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Everything posted by LinRon2

  1. Yea, the chair hogs are perhaps our biggest gripe too. Celebrity seems to handle the chair hogs [our experience anyway] the best by putting out folded towels on every pool lounge start of the day. One can still get locked out of a lounge, but it seems to tame down those saving a lounge for hours without being there. Getting locked out of a table in the Windjammer perhaps our next biggest gripe. That one just due to the hordes of people onboard. There is that sense of anxiety as one approaches either the pool deck or the windjammer as to 'Will I find a place'? You get used to it of course and there are workarounds, like showing up early. I just keep circling the windjammer until I find something open. I've circled up to 4 or 5 times before [eggs cold by then of course, ha]. I used to get mad inside, but now I realize there is no fault by anyone; just how things work out. We envy the OP by Dannyboy. We still love cruising, but there's nothing like the thrill of those first times. Love to hear about those first experiences too [or any experience] There's just something about sitting out on one's balcony, sipping on a beer, watching the horizon or for flying fish going by. Good for the soul or something. Cudos to the Post Dannyboy; hope you venture on many cruises in coming days.
  2. Does anyone know more about dinner at the Bistro on Symphony? It shows as a 'dining' choice in specialty dining, but then shows 'ala carte' and zero cost to reserve? Does one have to make reservations or can they just show up on any given night? And ala carte...? Does anyone know any menu costs for this? Thanks in advance for any information.
  3. Almost cruise day. Hope everyone got the email from RCI about traffic being heavy aug. 29, cruise day, at Cape Canaveral. Have no idea how to plan but we've been caught in race day traffic in Daytona before, and traffic can back up out onto I-4 for that one. Looks like most of the redirected traffic is down by Titusville for the Artemis launch. With five ships in port, and the NASA Artemis launch, info I have suggests something like 200,000 visitors will be in the area, so be forewarned. Below is a link that might help someone trying to plan getting around redirected traffic. Good luck everyone. https://spacecoastdaily.com/2022/08/titusville-police-release-traffic-advisory-ahead-of-nasas-artemis-1-moon-launch-aug-29/#:~:text=The highly anticipated NASA Artemis 1 launch to,pedestrian traffic to cross over safely. (TPD image)
  4. Dang!! Knew we were taking a risk booking for this time of year [29th of August]. Just checked extended GPS forecast for Atlantic. 29th Still a ways out though. Let's all keep our fingers crossed. My wife says I'm a worry wort though. No one really takes weather forecasts 10 days out seriously, ha [except worry worts].
  5. $785 OBC...wow! we thought we were doing good just to get our shareholder benefit of $50 OBC, ha. We had $100 OBC on a 10 day Voyager OS Baltic cruise in June, and had a hard time spending it all. Waited until last nights, and thought we'd splurge in ship stores....but we entered Denmark waters and learned the stores and casino could not open. The OBC was non refundable...so we lost a good portion of it. Live and learn we guess. We'll check ahead from now on.
  6. Wait....really! You received shareholder OBC for all your sailings...months in advance? No...actually a year in advance? What gives? RCI info we have says submit 21 days out [about]. Hey great gig if you can get it! Don't understand though since one could sell their stock at any time [much less a year out and Brandon is doing such a great job at it and all]? We have no plans to sell of course since we are now deeply in the RED, LOL. But would be nice to submit just once for sailings throughout the year. I somehow am suspicious of this though [that RCI really does that]. We still haven't discerned what method succeeds in this...by email, on line submittal form, or written snail mail form? We usually receive the benefit [not always though] and we usually submit several times using different methods [my wife and I each own 100+ shares in separate broker accounts so can submit separately, though just looking for the single benefit per stateroom of course].
  7. We watch La Lido Loca and Tony [the channel commentator] suggested that Bahamas MIGHT still require covid testing...which MIGHT nullify our CELEBRATION for booking this Mariner of the Seas 5 day cruise on Aug 29th. Our own research shows that the Bahamas has done away with covid testing requirements for fully vax'd travelers. we suppose we'd leave it at that, but Tony's comments are haunting us. Of course, Royal's official proclamation eliminating covid testing for 5 days or less cruises, is not until August 8th or so. we should just wait and get the official word...except we got our 'official' Royal email for protocols for this cruise yesterday, and it still has the covid testing requirement. Wish they would have just waited until after the 8th; but it is what it is. we're sure it'll all be updated and straightened out in coming days [like I said, we could never begin to describe the angst this covid testing has been...and we suppose for all of us] but just wanted to see if anyone has something DEFINITIVE about Bahamas not requiring covid testing for vax'd cruisers. Our google searches...well, I never trust anything any more. It sort of undermines our celebration and essential reason for booking this cruise [if we still have to...for CocoCay, ie the Bahamas]. Probably just a worry wort we are; but INFORMATION is INFORMATION and that OFFICIAL protocol is still the OFFICIAL protocol. Anyone sailing before the 8th for a 5 day or less? Want to vent your frustration? we'll listen...and greatly identify.
  8. Well, we understand the frustration for anyone already booked 6 days or more; or a date off or something. But let's be honest...how many of us really thought the cruise lines [much less RCI] would do away with all testing 'immediatly' after CDC got off their backs? We didn't. We thought we'd be testing to the end of the year. So....we celebrated by booking the first 5 day cruise we could find that we liked [on Mariner 8/29 out of canaveral]. We'll probably still have to test for our 7 day on Symphony in October...but this is how we celebrated!!! Just book a 5 day cruise, ha and YAY! Just think, no more sweating out test results just 2 days away from the end to months of planning, expense, expectation, and building excitement...all the while realizing a stupid positive [real or false] would put an end to all of it at the last minute. Boy, will that CDC ever know what they've put people through for cruising? So, that's our vote; time for celebration no matter what. We have come to hate government [just had to put that in, ha]. We used to trust it; now we cruise to get away from the insanity. Just sayin'...
  9. Yep, we heard Royal did away with pre cruise testing for 5 day cruises or less...and we immediately started joking we should jump on a 5 day'er...out of Canaveral. Lo and behold...we found the Mariner for Aug. 29th....and so we're booked; sort of as a celebration for ending pre cruise testing. It'll feel funny not having the horrible angst 2 days before we go; wearing masks for weeks before just so we don't test positive. We've done 6 cruises since the start up [and pre cruise tested for all of them]. We cruised on the Voyager in June in the Baltic when the CDC lifted the test requirement for our flight home [to USA]. And we really liked this size of ship [Mariner a sister class]. And now, no pre cruise testing [for 5 day cruises anyway]. YAY!!! Of course, the only worry is this is peak of storm season. Let's all cross our fingers nothing major out there for this cruise. We still haven't been notified by Royal on new protocols [I think it's not official until the 5th or so]. We might frame that notification, LOL. Ha...of course then there's monkeypox for the CDC to play with.
  10. Bring your own, it's fine. We carry ours everywhere a beach might be. I think a snorkel vest is required at chill beach [not sure if or how enforced though]. I didn't see anyone mention it, but there is a swim platform out past the rocks a ways; and I've found an old ship rampart with rusted-crusted cannon half way to that swim platform. There's supposed to be remnant of a plane somewhere too, but I've never seen it [I think out even further than the swim platform, but not sure]. I second the comments about the rocks just off to the right from the beach having some tropicals.
  11. Yep, we did this excursion too and enjoyed it immensely [to Chacchoben]. Pretty long bus ride, but the ruins were great. After these ruins though, we're not sure what to do. We've enjoyed the port pools when only one ship docked, but if more than one...look out, the crowds become daunting. If we stop at costa maya again we plan to do an atv excursion. We did an atv excursion in cozumel and to our surprise, it was really a lot of fun. We always consider beach and snorkeling, but to date [2022], seaweed has been a problem washing up on beaches there in costa maya. it's intermittent we guess, but can't predict and totally ruins beach or in water activities if prevalent [close in anyway]. Open to ideas on excursions others have enjoyed though; ideas really appreciated.
  12. Well, it's now July and we just booked Symphony for Oct. 15th. We'd rather go out of Canaveral, but Symphony looked like best option in October for us, when considering ship [ a+], itinerary good, price ok, entertainment [3 venues and hairspray], and if anything like Harmony, the cabins should be roomy. Does anyone know if specialty coffee is served in Central Park? Also, any excursions in San Juan that might be recommended [we've been 3 times now]. This will be our third mega ship with Oasis and Wonder yet to do. Sheese, and Icon due in near future...hard to keep up, ha.
  13. we love this cruise [the ports]. Wife saves for emeralds in Cartegena, ha. Wish one of RCL's larger ships could do it though. We can't afford the balcony's on Vision class. Balconies become affordable for us about Serenade level of ship. Our congrats for those wealthy enough to do the suites [ok, ok...sour grapes on my part, ha]. So...first inside for us since...sheese, can't remember last inside, ha. Never been on Vision before but been on Rhapsody twice (yea, come to think of it, Rhapsody was our 'last' inside). Any good recommendations on excursions for this cruise would be appreciated. We did it on the Serenade in 2019 so looking for new experiences along the way. Hoping the covid stuff goes away by December 5th too since CDC no longer requiring testing on airplanes to get back into the USA. Oh...wait...I think I heard the next pandemic already being planned or something [La bump!]. At least my cruise stock doing well [La BUmp! again].
  14. We just finished our 10 day Baltic cruise on the Voyager OS [June 5 sailing from Copenhagen]. We had signed up for the Berlin "discovery" excursion but were very hesitant given the excursion entailed a 3.5 hour bus ride both ways. I looked for any info on this board before we went, but didn't find much [that was recent]. So thought I'd provide a word here now [june 20, 2022]. Of course, Warnemunde is being given as one alternative on Baltic cruises instead of St. Petersburg [given the Ukrainian conflict etc] and Berlin is one excursion choice at that port. Well, in a word, we had a great time. The bus was modern, large, comfortable...and we had rest stops along the way. It was quite interesting viewing all the alternative energy structures across the German countryside [wind turbines and solar panels]. The 3.5 hours went by quick both ways. But the highlight of the trip was a professional guide that joined our group once in Berlin. He was great and we visited all the major bucket list sights (Brandenburg Gate, Bundestag, checkpoint Charlie, remnants of the wall memorial, and other sights) where we exited the bus for short guided walking tours at every site. Then, after seeing the sights, we were given 3 hours on our own. We wandered the streets buying some german chocolate at a large department store [selling nothing but chocolate] and stopped at a cafe for brats and beer We finished up perusing some requisite souvenir shops before getting back on the bus for the ride back to the Voyager OS. Whatever doubts we had about the long bus ride, it turned out to be a high point of our cruise. Berlin is a great city and so much history there, it would have been a shame to NOT have visited [even if just for the day]. Hope this helps anyone thinking about this excursion [actually there were several versions on a Berlin trip; but the trepidation is probably that long 3.5 hour bus ride like we were wary of]. For us, the ride was enjoyable and not the ordeal it might sound like when reading. And the guide that was provided really made the trip ;more than worthwhile.
  15. Wow, very helpful for anyone wanting details on how the ABBOTT tests are performed on board. Thank you so much. Yes, getting printouts of results most important [for our previous boardings; but always obtained at home where we know the computer and printer operation]. On board, or in a foreign place, a whole different ballgame. You provide some details we all need to know about. The 24 hour constraint is disappointing though as we understood the requirement to be a calendar day before arriving back in the USA. Calculating actual hours when flying can get to be quite confusing [gain time hours one way, lose another...by the clock, but actual time, one needs a calculator [I do anyway]]. Hard to believe authorities are being that 'persniggly' (that is a word, right) on all this. Or is this just a California thing? We thought we had this all planned out, but methinks we should go back to the drawing board to meet that 24 hour thing if that's what the CDC requires now [not a calendar day].
  16. I have to agree. Keep to the regular dive/snorkel masks. Many here say they have good luck with these full face masks. I'm sure some do. My wife bought one and I tried it out and I immediately knew the big flaw. Inevitably, there is some reason you might need to clear a mask [usually fogging, but water seepage, sinus pressure...other]...and there no way to clear these full face masks without essentially taking it off. Clearing a mask, any mask, is essential. But each to their own of course and some people really like them [the fullness of breathing is surely more comforable...again, until you need to clear]. My vote is don't buy them. My wife's sits in a closet somewhere; used once or twice and she gave up on 'em as well .
  17. Tomorrow is 'cruise day' for you guys [May 15]. Hope your cruise is a great one!!
  18. Well, to continue beating a dead horse Thought I'd post protocol to this issue of testing, sailing from Copenhagen... first, "On arrival, all guests from non-EU or Shengen countries must present a negative covid antigen test taken within 24 hours of their flight departure". Later, a further protocol reads: "Vaccinated guests must show a negative result for an antigen test taken no more than 2 days before boarding day". [this protocol is more clear and is the standard we've met for months now on other RCL cruises]. We might add that 'fully vaccinated ' is also required [if one wants to get off at the ports of call etc and not have to do further testing onboard]. Fully vaccinated could mean you need to get a booster at least 14 days out from embarkation. ------- I post all this that it might help someone; but also, for some reason, the more I read that first testing protocol having to test negative "within 24 hours of flight departure"...well, I was wondering how others interpret that 'sentence'? We are assuming that means within 24 hours before the day we leave [Miami for us], we need to test. TO be specific, if we have a flight on the 4th, so all we need to do is backtrack 24 hours from flight departure to get that testing done? Are we seeing this correctly? It's that 'UPON ARRIVAL' that sometimes throws my brain all screwy for some reason. We also searched far and wide to see where this 'new' requirement comes from [we assume from the EU]...but all information we find seems to give each country freedom to make their own rules for testing [and Denmark has lifted all their restrictions]. Plus, any restrictions we do find [non specific country], seems to suggest the EU gives 72 hours window for such testing [if required]. Anyway, does anyone have a link or some info on that specific 'before flight departure' testing requirement? Who checks that for instance [we don't think the MIami airport will check that...so...in Copenhagen? At the ship?]. It all seems ambiguous to us...why we ask the question. Of course, the RCL protocol IS the protocol...no matter how it's worded. We're just trying to figure it out 'exactly' what it means. any help appreciated and sorry for my brain being decrepit on all this.
  19. absolutely! Spot on. We've always loved Royal and Celebrity and this 'protocol' from European ports is not really in their character IOHO. My wife says someone [maybe a lot of someones, like the Hawaiian couple off Norwegian this week, or even "US"] might be getting stranded missing flights that's gonna create a lot bad will and bad press [already doing that from posts here perhaps; well at least my barking anyway, ha]. We just need DIRECTION on how to get this done; not necessarily that it be FREE, or even on board. We'd glagly pay any reasonable cost. But to just be thrown off the ship...I dunno; just doesn't sound like Royal Caribbean's true character to us. But, we'll deal with it I guess. We've decided to not cancel [though we probably should with no information on how to do this]. I've been napping in our wooden dining room chair trying to get acclimated to airport seats where we'll probably end up sleeping for days on end when we can't get on a flight home, LOL. I'm 71 too. Just sayin'...
  20. Ha, we're actually considering doing that now too...stay a few nights in Copenhagen [for us] and then give us more "time buffer" to get all this done at the airport. Denmark has lifted all travel restrictions so we assume we could do that now [stay a few nights]. We'd love to see more of Copenhagen anyway. But, I just read a discouraging post over on Cruise Critic that some 'US guests' eMed tests were not accepted at their check-in and they had to get tested at the airport. The good news is that they could 'STILL' get tested [even if the eMed tests were rejected] and we assume, still catch their flight.
  21. Yes, thanks on this. We plan to use the airport [for us in Copenhagen] as the primary...the ABBOTT test as backup [but tried first onboard]. Probably for us is we arrive at 5am so probably won't get off ship, may earliest 7am [probably later] then transfer...say get to airport...a guess...9am?10am? and the latest flight is...wait for it...1:30pm. This is a very tight window...and optimistic at that [lucky to get to airport before noon actually]. So the Abbott test seems to be the 'real' answer for us [though we'll go on try the airport too if that abbott fails onboard]. Doing 'air to sea' through ROyal, one would expect more help in this. Ah well. C'est la vie.
  22. Yes, not sure people are understanding the difference coming home from a european cruise where one has to test to get on a flight to get home [to the USA]. We've been trying desperately to hear from someone or others who have actually done this test 'onboard' a ship [a Royal ship]...specifically to get home [before disembark, not embark]. Yes, a great test in comfort of one's own home, with good wifi and internet...or even in a familiar local setting [hotel or whatever]. But...how about on a ship? Or in an airport with people milling around everywhere? Or in a cab on the way to that airport? Or on a street corner somewhere in a foreign city? Or any help from others having to deal with this CDC requirement to get on a flight home [again to the USA]. Thanks in advance. RCL offers no help from European ports for that covid testing [at least in their protocols]. No information whatsoever except to check one's home country's requirement for re-entry. INFORMATION. needed; how, when, and where to get this done?
  23. We are very interested to see how this cruise goes/went, especially how everyone might have tested for covid to fly back to the states. Anyone doing the Abbott test onboard just before you disembark? How did it go? We're on the Voyager in June, so would like to know how their wifi works and how people fare doing that test while still onboard. Also, we heard of being able to purchase just 24 hours of Royal's best streaming but only after you board [not on their website]. Is this true? Anyone done this? We lost St. Petersburg too, but picked up Warnemunde [Berlin]. Thanks for any help and hope your cruise is a great one!
  24. I just gotta say this [and hope someone with clout from Royal reads these forums]. A couple from Hawaii was stranded in europe from a Norwegian cruise because they tested positive. We all know why Royal doesn't want to 'involve' itself for covid testing that the CDC requires to reenter the USA from europe...because what do you do if someone tests positive? Flying people home or even quarantining would be uiltra expensive for any cruise line to pick up...and what would any cruise line do if someone DID test positive...except somehow 'feel' responsible for getting them 'home' safely [after all, what do we hear time and again except that cruise lines including ROYAL are most interested in except our safety]. But now, they want nothing to do with covid testing 'after the cruise' in europe for people needing to get back to the USA. "Check your country's requirements for exiting or re-entry' is all they 'PROVIDE". Not a peep on 'how, where, when' [for covid testing]...just 'check your country's requirements'. Too bad for that Hawaiian couple; hope they 'survive' this [not the covid, but the financial ruin]. We are 'STUPID' for continuing to try and do this 'BALTIC' cruise [or any european cruise] with not support from the cruise line [ROYAL in our case]...to get back into the USA after the cruise. But...we booked this cruise well over 2 years ago...and canceling now, will mean losing a lost ot $$ [it's complicated, but involves all this Future credit crediting compared to original monies spent, and expected fares into next year] etc. So, we are STUPID..as we opt to jump in, head first, into the quagmire of 'personal ruin' for a stupid cruise. But...we're old..and wonder how many years we have left to 'see the Blaltic' etc. Point to all this is...is we need to see just a MINIMAL degree of support [at least for us USA citizens who have a PUNITIVE politically aligned CDC] to find our way BACK HOME after our cruise [and we imagine, this applies to anyone [especially from the USA|. Just saying 'check your country's requirements'. well, it's a total cop out; and transparent to anyone with an average noggin' to be about MONEY; ie not having to provide to those who might test positive [for example]. For us, it's not about 'positive' but simply 'how, where, and when'. Please, ROYAL, give us some idea to this...at least. And not just, YES, 'THROW US OFF THE SHIP'. [in our case, the VOYAGER in Copenhagen.
  25. additional question on emed test onboard. What kind of data service does one need anyway? I use tracfone, which is a pay as you go plan...and they say they don't service but in the USA? My wife uses AT&T however. Again, not being techies and totally 'bananas' to today's LTE digital service technicalities...what kind of 'service' does one need to use the emed kits 'onboard' anyway? Would the 'wifi' or 'streaming' service purchased through Royal suffice...but does one service provider also play an important part? This is critical to us. We just need to verify that we CAN use the Emed kit onboard before we commit to signing our lives away to an overseas extended stay that will essentially ruin us [and put us in our graves]. Ha..no lie Royal. This is how important this stuff is that you won't provide at least some minimal information. Just sayin'..
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