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S0nny

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About S0nny

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  • Birthday 06/13/1984

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    Texas

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  1. DAY 6: COZUMEL And yet another early morning 😭😭 We weren’t feeling very vacationy when we woke up. We showed up the the theater by 8:00am and met with our excursion group. We were that last group off and made our way to the ferry. This ferry ride was better than the last one to Cozumel (which consisted of almost every single person on the ferry throwing up... all ... over... 🤢🤢🤮 It was like the Exorcist... except everyone was possessed and hurling pea soup all over... I have a tough stomach being a nurse, but I’m a terrible sympathy puker! I lucked out and made it off both that ferry and this one just fine! We made it to the mainland where our excursion group met us to drive us to the Cenote. (We did the Mystical Chaaktun Cenotes and Mayan Spiritual Cleanse. Cenotes and spiritual cleanse We arrived at the site and immediately the excursion site staff were not nearly as friendly. They were short and rather rude... but who knows... it was like 9 in the morning. (I’m used to working with non-morning people hahaha) We brought our own snorkel and mask, but checked out a flashlight and water shoes from them. The rental locker was the only thing not included and it was $3 to rent (but big enough to fit two medium sized and packed backpacks). We made our way down to the Cenote and it really was beautiful and magical. I have never seen a cave like that (and certainly have not swam in them in the dark!) We got to cleanse our faces with calcium bicarbonate sediment in the cave, and it was really cool! The guide had us turn off all the lights and just float there with our masks on. (He then screamed and scarred the poop out of everyone there!) Which is a bad thing since that’s still people’s drinking water... When we got to the end of the cave and they were taking us out, I realized I had dropped the very expensive flashlight they warned us NOT to loose 😂😂 At least I know I must have dropped it when he screamed and scarred us. So good thing was... I knew where it should be located... bad thing... it was BACK in the pitch black and I no longer had my flashlight! The brusband and I tried calling to the group to wait, but they had already gone too far ahead (we stopped to search all our gear). So I just to Hell with it and swam back. Luckily I still had my phone on me so I used the light on that to find the flashlight! (It was still kinda creepy but kinda cool to be there by myself). We caught up with the group and made our way back up to dry land. They then performed a Mayan spiritual cleanse which was really cool! We stood around a fire and learned about the Mayans and this process. Then they put us in this thing that looked like a giant tandoori pizza oven, and turned it into a steam room. (It never really felt overly religious or anything if that is a concern for people) It did feel rather spiritual and grounding. Now that we were cleansed, we were permitted to head into the next cenote. This one was much smaller, but I thought it was cooler because it was deeper, and it had BATS flying around in it!! (I love bats... 🦇) They were super chill and didn’t bother us at all (even though they scarred a few people when they started flying around 😂😂). With the cenotes completed, we turned back in our gear and ate the lunch provided (chicken , beef and vegetarian Fajitas). The food was enjoyed by everyone in my group and we headed up to exit. They did an impromptu tequila tasting/lesson which was nice... but it was really just a sales pitch. I didn’t mind because... you know.. free tequila! We jumped back on the bus and made it back to the shopping scented just inside the ferry port. Did a little shopping and caught the ferry back. (We were nervous because the all aboard time was 4:30 and the ferry didn’t leave until 3:50... but it all turned out fine. I didn’t think they would leave 3 ferry boats of passengers behind 😂) Once boarded, we showered, changed and got ready for dinner. Overall we were both happy about the excursion even if it was a little long. We enjoyed the cenotes and it didn’t feel as crowded as the other group headed to the mystical river excursion. Dining We decided to eat at Chops. We had a great meal! The steaks were cooked perfectly even if the sides were a little lackluster in my opinion. UBP Count X2 frozen mojitos, x3 glasses of wine No Key amenities
  2. DAY 5: ROATÁN HONDURAS Dive 3 and 4 Another dive day, and another early morning 😭 We had to be at the dive shop at 06:15am to gear up and be at the theater by 07:00am. We were again the first group off and into the port to start our adventure! The dive group “Anthony’s Key Resort” picked us up in two big vans (there were more students for advanced open water) and some were just diving with the resort. We unloaded our own bags as a team and put them on the boat for prep. The weights needed to be attached to our belts, and it was a short hop over to overheat reef via boat! This dive was AMAZING! Tons of coral! Tons of fish. Beautiful water. We went topside then changed tanks and location after a short surface interval that included a chance to buy trinkets! We went to a different dive spot that included a sunken ship! We got to see some huge grouper, a lion fish, a sea turtle (that I didn’t see 😭). It was an amazing last dive. Roatán Port The port was SMALL and had very little in terms of amenities. We made the mistake in Costa Maya by eating food (so close before dinner), so we skipped out on that here and just made our way back to the ship! The island was beautiful and definitely was a place we would go back to for diving! Dining We decided to eat at 150 Central and had an AMAZING meal. By far this has been our favorite all cruise! The service and meal was perfect! (And they had an amazing Grey Goose martini that was just ridiculously delicious!) Ship We honestly didn’t do much else after dinner 😂 We were soooo tired from all the scuba, we just went back to the room after a drink in Central Park listening to music. We also had an early day in Cozumel the next day so we decided to call it early! UBP Rather slow night for us! I didn’t even take count. We had just a few drinks with dinner and a few after No new trinkets or amenities from “They Key”
  3. @Lovetocruise2002 Maybe! (Or maybe we just got lucky at every venue). But they all take one look at our SeaPass and usher us through. 🤷🏼‍♂️ I’m not complaining!
  4. DAY 4: Costa Maya This day started off as our first open water dive day! This was our first day of the cruise we got the morning to ourselves and got to sleep in a bit. This was due to our 09:30am arrival into the port which meant we didn’t have to get off the ship until 10:30am! It really made no difference seeing how I’m a morning person 😂😂 but the brusband (who can sleep in until 2pm if I let him) was perfectly happy! We ordered the free room service (remember... I’m the cheap one 😂) which was just coffee, bagels, cream cheese, oatmeal, and juice. I think it’s a little ridiculous that plain scrambled egged necessitates a charge of $7.95, but it is what it is. With breakfast eaten on the balcony we relaxed until we had to pick up our gear from the dive shop. Open Water Dives 1 and 2 With our dive gear in hand, we followed our dive instructors (Kelly and Francois) to the theater to exit the ship at about 10:30am. We were the first group permitted to leave which made it nice to not struggle with the crowds while carrying gear. Once in port, we were sorted into these little lines categorized by excursion and we waited for our excursion rep (“Dive Costa Maya” I believe). There was a little waiting, nothing longer than usual. We met up with the dive company who shuttled us over to another part of Costa Maya. The facilities were a little run down, but nothing terrible. They had all of our weight belts ready for use, and carried all of our bags (which was certainly nice) on/off the taxi and boat. The tanks were in okay condition from what the dive instructors said (but certainly weren’t like the nice once we used on board!) The dive went off really well for the brusband and I. There were big patches of sand which were perfect for our first and second open water dive. But there were also still some coral and sea life. Got to see a sting ray (who quickly swam off when we descended), some gangs and a bunch of other fish I don’t know the names of. We ascended at the end of our first dive after practicing our skills, and this is when we lost one of our dive students. She got pretty ill (and started throwing up) right as we all got to the top. Getting in the boat didn’t make things any easier. She decided to stay on the boat forgoing her second dive. The rest of us changed our gear over and got back in to complete our second dive. This one went a lot smoother than the first! We got to tour more of the coral and it was really a blast! We completed dive 2 (with the young student looking more seas sick than when we left her... it really probably would have been better to get back in the water). We made our way back to land via the boat, washed off our gear and headed back to the port. Port Costa Maya This actually wasn’t a bad port, but according to the dive instructors, it’s relatively a new one for RCI. Not sure if they meant for the whole fleet or just for the larger ships. We ate some tacos and burritos right there in the port and drank a few decompression cervezas. Most of the locals working the port seemed to understand English well enough to order food etc. (but I have my own personal interpreter sooo that was nice.) The facilities right there at the port were minimal, just a few basic shops and food places. Prices seemed normal, and the food was good. Not much to do in port so we jumped back on the ship. Aqua Show: The Fine Line This show was amazing! We watched another show on Oasis in 2015 which was good, but this felt like a story with a good production! Definitely give the show 10/10! Music worked really well, the performance acts were awesomely suited for the show, and the production value of all the staging/pool equipment was really awesome! Some pointers... DON’T SIT IN THE FIRST 5 ROWS! It was kinda like sitting in the splash zone at SeaWorld 😂😂 We are first time Suite cruisers so we knew there should be seeding for us, but when we got there and showed the guy our sea pass cards, he frowned and said, “oh, you don’t have reservations” then pointed to the REALLY long line next to us. I politely indicated we were suite guests and thought they had sections saved for us (which I could see the sign for in the sitting area), he indicated no. I noticed the guy right next to him holding a Key for The Key passengers, so I told him we were also part of The Key. He then ushered us to the guy next to him (who recognized us from our Grease outfits the day prior) and he took one look at our sea pass cards and brought us strait to the “Pinnacle, Diamond, Suite” section. When I asked why we were initially denied, he simply stated the guy was new and didn’t know any better. (That seems like a training deficit IMO... it happens... but if that was the only night we were able to see the show... and were turned away... that could have been a very bad experience.) Overall, great show that we really enjoyed! Specialty Dining with UDP We got out of the aqua show at about 8:20pm, which was us just enough time to catch dinner before they closed at 9:00pm. We ate at Jamie’s which was good. We were both full from accidentally eating too late in port so we just had the smaller portions. But both were good. We enjoyed the ambiance of Central Park with the music. UBP Count Champagne x2, frozen mojitos x3, Chardonnay x2, specialty coffee x1 = 8 drinks The Key We both felt it was obviously useless since we booked a RCI shore excursion with the dive... so we got off whenever the group got off. IMG_2805.MOV IMG_2825.MOV
  5. That’s kinda what I figured. I did a search of PADI Certification on the message boards, and didn’t see much come up. I thought any info would be helpful for those trying to decide what’s best for them.
  6. So true 😌 I was going to add this as a final suggestion when I finished. (I wanted to make sure we completed the course and could take into account all of the processes before making any final recommendations. But you’re right, I wouldn’t want anyone to book mid-review based off the small experiences we’ve had! Thanks for looking out.
  7. @RCVoyager While I may have a difference of opinion when we are done, I would have to say it depends on the circumstances. We intentionally did it on this cruise because we were NOT cruising with friends/family. So generally speaking, I would agree with that sentiment; it would be hard to enjoy this experience AND try to enjoy the company of fellow cruisers. We have also had to curtail our drinking (which you may not believe if you read our live blog). It really depends on the individual person and your personal goals too. If your goal is to eat, drink, see all the shows, lounge by the pool or relax the whole cruise, this may not be the best fit. But if you pick this with intention, you may have an amazingly positive experience. If we could go back and rebook and plan this better, we probably would have NOT selected the UDP, the spa all week access, or The Key. (I’ll give a better review when we are done) Getting our certification has been a goal of ours for almost 9 years. To FINALLY be able to get it done, AND scuba in some amazing ports, AND have the security of a 5 Star PADI dive shop with amazing instructors, for one low price, it really is something that SHOULD be considered. You just must do your due diligence to ensure this experience fits the circumstances.
  8. Long day! I’ll post some more info tomorrow since we should be completing our first open water dive! For now enjoy the time lapse video I did of our evening class! IMG_2751.MOV
  9. Well folks... what can I say... what. a. day. We started off this morning with our PADI dive class which ended about an hour and a half short due to one our our classmates throwing up in the pool 🤢 🤮 . Class ran from 06:30am-10:30am. (They had to clean out the whole pool!). You can read more about the PADI certification process over here https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/16546-all-about-our-padi-certification-on-board-harmony-ots/ DRINK COUNT x5 frozen mojitos, x1 fresh squeezed juice, x2 shots of Bacardi (to spice up our frozen mojitos 😂) = 9 total DINNER AT CK This was the first formal night and we actually had made reservations for 5:45pm. Due to the pool vomit, we had to reschedule part of the class in the pm. This meant we had to push CK dinner plans later till 8pm. I was super nervous they would be overbooked, but they were accommodating. And in the end they were practically empty. Dinner was really delicious! Personally though... if you pay for the UDP... I don’t know if I would pass up a meal in one of the specialty restaurants to eat in CK. While on the topic of food, we made a stop by the concierge desk and inquired about having to pay for food at Captain Jacks on Perfect Day Cocoa Cay. I couldn’t get over how cheap it is to charge someone $10 for wings, when the person has already paid $179-$200 for “unlimited” specialty food. 🤷🏼‍♂️ They were really insistent it would not be covered. Be forewarned. Anybody think I can call customer service and have it comped or is it not worth the effort??? PADI open water portion starts tomorrow in Costa Maya. I’ll let y’all know how it’s going!
  10. Sooooo good new is: WE TOOK 3rd PLACE AT THE 50’s DANCE PARTY!! Bad news is: there were only 3 competitors 😂😂😭😭
  11. Hi @Neenals!! We are on Harmony right meow! I have seen BOTH adult and family karaoke being offered. Whether or not they would kick her out if she were to sing... I would venture to guess it would depend on how old she looked 😂 Other than that, the competition includes the caveat that one needs to bring their seapass (not sure if that has anything to do with age). If we get a chance, I’ll see if we can stop by and ask 😉
  12. I wanted to start this blog by sharing our Open Water Diver Certification process on board Harmony OTS, Nov 2019. Hopefully this will help answer any questions or concerns. This will be partly live since we are still on board; if you have any questions you want me to relay, let me know! (We disembark on Nov 16, 2019) We signed up for the excursion about a week prior to the cruise. I asked a bunch of questions, and THAT same day the excursion team reached out to the dive team. All my questions were answered that same day (appreciated the quick responses!). They also included copies of our medical questionnaire (see pictures) and asked us to send them back. The same day I sent them back, they responded with my PADI redeem key so I could start my eLearning modules. I HIGHLY recommend getting them done early (obviously...) this was a last minute decision (largely thanks to @twangster and noting some advice he posted. I owe you a beer on our next cruise...provided I get certified... 😂😉) Since it was a last minute decision, we spent most of the morning of our embarkation (both before and after we were on the ship) frantically trying to finish 😂😭 Ultimately it didn’t seem like a huge deal if we hadn’t, since all open water stuff was going to be done the following day. They didn’t seem too concerned that some of our modules appeared as not complete (even though they were), they just softly reminded us to finish them and encouraged us to get them done ASAP. There are NUMEROUS glitches with the PADI eLearning app (known as “PADI Library” in the Apple store). We found the iPad to be WAY easier to use vs. just an iPhone. Even with the large screen of the iPhone 11 Pro... it still was difficult to navigate, watch videos, take exams, etc. Once on board, we showed up before 3:pm to prove all our pre-cruise requirements were completed, our medical questionnaire, doctors note (if needed), and PADI folder were all filled out. I would HIGHLY suggest you review the medical requirements and get all issues signed off by your MD well in advance. We had to show back up at 6pm to fit our gear (and buy what we didn’t have). They (Francois and Kelly) seemed really friendly, and probably would have let us borrow equipment had we pressed the issue, but we wanted to just buy our own anyway. If you’re smarter than we are, I would suggest going to your local PADI (or dive) shop, try on products there, and buy them in advance. Ultimately the masks they offered ranged in price from $20-120 , but they had limited options for colors, styles, brands etc. This is like going into your local bowling alley and seeing all the pretty, fancy pro gear, and then going online and seeing about 8 million different options than what was offered. You may not only save some money, but also have something that fits better or you like more. That was it for day 1!! They were supposed to have us do our confined water dives on Perfect Day, but the pool was down for maintenance apparently. This meant we got a free day in Cocoa Cay! BUT it meant we had to use the on board pool (and NOT the aqua pool like I’ve heard they used in the past) for our initial confined dives. This meant our first sea day was an almost all day practicum day and only in 4.5 ft of water 😂 Day 2 (our 3rd cruise day and first sea day). We met at 6:30am at the dive shop. We grabbed our gear (prepared and fitted previously) then prepped it like they taught us, and went into the pool. There are 7 in our class and they said that is about typical for on board certification. People ranged from having previous dive experience to having none. Overall our class went until about 10:30am. At that time one of our classmates apparently gagged on something and threw up in the pool 😳😒 Whatever, lol 💩 happens. Rolling with the flow of the ocean is what cruising is all about. They did have to clean out the pool which meant lessons were over for the morning. This was kinda a hindrance since we need to come BACK this/that evening at 4:30pm for more training. As of writing this (I’m sitting in the hot tub in the solarium relaxing until evening class), things haven’t been too crazy difficult or hard. Super basic skills (removing mask and regulators, practicing emergency procedures etc) were all we completed. (But according to our instructors we are doing relatively well!) I’ll keep you all updated with the thing that happen next and relay any lessons learned I thought might be useful!
  13. @Lovetocruise2002 You can see, we were able to break through... lol... but instead of having a nice chocolate sauce at the bottom (like we saw on other people’s plates), we had to crack it open like a dinosaur egg and eat the chunks 😂😂
  14. Also forgot to mention, they held a Veteran’s Day event on board in the Promenade. They sang the national anthem, and had one of the casts from Grease sing ‘Hallelujah’ with lyrics changed to honor our servicemen and women. The moment of silence was deafening. Both my husband and I are veterans, and found it to be very touching and moving. (Also on board was a 92 yo WWII vet!). Thanks to RCI for taking the time to honor our vets!
  15. DAY 2: Perfect day at Cocoa Cay DRINK COUNT Specialty Coffee Frozen mojito Bahama Mama x4 Shot of rum 3 glasses of champagne with dinner Disarono on the rocks 1 terrible drink from the mechanical bar (it must have ran out of limes and couldn’t muddle 😂😂) 12 drinks total THRILL PARK got off ship about 0900, waited about 15 minutes to ride Devil’s Peak No big wait on any other of the rides in the tower Headed over to Slingshot and waited about 15 minutes The rest of the slides wasn’t much of a wait. Great day! Nearly “perfect” UNLIMITED DINING PLAN this is the only not so perfect thing about Cocoa Cay. So apparently Captain Jacks on Cocoa Cay IS NOT included with the UDP! I ordered some chicken wings for the brusband thinking it would certainly be covered and well within the food credit... but alas no 😒 Seems a little weird to have a charge for something like that. Also, surprisingly Wonderland was rather a miss for us. They waiter recommended we let them pick some of the favorites for appetizers and we pick the mains. We really liked only 3 of the 7 appetizers served. They weren’t bad, just not delicious. Perhaps if we had just chosen which ones we would have preferred based on tastes, this would have been a better experience. The brusband got the pork belly and I the beef short rib. Both were good. The view and the experience in the venue was worth it since I don’t think there is another view like that on the ship. But the food was hit or miss for us. Perhaps if you’re bringing young’s ones who are picky eaters, this may not be worth your money if they don’t like it. The other thing with dinner, they came out to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my Colombian, and forgot his name 😂😂 And not in a casual... mumble mumble something close kinda way... but as in they still tried to sing it with no clue. (They literally may have said the words mumble mumble... I’m still not sure) Lol It was no big deal... but the waiter seemed so embarrassed for clearly not knowing his name (in spite of just confirming with us both right before), that he FORGOT to pour whatever hot sauce goes on top of the chocolate dome 😂 By the time we got his attention, the sauce had cooled. He still tried pouring it, and what came next was a sad awkward moment coupled with fear and false hope. He poured ALL of the contents over the dessert and when nothing really happened... he pleaded with it. Then he tried covering up for the poor performance by saying.., I’m sure any minute now it will start melting. We were left with a half melted, Frankenstein of a dessert 😂😂 No big deal; it was still rather delicious.
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