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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. What we (the hopelessly addicted cruising community and cruise lines) would benefit from are the loosening of requirements such as mandatorily going to a foreign port, issues of beginning a cruise in one US city and ending in another US city, and a lot of customs nonsense. What the opportunity here is that companies like Royal could offer US only itineraries, cruises on the Great Lakes, and "cruises to nowhere"; definitely opening up other revenue streams. Convenient for us US residents but attractive to foreign travelers as well. Who wouldn't want to take a Gulf Coast cruise from say Galveston to Tampa? A cruise on the Great Lakes? A ride on the Eastern Seaboard? A couple nights on a ship to "get outta Dodge" for the weekend that leaves out of LA, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Norfolk, or Charleston. Sailing out and making a U-turn and coming right back?
  2. While the White House is currently obsessed with deregulating government and/or business for the sake of grabbing headlines. And, while there is seemingly no price tag too high for Royal to put something into it's shopping cart. PLEASE Royal take this unique point in time and get together with the other cruise companies do all of yourselves a favor by either repealing or amending the Jones Act. The sooner the better.
  3. A couple more things to consider why you would NOT be wasting food. One, the MDR is not a scratch kitchen. They already planned on and prepared X amount of portions of your chosen entre' long before you arrived for dinner. Second, all the unused food gets fed to the fishes in the middle of the night. So don't be bashful about ordering in the MDR.
  4. This is a great question JL. I don't think the ships operate any differently than they do for a caribbean cruise. The crew still has their 9 month contracts, the entertainers still have contracts and jump from boat to boat, and the menu in the MDR is the same week after week after week. What is different are the passengers. They are not looking for "entertain me" or "feed me free food I would not normally eat for dinner" or "give me opportunities onboard like ice skating or rock climbing or an escape room" like you and I enjoy on our brief one week stay onboard. These passengers are playing a different game, just like the ones that spend long spans of time RCL ships; particularly Adventure in the Winter time. (they like Adventure because it goes to five different ports each week). If I could categorize these passengers I would say (IF...you could categorize them): A) they are retired and have wealth B) spending long time aboard is equal to the expense of owning an expensive condo in Florida C) they have been cruising for many, many, many years. Like 30 or 40 years. D) they never buy drink packages but will buy internet. E) They have a travel agent and play the credit card for miles or points game just like the rest of us. i hope sometime you make time to talk to a Pinnacle and above member. Their stories are entertaining and enlightening and might change they way you think about our favorite way to vacation.
  5. Jerel you are breaking my heart! Let me explain.... A couple weeks ago on Harmony I was walking on the pool deck on a sea day at about 10am. Quite frankly I have never seen so many towels and so few people at the pool. And then I saw the biggest chair hog in the history of Royal. This person had taken three towels and put them lengthwise across 9 lounge chairs. A gross showing of chair hoggyness. As I stood there trying to figure the audacity a person would have to do that, a pool attendant was close by so I called him over. I told him "ummmm, are we doing anything about people reserving pool chairs today?" He said " If a guest isn't at there chair in a half an hour we remove them." Staring at about 20' of obviously reserved chairs "if you don't remove those towels, I am going to take those towels and throw them out that window, this is stupid.".....and I was serious. The pool attendant removed the towels and there was applause when I continued walking across the pool deck. While in the elevator I thought after doing my good deed for the day "Gee, I wonder if somebody is going to get charged $75 for reserving pool chairs because they didn't get credit for reurning the towels? GOOD! I hope so!" ......and now you tell me this and it makes sense. <shakes head>
  6. During the Top Tier I spoke withe the hotel director about the the solarium issues. He gave me a sort of a corporate non-answer but did indicate that they are well aware or the awning problems. I hope they can over time implement a permanent solution while Harmony is in port for a few hours once a week. Regarding the water slides, In addition to having water on the pool deck you would walk around if you had dress shoes on they have caused significant damage to Central Park. In the area where the slides are cantilevered over the park, the leaking chlorinated water killed a bed of plants. During our windy voyage water was picked up in the air and brought down into Central Park. It defoliated one tree and a big swath of one wall installation. You could see the dramatic difference from one day to the next. So much for Splash Zone.
  7. I was on the same voyage of Harmony and there are a few notable design problems that I was really,really surprised that have been allowed to continue. The water slides are a leaky, hemoraging mess and should be shut down. Good intentions but terrible execution. I'd like to meet the design team of the solarium. I'm not sure what they were thinking. The perforated awning enclosures whistle horribally on sea days. Many times it's not the serene, "mindful" place as intended. And then there's the obvious plastic flawed awnings. The same ones torn apart on the maiden transatlantic voyage. Several were destroyed on our trip as well. Know what a loose blue tarp sounds like on truck going down an expressway? The solarium had that going on too. But I'm really not sure how many design people bought into the idea that stretched clear plastic would last the whatever expected useful life Harmony has. For reals???
  8. In addition there is definatly a 30 seat movie theater in the Adventure Ocean area. There could also be a larger movie theater; I dunno. It is that big of a ship.
  9. Currently on Harmony, Susie and I went back to Next Cruise and booked a Symphony sailing for Feb 9, 2019. You know you have a bad cruising addiction when you are on first name basis with everyone at Next Cruise. They know us better than our stateroom attendant.
  10. I'm on Harmony now. There are 64 movies on demand, Netflix style. The selection is all over the place and there is somthing for everyone; trust me. There is also free tv which seems to have attractive kids programming in addition to what we have all seen before in different languages and different subjects like news, sports, movies etc. The movies are $12 each for us common folk; likely free for suite guests.
  11. My wife Susie really enjoyed the bike ride excursion she did through the ship while we were there last. Like you, I was in the water. We both hooked up in the afternoon and enjoyed clean, unspoiled Kralendijk. We've been to just about every port RCL stops at in the Caribbean; Bonaire is a top 3 favorite of ours. Just because it is clean, organized, and civilized and unlike all the other Caribbean ports. Just discussing it, of our all-time favorite Caribbean ports--none have a Diamonds International. Co-incidence?
  12. I know details are sketchy and we likely will never find out what really happened, but that being said, There are more than enough life jackets for every passenger in their stateroom. There are extra life jackets in those white fiberglass containers along the wall during the muster drill. And each lifeboat has 150 life jackets on board. You mean to tell me all of those are out of date??? I hope RCL takes the "bad" life jackets and brings them to Syria, there are many people there who would be happy to have one whether the strobe light works or not.
  13. I would really, really enjoy a cruise that circumnavigates Africa.
  14. My opinion: The best and easiest city for an American first time traveler to Europe is Venice, Italy--hands down! I would recommend arriving two days early for your cruise because it's so easy to fall in love with Venice and it's such an easy city to wander around. There is nothing you won't like and it's a great European primer.
  15. When my wife and I go to Europe, unlike many European travelers on holiday; we aren't looking for a day at the beach. We go to be to be immersed in the culture, the food, the architecture, the history, and well...the sightseeing. In general the weather can be cool and rainy. We have sailed in October and mid-November and were quite comfortable with long pants and a light jacket. Fewer other tourists--bonus! Hotel rooms are also about $100 a night cheaper in Oct/Nov. If you are looking for beach time? Well yeah, the Canaries, St. Tropez, Ibiza, and the Greek isles are legendary in June, July, and August. If you are going for the experience, I don't think there is a better time than in Fall.
  16. Coral World is on Coki beach and is plenty easy to do on your own. A simple YouTube search will tell you all you need to know.
  17. My wife and I spent a total of 21 nights aboard Royal last year. My favorite event was on our Hawaiian repositioning cruise while in port at Kona. A monsoon occurred and we got soaked walking back to the tender. Everything, and I mean everything got wet. Nothing was spared, you might as well pulled us from the ocean. A total loss. Walking in the downpour was not only fun, but it told me a lot about my wife. I didn't get any flack, I didn't hear about hair, contents of our shopping bags, clothing, what other people thought, or even to hail a taxi. I learned that even though we might be in the worst of circumstances....Boy! did I pick a good one. I need to remind myself of this more often.
  18. 1. Cuba will be very successful after passengers come back with good reviews--as a port. But there will be many negatives with Empress, i.e.. no specialty dining, no solarium, lacking the bells and whistles. However, Azamara is going to do Cuba right and RCL should take notice. 2. Prices are going up, but there will be a BOGO from Jan 1- Dec 31. 3. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and The Big Red Boat all gang up together with lobbyist and get the Jones Act repealed. Trump does this via Twitter. 4. Harmony will continue to be a destination in and of itself. Continued WOW! through 2017. 5. Passangers come to find Tampa as a preferred port to sail from. The people are nice. Not nearly the traffic as other Florida ports. And it's new and clean!
  19. Here is something important for anyone considering a European cruise to remember: Often a European cruise you may be considering may have a port or a city you are unfamiliar with. Or in the case of a stop in Montenegro, an entire country you never knew even existed. There is a reason why Royal stops at these places and that's because those ports and cities are unique, wonderful, and bonafide "Awesome". The same goes for the arrival or departure times from certain ports. Venice and Malta are always on top of the list of a well traveled cruiser's "Most Beautiful Ports in the World" and that's because they are stunning when you arrive at noon and they get better when you depart at 9 pm at night! I have to tip my RCL helmet to Royal Caribbean for making these choices; they do a great job year after year. I've NEVER heard a complaint that the itinerary of a European cruise didn't meet someones expectations while I've been onboard or back home online. That includes reading posts to the Crown and Anchor Facebook group and there is nothing those people won't bitch about. So Dutchmanoftheseas, if your Norwegian ports of call are giving you pause because they are unfamiliar and are seemingly just words that have too many vowels; have faith that each of those ports is incredible and worthy of traveling half way around the world to see.
  20. Are you going to do morning dives too? I am curious how your trip goes, in particular, where or what happens on the second tank of the shark drive.
  21. Stuart Cove is the contractor who does the RC scuba excursions. Of course, the shark encounter is not a RC excursion. The shark encounter boat leaves at 2pm and gets back at 6pm or later (if you are doing a 3 nighter it will have to be on Majesty; Enchantment leaves at 5pm). I'm not sure but it appears you could do a morning 2 tanker and shark dive in the afternoon. I think there is enough surface interval and the shark dive is not that deep. My wife and I are considering a Majesty 3 nighter in August--essentially so I can do this dive. I'm going to spend the extra $ with Stuart Cove to get the AWARE- Shark accreditation; I thinks it's another $60 or so.
  22. I'm pretty sure T Boone Pickens was high fiving everyone within a 5 mile radius when he read the press release.
  23. Matt is absolutely correct! If being a UNESCO World Heritage site didn't tip you off, being one of the 7 Wonders of the New World should have.
  24. You know you are addicted to cruising when you stand back and look at how complex you've made your life onshore by obsessively charging everything to a certain credit card in order to accrue airline miles so that you can fly to your next cruise for free. And, further complicate your life because that credit card offers more than average miles at certain restaurants or certain online retailers or certain gas stations--which you will gladly go way out of your way for--just to attain a few more miles.
  25. I like to think European cruises are where you take your training from going on Caribbean cruises and put it to good use. All your European cruising questions are welcome here. It would not be unusual to have many of them.
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