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Everything posted by MattG

  1. Hi everyone, We're cruising on Oasis in the next few weeks. When reviewing the recent Cruise Compasses, i've noticed no bands or (many) evening events taking place in the Music Hall. It seems unusual for RC to not be using an entertainment venue like this for long periods of time. Anyone know why? Is it the lack of a band on contract? Is it a technical issue? August 13, 2023 - https://issuu.com/hochmania/docs/cruisecompass_1-merged/9 June 30, 2023 - https://issuu.com/hochmania/docs/cruisecompass_1_4_-merged/14 June 9, 2023 - https://issuu.com/hochmania/docs/oasis_of_the_seas_06-09-2023/9 May 14, 2023 - https://issuu.com/hochmania/docs/cruise_compass_-_oasis_of_the_seas_-_may_14-21_202/15
  2. This is what we do as well, it was a pro-tip I learned from this board. There's always 5+ of us traveling, and i always wedge a printed SetSail pass in each person's passport - it's that much easier to hand over to the check-in agent and get onto the ship!
  3. I've been sitting on this opinion until the final revision of the menus came out, and have two thoughts: The greatest travesty is there's no sign of the Apple Blossom a la Mode in the desserts on any evening. This is criminal. Everyone i've spoken with has raved about this. WHY are the Chef's Recommendations only at the top? The Chef's Recommendation entree should also be listed with the rest of the entrees, the Chef's Recommendation dessert should also be listed with the rest of the desserts. The Night 1 menu does this, but the rest do not. Now my eyes are bouncing back and forth across the menu to figure out what I want for each course. For #2, what they should have done is deleted the "Chef's Recommendation" section at the top, and added that item in bold/outlined in the proper course section of the menu as "Chef's Recommendation". That way it gets highlighted, but isn't segregated at the top.
  4. It may depend on whether the ship has adopted the new menu, and therefore the new lobster tails (cold water from Maine).
  5. The demand exists for an Oasis-class ship from NJ. My primary guess would be Symphony of the Seas comes up from the Caribbean to take the summer itineraries. Normally she goes to Europe in the Spring, but she's in the Caribbean through the end of April 2024. That would leave Fort Lauderdale without an Oasis-class ship, however. The other option is Allure finally hits dry dock/amplification in Spring 2024, then comes up to Cape Liberty. The reasons i'm leaning away from this are 1) it takes away 3/4-night Oasis-class cruises, and 2) it's pretty deep into the season to take a ship out of service for amplification. However, Port Canaveral still has an Oasis-class ship with Wonder of the Seas.
  6. I've seen the strongest discounts on CocoCay excursions as well as the photo and internet packages. The weakest (or non-existent) discounts have been on dining packages. Drink package discounts have been minimal, nothing different than a normal "sale".
  7. As long as you have a reservation number, you can link your reservation to the Cruise Planner website (royalcaribbean.com/booked) and begin looking at dining venues and prices. Not difficult at all. We had a party of 9 people (4 adults, 5 kids) and were able to get a table to fit us all at the dining times we wanted each night. If you can get an early check-in time (say, before 12pm) and go directly to a specialty restaurant the moment you get onboard, you can make all your dining reservations at once. If you get a dining package, I strongly recommend planning out which restaurants to go to on which nights, and have that handy when you meet with the specialty dining host staff. If you have a 3-night dining package, I recommend looking at the MDR menu for nights you have a less-interesting menu, and for UDP I recommend hitting up each specialty restaurant at least once before going back for a second round.
  8. You're not hitting $59/day with this kind of spending. Ditch the drink package and go pay drink-to-drink. Famous last words. The Black Friday sale pricing holds the same logic as every other day on the Cruise Planner: If you can afford the currently published price, buy it now, and assume the price will go up tomorrow. If the price drops in the future, you can always cancel, refund, and re-buy at the lower price.
  9. So much detail missing from here to offer any kind of reasonable feedback. What are you considering a "reasonable rate"? What does "worth it" mean to you? What is "not a heavy drinker"? General consensus is 5-6 drinks per day, every day, is needed to break even on the Deluxe Beverage Package. If you can meet or exceed this, then financially speaking you'll spend less on the package versus per-drink.
  10. Yes, on embarkation day, just go to the Chops host stand, and say "our 5-top is actually a 6-top with a child" and they'll ensure you're seated at a table of appropriate size. We didn't test this our our cruise with the kids, but i've heard that it's possible to order adult entrees for children. No guarantees. Others may have more accurate input.
  11. Pre-cruise reservation availability is only a percentage of total available reservations. Once you get on-board, all reservation times are available. Last month, we had UDP and before the cruise, I went in and looked at booking availability for multiple restaurants, and only found very early and very late seatings. When I got on-board and went to book all my UDP reservations, I had pretty much any time I wanted. The host confirmed the pre-cruise availability is not "the whole picture".
  12. Have to disagree with this - throttling is not the only thing that impacts performance, latency (ping) is a huge factor with regards to quality of service. We also don't know the total throughput available to RC on O3b, but it's certainly going to be less than what Starlink provides (100Mbps+) RC certainly isn't throttling or introducing additional latency on their connections, so even 3Mbps at 60ms latency is going to be a better product than 3Mbps at 500ms+ on O3b. Plus, after testing, RC has the option of opening up the throttle a bit on their profiles (probably with a Surf&Stream+ package for additional $?), something they couldn't do on O3b. I'd rather have 1Mbps on 60ms than 10Mbps on 600ms anyday.
  13. Fellow foodie here. Some thoughts: I agree that not including Wonderland in your foodie trip is an unintentional oversight - you should fold that in somewhere. Your only sushi experience is the sushi-making class (I think it's a California roll), whereas Izumi's full menu is much more adventurous. Consider booking a proper Izumi reservation to experience their full menu. 150CP does not do lunch. I would drop Solarium Bistro from your list - it's nice, but there are far better foodie experiences onboard. If cost is not an issue, then go with whatever makes you happy. UDP makes sense if you're wanting to save $ over booking multiple individual reservations. In your case, if you were to drop Sip.Tour.Brunch and On a Roll Sushi Making Class and replace with specialty lunches, your UDP will go farther.
  14. Central Park balconies WILL have noise during the day - the pool deck music will spill over, and when the band plays mid-day it's audible through the closed door (though very soft). At night, the Central Park balconies will either have complete quiet, or an acoustic guitarist that's very pleasant.
  15. Yes and no. @AshleyDillois correct on the shorter sailings. On 7-night sailings, Lobster Night is on Day 6, which coincides with the second formal night.
  16. For comparison, here's Anthem's CocoCay page for 10/29/2022 sailing (3 days from now) - all the SOLD OUT cabanas really justify the price hike we're seeing going forward.
  17. I don't think the Cruise Planner is open for any other 2024 cruises, so I agree that this is Royal having to put placeholders in with the option of coming down in price if enough people don't bite.
  18. We just booked on Icon for 9/21/2024 (thanks @Sharla!) and out of curiosity, I jumped into the Cruise Planner and found some interesting items (comparison against my Oasis 10/0/2022 cruise): Dining: "Amazing experiences coming soon" Spa & Fitness "Amazing experiences coming soon" Beverage: Deluxe Beverage Package: $83.99/day (normally $105/day) - For Oasis 2022, lowest I saw was $66/day (normally $98/day) Refreshment Package: $29.99/day (normally $34/day) - Unchanged from Oasis 2022 Classic Soda Package: $8.99/day (normally $13.50/day) - Unchanged from Oasis 2022 Perfect Day at CocoCay: Thrill Waterpark: $160.99 (normally $179) - for Oasis 2022, this was $74.99 (normally $89) Coco Beach Club: $268.99 (normally $299) - For Oasis 2022, this was $160.99 (normally $179) Thrill Waterpark — Cabana And Full Day Pass: $1,499 - For Oasis 2022, this was $699 Coco Beach Club — Overwater Cabana And Full Day Pass: $3,799 - For Oasis 2022, this was $1,999 Perfect Day CocoCay Zipline: $97.99 - Unchanged from Oasis 2022 Beach Bed: $199 - Unchanged from Oasis 2022 Up, Up, & Away Helium Balloon Ride: $65.99 (normally $74) Internet Packages: VOOM SURF & STREAM: $23.99/day (normally $26.99/day) - Oasis 2022 would go between $20 and $26/day The Key $45/day - Oasis 2022 would go between $16.99 and $34.99/day
  19. Chef's Table is a fantastic time: equal parts food, wine, and social experience with the other foodies around you. A few considerations: Select an evening where you can devote 3 hours to this meal. Don't pick an evening that has activities you want to go to (headliner show, Love & Marriage show, comedian, etc). You're going to miss those activities because you'll still be at Chef's Table. Other evenings you'll be going to the Main Dining Room. If you haven't yet download the Royal Caribbean app, do so now, select your cruise, go to Dining, then Main Dining Room. You can browse the rotating menus, and go to Chef's Table on a night where the Main Dining Room food doesn't interest you as much. Some minor points on each day: Day 1: May not be the best idea - you'll will be busy, and you'll want to decompress and just enjoy the ship. Day 2: May be good, as a positive experience at Chef's Table will put you in good spirits for the rest of your cruise Day 3: If you're planning on an intense day in Cozumel, make sure you can get back in time to shower, change, and arrive for the start of your meal Day 4: If you can get fully packed and ready to walk off the ship the next morning PRIOR to your Chef's Table start time, this would work as well.
  20. Uh, on the contrary, I see this as an absolute WIN. On Oasis, AO and Playmakers are on opposite sides of the ship, and it took FOREVER between dropping off kids and watching football. Now it's only a few steps!
  21. @not easy being green @Baked Alaska What are your embarkation dates and ships? I want to investigate something...
  22. DAY 8 - Back to reality We always seem to drag out our last day. We request the latest disembarkation time, and we stretch our morning a bit. We got up, showered and dressed, and crammed the remainder of our things in our carry-on bags, and headed down to the MDR for breakfast by 7:30am. There was a bit of a line but it moved quickly. I got the market breakfast bowl again, and it was delicious again. We said goodbye to our travel family, and headed towards Deck 5 to get off the ship. It was quick and orderly, and before we knew it, we were on the gangway headed back to the terminal. Down the escalator, shuffled through the suites waiting area, and into the luggage warehouse. We found our bags and flagged down a porter for help. We headed to Customs where they have the face recognition cameras. Everyone got the green light, and we followed the porter out to the garage. I grabbed the car, loaded everything up, and we were out in pretty quick time. Because we were so close to New York, we decided to drive north and see the city. We headed towards 81st street to check out some of the playgrounds on the west side of Central Park. We played between two playgrounds, then hopped on the subway to Times Square and hit up one of my favorite places in New York City: After a quick lunch, we hopped back on the subway and headed down to Battery Park so the kiddos could see the Statue of Liberty. We almost hopped on the Staten Island Ferry to get a better view, but after doing the math we realized it would put us home after sunset. We settled for checking out the statue from the water: In the distance, you might be able to see a familiar sight, a farewall call from our home for the week: Next post: thoughts and reflections
  23. DAY 7 - Sea Day Today was our last full day. Everyone slept in laaaaaate. We're usually up and at breakfast by 7:30am. Today, we didn't get to breakfast until 9:00am. We first headed to the MDR, but the line was very long, so we aborted and went to the Windjammer. We were able to drop the kids off just before 10:00am, and headed to... Apollo 18! The escape room! I'm a HUGE space nerd, so this was a MUST DO on our trip. The host started a few minutes after 10:00am, and there were about a dozen people in this group. It felt like a lot of people, but by the end, it you realize you do need that many people. You go in and start with a video briefing, then you have 50 minutes to finish the puzzle. Not giving away any spoilers, but there are some HARD puzzles in this room. This 100% requires teamwork of finding artifacts, sharing information, and relying on the unique knowledge and problem solving skills of each team member to figure out how to solve the problems. Here are some photos of the room, with light editing to remove any spoilers or hints: The host is there to nudge you along as you get deeper into the countdown. We solved the puzzle with 4m 24s remaining: It was super cool. Totally want to do it again (and i'll prob forget how to solve the problems by then!) After the escape room, we lazily walked through Central Park, and found a secret spot on Deck 7: We made our way back to AO to pick up the kids, then went to Solarium Bistro for lunch. It was a mirror of the Windjammer menu, but not nearly as busy. There was no menu service during lunch, but here's the menu for dinner: We headed back to the room to pack and say goodbye to our stateroom, and this view: Our travel family wanted to stick with Izumi Sushi for dinner, and we wanted to try MDR, so we split for the first time on this trip. We headed to Deck 5 and were seated in about 10 minutes. Without fail, my first trip to the MDR starts with a shrimp cocktail and escargots: All delicious. My last dinner on Oasis was the braised lamb shank: Tomorrow is disembarkation!
  24. NOTE: This will be a picture-heavy post, i'm making up for prior posts! DAY 6 - Sea Day Today was our second sea day. Normal wake-up time, and headed to Windjammer for breakfast. It was miserable outside, clouds, wind, rain and fog: The pool deck was pretty empty around 8:30am We dropped the oldest two off at Adventure Ocean, and kept the youngest as the nursery was full with reservations. We stayed and played at the "Play Place", which is an open playroom that anyone can come to at any time. A really cool idea that I hope comes to all ships: We walked up to the Solarium, and through the Solarium Bistro. The Solarium Bistro's breakfast is the same as the Windjammer, just paired down slightly. It's a nice, quieter place to eat breakfast. Chef's Table is in one of the alcoves at Solarium Bistro: The bridge wings weren't open, not sure if it was too early, or due to weather: We continued our walk around the pool deck, and saw the storm we just passed through: Splashaway Bay was not open yet, and about 1/4 of the water features were turned off (compared to earlier days). This meant the existing water features had a lot more water pressure. The wife, youngest, and I swung by the Schooner Bar for some general trivia. We didn't do great, getting 10/20. After trivia, we did a lazy walk to the Music Hall to watch the housekeeping staff do a towel-folding demo. There was an emcee who narrated each step as individual members built their animals, then showcased them: The Music Hall on Oasis has a bit of an odd shape. It's "T"-shaped, meaning you walk in the main entrance down a walkway with chairs on either side, until it opens up when you get to the dance floor and the stage. The view behind the stage to the Boardwalk is gorgeous. I do rather prefer the Music Hall on Quantum-class ships - it's much more of an open space, this feels very tight. After towel-folding, we did another lazy walk back up to Adventure Ocean, walking through Central Park. This space reminds me so much of The Via on Quantum-class ships: peaceful and serene, with a lot of small surprises: We played a bit more in the Play Place, then picked up the kiddos and headed to the Boardwalk for Johnny Rockets for lunch. It was the Boardwalk Celebration Party! I forgot about this event, and we picked a great time to go to Johnny Rockets There were a TON of people, along with a live band playing old-timey music. There were some neat kids games, like hula hoops, giant Jenga/building blocks, bowling, Connect4, lots of interactive elements. We all got lunch and the kids came back and forth from the games to the food. It was a really good time! After lunch, the wife took the girls to the art auction, and I took the youngest to the belly flop competition: There was a huge crowd all around the beach pool, and a great time was had by all! After the belly flop competition, we took the kids back to Splashaway for a bit, before getting ready for dinner at our second pass of 150 Central Park. Our youngest wasn't feeling well (he's also potty training, so we're pretty sure it's related), so the wife took him back to our room while the rest of us continued. This time I got the Lamb Wellington: It was interesting, a much smaller portion than I’m used to for Wellington. It was pretty good! Of course, got the fried cheesecake again. It's sooooo amazing: Tonight was another showing of "Frozen in Time", so the girls went with our traveling family and I went back to the stateroom. Our youngest was doing MUCH better, so I tagged out with the wife and she headed down to the MDR with a book for some quiet time. Tomorrow is our final day!
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