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  1. Sad
    JLMoran reacted to RCVoyager in Anthem OTS 2019-Nov-16 re-routed   
    Well, I think we have out answer.  I just checked marinetraffic.com.  The ship is still in port.  It was supposed to embark at 3:00 PM.  No casino and no shops.  
  2. Sad
    JLMoran reacted to Tiffeven in Allure Star Class Take Two   
    We are here and checked in.  We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Airport West, and this is definitely a one and done hotel for us.  We always book suites that have atleast one or two bedrooms separated from the living room.  With four kids, having a separate bedroom after being in a car all day is definitely preferred.  When we booked this hotel, we were told it was a suite with two queen beds in a bedroom and a separate living area with a pullout sofa and there was a door separating the rooms.  Much to our dismay, that was not the case and there is no separation.  At this point, we are tired and just going to let it slide.  To further add to the issues with this hotel, they are doing parking lot repair, so everyone is having to park in the the WaWa parking lot.  If we would have known this, we would have booked elsewhere, because it is a pain having to lug two pack n' plays, 4 kids, and about a million bags from a different parking lot.  Then, the cherry on the cake was when we got to the room, our seven year old asked me what was on the dresser, and what she brought me was marijuana rolling paper.  Everything else, we let slide but that was the final straw.  I called and asked for the manager, but they won't be in until tomorrow.  By the time they are available,  I will be onboard and probably enjoying myself too much to worry with Holiday Inn.  Think I will just take it as a lesson learned and book elsewhere next time.  Maybe, it's a decent hotel and we are just the outlier, but I'll attach a picture of the room in case anyone is curious.  Rant officially over.  Now that that is off my chest and the kids are all asleep, I'm going to call it a night.  One more sleep!

  3. Haha
    JLMoran reacted to Ray in If you could choose only one...   
    Must admit i have never been to Ireland so i cannot comment on whats best. 
    All i know is coming from good Irish catholic gypsy stock, is that my Ancestors left Ireland when the local Waitrose ran out of Potatoes and none of us ever went back 🤣
  4. Like
    JLMoran got a reaction from twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Just an amazing live blog, @twangster! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve mulled over whether I might want to do this kind of trip some day, and while it’s still in the “some day” bucket it’s a solid, “Yeah, I’d definitely like to experience this.”
    The part of me that’s always enjoyed taking things apart and figuring out how they work is busting at the seams to get a close look at those locks.
  5. Like
    JLMoran reacted to Big Tule in If you could choose only one...   
    I would choose the small-group tour to the Cliffs of Moher  (but I may be prejudiced as my ancestors came from the Burren area) spectacular scenery and a real feel of Ireland.
  6. Like
    JLMoran got a reaction from Tiffeven in Allure Star Class Take Two   
    Ronn Lucas was on my Freedom cruise last year. Have to agree with @Lovetocruise2002, he was OK but not great.
  7. Sad
    JLMoran reacted to PhantomWolf in Nothing but Frustration   
    I thought going through RC would turn out to be a great decision, however I've been met with nothing but incompetence and frustration.
    My sailing was unfortunately during the time Hurricane Dorian was around.  My 4 night sailing was trimmed to 2, a decision I have issues with, but ultimately I was able to cancel and got some of my money back because of the weather.  **It took me THREE tries to get the trip completely cancelled because the people on the phone didn't do their jobs** They told me that I would receive a travel voucher for the remaining amount and it would be generated in 7-10 days. Fine, no problem.  That was at the end of AUGUST  
    Today NOVEMBER 16th when I booked my trip and tried using the money that should have been there...well you guessed it, NO VOUCHER WAS CREATED!!  The people on the line said it would be done in about 7-10 days...*sigh*...after this I'm done with Royal.  
    During this entire process no two people had the same information.  Things that were said to be completed were not at several turns.  A complete failure at customer service, I'll take my business elsewhere once I spend this voucher money.
  8. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Follow up on the transfer to the Port of Miami.  Royal offered this for free. 
    I left my cabin around 7:30am to let my cabin attendant prep it for the next guest and hung out in the Schooner Bar.  Voom worked until 9am when they cycled it for the next cruise.  
    Around 9:45am I got off and made my way through CBP.  No facial recognition in terminal 18 yet.  Outside I went to the right where buses for airport transfers purchased from Royal meet.  They put me on the Miami airport bus and around 10.40am we left terminal 18 in Port Everglades.
    We stopped twice at Miami airport at two different terminals where the bulk of folks got off.  We then proceeded to the port.  First stop terminal A and Navigator where two guests got off.  Next stop terminal G for Empress where 6 guests got off.  It was pretty close to noon when we reached Empress.  
    Painless check in and onto the ship.  Beverage in hand at 12:23pm.  Lyft was $36 and Uber was $39 so with tip that was roughly a $40 savings.  
    I really appreciated this extra effort from Royal.  Loyalty pays.
  9. Wow
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    They buy every local tender boat - literally all of them, for the day.   Cabo isn't set up for big ships so when one is in port it consumes all available resources.
  10. Love
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Cruise Summary
    This was another bucket list cruise that lives up to that reputation.
    It introduced me to several new destinations that each warrant a return visit.  Puntarenas and Cartagena stand out as top ports while the transit of the Panama Canal completely lived up to all my expectations.  Simply wow.  
    This is my second time on Vision of the Seas and she fulfilled everything I needed for this cruise.  An issue with my cabin temperature was fixed within two hours on day one and I had no issues for the remainder of the cruise.  The crew were fantastic in all respects.  
    The only thing I can think to complain about was the lack of enough tenders in Cabo San Lucas.  Using the four dual purpose lifeboat/tenders from the ship simply wasn't enough and it impacted out useable time in port.  The ship offered a lot of excuses for this but at the end of the day if they can't figure out how to execute tendering in Cabo they should drop the port. Fortunately I've been there before and it wasn't the reason I booked this cruise.
    Seeing the operation of the Panama Canal locks firsthand and up close was amazing and I'm glad I experienced the original Panama Canal.  It's not an experience I'll soon forget.
    When I return I'll spend more time down low watching all the action from lock level.  
    My decision to save money by booking an ocean view cabin worked out fine.  Looking back I don't think I missed out by not having a balcony or suite.  Even if I had a balcony I wouldn't stay out there for the canal transit as there is too much to see on both sides of the ship.  Balconies were more than twice the price of my cabin so not only did my savings cover my stay on the Queen Mary, excursions and airfare but also left enough to pay for my next two cruises.
    I have a few other bucket list type cruises in the future but I'll be looking out for another Panama Canal cruise after those.  
    I hope you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing.
  11. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Day 17 - Ft. Lauderdale
    After 4,890 nautical miles we have arrived into Port Everglades terminal 18.  That's a new personal best for a single sailing and longer than my transatlantic last year.
    Nice sunrise for our arrival.

    Our cruise...

    Windjammer open from 5:30am to 8:30am, Dining Room 6:30am to 8am.
    I was told to go with the last luggage tag number 31 leaving at 9:45am to meet my shuttle to Port Miami.  
  12. Haha
    JLMoran reacted to Sweety in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Another cruise added to my list. @twangster strikes again. Where is hubby's credit card?
  13. Haha
    JLMoran reacted to Big Tule in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Cartagena, Colombia added to the bucket list

  14. Like
    JLMoran reacted to SpeedNoodles in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Oh, my heart!!!  During my zoo keeping time, I was privileged to care for half a dozen toucans, and they were, by far, the most enjoyable birds that I ever worked with (even though one of them had a habit of rapping me in the back of the head if I wasn't quick enough with his grapes), and anteaters were a dream of mine to care for, but we never acquired one.  I love all of those toothless wonders   🙂
  15. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Day 16 - Sea Day
    Back in familiar waters.

    Captain reports we are on schedule for a 7am arrival.
    Solarium roof was open again.  Enough pictures of that.
    Typical sea day except it involved packing.  Ugh.  The cruise is nearly over.
    TNF by the pool.  The football feed we are receiving has no vocals, just game noise.  Even the commercials have no vocals.  Oh well, it works.  

  16. Like
    JLMoran reacted to KristiZ in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Lived in Cartagena from 2011 to 2014. Terrific place! I recommend it for everyone, especially foodies. Your pictures are fantastic! 
  17. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Day 15 - Grand Cayman
    Work day for me so I never left the ship. 

    Grand Cayman is a tender port.

    The Solarium roof was open once again.

  18. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    You can walk to the eco park from the ship.

    If you don't feel like walking the rest of the way back to the ship there is a free shuttle bus.

    Thinking of my next visit here I think I'll spend the day in the old city.   Towards that end I noticed they have Uber here.

    With that our day in Cartagena was done and we sailed away in the dark.

    I was very impressed with Cartagena and will definitely look for itineraries that stop here.
  19. Love
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Our bus dropped us off at the other end of the cruise terminal.  The cruise terminal in Cartagena is kind of unique.  It includes an eco park.

    This is free and you have to walk through it to reach the ship.

    Giant anteater.

    There are two aviaries within the park.

    It's a very nice way to return to a ship.
  20. Love
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    With our time up we met as a group and headed back to the bus. 

    One last look at some street art.

    Naval hero.  Admiral Jose Padilla.

  21. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    At this point we were given some free time to explore on our own.

    The Hard Rock Cafe.

    This seemed like a good spot to sample a local beer.

  22. Wow
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    We walked through the streets of the old city to reach our next stop.

    Since Spain had conquered Colombia when Spain went through the period of the Inquisition so did Colombia.  Our next stop was at the Palace of the Inquisition.

    Within these walls justice was served for various crimes including being accused of being a witch. 

    Off with their heads!

    It was quite a dark time in the history of Cartagena until residents had enough and stormed the Palace to end the inquisitions. 

  23. Love
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    I was impressed with how nice the old city is and how pleasant it was to walk around.

    Colombia is open to many religions but the Catholic church played a distinct and primary role in the religious history of the nation.  

    This is the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver that we saw from the fortress.

    Admission is included in our tour.

    Quite breathtaking inside.

  24. Like
    JLMoran reacted to WAAAYTOOO in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    I love how they have integrated shops And other facilities (bathrooms !) into the old fortress “ruins”.  It is so practical.  They would never allow this in the US. They have done similar integrations in Curaçao, which is one aspect that has endeared me to that island.
  25. Like
    JLMoran reacted to twangster in 🎵Panama! 🎵 Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Back on the bus we drive around the old city to reach our next stop.  The old city is very nice and I could easily see myself spending a day just here.

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