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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and The Big Red Boat all gang up together with lobbyist and get the Jones Act repealed.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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I'm pretty sure T Boone Pickens was high fiving everyone within a 5 mile radius when he read the press release.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. That's why royalcaribbeanblog is a great website. Ask a responsible question and there will be someone who has an experienced and solid answer. There are a lot of reasonable Royal Caribben questions.
  14. Sorry to say but the Concierge Lounge on Adventure is ummm..... Real, real low on the list of RCL spectacular spaces. I think it was formerly a library. So there are no windows and no sense it is a unique place. Some other ships have some really outstanding Oh Wow! spaces. Now for the good news. Our cruise in a GS on Adventure last March had a really outstanding concierge, Ryno. You will be getting an introductory email from whomever the concierge is about a week before you sail. You will also receive in the mail from RCL a quite nice package of pre cruise documents with luggage tags etc. If you would like to go on any of the tours (the Bridge Tour, Entertaimment Tour, Behind The Scenes Tour, or GalleyTour) you can go for no charge; but, you will need to ask concierge to attend. Ask and you can magically receive Group 1 disembarkation luggage tags, even if you don't require them. Keep in mind the concierge carries a lot of weight on board. And it's his or her job to take care any difficulties. So, for suite guests there are no sold out excursions, specialty dining is never fully booked, and it's amazing how fast an extra pillow or hangers will brought to your cabin. Enjoy your doorbell room, they are quite a treat.
  15. Because this is a UK site are we sure these prices are in US dollars? I know that RCL official currency is the US dollar but since the UK decided they don't want to be part of the Euro; is there at least an outside chance that these are being quoted in pounds of sterling, farthings, sixpence, or quid?
  16. A couple important notes about the Oasis production of Cats: Cats productions are personally authorized/scrutanized by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is taken quite seriously, you will never see Cats at a community theater or at your local high school. Mr Weber retains the right to fire any Cats cast member at any time. There is something like 12 or 15 Cats sets, meaning there can only be a maximum of 12 or 15 (or whatever the number is ) productions going on in the wold at any one time. One of which is in long term residence on Oasis. Mr Webber mandates Cats to be preformed with a live orchestra. In contract negotiations with RCL, the orchestra requirement was bypassed. Instead the music is recorded and on a click track. However, Mr Webber requires a conductor (Mr. Webber's personal choice) to be on board and in charge of the click track during performances (a full scale theater production at sea can have unexpected surprises--see below) In other words, the Oasis production is the identical full scale, authentic show that you would see on New York's Broadway or London's West End. No scenes are cut, it is full cast, and of course there are the costumes... And the tradition continues that the audience is invited to take pictures with the cast members in character after the performance. Here is what happens during Cats. The first act introduces you to the cast. The flamboyant costumes are awesome! You here the familiar songs from the production. Cats is in British English, and there are words and phrases that unfamiliar to a lot of people. And, at the end of the first act, "Memory" is sung. For many, many people the show is over; so they bail. They've seen the costumes and heard "Memory". Add-in a little difficulty in completely understanding what is being said--many people don't have the patience for Act II. Where to sit? I don't think it really matters that much to be honest. I promise you'll be able to upgrade to just about anywhere for Act II, perhaps front row. Cats is free and a part of your cruise fare. Also free and a part of your cruise fare is Meet The Cast (find the day and time in the Cruise Compass). It will be held in the little Comedy Club (I forget what the name of the club is). Here's what happens at Meet The Cast: It only happens once a week for about an hour or a little better. There will be 5 or 6 cast members there (I guarantee at least one or more from Cats, I also bet heavily on divers from the aqua show being there) and there is open question and answer for everyone who attends. You get to ask about how long it takes to get into costumes, the actors previous theater experience (you will be pleasantly surprised at just how good these actors are), what happens during rough seas, and finally what happens if there is an Alpha, Alpha, Alpha call during a Cats production. Alpha (and some similar calls) are required by maritime law to interrupt everything onboard a ship....everything. So, the music stops during a performance, does the click track stop too? or, does it continue silently in the background? and, what happens if you are in a choreographed dance while this happens? An Alpha call will probably last 15 seconds or more and can be an eternity if you are onstage and not sure what to do. Hmm...good question! Also for free (for certain levels of Crown and Anchor) is Behind the Scenes. Again look for it in your Cruise Compass. Behind the Scenes (much like Meet The Cast) happens in the theater. You get to go onstage, behind the stage, touch the sets of Come Fly With Me and Cats, meet the sound and lighting guys, and really see how big and well equipped the theater is. It's really a multi million dollar facility. Also you see where they cut the budget when they made Oasis and a dressing room backstage is nonexistent. Hmm...more good questions. I suggest you get a video of Cats and review it before you sail. Certainly go to a production. Go to Meet The Cast. Armed with some interest and some background, you'll really, really enjoy Cats and have some appreciation for what is really going on...unlike those who bailed after Act I.
  17. Not all DLs are created equal! I've found they can vary greatly as to how "nice" they are. Sorry to report but you are going to find the DL on Oasis is surprisingly quite small. The view (which is full windows, two story, dead-on view of Coney Island and the Aqua Theater) is fantastic! The upstairs (there are two levels) is very undesirable, and not many are willing to walk the narrow stairs to get there; even with a full house down stairs. By comparison, the Voyager class DLs with the outside deck areas that overlook the basketball/volleyball court, that's some good liv'n right there! They should all be like that. All the DLs I have seen have the same amenities, the same appetizers, the same two computers, the same coffee/cappuccino/expresso machine, the same concierge, and different but similar furniture. Where they are located on the ship, their size, whether they have exterior windows varies. They can be a glorified cubicle or they can have a stunning view being a part of the Viking Crown lounge.
  18. Is this picture real???? If so, I have a few serious questions: How long did it take to cash everyone out? What was the expression of the dealer/croupier/roulette marble person when it landed on "0"? A calculator was used for the green chips? Did the green chip holder tip? Finally, kind of like witnessing a 300 game in bowling; the entire casino stopped didn't it? I'll hold back my tax questions for later...
  19. bobroo


    Just a view from a guy who has been there: Don't let recent political events, actions by terrorists, or an unfamiliar culture influence your opinion of something you have never seen for yourself before. Turkey is an absolute gorgeous and wonderful country. It deserves none of the bad press it has received. The port you are sailing to, Kudasi, is picturesque and drop-dead gorgeous. The view from the ship is really something (and only to be outdone by your stop in Malta). The ancient town of Ephesus is a long way from the streets of Istanbul and I would give a second thought to visiting it. Whether you go for religious reasons to walk in the steps of John and Paul or to see Marys house or you are a lover of architecture; a day spent in Ephesus is well worth it! You will have spent too much money and traveled too far not to take the few extra steps to see it. Do yourself a favor... I wouldn't single out Turkey because it is a Muslim country. There are other stops on your cruise that have seen similiar recent events, the same as what you have read about in Istanbul. Don't let the separatist movement in Barcelona stop you from visiting Sagrada Familia, the public demonstrations decrying the bankrupt country of Greece keep you away from seeing the Acropolis in Athens, the homeless Syrian refugees from exploring Santorini, or as you will find at any of your stops in Italy; that Italy is open like a 7-11 and has very little in terms of security, policing, or who comes and goes. I'm not sure if you have a direct flight in/out of Barcelona (a port which is also open like a 7-11 BTW) but if you layover at the Frankfurt airport, take a train in London, or walk down a street in Paris (all popular stop overs for US flights)--those have also been terrorist bombed too. After your trip is over, perhaps on that long flight home; I'd like to hear about your trip! Warts and all. Would you mind getting back to us with a report?
  20. A strip of bells (Christmas) attached to the doorknob out to do the trick. Low cost, easy to pack, and gets the job done.
  21. Some helpful advice about the "mini fridges". Cold is not a tempreture they are capable attaining, they are not designed to. There is no tempreture control; they are factory set to "can of pop left out on the counter for an hour cool." This is true for all classes of rooms. RCL does not call them refrigerators but rather "chillers." Where this becomes a real issue is those that put medicine (diabetics) into their room "chiller" and it spoils.
  22. There are many different Mayan sites that are available as an excursion, The ones located on Cozumel aren't nearly as impressive as the major sites you can take an excursion to (either Cozumel or Costa Maya). My favs: 1. Chitzen Itza 2. Tolum 3. Coba In anticipation, I recommend watching Breaking The Mayan Code on Netflix or there is an older episode on Nova with a similar title and the same story how anthropologists figured out the Mayan language and thusly a landslide of learning about a culture we knew very little about.
  23. +1 for Park n' Cruise We fly into Orlando and park our rental cars there and do 3 nighters.
  24. 1) Bluetooth Speaker for the balcony 2) Binoculars for the balcony 3) Magnetic Signs for our door that way I only have to remember what floor I live on. ( I can usually get the right floor consistently about Wednesday)
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