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  1. Well, I'm definitely not a veteran cruise like a lot of others on this message board but my wife and I just returned from a 7-night Eastern Caribbean on Allure of the Seas last night and it was wonderful! This was only my 2nd cruise (first was a 5-Night on Carnival) so I'm still a newbie myself. The best advice I can give you is to ask questions on this message board and use this resource as much as possible. The people here are so friendly and will answer almost anything...it really is so much more than just a message board; Matt has built a wonderful community! As for Cruising advice, The first day is a long one. Usually you have traveled in the night before (or the morning of, if you're brave!), you've got to get to the terminal, board the ship....then once you are on the ship it can be overwhelming for first-timers. Your staterooms are usually not ready for a couple of hours so you're going to be walking around the ship with your carry-on bags, not having a clue what's going on. Before the ship departs you have to attend a mandatory muster drill, then there are a slew of activities (sail away parties, dinner, shows, etc.). The first day on a cruise can be very overwhelming and even stressful, but it is NOT indicative of the rest of the experience. My advice would be to not plan anything for the first day...usually by the time the muster drill is over everyone is ready for dinner and a little relaxation. Just take it all in, enjoy it and know that this will most likely be the busiest day of your cruise. After that, you can put your brain in "cruise mode" and just enjoy everything!
  2. That is correct, we're in the Allure!
  3. We're on the ship and enjoying our lunch courtesy of Chops Steak house. We've done a little bit of exploring and I am totally in love with this ship! I want to thank everyone (especially Matt) for answering all of my silly questions and helping us prepare to make this the best vacation ever! The only sad part is that next week it will be over....but I'm going to enjoy every second while I can! Talk to you all in a week!
  4. So I'm embarrassed but I found the video and it wasn't from Matt after all. It was when I first discovered all these cruise videos and it was one of the few that are as comprehensive as all of Matt's videos so, over time, I just mis-remembered it as being from him. I sincerely apologize for all the confusion and Matt, you're still the best!
  5. oooooh! We can summon him like the genie from Aladdin???? The original, not that silly live-action version, of course. 🙂
  6. So when I decided to take my wife on a cruise about 3 months ago the deciding factor (and how I found out about this site!) was Matt's Allure of the Seas ship tour. It might have been Oasis or Symphony but he did such a wonderful job walking through the entire ship and explaining what was included versus what was extra that after I finished the video I knew that was the ship I had to take my next cruise on! I'm trying to explain everything to a friend and that video would be perfect, but I can't find it for the life of me. If I remember correctly it was definitely an Oasis class ship (Symphony/Oasis/Allure) and the video was about 13 minutes long. I know he had a Central Park Balcony at the end of the video.....does anyone have a link to it or am I just making stuff up in my head again? 🙂 p.s. I think the video was 1-2 years old. I've scoured his Youtube site and can't find it....did it get taken down for some reason?
  7. ok, Thank you. I was getting a little worried there!
  8. Whoa! So this thread talked me into purchasing the photo package for my wife and I (both staying in the same stateroom). When I went to purchase it on the Royal Caribbean website I added it to the cart, selected my wife and I and it is charging us twice. I thought the package was per stateroom, not per guest...am I missing something here?
  9. I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise yet but in January when we cruised with Carnival it was actually pretty slick. Every night they have different backdrops stationed all over the ship and whenever you passed one that you liked you could just jump in and get your pictures taken. The photographers were really good and gave you 3-4 different poses for each backdrop. There were never any lines and at most only 1 person in front of you so it was always very quick. I'm usually allergic to cameras so wife is always on me about taking pictures with her and this was the perfect opportunity to have some made. They turned out well and it was well worth the money. I keep going back and forth on the Royal Caribbean photo package for our cruise next week.....It's about $100 more expensive than Carnival's was and while I'd like to have a bunch of pictures taken on this cruise I'm not sure the price is worth it. (At least on Carnival their digital photo package also included 3 extra large canvas prints that are now hanging on our wall, which I don't think is included in the RC photo package). p.s. I'd say every night there were at least 10+ different photo ops throughout the ship, and it also included "natural" photos of us doing our daily stuff an things on the ship, like disembarking at a port, sitting on the lido deck, playing trivia, etc. There were a lot of cool photos in the package.
  10. From what I understand the propulsion problems have been an ongoing issue for quite a while, @Benny , unless you heard of something new. We're flying into Miami and we've got a shuttle booked with RCCL to get us to the cruise terminal. Based on the current hurricane trajectory it looks like Miami will miss most of the big stuff and I"m hoping since everything should be calming down by Wed. or Thurs. that the roads will be back to normal by the time we fly in on Sunday morning.
  11. Hey @Diamondntherough , We're sailing on Allure Sept. 8 and right now I don't think there is anything to worry about. It looks like this week's cruises will be shortened but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything is in order by next weekend. I haven't heard anything official from RCCL but all the weather reports/RCCL updates I've seen it looks like everything should be over by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, which means they should have a few days to get ready for us on the 8th.
  12. Thank you! My mom said that on Carnival you are not allowed to bring plastic containers so she wasn't sure how RCCL handled them. We'll bring our own shampoo/conditioner but she was worried about getting that vitamin water on board! 😄
  13. So we're sailing out on Allure next week and my parents decided to join us at the last minute. They are Carnival Pros but have never been on RCL before and had a couple of questions. Since I'm the one that talked them into coming they have told me in no uncertain terms that it is my responsibility to find the answers. 🙂 #1: Does the Allure supply Shampoo/Conditioner in their staterooms or do we need to bring that ourselves? #2: I know we can bring a bottle of wine or a 12-pack of soda cans on-board but my mother drinks Vitamin water in the plastic containers. Would she be able to bring this on-board with her instead of the soda?
  14. Do they use RFID cards on the Allure or the other ones?
  15. So this is only my 2nd cruise and I'm very ignorant to all of this but I saw a different post that spurred the question. I understand that the Cruise Directors oversee all activities on any particular sailing but people seem to imply that, while they may not be able to ruin a cruise, they can definitely take a "good" cruise and make it "great!". I'm not sure I fully understand this as it seems to me once the itinerary is set the Cruise Director just needs to execute the plans. Can someone explain what differentiates a great cruise director from the mediocre or even bad ones? How do they influence your cruise experience and enjoyment? And a bonus question, since we're sailing on Allure next Sunday (Sept. 8, can't wait!) does anyone know who our Cruise Director will be and if they are "good" or "bad"? This whole things fascinates me and I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!
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