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Everything posted by bobroo

  1. Here is what a "luxury" robe is like. They are the same size as the ones you always get, I'm guessing a size large. They are fluffier and have a blue beaded trim. Most notably they haven't been washed nearly the amount as the regular robes so they are still quite nice. 100% cotton. Let me tell you a story about RCL and robes. Two years ago I intended on giving my wife a Christmas present, a RCL robe and a couple pilfered breakfast door hangers from a previous cruise. I thought "what Royal Caribbean loving woman would not want to find that under the tree" and "why wouldn't Royal Caribbean want to sell me a robe with their logo on it?" I couldn't have been more WRONG. At the beginning of November I started with the Florida company that is authorized to sell logo'd merchandise. They offer robes but they are not the robes used onboard. Meaning they are not 100% cotton. Dude, I'm going through all of this; I want the NICE robe, DUH. And they were out of stock and after a lengthy conversation with the owner not going to be in stock for Christmas delivery. I got they feeling they were not a very busy company and have no marketing plan what-so -ever. I tried RCL Crown and Anchor and talked with a supervisor. Told them what I wanted and added "....at any price up to $500." Nope...no can do. So my wife ended up with a beat up and cheap Peter Max poster I bought on e-Bay for $30 that year. Now we giggle when asked by a Park West art auction person "Who do you collect?" We proudly respond "We Collect Peter Max!!!" Watch their eyes light up and then casually tell their fellow co-wokers there are a couple strong potential suckers aboard.
  2. Here's how it goes for airport transfers for all ports. RCL knows how many passengers have bought the transfers and knows when they are expected to land. When they actually arrive is anyone's guess. Also, they are only going to operate a bus with a certain minimum occupancy. So taking that all into account here's what happens, as passengers and luggage arrive they wait until a bus is full. It's been my experience they do take into account how long you have been waiting, or at least tell you they do. But I'll be honest, please don't sell Venice short because of a couple hundred dollar hotel room or there aren't the hotel brands you might be familiar with.Venice is not not some crappy Caribbean port. Venice in a wonderful, magical city. The perfect city for first time European travelers. A great place to get your feet wet. (yuk, yuk, yuk) Another unique option is to take the Blue Line from the airport to the cruise terminal taking a boat to the boat. But even that does not do Venice the justice it deserves. No matter what you choose, the nighttime sailaways from Venice are many people's favorite of long time cruisers. The lights and the city are breathtaking. I shouldn't need to mention it's my all time favorite too and perhaps the best port I have ever been too.
  3. Let me add, in all the sailing we have done here is something that continues to amaze me no matter how "small" a Royal Caribbean ship is. You spend 7 days and 7 nights on the boat, you do all sorts of things, and at all sorts of hours. You'd think you have seen it all.... Yet during disembarkation after you've gathered your luggage and are waiting in line for customs.....I look around and there are passengers I have never seen before! Check it out after your next sailing. Regarding "big" ships: we sailed on Oasis for the first time 8 months ago. I still think about how remarkable that ship was. How well designed. How good the staff was. It really was worth the premium you pay.
  4. I agree with Matt. I believe most of the "Code Adam" stuff that goes on at the Guest Services desk is of passengers who haven't cruised much and who really have their expectations set way too high. I believe more often than not the reality of if a refund is going to be given or for how much is just plain a question of who is willing to let their numbers be effected. Is it going to come out of corporates' budget or is it going to come out of the numbers of the excursion desk supervisor, dining room supervisor, or the hotel manager are supposed to come up with every voyage. In this case RCL Miami is funding whatever OBC is given out and rightly so.. I have a big question about the Labadee situation....What is RCL Miami doing??? Negotiating? Finding the the root of the discord? Easing tension and compromising? Building a bigger fence? Or, are they just waiting it out a little bit and hoping it all blows over? If they don't come out with a press release soon I'm afraid their strategy is "sit back and wait." I hope they have sent down some representatives and are trying to work things out. Perhaps offering some passenger/public service assistance like Carnival does in the Dominican Republic. Integrating some more jobs would also say a lot.
  5. Yeppers, Adventure of the Seas has only one specialty restaurant, Giovanni's Table. We too received the promo e-mail from RCL for our upcoming cruise and my wife and I laughed about it. The lack of specialty dining opportunities has made us not even interested in going to Gio's this trip. Bummer
  6. Most of us would advise to transfer your reservations to a TA so that you can save some more $. Just say'n.....
  7. Here are two small advantages for waiting till you get aboard. IF you get aboard early before access to the cabins is available IF you really like those cups they give you for pop/soda Then buying your package upon embarkation makes sense because you will get your cup immediately. Otherwise it may be held hostage until cabin access is opened up. To tell you the truth, I always wait till we are on the ship for another reason. I always give my brand new, still wrapped cup away to a Mom or Dad who is also waiting in line to by a pop package for their kid. I always choose someone who looks like it will take the least amount of explaining to this little scam. If some kids want to drink pop out of the machines on me for a week; God bless 'em. If it saves a fellow cruiser $65 for the week--even better.
  8. I've been on board for both playoff games and for the Super Bowl. Yes, all the games will be televised--somewhere. We've watched them and it is quite fun, because there will be many people interested rooting for either team. It's a good party. One note, and I can not for the life of me understand this; but these games will be televised onboard --but without commercials shown. In English, and with the normal announcers. During commercial breaks it's just a blank screen <scratches head>.
  9. If Matt hasn't twisted your arm to report back to us often mid-cruise; l am most certainly expecting a full recap posting when you return!
  10. This is an excellent question and of the best my wife and I have read or heard in quite some time. You are correct, summer cruises along the Norwegian coast are all about the view. Susie believes that the room should go to the earliest booking, not the most recent. But....also believes that whom ever presently has the room is going to pay substantially more money than you were going to pay. So she thinks that is how RCL is going to think of the situation. What might be limiting the compensation is that they just plain don't give away what they used to. She suggests to try and barter some shore excursions, drink packages for the kids, an all access tour, and specialty dining in addition to what they already have offered. Those types of things won't have such affect on RCL's margin on the cabins. I agree with all of the above. But I am more vindictive than my wife so I suggest 1) Switch to an aft cabin! Same view, just the obverse. 2) Be an absolute voracious pig on lobster night. Make 'em pay on the most expensive meal of the week. (My record is 6 --just say'n) 3) Same holds true for the Diamond Lounge. I shouldn't have to tell you upgrade your go to drink of choice to the best of what they will give you so let me remind you that the soonest you will be able to soak up the free drinks is immediately after the muster drill. Hopefully they will serve the bacon wrapped scallops in the lounge while you are aboard, they are delishious! Please keep us posted, we are interested how this all pans out.
  11. Another RCL rule: Different ships have different rules. Many, many passengers have difficulty with this concept. So whether you can bring cases upon cases of bottled water onboard, a surge protected outlet strip is/is not contraband, or how diligent the pool chair police are is different as the ship you are boarding. Two weeks ago we booked onboard the Rhapsody. We got $100 of OBC applied to our current room and were not offered what cruise we'd like it applied to. Co-incidentally at the end of the cruise we were refunded $165 (promptly!) back to our credit card stemming from various sources ( OBC, a cancelled excursion, dining credits). Your results may vary.
  12. While I have the floor and I'm admitting to all my cruising shortcomings: I'm so addicted to to cruising that I..... <deep breath> post video reviews of cabins that we have had in the past on YouTube. I'll be completely honest--I AM A BALCONY SNOB. I go to great lengths to select rooms for our cruises. #1 criteria is Price; #2 what is the balcony like? I can not be the only one who distrusts RCL deck plans. So I share fairly short, sweet videos of our cabins and their accommodations for all the world to see; usually when we first enter the room. I've posted 6 of them now. My YouTube channel is bobroo007
  13. Here is what I have learned and other stray observations from watching Love Boat episodes: When an episode begins, we immediately need to surf Wikipedia to find a biography of a former hollywood star/ or a wanna-be star. This is always a fun an informative stroll down memory lane. For example: Who would have thought that Olivia de Havilland is still alive, almost 100 years old, and currently lives in France? Or, what ever happened to ___ ___ (insert name)??? Or, why was so-and- so famous? Some of the episodes were filmed on actual cruises during sea days. A frequent guest, Bret Sommers has said doing a Love Boat was easy, fun money--and a free vacation. It's fun to watch the actors in the wind. I joke with my wife "Julie: she gets all the guys..." but in reality Captain Stuebing doesn't captain much but rather focuses his time on hooking up-- and is quite successful, nearly every episode. I can now identify with being a crew member. Because when I hear Julie say at the beginning of an episode "we will be sailing to Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan" I say "AGAIN??? Yuk!" It must have been great to sail when alcohol was included in your cruise fare. Sometimes the guest stars were wasted; and we think that is generally pretty funny. Makes me think an Alzamara cruise is not as expensive as the prices I've seen. There is always a sail away scene with guests on the top deck throwing streamers galore overboard. Nearly everyone in those scenes is holding a cocktail. Ahh the good old days. Baked Alaska was a big, big deal in the Dining Room; and everyones dessert. Ahh the good old days. Extravagant Midnight buffets with bands and dancing poolside. Ahh the good old days. Skeet shooting off the aft of the ship. Ahh the good old days. Every night was a formal night. But Love Boat formal nights are what current sailings make fun of on 70's night. Most of the tuxedos on the 1977-78-79 episodes are G-R-O-O-V-Y Man!...and I secretly wish I had one. The stars of the show always have a scene at the pool. The stars of the show are always fully clothed at the pool (unless the guest is Cheryl Tiegs or similar star known to show skin as their skill). Everyone else is wearing a scanty bathing suit. Not that I want to see Don Knotts in a bathing suit.... but the stars stand out for all the wrong reasons. The pool on the Love Boat is very, very small and completely unattractive. The Oasis has larger hot tubs. How could Gopher possibly be the purser of the ship? He can't tie his own shoes. He's in charge of all the money???? The accommodations for the crew are spacious, single bed per room, and have phonographs and posters and windows and various souvenirs. So I'm calling out the stories I've heard about current crew members living below deck in cramped quarters with a couple other roommates. Obviously that isn't true. Scenes on the bridge are funny because it so doesn't look like a bridge and Captian Stuebing is so unconcerned about the heading the ship. If he ever needs binoculars-- they are hanging on the wall. Captain Stuebing's quarters resemble a boardroom in a way. It makes me say myself "Why have I never seen a photo of a current captions quarters?" I bet they are equal to a Owner's Suite. Debarkation: When the entire crew shakes your hand and thanks you for coming aboard. Ahh the good old days.
  14. Hello-- My name is Bob and I DVR episodes of The Love Boat--all of them. Every single one of them.
  15. Another thing, irregardless of how one feels about RCL pricing; it's undeniable that at this point in time RCL ships are sailing at or above capacity. I believe every sailing is full. Therefore, -at this point in time- RCL needs to have more ships in the water. A note about RCL pricing in comparison to other alternatives. I think RCL is priced in line with Sandals, Club Med, or a stay at a Fairmont hotel. At the end of the day, when all taxes, cost of booze, excursions, etc. is taken into account. Compared to other cruise lines??? Well, RCL sure ain't as expensive as some, that's for sure!!!
  16. I suspect that in addition to whatever justification the BoD at RCL uses to green light building a new ship, somewhere in that reasoning is an effort to keep the shipbuilders obligating time and energy to RCL. Meaning: there are only so many shipbuilders capable of building these type of ships. Each ship takes several years to build. Therefore if RCL keeps shipbuilders busy building RCL ships, they don't have time to build for other cruise lines.
  17. I vote for Jeff Dunham to open for Blue Man Group. But I gotta admit those Blue Man shows must take a while to clean up after and I don't think RCL wants THOSE kind of shenanigans going on in a new multi-million dollar theater. But I can wish all I want, right?
  18. This is a great question! Thanks for asking!
  19. Check out this discussion: http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php/topic/642-first-cruise-with-royal-caribbean-have-some-questions/ If I didn't mention in one of those posts, having a doorbell will always having you want another one. Our next doorbell is in March.
  20. I was very skeptical of CoCo Cay and boy was I ever wrong! CoCo Cay is plain and simple a great day at the beach. Plenty of space, plenty of activities, and it's well organized. Bringing your own snorkel gear is a good way to save some bucks. They will make you wear a vest, so bring one along. I've found the best snorkeling to actually be where they want you to go! In particular, head out to the island that will have a lifeguard and beach umbrella on it, then vere left twords the ship to the end of the roped off area. Being deeper water, there will be some large fish there. It is quite impressive. Having snorkeled on just about every Royal Caribbean snorkeling excursion, this area of CoCo Cay is my #3 favorite of all time--and it's free!
  21. Seemingly we've been on that boat a half dozen times over the years. We never experienced terribly rough seas; or any worse than any snorkeling excursion I've ever been on and I've been on nearly all of them offered by RCL. <Hey! there's a blogcast idea, What Is Supposed To Happen On A Snorkeling Excursion!> I've read those rough water horror stories too, I'm skeptical. To me the worst part is the 40 minutes it takes to go each way.
  22. Or, you could decide to go "rogue".... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Drawer-Cabinet-Security-8mm-Triangle-Spanner-Key-54mm-Long-wt-/281704816605?hash=item4196ea5fdd
  23. We went to the Meet the Stars and the Behind the Scenes tour when we were on Oasis last May. OMG! VERY IMPRESSIVE!!!! Both those events completely changed my opinion of RCL stage performances, the ability of the performers, and the amount of $$$ and effort to put on the shows. I'm a changed man! While both these events may be for upper level C and A members; you don't necessarily get carded at the door and they don't take attendance. So I think it's safe to say that interested adults who can behave themselves are just as welcome as folks who get the invitation slipped under their door.I strongly recommend going; it will be yet another Oasis experience in which you totally forget you are on a ship. And still another Oasis experience which is completely different than your other experiences even though they are very close in proximity. Sorry Andrew Lloyd Webber, there are some format issues with your Cats production. 1) Not everyone understands London vernacular. So, a lot of what your characters say goes right over the heads of English speakers from other parts of the world 2) The story is far from a cliff hanger 3) The costumes and set are fantastic! But by the end of the first act the audience has seen them all. And finally 4) Memory is sung at the end of the first act. If there is a song on Broadway that says "Shows Over" it's Memory. BUT......Had those exiting audience members been the the Behind the Scenes and/or Meet the Cast; they would have a whole new appreciation for the production and would be glued to their seats too amazed to even shake the paws of Deuteronomy.
  24. "Lovely Cruise" by Jimmy Buffett is the quintessential end of cruise song. I've often wondered why RCL doesn't play it and the RCL marketing department doesn't exploit it???
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