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  1. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from Hoski in CASINO Free Cruise   
    And you will likely get offers for additional select free cruises.  Casino Royale sends a mailer every 6 - 8 weeks, plus you can also get them in a email also.
    Depending on your level of play, it could be for a inside, ocean view, or sometimes a balcony stateroom.  If you like the higher level staterooms, upgrades are usually pretty reasonable.
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WannaCruise in Navigator - Our Cruise to Nowhere   
    Ok....well we knew that travelling end of August would be a risk due to Hurricane season.  Last summer on the same 4 days, we had amazing weather.  This year,  well, I'm sure most of you have heard of Mr. Dorian (or is Dorian a girl?).  In hindsight though, we were still quite lucky and really had little impact (except missing Coco Cay...boo!).  And my son said many times on this trip "At least we have a story to tell".
    This obviously isn't a live review, but I like to write these post review....to share our experience , as I really love hearing about others, plus it's great to help with those post-cruise blues.
    First I'll introduce us:
    DH and myself, both in our 40s DS who is 14 DD who is 10 Itinerary:
    This was a 4 night Bahamas cruise on Mon Aug 26th - Fri Aug 30th.  It stopped at Nassau, and had a planned stop at CoCo Cay (nope) and a sea day.  
         aka...3 sea days for us 😁
    You can see from my signature that we've been on a few Royal cruises and we have some more booked between now and Mar 2021.  So I'll sometimes make comparisons to other ships.
    This is where I usually post a beautiful picture of the ship from the outside...but this time, I don't have any.  Ugh.... Darn Dorian....I missed getting that great ship photo from the port (will need to search for one for my photobook cover).
         < insert Navigator photo here>
    I'll start with saying Navigator is a great ship.  I didn't see it before, but I really love what they did during the amplification.
  3. Like
    Ken23 reacted to melmar02 in New way to count down to cruise day   
    Less than a day 'till we go on our cruise, 
    Less than a day 'till we go.
    So happy I  could weep, I'll never get to sleep,
    Less than a day 'till we go on our cruise! 
  4. Like
    Ken23 reacted to cdixon22 in BEWARE!!   
    I agree with you and will be very surprised if they don’t make it right. I’m sure they are just overwhelmed at the moment. 
  5. Like
    Ken23 reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    I have been in dry dock for almost 8 years, and it’s finally (FINALLY!!) time for the uncontainable excitement I have for my upcoming cruise to boil over onto the Live Blog pages! We’ll be on Liberty of the Seas embarking September 1 for a 7 day western Caribbean cruise to Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. We're also heading to Galveston a couple days early to visit Space Center Houston. Unfortunately, this will not be a true live blog as we are unplugging for the trip, but list any questions you have here and I’ll do my best to get the answers when I’m on board then post when I’m back. I’ll post our plans and some details over the next several days and a review with photos once home.
    About us - I am 39 and DH is 47. I home school our two kids and run a wedding cake bakery from home. I like to think I can talk to myself in public and call it a parent-teacher conference. 😉 DH is an engineer.  DH and I have sailed twice before, both on Royal - Independence Eastern Caribbean in 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale and Voyager Western Caribbean in 2011 out of Galveston. We loved both of these, and our only “complaint” if we had to come up with one was that the dance floors were too small. This will be our kids’ first cruise; DD is 10 and DS is 7. DD has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A few years ago, she would have been diagnosed with Aspergers, but it’s now lumped in with ASD. She doesn’t generally need special accommodations as she’s mainly socially awkward (can’t remember multiple step tasks, gets distracted in her own world, interrupts you mid-sentence to tell you all about dinosaurs/Pokemon/every word of a tv show she saw once 6 years ago). With her GAD, she occasionally catastrophizes things. In her mind, wild fires in California mean the whole world will be consumed by flames type of thing, so we did a lot of video watching and safety type prep with her to hopefully ease any fears that might come up on board. I had several photos of a life boat drill and another crew drill from our previous sailings which helped a lot. DS is your typical silly, loud boy. Both the kids are extremely excited for the cruise. Right now they want to spend a little time in Adventure Ocean each day, but we'll be spending a good portion of the time together as a family. 
    Why this cruise - I decided that it had been long enough since our last cruise, and that we were going to take one for my 40th birthday. It’s the same month as the sailing, so it counts, right? We actually had our third one booked in 2012, but we got pregnant with DS and wound up just cancelling due to timing of everything else going on in our lives beyond a new baby (aging parents, job changes, etc). We have been land vacationing a lot these last 8 years at Great Wolf Lodge as there is one less than an hour from our house, the kids love it, and it’s cheaper than Disney!  Because we live in north Texas (Dallas area), we decided to keep it easy and drive down to Galveston. Liberty’s water slides and Splashaway Bay will be a good fit for my kids, and I wanted a 7 day cruise which Liberty offered as opposed to Enchantment’s 4 or 5 day itineraries. We booked during the 2018 Black Friday sale which featured a discount on the second passenger and Kids Sail Free promotions. We picked up about $500 in price drops along the way, even after our cabin category sold out thanks to @Lovetocruise2002's tips.
    More to come...
  6. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to AshleyDillo in Back to the FUTURE of private islands - Mariner of the Seas August 30, 2019   
    "Remember that time daddy went on a cruise and left us at home to ride out a hurricane?" 😂
  7. Like
    Ken23 reacted to VACruiser in JS no longer have access to CK   
    Economically it's a pretty significant jump in money room a JS to a GS on a Oasis Class Ship. On my OAS cruise early 2020 it is a 2K jump in price for just over 100sqft in size so the perks have to warrant the 2K up charge. I guess it depends on what 2K means to you on a vacation?
    If they took it away that wouldn't stop me from getting a JS if it fit my cruise goals. I am not a big foodie so it doesn't bother me to go to the Windjammer or the MDR. I am sure the decision has more to do with accommodating the Sky, Star, and Pinnacles more than the JS crowd. If it gets too crowded the first to go is the bottom of the ladder rung - the JS crowd.  Off to the galley they throw me...row-boy-row  😏 
    First world problem - right!
  8. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    Cruise Summary
    My biggest complaint is the 5 night duration.  Even though I came off another ship before hand it's a lot of unpacking and you just get into cruise mode when it's over.  I feel like I didn't have enough time to really experience the ship properly.   I have a B2B booked in the fall so hopefully that will solve this problem.
    Majesty definitely feels like a bigger ship than Empress (the ship I was on before this) but it is a bigger ship so it had better feel bigger.
    Majesty is dated in places such as decor and the outdoor carpets on the upper decks.  You can tell some new carpeting has been installed in places but in certain areas or staircases the carpet is older.
    Crew was fantastic and I only experienced great service.  
    It was great to visit CocoCay again and I look forward to my next cruise when I have the water park and zipline booked.  
    O3b Voom was great and I really wish Royal would upgrade more ships to O3b.  
    This was a relatively inexpensive cruise and there is great value at the price point I paid.  Majesty has a lot to offer and I'm looking forward to going back to spend more time on her. 
  9. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    Our scheduled start of self-assist was posted to be 7:30am.
    I joined the line around 50 people back at 6:45am.  It is routed into the MDR on deck 4 to keep it orderly.

    At 7:12am we started moving.  
    Through the terminal to CBP where they were making queues for the normal post cruise CBP check.  Some people were already doing the thing with an CBP officer.  As I was getting closer they just opened the lane in the middle and told everyone to walk out.  I guess because we cleared immigration in Key West they decided to go easy on us.  
    Out to the waiting taxis where a lady following after me just threw her luggage into trunk of my cab without asking where I was going.  Hmmm.  So I confirmed she was heading to FLL airport.  Why not split a cab?  
    Dropped off curbside at airport terminal at 7:28am.  
    I had a 4:45pm flight booked because it was the cheapest flight of the day when I booked it.  Being A-List on Southwest I can standby for free so my strategy is to often book a later flight then take my chances at the airport.  I lucked out, seats were available on the 8:45am direct flight.  Through security and at the gate by 7:40am.
    Soon after boarding in my window seat I looked out and saw my bag going into the belly of plane.  Twenty five minutes later my luck continued when the door of the plane closed with the only empty middle seat on the whole plane being right beside me.  Phew.  
  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    Since I booked this cruise with the intent of capturing Majesty in photos here are some of the Schooner Bar.

    You don't get views of the sea like this on the big ships.

  11. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    There is a lot going on around the ship but I'll be back soon enough so I'm not doing the ship's entertainment staff justice.  I'll post the Cruise Compasses once I get home to scan them in properly.
    Outside for a walk on the Promenade deck there were a lot of stars visible.  That made me pull out my night sky photography app and see where the Milky Way might be tonight. Sure enough...
    Majesty has these shelves along the forward section of the Promenade deck that worked great for my little tripod.

    While we were well past sunset the long exposure catches enough light coming over the horizon to make it look like a sunset.  The lights of a city were on the horizon to starboard.
    The big dipper was very prominent tonight.  It stood out more with the naked eye compared to this 10 second exposure.

    In this one I caught a passing airplane with it's strobe light flashing every second.

    For this one I setup on the floor of the deck trying to get into the shade of those Windjammer lights.  In the darkness of the forward deck I got some strange looks as random guests walking past were wondering what I was doing crouched down low in the dark.  Oh well, all in the name of taking a picture.

    All in all not bad.  Majesty like Empress is also a good ship for stargazing with it's dark forward Promenade deck.
  12. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    I thought I'd start the day with a morning snorkel.  
    I asked about the submerged plane at the Snorkel Shack.  It's "Permanently cordoned off, for now." 
    The water was a little rough and the currents had stirred up more stuff to reduce visibility so it wasn't the best conditions today. 

    More jellies on this visit.

  13. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    After a quick bite in the WJ for dinner I noticed a hint of sunset in the stormy clouds.

    The aft of Majesty has a series of public decks at various levels.

    You can see why this was a very popular class of ship in her day.

    Maybe not a full sunset but quite dramatic tonight with the clouds.

  14. Like
  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in The Magic of Majesty. August 2019 and then again in October   
    Fresh of the Empress with a night in a hotel in between I'm ready and pumped for my next cruise.
    Did I mention...  IT'S CRUISE DAY!
    I thought about starting this thread before my Empress cruise even left the dock (like some others around here do) but that just wouldn't be right.
    This five night Majesty of Seas cruise was necessary.  I needed something to justify the airfare to Empress so this side-to-side was the perfect solution.
    Ft. Lauderdale Nassau Perfect Day at CocoCay Sea Day Key West Ft. Lauderdale I love Empress but this way I'm upgrading to a much larger ship!  Plus, I gotta get back to CocoCay.  :) 
    I originally booked a number of Empress and Majesty sailings when the Cuba cancellations were forced upon the industry.  I feared Royal might move these ships out of the fleet.  My plan was to take lots of pictures and document this legacy class of ship that were the foundation of so much that became even much more on later ships.  It was because of the success of ships like this that Royal has become what it is today.   Success breeds success.  As it turns out they aren't moving these ships out to pasture just yet plus I get to sail on some of the best (small) ships in the fleet!  That's a win-win.
    To be fair I split my time between Empress (3 bookings) and Majesty (3 bookings).  I already had some fall bookings that were bucket list type cruises so I had push some my Majesty cruises into October but that's okay, she'll be here waiting for me.
    When you stay in a hotel and pay for things like meals and drinks you quickly appreciate the value that cruising represents.  Spoiler alert - the view out my hotel window never changed and I woke up right where I was the day before.  #boring
    Cabin this time is an Ocean View on deck 4.  
  16. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from Richk in Total Virgin!   
  17. Love
    Ken23 got a reaction from Cam044 in ABC Island must do’s   
    Me too...if it is not too much trouble.
  18. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from YOLO in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    At this rate, maybe @twangster should change his name to Mini Mario.
    Have a great trip.
  19. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to FionaMG in ABC Island must do’s   
    PMs sent. Hope I've done it right and you all get them. Thanks again to @tiny260 for suggesting it. 
  20. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from JLMoran in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    At this rate, maybe @twangster should change his name to Mini Mario.
    Have a great trip.
  21. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    At this rate, maybe @twangster should change his name to Mini Mario.
    Have a great trip.
  22. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    At this rate, maybe @twangster should change his name to Mini Mario.
    Have a great trip.
  23. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Dare you to do it, then rename your blog to, "Adventures of a Pier Runner - Live Blog". 😜
  24. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    Interesting story from the previous 8 night Eastern Caribbean Empress cruise.  
    A guest on my Empress B2B last week had been on for a month and she told me this story.  Empress has a 2pm departure from CocoCay in order to make San Juan a day after a sea day.  On the last run of this route, several guests missed the ship in CocoCay.  Apparently they didn't note the 2pm departure.
    In one case a couple were enjoying CocoCay.  Oblivious to the ship's whistle the woman went to get something to eat while the man went to a bar for a drink.  When he presented his Empress SeaPass card they informed he was about to miss the ship and whisked him away in a golf cart.  Unsure where the woman had gone he got back on board, she missed the ship and it left (late now) towards San Juan.  
    Once she figured out she missed the ship, they put her on Mariner and she was taken to Port Canaveral.  She then had to make her own arrangements to get to San Juan which she did at her expense.  The problem is San Juan had some civil unrest and Empress skipped San Juan as a result.  So she missed the ship again.  This time, since Royal cancelled the call on San Juan they paid for her hotel and airfare to Tortola.  Tortola doesn't have an airport so she flew to a neighboring island and had to take a water taxi over to Tortola where she finally re-joined the cruise. 
    From what was explained to me they stated the excursion they booked said it ended at 3pm so they thought they were good until 3pm.  
    A total of five guests missed the ship at CocoCay.  Unsure what happened to the rest other than being put on Mariner for the ride over to Port Canaveral.  
    Lesson learned.  Even at CocoCay, don't miss the ship!
    Side note - when Empress skipped San Juan they had already taken on the San Juan pilot when Miami decided they should skip San Juan.  Because the pilot had already boarded they were on the hook for the ~$10k pilot fee.
    Hoping we don't skip San Juan but an overnight in Tortola does sound very tempting.
  25. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in ​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​   
    In the words as sung by Britney Spears...  🎵 Oops, I Did it Again 🎵
    For those who are wondering what is he talking about?  (or thinking I've enjoyed one too many happy hour drinks)  I just finished 14 nights on this little beauty last week.  You can read about that B2B experience here:
    Those cruises were great but they were Western Caribbean and this 8 night cruise is Eastern Caribbean including a stop at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.  Royal hasn't visited the BVI very much in recent years so when I saw the BVI added to the itinerary in the wake of the Cuba cancellations I knew I had to do it.  Icing on my cake comes courtesy of another visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay. 
    Miami Perfect Day at CocoCay Sea Day San Juan Tortola St Thomas Sea Day Sea Day Miami Our Perfect Day ends at 2pm so we can make it to San Juan for a 3pm arrival after a day at sea.  We stay until midnight in San Juan so if all goes well I hope to get some evening and night pictures around San Juan.
    Sailing in a Junior Suite I have scored one of the most forward deck 9 JS cabins this time.
    I love this small ship and her big heart.  It's a good thing I love this ship because this will be my fourth cruise on her.  My Crown and Anchor points haven't been posted yet from my last cruise on her so with the "paint still wet", I'm heading back to the love of my life, or at least the love of my life right now. 
    Because I'm flying I don't like taking just one cruise so with a night off the water in between, I'm doing a side-to-side over to Majesty right after this cruise.  A few years ago I started dreaming about a tour of the small ships and this marks another step towards completing that goal.  
    I think I set a record this time having packed my suitcase a full two days before the cruise.  Basically I took my cruise clothes from the dryer and put them right back into my suitcase.  
          " You see my problem is this
           I'm dreaming away
           Wishing that heroes, they truly exist
           I cry, watching the days
           Can't you see I'm a fool in so many ways
           But to lose all my senses
           That is just so typically me
           Oh baby, oh "
    Okay that doesn't make total sense but it's the only part of the lyrics that somewhat fit so I'm going with it.  
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