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dr martini

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Everything posted by dr martini

  1. this reminds me of the "will there ever be more small ships" discussion and the celebrity route of including drinks and wi-fi to help potential customers stomach the higher fare. absolutely needs to be more standardized way to advertise fares, if and when that ever happens i think a lot of the adult Royal customers who are happily paying for all these add ons would see some value in the luxury brands. i know it's making me look harder and Royal's reported onboard spending continues to be significantly up post pandemic. for now, the nail has been hit on the head, I am back on the road more for work and so have stayed in hotels more this year than the past several combined. that experience is LACKING all around. lucky to get housekeeping once a day if you call and ask for it and the moon is in the right phase. closed bars and restaurants, no room service, no front desk help at all sometimes - better off checking in on your phone which doubles as your room key, it's now to the point that most of the time I don't interact with a human staff member my entire stay and my in room meal at the end of a long day is a bag of chips and cheap bottle of wine from the bodega or walgreens on the corner. the world is not the same. it will likely never be again, ground shifting 9/11 type changes for travel and hospitality. if you want to even sniff the higher level of service you maybe used to have or are nostalgic about that's great, but you're going to have to pay for it. choose a fancier hotel, stay in a different neighborhood, pay the higher rate for the higher class of room that has a stocked minibar and pantry etc etc. royal is focused on staying king of the mega ship bracket, they are a business that like many others in entertainment/hospitality sold a lot of debt bonds and other financial devices to stay afloat and need to keep making money just to get back to their base line so they can get back to focusing on the new ship schedules, resort projects, resuming amplifications.....people vote with their feet, the passengers are wanting to get back in greater numbers than the crew, as long as we keep paying Royal will keep happily taking the money.
  2. Looking to use Hilton honors points in miami before a short cruise this january on a trip that's becoming kind of a splurge getaway for me and my wife, first trip of multiple days away from our two under two. Anybody here have a favorite in the hilton portfolio or a big preference one way or another staying along the bay, over on miami beach etc? i have cruised out of miami many times but usually stay the night before with family over by Naples and drive Alligator Alley over - haven't stayed on miami beach since a college bowl game trip that's now a bit....fuzzy. all things equal i think we'd like to be on the beach, get vacation kicked off right any help appreciated!
  3. man i really loved these as a kid to spread out on the dining room table and look forward to the cruise, so much so that i've been on ebay the past few years to track down the travel agent versions of these, maybe they're now totally online. still have our original voyager class mags somewhere. great share, thanks @twangster
  4. @Orange Crushthat's the best explanation i can give as well. it's very grey. my dad and i are both blackjack table game players only. we both tip well and play similarly (competently? (ha) at a middle table $25 or $50 per hand, never the biggest bettors but definitely avoid the crowded lowest play tables) Dad is diamond and has never had a piece of mail or email from club royale, but is also more stingy about scanning his seapass card everytime and maybe his accounts aren't linked? a few years ago i went on an absolute heater and won a pile of money on the last night of a navigator cruise ("just going down to cash in my chips, dear" and played until they closed the casino, whoops) and the pit boss was well aware, he and the dealers were cheering me it was a blast. since then I have had free cruise and discount offers emailed to me regularly every month since as i'm assuming casino royale wants their money back. cruised a couple times since without big winnings or big losses and the offers still coming. no one has ever called or explained the points thing, don't know what any of that means, but i'll just keep cruising once a year or so and keep playing like i've been playing. finally taking one of the free cruise offers for a 4 day this Jan. My offers were for a free inside or ocean view room, or they said I can apply the value of that stateroom's fee towards a higher category as a discount.
  5. @Pattycruise @asquared17 Best deal I have found on Wifi is when combined with deluxe bev package. Planner won't always show that as an option but I snagged it for our Symphony cruise earlier this year on black friday 2021 at less than $10/day and now again for our Freedom cruise this coming January bev is $$77.99, dxb with wifi is $85.99. as you may or may not be aware, the key holds very few real benefits and is viewed as a pretty gimmicky offer by most here but there may be some success stories i'm not aware of.
  6. exactly. just like driving a half hour or more at $4 + gas to the huge gigantic box store to buy huge gigantic sizes because they are 'cheaper' when you could just hit the mom and pop places along your normal route for stuff you just need in the next couple days. obviously not the same setup for everybody in every city but....sheesh. c'mon.
  7. on a freedom four day in January 23 - just me and my wife getaway using a casino royale offer and turning this into a splurge on things we can't/don't get while cruising with our kids and the rest of my family we usually cruise with etc. coco beach club for $89 dbx with voom for $85 pp/pd no savings on ultimate dining vs price a couple weeks ago but booked it anyway
  8. no use "trying to reason with hurricane season" you would make the same decision too with a huge investment like a cruise ship and priceless lives aboard, better safe than sorry. you'll enjoy a sunny day in jamaica, i know i would and it's better than outright cancellation.
  9. just booked sushi making for freedom in late January (2023)
  10. could be wrong, but i don't see more small ships coming. more big ships and amplifications to bring those big ship features closer to fleet wide as marketing tools (finish voyager class, then harmony/allure, quantum/anthem will be ten years old soon) royal as a cruise line is clearly focused on having the biggest ships in the world with the most things to do for families and we know that because actions speak louder than words, they're still aggressively advertising during NFL games etc and it's all the bells and whistles and go go go. they know many, even most people who cruised with them as families will sail as multigenerational groups every once in awhile, more often still as retired couples and can always upsell unlimited dining, cabanas, suite life etc and give out the diamond type perks to keep them around. But if it becomes too much, or too busy, Royal Caribbean Group as the parent holding company is happy to offer higher end /more experienced cruise customers who want smaller ships and more exotic ports go to Silversea and Celebrity. celebrity still regularly building and ordering ships, i've received more marketing info from them in the past year than in the previous 5-7 years combined....makes sense to keep building those brands out too.
  11. Just had baby 2 and booked this with my wife as a gift for us both as an adult trip to get back out into the world! See you there. We have learned so much from the authors and this forum, the search bar above is your friend, or even just good old google royalcaribbean blog with your keywords or question with that phrase, or ask away here.
  12. you can search the forums which is a really handy tool, pages and pages of ideas and discussion already out there. I would solidly recommend that you do NOT take the ferry to the mainland. very choppy stretch of water, not on a reliable timetable, just invites too many opportunities for a problem to arise and there are a lot of great things to do in cozumel, some of the best snorkeling and relatively shallow water diving in the world along their wall reefs, some great resorts with day options, downtown shopping options, mayan ruins on the island. i'm very happy making a day of it on cozumel herself, staying on the mainland in Cancun or Tulum or anywhere in between is a whole other trip imo
  13. yes @Ampurp85 that's correct, but there are two sides of the windjammer, park cafe closed at overlapping hours, solarium bistro was never open....the only options available for two hours were pizza slices and wraps. the line in the promenade would grow ridiculously long, kids and babies needs snacks (and obviously other folks too). i have my cruise compasses all saved with these hours listed, if i get some free time today i'll send them in to get them uploaded.
  14. no solarium bistro on symphony last week and windjammer was closed for two hours at different times of the day, sometimes didn't open until 5 or 6? was a very poor dining experience all around except for one night at 150 central park, which was outstanding. they very clearly did not have enough staff to serve the number of passengers and very likely had many of their best and brightest on wonder to make her fully staffed and wow the media blitz, spring breakers booked on her.
  15. main dining room used to be great, built up a relationship with your servers, drinks waiting for you, they knew your favorites, asked about what you did that day. we've been on all of the voyager class, loved them. sailed an oasis class pre covid in 2019 and just again last week, both were progressively the worth MDR experiences we've had in 10+ cruises. all about $pecialty $pend and $uite guests anymore. yes spring break and yes short handed post covid and yes many other things, but lots of us don't get to work from home or be half retired and thus pick and choose when we or our kids can be available, very happy for all of you who are. we will not be cruising oasis class again, i can very confidently tell you that much.
  16. Symphony at 4000 this week as @GatorCruiser mentioned, and like previous cruises felt most full on day one and certain times of the day. would like to find a staff count, but seems to me they have all they can handle. Being on her a few days now I’m convinced staff levels are what’s holding them to lower capacity more than anything else. Late seating dinner starts late because previous seating still pouring out, took two hours for the main course plates to come out, food is far and away the most mediocre and inconsistent we’ve ever had in many cruises with royal, waiters are being asked to serve too many tables which isn’t their fault but never remember who ordered what or what goes where, drinks are often painfully slow, there are zero wait staff walking pool deck during the day, pool bars are always slammed (when open, many bars don’t have the beer or bottle you’re looking for), deck chairs are all full or reserved, specialty dining (150 Central Park) was obviously much better but running a race booking everything day one instead of ahead of time was a pain, chops grille and hooked seafood booked for the whole week by 3pm on day one (suite guests obviously had a go in advance). tots and babies under two years old families are limited to 10 hours of reserved time. Wind jammer very busy and both sides closed odd hours, solarium bistro not open at all, certain hours of the day nowhere to eat except promenade pizza and wraps and long lines form, gets tough with kiddos and babies to keep them snacking and happy - it’s spring break so there’s teens everywhere, including all over the solarium day and night. Not as much trivia or events during the day going on, what events there are get packed, dazzles was overwhelmed the other day with the few events they had in there all back to back. Speed test for surf and stream under 1mb in stateroom. First world problems i know i know i know, happy to be back on a ship but hard for me to recommend the experience as being worth the money for anyone who is not an avid die hard cruise fan. I’m sure it will get better but right now they are very short handed and not providing the full royal experience many are looking for.
  17. if you can save a lot of money, great, but a lot of times its only $100, and everybody and every budget is different. i wish we could cruise more and then maybe that kind of savings would add up (totally get it for anyone retired or on fixed income, etc), but only going once every couple years....$100 is not very much in the big picture. i mean, we're not talking about top end suite type room vs inside room that differ in costs by thousands of dollars....ask your travel agent if they have a recommendation or do your own research and pick the room you want. divide it by 36 months or 30 years like a home mortgage or car payment or whatever you want to compare it to. if you want to splurge on vacation, i would strongly advise you to splurge on your vacation.
  18. they have to be getting a ton of feedback on this, both from the islands and from frustrated guests. very few open excursions to book on these expensive spring break cruises = a lot of not happy families, seeing that all over on our upcoming in various roll calls, fb groups etc
  19. around the ship and on the pool deck, no. in your cabin, sure. on the beach? again i would say no. there is music on parts of pdcc and the people who want that vibe will go there. the people who want to hear just the waves and the wind will scatter along the edges. don't be the blaring music guy. bring airpods if you must, but even then you're robbing yourself a lot of the experience (and you might not hear the bar staff coming by for the next round!)
  20. if you aren't a regular boater or ship rider i would give you the same advice i give everyone else - just take the dramamine. there are both drowsy and non drowsy versions, or just take ginger supplements if you want to go natural. there are literally no side effects. just take them everyday and enjoy your trip. even if it's just the placebo effect, hey you're still feeling better!
  21. awesome thank you. hopefully that's not just wonder getting the special treatment (although she should!) and that's the plan for all the O class now with peak spring break these next couple weeks in march
  22. anybody with kids on an oasis class, would love to know what nursery and AO numbers/limits are like
  23. same story here, the offers are all 99% the $100 off seven night sailings. had a free interior room offer just before the holidays, but i would say like a lot of things, the promotional dollars for these deals came out of profits and giving out free rooms like candy obviously don't make sense in RC's financial position at the moment.
  24. you can search around the site here, that price is pretty low and there are many much higher than that, into the $80's per person per day. you can always cancel and rebook later if you find it cheaper
  25. i don't think there are a lot of definitive answers here, every island is different with various cruise lines sailing all kinds of different ships. harbor masters in each port usually decide for their port based on ship's size, arrival time, departure time etc. you can find who is scheduled to be in port with you on sites like cruisemapper.com and elsewhere i can tell you symphony and the other oasis class ships in Miami leave the terminal heading straight out, so docked with the terminal and freight harbor to the right (starboard) side and rooms the the left (port) will look out to miami beach and the skyline etc. the port of miami has a basin that's like a cul de sac dead end where ships can turn around, many ships do this when they enter at night/early morning of their final return day, although it's not every ship all the time, there are plenty of sail away videos you can find on youtube of other, smaller ships, turning around in the basin before heading out. so that can make for a nice view as you unpack and get ready to sail away, but after that i wouldn't worry too much about side of the ship, look more at what you like to do, where you can get the best price, maybe closer the middle to avoid walking down the hallways multiple times a day etc.
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