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twangster

​​​​​​​Empress 8 Night Eastern Caribbean 🎵​​​​​​​ Oops, I Booked it Again 🎵​​​​​​​

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On 8/9/2019 at 4:18 PM, twangster said:

On the plane now, live from 37,000' and 586 mph.  

Landing around 6pm in Ft Lauderdale.  I have lots of time tonight so I might do the Tri-Rail thing again to get down to my Miami hotel.  

South Florida rush hour traffic in a $50 ride-share or $3.75 on Tri-Rail?  I think I'll save the $45 and use it to pay for drinks on CocoCay.

Here is a bit on my last Tri-Rail experience:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/11517-south-florida-tri-rail-ft-lauderdale-miami 

 

I will be flying into FLL and was planning on using Brightline as I am staying in DT Miami.  Not sure what the difference is but I will certainly check out Tri-Rail.  I know you are a seasoned RCCL traveler so I'm sure it is a better option.  Thanks for sharing

 

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1 hour ago, DanielB said:

I will be flying into FLL and was planning on using Brightline as I am staying in DT Miami.  Not sure what the difference is but I will certainly check out Tri-Rail.  I know you are a seasoned RCCL traveler so I'm sure it is a better option.  Thanks for sharing

 

Brightline goes right into downtown Miami.  Tri-Rail stops at MIA airport.  In many places they use different tracks, very different operation.  Brightline is the new Virgin Trains that will run to Orlando on a high speed basis eventually.  It costs more but it's a different service.

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Day 2 - CocoCay

I woke and discovered we were already here and tied up to the pier early.

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Mariner is with us today.  The NCL Sky was sailing past on her way to anchor at GSC next door.

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Live music to greet us this morning.

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I think it's going to be a Perfect Day.

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From my last stop I posted a bunch of CocoCay pictures in that thread so I'm not going to repeat those here, but I did pop into the Thrill Water Park to check it out.  If you want to see my other CocoCay pictures check out the thread URL I posted in the first post.

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Royal has done a really nice job with this area as well as the rest of CocoCay.  Plenty of loungers, picnic tables and space to spread out.

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Lots of complimentary lockers are available.

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Even the restrooms are done up nice.

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The wave pool has lots of loungers available

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Thrill Water Park Cabanas are found in a couple of areas.  Here are some on the sides of the wave pool.

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Thrill Water Park has its own Snack Shack.

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Some of these slides require you carry a mat or tube up with you.  The Sling Shot uses a conveyor system to lift the raft to the top for you.

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More Cabanas near the slide pool.

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The Adventure pool has these floating rope courses.  Based on what I saw they are harder than they look, but fun.

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Daredevil's Tower is amazing.

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Just Wow!

I can't wait to check these out on my next visit on Navigator in a few weeks.  I've already bought a zip line and Thrill Water Park combo pass.

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I went back to the ship to drop off my camera stuff and grab my snorkel gear.  It's so nice having a pier now at CocoCay.

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They were handing out cards to remind people of our 2:30pm all aboard time.

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While going up the stairs to my cabin I found the wireless link that ties the ship network to CocoCay.

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It wasn't hard to find a 2nd row lounger for my stuff while I snorkelled.

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The Sergeant Majors were pretty friendly today.

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This part of CocoCay still resembles the CocoCay of old for folks who just want a chill beach day.

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Snorkelling was fun but it was for some Snack Shack.

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Juice choices today.

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A Shack Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara sauce and a Funnel Cake for dessert.  Yum.

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Over to Oasis Lagoon for a Margarita.

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It's so nice having a pool to jump into.

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The clouds look so amazing in all of these! That is one of the many things I am looking forward to seeing. Gorgeous cloud pics are my weakness! 

Did you ride anything at Thrill or just go in for the early morning photos?

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All aboard for Empress was 2:30pm so we could make San Juan by 3pm after a sea day. 

Around 2:45pm as I wandered up to deck 11 to take in sail away I heard the announcement -   "Would the following guest make their way to guest services...".  Not one, or two or five or eight but ten guests were about to become Mariner passengers.  Then came the ship's whistle several times.

Looking down from deck 11 I could see Julie our Hotel Director and Jorge our Guest Services Manager on the pier.

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Pier runners!  At 2:47pm five guests came running up the pier.  

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At 2:53pm a golf cart delivered the remaining guests.  Finally we could leave.  With a brief horn exchange with Mariner we were off.

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A last look back at Mariner and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

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I needed to ensure they still had ample Guinness on board so I headed to the Schooner Bar. 

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They have the Heineken draught beer machine out for this sailing.  It's a self contained countertop beer cooler and dispenser since Empress doesn't have permanent taps.

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4 hours ago, DDaley said:

The clouds look so amazing in all of these! That is one of the many things I am looking forward to seeing. Gorgeous cloud pics are my weakness! 

Did you ride anything at Thrill or just go in for the early morning photos?

Here you go...

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I was going to call these Cloud Porn but that didn't sound very good so we'll just call them cloud pictures

I didn't ride anything this time.  I talked to the Thrill Water Park Manager and obtained special permission to take some pictures.  I've got a Water Park pass for my next visit on Navigator already purchased so now I can just go on that and enjoy the rides without the need to take pictures.

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Voom is doing okay today.

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Speaking of Voom, "royal-wifi" is no more, at least on ships that are Perfect Day enabled.  Ships now are using a guest wireless network unique to each ship.  This is how two ships can share CocoCay and guests from both ships can use their own ship's wifi account while on CocoCay.  

This is from my last visit to CocoCay when Empress and Navigator were there together.  Since I was on Empress I chose "WiFi-Guest-Empress" just like it is on the ship. 

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8 hours ago, twangster said:

While going up the stairs to my cabin I found the wireless link that ties the ship network to CocoCay.

That's definitely interesting... so it's the ships that are broadcasting the signal and then it's being picked up by repeaters throughout the island?  Pretty neat solution to handle auth with more than one ship.

Thanks for sharing these techy tidbits, @twangster

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3 minutes ago, ashonthesea said:

What kind of snorkel gear do you have? Would love to invest in some for my trip.

Because I am a certified scuba diver I have more expensive gear I use to snorkel.  

The biggest thing with any snorkel equipment is finding a mask that fits the face.  Nothing is more aggravating than having water trickling in constantly while snorkelling.  Each face is different so there is no one answer to what is best.

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Just now, twangster said:

Because I am a certified scuba diver I have more expensive gear I use to snorkel.  

The biggest thing with any snorkel equipment is finding a mask that fits the face.  Nothing is more aggravating than having water trickling in constantly while snorkelling.  Each face is different so there is no one answer to what is best.

Oh, I see. Well, definitely not certified here so I guess I’ll just do some trial and error to find some basic stuff. I foresee myself sticking my head in a bucket, apple bobbing style. 😂 Thanks!

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14 minutes ago, firebuck said:

That's definitely interesting... so it's the ships that are broadcasting the signal and then it's being picked up by repeaters throughout the island?  Pretty neat solution to handle auth with more than one ship.

Thanks for sharing these techy tidbits, @twangster

Not knowing the exact platform they use I can't safely state how they are extending the ship wifi onto CocoCay.

I know how I would do it using wireless controllers and passing just authentication to the ship's RADIUS server but there are different ways to implement this.  Either way I suspect it's more than just repeating the signal.

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2 minutes ago, ashonthesea said:

Oh, I see. Well, definitely not certified here so I guess I’ll just do some trial and error to find some basic stuff. I foresee myself sticking my head in a bucket, apple bobbing style. 😂 Thanks!

One way is to place a mask on your face and breath in through your nose slightly so the mask is drawn onto your face.  Then hold your breath.  If the mask is leaking it will fill with air and fall off your face.  If it stays in place on it's own you have a good seal.

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

I was going to call these Cloud Porn but that didn't sound very good so we'll just call them cloud pictures

haha, I have been guilty of using that hashtag on instagram! 

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