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  1. This thread is intended to be a Thank You to Michelle C. from MEI for her extraordinary work in making a dream come true for us ! If I haven't made it clear before, let me reassert now, that a good Travel Agent can make things happen that you just never thought you would be able to do ! These 2 cruises on Anthem, Feb 15-23 and Feb 23-3 March 2019 began as lowly inside stateroom casino comped rooms. All we would have had to pay was the taxes and gratuities and we could have been on our way for 16 days for nearly -0- cost. But Michelle immediately upgraded these inside rooms to balcony rooms for us for a very nominal amount (less than $100 each). She was able to find us a nice location on deck 12 where we could have the same room on both cruises, which is a nice touch...no need to change rooms. They remained that way for some weeks...until I asked Michelle to check and find out how much an upgrade to a JS would be for the first half of the B2B. She came back with a very reasonable upgrade charge, so we upgraded the first cruise to a JS on deck 13 and remained in the original balcony room for the second half of the B2B. Then one day I noticed that a Grand Loft Suite (GLS) had popped up on the first half of the cruise (there had been no Star Class suites available on either of these cruises when we first booked). Thinking that there was no WAY we could afford to upgrade AGAIN, AGAIN I asked Michelle to just call and ask. At this time I was on a biz trip (I think I was in Reno at the time !) so even with the time difference, she was so helpful. Sure enough, the price was very attractive, so I pulled the trigger and had her upgrade the first cruise from the JS to the GLS. YIPPEE !!! I was now going to be Star Class for the first half of the B2B. I was in heaven ! ...and wouldn't you know it...shortly after that, another GLS became available on the second half of the B2B and she once again worked her magic and we snagged that one, too !! ...both of these B2B Star Class cruises together were about half the cost of 1 SC cruise by itself ! They are different suites, so we will have to move from deck 8 to deck 10 on the turnaround but I'm hoping that we can keep the same Genie. I have no idea how something like that works. It will be our first B2B and now both of them will be in Star Class. Can it get any better than this ? While Michelle was certainly instrumental in getting all of this accomplished for us, I have to also give credit to the Club Royale people with whom she worked. ...but Michelle was dogged in her pursuit of this dream on our behalf. If she didn't like the price that one agent gave her, she would call back again and again until she got the price she thought we should get...until it was all done. I know I wore her out with all of the calling and rebooking that she was doing. But once again, she has come through for us and I am so very grateful. Great job, Michelle. Thank you !
  2. As of a few minutes ago, there is still a remarkable price glitch on the second of our B2B cruises on Anthem in Feb. 2019. The cruise for 23 Feb - 3 March (8 day) is showing the same inside price for inside, OV and OV balcony rooms - $918. Michelle (the miracle worker) managed to get our cruise repriced at this rate for only $40 TOTAL....so we were able to go from an inside room to an OV balcony for $40. This room was already a casino comp so this upgrade was incredible for us ! Even though the first half of the B2B did not have this price glitch, I went ahead and had her upgrade that one too so that we could stay in the same room for both parts of the B2B. Also, since this was a casino comp, we will now get cruise points for both segments. If we had remained in the "free" inside room, we would not have received any cruise points (casino comp rule) but by upgrading, we will. So...if anyone is already on this cruise and wants to upgrade from an inside or OV room to a balcony for next to nothing, I recommend you call or have your TA call immediately. I suspect this price is a glitch and when they catch it, it will be gone forever. Even if you are already in an OV balcony you should be able to have the price adjusted as long as it's showing this low price. See, sometimes Royal Caribbean's IT incompetence pays off !!
  3. OK, this is bugging me. I've been watching the winter "Southern" (c'mon Royal, no ABC islands = Eastern) Caribbean trips on Anthem since early last year, and I noticed something very small but odd: For 2018, all the offerings were 12 nights, 6 port stops For 2019, all the offerings are still 12 nights, 6 port stops But in 2020, this cruise is suddenly 11 nights and only 5 port stops Seems they took a day in Barbados off the itinerary for 2020. Anyone have any ideas why? I'm still seriously eyeing this trip as a 2020 50th birthday option (mainly because I have to seriously scale back the budget for that trip, and this is the only real option that will fit that bill), but why on earth would they randomly take Barbados off the port list? Especially when it was a solid two years until sailing at the time these were announced? I did a search and confirmed that Barbados completely escaped all of last year's hurricanes, so there's no damage to the island to recover from. I can't imagine the port there has changed as far as being able to accommodate Anthem; was it a tender port, and Anthem is no longer doing tenders? Web searches aren't showing anything, either as far as other news or announcements around Royal Caribbean and Barbados. I'm totally stumped over this, seems utterly random and I've never heard of Barbados being a bad place to visit by any measure. Why would Royal do this? Having that extra island in the list would have meant that taking this cruise would give me 3 new islands (Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados) plus 3 repeats (San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts), which would be really nice. Now it'll be 3 repeats (only two of which I actually want) and only 2 new places.
  4. Hi everyone! My husband and I are trying to decide which cruise to take this summer (July) and would love any help in the decision. The three choices: 1) Anthem OTS- 9 night Bermuda- only 1 day in Bermuda, then off to San Juan, St. Marteen, and Labadee. 2) Grandeur OTS- 9 night Bermuda- overnight in Bermuda, then off to Nassau and Cococay 3) Freedom OTS- 7 night Southern Caribbean- St. Marteen, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Johns, and Barbados. Other information: * We love Anthem, but will be doing the Bahamas itinerary in just a few weeks in April. *We haven't been to Bermuda or St. Lucia and both are appealing to us to visit. *I am not sure if we would regret not having more time in Bermuda on Grandeur if we went on Anthem. *I'm not sure if the Southern Caribbean itinerary will be unbearable weatherwise. We did Greece last year and Italy the year before and survived :) The Freedom itinerary has the most adventure of them all. *We are diamond members, but would likely be staying in a balcony for anthem and possible grandeur and a suite for Freedom. As you can see, I am quite conflicted! Any recommendations or feedback would be great. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE! :)
  5. Going on the Anthem out if NJ March 2019. Never cruised with RC. Hope to learn and talk with others going!
  6. I am reading a live blog that mentions the Captain took them by the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan and then turned around to head out to sea. I thought this was one of the neat experiences of sailing out of Bayonne but others mentioned that they couldn't believe the Captain did that- that it's not usually the case. Veteran Anthem travelers - what was your experience?
  7. We leave for our first RCI cruise in 25 days!! Yay!!! But I'm having some anxiety around dress codes. My boys are...casual at best. They are 15 and 12 and to have them wear khaki pants on a vacation is tantamount to torture. I would like to have dinner with them and my dad each evening, and I know dad will want to check out the MDR at least once or twice. My question is, we have late seating and I wonder how casual can my kids be? They live in athletic wear. We are shopping this weekend for clothes (another torture for them) and I want to make sure I get what they need. We also have reservations for Chops one night. Thanks everyone!!! Love the blog and the podcast!!
  8. IT'S CRUISE DAY!!! Departing Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ) I have two sea days, Port Canaveral, Miami, Nassau, CocoCay then two sea days back to Cape Liberty. I haven't booked excursions and plan to work some days. Some of these ports are places I've visited many times. As always I'm hoping we make CocoCay but since it's currently a tender port that is always a game day decision for the Captain. Finger's crossed. I flew in last night and stayed at a hotel near the Newark airport. On the plane I checked Anthem's position on a ship tracking site and was surprised to see she was beating me into NJ. Apparently there was a medical incident that precluded helicopter evacuation so they sped up to make port. This is my 3rd cruise on Anthem after a back to back in December. That seems so long ago but then again it was last year. I'm in a balcony cabin on deck 6 forward this time. Most deck 6 balconies are obstructed view due to the position of the life boats however I'm far forward enough to be away from them. I'm planning to purchase Voom on board as it never went on sale in the cruise planner. Since we are in port much of today I'll wait until day 2 to buy Voom to save some money since the on board plans are pro-rated based on how many days are remaining. Yesterday I changed planes in Atlanta. It was very odd looking out the window of the plane and seeing some snow on the ground. My favorite airline lounge has an outside deck which was closed yesterday because of the snow. Where I come from this isn't considered a lot of snow but for this part of the country the recent storm was snowmageddon. Here in Newark it is 28° F this morning. There is something about boarding a ship when it's below freezing that just seems weird. I think I'll skip the sail away and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge event on deck 15 this time. With that it's time to finish re-packing my bags and hail a Lyft.
  9. I'm on board Anthem and watched the NFL Playoffs Sunday on ESPN. Yesterday I went to tune my cabin TV to ESPN as I got ready for bed and oddly it wasn't on the same channel it was on Sunday. I've noted that the overall channel line up has changed mid-cruise losing some channels while gaining others. I went back to my Anthem cruise photos from December 2017 and looked at the channel line up: Here on my current cruise in January 2018 the line up has become: I looked again today just to see if this was a one day change so far the new line up remains. Has anyone else noticed a different channel line up on any other ship?
  10. I woke up early like a kid on Christmas morning... IT'S CRUISE DAY! This will be a special cruise for me in more ways than one. First it is a back-to-back, 7 nights followed by 12 nights. This will be the longest I've stayed on one ship. Second it will mark my transition from Emerald to Diamond. Third I finally return to San Juan and St. Thomas on the 2nd leg of this cruise. This is my first return since the hurricanes earlier this year closed many ports in the Eastern Caribbean. Fourth it is my first time on a Quantum class ship and my first time departing from the general NYC area. Cruise 1, seven nights - Depart Cape Liberty then a sea day, Port Canaveral, Coco Cay, Nassau and two sea days back to Bayonne. My ocean view guarantee has netted me a cabin with a small balcony on deck 11 aft. Cruise 2, twelve nights - Depart Cape Liberty followed by two sea days, San Juan, St. Thomas, Martinique, Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts and three sea days back to Bayonne. My inside guarantee has netted me a virtual balcony on deck 9 aft. I booked these cruises solo less than 45 days out and don't mind switching cabins as it was expected booking on short notice. This will be my first virtual balcony experience and being the geek that I am, I'm eager to try it! I've booked a virtual balcony for the Royal Caribbean Blog Alaska group cruise in June. This will be a good test run to see if that is going to work for me. I flew into Newark yesterday. Spending a night in an airport hotel reminds me what great value cruising is. A simple dinner with a few drinks plus gratuity was $53 and I've still got to find breakfast in the morning. That's on top of the cost for the hotel room. Having said that I always fly in the day before. The cost of the hotel and meals are a form of insurance to ensure one way or another I'm going to be on that ship! I'm tracking Anthem of the Seas using marinetraffic.com. She is in New York's lower bay and just sailed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as she makes her way towards Bayonne. Time to re-pack my bags and get ready.
  11. Someone had mentioned that they heard Anthem will no longer be leaving from NJ sometime in 2019 and will be replaced by two smaller ships.....has anyone else heard this rumor? I hope it isn't true!
  12. Good morning. Let me begin by stating that I'm an early bird. I'd rather be really early than a little late. We're due to cruise on Anthem in November and we only live an hour from the port (score). It's nice to truly be in control of your arrival and we plan on driving/parking at the garage @ Cape Liberty. I have just several questions for you: 1) We just registered for Crown and Anchor but do not have any recorded cruises as of yet. Are we considered to still have any C&A status? 2) Are C &A boarded before "civilians," even when they may have arrived before C&A. 3) What is the earliest possible time we might expect to board a ship such as Anthem? 4) We already have the major activities booked, including Northstar, Ifly, all shows and our dining reservations. I know that guest room areas aren't readily accessible as soon as you get on this ship, but have heard that other places, like a few of the restaurants and pool, are. I'd like to see if we can knock out some of the other hard to grab activities, like bumper cars, trapeze, etc. Do activities in that area of the ship tend to open up very early during the boarding process? I realize that only one activity is taking place in that area at a time. 5) For our day in Coco Cay, we booked 2 sets of the clamshells with loungers, but I'm interested in upgrading to a daybed. Day beds are not available online and it says to check onboard. Is this because online inventory is one thing, and onboard inventory is another? My question is whether we should be making a quick visit to guest services upon arrival to see about making the change? Also, as an extra bonus question- I'm open to any recommendations any of you may have regarding a beach-day in Nassau. No interest in Atlantis, Junkanoo Beach or the nearby Hilton though. Thanks so much for your time!
  13. Guess what folks! I'm back again ready to provide another quality LIVEish. This time around I'll be on the Anthem of the Seas. This will be my first time on a Quantum class ship. For those that want to get an idea of what I'll be posting look back at my last journey on board Harmony of the Seas back in May of 2017. Also, keep an eye on Twitter/Periscope for any material not posted here. Twitter/Periscope: @CGTLH For those that made it this far, I'll be reaching for the "Star"s on this voyage.
  14. Played bingo for the first time for cash. This was for the final game of the cruise. Bought a 6 card, three game pack and got a "cracker" tear off lottery ticket. That was called the "Winner's Pack". Got an additional cracker for $5 and the bingo ink maker "dauber" was $2 (Normally $3). CORRECTION: I got the dauber for $3. Didn't win any of the crackers. First game was a $750 jackpot. Second game was $820 and Third game was $1250. They said the first game was the largest jackpot they had seen for a First game. Usually it gets that way on the 3rd game. I did win a T-shirt for a having the "scariest laugh". Not the official RCCL BINGO T-Shirt though. Those were for sale at $10 and youu got a free cracker with it. Also, if you wear the T-shirt to any future BINGO games on Anthem (or maybe all of RCCL) you get a free cracker (a $5 value). Wonder if I should have bought the T-shirt and shared it around with friends going onto future cruises? If we win the $2000 jackpot we split it and call ourselves the Brotherhood of the Travelling T-Shirt. Ha!
  15. I'm very much looking forward to my cruise on Anthem of the Seas coming up in 7 DAYS! I'm going to be posting live blogs from my website, but I'll also link to the posts here as well. I just did a periscope about the tech I'll be bringing with me. Very excited, and looking forward to doing periscopes and live blogs from the beautiful island of Bermuda, and wonderful Anthem of the Seas!
  16. I just upgraded our room to a Spa junior suite on Anthem Of The Seas for Novemeber, worked out about £400 more but I get $200 OBC and a few perks, mostly the double points though! Does anyone know for sure if coastal kitchen is complimentary in the evening? can I go there for lunch and breakfast at all?
  17. Hi, This will be my husband and my first cruise on RCCL so I have a few questions concerning the dining. We booked the My Time Dining (formerly Dynamic Dining) and I purchased the BOGO for nights 1 & 2. Here are my questions: 1) For the BOGO: When i purchased it, it only gave me a 9pm option. There also was no specific restaurant to choose from. Is this something that we have to book when we get on the ship or can i change this online? If i go to modify the only option is shows is "additional restaurant recommendations" with times that would work better than the 9pm but they list the actual prices for the restaurants vs the bogo option i already paid for.... 2) What restaurants are included in the Anthem's My Time Dining option? Do they have one or two "Main Dining Rooms" or are they restaurants? (the only cruise I have been is a CCL Sensation 6 years ago and they had two main dining rooms for the Dinner) 3) We want to eat at the Wonderland Resturant but the description of the menu options is a little confusing... Does anyone know if you have to have only the options under the certain category (I.e. say I pick Fire, do i have to have everything under that category or can you mix and match the selections from the the other options- Sun, Ice, etc).
  18. So its official! After two years Dynamic dining is no longer on board Quantum Ships. http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2016/09/12/royal-caribbean-abandons-dynamic-dining-anthem-of-the-seas I am on Ovation in January 9 and will definitely be hoping that they can nail whatever they replace it with with a very full ship. I understand people were giving it the option a bad wrap but I quite liked the option, although getting different menus each night does sound promising. What do you guys think about the change?
  19. So, I just got this letter from Royal Caribbean saying Anthem will be "transitioning" to My Time Dining and that reservations are now open. That's all well and good, but when I go on cruise planner, it only shows the specialty restaurants individually, multi-night dining packages, and then "My Time Dining (complimentary)". So, I played around with it and at no point does it let you choose the individual complimentary restaurants (ie American Icon, Chic, Grande, Silk, etc). What am I missing? lol Does MTD effectively end our ability to pick and choose which restaurants we wish to dine at? [update] - Never mind, just read more information here on the blog. The email they sent out was VERY limited with details.
  20. I booked A D7 Cabin 10196 on the Anthem of the Seas and I was wondering if anyone knew what the white space on the deck plan was? I have read that it may be crew quarters and laundry areas. Thanks for any information that you can offer. :)
  21. Hi Everyone, This week I was able to snag a "Deluxe Guarantee" room for my upcoming Anthem TA for just $150 more/person than my D5 Balcony. We were placed in a Spa Jr Suite that if booked directly is $650/person more. Needless to say, we are VERY excited. Wish there were more pictures and reviews of this category, however given the steep price tag, I wonder how many suites are usually booked. There awe ALOT of suites still available for our sailing. Now, I was wondering what experiences everyone has had with Coastal Kitchen. We will only be able to go for dinner, but thats still better than not going. Whats good there? Mel
  22. I know the ships aren't sailing yet so no one can speak from personal experience, but .... Does anyone have any knowledge/thoughts on bedding options in the new Quantum/Anthem ships ? I was looking over the deck plans and it seems there are no Pullman beds on board (Except for the Family Junior Suite) so the bedding options come down to Two Twins / King as the standard beds and then some cabins have a full size couch. Seems like that works for 2-3 people but makes it hard if you have 4? I have even seen some websites listing the cabins as max 3 passengers. Trying to get some people interested in booking Anthem when it goes on sale but most of them are families of 4 and not sure what to recommend to them since the cabins seem to be missing a bed ... Thanks
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