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  1. Here we go again... Our last blog left off with a promise that our first star class cruise would not be our last. We’re making good on that promise! This will be number two, and we have two more already on the books. I promise that this won’t be ending any time soon. When I start talking about cruises now, my hubby’s first question is if it’s Star Class (he’s just as hooked as I am). Partners in crime on this cruise: Hubby & I (Tim & Kathy) Our youngest daughter (who was on our first star class cruise with us) and her best friend/our honorary daughter (Kenzie & Kayla) Mother-in-law and her youngest sister (Mom & Aunt Cindy) Ship: Allure of the Seas Cabin: 2 Bedroom Aquatheater Suite – deck 9 – Star Class! Dates: September 25 – October 1 Ports: Sailing RT from Ft Lauderdale (FLL) to Roatan, Costa Maya, & Cozumel Booked Excursions: Roatan, Honduras: Splitting up the group - Some on the All-in-One Tour & some on the Turquoise Bay All Inclusive Horseback & Beach Break Costa Maya, Mexico: Chacchoben Ruins Exclusive Drive (all of us) Cozumel, Mexico: Splitting up again - Some doing the All Inclusive VIP Dolphin Encounter & others enjoying the Chankanaab Day Pass with Lunch & Drinks Pre-cruise Hotels: We’re sporting Holiday Inn this trip both in town the night before our flights out, and again in FLL the night before the cruise. Flying: Five of us are flying in the day before from Oregon and one is coming from New Jersey (fingers crossed that we all make it on time with our luggage – which is now a thing we think about after @Lovetocruise2002's experience last Spring) Travel Insurance: Absolutely!! We got policy quotes and picked the best one for us through Insuremytrip.com (in case you were curious) This is a special trip for our family and all about memories and celebrations: Our 30th Wedding Anniversary (the original reason for this booking); Mom’s birthday; Kenzie's birthday; Kayla's birthday; and most importantly We want to give mom the vacation of a lifetime! I know…nothing special for Cindy listed above. Don’t worry - I’m sure we’ll come up with something before we cruise. Kenzie cruised with us last November on Anthem in a star class suite (her third cruise ever and now wants nothing to do with normal cabins). Mom and Aunt Cindy have both cruised a few times before, but it’s been at least 15 years, and they were nothing like this. Kayla has never cruised, but she heard all about our last one and was experiencing some serious FOMO. We're so excited to share this cruise with our family! A little history about our family... Tim and I: We're pretty chill individuals, but we know how to throw a bash, and we're all about making special moments happen around us. Kenzie, Kayla, and Cindy: All three could stay up for a month straight talking non-stop, and still have more to say. Cindy has a thousand family stories to tell and keeps us in stitches all the time Mom is the ultimate caregiver! She's been caring for everyone in her life (sisters, kids, husbands) for as long as she can remember, and it's hard for her to be pampered. We're going to make sure she is taken care of!! A little history about this cruise booking… This cruise was originally booked on Symphony in the same cabin type. We booked it in the middle of the shutdown and we thought we had gotten a really good deal. Royal said, “hold my beer”, and last Fall, they redeployed Wonder’s inaugural year sailings during the Summer of 2022, kicked Allure out of Europe, and opened up Allure sailings from FLL. Someone in our Star Class Facebook thread shared that she got a great deal and I had to look. The difference was almost $5K and it was a no brainer. Even though the itinerary was different, and it was one night less on an older ship, we had to follow the savings and we jumped ship (pun intended). Allure was supposed to be amplified in 2020, but due to the shutdown, it was only in drydock for regularly scheduled maintenance at that time. Because of the delay, this ship still has the Champagne Bar (instead of the Bionic Bar), Sabor Mexican Restaurant (instead of BBQ, I think ??), no Perfect Storm water slides, and no Ultimate Abyss (dry slides). I don’t know if they intend to change Giovani’s during the amplification, but we’re pretty happy it’s still on the ship because none of us really liked Jamie’s on Anthem. Oh! And Mom’s all-time favorite musical is Mamma Mia!, which is the show on Allure, so that couldn’t have worked out better! We’re two months out and planning has fully commenced! The things we’re looking forward to most are the food (of course), the aqua-theater balcony, the Dux mattress!!!!! (Kenzie is very jealous because she heard ALL about it last time), walks with Mom, drinking without being the designated driver, some great excursions, and making AMAZING memories together! I hope this blog is entertaining for you because I know we're going to have some very entertaining experiences! “Memories are the STARS that Brighten Our Dreams” ~Sharon Repp
  2. If we keep our noses clean until Wednesday our little band of misfits will be headed to Suite 1740, The Royal Loft on Allure this Saturday - the very place this Star Class nonsense began! Four years ago we sailed in this suite and experienced Star Class for the first time. I truly believe they put something in the endless parade of snacks and drinks that attacks whatever lobe of the brain might contain common sense. Because from that time forward our cruise planning goes something like this: “ Look, we can snag a great balcony room on an Oasis Class for a week for under $2500! Nah, let’s go ahead and fork out the $1.2 mil for the Royal Loft so we get free laundry!!” It’s a disease. And I’m not sure there’s a cure. This trip will be our core group of regulars: my bride Stacy who will be celebrating the end of 30 years of service as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, daughter Taylor who will be celebrating birthday #23 and the end of her preschool teaching career, and daughter Kaitlyn who will be celebrating introducing her boyfriend to cruising Star Class. I think in last years blog from this same room I referred to her “new boyfriend” who didn’t make that trip. Now he’s THE boyfriend who will be joining us. Welcome aboard Victor! Rounding out the group is yours truly, Jim, who will be celebrating still waking up each morning! It’s important to note, as I’m sure I’ll refer to it later, that it was very doubtful that this cruise would actually take place. We booked it over a year and a half ago. Then in April of this year the one formerly known as Nurse Ratchet hatched the brilliant idea to buy a local market and convert it into a restaurant. So, with a partner, we purchased the property and the dream to build Just a Small Town Grill (thanks Journey) began. It was at that point we accepted the probability that opening a new restaurant and taking a cruise around the same time probably wouldn’t happen. We have spent nearly 5 months planning to cancel this one. But thanks to County Building officials it now appears that we can squeeze this one in while we wait for them to waddle through the governmental red tape and approve a Land Use Permit. I gripe daily about the hoops they are making us jump through but inside I’m a little grateful for their incompetence and other nonsense! I’ll write more tomorrow about our plans, travel, Genie Jay and other details. Hope you all come along for the ride!
  3. Excited to be sailing this Saturday. Just sharing a little explanation about the late start for this thread. There is a fairly significant back story to this sailing and some reasons why it is starting at this time. I’ll share a portion of the story in posts below. First just the basics. We will be doing the 8 night southern Caribbean on the Allure of the Seas. It will be myself, wife and son. We have added my parents to sail with us this cruise. For anyone who chooses to follow along, I’ll try to do some brief but regular updates but as this trip is going to focus on the family time, so I’m apologizing ahead of time for any brevity or lack of updates.
  4. We will be a party of 4 this time. It will be hubby and I my sister Renee and her better half Vithana. Celebrations: Vithana: retirement Cruisin and Boozin: birthday Cabin: Aqua theater suite deck 8 Itinerary: Oct 1: Ft. Lauderdale Oct 2: Sea day Oct 3: Labadee Oct 4: Sea day Oct 5: Oranjestad Aruba Oct 6: Willemstad Curaçao Oct 7: Sea day Oct 8: Sea day Oct 9: Ft Lauderdale and travel day(sad day) Travel We will be driving. It will take us 2 days. Stopping first night in Lake City, Florida. Second night we will be in Ft Lauderdale. We will be using Best Western hotel chain this trip. On the way home we again will drive to Lake City,Florida. Last day of driving on to drop Renee and Vithana off at there house. About us This will be Vithana’s first cruise ever. Having said that we just want him to be wowed. This will be Renee’s 4th star class cruise and our (hubby and I ) 8th star class sailing. Star class info The star class questionnaire never came. 22 Days till we sail no email from a genie as of yet. I have been in contact with both my travel agent and Royal Caribbean and still nothing has been done. Even though we haven’t heard from a genie we are super excited. None us have been to Aruba or Curaçao so this should be fun.
  5. Sailing Star class in A1 two bedroom Aquatheater suite on Wonder of the seas, June 5, 2022. Sailing with my wife and another couple from San Diego. Both couples are celebrating 10 years of marriage. Sometimes it only feels like 10 minutes…..underwater. Additionally departure day is both ladies birthday. The lovely brides are celebrating an undeclared age. We have Israel as our Genie. Have sent him dining requests. Waiting for entertainment schedule for show planning. Booked an excursion through Royal for all ports. Flying nonstop San Francisco to Barcelona two days before sailing. Waiting for June protocols for Booster since over 270 days since second vaccine dose. Will all get booster if necessary to avoid hassle of extra testing. Looking forward to this trip. I made booking on release day in December 2020 when ship was Allure. Kept same room with ship transition in September 2021. I will effort to answer any questions and post photos and updates along the way. Cheers!
  6. The Festivus Star Class Miracle Blog is officially underway!! We are counting down the days until our 2nd star class cruise; this one on Oasis. I have been reluctant to start this blog for fear of something messing it up but I am trying to push that fear aside and enjoy this experience. Plus if I am going to post in real time about the star class process I really need to get started! So when in doubt I turn to my Magic 8 Ball. I got an “outlook good” “without a doubt” and “yes” so here we are!! Like so many others, getting to this point has been a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs and it will truly be a Festivus Miracle once we board Oasis! This cruise was originally planned for Easter 2021, then Easter 2022 and due to hubby’s work schedule, we had to do a last minute change to Christmas 2021. Inventory was limited, so it initially meant no star class for us, so we settled on the last available crown loft suite. I had my TA waitlist us for any star class suite that came available on Deck 17. At the 56 day mark our Festivus star class miracle was granted when the Grand Panoramic Suite became available. I grabbed it! I am still doing a happy dance! Our first and only cruise with Royal was over Christmas 2019 on Anthem. It was star class and soon after that cruise we knew that we wanted to try an Oasis class ship; specifically for Deck 17 and the proximity to the Suite lounge and CK. We had a few hiccups on that cruise so we are looking forward to having a much better onboard experience this time! I now have the benefit of a TA, all of your expertise and the wisdom gained from this amazing community over the past 2 years so I think we should be in good hands! I owe a huge thank you to @Lovetocruise2002 @Mindybrite @WAAAYTOOO along with others who have generously shared their knowledge, expertise and advice. I share @Lovetocruise2002love of suites and star class and consider myself a “west coast Canadian suite snob”. LOL Thank you doesn’t seem like enough but I hope to pay it forward through this blog. Now let’s get started!
  7. Greetings fellow travelers! First time at blogging, first time on Ovation, first time in a Grand Loft, first time in a "star class", and I've never had a genie before, so this cruise brings lots of new and exciting adventures for me and my family! Our cruise is 9 nights, March 21-31, 2019, starting and ending in Sydney; 5 days at sea, 3 ports of call (Mystery Island, Vila, and Noumea). We are a family of four.....two exhausted middle age parents (pumpkin is 55, I'm 50) who apparently, at the age of 39, thought it would be a brilliant idea to start a family....so our twins are now 10. As a family we've done 3 previous cruises, all on RCI; we've enjoyed staying in the family suite, the owner's suite, and the grand suite. This spring break, we decided to drop the bomb on this cruise and stay in a Grand Loft Suite. We booked the cruise a few days ago. I am starting this blog early enough that I can share the details of when this "genie" reaches out to us, and how having this perk touches the pre-cruise stage. And then, of course, there will be the blow-by-blow stuff once we actually get to Sydney. I tried to do my due diligence before booking this suite, by reading all I could about Star Class, but I found there was a paucity of actual reviews and so by writing this blog, I hope to give fellow cruisers another source of information on the benefits of both the Suite, and the whole Star Class, genie thing. So I'll update this blog as things start to happen. Cheers!! Kim
  8. Hi everyone. Sometimes it feels like things will never get here. I booked this sailing an entire different world ago. It’s crazy to think that back in November 2019 (18th to be exact) we were fun and fancy free. Running around without masks, no vaccines and a stable supply of light sweet crude oil. It was 867 days ago and when I put down the deposit for this sailing after having had FOMO from one too many of Sabrina’s live blogs. We’re now three weeks away which means from booking to sailing it’ll be 888 days (which definitely means I should head to the craps table or roulette wheel.) I’ll be sharing a bit about the voyage every day or so leading up to departure and will keep up onboard as much as my blood alcohol level let’s me.
  9. Hello everyone! I have been reading all the blogs on here for a while so I figured it was my turn to give one back for everyone to read! We were originally booked on Harmony in the Villa Suite, but the ship was changed to Wonder (which IS exciting). Only problem was that there is no Villa Suite on Wonder so we were moved into the Ultimate Family Suite. I am SUPER excited as this will be our first time in Star Class, but there is a lot of uncertainty for me around this suite. The layout of it onboard wonder is unknown (to me at least) and since we were expecting to have 4 bedrooms and bathrooms, we will need to do a little bit of rearranging where people will sleep. I am looking forward to everyone following along and excited of course for another cruise!
  10. So, can anyone explain the drop off of luggage at the Star Class banner at Port Canaveral and parking your own car? It’s our first Star Class experience, so we have researched everywhere to find out how the process of dropping of luggage and parking you own car works at PC Should some of the party stay with the luggage while the driver leaves to park? I’m probably way overthinking how this process works (can’t help it - I’m a planner), but it was a bone of contention last night (OK - stupidly arguing) over what happens - drop off luggage, park car, go through security, etc. Any enlightenment will be greatly appreciated and maybe get me out of the doghouse TIA
  11. April 10 -17 2022 Who is on this trip: 7 of us ! It will be my hubby and I and the crew of 5. It was suppose to be 8 but my sister went with us in February because she couldn’t make this one. Itinerary:stops will be St Maarten , St Thomas and perfect day. When we booked it was suppose to be Antigua but it was later changed to St Maarten. We had our covid test today (Friday). Now we are waiting for all results so far 5/7 are back and negative. Travel We are driving to Port Canaveral. Plans for tomorrow night staying 6 miles from port. We will leave early Saturday morning from Birmingham Al. We have plans to stop in Port Orange to eat at Aunt Catfish’s. Our genie for this trip is Alexa. We have received our schedule of shows and restaurants. I’m sooo excited for Grease. It just has to be so much better than Cats.
  12. Does anyone know if there is a limit to how many devices you can set up with Voom in a Star Class Suite? I know each person gets it, but is is one device per person? TIA
  13. 728 days, and three cancelled cruises and we are finally getting back to sea! I feel like I have been waiting so long to start this blog I now feel like this lady...... We are headed back to sea sailing on Oasis of the Seas in a 2BRATS. This will be our first star class experience, so to say that we are excited is a massive understatement. Behind all that excitement is that looming fear that one of us tests positive just before we leave. Thankfully though with numbers in our area plummeting, that fear is getting less and less. Originally I would have started this blog a long time ago, and probably have gladly taken the "earliest blog crown" but like @Lovetocruise2002 said in her last blog, I'd hate to start this and then, poof never mind! All of us in our travel group are still wearing masks even though the mandate has been dropped. We want to do everything as possible to make sure that we don't test positive prior to this cruise. Being that my wife Heather and I work in health care, we REALLY need this vacation! Okay, enough doom and gloom, let's get into the fun stuff. Who's sailing: Me, obviously...The wife, Heather, Daughter Lydia 12, Son Johnathan 8 and my sister Julie. Stateroom: We have the deck 9 2BRATS. We booked this cruise the day the itineraries were released. With two kids in school this one coincided with their winter break, and we are basically stuck with this week. Had COVID not struck, this actually would have been our second time in this room. We had this same cruise, eastern itinerary, booked for 2021, and we all know what happened there. Itinerary: This is a Western Caribbean and perfect day that leaves out of Miami. Day 1: Miami Day 2: Perfect Day at Coco Cay Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Cozumel Day 5: Roatan Day 6: Costa Maya Day 7: At Sea Day 8: Worst day ever We are excited about this itinerary. This will be our first time back to Perfect Day with the beach club open, and the kids are old/tall enough to fully use the thrill water park. We had such a blast at Roatan the last cruise we are on, so we are excited to go there again....okay...okay...its really because of the sloths....but I digress. We have not been to Costa Maya yet, so this will be a new one for us. More to come. I'll try to break up these first bunch of posts to make this easy to read.
  14. Getting this party started early because I am just way too excited! Can you tell? ? Here goes....
  15. I’m late getting this going but now decided that I needed to do this! We have always stayed in aqua suites before this sailing. We are in 1720 this time . Wow is all that I can say. So some background now. Back in either October 2016 or February 2018 my first and second star class sailing we met this wonderful lady that introduced us to deck 17 cabins. She also told me about rcclblog. So all thanks goes out to @WAAAYTOOOfor showing us their cabin. From there I knew one day I would stay on deck 17. I’m probably not going to do this justice but going to give it a go. Saturday we flew to Miami. Left Birmingham Al and flew to Miami. With the nor’easter our fight got changed 2 hours later. We made it to Atl was suppose to leave at 11:10 sat on airplane till 12:40 before leaving. Anything and everything that could happen to hold us up did. Finally in Miami took an Uber to Miami hotel. We stayed at Holiday inn port of Miami. This hotel is ok for a one night stay. It is an older hotel in need of a lot of updates. Took an Uber to port of Miami Sunday. We got to star class check in at 11:10. What a breeze going in, a lot faster that November cruise. We were first on board at 11:30 when the doors opened. Derick our genie took us up to coastal kitchen for lunch and waited to go to our cabin from there. Wow factor of the loft star class suite is a 15 on a scale of 1-10!! Dinner was again in Coastal kitchen. Wonderful filet for dinner after that we saw a great entertainer. Finis Henderson another wow moment. He can do amazing impressions as well as singing like past artist. My favorite was Garth Brooks and the let’s go down to the Oasis song. Monday breakfast was in Costal kitchen.Then we were off to Coco Cay. We had the water park and yes it was cold that morning.But we made it through as it quickly warmed up. Dinner was at Chops. Never a bad meal here. Aqua 80’s was the show, very windy and cool. But it was a great show. Tuesday sea day: breakfast Coastal kitchen lunch at Playmakers. Tonight will be 150 Central Park for formal night. Back later to continue.
  16. I cannot wait any longer! I am so STARry eyed , that my eyes burn with glee! We are a little over two months away from our first Star Class cruise experience on board the Anthem of the Seas. My husband Rob and I are in the midst of making arrangements for our upcoming dream vacation while simultaneously selling our house and buying a new house around the block lol. Yes we are crazy, but who isn't LOL? I am driving Rob bananas (I always have to sing that Gwen Stefani song in my head when spelling B-A-N-A-N-A-S!) asking him if we received the Star Class questionnaire yet. Rob is the responsible one who checks emails every hour so I am at his Mercy LOL. In the meantime, here is the lowdown of our anniversary cruise thus far: ***P.S. SHOUT OUT to @WAAAYTOOO @Jax @Lovetocruise2002 @CravingaCruise and many others for your guidance and blogs that kept me up till 2 AM too many nights LOL Who: Andrew & Rob What: Anthem of the Seas Star Class Cruise 10 year Wedding Anniversary Celebration! Staying in GLS #10324 When: February 11th, 2022 Where: Who cares? We are going on a cruise lol San Juan, St. Maarten, Labadee (probably will change) & 5 cruising days (We love sea days)!!! I have already made a document of preferences that I have finessed like thirty times so we (me) do not sound completely insane! I have heard good things about both Yen and Jay so we are going to try to request either of them to be our magic Genie! I am looking forward to posting again soon once our questionnaire comes!
  17. 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!
  18. 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!!!
  19. 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.
  20. 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!
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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!
  24. 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
  25. 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
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