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Matt

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Hello.  I'm Brad, a Technical Special Agent who retired part time to a small town in Southern Leyte, Philippines and part time to St. Louis, MO.

My first cruise was a T/A  from Port Everglades to Amsterdam on the Rhapsody in 2004.  We paralleled a weak hurricane for 2 days.  There were 90 knot wind gusts.  A third of the crew was ill and the MDR was more than half empty. One of the variety acts was a unicyclist whose rather epic fall was replayed throughout the next day on shipboard TV.   This was a real life Fellini movie.  I was hooked.

Doing stage photography is my favorite activity onboard.  I'm the one with the odd-looking white lens.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Welcome, Brad.  You MUST share some of your stories about life in the Philippines. It sounds so exotic !

Thanks.  Living in the provinces (as opposed to Manila or Cebu) is a lot like living in a small town in the Midwest, but in the 1970s. Hinunangan is the equivalent of the County seat and has a population about 1,000.  There are 3 hardware stores, 4 bakeries and dozens of sari-sari stores - the Quickee Marts of the Philippines. Some so small you stand on the sidewalk and the owner fulfills your order.  Prices are also about the same as the US in the 70s.  If you eat local foods, you could spend $3.00 a day on food, all of it fresh.  Rum is the local drink. A 700ml bottle is about $1.75.

The best part - it's full of Filipinos.

And the worst - While the Philippines is known for supplying the world with nurses, the hospitals outside of Cebu and Manila might well have equipment used in US counterparts in the 1970s.  I bought some pulse oximeters (noninvasively measures Oxygen content) for our hospital.  They are reusable and cost about $20 each in the US from eBay or Amazon, but the hospital was still doing arterial punctures (ouch!) to get oxygen levels.  This was a bit self-serving.  I wouldn't want someone sticking my arteries a couple times a day if I ever ended up there.

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54 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I have felt for many, many years that the 2 happiest cultures on the planet are the Filipinos and the Cajuns.  They just love life and love everyone.  I am very envious.  How in the world did you end up there ?

The prior owner of my house in St. Louis married a woman originally from Hinunangan.  They asked me to go on a medical mission there (both are MDs) to run the back end of the pharmacy and manage the supplies we brought over.  I liked it and went back yearly on vacation with them.  The wife is from a family of medical people (Her nephew is the town dentist and my next door neighbor) in the town.  

She owns some lots in town and said her niece in Cebu (a commercial contractor) could build a house.  The doctors had already built their retirement house there a couple of blocks away.  For a very reasonable cost she built me a 4 BR 3 BA, 2 story house made of solid reinforced concrete.  It's withstood a 6.9 earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda (a Cat 5 hurricane that killed over 5,000 people in Tacloban - about 100 miles North) without so much as an insurance claim.  That's my story.

RP16-0280.JPG

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Hello, I'm Jason, but go by Auto. My wife and I have 4 daughters, aged 13, 7, 5, and 3 (soon to be 4). We currently live in Germany, but will (unfortunately) be headed back stateside next summer. As part of making the most of our time in Europe, we started cruising this spring with a Western Med cruise out of Barcelona (on Disney). We loved it so much that we decided to do an Eastern Med cruise to Greece for Thanksgiving (ok, actually leaving Venice on Nov 3). We're headed out on the Rhapsody and are excited to give Royal Caribbean a try (and hope we like it since it is waaaaayyy cheaper than DCL). 

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Hi, I'm Jennifer. I live in a suburb just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My daughter aged 13 and I have cruised on Oasis of the Seas in 2013 and on Disney Magic in 2011.  This December, we will be cruising Harmony of the Seas to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. We will be cruising with my sister and her family (hubby, kids aged 10,7,4)-they have cruised on Disney Wonder and Disney Dream. My father and stepmother have cruised on RCCL several years ago for a Baltic cruise. 

 

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1 hour ago, canada55 said:

Hi, I'm Jennifer. I live in a suburb just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My daughter aged 13 and I have cruised on Oasis of the Seas in 2013 and on Disney Magic in 2011.  This December, we will be cruising Harmony of the Seas to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. We will be cruising with my sister and her family (hubby, kids aged 10,7,4)-they have cruised on Disney Wonder and Disney Dream. My father and stepmother have cruised on RCCL several years ago for a Baltic cruise. 

 

Welcome! We celebrated my Dad's (80 years young)  retirement after 60 years of working on  Grandeur this year. He had a wonderful time. We are booked on Anthem as a special gift to my parents this December 29. Have a wonderful time with your family.

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Hi,

I’m Chris, I'm a database programmer in the direct marketing industry. My family & I are from Connecticut and have somewhat recently re-caught the cruising bug. Our kids are 12 and 14, and up until the last few years we've spent most of our vacation time in Disney World. Before we had children my wife, Dawn, and I were cruisers, starting with our honeymoon back in 1999 on the then, somewhat new, Grandeur of the Seas. We have been on NCL and Princess, but we have found that although they are good cruise lines, RCCL seems to do most things better. We would love to try Disney, but the costs for a cruise with them is just too crazy to consider - we could book two (or more) cruises with RCCL for the price of one with Disney.  Our last cruise was this past April, on the Liberty sailing out of Galveston and we all loved it!  I have also been on the Explorer, and the Serenade.  This week I just booked two cabins for the group cruise next July 4th on Anthem.  We are all super excited!

 

Chris  

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16 hours ago, cmsn0w said:

Hi,

I’m Chris, I'm a database programmer in the direct marketing industry. My family & I are from Connecticut and have somewhat recently re-caught the cruising bug. Our kids are 12 and 14, and up until the last few years we've spent most of our vacation time in Disney World. Before we had children my wife, Dawn, and I were cruisers, starting with our honeymoon back in 1999 on the then, somewhat new, Grandeur of the Seas. We have been on NCL and Princess, but we have found that although they are good cruise lines, RCCL seems to do most things better. We would love to try Disney, but the costs for a cruise with them is just too crazy to consider - we could book two (or more) cruises with RCCL for the price of one with Disney.  Our last cruise was this past April, on the Liberty sailing out of Galveston and we all loved it!  I have also been on the Explorer, and the Serenade.  This week I just booked two cabins for the group cruise next July 4th on Anthem.  We are all super excited!

 

Chris  

Welcome Chris!  Looking forward to meeting you next July!  I have a 12 year old who needs a friend in the Living Room 😉

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On 9/20/2018 at 10:18 AM, canada55 said:

Hi, I'm Jennifer. I live in a suburb just north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My daughter aged 13 and I have cruised on Oasis of the Seas in 2013 and on Disney Magic in 2011.  This December, we will be cruising Harmony of the Seas to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. We will be cruising with my sister and her family (hubby, kids aged 10,7,4)-they have cruised on Disney Wonder and Disney Dream. My father and stepmother have cruised on RCCL several years ago for a Baltic cruise. 

 

Welcome Jennifer, I work in a suburb just north of Toronto and live in a suburb west of the city. (Gotta love that three hour daily commute on the 401..NOT!) 

I hope you and your family have a great time on Harmony, I'm scheduled to sail on her for the first time next December out of Port Canaveral 🙂 

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