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Posts posted by sk8erguy1978

  1. Every one has different vacation budgets, that's what is great about cruises, they can accommodate most of them.

    Even at $400 difference I'd want to pick my own room, at $141 (actually $170 I'm a midship guy) it's a no brainier for me. That's because I can afford it and don't like to gamble with guarantee category.

    If you can still afford the cruise comfortably and not have to cut out a "must do" to get the room, do it. However, if it comes at a sacrifice, think about how much time you spend in the room and if it's worth it to you.

  2. I agree with the above, it's not worth the argument. Been there, done that, they know better than you, even have "insider info" (Insert eye roll).

    Honestly, without knowing voice tones and volume it's hard to say if she took it as a personal attack or not.

    I'd say, to relieve yourself, a simple... "If I came across as a jerk before, I apologize. It's not you personally, I just get fired up with all the incorrect facts the media drills into people about the cruise industry."

  3. I'll probably not volunteer. It's safe to say the sailing will depart from Florida and living in New York means quarantine when I return. It has nothing to do with work, I'm just not willing to do that, unless of course I was exposed. Additionally, with rising cases in my area and new restrictions being put in place, I'm not sure non-essential air travel is a good idea. It does sound like an amazing "once in a lifetime" opportunity and would love to be part of it. (Honestly, what would be the odds of actually getting picked anyway LOL)

  4. 18 hours ago, Eaglelover said:

    Buy potato chips and drink beer?

    Just do this! In fact, forget the chips!

    Not much to add accept personally, our eating habits are different on a cruise ship. At home, at best, breakfast is a yogurt (if anything at all), lunch isn't much bigger. However, when cruising, at breakfast 1 I start to stress about breakfast 2 let alone lunch 1. So, add in your vacation eating habits.

    I too thank you for your service & congratulate you both on 50 years! We will only be 5 years in September (although dating way longer than the average couple) and she's already sick of me :).

  5. 2 hours ago, Chuck586 said:

    I just ran across this post and had another question about tipping.  First, however, an observation.  All of the tipping rules for Royal are simply confusing and, I believe, intentionally vague in an effort to increase tips to the staff which, I imagine, has the unintended consequence of shorting tips to staff a lot of the time.  A better system would be to simply charge each person $XX per week based upon the average purchases at dinner, the bar, etc and just allocate it towards the service employees with a rule that there is no other tipping.  That would seem to me to be fair across the board.

    In any case, here is my question.  Star Class passengers have already paid for their gratuities in their room.  There is not a specific line item on the bill but it is included in the dear cost of the room.  Here are a couple examples which illustrate my conundrum.  

    I order a $10.00 drink from a waiter at the bar or from a pool attendant etc.  The 18% tip on that drink would be $1.80.  Now I generally consider 18% for a bartender that opens a bottle of beer or fills a cup from the frozen cocktail machine to be a pretty good tip.  Let's assume he did a really good job was chatty and maybe complimented me on my Hawaiian shirt do I boost his tip to 20% and really write $.20 on the extra tip line or do I go all out and give him an extra $1.00 and not he is getting a 28% tip.  I personally feel like a schmuck if I give either nothing or the $.20 tip and I feel like I have been had if I end up tipping everyone at 28%.  

    Similar situation for dinner.  Let's assume the cost for the dinner I order is $100 for two people.  Assume we follow @WAAAYTOOO guidelines and tip $20 for dinner.  According to the published info, Star passengers have already paid the 18% gratuity towards the dinner, and now another 20% tip at the time of service.  Again, I would say that the service better be pretty spectacular for a 38% tip.

    I, for one, find the tipping stuff more than a bit confusing.  I really wish that Royal would simply charge us for gratuities and announce a "no tipping" policy.  Just my humble opinion.

    You're correct. Whether Star class or not, you paid gratuity already, you're under no obligation to tip above that. If you order a drink (with or without a drink package) the gratuity is automatically added, you're under no obligation to tip above that. If you eat at Chops (whether paid or as a Star class perk) the gratuity is taken care of there too.

    The reason people tip more is the understanding that tips are pooled among crew & the tips are insultingly low (see below). Personally, I tip extra when specialty dining (I usually paid months ago anyway so why not leave an extra $20 (or more for large party)), and I tip extra when I have a beverage package. I also leave extra for the stateroom attendant and whomever else went above and beyond. I'm not as generous as @WAAAYTOOO, wish I could be but I'm 14 promotions away from that level of cash LOL but, I do what I can when I feel it's warranted. 

    Does Royal intentionally keep the daily gratuity low? Good question. The problem with charging each person a set higher amount, I'd imagine is "sticker shock" and allocating it to the right people. Figure, $5 for stateroom, $5 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, $20 for dinner (I am stealing @WAAAYTOOO's numbers which I've tipped more for dinner & lunch on land, but it's a good base) that's $40 per day * 7 that's $280 extra and that's just dining & room steward tips so daily/week gratuity would be even higher. I think the better solution is to pay a little more to crew, remove the daily gratuity and people can tip as they see fit, just like on land. (Oh, but leave the 18% added to drinks & food and that can go to the actual person & maybe give people a way to tip when dining in a complementary restaurant ... it would be a good reminder that tips aren't included.)


    The automatic service gratuity is $14.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Junior Suites and below, or $17.50 USD per person, per day for guests in Grand Suites and above, applied to each guest’s SeaPass account on a daily basis. The gratuity applies to individual guests of all ages and stateroom categories. As a way to reward our crew members for their outstanding service, gratuities are shared among dining, bar & culinary services staff, stateroom attendants and other hotel services teams who work behind the scenes to enhance the cruise experience.


  6. On 10/5/2020 at 3:44 PM, JLMoran said:


    Bringing this thread up again because just shy of a year after sailing, I just got a chance to recap this cruise with @Matt for this week's podcast episode. Not just my first time contributing to the podcast, it's actually the first time Matt and I have had a chance to talk to each other voice-to-voice! 😄

    If you want to hear about this sailing in a much more brief format, keep an eye on your podcast client. Episode #375 will be coming out soon.

    Having done Bermuda a bunch of times, one on Anthem from NJ to get married... I'm STOKED to hear this podcast. I have so many other connections to Bermuda via the 5 day from NJ but don't want to ramble.

    Due to working from home I haven't been current with the podcasts, I've been catching up now that gyms are back open. I'll be getting buff while listening! Very excited.

  7. 3 hours ago, JLMoran said:

    that's one where you'd take the mini-bus "taxis" that constantly shuttle people back and forth from the Dockyard for only $7 a person, and go right to the beach entrance. While the pink bus will get you there as well, they stop at the top of the rather steep road going down to the beach, and it's not a short walk

    I remember back in 2007 we paid a dollar for a ride up the hill. Genius system, they'd pack a van and shuttle a bunch to top of hill. 

    I did the $7 dollar bus last year since island was cut short to 1 day (had scooter rental lined up but cancelled, too expensive for a.few hours) have to say it's an easy system.

    3 hours ago, JLMoran said:

    That leaves you free to get an all-day transit pass that's good for both the pink buses and the ferry, then explore what you want to see at your leisure.

    We've done this and it too works out to be a great value and fun way to mix with the locals a bit (depending where you're going of course).

  8. 1 hour ago, WannaCruise said:

    That's so nice to hear.  Thanks for sharing. 

    Maybe we book the tour now as the price is $40 per person lower than it was.  But if things get better and we can take a non-ship excursion, then we book something local. I've heard blue taxi (think that's what it's called) and also a few other names.

    I'd book something now so it's locked, it's only a few clicks to cancel.

    For your note book:

    I worked with Nijae' Burgess from My Bermuda Lyft (https://www.mybdalyft.com/) (web address in his signature is different, "mybermudalyft.com" and doesn't seem to be a redirect but logos are the same and his email always showed "[email protected]") and it was a great experience. While we didn't get to actually use his service due to hurricane Jerry, he came highly recommended from someone I trust with Bermuda information more than ANYONE. He was going to customize a great pub crawl experience for me and my friends, kind of sad we had to cancel.

    I used (via a wedding planner) Island Express for my wedding and they were great. It has changed ownership since and last heard some of his buses are old, so something to consider.

    Never used, but hear Titan Express has newer buses (as of last year anyway) and (as of last year) comes recommended.

    There is also something called MAJ's List too, they have a Facebook page supposedly you can find recommendations there - never used or became a member, it's a private group.

    Good Luck! No matter what you do, you're going to LOVE Bermuda. 

  9. 3 hours ago, WannaCruise said:

    Then if things are better closer to our trip, I can always look at local tours as well.

    One thing I'll say, Bermuda is one of the friendliest islands and trusting people. They are very easy to work with and most tourist guys who own a bus will do whatever you want. Not always the fastest to answer emails but that's their style, don't think you're being ignored. Cheaper price and a more custom experience, especially if you're traveling with a group.

  10. Just one trip for 2021 so far, it's a cruise, in September. I am hoping for a few land trips but fear @JLMoran is right, at least for the first half of the year. We did do two small trips this year, Wildwood NJ & NY Adirondacks. I can see similar trips next summer which would be nice. Depending how the spring plays out, I'd like to book another "larger" vacation in October / November next year.

  11. 3 hours ago, JLMoran said:

    always assuming that you will be allowed to explore Hamilton and St. Georges on your own and don't have to stick with a ship-hosted excursion for all off-ship activity

    I TOTALLY wasn't even thinking about the fact, they might not be allowed to roam Hamilton... But, let's hope things are a little better in August! 

  12. I've done the Crystal Caves and loved them. We didn't do the ship tour, we navigated by bus, which wasn't bad but took some time and had to transfer in Hamilton. We also stopped at the Rum Swizzle on the way back. Overall a nice afternoon.  

    Edit: Actually reading the descriptions of the tours, I'd choose #2. We stopped at the lighthouse one year with the scooter, I mean, neat and all but not much other than views, little history. It would be neat to see St. George (all my Bermuda visits and have yet to go) but you could take the ferry over after Caves. However, the second seems like a nice drive with a quick beach break (good way to know if you want to go back day 2) and then you're left to explore Hamilton after... Great for shopping, eating, walking around etc.



  13. Last Cruise was last September on Anthem to Bermuda (5 day). The Bermuda 2 days was shortened to one due to Jerry, which is hysterical because my wife and a few of her friends have an inside joke and call each other Jerry.

    A bunch of friends came along (invited themselves) and having them join us was the single best memory because the shenanigans that occurred all week long (even the stuff that annoyed me) wouldn't have happened without them. It just wouldn't have been as fun. I'd give anything to be annoyed at my friends right now. 🙂

  14. 4 hours ago, twangster said:

    For our purposes that makes the North East on the radar screen as an LNG cruise port but the law as passed could allow LNG shipments to any US city or cruise port by rail.

    Being 90 minutes from Bayonne, I hope you're right! I'll fly wherever though, wife and I decided it's time for a "new ship smell" with Icon. We sailed Oasis January of 2010 and loved being on the 7th or so sailing. Closet we have been since was Anthem September of 2016, so she was ~17 months old.

  15. Labadee I'll echo the zipline was amazing, the views alone make it worth it.

    I also had a blast on Dragon's Tail. It's a little "coaster" where you sit in a cart that's attached to a track. You control the speed with a lever so be cautious of slow riders. It's basically an alpine slide with some neat views. Reminded me of Action Park in Vernon NJ. 🙂

    We went to Dunn's River but didn't walk the falls. We had a taxi guy take us around and that was one of the stops. The falls were cool but we weren't fully equipped to hop in. There can be some pushy vendors there too, but a simple no thank you without stopping, should be fine. 

    Another Jamaica trip we did a resort for a day, had a blast there.

    Top of zipline:


  16. Testing: I'll gladly do it, even if it's a direct cost to me. My only issue is false negatives & positives. I get the percentage is low, but it's still there. A small percentage of healthy people will be denied & a small percentage of sick people will not. That is a crappy fact we have to face, especially if we are one of them.

  17. 14 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

    I don't see this as being a permanent solution.  I wouldn't mind it for the early cruising.

    I agree. I see it as short term as (hopefully) mandatory masks (we all know there will be masks in the beginning). Assuming some sort of vaccine and treatments are available during second half of 2021 things will start to get relaxed. (At least that's my hopelessly optimistic opinion).

    In regards to itinerary, I think my September 2021 cruise is perfect. 7 night CocoCay on Oasis. Orlando I can go to anytime, quick flight. I don't care about Nassau and was just going to do the flight simulator. It's just about seeing the amplification of Oasis, finally getting to CocoCay, and sailing from a local port so maybe a few friends can come.

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