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  1. By FlowBro Ty Hi All Want To Get Every One's Idea What The Oasis Class Will Get During Dry Dock. Here's What I Think. Laser Tag At Studio B Playmaker's A Upgraded Mini Golf Jamie Italian Here I Want To Join The Ship. The Ultimate Abess Slide The Prefect Storm Slides Let Me Know What You Guess What The Oasis Will Get. Thanks
  2. Royal Caribbean has committed to invest nearly $100 million in a new 200,000 square foot Terminal 3 in Galveston by the fall of 2021. Royal Caribbean has said this kind of investment would likely mean that Oasis Class and Icon Class ships would sail from here. The new terminal will have facial recognition technology for Customs and Border Protection operations. Galveston is the fourth busiest cruise port in the USA and the 11th busiest in the world. Cruise ships calling Galveston their home include: Liberty of the Seas - 154,407 GT - 3,648 Passengers - 7 night sailings Enchantment of the Seas - 82,910 GT - 2,284 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Repositions to San Juan Nov 2020) Adventure of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,114 Passengers - 4-5 night sailings (Arrives 16 Nov 2020) Carnival Vista - 133,500 GT - 3,934 Passengers Carnival Dream - 130,000 GT - 3,646 Passengers Carnival Freedom - 110,000 GT - 2,980 Passengers Disney Wonder - Nov/Dec/Jan holiday sailings each year Cruise Terminal 1, which serves mainly Carnival, is the largest single-berth cruise facility in the world at over 257,000 square feet. There is a variety of information about sailing from the Port of Galveston in various posts across these message boards. I've decided to consolidate what I have posted elsewhere and add some other Galveston information here. I will try to update this post as I think of additional information that cruisers may need, or if you request specifics. Here we go! Planning & Tourist Info You can't beat this website for information on everything that is happening in Galveston: www.galveston.com Transportation Fly into HOU (Houston Hobby Airport) if you can. It's much closer to Galveston than IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport) and you won't have the Houston traffic to deal with. Tip: HOU is a large hub for Southwest Airlines. They often don't show up on the travel booking sites so you need to book at www.southwest.com. You can't beat their "bags fly free" policy and "no change fees". Here are some options for getting to Galveston from the airport: Galveston Limousine Service - provides very affordable shared rides from the two Houston airports with either their scheduled service (8 trips per day) or you can arrange a private car. Currently the pricing for the scheduled service from Hobby Airport to the Cruise Terminal is $20/person one way if you book online. From Hobby to your hotel is about $25/person one way. Owned by a local family of good folks. Galveston Express - Their pricing starts at $25/person each way. Uber - Uber and other ride sharing companies now operate in Galveston! Arrange a Towne Car or Suburban in advance and the fare from HOU to Port of Galveston should be about $140-150 plus tip Enterprise Rent A Car - Enterprise is the only rental car company on the island. You should be able to rent from Enterprise at the airport and drop it off on the Island. The Island location is open on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 1 pm, so you can drop off on the weekends as well as week days. Some others on the message boards have rented a car at the airport for the week, paid to park it at the port, and then returned it to the airport upon disembarking. Arriving By Car I-45 is undergoing several phases of construction that will continue through 2022 and beyond. TxDOT is widening I-45 all the way to Galveston Island. I-45 south ends on Galveston Island. When arriving on the island, if you turn off at the "Cruise Terminal" exit (Harborside Drive) you will hit a traffic back-up as you approach the cruise terminals. To avoid this traffic jam, as you drive down I-45 and arrive on the Island, continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends and follow these directions: Continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends. Continue to 22nd street and turn left. Follow 22nd and it will dead end at the entrance to the cruise terminals. This route will avoid the lengthy backup on Harborside Drive. As you enter the Cruise Terminal area, stay to the left to bypass the Carnival Cruise drop-off area, then you will see that big familiar Royal Caribbean ship at Terminal 2. Drop your luggage with the porters, and then proceed to your parking location. It is highly recommended that you drop your luggage at the terminal before parking. This prevents you from lugging all of those suitcases on and off of a shuttle bus. Parking Matt points out elsewhere on the message boards that if you just Google "Galveston cruise parking" you will see several parking options. I highly recommend researching on Google and then making a reservation on line with one of the parking companies, especially if you want an indoor or covered space as these sell out (especially now, with so many ships sailing from Galveston). Prepaying usually gets you about a 10% discount and a guaranteed parking space. Port Parking has several locations with indoor, outdoor, and indoor park & walk in historic industrial buildings. Located a few blocks from the terminal, they have shuttle busses to get you to the port, and they also have an indoor park & walk option. They also have electric vehicle chargers, including Tesla destination chargers. I parked here for a recent cruise and had great service. I am personal friends with one of the partners in this venture and they are good folks who own other local businesses. The closest indoor option is also walkable to the ship: Galveston Park N Cruise. I have used them several times and they are very nice and helpful people. You can drop your bags and family at the pier and then go park your car and walk back to the ship. You can prepay for "official" Port of Galveston parking and receive a discount. The Port of Galveston offers covered, uncovered, and garage parking. I have driven past all of the private lots and the "official" lot and they are all fenced and gated. Some may be a little nicer than others but I would have no hesitation using any of them. Prices vary based on distance from the ship and whether the spaces are open, covered, or indoor. They are all only a short shuttle ride to the ship and some are walkable. Many of the private lots that provide shuttles now offer a discounted rate if you "park and walk" instead of riding the shuttle. We have done this a couple of times and enjoy walking a few blocks to the ship after dropping off our bags at the pier (if it's not too hot, humid, or raining of course). Hotels There are a couple of hotels near the port and the historic Strand District in Galveston. It's a great idea to arrive a day or two early and enjoy the island ambiance. The Harbor House is very convenient to the ship and to many nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. The Tremont House is also very walkable to the Strand, the Port and nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. The Tremont House is a Wyndham Hotel located in a beautiful historic building. The Tremont's rooftop bar has wonderful views of the island and port area. The lobby bar has live jazz on many Friday and Saturday nights. There are plenty of other hotels on the Island, many along the Seawall facing the Gulf of Mexico. Some provide transportation to the port or offer park & cruise options. Call the hotel that you are interested in to confirm that they provide cruise parking. Galveston has a wide range of hotel prices depending on day of week (weekends obviously much higher), whether there are major events happening, and the season (summer is the busy season here). Booking hotels during Mardi Gras (February), Lone Star Biker Rally (early November), Art Walk (every 6 weeks) and other major events will be much more expensive. Galveston Dining Looking for a great dining experience in Galveston? Please avoid the tourist traps and chain restaurants that will leave you disappointed. Eat at these locally owned restaurants that use locally sourced, fresh food, including fresh Gulf seafood right from the docks in Galveston. All restaurants are casual dress unless noted, and all are family friendly (even most of the bars). Most serve craft beer on tap from Galveston Island Brewing. My only connection to these places is that I have personally eaten at them multiple times and I love them all! Rudy and Paco - 2028 Post Office St (21st and Post Office) - Arguably the best restaurant on the island. Wonderful food with a South and Central American flair. Best service on the island. A little expensive but worth it. We like going for lunch because it's very affordable (lunch served weekdays only). No shorts allowed at dinner. Reservations suggested and are a must on weekends or when The 1890 Grand Theater has an event. Riondo's Ristorante - 2328 Strand (24th and Strand) - Our favorite Italian restaurant on the island. Beautiful historic building built in 1895 in the Strand Historic District. "Farm to Fork" sourcing and they make their own pasta. Tell them you "want a table in the vault." Mama Teresa's Flying Pizza and Italian - 416 21st Street - This is the place for pizza. They also have nice Italian dishes. Convenient to the Post Office Street Arts District for a nice after-dinner stroll. Cafe at the Tremont House - 2300 Ships Mechanic Row (Mechanic Street) - Beautiful historic hotel built in 1879 near the Strand Historic District. Enter the main entrance, up a few stairs, and the cafe is just off the lobby to the right. Nice salads, flatbread pizzas, Panini. Most weekend evenings there is live jazz in the lobby, which is why we go here (in addition to the good food and casual, historic atmosphere). There is a beautiful bar at the opposite end of the lobby with several Galveston Brewing options on tap. Before or after dinner, take the elevator to the top floor, turn left, and walk to the end of the hall to the rooftop bar to cap off the experience. Eatcetera - 408 25th Street - Gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, Panini. European-trained chef/owner, spotlessly clean restaurant and kitchen. Vegan options. Brews Brothers Brew Pub - 2404 Strand - Huge craft beer selection, creative American bar food, and soccer matches on the televisions. Order at the bar and they bring to your table. Very casual. You wouldn't expect it for a bar, but the food here is excellent. Burgers, fresh made chips, and daily/weekly specials. Much more quiet and way better food than the establishment next door with the loud music. Shark Shack - 2402 Strand - Casual seafood and burgers with a full bar and several local beers on tap. Stuttgarden Tavern - NO LONGER RECOMMENDED DUE TO A DECLINE IN SERVICE, SANITATION, AND YELP RATINGS Olympia Grill at Pier 21 - CLOSED AS OF APRIL 2019 Taquilo's - 2101 Post Office - cool corner Tex-Mex restaurant on artsy Post Office Street. Can be crowded but they don't take reservations, so arrive early on weekends, or try them for lunch. Gumbo Bar - 2105 Post Office - New Orleans flair, Gumbo, cioppino, seafood, po' boys, huge beer selection. After dinner, have dessert across the street at Hey Mikey's Ice Cream or Mod Coffeehouse (see below). Try their outside seating for nice street views - a great place to people watch! Hey Mikey's Ice Cream - 2120 Post Office Street - Ice cream is made in the store. Unique treats like Ice Cream Nachos (share with a friend) and traditional favorites. You gotta' go here! Note: this place is owned by a nice island family. It is sometimes closed over the winter holidays. Mod Coffeehouse - 2126 Post Office Street - comfortable with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music many weekend evenings. Coffee, tea, espresso, latte, home baked goods. Farley Girls Cafe - 801 Post Office Street - Free validated parking lot adjacent (on Post Office Street). Owned by two local sisters, this is one of those places where everything is great. Casual, order at the counter and they deliver it to your table. Lunch served daily plus weekend brunch. Closed for dinner. Good place for a quick but excellent meal. Note: as of June 1, 2019 Farley Girls Cafe will be owned by Houston's Buck's Barbeque. They promise only subtle changes to the menu, like adding barbeque. The name will eventually change. It will be interesting to see how this develops! Blvd. Seafood - 28th and Seawall - One of the best seafood restaurants on the island. There isn't a lot of curb appeal outside but the inside is very nice. The food and service are both quite good and the seafood is all local. The red snapper is amazing and always comes fresh from Katie's Seafood Market. Jimmy's On The Pier - 9001 Seawall - On the 2nd story above the fishing pier (enter the souvenir shop, exit to the left, and up the stairs). Very casual with great views of the seawall and Gulf. Owner has their own farm and livestock for a true "farm to table" concept; other items locally sourced. Fish tacos, burgers, seafood, etc. "Brew selection as vast as the ocean view, Southern Farm Fresh Food from people who know why southerners are the best cooks." Embarkation Experience The terminal is open very early for check-in now (I try to arrive around 9:45 am and the terminal is already open for check-in). First you go through security (there are two lines: one for Expedited Arrival if you qualified by checking in on the Royal Caribbean app, and one line for everybody else. After going through security there is a large check-in area with several well-marked lines depending on what Crown and Anchor status you have and whether you are in a Suite. Boarding commences around 11:00 am (depending on when the ship is ready to accept guests) starting with Pinnacle Crown and Anchor members, then working their way down to Diamond Plus, Diamond, etc. Disembarkation Experience Self-assist disembarkation has become so popular that the lines to get off the ship for self-assist are very long! You may want to relax and have breakfast in the Main Dining Room and disembark the ship in a more leisurely fashion. Bringing Back Liquor & Cigarettes If you sail from the Port of Galveston, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has agents sitting at a table after you clear Immigration. They will ask you if you are bringing back any alcohol or cigarettes. If so, you will need to pay the state tax for importing them into the state, whether they are purchased in the ship's duty free store or in a foreign port of call (this also applies if importing from another state, but that's difficult for the TABC to collect). Although Texas state tax is due, these items are still exempt of any Federal duty. The law limits personal importation by an adult to once every 30 days with limits of 1 gallon of distilled spirits, 3 gallons of wine, and 288 ounces of malt beverages (24 12-ounce containers). Tax due for a 750ml bottle of wine is $3.25, for a 750ml bottle of distilled spirits is $3.50. These rates include a $3.00 "administrative fee". Cigarette tax is $1.50/pack or $15.00/carton. Other tax rates are available online. You can pay with a credit card and they will give you a receipt and a sticker to place on the bottle. Failure to pay the tax and obtain the appropriate stamp will subject violators to a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year. We stayed legal and paid the $3.25 for our single bottle. I do not know if they do random luggage checks. Have a nice day and welcome home! Galveston Webcams Galveston has some great webcams. If you want to see what the cruise port looks like, or if your friends and family want to watch you sail away on Royal Caribbean via several live full-motion HD video cameras, go here (they have a pretty big following when ships are arriving and departing the port). There are several Carnival ships here as well, and they often block the view of the Royal Caribbean ships when they are alongside the dock. Try the Cruise Cam, Pier 23 Cam, Strand Cam, Marina Cam, Emerald Cam for some cool live video.
  3. Didn't want to put this in the ? What Will The Oasis Get During Dry Dock ? thread. Was thinking this might be better suited for a thread of its own. Left side is the new deck plan, right side old. White areas show a change. Click on the image to enlarge, much have to click again when the image pops up. If count was correct 60 new rooms added (D7-3, D9-1, D11-13, D12-13, D14-30). BlogPost: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2019/07/01/deck-deck-drydock-changes-oasis-of-the-seas
  4. Hello, I am searching for the Oasis of the seas and Voyager of the seas ship models. If anyone has any of these or are planning to go on board these ships please get in contact with me as I am willing to pay for the model, and cover shipping while paying you a little extra. I've been searching for these since I didn't pick them up upon my previous voyages, thank you.
  5. Thanks to @Wilson for tipping me off to this! Today's Galveston Daily News is reporting that the Port is near a deal with Royal Caribbean to bring an Oasis Class ship to Galveston in late 2020. The Port says Royal Caribbean would build the terminal on land leased from the Port of Galveston. The full article from the Galveston Daily News requires a subscription, but here is the full text: GALVESTON - July 15, 2018 Port of Galveston officials are nearing an agreement with Royal Caribbean to build a third cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston that could cost $85 million and bring the world’s largest passenger ship to the island in 2020. “We’re working toward a really good agreement,” said Ted O’Rourke, chairman of the port’s governing board. “It’s a great opportunity if we are able to put it together.” Port Director Rodger Rees in March announced that Royal Caribbean wanted to bring an Oasis-class ship to the island, but that doing so would require a new cruise terminal. The port already is home to two cruise terminals at piers 25 and 27, but the size of the Oasis-class ships requires additional support, officials said. Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, of which there are four with more planned, are more than 1,180 feet long and capable of carrying more than 6,200 passengers. Officials are discussing putting the third cruise terminal at Pier 10, next to the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and BMW vehicle processing plant, Rees said. “Right now, the talk is about having Royal Caribbean come in and build the terminal themselves, then we’d have them lease the land from the port, sharing in revenues with them. We’d control the parking aspect of it,” Rees said. Royal Caribbean officials did not respond to a request for comment by deadline Friday. The proposed facility would have to be about 155,000 square feet, port officials said. The BMW facility would not have to move under current plans, Rees said. The benefit of having Royal Caribbean build the cruise terminal would be that the port wouldn’t have to take on substantial debt and would, instead, be able to focus on its substantial infrastructure needs, Rees said. Ever since the Carnival Celebration made its first voyage from the island in September 2000, the port has come to depend more and more on the cruise business for revenues. The port depends heavily on revenues from cruise ships. Port officials anticipate about 55 percent of revenue budgeted for 2018 will be cruise related. Port officials are projecting operating revenues of about $37.4 million in 2018 against operating expenditures of $37.2 million, according to documents. “This doesn’t use up our borrowing power to build a new terminal,” Rees said. Addressing dilapidated facilities at the island’s public docks could cost as much as $250 million, a problem exacerbated by the fact the port is projected to bring in only about $250,000 in net income in 2018, port officials said. For a third cruise terminal to be ready to host an Oasis-class ship in the fall of 2020, officials will need a project planned and designed by about November, Rees said in a previous interview with The Daily News. There is not yet a final agreement with Royal Caribbean, and all details of the proposed third cruise terminal could still change, Rees said. The Wharves Board of Trustees must approve whatever agreement is eventually reached with the cruise line, Trustee Elizabeth Beeton said. The Port of Galveston is a landlord port, which generates much of its income from lease agreements with maritime tenants and fees related to ship calls. The port is home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships, one year-round Royal Caribbean ship, one seasonal Royal Caribbean ship and a seasonal Disney Cruise Lines ship. The Carnival Vista, the cruise line’s newest and biggest ship, will arrive at Galveston’s docks Sept. 23.
  6. Time arrived , another half YOLO cruise will start soon , YOLO since we booked it only at April. This is the 5th time we are doing the same cruise (Two times on Symphony, one time on Harmony and one time on Liberty) but there are always something new to do in each one of the Med ports Here is our plans : Day -1 – Barcelona/ Brussels - our flight is planned via brussels as it was the cheapest option , the only issue is that it comes with a very long stopover, the plan is to try and take an earlier fight from brussels , if not we will take the train to the city and eat fresh fries and maybe some famous Belgium chocolates. Day 1 – Barcelona. Day 2 – Palma de Mallorca, we have some excursion planned to the north part of the island. Day 3 - Marseilles , take the buss to the city and walkaround until I will need to catch a conference call , work related (the things I am doing to be able and cruise more). Day 4 - Florence/Pisa (La Spezia) – I might have something special for this port , a trip to Milan airport to retrieve what I left there yesterday , more about it later. Day 5 –Rome (Civitavecchia) – I booked a train trip to Rome , directly with the railway company , ¼ of the price the ship offers , to be on the safe side we are planning to catch the 4 PM train back which should bring us 3 hours before all aboard. Day 6- Naples (Capri) – No plans yet , we might take the bicycle tour if the weather will be nice or rent a car or just go off the ship and tour the city. Day 7 – be sad the cruise is over maybe overcome it with the Chef table. Day 8 – catch a 9:30 am flight back home (yes , we are walking over the edge this) time , still trying to see if I can find a direct flight in a decent price , if not it will be a very early day for us. As you can see we are traveling a day before the cruise and leaving on the same day coming back , I wanted to add at least one more day in Barcelona but I just could not make it happened, this time its really hard to navigate between work and vacation. So, why I consider to drive to Milan during the cruise ? , very simple , I was on a business trip few days ago, making sure I will be back on time for the cruise (meaning running away one day earlier than usual). I went to the airport , passed check in , security and border control enough time ahead to seat and relax in the airline lounge. I was drifted away working , trying to complete some tasks so I will have less things on my mind during the vacation when I heard the call for boarding. I packed very quickly, boarded the aircraft, went to my seat then reaching for my cellphone just to realize its gone, TA, TA , TA (dramatic music please) , my worst nightmare (naa , not really , my rea nightmare is to be late boarding RCL cruise ship 😊). Quickly I went to the front of the aircraft (was not upgraded this time , poor me) to notify the flight attended about the crises , she escorted me back to the gate , passing some un happy security people , were one of the ground team went to try and find my cellphone in the lounge. After five minutes I asked if I can go by myself , apparently it was Ok , went to the lounge just to hear that they did found it , but they were supper efficient and sent it to the lost and found …. , yes this is the first time they were really efficient. Now I had two options, one go out and fetch the cellphone from the lost and found , but it means I will need to do security and boarder control again, in other words I will loose my flight, which can risk the cruise … I had chosen the other option , leave my communication center , my camera , my VPN authentication device , my two phone numbers (the local one and the roaming T Mobile which is very useful for cruises) , my restaurant guide , my taxi and many other things , amazing how much of our lives is relying on one device. I did run back to the aircraft as they were waiting just for me. So here I was seating at my chair doing plans how to recover from the situation in the day or two I still had before the cruise. We landed at early morning and after a short taxi ride I was back home , finding that beside the cellphone I left behind also my keys … ops, lucky for me I have spare keys, what a ride . To be continued , need to pack 😊 For now , here is some last minute Caprese salad I prepared today to get ready for the trip
  7. We are going on Oasis in 18 days and we are in the aqua suite? Do you have any advice for us when we are on the boat? Thanks for allowing me to join. We have 2 cruise book for this year.
  8. Day -2 - Pre-cruise As I looked out this morning, the weather in beautiful St. Louis, MO confirmed that it is indeed time for a cruise. Nothing like a dreary day with the first flurry of snow for the year covering the roof tops to remind you that it's been 364 days of dry dock, time to start the live-blog, and offer a miserable picture to test out how to insert them into the blog and have them sized correctly. Sailings We will being a pseudo-side to side on Oasis and Enchantment out of Port Canaveral. Oasis will be a 7-night Western Caribbean starting November 11 through November 18. One night spent in Port Canaveral, then a 4-night Bahamas sailing on Enchantment from November 19 through November 23. Itinerary Day 1 - Port Canaveral, FL Day 2 - Sea Day Day 3 - Labadee Day 4 - Falmouth Day 5 - Sea Day Day 6 - Cozumel Day 7 - Sea Day Day 8 & 9 - Port Canaveral Day 10 - CocoCay Day 11 - Nassau Day 12 - Sea Day Day 13 - Port Canaveral We have a beach bungalow booked for Labadee. Falmouth we will probably stay in the cruise terminal. Cozumel we will be going to Nachi Cocom, then heading downtown to Coz Coffee and Chocolateria Isla Bella. CocoCay we have a Cabana booked, and then probably the cruise terminal again in Nassau. Who is Sailing: It will be my wife, Abby, our 4 year old daughter, and I on this sailing. I cruised once when I was a kid on the Big Red Boat. My next cruise was last year with Abby on Majesty of the Seas, and went to Grand Bahama and CocoCay (which we missed due to weather.) I get cruise incentives from my land-based casino, so we booked that cruise after final payment date on a whim. It was right before we left on the sailing that I found RCBlog, and now I am fully indoctrinated. This will be our daughter's first cruise, and she's been counting down the number of "sleeps" left since we were at 20. She can't wait to meet new friends in Adventure Ocean, and has been trying to convince us that all of her friends from school can come with us. So while this is our second RC cruise, it will be our first 7-nighter, first Oasis Class, and first just about everything else including first time in each of these ports. Other logistics Packing has been ongoing for about a week. Hoping to get it all finalized tonight. We fly out tomorrow from STL to MCO via Southwest. Tomorrow night will be in the Country Inn & Suites near the port. We will have a rental car from MCO to the hotel, returning it at the port. For the night in between cruises, we had the same hotel booked, choosing it originally due to the on-site laundry facilities. After @Matt posted the blog about the Holiday Inn Beach Club, we changed our stay there, due to in-room laundry, as well as everything else on property. Possibly even taking the rental car to Publix to cook dinner for ourselves. After we debark Enchantment, we are taking a shuttle from PC to MCO for our flight back. Cabins On Oasis we have a JS on deck 6 booked. The location should be great for it's location, and we envision Johnny Rockets for breakfast most mornings. On Enchantment, I've done the best I can do to ensure that my daughter will become a full on suite snob by booking a GS. The pricing was great for the upgrade, plus we got a great deal on the Oasis sailing by booking during a WOW sale last year with KSF and free gratuities. (Although I feel like I'm probably heading to #suitesnob status as well. Looking at booking Oasis again in Feb of 2020, and my eye is on a Crown Loft Suite...) Other thoughts -We will be #TeamNoDX. I had weight loss surgery in February and can't really drink much (down 200 lbs in about a year). My last drink was 2 weeks before surgery, but I imagine I may have to have at least a sip or two while on the ship or at Nachi. -We have the 3 night dining package booked on Oasis. We plan on being #TeamCK (more influence from our favorite Stubborn Canadian (wouldn't let me tag @lovetocruise2002 for some reason). If we can't do CK, we may opt for Solarium Bistro. On Enchantment we don't have any specialty dining booked. We'll either see if there are deals available, or take advantage of the MDR service in our room, especially on Thanksgiving Day. -Pictures will be with my iPhone 8 and the moment lenses. I'm opting not to bring my DSLR this trip, just so I can enjoy the journey, and work on shot selection vs. shot quality. Once I get a better idea of what shots to take on a cruise, and how to frame them, I move to bringing my DSLR. -We are excited for our daughter's first cruise. This will be her second time flying, but the first was with Grandma and Grandpa, so we're looking forward to that also. We are doing the Dreamworks Breakfast on Oasis, and the girls will be doing the Cupcake class on Enchantment. Finally, I'm hoping to do the live blog justice. Lots of great influences on the site, and I hope I hold a candle to some of them. We do have VOOM, so I'll try to be as interactive as possible. If there are questions, I'll try to get them answered. Now it's off to iron my best shorts and t-shirt for formal night and finish packing. -Lance
  9. We got off Lady O last Sunday (it was a fabulous cruise) and I took two of the 3 available martini classes that were held by Patrick in the Champagne Bar. The first class was on departure day and I didn't know about it but the two I did take were a lot of fun and quite the learning experience. I love mixed drinks but basically suck at creating them; this was my first time with actual teaching. Patrick was smart and engaging, and got nearly everyone to participate with making drinks. I highly recommend it. There is a $15 cost per class if you don't have a drink package and $10 if you do. I've been making them all weekend! Here is one of my best so far - the Toblerone Martini:
  10. I am still new to this board but have read and learned so much over the past few months. Thank you all. Right now I am laying in bed on the 2nd day of an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. I have sailed Voyager and Freedom class before and was excited but worried about the size of this class. My verdict is in, Oasis class gets two thumbs up. Here are my observations from the first two days: - it's all about the width. The extra space creates venues that are not just larger but not pass throughs to other parts of the ship. Boleros and the Schooner bar are two examples much more self contained and pleasing. - Where are those crowds? The ship seems less crowded than the other two classes I have sailed. Using advice from you all, embarkation lunch at the solarium, Park Cafe for snacks, first night at a specialty restaurant and even using the Coke machine in the arcade all were great suggestions! - Entertainment... I liked Cats. The talent was top notch. Oasis of Dreams was terrific unique. Spent an enjoyable hour in the Schooner bar listening to the piano player. - Having the solarium in front of the forward elevators makes the whole area more peaceful. Again less through traffic compared to other classes. - Had a couples massage right at sail away from Port Canaveral. Got to say it was a great way to leave the stress at the Port. The one thing I can confirm crowding were the pools for a few hours. They seemed more like hot tubs with so many people in them. Tomorrow is the first sea day so I am looking forward to exploring more and trying out some other RCBlog tips. Feel free to share more! 😀
  11. Sorry to say... I'm back again ready to provide another quality LIVEish! This time around I'll be on the Oasis of the Seas for Halloween. For those that want to get an idea of what I'll be posting look back at my last journey on board Also, keep an eye on Twitter/Periscope for any material not posted here. Twitter/Periscope: @CGTLH
  12. @Matt - Thanks for suggesting on your last podcast that we reproduce this cruise review email in the discussion boards. Yeah, it's lengthy, but we hope some newbies, or others who have not tried Oasis-class ships, will find some helpful suggestions from our first cruise on this wonderful, ginormous vessel... My wife and I have greatly enjoyed your podcast and the awesome website as we got back into cruising earlier this year. Your advice and advice from others on the message boards greatly enhanced our cruise experience. We provide our key takeaways at the end. Prior to our eastern Caribbean cruise on Oasis this February-March, we had only experienced Monarch of the Seas as chaperones for a local high school group trip in early 2010. We were quite impressed with that ship--the biggest/best from 1990--when we sailed her almost a decade ago. But we could not fully anticipate the staggering hugeness of Oasis when we first walked up to and boarded her. You can view all the videos and see all the photos you want, but that can't replicate the visceral impact seeing this beautiful behemoth in person. We flew to Orlando the day before embarkation at Port Canaveral and took a van from a travel company from the airport to our hotel in Cocoa Beach--cost was equivalent to Uber and we were the only riders. Yes, heed the advice of many and arrive in town the day before if you can't drive to the port. Peace of mind for making your cruise on time without a panic-filled dash is worth much more than a night's hotel stay! Although Royal notified us to arrive at the terminal for boarding between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m., we took your advice and arrived early at the terminal, by 10:00 a.m., and were quickly processed and received our Sea Pass cards. RC staff want to get passengers processed efficiently and did not ask about our scheduled time-slot for boarding as we thought they might. We received a Gold C&A member boarding card (labelled "Gold-3" to be exact) and did not have to wait long in the main room for the boarding process to begin, starting with Suite guests and working down the C&A ladder from Pinnacle to Gold. It took maybe 30 minutes at most to get to gold member boarding. Being pretty geeked out by now, we got our photo taken while boarding and were on the ship by about 11:15 a.m. Entering the ship on the Deck 5 Royal Promenade--a cool, glitzy three-deck-high space running up the middle of about half of the ship--we noticed the Globe and Atlas Pub, which called to us to baptize our pre-purchased ultimate drink package. Based on RC blog advice, we headed first to a specialty restaurant in Central Park on Deck 8 to make dining reservations for the cruise--this was much quicker than waiting in line at one of the restaurant reservation desks temporarily set up in the Royal Promenade. We pre-purchased the 3-night specialty dining package and had already scheduled 150 Central Park for dinner on day 2. We had no line at the desk at Giovanni's and booked a dinner there and at Chop's for times later in the cruise that would work well with our show reservations. From there we strolled across Central Park and had lunch at Park Cafe with only a 10 minute wait -- yes, those roast beef sandwiches at Park Cafe are fabulous! We then went up top and regaled in the views from the solarium, and areas for the main pools and wave runners on Decks 15 & 16. Our stateroom was open around 1:15 p.m. We had reserved a balcony room (14204) at the start of the bump in the middle of the port side on Deck 14. On our previous cruise, we stayed on Deck 3 in a small stateroom with a small window. A balcony 14 decks up provides an awesome vantage point—almost vertigo-inducing! My wife's luggage had arrived by then -- not at our stateroom door, but a ways down the corridor with a group of other luggage. Mine was not yet available. We met our room steward who told us it might take until 6:00 p.m. for all luggage to be delivered, which seemed odd as our luggage was on the same cart to begin with and I had intentionally avoided bringing in any items I knew were forbidden by RC (more on that later). After we checked out our stateroom, we headed to the main dining room on Deck 4 to see if we could switch from My Time dining to traditional dining at the earlier seating (5:30 PM), because this would work better with the shows we had reserved, and from our perception through some podcasts that My Time dining could take a bit longer than traditional. We spoke to a head waiter at the desk near the entrance to the dining room and he had no problem assigning us to fill out an eight-person table for traditional dining, which worked well for us and gave us a good opportunity to meet some other cruisers. After a bit more exploring and checking for my luggage – still had not arrived yet – we attended the muster drill and caught some of the sail-away festivities from the Deck 14 forward wing viewing area (another Oasis tip we learned from the RC Blog website). One last check for my luggage before we headed down to traditional dining. After a nice meal, we headed back to the room before we were to go to our first show of the cruise, Cats in the Opal Theater at 8:30 PM. When we arrived at our stateroom door, I saw the dreaded notice that I had to go down to the security baggage checking area on Deck 2 before 8 PM to get my luggage and it was already 7:45 PM by this time. I dashed down to Deck 2 and was instructed to open my bag and learned, to my surprise, that a short three-outlet extension cord was the contraband item. I was well aware that any liquor (besides two bottles of wine) or any appliance that created heat or a power strip were forbidden. RC staff calmly put up with my dumbfounded protestations and showed me the fine print where it did indeed state that extension cords are not allowed. Mental note made and not soon to be forgotten. Back to the fun stuff! My wife and I were both intrigued by the entertainment offerings described in Cruise Planner and the large number and types of entertainment venues provided on such a huge ship-- traditional Broadway-type theater, various nightclubs, ice-skating rink, Aqua theater, jazz club, and casino, along with many interesting watering holes. Being theater buffs, we made reservations for all of the shows available in Cruise Planner. The first show we saw, Cats, did not disappoint, even though the length of this unabridged show and perhaps its lack of a single main storyline caused quite a few folks to leave the theater at intermission. We were greatly impressed by the high caliber of the performers at this show, and most other shows on board. It was rather refreshing to see the show again after about 20 years. We enjoyed opportunities to talk with actors from Cats after their performances at other venues during the cruise (Dazzles and Jazz on 4). We enjoyed all of the shows, and none of them were, in our view, mediocre or worse. The ice-skating show portrayed the story of Hans Christian Anderson and many of his fictional characters. Although the ice-skating rink was not large by any means, the skaters still reached high speed and did several spinning leaps (sorry – can't tell my sow-kow from a toe loop). The divers in the aqua show were great. We spent a few enjoyable evenings in Jazz on 4 and got to know the performers, including at the Prohibition Event, which was fun but a bit blurry in my recollection. Good turnout for this event with a full venue and everyone decked-out in crazy 20s fashions. This was my wife's favorite night of the cruise and the photos taken by RC photographers around the Royal Promenade from that evening are the nicest keepsakes from the cruise. Based on recommendations from the podcast, we sampled specialty restaurants by pre-purchasing the 3-night package. We ate at 150 Central Park, Giovanni’s, and Chops – all very good and worth the upcharge. But we ended up re-jiggering our dining schedule due to a fortuitous encounter with our main dining room waiter when he was working at Johnny Rockets over lunch the second day of our cruise. He spotted us as we looking around the Boardwalk and called us over to ask about our dining choices for the cruise – we had mentioned to him at dinner on the first night of the cruise we had purchased a 3-night specialty dining package. As it turns out, the nights we picked for specialty dining coincided with the two formal nights and the last night of the cruise – in other words, all the dinners when they have the best meal options in the main dining room including lobster night. At his urging, we went back up to Giovanni’s and were able to reschedule our specialty dining for other nights so we could experience the best the main dining room has to offer on the two formal nights and the last night of the cruise. Couple notes on our ports: St Maarten For our excursion on St Maarten we also heeded the advice of many and took a cab tour around the island. Matt, thanks for the tip about your friend Leroy Brown. We were able to reserve his cab for our tour and enjoyed his island banter and stories about different areas and beaches. He did focus quite a bit on the devastation from the hurricanes last year, including taking us by some damaged resorts and boats/harbors. Although Maho Beach at the end of the runway and the bar restaurant next to it were back up and running, the north side of the island was hit pretty bad. Nevertheless, we stopped at a lolo in Grand Case-Cynthia's Talk of the Town--and had a great lunch of chicken and ribs...more food than we bargained for, but we got to sample the grilling style on the French side of the island. San Juan We honestly were not expecting much for our short stop in San Juan (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) and were originally thinking we might stay on board. But we were glad we ventured out -- the old town was a short walk from the pier and we strolled through the old Spanish colonial-style narrow streets with their brightly-painted buildings. Electrical power was spotty as the power cut out occasionally while we were in some shops, but was on a few doors down on the same block. We sampled mufungo at Cafe Manolin, a Puerto Rican fried plantain dish that was hearty and tasty. Labadee As first-timers at Labadee, we threw caution to the wind and road the Dragon's Breath, the huge zip line over Adrenaline Beach. Some have commented on the uneasy feeling on truck the ride up the hill and while waiting on the platform for the zipline. We did not have a bad experience in the truck ride up or while waiting on the platform. The ride itself was very smooth and the spring-cushioned stop at the end was not as jolting as we thought it might be. Our zip-line ride was scheduled at the beginning of the cook-out lunch buffet, and that was perhaps not ideal. By the time we returned from the ride, the lines were pretty long at the buffet, so we waited until near the end of lunchtime to go through the buffet line. Some Key Takeaways: Arrive in or near your departure port the day before you cruise. Reserve entertainment before the cruise—no cost for this! Check RC’s current policy on forbidden items--no more innocuous-looking extension cords for us!. Try specialty dining, but check out the main dining room on formal nights to sample some of the best food included in your cruise fare. Take a few minutes to get to know your main dining room waiter and room steward on the first day of your cruise. They helped us optimize our dining and entertainment schedules to get more out of our cruise. Get your picture taken at least a couple times by the RC photographers. Consider buying a drink package on a cruise that has several sea days plus a day at an RC resort. If we had had a more port-intensive itinerary with no stop at an RC resort where the drink package is included, we probably would not have bought the full package. But it was fun to sample a broad range of drinks, including several tasty dessert martinis at the Champagne Bar (just not all on the same night!). Use self-disembarkation for a couple or small group. Although we had to line up early in the morning, once the line started moving we were off the ship in a few minutes and to the rental car counter before the big crowds. Keep up the great work on the podcast and thanks to all members who contribute to the informative message boards at the RC Blog website! Roger & Carol Finally Thawed (And Now Baking) Tundra, WI
  13. We are considering moving from an interior cabin to a Central Park VIEW room on Oasis. These aren't the ones with balconies, but are only on deck 9 with a window. To me they are similar to Royal Promenade View cabins on a Voyager Class ship. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/545005992390235584/?lp=true Has anyone stayed in these? Is there any noise from the restaurant or kitchen below? Any noise from Central Park? I have read conflicting reports with some saying the ambient restaurant music can be heard and runs 24 hrs, and others say no noise. I greatly appreciate it, and if you can report on any specific cabins you have stayed in that would be awesome. We are specifically considering 9231/9233. Thank you!
  14. Shamelessly promoting my favourite class of ship again. I came across this video tonight and really wanted to share it. @Matt has some great blog posts comparing the 4 ships but this video was so well put together and gives a great comprehensive visual. Whether you are a first timer or you've sailed all 4, it's still worth a look, especially if you are deciding between them as I find many people are. Also, there are some really good shots of the new features on Symphony, including food shots from Playmakers and Hooked. It's 20min long and there is an ad in the middle but have a look. Can't wait for my next Oasis class sailing!
  15. Going to keep this post sweet and simple. As you might be able to guess from the topic title I'm once again heading off on another voyage onboard Oasis. To get an idea of what to expect from me take a look back at my previous Oasis LIVEish over Halloween. Also, keep an eye on Twitter/Periscope for any material not posted here. Twitter/Periscope: @CGTLH
  16. Going on Oasis of the Seas next July, and I was wondering if the shop on board sells different model ships, not just the one you are on. For example, if you are on board Mariner of the Seas, could you buy a scale model of Liberty of the Seas, or would you have to go on that ship to get that model? I would really like to get a couple of different models on board.
  17. As well as Caribbean, also pricing up Japan cruises with Royal Caribbean. There’s two cruises that we looked up, both going to 3 ports. One is on the Quantum from Shanghai, and the other is on the Ovation from Tianjin. Which ship is better? Is there a difference? Does one have something the other one doesn’t? Thanks in advance.
  18. Thinking about doing an Eastern Caribbean cruise, would be flying from Manchester, England. The price of the whole cruise comes out at £3939 for Allure and £4029 for Oasis, so not worried about the price. Are there any differences in service/food quality or any noticeable things that differ these ships from one another?
  19. I’m sure this has most likely been asked before so I apologise in advance. I have purchased the ultimate dining package for my Oasis cruise later this month and wanted to ask about Izumi Hibachi. I’m sure I read somewhere that it wasn’t covered by the package but I wanted to know if the $35 credit would be applied against the cover charge or is it simply a case of the full charge being applied to my seapass account? many thanks in advance!
  20. According to the Cruise Planner Shore Excursions section, this is the current sailing update: Day 1: Port Canaveral Day 2: Cruising Day 3: Cozumel, Mexico Day 4: Cruising Day 5: Falmouth, Jamaica Day 6: Labadee, Haiti Day 7: Cruising Day 8: Port Canaveral However, they are needing time to update the excursions because if you try and click on the new destinations, it is still showing up with San Juan in the actual excursions as of 12:25pm.
  21. So I have searched and searched and searched and can't find the layout for my room, 10652, on Oasis of the Seas. I know that I could google the ship name and room number, but I keep getting stock photos. I also know there are a few threads that explain how to determine if your bed is next to the balcony or next to the closet but I get a different answer for each one when I'm "counting" on my own. So any help would be greatly appreciated that lets me know whereabouts my bed will be.
  22. Does anyone know what the "Headliner Show" is on Oasis? I've already gotten tickets for it but I was curious if anyone could let me know. Thanks!
  23. Hi - We are new to RC and have really appreciated all the detailed information this blog provides! We plan to cruise the Oasis of the Seas in March with two, 16 year old girls. I'm looking for a teen version of the Compass to get a feel for their activities. Thank you!
  24. Intro/Pre-Embarkation Like so many others we originally had planned to set sail on Oasis on September 10, 2017 for a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Itinerary. Well, that is until Irma (Hurricane Irma) crashed our party. After several days of late night tweeting with Royal Caribbean's Meteorologist, James Von Fleet we got final word that our cruise would begin on September 13 and consist of a 4 night sailing to Cozumel. This wasn't our dream cruise but we were happy and grateful none the less that it didn't get cancelled. We opted to sail and receive 50% of our cruise fare in onboard credit and the other 50% for a future cruise credit. This made it a deal hard for us to resist, as it is basically a free cruise. If anyone wants to hear about our pre cruise adventure/trip/Orlando shore excursion/storm chasing, is be happy to share that in a future post. I travel with my husband, Randall and my almost 3 year old, Sarah. Much of my perspective and observations have to do with what cruising looks like with a toddler and Texan who loves the casino and avoids the Windjammer like the plague. We chose this sailing, ship, and date for a few reasons...let me explain: 1. We originally had booked Allure of the Seas for the week of Labor Day. We chose that week because of the free day off (I work so my time off is limited). We also knew we wanted to try an Oasis Class ship since we had loved our Liberty of the Seas Western Caribbean cruise last year. The girl at the Next Cruise office said Allure was her favorite ship so we rolled with it. 2. Oasis became an option only when I saw a group rate with a kids sail free promo on one of the Facebook pages I follow. So after inquiring, the price was significantly lower for Oasis a week later. Plus at the time I thought I'd be going to Puerto Rico and that gave me the chance to see my family. 3. We knew we wanted to go to Labadee And both the Allure and Oasis had Labadee as ports of call (we'll try again next year, Labadee) 4. My husband really wanted an ocien view balcony and we got a great cabin mid ship. 5. The Dreamworks Experience, my daughter loves this so it's a priority for us when booking. In the end I think we made the right choice both for switching to Oasis as our first Oasis Class ship (won't be the last 😍) and for choosing to do the 4 night altered cruise. Thanks for reading, tomorrow I'll take y'all on the journey that was Embarkation Day and the run down of the stuff we did on day 2 😜 - Cristina Myers
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