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Stephanie

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About Stephanie

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  1. I always bring it & I have never had an issue.
  2. My very first cruise was Canada / NE. My husband and I went as young 20-somethings for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it. The cruise that started our annual cruise addiction was our cruise to Alaska. Canada / NE is beautiful and is worth visiting, but as far as the "Wow" factor, Alaska certainly wins by a long shot. If you've never gone to Canada / NE, I'd say it's worth visiting. Every cruise and destination has its highs and lows. I love to see new places and try to book cruises that allow me to go somewhere new. That said, I 100% plan to go back to both Canada / NE and Alaska in the future.
  3. It is my understanding that all passengers are required to complete the customs process - whether you get off the ship or not.
  4. I agree that it depends on the port. Some are very well organized with signs for each C&A class along with suite classes, etc. and some ports are total clusters. The line to get on the ship in Alaska was ridiculously long and arduous. Complete opposite experience in Barcelona.
  5. We sailed out of Barcelona last October with stops in France & Italy. We had zero issues communicating. We even flew in early & stayed in Barcelona. Everyone speaks English - even most restaurants have their menu listed in Spanish & English. On the ship, there were no issues at all - even on embarkation day. Be sure when booking your shore excursions to book the English-speaking tour guides. 🙂 If you are flying into Italy & getting your own transportation to the ship, be sure to do your research. For instance, in Barcelona, the taxis are owned & operated by the government & are the cheapest way to travel. Our taxi driver didn't speak great English, but I had the address of the port printed out so I could hand it to him. He got us there with no problem.
  6. Agree with all of the above advice - well, I've never tried the hair straightener, but that's a good thought! First of all, I roll most of my clothes. T-shirts, I stack & then roll - the thicker roll helps prevents wrinkles on thin items like t-shirts. Same with my dresses. I don't roll my husband's dress shirts - I fold them very strategically and they always go on top. I unpack as soon as our luggage is delivered to our room & hang everything up. I spray Downy Wrinkle Release on them when I hang them & generally that does the trick. If they still need a little help, I hang them in the shower. Truly, rolling is the most efficient packing method for nearly everything. It is such a space saver & the better wrinkle prevention method. Check out YouTube if you need some tutorials. I know I sound a bit dramatic when I say it was life changing when I starting packing this way, but honestly - life changing!😁
  7. One thing I wish I had learned earlier on is that you can eat in the Main Dining Room for breakfast & lunch, too. It's less hectic and not nearly as crowded as the Windjammer. Also, pay attention to the Cruise Compass. There is so much valuable information provided on it each day - it's not just show times & activities. It provides the operating hours for various stores, restaurants, etc on the ship. We went on a cruise with family members a couple of years ago and we were mid-way into the cruise before they asked how we knew so much about what was going on all the time. 🤦‍♀️🙄
  8. I have read a lot about the cruises out of Singapore on other cruise blog sites. If you notice on RCCL's site they are described as "culturally enriching". That's code for "don't expect your normal cruise experience". None of the European or Australian cruises are described in that fashion. The cruises out of Singapore are geared towards the Chinese markets. I've heard that the No-Smoking except in certain areas is not enforced. The first language spoken on the ship is Mandarin. And I've heard the Chinese passengers can seem quite rude as they push & shove their way onto overcrowded elevators, into the buffet lines, etc. It's not that they're intentionally being rude. It's just their culture, but as Americans, we're not used to that. My husband and I had booked a cruise out of Singapore and then cancelled it after we read about all of that. We still may eventually try one as we'd love to see Japan and Southeast Asia. We just decided that wasn't the experience we wanted for a big anniversary celebration vacation.
  9. There are pros and cons to both the smaller ships and the larger ships. Many of which have already been touched on. It's really a personal preference. Our first few cruises were selected due to the itinerary. It wasn't until 2 years ago that we specifically chose the cruise based on the ship. My husband wanted to experience a larger ship that had more activities. We chose Anthem and fell in love. My only complaints about Anthem are that the elevators seem particularly slow compared to the other ships and there isn't 1 MDR (a minor detail, really). My dream cruise for years & years had been the Western Mediterranean. We lucked out that Symphony just so happened to be sailing that itinerary for one summer only, so we got the opportunity to sail on Symphony in her first season. She is incredible! We loved Symphony! Our stateroom was on 8 - the same as Central Park, and we enjoyed walking through the park multiple times a day. But, like others mentioned, you lose some of the personal connection on the big ships. The shows on Anthem and Symphony are great, and the promenades are fun for people watching & all the Cruise Director Staff activities. That said, I think the "Royal Caribbean Singer & Dancer" shows are not as good as on the smaller ships. We love the Centrium on the smaller ships because - silly as this may sound - we really enjoy watching other cruisers ballroom dance! It's harder to find the dancers on the larger ships. Sometimes they're in Boleros... The smaller ships certainly have less in the way of daily entertainment, but you also have less crowds, which is nice. Frankly, Anthem was "just right" for us. Like @FManke, we're not hot weather people. But, we love to cruise. Our next cruise was ship-based again, not destination based. Almost all of the European itineraries excite us, but for now, we're staying state-side. So, Anthem it is! We may not even get off the boat. 😊
  10. I love RCCL and can't fathom venturing away from them. That said, their loyalty program is a little "womp-womp". You don't get any real amazing benefits until you're Diamond or Diamond Plus. Platinum might get you a better buy-one / get-one wine in the MDR or maybe a free shake. Are the extra points worth it vs the money you would spend for a weekend cruise? Not even close! All of that said, I would never turn down a cruise on RCCL of any length. And we did the Mediterranean out of Barcelona last year for our anniversary. It was AMAZING!! Absolutely the trip of a lifetime and I cannot wait to go back to Italy! You will not regret it!
  11. Interesting. We have never tried the specialty restaurants. We wanted to on Symphony, but since we didn't book them in advance, we could never get in. We were going to pre-book them this time. My husband had asked if you get multiple entrees like you do in the main dining room, and I naturally assumed you could. So now my question is - is Chops really worth it? IMO, the main dining room is very good. Not anything to write home about, but we've never left hungry. And many times the waiter has brought my husband multiple entrees simply because he couldn't decide between two. I know this is a subjective and a matter of opinion...but what are the opinions?
  12. How strange! I've taken my own pics for Anthem and Symphony and both times had no issues. Maybe it just depends on the employee you get at check-in? For those of you that had to re-take your pictures, did you complete all of the online check-in information prior to boarding?
  13. I personally don't recall seeing $16 / bottle, but I'm sure it depends on the ship and the brand of wine. I usually buy bottles in the main dining room and have never been charged a corking fee. The only (small) downside I've ever seen with this option is that if you sit in a different section each night, it can sometimes take the wait staff a little while to find your bottle. Sitting in the same area helps to alleviate this issue. I usually have 2 glass with my meal and then have them fill my glass again before I leave so I can take my 3rd glass to whatever show we're headed to after dinner.
  14. I haven't seen that offered in forever! I had been saving my points last year to get enough to redeem that reward and then Poof! - it was gone. womp womp... Lol
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