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Explorer B3B 5-28 April 2024


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3 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

@WAAAYTOOO When you change rooms on a b2B you put luggage tags on the bags? I was only going to print the first set but if this is the case TIA for the info. 

We do but I’m not sure you have to.  The room attendant knows what your new room number is so it’s probably not truly necessary…but yes, we do.

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Packed a little but will pack the majority in the morning.  Shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.  Pretty uneventful night.  Dinner was in the MDR; Italian night.  Dan got some kind of lamb curry dish and I got the chicken parm (who’s surprised ?).  Actually, it was the best chicken parm I have ever eaten on Royal !  Maybe I was just super hungry but I thought it was really excellent.  Having -0- Italian genes, maybe I’m just easy to please.  Purists probably laugh at me. 🤭

So leg #3 starts tomorrow.  Day 15 of 24.

We barely darkened the door of the casino.  We both played some Ultimate for maybe 30 minutes and then both cashed out slightly ahead.  I’m still down about $400 for this leg but I’m pretty sure Dan is either up or even.  The slots were not particularly friendly on this leg.  We played some pigs yesterday and we thought for sure we would get our pig to “pop” but he never did.  He was quite the porker though…so fat his feet wouldn’t even touch the ground.   IYKYK.

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10 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Actually, it was the best chicken parm I have ever eaten on Royal !  Maybe I was just super hungry but I thought it was really excellent.  Having -0- Italian genes, maybe I’m just easy to please.  Purists probably laugh at me. 🤭

This is how I feel as I am in the thick of researching places to eat in Rome for July. Every restaurants looks good to me, but I don't even know what authentic truly is lol

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9 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Every restaurants looks good to me, but I don't even know what authentic truly is lol

In Italy = authentic to me, lol.

People say Mason Jar isn't authentically Southern... I know neither of us care... it's delicious!

I'm sure you'll enjoy whatever you pick.

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Back onboard for the last leg.  This is a 9 night cruise with the exact same itinerary as leg #1, 2 weeks ago.

TAD was kind of a mess although it didn’t really impact us much.  More of a problem for new cruisers boarding and, of course, for the crew.

Apparently, the number of folks with “Account issues” was enormous, which caused a 2+ hour delay in boarding of new guests.  When I passed by GS ~8AM, the line stretched all the way to the entrance of the MDR.  I should have sensed, then, that this was going to cause issues.  Apparently, it did.

Finally, some time around 11:45, they began the B2B parade.  Everything went smoothly once we got started and the B2B luncheon, which was supposed to start at 11:30, got underway at around noon.  Presumably, general boarding began shortly after that.

As was the case with leg #1, our Loyalty gifts were incorrect.  On leg #1, we got a bottle of St Michelle “champagne” rather than the Chandon “champagne” that we have chosen. On this leg, the champagne was again wrong, as well as missing Cokes and missing water.  We strolled down to the Loyalty Ambassadors desk and she, I’m sure, will rectify everything.

We had to change cabins on this leg and we are now in a panoramic OV cabin on deck 12.  These are the “newer” rooms created when they downsized the spa.  It’s much bigger than our Promenade View dungeon and the sunshine and view are an extremely welcome change.  I’m not as fond of the location of this new room but I’m glad to be here.

We’re pulling away from the dock right now (4:45) so the last adventure has begun !  Dinner tonite at Giovanni’s (first of our BOGOs) at 7:00.

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26 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

I wonder what the account issues were. Does the panoramic room say it fits 4? I think I stayed in one on Mariner and I found it small and noisy.

I hope you continue to have good luck in the casino.

I think this room does sleep additional guests….it seems like the couch would fold out although I haven’t tried it to see.

I think you might be right about the noise….i have already heard a few grumblings in the hallway.  One thing I will say about the PV room, it was QUIET !

We’ve stayed in this cabin category before and while the location is not my favorite, I do like the space and the view.  This particular room is located on the port side and has a totally unobstructed view and of course, has the floor-to-ceiling windows.  Some of the cabins in this category look out over the bow and IMO the view is much diminished by views of the ship’s structure and hardware such as antennae and comm towers, etc.

Dan has gone for his daily sauna (which is now VERY convenient). I took a bit of a nap but it was really more of a “rest”.  I never actually fell asleep. I’m not used to all the light !  😜😜

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I was over the bow and right under the captain's bridge on Mariner, it was very hard to take naps during the day. I believe it was room number 1821 or 1812. It was a view of the antenna and other hardware.  But the sun from the floor-to-ceiling windows were breathtaking. I just found it odd at the time that it slept 4. 

Hopefully dinner is/was great tonight. 

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Dinner was very good.  I had the garlicky shrimp and Dan had the seafood linguine.  I was surprised that he chose the pasta dish as we had both eaten pasta for lunch at the B2B luncheon and Dan is not much of a pasta guy.  But he did, and he said it was very good. I absolutely love their olive bread and you could tell that it had just come out of the oven.  Oh, Lordy !

We both won a bit in the casino.  We broke even on Dancing Drums and then played a bit of UTH and both cashed out ahead.  I suppose my purple drawers we “red enough” to bring me a little luck !  😂😜😂

Sea day tomorrow.  We’re on our way to Puerto Plata, DR where we will be snorkeling with the sea lions and the sharks !

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Boy, what a difference in this cruise and the last 2.  Waaay more folks in the Crown Lounge on this leg.  Dan and I had to sit out in the VC area while I drink my coffee.  It’s a zoo inside.  Same thing with breakfast this morning in Giovanni’s.  Waaay more people in there and the service was very slow.  On the past 2 cruises we were in and out in no time.

The TTE will be this morning at 10:00 (which is typical rather than the 5PM nonsense of the past 2 cruises) and then the Cheers lunch at noon.

Our Loyalty gifts are still dicked up.  They brought our water but we’re still missing my Cokes and our Chandon.  What a PITA.  The LA doesn’t go to her desk until 4:00 today so I guess it’ll have to wait until then.  I’m sure she’s tied up with the TTE and Cheers stuff this morning.

Seas are nice and smooth, thank goodness.  Our new dwelling location can suffer greatly with ocean motion so I’m grateful that it’s calm.

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4 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Waaay more folks in the Crown Lounge on this leg.  Dan and I had to sit out in the VC area while I drink my coffee.  It’s a zoo inside.

One of the few perks of sailing with tons of kids during school breaks on Oasis class... I have yet to ever see a truly crowded CL since they started vouchers (obviously the DL was crowded back during the open bar happy hour days). It's a veritable ghost town in the mornings when I go to get my coffee. I was usually the only one there besides the crew member putting out breakfast at 7am on Wonder last month during spring break.

Granted I go on the early side (sometimes crazy early just to get coffee to go), but even if I went back with my wife at 8:30 or something, there were less than 10 people there. It was a bit more crowded during nightly "happy hour" (should be called snack time) but there were always plenty of seats.

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17 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

Does the panoramic room say it fits 4?

It does! We had it booked for the 4 of us for NYE 2018 on Indy (not Mariner but I believe those rooms are set up the same). That was a sailing that we booked only a few months out from sailing so there were not many choices left. But then closer to the cruise, I couldn't bring myself to do it. A Cat. 1K (Ultra Spacious Ocean View) opened up and I moved us. In retrospect, that was the worst room that we have ever stayed in! Front of the ship, so loud, so much motion. I would assume the Panoramic rooms on those two ships are going to be similar. 

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Today was Puerto Plata and we did the Ocean World Sea Lion Encounter & Snorkeling with sharks and Lunch.  This is one of the best excursions we have ever taken.  I have lots of pix but of course, they are not yet on my iPad so I will have to post them later.

We had soooo much fun and saw so many awesome critters.

Ocean World is a Dominican Sea World -an Aqua park with shows and exhibitions.  I was very surprised to find it was very well maintained and well organized.  I have been to aqua parks before in other countries that were…well….sad.  But this one is not.  It was thoroughly enjoyable.

There were dolphin and sea lion shows as well as the shark encounter and multiple snorkeling/swimming aquariums.  There were aviary enclosures (small but fun).  There was a beachfront swimming area as well as fresh water pools.  Some of the interactions were additional $$ (dolphins, in our case since we paid for the sea lions and shark interactions) but we did not pay for anything more than our original excursion included and we had a blast !   Lunch was a pretty typical Caribbean buffet….nothing to write home about, but it wasn’t bad….but was very busy !

Transportation from the port was in a big, comfortable, air conditioned bus….may 15 minutes from the port,  fast, efficient and well organized.  I will definitely recommend this excursion or the one like it that included the dolphin interaction.

This excursion wasn’t cheap.  It was nearly $200 PP but you got a lot for your money and I think it was worth the cost.  We go on VERY few excursions.

We were exhausted by the time we got back to the ship.  The bus left the port area at 8:30 and we got back at 2:00 so it’s a very full day and there’s lots to do.

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On 4/5/2024 at 3:19 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

Yes, I’m sure you will not be impressed with the Concierge/Suites Lounge on EX.  I truly don’t understand why they haven’t moved it and renamed it yet.  Oh well…

I do enjoy this class of ships.  They have everything I need (except for the cinema found on the Radiance class, which I really do enjoy).  They are slightly “shorter” than their big brothers, the Freedom class, but it makes the walk down the Promenade SO much easier when you’re traveling the length of the ship.  It certainly doesn’t have the dazzle of an Oasis class but I appreciate the better itins on EX as compared to the short, boring 4-nighters to Nassau and PDCC.

I will go up to the Crown Lounge and take some pix up there.  As @OCSC Mikementioned, it’s nice to have a choice.

We are doing Alaska on radiance in 2025 and I’m so excited for the movie theater!  And all the windows….   Jane

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On 4/9/2024 at 10:04 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

We love swimming with turtles.  We would have chosen that one over the rays (if they had offered that….which they didn’t) but I have to say -we swam with the rays in The Caymans a number of years ago and really enjoyed it.  I hope the Antigua rays are as docile as the Cayman rays !

I sometimes have a struggle getting back onto the boat, especially if the seas are rough-ish so I hope that’s not the case today.  Fingers crossed.  Being waaaytooo fat and having 2 questionable knees doesn’t help !  😜😜😂

Our caymon excursion got cancelled due to weather and I’m still hoping to swim with the rays someday!   Jane 

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On 4/13/2024 at 9:06 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

Yep, on leg 3 we have to move up to deck 14 forward to a pano OV room.  It’s one of our new fave cheapo cabin types.  I’ve actually grown quite fond of our little Promenade view room, which is fortunate since we will be here another 5 days !  Truly, my only complaint about the Promenade view room is the fact that there are no drawers in the vanity except for one tiny drawer right in front.  Otherwise, the room is fine.  I love the little window love seat.  That’s MY space.  I sit here and do my blogging and it’s very comfy.  I was able to watch the Promenade parade this afternoon  -at least, one “end” of it.  I expected the noise to finally reach us but nope.  It was still very quiet here.

I really hope to stay in one of these rooms at some point.  I was planning on them for our 2025 grad cruise on voyager until my kid convinced me to do the corner aft balcony!   Jane

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7 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

Did you get to feed and/or play with the sea lions? I love sea lions, they are so ugly cute 😍..........dolphins seem sweet, but I read they are sea sexual predators, so no thank you. 

No.  We did not feed the sea lions nor the sharks, unfortunately.  Lots of touching and petting (sea lions, that is) but no feeding. 😪

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12 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Lots of touching and petting (sea lions, that is)

I mentioned your excursion to my wife and she was all in for the sea lions but her two encounters with small sharks at CocoCay was enough for her on that front, lol.

We've swam with dolphins, seen the usual suspects snorkeling (turtles, rays, etc.), and had a great time at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward before our one Alaska cruise. We did a "puffin encounter" where you go into the puffin/penguin habitat and get to feed them fish for a pretty long time. Guess we'll have to add sea lions to the list now if we ever get to the DR or somewhere else that offers it.

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1 hour ago, OCSC Mike said:

 two encounters with small sharks at CocoCay was enough for her on that front, lol.

If I'm being honest, I will say that the shark encounter was the least interesting of everything we did yesterday.  They are nurse sharks, and they are quite boring, TBH.  Big ?  Yes.  ....but they run and hide in the rocks whenever people are in the water.  This is maybe one of the only species of sharks that doesn't have to continuously swim to keep oxygen in their system, so they go to the bottom, sit and hide.  I totally understand the concern for SHARKS !  ....but these are wimpy, totally benign sharks. They look more like big catfish !  🤣

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2 minutes ago, Neesa said:

The sharks were looking for @asquared17! When they realized it wasn't her they went down to rest, contemplating their next play date with her. They were probably trying to figure out how you could deliver a message to her through you!! 🦈

i just laughed SO loud!!! 😆

thank you for this, my friend 💚 needed this today 💚

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Yesterday we had a mysterious bottle of “champagne” show up in our room.  It had an apology note with it from C&A so we assumed it was due to the fact that they royally screwed up our loyalty gifts twice on both of our turnarounds.

I bumped into @JustMeJoe this morning and he asked me if we had received our bottle and then explained that (apparently) everyone that was B2B on that last leg got a bottle.  You may recall that our TAD was something of a Charlie Foxtrot due to the number of Guest Services “issues” on the 4-14 leg (those that were disembarking) and that disembarking and reboarding were delayed for over 2 hours that day.

One thing that I failed to mention in that discussion was the weirdo fact that we actually checked in for our new muster station BEFORE we even left the ship on our turnaround !  First time that’s ever happened.  It just so happened that our new muster station was in the Star Lounge which is also where we were assembled for rurnaround…so we scanned our new Seapass cards and completed the muster station requirement before we even departed the ship to go through CBP !


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Last night dinner was in Chops and we were extremely fortunate to have @JustMeJoe and Mrs JustMe join us.  Our favorite waiter, Andriy was his usual enchanting self and we had a great time.  Consumed 2 bottles of "champagne" and a bottle of red wine.  Fun, fun

Then we were off to the casino where I first lost and then ended up walking away a bit ahead.  I have all but given up on the slots so I'm spending most of my casino time at UTH which is where I usually was before I tried slots.  The machines just do not like me.  I will be sitting at a machine and all of the ones around me are ding, ding, ding-ing away and mine just sits there and frowns. 😪

Today we are in Antigua with the Emerald Princess.  Since we did the stingray excursion here 2 weeks ago, we are staying on the ship today.  It looks like a beautiful day so I'm hoping that those who are going out will have a great time.

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Ok.  I’m gonna try and upload these Ocean World photos.  Wish me luck.

image.thumb.jpeg.95169a457796f0c01200460c71dc3965.jpegI know this is hard to read but it will give you an idea of the content of the Park. It’s much bigger than I would have thought before I saw it for myself.


Again, maybe not so easy to read, but some idea of the show schedules



This is the only photo I got of an actual dolphin since the dolphin encounter wasn’t included in our excursion.  I will say though, they make it very easy for you to watch all of the interactions/encounters, even if you haven’t paid to participate.  The shows are all readily visible from a distance.  You just don’t get to interact with the animals if you haven’t paid for the excursion.  Lots of opportunities to observe.


We (at least, I did not.  Dan watched a bit) did not watch the dolphin show but this is a photo of the dolphin show area.  As you can see, it’s pretty easy to watch a show from this vantage point even if you’re not directly involved.


Fresh water pool




Dan actin’ the fool.  This is by the kiddie area of the fresh water pool.  OBTW, the fresh water pool was COLD



They have 2 bird houses.  This is the macaw area.  Beautiful birds.


The second bird house was for the smaller birds, primarily love birds.  


No explanation needed for this one…

…or this one…

The snorkeling area had a couple of plexiglass viewing areas.  Lots of fish and coral to see.  I really enjoyed snorkeling in this area but we were fortunate enough to have done this early.  Later in the day it was crowded and chaotic as there were kids in there who had no idea how to snorkel and were thrashing about maniacally.  I’m sure it was very disruptive to the fish.  Glad I missed that…



Bizarre photo of Dan in the snorkeling area.  Actual arms and reflections of arms.  Yikes !



This is a rather crappy photo of the shark encounter area.  It’s actually quite large.

The sharks in this interaction are nurse sharks and the are extremely wimpy as sharks go.  They ran and hid in the rocks once the snorkelers entered the water. When this photo was taken (before the snorkelers got in) the sharks were just looking for a free meal.  They know when the chow is coming out !



Moving on to the sea lions.  Here is Dan about to get a kiss.  While I was taking this picture, I had an employee telling me, “Sorry, no photographs allowed”.  I just ignored him and took this one but put my phone away after that.  I had no interest in seeing the inside of a Dominican jail.  😵‍💫


After the encounter was over, photography wasn’t a problem.  This was during an actual sea lions show which was open to the public


Obligatory balancing-the-ball-on-the-snout photo.


Heres the sea lion (I can’t remember his name) giving mouth-to-mouth (or boca-a-boca, depending upon which narration you were listening to) to an unfortunate member of the staff who nearly drowned when this SAME sea lion pushed him off the rocks, moments earlier !

Scene of the crime…

Welp, that’s all of the exciting things we saw and experienced at Ocean World.  If you get the chance to go when in Puerto Plata, I do recommend it.  


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