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  1. Like
    stephenkurucz got a reaction from melmar02 in Packing List Suggestions   
    thank you!!
  2. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to MO & LO on the go! in What to do in San Juan?   
    Check out the fort!  That was pretty neat and FREE!
  3. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to WAAAYTOOO in What to do in San Juan?   
    Congratulations !  I know you will have a ball. SJ is a great port.  Just walk around and take it all in.
  4. Thanks
    stephenkurucz reacted to melmar02 in Packing List Suggestions   
    I just got these. 
  5. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to micahd in Packing List Suggestions   
    Lots of good practical tips here. My favorite packing tip is more theoretical: "Leave half the stuff, bring twice the money."
  6. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to monctonguy in Anthem 10/24-11/2 The Last Canada/NE of the Season   
    oh they have some good poutine's there!!!!...and I hope he got a chance to try a "donair" while in NS...some of the best around are in Halifax...at "pizza corner"....
  7. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Anthem 10/24-11/2 The Last Canada/NE of the Season   
    I knew poutine was a big thing in Canada, but an actual "poutinerie"?? That just seems excessive. 😁😏
  8. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to Jaymac Radio in Navigating Our Way To Perfect Day | Navigator of the Seas Not Live Blog 10/28/19 To 11/1/19   
    It Took Me About 5 Minutes To Get Checked In And Go Through Security.

    Also A Nice Thing About Suites Is That They Have Their Own Gangway. 

    So For Lunch I Decided To Go Check Out El Loco Fresh. For Lunch I Got The Nachos.

    And Two Tacos.

    After That I Went To.... Well The Flowrider Of Course😃

  9. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to CGTLH in LIVEish, Back to Back to Back on Mariner!   
    With Thursday being Halloween the ship has started to get on the festive side.
    In the Star Lounge

    Chilling out on the Promenade Bridge

    Over at the Pub

    At the Schooner Bar

  10. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to CGTLH in LIVEish, Back to Back to Back on Mariner!   
    Back on the ship and finally busted out the laptop for some photo consolidation.
    I have to say it has been great being able to see the progress the CocoCay has made.
    Starting off with the infamous tower and sign 

    Some photo editing freedom...

    Skipper's Grill with Up, Up, and Away

    Oasis Lagoon 

    Bathrooms over by Oasis Lagoon, notice the lockers

    Closeup of the lockers, all use a settable PIN code and are of no cost.

    Some of the beach beds, close by the area of the floating bar.

    Loved the sign warning that you're entering a WIFI dead zone.

    Construction barrier for the Coco Beach Club work

    Only noticeable construction feature. You could hear some noise, but I wouldn't call it bothersome.

    Always nice getting back to an empty ship

  11. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Anthem 10/24-11/2 The Last Canada/NE of the Season   
    That food looks so good. I’m envious.  [NE] Clam chowder is about my favorite thing on the planet.
  12. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to Travldworld in Any Updated MDR Menu's Out There?   
  13. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    Good morning, all! Off to Horseshoe Bay this morning, in spite of some really heavy overcast that’s hanging around. Hoping to get some more pics this morning before we head back to the ship around lunch time.
    After that I’ll be staying on the ship while Cathy goes to the Clocktower Mall for some shopping. And I’ll be doing photo triage and some initial editing, as I successfully pulled all of yesterday’s photos (well over 100) into the iPad!
  14. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    Wow, the ship really wants to make amends over this.
    I got a call from the Windjammer Manager about 20 minutes ago. Got another apology and thank-you for reporting the issue at Guest Services so they had the formal record. Was told not only are they going to speaking to the supplier, but also their own QC team that picks up the shipments.
    After this, I was asked to confirm our table in the MDR, and then offered complementary specialty dining in any venue of our choice. Initially asked if we wanted it tonight, but we already had all of our plans timed out around MDR schedule so I asked if it could be a different night. Was told no problem, and that he’d send his business card so I could call him after I had a chance to talk with Cathy and figure out which night and venue.
    It arrived about 10 minutes later, attached to this:

    Say what you want about Royal; when they are politely notified about a matter like this, with zero histrionics and no demands or even requests for compensation, they seriously go out of their way to let you know it’s being treated with all seriousness, and that you are part of that treatment.
  15. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    This was just delivered to our stateroom:

    Didn't realize the Dog House was run under the Johnny Rockets venue management. Appreciate the gesture, but we’ll be saving that bottle for my brother’s upcoming engagement party; neither one of us drinks champagne. 🙁
  16. Sad
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    Well this was... sorry, only words I can find are disturbing, scary, and gross.
    Decided to go to the SeaPlex Dog House and try out the hot dog options. Checked out the menu, saw they had some German options...

    Decided to give both the German and Smoke House options a shot. They were out of sauerkraut, but that’s fine. The longer one in this pic is the smoke house dog...

    Decided to start with that one. Pretty good, nice smoky flavor and tastes like a good sausage mix.
    And then my teeth bit down on something hard. 
    I’m thinking it’s an usually large bit of bone, I’ve gotten that sometimes and no big deal. Just part of the sausage making process.
    It was a piece of metal! Not a tiny one, either, this was a quarter inch long and wide, basically the size of a large pine nut.

    I can only assume it broke off of the machine where the sausages were made. I showed it to the guy at the dog house and another crew member. They apologized profusely, I suggested really strongly that they talk with their supplier and maybe find a new one. Unsaid was that they might want to remove the remaining smoke house sausages from the serving bin.
    I lost my appetite after that. No way I was finishing that smoke house one, who knows what else I might find in it and I’m wondering what was in it that I couldn’t see or taste. And I didn’t want to take my chances with the German sausage, either.
    Glad I had a couple slices at Sorrento’s before this. They really have improved the pizza; still not New Jersey good, but way better than what I had on Freedom.
    Currently sitting in front of the North Star bar while I type this up. It’s nice out, helping to offset my mood after that unpleasant food experience.

  17. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    🎶 Only two days 'til we go on the cruise, only two days 'til we gooooo! 🎶

    Laundry is done, hamper is empty, just have to do some ironing and the clothes packing will finish up. Still have to pack all the camera stuff, charger, and other tech gear; and things like sunscreen and my toiletries are still waiting to get shoved in.
    Seriously, this carry-on size suitcase is going to be seriously jammed full. Very glad I'm not packing my suit, even if this suitcase does come with a suit pocket.
    And now that we're down to two days, I'll reveal the two eBooks I've loaded onto my iPad (and which I suspect I'll be getting a lot more time to read than originally planned):

    The first book is by a guy whose tech journalism I've followed for years, as he was a staff writer for MacWorld and now does tech reporting at SixColors.com. He's also a semi-regular guest on some of the podcasts I listen to, and between liking his writing style online and the stuff he talks about on the podcasts, I wanted to give his debut novel a go.
    Second book was sitting in my list of "want to read" after seeing it listed in a "top recommended Sci-Fi of 2018" list (which happened to be written by Dan Moren's partner at SixColors.com, site creator Jason Snell). Then I saw it was being made into a TV series on Starz, and after watching the trailer / reading the summary, decided I'd better buy it and read it.
  18. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    Hi! I'm Kim! You may know me from my Enchantment of the Seas trip report 2 years ago. We're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
    Me: 47, cruised with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago for the first time and Disney 15 years ago. I love warm weather and palm trees. 
    Mom: old enough to be my mother, cruised with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago for the first time. She also loves warm weather and palm trees.
    We both love to eat. She's gluten-free, I'm gluten-full. We get along very well. 
    We are Basic. We have no Star, Pinnacle, or Diamond statuses going for us. We are our own Genies. We have matching t-shirts that say "Resting Beach Face." We accept every photo op. We lose money on bingo and gambling. All of those things that experienced cruisers laugh at and wonder who they're aimed for? Us! They're aimed for us!
    Our story: we took our first cruise 2 years ago because Mom had a medically crummy summer and I wanted her to look forward to something once she put in the necessary PT work. We had THE BEST TIME and at least once a week every week since she mentioned taking another cruise.
    Mom: Let's take another cruise!
    Me: We could do that. Or we could go back to Virginia Beach! Or find a nice place in Florida...
    Mom: But then we'll have to go out and FIND food instead of just walking to a restaurant and having all the food we want. Don't you remember just grabbing the bag of chips from that stand? And there's no Solarium. And just the hotel is more money than the entire cruise and that's WITHOUT food and...
    I created a monster who wants to be able to grab a bag of Sun Chips and walk away.
    She wanted to take the same exact cruise again, because this time since she's back to 100% and won't have to use a cane. She's even going to the gym now. I know, right? I also know who'll be lugging our suitcases.
    But our beloved Enchantment of the Seas moved to Galveston and the Navigator's 5-day doesn't include Key West. 
    Mom: I don't want a smaller boat than Enchantment, though!
    Me, looking at Navigator photos: I...don't think that will be a problem.
    And here we are, booked on Navigator and headed to Nassau (day 2), CocoCay (day 3) and a day at sea (day 4).
    What we are keeping the same:
    Same ocean-view room. We were barely in it last time and I think that we'd really waste money on a larger room. Same VOOM 2-device surf and stream package.  Still not booking an excursion in Nassau; we're using a map I found online to create our own walking tour with a goal to be back on the ship for lunchtime. I might purchase a bottle of rum to bring home.  Still not booking fancy dining - we were completely happy with MDR and Windjammer last time and I'm excited to add free tacos to our lineup. Can't forget the free chips. Still not buying beverage packages - even when it goes to buy one, get one 50% off, neither of us can sustain the pace to make it break even. And we don't mind regular coffee. What we are doing differently:
    I kind of fibbed about the lack of STATUS. Because we are Crown & Anchor GOLD LEVEL, baybeeeeeee! ha-HA!  We'll be strolling down deck 3 with our four points like this:

    (Which is why we'll never be let into fancy lounges.)
    I bought lanyards from an Etsy shop to replace the "Bristol Meyers Squib" medical conference ones we had before. They befit our GOLD status. My husband is my favorite person but NOT a tropical-loving guy so he is staying behind with my beloved dogs and retinol. He will be driving us to the airport. We are flying directly into Miami the night before to spare me the agita I had last time when we almost missed the plane in Philadelphia. I'll disclose the hotel once we've checked out because I'm paranoid. We are not buying Evian water to be delivered to the cabin - 12 1-liter bottles = WAY too much water. Instead, I'm going to pick up a 6-pack of bottles in Miami to carry on and satisfy Mom's bottled water demands. I'm sure the complimentary C&A Gold status sherpa will help us. (disclaimer: there is no sherpa) I was raised on NJ tap water, so my body has evolved its own high-end filtering system. I pre-rented a floating mat at CocoCay. But with the construction on CocoCay's South Beach we don't have the opportunity to rent a lounger for the day. For just 2 of us, dropping hundreds of dollars on a daybed or cabana isn't cost-effective.  I'm very concerned about snagging seats with an umbrella. Even though the map shows little umbrellas all over, I don't want us to scorch.  I have feelings about CocoCay. It's just ... we had the perfect day there 2 years ago before it became capital-letter Perfect Day. We're not doing the waterpark and my brother would kill me in my sleep if I hooked Mom up to a zipline. I just hope Royal Caribbean remembered that some people's perfect day entails just lying on the beach under an umbrella, drinking and eating. Other than weather, norovirus, airplane crashes, the softening of my jawline, and the ship catching on fire at sea, this is what I'm worried about. I am often wrong, so I'm hoping my wrongness streak continues.
    Flush myself down the Riptide slide. It looks to be 25 seconds long. I can do that. As long as I keep my mouth shut (tall order) I won't drown. Try a Lava Flow.  Have a FANTASTIC time. All that's left is the packing, folks.
  19. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to JLMoran in Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)   
    As with last year, we bought no excursions through the Cruise Planner because it's so easy to just go out and do our own thing. But that doesn't mean we don't have any plans.
    Last year we started our day going to St. George's; this time around we're thinking we'll visit Hamilton and explore the city at our leisure. We'll likely get lunch there as well, and then make our way back to the Dockyard. Depending on the timing, we may check out the dockyard itself and the historic fort or some of the other sights in the area.
    At 5:45 PM that day, we'll be taking a sunset catamaran cocktail sailing that I booked through TripAdvisor / Viator. This was very highly rated and looked to be more enjoyable than the sunset offerings the ship had, along with being appreciably less expensive. I won't be surprised to find, however, that there are some people from the ship with us who actually booked it through the ship. Because it's 90 minutes and leaves right from the Dockyard, we'll be back in plenty of time for our 8 PM dinner slot.
    On our second day in Bermuda, we'll take the shuttle vans to Horseshoe Bay for a re-visit. This time around, we know we want to stay for a longer while so we'll be properly "geared up". But, I mentioned something about a complication...

    As many here know, my feet are... pretty messed up. They've both had multiple surgeries that literally started when I was a baby, and that's led to some chronic annoyances over the years. In this case, the primary scar on the inside of my left foot has once again decided now was the perfect time to cry "uncle" and re-open for what I think is now the fourth or maybe fifth time. I've taken care of it like always, and it's not at all infected or anything bad; but it's also not really healing or filling back in.
    So yesterday I finally got myself to the local wound care center to get it dealt with yet again. But this means I'm going to be wearing bandages for weeks, and that obviously means absolutely NO going into any of the ship's pools. I'd be grossed out if I saw someone with a big bandage go into the pool with me, and no way am I going to make someone else feel that way.
    Never mind what might already be floating around in the water that's bad for me.

    Most likely not going to be able to enjoy the ocean at Horseshoe Bay, either.

    So my time in Bermuda is going to be carefully considered; the massive amounts of walking I did last year will probably have to be scaled back a fair bit, with more time spent on buses, ferries, or in taxis. That's a real unknown at this point, just depends on how much I heal and what kind of clearance the doctor gives me. And a lot of my time on Anthem is going to be spent sitting in loungers, soaking up the sun outside (when it's warm enough), hanging out at places like the Pub or Schooner Bar or Two70 Lounge, and making the most of it with everything else there is to do on board...
  20. Love
    stephenkurucz got a reaction from Pookie in Allure 9/29 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean   
    Wow what a view!!
  21. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to Michael Vitale in Excursion in St. Thomas- Magens Bay Beach Getaway   
    we absolutely LOVED this place.  no need to book an excursion.  just jump in a cab to Magens Bay.  Pay to get in, rent chairs & umbrella, and you're all set.  theres a cash bar with very reasonable drink prices.  $4.50 for Miller Lite !!!!  
  22. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to twangster in New Billboard spotted at CocoCay   
    That photo speaks volumes... about the need for some better photoshop skills :) 
  23. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to mk-ultra in Allure 9/29 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean   
    See that little band of grey extending just below the horizon hiding the two ships?  That's a curtain of approaching rain.  Winds have really kicked up.  Folks still on the beach and at the pool.  This should be fun to watch.

    And voilà, suddenly no problem getting a chair.

    Fluffy clouds on the horizon are starting to do their towering-q strut.

  24. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to mk-ultra in Allure 9/29 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean   
    Random thoughts and loose-ends as I wrap this trip up:
    - In Phillipsburg, bring cash if you are visiting the Amsterdam Cheese Shop on your own or as part of a tour.  I saw quite a few people disappointed that they couldn’t make a CC purchase and didn’t have cash to cover it.
    - Go to Maho beach if you hate beaches and love crowds.
    - In Coastal Kitchen, you absolutely want to try the cured salmon appetizer, and the seared branzino and braised lamb shank entrees.  The cured salmon was 3/4” cubes (belly meat instead of filet?) with the usual cast of creme fraiche, dill, chives and a splash of lemon, served on squares of dense and nutty pumpernickel bread.  It was amazing.  The branzino was the the #1 stand-out dish for the entire cruise.  Perfectly cooked, skin on, seared until skin was crispy — served over a bed of sautéed large-dice squash and zucchini, also perfectly cooked and seasoned.  Good enough, in fact, that I asked if I could thank the person working the fish station.  That’s tough to get perfect in a regular kitchen, much less on a ship.  The lamb shank was done just right as well.  Braised within an inch of its life, perfectly tender, and served over garlic-y orzo and spinach dotted with pearl onions.  Drool.
    - If you need to resolve something at Guest Services and are an early-bird, go down there at 6AM on day two.  Two people working the counter, zero people in line.
    - If you want to see San Juan, absolutely skip any of the cruise itineraries that give you a short (1PM out) day.  Last time I, caught a cruise originating from there and arrived 2 days early to explore.  Personally, I won’t be doing a cruise with a short San Juan visit again.  This is a place you definitely want to linger a bit... go out to Arecibo, see more than just the capitol.  Totally worth planning more time in PR.
    - After a bit of Googling, it looks like the unmetered taxi ride from Port Everglades is a common scam.  Make them start the meter.  And taxi drivers are wondering why Uber and Lyft are eating their lunch?  Taxis in my home city were a similar shit-show until competition finally forced them to clean up their act.
  25. Like
    stephenkurucz reacted to mk-ultra in Allure 9/29 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean   
    Pulled away from the dock at exactly 5:30PM.  At around 5PM, overcast skies moved in and gave us a brief spritz of rain and a very welcome 10 degree temperature drop.  It feels great on deck.  I’d normally stick around for the sunset, but I’ve got a lamb shank to shank and a casino to teach a lesson.

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