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Everything posted by berkeleykel

  1. Was it during school holidays? If you want warm weather but minimum kids, September is a good option (at least in the Med/Adriatic where it will still be hot).
  2. My son was glued to playing Super Smash Bros on the Switch in AO. I’ll see if he can think of any other games, but I can only remember that one because he became OBSESSED.
  3. Royal's reputation is Royal's problem, and they could bend the rules for everyone's personal issues if they wanted to. In the short term they'd be out of the fee income, but would it work out for them in the long-run due to increased goodwill from customers that bring in repeat business? Maybe, maybe not. My guess is they are concerned that things like this would be too easy to make up and too administratively difficult to police (by requesting proof of illness and relationship). So I'm not saying I don't understand Royal's position. But it isn't a given and Royal is making a choice to increase its revenue at the expense of some bad goodwill now and again. The OP being frustrated is also entirely understandable.
  4. For UK and EU bookings there is a significant discount you can only get by calling (some have had success chatting on the website but I haven't). GBP 43 pn. I've heard it is now for new bookings only, but not sure how recently you must have booked for it to be considered "new".
  5. You must have looked up the fare for a single person? I think the $192 is based on double occupancy. I can pull it up fine.
  6. On the Key, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. You can usually get a two-device plan cheaper than 2 one-device plans, so there is only an incremental cost to adding a second plan, whereas with the Key you are paying the full price per person. A polo shirt will fit in nicely in the dining room most nights. You may want to bring something more formal for the formal nights (polo will be a little underdressed compared to many people), but formal dress is optional and if you were in a polo you'd still be better dressed that those who will inevitably show up in t-shirts. I think it's unlikely that you'd find yourself accidentally ordering something over the drink plan amount. They are not trying to catch you off your guard. Maybe if you specified a top shelf liquor or something, but I'd imagine they would flag if it would incur an exchange charge knowing once they see your card that you are on the DBP. I loved Rhapsody and all the evening game shows and activities in the Centrum. I hope you have a great time!
  7. Watch out! After stating affirmatively two days ago I was NOT going to book this ship for the foreseeable future, I kept peeking at prices and room options just for fun...now booked for Aug 2024 in adjoining Surfside Family Suites. The 99 GBP pp deposit for UK bookings was too tempting. I'm really not thrilled with the lack of an ocean view, but for families who want Sky level suites and some separation between kids and parents without paying $20k+, this seems to be one of the best options (assuming the balconies can open so we can treat them like connecting rooms, which I think is a pretty safe assumption). Adjoining Sky junior suites would have had the benefit of being located in the suite neighbourhood, but there are so few of those and they were already sold out for the dates I could do. I think the kids at least will probably like the surfside view.
  8. Anyone have a guess as to whether Surfside Family Suites with adjacent balconies will have the ability to connect balconies?
  9. I will book when it (pretty please) comes to the Med. Not flying 8+ hours with kids for a cruise. Unless I can get a steal of a price on the Ultimate Family Townhouse at some point, which might be worth flying to Miami for. I think I have a better chance of Icon spending a summer in the Med.
  10. If you do a normal search it should come up as an option if you filter by ship. May need to sign in first.
  11. $70,000 on the US site. $99,000 sticker price before discounts applied.
  12. Priced out the Ultimate Family Townhouse for August...£56,000 for 2 adults, 2 kids
  13. Does the cruise contract actually state that the final payment deadline turns off the “48 hours from reserving” language? Not to mention that even if Royal had the better contractual argument (not clear at all to me that they do) it still would be incredibly misleading to put a 48 hour best price guarantee at check out for a booking to which it would not apply, when clearly it is being used to induce booking. @Ptrg did Royal claim you were outside the 48 hours or that the policy just didn’t apply to your booking?
  14. Is it standard for Caribbean cruises to have the early seating at 5:15/5:30? Seems crazy early to me and I have young kids!
  15. Yes it’s still going on. It’s been posted to multiple forums, there is one called Royal Caribbean Cruises UK that may be helpful if you are UK based
  16. Just to confirm I’m booked on Symphony from Barcelona next summer and I also don’t have any excursions available to book yet, so it’s not an interport specific issue. Barcelona is pretty compact with good transport and close to the cruise port so I wouldn’t worry about a lack of ship excursions and just book a private excursion or DIY.
  17. We were recently on the Wonder from Barcelona and I mentioned to my husband how unfair the breakfast situation seemed to continuing cruisers. They close down everything early like it is a regular disembarkation day even though it’s just a normal day for 1/4 of the ship! However, you do have the luxury of booking shows for the second half of your cruise before the new cruisers join in Barcelona. And I heard, although I’m not sure how true it is, that they held back spaces at shows for those boarding and each port so neither group would be completely locked out.
  18. You might find it helpful to compare recent cruise compasses for the two ships: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass
  19. I would not be willing to put holes in my clothes for a pin, but the lanyard idea sounds good.
  20. I'm booked on the same itinerary (minus La Coruna) for a kids-free holiday next year. Excited to see what you think and what excursions you do! How has the weather been?
  21. From my limited experience of a Greek isles cruise on Rhapsody in 2019 and a Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona on Wonder this summer, the Greek isles cruise food seemed more default "American," like what you would expect on a Caribbean cruise. The cruise from Barcelona was much more multi-cultural, European. On Wonder, the Windjammer included a UK, US, Asian and European breakfast sections, and the MDR included a pie and curry each evening. My theory is that that this is due to the fact that many passengers from France, Spain, Italy, the UK etc were drew to the Wonder (being an Oasis class ship docked in Europe, a class of ship that other cruise lines in Europe can't compete with) whereas the passenger base on the Rhapsody cruise was much more American (presumably because Europeans would be able to find something that catered more to their language/culture/tastes on a similar size ship from another cruise line). I've also heard that the cruises out of Southhampton cater for British tastes due to the high number of UK passengers on board. So I don't think there is a blanket answer for all European cruises and it will depend somewhat on the specific ship and itinerary.
  22. I apparently took exactly 3 photos on Day 7, so here is a view the Mediterranean Sea in the morning and my husband and Monster sneaking in an afternoon nap.
  23. Day 7 - Sea Day I may be three weeks late but I refuse to give up! However long it takes, this blog will be completed… In our last full day of the cruise l spontaneously woke up around 7 am and spent a few hours on my own while the kids were still sleeping. I used this opportunity to check out the Solarium for the first time, which was pretty nice, and I took a few moments to relax and do some reading. However, towels were already laid out in most of the prime loungers with the forward view which was a bit baffling. Who are these people who wake up at 6am??? I also picked up a couple of extra tip envelopes from Guest Services and reserved our casita location for later in the day. Once back in the stateroom the kids were up and we headed to the Windjammer for breakfast around 10 am. We had been debating doing brunch in the MDR instead, but decided we’d rather have something quick so we could get to the pool deck before it was too crowded since it was the only sea day. Before heading to the pool we tried to catch the parade at 11:15 am on the promenade deck. We got there right at the start time, but by that point it was too crowded to see anything, especially for the kids (strangely it seemed like more adults were watching than kids), so we left for Splashaway Bay. When we got to the pool deck just before 11:30 am we didn’t see a single spare lounger, so we were glad to have the casita reserved even though we didn’t end up staying too long. It was our third day spending time on the pool deck and the kids had a bit of a been-there-done-that attitude, so they were happy enough to leave after an hour or so. I should note that my 6 year old spent about half his time in the beach pool on our first day at the pool deck, but after that he only wanted to stick to Splashaway Bay because he didn’t like the salt water in the pool. We had lunch at El Loco Fresh which I thought was pretty good (at least compared to UK Mexican food), and it was convenient to be able to eat outside while still wet in our swimwear. We planned to spend the rest of the day doing our favourite things on cruises that we hadn’t had much time to get to yet: trivia, bingo and game shows. First up was cartoon trivia where we got second place after a tiebreaker, driven 95% by my husband (I literally only knew one answer)! I then headed straight to bingo while my husband took the kids to play mini golf again and to finish up our arcade credits. I paid $49 for six cards (three games each) plus one extra for having gold C&A level, which was an unexpected perk (the staff noticed this when I went to pay; I didn’t bring it up). The expected value of bingo was super low relative to jackpots in the $300-500 range, but I love bingo and the only time I ever get to play is on cruises so I was willing to eat the last investment. I also got a scratch card as part of the package and won $10, to be redeemed from the casino. I did not win at bingo sadly. What remained of the trip took a big turn at this point. I had woken up with a stomachache that got progressively worse throughout the day, until sitting through bingo, which went 20 minutes over schedule, became agony. Since bingo went over my husband had already started Trivia at 5 at Schooner’s, so I met him there. We did miserably bad again, as had been a trend for any of the general knowledge trivia sessions on this cruise. Afterwards we should have gone to dinner at 6 pm in the MDR, but I wasn’t up to it at all. I ended up in bed with bad chills. My husband took the kids to the windjammer for dinner but dropped off our tip envelopes with our MDR waiter staff first and explained our absence. We didn’t want them to think we were ditching them on the last night on purpose. I proceeded to sleep from 6 pm to roughly 3 am, when I got up in order to pack in a panic, despite feeling like death, with only the force of sheer adrenaline behind me (given we would be leaving the room within 5 hours at that point and hadn’t packed a thing). I took a a rapid antigen Covid test to be sure that wasn’t the root of my illness, but tested negative. I then crashed in bed again around 5 am for basically a nap before needing to get up in the morning to get everyone ready to leave the room by 8 am. That brings us to the end of Day 7. At some point in the near or distant future, I’ll update on Day 8 and overall thoughts on the trip.
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