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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. I am a big fan of Pelican boxes, although I would never intentionally bring one into the water. Having a “home” where the Seapass, wallet, eyeglasses, and phone go makes organization easy for me. I also think that not only do they keep things dry but also keep sand out.
  2. I think a $165m amplification of all lounges across the fleet is long past due.
  3. I don’t understand.....what matters is that you and your colleagues are on the same boat. Not what cabin you or your friends are in. And, you are claiming that Royal Caribbean is just giving away a grand suite to someone who has effectively purchased a balcony??? As a Diamond Plus status, you don’t know Royal by now that they don’t elevate anyone by two cabin grades especially one of the big rooms without collecting big additional $$$? C’mon..... Have the DL concierge do the few keystrokes required so that have you all dine and sing Happy Birthday at the same MDR table and enjoy your time together on your holiday.
  4. Please post a picture of your surprise face once you realize Cozumel, Roatan, and Playa Maya were not the dangerous third world countries full of thieves you thought they were. And maybe another pic when you realize each port is unique and wonderful and can begin to see why people cruise to these places time and time again.
  5. A first time cruiser might fly-in the day of a cruise. A veteran cruiser would NEVER fly-in the same day. Place yourself wherever you see fit along the continuum.
  6. This comes from the mouth of an idiot but on a serious note, why doesn't RCL create a gondola-like mode of transportation (just like a ski lift) to/from an airport to a cruise terminal??? In a circumstance where they are very close together like Fort Lauderdale or San Juan or Tampa. Explain it off to the public that RCL is taking responsibility for it's passengers, reducing traffic congestion, eliminating chaos at the cruise terminal, and they are Saving Waves by reducing emissions on a meaningful scale. In comparison to other recent RCL projects like making their pier in Miami 200' longer, their new corporate headquarters, or "amplification" of an already existing revenue generating ship; some gondolas, some cable, and some access to public ROW would be comparatively cheap. At this point in time RCL spends hundreds of millions of dollars on each of many infrastructure improvements. A guy would like to think they wouldn't bat an eye to a cheap one that took responsibility for their passengers. Of course RCL would charge for the ride, just please God don't make it more than the cost of my flight. But I'm not very bright....
  7. If Swimming With Pigs at Coco Cay doesn’t work out, try Eating With Seagulls......it’s free! 😀
  8. Here is my Youtube review of #9658 from two years ago. It's the book-matched cabin to the one you've asked about.
  9. Royal Caribbean could solve this whole getting from the airport to the cruise terminal problem quickly and economically by making a zipline. Just like Labadee.
  10. Boarding times for Honolulu are "normal". Your 1:00 arrival at Honolulu Harbor will be just fine. The ships depart late because Royal is doing all it can to make sure same day fliers with a delayed flight make it onboard. Because of the distance and the weather of Hawaii, a delayed flight can quickly become really delayed.
  11. I suggest heavily medicating yourself before watching the Puerto Rican TV show. It's bizarre....like H.R. Puff N' Stuff bizarre.
  12. I do not know who the dive provider in Aruba is. Couple things: Concern (or perhaps anxiety) about potentially doing a backwards roll is real and many people have the same issue; by no means are you alone. Letting your dive master know is most important. Any dive operator will work through it with you or figure out another way for you to get into the water in a way in which you are comfortable. That's what dive masters do; it's their job. A port stop in Aruba probably means you are leaving late in the evening. Often the ship leave at 10 or 11pm. That opens up a really good opportunity to not use ships excursion. Let me explain... most posters here will tell you that when you go to Aruba you want to go to Palm Beach or Eagle Beach, that's where "the action is." And that is completely true, the rest of the island is a desert best I can tell. So, be proactive and get on your computer open up Google Maps. Type in Aruba and then click on satellite view. Wow! there's the top of a cruise ship! There's the port, it's not like there is going to be two. Now where is that Eagle Beach or Palm Beach in relation to that cruise ship? Wowsey! Not walkable, but certainly a short cab ride. Then type in "scuba" under the "Nearby" tab. Your map now looks like it has the measles with all the red dots of dive providers, and most of them are located right where you'd like them. Go to those dive provider websites and get a feel for who they are, what time there boats leave, cost, will the dive operator pick you up at the port?, some online reviews, and email them your questions. While you are on that map page look at what restaurants are close by, what else might be interesting to spend some time at. In short, your plan for Aruba might be: grab a cab or find the dive provider waiting for you just outside the port gates, do your diving, grab some food and beers, go do something else that's in the vicinity, then have dinner--there's loads of restaurants, and finally return to the ship. If hailing a cab from a curb is uncomfortable any big hotel will have couple just waiting for you at their entrance. Because the ship leaves so late you've got plenty of time to get back onboard-- on your schedual--not theirs. On the other hand you can sign up for the ships excursion. How do you find out who you are actually diving with? Go online to some scuba related chat rooms and do some searching. As a last resort you can find out this way; when you get onboard you can ask the Shore Excursions desk but if your ship has the little scuba shop--they definitely know. Then go to that dive op's website and find the background information about them. And find them on a map too. Having a loose idea where things are in relation to one another is always a good idea. You'll like the time you spend in Aruba, especially if you make a day of it. The diving? It's even better in Curacao and Bonaire.
  13. You are referring to Flamingo Beach in Aruba. It's a private island and not offered by RCL as an excursion. There are other places to see them. They are native to Bonaire. The Condado Hilton in San Juan has a few in that amazing pond they have. The port of Cartagena in Columbia has a bunch of captive ones as well in their underrated port experience. But if you want to have to move your beach lounger because 100 flamingos are taking over and you don't want every picture you take to have a flamingo in the background; Flamingo Beach is the place for you.
  14. "we've made the decision to cancel all tours that visit an active volcano." STUPID! What a terrible managerial decision. I've been on a few RCL excursions to active volcanoes; some that come to mind are Mt Vesuvius in Italy, Mt Kilauea (TWICE- the excursion to Volcanoes National Park and then when the ship purposefully stopped so we could watch Mt Kilauea's lava flows into the ocean later that night, that snorkel/lunch thing to Nevis 'cause I think the entire island is actually an active volcano, and I did jump into a mud volcano in Columbia but it wasn't a RCL excursion and it's really not a volcano, volcano. Partial list of countries I've visited via RCL that have active volcanoes ( you tell me if these ports of call "are too close to danger") St. Kitts, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, Grenada, Italy, Greece, Columbia, Aruba, Mexico, Panama, Turkey..... How about Seattle? Mt St Helens is only 200 miles away.... Thank God I've never been to that dangerous Iceland....or Alaska... So as it stands, if you wanna vacation with Royal Caribbean to Alaska, Hawaii, or go to Pompeii in Italy, or any of a handful of islands in the Lesser Antilles, or maybe even sail out of Seattle...you are in the face of danger? You wanna do the Volcano Hike in St. Kitts? Well, most people don't make it to the top anyway so I'm guessing they will finally ax that excursion. It's a shame, it's the only RCL excursion that ever was truly "strenuous". If you haven't been to any of the above places, I hope you do--soon. Make time to travel; you'll become a better person. Cruising with RCL has made it possible for me to do all of the above and I am a better person for having done so. I hope you can become that better person too. Don't let a volcano get in your way. <gets off soap box and quietly walks away>
  15. Thank you for sharing @mworkman ! So Royal Caribbean does not appear to be so squeaky clean after all. Very interesting.....
  16. It’s the ferry to/from Playa del Carmen that presents the greatest unknown. So, IMO the is no amount of money you could possibly save by going with a third party to make it worth while. That being said, yes; Tulum is awesome and is defiantly worth your while to see it! A big thumbs up!
  17. No smoking in the casino? So, lemme see.... many here are wanting to make the casino a place of decency, intregrity, and healthiness??? Ummm......No, never gonna happen. Casinos are all about filmflam and it is by no mistake they are located next to the “art gallery”. Those that go to the casino or a Park West art auction know exactly what dark alley they walk down. But on more serious note: what the hell is RC going to do about legalized marijuana? With so many states allowing it. With public perception changing that it’s OK to do....how is RC going to proceed?
  18. Being on the pool deck, I'm pretty sure this dog was just trying to sneak back into the Windjammer. The floor of the Windjammer at lunchtime on a sea day would be total doggie nirvana, no? Really, I'm no different for the Tutti Fruitti salad in the MDR. I just sit at a table with a white table cloth. So theoretically, this could be a picture of me.
  19. I would, they do a good job there. But as a new diver whose C card is just as fresh as your Seapass, don't eliminate the ships excursion from being a great experience and finding some other passengers who are <surprise> exactly at the same level your are. And, the task loading of the ships excursion is like, 0.
  20. ***Notice To All*** Under no circumstances will there be "lobster served in the Windjammer to get the food budget back on track" after any cruise I have been on. NOT A CHANCE.
  21. In winter months I particularly like sailing out of Florida ports because I can arrive 3 or 4 days early and just dive locally. However, it is often cheaper to be on a cruise, even at the 2x solo rate.
  22. April is a long way off and to be honest, there is a lot more to the proper use of a Diamond Lounge than we’ve talked about here. It’s more than drinks and coffee. It’s a place of solitude. The computer terminals are very helpful and likely there is one unoccupied. It’s a place to grab a light bite to eat if not pig out on favorite hors d’ ourves. It’s learning the power of the concierge and what they can and can not do. It’s the skuttlebutt and rumor mill. But in my opinion, the best part of all? It’s the other like-experienced people that you will meet there. It’s the sharing of stories, ideas, and advice; much like this blog and the contributions here. If I were you, I’d jump on an el cheapo 3 nighter to the Bahamas before April. I’d hate to see you go into a b2b blind and oblivious to DL culture. <wink, wink> Congratulations, it’s great to have you aboard! OH! And one other thing! When you leave the DL, they gotta buzz you out. Don’t make the rookie error of trying to open that locked door, you’ll look ridiculous.
  23. The dive operator for RCL in Cozumel is Sand Dollar Sports. There are over 120 some dive operations on Cozumel. So, there are a lot of choices. Knowing your expected arrival time and spending time online with Google maps and looking at reviews; porting in San Miguel is an excellent learning lesson in how to chose an outside dive provider when on a cruise. Start a spreadsheet. Personally? I use Cozumel Marine World for a whole bunch of good reasons. I can walk there from the port. I can eat at Ernesto's Tortilla Factory for lunch. And no matter what time the ship actually arrives or an unanticipated worst case scenario; I can rent an aluminum 80 and shore dive solo right off their dock. No questions asked. FYI: I just returned from a week of diving in Coz, don't let the reef closures worry you. There is plenty of great diving in other areas, your boat ride is just a little longer.
  24. On a related note ( South Florida residents will get a laugh out of this): When I sail out of Lauderdale and I am waiting to check-in I purposefully stall just so I get a really young agent so I can do the following when I get the health questionnaire: ME: <fully reads, signs, and hands over completed questionnaire> AGENT: Good! Are you feeling OK today? Haven't been sick in the last three days? No cold, flu...... ME: <puzzled look> Well... ahhhh....yeah....I gotta tell 'ya.... AGENT: <immediately stop what they are doing because this is defiantly not normal, shows great concern> ME: ....I had a few beers at The Elbo Room in Las Olas last night......and immmm.....And, I feel totally fine and everything......But I can not guarantee you what might be on the bottom of my flip flops......Ya' know what kind off place it is and all.... <pulls off flip flop> Here look! these pathogens are trying to fist fight the STDs but they can't get around the broken glass! AGENT: <smiles> I get enough stupid Dad jokes at home. Here. Have a nice cruise. Me: <takes big whiff like it's a mimeographed copy from 50 years ago> Ahhh, the smell of new Seapass And up the escalator I go.
  25. How else is Mexico supposed to pay for the wall??? Pony up touristas
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