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tdcackler

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  1. Like
    tdcackler reacted to JLMoran in Chocolate Covered Strawberries   
    If it's open on embarkation day (it may not be until after sail-away), check out the cupcake shop on deck 5. I would expect that's where chocolate covered strawberries will be most readily found.
  2. Like
    tdcackler reacted to Allen Agor in Liberty of the Seas Spring Break Review   
    We are a family of 5 (me, my wife, 2 sons (9,6) and daughter (3). We have been on multiple cruises to include Disney, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival at different points in our life. For our makeup as we are now this was an amazing cruise. While the food and decor was not quite up to the Disney standard (it was not far off, and definitely much more return on investment for the price).  

    Embarkation:

    We arrived the night before and stayed near Houston Hobby airport at the Springhill Suites (we had Marriott points so it was free). The hotel itself was fine, but the area around left to be desired. Our flight home the following week was late at night so we rented a car for the week so that we would be able to explore after debarkation.  

    We drove to Galveston (approximately 45 minutes). This is where I made a mistake: I decided to try to drop the rest of my family off and the baggage then park the car. The line to drive up took a long time with the kiddos being able to see the ship. In hindsight I would have parked and walked with them because we parked at Galveston Park and Cruise which was directly across the street from the terminal (closer to the Carnival ship, but still very close). This would have saved me a lot of "are we there yets". We had prebooked parking and it was extremely easy.

    We stayed in a Grand Suite so we had expedited boarding and check-in. This was a nice feature. We checked in and punched holes in our Gold Cards (different color due to being in a suite) and attached them to our lanyards that we brought from home. Lanyards were key for our family and we liked that we brought different ones for each of us, but don't fret if you don't bring them they are for sale in the terminal and on the ship. I would recommend them and punching a whole in it to attach it.  

    Note: There was a cold front when we were in Galveston so there was light rain and a high of 59, so we did not do outdoor activities on the first day. I imagine this would have been a good plan as discussed in many other reviews, but not an option for us.

    Once on we explored the ship a little, and then went with the rest of the masses to the Windjammer Buffet. The food here was definitely tasty. I have read lots of complaints about bland food, but we did not find this to be the case at all. We thoroughly enjoyed the food here and ate multiple lunches, most breakfasts (got room service on two days we had excursions, but more on that later) and one dinner (they had sushi that night). Finding tables in Windjammer especially on the first day was difficult. Luckily since we had our Gold Cards we could eat in either Giovanni's or Chops (depended on the meal and the day) with our plates from the buffet or order of a menu. This was a great and underrated perk of being in a suite. We could always find a table that was quieter, but still enjoy the choices from the buffet.  

    Next we went to sign the kids up at Adventure Ocean (kids club). There are three different levels: Aquanauts (3-5), Explorers (6-8) and Voyagers (9-11). Due to age ranges all my kids were in different groups. This was not an issue for our kids, and they each made friends that they would chat with and hang out in the pool or outside of the kids club as well.  

    **HINT: There were two different areas to check in (Aquanaut and Explorer Rooms). The Explorer room had a ridiculously long line, but the Aquanaut room had no line. There is no real introduction or anything at either room just a form that must be filled out. For Voyagers you can sign for them to sign themselves in and out. We told my oldest that he could not sign himself out, but we signed that authorization so that he could sign himself in. This was a time saver and a few times the other kids didn't want to go to the kids club and he did so he could go by himself to sign himself in.  

    After that we explored the Royal Promenade and made our way to our room. The room was great for us. The balcony had two lounge chairs with a little table, and then two chairs and a large patio table where we ate a few times and enjoyed coffee daily before the kids woke up. Inside the room was a pullout couch where the boys slept and our room steward (Edwin) brought in a rollaway bed that we put beside it for our daughter. Then we had a bed to ourselves on the other side of the room that could be separated by a curtain. We had LOTS of drawers (so many we even had empty drawers even with 5 of us)! We had two sinks in the bathroom and a bathtub which was great for the little ones.

    We changed for dinner. I put on jeans (like every night except formal night) because it said no short pants and I am a rule follower, but as stated in other reviews outfits ran the gambit and anything goes. We went to our table which was by the window as I had requested and met our waiter Michael and his assistant waiter Joenel. They were both awesome! Great service. Joenel had our drinks waiting for us the next night so we could have our martinis while we read the menu. The food at the dining room was good. Was it the most highend dinner...no, but it was good and if you take into account the number of people that are being cooked for during each sitting it was pretty darn good. Some of the presentation left some to be desired (shrimp cocktail is a bed of lettuce with 3 shrimp laid on it), but the flavors were good. We enjoyed all the meals we had there.  

    My Family Time Dining: We selected the 5:30 seating so that we could utilize the My Family Time dining. I have not seen a good description of this in any of the other reviews so I wanted to explain this process. Starting the second night, you could tell your waiter that your kids were going to the kids club and they would ensure that they got their entire meal including dessert before they had to leave. Pickup was at 6:40 on the 4th deck (middle deck of the 3 levels of the dining room) outside the dining room. At 6:40 you take your kid(s) down to the counselor that was there and they check you in using a tablet then the parent can go back to their meal. We figured out that if we got to dinner around 5:40 this was about the perfect timing to ensure they got all their food, but not too much downtime after their meal before pickup. We also asked Michael to wait on our (DW and my) entrees until we dropped the kids off. This worked really well for us and gave us time to actually enjoy our meal too. If you don't use this pickup option, Adventure opens at 7PM.

    Adventure Ocean: All three of our kids loved their different areas. For the oldest group they seemed to play a lot of Gaga Ball (dodgeball, but you hit the ball instead of throwing it) and some other games. They were some more structured activities as well including facepainting and other activities. Having all kids enjoy themselves was a key part of us enjoying our vacation as parents. The boys did not enjoy their time at Disney in the kids club as much as they did here. Truth in advertising they were younger, but they all loved this so that is good enough for me.

    Pools: The pools were well maintained. My kids loved Splashaway Bay the best. It is a jungle gym with lots of spray and buckets and slides. This is right near the ice cream machine as well (my kids frequented this machine A LOT). There was a kid pool that was 2 feet deep, and it was great for my daughter to splash around and play in without a lifevest. There was a bar by all the pools so we frequented the Squeeze (the bar by Splashaway Bay) a lot. We had the drink package and for us we found it extremely beneficial. We definitely got our money worth. The two pools in the main pool area were too deep for my kids to touch, but we had them wear lifejackets that were readily available from Royal Caribbean by the towel stand. The screen here played the Final Four and a few movies, but most of the time it has videos from Chive TV (like youtube). The adult only area was good with two jacuzzis and a pool. This was a little crowded, but it was good overall. As previously stated by people: There is no food available on the pool deck besides ice cream so this was annoying, but not a major issue for us as we understood this limitation.  

    Royal Promenade: There were lots of food choices at the Promenade Cafe (sandwiches, salads and baked goods) and Sorrentos (pizza, antipasto, desserts). The lines were long at Sorrentos, but they went much faster than they looked. There were different drinks at the different bars on the Royal Promenade. Note: Vintages has little to no choices that are covered by the drink package [you only have to pay the difference, but there are lots of other choices elsewhere that are covered]. My wife's favorite drink was at the Hoof and Claw Pub which was a mixed drink including strawberry, liquor and beer. It sounds odd, but it was delicious.  

    Entertainment: We went to In the Air and it was amazing. It was really well done and had you on the edge of your seat at points. This was family friendly and my kids loved it as well. We also went to Encore (the ice show). It was also very good. It was fun and enjoyable and the kids also liked it. We chose to skip Saturday Night Fever as it is not for our kids and there were other activities we wanted to do.

    Other Activities: We did sports trivia at the Schooner Bar (where I got a great old fashioned and a brandy alexander), and Family Karaoke at On Air bar [where we had amazing service from Roger]. Roger always found us seats and ensured that my daughter had a martini glass full of maraschino cherries. We played mini-golf one day and it was fun.  

    Cupcake Decorating Class: My wife and daughter did this class on one of the sea days. It was $30 per person, but since my wife was helping my daughter and not participating alone they only charge for one person. They had over an hour with the head pastry chef on how to decorate cupcakes and they made 6 cupcakes and were given two extras of different animals and colors. This was "the best $30 we have spent in a long time" according to my wife.  

    Suite Lounge: This was a nice area to get away from the loud crowds. We went in there a few times during the day to play board games and relax with the view. Nightly there was a cocktail period with appetizers from 4:30-8. This was a great nightly routine to go get a drink and snacks (my kids loved the samosas so much they barely ate dinner on of the nights) and shirley temples for the kids.  

    Excursions: We did excursions at Roatan and Cozumel. We chose to stay on the boat in Belize. We wanted to spend on day on the boat when it was in port to enjoy an empty boat. It was great. My kids were able to ride the slides continuously for roughly an hour without any lines. 

    Roatan: We did Big French Key. This was a good excursion. It is a 20 minute bus ride to the boat that takes you to the island. Our tour guide was very knowledgable and we learned a lot about Roatan during the ride. Then it was a 4 minute ride out to the island. there are two different excursions out this way. Big French Key and Little French Key. Big French Key had signifcantly less activities than Little French Key, but seemed more mellow. They share a lagoon so you see the other group. I would recommend water shoes as there were a lot of rocks. Not required because we did not have them, but it would have been nice. The food was included, but drinks were extra. We wanted a relaxing beach day for the kids, and that is what we got with Big French Key but if you want more action Little French Key looked like a better option. Our kids just wanted to chase fish and ride the little zipline so this was great for our family.

    Cozumel: We went to Nachi Cocom. I had read all the reviews about how great this place was, but it seemed like it was too good to be true. I was wrong. It lived up to all the hype and then some. We got a taxi ($23 each way since we had 5 people) and it took about 15 minutes to get to Nachi Cocom. Upon arrival we had our picture taken, checked in and then were escorted to our Palapa (palm tree that grows big enough to be like an umbrella) and our 3 beach chairs and met our waiter Carlos. We rented a float that could hold all 3 kids for $20. Then we started playing in the ocean. Then the kids wanted to shift to the pool which was fine with us as there was a swim up bar with all drinks included so the kids got to have virgin Pina Coladas and Daiquiris, and we had margaritas. Around 1030 the kitchen opens and you can order off the menu. The food was very tasty and delivered to us at the table we found at the pool by Carlos. It was great. Perfect and relaxing day. They only let in 130 people a day so it is a big spread out area and it felt like even less people than advertised because of this. We paid about $130 for all 5 of us since our daughter was free. This was extremely well worth it, and we will book there again on our next cruise.  

    In conclusion: This was an amazing cruise for us. Where we are in life we could not have asked for a better time or ship. It was large, but small enough to navigate with many options of activities and our room was great for when we wanted to come and relax. We booked again for next spring break this time in an Owner’s Suite and we have another family joining us too!  I can’t wait.  I cannot recommend this highly enough. If you are on the fence YOLO BOOK IT!
  3. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from Aeroman380 in When Royal C says they are going to give you credit...how do they do it?   
    This. We already had our next cruise booked when RC cancelled ours. I gave the number to our TA and she took care of it.
  4. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from Aeroman380 in When Royal C says they are going to give you credit...how do they do it?   
    When they cancelled our sailing on the Navigator, we received an email from Royal with a code. Took a couple of weeks.
  5. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from ChessE4 in When Royal C says they are going to give you credit...how do they do it?   
    When they cancelled our sailing on the Navigator, we received an email from Royal with a code. Took a couple of weeks.
  6. Like
    tdcackler reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Really dumb question, not as if that's ever stopped me!   
    I have found that the very earliest time slots for MTD have, generally, very few people.  That, combined with the fact that they have just started the service and haven’t had a chance to get “behind” yet is why, when we did MTD, we always went very early. If you’re going to be in a hurry, I recommend going first thing after MTD opens.
  7. Thanks
    tdcackler reacted to twangster in Really dumb question, not as if that's ever stopped me!   
    Another one of those ... it depends.  My record time in MTD was under 30 minutes but that isn't the norm and being solo it's easier for them to handle my table.  With each additional guest comes more service, and time.  
    I tend to know exactly what I want.  No uncertainty, no "does this have that?" questions.  
    If you're section in the MTD is slammed they will be slower.  Maybe that's why they love seeing me alone, they know I'll be quick to service.  
    Waiters can lose 5 minutes talking with guests who are indecisive.  That's okay, it's their job.   If a party of four consumes 10 minutes of "What's in this chicken?" questions they will gladly walk you through it but there goes 10 minutes.   In that time I'm already halfway through by appetizer, unless I'm in your section and my waiter is at your table. 
    So it depends.  One night in MTD might go quickly, the next night might pause waiting what seems like forever for dessert to appear, because table 113 over there has a million questions.
     
    PS - not a dumb question at all.  No dumb questions, only dumb answers.  
  8. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from MelKaps in Royal Caribbean Vlogs: Harmony of the Seas   
    We are watching your videos now. They are a lot of fun. Anthony is a riot! 🙂 Already subscribed!
  9. Like
    tdcackler reacted to ChessE4 in Photo Package   
    My experience is that there is a face recognition program that searches for the faces of the guests registered in the stateroom with the photo purchase.  There are sometimes errors, so one should check photos on the ship.  If the entire group is together a lot, the group photos will be available to you as long as covered "faces" are in the picture.  We saw photographers all over the place, at ports, by the dining room, in the MDR, by the stairs, etc.  Port visits can involve photos with costumed representatives.  Other threads discuss whether the package is a good value or not.  That depends on what you get out of it.   We have purchased an occasional photo but never the entire package.  Again, if you purchase, make sure to check your account while you are on the ship.  PS.  There are lines for the photographers on the promenade or during peak periods, like formal night.  That might impact your boys.
  10. Love
    tdcackler reacted to wmacooper in My First Solo Cruise Diary   
    Thanks for checking it out.  Glad u liked them
  11. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from wmacooper in My First Solo Cruise Diary   
    Thanks for sharing - and the site. I never knew this existed!
     
  12. Like
    tdcackler reacted to spiralqueen in Grandeur Perfect Day Thanksgiving sailing - Nov 23-30, 2019   
    Day 3 - Port Canaveral! 
     
    On Day 3 since we had such a slow experience in the MDR for breakfast we decided to go with the Windjammer for breakfast and boy was that the right choice. The WJ on Grandeur is probably the freshest food I’ve come across in a Windjammer on any ship I’ve been on. We have found that going around 8am is the best time to go because as we were leaving closer to 8:45 it was really starting to get crowded. I went with an omelet which was way better (fresher) than the one in the MDR and some yummy, crispy hash browns. There was also this unpictured sweet bread I got that was pretty good on its own, but amazing if you added a sprinkle of cinnamon from the container next to it. The cinnamon roll was meh though. I’m picky about pastries. 
     
    After breakfast you will be SHOCKED to learn that it was.........SOLARIUM TIME!!!!! I DID warn y’all when this blog started that this would be a Solarium heavy cruise. We got there around 8:45 and scored prime loungers near the bar and the pool entrance where we had a great seat to watch the lifeguard drills. The doll they used was delightfully creepy. 

     
    As I was reading I could tell that we were getting vaguely close to land since I had a little friend join me! 

    Around 10am which was about half an hour before we were supposed to arrive in Port Canaveral, the Captain (I think) came on the speakers to tell us that we were going to be delayed getting into Port Canaveral but that they would extend when we had to be back on board. It went from something like 10:30-6ish to 2-10. This didnt affect us at all since we were treating it like a sea day and staying on the ship, but I felt bad for people who wanted to go to Disney for the day. I had originally planned to walk off the ship and get lunch and some drinks at Fish Lips or Grills or whatever the restaurants right next to the pier are, but then I did some research and found out that we would be docked in terminal 10 across a bridge that didn’t have pedestrian walkways since Mariner was launching that day and using RC’s main terminal. 
     
    At some point after noon I relocated my seat in the Solarium since it suddenly was directly under the sun and thus very hot. Luckily because the pool deck was open it wasn’t as crowded today and I could easily find another lounger. A quick dip in the pool helped me cool off before I got settled to read some more. The salt water in the pool was good and bad. Bad for the eyes, but nice in that I barely had to tread to keep myself floating. It was mostly to keep myself upright. I felt like a cork just bobbing there in the water lol. 
     
    I went back to the room around 4:30 to take a little rest before dinner in hopes that I could stay up later than 9 since I apparently turn into a grandma on cruises. Lounging is so exhausting. WOE. Dinner was nice, though I was really longing for my spice rack when my spaghetti bolognese came. It desperately needed some garlic, Parmesan and red pepper flakes. The royal chocolate cake was surprisingly good though. YUM. 
     
    After dinner we went to the Pacific lounge to watch this show called “60 seconds or less game show” and it was really cute. People volunteered in sets of 2 to go up and try and complete various tasks within 60 seconds or left and one of them was declared the winner which was just bragging rights since everyone was given a little prize for participating. People of all ages took part and the host was good about matching up ages so it’s not like a 50 year old was against a 10 year old. Some of the tasks included blowing up a balloon and using the air to knock over some cups, throwing a paper ball into a trash can and the best was one where they tied a pair of tights that had tennis balls in the feet around their waist so it dangled between their legs and had to knock over some bottles. It was.....quite a sight. I think some of the kids didn’t understand why the adults were laughing so hard. It was one of those things that sounds silly and dumb, but ends up being a lot of fun. I’m really glad we went. 
     
    After that though it was bed time because the next day (aka today in real time) is Coco Cay day!!!!! 
     
    - this post brought to you from inside a chill island cabana. 😀
  13. Like
    tdcackler reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    Day 3 - Coco Loco Wednesday
     
    Despite my week-long excitement about CocoCay, I slept until almost 8!  Must have been the late night shower. Or the alcohol.  
     
    After breakfast at the Windjammer, we disembarked around 10am. We took the tram to arrivals -- a BRILLIANT IDEA --  and then headed to Chill Island, where we secured 2 chairs under an umbrella AND under some palm trees for the warm, shady, morning we dreamed of since June. 
     

     
    I picked up my floating mat and the experience was well worth the 12.99. The water was warm and peaceful.  Mom also floated for a bit. It was a soul-replenishing experience. (I may have cried.) We took turns in the water and on the chairs, reading. Even though I swear off souvenir cups on every trip I take, this time I drank 2 coco locos and happily accepted the cups. One pink, one orange.
     

     
    By the way, if you purchase a Summersalt swimsuit in the colors “Pacific & Blue Lagoon & White Sand” you will match most of the CocoCay colorways and your pictures will look phenomenal.
     

    We were too chill to try and look decent for the selfie stick photo.
     
    There was glitter in my beach bag. 
     
    I turned in floating mat and we went to lunch at Skippers, which was where the GF food was.  A very helpful crew member took Mom around the buffet and showed her which foods were gluten free. She had tacos! I also had tacos and bbq ribs. And some corn. And some fruit.
     
    We spent the afternoon at the Oasis Lagoon pool where the party was. Front row seats in shade. I had another Coco Loco, sans souvenir cup. We saw a lifeguard save a kid! 
     

    Me, matching the pool and sky, oblivious to the drunk, pasty guy behind me photobombing our photo.
     
    At 4:30, we reluctantly trammed it back to the ship. It was really, truly, a perfect day. All of my worries about shade and crowds were unfounded. Even if there were 2 ships there, we’d have still found seating.
     

    My version of the same picture everyone else takes.
     
    We showered up and headed to 6pm dinner. My chair still had glitter on it.
     
    Mom: Steak, SUPER WELL DONE. 
    Me: Asian pork tacos, chicken cordon bleu, tres leches cake. And 50th birthday cake! And a glass of wine. 
     
    We watched the Beatles tribute show in the Promenade, and then returned to the Cosmopolitan Lounge to watch another round of karaoke, where one giant family brought the house down with their rendition of “O Happy Day” from Sister Act 2. The drinks flowed, the crowd cheered, people were Saved.
     
    It was the Perfect Day.
     
    Grade: A+++
  14. Like
    tdcackler reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    Remember me? Welcome to my ... not so much LIVE blog but a blog that was put into suspended animation for a month.
    ****
    Day 0 - Miami Sunday
    It’s on! My devoted husband had the privilege of driving a maniacally giggling me and my equally excited mother to Philadelphia International Airport. We checked our bags and sashayed through TSA PreCheck.  I paid for it and it was literally the best money I ever spent on travel. Mom got it for free. She said it’s because she was traveling with me. I say it’s because she’s Of An Age. We had breakfast at the terminal. Yogurt and coffee for me, a scrambled egg bowl and coffee for her. We boarded the plane without incident, left early, and arrived in Miami a little after 1pm. Mom watched the first part of Rocketman.
     
    Mom: This is depressing.
    Me: I’m sure his story gets better. I think he makes it big.
    Mom: Eh, I know how it ends. (closes movie)
     

    Us.
     
    Our luggage was within the first 10 bags that dropped onto the belt. We hailed a taxi and sped to…
     
    InterContinental Miami! Huzzah! I picked it strictly based on this blog’s recommendation. Thank you!  Our standard room on the 18th floor was ready when we arrived. We changed into more comfortable duds and hit the pool bar for lunch. There were chairs along the railing and we stared at PortMiami (and drank) for the afternoon. It’s a much nicer view in person than via webcam.
     
    After whiling the afternoon away, we walked to Bayside Mall for dinner. The walk was gorgeous, with a water view the whole way. There was live music at the mall. We ate at Chili’s, which would not by my typical first choice in a new city, but it was familiar and had a short wait. Compromise. 
     

    Bayside Mall.
     
    There’s a construction wall bragging that a giant Ferris Wheel will open at Bayside “Holiday 2019.” I’m a sucker who will ride any Ferris Wheel she sees, so that only means I have to come back to the Intercontinental (and I guess PortMiami) eventually. The walk back to the hotel felt 100% safe, even in the dark. We headed back to the pool bar, but it had closed due to lightning. The Starbucks inside the hotel was also closed, so we headed back to the room to relax.

    Day 1 -  Embarkation Monday
    Today! Today we go on our cruise! I woke up and went outside to wave fanatically at Navigator. I loved having the hotel right on the water.  Mom and I had breakfast at Ole, which is the Intercontinental’s breakfast buffet. It was pretty expensive ($29pp for the non-continental version) but the food and service were amazing.
     
    Before we left for port, we bought 6 bottles of water at Miami One Market for $1 each. That with the free bottle from the Intercontinental meant Mom was set with water for the trip.
     
    For embarkation, I wore a Roxy sundress that I coveted at one of the shops on the Enchantment 2 years ago (it was cheaper to buy online rather than in the ship’s store), my casual flip flops, and a beach hat. Mom also wore a sundress and a beach hat.  We looked so touristy that the bell services agent immediately said, “taxi to the port?” Mom laughed, and I said, “I guess we don’t blend with the IBM AI conference that’s happening?”
     
    “Yes, but I also saw your luggage tags,” he replied.
     
    We arrived at Port at 10:50 and left our bags with the porter. Our SetSail passes indicated that we had expedited arrival. We entered the (short) line, had our photos taken and our passports looked at, and then we were okayed to board.
     
    Of course we took the gangway photos, because I will NEVER turn down a photo.
     
    We boarded the ship at 11:15 and I cried. 
     
    Yes, I’m a big baby, but it’s not just that. I had a mammogram that came back problematic and then a breast biopsy 11 days before the trip. That came back clear. I would have come on this vacation either way (I didn’t buy that deluxe of a travel insurance plan) but I know “death doesn’t discriminate” (Miranda L, 2014) and I was thankful to be here AND healthy. So go get your mammograms if your breasts are of age. But maybe don’t do it 3 weeks before your cruise.
     
    And then Mom cried because I was crying and I was glad we already had the photos taken. 
     
    After I got myself together (am big baby) we marveled at the ship. Enchantment was certainly beautiful, but Navigator is spectacular.  
     
    It was a little overwhelming, but in an “everything is the same but different” way. Our first order of business was to go up and see the pool deck.
     
    Mom: It means so much that we travel tog-
    Elevator: DOORS CLOSING!
    Us: (simultaneously scream)
    Elevator: DOORS OPENING!
    Me: Okay. That’s helpful.
     

    We stopped crying.
     
    I loved the amplification efforts - the happy colors, the beds and the chairs and the shade that was built in. Naturally, we had to check out the Windjammer.
     
    Where Enchantment had hand sanitizer stations, Navigator has a giant handwashing area complete with fully-functional sinks and a staff members singing songs about washing your hands. This would by my mother’s perfect cruise ship job.  Mom grabbed a sugar free gluten free coffee mousse and I had a little plastic cup of jello. It was only 11:30, so we weren’t super hungry. There was a giant cake welcoming us all to the Windjammer. It had to be 4 feet long.
     

     
     
    We took the stairs to the 12th floor and found a covered seating area near Lime & Coconut. Mom classily drank a pinot grigio while I slurped down the signature Lime & Coconut drink.

    This is not Lime and Coconut
     
    And I need to say this for everyone to hear: OH MY GOD YOU ARE ALL RIGHT ABOUT GETTING HERE EARLY.
     
    At 1pm, when the announcement was made that the cabins were ready, we headed to Windjammer for lunch. We figured everyone would charge to the cabins at that time and it would empty out. We were correct!! The Gluten-Free options continue to impress. 
     
    Mom: vegetable medley, hamburger sans bun, fruit, another coffee mousse
    Me: hot dog (classy broad), vegetable samosas, seafood paella, fruit..
     
    After lunch we went down to the bowels of the ship to our cabin on deck 3. The beds were pushed together, which could have been avoided if cruiseplanner had let me set a preference for it like I did 2 years ago. Our garbage can was GOLD because of our killer GOLD C&A status.
     

    Ocean view cabin, bed pushed together
     
    Our SeaPasses said we had My Time dining and to go to deck 3 to make our reservations. Hm. I had reserved traditional 6pm dining when I made our reservations. The app confirmed it. I went around the corner to the dining room, explained my predicament, showed the Royal App and the gentlemen said I had a 6pm reservation every night. Good!
     
    We explored the promenade on Deck 5. Mom and I played 2 games of giant Jenga at Playmakers. She won 1 and I also won 1. We decided it would be best to leave it tied. My family is very competitive. We returned to the room and met our steward, Miguel, who said he’d switch the beds before bedtime. Fantastic!
     
    Back up to deck 11 for --
     
    Elevator: DOORS CLOSING!
    Me: Omg. This is going to be anno--
    Elevator: DOORS OPENING!
     
    Back to deck 11 for the sailaway party. I had a Bahama mama and we slipped away from Miami so smoothly that if you didn’t see it, you’d never know we were moving.  We found 2 comfy chairs in the Solarium and stayed there until I looked at my watch and said, “Um, we have dinner in 4 minutes.”
     
    We went to MDR on 3 and the maitre’d said, “Ma’am, you’re a My Time Diner so if you wait right here we’ll find a table and ---”
     
    And I took a deep breath, smiled, showed my app which confirmed I was traditional dining and I would like to have the same table every night. And with a swipe of a Sharpie, we were given table 521 on Deck 5.
     
    Mom took the elevator, I took the stairs. We were seated at a 6-top by the window with two other couples. Couple 1 was married over 20 years, and couple 2 were honeymooners. Both were from Florida and both were just  the right level of talky. 
     
    We went to the 7:30 ice show which kicked off with an amazing drone display! The skaters were fantastic and at 45 minutes it was just the right length. We arrived 10 minutes early, which was still too late to get seats together, so I sat in the row in front of Mom.
     
    After that we stopped at the Casino for Mom to lose her obligatory $20. The big draw was the game where for only a dollar, you had a chance to move a “key” forward into one of 12 ‘locks.’ Behind each lock was a fan of US bills -- some were $10s, some were $20s, some were $100s. You’ll be surprised to know that while MANY people were feeding MANY dollars into that, nobody won. We perused the shops on the 5th floor and then when headed up to bed, exhausted. The beds were split and I tumbled in. And almost broke my collarbone because I forgot how FIRM the mattresses were. 
     
    Grade: A++
  15. Like
    tdcackler reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    I promise the entire 'blog' is forthcoming...re-entry into the real world has been bumpier than I planned on!
  16. Like
    tdcackler reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    Holy cats were you all correct about arriving early. We left the hotel at 10:45 and with expedited boarding we were on  the ship about 11:15.(Our set sail passes told us to report at 12:30, btw) 
    She’s gorgeous.  Detailed write up later but  here’s Mom and me holding court in the Gold Lounge (there is no Gold Lounge) on deck 12. 

  17. Like
    tdcackler reacted to kimberussell in Navigator of the Seas 10/21-10/25 Basic Tourist Style!   
    Hi! I'm Kim! You may know me from my Enchantment of the Seas trip report 2 years ago. We're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
    Me: 47, cruised with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago for the first time and Disney 15 years ago. I love warm weather and palm trees. 
    Mom: old enough to be my mother, cruised with Royal Caribbean 2 years ago for the first time. She also loves warm weather and palm trees.
    We both love to eat. She's gluten-free, I'm gluten-full. We get along very well. 
    We are Basic. We have no Star, Pinnacle, or Diamond statuses going for us. We are our own Genies. We have matching t-shirts that say "Resting Beach Face." We accept every photo op. We lose money on bingo and gambling. All of those things that experienced cruisers laugh at and wonder who they're aimed for? Us! They're aimed for us!
    Our story: we took our first cruise 2 years ago because Mom had a medically crummy summer and I wanted her to look forward to something once she put in the necessary PT work. We had THE BEST TIME and at least once a week every week since she mentioned taking another cruise.
    Mom: Let's take another cruise!
    Me: We could do that. Or we could go back to Virginia Beach! Or find a nice place in Florida...
    Mom: But then we'll have to go out and FIND food instead of just walking to a restaurant and having all the food we want. Don't you remember just grabbing the bag of chips from that stand? And there's no Solarium. And just the hotel is more money than the entire cruise and that's WITHOUT food and...
    I created a monster who wants to be able to grab a bag of Sun Chips and walk away.
    She wanted to take the same exact cruise again, because this time since she's back to 100% and won't have to use a cane. She's even going to the gym now. I know, right? I also know who'll be lugging our suitcases.
    But our beloved Enchantment of the Seas moved to Galveston and the Navigator's 5-day doesn't include Key West. 
    Mom: I don't want a smaller boat than Enchantment, though!
    Me, looking at Navigator photos: I...don't think that will be a problem.
    And here we are, booked on Navigator and headed to Nassau (day 2), CocoCay (day 3) and a day at sea (day 4).
    What we are keeping the same:
    Same ocean-view room. We were barely in it last time and I think that we'd really waste money on a larger room. Same VOOM 2-device surf and stream package.  Still not booking an excursion in Nassau; we're using a map I found online to create our own walking tour with a goal to be back on the ship for lunchtime. I might purchase a bottle of rum to bring home.  Still not booking fancy dining - we were completely happy with MDR and Windjammer last time and I'm excited to add free tacos to our lineup. Can't forget the free chips. Still not buying beverage packages - even when it goes to buy one, get one 50% off, neither of us can sustain the pace to make it break even. And we don't mind regular coffee. What we are doing differently:
    I kind of fibbed about the lack of STATUS. Because we are Crown & Anchor GOLD LEVEL, baybeeeeeee! ha-HA!  We'll be strolling down deck 3 with our four points like this:

    (Which is why we'll never be let into fancy lounges.)
    I bought lanyards from an Etsy shop to replace the "Bristol Meyers Squib" medical conference ones we had before. They befit our GOLD status. My husband is my favorite person but NOT a tropical-loving guy so he is staying behind with my beloved dogs and retinol. He will be driving us to the airport. We are flying directly into Miami the night before to spare me the agita I had last time when we almost missed the plane in Philadelphia. I'll disclose the hotel once we've checked out because I'm paranoid. We are not buying Evian water to be delivered to the cabin - 12 1-liter bottles = WAY too much water. Instead, I'm going to pick up a 6-pack of bottles in Miami to carry on and satisfy Mom's bottled water demands. I'm sure the complimentary C&A Gold status sherpa will help us. (disclaimer: there is no sherpa) I was raised on NJ tap water, so my body has evolved its own high-end filtering system. I pre-rented a floating mat at CocoCay. But with the construction on CocoCay's South Beach we don't have the opportunity to rent a lounger for the day. For just 2 of us, dropping hundreds of dollars on a daybed or cabana isn't cost-effective.  I'm very concerned about snagging seats with an umbrella. Even though the map shows little umbrellas all over, I don't want us to scorch.  I have feelings about CocoCay. It's just ... we had the perfect day there 2 years ago before it became capital-letter Perfect Day. We're not doing the waterpark and my brother would kill me in my sleep if I hooked Mom up to a zipline. I just hope Royal Caribbean remembered that some people's perfect day entails just lying on the beach under an umbrella, drinking and eating. Other than weather, norovirus, airplane crashes, the softening of my jawline, and the ship catching on fire at sea, this is what I'm worried about. I am often wrong, so I'm hoping my wrongness streak continues.
    Goals:
    Flush myself down the Riptide slide. It looks to be 25 seconds long. I can do that. As long as I keep my mouth shut (tall order) I won't drown. Try a Lava Flow.  Have a FANTASTIC time. All that's left is the packing, folks.
  18. Love
    tdcackler reacted to rtread in Rhapsody of the Seas and NFL   
    Sure hope you get to see the Cowboys beat the Pats..... 😉
  19. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    Enjoy both of your cruises. We are excited to try the Liberty for the first time in February! 🙂
     
  20. Like
    tdcackler reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    We have a packed day before we leave tomorrow. I dropped off a cake for a styled shoot this morning and cleaned out the fridge. I need to get dishes washed, and then it's only paper plates from here on out. We're finishing up our home school lessons now then we have piano and tae kwon do this afternoon. We need to drop books off at the library and run by the bank. I have a birthday cake to deliver tomorrow morning, and then DD and I are going to get our nails done. I have the kids 90% packed, and laundry is done so I can get started on my bag now too. And breathe!
  21. Like
    tdcackler reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    The chocolate bar was great. Vacation has officially started! 
    I'm going to turn off my phone for a few days. We may get a day of internet half way through, but I'll post the review and lots of photos when we're back.
    Thanks for all the help (especially @WAAAYTOOO for trying to get our suite email straightened out)!



  22. Like
    tdcackler reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    We made it! Boarded right at 10:45, never even sat down in the terminal. Eating lunch at the Windjammer. Plate 1 is seafood paella and salad. Dessert to come!

  23. Like
    tdcackler reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    We're repacked, kids are in bed (maybe with a benadryl assist 🤷‍♀️), and our pre-cruise bottle of wine is poured. I'm pretty sure I'll need a tylenol pm tonight too. 
     
     
     
     

  24. Like
    tdcackler reacted to melmar02 in Liberty 9/1/2019 - 8 years on land is too long!   
    I have been in dry dock for almost 8 years, and it’s finally (FINALLY!!) time for the uncontainable excitement I have for my upcoming cruise to boil over onto the Live Blog pages! We’ll be on Liberty of the Seas embarking September 1 for a 7 day western Caribbean cruise to Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. We're also heading to Galveston a couple days early to visit Space Center Houston. Unfortunately, this will not be a true live blog as we are unplugging for the trip, but list any questions you have here and I’ll do my best to get the answers when I’m on board then post when I’m back. I’ll post our plans and some details over the next several days and a review with photos once home.
    About us - I am 39 and DH is 47. I home school our two kids and run a wedding cake bakery from home. I like to think I can talk to myself in public and call it a parent-teacher conference. 😉 DH is an engineer.  DH and I have sailed twice before, both on Royal - Independence Eastern Caribbean in 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale and Voyager Western Caribbean in 2011 out of Galveston. We loved both of these, and our only “complaint” if we had to come up with one was that the dance floors were too small. This will be our kids’ first cruise; DD is 10 and DS is 7. DD has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. A few years ago, she would have been diagnosed with Aspergers, but it’s now lumped in with ASD. She doesn’t generally need special accommodations as she’s mainly socially awkward (can’t remember multiple step tasks, gets distracted in her own world, interrupts you mid-sentence to tell you all about dinosaurs/Pokemon/every word of a tv show she saw once 6 years ago). With her GAD, she occasionally catastrophizes things. In her mind, wild fires in California mean the whole world will be consumed by flames type of thing, so we did a lot of video watching and safety type prep with her to hopefully ease any fears that might come up on board. I had several photos of a life boat drill and another crew drill from our previous sailings which helped a lot. DS is your typical silly, loud boy. Both the kids are extremely excited for the cruise. Right now they want to spend a little time in Adventure Ocean each day, but we'll be spending a good portion of the time together as a family. 
    Why this cruise - I decided that it had been long enough since our last cruise, and that we were going to take one for my 40th birthday. It’s the same month as the sailing, so it counts, right? We actually had our third one booked in 2012, but we got pregnant with DS and wound up just cancelling due to timing of everything else going on in our lives beyond a new baby (aging parents, job changes, etc). We have been land vacationing a lot these last 8 years at Great Wolf Lodge as there is one less than an hour from our house, the kids love it, and it’s cheaper than Disney!  Because we live in north Texas (Dallas area), we decided to keep it easy and drive down to Galveston. Liberty’s water slides and Splashaway Bay will be a good fit for my kids, and I wanted a 7 day cruise which Liberty offered as opposed to Enchantment’s 4 or 5 day itineraries. We booked during the 2018 Black Friday sale which featured a discount on the second passenger and Kids Sail Free promotions. We picked up about $500 in price drops along the way, even after our cabin category sold out thanks to @Lovetocruise2002's tips.
    More to come...
  25. Like
    tdcackler got a reaction from Matt in MEI Travel   
    If you price it out yourself and your agent gives you a different price than you saw online, just ask them. For example, our MEI Agent (Kathy G - she is awesome!) always prices it out with refundable deposits which is more than non-refundable and what the RC site defaults to, if I understand correctly.

    I've worked with other agencies and with MEI. A good agent won't be upset with your questions. Just ask. They want you to be happy and have a great vacation so you come back. 
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