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Everything posted by Tylor

  1. I'm not against pre-planning, and yes you should make reservations for restaurants and shows in advance. I was one of the first to book shows right when they opened for booking on Oasis. But when I see people walking around the ship with a day planner or highlighting the cruise compass, there is my issue. But if you wan to do that, then more power to you. I agree that doing research and as much pre-planning as possible can make your cruise more enjoyable since you've done most of the work before actually getting on the ship. The best consumer is an educated one. I take a complete vacation stance when I go on vacation and leave all the details to someone else once I start the vacation. The beauty of a cruise vacation is you can do as much as you want or nothing at all. And how can you resist a view like this? Every time I come back from a cruise I'm amazed at how just a day or so before I was on this city sized ship in the middle of the ocean visiting far away places and now I'm back home in my town going to work. It just doesn't seem right.
  2. You're back! So on the whole tiramisu thing, I'm a little obsessed with the Italian dessert tiramisu. So the best onboard is in either Portofino or Giovanni's Table, both are good. However, there is a tiramisu dessert cup available in Sorrento's that is quite good as well. Now if I could only get Royal Caribbean to partner with The Cheesecake Factory and have available all of their desserts, life would be made! ;)
  3. The best tip I can give to a new cruiser is to go with no expectations and don't over schedule yourself. There is no need to make spreadsheets (those are for work not vacation) for dining or daily activities. Get on the ship knowing you're going to have the vacation of your lifetime and you will. There are many knowledgeable people here that can help answer all your questions. Welcome! :)
  4. Don, I hope you still dine at Chops too. It is great food, and the side dishes and desserts are amazing as well. Here are desserts form the last time I ate at Chops. First, the passion fruit mousse. It is light, flavorful and complements a meal of red meat with hearty sides perfectly! Below is my wife Robin. She didn't order two desserts, they just brought her the wrong one and then insisted she take them both. One is New York Cheesecake and the other is Chocolate Mud Pie. We had a good laugh over this!
  5. Good. Not sure why anyone risks bringing an iron onboard anyway. I seem to be the only paranoid one who locks their luggage. :huh:
  6. Johnny Rockets isn't necessarily an "experience" that cruisers must try unlike Portofino or other specialty restaurants on some ships. JR offers burgers, fries, milk shakes etc. in a classic diner atmosphere. If you've been to a JR on land in the US then the experience will be similar. If that type of food isn't your cup of tea, avoid going there. The MDR offers a great mix of options and Portofino has the most excellent Italian cuisine. Don't miss the tiramisu dessert at Portofino served with a Bailey's Irish Cream & Kahlua shot in an edible chocolate cup. It's amazing!
  7. Most (if not all) luggage locks sold today either installed on luggage or separate are TSA approved and can be unlocked by TSA staff. If you use a standard lock that isn't TSA approved then you risk damage to your luggage or lock if it has to be opened for whatever reason. I purchased Samsonite luggage with locks pre-installed or built in on the luggage. It is one less thing to have to worry about bringing separate locks for each luggage piece. Samsonite is expensive but really good quality. I don't know if the cruise line will unlock and search your luggage. My guess is no. They will call you down if they detect alcohol in your luggage to remove it. If they had the resources to unlock luggage, my guess would be they would just automatically remove the alcohol or any other prohibited items like clothing irons. I do lock my luggage anywhere I go. I don't own expensive jewelry, watches, etc. and would not bring them in my luggage anyway. Often times searched luggage will have expensive items missing. Always pack expensive jewelry, medications etc. in your carry on. I do spend good money on my clothes and feel better knowing all my luggage pieces are locked.
  8. I want to sail on the Quantum class, but obviously won't be able to sail on Quantum of the Seas this or next year. But Quantum will most likely return, so I'm not too upset about it. China is an emerging cruise market, and Royal Caribbean is smart in sending their most technologically advanced ship to one of the most technologically advanced parts of the world. Obviously if things don't go as planned, Quantum will high tail it back to the US. ;)
  9. Great report Bill! Totally agree about Nassau. It is kind of sad actually. So many ships dump people there, they don't really try, in my opinion. I also agree with you on Southwest Airlines. I cannot (don't even get me started) deal with the "open seating" or as I call it "free for all" seating. It is just so annoying and gives me anxiety just thinking about not knowing where I'm going to sit before I get on the plane. ;) I think Oasis class does take away from the islands as these ships are basically floating islands. I'm okay with that because I feel if you want a more intimate port intensive cruise experience then you should probably sail a smaller ship. That being said, I loved the Oasis class as well as the Freedom class ships. I like bigger ships with more stuff to do on them. I do like the islands, but the ship is just as important to me. Sorry Bill you had to return to Michigan when you did to see snow and ice again! :o
  10. Sounds wonderful Stephanie! How exciting to try a brand new ship. I wonder if you'll get cool inaugural sailing swag? I'm glad Quantum is sailing longer itineraries. A week long cruise just isn't long enough anymore!
  11. I want Royal Caribbean to sail from the US to far away destinations, like Fiji or Tahiti. That way I can save on airfare! :)
  12. There really isn't a bad room on the Oasis Class of ships, but like Bryce said, you'll want to close drapes especially if you have a Promenade, Central Park, or Boardwalk room. Oasis Class Promenade Room Interior Oasis Class Promenade Room Interior Oasis Class Royal Promenade - Windows near ceiling are Promenade Room Windows Oasis Class Royal Promenade - Windows near ceiling are Promenade Room Windows
  13. I would not choose The Grande because of the formal dress requirement for the first night. Like Matt said, I personally would start with the American Icon Grill for day 1. Because I'm more traditional when it comes to cruise ship dining, I would choose The Grande for day 2, since it fits the mold of day 2 formal night. Silk day 3, Chic day 4, and then repeat? How long is your cruise Stephanie? Also welcome to the Royal Caribbean Blog! :)
  14. Not a fan. There is so much conflicting info on all these changes, drydocks, new builds. It is driving me crazy! Royal Caribbean needs to dedicate a group of people responsible for releasing accurate information. On CC a mod posted that Oasis would have both Cats and Hairspray, as Royal hasn't removed it from their list of shows yet. Also read something about Cats being the AquaTheater show because of the amount of acrobatic elements in the show. There seems to be a divided crowd, either some love Cats and the change, others are disappointed about not being able to see Hairspray. Personally, going with the family friendly theme, not sure how Cats fits into that. Not that is goes against a family friendly theme, but kids would get bored easily as it is not an upbeat type production. The costumes are strange and so is the plot. I personally thought Chicago was a weird pick for Allure, again, not exactly family friendly. Shrek The Musical, Annie, All Shook Up, Grease, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Motown The Musical, are all great shows. If Royal Caribbean wants to stay relevant and on have cutting edge entertainment, they must contract with Broadway musicals that are currently being performed or just have just closed, not a production that is over 30 years old. I know these productions cost millions to reproduce for the ship, including royalties. And I know Royal Caribbean has to be conscious about that, especially now that they are putting Broadway productions on all of their new ships. They are probably spending more on entertainment than ever before. I just hope they are making the right decision with Cats. Everyone is a critic and I've combed through a lot of reviews over the years and haven't seen nearly as many raving reviews of Chicago as I have of Hairspray. Royal Caribbean prides themselves on an exciting, incredible vacation experience. Lets not blow it by putting people to sleep during the multi million dollar Broadway production of Cats. Hopefully I will be wrong and it will be totally exceptional show! ;)
  15. Okay, that is what I thought. However, I knew Enchantment has bungee and every ship has a play area, so I suppose it could happen! ;)
  16. Travel Weekly UK reports this under their April Fool's news. I don't know if this is real or not. Royal Caribbean to give Explorer of the Seas a British twist Royal Caribbean International is including a Big Ben bungee and Stonehenge-themed kids play area on recently revamped Explorer of the Seas, ready for its first sailing from Southampton next year. The US line plans to celebrate all things quintessentially British in acknowledgment of the record breaking numbers of British holidaymakers booked to cruise in 2015.
  17. That is good to know. I adored my waitstaff and stateroom attendant on Oasis. Well, I actually always really like my staff. While the idea is good, it is odd they only give you 2 cards. And I understand the point, but at the end of the year, you've got staff that has piles of cards, and those that don't. Are they letting go the ones that don't score high?
  18. I was given 2 when we boarded Oasis in 2012. However, the crew were less than wowed when I gave them out. Not sure how effective they are. I find it more of a gimmick.
  19. I think cultural boundaries also play a role in tipping. A lot of Europeans, people from the UK, Asia, and other nations cruise who don't have the same standard of giving we do for good service. A lot of people expect good service for nothing. In many cultures the parents really do pay for everything, even when their kids are in their 20's. So again, I see where you are coming from. It is an unfortunate blame placed on some by the crew for the past experiences they have endured. All we can do is smile and treat them with the up most respect and give handsomely. I give no matter the level of service because I believe it is important and right.
  20. Unfortunately prices are based on supply and demand. And as time gets closer to the summer vacation season, prices are more than likely to go up. The only great deals I've ever seen is about a week before sailing with Royal Caribbean is willing to basically give away the remaining rooms. The ships sail full, so they don't do a lot of discounting to get people onboard because they don't have to. Occasionally ocean view rooms cost more than balcony simply because there is higher demand for those types of rooms.
  21. The last blocks have been placed on Quantum of the Seas. Courtesy of Master_Schnief.
  22. I would agree with your post Bryce. I would also dare say that when dining out in general that younger people are looked upon as bad tippers because of their age. Whether this is specifically true or not is unknown. I personally think that tipping should just become a part of the price you pay for the cruise. It would eliminate a lot of the headache and confusion of knowing what to tip, when to tip, removing tips, etc. I don't think it would diminish the quality of service as those standards are set forth by the cruise line. I don't agree with the rule that offering big tips gets you better service. I feel like this is in some ways demeaning, and I know it's not always true. So we all should stop kidding ourselves and stop this nonsense tipping routine and just make it a part of the total package.
  23. The only time I have seen a head waiter is when I'm traveling with a large group. On Oasis, group of 10 all at one table, the head waiter would come by each night. On Liberty, group of 12 all at one table, the head waiter would come by each night. Also on Liberty, that was the ship I got married on, the executive chef stopped by our table too to greet us. When I traveled alone with my wife and utilized MTD, we did not see any head waiters. The head waiter thing for me is more a formality and really isn't necessary. I know he/she is a manager for a section, but I've never had a problem that I needed to take up with a head waiter. ;)
  24. As we've discussed previously, the Freestyle machines are only US for now. They are starting to install in UK and Europe. But until it is widespread, don't expect them to be placed on all ships because, as you said, servicing and product inventory becomes the main issue. Thanks for proving this and clearing up any rumors. I too was surprised about no Sabor on Quantum. There is a lack of Mexican cuisine across the fleet in my opinion. I'm sad about the phaseout of Portofino, but understand the need to modernize the Italian fare with new family and fresh styles. I look forward to trying the new Italian options onboard. What is Adam's request all about? Can you pinpoint the references he is talking about? Just curious. Not surprised he reads the blog. Royal seems to be very "in the know" about all the websites and blogs on the internet. Again, thanks for being our eyes and ears at this event. Great photos, and hope you didn't eat too much! :P
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