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About ChessE4

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    Diamond Plus

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  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Playing chess during sea days

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  1. Agree with 8:30-9:30 window; when I've been at MCO in the summer, it has had long lines. So I believe in allowing more time at the airport.
  2. And I recall several months ago a special survey about specialty dining -- how much was a truly elegant dinner worth? The survey was asking the $$ values for a great deal, a fair deal, etc. I am guessing the surveys are for very specific customer samples.
  3. Not sure what you are asking. If you are asking whether 8:30 or 10:35 is better, 8:30 is better. But you need to think about disembarking. Taking your own luggage would get you off the ship in the 6:30 to 7:30 range, which is a tad early for pick up. (We left the Harmony at 6:30 and got through customs/immigration by 7:10.) Going with an assigned group number may lead you to 10:35 ground transportation, which is cutting things closely get to the airport and to the gate. But if you used the valet program (assuming it is available for your airline), you won't have to wrestle bags, and getting off the ship would be a breeze, etc. I would rather be early than late....I read books at the airport and have a nice espresso drink, but I understand your concerns.
  4. You could, or you could respond to marketing e-mails when you are registered in Crown and Anchor. I usually receive a couple each week, and if I check out cruise prices, I get an e-mail reminding me that I haven't finished the purchase processs.... So you can depend upon Royal to nag you. But as has been stated before, what is actually on sale depends upon supply and demand, so if you stick to typically popular excursions/amenities, don't expect much discounting. I have seen prices for my choices fluctuate a few $$, but I have never repriced. Others reprice all the time, which makes me wonder what they are buying -- perhaps higher priced, premium excursions or packages for which a discount would be significant. The best deal is to order what you really want before you get on the ship. Example, if you are going to eat in a specialty restaurant at least 2 nights, you might as well consider a 3 night package which is often offered at $99 whereas a la carte two restaurants would be about the same price. You are getting an extra premium dinner free. We don't see the value in specialty restaurants, so we don't buy the packages, but lots of members really love them, so they buy the unlimited dining package at about $175 for 7 nights ($25 per person per dinner), a big discount from $45 or $50 for one dinner on line.
  5. Concur with @Sailor_to_Cruiser and @Gears based on our experience in Australia, NZ, and Europe.
  6. Let me share with you the one situation I didn't anticipate with my son -- a sleepover. He bonded with some other teens, waited until the last minute, then said he was invited to spend the night with a family that had two teenage sons. I said "no" and stuck to it, although it made night 6 uncomfortable for our family. I pointed out we didn't know the parents or the kids, and if he had alerted us earlier, we could have addressed our concerns. Now in hindsight, I would have pointed out my concerns but relented, because he was 16 and always used good judgment. But I was surprised by the request -- it hadn't occurred to me at all, so I gave my standard reply so that he would be more prepared "the next time". I just wanted you to have a "heads-up" that a situation like this could occur with one or both of your teens if they really bond with others on the ship. I don't know what the "right" answer is, because it depends on so many factors.
  7. True, but we've done 4 ports with Oasis before and will do again. It's fine. The extra port helps the family achieve some balance in the shopping and excursions, one port to shop, one to beach, a couple for educational excursions, etc. So if Royal wants my $$$, I hope they'll continue 4-port itineraries.
  8. I'll take the other side of the question. I prefer more port days, fewer sea days. For me, cruises offer the opportunity to see different cultures and try to practice foreign languages. I'm not very good, but I try. I do agree that the Med cruise we took was challenging, but we mostly enjoyed the ports. It's no different than camping trips, which tend to test your endurance. My son enjoys sea days, so I appreciate both perspectives. On a 7-night cruise, I prefer 4 ports to 3, but I'll accept 3 if I am going someplace special/novel.
  9. I concur with @Chaosgirl426 You want to protect yourself from UV radiation, so spend less time in direct sun, use higher formula sun block, or simply cover up. It's kind of a lifestyle decision - when you are in your late 60's or older you will want to have good skin... When I am in any sort of water I make it a point to wear a special T-shirt with UV resistance.
  10. The book answer is to give yourself an extra day (arrive the day before and stay in a hotel), but I have traveled from US to Europe twice and arrived on the day of departure. In either event, you will want trip insurance. That is your protection against airline errors, bad weather, car accident en route, medical emergency, and so forth. We always get trip insurance, but not necessarily from Royal Caribbean. We survived plane problems, train breakdowns, missing flight crews, and still made our departures.
  11. We used the basic Voom package, and it worked fine. We even had regular phone service in some ports (Sprint).
  12. On ships like the Harmony, you don't punch the sea pass. It is tap and go as a proximity device. So the sea pass stays in whichever sleeve you select. I agree with others who use phone-sized lanyards for beach days or the pool.@SPS already sent you a link for one model.
  13. You might explore taking a cab to a public/private beach. I think one of Matt's videos suggests that normal beach excursion transfers are more expensive than local transportation. When we go there in September, we plan on shopping first and checking out the beach.
  14. In addition to the detailed analysis by @twangster , there was a "boycott" of St Thomas which was recently announced for various reasons. Not sure if your itinerary was caught up in that, and I'm not saying it was, but there's been some press... All this means it made sense to go to San Juan.
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