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Everything posted by joshgates

  1. Depends, at best I'm a 6-8 hour drive from the nearest cruise port so usually end up flying anyways, and not much difference between going to NY, FL, or LA at that point. The more I cruise though the more I'm willing travel for an itinerary, so far the furthest is a couple out of Barbados but that's about to change. I've got a southbound Alaska trip, two out of Australia (New Zealand and South Pacific), and a major bucket list trip, Antarctica expedition out of Ushuaia Argentina booked over the next couple years. Still enjoy the Caribbean ones that I'm only a couple hours flight from, but don't mind some long travel days if that's what it takes to get to a great destination.
  2. Just checking some upcoming cruises and it seems as though the option for DBP + VOOM isn't available for purchase, Classic Soda + VOOM is still available to buy though. Wonder if it's a permanent change, glitch, or something wrong on my end. I'll be disappointed if it's gone for good, was usually a pretty nice value if you wanted internet too.
  3. Yes! They're fantastic. They do have some limitations since they rely on being able to connect to other apple device to report the location, so there can be some lag in reporting its position. That said, it was nice being able to see it loaded onto the plane, get a rough idea of when it'd hit baggage claim, and especially somewhere like The Bahamas where luggage drop off was at the airport, track it on the way to the ship. Ended up tossing one in every bag, well worth it imo.
  4. Yeah, I wouldn't place too much trust into the app/cruise planner for things like that prior to getting on board. Just checked some of the cruise compass I still have and there was a LGBT event every evening. You could check and see if anyone's sent Matt a recent one from the ship you'll be on here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass though to get a better idea
  5. Royal Caribbean https://www.royalcaribbean.com/the-healthy-sail-center/getting-ready-to-cruise
  6. Probably for the best. I'm considering switching to the Harmony for my December sailings now, even given the hassles of it. They just released new protocols and you need a PCR test 3 days before boarding too. So by coming in a day early I'll have to do the nasopharyngeal PCR test on Wednesday and a regular PCR test on Thursday, plus the antigen test before boarding. Sure, technically I could try and just do one test on Thursday but I'm not comfortable losing a day for getting the results back. I'm not opposed to the testing, and if it was just an antigen test 3 days before boarding I wouldn't care.
  7. Pretty much. Almost switched to the Harmony for December instead of the Grandeur....but I'm too lazy to change everything that I'd need to for that. I'll just roll with the changes. And get the DBP since I'll be spending more time on the ship now.
  8. I've been looking into this as well, from what I understand the usual CVS/Walgreens tests won't work since they're a nasal swab and they're self administered under supervision. The nasopharyngeal swab is the brain tickler that's gone out of fashion in the US, started calling around to labs that do testing near me and found a couple that can do it but won't guarantee the turnaround time. I'm planning on spending some more time tomorrow calling around to labs to see if I can'd find one locally that'll do a nasopharyngeal swab and offer a quicker turn around. Visit Barbados partnered with two providers to do "home concierge testing" https://www.visitbarbados.org/north-america-covid-19-testing looks like it's $265 for a single test and it's slightly cheaper if you're doing multiple people at once. This is my backup in case I can't find anything this week.
  9. Can get the BinaxNOW from emed with overnight shipping. Never hurts to have a few extras laying around just in case.
  10. Come into Nassau a few days early instead of just the day before. I was able to wander around some butI wouldn't have minded a few extra days to actually plan something to do and experience the island while tourism is as low as it is. More time on the pool deck, most of the time I avoid it because of how packed it is, and I kept that habit, only really spending the mornings out there. I wish I hadn't done the Beach Club at CocoCay both days, it was fantastic no doubt and the food was wonderful, but looking back I missed out not doing the waterpark or spending any time on the rest of the island. Taken more NUUN with me, there were a couple rough mornings.
  11. Fully agreed with @Snotarni, well well worth it, already booked it for my next cruise ? It is a lot of food since it's 5 courses, but it's mostly smaller portions. Except the Teppan Beef Fried Rice, that was a huge bowel of it, but absolutely fantastic. Favorite sake was the perfect snow but the she's a geisha cocktail was incredible.
  12. I'll echo connecting cabins. Unless I'm traveling with someone or planning on working for a few days, a balcony is wasted on me and I sleep better in an interior and like the excuse to spend as little time there as possible. Just don't make me hear my neighbors. I'd rather be next to and across from crew areas than that. That might change once I venture out of the Caribbean for some of my upcoming ones in Alaska/Australia/New Zealand (assuming they go), but we'll see.
  13. Had some time to reflect on the cruise on a 16 hour travel day yesterday and wanted to put together a quick good / bad list. On the good side: Service was incredible across the board. I don't think I met anyone that was just "nice". No waits for anything, everyone remembered your name and often had your drink ready before you got there. Food was great, friend of mine ended booking too, so out of respect for her tastes did mostly Chops and Giovanni's for dinner but both places were better than I remembered. Ice show was amazing Lack of crowds was a unique experience. Not sure I'll ever have a chance to be on a ship that empty again. I was a little worried that being so empty it wouldn't really feel like a cruise, but most of the experience was still there...and in a lot of ways better. DBP was the right choice. By a good margin. My new loves are espresso martini's and "She's a Geisha". Sushi and Sake lunch. I'd seen this as an option sometime last year and have been wanting to try it since then. So worth it. I was stuffed when I left but the food and the pairings were fantastic. Well worth it if you like either. Coco Beach Club - Love it there, beautiful area, great food, fantastic staff. Wouldn't mind trying a cabana at some point either, those looked fun. No chair hogs! Didn't matter when you went, you could get a seat pretty much anywhere anytime and enjoy. Not as good UDP - So. Much. Food. I prefer to eat smaller meals through the day when I'm actively doing anything. Here they just insisted on bringing so much, even sending back plates half eaten it was a struggle. Not to mention with only a few restaurants on board I was struggling to find anything that sounded good by the end of the week. First world problems. I don't think I'll do the UDP again unless it's on a ship with more choices or if I'm going to be dining by myself so I can just grab a roll or two at Izumi when I want. Not much in the way of activities. Not really an issue since they're not a main focus for me, but it's nice to have the option. Not being able to sit at the bar in most bars was strange, while I'm glad they allowed it at the blue moon, I'm hopeful it'll come back to the others as well. Internet was a little iffy, I hope they upgrade it on the rest of the ships at some point too. Overall, I wish I'd gone in June so I could have justified a back to back, it was just a great time and an incredible/unique experience that I'd glad I got to do. It was the perfect first cruise back for me, now I'll just be looking forward to the Grandeur in December.
  14. Ok, a few last pictures, overall this was the most relaxing cruise I've done. With limited activities on board and ports I didn't have a lot planned for I spent a lot of time reading, writing, and drinking so not a ton to report. Seems like most excursion vendors are just trying to get back up and running so not a lot of options yet, even in Cozumel. I'm guessing over the next several months that'll start improving as everything picks up again. Pretty much set on making this my primary travel camera. Has it's drawbacks but I like being constrained to black and white only and having to use color filters on the lens to change contrast / etc. Closest feeling I've had to shooting film and without the hassle of developing and scanning or printing.
  15. They must have changed it, at least on Adventure, if you've got the UDP it was 1 "small plate" 2 "large plates" and 1 dessert instead of a la carte. A _lot_ of food either way though.
  16. One thing I realized with VeriFLY is if your middle name is listed on the flight you need to put your first and middle name in the first name field or it won’t recognize that you’ve completed it.
  17. In the app each drink shows up as a $0.00 charge with the venue name, the exception was cafe promenade when I left a tip, those just showed up as the tip amount. Bottled water they just give you once they verify you have the package so those don’t show, and I never bothered to pick up the soda cup so not sure if those track at all. when you get your final folio at the end they take off all the $0 charges, I’ll have to check if I can get a copy with them on it, otherwise just keep an eye on it in the app ?
  18. It knows what’s coming, I only drink on cruises thankfully so it’s had a year and a half to recover! And number 101 in progress!
  19. Had some time before dinner, while enjoying an espresso martini, to count drink charges to my folio. Excluding cafe promenade charges I’ve had 99 drinks so far. Plus at least two iced coffees a day and countless bottled water. I’ll consider this drink package a good investment for the week.
  20. So, I'd say I'm sorry for not posting more, but I'm really not. This is an absolutely enjoyable cruise and part of that is that I'm giving myself time to unplug and stay away from connected devices, something I haven't been able to do in a couple years. I'm still taking some photos, but more than likely the bulk of the rest of the posts will be done after I get back. Just having too good of a time with everything else. Did do the Sushi and Sake thing today, I remember a few people asking about it a few months ago. All I'll say is... WORTH IT. Like seriously, worth it. Although they did start laughing at me after I asked for the third bowel of wasabi. Sorry, not sorry.
  21. We got our info to register for the test on Monday and then you could schedule your test for almost anytime Wednesday through Friday. When you register it shows all open slots and how many are left open. I got mine at 3PM today and had the results in my email less than 45 min later. Should get the printed copy later this evening.
  22. Naw, most tonic water has anywhere between 10 and 30 grams per serving, depending on brand. There’s a few diet tonics out there without any or less, but not many. it was great meeting you guys too! Hopefully we run into each other again ?
  23. For me it’s perfect, just a touch cool so it feels refreshing but warm enough that you just want to stay in and chill
  24. Last night was pretty much three things, dinner at Chops, catching the ice show, and running into a bunch of people at the blue moon. There's a bit of shock to my system, I've ate more meat and rich food in the past two days then I usually would in a month and then flushed it through with copious amounts of gin. Last night necessitated the switch from gin and tonic to gin and soda, I just can't handle that amount of sugar anymore. The ice show was fantastic, I took a few photos but mostly just wanted to enjoy the show. I may try seeing it again later this week, after seeing it once I can safely say it'll be a different experience based on where you're sitting and I'd like to see it from the front instead of the side. Can't reserve it twice in the app, but I might see if I can get a reservation for tomorrow anyways. Can't imagine the 10:15pm showing will be overly crowded anyways. This is one where color may have been better, the color choices in the lights played a huge role in the show itself. Today and tomorrow I'm just at the beach club all day (helium balloon tomorrow morning), other than one big rainstorm this morning and a few sprinkles later on it's been really pleasant so far. Little too hot for me in the direct sun, and I'll start looking like a pickled beet if I stay in it for more than 30 seconds, but a great breeze and plenty of shade is keeping things really comfortable. I can't overemphasize again just how great the service is across the board. There's not even anyone that just qualifies as "nice", they're all going above and beyond to make sure that everything is taken care of for you. I'm hoping for a bit more direct sun tomorrow, while I'll get fried to a crisp, other than a few brief moments where the direct sun makes an appearance the light is just too scattered and flat for me to be thrilled about it.
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