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  1. Here is my comprehensive video review of Wonder of the Seas in 2023. I review the drink package, unlimited dining package, WoW bands, ports of call, and much much more. Enjoy. If you don't want to watch it I can sum it up that we will continue to happily cruise with Royal Caribbean.
  2. Edit 4/1: thank you everyone for your comments below, it's enough for me to get started on this project. For anyone with technical chops: I was thinking of using ListingPro Wordpress template, which apparently there's also a React Native template for making into an app, something I've zero experience with. Down the road, if anyone could help with this, that'd be awesome. --------------- I've been thinking about building a review website (independent of this forum) and I've been wondering a) would others find this useful and b) if so, would love any ideas. Below is what I was thinking for a start. I've been thinking about this because I think it'd be nice to have an actual star rating for some of the RC excursions, and I'd also love a place to discuss each one indivdually. This would be for Royal Caribbean cruises only, as I've now booked my 4th, it looks like I'll be using them for some time to come. Would love any input! - Star rating (1-5) - Value - Experience - ?? - Would you recommend - Excursion Size (how large the group is) - Food/bev (what meals and/or drinks are included) - Activity Level - Minimum and maximum recommended age groups - Duration - Type (or tags) - Cultural/historical - Pool/beach - Sail/boat/catamaran - Active - Etc. - Free form notes - Pictures
  3. I decided against a daily blog of the Allure as this ship was so very close to the Oasis of the Seas. Instead, I will call out what I think are the main differences I noticed. The good: entertainment - overall a step above the entertainment on the Oasis. Mama Mia was the Broadway show on board. I think that because I grew up with the music of ABBA I enjoyed this show better than Cats, the Oasis Broadway show. Headliner show - Ronn Lucas was the ventriloquist act. He was good and very funny. Blue Planet production show - good but I thought it had so much more potential. The effects were great but the lack of story dropped it down a bit for me. The bad - The food- bad isn’t the correct word, but the selection seems thinner and more items I have enjoyed in the past are disappearing. New items are not showing up to replace them, just repeats from previous days pop up on the menu more. the Coke machines- my big complaint. On a ship this big it is just wrong to sell soda packages based around coke machines that are almost always behind locked doors. Four in the Windjammer that are inaccessible when it is closed, or even when open, two are unavailable because that side is closed. One in the Wipeout Cafe that has very short hours. Two in the Promenade 24/7 but usually with at least one out of much of its product and in need of service the number of machines is probably about right, placement is bad. The Other- itineraries: I wish there was greater variety of itineraries Out of our three stops, I only bothered to get off the ship in Puerto Rico. St Maarten and Labadee are one time visits for me. I know everyone is different and this is very subjective. I do look forward to my June Amsterdam cruise for new destinations. The ship overall is in good shape no complaints there. I had the internet “surf and stream” the whole cruise. I Speedtested it multiple times and consistently got ~3mbps. Not blazing fast but it’s in the middle of the ocean so no complaining from me I consistently got notifications from my security system and the video loaded after a short wait. I didn’t see the rude passengers we have encountered in the past. The school year kept the children to a minimum. Elevators were rarely packed and when it was busy people seemed willing to pack a few more on. Overall, I would rate my week on the Allure of the Seas a solid 4/5. Oasis class remains my favorite.
  4. I don’t normally do any reviews, but a few days in I have seen enough to make me change my wicked ways. I will try to keep it short as possible. Pre-cruise: We stayed in the Embassy Suites Newark Airport in Elizabeth, NJ. Nice enough hotel. About what I would expect for $200 a night, well up until they charged my credit card for a damage deposit nightly. Never have seen a hotel that has a card on file actually charge it for a damage deposit without damage to the room. ?. Interesting start. Always wanted to visit New York City, but especially after 9/11. I was sleeping after a night shift when my wife came woke me up and we watched the surreal images on TV that changed travel forever. We of course took the train to the World Trade Center and spent time at the memorial pools. Very humbling to be on that sacred ground where so many died that day. Next we walked to Battery Park to catch the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Glad we went, got to climb to the top of the pedestal. I wish I had bought tickets early enough to climb to the crown. Being the Brave souls we are we walked from Battery Park to the Empire State Building I learned and saw a lot on that walk. Mostly I learned that in New York traffic lights are merely suggestions for cars but barely hints for pedestrians. I grew up in Los Angeles and LA has nothing on crazy compared to New York City. Secondly I learned that New Yorkers know where they are going at all times and any slight hesitation to try to figure out your way will get you yelled at like you just made them miss the last train out. So very different from the absolute politeness back in my city in Washington State. The Empire State Building was epic but I am doubtful it was worth the money for the ride to the top. I guess it is a once in a lifetime thing. Train ride back to the hotel we hopped the wrong train and were deep in the suburbs before the first stop. An hour later we boarded the right one thanks to an incredibly helpful woman who went out of her way to help the most touristy tourists ever. Next stop, boarding.
  5. Greetings all. I'm writing to you from my pre-cruise hotel listening to the dulcet tones of airbuses and boeings flying overhead as I await the arrival of the Anthem tomorrow morning. Travelling with me is my wife, 3 year old daughter and a friend of ours who has NEVER CRUISED BEFORE. We are staying in a grand loft suite (I feel she may be screwed for any subsequent cruise if she likes...) I'll do my best to post here daily but copious amounts of watered down American beer (if you can call it that) may get in the way. Feel free to ask any questions. I'll do my best to answer them. Oh. Before I forget.. The Lids store located within the Jersey Garden mall had paw patrol hats on for 50% off. I know you'll sleep better knowing that. Cheers.
  6. Boarding was very simple and quick. Once aboard able to get a quick drink at the pool bar. Lunch in the compass deli very easy while we had to wait awhile for a pizza at Sorrento's. Rooms where open right at 1. We attempted to get MTD while waiting for the rooms. Told it was no available. First time ever that as a suite guests RCCI didn't accommodate a request, first time ever!!!!! But then again Majesty doesn't have Concierge Service?? Bags arrived while we were at the mandatory drill. Then off to complimentary happy hour in the Viking Crown (VC a great place to hang out and have a drink) but the staff wasn't friendly and that continued during the complete cruise. Again not like other cruises. Hor'Drovers just ok.... Our suite 1520 other than being directly under the Windjammer was nice. But the Windjammer noise was all night to include the early morning hours. Very disappointing to pay suite prices for such a noisy suite... Cococay day 3 have a Cabana booked and the week prior we had received a call that RCCI that they were moving the Cabana's to a nicer beach and that we would be very pleased... sounded great. Got there and found our assigned cabana hadn't been moved, meaning no service in that area.(bar, food, etc...) That is part is what we where paying for? Asked to be moved to the other area again told we couldn't. SECOND time ever request not accommodated!!!! Question we booked the Cabana a good month prior to the cruise and had prepaid and then being a suite guest assumed we would be getting a priority on assignment of the Cabanas. Guess not.. Dinning service and service personnel was outstand. No issues at all. Now after being awake since 4 AM because of the Windjammer noise we are ready for departure and go to the suite designated area as advised. We wait, wait, wait but not a RCCI person shows up so we left. The crew when we asked for assistance keep saying wait for the announcements/// PS we received a note or letter from a "Suite Coordinator" but we never saw, talked to connected with this so called person during our cruise.. Bottom line this might have been an outstand experience if we hadn't paid for this cruise and expected to travel like an Owner Suite level guest like all the other RCCI cruise we have been on....................
  7. Hey everyone! I wanted to provide you with a review of my recent Brilliance sailing. Please check it out HERE.
  8. I am not one to produce lengthy cruise reviews but there are a couple of things from my cruise last week on Freedom that are worth passing on. My streak is in tact ! I still have never had a bad cruise ! WHEW ! 1. Diamond Plus members are no longer invited to the reserved section of seats at the ice shows. We had no problem at all finding a good seat but I was surprised that the reserved seating no longer includes D+ - Gold card holders only. 2. D+ were welcome in both the D Lounge and the Concierge Lounge although all of our voice messages came from the Diamond Lounge Concierge. We did not receive any voice or written correspondence whatsoever from the Concierge Club Concierge. 3. D+ are still included in the reserved seating area of the main theater. 4. Even though we were only in a Junior Suite, we were allowed to go to the express disembark line for Suites. I was very surprised at this. It has been my experience in the past that the express line for Suites only included Gold card suites but it was a very welcome and unexpected benefit as the disembark line was endless by the time we got downstairs. This was our own fault. We had a disembark number of 3....but chose to wait until later to disembark since we had a later flight. What a mistake that turned out to be - until they moved us from that endless line into the express line where NOBODY was. We were very fortunate. 5. The seas were some of the calmest we have ever experienced. We almost NEVER cruise in the summer but since we were repeat victims of Empress Gate this was what we got. Cruising during the summer can be very risky but we got lucky. The seas were like glass. 6. While on Grand Cayman, we heard from some locals that they are going to be building a pier next year ! Finally ! I know that they had resisted building any kind of dock or pier b/c of the unavoidable damage to the reef. I guess finances finally overcame the environmental concerns. While I heard that this construction had been approved, there is still significant resistance to the plan - primarily from environmentalists and those financially impacted (primarily those that operate the tenders, I am guessing). 7. While snorkeling on GC, Dan saw an (approx.) 8' Nurse Shark. He was so tickled. Of course, rather than being afraid, he followed the thing as far as he could. When he returned to shore, the locals (same ones who told us about the pier) said that it was a very, very rare occurrence. This young man had lived in GC all of his life and said that he could count the number of times he had seen a Nurse shark on 1 hand. 8. The casino gods were not favorable to me.
  9. Hey Matt! Hey everyone! We're just back from our fabulous RC FOS cruise, and, of course, we loved it! Matt, you and I had some previous discussions, and I was to report back to you about a few things (one of which was about the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater). I believe what follows covers it. What I have done is simply copy and paste what I wrote to Royal in their cruise follow up survey. I look forward to all of your thoughts, input, and feedback. *********************************************** First, let me say that we are "Loyal To Royal." We have never sailed with anyone else (with the exception of when I was a small child on a family vacation on NCL, but I did not have a say back then). So when I offer some criticisms, please know that it is with the best of intentions to help improve something I love: Royal Caribbean Cruise Vacations! That said, the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater was not up to the standards I know you have for your company. The whole production, from the start in the Star Lounge to the finale in Gionvanni's Table, was flat and boring. After seeing the rest of the week's performances, I know that the fault does not lie with the performers. However much they may have tried to bring the show to life, they failed. Which was very disappointing, because we were excited to be starting out our cruise vacation with a bang! The show was scheduled for the first night onboard. What a way to kick things off! Or so we thought. Though let me state clearly, in no way do we allow the show's failure to cast a shadow on Giovanni's Table. The food and service met our expectations for quality, even if it did not meet them for style. Somehow Giovanni's Table is far superior on the Oasis of the Seas. Contrary to Giovanni's Table, Sabor ROCKED!!! I had absolutely no intention of going to a Mexican restaurant on a cruise ship (and we skipped it on the Oasis). But, I was cajoled into at least trying the guacamole and margaritas. So in we went. I got turned around 180 degrees! Now I will demand that everyone go to Sabor! It is an absolute Royal Caribbean MUST DO! And we are so fortunate to have Sabor, as well as the other specialty dining options, because the food in the Main Dining Room has declined to the point that we will no longer be going there, but will instead opt for the Windjammer or just about anything else. What the heck happened!? I cannot say that we were ever blown away by the food in the Main Dining Room, but we have never been this disappointed. Out of the few dozen items presented throughout the week, there may have been 2 or 3 that were enjoyable. 2 or 3!? Is that the Royal Caribbean standard? I do not believe it is. I sure hope not anyway, because we love the atmosphere and the service there. The staff is always exemplary, and Edwin Santos and Olivia Chiriac were no exception. Which brings me back to the service we received at R Bar. As I said in the earlier question, Alok, Cookie, and Heidi were fantastic! I wanted to take them everywhere with me as my personal staff. What I really wanted was to take them home with me! The fact is, Royal Caribbean's crew is 99% perfect. There is an oddball here and there, but it is so rare, that I am quite sure it goes unnoticed. But, these three were the crème de la crème! As was Casey Pelter. He is the best cruise director we have had so far. Not much else to say on this point - just wanted to give him some credit. And that takes me to the entertainment. I have already stated that the production crew was top-notch. That cannot, however, be said for all of the headliners. Mark Cordes was fabulous! He had the entire room rolling. And John Caponera should take lessons from him. Mr. Caponera's attempt fell far short of the mark. And it was not just his style of joke telling. He simply was not witty enough to pull it off. The same could be said for Karen Grainger. While her singing ability cannot be denied, her act was in desperate need of professional help. I think that she is on to something, but it just is not fully baked yet. Which is more than can be said for Drew Thomas. His "magic show," if you can call it that, is little more than theatrics mixed with the same old routines that have been around for a century. A magic act is a hard thing to sell, so if you are going to try, the act had better be cutting-edge. It had better WOW the audience. There was very little head-scratching in that room. What was WOWing was the behind-the-scenes crew. That ship, as is every other Royal ship, was immaculate! It is so impressive that something that size, and something that is now 11 years old, could look and work that well. The art was wonderful! We stopped to look at everything. We did notice though that some of the music choices were odd. I am not sure what you are going for in the Promenade. Or, for that matter, in the Bull & Bear pub. What is up with Sam Collins!? Was he put there to help the seniors take naps? I love the British pub on the Oasis, but I only stepped into this pub to get a quick drink, then ran for the door! Which brings to mind one last criticism: why were you out of so many items ship wide? Several times a day, at several locations, this or that would not be in stock. At Boleros, it was the coconut rum. At Bull & Bear, it was the Spaten. At R Bar, it was glassware. At Sabor, it was one of the featured margaritas. At one of the pool bars, it was the strawberry puree for the daiquiris. At the Viking Crown Lounge, it was the sambuca. I could go on and on. I have never experienced anything like this on any other Royal ship. It was very strange. Fortunately, the wonderful crew at the bars did all they could to make up for the failure that was clearly being made way above their heads. The crew bent over backwards to try to please. Is there some officer who is in charge of such things? Where was he? Thank goodness for the crew! All-in-all, taking the bad with the good, the failings with the WOWS, the Freedom of the Seas still amazed. We loved our cruise vacation, and will continue to be "Loyal To Royal." In fact, we are already booked on the Navigator of the Seas for the April 14, 2017 sailing to the Southern Caribbean! We cannot wait! Thank you Royal! We love you!
  10. Hi Guys Sailed from Southampton with Anthem of The Seas for a 14 night 'sunshine in the canaries' Cruise. I vlogged my whole experience and have started uploading the footage onto YouTube. This is because before i left to go i was eager to find out as much information as possible in order to have the best holiday. My vlogs (Video Logs) will hopefully answer any questions if not please comment below. I plan on uploaded my whole cruise experience in small videos over the course of the next couple of months, if there is anything you would like to see or any partial reviews please comment underneath one of the videos and it will give me ideas on what order to upload or what to upload next. For example you may be interested in the Dynamic dining, poolside, excursions etc. Here is the link to our first impressions of the boat: We also vlogged our first visit to the bionic bar- which is amazing!! find this here: We also have vlogged our day 1 which was in v=Vigo Spain and i am currently uploading our second stop off which was Lisbon, Portugal, Hope you enjoy watching!! Please subscribe to keep up to date with the rest of our cruise vlogs and i will also upload a general Anthem of the Seas review!! Thanks guys happy cruising !!
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