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  1. 601 days! That's how long it will have been since we last set foot on a cruise ship. It has been WAY TOO LONG! I can finally say it's cruise month! The cast for this adventure includes myself (Amy), husband (Dan), son (Robert), daughter (Laura), son-in-law (Austin), grandbabies (Kylie-2 and Brantley-1). We will be in 2 BR ATS #9334. We love to have fun in the sun and can't wait to take the babies on their first cruise I've never done a blog so I'm calling this a live-ish blog as I'm not sure how much time I will have on the cruise to post. I typically come home from vacations needing a vacation to rest from all the running! We found out who our genie is yesterday. Luciano will be doing our preplanning and we will have Reyno on board! I'm super excited! I've met Reyno, but have never had him as a genie. Has anyone had a situation like this? It will be interesting to see how the preplanning and hand off are done. It will be an interesting adventure to get through all of the testing before the cruise. Kylie is too young to be tested at any place other than her primary clinic. Luckily we are at the Mayo Clinic and results are back in less than a day typically. Interestingly, Brantley had Covid when he was 4 months old. He had a fever and slight lung congestion. It didn't seem to slow him down for very long. I was part of a study that tested for antibodies, I tested negative in October, but positive in November. I evidently was one of the asymptomatic cases. We went to Hawaii a month after he tested positive. That was incredibly stressful testing and waiting for our negative results! I'm hoping since we are all vaccinated that it will be less mentally stressful this time! I have not seen any reviews of people sailing with an under two year old. I'm hoping to give insight as to what it's like with two young unvaccinated children, one requiring a mask and one not. We are planning on playing with the kids in the mornings and then using Royal Babies/Tots in the afternoon and for some evening shows if we are able to book the hours. Our stops are at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and CocoCay. Since we have unvaccinated children we have to be on a ship excursion to take them ashore. At St. Maarten we are doing the Great Bay Beach Experience and hope to eat at our favorite restaurant, Blue Bitch Bar. If it's possible we'll send mom and dad and the babies back on the boat shuttle and Dan & I will walk back so we can stop and buy cheese at the cheese shop. St. Thomas we'll leave the babies on board and go do a little shopping before Laura and I have a massage At Cococay we have a Floating Cabana at the Coco Beach Club (our splurge for the trip). Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them. Looking forward to sailing away soon!!!
  2. 11 cruises canceled, 4 devastated kids, 2 very sad adults, way too much future cruise credit.... 8 cruises scheduled, 4 excited kids, 2 very happy, yet leery adults, only 34 days to go until Star Class on Symphony!!!! Wow! Cruising is back!!! I am so excited that we can finally say that. I was one of those people saying "surely, cruising will have started back by ...," but as one cruise after the next was canceled, I started to wonder if we would ever return to sea. I went from reading daily live blogs and watching youtube cruise vlogs all the time to rarely doing it. My closet of vacation attire went from a "cruise closet" to a "Club Med closet." Then, I saw that a ship was set to sail and then another, and the next thing you know I began to think, "Wow, this might actually happen!" Initially, I was worried about what it would be like sailing since my kids are too young to be vaccinated (even though my husband and I are fully vaccinated). I worried about us being treated like second class citizens, and most of all I worried about how this would make the kids feel. Some of you, can even attest to my facebook post where I voiced my concerns about this. After, contemplating this for awhile, my husband and I decided to talk to our two older kids about this, and they still wanted to go. At that point, we said "This is OUR cruise, and we are going to go and enjoy ourselves and not let anyone ruin that for us! As this initial fear subsided, the excitement finally began to fully kick in. Cruise Vlogs and Blogs are back on the menu, and we even bought a new cruise wardrobe for the kids, but before I get too much further into this blog, I should probably stop and introduce my family and tell you a little about us and our booking. Family: Tiffany, Steven (he will be co-blogging with me), Christian/CJ (11 year old boy), Sophia (9 year old girl), Nyssa/Prissy (3 year old girl), and Katarina/Kat/Kitty (2 year old girl) Ship: Symphony of the Seas Sail Date: September 11, 2021-September 18, 2021 Cabin Type: 2 Bedroom Aquatheater Suite Itinerary: Miami, Florida; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, ST. Thomas; Perfect Day at CocoCay; Miami, Florida I look forward to catching up with those who have followed my other blogs and also getting to know some new faces. We have cruised star class before, so I will try to cover any changes since cruising has returned. I will also let you know what it is like sailing with kids too young to be vaccinated.
  3. Some things we want to share from our last two cruises (Ovation 9/3/21 & Oasis 10/3/21): 1. C&A Diamond awards 4 drinks daily; they can be redeemed at any bar on the ship, as they do not want you to congregate at the Diamond lounge from 5-8 pm (post-COVID precaution). That being said, there was no reason for us to go to the Diamond Lounge other than the espresso machine; they never seemed to have any snacks like they used to ...beyond a few cookies, nor were there other members with whom to visit. 2. We were Star class on Oasis last week which included the drink package. Two drawbacks here: a. We were in the casino getting some nice wine when the bartender commented that it was better that he used our Prime casino status rather than charge us the extra amount over the $13 beverage package limit (Star Class w/ free bev pack). b. We ate at the Chef's Table (traditionally anywhere from $55-$95 pp, depending on the ship, for BOTH the meal & the wine pairings). The Chef's Table was stated as free with Star Class, HOWEVER, this turned out to be just for the food....they charged us $88 extra for the drink, as they said the wine pairing was not included in OUR Chef's Table, and the beverage package only allowed up to the $13 per glass of wine & desert martini...interesting. Now we just stop at the casino on the way to dinner to avoid the ">$13" fee for anything suspected as pricey or considered special and order standard drinks anywhere else on the ship under the Diamond drinks option. This seems to take care of our needs on the cruises from now on!
  4. I am both excited and terrified to begin my first live Blog here of my first ever Star Class sailing and also….our wedding! I can only hope it is HALF as good as the amazing bloggers I read religiously here! 48 DAYS! Here we go! The Story- My husband and I (I will explain!) booked this cruise for our wedding 2 YEARS ago during a Black Friday sale at an amazing price! We both LOVE cruising…so much so that we have a YouTube channel called BoosCruize so it seemed natural that we would choose to tie the knot in a small ceremony on the high seas! So after much research we decided on the Star Loft Suite 1720 on Oasis Of The Seas! This suite had a HUGE rectangular balcony that could fit guests and also give us the ocean view we wanted….and a Genie to help us pull it all off! What could go wrong?!? Enter…COVID As you can imagine we basically needed a new pair of britches every other day for the last two years as things changed. It’s a good thing I buzz cut my head or I’d probably be bald and NOT by choice LOL A year later we weren’t even sure if this cruise would happen but we also KNEW we wanted to be married. So when a company came to us and asked to throw us a huge West Coast “David Tutera” style wedding in Hollywood that will be published for magazines we obviously said YES! We now have two bi-coastal weddings Lol It was amazingly gorgeous but nothing was our choice. It was all chosen for us….right down to our tuxes. We feel BEYOND blessed but it also wasn’t what we had in our head two years ago. So now here we are….our guest list of 50 has gone down to 12 due to covid complications. Are we upset? HECK NO! We completely understand and are going to have the time of our LIVES on a gorgeous ship surrounded by people who love us! We can’t wait! Who: We are an LA couple. Jarell is an international Flight attendant (yaasss benefits!) and I am an actor who just moved from NYC in time for a pandemic to close Hollywood Where: We are sailing on the Oasis Of The Seas out of Miami in the Star Loft Suite 1720 with stops at Coco Cay, St.Thomas, and St. Maarten When: We sail November 7th-14th, 2021 I think that covers most of the back story and introductions! So happy to meet you all and take you along with us on this very special journey that is over 2 years in the making! Can’t wait to see who our Genie will be! For good measure I have included a photo of the happy grooms from our West Coast Wedding!
  5. Hello everyone, this is my first time doing this so bare with me. Lets just start from the beginning. In June of 2017 my family was about to embark on their first Oasis class cruise. They took the gamble and booked a Junior Suite Guarantee for the three of them, about a month prior to the sailing we logged on and saw they had been assigned a Grand Suite. Myself who was then in the process of leaving my first job so I could move on to my current career decided to leave a week earlier then planned to go experience the suite life I had read much about on here. Well lets just say this was the beginning to our obsession with wanting to take a Star Class cruise. About a year later my mom and dad took a cruise on Allure for their anniversary in a Crown Loft and this just furthered our want to experience Star Class. So one night while facetiming with my parents while they were at sea I was able to convince them to visit the next cruise desk and book one. Well three days later it was official, we were booked in a 2 Bedroom AquaTheater Suite on Allure in 2019. Fast-forward a few months and we were calling to add on 4 other family members to this cruise and we were being told it would be almost $12,000 to add these 4 people. We decided not to add them and to wait and figure something out. About a week later the sailings for the Summer of 2020 were released, we immediately called and snagged us a 4 Bedroom Villa on Harmony in June of 2020 for an amazing price. So that was it, now we just wait, so we thought. Insert COVID-19 We sat and watched the dates of the cruise suspension keep getting pushed, we finally broke down and called Royal just to see what our options were for changing this sailing. We were not planning to actually do anything on the phone that day and had no dates in mind, we just wanted to know what could be done. Well lets just say we got lucky, while on the phone the agent was able to find another Villa suite for $5,000 cheaper than we were already paying. We rebooked for January 2021, yeah Covid won't be a problem still. Well as we all know what happened, we called again about a week prior to Royal announcing more cancelations and this time found a Villa on Symphony in September 2022. So we though for sure this was the one and it would have been until August 2021 came around. My mom who was a 4th grade teacher had just started her school year when about 2 weeks in she had to leave school early and go to the hospital. Unfortunately about 2 weeks later she very unexpectedly passed away (non-covid related). So here we are now, trying to decide what to do with her ashes. We decided we would take her on a final cruise and spread her ashes in the Caribbean. This in itself is a massive feat, my father is an airline pilot, my sister a middle school teacher, brother an EMT taking Paramedic classes, and myself also in the aviation industry. The time we had to do this was very simple as my brother and sister are on similar schedules: Thanksgiving or Christmas. My dad was able to get Christmas off as he just so happened to not be on call that week. Myself being the lowest in seniority where I work, there was absolutely zero chance but somehow I sweet talked my way into getting the time off. So we got booked for Oasis over Christmas week in 2 Grand Suites, back where it all started. (I will also blog this one) So after getting the Christmas cruise booked and cancelling the three other cruises I already had booked for me and my mom, I came back across this sailing. I had originally booked this cruise in the Ultimate Panoramic Suite for my 25th birthday and my mom would have been coming with me. I decided I needed to go on a cruise to just get some time away from everything and get back into what I always enjoyed. The only problem now was I had nobody to go with me, my mom was always my cruising partner. So we now owed my grandparents a cruise since they had helped pay for the Villa Suite one which was now not going to happen. So I called to talk to them and started talking about this cruise and how I needed someone to go with me, before I could ask she said they would. We started talking about rooms and all they wanted was an aft facing balcony, I said sure. Well two hours later and we are booked in a 2 Bedroom AquaTheater Suite, 8330. In 33 days I will finally be able to experience Star Class, I just wish the person who wanted this all along was able to go. So here's where I need help, I only have 4 days on Oasis and want to get as much from the experience as possible. Any suggestions on requests from my Genie? Currently the only thing I know for sure I will request is sail away snacks and drinks from the balcony and I have my dinner schedule already figured out. I look forward to bringing everyone along on this journey and any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  6. Hi Everyone! This is my first time doing anything like this, so I apologize in advance if it stinks We - me, DH, and our 2 sons (J 15 and M 13) - were originally planning on going to Disney the last week in August. But with the spiraling case counts we have been getting nervous. After much debate, we decided last night that we would cancel Disney (for the 3rd time due to COVID) and I started playing around on Royal’s website. I found a 2 bedroom aquatheater suite for a good price and called to book it immediately. The boys got over the Disney disappointment pretty fast when we told them about the cruise. Joining us on this cruise will be my mom, Mary. We’ll be leaving our house in New Hampshire on Saturday the 25th and spending the night at her house in Connecticut. Google maps says it’s only about a 2 - 2.5 hour drive from there, so I think we’ll be fine driving down Sunday morning. 5 people and luggage in my Traverse may be a little squishy. This is our first cruise on RC. We’ve cruised on Disney several times, but the last 2 trips have been “disappointing”. We’re all looking forward to trying something new. So far we’ve booked tickets to Thrill water park and a chill island beach bed. I’d love to book a cabana as DH and mom aren’t water park people, but thrill water park, cocoa beach club, and chill island are already sold out. The floating cabanas are $1700! and Oasis Lagoon seems like a crowded location. Breezy Bay and South Beach aren’t listed. I look forward to bringing you all along and appreciate any advice you have.
  7. So here goes. I am honestly not a creative writer (although I wish I was) but I posted an after the fact blog for our last cruise in Star class (Grand Loft Suite) on Anthem in March 2020 before the shut down so figured I would try it again. This cruise is a long time in the making. Since we had just discovered Star class, we immediately came home and booked a May 2020 cruise on Oasis in the 2 bedroom Aqua Theater suite. Since Covid was here to stay, that cruise was cancelled. Then we figured, of course by September this will all be over so we Lifted and Shifted to Oasis in the same 2 bedroom Aqua Theater suite...cancelled again. So our amazing travel agent (#TeamMindy) got us Lifted and Shifted to Anthem in the Royal Loft Suite in February 2021...we will surely be cruising by then, right? Nope. So, here we are now. We are sailing in 2 bedroom Aqua Theater Suite in a little over 2 weeks! About us. I am sailing with hubby and we are now bringing my father in-law. It started out with us bringing a friend but my father in-law really needs to get out and enjoy the Star Class life so we are bringing him. We are on Deck 9 (Deck 8 was sold out). We have previously stayed in the 1 bedroom Aqua Theater Suite and cannot wait to be in the 2 bedroom suite with the Star Class perks! On our first Star Class cruise we weren't sure what to expect so our expectations weren't high but after having Yen as our Genie on Anthem in March 2020, she is going to be tough to beat! On that cruise she took care of our 3 Star class suites so we had her all to ourselves. I am sure it is going to be different since our Genie told us he has 5 suites to take care of. About a month out, we received an email from Derick (who told us he is taking care of 5 suites) and then we got the normal genie email. We decided we didn't want to answer all of the crazy questions because we knew the most important ones were #1 what we want stocked in our room for drinks and #2 what we wanted to experience on the ship. I am a SUPER planner and need to know what the plans are before we leave so I have a schedule laid out as to where we want to eat and at what time which I sent to him. He said he wished all of his cruisers were as organized but he probably thinks I am crazy! Since cruising from NJ is just starting up and my father in-law is older, we plan to get room service for lunch and dinner on the first day to feel out the crowds so there is no anxiety for him. This will be his first cruise in 5 years and first Star class experience. I have sent a few emails to Derick and he usually responds within an hour or two which is amazing. We were told that in NJ, he can still meet us in the terminal and bring us on the ship, the rooms will be ready at noon and we can check in 1 hour before or 1 hour after our check-in time online. We chose a 12:30 - 1:00 check in (which was the earliest) so we are going to get there around 11:30. One difference I noticed from our last Star class cruise is we can't get beverages in the suite that are not normally stocked on the ship (we asked for diet iced tea and diet ginger ale and we were told we couldn't get those so we will bring some). In addition, the Genie and the room stewards are not allowed in our room while we are in there. They can clean our room if we are in our deck and we can call the genie or meet them on the ship with masks but not in our room. For us, we aren't high maintenance so that isn't a big deal for us. On embarkation day, Derick is going to have some fresh fruit waiting for us and we are ordering lunch for our room which we can do from one restaurant that is open. We are thinking Chops. He did let us know that bridge tours, Central Park tours, etc., are all cancelled until further notice. I am fine with that but was looking forward to having my father in-law do the bridge tour he used to own a big boat and would have really appreciated it. In the grand scheme of things, just get me on a SHIP, RIGHT NOW! I will try to update everyone as we plan more and talk to Derick. We cannot wait. We would love it if people who have been on Oasis since the revamp have some information on best bars or things to check out! One specific question I have is, does anyone know how to book the special area in Playmakers during football? I thought it may be fun to try and if so, how much is it? LET'S GET CRUISING!
  8. Good Afternoon Everyone! I have been spending all day looking into all things cruising! Like many of you, I cannot wait to get on board. Had a question for Star Cruisers...When initially emailing your Royal Genie, besides the questionnaire, what other information have you given to your Genie? If needed will the Genie correspond frequently with you before the cruise? Is it crazy of me to have a document prepared with all of our preferences and general information about my husband and I sent upon initial contact? We have some "wish requests" that may not be able to be granted but I want to try because it seems like the Genies do have magical powers lol. I have seen a couple of examples of request/preference sheets but if anyone has more insight on this, I would appreciate it! I do know from my readings that I need to request to be reserved at CK for filet night LOL. Anything else that I should definitely request? I do not want to be imposing from the start, but we do want to form a connection with our Genie and make sure we get the most out of our experience. Thanks! Andrew
  9. Hi! Haven’t been on in a while but happy to be back!!! We are doing a star class cruise in February and are interested in booking a private journey excursion. Any insight or experiences with private journeys? Looking to do something in Puerto Rico. Andrew
  10. Well my husband has been after me about blogging our trip, so here goes. He claims that he will be helping me blog, but I'll believe it when I see it. Atleast at this moment he is sitting next to me looking at the screen and not reddit for once. A little background on us: I'm Tiffany, and he's Steven. Our circus consists of four kids who are nine, seven, one, and eight months. Steven retired from the Army last year, and I'm a stay at home mom. We knew we wanted more time to be able to cruise, so we decided to take a stab at homeschooling this year. So far so good, and to make it even better, it is significantly cheaper cruising when it's not over school break. Our cruise plans: We were originally on the Allure of the Seas September 1st cruise that got shortened by three days due to Dorian. We stuck with the cruise, and had an amazing time and got a nice future cruise credit since we were in a 2 bedroom aquatheater suite. It was so great, in fact, that we had to do a "grounding cruise" in a non-Star class cabin to bring us back down to Earth. Guess it didn't work, because here we are doing another Star class cruise on November 17th. The ship and cabin: Allure of the Seas 10730 (2 bedroom aquatheater suite) We would have loved to be back in the deck 8 aquatheater suite, but since it's a last minute booking for a family of six, we were lucky to find this one open. We will try to keep this as live as possible but with four kids and star class food coma, no promises.
  11. Hi everyone and happy holidays! We just signed up for this blog! My name is Drew. My husband Rob and I are big cruising fans and are doing more RCCL cruises as of late. We are big Celebrity fans but it is always fun to try different things! It’s still far out, but we are booked on the Anthem 9 Night February 11th cruise out of Cape Liberty. I am dying to know what blogger’s experiences are with star class. We booked a grand loft. What is the best part of a royal genie? How can that person make an anniversary celebration extra special? Any insider tips with Star Class? Thanks! Drew and Rob
  12. Getting this party started early because I am just way too excited! Can you tell? ? Here goes....
  13. Gonna try giving this a shot even though I've never done a live blog before. Please take it easy on me ?
  14. NOT QUITE YET... ....is this going to be a Live Blog. I am NOT looking to set the new World Land Speed Record for starting the earliest Live Blog. It will turn into a live blog MUCH later when we get closer to sail date. I just wanted to announce to the world that the long anticipated 8 night Symphony itinerary for 21 - 29 August 2021 has finally shown up on the website !!!! I've been stalking this cruise for months. They announced the itinerary - Labadee, Aruba and Curacao - months ago, but never opened it for booking until today. I quickly snagged one of the Deck 8 Aqua Theater Suites because I could not afford (or didn't want) any of the other Star Class rooms that were left. Believe it or not, some of the SC rooms were already gone by the time I got there !! The aft-facing Star Loft was there but I don't really want that one. I have NO interest in that awful Ultimate Family thing and the Royal Loft is WAAAY out of my price range on this cruise (and so was the Ultimate Family thing, to be fair). So let the fun begin. I BELIEVE that this will be the first Oasis class ship to go to Aruba and Curacao. I could be wrong about that. For sure it will be the first time Symphony has been there. This will also be my first cruise on Symphony and I'm very excited. 3 ports in 8 days is my idea of heaven. Interest, anyone ?
  15. I saw some comments in another thread that leads me to believe that some may have experienced some Star Class hostility when they were taking advantage of some Star perks such as jumping to the front of the line for certain events or getting seated in the front row for shows etc. Just wondering if anyone had actually experienced some comments from other passengers on board.
  16. Trying out Star class for the first time and have no idea what to ask the Genie to do for us. I've read several of @Mattblog's on the subject. I'd like some ideas and what you would ask your Genie to do for you. I've read many threads on tipping so I'm good there. One thing I'd like is a plate of Sushi from Izumi's on boarding day hopefully they can arrange that. Does anyone know if they can get flowers for the room? Do I have to pay for them?
  17. I literally can't take it... 45 days out and I can barely wait to have our first Star Class experience. I know, I know, 45 days - why blog now? Why so early? I have to vent some of this energy, and I've seen some other blogs start a smidge early which has assuaged my angst about jumping the gun! I'm inspired by some great writers on this blog (fellow Canadians included!), so thank you for some great reviews providing inspiration. A little about our crew. Hailing from beautiful (albeit very wet lately) Vancouver, BC it'll be me (Alison), my DH and 2 boys (ages 9 and 11). We've been on 7 cruises to date, most recently in a 2BR Grand Suite on a 9 night Anthem Bermuda/Caribbean out of NJ, a 1BR Grand suite on Oasis 7 night Eastern Caribbean, and a Boardwalk Balcony also on Oasis 7 night Eastern Caribbean. We booked this cruise December 2018 wile on Oasis... but it wasn't in a star class - that came about 7 months later. We are sailing with one of my best friends and her two boys (ages 6 and 12). They've never been on a cruise and I cannot wait to "sea" and Oasis-class ship for the first time again through their eyes. Plus they get star class on their first experience - it's doing to be a doozie! We initially booked this cruise in a CLS last December when we were on Oasis for our family. We then convinced our friends to come along and they booked an ocean view balcony about a month later. We had a bit of trepidation about travelling with peeps who weren't in a suite as the suite lounge and CK are both a big part of our cruises when we're in a suite. Afternoon reading and drinks in the suite lounge is a real treat for us and we love it. Fast forward to July of 2019 and DH noticed a 2BR Aquatheatre suite is available on the website. It was right after the itinerary change was announced (lost St. Kitts to San Juan - mega bummer) - so we inquired with our travel agent. There was a definite price increase, but when weighed against all the Star benefits we decided to bite the bullet and we merged everyone into one room. None of the kids know - and it's been the hardest secret to keep. I have said to my boys a few times "wouldn't it be fun if we were all in the same room - maybe we can have the other boys over for a sleepover one night... too bad they're not on the same deck as us... etc." I can't wait to board and all go to the same room - hopefully they're half as excited as I am. We've also had angst about travelling Dec 8 rather than waiting for the Christmas school break. Not because we are worried about them missing a week of school (I know - we're terrible parents!), but because both boys play hockey and my youngest son is the sole goalie on his team. Ugh. We obviously didn't know he'd be the lone "tender" on his team when we booked or we may not have, but c'est la vie. Luckily I'm co-managing the team and will attempt to reschedule any games for before we go or after we get back. My husband also plays on a senior men's team as their lone goaltender - so hopefully we can find backups or reschedule games for him too. Having said that, I will be ready for a break come December, it's been a literal gong show this season managing three players and getting everyone to games, practices, and development sessions, and we're only a month in! Feeling like I've let some energy go ... will update as the nerves and excitement to build.
  18. We just booked a Grand Loft Suite on Anthem and get the Star Class suite perks. What have others asked for from their Genie? I heard about bar cart service daily - is that on Anthem too? Will they stock your room with beer and hard alcohol so I don't have a long walk to get a drink?
  19. ' I'm doing the Single Digit dance now, baby, and we all know that's when the pregaming starts. ? Hello! And welcome to Dipping our Toes in Royal Waters, Part Deux. Part Deux, you ask? Where is Part Un?! Briefly, Part Un was in August 2008, aboard Mariner of the Seas. We were in a Grand suite. We didn’t know why we booked a suite; there was no priority anything and practically no suite perks because the number of eligible Crown & Anchor members on that sailing who had the same access to the lounges completely overwhelmed the services and offerings as well as the concierge team. Not that I begrudge anyone their loyalty benefits but combining loyalty perks and suite perks into one pool just meant completely watered-down benefits for everyone. Lines were everywhere. Free drink? Wait in line. Want a seat in the lounge to eat your appies? Wait for a seat to open. Need something from the concierge? Carve about an hour out of your day to get help. It took me practically that long to ask the concierge to book us the single thing we wanted (Ice Show tickets). I should’ve just gone to Guest Services or wherever, but I was chatting with people in line. For forking out suite $$, it was completely unremarkable and unimpressive in every other way I won’t bore you further with here. (This is a fan site after all!) However, due to that completely lackluster cruise, we haven’t sailed with Royal since. In the interim, we became Platinum Plus on Norwegian (all Haven or suites), Platinum on Disney (all Concierge), and 3* Mariners on Holland America (all Neptune Suites). I don’t like to say we’re suite snobs, but rather we have “Super FOMO.” Fear of Missing Out. What is not available to us if we don’t book a suite?! What will we be missing out on?! Not that we are “do it all” peeps. But we like to know we can, if we want to. Most of the time we don’t want to, but what if we do? (This makes sense in my head.) Plus, the secret to a happy, successful marriage? Separate bathrooms. We don't share a bathroom at home. If we can help it, we don't like to share while on vacation either; hence our suite life propensity. Fast forward to mid-March 2019 when our original vacation plans fell through while still being locked in to a specific vacation week at work. We scrambled to find a substitute vacay. What to do, where to go? WHAT. TO. DO??! (Heaven forbid we stay home and work on the house. YOLO, baby!) We of course checked the Norwegian Escape Haven first (one of our faves). This ship is approximately the same size as Anthem of the Seas, departs from NYC, and spends 2 overnights in Bermuda. In other words, about as apples-to-apples on paper as you can get. The lowest priced (and rather small in comparison) Haven room was 2K$ more than SC on the Anthem. I’m crazy, but not that crazy. The Anthem for the same week had a single SC room left for the week we needed: one Grand Loft suite. I called my TA who immediately held the suite for me for 24-hours while the hubs and I chatted over our new last-minute vacation plans. Spoiler alert: we did not need 24 hours to decide. Stateroom nerd warning: before jumping any guns, I needed to know if we were going to be stuck with everyone’s last choice room. My crack whip research showed that Anthem 10324 is a great room and has no negative factors. In fact, we thought we were totally lucky to get it (last minute cancellation perhaps?). A quick review of Star Class Service Perks (which was the real game changer), and I was sold. It took the hubs a couple more hours to come around. But come around he did. Mariner OTS, bygones are bygones. We’re ready to come back to Royal! Let’s do this! Juicy Deets: Me (SweetPea) and the Hubs (Batman) sailing on the Anthem of the Seas, 4/27, Grand Loft Suite 10324 (SC), departing Cape Liberty, NJ for an overnight in Bermuda and then up to Boston for a full day before heading back to the armpit of my great state on 5/4. (NJ born & bred here. I’m allowed to say this. My accent only comes out when I’m annoyed, thankfully, though CA born & bred Batman argues differently. However, it’s not an accent; we all know Newark, NJ is pronounced “Nork.” End of. Do not argue this with me. I’m 100% right.) So, if you’ve indulged me this long (and God bless you for that), stick around for my quasi-live review from a born-again Royal to see if it measures up to our usual haunting grounds. Will it? I can hardly wait to see myself! Hopefully, I don’t get frustrated blogging from my phone (I'm not finding uploading and captioning pics here and inserting them between text intuitive at all. Any hints are appreciated. Not having any "preview post" functionality isn't helping me either. ?) If i figure it out, be forewarned: there may be an episode or five of PUI. For those unfamiliar with that term, that is Posting Under the Influence [of the drink package] … I should probably test the edit/delete functions of this message board first. After all, #TeamSuperFOMO’s motto is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knows, at the rate I'm not figuring this out, you may just get random pictures with separate posts of me trying to explain them to you later. Out of order. What fun! Up next: submitting your DNA test results, current blood pressure and cholesterol levels, your Superhero and Soap Opera names, and the last time you cried at a movie to your Genie. And why you should never let Batman submit said Genie survey on your behalf. Stay tuned.
  20. Can I just clarify as I’m getting a little confused. One benefit of Star class is complimentary gratuities. Is this different from the normal pre paid gratuitues that I would put on any other cabin? Doing a couple of mock bookings for a star class suite and the pre paid gratuities are automatically tagged on. Do you still pay the pre paid gratuities with the star class perk or is it a glitch with the RCL site
  21. I have been reading all of the live blogs others are doing of their Star Class cruise and thought about attempting one, however, I didn’t want to be constantly on my phone blogging about the day’s events or answering questions so mine is going to be an “after the fact” blog! I am certainly not witty and it likely won’t be as funny or entertaining as others but hope to provide some information for anyone else looking for it. I will space the posts out so if people have specific questions I can answer them along the way. I am also currently going through all of my photos so future posts will hopefully have less content and more pictures! Booking We booked this cruise over a year ago. We always try to book early to secure a location we wanted and my SIL asked if we wanted to try Star class this trip since we are celebrating big anniversaries. The prices of the rooms weren’t that bad on Anthem compared to some of the other ships sailing in March. We booked and then sometime over the summer, my BIL’s parents and nieces decided to join us and they snagged the last Star Class suite on Deck 10. My Husband, his cousin and myself stayed in GLS 10324, my SIL, BIL and niece were in GLS 10724 and my BIL’s parents and their 2 grand kids were in GLS 10720. Prior to the Cruise About a month out we received the generic questionnaire about any special requests, who we would be cruising with and some other random questions. We were sailing with 10 of us in total in 3 Grand Loft Suites on Deck 10 and requested that we have the same Genie. We also requested what we wanted stocked in our room for drinks and snacks. A little over two weeks before the cruise, our Genie, Yen Lee reached out to us introducing herself. From what I have read about Yen, she will make anything we want happen but we shouldn’t expect any real surprises. That was completely fine with me because I am not one who likes surprises….I used to open my Christmas presents before Christmas and re-wrap them all again! We provided her a spreadsheet of where we wanted reservations for dinner for 4 of the nights and a list of what other things we wanted to do (iFly, Flow Rider, Cupcake Decorating, Rock Climbing, Galley/Bridge/Theater tours, North Star, etc.). We also asked that the two cabanas we had booked at Chill Island on Cococay be next to one another in the front row (specifically Cabana #4 and #5). After some back and forth emails between Yen, my SIL and myself, we got a final schedule around 5 days out with everything we wanted scheduled. She indicated she appreciated the spreadsheet as it made it easier for her to make our final schedule for the week. This is what she sent to us: One thing we had really wanted was to have a lunch set up in one of the suites on embarkation day to avoid all of the crowds. We know we could have eaten at Coastal Kitchen or any of the specialty restaurants but wanted something in our room. Within 24 hours Yen replied with menus we could order off of (Jaime’s and Chops) along with letting us know we could also order pizza. I have heard a lot of people were told they couldn’t set up lunch in the room on embarkation day but because we were her only suites, I think it made it easier for her to accommodate us.
  22. We are counting down until our first star class cruise on Anthem of the Seas. We are new to Royal Caribbean; previous DCL concierge cruises so we can’t wait to experience Royal Caribbean. I really enjoy following along on as many star class blogs as I can and thought it may be fun to give it a try! So, I am Jacquie and my husband Lindsay and 14 year old son Reyd are counting down (34 days). We are from Calgary, Alberta. ?? So what made us pick Royal Caribbean....honestly New York was on our bucket list and we love to cruise so we thought why not! Once we narrowed it down to New York, the royal genie and visit to Coco Cay helped us choose Royal Caribbean. So far the experience has been good. The one notable difference is DCL offered a dedicated team to deal with Pre Cruise needs/questions for their concierge guests 120 days out which I really liked. I haven’t been super impressed with Royal’s main customer service team but I am hopeful that the Genie will make up for any shortfalls! We received the royal genie questionnaire 45 days out followed by our luggage tags a couple days later. From what I have read I should be hearing from our genie soon. Cruise Itinerary: 8 nights with stops in Port Canaveral, Coco Cay and Nassau. Stateroom: Grand loft suite #10320 Shore Excursions: Reserved Chill Island Cabana at Coco Cay back in January. Had hoped to get an overwater cabana but opening was delayed to January 2020. ? Cruise Planner: With the Royal Genie, there is not much to plan but I have ordered the unlimited photo package. Will finalize specialty dining, entertainment and on-board activities with our genie. Thinking about reserving the thermal suite but have read mixed reviews. Any feedback on Anthem’s thermal package would be appreciated! We always reserved this on DCL so will likely book it on Anthem. Flights: Flying direct from Calgary to JFK a couple days before our cruise. Pre Cruise we are staying in lower Manhattan as we want to visit the 911 Memorial. Post cruise we are staying at Central Park. I am in the process of finalizing transportation to Cruise terminal and would be interested to hear any recommendations on reliable limo companies. We do not pack light so an SUV will be needed! The Four Seasons Downtown uses Empire CLS Transportation but I am pretty sure I can arrange something for cheaper. Planning to arrive at cruise terminal around 10:30am. Royal Genie Questionnaire: Have read mixed reviews on whether the genie uses the information provided but I am keeping an open mind. We had fun completing it and have no expectations. I have attached a copy of the questionnaire for those that are interested. Royal Up : Received a Royal Up offer email about a month ago for the Royal loft suite. I put in a lower end bid and expect it to be declined which I am totally fine with. We really don’t need the additional space but the hot tub would be nice. Well I think that’s all for now. Look forward to answering any of your questions and having you follow along!
  23. We have an upcoming cruise on the Harmony in star class - our first non DCL Cruise - and have lots of obc. Can obc be used for tips for Our genie, servers in specialty restaurants, and/or the casino? Also as specialty dining and coastal kitchen is included should we budget tips for servers there and if so, how much do people normally leave at specialty restaurants or at CK? Thanks for any advice!
  24. I know its 6 months away but I'm excited to sail with star class. We'll be on the Quantum of the Seas. One thing I'm hoping my assigned genie can do is arrange an in-suite dinner for my wife and I. Embarkation day is her birthday. Any suggestions on what to do? Also, how does the dinning work with star class? Can we basically eat wherever and whenever without incurring extra costs? Same thing for drinks or does the beverage package rules apply? Thanks in advance for sharing!
  25. “Follow that STAR…Our Journey back to Oasis.” - March 15-22, 2020 Oasis… ” A fertile or green spot in the desert, a shelter from the storm, a moment of respite from the conditions of the desert…” We’re back with another blog and that line above pretty much sums up what this cruise means to us this time around. Our lives, since entering dry dock back in August 2019, has been work, work, and more work. To say that the last seven months have been busy is an understatement. However, all is going to be well soon as we are about to embark on not just another cruise, but another Star Class adventure! And full disclaimer! In fear of being blog shamed (I won't mention any names here lol), I debated waiting on this one until about a week out but then I would have to back track to outline the Star Class process. This is just easier. Oh, and I am excited too! Please note that this is only 5 weeks early. ? Let's begin...
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