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Everything posted by cruisellama

  1. Your suspicion is correct - winds control how much activity can be supported. We've been on a couple of cruises were it was too windy for any dinners . Very wary of allowing material getting blown around (napkins etc).
  2. Ok I was thrilled with the new terminal and Allure's arrival to Galveston. Further thrilled when it was announced Harmony would be next. But looking forward, it appears (I might be wrong) that there might only be a single Oasis class ship sailing from Galveston to only the same 3 ports: Roatan, Cozumel, and Costa Maya. (with an exception of a single cruise to the easter Carribean including Coco Cay - one week in November). Same 3 ports and repeat isn't very attractive. I hope this isn't a one trick , permanent milk run from Galveston. It looks like Voyager goes away around April '24 (is that the case?).
  3. Thanks. So Icon would be the first ship (4th gen) that could consider elevator expansion opportunity. Guessing Utopia will be the same basic interior, except any space considerations for LNG propulsion changes.
  4. Is Utopia a sister ship to Wonder (yes/no)? If yes, wouldn't it be close in its architectural layout? [Random thought: After sailing Wonder, I thought there should be some rethinking of elevator capacity. A 6000+ passenger load really challenges elevator wait times during feeding and entertainment periods. Adding elevators would have major design implications with cost.]
  5. This is a technique we've used. Recommend putting together a list with restaurant, day, time (make a couple copies). As soon as you board, go to any of the specialty dining venues and look for the front person (mater'd), even the MDR matre'd can help and book them all. Give the hard copy of your requests to the mater'd (it makes it much easier to type in and lock in the reservations). Make your entertainment reservations on the app that way you can work dinner around those.
  6. Yep - my wife found that out with a new white shirt. She's working on the spot removal now. Spray n Wash and some rubbing removed most of it.
  7. Celebrity is lower energy level than Royal. Older demographic and fewer children. As mentioned, there are no toys, and ships (depending on class - only 3) max out at about 3500 passengers. No broadway shows, entertainment includes home grown theater performances and top line performers. Depending upon class of ship, differing culinary experiences are available and some high end shopping that may or may not be interesting to you. They have a higher rate structure, but you can bundle "perks" (internet, drinks, gratuities, OBC) to reduce the a la carte cruise planning. The smallest class RCL ship has more onboard activity attractions than the largest Celebrity ship. Shop ships on the web, read comments, but you won't know without personal experience.
  8. Cruise summary: Summary: We sailed the week of 15 Jan 23 from Port Canaveral with about 6200 fellow passengers. Wonder of the Seas lives up to its name. Port visits included: St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. And it was a perfect day at Coco Cay - weather conditions allowed for the balloon ride. Impressed with the updates from other Oasis class ships like the suite neighborhood, kids dessert counter in the WJ, Mason Jar (needs to be bigger), and high energy entertainment. Embarkation: I find the Port Canaveral terminal is a bit dated for a very “up to date” Oasis class ship. Its functional, but lacks comfort factor while waiting to board. We faced a lot of car congestion as we approached the drop off point. Signage for high tier and suite entry points weren’t obvious until we got pretty close. An updated terminal to match the updated ship would be appreciated. Ship Experiences Food & Dining: Sky Suite so we used the Coastal Kitchen and specialty dining in lieu of the MDR. We also grazed the WJ in between official meal stops. The WJ has a very upgraded look. There are even kid level dessert counters that allow the kids to better see and select their own treats. The Falcon 9 launch on embarkation day was a treat. Ship was in a great position to see the launch and the recovery of the boosters. Chops Coastal Kitchen - Visited for breakfast and lunch. Dining was fine except for 2 issues. The Baja Eggs content/presentation was different from what I was used to on other ships. When I attempted to explain to the waiter, he didn’t understand what I was trying to communicate (new guy with little English). Second issue with a lunchtime Margarita Flatbread that had a blue food residue on the bottom. Not knowing what this was (as it looked like mold), we informed the waiter resulting on a visit from the chef. He apologized profusely, but admitted the blue material came from a placing the flatbread on a dirty tray (that’s called cross contamination in a US restaurant kitchen). We found out a few of the staff were on first contracts. Which explained the low energy service and wait times. Lunches could go 2 hours. Suite Lounge : Bright spot on the service. Bar tenders were very enthusiastic and worked hard to take care of everyone. Didn’t notice any backups on orders, just kept plugging away and keeping the energy high. Happy hour hors d’oeveres were outstanding. Nice selection and high quality. There did seem to be a shortage of bottled water on several occasions. We noticed the bar only kept 1 case on hand. Many of the guests would request a bottle or 2 upon heading away from the bar and one of the bartenders would need to depart to restock. 150 Central Park : Very enjoyable meal, service, and atmosphere. Fully enjoyed the venison loin. Perfectly cooked. Pleasantly surprised because past experiences were not stellar, but it was on Wonder. Giovannis: Eh - not impressed. Had a lunch and dinner at this venue. Arrived for lunch at 11:30 on embarkation day. Didn’t get out until after 1. Server not engaged MIA. We were seated with 2 other couples at the same time, and none of us even got water in the first 20 minutes. Once the dining are filled up, they started to attend to tables, but starting with the people that just arrived. We went back the next night for dinner, and same thing happened. On the bright side, we thought the filet was the best of the specialty restaurants. Chops: Ordered the bone-in-ribeye. It wasn’t thick, but cooked properly. Didn’t mind the size as I had filled up on appetizers and needed to still enjoy dessert. Service was great. Izumi : We visited just to round out our dining experiences with our UDP. Food was fine, service very good and entertaining. But its no different from any of the shore chain hibachi restaurants. IMO - too much over seasoning with soy. A restaurant you only need visit every couple of years. (Enjoyed the sushi side more - they do a very nice job and prices are comparable to the on shore restaurants). Hooked: As we enjoy shell fish, we really enjoyed Hooked. We are raw oyster fans and had our fill on a couple of nights. Felt bad for the guy doing the shucking - we gave him a work out. Lobster was great as well as other dishes we sampled. Wonderland: Imaginative cuisine as advertised. Dined twice to experience 2 different menus. Its not for everyone, but we enjoyed it. Thought the service to be very good (and entertaining). DIdn’t mind the pace of the meal at all as it matched the complexity of the dishes. They also offer a few unique drinks that venue that we really enjoyed. Playmakers: Best sports bar at sea (and better than a lot on land also). Can’t stay away from the stack of onion rings and wings. Great service also. Johnny Rockets: Despite being just a burger joint, the service staff was the most energetic and engaging. Thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and dessert Onboard Activities Entertainment: I really enjoyed Voices and Effectors 2. I appreciate when Royal produces original entertainment. Superb vocalist and dancers are the norm on these ships. Aqua Theater High Intensity was also off the wall good. The above stage acrobatics and choreography is captivating. The 365 show is a well scored and choreographed iceskating show that is definitely worth seeing. (IMO - I enjoyed Effectors type show far more than the Broadway productions on other ships). I think it allows the cast to shine in original story lines.) Also enjoyed the small ensembles around the ship, especially the Mason Jar. Although tough to find seating - needs to be larger. Service & Staff: As on any ship. Some very good, some not so. It appeared there were a lot of “first contract” people in visible positions. Waiters seemed like they’re on their own - no support from bussing staff. So they cannot provide attention we normally experienced (saw this on Allure recently too). But overall - it was very good. Ship Quality: The newest and brightest in the Royal fleet. Ship is fantastic and it seems they applied practical lessons learned from earlier Oasis class ships. We were on deck 17 and enjoyed the new suite neighborhood set-up. Two noticeable issues, hot water first thing in the morning took a while - needed to run water about 10 minutes to get it. Also elevator situation needs some rethinking and probably re-engineering in the future renditions. Did find out a neat trick which was verified by the concierge. If you’re in suite class you can tap you sea pass card on the readers on deck 17/18 and 4/5/6 elevator key pads to call the aft elevator bank (6 of them). Those are the only elevators to service decks 17 & 18. Others just service up to 16. If you have mobility issues you must use one of the 6 aft (glass door) elevators. Wait times during dining rush hours was crazy - some people had to wait 20 minutes to get on an elevator. A must if you have mobility challenges as well as strollers. Cabin/Stateroom: 1764 Starboard GS. Deck 17 & 18 comprise the suite neighborhood which include the CK/lounge on 17 with a sun/pool deck on 18. Cabin has plenty of room and storage. Nice sized balcony with both lounging and dining furniture. Enough USB charging ports throughout the room and the second pull down television over the bed is a nice bonus (but interesting that it can be inadvertently turned on while in the stowed position by the living area TV remote). Observed an issue with having hot water early in the morning. After 2 mornings I called maintenance, they said run the water for 3 minutes. I found you need at least 10 minute then it warms up. Thought the light in the room safe was a nice touch. Room steward was on 1st contract, but did a good job. Suite concierges (Jorge and Noorina) are top notch. Summary: So much to do, and not enough time on a 7-day cruise. Wonder is more than a ship, its a floating resort.
  9. We were up on deck 17, as an early riser, was finding hot water not available early in the morning. After a maintenance call, I was advised to let it run for 10 minutes first thing in the morning. That seemed to work. A feature of being on a high deck.
  10. Is there a rationale for what type of car is on display on the various ships?
  11. Let's wait and see. The change might encourage some to bump up to a specialty restaurants. Some will stay put. Others may move to other lines. The cruise veterans will reminisce about the good old days. (How many remember midnight buffets (do miss them)?) As the new generation moves in, they won't even question it. If surveys matter, and people provide input, we'll see some tweaking.
  12. The cruise lines are paying attention. I had an itinerary change recently (skipped and added a port stop).
  13. Yes. Some format differences but essentially the same.
  14. There is an old saying, "familiarity breeds contempt" - as you partake in any regular experience (vacation or otherwise), you can loose the "specialness" and it might even seem mundane, and you need a reset. Sounds like a good way to re-calibrate. Interesting that both the RCL and Carnival CEOs are prepping the public (in the financial reports) for increased rates as its understood cruising is "too good a deal" compared to land based vacations.
  15. It depends upon the maitre'd. I've seen some asked to remove on occasion.
  16. Has Starlink faired better in precipitation vs legacy satellite system?
  17. I recall a conversation I had with some crew members in Johnny Rockets on Liberty of the Seas, on the LAST cruise before shutdown. They noted the new cleaning protocols were a lot of extra work, but should have been in effect long before there was an emerging pandemic. Felt the benefits would outweigh the extra load on them as they can get sick too.
  18. While I too hate hauling my phone on the ship. (and prefer leaving in the cabin) I think the app has become pretty useful now that the reservation and calendar features are working well. Since get internet plans, we just used FB messenger. Just when you think you're out, they drag you back in....
  19. It's nice to find a cruise that will cover both holidays Christmas and New Years. B2Bs can work well also. Great not to worry about entertaining or prepping large holiday meals.
  20. Look up Baby Beach. South side of the island. Nice beach area with an adjacent a bar/restaurant (Rum Reef Bar & Grill) with a pool that you can use. Has a changing area.
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