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Everything posted by Rackham

  1. There's several unique ports sailing from Barbados that won't be found on another itinerary from what I'm seeing in the digital brochure. So it's worth it if you're interested in either the ports or sailing something unique with Royal Caribbean.
  2. A couple of things as a certified freediver. When diving down, take the snorkel out of your mouth. Nothing is probably going to happen, but if something does and you have the snorkel in your mouth, water can be funneled to the lungs. If you feel any ear or head pain, head back towards the surface instead of heading deeper. The "secret" to staying down longer is calm, relaxed breathing at the surface. Hyperventilating is a big, big no. Lastly, don't test your limits. General rule of thumb is never exceed 80% of your max abilities (with these sorts of things) so there's 20% remaining if a situation occurs.
  3. There isn't a specialty bar menu for Alaska, unfortunately.
  4. It sounds like, from cruisers sharing here and elsewhere, RUs are usually awarded between 30 to 14 days before sailing. Further out is rare, but does happen. Within two weeks of sailing happens with much more frequently than further out. However, I'm not collecting data so won't estimate a percentage.
  5. Turns out Royal is calling Boardwalk View Interior rooms Promenade View Interior on Oasis. Don't know if it's specific to the ship or something fleet wide? Back to the general conversation, something I've created for personal use is a spreadsheet workbook listing the cabins (non-accessible) found on ships I'm sailing on, along with their cabin and balcony sizes, for easy comparison for Royal Up'ing. I've attached a slightly modified (so it looks good standalone) cabin listing for Oasis as an example. Even without getting into spreadsheets, it's worth spending some time looking at the deck plans for the ship and its cabins before bidding so you've got an idea about what and where you might be purchasing. Royal ranks cabins for RU, from what I've seen, from interior to ocean view to balcony to suite. They don't consider what I'd call actual cabin desirability. For example, take the following cabins from Adventure of the Seas. Is bidding on a Spacious Ocean View Balcony worth it if you're already in an Ocean View Balcony? I'll let the numbers speak for themselves (though there's some personal preference here too). Ocean View Balcony, Cabin: 198 sq ft; Balcony: 46 sq ft Spacious Ocean View Balcony: Cabin: 203 sq ft; Balcony: 42 sq ft
  6. With the three-night package, I would start by looking at what restaurants the ship has, their cover charges or how much a la carte credit you'll receive with the package, and which are the most appealing to your party based on the menu. For example, looking at my Oasis cruise this summer, I'm seeing the following (several are on sale): 150 Central Park - $64.99 Chops Grill - $54.99 Giovanni's Table - $41.99 Izumi Sushi - $28.99 for prix-fixe menu a la carte restaurants - $35 credit Port Side BBQ and Playmakers - $20 credit Izumi Hibachi - $10 surcharge, current cruise planner price of $45.99. At $101.99, before gratuities, I'd want to make sure my average meal cost is at least $34 to break even*. So if you went for the Royal Classic Trio of Chops, Giovanni's, and Izumi (either sushi or hibachi) you'd come out ahead. Personally, I'd avoid using the 3-night package at BBQ or Playmakers due to the credit received with the package. Instead I'd pay for those two out-of-pocket if dining there. Without knowing your sailing ship or personal interests, my personal three to start with would be: Wonderland, 150 Central Park (more nouveau) or Chops (more classic), and Izumi Hibachi. *If you're taking advantage of the discount on bottles of wine, it skews the value math so I'm leaving it off. "Enjoy a discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants."
  7. As other's have said, better too much than too little. Please make sure it's reef safe sunscreen. The coral thanks you. Here's a screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipNdMA6VLVY showing prices of sunscreen aboard Navigator in 2019. $19.99 for larger containers or spray. 1 floz for $9.99. Aloe for $15.
  8. I don't know how valid this still is, since it's saying 2018, but it might give you some idea what to expect. https://dlxffu6hwewxp.cloudfront.net/cas/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/18063159_CAS_MemberBonus_Amenity_List_v3.pdf .
  9. This. Why risk bad blood being cheap when the profit margin is probably around $10 per cocktail?
  10. All Maine lobsters are cold water. The warm water lobster information I've seen by hanging out on these forums. They're probably serving Caribbean or Brazilian lobster tails though. https://www.seafoodsource.com/seafood-handbook/shellfish/lobster-spiny
  11. Maine lobster (cold water lobster) is available in Hooked, Chops, and the MDR for an additional fee. The MDR, no up-charge lobster tail is from warm water lobsters. It's less about the preparation as it's the starting quality of the meat. What's made complementary on lobster night is widely regarded as inferior to the paid options due to flavor and texture.
  12. I'm almost wondering if Royal's price increase isn't at least partially due to them loving their sales? Because now a 50% off sale would put the prices we've seen around the best sales in the past year (or at least those I'm aware of). Previously those sales might have been 30%-40% off. 50% sounds much better to most people than 35%, even though the end price is approximately the same due to the base price increase. The attached chart is something I whipped up quickly to satisfy my curiosity. Pricing range for April 2022 is from the lowest I'm seeing in my cruise planner for cruises this year and the high is from this thread. July 2020 pricing is from the Blog (though it appears to be the prices RCL's been running with before the hike).
  13. That sounds like full price per day. As others have said, it'll drop to the low $20s during a sale. Probably what's happening is Royal is starting to load available purchases for your cruise into the planner, but isn't discounting them yet. I wouldn't purchase yet as sales should start happening within the next three or so months based on experience. It should get refunded instantaneously (or at least that's what I've heard here from people with serious experience).
  14. My take based on prior public conference call transcripts with RCI execs and discussion board comments, is due to how much demand the company is seeing on dining and drink packages (paraphrasing, "No DBP = no cruise! Gotta have it!"), RCI is seeing how high can they go and have people still willing to pay the asking price. I doubt fares will increase significantly, beyond inflation, like we've seen from major hotel and theme parks because of the economics of running a cruise ship. Sure, base fare will increase with time, but probably not like what we've seen with other leisure activities. Interestingly enough, while the DBP has increased across the board, I'm still seeing the same-ish price (I haven't been tracking these so I can't compare their non-discounted price) for the Refreshment and Classic Soda packages. And while the dining packages have gone up, among the specialty dining experiences, I'm seeing the Chef's Table as the only one to have a serious price increase. Taste of Royal and Sushi & Sake both seem to have the same price as before. Individual restaurant bookings seem to be mixed on price increases (at least on my sailings where I can book these). Izumi's offerings seem to be the same. Chop's and 150 Central are both higher than before. Giovanni's might be higher?
  15. Looking across my booked cruises, I'm seeing those with a summer departure have increased the DBP base price to $98.00. Anthem of the Seas, Feb 2023 and their holiday cruise in 2023, is at $90.00. Enchantment in July 2023 (Alaska from Vancouver) is still at $72.00 in the older, cruise planner style.
  16. Best prices happen when they happen. Some of the steepest discounts mentioned on these boards were during random times. If you're wanting the lowest price possible, commit to signing into the cruise planner frequently (if not daily) for a 30 second price check. Book when the price is acceptable, and be willing to refund and repurchase if a better price becomes available (assuming your finances allow it).
  17. Typically the cruise planner starts getting loaded in between 9 to 6 months before embarkation. So a Jan '23 cruise you can anticipate things appearing in April '22 to July '22. However, some things might appear earlier or later. For example, I have a cruise booked during Feb '23 and Perfect Day options are already there. Though no sales have happened on them yet.
  18. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/blog/a-very-royal-recipe-ranger-cookies/ Here's how to make them. Royal shared the recipe a few years ago.
  19. Previously on the forums: From that thread: "It's deck 18 and a crew only area. At one point in time a decade ago it was conceived to be a guest area. If you visit the ship model on Oasis in the aft elevator banks you will see loungers and what clearly looks like a guest area. Why it never was utilized as such is unclear. " -twangster
  20. Took me a moment to realize it was a headless clothes steamer on the far right, and not a Salad Shooter.
  21. From: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2020/05/21/royal-caribbeans-newer-ships-break-even-quicker-older-ships "For our newer ships, you need about 30 percent load factors to kind of break even. And then they skew to about 50 percent load factor on onto our older ships." -Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty The source I'm seeing of the $185 / pp / day appears to be from: https://cruisemarketwatch.com/financial-breakdown-of-typical-cruiser/ . It's rather confusing, but the chart appears to be the average costs for a 7-night/8-day cruise based on the numbers given in the paragraph at the top. "The average per passenger per day cruise expense is projected to be $214.25, with $152.12 per person per day ticket price and $62.13 per person per day on board spending (average cruise duration 8.0 days, median duration 7.0 days)." $152.12 times eight happens to be the ticket price listed in the chart at $1,217. Therefore, to arrive at the actual estimate for an 7-day cruise we divide by 8 then multiple by 7, (185/8)*7 which yields $161.88. If fuel prices jump 400% since this study was released, then Royal needs to make up $485.64 per passenger for the same profit per person. Royal could impose a fuel surcharge, they could also make up the difference with lesser discounts, or accept less profit per ship in fares to get more people aboard and spending since the average onboard spend, based on this table, was $497 (about $11 higher than the fuel price per person above).
  22. With how Royal likes sales on fares and cruise planner purchases, I could see them reduce the % & dollars off amounts before introducing a fuel surcharge. Less off across the board could equal the value of a surcharge without the negative PR of adding one.
  23. That's my assumption too; with the majority C&A members below Diamond as the benefits aren't much before, comparatively speaking. I'd anticipate cruisers at Diamond and above are cruising frequently enough that any comps being offered, most famously those drink vouchers, are more than paid for with the amount of spend with Royal. Another thing I suspect is many people who cruise annually are jumping between lines looking for the best deal. While I haven't seen this mentioned in discussions, the amount of vacation time and mean household income in the US means most (at least for the US) aren't going to be racing up the C&A levels. Assuming earning 1 cruise point per night and 1 cruise per year, it'd take 12 years to hit Diamond. As a data point, one of Royal's automated marketing emails to my account thanked me for being one of their best customers... after having booked 3 cruises sometime in the future and currently at Pre-Gold. So I'm assuming the average number booked is 2 or less per year.
  24. 1 liter is allowed duty free. If I'm remembering correctly, it's 3% of the purchase price after the 1st liter (save your receipts). I've heard, though, that customs might not charge the 3% unless you're bringing back a several bottles and it's obvious you're over.
  25. Looking beyond the drink vouchers, Diamond is receiving 20% off glasses of wine, beer, and soda (25% off for Diamond+ & Pinnacle) which, if you're partaking in any of those, makes it harder to break even on the DBP. That's not mentioning the 50% off when purchased together offer either.
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