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Everything posted by marti314

  1. Embarkation: Allure is using the new Terminal A in Miami. The pickup / drop-off area is quite a nightmare. I arrived at the port about 10:30 am and it was packed with vehicles / busses / trailers / uber / lyft with nobody really knowing where to go. There is a back portion of the wraparound where the busses are supposed to go to drop / pick people up but when you get a bus with a luggage trailer on the back parking in the spots it 100% stopped anyone else from getting past them so it just created a massive bottleneck. Also none of the spots are really designated for any company in particular so its a free for all as to where you may be picked up. To make things worse there were Uber/Lyft drivers pulling into these spots making no spaces for the busses to park. Disembarkation was worse because I was actually trying to find a bus in that case. I'll comment on that in a disembarkation section. New Terminal A / Check In Process: Holy cow have they made things efficient if you have your Set Sail all completed. No more going to a desk at all, just 30 or so people ready to scan your set sail and send you to security. Literally took 2 mins to get through "checkin" and through security. The "waiting" area for those that show up before they allow you to board isn't all that organized at all. It was "Take a seat wherever" They opened the doors around 10:50 am. Their new boarding process is quite odd, they basically announce on the loud speaker "groups" to board. They called KEY first, then Pinnacle, Diamond Plus, Diamond, Emerald and Platinum all in one announcement. Because of how few there were in each group we boarded the ship quickly anyways. Onboard Specialty restaurant reservations: I had purchased the ultimate dining package for the week and immediately went up to Chops to make reservations for the week. First comment was that CHOPS and GIOVANNIS said there was 0 chance of having lunch at either of those places on embarkation day because the KEY guests were all reserved. I ended up going to Sabor which was very nice anyways. I had a sheet of paper with my preferred restaurants for each day/time and for the most part they were able to get close to what i was looking for. What was challenging though is some of the reservations did not show up on the APP at all or the TV so towards the end of the week i was making phone calls to verify times. Specialty restaurants: 150 Central Park - 3 times, Absolutely Amazing dinners - Richard was our server each time and we really enjoyed him. I made sure he was well compensated for his service he provided. If you enjoy a flavorful caesar salad, do not miss this one, it is full or garlic and anchovy slivers. Also the tenderloin for 2 was delightful, perfectly cooked, carved tableside, very impressive. Chops - 2 times - Once for lunch once for dinner - Chops just seems to be missing flavor to me. Yes they have delicious cuts of meat but it almost seems like they forget to season things there. The sauces are just missing something, but all in all good meals. Red Velvet cake is still alive and well, ignore the macaroni that escaped onto the table cloth: Giovannis - 2 times for dinner - Great meals here, enjoyed sitting outside one night and the last night having a final meal at Giovannis was a good way to end the trip Izumi - 2 times - One for Lunch, One for dinner. While I love the sushi here the service was just bad. The server was friendly and all but just couldnt get anything right. Food came out at very different times, wrong food brought, some food missing, random food on my bill, random wine on my bill i didnt drink. After this happened the 2nd time i went to the manager to express my concerns. They offered me to go to the galley brunch on the last day as a consolation. Sabor - 2 times for lunch - Their lunch menu is very limited but its great to sit outside on the boardwalk. The food is nothing to write home about (used to be much more robust, now only 3 things on the lunch menu). The Churros and Banana things for desert were pretty darn good. All in all i wish they kept things how they were in the past but i think the atmosphere makes up for it (and the margaritas) Galley Brunch - about 16 people in our group (far to many to hear anything) . I really enjoyed the tour, especially the BAKERY which i wish i had some of those machines at my house. The lunch / champagne after the tour was OK, it was standard MDR food. The champagne was flowing freely, I think i ended up with 6 glasses and felt pretty good after that. Photos from around the ship: Cafe Promenade: Someone asked if they make alcoholic coffees and the answer is YES and they are delicious: Sabor Drink Menus: Vintages Menus: Boleros Cocktail Menu:
  2. If we are tipping the people who wash towels, wipe down railing, wash dishes in the kitchens, prep food then they should move to a mandatory fee and pay their employees with it. I am not saying these people do not work hard also but TELL us where the money is going instead of just saying 14.25 per day is optional. When i go into a restaurant I dont leave 9 tips saying: Tip 1 for server, Tip 2 for food prep, Tip 3 for Salad Cook, Tip 4 for Hot Items cook, Tip 5 for Desert, Tip 6 for Host, Tip 7 for Busboy, Tip 8 for carpet cleaners, Tip 9 for Dishwasher...... They all made my "restaurant" experience better but its just confusing. Also how many of you with a family of 4 leaves 25+ dollar tips per night in your land based hotel room for the Housekeeping and everything that goes into the clean sheets, towels etc...
  3. The travel agents will add the comments to the reservation but I highly recommend talking to the dining room staff ahead of time to notify them so they can bring something special (usually a small cake). I have found that recently the notes on the reservations do not really lead to any results.
  4. Not recommending any employees try to bypass their counties tax rules but CASH is king for these folks. The pre-paid gratuities are "seen" and processed by the company and of course with that are the applicable govt taxes removed. Cash is right in the servers/attendants pocket.
  5. 10 dollar bottles of wine from the local grocery store run 16.00 a glass on the ships nowadays. Specifically talking about Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc as an example. And i dont buy at the 50,000 bottles a week volume prices. RCL has the highest out of pocket drink prices compared to any of its competitors.
  6. You can always get a good coffee at cafe promenade with the coffee card and then pay for a shot of whiskey at the pub. No, Cafe Promenade can not make an irish coffee and the coffee card does not get you any discounts. You may save by buying only the shot though since your coffee is on the card.
  7. Please do not fill a bucket of ice from a freestyle machine. They are out of ice enough without people filling up buckets.
  8. If you will be carrying on a duffle bag I always throw a pair of jeans in the duffle for this reason. Like everyone else says though this is your vacation and don't get too stressed about the little things.
  9. No documented limit. If you look overly intoxicated you will be cut off. If it appears you are sharing drinks you will be cut off. They are trusting in their guests as much as we put our trust in them so if you are respectable they will let you have plenty of fun and be up all night using the restroom.. ?
  10. All packages are based on the number of nights you will be "sleeping" on the ship. Any drink packages will work from the moment you step on the boat ship until you get off the boat ship
  11. Be sure to buy the KEY for this sailing, First off the boat!
  12. You simply eat as much as you can eat, since its a fixed price specialty restaurant there is no allowance like at izumi.
  13. Do you think the economy will go up or down for the remainder of 2019? In all seriousness though, if the cruise appears to be in your budget and you feel its a good deal and you can spare the deposit money then yes book it. You can always reprice the cruise if it goes lower up until final payment date so you really arent risking much at all if you are willing to keep an eye on prices. YES some cruises if not full will go down within say 90 days (after final payment) if they are not filling up as RCL expects. In these cases you can not ask for a re-price but then again many of us cant wait until 2 weeks out to book a cruise and plan vacation time, airfare etc.
  14. You only sign it once per cruise vacation. It used to be part of the check in process online but this is the link: https://secure.royalcaribbean.com/adc/waivers/processReservation.do
  15. If you are hanging out in the pub and get to know the bartender (and have a drink package) ask if you can have a Strongbow and a shot of fireball on the side. Some will make you wait a few minutes for the fireball but I dump the fireball into the Strongbow cider and it gives it a nice cinnamon flavor and cuts the sugary taste of the cider alone. I call it a StrongBall.
  16. if you have a harbor freight near you, they sell a pack of 4 that with the 20% off coupon end up being 3.00 Keep in mind that no hooks will really hold its advertised weight when on a vertical wall, it will just slide down.
  17. Uber / Lyft now use fixed pricing so you will just need to tell them TERMINAL A or ALLURE of the Seas and they will follow the digital signage accordingly. The address wont take you to a specific terminal they just have to follow the signage.
  18. I am 6'9, most of the time i am the tallest but sometimes there are some 7 foot gentlemen hovering over me.
  19. Southwest is definitely not the most profitable anymore, not even % wise. https://www.consultancy.uk/news/13588/the-10-most-profitable-airlines-of-the-globe
  20. Ill be on Next Weeks Allure sailing also. Ill grab photos of the cruise compass' and all the specialty dining menus throughout the week. Ill be the tallest one on the ship (usually its the case) if you happen to notice me
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