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  1. Curious on the 'Beach Break with Open Bar' at Beach Escape Club listed on the website in excursions, what is it like? It states that it's open bar, does that mean all-inclusive? (the fine print says food is a fee so I'm wondering if the drinks are not included either) If anyone has details on this one, please let us know!
  2. So, the wife and I just returned from our second cruise aboard Spectrum OTS, this time it was a shorter 3-night sailing visiting Penang with one Sea Day. Compared to our previous experience a few months ago (despite the loosened restrictions) - the ship still feels very different than a typical European or North American sailing. A few things of note which I never mentioned in my previous post (which have remained status quo): so for anyone considering a Spectrum OTS out of Singapore - the market is a bit different based on the below: Unlike our previous cruise, the Windjammer is now fully self-serve (and for the North American's on this board) - the WIndjammer on North American ships will typically have 'theme nights' featuring a cuisine of a particular country, look no further as on the Spectrum's Windjammer has dedicated sections for Indian and Chinese cuisine. * Like my previous cruise on Spectrum earlier in the year... the pool decks remain largely 'empty' - hot tubs generally empty and of the people on the pool deck - the demographic on board including families tends to over dress aka pants and sweatshirts on the pool decks (as though it was Alaska) and hardly anyone in the pools as its just not part of the Singapore market. ***no 'chair hogs that we witnessed on this sailing, as most people in this market tend to prefer shade over sun and to avoid spending time at pools or on the outdoor decks generally - so if one is looking for a lounger, even on a Sea Day - there was a ton available... in fact the crew was removing loungers since they weren't even really being used*** * The Casino was extremely crowded (as per usual on sailings from this market) - as was the Windjammer (hard getting a table at any given time). * The solarium remained largely empty and the bartenders were generally 'bored' along with the bartenders at the 'Schooner' Bar. In fact on the occasions we were in both venues... we were able to chat up the bartenders for 30 minutes average before anyone else showed up... and we were advised that drinking and bars are not very 'popular' in this market. * The Flowrider was basically empty for the first two days of the sailing... in fact the Flowrider Instructors were the ones doing all the 'flowriding' for the first two days while people watched - basically 'performing' various stunts (this is something one would never see stateside as the Flowrider fills up on embarkation day). Only on the final day of the sailing did it 'fill up' and even then its nothing like out of Florida or California. Mind you something else you'd never see out of the US market is people waiting for the Flowrider carrying Umbrella's to shade themselves from the sun... and there were A LOT of umbrella holding people in the queue; though luckily no one attempted to flowride with an umbrella . * Masks like the North America market are now 'optional' however the majority of crew about 95 % are still masked as again it makes the people in this market more comfortable, and for the guests... about 90 - 95% masked as well indoors and outdoors despite it being optional. The only ones who went unmasked were those visiting Singapore for this cruise and it was quite obvious who the guests were. * Beverage packages are not very popular according to the F&B staff we interacted with since in this market... people tend to either a la carte beverages or just go with the free options ... in fact the drink of choice was typically hot drinks which the bars don't serve - again different market. * NextCruise was quite a popular spot with many people booking future cruises... though when the wife and I enquired about potentially putting down a deposit for a cruise from Florida or from Seattle, we were met with 'those markets not being very common in Asia' since most people who booked future cruises on board were only booking in the Asian market. * The Cafe270 was a nice upgrade from Cafe Promenade on the other ships, it serves a wide variety of things but closes at 1700 daily. Also Sorrento's is located in the Windjammer rather than on the Esplanade. Speaking to the Hotel Director at a public Q&A, the Hotel Director advised that the vast majority of the 5000 onboard are from Singapore with about 600 Indian Nationals and only 53 from North America (US / Canada) making this the smallest minority of guests on board. This is also the reason why the hotel director further clarified that in Asia... the North Star, Rock Climbing Wall, iFly Skydiving Simulator are chargeable (around $40 and up) in order to 'control crowds' while on US Based ships, these three things are typically non-chargeable at least at on Port Days. Even the sports staff on board knew this though most passengers are not aware of this. When this was also raised in the public Q&A - the Captain also re-iterated that the above are 'novelty attractions' but stateside their 'common'. The Captain of this sailing was Captain Wu Huimin who is from China - though the main speaker at the Q&A was the Australian Hotel Director. * Also there's a big hope that China will open again by late 2023 and 2024 and the plan is for Spectrum to offer cruises from Shanghai again - per the Hotel Director. Was also advised that if the ship does end up returning to China by then... everything would be in Mandarin only (in Singapore everything is still in English). Overall this sailing was pretty much like our previous sailing except masks were 'optional'. It was still a relaxing experience and it was great to interact with the bored bartenders who were standing around, many staff on board have mentioned they prefer this market since its a lot less work at the bars however the Windjammer does have its work cut out since non-stop eating is a big thing in this market. Didn't attend the Art shows this time around, and the SPA was also empty the times we went by as was the fitness center (even on the Sea Day). If anyone has any questions feel free to ask, also let the forum know if you're taking a cruise from Singapore soon, lots of useful tips including the revamped check in process at Marina Bay Cruise Center which is much to be desired.
  3. I was on the “Harmony of the seas” last month.(April 21). And while I was there I got a drink from the Bionic Bar called, “The Lion.” Its a bright red alcoholic drink made with cranberry. And I can’t seem to find the recipe for it anywhere! Anyone have it for me?
  4. I originally set out to make this video as a memory for my wife and I, but I know that we always enjoy watching videos before we visit a new port so I wanted to pay it forward in a way. This is my only video currently, but feel free to subscribe to my channel and I will be posting more videos with improved picture quality and editing in the future that will detail various travel related experiences. Many will be cruise related and if they relate to Royal Caribbean I will share them on here. I am currently working on one for Doctor's Cave Beach in Jamaica from this same cruise. This was our third time to visit Cozumel together. On our last two cruises we took a cab downtown to explore on one and did an all-inclusive beach day on the other. This time we wanted to try something that we had never done before. We decided to rent some scooters and explore the East side of island and then head downtown to eat afterwards. It was an awesome way to spend a day in Cozumel. The ride along the coast alone was well worth the cost of the scooter. The scooters were $55 to rent for the day including full insurance coverage. It was also $7 for them to refill the gas for you, but you could fill it up yourself if you wanted. Your cost may vary depending on what kind of deal you can get. As you know, everything is negotiable in Cozumel. They also had Jeeps available for rent but they were more expensive. A cab ride out to the East side is also very affordable, but I think the scooters are what made it really memorable. It was also great to be able to explore downtown or anywhere else on the island without having to worry about tracking down, waiting, or paying for a cab. MAKE SURE that you take a video or photos of the scooter before you leave because they did try to say there was extra damage on our friend's scooter, but the video cleared that up. I have heard this is a common scam in many ports that offer rentals of any kind. I owe the RC blog a thank you for that because I'm fairly sure that's where I heard about the scam in reference to jet skis. Rasta Bar had very affordable food and beer and it practically felt like being on a private beach. For reference, Rasta Bar is a few miles past Mr. Sancho's and Paradise Beach after the road begins to curve left nearing the East side of the island. I really can't say enough about how beautiful it was. The beers were $3 and the menu items ranged between $5-$15 depending on what you ordered. We weren’t that hungry at the time so we only had some guacamole and a few beers, but the food looked good. We hadn’t even planned on stopping there but the place was so cool we ended up staying for most of the day. Had we come prepared with towels and sandals we may have stayed all day. You can find more information on Rasta Bar on Trip Advisor where they have a very solid rating. We ate downtown at the Thirsty Cougar. A few years ago we had a waiter on Navigator that was from Cozumel and he recommended it to us. Ever since then it’s kind of been our go to spot to eat and have drinks. It’s in the touristy section of downtown across from the other cruise port, but this place is not a gimmicky tourist trap. They are frequently rated in the top 10 restaurants in Cozumel on Trip Advisor and currently sit at #11. We always share the nachos and they are incredible. They’re so big there’s no need for us to get anything else. Our friends tried the ceviche and the fish tacos and they both said they were really good. The Thirsty Cougar is also known for their massive frozen margaritas and their large selection of unique flavors. Every time we have been we have had ridiculously good service as well. I highly recommend this place even if it's just to stop and grab drinks and appetizers. Whatever you decide to do in Cozumel, you really can’t go wrong. But if you’re looking for something to try I highly recommend exploring the island on your own. This is our favorite cruise port and it was really cool to get to explore it freely with our own transportation.
  5. I bought a Deluxe Drink Package for our Oasis Cruise and wondered if I could bring a large travel mug to fill at the bars, so I.... a) don't have to keep going up to the bar and wait in line.... b) keep the drink cold over time. Will the bartenders fill a big travel mug for me? Cheers!, D
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