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JLMoran last won the day on February 19 2021

JLMoran had the most liked content!

About JLMoran

  • Birthday 01/23/1970

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  1. I have had to cancel my booking. Two big financial hits in the last month have made it impossible for me to make final payment in October without being in debt. To make it more problematic, our pet sitter from the last few cruises is moving out of state in July, and we have no one else we can ask who can come to the house and stay there so our cat continues to have routine that he needs for his sanity. Hope you all have a good sailing.
  2. I only started cruising back in 2018, when my family and I did our first cruise on Freedom. (and I became a huge follower of this site) Since then, my wife and I have done all of 5 cruises, 3 of them on Royal and 2 on Princess. Two planned cruises got wrecked by the Dark Times. We have two more cruises coming up; our first time trying NCL in October, and then back with Royal for my 55th birthday in late January 2025. I'm hoping to retire in a little over 5 years, and at that time I'm hoping to seriously raise my cruising game. But that will mostly depend on how much PTO my wife is getting at that time, unless she becomes OK with the idea of me sailing on my own for some more exotic locales she wouldn't care for anyway (if I can manage them at that time).
  3. I stayed in the Hera Hotel in Athens, it was very nice! Small boutique hotel, reasonably priced in my book, located just past the end of a sort of "restaurant row" (though not in the more densely packed "downtown" area with tons and tons of restaurants; that was about a 15 minute walk away), and only a long block from the Parthenon entrance. In Rome, I stayed in the River Palace Hotel. The hotel itself is gorgeous, and it's located just outside the Plaza of the Pope, which is maybe a 20-minute slow walk away from the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, along with a couple of gorgeous cathedrals that we stumbled on and a bunch of great restaurants.
  4. A less than stellar skate is still better than no skate at all. And knowing that you are visually impaired, if I had watched it I would likely have been amazed. Can only imagine how much you've fine-tuned your motion senses and balance to be able to do that. I've never been able to skate, thanks to being born with two club feet and surgeries that straightened them out but left me with zero calf muscles or ankle strength. (and degenerative arthritis in both ankles) Kudos to you, and congratulations! You know what that means. You're that much closer to Cruise Day!
  5. ngl, I had to check the post date of this multiple times to confirm it wasn't an April Fool's joke. Matt! Matt! Why hast thou forsaken us?!?
  6. Given the description of the elevators on Odyssey, this might be an issue for my wife. She has benign cerebellar tremor, which causes her hands to shake all the time. If using those elevators requires steadily pointing a finger in front of a button but not touching it, she may get very frustrated if she constantly sets off all the neighboring buttons due to the tremor.
  7. See, this is why their "sales" and "promotions" are so often just bunk. It really comes down to, "How well are we meeting our quotas for these packages and offerings?" It's only when the sales numbers are in the toilet that the steep price cuts actually seem to come out. What I consider a reasonable deluxe package price (which would be about $45-$55 PP PD) doesn't seem to be offered any more, even though I was able to snag that price on both of my 2018 sailings. Not that I'll stop checking, mind you. I'm a firm believer in miracles.
  8. @Lovetocruise2002, I think my surrogate has arrived. Don't be embarrassed about being lengthy, @Cruising_Figure_Skater! Embrace it! Look at the blog links in my signature and be inspired! We need more novelists in these live blogs! Dozens of photos with no descriptions? To paraphrase Edna Mode, they're just pictures, darling! snap-a-snap-a-snap-a-snap! We need words to truly convey the emotions of the moment. I will be following along and enjoying every bit of it. Especially since I completely missed out on my Barcelona stop (and three others) when Covid sidelined me for almost the entire second half of my Med cruise in 2022.
  9. OK, I'd say those are the stops standard to basically all tours of Santorini. I can tell you right now that the stop at the highest point on the island is kind of disappointing, because you can't actually get to the peak; there is a monastery there that no longer allows visitors, and next to that is a military station that is not open to the public. So your tour bus basically pulls to the side of the road, you get out for 10-15 minutes to take some quick pictures, and then get back on the bus to go to your next destination. My tour also included a stop at a local winery, where we also got to try three locally made wines while served a very nice lunch. The wines are definitely not bad, but also weren't especially great IMO, especially the last one (dessert wine) that was (I kid you not) made from raisins instead of fresh grapes. Oia is the town with all the postcard pictures, and there is no denying it's beautiful. But it's also incredibly crowded if you get there in the afternoon, and you need to be ready to navigate some heavy crowds in the narrow alleys that make up a lot of the city. There's a lot to be seen there, and lots of shops selling souvenirs. And you can get some amazing photos. But you'll have to make a choice to explore or eat, because you won't have time for both. Fira is where all tours end, because that's where you'll board the cable car back down to the shore for your tender ride back to the ship. That's an area you need to be very careful in, there are a lot of pickpockets and scammers there. My wife and I got distracted by a husband and wife arguing, and then we both felt a small child bump into us and run past. We reflexively checked our pockets and bags and confirming nothing stolen, but it was clearly a setup for the kids to pickpocket whatever tourists they could. If you're into ancient history or archaeology at all, I would highly recommend trying to find a tour of Akrotiri. It's a 3,000-year old village that is Santorini's version of Pompeii. Even if you have to go third-party, I would argue it's well worth it. Absolutely amazing stop on the day tour my wife and I did. Cost us an arm and a leg since the tour included all the above stops as well and it was a true full-day outing (9-1/2 hours IIRC), but so worth it! My favorite stop of the entire time in the Greek Isles. (it wasn't with Royal, so I don't know if they have anything similar for a ship-hosted outing) If you want to be outdoors more, maybe find an option that includes a stop at one of the black sand beaches. My daughters did that tour on our sailing and they really liked that. It also included a short stop at a different local winery along with Oia / Fira, so it's really a matter of how much you want to spend that day on the outing and what you want to see. But I'd definitely suggest a tour that goes above and beyond those few items since there is a lot more to see on the island.
  10. Quantum ships were designed from the start to be cold-weather cruising ships. So features like an aqua theater, water slides, etc. would be unusable while in the colder regions at start or end of a cruise (or throughout on something like an Alaska sailing or late-fall Canada/New England cruise). I imagine features like those also pose some safety risks in rougher winter waters or in high winds common to the winter season. I imagine that's also why the ice skating rink was skipped. I saw at least one skater fall in every performance, even in calm seas. Can't image people being able to use the space when the seas are really rockin' and a rollin'. Like @need2cruz, my wife and I love the Quantum class ships. The Two70 Lounge became our favorite spot to have breakfast every morning. It's always wonderfully quiet there in the mornings, with the wake view adding to the calm. We also really like the shows they have in that space. The Q class solarium is easily our favorite of the ships we've been on (admittedly, not many). We like the SeaPlex for the non-sports options it offers since neither of us is into sports, along with features like iFly that are unique to the line and still work even when the weather is colder. Our only real complaint is how much the ships "look inward", even with all the balcony rooms they have. But that's another trade-off of being designed for colder climates, where people will want to limit their exposure to the elements when just getting from Point A to Point B. Q class is the only one besides Freedom or Radiance class that I want to book these days. I'm glad that Royal continues to offer those, and I hope they evolve the Q line in ways that pull from Celebrity's Edge class ships (which clearly drew inspiration from Q class).
  11. Where does that tour stop? They’re keeping the name generic enough that people could have done an excursion with the same or similar name but totally different destinations.
  12. I hope it gets lower than $80/day for the deluxe package. I don’t generally drink more than about $50 a day between dinner wines, a couple cappuccinos, and maybe a cocktail with lunch when I’m on board. I’m fine if it doesn’t, I’ll just get a Refreshment Package in that case, and pay for my booze a la carte.
  13. You won't find any hotels at Cape Liberty port, as that port is most industrial and set far off from the nearest places with hotels. But there are several options within about 30 minutes of the port. If your train is arriving in Hoboken terminal, there are lots of options in nearby Weehawken and Newark. I live in NJ less than an hour from Cape Liberty, so I haven't stayed in a hotel pre-cruise. But I had found a guide from Eat, Sleep, Cruise years ago that I still point people to for recommended options. It is pretty darned old now (2016/2018), but if no one else gives you options hopefully this will help you out.
  14. I know it's been a few years since I last sailed Royal, but I remember with no doubts that Cruise Planner drink packages, wi-fi packages, dining, etc. all opened up when the sailing was less than a year out but still more than 10 months (if not even further out from sail date). But my Odyssey sailing only has a few shore excursions and the full list of spa treatments. Did Royal change things since reopening, where now I can't get any beverage / internet / dining packages until much closer to sail date?
  15. Thanks for this blog, @LandstromCruise! I'm sailing on Odyssey from NJ in January of next year, was good to see some of the venues and food from a live passenger experience. The carefully crafted / timed pictures and video done for ship tours are helpful, for sure, but it's always good seeing what it's like when people are there.
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