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Ken23

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  1. Like
    Ken23 reacted to IRMO12HD in Cruising for a Cause – Full Ship Charter, High Seas Rally (Brilliance of the Seas)   
    High Seas Rally (30 November - 7 December 2019)
     
    In case you ever wondered what a full ship charter is like – I’ll be chronicling this, our third High Seas Rally, and 2nd time on Brilliance of the Seas as a full ship charter.  A few quick notes.  This is a biker-oriented cruise, but with an awesome cause.  Many people don’t realize just how giving motorcyclists tend to be . . . whether it’s looking out for another rider on the road, swarming with support at funerals and memorials for military veterans and community heroes, or donating to a cause, bikers are super generous as a group.  This cruise’s whole purpose is to support dialysis patients.  In fact, each HSR cruise hosts at least 8-10 dialysis patients and their caregivers ON THE CRUISE!  Yes, these patients receive dialysis while on the Brilliance – and they and their caregiver pay $0.00 – yeah, nothing!  On the last cruise in 2017, in addition to hosting our dialysis guests, we raised over $700,000.00 for kidney dialysis.
    With three days before we leave for Tampa, most of my prep work is done -- well, except for actually packing the suitcases! Because of the theme, and the nature of the cruise 'crewmembers,' our packing differs a bit from the standard cruise.  We'll have numerous fundraising opportunities while on board -- 50/50 raffles, Pirate Bingo, Treasured Chest, and numerous other raffles for prizes.   Our formal night will be in leathers (vests), and even our shore excursions will include many biker-friendly possibilities -- like Segways on Grand Cayman and scooters on Key West.  For me, one of the most awesome opportunities is getting to meet and talk with one of the 9-10 dialysis patients who are coming with us. 
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us 

  3. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    So we did the BBQ. It was good but not great. For ship’s BBQ it was decent. The mac’n cheese was awful.  They use some kind of cheese whiz or something.  Yuck.  The nanner puddin’ thing was ok. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t do it again.
    I had the pulled pork and Dan had the brisket.  Ashley is right-the brisket wasn’t presauced. 
     
    Ones thing’s for sure - they don’t skimp on the portions. It doesn’t look it from the pictures but those sandwiches are huge !
     
    Having it delivered to the room was sweet !


  4. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    Came back from the casino a winner tonite !  Quad 3’s (4 of a kind for you non-players). Yippee !  This movie seems familiar to me (started out a winner on last weeks cruise.  By the end...not so much).  
  5. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    ISince we are docked at the downtown pier, we decided to go out into town for a while. Beside us is docked NCL Breakaway.


    Out in the bay, offshore, is the NCL Escape.  She is tendering her peeps ashore with lifeboats.  Glad I’m not on Escape !
    We walked down to the Plaza and decided to have a couple of beers and some chips and pico de gallo.  This was the first alcohol that either of us have had the entire cruise !  The cold Coronas tasted pretty good.  More about this, later.

    At some point, Dan mentioned something about maybe getting a cheap massage.  Oh yeah....that sounded like a GREAT idea.  After finishing our beers and chips, we asked our waiter if there was anywhere close where we could get a massage. It seemed we were in luck !  No more than 20 paces down the side street was a spa.  The decision was made.  If the price was right, we were getting massages.  Trust me, this is no foo foo spa.  It’s a hole-in-the-wall place but the price seemed right.  $70 each for a 90 minute massage.  Done.  They put us in a “room” for 2.  I put “room” in quotations because it is really just 1 big room with curtains to separate the “private” areas.  Good enough for us.
    I will just say up front that this was one of the best massages I have ever had.  Most masseuses hurt me.  I guess I’m just a wimp but the whole “deep tissue” thing is about as far from enjoyable as I can get.  But this lovely lady’s touch was perfect. You start out on your belly, of course, and I was really settling in...enjoying every stroke.  She did my back, neck and shoulders.  Heaven.  Then she moved to my legs....and trouble began to brew.
    Here’s where the forewarning from the beer and chips photo comes back into play.  As if, by some awesome force of nature and gravity combined, the moment she started pushing “up” (towards my torso) on my legs, the beer bubbles began to be pushed up from my belly.  Had I been standing, I would simply let out a diminutive “burp” and all would have been fine....but I was laying on my stomach and those beer bubbles were trapped between my stomach and my throat.  I tried to maneuver in a way that would allow them to escape, but nopesville.  They just kept accumulating in a most unpleasant location, soon to be joined by some chips and salsa (thank you, hiatal hyneria).  It was both horrifying and hilarious at the same time.
    I thought the legwork would never end.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, she whispered “turn over on your back, please”.  As soon as I moved, the loudest, most manly, horrific belch came roaring out.  It was so loud I’m sure they heard it across the street.  Dan said “are you ok ?”  I was so relieved.  I just muttered “yes, I’m fine”.
    The moral of this story is NEVER drink a beer before having a massage !
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  6. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    So, back from the casino. Very early night for us but we are both beat. Slept very little on that horrid bed at the Marriott.  I lost a whopping $25 but Dan won $230 so we’re up, overall. Yippee !
    Tomorrow is Key West. It’s been a number of years since we have been to KW. No plans. We will just ramble. Night night
  7. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    Boarding was absolutely amazing.  We left the hotel a bit before 10 AM. We had intended to get an Uber but there was a guy with a van waiting to pick up a fare.  When we told him we were going to the Port he said, “$5 each” so we jumped right in.  We were the only 2 and it was a quick ride over.  We got out of the van, dropped our big luggage with the porters and noticed that the escalator going up to the check-in area was blocked off.  Rats !  At that same moment, a guy came out of the elevator with a luggage cart.  We sauntered right into that open elevator like we knew what we were doing and rode right up to the second floor.  We were first in line to check in after which we were directed to a suites waiting area.  Of course, I failed to take any pix (I am falling back into my “old ways”).  After maybe 5 minutes we saw what were obviously B2B cruisers walking onto the ship.  Moments later they called Pinnies and within 10 minutes total, they called suites.  We were on the ship well before 10:30.  As Happy Dan always says, “I’d rather be lucky than smart”.
    As soon as we got on the ship I realized I was in unfamiliar territory.  Even though we’ve sailed on radiance class ships many times, it’s been a while. I seemed all turned around. We bumbled our way to Cafe Latitude (I think ) got coffee and sat down.  We decided to find the Concierge Lounge to get our internet working, and so here we sit.
  8. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis   
    I promised Sabrina that I would do this, so here goes.
    First:  I am the worst live blogger EVER since I hate to take pix.  I DO realize that long, text review/live blogs are less effective b/c nobody wants to sit and read line after line of text.  I hate it myself !  So I am going to TRY and be brief-er than usual and TRY and incorporate photos, which are 2 things I am not very good at (brevity and photography).
    Who:  Dan and I (Raye)
    What:  S2S cruises on Brilliance and Oasis.
    Where:  Tampa then Miami
    When:  24 - 30 Nov (Brilliance out of Tampa) then 1 - 8 December (Oasis out of Miami)
    Why:  Because we can...and this will be our first S2S
    At home, writing this but leaving for the airport (DCA) at 2PM.  Uber, cost $81.56.  We have to have an XL due to luggage. Honestly, it's not that far to the airport.  We live about 20 miles south of DC so it's not more than 15-17 miles to the airport.  Kinda high, IMO but still cheaper than parking the car in Long Term Parking for 15 days. 
    We will pass some time at the American Airlines Admiral's Club prior to boarding and then fly First Class to Tampa. Flight is at 5:00, arriving TPA at ~7:30PM.  Will Uber from airport to the hotel (Tampa Marriott Water Street); used rewards points for the hotel.  We could have used airline miles for the air but we're saving those reward points for a yet-to-be scheduled Alaska trip !!

    One piece of luggage still missing as it is awaiting inevitable forgotten, last-minute items.
    So looking forward to Brilliance.  #1, we have never sailed on Brilliance before and #2, it has been many years since we sailed on a Radiance class ship.
    PS.  I am already having fits with just 1 pic.  I don't know how the rest of you do it !!  
    More, later from the Admiral's Club !!
  9. Like
  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to iluvwineandtravel in Anthem 8 NIght Thanksgiving Cruise- Gving This Another Try! :)   
    Overall Reflections:
    Favorite hangout spots:
    - North star bar in nice weather
    -270 Lounge
    -Schooner bar with piano music (loved show with "We will rock you and The gift singers")
    -Music hall when band was playing
     
    Loved Cococay (This was the longest that I have stayed out at a private island.  Chairs/umbrellas were everywhere and nice.  We were lucky on Thanksgiving that Anthem was the only ship in port.  Loved the pool party with music in the afternoon at the swim up bar.  Loved the chicken sandwich and mozarella sticks from the snack shack, and the drinks & music at captain jack's
    They moved the taste of royal to day 8.  We ended up cancelling this, but I would like to try in future when we don't have a drink package (it comes with a special wonderland drink).
    Another interesesting thing on Anthem is that Wonderland did not have it's own bar, so to order the wonderland cocktails, you have to order them at the 270 bar,  Wonderland uses the schooner bar for their drinks.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  11. Like
    Ken23 reacted to iluvwineandtravel in Anthem 8 NIght Thanksgiving Cruise- Gving This Another Try! :)   
    Today is debarkation day and we are sitting in the aiport until our 2 pm flight ( hoping the weather will not delay us back to Cincinnati. :).  I thought I would catch up on the blog.  Debarkation was super easy.  We always carry off our own luggage so that we can pack some last minute items in the am.  We slept in until around 7:30 and then headed to the windjammer around 8 for 1 last breakfast.   The windjammer is always crowed at that time on debarkation day, but we easily found a spot with a great view of the NYC skyline.    Overall,  we thought the windjammer on anthem was a lot easier to find a table than on other ships.  We do realize the crowd was different this week.  There was a record number of children on board for the holiday week, but it felt more compartmentalized with their activities in the Seaplex etc. compared to the Oasis thanksgiving cruise last year.  The last 2 seadays sailing back have been cold.
    Yesterday morning the boat was very rocky, and I actually felt really sea sick which is unusual for me.  I think it was heightened by the fact that I was pretty hung over from staying up late for the Quest. 🙂 . We attempted to grab some breakfast in the solarium bistro which was only 1 deck up from our forward balcony cabin on deck 13.  I found this location very convenient to the north star bar, gym, and solarium.  Often we would go out the forward door on deck 13 which exits into the bottom of the solarium in the very front of the ship.  
    I forced myself to do the elliptical yesterday before lunch, and I did feel much better.  My husband wanted to go back to WJ for lunch.  I was not that hungry so I just got an iced coffee and settled for desert for lunch.   I went back to the cabin to do some pre-packing and then we went to the We will rock you singers concert in the theatre in the afternoon, went and picked out our complementary diamond photos ( a perk I sometimes forget to take advantage of), and then we went to hear the Royal swedes pan in the music hall at 4pm.  I thought the band was really outstanding, and I went back to hear them play from 10-12pm again that night.    I am really glad I decided to get the DX this cruise because of the itinerary with Cococay, and the fact that we had so many sea days and stayed on the ship in both Nassau and port Canaveral.   Yesterday was day 8 though, so I was feeling drink fatigued.  I started off easy with mostly champagne. :), and then had my usual glass of wine # 490 ( an Italian red) with dinner and 2 lemon drop martini's later while listening to the band.  I found it super easy to get our money's worth outside of diamond hours on this cruise, but I am on the fence about it for the RCL blog New Year's 2020 cruise because of the port packed itinerary.  I think we will just try to get buy with our diamond drinks, 2 bottles of wine, and will probably do chef's table on new year's eve. 
    We stopped by the diamond lounge per usual for some snacks and a pre-dinner cocktail.  Most of the week, we set with another family in the extended lounge area roped off in the music hall.  It came with some entertainment, ( unfortunately most of the time the entertainment was family karaoke. :).   We prefer my time dining because with just 2 of us, we can usually get through dinner quickly in just over an hour.  For most of the week, we were set at the same table.  Unfortunately on Thursday night, we made a later reservation because of a scheduled show, and we were set in a different area.  Last night, we went at our usual time of 5:30, but Unforunately, the table we had been sitting at for most of the week was already o ccupied.  I understand this is not unusual in MTD, but it is still disappointment when you have established a relationship with a particular wait staff team.  The assistant waiter saw us when the performed the Goodbye song that evening and both he and the waiter came by our table to say goodbye.  Last night was my favorite meal of the cruise.  I love the lamb chops served with the mint sauce. :).  For an appetizer I got the asian pork tacos.  They were great, and were almost exactly like eating an asian pork bun like you would find in China town in most cities.  For desert I got cheesecake, and my husband got the tres leches.  More to come.  I will blog from the beginning to share more details of our really fantastic and relaxing week! 
     
     
     
     
     
     



    IMG_8472.HEIC
  12. Like
    Ken23 reacted to iluvwineandtravel in Anthem 8 NIght Thanksgiving Cruise- Gving This Another Try! :)   
    Well I have been missing in action a bit this week,  but now catching up with the blog.  From Saturday through monday, I completely disconnected for the first 2 sea days and had my phone in airplane mode.  Yesterday, we were ported in Port canaveral so I had phone access even though we stayed on the ship.  Today, I am using my free day of diamond surf for 2 devices.  We will likely use my husband's credit tomorrow and purchase surf and stream for the duration of the cruse.  Today, we port in Nassau.  We will likely stay on the ship again today, but we will get off tomorrow in Cococay.
    I will post some photos soon, but here are some thoughts thus far:
    I really like anthem.  Our cabin is a balcony cabin on the 13th floor and we are right by the forward elevators.  The last 2 days have been gorgeous, and I enjoyed time both afternoon's at the north star bar! 
    We love 270. We watched a movie there yesterday afternoon.  I had the Kummelwick on day 1.  From a flavor standpoint, I liked it better than on other shifts, we have just liked the roll it was served on better on other ships. 
    We used our free dining certificate from the travel agent to eat at wonderland on night 2.  We very much enjoyed the experience, and let our waiter choose the apps for us.  For the main entree, we split the pork belly and the fish.  Both were great.  For all the other nights, we have eaten in my time dining.
    Since this itinerary has so many sea days, and we have stayed on the ship for 2 of the port days, I am really glad I purchased the beverage package, despite being diamond.  It has given us more freedom, and I have also tried more drinks and shots and have been fine leaving them if I did not like them.  ( I don't really love overly sweet drinks).
    I love the vintages on this ship.  They have my favorite Cava that is usually served at the beginning of the chefs table.
     Being thanksgiving week, there are lots of families on board this week so the seaplex is super crowded.  I have not felt crowds throughout the rest of the ship, but I think we are often doing things at different times than the crowds. 
    The diamond lounge has extended into the music hall for happy hour.  Last night was a little annoying because there were many children that were allowed to roam free and were out of control at the pool tables or were throwing tantrums.  Since we have a drink package, we usually just visit the diamond lounge for a few snacks, but on sunday, It was the best place for my husband to watch the football game.  Tomorrow's game should be nice enough weather to watch poolside 
    Our favorite things so far:
    We will rock you ( we did the matinee show on day 2)
    We will rock you singers performing in schooner bar last night ( It was Joyce from the piano bar's last night of her contract, so a special show)
    Still to come:
    Excited for Cococay tomorrow on Thanksgiving
    Spectra show at 270 later this week
     
     
  13. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Thanks all to everyone that followed along and for all the nice comments and encouragement along the way to keep me going.  Made it worthwhile to do this.
    I will wrap this all up once I am back in my own safe crowd-free bubble at home, I promise 😁
  14. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Well done and you've saved me from having to do one.  
    However I am serious when I say... get off my ship!  We are all waiting to board!
  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Also blew the budget on lobster in Windjammer 😂😂

    shh..he's sleeping

  16. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Great blog!  Wonderful sense of humor!  Awesome writing!  etc, etc...blah, blah, blah.
    Now get my ship back to Miami so I can board her tomorrow.  
  17. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Of course you did, Genie stalker 😂😂😂
  18. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    We successfully completed the mission and launched our rocket!

    ...with time to spare.

    Everyone gets a patch to commemorate the success.

    This activity was definitely one of the more worthwhile things I've paid for on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
  19. Love
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    TAPAN follow-up response makes me feel good that it's going to the ship email contacts at least.
     

  20. Love
    Ken23 got a reaction from AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    As a former general manager of a JR on land, glad to hear they still do the dancing (and saw earlier the ketchup smiley face).  I have the UDP on the Freedon GC, so I am sure to check out JR a day or two for lunch.
    I am just now binge reading this live blog, thanks and great job Ashley.
  21. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    Nope. They blew the swag budget on fireworks and CATS.
  22. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    "You kids get off my blog!" 😂😂
  23. Love
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    I got off the elevator and decided that the least I could do was help guide him all the way to the act of this ship to Windjammer. I asked him if he minded me walking with him to the Windjammer and he took my arm and we trekked all the way across the pool deck. He told me he had paid extra to have a wheelchair and assistance but that someone complained about it? I didn't really quite understand the story and didn't really ask for clarification. 
    He said he took a 16 day cruise and he's going to Africa in April.  Pretty amazing travels he has done.
    We got to the Windjammer where I asked the greeter if he minded helping my new friend.  The greeter was amazing and he took his arm and started asking him what he was wanting to eat and helped him to the handwashing station.  I didn't think to catch his name tag but as soon as my room service is delivered I am popping back over to Windjammer to get his name so I can fill out a WOW comment card for him.
  24. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    I used to go to concerts at small venues all the time in my 20s..Music Hall definitely has that vibe at night.  It's dark like a cave in the back and all the lights are focused on the band and the dance floor.  Upstairs is more of a lounge area.  There's a dedicated bar. There's a balcony to watch the band and a pool table (free use) and couches.  TVs livestream the action downstairs.  I feel like I am at home here.  Folks are singing along and dancing to some Journey, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, etc. covers.  It's a real good time and folks are having a blast.  The sound is decent for the music they're playing so they definitely have a good sound system setup to handle this kind of music. May want to bring earplugs!
  25. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in SOLOasis redubbed YOLOasis Thanksgiving of the Seas Nov24, 2019 - Dec1, 2019   
    On the way to Izumi we had cut through what I dubbed the smoky ATM.  But on Oasis, this is no longer the case.
    Yes, it still has this smell of smoke but it appears they no longer give you the option to charge to your room via the slot machines as I had experienced with other ships.  You now tap your card to access your casino account.

    This is fun because people tend to forget to log out of their account leaving innocent bystanders to gamble on their accounts and earn them more Casino Royale points 😱.
    It also is frustrating folks trying to tap their cards when others forget to log out.
    You can also charge your phone at the machine.

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