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CDR Benson

I'm Going to Be Haunting This Site for the Next Year or So . . .

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Last year, my wife and I embarked on our first cruise.  (You may have inferred, correctly, from my username and icon that I am a U.S. Naval officer, retired now; so, yes, I have many cruises of the haze-grey underway kind under my belt, but not, until last year, a pleasure cruise.)  For all we knew at the time, it would be the only cruise we would ever take, so we went as all out as we dared, a cruise to Alaska (the top destination on our list) in a Neptune suite on board Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam.  (Never fear, this post will turn to Royal Caribbean quickly enough.) 

When you drop that kind of money, you want to make sure things go seamlessly.  The Good Mrs. Benson will attest that I don't buy so much as a stapler without gathering as much intelligence as possible and doing research.  After making a travel agent aware of our budget, preferences, and schedule, I spent a week vetting her three recommendations.  And once she had booked our selection, scheduled for a year later, I spent that twelve months scouring every cruise-related web site I could find (you know the ones), with particular attention to any Holland America fora.  The interesting thing was that I never had to post any questions in any of those fora or on any thread, for I discovered that all of the questions I had, and some I hadn't thought of, had already been asked by another poster and thoroughly answered by the experienced cruisers so willing to help.  Thanks to them, during our Alaskan cruise, we suffered only one or two oh-so-minor glitches, and those had been things outside of our power to anticipate.  All of my "homework" had paid off.

We had a marvelous time!  We had barely disembarked when we knew another cruise lied in our future.  Next destination:  Canada/New England.

(O.K., now we get to Royal Caribbean.  Thank you for your patience, folks.)

We had gotten used to suite living.  That would be the standard for our next cruise, and with our budget, that set the time to the autumn of 2020.  Now, I hadn't intended to start seriously exploring our options until the fall of this year.  (While we enjoyed Holland America, that didn't rule out the other lines for our next sailing.)  However, four months ago, on a free morning, I decided, what the heck, let's see what's out there now for a fall, 2020 visit to Canada and New England.  It turned out that there were quite a few, but the one which presented the best bang for the buck, with a ship that seemed to best fit our own personalities, was one offered by Royal Caribbean.  That early, some nineteen months ahead of the sail date, the fare offered was too good to pass up.  I called our TA and booked the 18-25 October 2020 cruise to Canada/New England, in a grand suite on Brilliance of the Seas.

And that's why I'm here.

From the moment our TA confirmed the booking, I've returned to the research mode and buried myself in Royal Caribbean-related fora.  About a month ago, I discovered this site, and what a treasure trove it is.

We've got Cruising 101 down pat.  What I'm here to discover are the things intrinsic to Royal Caribbean and Brilliance of the Seas.  From the short time I've spent prowling the various threads here, it's apparent that, just as before, I'm not going to have to ask any questions.  I'm learning more with each visit here.  By October of 2020, I'll probably know everything I need to know---thanks to you veteran Royal Caribbean cruisers.

However, please don't let that dissuade any of you from posting your own nuggets of advice or helpful observations.  We welcome any input.

I have to say that, even with what little we've found so far, the Good Mrs. Benson and I are getting more excited about our 2020 voyage!

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Welcome!  I'm the most junior "member" to say that -- so far -- but have sailed on Brilliance once already, and will be boarding her again on November 30.  If there's any specific intel you want on Brilliance (or pictures, or impressions), let me know.  I'm an 'almost Navy brat -- my dad was Navy, but got out before I was born -- raised with all kinds of nautical terms and standards :-).

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Welcome to the forums, @CDR Benson, and thanks for your service!

Any chance your schedule would allow you to move the sailing to the prior week (Oct 11-18)? That is the late 2020 Royal Caribbean Group Cruise, and you'd have a great chance to meet a bunch of the great folks here.

Either way, you should have a fantastic time and see some great foliage. 🙂 

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14 hours ago, tiny260 said:

Thanks for your service and welcome to the boards.

I second that @CDR Benson!

I have a retired CDR father-in-law who was in the reserves for 30yrs as well as a Naval LT nephew currently stationed in Bahrain. I appreciate your service to our country! Ask away with any questions. There is a wealth of information as well as community here.

Happy cruising!

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Mr. Moran and WAAAYTOOO,

When I started investigating Canada/New England cruises for 2020, the best two I had found were the one I eventually booked and, yes, the Canada/New England cruise, same ship, scheduled for the earlier week.  Of course, this was before I found this blog or learnt of the group cruise.

The 11-8 October cruise was inviting because that week encompassed the date of our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary.  However, I did some checking:  suite locations, deck plans above and below Deck 10, and other pertinent data.  While the grand suite that looked most advisable on the 11-8 October sailing was fine, the suite I had identified on the 18-25 October cruise looked to be a slightly better choice in terms of location, and the fare was slightly cheaper than the one for the 11-8 October cruise.

Being an eminently wise man, I outlaid the situation to the Good Mrs. Benson and let her make the decision:  do we sail on the week of our anniversary or wait a week and go with what I believed was a slightly better living situation?  As ever, a practical woman, the GMB stated that we should go with what I thought would be better accommodations.  It was the better idea, she said, to enjoy our cruise more than to adhere to a sentimental date.

As much as we regret missing out on the opportunity to join the group cruise, I think we're better off staying with what we've got locked in, now.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, CDR Benson said:

Mr. Moran and WAAAYTOOO,

When I started investigating Canada/New England cruise for 2020, the best two I had found were the one I eventually booked and, yes, the Canada/New England cruise, same ship, scheduled for the earlier week.  Of course, this was before I found this blog or learnt of the group cruise.

The 11-8 October cruise was inviting because that week encompassed the date of our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary.  However, after checking suite locations and deck plans above and below Deck 10, and other pertinent data.  While the grand suite that looked most advisable on the 11-8 October sailing was fine, the suite I had identified on the 18-25 October cruise looked to be a slightly better choice in terms of location, and the fare was slightly cheaper than the one for the 11-8 October cruise.

Being an eminently wise man, I outlaid the situation to the Good Mrs. Benson and let her make the decision:  do we sail on the week of our anniversary. or wait a week and go with what I believed was a slightly better living situation?  As ever, a practical woman, the GMB stated that we should go with what I thought would be better accommodations.  It was the better idea, she said, to enjoy our cruise more than to adhere to a sentimental date.

As much as we regret missing out on the opportunity to join the group cruise, I think we're better off staying with what we've got locked in, now.

 

 

Was on that same cruise, but on Serenade in 2017 for our 27th anniversary. You are going to love it!

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Welcome!  I did this same itinerary in 2017 on Anthem of the Seas and I very much enjoyed it.  If you have any questions about the ports I would be glad to answer..and I'm sure you can already tell everyone on this board is very welcoming and helpful!

I am also going to be on the Brillance group cruise in October 2020..and not to twist your arm but you may want to check with the group TA for rates.  Often you may find that there were group rates locked in early and lower than the prevailing rates were when you booked.

Either way I am sure that you will enjoy the ship and the itinerary.  I have yet to be on Brillance but I did sail her sister Radiance to Alaska and had a great time on that sailing as well.

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Thank you all for your gracious comments.  I find worthwhile bits of information every time I visit this site.  I'm especially enjoying your videos, Mr. Hochberg.  Your enthusiasm for cruising, in general, and for Royal Caribbean is infectious.  Moreover, there are some things which can be far better understood visually, than from all the description in the world.

Marking the next 443 days.

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On 8/18/2019 at 5:26 PM, Chaosgirl426 said:

i live in new england, so if you have any questions about the boston/ providence area, let me know!!

Thank you for your courtesy.  Actually, the Good Mrs. Benson and I are fairly familiar with Boston and Providence.  Before we were married, she joined me in Newport for the graduation ceremonies when I received my master's degree from the Naval War College.  That was her first trip to New England and she fell in love with the area, so for our honeymoon the next year, we simply toured the area, spending most of our time in Boston and Providence.  

Still, to be sure,  probably some things have changed in almost three decades.

Our only real logistical consideration for the area involves selecting accommodations that would best work for getting us to the port terminal the next day.  Fortunately---unlike Vancouver---the port terminal in Boston is fairly close to Logan Airport, so that opens the range of possibilities.

 

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Only one cruise line for me too. ( Not RCL though.) I've been wanting to go since '91 when I was in the Coast Guard. I knew I liked to cook. I thought maybe I'd like to sail. I always suspected that they're both improved by not doing them simultaneously. 

 

Turns out I was right. 

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