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Jax

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  1. Like
    Jax reacted to CravingaCruise in DIAMONDS Are a Girl's Best Friend!   
    No delays this morning and no we had  a great flight on one of Alaska’s new planes. The first class seats were super comfortable with nice foot rests and our breakfast was great!  
    Landed in LA and had to take a shuttle to the ride share lot. Got an Uber XL and just like that we were on our way to the terminal. The timing was perfect with us arriving just before our check in window!!  🎉😍
    We had put our RCL luggage tags on while we were at the airport and kept our carryons up front with us just in case the porters grabbed the bags as they came out of the van.  The porters were respectful and let us make sure everything was in order then took them away with the promise that we’d see them soon, then into line we went. We waited maybe 10 mins and then made our way through security and into the terminal to check in for the cruise. A few mins later we were heading to the gangway and then we were on the ship!  Super easy check in!
    We went straight to our muster station because we don’t want to be those people!  😳
    We headed up to the pool deck on 11 and hung out for a bit listening to the tropical music that did not match the cold temperature!  🥶  We sat there for about 10 mins until the Windjammer opened then went and found a nice spot by the window and grabbed lunch.  Lunch was fine and we sat for a bit until we felt badly that the tables were filling up  and thenmade our way to the promenade.  
    After sailing on the jumbo ships for several years the Promenade felt uber small!! We found a comfy spot in the Cafe Promenade while we waited for our room to open up.  I handled a few emails so my inbox wasn’t so overwhelming tomorrow and we people watched for a bit.  That alone could be an entirely new blog! 😳
    At 1pm we headed to our room and it was ready but luggage was nowhere in sight.  We sat down on the bed to rest our backs and we just like that we were both asleep.  Our room is super warm and we think it might be from the virtual balcony - which is kind of cool. But not cool enough to make me feel like a Thanksgiving turkey.  We’ll see how it pans out. 🥵

    When we woke up our luggage was in the hallway and the unpacking commenced!  We were almost done when our cabin attendant came by to introduce himself.  Which was perfect timing because we needed hangers.  We have Robert for all three cruises and so far we love him!  
    We went to dinner in the main dining room and experienced the new menu.  We were excited for it because the first night has fried chicken and hubby LOVES fried chicken.  Unfortunately it didn’t pass the hubby test.  My dinner was a bit of a flop too.  I ordered prime rib and I was not very happy with it.  Not only did both of our plates come out cold, but my prime rib came out nearly rare, which I would have been okay with had it not been cold. They only offer it medium rare or medium well which I thought was odd.  It didn’t bother me because I order medium rare anyway. 


    After not eating much of our dinner we went straight to the Windjammer and had a salad which was just what we needed. 

    After the last three cruises in suites, I really missed filet night in Coastal Kitchen!!!!! 😢😩
    We were so tired that after dinner we went back to our rooms with the intent of changing into our suits to sit in the hot tub but never left. It was a big day. We’ll sleep well tonight…even without the special star class bed! 😴😴
  2. Like
    Jax reacted to CravingaCruise in DIAMONDS Are a Girl's Best Friend!   
    3 More Sleeps!!
    I'm officially done with work for the week and my co-workers are all super jealous - just like I like it!  🤣
    The staging is almost complete and we've officially taken over the kitchen table and every other surface with all the stuff we're taking!  I know I'm totally an over packer, but I just like to be prepared. 18 days on a cruise or away from the comforts of home is a long time.  I've been caught on vacation without things I needed and I vowed not to spend a fortune on a necessary item I had forgotten at home again. The hospitality industry loves it when guests show up without an essential item - they seem to charge the most for those types of items.  I'd rather spend vacation money on something fun or exciting versus a necessity. Hence, the reason I over pack. 
    It's kind of funny that I seem to pack more when we sail in a smaller cabin.  When we sailed in a suite, I still over packed, but I had way more places to unload our stuff and didn't have to worry about how to manage all the little things. Knowing we're going to be in a pretty small space, I feel the need to over-organize.
    I just watched Danny's cabin tour from Harr Travel again just to see all of the spaces. I love his videos because he shows everything in the room without making you motion sick watching someone whip around their camera. Although, I've started muting him because I'm kind of over hearing how he always brings along an extra converter to take advantage of the Euro plugs in the room and brings a portable charger so he can charge his phone at the bedside overnight since there is no plug available. 🥺
    It's super helpful for me to watch the videos so I can plan out where things will go, which then helps me know how to pack for organizing our stuff. This cruise, I'm bringing a hanging closet organizer for our shoes, an over-the-door shoe organizer for all of the bathroom, sunscreen, and all the little misc items (I've come to really appreciate this one), several drawer organizer collapsible containers (from IKEA), magnet hooks & clips galore to hang anything I can to keep stuff off the table, a magnetic white board week-at-a-glance to keep track of our days, and another white board for leaving notes for our cabin attendant along with the magnetic cup for pens.  I feel like things are coming together.  I'm open to suggestions for maximizing space in a small cabin.  Have any?
    Tomorrow is laundry day and packing clothes with any last minute stuff on Sunday!  We're mostly saving Sunday for the next Eagles game - crossing our fingers for one more win!  Hubby got some Eagles magnets to add to our door decor in hopes of that win.  🙂  
    Okay - break's over!  Back to the packing! 

  3. Like
    Jax reacted to CravingaCruise in DIAMONDS Are a Girl's Best Friend!   
    T Minus 5 days!!  
    OMG!  It's Wednesday already!  Where did the time go??  😳
    I still have so much left on my to do list before we leave for 18 days!  I'm normally way ahead of things, but this time I'm almost wishing I had a little more time before the cruise - while at the same time wishing I was already on the ship!  😜
    I made the mistake of ordering new walking shoes recently, and now I'm in a panic over the fact that both of the two pair I already received were so stiff that as soon as I took one step I lost my socks inside the shoes.  I just ordered three more to try and they say they'll be here on Friday.  🤞🤞  I need a new pair because we plan to be in the gym on this cruise and I've fallen out of love with my current pair.  Now, I'm not promising that will actually happen because I've not worked out on a cruise ship yet, but it's on our list!  We figure 18 days will ensure we'll finally do it. 
    Hubby always asks me after I go through my shopping phase before a cruise if I have everything and don't need to do this for the next cruise.  I always tell him yes, but let's face it - a cruise is just another excuse for a shopping spree! 🤣🤣  Considering how many cruises we've been on, you'd think he would stop asking!  On my massive pre-cruise checklist, there is actually a line item that reads "shop for necessary items" - while some of my shopping may include some unnecessary items, it's still part of the cruise planning and I take it very seriously!  🤑
    Okay - off I go to return the shoes to the Amazon drop off and run some other errands because we're running out of business days! 
  4. Like
    Jax reacted to CravingaCruise in DIAMONDS Are a Girl's Best Friend!   
    DIAMOND - Here We Come!
    At the end of our last blog where we took a bunch of family on the cruise with us, I shared that hubby and I snuck down to the Next Cruise desk and we booked another cruise as a getaway for just the two of us!  This time, we opted for less frills (sadly, no suite this time), but we're doing a back-to-back-to-back!
    When we set up our appointment with Next Cruise, we intended to just book a short 4 night cruise to get us to Diamond level because we were just a couple of points away.  Then we decided to add a second cruise to it so we could experience the diamond perks on the second cruise.  By the time we made it to our appointment, we had figured out that if we added a third cruise it would include Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl.  Had it been a longer walk, who knows what we would have ended up with!
    Partners in crime on this cruise: 
    Just the two of us (hubby and I) Ship:  Navigator of the Seas
    Cabin:  Interior with Virtual Balcony – midship - same room for all three cruises
    Dates:  January 30 - February 17, 2023
    Ports:  
    Cruise 1:  Sailing RT from Los Angeles to Catalina Island & Ensenada Cruises 2 & 3:  Sailing RT from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, & Puerto Vallarta Booked Excursions: 
    Catalina:  No excursion, but I'll be on the hunt for a good clam chowder and hoping it's good weather to walk around a bit Cabo:  No excursion, but our best friends go to Cabo all the time and have sent us a long list of things/places to experience Mazatlan:  Mazatlan Highlights Express.  During this tour, we get to watch cliff diving - a bucket list item for hubby! Puerto Vallarta:  Still evaluating - Spent a week there a while back, so we did a bunch, but looking for an adventure (a calm one - we're getting old) LAX:  We decided to try the LA Highlights and Rodeo Drive Tour with Airport Transfer.  Should be a fun way to get back to the airport. Other Events & Things:
    Super Bowl:  We're crossing our fingers that the Eagles make it!   Valentine's Day:  My favorite holiday, so I'm happy we'll be cruising this day! Hotel & Flight:  
    We are taking a huge risk and flying to LAX the day of the cruise!!!  We're flying from PDX to LAX, so it's a short flight, and there are a ton of other flights to fall back on, so we feel pretty good about it - unless our airline decides to pull a Southwest on us.  Cross your fingers for us!! We are the most excited that after the first cruise, we will move to Diamond status! I'm looking forward to the coffee machine and being able to venture into an exclusive lounge!!
    Unfortunately, I have to work a bit while on this cruise because after we had booked the trip, my company changed our fiscal year and caused a bunch of initiatives (for which I'm responsible) to be due in February.  Ugh!  But I'm only working when I have to and I'm hoping the internet works for me.
    What to expect from this blog:
    One thing I've looked for from other B2B cruises is what happens during the debarkation/embarkation process if you stay in the same cabin.  We'll also share what happens when you stay on the ship for a second cruise and reach the next level with perks after the first cruise.  I read once that you stay on the ship and the Diamond Concierge comes and gives you an orientation (of sorts).  Hoping all this to be the case.  We'll share what the Diamond Lounge is all about and what to expect with those perks If I have any frustration with internet, you'll hear about it.  🤣 Just kidding...maybe If the weather is nice in LA during either of our turnaround days, we plan to hit the water slides since that's usually when there is no line! We're not planning on any dining other than the included options on the ship, and we're total foodies - we'll provide an honest review of the food on the ship and any tips and tricks we learn along our way.  We may stray from this for Valentine's Day - we'll see. We'll post pics of our cruise compasses from all three cruises, and any other goodies they leave us that could help you plan your getaway. I skipped the different phases ramping up to this cruise in the blogs because I've been so busy with the holidays and work that I haven't thought much about it.  But we're just a week out now and things are heating up!  The packing/staging has begun, and all of our documents are in order.
    I hope you enjoy our blog sharing with you our adventure to Diamond status!
  5. Like
    Jax got a reaction from Midwest Cruiser in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    Yes you should not have to worry about specialty dining times.  We have never purchased any specialty dining through the cruise planner ahead of time; our genie has taken care of this for us including hibachi and we have always been happy with our dining times. Some report that their genie has requested they pre purchase Hibachi but we have not experienced this. More flexibility in your dining times may be needed for Hibachi. Once we ate at 5:30 vs our preferred dining time of 6pm and another time at 7pm. Both worked out perfectly as our genie scheduled us for shows that worked well with the dining times. We always cruise Christmas week and there tends to be more changes to the entertainment than on other sailings. Essentially these changes become your genies problem to sort out; not yours. This is something I really appreciate as it could get overwhelming to try to rebook specialty dining to coincide with the revised show schedule during full capacity.  
  6. Thanks
    Jax got a reaction from JohnK6404 in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    Yes you should not have to worry about specialty dining times.  We have never purchased any specialty dining through the cruise planner ahead of time; our genie has taken care of this for us including hibachi and we have always been happy with our dining times. Some report that their genie has requested they pre purchase Hibachi but we have not experienced this. More flexibility in your dining times may be needed for Hibachi. Once we ate at 5:30 vs our preferred dining time of 6pm and another time at 7pm. Both worked out perfectly as our genie scheduled us for shows that worked well with the dining times. We always cruise Christmas week and there tends to be more changes to the entertainment than on other sailings. Essentially these changes become your genies problem to sort out; not yours. This is something I really appreciate as it could get overwhelming to try to rebook specialty dining to coincide with the revised show schedule during full capacity.  
  7. Like
    Jax reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    The only time that pre-boarding reservations are usually necessary are Chef’s Table and Izumi Hibachi.  The rest can be made any time by the Genie.  He/she can almost always wrangle a table for SC.  Large parties are more problematic, of course…. I have found that the Genie usually creates a preliminary dining schedule based on your pre -arrival discussions (remember…you will be in comm with your Genie for a month prior to boarding !  Lots of decisions and options are made during that pre-boarding time) when the Genie learns your preferences but inevitably, changes will need to be made and the Genie is your golden ticket for making changes happen.  Less stress is the goal !
  8. Like
    Jax got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    Yes you should not have to worry about specialty dining times.  We have never purchased any specialty dining through the cruise planner ahead of time; our genie has taken care of this for us including hibachi and we have always been happy with our dining times. Some report that their genie has requested they pre purchase Hibachi but we have not experienced this. More flexibility in your dining times may be needed for Hibachi. Once we ate at 5:30 vs our preferred dining time of 6pm and another time at 7pm. Both worked out perfectly as our genie scheduled us for shows that worked well with the dining times. We always cruise Christmas week and there tends to be more changes to the entertainment than on other sailings. Essentially these changes become your genies problem to sort out; not yours. This is something I really appreciate as it could get overwhelming to try to rebook specialty dining to coincide with the revised show schedule during full capacity.  
  9. Like
    Jax got a reaction from sammy79 in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    We have only cruised Star with Royal so for me the genie is important because I have no idea how to do what they do! LOL  Could I figure it out with concierge if we sailed sky class; yes, but I think I would be disappointed in the lack of flexibility and perks like laundry, specialty dining delivery to the suite, fully stocked mini bar, someone to get Bingo tickets and bypass lines. Basically I would resume genie duties for my family and having a genie is one of the perks I like most about star class. 
    I wished the program was more consistent fleetwide and feel Royal needs to do better at delivering the “ all inclusive” experience they advertise. The recent changes to some perks are silly; why take away a $34.99 perk or priority access to certain activities. 🤷‍♀️ It’s petty and annoys people more than anything.  As others have said the genie is a personal thing; each brings their own style and personality and you may click with one more than another.  Our first experience was not good but others that followed were excellent. Whether star class is worth it for you comes down to intangibles. I am not sure the cost can ever be justified solely on price. Even with some of the recent changes I am still #teamstarclass. 
  10. Like
    Jax got a reaction from SweetPea in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    We have only cruised Star with Royal so for me the genie is important because I have no idea how to do what they do! LOL  Could I figure it out with concierge if we sailed sky class; yes, but I think I would be disappointed in the lack of flexibility and perks like laundry, specialty dining delivery to the suite, fully stocked mini bar, someone to get Bingo tickets and bypass lines. Basically I would resume genie duties for my family and having a genie is one of the perks I like most about star class. 
    I wished the program was more consistent fleetwide and feel Royal needs to do better at delivering the “ all inclusive” experience they advertise. The recent changes to some perks are silly; why take away a $34.99 perk or priority access to certain activities. 🤷‍♀️ It’s petty and annoys people more than anything.  As others have said the genie is a personal thing; each brings their own style and personality and you may click with one more than another.  Our first experience was not good but others that followed were excellent. Whether star class is worth it for you comes down to intangibles. I am not sure the cost can ever be justified solely on price. Even with some of the recent changes I am still #teamstarclass. 
  11. Like
    Jax reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    I will answer your question this way:  If you have last-minute/day-of changes of plan, your chances of success increase exponentially with the umph that a Genie possesses.  Will there be times that even a Genie cannot make your wish come true ?  Yes…but it will be rare.  As already mentioned, there are a few dining options which can fill up early (Chef’s table and Izumi teppanyaki to name the major ones) and when those are filled, they’re filled.  Not much the Genie can do.  But if the changes can be made, the Genie is your best option for making it happen.
    Truthfully, the Genie is the absolute definition of a spontaneity-enabler.  It’s their job to make arrangements…even if those are last-minute.  There are parameters for things like Flow Rider priority use but you will be informed of what those are and how to make use of them.
    Someone earlier in the thread mentioned daily delivery of Starbucks on Oasis.  I can verify that daily Starbucks delivery on OA is alive and well.  I do believe that there was a brief period of time when some were experiencing a hesitancy in suite-delivery of Starbucks (although I never did) but I think that hesitancy is now gone and things are back to reliable delivery from Starbucks !
    It’s interesting….someone upthread mentioned WhatsApp and how that feature was a benefit in their experience. I found that to be exactly the opposite.  I do NOT want to have to constantly check my phone for updates or inquiries from the Genie.  I found the texting feature to be intrusive and a sad excuse for the Genie to minimize personal interaction.  I saw almost nothing of my Genie (in person) on our latest SC cruise and I missed it.  I truly felt like the reliance on texting reduced the level of service considerably.  Our feelings were certainly reflected in our tip at the of the cruise, too !
  12. Like
    Jax got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    We have only cruised Star with Royal so for me the genie is important because I have no idea how to do what they do! LOL  Could I figure it out with concierge if we sailed sky class; yes, but I think I would be disappointed in the lack of flexibility and perks like laundry, specialty dining delivery to the suite, fully stocked mini bar, someone to get Bingo tickets and bypass lines. Basically I would resume genie duties for my family and having a genie is one of the perks I like most about star class. 
    I wished the program was more consistent fleetwide and feel Royal needs to do better at delivering the “ all inclusive” experience they advertise. The recent changes to some perks are silly; why take away a $34.99 perk or priority access to certain activities. 🤷‍♀️ It’s petty and annoys people more than anything.  As others have said the genie is a personal thing; each brings their own style and personality and you may click with one more than another.  Our first experience was not good but others that followed were excellent. Whether star class is worth it for you comes down to intangibles. I am not sure the cost can ever be justified solely on price. Even with some of the recent changes I am still #teamstarclass. 
  13. Like
    Jax got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    We have only cruised Star with Royal so for me the genie is important because I have no idea how to do what they do! LOL  Could I figure it out with concierge if we sailed sky class; yes, but I think I would be disappointed in the lack of flexibility and perks like laundry, specialty dining delivery to the suite, fully stocked mini bar, someone to get Bingo tickets and bypass lines. Basically I would resume genie duties for my family and having a genie is one of the perks I like most about star class. 
    I wished the program was more consistent fleetwide and feel Royal needs to do better at delivering the “ all inclusive” experience they advertise. The recent changes to some perks are silly; why take away a $34.99 perk or priority access to certain activities. 🤷‍♀️ It’s petty and annoys people more than anything.  As others have said the genie is a personal thing; each brings their own style and personality and you may click with one more than another.  Our first experience was not good but others that followed were excellent. Whether star class is worth it for you comes down to intangibles. I am not sure the cost can ever be justified solely on price. Even with some of the recent changes I am still #teamstarclass. 
  14. Like
    Jax reacted to Neesa in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    My experience, it was nice, and I would book star again but mainly for the unique cabin, Sky is my happy place. I'm the planner, it provides me joy. Our Genie was a delight, but it honestly caused stress sometimes because he was spread to thin at the time. We like to get up and go, sometimes change plans last minute and I felt angst at times having to meet my genie somewhere at a specific time being keenly aware that if we had a hiccup it would screw up his schedule with others, and that possibly negatively impacting someone else was stressful. We didn't need or ask for much and I felt he felt pressure to offer things that we had no interest in. For me personally I would love it if you could book a Star suite but forego the Genie except for maybe embarkation/disembarkation. I think it's so personal, the service in addition to the personalities, will you click?  We are quiet and private and having a stranger under foot everyday was a bit more then I bargained for. It was great in theory but didn't really work for me. I believe he was surprised at the nice gratuity I gave to him after the sailing, he kept saying are you sure I didn't do much? I think he was concerned because we kept telling him we were good and didn't need extra, so I wondered if he thought we didn't enjoy it. We did enjoy it, our way and I explained he was perfect it was just our style. I am an advocate for trying it yourself at least once for sure! 
     
     
  15. Like
    Jax reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    Honestly, it does depend a lot on the Genie.  We’ve had Genies who went waaay out of their way to make things extra special and we’ve had Genies who took short cuts and never bothered to make sure we felt extra special.
    Dan is not a particular fan of the Genie, in general.  He feels a lot like @Neesa expressed - like the Genie is really more of a nuisance than a benefit.  I love having a Genie.  It’s truly a personal preference.  If you do not enjoy personal interactions, you may not appreciate the Genie’s function.  If you don’t enjoy being fussed-over in public, then the Genie may not appeal to you.  I enjoy the personal attention.  Dan does not.
    If you have a large group, I believe a Genie is waaay more valuable than if you are a smaller family.  As @Bigred mentioned, having a Genie means being able to entertain in your suite and that can be an enormous advantage.  It’s just the 2 of us so we don’t require a lot of planning and executing large group activities.  In the past, I organized a couple of cabin crawls for large groups and the Genie(s) turned those into incredible party events.  I’ve long ago ceased doing that as it’s more work (even with Genie’s help) than it’s worth but if you have extended family or are part of a larger group, the Genie will be worth it.
    It also depends a lot on why you are cruising in the first place and what “kind” of cruiser you are.  If you are cruising to get away, enjoy a lot of “down time” and relax, the Genie is probably not a great idea.  The Genie’s job is to organize activities for you and make sure you do everything you want to do.  Some people enjoy doing a lot of nothing…and for them, a Genie would not only be a waste of money, but a constant irritant b/c the Genie will be trying to “help” and you probably don’t want any help !  If you are a spontaneous cruiser who likes the flexibility to change your mind at the last moment then the Genie will be a frustration to you as you will have “plans” and you will (hopefully!) feel obligated to stick to them.
    I recommend that you do it once and see how it goes.  
  16. Like
    Jax reacted to DJsMrs in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    We've been super lucky to have 3 star class cruises and have had 2 hits and one miss. 
    Our first was with 7 of us (3 adults and 4 kids) in the 2BR AquaTheatre suite.  He was disappointing.  He made it hard to contact him (email vs. whatsapp or messenger), and didn't really do much to go above and beyond, only responded during specific hours and to the most basic requests that I could have done more easily on my own.   We felt like an inconvenience.  If we hadn't already had our 2nd star class booked I'm not sure I would have jumped again.   We were really disheartened - especially after having heard so many great things about star class.
    Second - 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids) - Star Loft Suite - December 2021 - our first trip out of the country after Covid (we 're Canadian) and Agostina was an absolute GAME CHANGER.   Anything we wanted - no ask was too big or too small.  She made my kids feel welcome and was happy to make them feel a bit extra (snacks, treats, general kindness).   Honestly, though, the biggest was our covid tests to get home - we had a couple of hiccups and she was an absolute rock star and sorted it all out - and we made it home in one piece.  Also, my luggage was lost on the way to this cruise and I did an emergency 11:30pm trip to target for 5 pieces of clothing that I would wear for the week... but Agostina did everything she could to follow up with the airline to get it delivered to one of our ports.   Sadly it wasn't possible (remove ports and Covid-reduced flight options), but it was nice to feel like someone was trying to do something.  I cried when we left Harmony for this cruise - she is amazing.
    Of note on our second star-class cruise we ran into a couple who were on our first star class cruise and they had the same disappointing Genie experience as us - and they were so frustrated with him they had a meeting with the hotel director on day 2 and had him changed.   They had sailed many star class cruises and knew what to expect and knew that the service wasn't up to par.   Having said that, I think he was very new and since then I've only read really great things about him and that passengers are loving him - and I was thrilled to see that.. genies can't be easy to acquire!
    Third - 4 of us - (2 couples) in the Royal Loft Suite - we scored a royal up from our AquaTheatre Suite to the Royal Loft and Andrei was our angel sent from heaven.   He made sure we had the best staff, great seats, anything we needed in our room, anything we needed period.   And it wasn't over-bearing... just kind and amazing.  Love him.  I cried when we left Symphony too.   lol
    It's the intangibles with the Genie.   We overslept for our nap and would have been late to dinner.... reservation changed.  Hot tub on the balcony not working (first world problem, right?), fixed within the hour, escorted off the ship instead of waiting with everyone in a hour-long line, expedited boarding and straight to the room to drop off carry-on, snacks in the room when boarding and taking a minute to enjoy the room/balcony, morning coffee deliveries (with a morning text asking if we want it after I forgot to order the night before), hiccups with on-board credit handled by the genie, daily laundry is something I don't know how I will live without now that I've had it - lol!  I find it hard to ask for things (my husband finds it easier - go figure), so it took me a minute to get over "I don't want to bother him/her."   Which isn't to say we were texting all day, but for example -  on a work day we were stuck in the suite one day and we just sent a quick text asking to have some sandwiches sent up from Park Cafe - and boom - 30 minutes later we were eating a great lunch on the balcony.
    Is a genie a necessity?  No.  Have we also sailed post-genie in a regular room? Yes.   Did I have a terrible cruise?  No.  Just different.   I don't mind planning and making reservations and handling the logistics of my cruise.   Having said that, I do all that stuff at home and it was really nice to not have to sweat it out for a couple of trips.
    We have our 4th star class coming up this summer - we have a 2BR ATS and are travelling with friends who are in a different 2BR ATS - and I think the genie is going to be very valuable with our group of 9.  I'm literally counting the sleeps.
     
  17. Like
    Jax reacted to twangster in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    I book Star more for the cabin and the bundled perks like UDP, DX, gratuity, etc.  
    As a Pinnacle I've cruised a bunch and seen the shows, often from the front row or near the front row.  I can board right after the Star guests, like 40 seconds later.  There are some Star perks that have diminished value when you've seen all the shows and can board quickly already.
    Despite that there are other perks like ordering specialty dinners to the suite that are simply not an option any other way besides being Star.  The genie can do things that no one else can do, or they can do things easier with a simple text message.
    My next Star booking is with someone who is gold and only has a couple Royal cruises completed.  I think the genie will come is more handy for that cruise.
    A lot depends on the size of tour group.  A genie for one guest solo is nice but not all that.  A genie with a group of four or more makes organization and dealing with last minute changes a lot easier. 
    I think Star in general works best with larger groups, or brings more to table when larger groups are involved.
  18. Like
  19. Like
    Jax reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in Does the Royal Genie Really Make a Difference?   
    On top of what everyone has already said, is a genie necessary, of course not. Does the Genie make a real difference? Depends on who you are asking. For myself, the Genie makes a huge difference because then I don’t have to be the Genie. That and many other points that others have already pointed out. In the words of @WAAAYTOOOlong ago, you cannot quantify the value of a Genie. The value is in the little things.
  20. Like
    Jax reacted to JohnK6404 in We've Come Full Circle - Wonder to Wonder! 1/7/23-1/15/23 (8-Night)   
    Geo’s Cheese Factory…

    Getting prepped to enter the factory… interesting, no need to mask up...











    We sampled the cheese which was tasty and reminded me of cheddar.
    After this tour, we headed back to the port and explored a bit before returning to the ship…





     



    Back on the ship... weather rolling in over the mountain...

     
    When we returned from the excursion, most of us decided to skip the MDR and to head to the Windjammer. This evening was Caribbean Night. 
    After dinner, we wandered around the ship and stopped by a number of places including the Bionic Bar, Boleros, the casino, and Sorrentos and called it a night. The next day (Day 7) is Labadee!
  21. Like
    Jax reacted to JohnK6404 in We've Come Full Circle - Wonder to Wonder! 1/7/23-1/15/23 (8-Night)   
    DAY 5:  San Juan, Puerto Rico (cont.)
    This evening, we had dinner at Giovanni’s Table & Wine Bar. Jason was our waiter and the service was amazing!
    Here are the menus:



     
    I’m sorry! No food pictures once again… I’ve been such a slacker this sailing!  😱
    We all shared a number of appetizers including: Assorted Meat & Cheese Platter, Meatball Gigante, Giovanni’s House Salad, and Caesar Salad.
    For the main course our table ordered (individual portions): Chicken Parmigiana, Osso Buco, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Linguine con le Vongole. I decided to go with my fallback Italian dish… chicken parmigiana. 
    We all had the complimentary Limoncello and for dessert we ordered: Go Bananas, Tiramisu De Mamma, and Panna Cotta. Cappuccino, expresso, and coffee rounded out the meal. Everyone really enjoyed their meals!
     
    Tonight’s show was the Ice Spectacular: 365 ice show in Studio B. We always enjoy the skating shows.














  22. Like
    Jax reacted to JohnK6404 in We've Come Full Circle - Wonder to Wonder! 1/7/23-1/15/23 (8-Night)   
    DAY 5:  San Juan, Puerto Rico (cont.)
    Just a few more random pics… what’s with the intense animal murals in the restrooms? You might feel a little self-conscious!
    It’s like that 1980’s Rockwell song “Somebody’s Watching Me”, LOL!  😆




     
  23. Like
    Jax reacted to JohnK6404 in We've Come Full Circle - Wonder to Wonder! 1/7/23-1/15/23 (8-Night)   
    DAY 4:  * At Sea (cont.) *
    Tonight, we headed to the MDR for “Mexican Night”…

     
    I tried the Escargot for the first time ever! Everyone at the table has always raved about it, but the thought of eating snails has always grossed me out. I guess a cruise is the best time to try something you would normally never order in a restaurant at home. The escargot was decent (everything soaked it butter and garlic is good), but I don’t know if I would order it again… I just can’t get past the fact that I’m eating snails!

     
    I tried the Pulled Pork Enchilada and Christine had the Chili-Lime Encrusted Salmon… both very good…


    For dessert, we had the Caramel Flan… 

     
    This evening, we went to see “Voices” in the Royal Theater. The reviews I’ve read have been polarizing… either people love it and feel that it’s one of the best RC productions OR they feel the canned singers/performers projected on the screens behind the stage are too distracting.
    We were very pleasantly surprised! IMHO, the vocals of the live performers were really excellent and the projections behind the stage were not as distracting as I had feared. I would definitely recommend seeing this show… you can then form your own opinion. We plan to see it again when we’re back on Wonder in OCT.















     
    That concluded Day 4… time for me to head to bed!
  24. Thanks
    Jax got a reaction from CTRFLDR in Pickleball - Harmony of the Seas   
    My cruise compass from Christmas week on Harmony show open play pickle ball most mornings in the sports court. Didn’t see anything about tournaments.  
  25. Like
    Jax reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in 🎊⚓Shining, Shimmering, Splendid! NYE SY 12/31/22 – 01/07/23🎊⚓   
    Portrait Session Update:
    Good news: Our canvas that was ordered on January 4th arrived by FedEx today. Very impressed. They said 6-8 weeks. It's only been 12 days. We live in Canada. I would imagine that those living in the US would have an even faster shipping time.
    Bad news: The guy on the ship was wrong. Shipping was included. We had to pay duties and taxes, $62.81 CAD.
    As you can imagine, the kids are beyond thrilled. The excuses are rolling as to why they cannot help in hanging this up. Exams, must study, homework, blah, blah, blah 😆
    No comment on the quality yet. Will do that after we unpack it.
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