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Everything posted by Lovetocruise2002

  1. When you go to purchase the drink package, it already includes 18% gratuities. You can always add on top of that per drink if you wish.
  2. +1 for never applying my FCC until very close to final payment for the sole reason of being very difficult to re-price once you do.
  3. You have made it very clear in all your posts that you dislike TAs. However, it sounds like you let one bad experience turn you off from all others. You dealt with a lemon of a TA, that much is certain. It's not fair to paint all TAs with the same brush though. I am Type A to a fault. It's in my nature and I have to be so in my job. The Type A nature never goes off, so I know what you mean when you say that you want control over your reservation. It does bother me as well at times when I cannot get full access because I have booked with a TA. A bit about my background, I too am Canadian like you. In my 18 years or so of booking cruises, I have gone every route. I have tried using my local travel agency, booked direct through Royal, booked with Royal Vacation Planners, booked with US based TAs. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them, like everything else in life. This is what I have learned. Some TAs are flat out awful. The exact kind that you are talking about, they are prompt for a booking and then go AWOL for all else. I had booked with those. Some TAs don't even know much, and you know more than them. Sadly, I have booked with those as well. However, if you look hard enough, there are some TAs that are simply wonderful. And if you let one bad experience (which I have had my share) let that spoil you for all others, then you could be missing out as well. Wonderful TAs are out there. They are hard to find, but they exist. Why would a Type A person like me still use a TA? Bottom line, it saves me time and money. You are right, I know all the numbers and short cuts too to calling Royal. However, for as much as I know, my TA knows more, and she has deeper connections as a TA that I do not have. So I could sit there over and over again on the phone or let her fight for me. The end result with her is that either I get what I would have been able to get by myself, or I actually get more, because she can sometimes work her magic and get rules to be bent. It's kind of like cruising with a Genie or without. Could you still have a great vacation without one? For sure! But I will choose the Genie every time if possible. I also save money in the sense that TA's get deals that the general population cannot get access to. The trick is that by giving up control, it has to be worth it. I have been really discouraged too a few times by some lemons out there and also not impressed by those who don't go the extra mile. But a good TA, a really good one, can make a world of a difference and it is worth giving up the control. How is that possible? Well, for me, it's because my TA is fighter, she hates the word no, and she is more Type A than I am. But it took me a while to find her. So what I am saying is that just because you came across one bad one, it doesn't mean they are all like that. And as far as MEI goes, they are well known for their service and their competence. As you know, they are also a sponsor of Royal Caribbean Blog. They help @Matt keep the lights on here. As you have discovered, not only is this a great community of people, but also a valuable resource for those who love to cruise or are learning to cruise. As a Canadian, you may personally not prefer to use MEI or other TAs, but again, your situation is one of many, and for many Canadians like myself, it still pays, and then some to use MEI or other US based TAs.
  4. Yes they can. But for us it always ends up to be cheaper if we pay in USD and convert the money on our own. So there are ways around it if a Canadian wanted to use a US based TA.
  5. I cannot say the same. I am Canadian and every cruise we have taken (other than our first) we have paid for in US funds. All my past TAs, and my current one, are from the US. When I book direct with Royal, I also pay in USD. We have a US credit card and we find that we save by converting money locally, at a lower rate, rather than letting Royal or Canadian credit card companies convert it.
  6. ^^^^This! is exactly why I love cruising so much. It's about the only vacation that I can truly unwind and step back. Saddens me even more that there is no start date in sight. I tried to explain to my family the other night that for me, it's not just a lost vacation. Cruising represents something far greater for me.
  7. You get some entertainment tours (Meet the Cast, ship dependent) and the bridge tour included. IMO, it is pointless to try to quantify and justify star vs. sky. If you can do it, and it's not much of a jump, then do it. As @WAAAYTOOO always says, you can crunch all sorts of numbers, but the value of the Genie is hard to measure.
  8. @fgarvin see this thread: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/10443-fare-reduction-for-phantom-cabin/&tab=comments#comment-98112
  9. Nope. If a cabin is sold out the the other cabin categories around it drop, more than likely, yours dropped too. I have gotten many price adjustments over the years this way. You just have to track it.
  10. One thing to note is that no one at this point knows exactly how the JS on Odyssey will be laid out. Will it have the half bath like quantum class? Nobody knows yet... Photos on cruise deck plans show that it will follow suit, but like all things Royal, I would not believe it until I see it. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  11. Oasis class Junior suites only have one bathroom. I am not a fan of Quamtum class ships, as many of you know, but one good thing about them is that the JS on them have the split bath which no other JS (in the fleet) do.
  12. Working on it, now that we are in indefinite dry dock. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  13. @JLMoran you did it again! You totally hijacked this thread! LOL!
  14. We are big believers in taking some with the kids and having vacations on our own as well.
  15. The whole point is not to bring them! ๐Ÿ˜œ
  16. Canโ€™t do the long ones because we would be leaving our kids at home and they are in school. ๐Ÿ˜• So itโ€™s short sailing or nothing.
  17. I booked it a while back as a back up for Odyssey and it is my birthday week. The price was really good when I grabbed it. Hubby is on the fence if we should go though just for 4 nights.
  18. Umm...have you seen all his blogs? He's a bot. ๐Ÿ˜„
  19. I'm booked on that sailing too at the moment. Not sure if we will keep it though. Hubby doesn't really want to. ๐Ÿ˜•
  20. Any RC Solarium without kids is a great one! ๐Ÿ˜œ For me, it's a close tie between the Quantum class and Oasis class ones.
  21. I tried to cancel my cruise planner items as well for Odyssey inaugural (this morning) and it wouldnโ€™t let me proceed. I just kept getting the banner asking me if I wanted 125% OBC.
  22. I only read as far as the title of your post...Oasis most definitely with kids.
  23. Definitely! Just get any phone around the ship "call the Genie". That's what I tell my girls too lol.
  24. @gdk0085 one piece of important advice to avoid disappointment....The most important thing that I have learned is that Star Class really varies (in terms of the small details) from ship to ship and from Genie to Genie. The basics are the same (all inclusive specialty dining, drinks, etc. but the smaller little details vary). It is great to get ideas from others and hear their experiences (I am guilty of doing the same thing myself before my first star class sailing), but what I've noticed from talking to other star class cruisers and Genies, in the 4 years or so since the program started, the minor details vary. The variances are due to the rules of each specific ship and the personalities of each particular Genie. For example, can you get Starbucks delivery, yes sometimes. Some ships won't even allow it and some Genies won't do it. Can you get the seafood tower and can it be delivered to your stateroom? Yes, again sometimes. Some ships don't even have the seafood tower on their menu, some will not deliver it on embarkation day while some have had success getting it delivered on embarkation day. Will the Genie reserve you loungers by the pool? Some will, some will not, they are not supposed to. Can you get lunch delivered to your room on the day that you arrive? Some ships allow, some do not. Can the Genie save you seats on the Royal Promenade for the parades? (not on Quantum, but just as another example) Some ships allow the Genie to do so, some will not. The list goes on... Basically, what I am trying to say is that while I love the Star Class program, it is most definitely not consistent. This leads to some disappointment from those who are expecting something because they heard someone else had it done etc. and then people blame the Genie. But sometimes their hands are tied too depending on the rules of the specific ship. It is very clear to be upfront and honest with your Genie about your expectations, but at the same time, sometimes it is good to step back a bit and let them surprise you. Those are usually the best moments.
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