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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. 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!
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. ***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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. How else is Mexico supposed to pay for the wall??? Pony up touristas
  11. 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.
  12. 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 [email protected] . 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.
  13. 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.
  14. I L-O-V-E the smell of new Seapass! I wish I was in your flip-flops.
  15. 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.
  16. I've found if you pour coffee straight into your eyes it'll work faster. ;0)
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. I am glad to hear so many good reports!
  20. 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.
  21. 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.....
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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>
  25. 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."
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