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Butch R

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  1. Ok. The debarkation debacle: My wife and I have two grown sons with autism. My youngest is more affected by being surrounded closely in heavy crowds. When he was small, being in a bunched up crowd might cause a full blown melt-down. As an adult, it seriously stresses him and will affect him for the rest of the day with lots of anxiety. Carnival really touts their commitment to helping those with autism, PTSD and other sensory related issues. Good on them! I am all for that. The day before debarking, we get the memo in our room going over the instructions for the next morning. On that memo they talked about their Express Debarking Program for folks with those sorts of needs, and that we need to see a crewmember in our staging area for debarking to get the ball rolling. Since we had a 8.5 hour drive ahead of us, we decided to try for the early Express Debarking. We went to a crew member and asked to be allowed to use the Express Debarkation service. We were directed to the theater and placed with people who needed wheelchair assistance, which I found very odd. But the young man assured me, this group would go first. They did not. We were on the right side of the theater with the wheelchair and assistance needed folks. In the center of the theater were cruisers with early flights. While the left side of the theater had folks with Platinum and Diamond status and some other folks I could not tell you who they were. The Platinum members got to leave first along with all the folks on the left side. Then people with early flights, and then finally the wheelchair users. And to top it all off, before the theater was empty, an announcement was made to others on board that they could now debark. This caused a big crowd we were caught in that was exactly what we tried to avoid. I could tell, in the confusion of debarking a lot of guests, that some crew had no idea what other crew were doing. Believe me, I do understand debarking a bunch of hard-headed guests can be like herding cats. Which is why, I think more care needs to be given to folks like my sons who have sensory issues. Had we known how this debarking would have been handled, we would have gone to MDR for a nice breakfast, hung out for a bit, and then strolled off the ship after the crowds had dispersed.
  2. Hey Karl, You know, we probably paid about $100 more for our RC cruise for the both of us. Money well spent in my opinion. I have no idea about their thinking on the buffet. I know I have heard that supply line changes have affected food quality in the whole industry, but I can't be for sure. I remember breakfast on The Breeze in the buffet line and I got what I can best describe as hockey puck biscuits and summer camp scrambled eggs (grainy, overcooked and watery). This sent me to MDR for most other breakfast outings.
  3. We had a GTY on our April cruise and ended up in a great location.
  4. Ok, so let me expound a bit on what I said in my last post. I have taken two cruises in my entire life. Cruise number one was on Adventure of The Seas in April, 2022. Cruise number two was with Carnival on The Breeze in September, 2022. Why Carnival? I listened to a friend. A friend in retrospect who obviously knows no better! LOL Both Adventure of The Seas and The Breeze are of a similar size and had very similar itineraries. So, I feel this is a very good apples-to-apples comparison. The Ships: Winner - Adventure of The Seas. My wife and I both found the interior of Adventure of The Seas to be far more beautiful and appealing than The Breeze. Also, we found getting around on AoTS to be easier and more intuitive. The Breeze felt blocky by comparison without any natural flow. Also, the promenade on AoTS is just much more appealing than the atrium on The Breeze. AoTS is like a nicely appointed high end hotel and The Breeze is like a Super 8 hotel. Food: I am breaking down the food in to categories: Buffet: Adventure of The Seas by a long mile. In almost every category, the Windjammer kicks tail over the Lido Marketplace buffet on The Breeze. I am not saying the food is perfect in the Windjammer, there are hits and misses for sure, but the food was just overall very bad on The Breeze buffet. Sodas: Royal for the win. Why? They have Coke products. Carnival has Pepsi. I am a Coke man. Pizza: Ok, The Breeze wins one. The Pizza Pirate on The Breeze was superior in my opinion than the pizza we ate at Cafe Promenade on AoTS. Overall Included Dining Options: The Breeze again. The included options on The Breeze include Guy’s Burger Joint, Guy’s Pig & Anchor BBQ, Pizza Pirate, and Blue Iguana Cantina. In fact, the burgers from Guys, the pizza from Pizza Pirate and the tacos from Blue Iguana were very good. MDR: Adventure of The Seas. The dining rooms in AoTS are far more elegant and beautiful and feel more open. The food was a notch above as well when compared to The Breeze. Cabins: Tie. I found both cabins on the ships to be comparable. The Breeze may have had more usable storage as well, but lacked in decor. I slept great on both beds. (I like a very firm mattress). Staff: Adventure of The Seas. And really, this was close. We got great, friendly service on both ships, but the staff on The Breeze really bungled debarking for us. And that is another long story for later. Entertainment: Adventure of The Seas. The shows, the entertainers, the options, and the venues we found to be just a bit better on our RC ship. Not to say The Breeze didn’t have good entertainment, just not as good as on AoTS.
  5. Just returned from a cruise from Galveston on another cruise line that rhymes with "Barnival". Royal is better in every way. That is all.
  6. A whole crew of my family and my sister's family will be making this trip! Who else is going?
  7. Yes, we tipped our porter and room steward. (Janario! Master of the towel animals!) And our waiters as well.
  8. Must have been recorded outside! I would hope so! I sleep with it at a low volume! LOL
  9. Guys, I am gonna be honest and say that I slept so well on our first cruise. The sounds from our balcony cabin just put me out. Now, I am going to sleep like a baby tonight: https://slumberwell.podbean.com/e/cruise-ship-sailing-water-and-wind-from-a-balcony-cabin/
  10. Ok, we just came back () from our first ever cruise on Adventure of The Seas sailing from April 6-11. We booked our second night of the cruise to dine at Giovanni's Table. Wow. I found the food and service to be absolutely excellent! First we were had our bread service and Giovanni's Italian Cheese and Cured Meat Plank that included not only the excellent cheeses and meats, but also a small jar of pickled veggies that paired well with the meats and cheeses. For our appetizers, we chose the Insalata di Rucola and the Grigliata di Polpo. The Insalata di Rucola was a salad made with Arugula, shaved parm, parsley, and a lemon vinaigrette. It was maybe the least enjoyable thing we tried. It was very strong with the lemon, but you may find it excellent. The greens were fresh and tasty. The Grigliata di Polpo is the grilled octopus. The octopus was cooked perfectly and was tender and mild with just the right amount of char. It was served on a bed of white beans that were seasoned nicely. For our pasta courses, we chose the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola and the Linguine alla Vongole. The Gnocchi was perfectly cooked little potatoey pillows in a fantastic sauce. It was a favorite for both of us. The Linguine all Vongole is linguine and clams. The clams were sweet and tender and the pasta was cooked perfectly and sauced nicely. I just wish it had a few more of those delicious clams! The entrees we chose were Gamberetti alla Ligure and the Filetto di Manzo Rustico. The Gamberetti alla Ligure is grilled shrimp served over mashed potatoes with herbs and cherry tomatoes. The shrimp were well cooked and while this dish was tasty, the real star of the night was the Filetto. It was a filet mignon, roasted garlic potato puree, roasted brocolini, with a Barolo sauce. We both agreed the filet may have been the best we ever had. It was so very good! Finally we enjoyed our desserts of cannoli, tiramisu and this chocolate hazelnut thing I cannot recall the name of! But the chocolate hazelnut thing I cannot recall the name of was the best of three good items!
  11. My wife and I are going on a cruise on Adventure of The Seas on April 6. While onboard, we plan to book an Alaskan cruise that my sister has already booked for herself. We are waiting to book the same cruise for ourselves and do it while onboard due to the extra perks we would get. So, my question is: Can I book a stateroom for my nephew as well? I mean, book one under his name? Thanks
  12. Hi @mamie! Not from Charleston, but it is a favorite for my wife and I. We LOVED the seafood at Fleet Landing restaurant. Then for dessert, the Peninsula Grill has the best coconut cake I have ever had. Also, we stayed across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant and had a short commute to historic Charleston with much better hotel prices. Have a wonderful time!
  13. In light of the current social political situation in the world, I don't see how RC could have done anything differently.
  14. Yes. For example when my youngest son was between the ages of 3-11, his behavior because of his autism was sometimes sporadic, unpredictable and to the outside eye loud and unruly. Our doctor wrote a short letter explaining his diagnosis, why he may exhibit certain behaviors, and explaining that accommodations that could be made because of his condition would be beneficial to everyone involved. It may not be needed, as I am sure most cruise lines have had issues of a similar nature. But, it may come in handy in other venues as well. We showed it a couple of times, once at Disney World in 2005 when getting his Guest Assistance Pass (Now renamed the Disability Access Service).
  15. Hi @OurSlowSimpleTravel! I cannot speak to cruising, but as a father of two sons with autism (who are now grown), I can speak to just traveling in general with a child with special needs and sensory issues. Keep your expectations flexible as to activities. Go with their flow. Take frequent breaks. Avoid sensory overload Get a note from your child's doctor, and make copies. It can be handy.
  16. We live about 8 hours away and will be driving in for the trip the day before embarkation. I almost...almost did a flight because of good rates on Southwest, but had already pre-paid for my parking...
  17. @AhaOhio, I am so sorry your family did not get to cruise. We had our plans to visit U.K. lost to the pandemic. We had been planning a trip and had everything paid for for a May 2020 trip. As you can imagine, it was not to be. As you did, we had purchased trip insurance. Thank goodness we did! We are holding any plans to book travel outside the US until after at least 2023. We are planning a make good trip in 2024 ... four years after the original plan! I hope you are able to travel again soon my friend. I am so sorry about your trip being postponed. Take care and stay safe!
  18. I feel I should also mention the parking lot trams. At this time of this post, only the Magic Kingdom has trams running in the parking lots. For the folks with mobility issues who are driving and using the parking lots at the parks, please take note of this. When we went last time, the parking lot trams were not running in any of the parks. This caused me to coin the phrase "The Bataan Death March of Fun" as we made treks from the far reaches of the parking lots to and from the parks. I was told it was because of staffing issues.
  19. That is true, because you can choose who in your party will be riding. What I do not know is if you can make two different Genie+ reservations at the same time for two different groups.
  20. SHAMELESS plug of my Dad Jokes account on Tik Tok!
  21. And, I noticed some of us may have other issues to contend with. I have two grown sons with Autism, and we have found the use of the Disability Access Service at Walt Disney World to be a life saver. There are also other services provided by WDW for folks with mobility issues. Here are a couple of REALLY handy links: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/ https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/disability-access-service/
  22. Hi BeachGal! A single day Base ticket, or a multi-day Base ticket will get you in one park a day. But, we never do Base tickets! We always purchase multi-day Parkhopper Tickets. The policy right now with Parkhopping at WDW is you schedule your first park of the day in the My Disney Experience app or online through their website. Then after 2 p.m., you can "hop" to as many other parks as you like. You do not have to schedule those park visits, only the first one of the day. We always use undercovertourist.com to purchase our tickets and they are great!
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