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About Ditchdoc

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  1. Well ... this was outstanding information. I scanned our boarding pass and the last numbers were separated by a dash. Looking up the deck plans, those numbers corresponded to a room number of the room type we reserved as GTY. That was exciting to see where we would probably be staying. We are 62 days out from our New Years cruise. Its getting closer all the time. Its also kind of scary that Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all that involves, will be behind us in only 62 days. I may have a panic attack.
  2. If anything, the ship usually arrives back a little early. Disembarking is a system where you get assigned colors and a place to gather. There is no guarantee where you will end up in the process. Baggage claim and customs usually goes pretty smoothly and quickly. When driving, I find I am usually on the road between 8 and 9 with no special considerations. If you let your state room attendant know you have a need to disembark as soon as possible due to travel commitments, they will work with you to get you off as soon as possible. You might be on the road by 7 or or earlier.
  3. In general, its not that great. I have carried one for ... I dunno ... 12 years or more maybe. I accumulated enough points for 2 for 1 cruises at least three times and cashed in points for OBC from time to time or used the cash value to help offset cost. It basically amounts to $100 for every $10,000 you put on the card. I can not complain about that but that is all it is good for. RCCL credit. If you could channel your mortgage, car payments and every thing else through it and pay it off monthly AND you just really want to build RCCL cruise dollars .... it just may be just right for you. Other cards give you similar rewards in the form of cash that can be used for anything you want, not just RCCL cruises. Some offer 0% interest for a year or more or bonus cash if you charge "x" amount in the first few months etc. There are cards that cater to different types of travelers and provide other perks if you travel a lot for business and so on. Some cards just suit some people better than others. Do a simple Google search for "best credit cards". Take what you read with a grain of salt because some sites appear to put the "best" based on being paid to do so. Read what at least 3 o 4 different "review" sites have to say. You will see at least a couple of cards that seem to always be in the top 10 if not the top 5. Decide what suits you best. Odds are it will not be RCCL.
  4. No doubt. About the only limitation would normally be a passengers right to a cabin of equal or greater value/category. It is their ship. Their rules. There are no doubt many reasons a cabin assignment could change. One of the most obvious would be mechanical issues. Something breaks or becomes serviceable. No doubt with hundreds/thousands of cabins to maintain, some amount go in and out of service on a regular basis for repairs or updates. There could be safety reasons.
  5. If you are like most people, the majority of your photos lie in rest on your computer or in a box at the back of a closet. Do you want to shell out $200 to add to that collection? If you are at Diamond level, you get a couple free photos. You can have your photo taken almost any time you get on or off the ship, at scheduled photo ops on formal nights and most likely on a couple of occasions while you have dinner. You can see these photos at the photo shop and decide if you like them or not. Sometimes they do a great job, other times, not so much. You can always purchase one or two if you really like them and most times that is souvenir enough. Would I pay $200 for a 'package'? Probably not unless like some have said, it was a special occasion like a wedding, family reunion and so on.
  6. I simply have a nylon travel "billfold" that is about 4 inches by 9 inches. It opens up and there are pockets for: Sliding a folded sheet(s) of paper in such as printed reservations, schedules etc. Holding 3 or 4 credit or other cards. Holding passports Holding SCUBA credentials Holding a pen/pencil A bit of folding money if needed It usually has a place in either my carry on or my cargo pants pocket where I can get to it quickly.
  7. Everyone has an app now days, My smart phone is cluttered with them. They use storage space, eat data and battery power. Some are useful and get used almost daily while others only get used on a rare occasion. I only cruse once or twice a year and it seems wasteful to use limited phone resources for an app I would only use a couple of times a year.
  8. Just saw the "first late night visit perfect day" photos and video. That does look like a fun time. The water jet pack demo was pretty neat.
  9. “Good morning Reyno, can you come up and dress me?”
  10. I don't pretend to know anything about running a cruise line, especially finances ... but ... just from what has been posted here .... It took 60 million to stretch the ship and added 151 state rooms. That is almost 400 thousand per state room. Just to make it easy, lets say the state rooms rent for 1,000 per week. It would take 400 weeks or almost 8 years to for them to pay for themselves. My very basic understanding of business is if something does not pay for itself in 5 years, its not worth it. Of course this does not take all kinds of things into consideration like cost of extra food, fuel costs or what passengers spend on all kinds of things like drinks to name a few.
  11. Read up on credit cards. The RCCL card is a poor choice in general. In terms of rewards, the RCCL card offers 100 points per $10,000 spent. Points that can only be used on RCCL. There are cards that offer cash back for any purchase and often a bonus is offered. Obviously cash can be used anywhere you want. Often you can get 0% interest for a year or more. Eventually all cards are going to hit you up for high interest rates.
  12. I would opt to go all the way through. The stops on the west coast were some of the best. Our cruise terminated in San Diego which is worth spending at least a few days if not a week looking around. The whole westbound cruise was 15 days. Add travel time and if you decided to spend time in LA or San Diego, you could easily make it a 3 week trip.
  13. There does not seem to be any specifics on this I can find. It says it arrives the canal about 7am, leaves about 3pm, arrives in Colon at 4 and leaves that same evening. I have done the westbound all the way through. Colon is not exactly a great place. Its the only port I have been in where security stationed around the tourist area of the docks advised you not to go any further. Traveling through takes almost all day. The cost of locking through is based on ship weight and is expensive. Tens of thousands of expensive. I have read in the past of cruises that do a 180 in the lake go back the way they came in. Maybe that is cheaper. I would be hesitant to take a cruse that did not lock through at all. I would call RCCL and ask for clarification.
  14. I am usually there early and none of the lines are that busy or slow. I would hate to guess how many lines or check in windows there are. One line can service half a dozen check in windows. You simply que up and go to the next available window. Some windows/lines may be marked with signage as some sort of express for Diamond or whatever. The lines do seem to be a bit shorter for these sometimes. Usually there are RCCL terminal folks standing along the way that will look at your documentation and funnel you the right way. Some times I think things are moving so smoothly and quickly that the line you end up in does not matter that much. I think the terminal guides are very much aware of bottle necks or areas that are moving quickly and may direct you down the path of least resistance regardless if it is "express" or not. I think one time we sat in a holding area for 10-15 minutes before proceeding on. Every other time it check through the various stations, a relatively short shuffle through one line or another , verify documentation and start the long walk through the photographers, ramps, up to the boarding point. It seems many times the walk onto the ship was longer than the check in. Bottom line, once the bags hit the curb it all goes pretty quickly and before you know it you are trying to decide what to do first on board. Like I said, I am usually there early, around 10am give or take a bit. Later on it might be more crowded and take a bit longer.
  15. I don't find cash needs to be much. I usually pre pay gratuities but have slipped an extra 20 to a a waiter or room attendant that went above and beyond. I typically like to have a local beer or two in ports, occasionally a lunch if local cuisine warrents. Taxi money can come in handy at times in port. If you are driving pre and post cruise then cash for snacks, drinks etc. If flying, tips for sky caps etc. I'd say $100 in small bills and another $100 in 20's and another 100 " just in case". Credit cards for gas, hotels, pre and post meals etc. That should cover you for most Caribbean trips for a week or less.
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