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Babsy47

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  1. Here's the thing -- life is dangerous and terrible, awful accidents happen. And the awful, horrible things that happen can be just unimaginably painful and impossible to ever forget. Reality, however, is that most of the time, these awful, horrible things really are just plain accidents. There are not bad actors. Royal Caribbean cannot create a cruise ship without windows that anyone would want to cruise on in the Southern Caribbean. That area of the world is just plain hot. If every area on a cruise ship were indoors, no one would cruise. Outdoor areas require air circulation and a breeze or they become unbearable. Thus, the pool deck of ships needs to be outdoors and it needs windows and fresh area. There is no alternative. Similarly, most of us want access to open air balconies, because being indoors on a cruise ship stinks and being outdoors without a breeze is miserable. On the other hand, all of us do stupid things occasionally. Who hasn't done something stupid like accidently not noticing a stop sign or a red light? Who hasn't failed to notice a car in the lane next to us when changing lanes? Who hasn't lost track of a toddler for a couple of minutes at some point? All of us experience moments of distraction where we accidently engage in conduct that could cause an accident. In almost all instances, our momentary lapses do not result in harm to us or anyone else. In rare and awful cases, absolute tragedy results. Here, one possible scenario is that grandpa got on a ship. A lot is going on and he focused on many different distractions at once. He puts his granddaughter on his lap as he always does, and she stands up to look out over the rail. Or he unthinkly, out of habit, stands her up on the rail as he always does and just for a brief second does not recongnize the danger of the open window and she is gone. It is horrible and beyond tragic. It is something too awful for anyone to contemplate. But, it is not something for which either ship or granddad should be blamed. I took my eye off my five year old one day while we were swimming in a placid swimming hole I thought was safe. I two seconds, my little boy was taken by a current I never saw or recognized over 20 foot dam. He went over the waterfall, came up, and managed to hold onto a fallen tree until we could get to him and he was fine. For the rest of my life, however, I will relive the horror of that moment and I will never, ever overcome the guilt of not recognizing the danger of that swimming area. But, blaming me for my negligence would not help anyone. It might make folks feel better about the safety of their own kids. But, really, life is dangerous. And every once in awhile, horrible accidents happen. My deepest sympathy is with this family. The attorney, however, I hold the attorney in absolute contempt.
  2. We ate lunch at Sabor. We live in Southern California, the land of abundant delicious Mexican food, fresh avocados, and fresh citrus (we have a garden with an avocado, an orange and a lemon tree at our house). Thus, Sabor is fine for us, but not anything different from what is commonly available near our house. We love avocados, and Sabor does a good job with their guacamole. The tacos and salsa were fresh and tasty as well. Dinner this evening was Hibachi at Izumi. What fun! Izumi's chefs put on a great show. They do a fantastic job of engaging with each of the guests at their table. I had a smile on my face the entire dinner! The chef really focused on our son and even involved him in the cooking. Among the three of us, we ordered steak, lobster, scallops, and chicken. Personally, I found the chicken the weakest of the offerings, and I generally like chicken! The food, however, is secondary to the experience I think, and everyone at the table seemed to have a really fun dinner. Another SC note -- all of the food is included. This means that we could order lobster anywhere it was a available. I love lobster, thus I really took advantage of this particular perk! I'm not much of a mochi person, and we really try to limit ourselves to one dessert per day. So, after dinner, we took a Ben and Jerry's run. Boy, was that good! One other SC note . . . at some point, our son told Alan how much he loves buffalo wings. From that point on, we had buffalo wings in our room most every afternoon!
  3. Day 3 -- At Sea! Two fun, but exhausting days under our belt. Now, a fantastic sea day! We spent some time reading and relaxing on our deck. We also played mini-golf several times, got caught up in a table tennis tournament, climbed the rock wall several times (my husband and son love climbing, and they drag me along), took several turns on the flowrider, and just enjoyed the day. Son and husband took a flowrider lesson, and both progressed toward standing up. I, however, stuck to my stomach. In a perfect world, I would stay off that particular machine, but I always end up giving into family peer pressure and taking a couple of turns. Now, this is where the SC becomes somewhat odd. On sea days, SC can "cut" the flowrider, climbing wall, and zip line lines. On flowrider, they put SC people in the corner of the flowrider area to wait, and generally you only wait a couple of people before they call you out. My husband and I simply cannot handle the not waiting in line part, so we either wait like everyone else or watch. Our son, however, got the hang of standing on the side and taking his turn about every 4 people or so. The rock wall and zip line are not quite so obvious or uncomfortable. On the rock wall, the SC people only go to the front of the line once, and then wait with everyone else for the next turn. And the zip line often does not have a line. In any event, my mind is torn on this benefit. On one hand, it is part of the price. On the other, it just seems wrong. But, our son had an awful lot of fun, so it was all worth it. Our son also spent a good deal of time at the teen club, allowing us time to just chill on our private deck (with our own hot tub -- what a treat)! Our son really enjoys getting away from us and going to the teen club, primarily (I think) because he would spend all of his time gaming if we allowed it. But, based on his comments, he games during free time, but does participate in and enjoy the planned activities as well. Certainly, as a younger teen, there were times he felt uncomfortable with some of the older boys. But, in general, on each cruise, he develops a peer group of kids his age who he enjoys spending time with. We do make sure that he always attends the open house on the first night. I think that whether a kid will enjoy the teen activities really depends on the kid. Gamers will have fun, as there is always a group of gamers. And, gaming creates immediate connection amount the players. In short, our teen always looks forward to spending time in the teen club, and we generally need to limit how much time he spends there so that he engages with us!
  4. Day 2 dinner -- 150 Central Park. My favorite restaurant on Allure is 150 Central Park. I know everyone has different opinions on this venue, and I have to say, I miss the bread and salt. I, like many others, enjoyed sampling the different salts at the beginning of each meal. The replacement bread just does not do the trick. But, all of the other dishes we sampled were great! I ordered the fish dish, which was perfectly cooked. My son and husband shared the beef, and they loved it! Tonight we met Alan at the the aqua theater for Oceanaria. To me, one of the huge benefits of SC is not needing to reserve entertainment ahead of time. Each day, we spoke with Alan about the evening's entertainment, and he would arrange seats at whichever venue we selected. Having the luxury of deciding the evening's entertainment based on how we felt that day/evening took a good deal of stress out of the entire experience. We would arrive at the venue about 10-15 minutes ahead of time and get perfect seats. We then had abundant time to order drinks, get settled, and enjoy each show to its fullest. All three of us marveled at Oceanaria. The talented divers and acrobats put on a terrific show, and the pair who "hand balance" steal the entire show. We had great fun, and thought the show was an exciting end to a full (and exhausting) day. We went to bad glad that for the upcoming sea day!
  5. Day 2 -- Nassau We arrived early in Nassau. I'm not much of a ship-organized shore excursion person, as I get anxious with too many people in one group. We've been to Nassau several times, and we generally dive. But, the only real dive operator that works with cruise passengers is Stuart's Cove, and they require a booking through Royal Caribbean. Also, getting to Stuart's Cove requires a wait and a long drive. Our son voted for Atlantis, so Atlantis it was. There are many ways to do Atlantis -- through the ship, through Atlantis itself (and a taxi to/from), a room at Comfort Suites, or a room at Atlantis. This time, I used hotel points for Atlantis in the least expensive room for a night. We got off the ship shortly after breakfast at CK. Aside -- I love the CK poached eggs with farro. No idea why -- it is just a combination that works for me. Ok, back to Nassau. We took a taxi from the taxi stand once you exit from the cruise terminal. The price is per person, and we just paid $20 for the three of us (but, I believe the actual price is less). Once at Atlantis, we checked in and received wrist bands. We did not use our room at all, as it was not ready until around 3:00 pm. I did reserve preferred seating in advance through the hotel. I emailed with the concierge at Atlantis. Even if you are not staying at Atlantis, you can reserve preferred seating or cabanas if you purchase your Atlantis day pass through the hotel rather than RC. The cabanas require reservation far ahead of time, but a week or two is far enough ahead for the preferred seating. The preferred seating cost about $50 and included two chairs, and umbrella, towels, a mobile locker (an ice chest looking thing with a combination that sits next to your chairs), and a person who serves food, drinks, etc. The seating is very close main pool (near the Challenger Slides), but around a private pool with waterfalls that only preferred seating patrons access. For anyone who spends most of their time in the pools and slides, the preferred seating offered an excellent alternative. We did not need to worry about towels, lockers, or chairs, and we enjoyed a nice, shaded space for downtime and lunch. Food at Atlantis is edible -- not much more. But, one does not go to Atlantis and its pools for the food. We always have a ton of fun at the water park. We love the not-so-lazy river and slides, and this trip did not disappoint. And, as a bonus, no rain! Often, we have experienced rain for a good portion of our Atlantis days, but on this trip, the weather cooperated. I always leave about 75 minutes (at a minimum) to get back to the ship from Atlantis. So, after a full (and exhausting) day keeping up with a 13 year old on slides, we got a taxi and headed back to the ship. From my perspective, taxis offer the best way to get to and from Atlantis, as we have never had to wait for a taxi more than about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. So, no Atlantis pictures.
  6. More suite pictures (I hope). The suite was great -- no noise at all from CK! The only tiny little downside is that anyone can see into the room if you have the lights on and the shades open from the pool deck. We do not care too much about such things, but it is something to keep in mind! The shads and curtains close and open with a button, so it is very easy. But, you need to remember to do so!! We really enjoyed being so close to CK -- we could just pop in anytime for a drink, coffee, or whatever else.
  7. We are on this cruise too! We are super excited! It is getting close . . .
  8. After breakfast and some pool time, we took an Uber to the port. Unfortunately, we ran into an event (some type of triathalon), so the trip took much longer than anticipated. We are staying in 1758 which qualifies as Star Class. We arrived relatively early (about 11:30). We had no problem finding the Star Class flag and the attendant with the flag. It took the Star Class person a bit of time to find a porter to help, but once she tracked one down, we were whisked away (with luggage) to a private lounge area. We were offered a nice place to sit, and one of the genies came over and took our passports. After a couple of minutes, he returned with our boarding cards and we boarded the ship, luggage and all. Although early, our room was prepared and beautifully set up with birthday decorations and a birthday cake for my husband. From the time we arrived at the terminal to arriving in our cabin with our luggage took no more than 15 minutes. Back up -- we were the Allure going to Nassau, Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. Sorry about the lack of upfront information! Before we left, I had exchanged several emails with our genie, Alan. I let him know which shows we wanted to see (my son is a theater kid, and wanted to see Mama Mia all three times!), our food likes and dislikes, and our general schedule. I also let him know it was my husband's birthday. We really enjoyed all of the work that Alan put into making our cruise perfect for us, as I will try to detail as we go through the trip. We first met Alan when we got to our cabin. He greated us effusively and let us know everything going on for the day. We asked for a lunch recommendation, and he recommended Coastal Kitchen. As we had a big breakfast and planned for dinner at Chops, we decided to have a light lunch and CK was perfect! In addition, we had so much food in our room when we arrived, we did not really need lunch at all! Alan also explained the entertainment schedule for the week, and set up spa appointments. The cabin attendant, Marco, came and explained how to use the room. There were many buttons and switches that controlled the lights, curtains, and shades. He also explained how to use the hot tub on the balcony (use there was a hot tub, and we used it!) The hot tub was an amenity we were not expecting, so that was a great surprise. We stayed in cabin 1758 which is next to CK, and it was a simply spectacular cabin. It offers an entirely separate bedroom with a door separating the bedroom from the living area, two bathroom areas, a huge amount of storage space, floor to ceiling windows, and an expansive balcony. We were just astonished by the cabin, and ended up spending as much time as we could in it. I far preferred sitting on the cabin balcony to sitting at the pool. I could feel like I was alone on my own ship as opposed to sharing it with 6000 other people! After eating and getting oriented, we spent some time outside before the muster. Our son took advantage of the zip line several times as well as the flowrider before it got too busy. We also played mini golf, which for some reason was empty. After the muster, we just relaxed and unpacked until a fabulous dinner at Chops and then Mama Mia. At Chops, we enjoyed the filet and lobster. I know some do not like Chops. I love it, and I am not much of a meat person. To me, they did a great job with the lobster and sides, and provided top-notch service. The Mama Mia case was excellent, and we go to many shows. Honestly, the cast on the ship rivaled many I have seen in LA. We later learned that it was that cast's last cruise on their contraperhaps they did a spectacular job the last week? Regardless, the show was great.
  9. I had great intentions of blogging our trip live. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted each day that I failed miserably. But, I kept pictures. And, I may have some helpful information on ports and the like. So, I thought I would share and answer any questions folks might have. I arrived in Miami a couple of days before our cruise for work and my family joined me a day early. We stayed at the Loews Miami beach, and loved the room, the views, the beach, and the Miami beach vibe! Being from California, we were able to stay up late (for us 11:00 pm is late), and just wander Lincoln Avenue. The hotel is pricy for a short stay. It does, however, offer a beautiful oceanfront pool area for kids and a terrific beach. We used both. The folks at the beach hut were quick to provide chairs and umbrellas. On the morning of the cruise, we got up early (the picture that looks like night was really morning) and walked the beach all the way south. On the way back, we walked up Collins Ave. and found a nice little place along the sidewalk for breakfast. They all run together, so I did not really figure out where we actually ate. But, I think all of the places along the street would be nice for breakfast.
  10. One week to go!! Interestingly, today we spent the day skiing and it was freezing. It seems impossible to believe that in a week, we will be warm! I have work in Miami on Friday, so I am flying out on Thursday. My family is coming on Friday. We have a pre-cruise day in Miami on Saturday and plan to just hang out at the beach. If anyone has any great ideas for things to do (or places to eat) in Miami Beach, I'm all ears!
  11. Thanks to everyone for all of the great Cozumel beach club recommendations! Hopefully, we will be able to make it to the beach after diving.
  12. On this trip, our Genie is Alan Rodrigues. He has been super responsive so far!
  13. I have so enjoyed reading other live blogs in the weeks leading up to our trip in April, that I committed to reporting our trip that starts April 14. My husband, son (13), and I have booked what is called a "Grand Panoramic Suite" (category "OP") on Deck 17. We cannot wait to see it in person! A bit about us . . . we love to travel, but my husband and I have different ideas about what constitutes a "vacation." He loves hiking, climbing, diving (SCUBA), and camping. He also loves exploring ruins (anything really, really old). I, on the other hand, enjoy cruises. So, we compromise. I camp and hike with him, and he cruises with me. But, I do try to select active cruises with many ports where we can do things he enjoys. Thus, on our upcoming cruise, we are visiting ports where we can dive and explore ruins. A perfect compromise in my humble opinion! We have cruised with Star Class previously. We took an Eastern Caribbean cruise on Harmony in a Star Loft suit with son and nephew (12, 10), and a Western Caribbean cruise with five people (adult son, DIL, son, and husband) in an A2 on the Allure. Our prior genies were Aracelli and Charlie Stoll (they were both awesome)!! I have completed our initial questionnaire that we received several weeks ago. I'm not much into the "who would you want to dine with" genre of questions and tend to leave those blank. I do, however, answer the questions about our habits, food likes and dislikes, etc. We received a specific email from the genie for this trip about three weeks prior to the cruise date. For this trip, I decided to provide as much information as I could about the three of us and what kinds of things we like (and what we do not). I have no idea if it will be helpful, but I figured that if someone is trying to get to know a family, as much information as possible is best. We will see! I am going to do my best to attach photos. If anyone has anything in particular they are interested in seeing, let me know. We plan to eat at least once in each of the specialty restaurants, see each of the shows, and get off the ship each day. I always plan activities not through the ship (I use and love Tripadvisor). I have planned the following: Nassau -- Aquaventure (my son loves the place) Cozumel -- Morning dive and then the beach (I haven't yet selected a beach club, and suggestions would be welcome!) Roatan -- Diving (and, if we can fit it in, a visit with a sloth) Costa Maya -- Morning visit to ruins and diving in the afternoon (ambitions, I know) Well, that is it for now. I'm happy to answer any questions on our past experiences or comparing Disney ships to RC. While our kids were under 10, we preferred Disney because of the kid-friendly shows, activities, and clubs. As pre-teens, and teens, they far prefer the RC ships.
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