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About dmattinson

  • Birthday August 8

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    Winter Garden, FL

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  1. I don't know if it made too many Diamond members but it sure helped people that knew how to game the "cruise with confidence" promos that were offering essentially a no-penalty of cruise fare postponement and was giving people double points for booking during specific times (that often coupled with the cruise with confidence forgiveness). I think it sped up the timeline for some cruisers that were able to take advantage of the lower fares and get the extra points while having a little flexibility in future cruise plans. Those folks have all met the tiers that they were going to meet by now or are getting close to meeting the next tier and their cruise with confidence bookings are all exhausted. I know I personally benefited from one of these double point promos getting 14 points for staying in a balcony room on a 7-night Harmony cruise in 2021 (after the original 3-night sailing offering that promo was COVID cancelled and FCC applied to a future sailing also carried the double points credit). I also benefited from a surprisingly cheap fare for a suite on a 12-night repo cruise netting me another 24 points (I mean, the fare for 2 in a 1BR Owner's Suite was cheaper than 1 person on Star in a Surfside family suite). But I'm still not at Diamond...16 more points to get there with a 7-nighter in a balcony in May and a 5-nighter in a JS in April 2024 which will get me Diamond with one extra point over prior to our Star sailing in Sep 2024. Prior to 2021, I sailed Royal 1 time and had only credit for 1 sailing from 2005 in the C&A account...since then, I will have sailed on 7 unique sailings with a mix of balcony and suite rooms to get to Diamond.
  2. If you park on the surface lot, stay away from the spaces with trees - I heard that some of the trees drop a sap-like substance that it brutal to get off and/or birds sit in the trees, eat, and do bird things on cars. We were directed to a lot in front of the ship when we sailed on Odyssey. My wife is disabled so we got a handicapped spot right along the fence (red Toyota hidden by palm). The walk was short along a sidewalk to the terminal but we had to walk up the side to the front doors to enter (she has a scooter, I walked and MIL walked but took many breaks) - the red line is the walk and the orange circle is where we parked. You can see the other lot shown too in the satellite image - the lot we would have prefered was the one across from the doors to the terminal but because we arrived early as people were still leaving, they wouldn't let us park there.
  3. Any terminal will be busy up to the 10:30 check-in arrival time. There are still many departing passengers waiting for pick-ups or Uber/Lyft rides up until 10:15-10:30 making the amount of cars coming in to the drop-off area significant as many are loading people up instead of dropping off. We did Miami last April for Oasis and took the tunnel in - it was backed up in the tunnel and down to the U-turn around 10:15-10:20 - once we dropped the bags off and made it back around for the garage, things had noticeably calmed as many of the pick-ups were done and the trucks that were bringing in re-supply items were in the load/unload areas and not backed up on the road. If I were leaving out of Miami, I wouldn't pick the 1st time slot now, I would pick 11:30 or so and have less traffic getting in to the terminal. Port Everglades was slightly less busy (and a little confusing on where they wanted us to park after the luggage drop off as we were there early), Port Canaveral seems to get people out quicker for some reason and Tampa seemed pretty well organized as well when we went out on Serenade.
  4. On our sailings in 2021, we heard the song on the ship and a couple times on the island. The last few cruises since, we did not hear the song at all.
  5. Just don't blindly go to an agent to book - get recommendations of specific agents from agencies before you decide to use one. Just because there is a prefered agency in the group, doesn't mean all the agents are stellar. The last thing you want to hear when messaging your agent is "I'll get to it later", "I'm working right now and don't have time", or "I was travelling and didn't have access to your booking" There are a lot of people out there that get affiliated with a larger travel agency because they want the commissions on their own sailings/bookings. They started helping out friends and opened their availability to outside bookings because that commission is decent as a side hustle. But they still have full-time day jobs, many professionally, where they aren't always available. Maybe its just me but anything longer than 4 hours during the day or 12 hours with a 8P or later inquiry/request is too long, especially when you find a sale price.
  6. just remember, the Euro plug puts out 240V - if you use that device you linked on that outlet and plug in something into the front that is only rated up to 120V, you will fry the plug and possibly the device you plug into it (and maybe even the adapter) - USBs should be OK on the bottom though I find a standard 4-port USB charger works well for my watch, phones for wife and I, and my GoPro, MacBook, or iPad all at the same time. I also use one of these to add more capacity and will plug in our room fan into it.
  7. I can't believe no one mentioned retractable and unclipable cruise lanyards. I like the linked set not only for the variety, but also because they have vertical and horizontal badge holders (great for tapping room entry or at point of sale), they include two other attachment types for the older mag-stripe card that you can punch a hole in, they don't have a clip around the neck portion which can be a breaking point or something that irritates the back of the neck, they have a retractable lead for the tap-type cards to reach the door while standing (you don't have to take it off or bend over to reach the door lock reader), and they allow you to leave the lanyard on and simply unbuckle the card portion for handing over your card for drink purchases with servers. The bit of matching lanyard material still attached to your card makes for easy identification when with a group.
  8. I'd pick the cheaper one AFTER taking into account airfare and transportation costs - I don't know where each of those ships are leaving from but a sailing from Miami in spring and accounting for a day in advance hotel stay may wipe out the cost savings over same time from Galveston even though your transportation costs are higher due to airport distance. I'd consider: cruise fare airfare pre and/or post stay hotel expenses transportation from airport to hotel to cruise terminal time (if it takes you 5 hours to fly to one spot but only 3 to another, is that time difference worth the savings) With Oasis being amplified, you aren't far off from Wonder aside from newness and a couple of venues. I wouldn't hesitate on either of them.
  9. I typically have the drink package and in the 1st day or two, I'm trying out the different bars to see where my "spot" will be during down times to grab a drink or two or hang out post dinner / show until bed time to enjoy the evening. I keep about $10 on me in singles plus a five and if someone goes out of their way and is engaging, they'll get a tip in cash above the included tip. If they ignored me or treated it as very transactional and didn't engage, I just take the drink and move on. Once I find my spot however, I will feed $5 to each server throughout the cruise 4-5 times ensuring that they get at least $20 in cash from me depending on how much they served me (vs. others that may have seen me on occasion in that location). Heck, on one sailing, my wife slept in, didn't read the note I left behind with my phone, and went looking around the ship for me (I was lounging at the pool). She went to the pub (which was my "spot" for that sailing) and they preemptively told her "we haven't seen Mr Dennis today!" She went to guest services to see where I was buying my drinks and found me pretty quickly after that.
  10. sorry, don't like it - the link requested has booking ID included No one is getting my booking ID
  11. if they get stuck together, I just screw in the hook to the base and pry them apart
  12. Sounds like a Reddit argument - not all boomers are financially secured. Depending on their career and whether their company exists anymore, a pension that they may have banked on may no longer exist or was paid out early at a fraction of the intended value, 401k accounts weren't prevalent for many until the 1990's when they were in their 40s leaving their market earning potential limited, inflation has outpaced SSA income, and while some may have appreciated housing values, not everyone is hanging onto a house bought for $50k @ 12%APR (when making $2.25/hr) as an appreciated asset (many have taken that equity and upsized or downsized houses over the years). The over 65 population does have more time and tends to cruise more than non-retirees, but they don't always spend on extras like dining and drink packages as their goal is the adventure, not spending onboard. Inclusive dining options are perfect for many and buying a couple drinks (if they don't get free ones from status) is cheaper than buying a package. Its a marketing push by RCL to drive extra spending and may push someone that was "thinking about it" to "buying it" and as a result, brings in more money where the cruise line has better margins.
  13. So I figured this one out accidentally last evening - we are sailing on Wonder in May, my MIL is linked to our sailing and she is over 65. She is sharing a room with her nephew who is 19. I priced out something showing senior discounted (Mason Jar lunch) that we already purchased. Me and my wife in 1 stateroom were still $30.99, my MIL was $27.99 BUT her nephew in the same room was $30.99. So I'd say it is safe to assume that they know the age and will only apply the savings to the passenger(s) that are qualified.
  14. I wish the federal government issued these type of warnings for places within the US as well - maybe people will realize that places like Philadelphia can be just as dangerous as some foreign lands...35 homicides and 108 shootings so far this year which is a 31% decrease from last year at same time.
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