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lildawgscottFL

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  1. Haha
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from henrysea13 in Join the Insiders and help support Royal Caribbean Blog   
    Blasphemy!!!! Matt who? :lol:  ;) 
  2. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to KristenM in Why I am Officially Loyal to Royal   
    Besides the customer service issues on the last day, it wasn’t a horrible week, and I think traveling without a child I would have had a different experience.  I wouldn’t be nervous, just have your expectations set at ththe right level so there isn’t any disappointments. 
  3. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL reacted to KristenM in Why I am Officially Loyal to Royal   
    A few people have asked to hear about my thoughts so here it is.. although this isn’t really a live blog but we just got off the other day
     
    A little background on me...  I went on my first cruise in 2004 on Navigator of the Seas, and then in 2006 it was Mariner of the Seas.  I went on these in my early 20s.  Flash forward about 10 years, now in my early (almost mid) 30s and have an 8 year old son.  I was a single mother for some time and cruising wasn’t even something that crossed my mind.  I worked my a$$ off to provide a wonderful life for my son, and 4 years ago I met a great man who is also a great father to my son.  I was now finally in a much better financial situation and in early 2016 we were ready to book our first family vacation!!!  After doing some research I was debating between Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.  Considering I took a 10 year hiatus from cruising, I felt like everything was brand new again.  We ended up booking Harmony of the Seas for November 2016.  At the time, I didn’t even know Harmony was a brand new ship and that we were booked on her first 7 day Caribbean sailing!!  Talk about a steeler cruise to reintroduce myself to cruising!! I started googling and more googling until I stumbled upon Royal Caribbean Blog!
    After I had booked our Harmony sailing, but prior to actually sailing, a friend mentioned wanting to book a cruise for 2017.  I was in!!  They were celebrating their 10 year anniversary and only request was they didn’t want to visit Jamaica (bad experience on honeymoon).  Since we were sailing an eastern itinerary in 2016, and all the western itineraries I could find for the time period we were looking at and leaving out of Florida, they all had a stop in Jamaica.  My friends found an interesting itinerary on the NCL Getaway.  It came with their “perks” of the unlimited beverage package and 3 nights specialty dinning.  In the meantime, more people joined the group and I was out numbered in the vote to go RCI.  I said, what the hell, let’s do it!  You don’t know if like something until you try it, right?  Well flash forward again to November 2017... and I tried it, and know if I like it or not!
    I am going to do a comparison by category comparing my Harmony sailing to my Getaway sailing.  Now, I know this isn’t exactly comparing apples to apples since Harmony was brand new, and larger.  But Getaway is only a few years old, and still holds well over 4,000 passengers I feel they close enough to form my opinions.
    Pre Boarding/Cruise Planner - Prior to sailing on Harmony, Royal’s cruise planner drove me nuts.  Several different glitches, and it that it never worked properly on my phone.  I hate having to get my laptop out!  But, I was able to browse and book Shore excursions right away, they ran several different sales and everything was easy to find. 
    NCL - I couldn’t even view most excursions until about 120 days out.  I am a HUGE type A personality planner and this drove me nuts!  I don’t book most excursions through the ship so this wasn’t a huge deal except for the fact that I wanted to book a Beach Villa on their brand new private island in Belize called Harvest Caye (more on this later).  So, needless to say I was checking on a weekly basis and finally around the end of July (we were sailing in November) I was finally able to book the Villa.  
    I found the website lacking and a little hard to navigate, and I was unable to link our dining between our different reservations.  Because of this, and the timing of them releasing their Shore excursions, Royal wins for pre cruise planning.  RCI 1 NCL 0
    Embarkation - We were lucky to be one of the first sailings on Harmony, which you entered your credit card info, uploaded your picture etc all ahead of time.  It is my understanding not all RCI ships are this way, so I’m not going to take that into account, although I definitely liked that better.  Embarkation was fairly simple on both, fast and effecient.  On NCL we were traveling with my elderly grandmother who needed wheelchair assistance, we were one of the first people on the ship!  This also happened to me on my first two sailings with Royal (my grandfather was with us), moral of the story, if anyone in your party can justify a wheelchair, take advantage! Lol. Overall embarkation is a tie with very little issues on both  RCI 2 NCL 0
    First impressions on board - Royal ships are just gorgeous!!  I have not sailed on one without a Promenade and I really missed it!  That giddy feeling when you first walk on board was missing.  We boarded NCL on deck 7, and got to see the stairwell.. talk about underwhelming.  Luckily my TA had given me a heads up so at least I was prepared  RCI 3 NCL 0
    Staterooms - We had a standard balcony room on Harmony.  It was my first time on a balcony and I was officially hooked!  We are a family of 3, so 2 adults and a child.  We had more than enough storage and closet space, including room for my 15 pairs of shoes (don’t judge).  NCL, because my grandmother was traveling with us, we had connecting staterooms.  One a Family Mini Suite and the other an Angled Balcony Room.  The balcony room was their standard balcony room, but our balcony was where the ship “jutted” out, giving more room.  We had planned on opening the divider for one large balcony.  Well, “they don’t allow it for safety reasons” a quote from our room steward.  My question, why was the ship built with opening dividers if it’s a safety issue and they aren’t allowed to open them?  Major disappointment number 1.  We were warned the balconies were going to be tiny, but were not cocnerned as we thought we would have one long one.  I am an average height woman at about 5’6”.  When I sat in ththere chair that was all the way back, my knees touched the glass on the standard balcony of the mini suite.  Slightly more room on the angled balcony, but because of th angle we could only look forward not aft.. without hanging over the edge with someone hanging onto you so you don’t fall.  No thank you!  Bathrooms in both balcony rooms were fairly similar in size.  The Family Mini Suite is a glorified balcony with a larger bathroom.  It is NOT similar to a Junior Suite on RCI.  It did come with a full bathtub with a double sink which was nice.  The only closet in the room is very close to the couch and you had to shimmy in sideways to get in.  I definitely did not have room for 12 pairs of shoes (I tried to pack lighter this year).  Decor was only meh.. Royal wins for staterooms hands down RCI 4 NCL 0
    Food (the best part!) - I was actually disappointed with the overall food on Harmony.  I was used to the old style cruising of one specialty restaurant and set dining time with the same waiter each night.  Traditional dining was booked so we had to go with My Time Dinning.  We ate in the dining room 3 times and 4 Specialty (Chops, 150 CP, Jamie’s and Wonderland). All our specialty dining was amazing, main dining room not so much, including service.  One night the food was just disgusting.  And another night our server left much to be desired.  NCL has 3 main dining rooms, they have named theirselves “Freestyle cruising”.  At first I thought I wouldn’t like this.  I like traditional cruise dining, I enjoyed getting to know your waiter and your table mates, I enjoyed formal nights.  When else as an adult do you have an excuse to get all fancy?? We decided well in advance we would be doing our own formal night.  To our surprise, many people did the same!  You would see eveverything from evening gowns to shirts and tanks and no one judged.  I even wore shorts and sandals one night and I loved it!  The food, I didn’t have one bad meal, including complimentary.  There is a pub type place called O’Sheehans that is complimentary, we are not big buffet people so this is where we ate most lunches.  Everything was at minimum average and at best, delicious!  There is also a Margaritaville onboard (for a charge) because of the fact they had so many choices for complimentary dining and literally didn’t have one bad meal, topped with the relaxed dress code, NCL wins this one.  I’m even going to give them 1.5 points since I am combining dinning and dress code.. it really was nice being able to go casual without any glaring eyes RCI 4 NCL 1.5
    Kids Club - I should start with saying, my son has slight special needs being diagnosed ADHD with ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) basically, he does whatever he wants and doesn’t care about consequences.  He was borderline on the spectrum with Aspergers, but was just under the line.  I didn’t know at the time, but RCI is endorsed by the Austism Research Institute and even has sailings Autism of the Seas.  I was so nervous about dropping him off and having behavioral issues.  He had so much fun there!!  Everything was structured and organized, what he thrives from.  He wanted to be at the kids club any moment he could.  He was just as excited to try the NCL kids club.  NCL was much smaller, but I had expected that knowing Harmonys was the newest and best with a science, art and theater room.  2 out of the first 3 days we had behavioral issues.  Now, I know more than anyone that my son can be a handful, and he defiantly did wrong, I felt the staff on RCI was just better trained to accommodate “non mainstream” children like himself, and were able to see certain behavior be triggered and able to redirect prior to meltdowns.  We took 2 days off from the club then went back for short time periods and with a track phone.  He still had fun!  RCI 5 NCL 1.5
    Ship Activities/Overall layout - Harmony was so easy to navigate, it didn’t matter it is the largest cruise ship in the world.  I never got lost once, things made sense.  The neighborhood concept is amazing and makes you feel comfortable and at home.  I enjoy having the promenade and almost a “central main location” the hub of the ship sort of speak.  I never had that feeling on NCL, it always felt like something was missing.  The Atrium was just not the same, I am not sure if I would feel the same on a RCI ship with an atrium instead of a promenade.  I may need to stick to Voyager Class or above!  The casino was in the middle of the main deck and we had to walk through with children to get to the main dining room and if it wasn’t for all the smoke I probably wouldn’t care.  There is no mid bank of elevators, only forward and aft.  You have to walk outside to get to ththe buffet... did I mention it was downporuing in Honduras??  I was warned ahead of time the pool was tiny, and it was.  There is only one main pool, and it’s adults only.  There is a glorified hot tub squeezed between the slides and the splash area that they called the “kids pool”.  Because it’s in th middle, there is no wherno for chairs.  Since I am one of the parents that watches their child, unless I wanted to go in I had to sit on the side.  They should have planned better and thought of parents.  The splash area looked good for small children, but did not interest my 8 year old.  We was luckily tall enough to do some sides this year which was a plus, although we only did them once.  Mini was gold was average for a ship, but the sports complex area was impressive overall.  The ropes course and plank over th edge was pretty sick, in addition to the bungee trampoline for anyone under 90lbs.  The sports complex is really the good thing I have to say about the ship RCI 6 NCL 1.5
    Private Islands - I have only been to CocoCay, not Labadee but I need to make it happen.  I loved CocoCay, water was beautiful and it was so relaxing.  Loved everything was included like the ship.  Tendering is a downside although that is now changing!  I was so excited for Harvest Caye in Belize.  They just built it and it looked amazing.  As time went on I found out it wasn’t your typical private island and everything was run by locals not the ship, so nothing was included.  After some time I became ok with the idea that it wasn’t truly a private island, instead just another port stop.  There were some people on board who hadn’t done their research and were not pleased which is understandable.  It is also why you do a little research first.  The island landscaping and water was beyond beautiful.  I felt like we were on a pacific island.  We had the last villa on the beach so it was nice and private and service was amazing.  I defiantly enjoyed my day there more than CocaCay but I think the villa had something to do with that.. I will totally be looking into one for the 2019 GC.  Since to me it’s not truly a “Private Island” I’m giving NCL .5 points, making the total RCI 6 NCL 2
    As you can see by the scores, it wasn’t all bad.  I found the ship not as family friendly as Royal Caribbean, and if you are traveling without children you may have a very different experience, and until the last day I was thinking I would maybe sail them again, just as an adults only cruise, until...
    I was looking over my bill the last sea day and noticed a $300 charge from the Tempanyaki night.  My sons birthday was one night on board and 9 of us went to dinner there.  6 of us had the specialty dinning package and I was paying for the other 3.. I promise you it’s not $100 per person.  I went to guest services to correct and she insisted we used all the nights and that’s why we were charged.  After arguing for 20 mins and a few phone calls, she finally figured out that they not only charged me for all 9 but thwas dining was applied that night.  Now, to issue the refund she had to get the manager of that restaurant to do it, she couldn’t.  We waited abou 15 mins and he argued with us and didn’t even understand the receipt from HIS restaurant.  It clearly said “9 @ $29.95” then the service charge the and the total (around $310).  He was an asshat (can I say that on here?) and said I was “wrong” and he needed a calculator.  Needless to say I got my refund.  Did I mention I am an accountant?
    The last night of the cruise we went to get our pictures.  My mother and I split a 30 print package for $250 prior to sailing.  There was a special onboard for that price plus a USB of all the images.  We asked a girl if ours had that and she said yes.  We went to order our prints and another asshat (I can say that, right?) said it was $20 extra.  He called the girl over and proceeded to argue with her, she was insisting it did and he did not.  She ended up apologizing saying she was mistaken and it doesn’t come with ours since we bought ahead of time.  So basically they penalize you for buying ahead even though the falsely advertised you were saving money booking ahead.  More importantly the horrible customer service from Jovan in the photo studio who not only argued with me but also very rudely with a coworker right in front of us.  Over a $20 USB after spending $250 on pictures!!!  I walked out of there with my free USB and someone who will only be sailing RCI from now on!!  Did I mention my son and grandmother who shared a room both left with rashes?  They decided to check for any infestation on disembarkation day
    I feel like I may have rambled there at points and also probably forgot to touch on something so if you have any questions please feel free to ask! 
  4. Haha
    lildawgscottFL reacted to Jason.H. in Fresh squeezed OJ   
    Just get the drink package and order the fresh squeezed orange juice with a shot of tequila. Then you'll deffinately get your moneys worth :p
  5. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Favorite Drink Onboard   
    I would have polished off the bottle! The drink package + single-malt scotch = heavenly indulgence!!
  6. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Favorite Drink Onboard   
    We have friends who just returned from Islay.  They got tours of all 8 distilleries.  I think Scotch smells like as* but Dan loves his Scotch. Yuk !
    😉😉
  7. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to twangster in Favorite Drink Onboard   
    Lagavulin is my favorite scotch of all time.  Toured the distillery in 2008.  Celebrity claimed they had it and was bummed when we found none on board.  I was very pleased to see it on Harmony 
  8. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from RestingBird in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    @FManke confirmed: they only share with each other - no longer do they share with other bars (as per the lead bartender at 270 on Anthem)
  9. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from Jupiter in Enchatment OR Navigator   
    What they said ^^^

    Navigator is the "no brainer" option! Especially if you're a newbie! Enchantment is more subdued (aka less to do, older crowd), but it is still wonderful for a "seasoned" cruiser. The Navigator-class and Freedom-class ships are, for me, the sweet spot between getting a whole lot for your money while not spending a lot of your money (a la Oasis-class and Quantum-class). It will be a big win for you!
  10. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from DocLC in Enchatment OR Navigator   
    What they said ^^^

    Navigator is the "no brainer" option! Especially if you're a newbie! Enchantment is more subdued (aka less to do, older crowd), but it is still wonderful for a "seasoned" cruiser. The Navigator-class and Freedom-class ships are, for me, the sweet spot between getting a whole lot for your money while not spending a lot of your money (a la Oasis-class and Quantum-class). It will be a big win for you!
  11. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to FManke in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Thanks for the info, good to know. If you are going to work for tips, they should be yours. There is always going to be one person that doesn't pull their weight and will try and live off the hard work of others. I know that sounds cynical, but I've been there and seen that.
  12. Haha
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from hallyluhopper in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    bingo! nail on the head! tail on the donkey! (insert cliche here)!
  13. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from FManke in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Sorry for my delay. I had taken quite some time to write you a lengthy reply on 08/10, but it got deleted and I got pissed off about it, so I closed the browser and left the room! I apologize that I have not gotten back to you until today.

    To make a long reply short, I am not a fan of the upfront, large tip. A little extra on Day 1, just to show them you're serious? Okay, I get that. But, not the whole week's worth in one shot. Besides, you need to shop around for the best bar and bartenders. It could take a little time to discover that. Just remember that, like branding, repetition is key. They may get all excited on Day 1 with a big tip, but the emotion wears off. Give them a medium tip and then continue to tip throughout, and you will get better service. You need to keep hope alive! Keep them guessing, "Will this be a small one or the big kahuna!?" It is the basic Pavlovian response!

    If you do not drink alcohol, how does your generosity toward a bartender benefit you? What is your end game?
  14. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from ellcee in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Sorry for my delay. I had taken quite some time to write you a lengthy reply on 08/10, but it got deleted and I got pissed off about it, so I closed the browser and left the room! I apologize that I have not gotten back to you until today.

    To make a long reply short, I am not a fan of the upfront, large tip. A little extra on Day 1, just to show them you're serious? Okay, I get that. But, not the whole week's worth in one shot. Besides, you need to shop around for the best bar and bartenders. It could take a little time to discover that. Just remember that, like branding, repetition is key. They may get all excited on Day 1 with a big tip, but the emotion wears off. Give them a medium tip and then continue to tip throughout, and you will get better service. You need to keep hope alive! Keep them guessing, "Will this be a small one or the big kahuna!?" It is the basic Pavlovian response!

    If you do not drink alcohol, how does your generosity toward a bartender benefit you? What is your end game?
  15. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to fonemanbob in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    The drink package is great if you know upfront that you will be spending that much money each day.  It really doesn"t take much to use your up  daily cost.  Especially on a sea day.  Like Disney Bartender said the number one thing we do is extend a nice gratuity to the head bartender on the start of the cruise and at the end.  The service you get is awesome unless your a piece of work. We have done that the past several cruises as well as with our room attendant and the service you get is worth the extra money.   Nine times out of ten after a couple of days of ordering the same drinks if the bartender spots you heading his or her  way they will have made your drinks by the time you reach the bar. 
  16. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL reacted to DocLC in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    I also think for those of us using the C&A drink vouchers should tip as it's unlikely the crew is getting a tip on these "free" drinks. I carry a few dollar bills with me in the evening when I redeem my vouchers for this.
  17. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL reacted to RestingBird in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    @DisneyBartenderScott Well said, and thank you for sharing.  It was good for me to read, and I know good for others to read 👍
  18. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from RestingBird in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Speaking as one in the industry.... NEVER USE A COCKTAIL SERVER!!! Granted, that is an overgeneralization, but for the most part, it is true. (That includes the MDR.)

    First, they are slower. Three reasons for that:
    they are not the ones making your drink the bartender making the cocktail servers' drinks will always prioritize the guest sitting directly in front of him or her over the guest he or she cannot see at the cocktail server's table; the cocktail server has to walk around the lounge, pool deck, etc. while the bartender has everything he or she needs at his or her immediate disposal; the cocktail server can only visit one table at a time, whereas the bartender can make several guests' drinks at one time, especially if the guests order the same cocktails. Second, cocktail servers are almost always less capable, which is why they are still servers and not yet bartenders. Sometimes, that is not their fault. They may be new or young or just have not been trained yet. However, I like the pros! Bartenders are usually the pros! And again, that, too, is a generalization. I have met my share of crappy bartenders. However, on the whole, servers work their way UP to become bartenders. Thus, by the nature of that merit-based system, bartenders will typically be better than cocktail servers.

    Third, cocktail servers do not make your cocktails. That may seem obvious, but most people do not even consider that fact. Thus, they have no control as regards the final product's quality. As much as the company (in this case, Royal) wants there to be 100% consistency between every drink at every bar on every ship, we all know that is an impossible standard for many reasons. At the end of the day, all you care about is your own personal drink - it had better be the best it can be! (let other people get bad drinks  ) The way to ensure that you get a great drink is to bond with a bartender. DO NOT MISTAKE ME HERE. Tipping helps, but if you are a jerk, you will likely still get a bad drink. Remember, bartenders are people first, bartenders second - treat them as such. They are not slaves. They make a choice to be there. They can make a choice not to be. So treat them with respect. And then also tip them well! Just because you have the drink package, does not mean you will get the best drinks. Someone who tips well can make not having the drink package go a long way. Additionally, I do not merely want the best quality drinks; I also want the best service. I want to skip the line. I want them to remember my name. I want them bending over backward to make sure I am happy. And so on. There is only so much a cocktail server can do. A bartender, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on your cruise vacation - particularly if that bartender is also the lead bartender. (Pro Tip: learn who the lead bartender is very early on in your cruise. They know things!)

    Fourth (and final for now), unless you are sitting far away from the bar and have a good reason not to get up (broken foot, etc.), get your lazy butt up! On every ship I have been on, the bar is never too far away. Hmm? It is like Royal planned it that way. The bar is a very social place - both with the bartenders and with your fellow guests. It is a cruise! Do not isolate and insulate yourself - mingle! Make it a party! Make memories! Make lifelong cruise friends! It is much harder to do that from your lounge chair, your MDR table, or your theater chair. The Europeans have the pub culture figured out. They got it right! So do as they do and mozy up to the bar - your cruise vacation will be better off for it in countless ways. And leave the MDR for dining!
  19. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from FManke in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Speaking as one in the industry.... NEVER USE A COCKTAIL SERVER!!! Granted, that is an overgeneralization, but for the most part, it is true. (That includes the MDR.)

    First, they are slower. Three reasons for that:
    they are not the ones making your drink the bartender making the cocktail servers' drinks will always prioritize the guest sitting directly in front of him or her over the guest he or she cannot see at the cocktail server's table; the cocktail server has to walk around the lounge, pool deck, etc. while the bartender has everything he or she needs at his or her immediate disposal; the cocktail server can only visit one table at a time, whereas the bartender can make several guests' drinks at one time, especially if the guests order the same cocktails. Second, cocktail servers are almost always less capable, which is why they are still servers and not yet bartenders. Sometimes, that is not their fault. They may be new or young or just have not been trained yet. However, I like the pros! Bartenders are usually the pros! And again, that, too, is a generalization. I have met my share of crappy bartenders. However, on the whole, servers work their way UP to become bartenders. Thus, by the nature of that merit-based system, bartenders will typically be better than cocktail servers.

    Third, cocktail servers do not make your cocktails. That may seem obvious, but most people do not even consider that fact. Thus, they have no control as regards the final product's quality. As much as the company (in this case, Royal) wants there to be 100% consistency between every drink at every bar on every ship, we all know that is an impossible standard for many reasons. At the end of the day, all you care about is your own personal drink - it had better be the best it can be! (let other people get bad drinks  ) The way to ensure that you get a great drink is to bond with a bartender. DO NOT MISTAKE ME HERE. Tipping helps, but if you are a jerk, you will likely still get a bad drink. Remember, bartenders are people first, bartenders second - treat them as such. They are not slaves. They make a choice to be there. They can make a choice not to be. So treat them with respect. And then also tip them well! Just because you have the drink package, does not mean you will get the best drinks. Someone who tips well can make not having the drink package go a long way. Additionally, I do not merely want the best quality drinks; I also want the best service. I want to skip the line. I want them to remember my name. I want them bending over backward to make sure I am happy. And so on. There is only so much a cocktail server can do. A bartender, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on your cruise vacation - particularly if that bartender is also the lead bartender. (Pro Tip: learn who the lead bartender is very early on in your cruise. They know things!)

    Fourth (and final for now), unless you are sitting far away from the bar and have a good reason not to get up (broken foot, etc.), get your lazy butt up! On every ship I have been on, the bar is never too far away. Hmm? It is like Royal planned it that way. The bar is a very social place - both with the bartenders and with your fellow guests. It is a cruise! Do not isolate and insulate yourself - mingle! Make it a party! Make memories! Make lifelong cruise friends! It is much harder to do that from your lounge chair, your MDR table, or your theater chair. The Europeans have the pub culture figured out. They got it right! So do as they do and mozy up to the bar - your cruise vacation will be better off for it in countless ways. And leave the MDR for dining!
  20. Thanks
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from Floski in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    Speaking as one in the industry.... NEVER USE A COCKTAIL SERVER!!! Granted, that is an overgeneralization, but for the most part, it is true. (That includes the MDR.)

    First, they are slower. Three reasons for that:
    they are not the ones making your drink the bartender making the cocktail servers' drinks will always prioritize the guest sitting directly in front of him or her over the guest he or she cannot see at the cocktail server's table; the cocktail server has to walk around the lounge, pool deck, etc. while the bartender has everything he or she needs at his or her immediate disposal; the cocktail server can only visit one table at a time, whereas the bartender can make several guests' drinks at one time, especially if the guests order the same cocktails. Second, cocktail servers are almost always less capable, which is why they are still servers and not yet bartenders. Sometimes, that is not their fault. They may be new or young or just have not been trained yet. However, I like the pros! Bartenders are usually the pros! And again, that, too, is a generalization. I have met my share of crappy bartenders. However, on the whole, servers work their way UP to become bartenders. Thus, by the nature of that merit-based system, bartenders will typically be better than cocktail servers.

    Third, cocktail servers do not make your cocktails. That may seem obvious, but most people do not even consider that fact. Thus, they have no control as regards the final product's quality. As much as the company (in this case, Royal) wants there to be 100% consistency between every drink at every bar on every ship, we all know that is an impossible standard for many reasons. At the end of the day, all you care about is your own personal drink - it had better be the best it can be! (let other people get bad drinks  ) The way to ensure that you get a great drink is to bond with a bartender. DO NOT MISTAKE ME HERE. Tipping helps, but if you are a jerk, you will likely still get a bad drink. Remember, bartenders are people first, bartenders second - treat them as such. They are not slaves. They make a choice to be there. They can make a choice not to be. So treat them with respect. And then also tip them well! Just because you have the drink package, does not mean you will get the best drinks. Someone who tips well can make not having the drink package go a long way. Additionally, I do not merely want the best quality drinks; I also want the best service. I want to skip the line. I want them to remember my name. I want them bending over backward to make sure I am happy. And so on. There is only so much a cocktail server can do. A bartender, on the other hand, can have a significant impact on your cruise vacation - particularly if that bartender is also the lead bartender. (Pro Tip: learn who the lead bartender is very early on in your cruise. They know things!)

    Fourth (and final for now), unless you are sitting far away from the bar and have a good reason not to get up (broken foot, etc.), get your lazy butt up! On every ship I have been on, the bar is never too far away. Hmm? It is like Royal planned it that way. The bar is a very social place - both with the bartenders and with your fellow guests. It is a cruise! Do not isolate and insulate yourself - mingle! Make it a party! Make memories! Make lifelong cruise friends! It is much harder to do that from your lounge chair, your MDR table, or your theater chair. The Europeans have the pub culture figured out. They got it right! So do as they do and mozy up to the bar - your cruise vacation will be better off for it in countless ways. And leave the MDR for dining!
  21. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from whitsmom in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    bingo! nail on the head! tail on the donkey! (insert cliche here)!
  22. Haha
    lildawgscottFL reacted to KLA in Nachi Cocum Question   
    HEY BOY HEEEYYYY! 
    Oh, I'm sure you're right. I think that'll be something we do on another trip back at this point. I think I have my heart set on buzzed putt putt after a long morning in the solarium while not having to wait on everyone ahead of me. :) 
  23. Like
    lildawgscottFL reacted to Floski in Main Dining Room and Drink Packages   
    One thing to remember is that the MDR wait staff, while glad and eager to get your adult beverages, aren't super fast, so you might want to grab one in a bar before you head to dinner.
  24. Like
    lildawgscottFL got a reaction from Bob_KY in Favorite Drink Onboard   
    Jack Daniels is the McDonald's of booze - it's ubiquitous, it's reasonably priced, it tastes fine, but nothing to write home about, and it's got brand recognition. Thus, every bar carries it, just like they all carry Johnny Black and Smirnoff and Bacardi. Unfortunately, it's not the bars' fault - it is the fault of the uneducated consumer. Hence, I drink Jack when they have nothing else available, and Smirnoff and Bacardi - NEVER JWB!!! Yuck!
  25. Haha
    lildawgscottFL reacted to Madelyn D in Cruise Critic member fears RCblog taking over Harmony!   
    They're asking as if RCblog group taking over the ship would be a bad thing. 
    Oh no a fleet of people that love cruising and have a lot of helpful advice. THE HORROR.
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