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RCVoyager

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Everything posted by RCVoyager

  1. I have rented cars on both islands. Both are easy to get around with a map. Rentals are about $100 per day. We felt a little uneasy about security in a couple of places in St. Maarten, but nothing happened. I have also bought excursions from operators in both islands and never had any trouble or concern.
  2. I'm not disagreeing with any of you. If I had the opportunity to sign up the the Anthem in the heart of hurricane season or the dead of winter, I'd do it in a heartbeat. If I was paying and making the decisions, I'd choose a different departure port. Both of these storms were coming from the South, which is usual in both the fall and winter. Both times the ship was scheduled to go South. Once they didn't change the itinerary and went through the storm. Once they did change the itinerary, and still went through the storm. Several years ago, my brother and sister-in-law went through the eye of a hurricane near Halifax when the port closed ahead of their arrival and the cruise line (Seabourne) had no choice but turn and face it. But, when you are in New York, given the path of most of these storms, and the general direction of travel (I don't think they would change an itinerary to Nova Scotia in January), it's a matter of time until there is a problem. As mentioned previously, my friends sailed out of New Orleans the week Hermine hit. They were scheduled to go to Key West and the Bahamas. That would have been trouble. They went to Cozumel and Central America and other than plans made for ports, their trip was flawless. You're ability to do that out of New York is clearly diminished, and as they've shown twice in the past year, problems do arise. Not only do problems arise, but how will the public react the first time RCCL cancels a cruise out of caution? That's my only point. They have probably 20,000,000 people within driving distance of that port...maybe more. It's probably not hard to sell that ship out every week without having to discount much at all. In my opinion, they will continue to have dust ups and could eventually have to deal with a real situation. Again, it's all my opinion. I guess the other side of the coin is that when my family went through the hurricane (Hortense (spelling?)) nobody died, there were no major injuries, and they received a free cruise out of it. In the end, my family did ok. I guess RCCL will do the same when/if something like that happens.
  3. I agree with you about the fact there is risk everywhere. The Mid Atlantic gets both Hurricane Season and Winter Storms. To me the big thing is the fact there is only one direction the ship can go, especially in Winter, out of the Mid Atlantic. You have to go South, sure you can deviate from directly South to Southeast and then South, but on a one week cruise you are going South in all but a few situations. If you go out of Florida, New Orleans, or even Galveston you have choices of direction and can change the itinerary to account for weather. I had some friends on the Carnival Dream out of New Orleans during the past storm. They were scheduled to go to Key West and the Bahamas. They ended up at Cozumel and Central America and had no problems with weather. You can't do that out of New York.
  4. As far as snorkel gear goes, I bring my own mask and snorkel. I don't bring fins. Too big and not really needed for snorkeling.
  5. This is just my opinion, and I know there are risks, as unlikely as they may be, and I'm a huge proponent of Royal Caribbean. But, I think RC needs to figure out what's going on with the Anthem out of New York. There may be 20,000,000 people within easy driving distance of that port, and it makes it easy to fill up the ship every week. This is twice this year that the Anthem has steamed right into a big storm. Something needs to change, or they will get some people hurt or killed out there.
  6. To me, the Voyager Class (includes the navigator) is the sweet spot of cruise ships. It's big enough to have lots to do, but small enough to that the crowds are not huge. Try to arrive a day early (for safety of flight delays) and pack you medicines and other important things in your carry on. As mentioned above, if you have a glass half full view of life, you will love this ship. If your glass is half empty....
  7. My tip is to arrive the day before. To me, it's a must that those without a lot of experience don't think of.
  8. Agree with Wilson. We always fly in a day early. Would like to fly in two days early if we could. It may be too late for you to make that change now, but please remember it for the next time.
  9. You will dock...probably at the Pan American pier which is across the channel from Old San Juan. It's about a $15 cab ride to see a 500 year old walled city with two major forts. If you have any sense of history and do your homework, you will find that place to be a treasure. In my opinion, the best way to enter OSJ is to do so the way the sailors did for hundreds of years. That is to walk around the wall on the south and enter the old city through the city gate. It's straight up the street to the beautiful San Juan Cathedral.
  10. I think the extra ports are an advantage. If you want to enjoy the ship, what better way than when 80% of the passengers are in port? Sure a few things are closed, but there is tons to do and nobody to wait in line after. A huge advantage in my book.
  11. I took my daughter on her first cruise when she was 3. On the first night, the MDR server asked her what her favorite food was. She said 'strawberries'. He asked her if she would eat a bowl of strawberries every night. She said 'yes'. He asked us if we minded if he brought her a bowl of strawberries every night. We said 'yes'. And so, even though strawberries never appeared on the menu during the course of the week, the server went out of his way to provide them to my daughter. This is an example of a child eating much less than an adult, but actually being much, much more service intensive. This was November of 2000 on Celebrity in a time before 'automatic gratuities'. We tipped extra because of this attention to detail. Here is another example. My nephew is now an adult, and a truly fine person. When he was a kid, he was both very picky and extremely messy when he ate. So here again is an example of a kid who ate much less than an adult, but was also much more service intensive. I don't think my family is that much different than any of your's. Kids require more service, clean up, and waste much more than adults. I think we should actually tip more for a kid than an adult... assuming the kid gets really nice service. Just my opinion.
  12. I can't tell you about the Family Suite, but I wouldn't worry about the ship being "dated". First as you mention, it's being refurbed this fall. Second, I was just on it in June, and it's fantastic just the way it is.
  13. We were just on in June. The ice show happened twice during the week. I didn't go this time. My wife said it was the same show as last year.
  14. I've never been on the Jewel. If you look at my past cruises, you will see my vote. For me, the Voyager Class is the perfect ship.
  15. It is delivered the night before during turn-down service.
  16. I was just there on Sunday last month. In the morning a few stores were open. By noon or 1:00 pretty much everything was open.
  17. I'm glad you haven't been bitten by this up til now. But if you take a look at Airline Travel On-Time percentages, it will eventually get you. There is a possible solution for those who can't or don't want to fly in a day early. If you book your air through the cruise line, the responsibility to get you there (from a flight perspective) falls on the cruise line. I think you pay more for it than booking on your own, but there is that benefit. As for me, I'd rather pay a little less for the air, do it myself, and pay for a hotel in the departure city. I should also mention an experience I had several years ago. Our party was on a cruise out of San Juan that was supposed to leave at 8:00. The ship didn't pull out until 11:30. It was a bad weather day on the East Coast, and several airports experienced significant delays. Certainly many of our fellow passengers where from many of those airports were involved. The point is, that if there is a widespread issue, you probably aren't the only one running late, there is a chance the ship will wait. However, it your issue is localized, you are probably screwed.
  18. For future use, as someone mentioned above, it's a really good idea to arrive a day early for a cruise. There are too many problems with air travel to travel the same day your cruise departs. Plus, you get an extra day of vacation. You can usually find a descent hotel for a good price in most of these cities. Good luck.
  19. On the Adventure last month, there were lots of men in shorts in the MDR every night but the 1st formal night. Nice shorts and a collared shirt (either button up or golf shirt)
  20. I'm surprised by this. I would be disappointed too.
  21. I'm just reporting what actually happens... I used to be against shorts in the MDR. But now I'm all for it. Makes packing much easier. With only 1 pair of slacks and no suit jacket I was able to carry on my luggage for this past trip. My wife still had a checked back, but I did not. I used to be a tux guy for formal nights. Now in the Caribbean, not so much. Maybe on a more formal cruise or a colder climate.
  22. Yes except the first formal night. I was just on the Adventure. I wore long pants, shirt, tie, and dress shoes on the first formal night. This fit in with most men there. Wore shorts and a collared shirt and Teva's every other night. I fit right in.
  23. We were just there. We flew kites with the kids on the grassy area outside of El Morro. The forts are amazing. Plan to spend time there. I have a couple of points with regard to walking Old San Juan. First, someone above said to avoid the areas north and south of the wall. North of the wall I agree with. However, south of the wall I don't. In fact, in my opinion, the best way to enter Old San Juan is from the West through the City Gate. In order to do this, you walk west from the port area/Sheraton. Go past the CVS and continue onto the promenade. Continue west to the fountain which is right at the edge of the water. From there continue north along the wall to the gate. Then you can enter the city as was done nearly 500 years ago. You can walk directly up the street to the Cathedral and see the tomb of Ponce De Leon. The layout of Old San Juan will make much more since when you do it this way. If you enter from the East, you are just walking in, and it doesn't give the historic feeling coming from the West does. From there continue up Calle Cristo to the end. Walk through the plaza until you see the El Morro. Coming back down, just a block or so from the port, see Plaza Colon and get a photo of the Columbus Statue. We were there with family. It was way too much walking for my mother-in-law. You can grab a cab or wait for the trolley. Cabs aren't that bad there. If you are with a big group, some can cab and some can walk. It's about 20 minutes to get to the fort through the gate, but allow time for the church. If some have difficulty walking and want to see the church, maybe you can walk there after the fort, it's downhill on Calle Cristo. Going to the fort is a substantial up-hill walk.
  24. We did San Diego (actually out of a port in Mexico just south of the border) on the Carnival Spirit a few years ago. Great cruise. Inexpensive. Cheap upgrades. 12 nights (first 5 at sea). The ship was repositioning from the Caribbean to Alaska in April. The next cruise was 12 night Hawaii to Vancouver. We chose the Southern Cruise for the warmer weather the first few days vs the cooler weather the last 2 or 3 days of the Vancouver Cruise. It was awesome, but I will say, since they don't do it every week, there were a few problems and mistakes. For instance, we had to check-in at the San Diego Carnival Pier and then bus across the border to the ship. One bus, thankfully not ours, picked up a load of passengers at San Diego International. The driver misunderstood the directions and showed up with a bus load of passengers at the ship. They had to recross the border two more times to go back to San Diego and then back to the ship to get everyone correctly signed in. I heard they gave each a $50 on board credit. Should have been a lot more. It took about 1.5 hours each time they crossed. But it was an awesome trip. We got a an upgrade to a suite for like $200.
  25. I can see both sides of this issue. Prayers to your family and it would be nice of RCCL to offer up something nice to your family.
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