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Everything posted by SheSellsSeashells

  1. I’m so sad it’s my last night! There were two bars that had bartenders who would start making my drink of choice when they saw me coming (the Solarium and the Trellis)—and it only took $1 cash per drink on top of the DBP during the first couple of days. I will be sure to mention them by name in the post-cruise survey if I’m given the option. I feel like I could never parse any announcements over the intercom, which was frustrating—on this cruise in particular the announcements I cared about where Aqua80-related, and even though I was listening for them, tonight I wandered from the Schooner Bar into an unexpected full Aqua80 performance with almost a full house…I was honestly shocked they would even try high dives and the tightrope walker the night before Bayonne. (The tightrope walker was not, in fact, not able to make it across with the effortlessness he achieved on Wednesday; I left to get a Campfire Cookie at Playmakers after his first couple of attempts to stay upright, which made me feel bad.) I’m SO happy I made this trip, and I honestly think I’d rather come back on Oasis before experiencing a new ship: is that weird?
  2. Random question/observation: why doesn’t my keycard say which deck my cabin is on?! More often than not crew members have that question even after I give them the card proving I have the DBP or whatever else…it’s such an odd thing to omit, if from the perspective of everyone doing guest-facing work the information is incomplete. Also, today has been the least reliable in terms of internet access—I had to postpone a work meeting because I can’t reliably connect to anything. (It’s in no way an issue as my boss knows where I am and was happy to reschedule—just saying.)
  3. (Im an idiot am originally photographed the wrong side.) Are these the ones you mean? If so, I don’t think you’d be able to see much because of all the structures in the way at that angle.
  4. Cruise Director Mike just announced that there’s going to be an Aqua 80 showcase at 7pm! I’m SO excited.
  5. I feel like I’ve really had a Perfect Day—I had firstlunch at the Boardwalk Dog House; watched Aqua 80 rehearsals with a couple of beers, had secondlunch at El Loco Fresh; and then napped in the Solarium until 3:15, at which point I came onto the island as the vast majority of people were walking back onto the ship. I feel sorry for the guitarist scheduled for the 4:15 show, because the audience couldn’t possibly be good and wasn’t. I'm just so happy to be here! I can’t stop walking around grinning like an idiot.
  6. This presumably varies by state; in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you can access a website called My Vax Records that will generate a Covid vaccination card you can add to the wallet of your iPhone. (Underneath the “Issued By” section is a QR code I cropped out for obvious reasons.)
  7. One of the things I am learning anew on this trip is how much more my experiences are impacted by my perspective than by external circumstances—“I am having a phenomenal time on this cruise” is a state of mind as much as anything else. With that in mind, I’m watching Aqua 80 rehearsals and appreciating the ways in which this is giving me an even better understanding of what goes into putting the show together than just watching it would. IMG_7314.MOV
  8. My day started with many rainbows, which was delightful. I grabbed a smoothie from the Vitality Café and brought it to the chairs on the aft of the jogging track so I could watch us back into Coco Cay. I love having my own verandah, but I’m also deeply enjoying my time out there. The only issue is that I always decide I want to be there when I’m all the way forward on the ship, and then I proceed to come out on exactly the wrong side such that I’m ¾ of the length of the ship away facing the wrong direction…I will not get the hang of this, I just know it. I’m still feeling ambivalent about getting off the ship. Apologies to the Perfect Day aficionados, but if you don’t have an excursion or extra amenity booked it’s just a day on a beach or in a pool, and hilariously I love Caribbean cruising but neither of those things excites me. I think I will read on a daybed in the Solarium during the day, finally check out El Loco Fresh when it opens at 1 since there won’t be a crowd, and then maybe go walk around the island in the midafternoon after people start returning to the ship to get ready for the first dinner seating.
  9. At this point I’m convinced that every single person who’s ever said, “you can never even feel the motion of the ship” was sailing on an Oasis-class ship out of FL…in terms of what it feels like to be standing on an arbitrary spot on the ship, the difference between tonight and yesterday morning motion-wise is literally like night and day. Based on the previous cruise compasses I’ve seen for this itinerary post-shutdown, they weren’t even bothering to schedule Aqua80 pre-FL when embarking in Cape Liberty, so I’m assuming that my experience is standard. The question of the night is, will I make it to Adult Karaoke? I love karaoke but I’m a VERY early riser*, so all adults-only cruise ship activities happen too late for me. *No matter what I’m up before 6 a.m., even on vacation; it’s not a choice I’m making, I just have insomnia.
  10. I had dinner at Izumi,* and I did something I’ve literally never done before in a restaurant: I got something I didn’t like (the truffled creamy lobster tempura roll), and said as much instead of just eating it anyway or asking to get it To Go. Wasting food and disappointing people are two of my least favorite things, so my newfound ability to set that aside and be honest about what I want feels like real personal growth. I did feel very worried about making my server hate me, but what matters most is that a) they still got a $10 tip on top of the UDP 18% and b) I took one more step into adulthood at the age of 37 *Sushi, not hibachi—I’m sure most people don’t have much hibachi experience, but it happens that my extended family loves it more than most things, so the majority of the time I eat at a restaurant with them we’re going for hibachi…so it’s both in no way a novelty to me and also seems like a weird experience for an introverted solo traveler.
  11. Today, Thursday, and Friday afternoon I’m (kind of, sort of) working, and it’s been funny wandering around looking for good places to do it. At first I assumed I’d just stay in my cabin, but I decided that felt like a waste so I headed to Central Park. I was going to duck into the Library for my Zoom meetings, but people kept coming in and I didn’t want to disturb them by talking/hang out with them in a closed room unmasked unnecessarily so I’ve been mostly outside. My 9:30 meeting was before the pool deck music started, which was pretty perfect, and the Internet has been cooperating for the most part. (Weirdly, my Zooms have been flawless but loading webpages is hit or miss.) I had a late lunch at Portside BBQ, which was very satisfying despite them having run out of brookies, and I got to enjoy first the country guitarist/singer and then some dolphins swimming alongside us. (The “hint of mint” in the Spiked Palmer has the subtlety of a stage whisper, though.)
  12. I used to frequent a forum similar to this one that is dedicated to DCL cruising, as my three previous cruises were all on their ships. There are a lot of people who are deeply comforted by the Disney Bubble and intimidated by the idea of venturing outside it, and one reason that’s frequently cited is the lack of casinos—people say they don’t want to be on a ship with one, period, partially because of the cigarette smoke. My thought was, how could I possibly be affected by the existence of the casino if I don’t go in? And even DCL ships have a smoking section, so how could this be different? I was a daily smoker for a decade, so I’m not just being a scold when I say it turns out that on this ship I have found all the cigarette smoke to be unpleasant and, to a certain extent, ubiquitous: the whole area of the Royal Promenade around the staircase to the casino reeks of stale smoke. Every time I go up to the pool deck, I accidentally emerge right in the middle of the smoking section, which feels larger than I expected. This morning before 6 a.m. I went out to my verandah to enjoy the last glimpses of the planets before sunrise and someone very nearby was smoking. (I know that last one is just a rule breaker, which can happen anywhere, and after I loudly stated, “I can smell your smoke,” they either stopped or reoriented in a way that eliminated the impact on my area…it was just a moment of, “Ugh, again?!”) So, there are definitely differences in the experience beyond the lack of split bathrooms and the pornography on the PPV—which was itself a record scratch moment for me. (I was scrolling through the options and the porn is literally right below Sing 2. It’s good to know that when I’m sailing with family I’ll need to activate parental controls before my kid gets the remote.) Am I crazy, or does this cloud look like a cruise ship? It has smokestacks and everything. (I promise I’ll start to include pictures of something other than sky and water soon...)
  13. This is my fourth cruise, and the second that embarked somewhere other than Port Canaveral. (The other was a Vancouver-to-San Diego repositioning cruise in October.) It’s weirdly easy to forget/not recognize that if it’s not beach weather where you got on the ship, you have to sail to the beach weather—and if it’s a weeklong round-trip, you will be sailing toward it and back away from it for more than half the your time onboard. Yesterday at Trellis Bar I heard some Mainers in t-shirts explaining to someone else that they’re used to this weather…as a lifelong resident of the Northeastern US, I have to say that I’m just cold all the time (unless I’m too hot). I spent a couple of hours this morning looking at the water from a Solarium daybed in a coat and wrapped in a blanket, and passersby seemed evenly split between people in swimwear and people in coats complaining about the cold. The water is much calmer now that we’re around South Carolina, thank goodness. You can’t beat the view from the aft of the jogging track! I’ve caught some glimpses of the Aqua 80 cast’s rehearsals, and it’s honestly shocking that they’re so far away from having learned the show more than a week into being on the ship. I will console myself with YouTube recordings, but I feel bad for the people who paid for any balcony that overlooks the Aqua Theater.
  14. According to the level app on my phone the ship is swaying as much as 3 degrees, and I’m really feeling it; at the moment, I’m a little sad we’re not getting to Port Canaveral until tomorrow afternoon. Still, what a privilege to have woken up to this view!
  15. I’m currently on Oasis after booking last month, and I got the DBP + Voom package for $87/day.
  16. I made it onboard! I had a 10:30 check-in time, but since we were asked to come an hour later to accommodate a traffic issue I arrived at the port at 11:25—even though it felt like I was stuck behind the slowest people at every point AND there was an issue at my muster station where my setsail pass wasn’t working*, I was having a beer at Playmakers by 11:55. Why was check-in pre-pandemic so terrible?! I had a lovely lunch at Giovanni’s Table, and rooms were ready before I was done. An oceanview balcony cabin to myself feels like a suite! *Every time they scanned my paperwork, the device would sound an alarm and say that my pass was invalid, please check my ID…it was odd. They checked me off on paper, so we’ll see if that was enough or if I’ll need to go back.
  17. I made myself an app for my cruise in Coda: it has my packing list, a countdown, trackers for Small Wonders and my drinks, etc. I am very ready to get my day started. My train ride was pleasant — Acela First Class apparently includes a surprisingly good meal and open bar — but because I had no plans for Newark beyond waking up here on embarkation day, I’ve been counting the minutes until it’s reasonable for me to request a Lyft to the port since I exited The Other Penn Station. The Royal app now has the activities schedule for the cruise loaded and is allowing me to add things to my calendar, so I’m killing time looking at what will be on offer. Based on what I see in the app and what I’ve heard about the last few Oasis sailings, I’m preparing myself for a trip with neither Aqua 80 nor Cats, but I will survive. (Aqua 80 is a real loss; Cats is just bad in a way I find bonkers and amusing.)
  18. We just got notification that the same thing is happening for the May 8 sailing.
  19. I just got my negative test result —so I am officially going on vacation! This will be my first solo cruise and first non-DCL ship, and I was hoping it might be worth a live blog even though my oceanview balcony cabin will be sub-cosmic class. About me: 37, Boston, Director of Operations for an environmental nonprofit; unrepentant overpacker, recovering overplanner, extreme introvert. My bag has been packed for almost two weeks. About my trip: Many firsts—First Royal cruise, first cruise since the shutdown, first solo cruise. I’ve never stepped onto a ship without my 9yo and currently-becoming-ex-husband before! He and I are still on good terms, and had initially planned an April ’22 post-separation sailing for the three of us in a 2-bedroom suite on Freedom—we had an overwater cabana booked and everything!—but he canceled right before final payment because he was spooked about getting on a ship in These Dark Times. He ended up taking our kid on a land-based trip to FL without me, and I decided on what would have been our embarkation day to YOLO Book It and have a solo adventure. (Having only sailed DCL before, even with the single supplement, DBP, UDP, and Voom I’m beside myself over how little I’m paying for this. ) This will also be the first time I’ve not had to fly to get to the port—I decided to try out First Class on the Amtrak Acela between Boston and Newark Penn Station. I’m leaving Boston tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and I’ll spend the night at the DoubleTree by Hilton that’s next to the train station. The question of the moment: how am I supposed to get any work done today?!
  20. If you'd be interested in getting an earlier check-in time, I recommend looking today—I initially had 12:30 p.m. since I booked last month, and this morning for the first time I was able to change it to 10:30 a.m.
  21. That’s incredibly disappointing—I will () be on the 5/8 sailing and Aqua80 was one of the reasons why I chose that ship…I can let you know if I hear anything and/or what we end up getting.
  22. I am counting down the seconds until my 1st solo cruise/1st non-Disney cruise/1st cruise since 2019 on Oasis on May 8th! I originally booked a day pass to the Coco Beach Club, but I canceled it after I watched many reviews that made it clear I paid far too much ($199+tip) for what I'd be getting for a few hours on top of what I'd already paid for the unlimited dining and deluxe beverage packages. Basically, my idea of a Perfect Day involves a nice lounger, relatively few people, and my beverage package. (I don't need to get into the ocean; I just want to look at and listen to it.) Is it possible that my best bet is to actually stay onboard and hang out in the Solarium or on the pool deck all day? Can anyone tell me what it's like to stay onboard while docked at Coco Cay? I see in previous cruise compasses that there aren't that many food venues open during peak onshore hours, which makes sense; what about bar service? I don't see hours for either the Lime & Coconut or the Solarium Bar on the cruise compasses I've seen—are they closed until 3 like the other bars and lounges?
  23. This will be my first cruise with Royal, and first since the shutdown! I booked last week.
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