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Johnstewarth

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About Johnstewarth

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    Charleston, SC

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  1. We cruised on Rhapsody out of Tampa Thanksgiving week 2019 and had a wonderful time. We have booked again for Thanksgiving 2020 on Rhapsody out of Tampa. The itinerary is slightly different, but I think our re-booking demonstrates what a good time we had. Even on the smaller ship, we love the relaxation of cruising so much that sea days are our favorite days!
  2. My family went there last Thanksgiving week on our Rhapsody of the Seas cruise out of Tampa. We rented one of the cabanas for $150 US. There were six of us. We enjoyed having the "home base" to leave our things, as well as the shade. In the cabanas, you have a table and four chairs, as well as four lounge chairs in front of the cabana. The day we were there, there were about five cruise ships tendering so it was a little crowded, and it was nice to be in a cordoned-off area. There is a pool (restricted to adults), a bar and restaurant, and washrooms with showers. There are attendants that come by and take food/drink orders. We took one of the many shuttle buses that run from the cruise area up Seven Mile Beach. We were there about four hours and had a good time walking on the beach and playing in the water. When we were there, it seemed like mostly families with some smaller groups of young adults. There were advertisements for evening parties, so it seems like it can get to be a pretty boisterous place at times. I would say it was a good deal for the cabana--certainly much better prices than the cabanas at Coco Cay and Labadee! 🙂
  3. There are so many things I love about cruising--the vastness of the ocean, watching the sunrise/set, spending lots of time with my family and sometimes friends, relaxing by the pool, having the deluxe drink package and being able to try a wide variety of drinks I would never otherwise try, visiting new places, the wonderful shows onboard, trivia in the Schooner Bar (especially trivia in the Schooner Bar with a grapefruit-habanero or lavender daiquiri), lots of time to read for fun, etc. But especially because it is a TRUE vacation-- nothing to clean, no laundry to do, no meals to cook or clean up after-- no worries or stress at all. Just relaxation. I would love to do a really long around-the-world itinerary. I just read about a 180-day one on Oceania that starts in San Francisco, goes down the west coast of North- and South America, up the east coast of South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, all around Africa, across the Indian Ocean, all around SE Asia, up to Japan, back across and around Alaska, back down the west coast, through the Panama Canal, through the Caribbean, up the east coast ending in New York. That's my dream. I don't know if RC offers such a long itinerary, but it sounds absolutely amazing. My husband also wants to take a cruise starting in Europe across the North Atlantic with stops in Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, and the Maritime provinces. That sounds pretty spectacular too.
  4. So enjoyed your blog, and appreciate the effort that went into posting it! My family is sailing on Rhapsody Thanksgiving week, and Roatan is one of our ports. My daughter (8) would be over-the-moon to hold one of those adorable sloths. I've read that there are risks to humans getting too close to sloths. Am I correct in assuming that the sloths at the sanctuary you visited have been "tamed" and are not dangerous?
  5. Loving your blog! Happy Cruise Day and can't wait to read your embarkation post!
  6. I think the performers probably weren't as talented, which surprises me since Mariner is bigger than our previous cruises on Empress and Rhapsody. I would have thought that the bigger the ship, the better the talent they would want representing the company. When we were on Rhapsody Thanksgiving week 2019, we went to a Q & A with the performers one afternoon. They were all very charming and spoke very highly of RC. They said that, as cruse line experience goes, RC looks the best on a performer's resume and is considered to have the highest caliber of talent.
  7. Thanks! I agree 2.5 hours is a bit too long, but I like a leisurely meal, with cocktails and wine, in a nice dining room--maybe 1.5 hours or so.
  8. Thanks for the idea! I just sent an email through the contact page on the website. I'll be interested to hear their response.
  9. My husband and I are loyal Royal fans and returned from our third Royal cruise on Monday. While we had a great time, there were some things that disappointed us. I'm curious if anyone has noticed a difference in the quality of service on shorter cruises vs. longer itineraries. For example, we had My Time Dining on this cruise vs. traditional seating on previous 6-and-7 night cruises. On the first night in the MDR, we arrived at about 8:45. When we were seated, the waiter immediately told us we needed to eat quickly since it was late (My Time Dining seats until 9:00 AND the dining room was still quite full of people being seated and ordering). They brought every course before we had completed the previous course and generally rushed us through our meals so quickly that we didn't have time to finish a cocktail and order a glass of wine with our entrees before dessert had arrived. The service was brusque, if not outright rude, and the entire meal was finished in probably less than 45 minutes. The second evening was fine, but on the third evening, we arrived before 8:30 PM. We were seated for 20 minutes before we were even acknowledged by the assistant waiter, who explained that the waiter was busy, so he would be the one primarily helping us. He took a drink order, and we sat another 25 minutes before our drinks arrived and he took our food orders. Service improved after that, but it was a disappointing start. Is it possible that service is not as good with My Time Dining because you don't have the same waitstaff every night and they don't feel as accountable? I also noticed that with the production show, "Gallery of Dreams," the sets and costumes were excellent, but the actual performances were not nearly as good as on our previous cruises. I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar less-than-great experience on the shorter cruises. We're booked again on Rhapsody for Thanksgiving, and have signed up for My Time Dining. While it's nice to have the flexibility, I wonder if we should switch to traditional dining in order to have better service.
  10. Wondering if there are some places on Rhapsody to catch NFL games during our cruise beginning tomorrow. Anybody know?
  11. I know; I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced it and can say whether it was enjoyable and whether an 8 yo and a 15 yo will enjoy it.
  12. Has anyone done the "Island Roots, Honey and Chocolate Traditions" excursion from Cozumel? Wondering if it appeals to adults and to children.
  13. I think that's what's going on with Rhapsody as well. She's arriving from a repositioning cruise from Barcelona. We are so excited about this cruise we can't stand it! We first sailed on RCL in November 2017 (Empress of the Seas to Cuba), and loved it. Earlier this year we sailed on a Disney cruise and really didn't enjoy it nearly as much, though it was more than 2-3X the price. So being back with RCL this week is awesome, and we already booked another 3 night cruise on Mariner in January. Thanks for your perspective!
  14. We are sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas, leaving this Saturday. We had indicated in our online check-in that we planned to board between 12:00-12:30. Based on suggestions I've read here, we had planned to arrive about 10:30 in hope of boarding earlier. This week, we received an email from RC stating that our check in is now an hour later--1:00-1:30--due to a routine Coast Guard inspection. Does it still make sense to arrive early--say 11:30 or 12:00 noon--to get a jump on the checking in process in hopes of being some of the first to board the ship? Are the inspections sometimes completed early, in which case boarding begins sooner? Thanks for any advice!
  15. When I sailed on Empress of the Seas in November-December 2017, I seem to remember being able to check email and log into the online learning platform at my college (I'm a professor there) free-of-charge. Is that still the case, or is there an hourly charge now? I'm sailing Rhapsody beginning the 23rd of this month.
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