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Posts posted by ChessE4

  1. 22 hours ago, Dani Marie said:

    I am going on a cruise on freedom of the seas next year for the first time. I was wondering what the rules are with luggage? Is there a weight limit on a suitcase? Is there a limit of how many suitcases per person? And is there a size limit on a suitcase? Thanks!!! 

    It's what you pack in the suitcases that counts, so avoid the prohibited items (power strips, irons, etc.).  There are threads on packing tips and cruise tips that go into cross-packing, packing cubes, magnetic hooks, etc.  I now pack fewer clothes, no one judges you if you wear the same outfit two or three times!

  2. 20 hours ago, CruisingNewb said:

    Only 3 weeks left to Alaska.  We have done so much planning and prep since January and now have become pretty apathetic in the last few days.

    Perhaps it is all of the negative comments from Facebook Groups regarding staffing issues?

    Perhaps it is just because there is nothing more for us to do in terms of planning?  

    Perhaps counting down the first 140 days took its toll?

    Has this happened to anyone else?  Am I just nuts?  BTW-I could indeed be nuts.

    I think the key is to follow Matt's guidance to be flexible as there will be unexpected events.  We just flew to Texas and 10 minutes before the taxi was due to arrive, I discovered I had forgotten my medical insurance card (just in case).  So I frantically searched for it, then realized the cab was a no-show.  Called him to find out he had us down for 11 PM instead of 10:15 AM.  So we hopped in the car even though two weeks of parking is more expensive then the cab.  My planning advice is to have a plan B for key stuff, and it sounds like you are already there.  Now you can just chill...

  3. On 5/16/2022 at 6:05 PM, MJ22 said:

    Hello everyone! It will be our first time in Italy and we are very excited. We hope you can help us with some advice 🙂 

    For the stop in Sicily we are between:
    -Taormina guided walking tour + 45 minutes to explore on our own
    -Taormina explore on your own for 3 hours

    And in Florence (Livorno) between:
    -Florence guided walking tour for 2 hours + 3 hours to explore on our own
    -Florence barchetto row boat tour + 2 hours to explore on our own

    Any other different suggestion is very welcome! We will also be in Civitavecchia (Rome) and Cannes.

    All I can tell you is from personal experience and other posts, take into consideration transportation time when you select excursions

    In Sicily we are just going to walk on our own and use local ground transportation as needed. 

    For Florence from Lavorno I would prefer a 5-6 hour excursion rather than 3-4 in case of traffic problems (as a Pisa visitor recently posted).   (We haven't made it to Florence yet, so my suggestion is general in nature.)

    Rome excursions are generally 7-8 hours as the transportation time can be an hour, although some folks take an express train from Civi if they are planning on doing Rome on their own. 

    If you are at a French port that has excursions to Eze, that is a trip we enjoyed (from Villefranche). 

    I prefer Royal excursions when "all day" trips because of their guarantee if your return is delayed by traffic.  We have encountered accidents and such more than once on our travels.  However, other guests regularly use 3rd party operators.

  4. My experience is that the advertised prices are for the cheapest available room, not necessarily what you really are going to want.  Our TA knows (or is told) our preferences, and then looks for the best deal she can get.  For example, we might see that balconies are not much more than ocean view on a particular cruise, so our TA will get us alternative quotes on a balcony rather than an ocean view.  The final quotes are close to the sale price, but not exactly the same because of our room selection and refundable deposit (we book 1-2 years in advance).  An immediate cruise doesn't require a refundable deposit so you can get a price break on a "last minute deal".  We notice price drops, but when we check with our TA, our selected room is rarely significantly cheaper.  We do find that our TA can help us with excursion ideas, if we want them, but a majority of the time we do that ourselves.  It kind of depends upon your real goals for the cruise and what you expect. Lastly, it takes time and effort to build business relationships, whether with a TA or a hairdresser.  

    Whatever you choose, have a great cruise!

  5. In our experience ship time will be shown in the Cruise Compass, if you can find one for a similar cruise.  Sometimes ships don't change time, sometimes they do, and they warn you with announcements and Compass notes.  Often Royal warns guests to set their watches to ship time and ignore "local time".  Have a great cruise!


    PS. Link to a recent Compass: Voyager of the Seas 7-Night Scandinavia Cruise Compass - May 1, 2022 | Royal Caribbean Blog

  6. On 5/16/2022 at 7:56 AM, PPPJJ-GCVAB said:

    On Oasis there really is no bad place for breakfast…just depends on what you are looking for.  Now…I have only sailed on Oasis once so this is my opinion only!  The MDR has your typical restaurant-style offerings and best part is the waiter attention.  It is less busy so wait staff is pretty easy to find when needed.  We ate in the MDR on debarkation day so we could enjoy the relaxed atmosphere one last time before heading home.  The MDR is not a quick eat and run type of restaurant so if you are in a hurry…go somewhere else.
    My favorite is the Solarium Bistro because it is less crowded than WJ and although there may be less to choose from…believe me there is plenty!  It feels like a more gourmet sort of food is offered.  You can eat quickly or take your time and enjoy the scenery.
    The WJ has so many food choices and sometimes (depending on timing) quite crowded and noisy.  It is very large and you should know there are 2 areas of the same selections on each end.  A few of my pet peeves about the WJ:  I hate it when I finally get to the section with the food I really want and the pan is almost empty!  It happens!  I will say that I did find they try very hard to keep up with refilling but I did have to wait for a few things.  Another thing is when you are in a long line and the people in front of you just take their sweet time looking over everything and hold up the line.  Even worse is when one person is in front of you and next thing you know there are 4 or 5 people joining them…just cutting in!   All this happened to me which is reason I only ate there once!
    So there is also the Park Cafe which I did not check out for breakfast and of course Cafe Promenade.  But I believe both of these are quick bite sort of places.  Johnny Rockets also has a breakfast but that is not for me.

    Sorry I rambled…hope you first experience on Oasis will be the best!!!

    We, too, loved the Solarium for breakfast.  Less crowded and all the food choices we enjoy!

  7. I am truly sorry you had such a frustrating excursion.  However, I will say that Pisa was not our fondest memory when we cruised the Med.  Next time we will choose Florence!  But having said that, I must say that just seeing the Leaning Tower was something special.  Also, my experience is that the more one cruises, the more one learns which ports are more likely to be inspiring.  I've also found it important to research ports in advance of my cruise (perhaps watch a few online videos).  For me, when a port requires an hour drive each way, it usually requires about 6-8 hours for an effective excursion.  Best of luck on your next port visit!

  8. For our October cruise, the excursions are limited and definitely more expensive than elsewhere (Caribbean)-- about 150-200 USD for a full day excursion, especially in Italy.  Could even be more.  They still have the usual walk-around-a-village stuff that is reasonable, say $50-$80 depending upon length.  Ditto for driving around on a tour bus. These are the Royal excursions.  

  9. 3 hours ago, Renee Hulagrandma said:

    Still saying I have no documents at this time for May 21 cruise. Should I be concerned ?

    I have completed check in except for the health questionnaire to be done on Friday.

    If you don't have a Travel Agent (TA), I'd call Royal.  If you have a cell phone, perhaps download a new version of the App (for Set Sail Pass).   We were allowed to print Set Sail passes as soon as we checked in with the App.  

    As long as you have the set sail pass, you can have luggage tags filled out by the Porter.  I prefer to have my own tags, though, which our TA provides.

    Iff you can't get a Set Sail Pass, then it is really important to clear up your check-in with TA/Royal.

  10. I think the surveys are useful though not perfect and probably in need of improvement.  I intend to fill them out.  However, I have found the Guest Services comment box a good place to put notes during a cruise, such as especially good service, perhaps comments on an excursion (I take those to the Excursion Desk), or an issue about a common area.  Room comments can always be shared with the Stateroom Steward, and I have found the MDR staff receptive to suggestions.

  11. 10 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

    I do not think they provide assistance anymore.  Didn't that end April 30th?

    All I know is what I read on one of their sites about providing assistance, plus the reports of recent travelers.

    PS. On their "we'll get you home icon", there is a footnote, which may be want you were commenting on:

    ^Last modified April 29, 2022. Subject to change. Royal Caribbean will coordinate and assist with the costs of shoreside accommodations for isolation for guests who have fully complied with all Royal Caribbean International and Royal Caribbean Group COVID-19 Policies and Procedures in effect at the time of voyage. Please note that homeports may have different local isolation requirements and restrictions. Additional terms and conditions may apply. See our COVID-19 Refund and Cancellations Policy  and your Cruise Ticket Contract for details. "Traveling Party" means (1) your family members living with you in the same household and (2) traveling companions assigned to your stateroom on the ship. Our CareTeam will assist with daily wellbeing check-ins, and support to reschedule return travel home."

  12. 5 hours ago, Jolly Ogre said:

    Actually all the islands in the Caribbean and even in Florida are really Cays. The Americans call them keys but they should all be pronounced cay. But you say tomayto I say  tomahto. Same thing but different. It really does not matter in the end. As long as we are all happy and get along and have a nice cold beverage together.

    True, I was quoting a crew member circa 2013, and then there are those Angela Lansbury "Murder She Wrote" episodes were "cay" is pronounced "key".   Never visited New England, so can't say it has a basis in fact.

  13. Not knowing what sort of travel insurance you have, I'd agree with SpeedNoodles to test on the ship.  If you test positive (unlikely thought it may be), you'll want to report the situation to Royal so that they provide assistance to you.  If you disembark and test at the airport, you are out of their protection and governed by whatever travel insurance you may have.  I think you may want maximum protection if you test positive.  Just a thought....

  14. 2 hours ago, RyanLanning said:

    We are concluding a Liberty of the Seas sailing on September 18 and have a flight out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport at Noon that day.  We're thinking this is pretty tight schedule-wise.  What is the best option for getting there promptly without paying anything ridiculous?  Lyft?  I can book on Galveston Express but online it seems the earliest they can do is leaving at 9 and scheduled to get to the airport around 11.  Any thoughts or recommendations are appreciated.  Two passengers.

    For what it is worth, our TA booked us a Royal transfer, but our flight doesn't leave until 2 PM.  I don't know if Royal will work for you as I don't know when the bus departs.

  15. 12 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

    We are traveling to Amsterdam in August from USA.  We will test on Wednesday morning before our 6 pm flight, we land on Thursday early afternoon, and board the ship on Friday.  As far as returning home after the cruise, we are taking our eMed tests with us and trying to do them the night before we disembark.  I am worried about having good VOOM reception so we may have to do it early morning when we are closer to port when it is turned off (within 12 miles of port -I think) and we can use our own internet.  If we still can't get it to work, then we will have to do testing at the airport.  However, I REALLY hope that the testing to return home to USA will be dropped by then......

    So are you putting the eMed test kits in your carry-on?  We were thinking the temperature in the cargo hold would ruin our kits if we placed them in checked bags.

  16. 1 hour ago, Jefarl said:

    Since the insurance cost is based solely on cruise fare price, Does the RC protection plan cover all airline costs including fares, lost luggage, delayed luggage,etc even if you purchase the airline tickets independently?  

    Royal (AON) covers what you insured with them.  Now if you bought airline tickets separately, the airline or 3rd party could sell you insurance just for that.  Read the AON policy to see what it covers specifically.  Check what would happen if you missed the cruise because of transportation to the port.  Would it still cover the lost cruise even if the transportation wasn't insured by them?  Also, the credit card you used to purchase your airline tickets may offer coverage for luggage and travel delays. 

     When our airline lost our luggage, Allianz covered it, but we included our airline tickets in the original policy (which increased our premium).  

  17. 20 minutes ago, Margaret Stephens said:

    We still do not have any excursions available for La Romana or at least they seem to have appeared one afternoon and then promptly disappeared.  I have a feeling our itinerary may change to Grand Cayman.  When checking the cruise port schedule for the Cayman Islands I can see our ship is actually booked in to Grand Cayman on the day we are due in Haiti.  I think we may go from 4 stops down to 3 - not too happy about more sea days would rather the stops.   

    We are anxious to go back to Grand Cayman to experience "Sting Ray City", but Royal cancelled our Feb cruise even after an itinerary change.  I hope you get to go there!

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