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Everything posted by RockerDom31

  1. My wife and I were so eager to go on vacation that we spent all of embarkation day basking in the hot NJ summer sun, sipping many cocktails. …And not a drop of sunscreen was used! (Which we did bring with us!) Unfortunately, we didn’t feel the consequence of this until the following morning when we both experienced some extremely painful showers. And with 3 sea days and the first port being Labadee, we had to live off of the vending machine aloe for 4 days. I’m pretty sure we emptied the vending machine! Once we arrived to Puerto Rico, we hit up the CVS and bought more aloe, which is when we realized that the ship vending machine aloe was super marked up! We knew it was but we didn’t expect it to be that much! Lesson learned!
  2. 104 days to go! Who's on the ship with me?? This is the second time we are going to Bermuda and Labadee and our first time going to DR. My wife and I are very excited! Since we've started cruising, we've never seen an itinerary from Cape Liberty that went to DR so we jumped right on to that opportunity as soon as we could!
  3. There's also other casual quick-eat options besides Main Dining Room and Windjammer Buffet. On Liberty, there's Sorrento's (pizza) and Cafe Promenade (sandwiches and small plate stuff, including sweets). Room service is also an option with a $7.95 charge per order (you can order as many items as you want but each order is $7.95 + gratuity). I actually find it easier to just load up a plate from Windjammer and take it back to the room (if Windjammer is still open that is).
  4. I have used that exact same Anker charger on Oasis (2022) and Anthem (2019) - no issues either time. We even bought USB-powered fans so that we didn't need to use up a plug.
  5. I'll be on Liberty in June and was wondering something similar...What can someone with the Deluxe Beverage Package get in terms of Zero Sugar drinks (I'm diabetic). On Oasis and Anthem, I used the Freestyle machines to get Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, but most importantly, Powerade Zero for hydration. Besides Diet Coke from the bars, are there any other options? I did use to stock up on Coke Zero cans from Windjammer when I was on Oasis and Anthem (I never got charged for them so I am assuming they are covered with the DBP?). Thanks!
  6. From what I've been reading in mutliple online places, it seems that the ports are the ones that are cracking down on these. Unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy way to differentiate a "power strip" from a "surge protector" so it might just be easier on the port agents to just err on the side of caution and just confiscate anything remotely resembling a surge protector. I seem to recall an online post in which a passenger was told by a port agent that even if the CEO of the cruise line told him not to confiscate the item, he's still going to because he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't (and something along the lines of "I don't work for the cruise line").
  7. I always err on the side of caution and bring the original container with the pharmacy label on it (that has my name, doctor's name, medication name, etc.). Additionally, when my travel agent called to verify that our medical fridge and sharps container request was noted on our reservation, Royal sent this email: Nobody asked about it at all but knowing the kind of luck I have, if I didn't bring the prescription labels, that's when they would ask!
  8. I have a thing for hot sauces. One time, I bought several hot sauces in St. Marteen and was flagged by security when my bag went through the scanner. I just showed them that it wasn’t alcohol and they sent me on my way. No biggie but it might save a few seconds if you let them know before putting your bag in the scanner.
  9. Booking as soon as possible is your best bet. Should the price go down, you can re-price up to the final payment date.
  10. And I second the Poopourri and Liquid IV! I would like to add aloe to that list because it is really expensive from the ship’s vending machine
  11. In my opinion, the most valuable travel product is… all of the knowledge that I’ve learned on RoyalCaribbeanBlog!!
  12. I spy…a Symphony 7-night sailing to Bahamas/Perfect Day from Cape Liberty in Sept 2024
  13. I am far from being an expert on anything discussed here. But I imagine Coast Guard evacuations also depends on location. A cruise leaving from Cape Liberty or Baltimore and heading south might be more likely to do a USCG evac since they spend a lot of time hugging the US East Coast. Personally, I would never be upset at re-routing due to medical evac, inclement weather, civil unrest, etc. It just goes to show you the great lengths Royal will take for the sake of passenger safety.
  14. And also, I forgot to mention in my previous post…the last thing Royal or any cruise line needs is bad PR. If they truly felt that guests and crew were in any danger, then they would adjust accordingly. They have before and they will again. I totally get it - whenever I tell people that we went to Haiti, I almost always get a look of surprise and I have to explain that we were in a remote private area (I’ve been referring to it as a “private resort” for what it’s worth!). I can tell that they’ve been on a Royal cruise there previously if they DON’T give me a surprised look haha.
  15. We enjoyed our time in Labadee. However, walking around the market isn’t like walking around your mall. Yes, the vendors are very persistent. However, you are free to negotiate (and you should). There is absolutely no way to leave the Labadee area - there’s no public transportation whatsoever. Just a bus that circles around to different parts of Labadee. The only mishap I’ve heard of was a few years ago, a few locals were protesting in boats by the dock. So Royal skipped the port. https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2016/01/19/political-protests-haiti-prevent-royal-caribbean-guests-going-labadee
  16. I think a part of it is the itinerary too. The primary itinerary for Oasis from Cape Liberty is generally 7 days Port Canaveral - Nassau, Bahamas - Coco Cay. This itinerary might be more attractive to families with children as opposed to the "one-off" New England/Canadian or Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Cape Liberty on Oasis. I am basing this purely off of observations and conversations.
  17. Liberty, Adventure, Anthem and Jewel are also homeported in Cape Liberty at various times throughout the year. We went with Liberty for the next cruise!
  18. We still have a long way to go for Diamond status! This is the reason why we bought The Key - we wanted the last chaotic experience possible. My wife and I already lead chaotic lives! Agreed about the main dining room service. However, everyone was so very nice. It made up for the slow experience.
  19. Oh! And also, I edited the first post for clarity and added some pictures. Make sure to re-read! Enjoy!
  20. Second Set of Sea Days (Days 7, 8, 9) We did the same kind of activities as we did on the first set of sea days. Relaxing on the deck, doing some trivia and other games, and eating and drinking...a lot. Something different though is that we reserved a casita: It was kind of nice to have a "home" so we didn't have to fight for chairs on the deck. However, we probably should have spent the money on getting a beach bed or tent at Labadee than having the Casita. We had it from 9PM - 6PM but probably only spent a total of 3 hours in it. There was a "call" button to ask for a casita attendant for drinks but we weren't that far from the bar anyway. It did include a fruit plate and bottles of water. We put the rope up anytime we left it so that people didn't claim it as their own. For those wondering, it was about $150ish for the reservation. We did do a Captain's Q&A session in the Royal Theater. It was pretty neat. The Captain (I think it was "Captain Tore", I probably misspelled his name) will most likely retiring once this session is up - he has been working the seas in various capacities (not just with Royal) for 40+ years. The most interesting fact I learned - the Oasis clears the Verazzano Bridge by just 40 feet!) Last Sea Day picture at night: Disembarkation Day: Sad day indeed. But all good things must come to an end. We had three suitcases with us and we left two in the hallway the night before. We kept an empty suitcase for the last set of dirty laundry and all of the toiletries. Since we were Key members, we got special Key luggage tags - not a numbered tag like everyone else. We also got a special breakfast in the MDR. We ordered a veggie omelet, a bran muffin, and hash browns which were all delicious. Probably the same exact breakfast we would have gotten anyway but without any of the crowds. We were on Deck 4 and there were probably only 4-5 families there with us so it was definitely a more peaceful way to end the cruise. Leaving the ship was easy. There wasn't a long line to get off the ship and once we did, there was a special Key section for the luggage (next to the Suites section). Since we used passports, they used facial recognition for customs (I'm assuming it was because we used passports because there was a separate line for "birth certificates"). Other Thoughts and Last (Maybe) Impressions: Overall, this was a vacation that went very well for 98% of it (all thanks to all of you! ). The 2% that didn't go right were very minor issues and was fully expected (lack of a variety of vegetarian food options, a bit of buyer's remorse for the casita). Of the 10 day cruise, it rained for a total of 25 minutes. Very lucky! Absolutely no rough waves whatsoever. Very lucky! The comedy show in Blaze was amazing! Very 18+ though so be warned. We did not watch Cats. We're dog people! lol. Music Hall is a very nice venue. It's two floors and both floors have a bar (the top floor bar is not always open though). Prepaid gratuities but gave an extra $50 to our stateroom attendance. We did not tip additional to any wait staff (we only did MDR once) or bar staff (The DBP includes an 18% gratuity). We tipped the excursion tour guide $20 Because of some sunburn, we bought some Aloe from the vending machines on the ship. It cost $15.99! But we got about $13 refunded in port fees for reasons that I do not know. So the final portfolio bill was $1.65. This was the best of both worlds - a nice/new-ish big ship and a unique itinerary. Nothing wrong with the Bahamas-Coco Cay itinerary that Oasis usually does from Cape Liberty but we have been to the Bahamas multiple times before. This went into the decision of NOT going on Oasis next summer - we decided on Liberty because it offered a more unique itinerary (Bermuda, Labadee, two different DR ports). Covid Thoughts: ::Knock on wood:: Both my wife and I haven't had symptoms (and therefore do not feel the need to test). There were a few reports on Facebook of people having to quarantine on the ship (unfortunately, for one family it was on Day 2) and people testing positive once they got home. Interesting observation that I'm not sure if this was Covid-related or not...on Anthem in August 2019, we had to put a card in a slot to be able to turn the lights and AC on. But on Oasis, the stateroom attendant told us to never touch the "master switch" that turns on the lights and AC (there was no card slot). I'm assuming this is part of the airflow improvements? Or maybe Oasis was this way all along and it had nothing to do with the Covid improvements? Overall, we felt pretty good about how Royal handles the health aspect of things. Me being a teacher and my wife working in a congregate day program setting, we felt more comfortable walking around the ship than our own workplaces. There was always crew cleaning and disinfecting. I do wish that there was SOME sort of airflow in the elevators. I don't believe there to be any air exchange besides the door opening and closing. The most random encounter on this trip - running into one of my students in an elevator! Never saw them again after that haha. I'm sure I missed some details so if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask! Thanks for reading!
  21. Port Stops Part II Old San Juan, Puerto Rico Under the advice of the contributors of this forum and blog, we did not book any excursions for this stop. We literally just got off the ship and walked around. It hurt our feet a little! But it is such a beautiful, historic area. As far as I can tell, this isn't really a "beach day" unless you want to travel quite a bit away. This stop was from 2PM - 10PM. Some Pictures: Philipsburg, St. Marteen Excursion This port stop was 9AM - 5PM. We booked a Royal Caribbean Shore Excursion from a Black Friday sale called "Kim Sha Beach Break". This was a 20 minute narrated bus ride to Simpson Bay, and then about 3 hours on the beach, and then a 20 minute bus ride back to the port. This excursion was conducted by Rendezvous Tours. We felt very well-taken care of and safe during the excursion. On the bus ride there, the guide had us fill out a seating chart (we were to sit in the same seats there and back) and anytime the bus door opened, she did count and check to make sure we were all on the bus. The tour guide wore a bright yellow shirt and stayed with us at the beach so if we had any questions, we can talk to her. The beach was in close proximity to the Greenhouse Restaurant where they gave us lunch (included with the excursion) and let us use their clean private bathrooms. The food options were all meat so we asked our tour guide if we could have any vegetarian options. She spoke to the restaurant staff and she special-ordered black bean tacos for us - which was delicious! And filling. I don't remember all of the meat options - but there was one beef, one chicken, and two seafood options. The lunch included 1 drink (water, soda, or beer/wine) and there was a bar there if you wanted more to drink. Luckily, we brought several water bottles from the ship with us. The excursion included two chairs but not the umbrella. That was an extra $5. It seemed like the area of the beach was specific for our ship's excursion. There were three full buses (each one with their own tour guide). Simpson Bay was very sea-weedy and not very enjoyable to swim in. We only spent a few minutes in the water. But it was very warm. Some pictures from this excursion: After returning from the excursion, we were dropped off at the cruise port (interesting security note: an officer boarded our bus and checked all of our Seapass cards) with plenty of time to explore the shops. Another post with the review of the last set of sea days coming right up!
  22. Just had this internal struggle myself. We originally had the Royal Travel Protection Plan at first but ultimately went with Allianz. Their max limits were much higher than Royal’s. It’s the medical evac and expenses limit that we were most concerned with.
  23. Sometimes there’s a cancellation and a reservation opens up. We snagged a 5:30 reservation for MDR by just checking the Royal app while we were on board.
  24. They have one person at the entrance at WJ greeting everyone and reminding everyone to washy washy. People either don’t or they “fake” it (they make the effort to turn the water on and then just grab a paper towel to dry off their dry unwashed hands). The finger licking is usually a result of accidentally getting food on their fingers while holding their plate. Thankfully I have not observed anyone not using the tongs to grab the buffet food.
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