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5 hours ago, Traveler said:

2. Do not consume Alcohol During the flight.

+1 on this, the advice says none or 1 glass, not to drink a bunch because it will add to dehydration.

With that said it reminds me, stay hydrated as much as possible.

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Time Zone:

I agree....leaving on a Monday and arriving on a Wednesday sounds impossible, doesn't it?!  

Thanks for all the suggestions re: the jet lag.....our cruise leaves on the 21 of March, and today, we booked to leave Vancouver on the 17th.  We have booked with the possibility of an upgrade to Business Class, so I'll have every finger and toe crossed that we get that. I cannot sleep bolt upright in a seat, the last time I tried was coming back on a red eye from Hawaii and I had such a splitting migraine from lack of sleep that I just wanted to get home and die.  Please please please, let a nice lay-flat bed be available for me on March 17th.

Of course, we leave Vancouver at midnight, arriving Sydney at like 0930, so if we do get business class and can get decent sleep, staying up til 6 or 7 pm isn't going to be so impossible.  Based on overseas travel with the kids last year, I see a reeaaalllllyyy early wake up the next morning, and a reaaaallllyyyy long painful day because of that, but hopefully by the time we get on the ship, we'll be semi-ok.  

We don't sail til 6:45 pm, which will make the day of the 21st feel very long.  Does anyone know how early passengers can embark?  

Gifts:

Thanks for the heads up and the suggestions....will think of something on that front!

 

 

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I just did that flight from DC about 6 months ago.  I left at 5 pm on Monday and arrived in Sydney at 8 a.m. Weds.  I flew through San Francisco.  I tried to nap as soon as I arrived, but to no avail.  I decided to explore Sydney during the day and than went out to dinner that night with my hubby and his office.  By the time we came back it was 10 pm.  My head hit the pillow and I was out.  Woke up the next day with no jet lag at all. 

Make sure you go to Queen Victoria's building (mall aka QVB) Go to the top floor so you can see the clock up close.  Also go to the Rocks...it has great restaurants.  The zoo is also a great half day trip, the view from the gondola to get to the zoo is amazing.  You just go down to the docks and you can buy tickets there. You have to take a short ferry ride to the zoo. At the zoo you will have to queue up for the Koalas.  You cannot hold them, but you do go in their pen and they will take photos that you can purchase.  I want to say they don't open their pen area until 11, but don't quote me.   On a scale of 1 to 10 that zoo is a 10 without a doubt.  Like Sydney it is hilly, so wear comfy shoes.

There is also an amazing church by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria's statue.  Finally if you do nothing at all make sue you go through the gardens until you get to Mrs. Macqueries (sp?) chair.  It is a great photo op.(we used it for our xmas cards this yr).  It will loop back around and drop you at the Opera House.  

If you want to get the genie a gift, Sydney is known for their macaroons.  Every flavor under the sun.  You can pick them up at the Queen Victoria Building.  Or you can pick up chocolate from Haighs, they are all over the place in Sydney.  Basically Haighs is like Godiva.  High end, but worth it and you can buy all different types/shapes.

We stayed at the Inter Continental.  It is right by the port.  I remember seeing an RCCL ship docked there the a.m. I arrived.  The Inter Continental is cool to have drinks or high tea at.  This hotel is where the US presidents stay at when in Sydney.  The reason why is it was originally their national treasury in the 19th century.  Due to that fact the walls for the 1st 3 floors are bomb proof.  You will see all of the original brick in the centrum.   The hotel is across the street from the botanical gardens.   Hint you will know if a VIP is entering or exiting the building because where the elevator banks are there is a secret entrance for them to enter without going through the lobby.  They have a hunt board (side table) against the wall that slides out and VOILA a door opens to the elevator banks. 

One last tip I would give is Sydney is a little hilly, not San Francisco hilly, but there is an incline you will feel if you start at the Opera House and travel to QVB.  You will also notice when you are walking the gardens.  We did the gardens, QVB, the church and the rocks all in one day at a leisurely pace.  Probably started @9 a.m. Went to the church 1st on the way to QVB, on the way back we did the garden.  Had a late lunch by the Opera House and headed over to the Rocks.  Shopped around for a while and was back at the hotel by 5.   I did this 4 months after having a full hip replacement and had no pain. I am 54.  

OH also remember that March will be their September to us.  Just saying don't expect to pick up any last minute summer items. The stores will be stocking up with their fall clothing. 

Have a great trip.  Sydney is absolutely amazing.

My tip for a trip like this is to make sure you get up and walk around frequently from a health aspect at our age.  DVT is common when you do a 20+ hr flight.  Also do not, repeat do not take your shoes off unless they are flip flop sandals.  Yes, they offer slippers and there is an urge to put them on, but if you are like me, your feet will swell during the flight and trying to put back on a shoe can be painful as you now have to go through the airport, wait for your luggage, clear customs and get to the taxis.  

Oh also don't go to their currency kiosks.  Right before you exit there will be ATMs.  You get a better rate even if your bank charges you a surcharge.  The taxis will also take credit cards.

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Thanks for all this info, PIma......Really appreciate the details!

UPDATE:

We've been curious about when we can board Ovation for the 1845H sailing.  I called RCI today and they told me we can board from 11 am to 5:15 pm; they want everyone aboard 90 min prior to sailing. 

I provided my reservation number when I made the enquiry, so I don't know if that 11 am embarkation is for all guests, or Royal Class guests or Star Class guests.  

Kim

 

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My recommendation (especially for Star Class !) is get on as early as you can.  There are lots of things to enjoy and the first day is hectic at best.  Get it all goin' as fast as you can !

More helpful about issues such as this will be your Genie.  Once your Genie contacts you, he/she will give you some very specific information on when and where to board.  The Genie will be there (or have a surrogate there) to help you, personally.  They want you on as soon as possible as well b/c they want to get you and all of their guests settled.

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16 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

+1 for early as possible boarding, star class or not.

Yea, when I did online check in it told me 11, we got there around 10:15-10:30 and except for a very large group boarding Star Class in front of us (13 People) we were on board by 11.

The Genie's, plural, were still trying to recover from the large group, they had all worked as a team to get them on.

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Oh boy, this is so no longer a blog....it's become a question and answer kinda thing and for that I apologize!

But thank you so much for embarkation info.....historically, we get on board a couple hours max before sailing....but yes, on this one, we wanna soak as much in as possible.  

 

 

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@Bish I forgot to mention that although I don't know about Canada, but if you are an American you need a tourist visa.  It can be done online and printed on your own computer.  I recall my flight out of Dulles several people were not allowed to board at the gate because they forgotten to do that step.    The gate will try to help, but if it is after hours  they won't be able to get it processed until the next day.  My husband's colleague's wife didn't have one (husband forgot) she was sent back home and had to fly out the next day.  Needless to say he had a very expensive piece of jewelry (South Sea Pearls) waiting for her at the hotel. 😮

 

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UPDATE:

Since receiving the Pre Cruise questionnaire we, as a family, have been talking about this cruise constantly.  It's become a running joke between the kids and I, bc every third or fourth convo we have, I start with "Do you wanna talk about the cruise?"  

We leave Sydney March 21; we sent our surveys back to our Genie within a week of receipt (four separate surveys, which I've no doubt makes the Genie's hair curl).  Can't you just send one???!!

We checked in tfor our cruise on February 18th.

On February 20th, we received our Introductory email from our Genie.  Seems we have hit the jackpot, with Mr. Luciano Santos as our grand Poobah.  I have read wonderful things about this gentleman, and am really looking forward to meeting him!

Aside from self-booking spa and shore excursions, it seems he wants to hear from us about our dining and entertainment preferences.

There are no menus or anything attached to this email.  From what I've readi here and on Facebook, this can be an inclusion, so perhaps that's still coming....

 

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7 hours ago, Bish said:

There are no menus or anything attached to this email.  From what I've readi here and on Facebook, this can be an inclusion, so perhaps that's still coming....

The initial Genie email is a generic one.  You can ask for PDFs of the menus.  That's what I did.

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Flying right to left across the Pacific is ok.. you'll be leaving at night so most likely feel like sleeping and they'll dim the lights pretty quickly. Left to right is not so fun as the flight will leave in the morning which makes it hard to sleep and given time goes backwards travelling in that direction you end up having to live the same day twice. 

If you can have an early lunch at the Opera House before boarding the ship.. great views and photo op of Ovation docked next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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On 2/21/2019 at 12:54 AM, Bish said:

On February 20th, we received our Introductory email from our Genie.  Seems we have hit the jackpot, with Mr. Luciano Santos as our grand Poobah.  I have read wonderful things about this gentleman, and am really looking forward to meeting him!

Yes, this email is where you start getting specific things accomplished that you would like, dinner locations, show's, beverages in the room, snacks in the room etc.. Don't get really specific on the dinner and shows, this is the Genie's sweet spot for planning, they know the times better than you will. Unless you have something specific to celebrate and want to do it at a specific restaurant then tell him. Agree with @Lovetocruise2002 ask him for PDF's of the menu's he should be able to email them to you.

When he is through with your schedule have him email it to you or wait for the first day, and then tweak it then if there is something you don't like. Don't be afraid to ask for any thing, the Genies job is to give you everything you want (With in reason). Also don't forget all of the behind the scene tours.

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Replied to Luciano on February 22, asking for additional info about restaurants and shows.

Here's a mind-bender for you....on the same day, but on Feb. 21st (two days difference in time zones betwn Canada and Australia), Luciano replied back!  Anyways, he provided a list of restaurants on the ship, and indicated he would provide a planner for us, including dinner, activities and shows, which can be tweaked when we arrive.  

I've read that these pre-cruise details can include what you would like on arrival (drinks, food),  what you would like in the mini-fridge, etc, but so far, the emails have been pretty general.  Tiny, did you initiate the requests, or were your requests sought out by the Genie?  I don't want to seem pushy or high maintenance.....

I emailed him tonight, telling him we want to hit all the restaurants, in no particular order, at least once (9 night cruise), and asking if there's a sail-away party on the Heli Pad.  We aren't sure where we want to be yet for sail-away, but are leaning towards sharing the excitement with others vrs being on our own balcony.  

Thanks, Mattymay.  I think you're right....it's the going home that's going to be hellish!  (Oops, did I say that in my loud voice?)

21 more days!!!!

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I provided our Genie with a Word doc of all our requests (what to stock the room with, standing order for breakfast, etc.). Pretty sure @tiny260 did the same. From there we fine tuned the details.

Yes, I did, it was a funny topic with our Genie, I guess Royal doesn't like to use bullet point formatting when dealing with a customer, I used bullet point to stream line my document, so the Genie used bullet points in his return document.

So all week it was "I'll get that bullet point document out to you tomorrow", as a joke between he and I.

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Would you be open to sharing your word document of requests?  I'm just trying to wrap my head around what to request (lots of folks say ask for "anything" but as a newbie, I don't know what that translates to in real life!). Thanks.

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UPDATE:

Luciano and I have been emailing back and forth; I'm gradually adding to my list of wishes, and my list of questions (do they have kids-sized bathrobes?  Do they have bubble bath for my ritual tub soak at the end of a busy day, etc).  I have asked for champagne on arrival, as well as Hefeweisen for pumpkin, and some drinks for the kids.  

I've indicated we are wanting to eat our way around the ship in no particular order, that we want to try all the onboard activities, see all the shows.....Luciano indicated he will develop a planner, and we will tweak it once on board, and we will also book the shows once onboard.  

We are going into this particular cruise very open to just going with the flow.  Bringing our own snorkeling equipment with us, so not booking any tours, we'll just walk or taxi around til we find a spot to swim. Not wanting to be overly structured, or over-planned.  

We received an email from RCI this week telling us our passports require at least 3 months of validity before expiration in order to disembark at New Caledonia.  

We have also received our Australian Visa's (tax grab, if you ask me).  

 

 

 

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Sorry Bill, I don't have that information. I am happy to let you know once we are onboard tho.

UPDATE:

A disappointing turn....when we booked the Grand Loft Suite, we confirmed with our Travel Agent that there was a bath tub in this suite.  She in fact contacted RCI, at least according to her email, and that they had confirmed a tub in one of the bathrooms.  Alas.....no bath tub in the suite.  This is not a deal breaker, of course, but a bit of a bummer......I like a nice hot bubble bath a few nights a week.  First world problems.....

At any rate, tonight we received Luciano's "boarding information".....including where to go once we arrive at the terminal (look for the STAR CLASS flag), what to expect (if Luciano isn't available at the moment we arrive, we should expect to wait for him and not board the ship on our own), and we were given luggage tags to print out and a fix to our bags.  His letter said boarding will commence between 11 and 1130 and that our suite will be available by 1 pm at the latest.  

So much anticipation for this cruise!

 

 

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Okay, with just a couple more days til we board that boat, we are packing and preparing for a hellishly long plane ride tomorrow night.  We don't even board the flight in Vancouver until midnight......twin 10 year olds are going to love slumming it around the airport for five hours waiting for that fricking flight to board.  15+ hour flight.....god, I hope Luciano has a biiiiggg gin and tonic waiting for me when I board Ovation......

ive had a few back and forth emails with Luciano regarding small requests......can we get a cot for a child who refuses to sleep with his sibling (yes of course).  Can the cot disappear during the day, cuz I don't want to see it (yes, of course).  Tonight I sent an email asking if a clothes steamer can be borrowed from housekeeping because I'm envisioning our clothing as a rumpled mess by the time we get there.  

We have our "banner" printed out to give to the luggage porter, we ve told Luciano when to expect us......

we haven't had any kind of s schedule or planner presented to us via email, so I'm guessing he will review our "stuff" with us when we arrive.

We are super excited about this cruise, just needing to get this flight over and done with!

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Bish said:

Tonight I sent an email asking if a clothes steamer can be borrowed from housekeeping because I'm envisioning our clothing as a rumpled mess by the time we get there.  

Beauty of Star Class, laundry service.

Just gather everything that needs to be steamed/pressed and turn it in for service. Best bet might be pulling the few things out that would be later in the day and have them immediately sent off. Then ready a second round that could held off until the next day.

Recall on Anthem handing a shirt and slacks over during the initial meeting with the Suite Attendant. Got them back before dinner.

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