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Spectrum of the Seas - 22DEC19 - Hong Kong B2B
KristiZ posted a topic in Live BlogsAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! It’s FINALLY cruise time! We are headed to Hong Kong to board Spectrum for a back-to-back, 7 days to Japan and Philippines and then 4 days to Vietnam. Our bags are packed: We fly from Tokyo, where we currently live, to Hong Kong today on Cathay Pacific. The flight is about 5 hours with a one hour time change. Cathay Pacific is generally a solid choice for flying around the region and the weather forecast is decent, so we should have a smooth day <knocks on all the wooden things> One 22” suitcase, one 24”, and a backpack. The only reason for the backpack is to hold MisterZ’s work laptop (boo!) and his Child (otherwise known as his camera — details on this later if I can cajole him into giving me some photos for this blog). And we’re off!
This is our first ever back to back cruise, our first as diamond, our first cruise on Mariner and out first visit to the newly renovated Coco Cay. We chose this cruise for the ship and the chance to visit Coco Cay since it seems EVERYONE has already had the opportunity. We managed to get the same aft corner balcony for both legs of the cruise so that is a definite bonus. I will try to keep this up as we cruise but I am also trying to focus on relaxation. I will begin at Day 0 in my next post.
An Ovation Vacation! - B2B Alaska Cruise - June 28th
CraftyCat05 posted a topic in Live BlogsThe Alaskan Cruise Experience Last year while on Symphony, we used NextCruise to book a vacation for this summer and decided on skipping the beach again and enjoying the cold temperatures (oh, and the views) of Alaska. There's also dog sledding and puppies in Alaska so that's a big plus too! I plan to get lots of pictures and videos of the Alaskan scenery, and will also be live streaming parts of my adventure on Periscope (if possible, Alaska is too far north for VOOM). I will be traveling with my parents again and we are all excited for our fourth cruise together. This cruise will be a Back-to-Back like the past two cruises have been, but with one small twist... I'll mention that later. This cruise will have many firsts for us, one of which includes a new class of ship! We have never sailed on a Quantum Class ship and I am excited to explore the new class, and use the different activities and spaces that Quantum Class offers. I will go more in depth about the ship later as well. The Itinerary Like I stated before, this cruise has many firsts for me. One first includes that we will be doing our origin port activities after the cruise, and will arrive in Seattle the day before the cruise. We don't have as much on board activities planned like we have on previous cruises, and will be going more day-by-day and booking things once on board. [ I find it ironic that for July 4th, we are in British Columbia! It will be a busy but fun few weeks for vacation in Alaska. The Ship This will be the first time for all of us to cruise on a Quantum Class ship, and I am excited to explore Ovation of the Seas. I'm especially excited to use the North Star and 270, which will hopefully give great views of glaciers and the Alaskan views. I am also excited to use the activities offered at the Sea Plex. We were lucky to sail on Ovation during its inaugural season sailing to Alaska. This is the first time a Quantum Class ship is sailing in Alaska, making it the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Alaska. This is also the farthest north that Ovation has gone, making this a first time season for Ovation. We are excited to be apart of this special season for Ovation! The Cabin We will again be staying in a Grand Suite (GS) for this cruise, but the twist is that we will be switching cabins between weeks. This will be a little annoying, but hopefully Royal Caribbean will make the process smooth and easy. If anyone has any insight on how this works, please post below! Being in a suite, this will give us access to the Sky Class exclusive features, amenities, and experiences. We have enjoyed these perks on our last two cruises (especially Coastal Kitchen) and hope that our experience will be the same as on other Royal ships! For the first week, we have a cabin on the 8th deck port side, while the second week is a cabin on the 11th deck starboard side. This will give us different views for each week while on our balcony. It will also be interesting to compare the deck levels, as we usually stay on a lower deck than we will be on the second week. I will provide a room tour on both Periscope and a tour on this blog. Shore Excursions, Dining, and Entertainment Because of Alaska being so scenic and beautiful, we have booked many shore excursions for the two weeks. We hope to experience and see many different things while in Alaska, and have booked excursions for every port that are different than the last. You can see the excursions we have booked above. We do plan to do self exploration while in Victoria the second week, as we couldn't find another excursion that peaked our interest. I hope that on the ship we can book the North Star Alaskan Experience, as I couldn't find that on my pre cruise planner anywhere. Since the excursions are plentiful and expensive, we plan to limit our onboard expenditures. This includes specialty dining. We plan to optimise our suite perks, and use the included dining offered to suite guests at the Coastal Kitchen. We find that the food is delicious at Coastal Kitchen on the Oasis Class, and hope that this will continue on Ovation of the Seas. We have planned to eat at Chops and Jamies, because we have previously eaten at and enjoyed the food at both of these restaurants. I'm excited to enjoy the Grilled Bacon at Chops and the Planks at Jamies again! There is only one show that requires reservations on Ovation: Pixels. Because of our Sky Class status, we don't need to book reservations for shows (at least on our last two sailings) so we hope we can just show up, or book on the Royal iQ app. It does seem like the shows on Allure and Symphony were longer and more robust, but this shouldn't matter as Alaska is our entertainment! Technology I am a major tech nerd, and this continues while on a cruise. Ovation doesn't use the new Royal app, but uses the older Royal iQ system. This should provide some of the same features, but the app hasn't been updated since 2016, so it might not be accurate and buggy. Ovation does WOW Bands though, and we found these useful while on Symphony, limiting the amount of pocket shuffling needed with our Sea Pass. Reading Twangster's blog, I imagine the internet will be slow and spotty being north in Alaska. This might lead to gaps in blog posts and make things harder for me. Luckily, I won't have to pay to post this blog, as we get complimentary VOOM because of our Sky Class status. I'm excited to see and use the tech that is built into Ovation, and compare it to Symphony and Allure. Pre and Post Cruise Plans We will fly into Seattle on Thursday, leaving a day for any flight or baggage screw-ups. We found a nice but semi-budget friendly hotel close to Terminal 91 for the night near downtown Seattle. We plan to use the hotel shuttle to the terminal, but if that doesn't work out we will use Uber or a taxi. When we get back we will spend 4 nights in Seattle to see things such as the Boeing factory, Pikes Market, and the Space Needle. We haven't booked anything yet, and that's the plan after I post this blog. On the 16th, we will fly back home and enjoy the rest of the summer at home! Miscellaneous Periscope: CraftyCat05 Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157709255492608 We didn't get any drink, specialty dining, or spa packages, as we find we never get our money's worth on these. Unlike last year, I plan to bring my DSLR to take pictures of glaciers, wildlife, and Alaska in general! This is only my second blog, so hopefully this will be more polished than last years... Hopefully I'll finish it too! The days of cruising will hopefully make it easier to blog than it was last year. There was only one sea day in the Mediterranean! I will be leaving my 21 pound Schnoodle at the Pet Resort in town. He will also be staying in 5 paw accommodations, which include a webcam for us to view him while traveling. After the cruise I will post the cruise planner and other documents that we received throughout the week. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Hope you enjoy the SemiLive blog! More to come....
Med. Symphony B2B - July 24th to August 12th
CraftyCat05 posted a topic in Live BlogsMy SemiLive Blog Wowzah! Only 3 more days until we are on a plane to Barcelona! Hard to believe, this past year has flown by so fast. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty and get this show on the road! (props to people who get that reference) Our Cruising History I am sailing with my mother and father who have both cruised 2 and 3 times, respectively. This will be our third family cruise together (which have all been on Royal), and our second time on an Oasis Class ship. We are all from Texas and excited to get away from the 100+°F summer heat as well! The last time we were on a cruise was in summer of 2016, so we are all excited to get back on the magnificent Royal ships. My mother enjoys the sun and pool, so we may be spending our down-time at the beaches in Barcelona, or the sports deck pool. This is also a partial celebration for my mother's birthday as well! Why Symphony? While being on Symphony for the inaugural season made this cruise very appealing, the itinerary in the Mediterranean (more on that later) for this cruise sealed the deal for all of us. None of us have ever been in the med for pleasure or sight seeing, and we have previously always cruised in the Caribbean, which after awhile gets to look like the same places and beaches. Hence, the idea to sail in Europe was born. All of us are excited to see the tourist traps sights, including the Vatican and Colosseum, which we will see on the excursions while in port. The Itinerary We are lucky enough to be doing a B2B Cruise and spend 4 days before the cruise in Barcelona! I plan to do a lighter blog on the first few days while in Barcelona, and do a mini-review on the flight and hotel. For this trip, we didn't book any non-Royal Caribbean shore excursions, due to the convenience and close time windows with the all-aboard call. Feel free to skip ahead to the next section (The Cabin), this is a lengthy one. This is the full itinerary of the trip, including the days before and hours after. July 24th Flight to Miami on American - Includes a wonderful 1h and 20min layover in MIA Flight to Barcelona - Arrive in Barcelona the next day July 25th Hotel check-in at the Hotel Arts Barcelona July 29th - Cruise Day! 6:00pm Departure from port! 6:30pm Chops Grille 8:30pm Hairspray - Broadway Show. Will be my first time seeing it live, and not on NBC's live show! July 30th - Palma de Mallorca, Spain 8:00am Arrival 9:20am Palma City Sights - RCL Shore Excursion 4:00pm Departure 8:00pm 1977 - Ice Show We also plan to eat at the Coastal Kitchen (more about that later) July 31st - Marseilles (Provence), France 9:00am Arrival 9:15am Panoramic Marseilles & Aix - RCL 6:00pm Departure 8:00pm Jamie's Italian - We have only tried Giovani's Italian on Allure, so it will be interesting to see the differences between the two Italian restaurants. August 1st - La Spezia (Florence/Piza), Italy 8:30am Arrival 8:35am Florence & Pisa - Cities Tour RCL 8:30pm Departure 9:00pm HiRO - AquaTheater Show We didn't plan any dinner reservations, as we may decide to eat in the MDR, Costal Kitchen or eat out in the city! August 2nd - Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 7:00am Arrival 8:00am Exclusive: Best of Rome - City Tour RCL 8:00pm Departure We didn't plan any dinner reservations, as we may decide to eat in the MDR, Costal Kitchen or eat out in the city! August 3rd - Naples (Capi), Italy 7:00am Arrival 8:00am Amalfi Coast & Pompeii by Land and Sea - RCL 8:00pm Departure August 4th - Cruising 5:00pm Flight - RCL Theater Show 6:30pm Wonderland - The rabbit hole calls us from home.... August 5th - Deja Vu! 6:15pm Izumi: Hibachi - On our last cruise while on Allure, we really enjoyed the food and show that the hibachi offers, and hope that we see some new tricks from the chefs. August 6th 8:40pm Drach Caves - RCL Excursion August 7th 9:30am Biking in Provence - RCL. Have to burn the calories somewhere! August 8th We have no excursion booked and plan to explore on our own and enjoy the ship! August 9th We have no excursion booked and plan to explore on our own and enjoy the ship! August 10th 8:30am Capri on your Own - RCL. This should hopefully give us some freedom while touring Capri! August 12th - Where the PCD sets in... 5:00am Departure Flight to Charlotte for a layover to catch the plane home The Cabin Since there are three of us and we need all the space we can get, we decided to splurge and get a Grand Suite cabin on the seventh floor. This also gives us access to the Costal Kitchen, reserved show seats, and other Sky Class amenities. We even get our own bathtub, which is going to come in handy to soak the muscles after that bike ride! We also get some free Voom Internet @ Sea codes, which is how I will be updating you on all of the social medias! We also won't have to move cabins in-between the cruises; we got lucky on that. Expect cabin tour Periscopes and pictures. Social Media I plan on doing some Periscopes and posting things to my newly founded Flickr page. Periscope - CraftyCat05 - Plan on seeing the Cabin Tour, Embarkation, Docking and Undocking, and other things here. Flickr - CraftyCat05 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157693503806790/with/41744815340/ - Plan on seeing a full album of some of the photos I take here. (I don't change usernames ?) Miscellaneous We haven't gotten any drink, spa, or specialty dining packages, as we find that we never will get our money's worth out of these. I'm still debating on bringing my Nikon D7000 with me; seems like it won't be a great idea to bring it in port, and my iPhone camera is great for cruising candids. This will be my first time: Live blogging, scoping, and posting images to my gallery. Expect errors, hiccups, and newbie mistakes. (read: be patient, please:)) We loved the Costal Kitchen and it's staff on Allure, and hope the same experience is translated to Symphony. I am a tech nerd, and will also give updates on the new Royal app and the WOW bands (which we will get with our suite). I will be leaving my 26 pound Schnoodle at the Pet Resort in town. He will also be staying in 5 paw accommodations, which include a webcam for us to view him while traveling. Expect me to post pictures of Cruise Compasses and other documents. My laptop "N" key is starting to get sticky, lets hope it doesn't fail while on the cruise. Biggie One: I really hope that I can get some interaction from YOU! Ask any questions you have may have, give me some tips, or just comment on what you see here. wooh! Time to get my fingers soaked... Too much typing!
Cafe Select Card and B2B
Marc Van Niekerk posted a topic in Royal Caribbean DiningDoes anyone know if the Cafe Select card is usable on a B2B? We have a 4nt, 3nt back to back on Mariner and I'm not sure I can drink the 15 coffees of a full card on a 4 night or 3 night on their own. Thanks
Back to back in Hong Kong?
KristiZ posted a topic in Royal Caribbean DiscussionHas anyone done a back to back cruise where the change point was in Hong Kong? Did you have to get off the ship? Was it a simple process? Inquiring minds want to know! ? This will be our first back to back and we're interested to see how it all works, for later when we've retired to a cruise ship full time!
Bringing Wine on B2B
JasonD posted a topic in Royal Caribbean DiscussionAnyone have experience bringing wine on a B2B? We are 12 days away from Harmony and are doing her first two sailings B2B. We have the same two cabins for both sailings, so technically can bring 8 bottles between the two trips, and are wondering how they will handle this at check in...Has anyone gone thru this? I know it is likely to all depend on the local pier employees, but they should be following some sort of guidance.