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About Flypped73

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  1. I’ve done it twice. There is very little actual hiking necessary. It is more of a bus ride that takes you directly to 4-5 places (a welcome center/mini-museum, a waterfall, a lookout tower, and a few other stops). You can be as active as you want during the stops, but will not need to anything strenuous. The ground may be uneven and you may have to walk 50-100 feet from the bus to the actual point of interest, but nothing beyond that. And you can always stay on the bus or in the bus area at any of the stops.
  2. Where are you leaving from? If you are leaving from a warm or mild weather location, I’d not worry too much. If you’re leaving from a place with potential winter weather issues, perhaps keep an eye on the forecasts. As you draw closer, some airlines will help you re-book an earlier flight if it looks like there’s potential for flight delaying/cancelling weather. 11:00-11:30 is a great time to arrive. San Juan is a great port and Freedom is an awesome ship. I’ve sailed out of there three times. You didn’t say how quickly you’re flying out on the back end of the cruise, but hopefully you’ll get to enjoy San Juan at least a bit. I would never discourage anyone from rushing onto the ship (I always do myself), but if that is your only time to see San Juan, perhaps take a half day and enjoy it and get onto the ship a little later.
  3. I don't blame you for never wanting to trust Royal Caribbean with a future trip, but you deserve to get what you were already put so much planning, anticipation and financial investment into. I don't know how social media savvy you are (perhaps here is where the teen kids can help) but you can often get a strong response by airing your grievances publicly on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I'm sure people who are part of this community would help amplify any of those posts with likes, shares, retweets, etc. This is an injustice and it seems Royal is not stepping up. Sometimes some negative publicity can nudge them to do the right thing, especially if see think people are watching. Very commonly, large companies like this have entire positions with people who monitor social media who can respond to situations and often have additional powers of quick resolution. Just a thought...
  4. I have gone out of San Juan twice (once on Adventure and once on Jewel). Both times, embarkation was delayed at least an hour due to, according to them, Customs and Border Patrol not having cleared the ship. I don't assume that is typical but two out of two times makes me wonder if it isn't unusual. They even had printed copies of a letter from Royal Caribbean explaining the nature of the delay. The first time they made us wait in a long line outside the terminal. It was very hot, but Royal was nice enough to come around with carts of water and lemonade. The second time I was already one of the few let into the terminal. But both times they did not let us embark until between 1:15-2:00. Regardless, I forgot all about the long waits pretty quickly after being on board. And if you're anything like me, the slow evening sailaway past Old San Juan will remove any negative thoughts from your mind. Absolutely beautiful!!!
  5. I was on Allure in March, and we got our Seapass cards at check in.
  6. I did the post-cruise El Yunque Rainforest tour when I was in the exact same circumstance (late flight). It was perfect because it provided me with bag storage as well as airport transport as part of the package. That was a value right there, plus I still got a half-day experiencing the amazing rain forest. Royal Caribbean will usually offer 3-4 post cruise excursions, all of which generally include an airport dropoff option. The one Jerel mentioned is a tour of Old San Juan and is great as well. I believe the el Yunque is the longest of the excursions, but still gets you to the SJU airport by 1:00-2:00 in the afternoon. A side note: I know when I was there, the Sheraton Old San Juan seemed to have an entire ballroom set up as a giant bag check area. I don't know if that was only a courtesy for hotel guests, or a GREAT service and way to make a few extra bucks. Maybe both. I'd give them a call and see if you could drop bags there while you spend the day in Old San Juan. It'll be a short cab ride from the cruise pier and it would be a perfect jumping off point for a day of exploration. Explore Old San Juan for as much time as you have, then stop back, pick up your bags, and catch a cab to the airport.
  7. While I know many on these boards rave about the Radiance class ships (sorry Matt, don't banish me), I found Adventure of the Seas to be superior to Jewel of the Seas in nearly every way. Both of these ships offer amazing itineraries. There is just so much more to do on Adventure and I found the service to be much better (amongst the best in the fleet, by many accounts). I did the Adventure of the Seas with Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. On Jewel I did Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, and St. Croix. Special note: If you are considering balconies, nearly all balconies on Deck Seven (and to some extent Deck Eight) of Jewel of the Seas have significantly obstructed views, despite not being identified or disclosed as such. When sitting on the balcony, nearly 75% of your sea view is blocked by an overhang that shields the lifeboat Deck 5/6 area. When I complained about this major obstruction on-board, I received no assistance. When I complained about it in my post-cruise reviews/surveys, I received no response whatsoever. It almost turned me off Royal Caribbean altogether. The only saving grace was that these cruises are so port-intensive, that I spent much less time on my balcony than any other cruise I've taken. Had there been 2, 3, 4 sea days, my disappointment and anger would surely have escalated. Some advantages of each ship as I see it: Adventure of the Seas: Royal Promenade! Ice Rink Water slides Flowrider Amazing service More & better Windjammer food options Jewel of the Seas: Al Fresco dining option in the Windjammer Sorry to be so down on Jewel, but it was by far my worst ship experience of the Royal Caribbean fleet. The itinerary was the only good thing about my experience (and it WAS great). Just my opinion...
  8. I am booked on a seven-day Western sailing on Allure in March that visits Labadee (thanks for the PERFECTLY timed podcast, Matt), Falmouth, and Cozumel. After doing a really port-intensive cruise last year on Jewel (5 ports in 6 days), I know I am going to want to make the most out of these three stops. The problem is, on previous cruise stops in Jamaica I have had incidents that cause me to really dislike this port. My first trip there involved me having the film (I know that dates the incident) stolen out of my camera then returned to me if I gave them a "tip" for "finding it". The second time I enjoyed a pickpocketing incident. And the third time, after making some island purchases, I had my credit card information compromised. On all three visits (especially in the more tourist-y locations) I found the locals to be very aggressive with sales, often surrounding me and being almost threatening. I get that many (most) ports really rely on the dollars of tourism, and I am always interested in supporting by purchasing souvenirs, artwork, local wares and food, but in my experience Jamaica has elevated it to another (very uncomfortable) level. In the other 19 islands I've been fortunate enough to visit, a polite "no thank you" has always sufficed. Not so in Jamaica. So, after that long preamble: I am looking for ways to enjoy Jamaica and some of the natural beauty I've always heard about. I want to see waterfalls (not Dunn's), or cliffs, or a really nice beach, but want to stay away from the crowds and the tourist areas and the locals who will only see me as a dollar sign. None of the Royal Caribbean excursions seem to offer anything like this, favoring the well-worn super-tourist spots. Does anyone have any recommendations along these lines for something within reasonable distance of the Falmouth pier that can be achieved (we are in port 10:30 AM-7:00PM)? If I don't come up with anything, I may well end up just staying on-board and enjoying a less crowded Allure for the day (no threat there, that sounds nice as I sit today in Chicago). Any tips or experiences would be greatly appreciated. This forum always seems to come through, so I have hope. Thanks in advance, all (for those of you who have made it to the end of this rambling post)...
  9. I agree with this assessment that there is not much of anything to do in this area. Location-wise, it doesn't hold a candle to the Old San Juan location. However, it is only a short cab ride away from that area (you can see the other Sheraton from the hotel), so shouldn't dissuade you terribly. If you are looking to relax and lounge on property, the pool area is MUCH nicer than the Old San Juan property (I've done both). "Convention Center Sheraton" has a giant pool deck with tons of chairs, infinity pool, hot tubs, restaurant/bar. Old San Juan, has a very small rooftop pool, with almost no room to sit/lounge/sunbathe.
  10. I stayed at that same hotel last year for a Jewel of the Seas cruise. I could see Adventure of the Seas so clearly on the pool deck the day before and it seemed really tempting to walk. It is farther than it looks (especially with luggage). You'd have to walk several blocks towards the marina, then nearly the entire distance of the runway on that little airport to get to the Royal Caribbean terminal. Probably close to a mile of total walking. Save your energy for the stairs on the ship and take a cab...
  11. I have been lucky enough to sail on Royal Caribbean six times now and definitely consider myself Loyal to Royal! Does anyone know of any way to purchase Royal Caribbean merchandise off ship? On my third cruise I began purchasing those square shot glasses with the pewter logo for each ship I'd been on. It is a great and reasonably priced memento and I display them proudly, looking forward to the next ship I'll get to go on. The problem is those first two trips I neglected to buy them on. Is there any way that anyone knows of (outside eBay and the like which I search constantly) to fill in those two missing ships (Adventure and Voyager btw). Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. [if someone is going on one of those ships in the future, I'd gladly pay the cost of the souvenir, shipping and an on-board drink ; ) ]
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