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Curt From Canada

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  1. The best food I have had on a ship (RC or others) is at the Chef's Table. It is a fantastic experience. A multi-course meal paired with OK to decent wines. There is a fee (and it is not cheap), but you did ask for the "best food". Two pieces of advice: 1). Do not eat or drink too much before the meal. Typically we will roll out of the dining room after this meal. 2). Do not plan much for after the meal ... sitting or sleeping are about the most energetic things that come to mind. 😉
  2. Canada is very much dependent of years of service. My current company gives: 0-10 years = 3 weeks 10-15 years = 4 weeks 15-20 years = 5 weeks 20+ years = 6 weeks plus most provinces give 13 statutory holidays per year Every single one of those days is required for cruising. 😉
  3. It is too bad that Denali is not an option. We did it about 4 years ago and it was the highlight of the trip. We made the trip 'kinda by mistake. We wanted to book Vancouver to Seward and then southbound back to Vancouver. The Royal Caribbean Booking Agent convinced us out of the return trip. She said, "I am from Alaska. If you are going that far, you need to go to Denali. Do yourself a favour and sail northward, but take your own land tour to Denali and fly back from Anchorage". Best advice I have received from any travel professional. I think we had a little bit more time (than 3 nights), so you might have an issue getting all the way Denali and back (I think we had more than 5 days). However, one option that might work (you need to do your own research). There is a town north of Anchorage called Talkeetna. They have phenomenal views of Denali and they are still about a day south of Denali (I think it took part of day to get there from Anchorage). There is also a little coffee shop in town that plays Beatles Music every Sunday morning. We went there for a coffee and ended up spending most of the morning. Simple, relaxing, timeless fun on a sleepy Sunday morning in Talkeetna, Alaska. Who knows if it is open. Still that moment is frozen in time for us. Other than that we just had fun walking around Anchorage for a day.
  4. The places on Anthem to sign up seem to move around. When we signed up on Anthem, it was in the Theater. It was clear in the first Compass we got (on boarding) where to go. If not clear, ask any crew member. The Escape Room on Anthem is basic. However, the challenge of "escaping' transcends the bells and whistles that other rooms may have. Although no one is in danger 😉, there still is the rush of wanting to win. This is not like sitting in the bar with a drink playing trivia, this is break neck speed puzzle solving. 😉 ... Just kidding ... slightly. 😉
  5. Escape Room bookings are the RC equivalent of a "Booking Roulette". Sometimes you see in advance (on the Planner) and others times they book up very quickly so they do not show up on the Planner. We went once on Anthem and it was a blast. We were unable to book in advance and went to book as soon as we got on the ship. We were on a waiting list and were lucky enough to get in towards the end of the cruise. The more popular it gets the more expensive it gets (I think we paid $9.99pp 2 years ago). I had heard recently it was $20pp. We were fortunate enough to get teamed with a number of teachers from NH. Although I want to, I will not brag about our record setting time. 😉
  6. 1. Everyone has chimed in, and all the suggestions are good. The best one that I saw on this thread used them with the folding shelves (Brilliant). Independence rooms have lots of space, so it will probably not be required. Still, for hanging up small items the hooks are great. One big tip ... The first time I used them to hang up robes. I forgot them as we left the ship (my rookie mistake). You will become so used them, you may think they are a part of the room. Make sure you pack them up when you leave. 2. I always tell new cruisers the most difficult thing you will do on a ship is try to determine what you will NOT do at a given time. On a ship like Independence you will frequently want to to do more than one thing at the same time. The compass will be in your room each evening. Take at least one highlighter and mark the events you MAY want to do the next day. Spend the early part of each day to plan out your day. Do not take on too much, hopefully you will have other cruises to catch up on stuff you missed. We are starting to take a nap in the afternoon (age has its privileges), to help full appreciate the evenings on board. 3. We do not use The Key, but for a first time cruiser it can be a great idea. Ask lots of Crew members what to do with it. I am certain they will be very helpful. You are correct that The Key will make embarkation and debarkation easier w.r.t. meals. On the other days you may enjoy the Main Dining Room more for Breakfast and Lunch. The Windjammer is a zoo (except if you eat a little bit earlier or later than the norm). Any bad things you have heard about cruising are grossly and severely over-hyped. You will have a blast. 4. Already suggested, but the promenade deck outside that wraps the ship of Deck 4 is quiet and tranquil. There are places to sit in the shade and it is very relaxing. Smart walkers use the deck due to the views, quiet and shade. Also, Olive or Twist on Deck 14 (aft elevators) is normally very quiet with even better views. We go there often to read during the day. It is also a quieter place for Sail Aways. 5. You are correct. Port days are almost always very relaxing on board. You will have the run of the ship. We have been to Cozumel many times. It is a 50/50 chance that we get off the ship these days.
  7. Sorry this is not a "Spending Control" tip. Still, it is a great Navigator of the Seas tip: The Deck 11 Aft Men's Washroom is the best public washroom on any Royal Caribbean Ship. It has a fantastic view, when you are doing what you do. Tell your male friends, tell people you meet on the ship, tell random people on the way to and from the ship. You will become instantly popular. There are lots of pictures on the Internet, but there still is nothing like being there. 😉
  8. I went twice in the last two years on Quantum. It was pleasant. It was interesting. If we were just looking to relax it would be nice. Now the "but"... We love the live music on Royal Caribbean. It was "captured" us 14 years ago. As long as they continue to have great live music (Broadway, Standard shows, small Cabarets, live house bands), we will keep coming back. Even on the small ships the RC Orchestra will play live intimate shows. We like to dance. If there is pre-recorded Ballroom Music on a great dance floor, we will still seek out the live bands. If there is a musician in Central Park under the stars, we will easily sit there for an hour. The Virtual Concert was nice, but we will always default to live music.
  9. For just my soulmate and I: 1 - Roller-ed Suit Bag: Good for all formal wear and all dresses. 1 - Roller-ed Large (25") Bag: Good for virtually everything else. 1 - Roller-ed Carry0n (22") Bag: Good for all the first day essentials (Something for dinner, pool, medications ... just in case luggage is late) + Wine. We used to pack a lot more, but we have optimized our packing list over the years. Each cruise we try to take a little less and see if that works. Our next challenge is a 14 day Antarctic Cruise. We did Alaska once (and ended up having to buy some clothes en route). If anyone has Antarctic experience, we would love to get any hints.
  10. Saw the Stowaway Piano Guy on Harmony 3 times on our cruise in FEB 2019. We got to dance on the Boardwalk (1st time ever) and in the Elevator (2nd time for a scorch the floor Swing in an Elevator). When we saw him the elevator, we had to run around to the other elevator bank to catch up with him. He is a blast.
  11. +1 to dressing for only one person (my soulmate). Each night I ask her what she wants me to wear. It takes me less than 15 minutes. Making her happy makes me happy. With respect to what others wear, I like to apply the old French Proverb: "Praise the god of all, drink the wine, and let the world be the world." Wear whatever you want ... we are not watching.
  12. Ooooooops ... just got it ... no it was "Drinking". Nicely done.
  13. No ... we are committed. Booked and we will be making the trip. Our questions are more around what to expect on Celebrity vs. RC. I think we are used to being very comfortable with certain "processes". The Project Manager in me wants to be prepared for as many as possibilities as possible. Curt from Canada
  14. After 23 cruises on RC, we are moving to a Celebrity cruise to make a once in a lifetime journey to the Antarctica (FEB 2020 on Eclipse). We are Diamond Level, which we know qualifies us for Elite on Celebrity, but we are interested to hear any advice for us "rookies". We know the Diamond "drill" on RC, but are interested in any hints for this special cruise and how to maximize our experience. Just FYI ... we are just off Grandeur where we had a blast (again). Small ship, but big time fun (dancing, singing, and that other "ing" that starts with the letter "D"). 😉 Curt from Canada
  15. A few quiet suggestions. We too, like to be a little bit away from the "madding crowd". Actually, I think there are many, many places to "get away from it all". It does not matter if there are 1,000, 2,000, or 6,000 people on board, the ship designers are aware of the potential issue. Try: Deck 5 on some of the ships (especially Oasis and Freedom Class, possibly Voyager Class [it has been a long time]). They even have deck chairs aft. I think Radiance class have on deck 4 (but it has also been a long, long time). Maybe someone, with some recent experience can chime in. However, the aft portion of the ship near the wake is very special. Deck 6 on Grandeur (aft again) in the South Pacific Lounge. Again, you can see the wake. It is not outside, but it is quiet if nothing is happening in the South Pacific Lounge. It is right beside the Diamond Lounge. It might be similar on other Vision class ships. Quantum class has the Two70 lounge the is on Deck 5 aft (however the seating is not great for wake viewing ... still it is normally quite quiet). The Viking Crown Lounge on any ship that has not been taken over by Suite "expansions". Again, I am looking for the veterans to indicate which ones apply. I have not verified, but probably: Mariner, Voyager, Brilliance, Vision, Empress, Enchantment, Majesty, Adventure, Grandeur, Liberty, Radiance, Explorer, Navigator, Serenade, Jewel, Independence, Freedom and Rhapsody. I agree 100% with Central Park. Especially in the evening when they have music playing in the park. Very calm, cool and relaxing. Most, if not all, Solariums. They are covered so it really does not matter on which part of the world you are is. Just be aware that there might be some restrictions in Asia. I think Radiance Class and Quantum Class have an outdoor area aft of the Windjammer. Not as good as the ones above, but still very pleasant. That's a start ...
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