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WAAAYTOOO

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Posts posted by WAAAYTOOO


  1. Hey, Candie -

     

    The ship is in good condition.  I did notice a slight vibration every once in a while.  I think Freedom has known propeller problems that they have been tweaking on and off.  I was afraid that it might be worse in our cabin (aft balcony JS) but it wasn't at all.  I only noticed it a couple of times during the whole cruise and always somewhere other than our room.

     

    I didn't notice any signs of age or maintenance needed. She was in pretty good shape.  I will also admit that I don't do the whole ship inspection thing anymore.  I only go to a few places on the ship and it it's not on the route from my room to the dining room to the casino I am likely NOT to see it !  The shows were as good as any.  I don't really enjoy the shows much.  The only reason we went to the one we did was b/c the comedian (Jimmy Chicken!) played poker with us the night before the show and we wanted to see his show.  Otherwise, I'm sure I would have skipped it.  He is actually quite talented and in the end, I was glad I went. I have seen the ice show twice before so it wasn't all that exciting...but we went.

     

    One thing that we did this time that had never been offered to us before was a behind the scenes tour of Studio B (ice rink).  I had been on all of the bridge tours and galley tours and entertainment back stage tours before so we weren't interested in that at all but when we saw that they were offering a back stage tour of Studio B, we went.  It was very interesting and the Entertainment Manager (Wayne) did a good tour.  Needless to say, a lot of work and coordination goes into those shows and keeping the ice prepped.   One tidbit.  The skaters/performers have NO creative license whatsoever.  Every move that they make on the ice is choreographed in Miami.  They cannot improvise at all.  That goes for all of the ice shows on all of the ships.  I found that interesting.

     

    The casino manager (Carlos Sanchez) is one of the best I have come across recently. He was ever-present and always smiling.  He always spoke to Dan and me.  The Casino host was Alexander (sorry...cannot recall his last name) and while he was very friendly, he was obviously new.  He ran good tournaments and was ok but nothing like Carlos.  I only saw him on the floor a couple of times the whole cruise.  On some cruises I never even know who the Casino Manager IS b/c they don't actually come out on the floor and WORK but Carlos was supervising an area nearly every night.  Don't know if they were short-handed or what....but he was always running around somewhere.

     

    We both got FCC which is the first time that has happened.  Of course, we cannot take any of the "free" cruises that they are pushing so we will have to convert ours into some other form of revenue - most likely paying down cruises we already have on the books.  That's good enough for us.  I am already booked SOLID !


  2. My overall experience was very good.  It always is.

     

    Service in the MDR was a little slow the first night but after that, we were in and out in under an hour (we aren't ones to hang out and lollygag - gotsta get to the casino !  LOL).

     

    Degradation of overall service is a tricky one.  Yes, over the years I have noticed a few things.  I miss the midnight buffets, beautiful ice sculptures and carved fruit tables and no, I did not get a towel animal every night.  I have definitely noticed a reduced number of servers in almost all of the venues.  For instance, for the past several cruises, there is no longer a bar service person in the MDR.  Any drinks you order (which, BTW, we NEVER do) will be attended to by your table waiters now.  The bar servers in the casino are definitely rarer than they used to be but it is very rare that I need one, so I don't really miss them like some do.  I don't lay out by the pool so I haven't personally experienced the shortage of servers that I hear so much about in the pool area.  There are definitely fewer servers scattered around the Windjammer, but I usually try and avoid the WJ anyway, so it doesn't impact me that much.

     

    Have I noticed a reduction in service over the years ?  Yes.  Does it negatively impact my experience ?  Not really.  I guess the question you have to ask is, would I be willing to pay to get some of those things back ?  The answer, from me, is definitely, NO.  While the ice sculptures were beautiful, I saw them a couple of times during a cruise and I'm fairly sure that the fruit sculptures probably went to waste.  That's never a good thing.  Towel animals ?  Well....not that big a deal.  They are usually in my way and end up on the floor soon anyway.  I am an acknowledged decapitator of towel animals (never on purpose, of course).  Once the head is gone, it's pretty hard to salvage it !

     

    So my experience was wonderful as it always is.  I will say (selfishly) that I missed my suite perks.  I will not be making that mistake again soon !


  3. Nicole, you are truly an angel for taking on that kind of responsibility.  I know it's out of pure love.  That love will all come back to you, no doubt.

     

    Some of those who have small children (Matt ??) can probably help you with the Adventure Ocean questions.  That is a perfect age to be able to fully enjoy the programs at Adventure Ocean.  They will never want to go home !

     

    ...and your niece will be the perfect companion for you for the more "adult" adventures.
     

    I'm excited for you !


  4. Hey, Nicole !  Welcome to the Blog and welcome to the wonderful world of Royal Caribbean cruising.  You are definitely starting at the top !  The Oasis is an awesome ship !  All of you are going to have such a wonderful time.

     

    What are the children's ages ?  There are so many things to do !


  5. I will admit that I cheated on this one.  I managed to wrangle an invitation to join the suites for priority tendering.  We were able to board the first tender along with those who were meeting very early excursions on the pier.

     

    Honestly, I don't know if they had tender tickets or what.  I totally bypassed that whole process (thankfully).  From what I could see, the tendering went very smoothly even though it was POURING rain while we were getting to shore.  Luckily we were going snorkeling anyway so who cares if you're wet !  After the deluge, the sun came out and it was beautiful.  It was the best snorkeling we've ever had and it was almost free ! (all we paid for was $18 ea to rent mask, fins and snorkel).  If anyone is interested I will pass on information.  We were snorkeling at the same location that others who were on expensive excursions were snorkeling !!

     

    We had a very short wait to get on the tender coming back but we didn't wait until late in the afternoon, either.

     

    I absolutely HATE tendering so I am so happy to hear that GC will be building a pier !


  6. I agree with you, Matt.  I have never been offered express disembark when we have traveled in a JS in the past.

     

    The man who was "line monitor" took a long, hard look at our sea pass cards and ushered us from the eternally long line into the express line.  It's not as if we tried to cheat or confuse him.  He looked at our cards and told us to move over into the suites line.

     

    I don't know whether he was mistaken or whether he was just trying to thin that line out in any way he could.  Whichever is the case, we were very happy to oblige !

     

    Now that I take a look at my sea pass card, the word "Suite" doesn't even appear ANYwhere on the card.  I think perhaps he was just looking for an excuse to move some people out of that long line and we just got VERY lucky.  I guess it's true that it never hurts to ask !

     

    I certainly won't expect it to happen the next time !


  7. I am not one to produce lengthy cruise reviews but there are a couple of things from my cruise last week on Freedom that are worth passing on.

     

    My streak is in tact !  I still have never had a bad cruise !  WHEW !

     

    1.  Diamond Plus members are no longer invited to the reserved section of seats at the ice shows.  We had no problem at all finding a good seat but I was surprised that the reserved seating no longer includes D+ - Gold card holders only.

     

    2.  D+ were welcome in both the D Lounge and the Concierge Lounge although all of our voice messages came from the Diamond Lounge Concierge.  We did not receive any voice or written correspondence whatsoever from the Concierge Club Concierge.

     

    3.  D+ are still included in the reserved seating area of the main theater.

     

    4.  Even though we were only in a Junior Suite, we were allowed to go to the express disembark line for Suites.  I was very surprised at this.  It has been my experience in the past that the express line for Suites only included Gold card suites but it was a very welcome and unexpected benefit as the disembark line was endless by the time we got downstairs.  This was our own fault.  We had a disembark number of 3....but chose to wait until later to disembark since we had a later flight.  What a mistake that turned out to be - until they moved us from that endless line into the express line where NOBODY was.  We were very fortunate.

     

    5.  The seas were some of the calmest we have ever experienced.  We almost NEVER cruise in the summer but since we were repeat victims of Empress Gate this was what we got.  Cruising during the summer can be very risky but we got lucky.  The seas were like glass.

     

    6.  While on Grand Cayman, we heard from some locals that they are going to be building a pier next year !  Finally !  I know that they had resisted building any kind of dock or pier b/c of the unavoidable damage to the reef.  I guess finances finally overcame the environmental concerns.  While I heard that this construction had been approved, there is still significant resistance to the plan - primarily from environmentalists and those financially impacted (primarily those that operate the tenders, I am guessing).

     

    7.   While snorkeling on GC, Dan saw an (approx.) 8' Nurse Shark.  He was so tickled.  Of course, rather than being afraid, he followed the thing as far as he could.  When he returned to shore, the locals (same ones who told us about the pier) said that it was a very, very rare occurrence.  This young man had lived in GC all of his life and said that he could count the number of times he had seen a Nurse shark on 1 hand.

     

    8.  The casino gods were not favorable to me. 


  8. Labadee is very safe.  The only word of caution that I would pass to you is regarding the "crafts and marketplace" area.  I have heard some unfortunate stories of young people getting coerced into buying something that they didn't want so I would suggest that they steer clear of the marketplace, which is VERY easy to avoid.  It is on the far end of Labadee and easily avoided.  The vendors there are pretty aggressive.  I, personally, avoid that area myself, and I am no pushover !  I just don't want the hassle.

     

    But other parts of Labadee - beaches and recreational areas - are all very safe.  They will have a blast !

     

    The cabana area at Nellie's Beach is easy to find and it will be easy to find your cabana.  The cabanas are not spread out all over the compound...but are confined to 2 areas - Nellie's and Barefoot Beaches.   You won't have any trouble finding yours.

     

    Personal recommendation - the side of the peninsula that you will be on (Nellies and Barefoot areas) are better beaches, IMO than the other side (Adrenaline Beach).  Adrenaline tends to be rockier and shallower.  I personally think you will find you are in the perfect place at Nellie's !  I love Columbus Cove, too, which is a little further down, but if you already have the cabana at Nellie's, you will be in a great area.


  9. I will add my concurrence here.  Enchantment, Independence and Navigator are doing shorter than 7 night cruises.  All of these ships are very popular.  I also agree that Majesty and DEFINITELY Empress are much smaller and older.  Just be selective on your shorter cruises and you will be fine.  I won't be so hard on the TA.  I'm sure they were just trying to keep you from being disappointed.  You did the right thing by asking here.  You will get good and unbiased (well.....maybe biased towards RCI !) advice.

     

    Welcome to the blog and welcome to the cruise asylum !


  10. The storage space under the beds are quite large.  My biggest suitcase will fit there.  I put the smaller suitcases inside the bigger one to save space.  We also have a very large garment bag piece of luggage that will fit underneath the bed.  Never had any problem.  Sometimes I have to lift up the bed to get it under there but once under there, everything is fine.

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