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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. Here is what Carny's policy is regarding Missing The Ship (fast forward to 1:35):
  2. There is protocol for folks who don’t make it to the ship on time beyond blasting the ships horn. It begins with announcements onboard requesting they call guest relations (because it is entirely possible they are aboard); you can be sure their recent seapass use is researched to see if they have entered their stateroom, bought a drink, played a slot machine, bought some art from Park West, etc. etc. I’d like to think somebody onboard is calling, emailing, and texting the important contact information you were required to submit when you bought the cruise. Finally— security enters their stateroom and ransacks it to obtain their passport and then those missing persons passports are handed to the local port agent before the ship leaves. Offenders are left high and dry but with access to their passports, just no luggage. On the bright side they do have plenty of time to head back to Froggies or Margaritaville. Who is the port agent you ask? Well, somewhere buried in your cruise documents is the name, address, and phone number of the port agents for the ports you will be visiting. You sign your name that you are aware of this people when you first get onboard. Remember? We all can be sure the ports where people are frequently late like Rome (Civitavecchia) or Nassau everyone who works on that pier will know which way you need to go and who you need to see. Not every pier runner is drunk. Hey, sometimes medical emergencies happen while passengers are in port. In those cases, the hospital will usually notify the ship that Mr Smith has had a heart attack and Mrs Smith will be staying with him while he is in surgery or Mr Jones is in traction from a zip line injury earlier that morning; in those cases Royal security will ransack the room and the little safe looking for passports as they do but they will also pack the personal belongings and leave those with the port agent. So maybe hospitality has not completely left the cruise industry?
  3. Boy, there's lot's to like in this post! I like that you are planning ahead--well in advance. I like that you are combining cruising and scuba because I think they go really well together. But best of all, and we'll see how this all pans out; I like that you are creating a unique family activity that all of you can share cruise after cruise. Even if the ol' man is footing the bill for all of this, little do they know he is the one getting the most out of it. <insert big thumbs up emoji>
  4. Matt is exactly correct but forgot to add that their theater smells like a wet basement. And don't bother to ask for "a big glass of 151" at the end; it only makes the bartenders giggle like schoolgirls.
  5. This private island concept benefits RCL in the future because there will be guaranteed dock space for it to put its ships. With all the cruise lines adding ships, available ports (in particular those with docks) are in short supply. When a major storm occurs or a ships major mechanical failure, now there may be a nearby safe harbor. Smart thinking! But, for the "...each markets idea of a perfect day is." ahhhh.......my perfect day while I'm vacation and already at a beach has nothing to do with screaming riders on roller coasters. Sadly, the members of the Royal Caribbean board room think they are competitive with Disney. Sorry fellas--not even close.
  6. If this guy got that Bahamian navy boat (you know the one I'm talking about) to actually move and do something--I think we all owe this man a round of applause.
  7. Yes, if there is a Discover Scuba class (or excursion) it will be taught by the instructor(s) and a dive master or two; all of whom work in the ships dive shop. The class will happen at whatever shop is the dive excursion provider at what ever the port of call is. There is orientation, some learning, issuing some gear and cumulated by a dive. They will be there within an arms reach every step of your dive. Those first few breaths underwater are very trippy soon turning into being very cool. Multiple Discover Scuba sessions? Ummm......you sure you don't wanna rethink just getting your Open Water cert on the ship???? I understand being uncertain or nervous about scuba but on the other hand there is no good reason for doing Discover Scuba several times over during the same week. And, there is no carryover or credit that can be applied to getting your OW in the future. So if someone is showing this much interest in diving before they go on their cruise, I would recommend becoming OW certified; not doing the same introductory class over and over again.
  8. The Barcelona cruise terminal and the airport are pretty close. Since there is no customs to pass through at the cruise terminal (you just pick up your bags and walk out the door) it will quicker and easier to just take a cab rather than wait for a bus to fill up. The very modern Barcelona airport is a pleasure to fly in and out of. And it's huge, Texans would be proud to have BCN in their state. If you arrive to the airport early, don't be in a hurry to get to your gate. At BCN, if you are at a international gate and then want to grab something to eat or go wander around the stores; you have to go through security again.
  9. Another well-said post by Twangster! Bringing your own gear is generally always welcome but not necessary. The Discover Scuba and Open Water course have no expectations that you own any equipment and will fill in the gaps for the things you don't have. Gear is included in the course you are taking. I am an avid scuba diver on vacation and at home. Being a diver and cruising really compliment one another well. I have something cool and exciting to do at every Caribbean port I may stop at, even the crumby ones like Martinique or Nassau. As a matter of fact, I've been to Nassau what, a dozen times? I'm not even close to being bored by scuba diving there. I am at least a couple dozen more stops there before diving in Nassau gets old--maybe even more than that. On the other hand, once you've been to a straw market.... When I cruise, I bring a bag with a complete set of my gear. Partly because I already own it, partly because divers have that warm. snuggly feeling when they are in their own rig, and partly because I know I am going to use it. I am also aware that means extra costs checking it in at the airlines, long stares if not interrogation by RCL security getting on and off the ship, and I am willing to drag it around (i.e. I'll be carrying a soggy, dripping dive bag all the way down a very long pier on my way back to the ship. A bag that will be twice as heavy as when I took it off). But for me, all that effort just to scuba dive a couple tanks is worth it. As an alternative, all I really need is an open water certification card. Opposed to my friend Twangster, I am in the other camp when it comes to when you should get certified if you are a person beginning to get interested in scuba and you are planning to do it on a cruise that is months in the future. My motto: bring your certification to the event, don't make it the event. By no means is this a reflection on Royal or the training they do--they are both just fine. For me, I want to go look at cool stuff underwater not learn some fairly simple skills.
  10. An understated value of having an aft cabin: No matter how big and confusing a ship might be. No matter walking down a long hallway passing cabin door after cabin door, each completely indistinguishable from one another, asking yourself "where do I live?" The confusion of less-than-straight-forward ship lingo of starboard and port are as clear as Shakespearian English. There are times it can be difficult to remember your room number after being on many cruises, for so many years; because your cabin number is like an unfamiliar zip code from another part of the country. It's a temporary number and the digits don't really go together, do they? Not to mention the worst case; returning to your cabin less than sober, late at night..... When you you have an aft cabin, getting the floor right is the hardest part!
  11. Full Disclosure: I am a aft balcony snob Here is my video review of Radiance #1102 which being a snob that I am peers over to #1100 to where life is really good. Here is Jewel #1104 and finally Brilliance #9658 (again peeking to see just how good the neighbors have it in #9656 and it is an unusual cabin with habit of a surprising balcony)
  12. Can anyone explain to me how/ why Royal gets to pick and chose which laws of the United States apply to them and when??? Here they are citing the ADA; yet they don’t feel minimum wage applies to them. Another example, they fly under a Bahamian flag and are really incorporated in Africa yet they have no problem calling the US Coast Guard every time there is a problem at sea even while in International waters. I don’t get it.... The reality is the more Royal has raised their prices the more finicky customers they are going to attract. I wish Royal would adopt the same pet policy Cunard uses for its trans Atlantic sailings. You can bring your pet and it’ll cost about $800US. Your pet is boarded in their kennel area, has some type of attendant, and you are only allowed to socialize with your pet in a certain designated room; they are not permitted in any other areas; even staterooms.
  13. +2 on the wise words of Todd W.
  14. No; I'm sorry, the dive will not "count" to any open water certification. But It will "count" as being a memory. Discover Scuba is for folks to get the simplest taste of scuba. Maybe it's out of their box? Maybe it is a spontaneous fun thing to do during a vacation? Maybe That's enough to get another checked box on their bucket list? An open water certification (from any agency (PADI, SSI, SDI, NAUI, etc.) they are all equal and the same), is like a scuba drivers liscense. There is much more to scuba than "put this breathy-thingy in your mouth and kick your feet and its like you've become a fish." ; an open water certification will make you realize that. Scuba diving is an excellent compliment to a Caribbean cruise vacation. The typical two tank boat dive lends itself nicely to the typical 8 hours you might be in port and still allow for time to do some shopping, eat some local food, and have a couple beers in some grass hut along a beach front. Even the crumbier ports like Nassau, Martinique, and St Croix are exciting and fun if you are a scuba diver!
  15. You are worrying about nothing! My wife and I did a culturally enriching cruise a few years ago and we enjoyed it very much. Keep in mind a few things, Royal is structured around English. All employees must have a certain mastery to be employed. Ships announcements all will be in English first and then in other languages. The cruise compass, TV's, sea pass, and all those memos and paperwork that is left by the stateroom attendant on your bed will be in English. The concierges? Of course they are fluent English speakers! In all, the cruise as you are accustomed will not change. What will change might be some of the entertainment, menus in the MDR might be tweaked to favor the tastes of the largest nationality of passengers (don't worry all of your favorites and old standbys will still be there), music in the disco will be influenced ( but the same line dance songs that are played at every sail away will continue). I think you'll find the differences welcome and interesting. Except for the ships announcements, you'll be scratching your head how long and what is gone through just to tell the passengers that Bingo is about to begin in the theater in a half an hour.
  16. A little known Royal Caribbean "secret": After you collect your 9th crystal block and become Pinnacle......then you collect crystal obelisks at every 350 cruise points after 700.
  17. You also may be remembering when up to just a few years ago that suite guests and diamond and above were seated in their own area of the MDR. It usually was in a corner of one of the top floors. No name for it, just a section of the MDR. There would be a small podium with a staff member being the gatekeeper to keep the riff raff out. The menus and portions were different there. Lobster night was truly lobster night. Of course that's where the better waitstaff was before they earned a promotion to a Chops or Portofinos. Formal nights were elegant because everyone seated in those areas participated., IMO, those were the last days when the MDR was a grand experience and lived up to the tradition of using white table cloths. MDR today???......ahh, nobody wants to hear a grumpy old man complain about what used to be.....
  18. Water shoes or gym shoes that can be discarded after the ride are an absolute must. Sandels, Crocs, or other loose fitting foot ware probably won't work out so well. "Creek" is a much more accurate term than "river". The water is cool, but not freezing. Consider wearing something like a rash guard or long sleeved shirt for the trip. The life vest will also keep you pretty warm. The water is seldom deeper than chest deep anywhere along the trip. The bats are small and the headlights on the helmets are just enough to see them. I don't remember any total blackout areas along the route. I'm certain there were none. Beers are available for sale after the trip. Buy a couple extra for the bus ride back to the ship. The inner tubes are not from vehicles, they are much lighter weight than that. Everything you bring with you is going to get wet. This includes cameras, phones, wallets etc. These items types of items you bring along should have a way of being clipped off to you. Meaning; having a caribeaner that can be hooked to a belt loop and the lanyard to a waterproof camera is a really good idea. Leaving a towel, change of clothes, change of shoes, seapass, and a photo ID was plenty safe left on your seat in a backpack or beach bag on the bus. The walk from the bus to the creek was, I dunno if it was a mile; I don't think it was that long. It's along a trail in the jungle which is mostly gravel or mud. It's not a Tough Mudder, but being a rain forest you will walk in an occasional puddle.There were many stops along the way where the guide takes about specific trees or wildlife. Ther is some occasional faster current, not whitewater, not rapids, but rather swift fun. There are times during the float that are quiet, peaceful drifts through the rainforest. Listening to the jungle birds is wonderful and they don't know you are there.
  19. I L-O-V-E that we have a thread about a RC competitor, Club Med; simultaneous with a drug fueled orgy on Vision —started on Matt’s first day of a cruise. The timing couldn’t be better! FYI: the group Ottawan, has a greatest hits album available on iTunes. On it are “Hands Up” and “Crazy Music” There will be a test of how well you remember The Crazy Signs after you give them a listen. ;0)
  20. Dating myself here......but Club Med vacations in the middle and late 80's were a lot of fun. I miss those days.
  21. This looks like soooooo much fun! Every cruise director in the fleet should watch these videos. Get rid of the tired, boring 70's night and have events like this where people have fun and really enjoy themselves. A real vacation. Instead of passengers having to pretend they like the Village People and KC and the Sunshine Band songs; Turn the subs down low, make the girls wearing bikinis sit in a pile of glitter and let passengers get their moneys worth out of their drink package. I woud sooooo sign up for 7 nights of this!!!!
  22. The best airport in the world is Changi Airport in Singapore! Not only is it neat, clean and well organized. Not only is the security quick, easy and common sense. The washrooms are very, very clean and the washroom attendants are proud of their work. The terminals are spacious and there is plenty to do. Shopping????......ummmm.....Orlando ain't got nothing on Changi. It is everything an airport should be....and you might be lucky and the new, $2 billion terminal might be open. It is by all accounts really something. Unexpectedly being held up at the Changi Airport for a couple hours is defiantly not a problem....enjoy!
  23. FYI, assuming you travel with a spouse; there will only be one free bottle of wine for the two of you. That bottle of wine will be determined by who ever selected their preferences last. Despite how C and A gives a free welcome beverage since the time you were gold status and even though the C and A website allows each member to select their preferences; you are only getting one bottle per stateroom per voyage. This is true for the first "tier" of Diamond Plus. Perhaps when reaching one of the other two "tiers" of Diamond Plus C and A will cough up two bottles of wine??? I'm sure there is someone from the other higher "tiers" that can chime in.
  24. After years of cruising with Royal, I am a convinced that anytime you you tip and that receipt, envelope, or anything else that says "gratuity" and also has a Royal Caribbean logo on it--those funds are going into that ships general tip pool for all employees. That includes leaving a buck or two tip on a receipt for drinks. That bartender/server/room attendant does not individually receive those funds. That is true for the above pictured envelope. Cash to that guy or gal you want to thank? That goes entirely to that person you want to acknowledge. Case in point: want to know why that employee Waaaytoo described was afraid to touch that little blue envelope??? Because management is afraid an employee would stick it in their pocket and not put it into the collective fund and probably has given extreme warning to any employee thinking of not sharing that money. You don't need no stink'in envelope, there is nothing to hide. Be proud of your acknowledgment and carry some small bills in your pocket when you are onboard. Enjoy the smile you get in return for your couple bucks.
  25. If I had to guess, Trujillo, Honduras might be the go to alternate. There are other cruise ships that port there--but none often.
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