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  1. I searched around, but didn't find much recent info. We're Sailing on Brilliance next June with our kids, including my D12 who is vegetarian. I've currently booked the 3 night dining package, and we were hoping to try all three specialty options on BotS (Chops, Izumi, and Giovanni's Table). The sample menu available on CP for Chops says at the bottom "Gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian options are available. Please ask your waiter." This isn't listed on the kids menu, though. The only vegetarian things listed on the Chops kids menu are a mushroom soup and a mesclun salad, which would be kind of disappointing for her while the rest of us are eating steaks. How strict are they with forcing kids (tweens) to order off of the kids menu? How have your experiences been asking for vegetarian options at the specialty restaurants?
  2. Hi Cruisers, I am really troubled by some decisions that Royal takes on the cruising dates for Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. This cruise is called 11 Night Great Barrier Reef Cruise https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruises/itinerary/11-night-great-barrier-reef-from-sydney-on-brilliance/BR11SYD-75258771?country=USA but takes place on Stinger Season - Wet Season, when water activities are not so enjoyable or even not recommended. Even if the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from May to October, there are no cruises for that dates. Does that make sense to anyone? Or even more important, has anyone cruised to Queensland with Royal in these dates? Also, let me know if you engaged in water activities (snorkel-scuba being our most important ones). Many thanks to everyone! Dieter
  3. For those who have sailed out of Tampa (we have yet to do it) we are trying to time a ship sighting from Fort Desoto Park. What time or how long after departing the Port of Tampa does the ship sail under this gorgeous bridge? I think it would make for an amazing photo! Can anyone who has sailed from here share? Thanks so much!
  4. Trying to stay in the positive mindset, we are eagerly looking forward to the BOTS offerings (tomorrow) departing Tampa Fl Summer 2021. If and probably when our November 2020 Mariner sailing is cancelled, (still holding out some hope and positive juju) we will have FCC that needs to be applied or we will lose it. H E double hockey sticks NO WAY!! As I stated previously we will most likely NEVER do FCC again as even the extra 25% does not make the inconvenience worth it for us and our sailing parameters. I digress.... we have 3 sailings in 2021 already with FCC and this impending maybe cancelation allows me to book an additional sailing...a summer 2021 Tampa sailing which is a positive for us as *RCCL does not offer summer sailings from here previously. Anyway, my research is limited so I pose my question to my RCCL blog friends, very nearly the same price would you do 2 connecting JS or a 2 bedroom grand? Stay with me here, kinda cheating but if my daughter and I are in one cabin and my hubby in another by himself he receives more C & A points, correct, 3 per night? Thus he is attributed additional points that I can then have assigned to me because we are a couple? Is it true he gets 3 points a night in the JS if he is staying by himself? Then upon conclusion I am also matched? @twangster@WAAAYTOOO Thoughts? We don't really imbibe so the grand suite concierge lounge benefit is pretty moot. Thanks for your input! I will test, I will drive to the port, I will test again, I want to sail!
  5. High Seas Rally (30 November - 7 December 2019) In case you ever wondered what a full ship charter is like – I’ll be chronicling this, our third High Seas Rally, and 2nd time on Brilliance of the Seas as a full ship charter. A few quick notes. This is a biker-oriented cruise, but with an awesome cause. Many people don’t realize just how giving motorcyclists tend to be . . . whether it’s looking out for another rider on the road, swarming with support at funerals and memorials for military veterans and community heroes, or donating to a cause, bikers are super generous as a group. This cruise’s whole purpose is to support dialysis patients. In fact, each HSR cruise hosts at least 8-10 dialysis patients and their caregivers ON THE CRUISE! Yes, these patients receive dialysis while on the Brilliance – and they and their caregiver pay $0.00 – yeah, nothing! On the last cruise in 2017, in addition to hosting our dialysis guests, we raised over $700,000.00 for kidney dialysis. With three days before we leave for Tampa, most of my prep work is done -- well, except for actually packing the suitcases! Because of the theme, and the nature of the cruise 'crewmembers,' our packing differs a bit from the standard cruise. We'll have numerous fundraising opportunities while on board -- 50/50 raffles, Pirate Bingo, Treasured Chest, and numerous other raffles for prizes. Our formal night will be in leathers (vests), and even our shore excursions will include many biker-friendly possibilities -- like Segways on Grand Cayman and scooters on Key West. For me, one of the most awesome opportunities is getting to meet and talk with one of the 9-10 dialysis patients who are coming with us.
  6. A few days ago RC was running a BOGO 50% off deal on the deluxe drinks package for my cruise. The original price was $54/person/day and the BOGO price was $51/person/day. Well, I forgot to purchase it and the deal is no longer available. Currently they are running a "20% off on board price" deal for $56/person/day, so I'm not particularly happy with that. I'd like to call RC customer service to see if there is any way for me to get the BOGO price, but not sure how to approach the situation. I don't want to sound like an angry jerk, but I am upset. Not to mention they've already changed the cruise itinerary and we won't be stopping in a port I was looking forward to (completely understand they have every right to change the itinerary, but still...). I'm 194 days out from my cruise, so I imagine there is a possibility for other deals to run during that time, but I also don't want the prices to increase from hear on out. Anyways - has anyone ever done this before? Would love some advice.
  7. Hello everyone, My wife and I will be embarking on our first cruise this May and decided to go big or go home. 15 day Transatlantic cruise on Brilliance of the Seas (Tampa > Azorez > Ireland > Belgium > Netherlands). We have probably watched 100 youtube videos trying to be prepared. Have any of you done a transatlantic cruise around May? What kind of weather can we expect during the first half to Azorez and the second half near europe? How are the seas this time of year? (not that we can change our minds now anyways ? Thanks for your time, I look forward to getting to know the RoyalCaribbeanBlog members and plan on doing a "live blog" for our trip.
  8. Hello Royal Caribbean Blog members! My wife Corin and and I will be embarking on our first cruise which happens to be a TA. Go big or go home I guess. I will be doing a daily blog with a few photos and updates starting on the 4th. Stay tuned! *Crossposted on cruisecritic.com under CruisingWithMatt
  9. Practice what you preach is what they say (whoever "they" are), so I'm dipping my toes into the fabulous Live Blogs forum of the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards! We're headed on Brilliance of the Seas for a 4-night weekend getaway cruise and I usually post my live blogs on the blog portion of this site, but, I decided to do things a little differently this time because I've blogged this particular ship and sailing a few times already. Instead, I'm taking my talents to the message boards to show some love for what I believe is a vastly underrated and extremely entertaining feature of this blog! Our cruise departs the fabulous port of Tampa on February 14 and on this sailing, it will be just me and my wife.....and @ShakeDownCruise's family. We originally booked our kids on this sailing with us. Kids Sail Free was in full effect, so we put a deposit down. As it turns out, I convinced my parents to fly down and watch the kids so it will be just me and my wife enjoying this quick sailing. Fun fact, my kids are still technically booked on this sailing because we got kids sail free, so removing them from the reservation seemed pointless. Plus, gives me a safety net if my parents reneged on the plan. We booked a category 1B Spacious Balcony stateroom on deck 9. We picked this room primarily under the guise of my kids sailing with us, but now we will enjoy some extra space and the ocean views my wife enjoys. In my experience, I barely spend time on the balcony on most cruises. If I am going to lay out, I prefer the pool deck for the music and people watching. Our 4-night itinerary takes us to one port, Cozumel. While I went to Cozumel six times in 2018, this will be one and only stop in Cozumel in 2019. ? I will be sure to eat as much chips, salsa and guacamole as humanly possible. Nothing booked yet on what we will do, but we have some time to figure it out. In the weeks left until this cruise, I will take some cues from some of the awesome live bloggers here, such as @ellcee, @melski94, @JLMoran, @Lovetocruise2002 & @twangster.
  10. Figured a day late (and a month late in some cases) is better than nothing... Booked itinerary is as follows: Tampa, Sea day, Cozumel, Sea day, finally back in Tampa. This is the same run that @Mattdid last month and I decided to crash his anniversary sailing. So a forewarning, due to not doing a LIVEish on that sailing I'll be throwing in some of the pictures I took on that sailing. For these that are new to reading my LIVEish. Check out my previous one to get an idea of what fine quality work I produce:
  11. Friends, please feel free to rate the idea. Staying up really late to avoid crowds in certain venues (the ones that are open, of course). Good or bad idea? Thank you.
  12. Hey everyone! I wanted to provide you with a review of my recent Brilliance sailing. Please check it out HERE.
  13. Can anyone tell me approximate embarkation time in Barcelona for Brilliance of the seas?
  14. Morning guys and gals! Cin and I traveled BOTS Jan 7-11, 2016. Wonderful "first" time cruise. We traveled with 10 other guests, all with "my time dining". When we all arrived at the MDR, we were asked if we would like to sit together. Reply was yes, if possible. Within 4 minutes, we were escorted to the far back corner of the upper level MDR (they knew we were trouble, lol). When we got to the table, it was only set for 10 guests. 2 of our party offered to sit close by, but there was no way the head waiter was going to allow that. She said, NO! and in less than a minute there was another table added and room for 12. It gets better.... Our Waiter, and assistant, were 2nd to none. I know these guys work for tips, but, they were sincerely "interested" in our group, and wanted to please. They also showed a sense of pride in and about what they were doing. Not deadbeat "here we go again" type of service. Two of our guests were young boys, 10 and 15. The boys had their food even before the adults order was taken. Amazing! The boys were able to ask for something NOT on the menu, and were not disappointed. They soon after went to the teen area of the ship, leaving the remaining time/dinner for adults. We love the kids, even though they are well behaved boys, surely they enjoyed NOT having to sit with 10 adults for over an hour. It's the little things the staff do, and did, that make a venue "special". Order taken. Grilled asparagus was awesome was offered as a side veggie. A couple of our people mentioned how pleased they were to the head waiter during her walk-around. Others in our group chimed in (it was awesome veggie). She smiled and said, "you all like it"?, "I'll make sure you all have Asparagus, for the group, tomorrow with dinner". Go Figure...talk about a happy crowd. Yes, the next evening, Asparagus "magically" appeared on 2 separate large plates as a veggie to be shared by the table. And, yes, every night thereafter. Yes, it was just as good as the first night. Now, to the nitty-gritty....The Food! Between the group, we had pretty much everything available on the menu. Starting with fresh baked assortment of dinner rolls....Pork, Duck, Fish beef and more. Homemade mashed potato's. What more could one ask for? lol. Everything was excellent, no complaints, and many empty plates. Our Waiter actually "built" a dinner for Cindy, when she was having trouble deciding, taking the best from different dinners. Cheese topped escargot was a surprise. I didn't ask to see if it was available without, but, sent back an empty plate. Deserts were enjoyed by all. The quality of the food made me think "why would anybody want to go to one of the other pay venues"...it was really that good. Cin and I will most likely have to try "chops" on the next cruise just to compare, but we don't see how it could be $70 better, really! Our waiter and assistant, both, had all of our names memorized AND what we drink, by the 2nd night. Unbelievable when you think of the number of people they work with during a 4 night cruise. The entire wait staff was smiling! Not only when around the tables...they honestly looked "happy" with their jobs.....I notice little things like that. There was a "stout" Black Man, bald, suit and tie, walking around that seemed un-interested in answers after asking how we were doing....every night within about 10 seconds of arriving to our table, he pulled his cell phone from his jacket as if answering a call, never received our responses, and walked away as if something more important was going on. It got to be a joke around the table. The last night he showed up, I picked up my cell phone and loudly said "yes, he's here".....looked at him, and said, "Grab your cell phone...you're fixing to get a call...." The whole table cracked up, and so did he.....then he walked away, like the other nights...We didn't need him anyways. lol The staff was doing a great job. We were NOT a rowdy group, 5 of us are over 60 and the entire group was well behaved. The group did not feel "rushed" in order to turn the table. Cin and I visited Windjammer for Breakfast and Lunch. Next cruise we'll try MDR for those when we can. Windjammer, after the 2nd or third meal, becomes blah, with the same "type" menu/buffet repeated. Maybe not the same exact food Items, but buffet food. We found that "filling", but nothing remarkable. To be noted: we found, by mistake, in the back of the ship where the bingo is played, a bar/lounge. In the late afternoon/evening there was a hot finger food bar there. I peeked... large fried coconut shrimp, cheese sticks and other warm items. I was surprised at the size of the shrimp. They sure "didn't scrimp on the shrimp". I found later they are the dinner size shrimp served in the MDR. It wasn't advertised, so keep an eye open for it, or ask...it was late afternoon. I didn't want to spoil dinner so I held off. lol Over all, we give the MDR an A++ for our experience. Over and above our expectations. Cin wants to go FOTS next.....the MDR will have a high standard to meet, much less beat.
  15. Who, besides mpoole3 and me, is on the Briiliance of the Seas four night cruise to Cozumel March 31?
  16. Anybody else going Jan 7 Brilliance out of Tampa? We're newbies and looking for people in the "know". ;) Rob & Cindy
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