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Everything posted by S0nny

  1. Me too!! I wear a mask every day anyways... Wearing it on a cruise ship means I just get a better view! haha
  2. Matt's video hit the nail on the head (as usual). I agree with @emmef , I would purchase them now and watch for sales. Our last cruise we bought the UBP for $52 and The Key for $18 (roughly 66 and 23 AUD). Personally, I don't think we got much value out of The Key even at that price... We were always going to buy the internet package so in the end it wasn't too much more per person per day. But I felt it wasn't as useful for us on that voyage. We didn't tender at any ports, so the biggest advantage was moot. And being in a junior suite and Platinum, I would imagine there will already be priority lines on embarkation. Can't wait to hear about the cruise and whether or not you thought it was all worth it!
  3. 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine received on 1/19! I have injection site pain (I didn't have any on the first one), but that's it so far. Too bad they canceled my April cruise ? I was hopeful this little card would be my golden ticket to normalcy ... at least if only for a week or two...
  4. We took a Lyft out of port to the airport! Super ease ?
  5. Different folks different strokes I guess. We always only booked interior cabins as I had previously fallen into the, "you only sleep there " camp. But generally speaking, I find the double points, full size tub, dedicated table space, and walk-in closet to be incredible value for money. Often times with the Key, one can get similar perks for less. We really aren't in the room all that much, and I would prefer to spend the extra 1000$ on the UDP/UBP anyway. Coastal Kitchen is amazing... I just like the flexibility and variability that the UDP/UBP provide on Oasis class ships. For the OP, I think it always just depends on your cruising style. If you're sailing party isn't into drinking or trying all the new dining options, maybe GS would be a better option. But the cost of our UDP/UBP was about $1000 on our (previously upcoming) April cruise which I think gives you a lot more options than the GS would. Can't wait to hear about your choice and how well it goes for you!
  6. Hi! Not sure if you have ever taken a train in Europe, but it's WAY easier than you might expect. If embarkation/disembarkation isn't in Venice, the train trip is about 4 hours and 20 Euro pp. I hope it all works out for you! Venice is on my bucket list too (especially since I had read how tourism in the city is changing) Venice Tourism May Never Be the Same After Covid. That Might Be a Good Thing. - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
  7. ?? Touche! But the sad reality is... large enterprises only respond to large statements. I worked in customer service over the phone (selling auto/home insurance for one the largest in the business)... trust me... even if UKFamily were able to get a hold of someone who cared about their circumstance... the sad thing is they probably can do nothing to fix it. Companies this large have policies in place, and they will only get attention when it's escalated to a higher authority. And nowadays, what gets an immediate response is social media (we had a policy to give people who posted to social media almost anything they wanted... sooooo ... you call it being a Karen... I call it knowing the system ?)
  8. @steverk beat me to it ? I use this website when searching because most of the time the work is done for me! This isn't the exact same room, but it's the mirror image. Hope this helps! https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/youtube.php?id=1346
  9. +1 to this... I would start on Facebook and Twitter. Make mention of involving the press in the post. A lot of times they will escalate the issue to someone who can actually do something. What is unfortunate in the video is the recording starting from the middle of the selection process and not the beginning (which I would encourage you to go back and replicate if possible). As others have mentioned... their website is terribly glitchy. Any use of the back button, or reload option can further compound those issues. It's no excuse since it clearly looks like you're paying for 4 people. I hope it works out for you!
  10. Ahhhh... The good ole' Spring "sale" that turns into the same Summer "sale", and so on... ? As others have stated, learn to trust your own search history and pay no attention to advertising. You're keeping a spreadsheet... I'd say you're one step ahead of your average cruisers. One thing I didn't see stressed, is your ability to reprice your cruise if there has been a fare drop (What is the Best Price Guarantee Program? | Royal Caribbean Cruises), and the ability to cancel/reprice onboard activities up to 24 hours prior to the activity. So even if you're seeing a better price now, just look on the bright side that you can get it for less than you originally paid!! What a DEAL! And if you don't have a Travel Agent... now is the time for a shameless plug. They DO still exist, they should be FREE, and a good one should be able to help you navigate all these reprices!
  11. I typically reference the image below when running through this choice. Royal Suite Class | Luxury Cruise Rooms | Royal Caribbean Cruises We CONSTANTLY have this debate every time I start looking at new cruises (which feels like it's at least quarterly). I break it down by cost for amenities that we will actually use. I break everything up by cost (much to my spouse's dismay ?). Value can be such a subjective term, so I add some objectivity to the mix. Ultimately I would ask some general question. How many will be cruising in your party? Will you want internet? If so, how many devices do you want to have access? Are you purchasing the UBP or UDP? How much is exclusivity worth to you with regards to the sky lounge access, concierge access, or CK for lunch? Those are the biggest differences. Then I would break everything up by overall cost and compare the two. My personal opinion is: the cost difference between Junior Suite/Sea Class to Grande Suite/Sky Class isn't worth the cost (not at $1500 at least... but this is ALSO spoken as someone who has never cruised Sky Class or above). Because of the perks we normally buy, the transition from Junior Suite/Sea Class to Star Class would make a lot more sense. Also of note, with the addition of The Key, you can now buy some of the Sky Class exclusives plus have internet access for all members (for less than 1/3rd of the price). Might be a better value if you're on the fence!
  12. Running to the MDR right when we get onboard to book all of our specialty meals with the UDP ? One day I will not be so OCD or such a worry wart about not getting what I want (that's one of the BEST BENEFITS of getting the UDP). We spent a good hour right when we got onboard to make sure we got all of our dining reservations sorted for the week... Not only did I not realize there are multiple places to make those reservations, but I also forgot that cruising is a fluid vacation... not a static one! Everything ended up changing after plans messed up our first nights' reservation! And we have never had any problems making a dining reservation for specialty dining. Maybe our preferred choice wasn't available when we wanted it, but we have always been able to make it work. UDP/UBP = Stress LESS Drink MORE!
  13. One day I will be this bold... but I can barely send back something I didn't even order at a restaurant ?? +1 to this! We did the couples massage on our last cruise, and I almost smacked my husband when I saw the price ? (to be fair... I am the cheap one in the marriage) The massage itself was relaxing... but no different than any couples massage we've had in the past. The biggest "advantage" IMO is the ability to use the Spa waiting area to relax and decompress from the ruckus that is cruise life. I think that might include access to the Thermal Spa on-board... but I couldn't look at our cruise-planner since RCCL had the audacity to cancel our April 4th 2020 cruise out of San Juan! My personal advice is to skip the massage onboard, and get a massage done where you can control the factors that may be important to YOU! That may be affordability, quality, variability, or quality ratings. We always arrive into the port town a day early... Why not get one done on land, skip the cruise "TAX", and get your vacation started with a "happy beginning" ?
  14. Harmony has been our favorite ship so far! But the experience we had on Empress sailing to Cuba was one of a kind. Even though we didn't have all the bells and whistles, the group we sailed with, the intimate experiences the crew gave us, and the unmatched service make it our clear favorite cruise! I missed not having a Broadway quality musical on board... but at least it wasn't CATS ?
  15. I imagine it will eventually, but like @twangster said... I doubt it is super high on the priority list. Cruising into Cuba didn't start until 2016... I wouldn't be surprised if it took another 3-4 years to get back into a change in policy. And by then, we have another election so who knows. I hope they do! I would love to do the Empress itinerary again (this time without breaking my knee ?)
  16. Good rule of thumb when it comes to customs... declare something. With my previous job in aviation, it was my job to collect the customs forms for the crew and consult with the customs agent with any questions or inspections they needed to do. Anecdotally I noticed that the crew bags that got inspected, were the ones who never declared anything on their customs forms ?. Since then, I have always declared ?
  17. Oh no!! We must've gotten a dud. Cause our last Chops Embarkation lunch in the MDR with The Key was TERRIBLE ? That steak was dryyyyyy With regards to buying The Key... it really depends on how they handle the different classes and the new rules. We have a group cruise booked for April '21 on Freedom and I plan on writing a Live Blog about the whole thing. Could you possibly buy The Key now at the "cheaper" price with the notion that you can always get a refund/CC before the cruise if things aren't being handled to your comfort?
  18. So I can only speak to what I observed and what I discussed with the instructors, but here's what I learned. You do not have to take another cruise from what the instructor said. We had a girl that couldn't get past her motion sickness, and gave up after her first open water dive. I specifically asked the instructor what happens to her now that she paid for all this, and she indicated that she would be credited with PADI to complete her certification once on land. She wouldn't need to book another cruise. She paid for 4 dives and the lessons. She completed the lessons and 1 dive... she would just need to complete the other 3 open water dives. This truly comes down to preference. I've certified both ways, and preferred certifying on the cruise ship. We had 2 Master Dive Instructors with the 9 of us the whole time... One lady always had difficulties equalizing... she had 1:1 instructor with her the whole time. I don't know if that is normal... but when I got my Jr. Open Water Cert... we had 1 instructor for like 15 of us... and my buddy/instructor was NOT interested in hanging around to make sure I was equalizing ok. I think it just goes to show there isn't a perfect answer for everyone. Collect as much info as you can and make the best informed decision you can and be adaptable ?
  19. 1000%... We packed too much "fun" into this cruise. Really you "shouldn't" be drinking... so there goes the wasted drink package, and if you're on a cruise with friends, at least 3 days will be dedicated to this. While there are no longer didactic classroom instructions (everything is online)... the time in the pool and then early mornings of excursions may be a drag for the other party members. I would 10/10 recommend getting certified on a cruise ship... I would just plan the cruise accordingly. (short 3-4 night, inside cabin, very cost effective) And I say this as someone who went through PADI Jr. Open Water Certification back when I was 16. It was a lot of night classes, a lot of rental fees, a lot of poor visibility and dive spots.
  20. Looks like you and I are planning similar cruises! I would highly recommend you plan for some time in Rome if you have never been. With that being said, I don't think there is anything wrong with B2B cruises... but I think your instinct for the 10-11 night cruises may be a better way to enjoy the Med AND experience one of the most historical cities in the world. May I suggest planning some cushion days on the back end of your cruise (this way you aren't completely jet-lagged). We were able to see "everything" in the 3 days we had planned there. We are always so tired after our cruises... if you can plan for 4-5 relaxing days in Rome, enjoy the wine, see the sights (there are so many to see), eat the great food... you won't regret it... I promise.
  21. This defines EXACTLY what is needed. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/qualifications-special-pricing To qualify for a military rate, an individual must be classified as one of the following: Active personnel currently serving in the Canadian National Defense; United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves. Proper identification in the form of a United States Uniformed Services WHITE Identification Card for U.S. military personnel, and a WHITE N.D.21 Identification Card with a Red Canadian Flag displayed for Canadian National Defense personnel, must be presented at time of check-in. Retired from any of the divisions listed directly above. "Retired" is defined as A) enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, B) medically retired, or C) 100% disabled. Proper identification for those classified in category A or B must be in the form of a United States Uniformed RED (Reserve retired personnel) or BLUE (Active Duty retired personnel) Identification Card. Proper identification for those classified in category C is a United States Uniformed TAN Identification Card. Retired Canadian National Defense personnel are eligible and must possess a green NDI-75 card (retired personnel). All forms of identification must be presented at time of check-in. Veterans with an Honorable Discharge serving a minimum of 2 years, or 6-months in an active war zone, in any of the United States service divisions listed above. Proper identification in the form of a DD 214, plus a current photo must be presented at time of check-in. Spouses of actively deployed military personnel are eligible to book one stateroom as long as the eligible spouse is occupying the stateroom. This rate also applies to all other guests traveling in the same stateroom. Spouses of deceased military personnel are also eligible for the military rate. As proof of eligibility, spouses must present the Pink or Tan Dependent Military ID upon check-in. All guests traveling in the same stateroom are eligible to receive the military rate. No additional staterooms, other than the one that is occupied by the military person is eligible for the military rate. Spouses, parents, in-laws, children or other family members or friends are not eligible for the military rate without the eligible military person occupying the stateroom.
  22. Also if you get really sea-sick, discuss with your general practitioner a Scopolamine patch. (it is a transdermal patch worn behind the ears). In the UK it's called Scopoderm. As a natural alternative, ginger pills can help a lot! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! (... or in metric... 28.3 grams of prevention is worth 0.4 Kg of cure... doesn't sound as catchy...)
  23. This is EXACTLY what they told me on our upcoming booking. I was attempting to reprice our cruise, and the agent ended up making excuses as to why he couldn't rebook; This went on for DAAAAYS. (he kept saying the "hold lines are super long" and "they aren't repricing cruises right now"... I used the advice from this blog. I called the service number and used the phone routing intended for travel agents (was connected in no time). Then I had to fight with the agent to release the travel agent's grip on our cruise. They said they are unable to do anything about it. I expressed that I HAD contacted the TA (who is the owner), and I kept getting the run around. The rep kept putting me on hold (I think they were just contacting the TA on another line). Lo and behold... I got an email from my TA saying the cruise had been rebooked for a lower price. The rep came back on the line and explained that everything should be corrected... and I insisted otherwise. After some back and forth, I eventually got an email, and was told I had to email them with my request. I emailed them, and no more than 2 days later, we were released. (not notified... I just noticed I could finally pay our balance online). The email is: [email protected] Good luck!
  24. lol... we had the same trend... and now I can't even THINK of booking an inside stateroom ? Even though you don't get ALL the bigger suite perks for booking a Junior Suite, you can often can make up the (some) of the difference with The Key. It made financial sense to us on our last cruise because we normally buy internet. (plus... those double points help tremendously if you're like us and only cruise once a year).
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