I'm new here and this is my first post. I have half a mind to delete this because it might be a little strong for a first post- LOL! The last time I cruised was on Explorer back in 2006. I recently booked my family on Allure going to Roatan and Mexico in March. It's a surprise and I'm excited to see my kids faces when we get dropped off at the cruise port and they see the ship for the first time. "Yep WE are going on THAT!"
One thing I've noticed since 2006 is that things seem much more complicated with the add ons and tack on fees and complex reservations etc. It's kind of made me half crazy and anything, but relaxed. "Manage your cruise" What? Isn't that sort of what I'm paying you a whole lot of money for, Royal Carribean?
When I last cruised my wife and I did one night at Portofinos which was a restaurant that used to be on the Explorer. The food was good I'm sure of that, but I don't even remember how it tasted these years later or what I ate. Here is what I do remember: the fun we had with our dinning room waiter and tablemates. We still laugh about them to this day! The cabin attendents making towel animals and the bartenders, and looking out at the ocean, the sailaway party and the New Yorkers saying "Heyyyy! it's the Verrazzano!!!" as we glided underneath the bridge on the start of our carribean adventure.
As soon as I booked Allure, I was introduced the the Key program and dining packages which are not cheap! Forgive me for saying this but it seems like a rude bait and switch. A cruise should be about hospitality and abundance and the Key program introduces scarcity...that little fear that you know "they really are short on Flowrider time and show tickets and if you want your kids to be able to try it you need to give us $160 a day for 7 days..."
Honestly, I'm not trying to be cynical, perhaps this is the way it is and I'm making a "rookie" mistake in this day and age, but I'm taking a different approach so tell me if you think this could still work.
1. We're going to eat in the MDR and have fun at dinner. We're going to eat at the Windjammer and try to find a nice table near a window and try food from around the world.
2. We're going to eat soft serve ice cream at 2 o'clock every single day!
3. We'll eat Sorrentos and the Park Deli.
4. We're going to look up at the stars at night and go for walks around the ship. Maybe watch a movie!
5. We're going to get up early and watch the sun come up over the ocean and whisper a quick prayer or two.
6. We're going go to the pools and shoot hoops in the middle of the carribean sea and play ping pong and do the flowrider and have mini golf
tournaments everyday with prizes I'll be giving out.
7. We'll book some shows and hope we get seats. It'll be great if even one of my kids begins to love theather.
8. We're going to enjoy time together and walk up to the bow of the ship and stand on the helicopter pad. We're NOT going to have internet.
9. I'll buy my daughter some candy-- Ok there's 7 bucks, I can't say no!
10. We'll spend money doing excursions and see some Mayan ruins and enjoy being in another country and play on the beaches.
I just want to be together with my family on an already great ship. Let me know if I've got this wrong. Thanks, T.