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  1. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Fairlynew in Coastal Kitchen question   
    UPDATE.   Just got email.  Reservations all made.  Last worry (albeit a minor one) resolved.  Closed my last open file at work today.  Now in full vacation mode!
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to SuZQ329 in Sky Class on Anthem   
    Thanks for sharing this with me. I see the line of cars in one photo... that is why I am getting there early!  Looks like you had a great cruise!  This is only my 2nd ever. We upgraded to a suite as this is the only vacation this year.  We are also getting married during the stop in Port Canaveral on Cocoa Beach. It’s going to be perfect!  We will be wearing our wedding apparel back on the ship for dinner... not time to change after the ceremony anyway. So excited. 
  3. Like
    Ken23 reacted to tldslick in Anniversary decorations again‼️   
    I bought the package for our 20th on Freedom of the Seas in July last month.  I did not know when they would deliver them.  
    They were already up when we went to our room after 1:30.  Our room attendant had hung them up.  This is what it looked like when my wife walked in

  4. Like
    Ken23 reacted to MDIAZ72 in Perfect Day Love   
    Our perfect day in Cococay began with storms. My little son said it was a "rainy day at Cococay". Thus, when we wanted to access Thrill waterpark, they were about to close it due to bad weather. After an hour and a half the storm passed and we were able to enter the Waterpark. We enjoyed a very good day, especially my children. Cococay is perfectly prepared so that there are no problems with large crowds. In the end it was a great day, a perfect wrap to finish our cruise.

  5. Love
    Ken23 reacted to tiny260 in How much is too much?   
    Midnight snack, the coconut Ranger cookies are my favorite.
    Funny story, Anthem GC, we went to the WJ for a snack, wife wanted some of the Ranger cookies, there weren't any, one of the Officers in the WJ saw the concern on my wife's face, ask her what was wrong and she told him. He had one of the servers go down to the kitchen and grab her some, they were still warm from the oven.
  6. Like
    Ken23 reacted to FManke in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    With the diverse menus on board, considering all the different restaurants and cuisines, they would be more than enough ingredients to make a really great and interesting menu. I'm sure the chefs would enjoy the creativity process involved, since I'm sure they just follow corporate recipes and procedures now.
  7. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from sk8erguy1978 in Have to drive to Cape Liberty?   
    Another thing not mentioned...
    Being only 30 minutes away from the port, you likely are familiar with NJ and/or the Tri-state area traffic.  
    If you are not aware of the Waze GPS navigation phone app, they have a great feature where you can put in a future time/date and it will give you a listing of how long it estimates your travel time.  Depending on  your cruise departure (weekday or weekend) could change how long it takes you.  Waze can give you a exact time to leave to arrive at 10am (or whatever) on such and such day.
    Have a great cruise
  8. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to LetsTryThisPlace in Carnival & Royal Joint Venture !!   
    A port will happen eventually not sure it will be as shown now because people are upset because the government fired there environmental person because they didn't like what they were saying and they haven't proven they have done their research fully. I myself do not agree with the current proposal as it will damage some of towns best reefs (attractions people come here to see). I have seen other locations with better solutions to be honest. I do believe its more about the money then anything (some works are not paid as well as you would think especially in the construction field). It will happen just not sure when or if this will be how it will look. I do fear we will lose some of the brands that come here that aren't part of this deal and I honestly don't know if the port is worth it (ports are nice but at that price I don't know).
    *Rant over lol*
  9. Like
    Ken23 reacted to PG Cruiser in How much is too much?   
    Thanks for all your replies!
    I promise to be nice to the wait staff, I always am anyway.  In fact, my waiter on the Majesty will also be on the Ovation when I sail at the end of the month. He promised he’d make arrangements for him to be my waiter again.
    Food wastes should not be an issue for me. I belong to the “finish your plate” generation. In the days of my youth, my pastor trained us not to waste food because we need to be good stewards of blessings that come our way.
  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to FionaMG in How much is too much?   
    Personally, it would not bother me in the slightest if you ordered large amounts of food as long as you actually ate most of it. What really does bother me is when I see people piling their plates as high as they possibly can in the buffet and then leaving most of it. If you enjoy eating then why shouldn't you take the opportunity, especially since you'll get to try dishes you might not get to try at home.
  11. Like
    Ken23 reacted to YOLO in How much is too much?   
    I don't see why food quantity should be an issue.  My personal guess is if you stay within the normal 2 hour time-slot, are nice to the staff, order all of your items at the same time, and eat with reasonable manners - all the normal considerate stuff - you should be fine.  I have seen two main entrees many times in the past.  And I have seen groups split multiple entrees.  I don't ever recall anyone ordering three, but I bet if you ask up front and offer to skip the appetizer that they would be happy to make it work and squeeze in that appetizer too.  Again this is just my opinion as I have never seen it done.
    The other thing I have seen quite often is if I have trouble making an entree decision between two items, they sometimes just go ahead and bring me both.  But that was a while ago and I think these days you actually have to ask the waiter.
    I once ordered two escargot appetizers, two escargot appetizers for my meal, and two escargot appetizers for desert.  The staff laughed, but got the idea that I really like escargot.  They brought me an unlimited supply and did manage to fit in an actual entree which they picked for me.  It was actually pretty fun and my waiter made me feel like a king.  When he brought me the escargot as the entree he announced it as such, and then laughed a bit.  Then he actually brought them out as my desert and again announced them as desert, I think we both laughed.  It was probably the most memorable dinner I have ever had on a ship.  I will never forget it for sure.
  12. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in How much is too much?   
    I would say who cares! Eat to your heart’s content. Before you know it, you’ll be back at home dreaming of cruise food. Life is too short to worry about if others think you are eating or ordering too much. 😊
  13. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to FroggyFlo in Apology of Marseille   
    Hi everyone!
    Somebody on this forum (I cannot find the thread anymore, it was one about whether ships should do more or fewer days at sea vs ports of call) wrote that RCCL should not stay in Marseille anymore because it is a port of call with few to no interest. 
    As a French woman who married in Provence a guy having been brought up in this very city, I disagree. Marseillians (???) are very passionate about their city and its soccer team! As an "insider tip", these are a few places we consider worth seeing in Marseille or surroundings, that you may give a try to. I do not know if RCCL provides such excursions or not, most of them can be done all by yourselves for a small fee.
    Take the little train from Old Port to NOTRE DAME DE LA GARDE, the cathedral on top of the hill overlooking the city. It is a famous place of faith and you catch a gorgeous sight.
    Take a boat to LE CHATEAU D'IF and LE FRIOUL, 2 little islands in the bay. The first one is a former prison full of history, you catch good sight of the Calanques.
    Take an excursion to LES CALANQUES. This is a stunning landscape. You have some in Cassis too.
    Rent a car and go to CASSIS (13 miles from Marseille), a charming and typical fishing port that holds all the flavours of southern France. I highly recommand it.
    Visit the MUCEM (Museum of Mediteranean civilizations), it's brand new and hudge.
    If you're a soccer fan, take the subway from La Canebière and go to see the VELODROME STADIUM. Olympique de Marseille is the only French team to have won the European soccer cup. They have a museum there, with trophies, etc. The stadium itself is beautiful.
    Watch on the Old Port the sale of fresh fish just caught on the early morning… Or just go to the beach...
    If you're foodies, eat a BOUILLABAISSE, or seafood (Toinou's is my favourite, within a short walk from the Old Port.)
    I hope you may see Marseille with a little bit of the loving Maseillan eye!
  14. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Cruise Summary
    Don't let the pictures fool you, Empress is not a large ship.  Cabins from interior to suites are not as generous as they are on newer and larger ships. 
    In some cases the pullman beds for 3rd and 4th guests that are flush into the ceiling on other ships are mounted externally to the walls.  This is what cruising was like in the mid-80's when she was originally ordered by Admiral Cruises.  Incidentally that is also how Royal Caribbean found themselves in possession of CocoCay - through the acquisition of Admiral Cruises.  It is fitting to visit CocoCay while sailing Empress.
    On Empress you'll find a Royal Caribbean ship with all the core cruising essentials and more - a pool, hot tubs, kids splash area, a pool bar, a Viking Crown Lounge, a Windjammer, a Main Dining Room, Chops Grille, Schooner Bar, Boleros, Main Theater entertainment, Casino, game shows, trivia, rock climbing wall, pool deck activities, live music and dancing.
    When I booked these cruises I wasn't hesitant about booking B2B or 14 nights on Empress because I know and love this ship.  What I should have done is booked B3B or B4B as some of others that I ran into daily had done.  
    Did I miss a Diamond Lounge?  Not really.  The regular top Crown and Anchor members had our regular spot and we would see each other there nightly.  We enjoyed our three free Diamond Happy Hour drinks.  The bartenders took care of us.  
    I still maintain that Chops Grille on Empress is the best Chops in the fleet.  Large windows to the sea with great service and great food.  
    Without question Boleros on Empress is the best in the fleet.
    There is no inherent motion simply because she is a small ship.  Some nights I accidentally left my bathroom door open and it was never swinging or creaking in the night.   
    With only 1,840 guests maximum it never feels crowded.  Certain events were popular and well attended but not overly packed.  
    Voom.  Like any ship that uses the older satellite technology there are times when Voom struggles on Empress just like it does on other ships that use the old technology.  I hope the IT Manager's request for an O3b upgrade comes through, that would make Empress the perfect ship.  
    The new Empress itineraries that include small ship ports look outstanding.   St George's and Hamilton?  Montreal?  Wow!
    Perfect Day - just wow!   I'm glad to see the classic CocoCay beach experience remains with Chill Island but with new food and beverage additions.  Oasis Lagoon is massive and really nice. 
    The complimentary choices mean you don't have to spend a dime to have a Perfect Day but when you want to AMP up your vacation there are choices like Thrill Waterpark to do so.   Captain Jack's and Skipper's Grill with their patios overlooking the Harbor Lagoon are places where you just want to hang out.  The large paved pathway that circles CocoCay is friendly to accessible needs, much more so than CocoCay ever was before.  
    Louis the Loyalty Ambassador once again took great care of me.  With no Diamond Concierge Louis helped to fill that void.  
    Julie our Hotel Director put it best.  She is a small ship but she has the biggest heart plus you can get anywhere in 5 minutes or less.  This is a huge benefit of small ship cruising.  The majority of the crew report up through the Hotel Director and If these crew and the great service are a reflection of the Hotel Director then Julie has done an outstanding job on Empress. 
    There is a part of me that wants to perpetuate a myth that everyone should avoid this ship.  Only then will prices remain low and I can have her all to myself but that wouldn't be fair to the ship or her crew that make Empress not only the biggest little ship but the Royal ship with the biggest heart.
    I hoped you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing. 
  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Oasis Lagoon
    There are a couple of ways to reach Oasis Lagoon.  This way having come around through Skipper's Grill or through Chill Island.

    It's a massive fresh water pool and it's complimentary.

  16. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Ray in First RC, Finding many Differences...   
    As You have already said you are dissapointed before stepping on board, are you really going to let the fact you cannot get BLT or a pizza at midnight spoil your vacation? 
    If you embark with this mindset your not going to enjoy it, you will find fault with everything 
  17. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from RickinSTL in Benefits of using MEI Travel   
    @RickinSTL if the cruise you are sailing on you used a travel agent, the Next Cruise person can usually pull up that information and assign your travel agent of a new booking through them.
  18. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from Hoski in Insiders View We Will Rock You on Anthem Of The Seas   
    I saw this in the cruise planner, or someplace else, but did not purchase it...and regretted it a bit.  I like to do those backstage things when I can.
    A few cruises back I  went to a free Q&A session with (on I think Adventure OTS) 8 of the ships singers and dancers...and enjoyed it on sea day.  Definitely I would do again on a sea day without something else at the same time. 
  19. Like
    Ken23 reacted to mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    Look...I'm back and didn't drown!   voom has been slow and sprint free data in Europe is really slow.  That's partly why I haven't scoped muchI have to add my exciting, exciting news!  Our pins came!!!!   Platinum here we are lol!

    We got invited to our first to tier event lol, but I don't think we can go.  We will see ..we have izumi at 630 and the event is at 745.  If we are done, we will go!  
    CANNES day 2. We have spent a fortune on excursions so decided to be cheap and low key in Cannes.  We slept in and caught the tender boat after all the numbers were called.  If you want to get a tender do a royal excursion or get there early because they were still calling tender numbers after 11!  
    When you have a 16 year old fashionista, you shop.  I bought some soap and we went to a million little clothing boutiques... Mads had a blast!
    We walked around for a while and then hit the public beach just to the left of the port when you really by.   Madison has now experienced 2 public beaches without flinching too much. There were only a few topless today.  It was warm but not horrible and we enjoyed it.  

    We were back on the ship by 430 to relax and get ready for chops.  
    Chops service was very good.  When we mentioned Madison's vegetarianism, he offered a couple options and she chose the eggplant parmesan from Giovanni's, which she enjoyed.  Our food was very good...my steak was a bit overdone but if that's all I'm complaining about, I'm happy!!  The steak pics liked kinda gross, lol, but here are some other pics!  I apologize for all the Jane, Jeff and Madison pics but I'm trying to use this as a memory as well!!!   

    After dinner we headed to the show... The barrade boys are 4 theater singers who all performed at some point in Les Mis.  They did a wide selection and we enjoyed it.  Red velvet cake martini and off to bed!  


  20. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    If you like a Main Dining Room with windows to the sea, the Empress dining room is waiting for you.
    With generous windows on the sides and aft, this dining room is about seeing the sea.

    They were setup for a sea day Brunch when I took these photos.

    Located at the aft and down on deck 5 nearer the water there are fantastic wake views.

    The area where the chef is waiting to serve slices of meat on the black table is where the Hotel Directors Table was held earlier in the cruise. 

    It's one of the nicer MDR's in the fleet.
  21. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Meal with an officer lunch in Chops today.  
    Unfortunately I left my memory card in the cabin so no pictures.
    Very enjoyable meal with the IT Manager on one side and the Inventory Manager on the other.  Another Chop's steak in my belly. 
    Our IT manager has requested an upgrade to O3b Voom but so far it hasn't come through.  He has increased the bandwidth commit for the ship's Voom.  Currently it is 80Mbps down and 50 Mbps up.  That is shared between guests and the ship's needs.  Individual guests are capped so no single guest will ever see those kinds of speeds.
    Our Inventory Manager has promised there shall be Guinness waiting for me the week after next when I return.   Really nice guy who has been with Royal for 24 years.  His last ship was Freedom.  He has a wife and two teenage daughters at home.  They do get to come on board and spend time when schedules permit.  As a 3 stripe officer he has his own cabin.  On larger ships his family can stay with him in his cabin when they visit.  His cabin on Empress only allows 2 so when his family visits they need to use a guest cabin.  He volunteered that he makes a lot more money with Royal than he ever could back in Nicaragua.  Providing a good quality education for his daughters is a priority so that why he is here, he could never do so trying to get by at home.  It's all about providing a better life for his family.  
    Loading and unloading the ship has it's challenges.  On Empress there is one door that everything goes through.  He has to wait until after luggage and some other items have been moved before it's "his" turn.  On larger ships there are usually separate doors dedicated to luggage vs food vs. waste offloading and other supplies.  Bayonne will be interesting due to tidal changes.  At times all supplies and luggage have to be hoisted by crane using a basket vs. forklifts directly.  The crane slows things down a lot.  Using one door and a crane will be a challenge.  
    Come to think of it in Vancouver when Ovation did its inaugural call in May they were using cranes and baskets.  That is likely why that turn around went so slowly.  It happens at some ports when the tides don't put the doors at the right level and tides change dramatically so using forklifts isn't an option.  The things you never think of.
    In hurricane season we carry extra supplies on board.  We might run out of some perishables but there shall be food. 
    Food is inspected by himself and members of the galley staff.  If they reject something that vendor is responsible to ensure replacement items are sent to the ship at the next port of call.  Vendors are therefore motivated to make sure that doesn't happen as it could be very costly to do so.
    He likes Empress because of the smaller ship size.  On this ship the crew and guests become family because every one gets to know everyone.  On larger ships there are so many crew and guests you can go a contract and not meet everyone.  With the sense of family on board the time goes faster and before you know it the contract is over.  I have certainly experience that here on Empress where several offices and crew have recognized me and stopped to talk.  You don't get that as often on larger ships.
    Forgot to mention, we changed time last night.  Back on Eastern time today.
  22. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Day 11, Cruise 2 Day 5 - Belize
    I awoke late after staying up late for the Milky Way and discovered we were at anchor in Belize.  Due to the great barrier reef system here and the lack of a pier or deep water harbor ships must anchor well away from shore (and the reefs) .  Guests use tenders to make it anywhere.
    The tenders were queuing up getting ready to take guest ashore.

    One of the many tenders in use today.

    Today I booked Scuba Diving through Royal Caribbean in the Cruise Planner before sailing.  Catching a sale event and given the tender operations it's just easier booking through Royal especially in Belize since it's a tender port. 
    Our meeting point is common on many Royal ships for ship excursions, the main theater.  Here all guests received a different sticker based on their excursion and we waited to be called.

    When they were ready for us or excursion was called.  Our dive boat picked us up right at the ship.  We would never visit the Belize mainland today, we went straight to our dive boat and back.  A couple of Carnival guests were already on the dive boat since we shared anchorage with the Carnival Conquest today.

    in the past sometimes these dive boats will take you their dive shop to get fitted.  In our case they came prepared with all of our gear and some extra stuff for size mismatches.  From here it was roughly a 45 minute ride to the reef we would dive today.

    i had bought a new underwater housing for my RX100.  Yesterday as I was getting my stuff ready the inner gasket popped out of the track on the new housing.  I spent some time trying to get it back in but there was no way I could get it to stay.  Not willing to risk my favorite travel camera I went back to my old GoPro for underwater shots.
    The reef is very beautiful here and the pictures don't do it justice.

    A Green Moray eel wasn't very pleased with our presence.

    Our dive master pointed out a resting stingray in the sand below.

    Two Spotted Eagle Rays swam past at a safe distance to check us out.  Very majestic with their movement.

    We enjoyed two dives with a surface interval in between.  This is all done with a plan to respect dive tables and how your body absorbs gases under pressure at depth.
    Both were enjoyable dives but I was disappointed I couldn't use a better camera compared to my aging GoPro.
    After the dive was over they served a box lunch and we headed back for the 45 minute ride to the ships.

    We stopped first to drop off the Carnival guests at the Conquest.  The Conquest class was my first introduction to Carnival when I used to sail with them a number of years ago before switching to Royal.  It really struck me how badly the Conquest needed a paint job.

    Finally we were off to our home around the corner.

    Big difference that some routine maintenance can make.

  23. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    This has been the most perfect, lazy sea day.  After breakfast, we spent the rest of our day on the balcony.  This cruise I barely went to the suite sun deck.  Being on Deck 17 is so convenient because I can easily take a few steps to the suite lounge, get a drink, and go back to the room. Food is easy too as room service is complimentary, CK is down the hall, and WJ is just down one flight of stairs. There are already loungers on the balcony as well so no real need at all to head to the sun deck.  This just re-affirms my love for Deck 17 and convinces me that it is best 😊 
  24. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to GregD in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    Great blog! I was reading this while at work, and then this conversation with the wife happened regarding our three upcoming cruises.

  25. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    Flight was hands down, the best Royal Caribbean original production. We have now seen 5 of them and where The Gift is on one end of the spectrum, Flight is at the other.
    The special effects and set designs are amazing!  Royal has really outdone themselves with this one.  Really impressive all around. We still found this cast a bit weak vocally, but the rest more than made up for it. 

    I had high hopes for this show as I taught Grade 6 for a number of years and the History of Flight is in the Grade 6 curriculum.  I have always enjoyed teaching that unit.  
    I thought they did a wonderful job giving a nod to all the important figures who contributed to Flight. My favourite scene was probably the “In Memorial” scene and the one following with the Wright Bothers.
    Love the underlying theme in this production as well as this is the one thing, if only thing, I try to teach my students all year, Dare to Dream, Dare to Fly. 😊
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