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  1. Like
    Ken23 reacted to SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    Again, big thank you to everyone who followed along! I feel the love! 
    Now that I've decompressed and begun the detox process (barely, I have about 8 more weeks to go...), I wanted to do a debrief. My review was a bit scattered, and I wanted to put the comparisons all in one place for those interested. 
    As I mentioned, we are also platinum on Disney, but I'm not going to bother to do much of a comparison there. I'll sum it up here: the perks of booking concierge on Disney are pretty much the privilege of getting a Cabana on the Family Beach at Castaway Cay. Be prepared to email that request for a Cabana on the family beach to the shoreside concierge team at exactly midnight on 125 days out. 
    I'm never sure if Disney creates neurotics or attracts them.
    You do get priority check in that is shared with Platinum guests. If you're concierge, you'll get an escort on the ship. 
    You'll have access to the concierge lounge, where drinks are served 5p-10p. Disney has no drink package, 1-2 specialty restaurants which you will pay for like everyone else. No reserved seating for shows. No special disembarkation, unless you ask for an escort off the ship, which may or may not be available. 
    Essentially, you're paying obnoxious prices to score the Cabana, a bigger room, access to the lounge, and the concierge team who acts as your guest services. 
    After our fill, we're done with Disney and won't be back. 
    Now to sum up Royal Star Class v. Haven, I've created a table I'm hoping I can upload in a way that you'll be able to view. 
    Seeing it on paper, it's clear who the winner is. But for us, our cruising decisions will always be based on ship, itinerary, and price. I can safely say we are no longer loyal to the Haven and will always consider Royal SC. We have no intention of canceling our 12-night Southern Caribbean 2BR/2 bath Haven room on the Bliss in December. I feel we got a good deal, and no SC rooms are available on the Anthem during the same time frame, and I remain hesitant to book us outside of SC. We're still really looking forward to the Bliss. We love the courtyard concept. 
    After this, I still need to get bridge tour pics from Batman. I haven't even seen them yet myself. It'll be a surprise for all of us! 
    Royal Port of Cape Liberty.docx
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    Well, as I said, breakfast came early, but I'm forbidden from enjoying it just yet, even though the hair of the dog is probably in order. 
    I've got to go write thank you notes. This is something I always do, something that can be shared with superior officers. With a little $omething to remember us by. 
    Batman put a ban on me doing this while drinking, after I once managed to give an unsolicited letter of recommendation to an officer for a crew member we sailed with many times. I extolled her virtues and made my case that the next time we sailed with her, she should be in a white suit and sporting stripes. You've seen my drinking posts... I'm not sure I ever stated my case clearly. However, I still keep in touch with this crew member, and it turns out I was the cause of a good laugh. But in the end, the officer was touched I took the time to do it.
  3. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    I'm just going to finish this beer. Then I'm going to bed. Seriously. 
    Have you ever watched My 600 Pound Life? I may need to call Dr. Now after the Star Class Food Coma Syndrome (SCFCS). That should be a thing. Really. 
    Batman just said, I'm going to lie down and moan. 
    And he did. I'm a bit concerned. Do Apple watches check your breathing? I am a Samsung girl.  I wouldn't know. I just know, He's set an unimpressive excersize ring closure. I'm concerned I don't have a portable mirror to check for fog later tonight. Later tonight? When do you go brain dead? Nevermind. He's moving. 
    And we couldn't even put a dent in this mess. 
    Plus, I feel like this is taking way too long to type. & I feel like exercise might be spelled funny. 
    I feel like hitting submit might not be fortuitous at the moment. Thank God for word prediction. 
    OH well, I'll just kiss this post up to God. 
    After all, you were warned of PUI early on. 
  4. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    Batman has declared if we both die of heart attacks, and let's face it, we're both at that age, it's Derick's fault. 
    We told him no late night feeding tonight. 
    Not only did he not oblige, he went overboard.

    I'm 5'2" and almost 50 for God's sake. I can eat nothing without gaining 12 pounds. This is completely wrong on so many levels. 
    If anyone knows where I can order a tapeworm and a detox place that accepts high deductible policies, please lmk. 
  5. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to Floski in Where is Odyssey of the seas going?   
    I'm not sure that phrase has ever been uttered before in the history of mankind...
    😉   I  juss keeding
  6. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Tporth12 in One Step Closer To Perfect Day   
    Will also be my honeymoon cruise.
  7. Like
    Ken23 reacted to StayFrosty in One Step Closer To Perfect Day   
    Add another one to the "Unofficial" RoyalCaribbeanBlog Group Cruise!
  8. Like
    Ken23 reacted to SLJ in Allure Propulsion Issues   
    This is our first cruise and I've spent a whole year planning it. I don't even care where she docks. As long as she's running, I'm good!  LOL
  9. Love
    Ken23 got a reaction from SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    Have a Happy Birthday
  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to teacherdl in I'm So Excited!!   
    After tons of research, I finally booked our cruise!! We will be going May 2020 on Symphony!! It's only our second cruise and first to the Caribbean...and first on Royal Caribbean.  We are beyond excited....My brother in law, sister in law, and niece are going...Also, my mother in law is going and she got a junior suite and is paying for our daughter and my niece!  I just had to share!  🙂
  11. Like
  12. Love
    Ken23 reacted to ThyriC in Favorite Cruise Hack/ Tip   
    Oh one tip I heard for those travelling with little ones.  Take photos of your kids before heading off the ship.  You can disguise this as an outfit of the day thing, or a morning ritual thing, whatever.  But what's important, having a current photo of your child in what they're wearing that day.  If you're separated from your child, you not only have a description of what they're wearing, but a picture of it.  Because god forbid the worst happens and you're a distraught parent trying to describe your child to the police.  3 feet tall and brown hair isnt much of a description to go off of.  But a picture is worth a thousand words.  Hopefully this is one of those tips you'll never ever need, but if you do, you have the tip.  
  13. Like
    Ken23 reacted to TJO1024 in Adventure of the Seas - Western Caribbean 6-Night, April 7-13 (Recap Blog)   
    Day 4 - Costa Maya (continued)

    Accidentally posted before talking about post-dinner shenanigans! After dinner we went donated back our previous winnings to the casino, then headed to the Battle of the Sexes (won by the women) and then Crazy Quest!

    I had been a team member in the Crazy Quest before, but my wife had never seen it or participated. I wasn't planning on being a team captain but after no other guys in our section volunteered, I decided to step up and take one for the team...and guess what...

    WE WON!!

    After the win, we celebrated at the pool deck dance party and then headed off to sleep.

    Tomorrow is Cozumel and NACHI!
  14. Haha
    Ken23 reacted to JennyB in Missed Final Payment date   
    "MY FRIEND" (lol) was able to get it ALL taken care of as if nothing had happened! 
    P. T. L. 
  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to hayley_bopp in YOLO Booked Allure!   
    I'm SOOOO excited!
    After a rather lengthy hiatus from these boards (which I didn't think anyone would notice but the eagle-eyed @JLMoran did!) I'm back and looking forward to not one but TWO cruises 😆 
    Having 2 cruises booked has been a dream since I joined these boards and fell in love with cruising in 2016 and saw just how many cruises some of you take. Also, having 2 cruises in the space of one year was another RC blog-inspired #cruisegoal of mine! (I'm blaming you @Matt and @twangster !).
    We have a 2 week Med cruise booked for August on P&O's Azura and have just this morning booked Allure for Christmas with a pre- & post-cruise stay in Miami's South Beach where we'll be staying for NYE!
    I'm a little sad that our summer cruise won't be on RC but I'm looking forward to experiencing a British brand and I'm soooo excited to try an Oasis class ship. When I first cruised on Navigator in 2016,  I loved the look of the Oasis class from people's posts on here but didn't think I'd ever get on one.  Now I'm going to be!
    We'll also be introducing 2 of our friends to cruising on Allure. Although I've tried to explain, I don't think they've got any idea how big she is. I can't wait to see their faces when they see her for the first time!
    On both cruises we've got an ocean view balcony (large balcony on Azura; Deck 10 on Allure) and I'll be Live-ish blogging and periscoping from both. 
    Now, just 108 days to wait until the first cruise...
  16. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in Deluxe beverage package   
    I just did this last night for the Anthem GC and I got an email immediately (even before I hung up the phone).
  17. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Velseg in Oasis Crane Crash   
    Good news!!!!

  18. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Pima1988 in Favorite Cruise Hack/ Tip   
    Go to WJ when it opens for dinner.  Make a plate for your late night snacks and take it back to your room.  Place it in your mini-fridge.  So much better than their pre-made selection at midnight.  My husband is Italian, so we usually make an anti-pasta salad.  Deli meats/cheeses, olives, veggies, etc, with breads. I on the other hand like to hit the carving stations and add that to the plate for me.  We than get some sweet treats too.  
    We always now take a balcony.  We are early risers, 7 a.m. is late for us... I blame that on my Husband working in No VA.  We go to the gym, walk the track or ship when we wake up.  We love doing this because nobody else is out there, it feels as if you own the ship.  The night before we place our continental breakfast request on the door with our requested time for delivery.  IT IS FREE...no delivery charge.  Again,  we go to WJ before returning to our cabin.  We get omelets, hash browns, and whatever hot items catch our intention.  We try to time it right, so within minutes of being back in our cabin, the continental breakfast, with coffee is delivered.  We get the best of both worlds and more.  We don't have to scrounge for a table in WJ.  We can eat on the balcony.  We are able to have a very leisurely breakfast, while at the same time get ready for the day in our room.  Nothing like having the last sip of coffee while you are applying your makeup as you pull into port.  No need to run back to your cabin bc you realized that you forgot to pack something in your beach bag.  We did this with an ocean view, but it feels more cramped since you don't have the balcony.
    If you have the DBP,  always ask for a bottle of H2O when you order an alcoholic drink.  You will need to hydrate.  Plus, at the end of the night or go on excursions you have them on hand.
    Take a flat iron (hair) even if you don't need it.  Traditional irons are not allowed, but hair flat irons are.  The beauty of a flat iron is you can use it like a traditional iron for shirts and pants.  I don't take downy release because I take a flat iron.  Look at a flat iron, and you can see how you can use it to iron out wrinkles in the sleeves of a shirt, or crease the pant legs.  It takes up little room, and you don't need to worry about any liquids leaking on your clothes.
    Think before you pack your carry on board suitcase or any suitcase.  1 of our cruises we didn't get our last bag of luggage until after 7.  Hubby's bag was delivered at 1.  Mine...7 pm..  We physically walked up and down the hallways to see if it was dropped at the wrong cabin...nope.  Luckily,  on my carry on I had packed a dress for dinner just in case.  After that cruise, we now make sure each bag has clothes for both of us.  
    Go on FB and search to see if there is a group set up for your cruise.  IE for my cruise in July, we already have a FB page and will be doing a bar crawl on day 3 starting at 10 p.m.  I want to say the number of participants are @ 25 passengers.  
    Finally, I don't know about Radiance lunch in the MDR, but, the Tutti Salad is a must if they offer it.
  19. Like
    Ken23 reacted to BrianB in The Key   
    Update on the Key. Cruised again on the Anthem from Bayonne on April 13th and had The Key. My experience was the same as I posted above. Everyone at the terminal and aboard the ship was aware of the program and there was no confusion or misunderstanding. Everything went as expected.
    This time, when we arrived back in Bayonne, I took advantage of the Choice Disembarkation. I do the self-walkoff so I had my luggage with me. I chose not to eat breakfast and went directly to the Shore Excursions desk as directed in the letter which was delivered to my cabin the day before. There, I showed my Seapass card with the Key logo to the crew member and took a seat. This is directly across from the disembarkation area. As soon as the ship was cleared, I was directed to scan my card and exit. I was the first one off the ship and breezed through the terminal. For me...well worth it!
    Happy cruising!
  20. Like
    Ken23 reacted to BrianB in The Key   
    Hi! Just got back yesterday from my Anthem cruise. We sailed from Port Liberty in Bayonne NJ...
    First...I purchased the Key because it made sense for me. I travel solo so I only had to pay for me. The price was $19.99 per day so considering that I would have purchased the Voom stream package anyway, it was a no-brainer.
    Upon arriving in Port Liberty...I was directed to a special security line and then the check in kiosk with the Key logo above it. The same security and check in as the upper loyalty levels. After checking in, I was seated in the second row along with the upper loyalty level folks...directly behind the passengers requiring assistance. My trip through the terminal went smooth, as all of the port employees knew about the Key and where to direct me.
    Upon boarding the ship, i went right to the theater and dropped off my carry-on. I was given a list describing the amenities that come with the Key and a wrist band that identified me as a Key member. Later, when I got to my cabin, I found my bag was stored out of sight in the closet which I thought was a nice touch.
    On the Anthem, lunch was available in Chops Grille or Jaime Oliver’s. I went to Chops and had a fantastic lunch. There were plenty of empty tables available and the service was typical Chops...perfect.
    When I received my SeaPass card at my cabin, the Key emblem was on the bottom and I removed my Key wrist band. There was a welcome envelope which contained the schedule with the Key access times for the Rock Climbing Wall, Flow Rider, Northstar and iFly...and my access code for the Voom WiFi. I also received information for disembarkation at Port Canaveral, Coco Cay and Nassau.
    On day two, I received a complimentary fruit plate in my cabin with a card from the Key program, welcoming me aboard.
    When I went to the shows (We Will Rock You and The Gift were great!) in the theater...I was directed to reserved Key seating in the third and fourth row center. Excellent seats! Manned by ship personnel to ensure only Key members could sit there. At ten minutes prior to the show, just as the stand by line was admitted, the rows were opened so that any available seats could be filled.
    In each port...we went to the lower level of the Music Hall and as soon as the ship was cleared by the local authorities, we disembarked. I was late getting to the Music Hall in Port Canaveral. When I got there, I was immediately escorted by a crew member holding up a paddle with the Key emblem on it, past the long line of passengers waiting to disembark, and directly to the security desk at the gangway.
    On the day before arriving back at Port Liberty, I received an envelope with the Key luggage tags and disembarkation information. This included a sit down breakfast in the MDR and then escort off the ship. After breakfast, we were to go to the Shore Excursion desk which was directly across from the gangway, and then right to the head of the line. I did not take advantage of this perk as I was with others who did not have the Key. We came down early for self walk-off and found ourselves near the head of the line.
    My conclusions...for me, the purchase of the Key made perfect sense, especially since I needed the WiFi anyway. Being solo, I did not have to pay for more than one as I would have had to do if there were others in my cabin. The VIP treatment at the pier, boarding, carry-on drop off, lunch, theater seating and disembarkation arrangements was very nice and convenient. Although I did not take advantage of the reserved times for the activities, I did see other Key members using them. I was impressed that every employee at Port Liberty...and every ship’s crew member I interacted with...was aware of the Key and the access that came with it. There was no confusion or misunderstanding. All in all it was a very impressive, pleasant and smooth experience and I will definitely do it again.
    Happy sailings!
  21. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from bhageerah in Royal Caribbean Is Making A Theme Park   
    Could they offer one way 3 or 4 night cruises from or to Florida, with a one or two night hotel/land stay at the resort/hotel pre or post cruise?
    Just a idea.
  22. Like
    Ken23 reacted to SweetPea in Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition   
    I'm doing the Single Digit dance now, baby, and we all know that's when the pregaming starts. 🤣

    Hello! And welcome to Dipping our Toes in Royal Waters, Part Deux.

    Part Deux, you ask? Where is Part Un?!

    Briefly, Part Un was in August 2008, aboard Mariner of the Seas. We were in a Grand suite. We didn’t know why we booked a suite; there was no priority anything and practically no suite perks because the number of eligible Crown & Anchor members on that sailing who had the same access to the lounges completely overwhelmed the services and offerings as well as the concierge team.
    Not that I begrudge anyone their loyalty benefits but combining loyalty perks and suite perks into one pool just meant completely watered-down benefits for everyone. 

    Lines were everywhere. Free drink? Wait in line. Want a seat in the lounge to eat your appies? Wait for a seat to open. Need something from the concierge? Carve about an hour out of your day to get help. It took me practically that long to ask the concierge to book us the single thing we wanted (Ice Show tickets). I should’ve just gone to Guest Services or wherever, but I was chatting with people in line. For forking out suite $$, it was completely unremarkable and unimpressive in every other way I won’t bore you further with here. (This is a fan site after all!) However, due to that completely lackluster cruise, we haven’t sailed with Royal since.

    In the interim, we became Platinum Plus on Norwegian (all Haven or suites), Platinum on Disney (all Concierge), and 3* Mariners on Holland America (all Neptune Suites). I don’t like to say we’re suite snobs, but rather we have “Super FOMO.” Fear of Missing Out. What is not available to us if we don’t book a suite?! What will we be missing out on?! Not that we are “do it all” peeps. But we like to know we can, if we want to. Most of the time we don’t want to, but what if we do? (This makes sense in my head.)

    Plus, the secret to a happy, successful marriage? Separate bathrooms. We don't share a bathroom at home. If we can help it, we don't like to share while on vacation either; hence our suite life propensity.

    Fast forward to mid-March 2019 when our original vacation plans fell through while still being locked in to a specific vacation week at work. We scrambled to find a substitute vacay. What to do, where to go? WHAT. TO. DO??! (Heaven forbid we stay home and work on the house. YOLO, baby!)

    We of course checked the Norwegian Escape Haven first (one of our faves). This ship is approximately the same size as Anthem of the Seas, departs from NYC, and spends 2 overnights in Bermuda. In other words, about as apples-to-apples on paper as you can get. The lowest priced (and rather small in comparison) Haven room was 2K$ more than SC on the Anthem. 
    I’m crazy, but not that crazy. 
    The Anthem for the same week had a single SC room left for the week we needed: one Grand Loft suite. I called my TA who immediately held the suite for me for 24-hours while the hubs and I chatted over our new last-minute vacation plans.

    Spoiler alert: we did not need 24 hours to decide.

    Stateroom nerd warning: before jumping any guns, I needed to know if we were going to be stuck with everyone’s last choice room. My crack whip research showed that Anthem 10324 is a great room and has no negative factors. In fact, we thought we were totally lucky to get it (last minute cancellation perhaps?). A quick review of Star Class Service Perks (which was the real game changer), and I was sold. It took the hubs a couple more hours to come around. But come around he did.
    Mariner OTS, bygones are bygones. We’re ready to come back to Royal! Let’s do this!

    Juicy Deets: Me (SweetPea) and the Hubs (Batman) sailing on the Anthem of the Seas, 4/27, Grand Loft Suite 10324 (SC), departing Cape Liberty, NJ for an overnight in Bermuda and then up to Boston for a full day before heading back to the armpit of my great state on 5/4. (NJ born & bred here. I’m allowed to say this. My accent only comes out when I’m annoyed, thankfully, though CA born & bred Batman argues differently. However, it’s not an accent; we all know Newark, NJ is pronounced “Nork.” End of. Do not argue this with me. I’m 100% right.)
    So, if you’ve indulged me this long (and God bless you for that), stick around for my quasi-live review from a born-again Royal to see if it measures up to our usual haunting grounds. Will it? I can hardly wait to see myself!

    Hopefully, I don’t get frustrated blogging from my phone (I'm not finding uploading and captioning pics here and inserting them between text intuitive at all. Any hints are appreciated. Not having any "preview post" functionality isn't helping me either. 🤪) If i figure it out, be forewarned: there may be an episode or five of PUI. For those unfamiliar with that term, that is Posting Under the Influence [of the drink package] … I should probably test the edit/delete functions of this message board first. After all, #TeamSuperFOMO’s motto is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knows, at the rate I'm not figuring this out, you may just get random pictures with separate posts of me trying to explain them to you later. Out of order. What fun!

    Up next: submitting your DNA test results, current blood pressure and cholesterol levels, your Superhero and Soap Opera names, and the last time you cried at a movie to your Genie. And why you should never let Batman submit said Genie survey on your behalf.
    Stay tuned.
  23. Like
    Ken23 reacted to MrMarc in The End To Future Cuba Cruises!!   
    I just received a call back from the OFAC enforcement office and I spoke to someone in their General Counsel's office.  The answer is...they do not know.  The actual regulations mentioned in the speech have not been drafted, and the people I spoke with had no idea of any kind of timetable.  There is an OFAC page that has the current information and you can sign up for email updates:https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/programs/pages/cuba.aspx  I think I have gone up the chain as far as I can, so now I will have to accept the "just wait and see" situation.
  24. Like
    Ken23 reacted to JennyB in drinks package and Coco Cay   
    ok.  i'll bring my own !! LOL
  25. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from JennyB in drinks package and Coco Cay   
    Unfortunately, RC does not use (a good thing environmentally) small paper umbrellas in drinks.
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