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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. Well Mr Anello, I think you are beginning to feel the same punch in the gut the Royal corporate office felt when you sent the sheriff over with your lawsuit and the likelihood that your attorney has been playing hardball the past few months. Your arrest is called retribution.
  2. If your husband is registered for the Try Diving or Discover Diving programs, then there is no book work. But.... if he is registered for the Open Water Diving course, this is a spot-on concern. Your husband is exactly correct, it is advantageous to complete the online eLearning portion before boarding the ship. I would send an email explaining the situation to royaldiver@rccl.com . I would include his reservation number, sailing date and request an eLearning direct link and code for taking the course. I believe the above email goes to whoever is in charge of the scuba programing at Royal corporate. They will evaluate the question and in turn forward the concern to whomever is the certified instructor aboard Harmony for the dates in question and tell them to "straighten this out!" As with everything Royal Caribbean, maintaining a paper trail is a really, really good idea. Print out and document everything, put it in a folder, and take it aboard with you. Any person can just go to PADI.com, pay $190 and take the Open Water eLearning online course. If done this way I'm pretty sure of two things 1) that will wind up being $190 that would have been better spent on dive gear 2) the dive shop onboard Harmony will have a difficult time ( but not impossible time) verifying that the course was completed. Harmony will also need to transfer your husbands PADI student-at-large file to become registered or "owned" by whoever will be his instructor aboard Harmony. In scuba diving we have lots of rules of wisdom. A big one is "NEVER do anything underwater that you can do beforehand topside." This situation falls into that category. Complete the quizzes and reading of the eLearning beforehand. And do it so that it is smooth and seamless as possible once you get onboard.
  3. Please, please, please let all the frequent contributors here try to educate others so they understand not to behave like this. I understand the cruise line is culpable. I understand the frustration of the passengers. But please understand this is not a train, it is a boat.
  4. I L-O-V-E the smell of new Seapass! I wish I was in your flip-flops.
  5. Oh yeah, the room service coffee, fresh fruit, sweet roll thing is just the pre-game meal. You'll be throwing down a little later after you take a shower, do some housekeeping and got the kinks out of your legs and feet.
  6. I've found if you pour coffee straight into your eyes it'll work faster. ;0)
  7. A little back story about room service. The assistant waiters with the lowest seniority get the duty of delivering the room service goodies. You'll see a different person everyday. I'm sure it's a bunch of running around the ship to places they were just at seemingly just minutes ago. The delivery of your order is awkward. The full trays are a tight squeeze inside your cabin doorframe. It's an uneasy transition from when you answer the door and the waiter tries to enter fighting off the 10,000 lbs of force door closer with your tray of food. And, there isn't always a clear landing place for the tray once he/she gets inside. Above all else you are probably in your PJs trying to quickly cover yourself up with that inadequate free Royal robe. Yeah, it's a real awkward place and time. And yeah, that assistant waiter has drawn the short straw. Now that you now this, that person who delivers your order? Deserves a couple bucks!!! Two or three dollar bills and a polite thank you go along way. My experience is they are surprised to receive it so it must not happen often. But now you reading this know better; you are an advanced cruiser. Be that guy, do the right thing! When you place the order, whether its on the stateroom television or using a door hanger; lay a couple spare dollars out so they are ready to go. "Oh yeah, I gotta tip this dude" rummaging around to find a couple crumpled dollar bills after the tray of food has landed only adds to the strangeness. Now, turn those bright lights back off because you look ridiculous with squinty eyes and messy hair. And for God sakes tighten that robe back up because Sponge Bob Squarepants is peeking out.
  8. Couple things: the airboats are really loud. Irresponsibly frick’n loud. They will give you earplugs and you will be glad to have them. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses!!! You are off the ship but you are still in Florida. Zero shade, hot, and humid. If it’s a RCL excursion, they will have several bus loads of folks with your same game plan. It will only get cancelled on account of lightning. Is this a good way to do something unique, get you and your luggage to the airport, and eek your vacation a little further? Yes defiantly. Is this a celebration of Marjory Douglas and the Everglades ecosystem? No, between the obnoxious boats, alligator served for lunch, and various taxidermy gator parts sold in the gift shop; I came away the tour operator hated the ‘glades. I’m glad we did it just the same. JMO.
  9. I am glad to hear so many good reports!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.....
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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>
  15. 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."
  16. 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!!!
  17. Yes, let's not hijack mcoler18's thread! I think the following rule applies to all Sorrento's: Even bad pizza is kinda good.
  18. 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.
  19. Sarafinas is closed and is not reopening I could not get a honest answer why when I visited last March.
  20. I wonder if you could get a two year lease on a storage locker??? :0)
  21. 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(
  22. 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.
  23. 8,000 cruise points?.....That's like a boatload of glass blocks!
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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