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  1. UPDATED 18 June 2022 (Updated the parking spreadsheet and general updates) Construction of Royal Caribbean's new Cruise Terminal is progressing on schedule, with completion planned in time for the arrival of Allure of the Seas on 13 Nov 2022. Galveston is the fourth busiest cruise port in the USA and the 10th busiest in the world. Cruise ships calling Galveston their home port include: Allure of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Arrives 13 Nov 2022 from Ft. Lauderdale. Repositions to Port Canaveral 27 Oct 2023) Harmony of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Arrives 1 Nov 2023 from Miami) Liberty of the Seas - 154,407 GT - 3,648 Passengers - 7 night sailings (Repositions to Fort Lauderdale on 30 Oct 2022) Adventure of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,114 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Repositions to Cape Liberty 29 Apr 2022. Returns to Galveston 27 Oct 2022.) Grandeur of the Seas - 73,817 GT - 1,992 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Arrives 4 May 2022 and repositions to Miami 2 Nov 2022) Radiance of the Seas - 90,090 GT - 2,143 Passengers - 6-10 night sailings plus a 15-night Panama Canal crossing (Arrives 30 Jan 2023 from New Orleans. Repositions to Los Angeles 21 Apr 2023) Carnival Vista - 133,500 GT - 3,934 Passengers Carnival Dream - 130,000 GT - 3,646 Passengers Carnival Breeze - 130,000 GT - 3,690 Passengers Carnival Jubilee - 182,800 GT - 5,374 Passengers - LNG Power (Arrives 17 Nov 2023 from Southampton) Ruby Princess - 114,561 GT - 3,080 Passengers (Arrives Dec 2022) Norwegian Prima - 142,500 GT - 3,215 Passengers (Special sailing 31 Oct 2022. Home ports in Galveston 15 Dec 2023) Disney Wonder - Nov/Dec/Jan holiday sailings each year Cruise Terminal 1, which serves mainly Carnival, is the largest single-berth cruise facility in the world at over 257,000 square feet. Cruise Terminal 2 which currently serves Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney, was expanded in 2017 to accommodate larger (Freedom Class) cruise ships. Planning & Tourist Info You can't beat this website for information on everything that is happening in Galveston: www.galveston.com Transportation Fly into HOU (Houston Hobby Airport) if you can. It's much closer to Galveston than IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport) and you won't have the Houston traffic to deal with. Tip: HOU is a large hub for Southwest Airlines. They often don't show up on the travel booking sites so you need to book at www.southwest.com. You can't beat their "bags fly free" policy and "no change fees". Here are some options for getting to Galveston from the airport: Galveston Limo - provides very affordable shared rides from the two Houston airports with either their scheduled service (8 trips per day) or you can arrange a private car. Owned by a local family of good folks. Galveston Express Lyft and Uber - Lyft and Uber now operate in Galveston. Lyft has a contract with the Port of Galveston to bring passengers to and from the cruise terminals. Uber has chosen not to sign a contract with the Port, but can still operate in other areas of Galveston. Enterprise Rent A Car - Enterprise is the only rental car company on the island. You should be able to rent from Enterprise at the airport and drop it off on the Island. The Island location is open on Saturday, and before cruises shut down it was also open on Sunday, so you can drop off on the weekends as well as weekdays. Check with Enterprise directly for updated hours and shuttle arrangements. Arriving By Car I-45 is undergoing several phases of construction that will continue through 2022 and beyond. TxDOT is widening I-45 all the way to Galveston Island. I-45 south ends on Galveston Island. When arriving on the island, if you turn off at the "Cruise Terminal" exit (Harborside Drive) you will hit a traffic back-up as you approach the cruise terminals. To avoid this traffic jam, as you drive down I-45 and arrive on the Island, continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends and follow these directions: Continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends. Continue to 23rd street and turn left. Follow 23rd and it will dead end at the entrance to the cruise terminals. This route will avoid the lengthy backup on Harborside Drive. As you enter the Cruise Terminal area, turn left to bypass the Carnival Cruise drop-off area, then you will see your Royal Caribbean ship at Terminal 2. Drop your luggage with the porters, and then proceed to your parking location. It is highly recommended that you drop your luggage at the terminal before parking. This prevents you from lugging all of those suitcases on and off of a shuttle bus. Parking If you search "Galveston cruise parking" you will see plenty of parking options. I highly recommend making a reservation on line with one of the parking companies, especially if you want an indoor or garage space as these will sell out (especially now, with so many ships sailing from Galveston). Prepaying usually gets you a 5-10% discount and a guaranteed parking space. Things to consider in addition to price: Elevation - heavy rains can quickly flood the streets of Galveston, and not just during a hurricane. Leaving your car in an elevated spot will provide peace of mind against flooding if an unexpected storm comes in. Walk or Shuttle? - most parking lots have shuttle service, but some offer "park & walk" for a discount (shuttle companies have to pay a fee to the Port of Galveston for each trip). You must select which option when you book online. Walking to and from the terminal avoids waiting on crowded shuttles and can be an enjoyable stroll if the weather is nice. But heat, humidity, and rain can make the savings of a few dollars seem insignificant. I like to drop off the family and luggage at the terminal, then go park the car and walk back to the terminal, but occasionally I have to wait for the rain to pass or put up with a hot/humid walk. Garage, Inside, or Outdoor Lot? - outdoor surface lots are cheaper, but your car is exposed to the south Texas sun and weather. A building provides better protection and security. The parking garage provides protection, security, and gets you elevated and safe from almost any flooding. Discounts & Loyalty - there are extra savings if you sign up for loyal programs online and apply for any applicable discount. Reserve your parking after your account is set up and tagged with the applicable discount. You can combine loyalty and one discount but you can't have multiple discounts. Security - all parking is at least fenced and gated. The buildings are enclosed and locked. Some facilities have security cameras. The Port of Galveston claims that the Port Police patrol their lots 24/7 which you won't find at the private parking lots. Electric Vehicle Charging - more and more lots are offering EV chargers. If you drive an EV like I do, you will appreciate having your car fully charged when you disembark. This perk is currently free at all parking facilities where it is offered. Remember that even a 110 volt plug will fully charge your car over the course of several days. Here is my comparison of some of the parking options. I have parked at all of these except Falstaff. Hotels There are a couple of hotels near the port and the historic Strand District in Galveston. It's a great idea to arrive a day or two early and enjoy the island ambiance. The Harbor House is very convenient to the ship and to many nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. Caution: Our room had a smell of mildew when we stayed here in May 2021, so if that bothers you I'd suggest choosing another hotel. The Tremont House is also very walkable to the Strand, the Port and nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. This is my preferred pre-cruise hotel and will become a Marriott property in late 2022! The Tremont House is located in a beautiful historic building. The Tremont's rooftop bar has wonderful views of the island and port area. The lobby bar has live jazz on most Friday and Saturday nights. There are plenty of other hotels on the Island, many along the Seawall facing the Gulf of Mexico. Hotels providing transportation to the port or offer park & cruise options can be found here. Call the hotel that you are interested in to confirm that they provide cruise parking. Galveston has a wide range of hotel prices depending on day of week (weekends obviously much higher), whether there are major events happening, and the season (summer is the busy season here). Booking hotels during Mardi Gras (February), Lone Star Biker Rally (early November), Art Walk (every 6 weeks) and other major events will be much more expensive. Some hotels have a 2 night minimum on weekends. Galveston Dining (And A Few Drinking Establishments) Please avoid the tourist traps and chain restaurants that will leave you disappointed. Eat at these locally owned restaurants that use locally sourced, fresh food, including fresh Gulf seafood right from the docks in Galveston. All restaurants are casual dress unless noted, and all are family friendly (even most of the bars). Many serve craft beer on tap from Galveston Island Brewing. My only connection to these places is that I have personally eaten at them multiple times and I love them all! Rudy and Paco - 2028 Post Office St (21st and Post Office) - Arguably the best restaurant on the island. Wonderful food with a South and Central American flair. Best service on the island. A little expensive but worth it. We like going for lunch because it's very affordable (lunch served weekdays only). No shorts allowed at dinner. Reservations suggested and are a must on weekends or when The 1890 Grand Theater has an event. Riondo's Ristorante - 2328 Strand (24th and Strand) - Our favorite Italian restaurant on the island, and they also serve great seafood and steak. Beautiful historic building built in 1895 in the Strand Historic District. "Farm to Fork" sourcing and they make their own pasta. Tell them you "want a table in the vault." Katie's Seafood House - 2000 Wharf Road (On the water, adjacent to the Port of Galveston) - This new restaurant opened in mid-2019 and is the only restaurant in Galveston that catches their own seafood! Great food, good service, and a wonderful view of the Port of Galveston from their covered outdoor deck. Cafe at the Tremont House - 2300 Ships Mechanic Row (Mechanic Street) - Beautiful historic hotel built in 1879 near the Strand Historic District. Enter the main entrance, up a few stairs, and the cafe is just off the lobby to the right. Nice salads, flatbread pizzas, Panini served in a casual atmosphere. Most weekend evenings there is live jazz in the lobby, which is why we go here (in addition to the good food and casual, historic atmosphere). There is a beautiful bar at the opposite end of the lobby with several Galveston Brewing options on tap. Before or after dinner, take the elevator to the top floor, turn left, and walk to the end of the hall to the rooftop bar to cap off the experience. Eatcetera - 408 25th Street - Lunch only (until 4 pm, closed Sunday). Gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, Panini. Vegan and gluten free options available. Brews Brothers Brew Pub - 2404 Strand - Huge craft beer selection, creative American bar food. Very casual. You wouldn't expect it for a bar, but the food here is excellent. Burgers (try the "Mission From God"), fresh made chips (try them with Buffalo Sauce & Bleu Cheese), local fish tacos, salads, etc. Texas Tail Distillery - New larger location at 2416 Post Office - On-site distillery for whiskey and vodka. Try the honey whiskey and other infusions. Friendly staff, fun place to try crafted drinks with local liquor, or try them all with a flight of shots! New: several food trailers located adjacent to their new location! Blvd. Seafood - 28th and Seawall - One of the best seafood restaurants on the island. There isn't a lot of curb appeal outside but the inside is very nice. The food and service are both quite good and the seafood is all local. The red snapper is amazing and always comes fresh from Katie's Seafood Market. Grotto Italian - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Classic Italian restaurant featuring delicious veal, chicken, seafood, pizza, and house made pastas. This one breaks my rule of avoiding the Landrys restaurant chain, but we tried it again in February 2020 and are convinced it's a great option. Blake's Bistro - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Great burgers, gumbo, seafood. Overlooks the resort pool and the Gulf of Mexico. This one breaks my rule of avoiding the Landrys restaurant chain, but we gave it several tries in February 2020 and added it to the list. The Cove Poolside Bar - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Beautiful outdoor poolside bar with a swim-up bar too, all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The pool is heated so expect swimmers even in cool weather. Great place to people watch and enjoy a drink with one of the most picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico on the island. Gypsy Joynt - 6105 Stewart Road - Funky family-run spot with great comfort food. Excellent pizza, burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. Breads/buns baked fresh multiple times per day. Casual, funky atmosphere. A little off the beaten path but definitely one of my favorite casual places for lunch or dinner. Maceo's Spice & Import Company - 2706 Market Street - Excellent muffaletta's, sandwiches. Simple menu to eat in or carry out in this little spice shop. Hey Mikey's Ice Cream - 2120 Post Office Street - Ice cream is made in the store. Unique treats like Ice Cream Nachos (share with a friend) and traditional favorites. You gotta' go here! Note: this place is owned by a nice island family. It is sometimes closed over the winter holidays. Mod Coffeehouse - 2126 Post Office Street - comfortable with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music many weekend evenings. Coffee, tea, espresso, latte, home baked goods. Jimmy's On The Pier - 9001 Seawall - On the 2nd story above the fishing pier (enter the souvenir shop, exit to the left, and up the stairs). Very casual with great views of the seawall and Gulf. Owner has their own farm and livestock for a true "farm to table" concept; other items locally sourced. Fish tacos, burgers, seafood, local beer, full bar, etc. Mama Teresa's Flying Pizza and Italian - 416 21st Street - This is the place for pizza. They also have nice Italian dishes. Convenient to the Post Office Street Arts District for a nice after-dinner stroll. Embarkation Experience Protocols will be changing regularly until we get through the Covid craziness, but here is what we experienced in May, 2022. Check-in times are being enforced. Currently masks are optional in the cruise terminal. Once inside, there are several lines. If you have unvaccinated passengers in your group (i.e. kids) they direct you to a special line all the way to the right. The purpose of the first checkpoint is to make sure you have 1) proof of vaccination 2) proof of negative Covid test 3) passport or other citizenship documents 4) boarding pass. The next checkpoint is the scan for weapons/liquor. Your carry-on luggage goes through the scanner and you walk through the metal detector similar to an airport security scan. If they discover liquor or prohibited items, there is a table right behind security where those items are dealt with. If you have an unvaccinated child that needs their pre-boarding Covid test, that happens next. Following this, you walk into the next room where you do the actual cruise check-in. There are quite a few check-in stations and this process takes quite a bit longer than pre-pandemic. This is where they take a photo of your vaccination card, verify your negative Covid test, check your passport or other citizenship documents, and take your photo if you failed to upload it before the cruise. We observed that if you had completed all the online checkin steps, had your documents in hand and ready, and generally had your act together then things went much quicker. After checking in, you take the escalator or elevator upstairs to the waiting area. With the check-in times being spaced out and enforced, there isn't much waiting. You will likely move directly toward the ship, especially if you are in a Suite. The final checkpoint is completed in the upstairs waiting area where they scan your SetSail Pass. After this you walk to the gangway and directly to the ship! Disembarkation Experience After having your SeaPass Card scanned, you disembark the ship, walk down the enclosed gangway, and walk down several long ramps to get to the ground floor. Just inside the luggage hall is the facial recognition area that replaces your discussion with a Customs and Border Protection officer. You are directed to look toward the facial scanner, and immediately (if all is well) you are cleared to proceed. This is an incredible improvement to the old system of waiting for a face-to-face discussion with a CBP officer and it was a big time saver. The next step is to claim your luggage and proceed to the terminal exit. Just before exiting the terminal you will be asked by a State Agent whether you are bringing back alcohol or cigarettes (see the next section for details). Bringing Back Liquor & Cigarettes If you sail from the Port of Galveston, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has agents sitting at a table after you clear Immigration. They will ask you if you are bringing back any alcohol or cigarettes. If so, you will need to pay the state tax for importing them into the state, whether they are purchased in the ship's duty free store or in a foreign port of call. Although Texas state tax is due, these items are still exempt of any Federal duty. The law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). Tax due for a 750ml bottle of wine is $3.25, for a 750ml bottle of distilled spirits is $3.50. These rates include a $3.00 "administrative fee". Cigarette tax is $1.50/pack or $15.00/carton. Other tax rates are available online. You can pay with a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or cash. They will give you a receipt and a sticker to place on the bottle. Failure to pay the tax and obtain the appropriate stamp will subject violators to a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year. Galveston Webcams Galveston has some great webcams. If you want to see what the cruise port looks like, or if your friends and family want to watch you sail away on Royal Caribbean via several live full-motion HD video cameras, go here (they have a pretty big following when ships are arriving and departing the port). There are several Carnival ships here as well, and they often block the view of the Royal Caribbean ships when they are alongside the dock. Cruise ships can be seen on the Cruise Cam, Strand Cam, Marina Cam, and Emerald Cam.
  2. I found my calendar empty so on 3 days notice I booked an aft balcony on Adventure of the Seas departing from Galveston. I had airline points and my airline credit card refunded the $11.20 fees for the flights so I'm flying for free. That just left the hotel to figure out since I always recommend flying in the day before the cruise. In the past hotels on Galveston Island have often imposed a two night minimum so I usually stay somewhere between Houston and Galveston but I discovered the Doubletree on Galveston Island was not requiring a two night stay and it was a reasonable rate so I booked it. Itinerary on this sailing: Day 1 - Embark Galveston Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Costa Maya Day 4 - Cozumel Day 5 - Sea Day Day 6 - Debark Galveston I haven't cruised on a Voyager class ship since the restart so this was also an opportunity to sail a class I really like.
  3. This probably provides some context for the recent policy changes. https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/cruise-ship-covid-cases-royal-caribbean/index.html
  4. For those of you who have visited Bahamas already do you know the cost of this Visa? Is this something Royal was toying with giving us some on board credit for? Not a deal breaker but I registered and now have to wait to take my 15 year old for her PCR test to upload, actually located a rapid PCR test, timing won't allow for vaccine and honestly not feeling the vaccine for her. Just want to do a bit more due diligence for her, we got it to sail we are old anyway!! Lol!! Insights thoughts please share with me, thanks so much everyone ?
  5. As I previously stated our Air2Sea flight is late on the 12th, I think we are the last Bahamasair flight of the day. With this pressing time frame for a timely embarkation I also purchased the shuttle to the Hilton for check in from Air2Sea. I know I need to check in for my flight but is there a ticket or voucher I should have received for this shuttle? Has anyone experienced or used this shuttle service before? I wanted the protection of Air2Sea in case things run late. Thanks everyone!
  6. Royal Caribbean will have at least 6 cruise ships definitely sailing this summer. I am very interested to see how many people have booked the different cruise options available for this summer.
  7. I booked a cruise on Adventure of the Seas and picked room 1101 thinking it would be awesome and relaxing to be right next to the Solarium. Then my more observant wife noticed that the room was also right next to the fitness center. Wondering if anyone had a room in this section of the ship and if we would be hearing the exercise classes and equipment.
  8. Hello, I hope it's okay to do a live-blog style recap (instead of it being live). I also took pictures of all the cruise compass pages and MDR menu. Please let me know how to best upload these, or whom I should contact to get them added to the cruise compass section. ----------------- This is my first cruise, with DW and in laws, for 8 nights from FLL to Eastern Caribbean, on Adventure of the Seas, 12/21/2019 sailing. The ports visited: St Thomas, St Marteen, San Juan, and Labadee. We originally considered booking on Allure, but finally we decided on Adventure. This fact will become important later. We did a GTY balcony room, and scored a spacious balcony on deck 6 fore. We bought the refreshment drink package (non-alcoholic) and the surf voom package. No specialty dining option because we figured we’d have enough to eat. Our dining time was traditional seating at 8:30. We booked our travel through MEI travel, and had Michelle as our contact person. She is extremely helpful and friendly, and really responsive with our questions. Due to inclement weather, the day before our departure the captain sent a note that they’re rearranging our ports of visit, but generally still keeping the same ports and same time-ish for each port. I did book excursions with a 3rd party, so I called them and let them know of the change. He was very accommodating (partly due to the fact that the whole ship is on the same boat as us, literally), so he has to work around the change. I wanted to do a live blog but I figured I’d rather write a review afterwards so that I can enjoy my vacation. That’s why I didn’t create a thread beforehand. I just jot down the basics of what we did each day. Day 1 We drove for 1 hr from Palm Beach to FLL, and parked our car at Discount Parking. Definitely would not recommend this vendor. It seemed like they only had 1 shuttle dedicated to cruise passengers, so we had to wait a long time to get taken to the pier (and also at the end, we had to wait almost 1 hour at the pier to be picked up). I did see a lot of Park N Go shuttles, so next time we will try that one. Due to inclement weather (again), the terminal was moved from pier 29 to pier 18. There was no communication about this from Royal Caribbean. I only found out from the facebook group. I don’t know how people would have found out otherwise. The check-in was quick. There is a short line for the security, then the ipad person took our pictures, and quick picture in front of a backdrop, but other than that off we go to the second floor, which connects to a gangway going to deck 4. We arrived at the terminal around 12:30, and stepped to the ship around 12:45. Although it’s almost one (and therefore our room should be ready soon), since we didn’t really have carry on, we went straight to WJ for lunch. There was a special gingerbread town decoration at the entrance of WJ Of course we started utilizing our drink package. We ordered pina colada and mango daiquiri. On the first day, they let you use your set sail pass instead of your seapass card to order drinks. After lunch, we went to our rooms to find out it’s all ready. The seapass cards were waiting in front of the room. Inside the room, all the excursions that we have bough with Royal Caribbean (including explanations about drink package and internet package) are waiting on our bed. I thought the whole thing was extremely well-organized. The room is very spacious for just the 2 of us. There is plenty of storage. The only negative thing is that the balcony still feels a bit closed in, and basically feels like a glorified port hole. I guess this is what you get for doing a GTY. But a balcony is still a balcony, so no complaint here. The closets and drawers offer plenty of storage space. Within 10 minutes, the stateroom attendant knocked on our door, introduced himself, and informed us about the muster drill. Collin, he is very nice and attentive, and we were very pleased with his service throughout the cruise. There were several times when I came back to the room carrying plates of food from WJ, and he saw me, and he opened the door for me. This happened as early as day 1 btw, so he was definitely quick in memorizing our faces lol. After the drill, we went exploring around the ship, with drinks in hand of course. The ship is fairly nice-sized, but not too big that I feel like it’s a floating city. I know this used to be considered “top of the line” when it was first launched, but now that there are much larger ships around, Adventure of the Seas is considered medium-large. There were Christmas decorations around the ship, so it felt really festive. However, they’re also “blocking” some access areas especially on deck 4 and 5, at both ends of the ship (so near Centrum staircases). Not a big deal because most of the time it was never that crowded, except during special occasions where you feel like the added stairway would have alleviated the crowd jam a little bit. Also, there were ship photographers in front of the Christmas tree, preventing you to take your own pictures. You can have your pictures taken, but then you’d have to pay to get them. During the sail away, we went to deck 12 aft to watch. It was windy and slightly raining. After the sail away, I tried a the flow rider for a little bit. Bad idea. It was hard, and I think my neck got whiplashed when I fell? I only noticed the soreness the day after. I saw some other people having fun on it, so good for them. Also the flow rider area is VERY windy throughout the cruise, because it’s at the top deck, aft. When the ship was docked it was okay, but whenever ship was on sea, it gets very windy. I also tried the slides. There are two slides: yellow and blue. The yellow one is supposed to be faster, but it also has a slight “bump” in it, meaning you cannot rest your head completely but you had to hold it up a little bit. This became a problem due to my sore neck, but was a lot of fun otherwise. I have been to a lot of water parks in Orlando, and I can say that these two slides were definitely top notch in terms of speed, thrill, and drops. Also because the ship was rocking, no two “sessions” were the same. It keeps you guessing and anticipating with every turn. I must have done each slide at least 10 times throughout the cruise. I also talked to one of the lifeguards (Matthew) which was very friendly. He said that one passenger hurt his head on the yellow slide because he laid down his head completely during the bump, so he cautioned me not to do that. He also mentioned that he used to work on Allure, and this was his second week on Adventure. He also didn’t know how to do flowrider in the beginning, but they have crew-only hours to train them, and after several times, now he can at least stand comfortably on it. I guess it made me feel better for not getting the hang of flow rider right away? Then we wasted some time at the solarium reading / enjoying the hot tub. There was a 5pm raffle for $500 voucher at the spa, although we didn’t win ☹ By this time, it’s already 6 pm ish, so we checked out WJ, which was American-themed. They had a welcome onboard cake, and beautiful dessert spread. I took 2 platefuls of food (one for savory things, one for sweet things) to our room, where the cruise compasses for day 1 and 2 were already waiting. I took pictures of them all so that we can plan out the night and the next day over dinner. Before dinner, they had a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It was just a countdown to light the Christmas tree. I expected some singing at the bridge but there was none. This was where the promenade was full of people, standing by and getting around, and the added access (blocked by decorations) would have been helpful. At dinner, our table was right by the entrance. Because we emailed Royal Caribbean ahead of time, 4 of us were seated together. Our waiters were Franco and Antonio, and they were both very attentive. They even remembered our preferences (my steak rare). On the first two nights, we ordered hot tea, so by the third night, when we sat down, there were already tea bags prepared, and he brought out mugs of hot water without being asked. It’s the little touches like these that make long lasting impression. I went for double entrees right away: NY Strip and Salmon, while DW went for prime rib. The NY Strip was great, but I feel like the cook is one “over.” I usually order medium-rare at most restaurants on land, but this time I had to order rare in order to get the same cook. Just FYI. For appetizers we did calamari and shrimp cocktail, and for dessert we did chocolate cake, creme brulee, and blueberry cobbler. The appetizers tasted good but the portion was kinda small. Well I guess you could always order double appetizers, and that's what we ended up doing for the rest of the cruise. The desserts were good but not amazing. After dinner, we went to a comedy show. But shortly into it, we realized that it’s not our style (it was an adult show) so we just left and went back to our room and slept early. The nice thing about Lyric Theater is that, you can sit in the balcony on 4th floor (and it has a separate entrance that goes to deck 4 instead of deck 3). So that if you decide that the show is not your thing, you can leave without disturbing too many people. We ended up watching shows this way for most of the cruise. There is also a bar by the entrance on deck 4 (INSIDE the theater) so you can keep going back to order drinks, again without disturbing people.
  9. We booked a cruise in February 2020. We port at Fort Lauderdale at 5:30 a.m. and plan to take the first direct flight back home leaving Fort Lauderdale airport at 9 a.m. If we do express departure or self assist check out, would we make our flight at 9 a.m.? Does anyone have real experience to share with me regarding Royal Caribbean express departure at Fort Lauderdale with the Adventure of the Seas?
  10. Hi, we are going on Adventures of the Seas in November. We want to do a sting ray city excursion in Grand Cayman, since we have never done it and looking to book through Royal. We narrowed down to the following options: -Catamaran Sail and Sting Ray City: GCC7 -Sting Ray City and Starfish Point: GCS1 -Deluxe Sting Ray City: GCI3 It will be me, my 8 year old daughter and my 70 year old father. Sting Ray City is a must for me and my daughter. Starfish point was just something cool for the kid. Is there a clear winner of the 3 options above? I have also heard of high winds and rough seas canceling excursions, how will this be in November?
  11. Looking at the website, it looks like if you are staying in a Grand Suite on the Adventure, you get Private Lunch Seating in a Specialty Restaurant, since there is no Coastal Kitchen. Does anyone know which restaurant that is? "Private Lunch Seating in Specialty Restaurants (On Ships Without Coastal Kitchen) " "Private Breakfast Seating (On Ships Without Coastal Kitchen)" Thanks, jon
  12. As always trying to figure out how to start off another LIVEish. Laying in the room at the Embassy Suites on 17th in Ft. Lauderdale overlooking the port Adventure will soon be docked at. Yesterday (the 4th) was a travel day, sitting on a bus (RedCoach) from 7:30 in the morning until just a bit after 5:00 (versus the scheduled 4:10) in the afternoon. Didn't really have much of an opportunity to move around at the Orlando stopping point. Due to traffic delays outside of Gainesville we were running around 30 or 40 minutes late. As a result when we hit Orlando we were transferred to different bus that immediately left. Good thing for me, not getting to sleep until 4 am allowed me to sleep just about the entire journey. After getting dropped off at the Ft. Lauderdale airport used Lyft XL for the somewhat quick trip from airport to hotel, most of that time I'm sure was spent just getting out of the arrivals area of the airport. For those that are curious about cost: Lyft XL fare (3.64mi, 13m 21s) $19.36. Booked once again the "Premium Suite", sad to report that our friend the vending machine is gone. Been replaced by a snack basket that was left in the room. One of the great things staying in this area is the easy access to a shopping center. With that in mind and a cue from so many in the past wound out having dinner at La Bamba. Wound up ordering the Fiesta Combination that consisted of Chicken Burrito and Chunk Beef Enchilada plus served with yellow rice and refried beans. By the time we left it was getting on the busy side. With some time to kill and wanting to do some walking to help things settle wound up walking down to explore Total Wine. No purchases for onboard consumption, not much of a wine drinker. After a bit headed back to the hotel to enter a blissful food coma for a bit (yes more sleeping) and then finally getting around to posting this. What is to come on Adventure is going to be a new port stop for me, St. Kitts. Prior to St. Kitts a somewhat typical eastern run: Labadee, San Juan, and St. Maarten. This post is in honor to my dear friends the "Premium Suite" vending machines. Your selections will be missed.
  13. I'm taking my friend for his first cruise this coming May on Adventure. Unfortunately he has HSP (hereditary spastic paraplegia) and requires at times his scooter to get around. Even though we booked the cruise well in advance, there were no accessory rooms available ?. I don't think it will be a big deal as he doesn't need it in the room to get around, only when we go out perusing about the ship or at the ports. Plus, our TA informed us that the crew can take the scooter and park / charge it overnight in a specified area and have it back at our cabin the next morning. I know that this topic has been broached before, but if someone had booked an accessible cabin and they aren't handicapped, doesn't RC have an obligation to transfer them to another cabin and the accessible cabin given to the people who really need it? Granted as I previously remarked, he doesn't need it in the cabin so I don't think it will make or break his experience. Also, any tips you can offer would be great as this will be the first time I'm cruising with someone who has mobility issues
  14. I had intended to do a semi-live review of the cruise but decided against due to ropey voom and time constraints of travelling with a 10 year old. I’m also aware that there was another live blog of the same cruise but it’s always nice to see things from two perspectives. This is my first review on here but I took so much good info prior to this cruise that I want to give a little back. I had had a 2.5 year break from cruising due to moving house and other reasons so felt a bit out of touch. So... the contents of this review may not be relevant to everyone as I travel alone with my 10 year old son. No drinks package (but we did the three night dining package), no late nights and not too much partying but lots of family fun. On this cruise we were meeting my parents on board as they had just taken the snowbird migration prior. This is our itinerary - Thursday 18th October - Fly London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale with British Airways. Stay three nights in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea at Plunge Beach Hotel Sunday 21st October - Embark Adventure of the Seas Monday 22nd October - At Sea Tuesday 23rd October - Grand Cayman (tender) Wednesday 24th October - Costa Maya Thursday 25th October - Cozumel Friday 26th October - At Sea Saturday 27th October - Disembark and return flight to London Gatwick. A brief bit about our pre-cruise ... I rented a car from Thrifty (compact - Toyota Yaris) which did the two of us just fine to get to our hotel and an afternoon trip to sawgrass mills. I drive an automatic at home but stick shift (manual) is still very much the norm in the UK and there was a very confused family in the next row to us so UK travellers beware that almost all rentals in the US are automatic transmission. We collected and returned at the airport for ease and I used the Google Maps app on my phone rather than renting a GPS. It worked well and my roaming package was capped at 140 mins, 100 texts but unlimited data for £4.99 per day with my provider, O2. Next time, I’ll make sure and pack a screen mount bracket for my phone. Our hotel, Plunge Beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, was just perfect. A beach from property with a well kept pool area and a lovely beach bar. It is directly across from a Publix (fantastic supermarket - need this in the UK!) so we were able to buy several meals including breakfast every day here and keep costs down. It become our morning routine to hit Publix at 7am then eat breakfast on the beach watching the sunrise There is a resort charge of $30 a day at Plunge but I felt this was great value As it included valet, bike hire, use of beach loungers, umbrellas and games/toys.
  15. HI there! I'm sailing on Adventure out of San Juan on Saturday, stopping in St Thomas, St Kitts, Curacao & Aruba. I'm kind of silent member, I listen to all of Matt's podcasts, and peruse the blog and forums quite a bit, but dont speak out too much. :) I've learned so much here and would love to help pay it back and help contribute. I'll possibly blog here each day, if there is anything you want to know, feel free to post here and I'll see how I can help. **5 days and 23 hours, but who is counting?!**
  16. Looking at excursions for our upcoming cruise in December on Adventure of the Seas. I am thinking that Nachi Cocum (sp?) in Cozumel would work that day. Any other recommendations for any of the ports. I know that some of the extended family wants to see some Mayan ruins. December 2 - Leave Fort Lauderdale December 3 - Sea Day December 4 - Grand Cayman December 5 - Costa Maya December 6 - Cozumel December 7 - Sea Day December 8 - Disembark Fort Lauderdale
  17. Adventure's dry dock date starts as of tomorrow and will go until mid-Feb. I realize that they are just finishing up the last refurb (adding panoramic state rooms, Izumi, ect). What else does everyone hope to see out of a 30 day dry dock? I myself would like to see her get a fresh coat of paint. Simple yet does so much.
  18. Hello, My boyfriend and I are going on a RC cruise in May 2018 to the Bahamas on Adventure of the Seas. One of the ports is Orlando Florida. My question is: would we be close enough to visit The Hard Rock Cafe while in port from 12 am to 9 pm.? We are casino fanatics and would like to go there on our own accord, not with a private journey. Any thoughts and/or info would be greatly appreciated.
  19. So according to the image in Matt's blog post about the 2018/19 Caribbean, Alaska, and Northeast itineraries (http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2017/03/15/royal-caribbean-announces-2018-2019-caribbean-alaska-and-northeast-itineraries ), Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ is going to get Adventure of the Seas doing the New England and Canada run (among other trips), and Voyager is heading off to Galveston. Can anyone who's been on both give an idea of whether this is an improvement, a downgrade, or just a "lateral move" for those of us in the Bayonne area who would prefer to sail out of Cape Liberty and use the money not spent on a flight towards getting a better cabin or other upgrades? It certainly looks like it's quite an upgrade over Vision. Adventure is a much bigger ship, and I see in the brochure pages on the RCI web site that they put that larger size to use with things like a water park and racing slides, golf area, more specialty dining options, etc. Plus, it was recently refurbished, so it's got all the new shiny. But how is it in person, not on paper? Is the overall experience on there better than on Vision for a family of four, where the kids are becoming older teens, or for a middle-aged couple traveling on our own? It's scheduled for the same itineraries Vision ran out of Bayonne, but will it be able to manage the same ports? Or will it have to change to some maybe less desirable ports because it can't navigate the same places that Vision could? Looking forward to people's thoughts on this. Those New England and Canada itineraries on Vision looked really nice, especially for an alternative to a typical fall foliage tour. I'm hoping that Adventure ca hold up to that.
  20. Matt, I just thought I'd give an update about what I saw on the Adventure of the Seas webpage this morning- I was looking this morning at pricing on our cruise in February on Adventure of the Seas and noticed some changes to RCI's site. First off, if you go to the AOS page, it now lists things as "coming soon", like the FlowRider, the water slides, Boleros Latin Lounge, etc. When I started digging deeper, in going to the deck plans, I noticed that they have started to spell out specifically where the changes will be taking place. Here they are: -Flow Rider- Aft deck 13 (all the way back) -Water Slides- Aft deck 13 (one side of the Flow Rider) -Splashaway Bay- Aft deck 13 (other side of the Flow Rider) -10 new inside cabins- deck 3 next to the Photo Gallery (that's how I read it anyway) -19 new cabins- deck 3 where Jesters used to be -Chops Grill- deck 4 where Jesters used to be -Boleros Latin Lounge- deck 4 where the Aquarium Bar used to be -Aquarium bar- deck 4 across the Centrum from where it used to be -Card Room/Library- deck 5 where the Connoisseur Lounge used to be -Izumi- deck 5 middle of the Royal Promenade -38 more cabins- deck 12 in front and around the sides of the Vitality Spa -Suite Lounge- deck 14 where Seven Heart Card room and Cloud Nine used to be The pool deck looks like it remains untouched (thank goodness!). I hope that helps. Please add to this if you notice anything missing. Thanks and I look forward to seeing her all revamped!
  21. Hello Friends, I have 2 cruises booked on the Adventure of the Seas this year!! One pre and one post refurb! Southern Caribbean x 2!! We will manage to only hit St. Kitts twice, otherwise we will hit all new islands! I have read Matt's blogs in regards to traveling from San Juan, but I was wondering if anyone else had some hot tips or must do's in the Southern Caribbean. We will be at St. Thomas and St. Maarten (have been to both of them several times), then St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, and Curacao. Anyone have a must do excursion or tour? We usually book our own non-RCL tours, but are certainly open to suggestions! Thanks! Mel!
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