.
    For all those who prefer to wear their pajamas to get coffee or shorts and a backwards ball cap in the Main Dining room?
    You are always welcome to sit with me, next to me, or in my immediate field of vision. How you choose to dress does not affect ME (unless you are in full fetish gear and have that mask with the zipper on.... those kind of freak me out a little so I might politely excuse myself but really that's about the only time it might bother me a little but that's on me, not you so if I am uncomfortable, it's my responsibility to attend to removing myself POLITELY and GRACEFULLY from the situation, not yours for being there).
    I have met some of the rudest nastiest people in the world who are wearing a tuxedo or gown. I have also met some of the most fabulously delightful warm wonderful people in the world who are dressed rather sparse or "sloppy". What a person chooses to pull out of their closet and drape on their body doesn't make them a good or kind or pleasant person. That only comes from the heart. And if you have a good heart then I could give a fig what you are wearing. If you are a mean spirited, ill tempered, nasty person than the most gorgeous most expensive designer gown won't fix that black void where your heart should be.
    My two cents since everyone is tossing there's about! 🙂
    (121 days to go!)
  19. Like
    SLJ reacted to ChessE4 in WAPO: The Demise of Formal Nights on Cruises: How dress codes are tearing passengers apart   
    I agree with you to a point, but one of the supposed benefits of taking a cruise is that you can have a nice romantic dinner and evening of entertainment with appropriate attire and atmosphere.  That is why different venues on the ship, are well, different.  If folks would stick to the plan, more people could enjoy their time (in every venue) without excessive compromise.  The idea is to think of others.  I wouldn't dream of going to a fancy restaurant where engagements and anniversaries are celebrated on formal night without contributing in a positive way to the atmosphere planned for that venue.  Everyone wins and enjoys!  In contrast, if I enter such a venue with "too casual attire", I am pulling down the other patrons to some degree, e.g., I am being insensitive to them by spoiling the ambience.  So I vote for trying to be sensitive rather than self-centered.  There are plenty of venues on the ship when I am in a "casual mood" on a formal night.  This is not just an issue about attire, it is also about behavior.  We all know that well-dressed, loud or drunken guests are not very helpful to the rest of the passengers.
    Those of us who comment about attire on this site aren't being snobbish, we are just trying to point out that whatever the protocol is for a venue, it serves a purpose when it is followed and it may cause issues when it isn't.   As for changing the protocols or views on etiquette, that is always fair game under appropriate circumstances and has led to cultural changes over the years, but it can be accomplished with sensitivity.
    I hope everyone enjoys their cruises.
  20. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to USCG Teacher in Dune Buggy/Jeep Snorkel Tour in Cozumel   
    We did the jeep tour in Cozumel a NUMBER of years ago on the Enchantment, and we booked straight through RCCL.  We had an absolute blast the whole day, and the lunch on the beach was great, too.  I would say that it was definitely a top 5 trip for my wife and I.  As is the case with most of these tours, the guides themselves make or break the experience; a great guide can make a mediocre experience memorable, and a bad guide can make a great trip kind of "meh," but most of the groups that work directly with the cruise lines themselves are pretty good.  We didn't have kids at the time, so I can't comment on the car seat situation.  Sorry.  😞 
  21. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to MaryS in Dune Buggy/Jeep Snorkel Tour in Cozumel   
    My Sister & I went on the Dune Buggy tour in 2017.  We loved it.  The dune buggies carry 4 people and they do make you share if you only have 2 people.  They are stick shift.  You do drive through town then on the main road out of town (not crowded at all) to the other side of the island.  The other side of the island is gorgeous.  They stop for about 45 min. at a beach then back on the road.  There is another beach stop back towards town for a longer period and you can snorkel, swim and get something to eat.  On this tour they have one guide in his buggy/jeep at the front all the buggies one by one then the 2nd guide bring up the rear.  
    Not sure about the child seats.
    We booked through RCCL because things can happen.  We did a similar excursion with Carnival a few years before had a blast but our dune buggy broke down on the ride back to town (we had to ride back in the open jeep (fun) with one of the tour guides). 

  22. Like
    SLJ got a reaction from Floski in Allure Propulsion Issues   
    I learn so much on this blog. All you veteran cruisers are a wealth of knowledge. It has been a blast following.
  23. Thanks
    SLJ reacted to SPS in Freedom of the Seas Fatality?   
    Michael Winkleman, a Miami-based attorney hired by Chloe’s family, said her grandfather put the girl on a ledge near a window in a children’s area, but was unaware that the window was open. "Essentially her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it's clear, but it turns out there was no glass there," he said. "She goes to bang on the glass like she would have at one of those hockey rinks, and the next thing you know, she's gone."
    I just read this a few minutes ago and I don't buy it. The windows on the pool deck all have a blue tint to them and every one of the open windows has a noticeable breeze and ambient sounds coming through (even in port). Not to mention that even freshly cleaned windows are not perfectly clear. Also, putting a child that young on a railing is risking injury even if there were glass there.
    I'm heartbroken for the family and I can't even imagine the grandfather's feelings of guilt, but, I don't think this is Royal Caribbean's fault.
  24. Love
    SLJ reacted to Andy from Atlanta in CocoCay Review (6/27/19 Visit)   
    We had a chance to visit CocoCay on TH 6/27 off of the Mariner of the Seas.
    - Amazing, outstanding, a true game-changer.
    - Flexible enough to meet the needs of everybody. 
    - You can have a great time with excursions or without. 
    - Thrill Park is great.  If that is your thing. 
    - Overall, highly recommended. 
    Our group
    - 2 families with children (11, 8, 7 years old)
    - We booked the full day Thrill Park via Cruise Planner at $47/adult as well as the kid rate (I forgot the total).
    - 2nd RCCL trip (1st was Harmony)

    Our Day (Part 1:  Thrill Park)
    - RC provided a map and a 1-page fact sheet the evening before.  We felt very prepared. 
    - Checked out towels and then met the gang for breakfast at 7:30am.
    - Left the boat at 8:30am.  It was very fast.  No towel check-out was provided at level 1.  You will need to get towels in advance at the pool deck.
    - Trams were waiting on the pier to talk folks if desired.
    - Less than 5 min walk from the boat to the entrance to the island and the Thrill Park.  Live music, dancers, etc.  lots of energy.
    - Easy entry to the Thrill Park, use your sea pass.  RCCL staff is onsite.
    - Locker to your right after entering the park (free).
    - We divided into two groups.  One group went straight to the Devil's Tower.  They rode it once and had a very small line.  Within an hour of opening the wait time was 45-60- minutes.  Key point:  Plan ahead and arrive early.  The other group secured lounger chairs under umbrellas (between the Devils Tower and the other Slide section) and headed over to the Sling Shot (the half pipe ride), Twister, and Racers.  
    - Easy to find chairs.  Lots available with lots of shade. 
    - Easy to find beverage (adult) and water.
    - All the water slides are strong.  Fun, thrilling, scaring, high energy, etc. 
    - After the slides, we hit the wave pool.  Recommended as well. Make sure you watch the young kids.  The pool is crowded and life guards can see only so much.
    - We also spent time on the adventure pool.  Both adults and kids were using the attraction.  Lots of fun. 
    - After about 2.5 hours on the Thrill Park we decided to go to Chill Island.  One of the reasons was the wait on the Tower Slides was getting long and we saw storms in the distance and wanted to hedge our time.
    Out Day (Part 2:  Chill Island).
    - Relaxing.  Laid back. Really a different vibe and energy.
    - Rented snorkel equipment. My kids saw stingrays and fish.
    - After about 2 hours, headed to Chill Grill for lunch. Taco bar and grilled chicken wings were strong.  We also liked the fact you can pour your own beer (w Seapass Card).  Kids loved the ice cream.
    - BIG ISSUE:  TONS of birds are seagulls are onsite at Chill Grill and are very aggressive.  They are swarming on guests and attacking their plates while guests sat at picnic tables.  I saw a bird swoop down and steal a chicken wing from a guest who was about to it eat.  This needs to be fixed.  Think the movie "The Birds".
    - Went to Oasis Lagoon for the rest of the day and drank our share of Miami Vice, Kracken and Diet Coke, and beer.  The Pool bar is strong and the staff are fast.  
    - The pool itself is very large and can accommodate a lot of folks.  Loud music.  Party atmosphere. 
    - Some lighting delays throughout our day, but no biggie.  
    - Took the tram home.  
    General thoughts
    - Great time.  Really strong move by RCCL.  Disney will have to up its game.  Huge contrast to other cruise private islands.
    - Easy to navigate and everything is pretty much 10 minutes away.  Walk or Tram.
    - Totally different vibes between the water park and Chill Island. 
    - Even though we only were at the water park for 2 hours, it was so fun we still feel as though we got our $$$ worth.
    - Staff was great. 
    - The island and layout are such that the crowded feeling is likely to be minimized.  
    - Easy to get food, adult beverages, water etc.  Lockers are free.
    - We did not rent a cabana.  They looked very nice.  Our hesitation is that if you rent a cabana you may feel limited to stay in the cabana and consequently miss other areas of the island.  We liked our approach of spending time at the water park, the beach, and the big pool.
    - Talked to a few officer types at the island and they shared that RCCL plans on building a hotel for guests on the island and back-to-back CocoCay stays will be offered in Jan 2020. 
    - The day before we stopped at Nassau and stayed until 8:30pm.  I really wish we could have stayed that long at CocoCay and shortened our time in Nassau. 
    - The birds at Chill Grill are an issue.
    - Other guests we were talking too on the ship felt the same about the island - it is fantastic. 
    - Have a high-level plan so you can make the most of the day.  You don't have to plan every minute, but at least consider where you want "Home base" and what you want to do on the island in some order.  Hit the waterpark early to avoid lines.
    Hope his helps.  Have.a blast.
  25. Like
    SLJ got a reaction from JLMoran in Refreshment package on sale...should I get it?   
    @12thman As promised earlier, I'm here to recap our experience with Allure with regards to the refreshment package and whether you need it or not. First of all, we had a BLAST on Allure. She's gorgeous and we didn't feel any impact with the compromised azipod. Now with the drinks. As you know, I didn't buy the package and wanted to use this trip to gauge whether we'll need it for Symphony next year. Our verdict: NO. Definitely no drink package necessary for us. But everyone's different. I consistently bought some sort of a drink at least once a day. Ie: soda, mocktails, etc. and our bill on drinks was around $100 something for 2 adults and that included a few alcoholic drinks in there too. Non-alcoholic cocktails were $8.36 (after gratuities), and a cola was around $3.50. Their cocktails were quite sweet and heavy so I couldn't drink more than one a day if I still wanted room for all the yummy food on board. And never once had I felt stressed about the bill because I knew very early on that it'd come out WAY lower than if we'd bought the refreshment packages. Hope this helps with your decision on your upcoming cruise.
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