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JLMoran

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JLMoran last won the day on December 12 2018

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About JLMoran

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  • Birthday 01/23/1970

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  1. Hi Joe, belated welcome to the boards! You'll find that it's really not a requirement to have a travel agent who actually has an office in your area these days. Lots of us here use MEI Travel, who in full disclosure is a sponsor of the site; their agents are all over the country but lots of us have found them to be very good and attentive, never mind willing to deal with barrages of questions or rebooking requests or repricing checks or all the rest. You can find a link and form for them on the main blog site's home page, in the right-side "gutter" column, as well as on each article posted in the main blog. A ton of the folks here specifically use Michelle Cunningham (@michelle) and @Matt here works with @AnnetteJackson for all the Group Cruises and I believe his personal bookings as well. And either of them can put you in touch with an agent who is more local to you, at least in time zone, if that's something important for you.
  2. Welcome, Maggie and family!
  3. Hey there, @Boston Babe! Haven't used them myself, but have you tried searching the web for local tour operators who you could book directly? That's really all that using Royal's Private Journeys will do, in the end. If you're OK with the premium they'll charge in exchange for the peace of mind that you're guaranteed the ship won't leave without you, then definitely go ahead; but I'd suggest looking around for local places that could help you out and that do private bookings in addition to groups, emailing them, and seeing what they say before going through Private Journeys. I'm in a similar bind with my Iceland / Greenland cruise, due to the funky hours we're in port for Reykjavik. I've begun searching around and have already found two local tour operators who do private bookings and small groups to cover the areas I'm looking to visit while we're there. Hoping to find at least one more so I can do the usual "get three bids and pick the middle one" strategy.
  4. If you ever go to Bermuda, take the ferry to St. George's and wander through the central downtown area with all the craft stores. There is one that specializes in sea glass, sign clearly marking the place set on the street as you walk down; the store itself is set back a bit after you climb a set of stairs, and the entrance is rather nondescript. Lots of really pretty stuff there, and the pieces used for the earrings are carefully selected by the owner to match as closely as possible in shape and color. Owner is the stereotypical sweet little old lady, has lived in Bermuda her whole life and her daughter co-owns the store and makes much of the art. Your girlfriend would probably have a blast visiting there and chatting with them / talking shop.
  5. Reuben was also the manager / head waiter in CK on our sailing on Anthem last October. Agree that he's a really interesting guy with a really neat background, and nice as can be. That is some seriously rougher surf and much bigger waves than my wife and I saw there last October. You must have arrived at the peak of high tide while we were at the lowest low.
  6. Well, for sure you have fewer young parents in their 30s and early 40s with their kids on X. I would guess the lower bound is mostly upper 40s but starting to trend more towards mid- and lower 40s as Celebrity continues to work towards expanding their customer base.
  7. We generally decide on the itineraries together as a family, although I'm usually the one doing all the initial research on what itineraries work with our available dates and I present the list for discussion. I find it makes it easier to get everyone excited because we all agree they're ports we want to see and a ship that we'll enjoy. Same with excursions, although in that case it's as much about working out timing and budget as getting buy-in on doing the things. My wife will more actively look up excursions than itineraries, especially now that she knows we're free to book them on our own and not purely through the cruise line. Exception so far was our first cruise to Bermuda, which I researched and booked on my own as a surprise after my wife had indicated she really wanted to go there some day.
  8. Last group off the ship leaves about 9:30 IIRC. Even though you get a luggage tag that indicates a time to get off, you're not obligated to follow that. You can request tags with the highest number / latest departure time from Guest Services if the ones you're given don't already have that. Then you can hang out on the ship in one of the allowed waiting areas until they give the "Everyone please get OFF! NOW!" call. At that point you can figure on about 30-45 minutes to get off the ship, get your bags, and make your way through customs. That's assuming you're sailing Anthem, which is larger and has more passengers disembarking. If you're on Adventure, that will probably be a little bit faster overall.
  9. Will note that in Cape Liberty, passport holders go on a separate customs check from those who are just using driver's license and birth certificate. The passport check is much faster, as they use facial recognition cameras for that. Stand in front of the camera, wait for the beep / green light, and be on your merry way. Unfortunately, at least when I was there last October, it seems they don't separate you out from the main line until you're almost up to the customs booths. So you still have to wend your way along with the masses, but with the passport holders constantly being directed to the cameras it did help the overall line move better than places without this tech. If you get a porter to help with your luggage, you can probably reach that part of the line even faster.
  10. Ding ding ding ding!! I would imagine that on a cruise ship, the Venn diagram with most stupid in one circle and Darwin award winners in another shows a high degree of overlap.
  11. If you're bringing it back to your room then you don't even need to worry about bringing the glasses back to a venue. Just leave them on the table or desk and your cabin attendant should collect them when they do evening turn-down service.
  12. Any drink from any venue can be taken with you and finished elsewhere. Just be sure to leave the glass at another open venue where it can be collected, cleaned, and (if it clearly belongs to a particular spot) returned for reuse. Only thing to consider is that you cannot bring glasses to the pool area, even just to transit across. It's a safety issue, they don't want any broken glass where people are walking around barefoot. You'll notice in this area that the pool bars use plastic cups, or plastic "glasses" in the right shape if you're getting something like a daquiri or lava flow, and beer is served in aluminum screw-cap bottle-cans.
  13. But think about how much fun you can have pretending you're being beamed up by Scotty, and the shower water is the "snow" of the transporter effect! 😁
  14. I would also say that Celebrity tends a little bit more toward longer itineraries that visit more exotic locales. I think this will become more pronounced as Royal's older ships in the fleet (Vision and Radiance class) age out and get sold off without same / similarly sized replacements, but that's still at least 5 to 10 years out. Example right here in the US -- Royal has regular 5-day sailings to just Bermuda, where Celebrity has the same itinerary go for 7 days (3 nights in Bermuda instead of 1). Celebrity also has other itineraries that do an overnight in Bermuda coupled with a port stop in Newport, RI and Boston, MA; or the two-night stay in Bermuda with a stop in South Carolina. In the Caribbean, Celebrity regularly goes to ports like Antigua or Barbados that Royal seldom visits.
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