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Everything posted by Rackham

  1. Looking in the App for Oasis's current sailing, Solarium Bistro is listed for those 12 and older. Whether or not that's actually enforced is another matter.
  2. The best sale is the one that's currently happening. If the price drops, you can always cancel and rebook. Plus, there's no guarantee there won't be another price increase between now and then either. Concerning the current sale. From what I'm seeing in the cruise planner, it's about as good as it normally gets recently. It's not hot, but it's lower than it was last week on most items.
  3. Yeah, we're scheduled on the Jul 29 sailing to get in to Port Canaveral at 1:00 PM and this tour, which I've booked, is scheduled to start at 1:30PM. It's about 30 minutes each way to the KSC and KSC is scheduled to close at 6PM. Since the duration of the tour is 6 hours, I'm assuming that means we depart on the bus after KSC has closed. Thus, realistically, we might have 4 hours for the visit [at best]. 4 hours is enough time to see part of the site in-depth, though that also means no more than a quick walkthrough on others. I've whipped up a plan, mainly focusing on the Apollo/Saturn V Center, but don't have any illusions about doing KSC justice.
  4. I'm curious to see if Royal doesn't add an additional, higher speed, internet package if Starlink is officially implemented. So something like, Surf is now 3 Mbps (fast enough for SD video and some HD, but not HD with every service all the time), Stream is now consistently 15 Mbps (fast enough for HD video, but 4k is probably not happening), and a new package, Stream+4K?, at 30 Mbps (fast enough for 4k video with some headroom). Though I could sea them reconfiguring the tiers to be something like 10%, 50%, and 100% of possible Mbps and pricing things accordingly. However, one issue I foresee (from Royal's perspective) is with speeds this fast, sharing your internet package through creation of your own wireless network aboard suddenly becomes more attractive. Limiting speeds to what's required for video at different qualities nicely encourages families to book multiple devices versus sharing. The average person isn't going to care about max connectivity speed as long as they can stream their content, either viewing or creating, with minimum network disconnections.
  5. From Royal's Website: "What's Included Unlimited visits to speciality dining restaurants every night of your sailing and lunch on sea days. For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $35 food credit, with the exception of Port Side BBQ and Playmakers which will be $20. For ships with these venues, Teppanyaki/Izumi Hibachi is included, with a $10 surcharge, Chef's Table is included, with a $49.99 surcharge, and Dadong is included, with a $35 surcharge. These will be charged once onboard." So it'd be, basically, $100 for two people for the Chef's Table. And the wine is included (probably where that $50 charge is mostly coming from).
  6. Adventure did when I was aboard last week.
  7. You're welcome, and I hope your family has a blast! If you're interested in sailing away on the helipad located at the very front of the ship, and don't know how to access it, head outside on deck 4 and go all the way forward and up the stairs.
  8. Looking at the Cape Liberty website, you shouldn't have an issue picking him up in the private car pickup zone. "Private Cars Pick-up Zones 6 – 10 are clearly marked along the main building and are designated pick up areas for private cars." http://www.cruiseliberty.com/directions_parking.html Here's a quickly made, port map overview for Cape Liberty which might help.
  9. Ship: Adventure of the Seas Itinerary: 4-night Halifax So this was my first sailing with Royal Caribbean, and my first time cruising since a family trip in the 90s aboard the StarShip Oceanic as a teenager (4 night, Nassau and Salt Cay). This is something of a joint write-up with sharing my experience and personal notes for myself to refer to when planning future cruises. Halifax was certainly a once and done. Nice sights, but not much need to return soon. Should've brought a jacket. That chilly, northerly Atlantic wind. After my first cruise in 20+ years, putting my two bits in on the “Is a 3/4 night cruise long enough for a first timer?” question even though I don’t have the experience yet to substantiate the answer. Personally, I felt that 4 nights was long enough to know if you’re not going to enjoy cruising, but not long enough to know if you’re going to like it either. Similar to the samples at a grocery store, 4 nights seemed to be a taste of the experience without enough substance to know if you’d want to make a meal of it. Wows: The live entertainment. The ship’s staff. Adventure of the Seas Significantly larger than the last ship I was on (Adventure: 3,807 passengers/1,185 crew to Oceanic: 1,800/565; Wikipedia), but didn’t feel huge. AotS felt like a comfortable size. The ship felt lived in, but well maintained. No complaints about cleanliness either. Booked an interior guarantee and landed in 6123. The room was compact, well laid out, and mirrors were cleverly used to make the entire thing seem bigger than it actually was. While it was super convenient to have a short walk in the mornings to grab coffee from Café Promenade, the downside is any parties happening in the Royal Promenade were audible from the cabin. While the ship was relatively easy to navigate (anchor decks, which I base my mental map off of, are 5 for the Promenade and 11 for the Pool Deck / Windjammer; all other public decks are basically one or so decks away) getting to the Lyric Theater (fore) and Studio B (aft) meant remembering which end of the ship had access since deck 3 isn’t publicly continuous. Biggest Pet Peeve People chilling and socializing at tables in the Windjammer and Café Promenade when others are hunting for a spot, food in hand. Rarely affected me, one perk of cruising solo, but still. Bonus tip: The pizza plates rest perfectly atop the Coca-Cola Freestyle cup… Thoughts on various aspects of the experience. Embarkation Parking at Cape liberty needs to be much improved. the staff there with parking were good but the entire situation of having to wait in a line for parking and then to be directed to another parking overflow because the first one was filled after about 15-20 minutes and then being redirected back to the garage because they decided to reopen it for parking was quite annoying. So what should have taken five or so minutes ended up taking 30. Once inside there was quite a bit of ambiguity what we should be doing for those of us who had already checked in through the app. The security screening went exceptionally quickly. Lines were being held up because people who didn’t check in through the app were also in the line (instead of the line for people needing to check in) and instead of redirecting them to go out and join the line for people who need to check in, they were left there with us the slowing down the entire process. Cell signal was minimal inside the terminal, along with connectivity speed, so I was exceptionally glad that I had brought with me printed documents for everything except for my Set Sail pass. Boarded the ship on deck 4. Embarkation takeaways. • Arrive at terminal at least 30 minutes early. • Bring printed copies of all required documents even if it's in the app. That includes the Set Sail pass. Muster 2.0 This was a noticeable improvement over the way things were being done last time I sailed. Very quick. Very easy. Only thing to note is that the app doesn’t update instantaneously when they scan you in at the muster station. So if the app doesn’t show that you’ve completed the safety drill immediately, don't worry. Just check on it again within half an hour or so to make sure that it is going to. Muster takeaways. • Check into the muster station and then go do something else for a while before checking the app to see that you’ve completed all safety steps. Dining Booked traditional late dining, however once on board, my dining preference was changed to My Time. So I thought I’d save some time. Instead of stopping by the main dining room and getting that changed to where it should be, I booked my time at 8:00 PM. This would turn out to be a mistake. When I showed up for dinner about 5 minutes early I found the line snaking around the corner and down the hallway for people with dining reservations. There was a similar, yet shorter line, for people who were My Time Dining, but didn’t reserve in advance. From what we observed in the reserved line, the line for walk-ups was moving quicker. After waiting 20 minutes we had only covered about half the distance of the line. The time was now about 8:15, and we’re hearing from people towards the front that even when you got up to the podium, there's still a 20 minute wait. Since it didn’t look like I was getting in for dinner before 9 pm, decided to cut bait and head to the Windjammer for Tastes of the Caribbean. During dinner I made the call to take my meals in the Windjammer during this cruise since I'll be back aboard later this year and can try the MDR then. Overall, I thought the buffet was decent. No fault with the service. Food was alright. Not the best I've had, and certainly not the worst. The menus in the Windjammer I thought were more interesting than what was being served in the MDR. However, from reviews, menus, and pictures of MDR food, the Windjammer is trading ingredient cost for quantity. Though that should be expected with the self-service. Pizza in Café Promenade was similarly decent. Best way I can describe it is upgraded CiCi's. Nearly always a line, but the staff kept it moving. The Coca-Cola Freestyle machines were only out of crème soda and occasionally ice (excluding the one machine I used in the Windjammer which never seemed to have ice). They were self-service. Dining takeaways. • Traditional dining for MDR only. I would say skip the My Time reservations and go standby, but this problem is easily fixed by Royal Caribbean. And as sure as standby was best (at least on that night) they fix the problem, then reservations are actually required. Best to avoid this mess with traditional dining. • Food is solid mid-tier resort at Café Promenade and the Windjammer. Keep expectations in check and you probably won't be disappointed. • Best to show up early for breakfast and late to lunch and dinner at the Windjammer. They won't run out of food and there's less crowds. • You can make several sorta mocktails using ginger ale and/or Fanta Lime on the Freestyle machines plus another soda or two (or just mix the two of them together). Ginger ale with lime (from the machine) doesn't have the same bite. VOOM Internet Purchased the surf & stream with classic soda package during a sale as I needed connectivity during the sailing. The connection was fast enough for telephone calls, but web pages would slowly load images and respond at times. Doubt it’d be reliable enough for video conferencing if it's something critical. When testing the connection in Blue Moon/ Viking Crown Lounge I was receiving 1.72Mbps down and 0.67Mbps up. VOOM takeaways. • Good enough for basic use, but I wouldn't depend on it if you've got something critical happening that you require a high speed connection for. • Will skip in the future unless have an actual need. (Disclosure: my cost for international data is the same as in the US so nabbing a signal in port isn't cost prohibitive to me.) Disembarkation I decided to do self-assist carry off and that went really well. The facial recognition system made things even easier clearing immigration control/customs than Global Entry at an airport. Didn’t even need to dig out a passport as long as the light turns green. Will be doing self-assist again in the future. Disembarkation takeaways. • Speak with Guest Services to switch to self-assist disembarkation. • Keep your Sea Pass card handy as they scan it as you’re leaving the ship. Port of Call: Halifax We were greeted during debarkation with a bagpiper playing on the pier. Just like with embarkation, we left and reboarded the ship via deck 4. I designed a self-guided walking tour of several major sights before the cruise. Here's my stops in order I recommend from the pier ( ($) indicates admission fee): 1. Old Burying Ground 2. Public Gardens 3. The Citadel ($) 4. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic ($) 5. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 ($) By heading to the public gardens before the Citadel, you can take a sloping path up to the Citadel instead of climbing the steps, which you'll be taking down here. The other secret with this order is you should be hitting things as they open or are already open so there's less waiting around with the limited time in port. Pier 21 is literally where the ship docked; it's a quick jaunt aboard after the museum. Do note that the Citadel closes its main entrance for the noon cannon firing. There is a short presentation about the loading and firing of said canon starting around 11:50 am. The quickest path to the canon viewing area is to take the stairs to the right of the main entrance passageway if you’re facing said passageway inside the fort. The guards will ask you to stand behind the rope laid on the ground to either side of the cannon if you’re showing up early and want a good spot. Total path distance, with the detours below, was 4 miles. However, actual distance was nearly 10 miles with all the additional walking at each site. The route passes by (in order of appearance): Between points 1 & 2: Their unique public library (has a free observation deck), a CIBC branch with inside ATMs, an upscale grocery store (Pete’s Fine Foods, a short walk down the street from the CIBC branch.) Between points 3 & 4: The Halifax Town Clock Detour option: Sicilian Pizza. Local pizza and the city specialty of donair (skyscanner.ca/tips-and-inspiration/halifax-donair). Good quality and reasonable prices. Detour option: Le French Fixe Patisserie. Local coffee and bake shop. Decent espresso and canelé. Fantastic smells. Limited hours. St. Paul’s Church and Providence House. Check the directions, but the majority of reasonable routes pass by both. Between points 4 & 5: A variety of food stalls serving a range of options including seafood, poutine, and Beavertails (a long Canadian pastry topped with a range of mostly sweet options). The Halifax waterfront. Several notable statues. The Emigrant Statue. Statue of Women Volunteers. Cunard. Overall, Halifax was a once and done for me. I'd choose another itinerary with Halifax if there was other ports of interest. But not raring to visit again. Like, it was interesting to see once, and glad I did, but not so interesting to purposefully return without another reason to. Rackham Royal Stats (for a little context): Royal Caribbean Sailings: 1 Royal Caribbean Ships: Adventure Ports of Call: Halifax, Nova Scotia Most of my photos/videos are 360° images. Here's a few taken on this cruise which are not.
  10. Won this afternoon a bid on a Promenade view interior from an interior studio guarantee.
  11. Assuming it is a spherical theater, it could be used to show regular movies with either the right projector lens setup or digital calibration of the projector to warp the image appropriately so it'd look relatively normal. Royal might also use it for planetarium shows (there's a slew of content out there already for the curved dome screens; examples here: https://www.mpm.edu/now-showing and https://www.colorado.edu/fiske/showtimes/fulldome-films-star-shows), IMAX/Omnimax movies (with the lens/digital setup mentioned before), or something nuts using a drone streaming 360 degree footage back to the theater. And that's not even considering them creating their own films.
  12. Looking at their website, the buggy tour is only 15 minutes in length. https://www.gatorland.com/experiences/new-stompin-gator-off-road-adventure/ So, maybe there's 2:30 for exploring Gatorland on your own? 30 minutes extra isn't much, but could make a difference.
  13. Don't know if that's such a great idea with the DBP.
  14. I'll be in Halifax on a different cruise, this summer, and I can't imagine a cab (or similar) to the Titanic grave site costing as much as two adults for the Hop On/Hop Off bus. My take on the Titanic gravesite is less that it's too far to walk, about 8 miles roundtrip, so much as there's a limited amount of time in port, and do you really want to spend it walking through the city when there's other things to experience? Take a look at Google Maps (or similar) for the attraction locations in Halifax if you haven't already. The Immigration museum at Pier 21, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Citadel, and the Public Gardens (not to mention a smattering of other historical sites and museums) are all easily walkable from the Pier. Though I also won't have along a 7 month old either.
  15. I've started collecting menus for N. American sailings, and chocolate lava cake (EDIT: or its non-identical twin) appears on two different menus. Each of these menus would be paired with the cruise classics menu for the final dinner menu when they're appearing. However, there's no guarantee either of these menus will appear on your sailing (menu - D.L. will probably be in rotation as the lobster night menu if the sailing is long enough). Menu - D.G Appetizers Puff Pastry Mushroom Ragout Crispy Crab Cake Chilled Strawberry Bisque Spicy Harissa Soup Entrees Seared Barramundi Beef Short Rib & Potato Gnocchi Chicken Parmigiana Shrimp Scampi Linguini Sweet & Sour Tofu Deserts Warm Chocolate Lava Cake English Trifle No Sugar Added Coffee Pot de Crème Menu - D.L Appetizers Shrimp & Potato Salad Insalata Caprese Vidalia Onion Tart Minestrone Entrees Pan-Seared Barramundi Broiled Lobster Tail Lemon & Harissa Roasted Chicken Roasted Beef Tenderloin Eggplant Parmesan Deserts Molten Chocolate Cake Baked Alaska No Sugar Added Pineapple Sunshine Cake
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. There isn't a specialty bar menu for Alaska, unfortunately.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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."
  22. 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.
  23. 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 .
  24. This. Why risk bad blood being cheap when the profit margin is probably around $10 per cocktail?
  25. 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
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