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  1. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in Casino Strategy To Prime? Symphony OTS   
    Feel free to PM me.  But effectively I added money to the slot machine through the room charge option in the account screen.  Then I would hit collect on the slot machine and it spit out a ticket that I redeemed for cash.  It showed as a casino entertainment charge for the amount I took out with no service charge on my onboard account.  At the end of the cruise I was charged one total amount for my onboard account to my charge.  It registers as a travel category charge so I get the points for that.  
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to brycemo in Every Activity on Every Ship - Listed   
    Here is a list of all Royal Caribbean ships and their technical information, as per request from @TJ! 
    Click Here
    Hope you all enjoy, and yet again if there are any mistakes please don't hesitate to let me know, and I will make sure they get amended!
    Thanks and enjoy!!!
  3. Like
    Ken23 reacted to brycemo in Every Activity on Every Ship - Listed   
    So, a while ago, while roaming the internet, I stumbled across this awesome list of which activities were on which ships throughout the Royal Caribbean fleet. It was perfect! Maybe I lost it, maybe it was taken down, but I couldn't find it any longer. So I set out to make my own. After going through every deck of every Royal Caribbean ship's deck plans, I noted everything I could find onboard. Bars, dining, entertainment, I listed it all. Here is the result:

    View in full screen
    I find it incredibly useful and I thought that I'd put it here because you all might like to use it too. I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think. 
    This is my own creation and all information used is from https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/deck-plans  (unless otherwise referenced) Therefore, there may be certain inaccuracies because of either certain things missing on the deck plans, or me missing something out If this is the case, please feel free to let me know and I will update it to reflect these. As said, I have not been on all these ships so do not have first hand experience for all these venues and activities, so please do let me know of any errors I may have made. It is quite large so it may take a moment to load, and you will need to zoom out. I intend to update it as new ships debut, or as ships get refurbished/amplified so it is hopefully always an up to date reference point. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy!
  4. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to AGSLC5 in Casino Strategy To Prime? Symphony OTS   
    Royal's new policy is blackjack pays 3:2 on tables that are $15 a hand and higher.. Anything under $15 a hand pays 6:5.. Also on Holiday sailings they make the tables $25 and over for 3:2 which is annoying but as we know they make up the rules as they go along lol. 
  5. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Voom Price Increases   
    Looks like Voom may be going up across the fleet.
    On board daily rates for single day pass:
    Surf $24.99 (was $22.99)
    Surf and Stream $31.99 (was $29.99)
    On board daily rates for full voyage plans:
    Surf $17.99  (was $15.99)
    Surf and Stream $ 21.99 (was $19.99)
    A number of my future sailings have increased in the cruise planner.  One went from $13.99 per day for Surf and Stream to $16.49 per day.  I see the rate $16.49 rate on quite a few cruises.  This seems to be the "new $13.99".   For my 2020 cruises this is now $17.59.
    Deluxe Beverage + Voom Combo is now $16 more than just the Deluxe Beverage package.
    If you see old Voom prices in your cruise planner you may want to purchase it now.  
  6. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from twangster in Voom Price Increases   
    Thanks for the heads up @twangster. 
    Fortunately my one RC cruise I have booked I already purchased VS&S.
  7. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Voom Price Increases   
    Thanks for the heads up @twangster. 
    Fortunately my one RC cruise I have booked I already purchased VS&S.
  8. Like
    Ken23 reacted to TetonPost in Best Eleven Days   
    I was on the recent extended Empress cruise (due to Dorian), it was my first cruise, and I just wanted to say that was the best consecutive eleven days I've ever experienced, and I'm an old guy that's seen a lot. I'm a huge Royal Caribbean fan now, can't imagine riding with anyone else from here on out. I don't know if it's appropriate but I'm posting a sunset photo taken the night before arriving back in Miami.

  9. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Majesty of the seas relief effort   
    @monorailmedic  CruiseHabit was live from Equinox which is also on site sending supplies today.  You can see the tenders being lowered and a local tug coming out to the ship.  
  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Closing Thoughts
    I hadn't been on a cruise in 14 years but I’ve already got another one scheduled for this December! It’s through Holland America (Oosterdam) so I can leave from my home port of SD.. just a 5 minute Uber from my apartment, but it means no live blogging! Get an RC ship back to the West Coast and I would be Riviera cruisin’ every month!
    We ate every night in the MDR (aside from one night of Windjammer due to laziness) and I would say it was perfectly adequate. Our Assistant Waiter Mithun was leagues more attentive and friendlier than our main server. I warmed up to her distance later in the cruise, she just does not GAF! I like that, haha. Mithun would always ask how our day was and knew our drink orders right away. The food was all just okay. I didn't have anything that was a true standout – wait! I take it back. I fell in love with the Baked Alaska. I also came to enjoy a 2-3pm afternoon cheeseburger in the WJ which could account for some slight cruise weight gain! 😂
    I enjoyed every excursion we went on and could go back and do the same things again but of course would want to see new places next time. In St. Lucia, for example, we only saw the port and the rainforest and I would love to go to Marigot or the Pitons next time! Although I could do Magen's every time I visit St. Thomas with no qualms. The RC See Antigua by Sea excursion was great, I highly recommend it if you're headed there! I liked seeing all the varied coasts of the island (one side was all yucca trees?) and getting to experience some real ocean waves on the Atlantic side. 
    The junior suite was well worth it to me, the huge balcony was amazing. We would lay on the loungers in the afternoons post-Solarium pool time and sit at the table with drinks to watch sail away. We were up for every docking as well, the port side seemed fruitful in seeing a lot of action. Just sitting on the balcony in the evenings and as we entered each port was so relaxing, I would never be able to go interior. We would leave the balcony door open a bit at night to hear the "waves" and to battle the ridiculous AC! Even when you turned the dial into the red zone it was still freezing in there.
    Pre Purchases
    #TeamDX all the way! It was so so easy to blow through the $44 a day. Even on all our many port days I was still enjoying upwards of 6 cocktails once back on board plus a water bottle with every drink order. I loved the guys with water/vitamin water carts in the WJ and Promenade at breakfast, it was so easy to scan and pick up a few drinks for port. The one sea day made up for any abandoned cocktails on the port days! We had drinks brought by a funny pool server who was sassing us for ordering them at 9am. He said people get the DX and don't get their money's worth and seemed pleased we would be using it to our advantage. Even with all those cocktails we must've been hydrating perfectly because I was never too drunk or hungover at all!! 
    The Voom I would say was not quite worth it for 2 devices since it only worked in major common areas like the MDR and pool decks. We would set up instagram posts/blog posts in the room and then have to remember to open the phone and set it to upload while dining or nothing would ever go through. I would probably buy Voom again for one device next time and we could share the all important insta-posting capabilities. 
    Amazon Purchases
    The Dock and Bay towels worked WONDERS. @JennyJenny I can absolutely recommend these to you now after putting them through their paces fully in the Caribbean. I liked them before but after using them 7 days straight, after battling full body dries of both sea water and pool water, they weren't crinkly or smelly! Still soft, probably could've worked another week or more before needing a wash. After washing, back to full bright white and extra soft! New favorite beach towels, hands down, not even going to be relegated to travel-only usage. 
    The beach tent was great! We used it in Magen's Bay (St. Thomas), Cockleshell Beach (St. Kitts) and Brandon's Beach (Barbados) and it went up easily every time and was not susceptible to wind. We brought stakes but didn't need to use them anywhere, as adding items to the tent easily weighs it down. Photo included for @JLMoran although this is from this weekend in Ocean Beach as I forgot to capture its glory amongst a Caribbean backdrop. Easily fit two adults sitting or laying with legs sticking out.

    Last but not least, 2 Swimways Spring Floats which we used in all port beach stops, including a few times once we were back in Puerto Rico! They fold up so small for easily taking everywhere (you can see it closed and in its blue, net travel bag in the pic above) and inflating the exterior ring only takes about 5 breaths of air to blow it up fully. We even brought them on the catamaran rides in Antigua and Barbados and the other boat guests were questioning where we had gotten it during our swim breaks! 

    Freedom never ever felt crowded, even after the ice show let out, the flow leaving Studio B and through the On Air Club moved super quickly. I will say that RC should not let you book MTD between 5:30 and 6:00 on embarkation day with the muster as it is at 5:45. Muster gets out at 6:10 and everyone with a reservation that had been at 5:30, 5:45, 6:00, or 6:15 is in line at the same time on deck 3 and the hosts are frantically trying to fill the dining room. Will know to book dinner much later than muster next time. 
    Overall, we loved cruising. Looking out over the water every day was so relaxing, like having the best available hotel room on land! And the sexy sky pics did not disappoint! There are more on my instagram @daryldaley. I sent my Cruise Compass to Matt, so any future Freedom-riders can look for that soon. Thanks for hosting these live blogs! I enjoyed writing it. 😊
    Cruise Compass 8/18/19
    Edited to add my Caribbean magnet and Christmas ornament haul: 
  11. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Day Ten of a 9 day vacation (never a good sign)
    We woke up at 4 and caught the Embassy Suites shuttle to the airport to find out in the security line that our 6am to Dallas/Forth Worth was cancelled due to thunderstorms in the area. Our 7:15 replacement flight was pushed to 9:30 due to the same stormy morning but we finally made it to Dallas at 11am! 
    We got on our connection that was delayed an hour (or we would've missed it) and it sat on the tarmac from 11:30-1:30pm waiting on the catering truck to arrive. We finally made it home to San Diego around 1pm but my poor bag that a gate ramp attendant made me check did not. 😞 The bag had fit in the overhead compartment on the last 4 American flights of the same trip but this time she deemed it too large. After arriving in SD and seeing my bag was still in the sky on a later flight, we made it to the luggage counter for AA and they said they'd deliver it later that day. FIIIIIINAAALLY got it at 10pm! If there is a next time I would just drive back to the airport and pick it up off the baggage claim myself which would've saved me 6 hours of nervous waiting. 
    Long trip home but it did not damper the trip overall! We had such an amazing time. 
    Landing in San Diego. You can see my apartment building! Its the tall yellow building dead center. My unit faces west (opposite side as pictured) and the balcony sunsets will never be able to compare to Freedom's!

    Finally home!

    Final cruising thoughts to come. Would absolutely sail RC again, only wish there were ships closer to my home port! 
  12. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Day Eight (Part II)
    After El Yunque we headed back down the mountain and northeast to Luquillo Beach. We strolled the kioskos and stopped for a giant piña colada in a piña with whipped cream - best one yet - and some various Puerto Rican fried treats! We had alcapurrias (carne, pescado y pollo), pastelillos (carne, pollo y PIZZA), pinchos (pollo) and a pianono (carne). Everything was so amazing.. we stopped at a couple kioskos for all these items but I am not sure exactly which numbers... all between about #25-40. I would highly recommend a stop in Luquillo if you want some real Puerto Rican culture. 

    The beach was great. We spent some time in the water and CBF gave the fly boarding a try. At $60 for 30 minutes it was a steal over Southern Californian prices and fly times. He was instantly great at it after we had been watching people struggle to lift even a foot out of the water for their full 30 minute turns. He says it's due to his past skate and snowboarding that he could balance well above the water jets. 

    On our way back to drop CBF's mom off, we bought some roadside quenepas - a green shelled fruit with a seed inside coated in sweet, pink fruit meat. You peel the skin and chew/suck the fruit off the seed. Delicious! 
    CBF's Tio y Tia's in Carolina

    El Yunque in the background

  13. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Oh wait! Forgot to note that we had told the Head Waiter Catherine about our birthdays on the 22nd and 24th during dinner on night 1 and she notated it - ended up with nothing at all, even after mentioning the birthdays to our waitress Theresa on both occasions. My thoughts on our MDR waitstaff later but thought it was weird when I know I have seen birthday desserts for others in the past! 
    We did enjoy some post-dinner mini golf. CBF did NOT let me win for my birthday! haha 

  14. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Just set sail a bit ago and recently returned to the cabin with a final cocktail for the night as we are running on about 1-1.5 hours sleep since 6am PST Saturday. Hopefully sleeping early tonight will reset my internal alarm for early natural rising on AST! 

    The clouds here are unreal

    Aft port panorama

  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    Day One
    Embarkation Day! 
    Popped straight over to the ship after arrival this morning to drop off all our bags and then we headed to Old San Juan with CBF's mom for some exploring. We walked down Fortaleza (unfortunately still no kites or umbrellas above the street), saw Castillo del Morro and stopped at a few bars along the way back by Carnival Fascination in the other port. What a beautiful city! Reminds me a loooot of Honolulu from the architecture and flora.  3 drinks in and waiting for muster! VACATION!! 

    Looking back towards La Perla

    Loved Medalla! From the 1979 Panamerican Olympics Games

    Finally time to board! 

    Our JS 9538 🙂

    El Morro as seen from our port position!
  16. Like
    Ken23 reacted to DDaley in Freedom of the Seas // August 18-25, 2019   
    It’s nearly time! I feel like I have waited for yeeears to set off on my first cruise as an adult! (It’s been… 84 years… ) In reality, I haven’t had to wait all that long as the days between booking and embarkation maxed out at 146 days. Now it’s down to just SIX days! The saddest part was that I had three vacations to go on between then and now and the poor Grand Canyon and Puerto Vallarta did not get the travel-obsessing they deserved.
    In March, my boyfriend and I were looking into different trips we could take for our birthdays this August (on the 22nd and 25th) and as a Puerto Rican he suggested a trip there to visit his mom who went down to help family after Maria. I was pricing it out to stay in PR for around 6 nights (typical length of a land vacation I can afford) when he mentioned having taken a cruise from there back when he was in high school. The next day I googled cruises from SJ and booked a 7-night sailing on Freedom hours later! The price was pretty comparable and on this itinerary we would get the added bonus of seeing 5 other Caribbean ports! Who could say no? It should be noted that I booked during the 30% off sale but I even got us into a JS for less than every vacation I have taken to Hawaii.
    After reading about a million fabulous live blogs here I thought I would give it a go because I would love to give back, so if you have any Freedom questions, feel free to ask!
    Day 1 8/18 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Day 2 8/19 - St. Thomas 8am-6pm - Magen’s Bay via taxi (haven’t been since I was 7!) Day 3 8/20 - St. Kitts & Nevis 8am-8pm (only ship in port) - Cockleshell Beach via Shore Excursioneer Day 4 8/21 - Antigua 8am-5pm (only ship in port) - Antigua By Sea (RC Excursion) Day 5 8/22 - St. Lucia 8am-6pm - Rainforest Zipline & Aerial Tram via Shore Excursioneer for MY BIRTHDAY!!!! Day 6 8/23 - Barbados 8am-9pm - Catamaran/Snorkel via Shore Excursioneer Day 7 8/24 - Cruising Day 8 8/25 - Return to San Juan With the added bonus of
    Day 9 - Extra day in San Juan!
    With a newly-renovated oceanfront room at my favorite hotel in SJ, the Caribe Hilton. I could not say no to seeing the renovation for myself. I am also a brand loyalist to my dear, sweet Hilton, specifically because I love getting to pick my own room (e.g. north-facing Disneyland Resort room for fireworks every time). We also got a rental car so we can cruise the island and pick up my boyfriend’s mom so she can point us to the best mofongo!
    Who’s Going - my boyfriend (Adrian) and I (Daryl)
    Cabin - Junior Suite 9538. The larger balcony is what got me because I am a lanai girl through and through. I get an oceanfront every time I go to Hawaii and even extended the year-round lanai time to include my apartment in downtown San Diego, specifically for sunset balcony-sitting! So suffice it to say I plan on spending a lot of time out there for sail away cocktails and the JS balcony was a major draw. Priority embarkation also sounds nice without having purchased The Key.
    Pre-Purchases - I got us the DBP for $44pp/pd during the 30% off sale although I can never figure out if it’s on sale or not cause it remained the same price once the sale was over?! Seems like at $12 each it is not hard to get to $44 per day, I can easily drink 4-5 cocktails and will also need 100+ ounces in water to make up for all that dehydration. Hoping to keep track of my drink consumption like @JLMoran! 
    Also got the Voom Surf and Stream for 2 devices for instagramming and live blogging.
    St. Kitts - Cockleshell Beach transportation that includes a stop at Timothy Hill on the way. A taxi all the way down there was somewhat comparable but with a drink and chair included, it was worth it for the excursion version of going straight to the beach.
    Antigua - 80ft catamaran that circumnavigates the whole island! I went back and forth on which beach to taxi to from the port (for the record I had settled on Dickenson Bay - $14, haha) but decided this would be a fun way to see all 365 of them with a lunch/snorkel beach stop on Green Island off the east coast of Antigua.
    St. Lucia - Rainforest Aerial Tram and Zipline in the Castries Waterworks Forest Reserve on my biiirthday! I almost did the Pitons zip as advertised on the cruise planner but opted for the one with the sweet 45-minute aerial tram ride through the jungle. I am thinking SD Zoo Skyfari x10!
    Barbados - Catamaran/Shipwreck Snorkeling excursion to Folkstone Marine Park and Carlisle Bay. I am a sucker for both catamaran rides and snorkeling (a must in Waikiki and at Hanauma Bay evvvery single time) so I couldn’t pass this one up!
    I hope I can keep up with this blog as we go. I haven’t been on a cruise since December of 2005 when I sailed HAL Oosterdam with my parents out of our home port of San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. BUT! My very first cruise experience was with my friend's family on RCCL ol’ gal Sovereign of the Seas out of Miami in 1998! We went to Key West, Nassau and the oooolddd fashioned Coco Cay. Would love to try out Perfect Day on a future cruise to see the transformation (besides the fact that I love waterslides).
    Ahhh! Seeing the logged-in Royal countdown at 6 Days To Go has me feeling near-constant excited stomach butterflies! 😎 These 5 work days are going to crawl by.
  17. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Dan05 in Customer Service   
    We were scheduled for a September 2nd cruise on Navigator that was shortened by hurricane dorian.  RCI went above what would be expected in this situation, and made switching cruises fairly simple.  We are now heading out of Port Canaveral on the 9th. 
    I can't imagine the stress the customer service reps have been under and everyone was very kind, patient, and helpful.  The only issue was the amount of time spent on hold, but that was to be expected under the circumstances.  I will absolutely be sailing and recommending RCI in the future.
  18. Like
    Ken23 reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    The chocolate bar was great. Vacation has officially started! 
    I'm going to turn off my phone for a few days. We may get a day of internet half way through, but I'll post the review and lots of photos when we're back.
    Thanks for all the help (especially @WAAAYTOOO for trying to get our suite email straightened out)!

  19. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to WannaCruise in Navigator - Our Cruise to Nowhere   
    Final Thoughts
    You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the cruise director.  That's because we barely saw him and he's not really that memorable.  Had we come 2 weeks earlier, we would have seen Hugo, who we loved on Mariner.  He was hilarious.  I actually had high hopes for this guy, Cory Rogers as he introduced himself on the facebook page and he seemed enthusiastic.  It's not that he was bad...but again, all he did was introduce the shows (or come out at the end such as the ice show).  Never saw him around the ship, didn't run the belly flop contest, etc.  I'm guessing he did Quest but DH and I didn't make it to Quest this time.  So again, he was fine, but definitely not memorable.
    But...I will say that we really loved Navigator.  I think DH said that his favorite is still Mariner.  DS and I love Symphony for the ship size, shows, etc, but DD said her favorites are Mariner for Skypad and Navigator for the slides.  I also really love what they've done with the pool decks and the different seating available to everyone, which is what puts it ahead of Mariner for me.  Service was great.  Every meal in MDR was pretty good, and lots of activities going on. The promenade too is beautiful with the lighting that they do (probably all ships have that, but I don't remember), and the "sculpture" or whatever you call it going up the centrum near guest services.
    So overall, my ship order is:
    Symphony Allure Independence Navigator Mariner Voyager Grandeur Am curious too where Anthem will fall in the ratings.  We don't necessarily need hot weather so I don't think that'll be a problem, and it seems different. 
    It's a shame about the Tropical Depression that turned into Hurricane category 5 (DS has a story to tell), and very scary with the damage it did, especially to the Bahamas, to the homes and even some lives.  This cruise turned into a cruise to nowhere as it was all sea days for us.  Next summer we have Mariner booked (if no weather issues) and that one is the opposite with no sea days (it's one that got 2 stops at CoCo Cay).  Funny how things turn out (not funny ha ha...but you know what I mean).  
    I'll leave you with one last picture....one of my favorites (not including ones with my family of course)

  20. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to cdixon22 in Cococay - Cat 5..   
    I just read a post from RCCL that said they can’t tell if there is damage or not and will be sending a team to investigate on Wednesday with hopes to open Saturday.  With all the negative nellies out there, maybe they are being extra cautious until they hear from the employees that work there too. 
  21. Like
    Ken23 reacted to RCIfan1912 in Cococay - Cat 5..   
    It's why we call them them the CC police. It's as if I committed a capital crime. Nasty comments. I'm sorry but I'm not buying a soda package for a 4 year old. Now he is 6 and we are on Anthem next month and I did get him a soda package which I'm still questioning. I got it for him and my wife. I am drinking free water this cruise. I have lost 73 pounds and have up all soda and only drink water. I'm gonna bring 10 bottles of water, carry them on and then drink ship water the rest of the way. 
    It's gonna be nice to cruise and not be fat! Just as a side note. 🤣
  22. Like
    Ken23 reacted to spiralqueen in Cococay - Cat 5..   
    Agreed. I think there’s nothing wrong with a reminder of the devastation that families and communities are suffering from right now, but it’s also possible to be concerned about multiple things at the same time. Worrying and wondering about vacation plans isn’t mutually exclusive from being concerned about the effect this storm has on people both in the United States and abroad. I appreciate that for the most part this board is keeping things positive and not jumping at throats as much as CC. Who needs that much negativity??? Too stressful.   
  23. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to Kurtp13 in Cococay - Cat 5..   
    Saw this on another site 'Sean and Stef Cruise Buddies.'   Appears that the storm  isn't centered on Coco cay.

  24. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from cruisestuff in Cococay Infrastructure?   
    Maybe when they finish all the construction, they could offer a All Access Island Tour with behind the scene areas.
  25. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from IRMO12HD in Cococay Infrastructure?   
    Maybe when they finish all the construction, they could offer a All Access Island Tour with behind the scene areas.
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