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Everything posted by DDemuth

  1. Are you locked in on deck 6? If potential noise is a concern, what about a JS up one deck on 7, or in my opinion an even better option on deck 8. Either way, I agree that the noise level in the Schooner Bar is probably not a concern.
  2. That last picture of the anchor really illustrates the distortion induced by those ultra wide angle lenses at close distance. You've bended the bow of the ship about 90 degrees to the left. Appreciate all the photos that you've posted.
  3. Not sure that I understand the reluctance to fly home with several bottles. We just returned from Oasis last week and packed 3 x 1 liter bottles of bourbon in our checked luggage. They were purchased at a bourbon tasting that was held mid-week. The bottles were delivered to our stateroom the night before departure and were packed in a sturdy box. We just surrounded the box with clothing in the suitcase to provide some cushioning. They arrived home safe and intact; and so am I as I'm enjoying a Manhattan right now...
  4. Also, in many cases the bottles that are sold on the ship are 1 liter, not the standard 750ml that the local liquor store usually carries. If you pre-price before the cruise, remember to take that into account as you shop onboard.
  5. Just had dinner there on Saturday, Nov 11. When we reserved earlier in 2017 (July/Aug, I think), it was complimentary. That said, in the Cruise Compass last week it was shown as a dining option for an upcharge. Did not inquire as to how much. We also dined there on a previous cruise on Oasis in Oct 2016 for a charge of $15pp. My experience was the same on both cruises. In my opinion, this is a dining venue in search of a theme or identity. The buffet style appetizers (some of which were very good) are more in line with a tapas style meal, but then, that is how Vintages operates with its expanded tapas menu. The entrée is then ordered and served by wait staff. In 2016, the entrees were substantially below the quality that one was served in other Specialty venues such as Chops or 150 Central, and frankly was not worth the upcharge being asked. On Saturday, our entrée was much better prepared and served, so for a complimentary meal, it was acceptable but not the same experience as other upcharge venues. My opinion is that this is a beautiful venue that is not being used to its fullest potential by RCI. Go for it if complimentary, but your dollars may be better spent if you are asked to pay an upcharge.
  6. That was my understanding as well, and supported by documentation on the RCI website that stated that gratuities were included in the cover charge for the Specialty restaurants. As of this afternoon, the RCI Dining FAQ still states that gratuities are include in the cover charge. If that is no longer true, or will soon no longer be true, the staff are the ones being shafted since the portion of the cover charge that was initially directed to them has now been absorbed by RCI and the diners are asked to provide the gratuity. The likely result is that diners will be more reluctant to leave additional cash tips. We leave Sunday on Oasis and have several pre-paid reservations at Specialty restaurants. Our plans are also to shift a FNDR reservation from Sabor/Giovanni's to 150 Central. Be interesting to see if that is looked upon as an onboard reservation that will be assessed the 18% gratuity. And how will our pre-paid reservation to 150C later in the week be handled? Let you know when we return.
  7. I'm right there with you, but after next week if I flaunt my C&A status, it will be the color of your beard Senor.... ,.... Plat'num Oooh, can't wait to visit the Plat'num lounge,...
  8. What would have irked me the most was the 20+ minute wait for a margarita that never showed. Talk about adding insult to injury... Next time, visit the bar at Sabor first, grab a drink and then head to the shuttle or cab.
  9. Funny, last year on Oasis we thought Giovanni's was just average; liked it but thought nothing really special. Haven't been to Chops since 2015 on Splendour but that was an excellent meal with great service. I probably agree that Chops at $49pp is steep, but at $49 per couple for FNDR, it's a bit more attractive. But put me on an Oasis class and my go to restaurant is 150 Central Park.
  10. Welcome back! Sounds like a great cruise. 150 Central Park and the Champagne Bar; two of my favorite places. Will be stopping in Costa Maya in November; can I ask what turned you off re: the shuttle?
  11. RCI posted the new updated itinerary on their site this morning.
  12. According to the updated itineraries presented on the RCI web page, the Dec 2 Harmony cruise will only substitute St Thomas for St Maarten.
  13. On what ship? My understanding is that on Oasis class, your options for FNDR are either Giovanni's or Sabor. You can change the reservation to Chops or another venue but the charge will be 50% of the normal fee for the restaurant. So there might be an slight upcharge to change to Chops, since the fee for Chops is ~$49. Still, a 50% discount is not a bad deal if that is what you want to do.
  14. Have a look here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2017/09/07/irma-devastates-world-famous-st-maarten-airport/?utm_term=.02b8817a5398 In the video at the 9 sec mark, you can see what's left of Maho. Nothing but rocks; the sand is all washed up onto the airport runway. The Dutch military said that the airport itself was unreachable as of Sept 7 and that the terminal sustained heavy damage. We are on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary in November but given recent events, not sure what to expect or if we'll stop in St. Maarten.
  15. Agree with BrianAlt. You can find single balcony staterooms that can sleep 4 (I think B1, C1, D3, D4 on Oasis class) but having adjoining rooms provides your group with 2 bathrooms, more space and the option to remove the divider on the balcony so that your group has a double width balcony. If this isn't cost prohibitive, it's the way to go.
  16. One concern is how much damage if any occurs at the airport in San Juan. Assuming that airport operations are back to near normal, it shouldn't be a problem to get into P.R. since the storm will be well past by Friday. The other issue is where are you flying from? If you are connecting from MIA, FLL or another FL city, possible you might encounter delays and cancellations. Given that, you might want to look at changing a flight to connect from another US city that flies direct into San Juan, e.g. Chicago.
  17. Looks like a fun-filled week. Enjoy the cruise, everyone.
  18. I think that I'm going to change my name to VanFleet...
  19. Time for me to speculate that the discounting of the Deluxe Drink Package is a thing of the past, at least on Oasis class ships. When I initially booked our upcoming cruise on Oasis, the Deluxe Package listed to $46 pppd. I should have pulled the trigger then, but I didn't and waited for a new credit card cycle before buying. In that time, the price jumped to $55 pppd. OK, I figured that I could wait and catch a sale closer to the time of departure. Right now, I believe that this will not be possible and that the jump in price to $55 was the first step in a marketing strategy intended to fix the price of the package. The next step that occurred was the introduction of the Ultimate Dining Package which listed on Oasis for $168 per week or $24 pd. So what does a dining package have to do the the drink package? What followed was the combining of the two for $75 pppd. As it stands now, the drink package in the combined package will cost $51 pd ($75 - $24), a discount of $4 over buying the Deluxe package separately. This leaves no room for further discounting of the Deluxe package without compromising the sales of the combined, since reducing the Deluxe back to $46 would make it less expensive to buy the two packages independently rather than the combined. It ain't going to happen. Now wait!, you say. On Harmony, the Deluxe package sells for $49 (correct? Someone chime in). But in this case, the Ultimate package is $203 per week ($29 pd). So the $75 cost pd of the combined represents a $3 pd savings (49 + 29 =78) over the purchase of individual packages. What the left hand giveth, the right hand taketh away. Of course, this leaves open the option of discounting the Ultimate package, but my guess is that for this to occur, the Deluxe package will first increase in price on Harmony. Welcome to RCI dynamic pricing. What do you think? The bottom line for my cruise is that since we cannot see eating at specialty restaurants for 7 days in addition to lunch on seas days, I gave up hopes of seeing the Deluxe Package discounted before our departure, bit the bullet and purchased it for $55 pd. Still!, it's 20% off!! Just can't figure though, 20% off of what? Happy hunting for Labor Day bargains.
  20. If you look at the current conditions in the North Atlantic, you will see that this storm traveled WAAAYTOOO fast to affect your weekend departure. Enjoy your cruise.
  21. There are just too many variables to consider an accurate storm track that far out. Look at the size of the current NHC cone at 5 days and the uncertainty in the current discussion about track. So where this storm will be in 5 - 10 days is not really something that should be of concern right now. That might change, however, 5 days from now.
  22. This is shaping up to be a nasty one; sustained winds have strengthened almost two-fold in the last 24 hrs. Looks like the storm was turning to the NW but a building high in the Atlantic may prevent that, and keep it on a westerly or west/southwestly track. Not good for the Windward isles and wouldn't be surprised to see Eastern itineraries switched for next week sailings.
  23. I think anyone who is planning to be around the windward isles next week will be watching this storm, given that it is forecast to continually strengthen throughout the 5 day forecast period into a cat4 storm. Will it affect Allure? Probably not because if the storm track continues as is, Allure will likely switch to a western itinerary and head to Labadee and Cozumel.
  24. Your bigger concern is the former tropical storm that was over Cape Hatteras and has since become extra-tropical. As such, the NHC does not continue updates on their website, but the storm was predicted to continue up the coast offshore and grow to hurricane strength (max winds 80mph). This site shows predicted wave heights for all oceans and seas... http://www.oceanweather.com/data/ and if you click on the appropriate box for the coastal Atlantic, you can clearly see the storm and current wave conditions: From this, looks like your trip out to Bermuda may be a bit bumpy (15 - 20ft swells now). Good news is that the storm is moving quickly to the Northeast, so fingers crossed that conditions may improve significantly by the weekend.
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