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About DDaley

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  • Birthday 08/22/1986

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  • Location
    San Diego, CA
  • Interests
    Design, musical theatre, hiking

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  1. I just booked a 2021 Double Dip cruise to Coco Cay and went to check out Thrill Waterpark prices. The 2-day pass is listed as $79 per person and the 1 day pass is $59.99. From these boards I know that a $79 1-day water park pass is a great price, let alone a 2-day pass so I added it immediately to the cart while I have these rock bottom prices. THE BENEFICIAL GLITCH comes when you add everything to the cart and go through all the motions of Yes I'm 40" and No I'm not 300 lbs, on the final final page of checkout, the price changes for the 2-day to $59 each. I thought I made a mistake and must've only chosen 1-day somehow even though everything said 2-day. I backed out and tried it again.. yep, you can get a 2-day Thrill pass for $59/per person right now! $118 total for me and my bf. This is Navigator January 2021. I booked it and it shows in my calendar as a Thrill ticket on both stops! Holy cow! Go check!! 😱
  2. Wow, your stateroom attendant is so skilled! On our 7 night on Freedom we only got 3 animals, one of which was a string ray (1 square on top of 1 twisted tail) which felt like a cop out, hahaha. These are so impressive! I hope he or she can re-collect the eyes for recycling post-cruise.
  3. This is the tent I just brought on Freedom! It works so well. There are thousands of Amazon options, I am surprised we got the same one. Took me 5 months to decide on which! haha
  4. Once you're on that slow beachin' game you know you'll be an umbrella-and-chairs-renting high roller! 😂 I will be back with a report! For us, on this somewhat equivalent 7-night HAL itinerary, a Signature Suite was still 1k less than Freedom so I couldn't say no! I didn't realize there was a substantial price difference between the lines because of this but it could be that sailing in December (pre-Christmas) is always cheaper and I haven't priced out enough RC cruises to know that yet. Can't wait for your October live blog (if you choose to do another)! I am pretty sure your first one on Freedom is how I stumbled onto these live blogs originally.
  5. Oh, nice! I was only ever in direct sun while swimming thanks to the tent. Helped to keep my tan brown and not end up red!
  6. Closing Thoughts I hadn't been on a cruise in 14 years but I’ve already got another one scheduled for this December! It’s through Holland America (Oosterdam) so I can leave from my home port of SD.. just a 5 minute Uber from my apartment, but it means no live blogging! Get an RC ship back to the West Coast and I would be Riviera cruisin’ every month! We ate every night in the MDR (aside from one night of Windjammer due to laziness) and I would say it was perfectly adequate. Our Assistant Waiter Mithun was leagues more attentive and friendlier than our main server. I warmed up to her distance later in the cruise, she just does not GAF! I like that, haha. Mithun would always ask how our day was and knew our drink orders right away. The food was all just okay. I didn't have anything that was a true standout – wait! I take it back. I fell in love with the Baked Alaska. I also came to enjoy a 2-3pm afternoon cheeseburger in the WJ which could account for some slight cruise weight gain! 😂 I enjoyed every excursion we went on and could go back and do the same things again but of course would want to see new places next time. In St. Lucia, for example, we only saw the port and the rainforest and I would love to go to Marigot or the Pitons next time! Although I could do Magen's every time I visit St. Thomas with no qualms. The RC See Antigua by Sea excursion was great, I highly recommend it if you're headed there! I liked seeing all the varied coasts of the island (one side was all yucca trees?) and getting to experience some real ocean waves on the Atlantic side. The junior suite was well worth it to me, the huge balcony was amazing. We would lay on the loungers in the afternoons post-Solarium pool time and sit at the table with drinks to watch sail away. We were up for every docking as well, the port side seemed fruitful in seeing a lot of action. Just sitting on the balcony in the evenings and as we entered each port was so relaxing, I would never be able to go interior. We would leave the balcony door open a bit at night to hear the "waves" and to battle the ridiculous AC! Even when you turned the dial into the red zone it was still freezing in there. Pre Purchases #TeamDX all the way! It was so so easy to blow through the $44 a day. Even on all our many port days I was still enjoying upwards of 6 cocktails once back on board plus a water bottle with every drink order. I loved the guys with water/vitamin water carts in the WJ and Promenade at breakfast, it was so easy to scan and pick up a few drinks for port. The one sea day made up for any abandoned cocktails on the port days! We had drinks brought by a funny pool server who was sassing us for ordering them at 9am. He said people get the DX and don't get their money's worth and seemed pleased we would be using it to our advantage. Even with all those cocktails we must've been hydrating perfectly because I was never too drunk or hungover at all!! The Voom I would say was not quite worth it for 2 devices since it only worked in major common areas like the MDR and pool decks. We would set up instagram posts/blog posts in the room and then have to remember to open the phone and set it to upload while dining or nothing would ever go through. I would probably buy Voom again for one device next time and we could share the all important insta-posting capabilities. Amazon Purchases The Dock and Bay towels worked WONDERS. @JennyJenny I can absolutely recommend these to you now after putting them through their paces fully in the Caribbean. I liked them before but after using them 7 days straight, after battling full body dries of both sea water and pool water, they weren't crinkly or smelly! Still soft, probably could've worked another week or more before needing a wash. After washing, back to full bright white and extra soft! New favorite beach towels, hands down, not even going to be relegated to travel-only usage. The beach tent was great! We used it in Magen's Bay (St. Thomas), Cockleshell Beach (St. Kitts) and Brandon's Beach (Barbados) and it went up easily every time and was not susceptible to wind. We brought stakes but didn't need to use them anywhere, as adding items to the tent easily weighs it down. Photo included for @JLMoran although this is from this weekend in Ocean Beach as I forgot to capture its glory amongst a Caribbean backdrop. Easily fit two adults sitting or laying with legs sticking out. Last but not least, 2 Swimways Spring Floats which we used in all port beach stops, including a few times once we were back in Puerto Rico! They fold up so small for easily taking everywhere (you can see it closed and in its blue, net travel bag in the pic above) and inflating the exterior ring only takes about 5 breaths of air to blow it up fully. We even brought them on the catamaran rides in Antigua and Barbados and the other boat guests were questioning where we had gotten it during our swim breaks! Freedom never ever felt crowded, even after the ice show let out, the flow leaving Studio B and through the On Air Club moved super quickly. I will say that RC should not let you book MTD between 5:30 and 6:00 on embarkation day with the muster as it is at 5:45. Muster gets out at 6:10 and everyone with a reservation that had been at 5:30, 5:45, 6:00, or 6:15 is in line at the same time on deck 3 and the hosts are frantically trying to fill the dining room. Will know to book dinner much later than muster next time. Overall, we loved cruising. Looking out over the water every day was so relaxing, like having the best available hotel room on land! And the sexy sky pics did not disappoint! There are more on my instagram @daryldaley. I sent my Cruise Compass to Matt, so any future Freedom-riders can look for that soon. Thanks for hosting these live blogs! I enjoyed writing it. 😊 Edited to add my Caribbean magnet and Christmas ornament haul:
  7. Thanks!! I am sad to have to deviate from my new-found brand loyalty on my cruise in December. At least a fresh comparison may help me realize RC is the only way to go. haha
  8. Day Ten of a 9 day vacation (never a good sign) We woke up at 4 and caught the Embassy Suites shuttle to the airport to find out in the security line that our 6am to Dallas/Forth Worth was cancelled due to thunderstorms in the area. Our 7:15 replacement flight was pushed to 9:30 due to the same stormy morning but we finally made it to Dallas at 11am! We got on our connection that was delayed an hour (or we would've missed it) and it sat on the tarmac from 11:30-1:30pm waiting on the catering truck to arrive. We finally made it home to San Diego around 1pm but my poor bag that a gate ramp attendant made me check did not. 😞 The bag had fit in the overhead compartment on the last 4 American flights of the same trip but this time she deemed it too large. After arriving in SD and seeing my bag was still in the sky on a later flight, we made it to the luggage counter for AA and they said they'd deliver it later that day. FIIIIIINAAALLY got it at 10pm! If there is a next time I would just drive back to the airport and pick it up off the baggage claim myself which would've saved me 6 hours of nervous waiting. Long trip home but it did not damper the trip overall! We had such an amazing time. Landing in San Diego. You can see my apartment building! Its the tall yellow building dead center. My unit faces west (opposite side as pictured) and the balcony sunsets will never be able to compare to Freedom's! Finally home! Final cruising thoughts to come. Would absolutely sail RC again, only wish there were ships closer to my home port!
  9. Day Nine We had a leisurely morning on this day! Room service breakfast (surprisingly best room service omelette I have had, and I have had a LOT) followed by beach time at the Caribe's private beach. There were so many fish I had to send CBF back upstairs to unpack my goggles! If you stood still the fish would gather at your feet! So cool. There is a rock break to calm the waves and it's perfect for floating. We had our own floats but the hotel rents the big tube kind I saw a lot of people using. After a couple hours in the ocean we swapped over to the pool for one last piña. The pool bar didnt open till 11 or I would've squeezed in more! haha Looking towards Condado At 12:30 we went back up for showers and final packing. Dropped the rental car off at Budget at the San Juan airport and got in line with security to see our flight was delayed by an hour and a half. This meant we would miss our connection in Miami to San Diego. American had no additional flights to SAN till 6am the next day so I booked us a room at the Embassy Suites Miami Airport and went about looking for good Cuban! Landing in Miami Atrium interior of the Embassy Suites Miami Airport. There is what looks like a great breakfast area but we had to leave at 4am the next morning and missed it! The hotel did provide "breakfast bags" for us at 4 with a banana, apple, muffin and bottle of water each which was nice! We ended up at Versaille's on recommendation of our Uber driver and President Obama himself! He once visited Miami and they shut down the entire restaurant to serve him. He was right, it was FANTASTIC Cuban! We got a cubano to enjoy for breakfast the next morning and the vaca frita y picadillo. Both dishes were amazing, and the rice, beans and plantain were a highlight as well. Would love to come back here next time I find myself in Miami!
  10. Day Eight (Part III) We headed over to the newly renovated Caribe Hilton around 4pm. As a loyal Hilton Honor member I had already checked out a satellite view of the hotel towers and chose the ideal room for beach viewing ahead of time. haha The room and hotel grounds were GORGEOUS! We headed down to the pool after check in for a few more piñas since the Caribe claims to be the birthplace (I swear I saw several places claiming this - what about Barrachina?). They've got 3 pools including 2 infinity edges and one with a swim up bar and a children's water spout play area. This is aside from the beautiful private beach! View from the room Facing Condado Center pool Beyond the infinity Hilton H lies the swim up bar. After poolin' and showers we headed to Condado to Orozco's in search of the perfect mofongo (and of course another piña - how many am I up to today alone!?) The atmosphere was casual and the mofongo was amazzzinggg. I went with pork and CBF had the garlic trifongo with pollo. Also, bonus photo - I absolutely love this logo! Can you believe it's untouched since 1949?! With that we were back to the room for - what we thought was - one last vacation slumber before our mid afternoon flight the following day.
  11. Haha thanks so much! They were taking so long to load on Voom that I went back and added some more to the previous posts as well. Better for my future re-reading!
  12. Day Eight (Part II) After El Yunque we headed back down the mountain and northeast to Luquillo Beach. We strolled the kioskos and stopped for a giant piña colada in a piña with whipped cream - best one yet - and some various Puerto Rican fried treats! We had alcapurrias (carne, pescado y pollo), pastelillos (carne, pollo y PIZZA), pinchos (pollo) and a pianono (carne). Everything was so amazing.. we stopped at a couple kioskos for all these items but I am not sure exactly which numbers... all between about #25-40. I would highly recommend a stop in Luquillo if you want some real Puerto Rican culture. The beach was great. We spent some time in the water and CBF gave the fly boarding a try. At $60 for 30 minutes it was a steal over Southern Californian prices and fly times. He was instantly great at it after we had been watching people struggle to lift even a foot out of the water for their full 30 minute turns. He says it's due to his past skate and snowboarding that he could balance well above the water jets. On our way back to drop CBF's mom off, we bought some roadside quenepas - a green shelled fruit with a seed inside coated in sweet, pink fruit meat. You peel the skin and chew/suck the fruit off the seed. Delicious! CBF's Tio y Tia's in Carolina El Yunque in the background
  13. Day Eight (Part I) Disembarkation Day 😭😭😭 Such a sad day! I kept waking up as we rolled into San Juan and even happened to see El Morro before the 180º spin! We did self-assist and skipped breakfast to finish packing the last of our items. We left our cabin at 7:10 and were in a cab by 7:20! Crazy! We were even stuck behind someone on the outside deck with no sea pass card and waiting for them to turn her away felt interminable. But wow, guess self assist is the way to do it! Today was also CBF's birthday and we got to spend another night on vacation in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton so I couldn't be too sad about disembarkation. We taxied to the airport to pick up our rental car (sweet electric blue Hyundai Elantra, haha) and got some breakfast before picking up his mom in Carolina who has been staying at her sister's since going down to help after Maria. They live in such a beautiful house up on a hill where you could see the clouds lingering over El Yunque! I met his uncle (his aunt and mom I had met previously on embarkation day) and we had some Medalla's on the porch. After that we headed for the rainforest! El Yunque was soooo lush and beautiful. Every picture I took in there came out so saturated with deep greens and blues! We stopped at La Coca Falls, Yokahu Tower and La Mina trail. A lot of the scenic spots are accessible by car with tiny parking lots and information booths which was nice. Map of the drivable section and trailheads: La Coca Falls Yokahu Tower + Views Scenic Parking lot views
  14. I might venture "Best Birthday Yet?!" It was amazing!!! I am definitely a cruising-as-an-adult fan. 😎
  15. I posted this image on my instagram story with a caption about it not being a good idea to dangle children out such an obvious window and so many people wrote me back shocked that that's what it looked like / how high it was. I guess the lawyer's story about it being down at the deck level and in a play area was widespread. 😱 Staying on a Windows Of Freedom theme, this was our only dinner time that was before sunset! I loved being able to see the ocean roll by - note to self - early dinners next time.
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