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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. I am glad to hear so many good reports!
  2. bobroo

    Scuba gear

    Personally I bring my gear; all of it that applies to the diving I expect to be doing. It means traveling with, schlepping around, and paying for an extra bag of just scuba gear. It also means caring for the gear once I am back on board; rinsing, drying, and charging batteries. I know going into this that that 40lb bag of gear could very well be a 50 lb bag of gear going home if nothing dries out. What scuba diving might be available is a BIG factor in choosing my next cruise. What diving I can do locally if I arrive a day or two early is also a BIG factor in choosing a cruise. In short, a lot of my cruises are really the in-between time of my scuba diving. Should you be doing this? I fully endorse scuba and cruising, I think they compliment each other very, very well. But doing what I do? Well....ummmm....errr......my advice to newer divers, NO WAY! Get a bunch of dives under your belt. Go to a variety of places. Have a bunch of dive operator experiences. Get to know other divers. Just bring the mask, fins, snorkel, and booties you already own. Stick with the scuba excursions that RC offers, they are perfect for you at this point in your scuba career! Let's see to what extent cruising and scuba works for you. Acquiring good gear will naturally happen, don't force the issue. An important note about scuba and cruising: DO NOT set your expectations high. Your attitude needs to be "If I went diving today that would be cool" not "I'm really, really looking forward to this. I can't wait to see the sharks or turtles, or dolphins." or "I can't wait to try out my new (blank)" There are a whole bunch off reasons the visibility might be bad, the water choppy, or a dive site you are taken to is "Meh." Above all else, there are all kinds of reasons your dive boat might not go out at all. Be patient and you will only receive pleasant surprises. Oh!, and don't lose that relationship with your local dive shop. You'll be needing them in the future.
  3. Thanks for sharing @mworkman ! That is twice as many excursions than were offered 5 or 6 years ago. When we were there we hired a cab to take us to the locks because the excursion were really BLAGH!. Our particular driver did such a great job afterwards we bought him lunch at any restaurant of his choosing and hired him for the rest of the day. It was a great experience. What we saw was not great; quite the opposite. I'm sure the "hire a taxi on your own in Colon" is much, much too rough for most RCL passengers. (Note to self: write a post about past memories of hired taxis for advanced study RCblog members) Here is an excursion of sorts you may chose to do while you are in Colon. Particularly if you'd like to connect with a local and really learn what Colon is all about. I call it the $1Million Dollar Panama Question. To be honest I have never gotten an answer to the question, I am still searching for it myself. Actually I'm looking for the right person to ask it to and just haven't come across them yet. The question goes like this here: Panama is in a unique position in the world and has a valuable asset, The Canal. The distance between the Caribbean and the Pacific is what? 100 miles? We are told that it costs $100,000 for a ship to travel through the canal, one way. I'm sure that's way, way more than the actual cost to allow that vessel to pass through, but many, many ships are willing to pay it, as a matter of fact, they are lined up waiting (and I mean many, many of them waiting (on both sides)) just for their turn to pass through the locks and travel on. So here's the question, for $1 million dollars....Why does Panama City have so much, and Colon have so little? Why does all that money go to Panama City meanwhile Colon gets nothing? The two communities are so close in proximity. They are fellow countrymen. Panama City on one side, Colon on the other. Both cities having the same opportunities. Why such disparity? I just don't get it.... If that goes well you can ask a second $1million dollar question: What is with the 7' tall Panamanians??? Latinas 6'6'' tall! I thought I was in Central America! What on earth.....
  4. Quick question. And to illustrate your original question starting this thread; @mworkman would you mind listing like just the names of the excursions that RCL offers for Colon? It won't take a lot of your time, I'm sure.
  5. Ahhhhhh.....how do I put this gently? You really only have one safe choice for an excursion in Colon, visiting the locks of the Panama Canal. Period.
  6. Here is a better solution: Eliminate the the health questionnaire before each cruise and have an intelligence test. The test will be a salesman sample of a window. The gate agent take take each potential passenger and ask them "Is this window open, or, is it closed?" One answer only. About 3 seconds to respond. To be honest, if someone is not bright enough to know whether a window is open or closed, I really don't want to be sharing the ship with them for a week. It's my vacation too. As a loyal passenger this is very upsetting and has turned to insulting. As a guy who played hockey for 20 some years--it's really disturbing that poor fan etiquette is taught at such a young age. UGGG!!! <tears out a handful of hair from scalp>
  7. Don't forget that although the Bahamas may be much warmer than the weather back home, it still gets dark earlier during the Winter months. I'm going to stick my neck out and say "Zero people will want to be having a Perfect Day at Coco Cay if it is dark outside."
  8. A show of hands— how many people strongly believe that Grandpa’s Seapass might have been used to purchase alcoholic beverages before this tragedy? Lets see how many votes for contributory negligence we can get!!!
  9. Yes, let's not hijack mcoler18's thread! I think the following rule applies to all Sorrento's: Even bad pizza is kinda good.
  10. Ahem..... Dude-- if you and I go to Nathens and order 4 hot dogs, 2 orders of fries, and 2 large drinks you know that costs over $40, right? Let's save a lot of money and stick with Gene and Jude's.
  11. Sarafinas is closed and is not reopening I could not get a honest answer why when I visited last March.
  12. I wonder if you could get a two year lease on a storage locker??? :0)
  13. My guess is Royal replaces the Cuban ports of call with something else. It's too much uncertain political BS to deal with. Frankly, I wouldn't blame them if they did. But I will feel sorry for those who paid a premium for a Cuban cruise and their ports are replaced with somthing lesser and more common. :0(
  14. Here’s what I don’t understand because this is quite a frequent thing, the last happening in March in San Juan. OK, so the GPS is out of wack with ships computer, or the ships guidance system is not communicating with the engine room; really the mechanical issue doesn’t matter. There is a pilot that has boarded the vessel sitting in one of the command chairs, the captain is sitting in the other. (FYI: in these instances responsibility and fault falls on the captains shoulders, NOT the pilots) There has got to be at least a dozen people with stripes on their shoulders assisting with the docking. None of these dockings are anybody’s first time there. Collectively it’s hundreds of dockings if not thousands at any particular port; no matter what cruise line. So, with all that experience and human oversight. How do they not know “Hey, we should be much slower at this point in time” “Dude, there is another vessel that is way too frick’in close to our berth” or “We are Waaaytooo close to the dock” It seems awareness of a problem should have been known well before the ship collides with the end of the pier and some evasive actions taken beforehand.
  15. 8,000 cruise points?.....That's like a boatload of glass blocks!
  16. And.....another well said, easy to understand post by Twangster explaining the slightly confusing world of Royal Caribbean! @Twangster has touched on something important here that is worth talking some more about, cruising benefits once you are Diamond and above; because they might not be what perceive them be. To be fair, it's always easy to look down from a ladder and much harder to climb up it; I get it. Benefits wise; some are OK, a couple very good, and some I find not valuable and don't care to use them. But over time the benefits are slowly being eroded away. The biggest benefit I find at being D+ is not written on some webpage; I am grateful for the experiences I have had. I am thankful that Royal Caribbean has provided an affordable way to travel and see the world; many places I would never have been to if it were based on my own doing. I respect Royal for providing a clean, safe environment no matter what ship I'm on. Any of the Royal fleet, I feel very comfortable once I finally get onboard. Cabin wise, I have never had a bed, washroom, or carpeting not feel like home--no matter what class I happened to been traveling in; I've done most of them. I have always had plenty to eat: I average gaining a pound a day. Royal Caribbean is a great way to vacation. Pressing to climb the Crown and Anchor ladder? I think many of us would say "It's the journey, not the destination. Enjoy it!" As Twangster is recommending, check out different itineraries. Sail out of a new port. Let an excursion introduce you to something new or bring you slightly out of your comfort zone. And....it doesn't have to cost a million dollars. A word about the Diamond Lounge: I (affectionally) call the nightly Diamond event "Raccoons entering the Dumpster". 'Cause it is a lot like that and you can set your watch to them; just show up about 15-20 minutes early, you'll see. But that being said, at 53 years old, I am a younger aged raccoon. It's not exactly loud music, dancing, and crazy party time. It's quiet conversation. Yes, for me it replaces buying a drink package; but on the other hand, it's not worth spending thousands for extra cruise points just to receive the perk. The coffee machine is nice if you like cappachino. The concierge is is great and can work out your difficulties or bend some rules, as a Diamond or above, you should have fewer and fewer issues.
  17. On my own there last March and March of 2018-- it's awful. Both times the water was milky with visibility of just 2-3 feet. It's because of the breakwater creating the coves on either side of the resort. The view on Google maps is deceiving. A more open water area would be helpful. Perhaps the excursion to Rat Island/Amiga Island is a better choice? I would be willing to try on my next visit.
  18. Just throw'n this out there.... Aircraft carriers are built in Virginia.
  19. Here is some experienced cruiser advice for anyone with a cruise on Oasis departing in the next oh.... 3 or 4 months. Sit down and make a written contingency list of substitute places, people, events, opportunities, or even cruises. Make it a written list and the longer the better. And under each one write how you would get to the Grand Canyon, visit Aunt Edna, kick back at a caribbean resort, spend some quality time in Montreal, etc. etc. Explore each of those possibilities what a room might cost per night, daily allowance for meals, airfare, car rental. Get yourself some ball park numbers for each of those proposals. Figure out some sort of ranking system as to the ones you like the best, the amount of hassle, and perhaps most importantly the potential cost; taking into account Royal might not immediately pony up the money you have already paid for your trip. Be prepared! Be Proactive! Do some of that legwork now. Waiting till you get a email from Royal saying your trip has been canceled and they are working closely with an insurance company to issue a full refund---ahhh, important time will have been lost to plug something else in. About 5,500 other passengers receiving the same email will be saying the same words "Well, just put me on another boat." Sorry Charlie, 5,500 people are not just going to get on another RCL ship next week. Please don't get mad and frustrated at Royal over this. This is a part of cruising we passengers all risk. At sometime in your cruising career your are going to encounter a hurricane, miss an important flight, have all your checked bags lost, a war being fought, all kinds of potential disappointing events that are going to step on your cruise buzz. We are all rolling the dice. Let this be a good lesson on how to make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons.
  20. Royal charged me $60 for a two way transfer from/to FLL-Port Miami for my cruise on Allure last week. There was no indication that this transfer was even available on my cruise planner, the royal app, or the royal website; I had to call in to request it. Yes, there is free public wifi at FLL.
  21. I love this post Twang, thanks so much for sharing. I am going to spend some quality time with this tomorrow.
  22. Waaaytooo is exactly correct. A few years ago it would save you like $100 on a cruise because I think you could combine it with other offers; if memory serves. But those days are long gone. There shareholder benefit is less than other offers and is now uncombinable. I think all of us shareholders here would say investing in RCL has been a good thing and we all recommend it. What I think we would all agree on being super RCL fans is the transparency. While onboard you can see how the ships are sailing full, while online here you can see the FOMO and the consistent "buying of a better experience", and there is seemingly a never ending news releases of new, additional ships. At this point, all a very positive outlook.
  23. +1 for Barcelona Day Tours! We used them a couple years ago post cruise and were very happy. The monastery in Montserrat impressed me more than I expected. The views of the countryside were incredible, the boys choir sounded angelic, and then there is the Black Madonna. Very, very happy and this was half the tour. The other was Gaudi sites in Barcelona. Enough can not be said about Sagrada Famila. Absolutely stunning, even if you don't like Dr Suess. Anyone spending time in Barcelona need to make Sagrada Familia a part of their visit. Incredible, It is really something! @mom2mybugs we can discuss on Allure in 3 weeks.
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