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Thanking my lucky STARS that cruising is back (a Symphony Star Class family blog)


Tiffeven
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7 hours ago, Tiffeven said:

I absolutely wish you the best and hope it works out even better than you planned.  Have you received the September protocols for the first part of your B2B?

No protocol was sent yet , just the survey if we are vaccinated or not . I even sent a query to check if RCL will acknowledge our Pfizer vaccine documents as our official certificate comes as a PDF. No answer yet. I think anyway RCL have not decided on the protocols yet , waiting to see the new numbers now with the delta is around. Hope for the best.

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Steven and I got all of the kid's new cruise bags and filled them with snacks for the drive (Tennessee to Florida), new masks, and new lanyards.  We were supposed to give this to them the day we leave for the cruise; but I am impatient, and we figured today is exactly one month until we board, so we caved and surprised them with their bag of goodies today. 

Giving the kids their bags got us really excited for the cruise but that excitement was intensified when Steven showed me that we received our genie email from Sunil.  I am so beyond excited.  

I responded back with our list of requests (we just edit our previous one with any changes every time we do Star Class) that I will attach below.  We also asked him if there was anything that he would like for us to stop and get him on our drive and we inquired about how Adventure Ocean and Royal Babies and Tot's hours would work.  I will update when we get a reply.

 

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For some reason every time I try to post a picture or a document, it shows as a broken link or "forbidden."  Not sure what's going on so instead of posting my document of requests, I will just copy and paste below.  Sorry in advance for the bad formatting.  It reformatted everything when I pasted into this.

Requests for our wonderful genie:

1.      For breakfast, we will have breakfast on our balcony.

2.      For lunch:

·        Embarkation day lunch at Playmakers

·        Some days we will have lunch delivered to our room and some days we will eat at one of the specialty restaurants.  

3.      For dinner:

·        Dinner at Chops on the first night (if not Coastal Kitchen filet mignon night)

·        Coastal Kitchen on filet mignon night (with the kids)

·        Dinner at Izumi Hibachi (without the kids but Sophia, Kat, and Nyssa will probably want it delivered to the room as they love Izumi), Chops (first night with kids and once without), 150 Central Park (without the kids), Jaime’s Italian (with the kids), Wonderland (with the kids), and Hooked Seafood (delivered to the room for second dinner haha or we will go for lunch if it is not a reduced menu).

·        We do not want to go to Chef’s Table.

·        Please inform the restaurants that they do not need to wait between courses on bringing out the food.  We would like to order our meals before we arrive so that it is ready when we arrive.  The babies get fussy if we are in one place for too long, so we want the meals to be enjoyable but quicker than the usual cruise ship dining experience.  We had a bad experience on one of our other Star Class cruises when we were at a specialty restaurant where the babies got fussy after a long wait on food.  Since then, we always request our meals at a quicker pace and the dining experience is much more enjoyable.

4.      Shows:

·        We will probably go to the Quest and the Love and Marriage game shows, but it will depend on the day and time.

·        We would like to see the adult (not family friendly) comedy show, Hairspray, and most of the other shows without the kids.  If it is a show created with kids in mind such as the ice skating show, we will bring them.

·        We do not want to see the Headliner.

·        We will watch the aqua theater show from our balcony and would like snacks delivered during.

5.      Our favorite snacks:

·        We love food!  Christian and Sophia are like many other children their age and are not fond of new or exotic foods.  Their favorite foods are pepperoni pizza, ice cream, candy, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate chip and sugar cookies.  Kat and Nyssa also enjoy junk food as much as their older siblings do, but they are generally a lot less picky with food than Christian and Sophia.  We all love fruit (with the exception of Christian).  Steven and Tiffany enjoy many of the same things such as spicy foods, shrimp tempura rolls, pitas and hummus, and guacamole and chips.  Where their tastes differ is Steven loves hot wings with blue cheese and the fresh orange juice from Park Café while Tiffany prefers seafood (especially the lobster from Chops) and desserts.

6.      For drinks: Steven enjoys diet coke, Tiffany enjoys sprite zero (strawberry sprite zero is the favorite though), and the kids will drink almost anything but diet coke and sprite zero are favorites. 

7.      Random info about us:

·        We (with the exception of Christian) enjoy Starbucks very much.  Tiffany usually has a grande skinny blonde vanilla latte or a tall caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino made with fat free milk, light base, and whipped cream with extra of the crunchies on top (depending on if I want a cold or hot drink).  Steven has a tall caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino made with fat free milk, light base, and whipped cream with extra of the crunchies on top.  Kat, Nyssa, and Sophia like double chocolate chip frappuccinos made with white mocha instead of dark mocha and with whipped cream on top.

·        Steven does not drink alcohol but will drink virgin drinks.  Tiffany will occasionally drink alcohol (frozen, fruity drinks) but not very often.

·        On embarkation day, we would like to sign up for our nursery and Adventure Ocean hours as soon as possible before or directly after lunch.  We would like to get the same hours for all of the kids, so that we can enjoy some adult time.

·        We are concerned about how Kat will do in nursery as she has never been apart from Nyssa.  She is always with us, and has only ever been away from us while in the children’s program on cruises or at Club Med, but she has always been in the same class as Nyssa up until now (she is two and a half and Nyssa is three and a half).

·        We are homeschool parents and the kids are with us 24/7, so we would really like to have some adult only time to connect on this trip.  We still want to do stuff with the kids, but we have not had any adult only time since our last cruise in March 2020.

·        We have a waterpark cabana at Coco Cay.  For the first part of the day, we would like to put the kids in Adventure Ocean and it just be Steven and Tiffany at the waterpark.  Then, we will pick up the kids and take them to the waterpark.  We will probably be tired this evening and may opt to have dinner delivered to our room, but we will decide after we see how tired we are.

8.      Requests

·        We would like to do a lot of the activities such as the flow rider, zip line, waterslides, Ultimate Abyss, ice skating (with all four of the kids), and the rock wall.  If laser tag is included, we would like to do it with Christian and Sophia while the babies are in the nursery.  Also if it is included and we have time and it does not conflict with anything else, Steven and Tiffany would like to do the Escape Room.

·        We do not want to do the Bridge or Galley Tour.

·        We need the coffee table moved out of the living room, so it is not a fall hazard for the babies.

·         All six of us want to do the cupcake decorating class.

·        We are celebrating all of our birthdays on this cruise.  It was technically supposed to only be a birthday celebration for Steven and Tiffany who have summer birthdays, but all of the kid’s birthday cruises were canceled due to coronavirus.  We didn’t want them to miss out on celebrating their birthday on a cruise, so we are calling this a birthday celebration cruise for the entire family.  Not to mention, Sophia has been upset that her past two birthday cruises have been canceled and she has proceeded to remind us of that any chance she gets.

 

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2 minutes ago, Jkaczano said:

I didn’t realize that you homeschool.  We’re just starting our 9th year of homeschooling.  Cruising is usually such a good mix of family and adult only time.   

I 100% agree.  Congrats on your 9th year of homeschooling.  This is only our 3rd.  We enjoy it, but definitely have those trying days haha.  Cruising is perfect for our family.  It allows Steven and me to get some much needed kid free time which works out great because the kids love Adventure Ocean.  It also allows us to do things with the older kids like laser tag which would usually be difficult with the little ones.  Plus the older kid's appreciate not having to tag along for the activities that the toddlers want to do.  Then, of course, there are so many activities that we can do together as a family.  Cruising is really a great option for families.  

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@Tiffevenwe will be on the Sept 11th cruise with you. The last of a B4B.
Our Symphony A2 Aqua Theater Cabin is the Aug 29th cruise. The other 3 are currently Grand Suites.

Tiffeven & @Jkaczano. If I cruised back then, a cruise trip would have been on the list. But raising 9 made such luxuries a little out of my league at that time.

However, the wife and I booked the Royal Suite on Navigator, March 25, 2022. Then, convinced my daughter and 3 grandchildren that live with us to take time off school and come on the cruise with us. They reserved the Ultra Spacious Ocean view, since there will be 5 in the cabin. But they will spend a lot of time in the Royal Suite with us.
I view it as a life-skills learning experience for the grandkids. Plus, the Royal Suite as a reward later in life from efforts obtaining a good education earlier in life.

I Home School my 9 natural children in the late 1980s, until my divorce. The transition back to public schools was easy.
Most were way ahead of their High School classes.

I started my oldest in college when he was 16. Being a student system analyst and developing a computer system for another college's Voca Dept, I knew how to back-doored the system. 

The college had an ROTC Program which young teens could join at age 16. Once my son had a college Student ID #, the door was wide open.
We just started signing him up for college classes when he was an HS Sophomore. At 16, he could drive himself to college.
He loved college over HS so much, we used the same system for his 1 year younger sister the next year.

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32 minutes ago, LifesEz said:

@Tiffevenwe will be on the Sept 11th cruise with you. The last of a B4B.
Our Symphony A2 Aqua Theater Cabin is the Aug 29th cruise. The other 3 are currently Grand Suites.

Tiffeven & @Jkaczano. If I cruised back then, a cruise trip would have been on the list. But raising 9 made such luxuries a little out of my league at that time.

However, the wife and I booked the Royal Suite on Navigator, March 25, 2022. Then, convinced my daughter and 3 grandchildren that live with us to take time off school and come on the cruise with us. They reserved the Ultra Spacious Ocean view, since there will be 5 in the cabin. But they will spend a lot of time in the Royal Suite with us.
I view it as a life-skills learning experience for the grandkids. Plus, the Royal Suite as a reward later in life from efforts obtaining a good education earlier in life.

I Home School my 9 natural children in the late 1980s, until my divorce. The transition back to public schools was easy.
Most were way ahead of their High School classes.

I started my oldest in college when he was 16. Being a student system analyst and developing a computer system for another college's Voca Dept, I knew how to back-doored the system. 

The college had an ROTC Program which young teens could join at age 16. Once my son had a college Student ID #, the door was wide open.
We just started signing him up for college classes when he was an HS Sophomore. At 16, he could drive himself to college.
He loved college over HS so much, we used the same system for his 1 year younger sister the next year.

That's awesome.  They actually allow students to duel enroll in college courses while in high school at some colleges.  I've seen several homeschoolers who are close to completing their Bachelor's Degree at the same time they graduate high school.  It is definitely a good jump start to life.  I also have to say Wow!  Nine kids!  There must have never been a dull moment at your house.  Our four little ones keep me busy.  I am so thankful that Steven is retired and here to help all the time.  

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Our A2 was on Deck 10 (10734) as it was the only one available when we lifted and shifted last year.  I have been checking the website almost every day hoping a Deck 9 would open up, and to my surprise, one opened up today.  I feel bad that I woke my TA up in order to snag it, but I wasn't going to risk missing it.  Initially Royal was having issues getting it booked, but after a long hold, we were able to complete the switch to 9734.  This was the perfect end to an already great birthday.

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10 hours ago, Tiffeven said:

Our A2 was on Deck 10 (10734) as it was the only one available when we lifted and shifted last year.  I have been checking the website almost every day hoping a Deck 9 would open up, and to my surprise, one opened up today.  I feel bad that I woke my TA up in order to snag it, but I wasn't going to risk missing it.  Initially Royal was having issues getting it booked, but after a long hold, we were able to complete the switch to 9734.  This was the perfect end to an already great birthday.

Yay!!!  My Oct sailing on Allure is also deck 10. I keep looking for an 8 or 9 to open up as well, but even if it doesn't, it's our first experience so I don't care ? Happy birthday!

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On 8/11/2021 at 5:03 PM, Tiffeven said:

For some reason every time I try to post a picture or a document, it shows as a broken link or "forbidden."  Not sure what's going on so instead of posting my document of requests, I will just copy and paste below.  Sorry in advance for the bad formatting.  It reformatted everything when I pasted into this.

Requests for our wonderful genie:

1.      For breakfast, we will have breakfast on our balcony.

2.      For lunch:

·        Embarkation day lunch at Playmakers

·        Some days we will have lunch delivered to our room and some days we will eat at one of the specialty restaurants.  

3.      For dinner:

·        Dinner at Chops on the first night (if not Coastal Kitchen filet mignon night)

·        Coastal Kitchen on filet mignon night (with the kids)

·        Dinner at Izumi Hibachi (without the kids but Sophia, Kat, and Nyssa will probably want it delivered to the room as they love Izumi), Chops (first night with kids and once without), 150 Central Park (without the kids), Jaime’s Italian (with the kids), Wonderland (with the kids), and Hooked Seafood (delivered to the room for second dinner haha or we will go for lunch if it is not a reduced menu).

·        We do not want to go to Chef’s Table.

·        Please inform the restaurants that they do not need to wait between courses on bringing out the food.  We would like to order our meals before we arrive so that it is ready when we arrive.  The babies get fussy if we are in one place for too long, so we want the meals to be enjoyable but quicker than the usual cruise ship dining experience.  We had a bad experience on one of our other Star Class cruises when we were at a specialty restaurant where the babies got fussy after a long wait on food.  Since then, we always request our meals at a quicker pace and the dining experience is much more enjoyable.

4.      Shows:

·        We will probably go to the Quest and the Love and Marriage game shows, but it will depend on the day and time.

·        We would like to see the adult (not family friendly) comedy show, Hairspray, and most of the other shows without the kids.  If it is a show created with kids in mind such as the ice skating show, we will bring them.

·        We do not want to see the Headliner.

·        We will watch the aqua theater show from our balcony and would like snacks delivered during.

5.      Our favorite snacks:

·        We love food!  Christian and Sophia are like many other children their age and are not fond of new or exotic foods.  Their favorite foods are pepperoni pizza, ice cream, candy, salt and vinegar chips, chocolate chip and sugar cookies.  Kat and Nyssa also enjoy junk food as much as their older siblings do, but they are generally a lot less picky with food than Christian and Sophia.  We all love fruit (with the exception of Christian).  Steven and Tiffany enjoy many of the same things such as spicy foods, shrimp tempura rolls, pitas and hummus, and guacamole and chips.  Where their tastes differ is Steven loves hot wings with blue cheese and the fresh orange juice from Park Café while Tiffany prefers seafood (especially the lobster from Chops) and desserts.

6.      For drinks: Steven enjoys diet coke, Tiffany enjoys sprite zero (strawberry sprite zero is the favorite though), and the kids will drink almost anything but diet coke and sprite zero are favorites. 

7.      Random info about us:

·        We (with the exception of Christian) enjoy Starbucks very much.  Tiffany usually has a grande skinny blonde vanilla latte or a tall caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino made with fat free milk, light base, and whipped cream with extra of the crunchies on top (depending on if I want a cold or hot drink).  Steven has a tall caramel ribbon crunch frappuccino made with fat free milk, light base, and whipped cream with extra of the crunchies on top.  Kat, Nyssa, and Sophia like double chocolate chip frappuccinos made with white mocha instead of dark mocha and with whipped cream on top.

·        Steven does not drink alcohol but will drink virgin drinks.  Tiffany will occasionally drink alcohol (frozen, fruity drinks) but not very often.

·        On embarkation day, we would like to sign up for our nursery and Adventure Ocean hours as soon as possible before or directly after lunch.  We would like to get the same hours for all of the kids, so that we can enjoy some adult time.

·        We are concerned about how Kat will do in nursery as she has never been apart from Nyssa.  She is always with us, and has only ever been away from us while in the children’s program on cruises or at Club Med, but she has always been in the same class as Nyssa up until now (she is two and a half and Nyssa is three and a half).

·        We are homeschool parents and the kids are with us 24/7, so we would really like to have some adult only time to connect on this trip.  We still want to do stuff with the kids, but we have not had any adult only time since our last cruise in March 2020.

·        We have a waterpark cabana at Coco Cay.  For the first part of the day, we would like to put the kids in Adventure Ocean and it just be Steven and Tiffany at the waterpark.  Then, we will pick up the kids and take them to the waterpark.  We will probably be tired this evening and may opt to have dinner delivered to our room, but we will decide after we see how tired we are.

8.      Requests

·        We would like to do a lot of the activities such as the flow rider, zip line, waterslides, Ultimate Abyss, ice skating (with all four of the kids), and the rock wall.  If laser tag is included, we would like to do it with Christian and Sophia while the babies are in the nursery.  Also if it is included and we have time and it does not conflict with anything else, Steven and Tiffany would like to do the Escape Room.

·        We do not want to do the Bridge or Galley Tour.

·        We need the coffee table moved out of the living room, so it is not a fall hazard for the babies.

·         All six of us want to do the cupcake decorating class.

·        We are celebrating all of our birthdays on this cruise.  It was technically supposed to only be a birthday celebration for Steven and Tiffany who have summer birthdays, but all of the kid’s birthday cruises were canceled due to coronavirus.  We didn’t want them to miss out on celebrating their birthday on a cruise, so we are calling this a birthday celebration cruise for the entire family.  Not to mention, Sophia has been upset that her past two birthday cruises have been canceled and she has proceeded to remind us of that any chance she gets.

 

That is some awesome planning!!! We usually get on the ship and wing it! ?

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2 hours ago, wannabecruiseexpert said:

Yay!!!  My Oct sailing on Allure is also deck 10. I keep looking for an 8 or 9 to open up as well, but even if it doesn't, it's our first experience so I don't care ? Happy birthday!

We have stayed in a Deck 8 and a Deck 10 Aquatheater on Allure.  We enjoyed both very much.  The Deck 8 was definitely bigger and my preference, but the view from Deck 10 was fantastic.  Both deck 8s also opened up for this sailing, but the price difference was about $28,000 more, so that was a hard pass haha.  While an A1 generally costs a little bit more, usually you won't see such a drastic price difference in an A1 and an A2.  The only reason for this is prices are sky high right now, and we locked in our price when prices were low.  Deck 9 and Deck 10 are the same category (A2), so there isn't a price difference to switch but if I had went from Deck 10 or even Deck 9 (A2) to Deck 8 (A1), we would have had to go with today's pricing for the cruise.  No matter which Deck you are on, you are going to have an amazing time.  We absolutely loved Star Class on Allure, and if he is still there in October, we loved Genie Alan.   

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13 minutes ago, LovetoCruise87 said:

That is some awesome planning!!! We usually get on the ship and wing it! ?

The planning went into our first Star Class trip.  Now we just make slight edits each time haha.  Not to mention, by day 2 or 3, we are usually tired and are like "Just cancel everything for today, we want to be lazy and do nothing but eat and drink Starbucks (Tiffany) and diet coke (Steven) all day."

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21 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Late to the party here but I will echo what @WAAAYTOOOhas already said, it's great having a live SC blog to follow!

Glad to have you following along.  I was really hoping there was another Star Class blog on one of the sailings before ours.  Having a good blog to read helps build excitement and helps pass the time.  Plus, it would be nice to know what changes to expect.  If no one ends up doing a blog before ours, hopefully I can answer any questions that people have and also inform of any Star Class changes.

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12 minutes ago, Tiffeven said:

Glad to have you following along.  I was really hoping there was another Star Class blog on one of the sailings before ours.  Having a good blog to read helps build excitement and helps pass the time.  Plus, it would be nice to know what changes to expect.  If no one ends up doing a blog before ours, hopefully I can answer any questions that people have and also inform of any Star Class changes.

Well, it won't be me.  My next sailing is Allure in December (not SC, but might upgrade if it becomes available) and our next star isn't until March 2022.  That's the #majorstarclasstakeover sailing.  Nothing better happen to that one!

But I definitely am interested to read up on your perspective this time around for changes.  

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11 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Well, it won't be me.  My next sailing is Allure in December (not SC, but might upgrade if it becomes available) and our next star isn't until March 2022.  That's the #majorstarclasstakeover sailing.  Nothing better happen to that one!

But I definitely am interested to read up on your perspective this time around for changes.  

I look forward to reading your #majorstarclasstakeover blog.  I bet that is going to be a fun sailing and a fun blog to read.

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We received an email last night with the health protocols for September sailings.  I will post them below in case anyone is interested.  This sailing is now fully vaccinated with the exception of children under 12.

YOUR HEALTHY SAILING UPDATE
September 2021 Sailings Protocol Update

Before we say, "Welcome aboard," we'd like to share our health & safety protocols for our sailings departing from U.S. homeports September 2021.

Health and safety protocols are subject to change and as these occur, we're committed to updating you.

Visit this link for all of our health protocols & additional details. Please save it for future reference.
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VIEW HEALTHY SAIL CENTER
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Vaccination and Testing Requirements

Vaccination
All guests 12 and older are required to bring proof of vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card, with the final dose of the vaccine completed at least 14 days before sailing.

Testing
Pre-Cruise: Within 3 days of your sailing’s departure date and before your arrival to the terminal, all guests 2 years and older are required to present a negative COVID-19 Test Result (antigen or PCR.) Proper documentation (printed negative test results or negative test results presented on your phone) from an accredited laboratory (no doctor’s notes) is required to sail. All costs for this test are the guest's responsibility and must be done on their own, not at the terminal.

At the terminal: Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19 when checking in at the terminal. Registration details for this test will be sent via email in advance. This test is complimentary.

Prior to disembarking: Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 are required to take an antigen test onboard within 24 hours before the cruise ends. Registration details will be provided during your cruise. This test is complimentary.

No testing is required for guests under age 2.

 

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Additional Information

Healthy Shore Excursions
We've worked with local tour operators to ensure they follow our Healthy Sail Panel health guidance for all Shore Excursions. These tours are available at a variety of price points and may be purchased in advance on Cruise Planner.

Requirements for Going Ashore
    • No Tours Required for Vaccinated Guests: Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit the port freely.
 
  • Tours for Families:
    • Families traveling with unvaccinated kids must purchase a local tour through Royal Caribbean if they wish to go ashore. This applies to all ports of call except Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Port Canaveral, FL.
 
  • Tours Recommended in Port Canaveral, FL:
    • For ships that stop at Port Canaveral, we strongly recommend that families traveling with unvaccinated kids purchase a local tour through Royal Caribbean if they wish to go ashore.
 
  • No Tours Required at Perfect Day:
  • Tours or planned activities are not required of any guest who wishes to go ashore at Perfect Day at CocoCay, our private destination.


Mask Guidance
Below is our current mask guidance for all guests, except those under the age of 2, who do not need to wear a mask at any time.

Masks are NOT required to be worn:
  • In open-air areas of the ship, unless you
    are in a crowded setting
  • In the pool or any activity where they may
    become wet
  • At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants and shows
  • In your stateroom when you are with your traveling party
  • While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day
    at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting

Masks ARE required to be worn:
  • While indoors in public areas of the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking
  • While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them

Dining
For Main Dining, we will designate areas for everyone, including parents and unvaccinated children, and areas for vaccinated parties only. My Time Dining will not be available to parties that include unvaccinated guests.

Some specialty restaurants will be open to everyone, while others will be for vaccinated parties only. If you prefer a buffet, Windjammer will be open to everyone for breakfast and lunch, and the food will be served by our crew. We recommend that you make dining reservations via Cruise Planner before your cruise or the Royal Caribbean app onboard. Grab-and-go cafes will also be available for everyone.


Other Venues
Theaters and activity venues will offer spaced seating with options for everyone and for vaccinated guests only. Be sure to make show reservations once onboard using the Royal Caribbean app.

Spa services, except those offered in treatment rooms, are available to everyone. The Fitness Center will have dedicated operating hours for everyone as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only.
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15 minutes ago, sammy79 said:

 

Do you have a preference on port side vs starboard ATS?

 

Port side deck 8 A1 room is my preference. There is a bathroom at elevator area midship on port side. This is convenient if one doubts their ability to hold it on the long walk to the room at the back of the ship.

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22 hours ago, sammy79 said:

Do you have a preference on port side vs starboard ATS?  It seems like they both have climb walls next to the balcony

No preference.  The set up is pretty much the same, with the private part of the balcony facing the ocean and the table and bar on the side with the rock wall.  Sometimes, your view when in port may be affected, but there is really no way of knowing that when making a booking.  Also, sometimes one rock wall is utilized more than the other, but again, there is no way of having that information ahead of time.

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We received our Vaccination Status Request this morning.  The email provided a link which auto-populated our reservation number, ship, and sail date when clicked.  The only information we had to add was our name, date of birth, and vaccination status (I am fully vaccinated and am willing to provide proof of vaccination, I am not vaccinated, or I prefer not to answer).  On the link it noted, "Guests who elect not to provide documentation of vaccination prior to boarding will be considered unvaccinated. Additional health protocols will apply to unvaccinated guests, including testing requirements and restrictions on access to venues or events onboard."  Steven and I completed the quick form, but we did not submit it for the kids as they are too young to be vaccinated and require the additional testing anyway.

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We received an email from Royal today titled "Unvaccinated Guests: Register for your boarding day PCR test today!"  We actual received four of these (one for each kid).  Each one had a different reference ID, and when clicked it took you to a different link.  The email read as follows:

 

 
Dear Guest,
 
As promised, we’re reaching out with details about scheduling your boarding day PCR test for COVID-19, which will be conducted in the terminal by our medical services partner, BioReference Labs, for guests between the ages of 2 to 11.

All unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 are required to take a boarding day PCR test during check-in (plus, a debarkation antigen test, which we’ll share more details onboard.)

It's important to register for your boarding day PCR test as soon as possible to avoid delays in your check-in process. If you're vaccinated, please do not complete this registration for yourself. However, you may have received this email because you'll need to register the guest below as they are between the ages of 2 to 11 and are unvaccinated.

Lastly, please note, the above boarding day PCR test is in addition to the pre-cruise antigen or PCR test for COVID-19 that all guests 2 years and older — regardless of vaccination status — are required to bring a negative test result for, which must be taken 3 days before sailing and before arriving to the terminal.  

 

After clicking on "register for your test," you fill in basic information such as date of birth, address, phone number, or if you are symptomatic as defined by the CDC.  It was very simple and quick.  After submitting this information, you get "Success, the appointment is scheduled."  This same page also says that we need to bring the appointment confirmation with us to the terminal.  The confirmation was emailed to us almost immediately.  I'm not sure if it is enough to show them the email confirmation on my phone, but I don't want to risk it, so I am going to print it out and bring it with us.  

Two weeks from now, we will be wrapping up our first night of the cruise.  It almost seems surreal how close the cruise is.  I am super excited, but to be honest, I lost a little excitement when I went to pack and realized none of my cruise clothes fit any more.  I did find the perfect shirt to explain this.  It read, "Due to quarantine, my beach body has been delayed."  It's my fault for not checking my clothes sooner, but hopefully I learn from my mistake since most stores have already got rid of their summer clothes by now.  I did the next best thing and ordered some clothes off Amazon and am keeping my fingers crossed that they fit.  Nothing is going to ruin this cruise, even if it means wearing sweat pants and leggings for most of the trip.

 

 

 

 

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We scheduled our PCR test for Wednesday (9/08) morning at CVS for all of us except Kat.  The youngest they will test is 3, and she is only 2.  The health department in our county does Covid testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays for all ages, so we plan on being first in line on the Thursday before the cruise.  When scheduling the test at CVS, it said the results take 1 to 2 days, but I called and they said up to 72 hours right now and that could even go up if they get more backed up.  I really wish Royal allowed us to test more than 3 days before the cruise, but I understand that they have policies in place for a reason.  Obviously we want to cover all of our bases in the case we don't have our results in time, so I called Miami Airport.  We are not flying in, but I had heard they have rapid tests that the cruise line accepts.  The information Miami Airport provided was they do testing from 7am-9pm, 7 days a week.  They offer three types of tests: Rapid PCR ($179 per person and results in 30 minutes), PCR ($119 per person and results usually in 24-48 hours with a maximum of 72 hours), and Rapid Antigen ($79 per person and results in 1 hour).  They also told me I could schedule an appointment online and I would be prioritized over walk-ins, but generally walk-in wait time is only 5-15 minutes.

Our plan is to have everything packed up on the Wednesday before the cruise and to leave directly after Kat's Covid test on Thursday.  The drive to Miami is about 12.5 hours if we don't get caught in traffic.  Since I've yet to have a trip to Florida that doesn't include some traffic delays and because we have four kids, two of which are potty training, we are giving ourselves two days to get there.  We will drive as far as we can on Thursday or until we get tired and the kids get fussy.  Then, we will drive the rest of the way on Friday.  If we have not received our results by Friday evening, we are going to stop by the Miami Airport and do the Rapid Antigen test.

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