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Everything posted by JBC

  1. $67.99 for DBP for my Allure cruise in February. Previous sales for about the past 6 months have had it fluctuate between $77.99 and $72.99. Question is will it go lower than $67.99 on black friday / cyber monday? I know I can cancel and re-buy. My gut tells me it won't go lower than $67.99.
  2. I've done that cruise, and I will say that doing the NASA excursion was great, exceeded my expectations. I've done Disney separately from a cruise and I can't imagine that would be enjoyable at all when dealing with the time and travel constraints.
  3. Same here, but I still won't like paying a $73 per day base price for it. So fair warning to Royal, don't make me roll up my sleeves and go on a mission all week!
  4. Exactly. You can't get covid if you don't take a test!
  5. Agree on most of what has been said. MDR is the worst of the bunch, by far. I always grab a drink on my way in and then order one as soon as the option presents itself because I know it will be a while. Royal definitely could do better in this department.
  6. I think it depends on what the prices on board per drink are. If the drink package prices are up 25%, I would imagine the prices per drink are up as well. So are the $13 drinks now $16? If that is the case, I think overall people will just drink less. The next cruise I have booked that I don't already have a drink package purchased for is next February. It's currently $77, which makes it $90 with gratuity. Last week it was $72. I am confident it will drop below $72 on some sale at some point. If Black Friday / Cyber Monday comes and goes and it doesn't drop, then I guess I will have to make a hard decision. I am in the $100 per day group, anything less than that and I will benefit. My wife will not however, she is more of a $60 per day break even point. Oh well, first world problems I guess.
  7. Coco Beach Club is not worth anywhere near $260 per person, that is crazy. I guess I am glad I have been to Coco Cay a few times now and have done the beach club and water park when they were more reasonably priced. Cabana's for $3500 is insane too, but I guess I can't blame RC if people are paying it. People are coming off a long hiatus from vacationing and are making up for lost time with the spending apparently. After a year or so those prices will settle back down. I want to read the review of the beach club by the person that paid $260 pp for it!
  8. My kids have been to the waterpark twice, and after the 2nd time, they basically said they don't care to go anymore. When two ships are at Coco Cay, the lines in the water park get long really quick. When you only have a certain amount of time in the park, it's terrible to spend half of it waiting in lines. Supply and demand though I guess. If they keep selling it out at prices in excess of $100, then they will never lower them.
  9. You don't need your id on the ship. Your sea pass card is your id. You can't order a drink on board without your sea pass card.
  10. Make sure your nose is clean (no nasal mucus). Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and swap your nose with it just prior to taking the antigen test. I would never advocate doing that if you knew you were newly covid positive, but in your situation where you know you are well past it and are not at risk of being contagious, I would do it so as to not risk my cruise being ruined. It will all but guarantee a negative result. If you are doing the emed proctored test, don't stick the swab very far up your nose or rub very vigorously, they can't tell anyways, they are watching you through a cell phone camera. Good luck.
  11. Bionic bar at first seems like a good and fun idea, but do it once and there is really no reason to go back to it. Between people not knowing how to work the touch screens, to the mess it creates, it's not worth it. I like the interaction with a human bartender, and a human bartender can make multiple drinks in the same amount of time the bionic bar takes to make one, especially when factoring in how long it takes people to enter their orders. I am surprised they are still adding them to new ships.
  12. If they are indeed sold out, the lines will be long. My kids have complained about the long lines in the water park even when it wasn't sold out. If you do manage to get passes for it, my advice is go as soon as it opens, as it will only get busier. And go on the bigger slides first. Save the wave pool for the middle of the afternoon when the lines for the slides are longest.
  13. Two year old vaccines mean nothing as far as ensuring a covid free ship. The take at home proctored emed tests are pretty worthless as well. Time to put it all to bed. Get quadruple vaccinated and wear three masks around if it worries you. Or do nothing. Up to the individual.
  14. $10 to the guys sitting in the golf carts at the end of the pier and they will take you anywhere you want to go, door to door. The locals in the market are very aggressive there, more so than other islands. It makes for a not very enjoyable shopping time. I still like Labadee though.
  15. I agree on the size and setup. I was not impressed with Playmakers on Symphony at all. Not a lot of room to sit, they have the pool tables and what not but it's a waste of space in my opinion. There are some tables outside, but it had rained recently and even though the chairs looked dry, when you sat down the cushion oozed water. Not sure who thought chairs that absorb water would be a good idea in an outdoor setting. They need to lose the pool tables and what not, add more seating, and turn the volume down on the games a little. It just didn't seem like a good setup to sit with friends and watch a game.
  16. I love Labadee. A cabana or bungalow for a beach day is great, and the prices are a lot less than Coco Cay. The lesser quality of the food doesn't bother me. It's essentially lunch, which I really don't eat much at anyway because I don't want to spoil dinner. Kids would enjoy Coco Cay better for the pools and water park, but my kids have told me the lines are awful in the water park when there are two ships at Coco Cay, which is pretty often. Coco Cay is bigger, newer, more amenities, better infrastructure, etc. Royal is also putting a lot of marketing behind it.
  17. I'm currently planning a cruise for August 2023 with a large group, probably 10-15 staterooms. A few are not vaccinated and obviously this is their only concern with booking now. If they book a non-refundable fare and the vaccine requirement is still in place in August of 2023, does that allow them to get their deposit back? I guess I am wondering if the vaccine rule is an exception for a non-refundable fare. Assuming non-refundable means non-refundable for any reason, If you book a refundable fare, can you cancel for any reason and get your deposit back?
  18. I held the phone while my wife did it, and vice versa. It's fairly straightforward. That said, it's all pretty dumb. You can barely swab your nose and they can't really tell how hard you are swabbing or how high up in your nose you go. These do it yourself tests are pretty easy to manipulate, if you ask me. They need to get rid of the testing altogether imo.
  19. The total charge you pay for the package when you purchase in the cruise planner includes 18% gratuity. You won't have any additional charges on your account for it. Sometimes when you order a drink, the server will give you a zero balance slip to sign. There is a line on there to write in a gratuity amount. If you were to add additional gratuity on the slip, then that would appear in your account balance at the end of the cruise. That is optional as you have already paid the gratuity. I like to bring a lot of dollar bills with me, and if it is a situation where a server is delivering me a drink (at the pool, in the theater, etc) then I will give them a buck or two cash, instead of adding it on the slip. If I walk up to a bar and order a drink, I generally do not add or give anything additional. To each their own though.
  20. I have never paid more than $60 for the DBP, and I get it on every cruise. I have seen posts from people showing screen shots of $80 and $90 and that is crazy. I am going on Symphony Feb 19th and right now in my cruise planner for that cruise the DBP is $60.99, which isn't crazy for a little more than 2 weeks out. This cruise also only has 3 stops, one of which is Coco Cay, so plenty of time to use the package. Maybe it's because it's a big ship, I don't know. I just feel that over the years, as long as you monitor the planner, you can always get a deal on the DBP. I easily get more than my money's worth out of it, but even I would have reservations paying $80-$90 for it. That's like a 35% increase, which means drinks on board would have to go to like $17-$18. That seems crazy, but with inflation the last two years, who knows, it's probably possible. I guess I better really step up my game on this cruise, just in case, lol.
  21. We are going on Symphony the 3rd week of February (Me, wife, kids, sister, grandparents). This was a lift and shift from last February. Everyone in our group is vaccinated and boosted, and no one has any health issues. At this point, I don't care if all the ports are closed and all the shows on board are cancelled, they could park the ship in the middle of the ocean for a week, as long as the bars and restaurants on board are open, then we are going! It's better than sitting at home for another winter break. It is a personal decision for sure and everyone is different. Kids are getting older, grandparents are getting older, etc. You can't get the years back. That's how I feel.
  22. $200 is steep for the beach club. I echo what others have said and feel $80-$120 is about what I would be ok with paying for passes. Wait for a sale. And while I have never had a cabana there, if you have regular passes and get off the ship first thing, you will have your choice of spots, and the attendants are just as good/timely as I imagine they are in the cabanas. I can't speak to the difference, but I have never had to wait very long if at all for an attendant the times I have been there (for drinks). I'm going there this February during winter break week on Symphony and we bought the passes for $118 a few months ago. Currently they are "on sale" at $179. I always keep an eye on it and will watch for any Black Friday sales but I am not expecting them to go lower than that.
  23. We were booked on Freedom in Feb 2022 and have been switched to Explorer. We are going to change to a different cruise all together. This is a big disappointment, we were on Freedom a number of years ago and loved it, were really looking forward to the amplified Freedom. We cruised on Adventure before and just are not fans of the voyager class. It just seemed lacking compared to Freedom and Oasis class, most notably the quality of the on board entertainment and shows. We will probably use this as an excuse to sail on Symphony.
  24. The percentage off really doesn't matter, Royal plays with that math all the time. Generally anything under $50, regardless of whether it is "on sale" is a really good deal. Oasis class ships seem to be a tad higher, anything in the low $50s is good. The lowest I ever paid was on Adventure and that was $44. I think I snagged in on Harmony 2 years ago for $48 or $49. I am on Oasis in February and I bought it recently at $53, no sale. It hasn't gone cheaper yet, but I am always monitoring my cruise planner.
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