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Newbie questions


anniecm
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Hi all.. I have some questions from an RC newbie! I am booked on Mariner of the Seas on February 3, 2022 to Cococay and Cozumel. I’ve gone on another cruise before but never with RC so I had some things I wanted to ask. I apologize in advance if these are obvious questions but I figure they're things that veteran cruisers may already know but that us newcomers don't. 

I’ve heard conflicting things about when to arrive to port on embarkation day. I got info from RC that said they’d tell me a time to arrive and to not arrive earlier than that, because you won’t get to board early. But I’ve heard on the podcast and some other blog postings that say to arrive early (10-11am) and that you will usually be allowed to board early. Which is best?

Splitting internet package over two devices… if I have an iPad and a cell phone, can I buy a single internet package (1 device) and just use internet on one device at a time? Or I definitely will need to pay for 2 devices? On a related note… Do most of you think “The Key” is worth it? I was thinking it might be, because we wanted to buy an internet package anyway and it’s about $10 more per day. But what do people think about the other benefits?

I’ve been to all-inclusive resorts with a culture of people waking up very early in the AM to “reserve” chairs at the beach or pool – is this typically the culture on RC (on ship or on Cococay)? I know we all hate this, but I’m more wondering how common it has been in your experience and if I need to be mentally prepared for it.

As a picky eater, how open is the main dining room to substitutions/special requests? I realize they’re probably preparing mass quantities of food and I’m a pain, but how taboo is it to order a dish without this or that?

Last but not least.. does RC usually have a black Friday sale? I’m wondering if I should wait until then to book shore excursions and a drink plan. If I book a drink plan (or excursion) at a higher price and then the price drops, can I get an adjustment?

Thanks in advance 🙂 Appreciate any other tips or tricks or secrets that you want to share with a newcomer. 

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4 hours ago, anniecm said:

I’ve heard conflicting things about when to arrive to port on embarkation day. I got info from RC that said they’d tell me a time to arrive and to not arrive earlier than that, because you won’t get to board early. But I’ve heard on the podcast and some other blog postings that say to arrive early (10-11am) and that you will usually be allowed to board early. Which is best?

Pre covid you could show up early.  But now you need to get a boarding time from Royal Caribbean’s app and the adhere to that time. No more than 15 minutes early.  
 

 

4 hours ago, anniecm said:

if I have an iPad and a cell phone, can I buy a single internet package (1 device) and just use internet on one device at a time?

Yes

4 hours ago, anniecm said:

I’ve been to all-inclusive resorts with a culture of people waking up very early in the AM to “reserve” chairs at the beach or pool – is this typically the culture on RC (on ship or on Cococay)?

Unfortunately, yes. With reduced capacity lately it hasn’t been an issue, but it will return with higher numbers. 

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4 hours ago, anniecm said:

As a picky eater, how open is the main dining room to substitutions/special requests?

Very. Feel free to ask politely.  They can accommodate you for most requests

4 hours ago, anniecm said:

least.. does RC usually have a black Friday sale? I’m wondering if I should wait until then to book shore excursions and a drink plan.

Probably a Black Friday sale but here’s why you shouldn’t wait!

 

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16 hours ago, oufpat said:

Thanks for the info, we'll also be on this cruise and it will be our first RC cruise.  We are from NJ and will be in Orlando for 9 nights prior to cruise and our biggest concern is where to get the COVID Test!

If they have new ones by then, the at home test worked really well for us. We did our test at around 8pm and the longest wait we had was the 15 minutes we had to wait for the test card to do whatever it is that it does. 

If that isn't an option you are comfortable with, there seemed to be plenty of appointments in Florida before we sailed. Not sure when they open up appointments, but we looked like 2 days before sailing (as our plan b in case the at home tests didn't work) and would not have had an issue getting tested.

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Adding to the chairs question - while chairs right by the pool might go early, I have never had an issue on any ship finding *a* lounge chair.  Often one deck up from the pool, or along the sides.  If you want to be able get in and out of the pool, these are not so convenient.  But if, like me, you want to lie in the sun but prefer to avoid people soup, you can sleep as late as you wish.

Speaking of soup, I am also somewhat of a picky eater and make some sort of request just about every meal.  Often by second or third day, my server is already confirming "on the side" or "without mushrooms" before I can even say it.  

 

You will love your RC cruise!

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