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cruiselife

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cruiselife last won the day on February 13

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About cruiselife

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  1. I just wanted to pass along something interesting that happened to some friends this weekend who were sailing on Oasis. They are not experienced cruisers and once they landed in Orlando they realized that one of them did not have their birth certificate with them and also did not have a passport. They asked us about it and I thought they were completely screwed but I didn't have the heart to tell them that they probably weren't going on their cruise. But to my surprise when they checked in they were told that if they could get a picture of the birth certificate they would let them board. Luckily we live close by and they have a key code on their door so we were able to send them a picture of it quickly and they boarded with no issues. It was such a relief because in a way I felt like I had let them down somehow as their local cruise nerd. I thought I would pass this info along just in case this nightmare scenario happens to someone else. Does anyone know if this is common practice or if they got really, really lucky? Perhaps it is worth snapping a photo of everyone's birth certificates just in case someone forgets it? Obviously I would never rely on this method, but I thought it was worth noting. The true moral of the story is to always make sure you have all your documents before you leave for the port.
  2. Yes @brianastree! All Central Park balconies come with an included specialty lunch on a sea day as well as a complimentary bottle of red wine! You can have that lunch at either Jamie's Italian or at Sabor, I believe. It is a really nice perk!
  3. Day 6 (Night) When we got back on the ship we headed over to Sabor to see if we could have lunch. It was actually already around 4:30 but they were serving "lunch" all the way up until 5:30. Even thought you are only technically allowed to use your complimentary specialty lunch on a sea day we asked if it was ok and they said that because it wasn't busy we could do it. This is a great example of it never hurts to ask. We really liked Sabor and had a really great meal. We had so much food we didn't have room, but our server insisted and offered us some desert in a to go box which we took with us and enjoyed on our balcony. After all of that food we laid down and a took a nap for a little while. When we woke up we saw that there was a showing for The Fine Line that had been cancelled earlier in the cruise and decided to go try to get a seat in standby. We got there about 20 minutes early and were able to get great seats to see it again. I can't say enough about that show and would happily have seen it a third time if I had the chance. After the show we went and had some drinks in the Schooner Bar. For whatever reason we have never spent a ton of time in there on any of our cruises, but I really enjoyed in on Harmony. They have one of the best drink menus on the ship and on top of that the menu has a lot of cool throwbacks to Royal Caribbean history in there that were really interesting to read. Next we enjoyed the 90s party in the promenade before heading to one of our favorite events of any cruise: The Quest. This is our third Quest ever and I am proud to say that our team was victorious for the 3rd straight time! The Quest is a lot of fun and if you have never been I highly recommend it. Even if you don't want to participate you can still sit in the back and cheer on your team. If you want to help out the team without doing anything embarrassing just bring a cruise compass. That is always one of the first items of the game. Day 6-90s Party.m4v After the Quest we did our nightly routine which was listening to Kieron play in the pub and then grabbing some pizza before heading back to the room. When we got back we had some really bad news waiting for us. Apparently they were making us leave soon... Tomorrow is a sea day and our final day of the cruise. It is crazy how fast cruises go by.
  4. Day 6 (Labadee) We arrived in Labadee at 10AM. It was a pretty cloudy day but the captain said it may rain a little bit and then it should clear up. It didn't bother us because it was the first day of the cruise that we didn't have perfect weather. The captain said we may get a little rain, but it should clear up after that. We got off the ship and the first thing my wife wanted to do was try a Labadoozie. We stopped at the first bar off the ship and had one. We sat at the bar and enjoyed it until it started to rain a little bit. We thought about getting back on the boat and waiting it out there, but the line for security to get back on was really long so we decided to wait it out at the bar since it was a covered area. When we finished our drink we headed over to the lunch area to try out the barbecue. I wasn't a huge fan of the food, but it wasn't bad and I found plenty to eat. Next time I would probably get back on the ship and get some lunch at the Windjammer just to have more of a selection. By the time we finished eating the rain had stopped and the sun started to poke out a little bit. We headed over to Adrenaline Beach watching some of the zip liners. My wife had enjoyed her first one, so she had another Labadoozie, this time in the souvenir cup. After that we headed over to Columbus Cove to relax for a little while. There were plenty of chairs available so we sat and relaxed for a while. Next we decided to walk around on some of the trails before heading back on the ship. We wanted to get back on early and see if we could get Sabor using our complimentary lunch since we were staying in a Central Park Balcony.
  5. Thank you! And I can definitely understand why you would feel that way. I was getting there when the dancing cheeseburgers came out but I did like the ending. I gave my wife a confused look when that part was happening. It definitely isn't in my top 5 shows I've seen on Royal Caribbean ships, but having just been on Carnival it makes it seem like Shakespeare quality!
  6. Day 5 (Night) After a long day of walking around and exploring San Juan we were really tired so we took a good nap. Cruise naps are the best naps. When we woke up we decided to go to the ice show that we had booked for later on in the cruise. We were able to get great seats basically in the front row so we cancelled our later reservation. Ice skating shows aren't something we would do on land but we are always so impressed with them on Royal Caribbean ships. The added effects on the ice on Harmony was a great added touch. After the show it was time for dinner and we were saving our final specialty dinner for day 7 so we decided to try out the Solarium Bistro. I thought this was a really great option and I really like the format of it. It makes it so quick and easy and you can start eating appetizers as soon as you sit down. I had a massive filet of salmon for dinner and my wife wasn't all that hungry so she just had appetizers for her meal. There are no vegetarian options the menu but the waiter did offer for the chef to prepare something for her. The service was great and right on par with what you would expect at the other sit down venues on the ship. For dessert I had the creme brûlée that they prepare in the kitchen. Tonight we had reservations for Columbus. We were excited to see this show and weren't disappointed. I was starting to question it when the singing and dancing cheeseburgers came out but I thought it recovered well with a creative ending. I liked how they used popular music to work into their storyline. I won't ruin the ending but I thought it was a really fun and unexpected way to wrap up the story. The ship on the stage was very impressive and the cast was great as usual. After the show we grabbed a drink at the Bionic Bar. I really liked how you could customize your drinks there and give them a creative name. We had a lot of fun with the names. It was cool to be able to see what everyone else came up with since it shows you the recipes people concocted. The bartenders there were very quiet, but they made some great drinks. Here is a video of them doing their thing. ?-Bionic Bar Video.m4v We closed out the night at Red which is the nightclub experience in Studio B. Afterwards we grabbed some pizza at Sorrento's before heading to bed. Tomorrow we will be in Labadee which will be our first visit there.
  7. Day 5 (Old San Juan) Today we arrived in San Juan bright and early at 7AM. We are not morning people, but really wanted to make sure that we were up to see us sail in to San Juan at sunrise. We were able to get up just in time and afterwards had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer before heading out. We didn't have any plans for the day other than that we wanted to explore the city on foot. When we first got off the ship we just walked around the streets of Old San Juan and were just blown away by the beauty of all the buildings. It had so much charm and it quickly became our favorite cruise port we had ever been to. We do like beach days, but our favorite thing to do in port is to explore on our own and San Juan is perfect for that. It's even better that you can do it all on foot or just hop in an Uber if you don't feel like walking. After walking around for a while we had worked up a little bit of an appetite. It was still really early so lunch didn't feel quite right and we happened to stumble upon a restaurant that one of our favorite YouTubers (The Endless Adventure) had been to on their trip to San Juan. It was called Waffle-Era and they are known for their coffee and tea as well as their waffles. It was incredibly good and I definitely recommend it as a place to stop in and grab some coffee and a waffle. We just shared a half waffle to hold us over, but we saw a ton of really unique waffles that looked incredible and they have breakfast and lunch options that incorporate waffles into the dish. They make their coffee in a very unique way that I wouldn't be able to explain but the menu pictured below does. When we finished breakfast we really wanted to go see the famous Restaurant Barrachina where the original Pina Colada was invented and try one for ourselves. We sat at the bar and had a really good chat with the bartender who taught us a lot about Puerto Rican rum. It was really great talking to him and I wish we had gotten his name. The Pina Colada was delicious and you could get them to-go as well if you wanted to take it with you on the street. When we left there we came upon the pigeon park that we have seen in a lot of pictures. My wife is not of fan of birds so she was squirming at the park. If you visit there you will probably find a local holding a bad of bird seed offering to let you feed the birds. I declined, but he threw a bit around my feet while I walked by and the pigeons swarmed me. It didn't bother me and I thought it was funny because I am not afraid of birds, but if you are not comfortable with them maybe avoid this area. It was pretty cool though! Here is a video of all of the pigeons. Pigeons Video.mp4 My wife was drawn to a sign featuring affogatos at a gelato place called Chocolato so we stopped in to get one. For those who don't know an affogato is a shot of espresso served with a scoop of ice cream. She really liked it and you get to pick from lots of flavors of gelato. They also had a great courtyard patio in the back where you could enjoy it. We decided to head up the hill and check out the fort. We didn't pay to go inside but just walked around on all of the grass and enjoyed all of the kites flying. It was a really cool place and felt like a massive park. We also got a great look at a several iguanas. I would really like to do a tour inside at some point and learn more about the history of the fort. It was getting pretty close to time to get back to the port so we started making our way over there. On the way back I was having some regrets about not trying some local food, particularly mofongo, so we stopped in to a place called Triana Tapas Flamenco near the cruise port. We only had about an hour until all aboard and we were pretty uneasy about it, but the bartender assured me that he could get me some mofongo and fried grouper with plenty of time to enjoy it and make it back. Sure enough he came through and it was really good. The mofongo was good, but the grouper was incredible. We made it back to the ship with plenty of time and got onboard to enjoy an incredible sail away. There are no words to describe the beauty of seeing the fort from the ship as you leave Old San Juan. This was by far our favorite cruise port we have ever visited and I could easily see myself spending more time there. The ABC island itinerary is on our bucket list and when we do it we decided we would sail out of San Juan and stay a few days before or after. I got a video of the fort as we sailed away. Day 5-San Juan Sailway Video.m4v
  8. That's awesome. Thanks for the answer! They did have a new cast of The Fine Line onboard learning the show on our sailing. Not sure if that means that the spinning guy will be replaced on this cast change or not. I hope not!
  9. Same here. We generally don't spend a lot of time in the pubs but it was our go to spot on Harmony. Just curious, did he play "Alice" often on Allure?
  10. Day 4 (Jamies Italian and The Fine Line) Tonight was dinner at Jamie's Italian. I really liked the menu selection at Jamie's Italian so it was hard to decide what to order. I ended up having the calamari for an appetizer while my wife had the vegetable plank. For our entrees I had the Dry Aged Tenderloin and my wife had the Risotto Caprese. We both wanted to try some kind of pasta so we each ordered the Truffle Tagliatelle and the waiter was able to give us each a half serving of that. The tenderloin may have been the best cut of meat I had on the ship and we both agreed that the pasta was incredible. This was probably the best restaurant for vegetarians in terms of menu selection. For dessert we had the Tiramisu and the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake. Both were great. Now it was time to see The Fine Line. I knew the Aquatheatre shows were going to be great, but I didn't realize how great. To be honest I thought it seemed a little gimmicky. All of the videos and pictures I had seen of them were basically the parts where they were just splashing around in the water. I knew there would be some diving, but I had no idea the level of acrobatic stunts and artistic quality that went into the show. This show was absolutely incredible and was by far the best show we have ever seen on a cruise ship and is right up there with some of the Cirque Du Soleil shows we have seen in Vegas. I got a lot of great footage from the show but I am going to leave it out so that people can experience it first hand. I have one question about the guy who we fondly referred to as "Spinny Man" for anyone who knows. When he goes on vacation do they bring on a new person to do the same thing? I feel like I have seen a lot of pictures of him on the blog and it always looks like the same person. It seems like it would be hard to find other people who can spin in circles for almost 10 minutes straight. After the show we did another one of our favorite things to do on a cruise and that is the Love and Marriage Game Show. This was probably the funniest group of couples we have ever seen on the show but I will leave out the details to keep it PG. Our cruise director Daniel was a great host for the show. We just relaxed for the rest of the night because we wanted to catch the sunrise in San Juan the next morning so I didn't take any more photos. I figured this would be a good time to highlight some of my favorite wall art from around the ship. Tomorrow we arrive in San Juan bright and early!
  11. Day 4 (St. Maarten) Today was our first port day and we grabbed a quick breakfast at Park Cafe before heading out to meet the famous Leo Brown who we had hired as our driver for the day. We were joined for the day by Independence of the Seas. Leo has new van now that is much larger than his old vehicle and we had been trying to find someone to join us but were unsuccessful. Arriving in St Maarten was beautiful and unlike any ports that we have been to before. It was cool seeing all of the massive yachts. The black one had a helicopter on it! When we met up with Leo we found out that he had found another family that were also Royal Caribbean Blog followers from Canada. Neither of our groups knew we had anyone else joining us but it was a good surprise. They were really great people and it was a lot of fun meeting them and having some company for the day. One thing we didn't know would be included was that Leo had a big cooler in his trunk with plenty of drinks of some of his own homemade rum punch. I thought it was a nice touch! Our first stop was Maho Beach to watch a few planes land. I have seen tons of photos of this place, but I had no idea how crowded it actually was. I agree with @Matt on his opinion that it is definitely something to see, but I wouldn't want to stay for very long. We stayed for about 20 minutes and then headed out. Next we drove around and saw different parts of the island. Being a native of the island Leo had a lot of information that you wouldn't be able to get from just anywhere. It was cool learning about the history of the island, the impact of the hurricane, as well as Leo's experiences growing up there. We headed to the French side of the island to get some food and stopped somewhere in Grand Case that Leo said was one of the best areas to get some local food. I didn't get the name of the place, but it was really good food. I had the Mahi Mahi and rice and it was delicious. My wife had some rice, cole slaw, and fries. The restaurant was located right on the end of Grand Case Beach so we were able to go back and get a look at it. There were a few locals there enjoying the beach but it was pretty much empty other than that. Following lunch we drove around a little more including brief stop at Orient Beach. It looked incredible there and I think when we return to St Maarten that is where we will probably spend the majority of the day. It was just massive and seemed so natural compared to a lot of the beaches we have seen in the Caribbean. In order to make sure we got back with plenty of time we headed back to the port stopping at one more overlook. We really enjoyed the tour of the island but would have liked to have spent a little more time out of the car. It was a great way to see the whole island and learn where we would want to spend our time when we return though. We still had about an hour and a half and we kind of regretted not spending a little more time on the beach so we decided to take the water taxi over to downtown Philipsburg and get our toes in the sand. This area was a lot cooler than I was expecting and I really liked the Dutch architecture. There were lots of stray dogs running around that seemed to just be a part of the community there. St_Maarten-Phillipsburg_A.mp4 We didn't want to stay too long and risk missing the ship so we headed back on the water taxi. The sail away in St Maarten is absolutely beautiful and at that point was by far the most beautiful island we had ever visited. This is definitely a place we will be returning to because there was still so much more to experience. The sun was beginning to set as we sailed away and it made for an amazing view. St_Maarten-Sailaway_A.mp4 Tonight we have dinner booked at Jamie's Italian and are seeing The Fine Line!
  12. Hello and welcome to the blog! The inability to pre-book specific times is kind of the drawback of the package. They will automatically assign you a restaurant up front, but you are not obligated to go there by any means. The key is to go to the dining room as soon as you board to book your dining reservations. The earlier the better. As long as you are not super specific on an exact day and time that you want to eat at Wonderland you should have no problem getting in. It was never full either of the nights that we just went on Harmony. You will love Wonderland, it was our favorite on our Harmony cruise and Symphony even has an extra touch with the Mad-hatter. I actually just posted a review of it on day 3 of my live blog if you want to check it out over in the live blog section of the message boards.
  13. Day 3 (Sea Night) We had reservations at Wonderland tonight and we weren't really sure what to expect. We knew the experience was going to be really cool, but we had also heard a lot of mixed reviews about the food. We were pleasantly surprised. At first we were a little concerned that we weren't going to be able to find much for my wife to eat since she is a vegetarian but it actually turned out to be her favorite restaurant on the cruise. They modified a lot of the dishes to make them vegetarian and there were a few that already were anyways. Personally I didn't like the entrees nearly as much as the appetizers. They weren't bad, but the appetizers were just incredible in my opinion. We enjoyed the cocktails as well but forgot to get a picture. There will be a lot of pictures here because the courses just keep on coming. In the spirit of Wonderland I won't explain any of the pictures and let your imagination do it's thing (I wouldn't be able to explain them anyways). We loved the whole experience and we had a joke that if you didn't go through the door then you didn't really eat at Wonderland. Following a great dinner we had reservations to see impressionist Jeff Tracta. He did impressions of people and music and he did them very well. He had a great Donald Trump impression that either side of the spectrum could get a laugh out of. He covered every genre of music and I think cruisers of all ages really enjoyed it. We are always so impressed with the types of acts that Royal Caribbean brings onboard. We really missed that when we tried out Carnival on our last cruise and they rolled out the same cast every night to just sing and dance to a different genre of music. After the show we headed into the Promenade and caught the 50s and 60s party. One thing we really love doing on a cruise is just standing by and watching people have a good time. There is something about being on a cruise that lets people really let loose unlike anywhere else in my opinion. When the party ended we decided to close out the night at the pub with our favorite entertainer Kieron. We were joined in the pub by several cast members of The Fine Line that you can see in the picture. Kieron was really popular among the crew and you could always find members of the Grease and The Fine Line in the pub when he was performing. He was really good about playing requests which is always nice. I requested Let It Be and was able to get a video of him playing it. Day 3-Kieron Movie.m4v No late night on a cruise is complete without a slice of Sorrento's. I also found that the quality of pizza has improved since our last cruise. I actually found it quite good but the drink package helps. It was a great sea day today and the port stops begin tomorrow morning with St. Maarten. We were very excited to check out 3 brand new ports for us.
  14. Day 3 (Sea Day) We woke up around 9:30 after a late night and decided on Park Cafe for breakfast. This became our go to spot most days because it was just so easy to run in and grab something. The selection isn't nearly as good as in the Windjammer or Johnny Rockets, but the convenience factor was there and the food was still good. I always got the fried egg, ham, and cheese muffin while my wife had the vegetarian options that changed each day. She would also get the fried egg one as well and switch out the ham with the vegetables occasionally. After that we took a few laps around the jogging track and heard some commotion coming from the Aquatheatre so we went to check it out. It was the Crown and Anchor ceremony. For those curious the top cruiser had 2,340 days and he gave a really awesome speech about his love for the crew, but also the Flowrider. Once the ceremony was over we headed over to get in a round of putt putt. One thing I noticed was that they are using some kind of foam balls, I am not sure if this has always been the case. Being a golfer I didn't love the way they felt putting but I guess I could always use an extra excuse anyways! Next we went back to the room to get dressed to hang out on the pool deck. We said we were going to take it easy on the drinks for the day, but then the pineapple guy showed up. We are suckers for a Pina Colada in a pineapple just once on a cruise, so we paid the extra $9 to get one. It was an absolutely perfect day at sea and this is the calmest I have ever seen the ocean on all of my cruises. This one is for you @FlowBro Ty. We hung out on the pool deck for the majority of the afternoon before heading back to the Flowrider. I gave it a shot and it was a lot of fun, but I am not very good at it. It is hard to get practice because there is usually a 30 minute or longer wait and I don't like to spend my whole day waiting for my turn only to fall after a short time. There was a guy that was ridiculously good at it and you could always find him back there killing it. Here is a 20 second video of him doing his thing on another day. He was definitely the best of the cruisers that we saw all week. I added a picture of someone else riding just in case the video won't load for anyone. VIDEO Flowrider-Surfer.mp4 After that it was time to head back to the room and get ready for dinner. We are going to Wonderland tonight...
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