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  1. Hubby put his foot down, "this is it!!". It will still be the 3 of us as kiddo is living home year one of University. Opted for the Family 2 bedroom suite in the back with two bathrooms as well. The price was fair & while I wanted to try the Royal Suite, the split bathroom and the tiny balcony for over $5,000 more was a hard no. We just couldn't wrap our minds around the extra cost with minimal amenities that did not add up. We have never been to Belize so we are looking forward to a new place. The balcony with this suite is huge, summer sailing so we will make great use of it! Thank goodness @Matt did a fantastic ship tour which addressed some fears of sailing the oldest ship in the fleet. We know there will be old furnishings and some rust on this sailing but I love the classic cruise vibe Lady G has. * as an aside I had ghost booked a Celebrity sailing for the same time frame & while the value for money was there and the experience super elevated we had to sail from Miami, I've sailed from Miami before (3 times) and don't love it. (travelling there by car, ugh) We will wait until Celebrity puts a ship in PC or somewhere closer in the summer months here in Florida. I received a phone call from Celebrity, my caller ID said Royal Caribbean. To my surprise they were concerned and really wanted to know why I didn't book, what a nice man. I was shocked they called & we spoke for about 10 minutes, it made me even more excited to sail Celebrity in the future! Huge thanks to @Sharla for all her help with this booking
  2. Boarding Brilliance of the Seas in Tampa in just 5 short days. Guess I should start on my packing and gathering! We are flying in to Tampa on the red-eye as per usual and will arrive in Florida at the crack of dawn on cruise day. This is my first time booking through Air2Sea so we can feel even more comfortable about the day-of arrival; other options all get you to Florida more than 24 hours before boarding which is not ideal. We’re planning on Ubering to the Channelside neighborhood and biding our time before our 11:30am boarding time slot. Itinerary This 5-night sailing makes two port stops in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. I booked this sailing as a replacement for our 2021 Oasis cruise which changed to a PDCC/Nassau itinerary at the last minute and we missed getting to see Cozumel! We were originally going in April but RC axed a couple of Brilliance’s Tampa sailings to leave for the west coast sooner, and I was able to snag this date that retained the same port itinerary. Day 1 - Saturday - Departs Tampa, FL Day 2 - Sunday - Cruising Day 3 - Monday - Cozumel Day 4 - Tuesday - Grand Cayman Day 5 - Wednesday - Cruising Day 6 - Returns to Tampa Who’s Going - my husband (Adrian) and I (Daryl) Cabin Junior Suite 1078. On my original sail date I had the luxurious aft mega-balc 1100 booked but it sadly got away from me when that sailing was cancelled. I am happy to return to a junior suite after our last 3 Royal sailings in tiny OVBs. We had a full suite for our honeymoon sailing in Greece and now I can’t go back to having to squeeze around each other at the foot of the bed! I also put in weeeeak RoyalUp bids for the 1 and 2 Bedroom GS and the OS. Pre-Purchases As usual, I had to stalk the DBP for awhile before purchasing. I know everyone says to book immediately and cancel when it drops but it started out at an outrageously high $96 so I had to wait it out and was rewarded with the bargain basement price of $64.99 pp/pd. FYI I kept this low price in my cart from a previous sale for about 3 months before pulling the trigger. When I purchased, the current rate was $86.99 so I HIGHLY recommend leaving nice prices in your cart if you don’t want to purchase immediately. We have two specialty dinners reserved; Izumi on night 2 and Giovanni’s on our last night which I tried to align nicely with the new MDR menus that weren’t speaking to me (namely, French and Bon Voyage Night ) This live blog will be uploaded by way of only ONE shared Voom Surf and Stream code between us, hopefully we will be good at seamlessly kicking each other off. Excursions In Cozumel, I booked an excursion I picked out and paid for all the way back in March of 2020! Unfortunately the May 2020 cruise I booked that for was obviously cancelled, then I booked the same excursion for our Nov 2021 cruise that didn’t end up going to Coz, so this time around it took no effort at all to make a selection for this port day. The excursion is through Shore Excursioneer and visits Punta Sur Eco Beach Park and the east side of the island and also includes snorkeling, tequila tasting and lunch. All of this accessed by guest-operated dune buggies which sounds right up our alley. In Grand Cayman, I rented us bikes through Adventura Cayman and they include delivery and pick up near the cruise port. I had planned on renting them through a Lyft-like app called Cycle Cayman on the day of, but after perusing their available bikes on several recent cruise mornings, didn’t find a ton of reliable supply. This way we’ll definitely get the bikes and won’t have to worry about someone renting them while we’re Seven-Mile-beaching and becoming stranded. The Royal version of this excursion was $80 each and only lasted 3 hours so hopefully I’ve made a good choice. Can’t wait to peddle STRAIGHT TO HELL! (Hell, Grand Cayman, that is) This is finally a vacation that I feel like I truly need after some stressful months at work.. and as a graphic / UI/UX designer, this threshold is kinda hard to hit since normally my job is pretty fun. I am mostly excited for 80ºF days! As a native San Diegan, I am much more susceptible to the cold and even though the lowest we’ve gotten here is 35º and rainy, I am frozen and am in urgent need of thawing. Tampa, Coz and Grand Cayman all look to be in the high 70s-low 80s currently with a possible thunderstorm in Tampa on embarkation day. My husband is Puerto Rican so we both love trying to use our Spanish skills on the fly. I learned Greek for our trip last summer (γεια σου Ελλαδα!) but only ever used it more as a parlor trick than a means of actually communicating like we tend to need south of the border. Duolingo, here I come! Let me know if you’ve got any Brilliance or Tampa questions. We’ve only ever sailed out of Miami, SD and LA so it should be fun to navigate in a new city and get to sail out under the Sunshine Skyway!
  3. Check This Out. http://www.tampabay.com/business/holland-america-drops-tampa-as-cruise-ship-port-but-maybe-not-forever-20190122/ What Do You Think About This.
  4. We are heading out on our cruise from Tampa this summer. We will be there early the day before. We DO NOT want to rent a car - with that. Do you recommend staying closer to the cruise port or would you go ahead and stay closer to the beach? ALSO - if the cruise departs at 4pm, what time should we board. Thanks everyone! It's our first cruise.
  5. Hey everyone! I wanted to provide you with a review of my recent Brilliance sailing. Please check it out HERE.
  6. Brilliance of the Seas – Monsters of Rock Cruise Feb. 2-7 Most likely if you have been hanging around Matt’s daily Periscopes lately you have heard me boasting about my wife’s and my annual pilgrimage to sunny Florida or Los Angles for the Monsters of Rock Cruise. This will be number 5 for us. For the first time ever, it will be held on a Royal Caribbean ship, Brilliance of the Seas, and I figured I’d share with everyone for a couple of reason. First of all. it is a RCCL cruise. Second it is a 100% buyout/charter so things are run a little different, and third and most importantly (to me) it is an 80’s rock n’ roll cruise. Being a charter you will not find any dress code. It’s a sea of black concert t-shirts and hiked up mini shirts in the MDR. BINGO will not be played, port shopping seminars won’t happen and the sexiest man and Belly flop competition are the furthest things from anybody’s mind. We came to rock out! Even the drink package is ‘worked differently’ (more on that later)! My wife and I will be flying to Tampa from San Antonio the prior like all good and well behaved cruiser should. The cruise happenings will actually start the night we arrive at a club in downtown Tampa a stone’s throw from the Port. Vince Neil, the front man of the 100 million record selling band Motley Crue will perform this Pre-Cruise Party. He will also perform on the ship. Our itinerary will be: Wednesday - February 1, 2017 - Optional Pre-Cruise Party Thursday - February 2, 2017 - Depart – Tampa, Florida 4 pm Friday - February 3, 2017 - Day at Sea Saturday- February 4, 2017 - George Town, Grand Cayman - 7 am - 3 pm Sunday - February 5, 2017 - Cozumel, Mexico - 11 am - 6 pm Monday - February 6, 2017 - Day at Sea Tuesday - February 7, 2017 -Arrive – Tampa, Florida -7 am Who doesn’t love 80’s rock? From the cheesiness of teased hair to the heart pound sound coming from their interments, it’s always ‘nothing but a good time’. The listing of bands to perform (each at least twice) are… as of today†Vince Neil Cinderella’s Tom Keifer QUEENSRYCHE NIGHT RANGER STYPER TNT KIX SLAUGHTER DANGER DANGER D*A*D SOTO (JEFF SCOTT SOTO ~ TSO, MOVIE ROCK STAR, YNGWIE, BRIAN MAY BAND) Y&T LYNCHE MOB (GEORGE LYNCHE of DOKKEN) KILLER DWARFS SAIGON KICKS ELECTRIC BOYS THE ANSWER BEASTO BLANCO INGLORIOUS BLACK N’ BLUE FASTER PUSSYCAT TORA TORA GIRLSCHOOL JOHN CORABI (MOTLEY CRUE, THE SCREAM, UNION) KIP WINGER (WINGER) JOEL HOEKSTRA (FOREIGNER, WHITESNAKE, NIGHT RANGER, TSO, MOVIE ROCK OF AGES) HEAVEN’S EDGE PARADISE KITTY (ALL FEMALE GnR TRIBUTE BAND) Hosted by EDDIE TRUNK (NY DJ AND EX RECORD COMPANY A&R GUYS COMEDIAN DON JAMISON COMEDIAN JIM FLORENTINE & LUC CARL XM RADIO DJ, FITNESS BUFF, AND LADY GA GA’S EX As usual, we will barely sleep!! Some days the shenanigans start at 10 AM and goes well past midnight…..for 5 days !! In a way, this is a Super Bowl Cruise! Being that the SB will be played in Houston while we are sailing around the waterways of the Western Hemisphere. We had custom made football jerseys with our name on the back that replicate the logo Monsters of Rock is using this trip. The MORC folks have set up theme night which we tend to ignore. Themes in the past have been Prom Night, Pajama Night, Pimps and Hoe’s…. Yeah I know…what are we 10 yrs old!!! A few people get into it, but it is not our thing. We are busy watching the musical acts!! Our stateroom is going to be a junior suite. This category and above are considered VIP staterooms and come with several perks a standard stateroom will not afford you. With VIP you get special check in that is considered different than the Crown & Anchor check in on traditional cruises, but essentially the same thing. You always get a balcony stateroom even with the lower category VIP staterooms. You get Early Access to all theatre shows so you can have first choice of being against the stage or any seat in the theater. On the Monsters of Rock cruises, there are meet and greets for every band where you can rub elbows with each band member and take pictures and an occasional autograph. VIP lets you get to the head of the line which is great because you can be standing in line for hours to meet your favorite rock star on board without it. We go for the VIP just to make life a little easier. Many band members will also be very laid-back and hang out in the Windjammei’r, on the pool deck, in the Centrum, or even Casino. Most of them have had their Hay Day and have checked the ego at the door. Last thing I will talk about in this post is the special drink package that MORC has arranged with Royal Caribbean. For $360 you get 60 drink tickets. These can be split like my wife and I do, or even given away to anyone you wish to buy a drink for. NOT everyone in the stateroom is required to purchase. Each ticket can get you a cocktail or adult beverage up the value of $12. If you go over $12 they will just ask for two drink tickets. I did the math on this one and there is no doubting that it is an excellent deal ...$360.oo/60 tickets is $6 each drink. It’s hard to find a deal like that on land. Almost makes me mad that the regular price a drink package on traditional cruisesare so much more. Well, that is all for now. I will update as my vision sees fit. I will post more posts and pictures during the trip thanks for reading. @Motleybrue AKA Mike Taylor www.MonstersofRockCruise.com
  7. Anybody else going Jan 7 Brilliance out of Tampa? We're newbies and looking for people in the "know". ;) Rob & Cindy
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