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Cruise Discussion Thread

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Oct 13, 2011
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Didi_beee wrote:
Jun 14th, 2016 12:35 pm
Apparently Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas is going into dry dock in November for major renovations and new additions. I'm booked for November 14th. I see that Oct 8th is the last sailing before my November 14th departure. Can I assume that ship will be undergoing renovations before my departure? Is that going to be a good or a bad thing??
There will be things to iron out for sure. Possibly, new features like the water slide or surf simulator may not be ready on the first sailing. Given the recent history of Royal Caribbean struggles with the refit for Empress of the Seas or receiving guests on a not so ready Harmony of the Seas, and taking 4 months after dry dock before one of the new slide on the Liberty to be in operation. I would not expect everything to be ready when you board the ship.
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michiebaby wrote:
Jun 15th, 2016 1:09 pm
I just booked my first cruise for travel in January. It leaves from Port Canaveral. I'm reading most people prefer to arrive the day before and stay in a hotel for 1 night. Any recommendation for a convenient hotel and how far is Port Canaveral from the airport?
If you flight arrives in the evening, I would stay in any hotels near the Orlando airport and drive out to the port the next morning as it is only 45 minutes drive from the airport to Port Canaveral. You should be able to find a 3* hotel on Priceline or Hot Wire for under $60 USD in the MCO zone.
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Rothesay wrote:
Jun 15th, 2016 6:04 pm
There will be things to iron out for sure. Possibly, new features like the water slide or surf simulator may not be ready on the first sailing. Given the recent history of Royal Caribbean struggles with the refit for Empress of the Seas or receiving guests on a not so ready Harmony of the Seas, and taking 4 months after dry dock before one of the new slide on the Liberty to be in operation. I would not expect everything to be ready when you board the ship.
Man that sucks... I just hope the cruise is not a mess :(

It will be the first time cruising for 10 of us.
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michiebaby wrote:
Jun 15th, 2016 1:09 pm
I just booked my first cruise for travel in January. It leaves from Port Canaveral. I'm reading most people prefer to arrive the day before and stay in a hotel for 1 night. Any recommendation for a convenient hotel and how far is Port Canaveral from the airport?
About a 45min drive from MCO to port canaveral...if u have more than 2 ppl, consider renting a car one way from Orlando airport and dropping off at port canaveral. We've gotten a full sized car for Less than $40 for a day.
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Can anyone comment on average hotel prices in Puerto Rico in November? I'll be disembarking from Pan American Pier and I see a Courtyard by Marriot at San Juan Condado area for about $130+$9 resort fee CDN but must pre-pay now through Priceline. I know November is far away, thus I want to make sure this is a decent deal before booking... I need to book 3 rooms too. We're looking for 3 stars or higher.
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Didi_beee wrote:
Jul 31st, 2016 4:02 pm
Can anyone comment on average hotel prices in Puerto Rico in November? I'll be disembarking from Pan American Pier and I see a Courtyard by Marriot at San Juan Condado area for about $130+$9 resort fee CDN but must pre-pay now through Priceline. I know November is far away, thus I want to make sure this is a decent deal before booking... I need to book 3 rooms too. We're looking for 3 stars or higher.
Try Trivago, they check many hotel sites a once.
It's alright if you don't agree with me... I can't force you to be right. - Anonymous
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Aug 2, 2016
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i6s1 wrote:
May 30th, 2016 1:04 pm
I think I've been on 13 cruises.... including 5 on Carnival to the Caribbean. The reputation as a "party" line is incredibly overblown. Yes, it's a younger crowd than a Holland ship going to Alaska. But as a non-party person, I think the overall environment is great and the value is incredible.

Every year we talk about going on another line, but Carnival often ends up being hundreds cheaper... so it's hard justify that extra cost. I'd rather use the savings on activiities. We typically pay around $60/day. My last 6 day cruise with them on the Breeze was $280US pp. My last 10 day cruise on the Triumph was $650US pp.
I could have written this post word for word. I agree with everything you wrote. I think the people who still think Carnival is full of drunks has either never been on a Carnival ship or has only been on one of the 3 day weekend cruises (which usually are more rowdy on any cruise line.) I have also been on 5 Carnival cruises and not once did I see an obnoxious drunk person or feel uncomfortable.
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Just got back from the Mediterranean on the Royal Princess.

Here is a good overview if interested... Youtube link, I don't like how it embeds now

First cruise for both of us. For reference, we're in our late 30's, very active, and live an upper-middle class lifestyle in downtown Toronto. We're out of the "party lifestyle" now, so a relaxing, yet active vacation is what we tend to go for.

Facilities - The ship is huge, and basically has everything you'd expect from something like an all inclusive resort. A lot of options of entertainment and relaxing. We had a balcony room, mid-ship, near the top of the living floors. The room was a good size and well laid out. Sleeping was very comfortable. The balcony was great, and honestly, while we spent minimal time in the room outside of sleeping, to me it is a must. Gym and other rec options on the ship were nice. We only had one at sea day, but we had no issue finding a spot in the "adults only" area. Most port days we were back by around 4pm and again had no issues lazying around before the evening. Entertainment was fine for us, we didn't watch any of the theater shows or anything. Just sat mainly in the piazza at night and watched whatever was going on there. Internet is ridiculously expensive. It is a good time to unplug and we welcomed it. You can still find free wifi in the ports.

Food - No complainants from either of us about the food. Very good overall and a wide variety. Between the buffets, sit-downs, and paid options, you'll be covered. Good flow to everything. We did anytime dining and did not have to wait long (more on that). We did not do any drink package. You get water, ice tea (unsweetened), lemonade, orange juice, and coffee/tea included. The upgraded soft drink package (which I think basically gave you pop and maybe other juices as an option) was I think $8 (all charges are in US) per person per day. The unlimited drink package (which included alcoholic drinks up to I think a per drink cost of $15) is something like $60 (again US) per person per day. We had a few drinks each in the evening almost every night. I think our bill at the end for additional expenses was around $400. Attach your Amazon Visa to your ship card to avoid the Forex. To eat in the sit down restaurants you needed a collared shirt and long pants. Formal nights (2 while we were there, and especially the first night) people really did it up. I would say 85%+ on the ship were dressed "well".

Ports - We had two Turkey stops that they obviously bypassed and added a Montenegro and other Greece stop. Overall no issues though. Transport arranged from the ship, you will pay a premium for (not surprised). Ask around, certain ports had cheaper options immediately available stepping of the ship (i.e. $7 ground transport through the ship or a $2 water taxi that was right there). Small things, but we'd keep an eye out if we did something like this again. We did a couple of excursions through the ship. Overall happy with them.

Service - Great overall. Staff really remember you there. As an aside, there is an additional 15% gratuity automatically added per day/drink/service. You can challenge this if you want at the end. We obviously did not...

Demographics - I'd say the average age was in the 50's. Apparently in the summer there tends to be (ship dependent) a higher proportion of families/children on board. it was a good mix, and definitely preferred to what I was fearing would be a geriatric cruise. Apparently in talking with one couple who cruises quite often, this particular voyage they said was quite lean on people (didn't appear from our end). They assumed a lot of people cancelled last minute because of the removal of the Turkey stops.

Would I cruise again? If the price was right and the ports interesting, sure. Good experience overall.
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Just watched your video review of the Royal Princess. Nice looking ship. What size was that cabin? It was small as was the balcony. I can only imagine how small the washroom must have been in that cabin.
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cbr663 wrote:
Aug 6th, 2016 7:54 pm
Just watched your video review of the Royal Princess. Nice looking ship. What size was that cabin? It was small as was the balcony. I can only imagine how small the washroom must have been in that cabin.
I think the cabin is around 400 square feet. The room isn't massive, but certainly a usable size. The balcony was comfortable for two people to sit and put their feet up. The washroom is small, but functional.

Balcony rooms I think are generally mid-range accommodation (at least from a price point) on ships. If you want/need something bigger, get (and pay for) a suite.
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So I'll be embarking in 7 days on Royal Caribbean departing from Puerto Rico. I have been reading up on Cruise Critiic since I am a first time Cruiser, but a seasoned traveller.
There are still a few questions I'd like to get a quick answer to if possible from seasoned Royal Caribbean Cruisers:
1 - Winjammer cafe is opened 24/7, free and consists of buffet style?
2 - Main dining room is buffet style?
3 - If I choose to use cash to load onto my SeaPass instead of entering my credit card details, will I get any existing unused balance returned to me? Even if I choose credit card option for my SeaPass, can I pay with cash at the end of the trip (we want to avoid huge conversion fees)
4 - Is the currency in USD on the ship?
5 - Is room service free?
6 - Are there bar fridges in the cabins?
7 - What type of outlet do the cabins hold? Will I be able to charge my Iphone/Ipad successfully?
8 - In the photo gallery for my room, it shows a dividing curtain between bed and sofa, do the rooms actually have this (important as my 11 month old son will be in our room too so its good to have some dividing area for his earlier sleep time)
9 - I have a Crown & Anchor Society Number but my status is blank - I haven't cruised with them yet, so does that mean I can't get priority boarding?
10 - Any beaches within walking distance from the Port of Bridgetown, Barbados, Castries, St. Lucia and Philipsburg, St. Maarten?
11 - If I arrive at 12pm to board the ship, how long should I expect to wait to actually be boarded and free to roam around? We will have 3 babies and 1 four year old so we want to limit queing times - should we board later?
12 - Can I bring a bottle of wine on board?
13 - Can we bring food offboard when visiting the ports (say pack a picnic lunch for the beach)

TIA!
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Didi_beee wrote:
Nov 8th, 2016 12:56 am
So I'll be embarking in 7 days on Royal Caribbean departing from Puerto Rico. I have been reading up on Cruise Critiic since I am a first time Cruiser, but a seasoned traveller.
There are still a few questions I'd like to get a quick answer to if possible from seasoned Royal Caribbean Cruisers:
1 - Winjammer cafe is opened 24/7, free and consists of buffet style? I BELIEVE THIS IS THE LIDO DECK CAFE. IT IS BUFFET, ALTHOUGH NOT SURE IF IT IS OPEN 24/7.
2 - Main dining room is buffet style? NO. MDR IS SEATED. NO SHORTS, NO TSHIRTS, NO OPEN TOE SHOES.
3 - If I choose to use cash to load onto my SeaPass instead of entering my credit card details, will I get any existing unused balance returned to me? OF COURSE Even if I choose credit card option for my SeaPass, can I pay with cash at the end of the trip (we want to avoid huge conversion fees) YES. CHECK WITH THEM, SOMETIMES THEIR CONVERSION RATE IS BETTER THAN THE "GOING" RATE AND YOU CAN PAY YOUR BALANCE IN CAD. THAT WAY YOU DON'T GET CHARGED THE HUGE (2.5%) CONVERSION FEE.
4 - Is the currency in USD on the ship? YES
5 - Is room service free? I BELIEVE SO. NCL RECENTLY INSTITUTED A CHARGE. NOT SURE IF RC HAS DONE SO AS WELL. THERE MAY BE A CHARGE FOR ROOM SERVICE AFTER A CERTAIN TIME LATE AT NIGHT. BEST TO CHECK ON CRUISE CRITIC
6 - Are there bar fridges in the cabins? YES. I GET THEM TO REMOVE ALL THE STUFF THAT IS IN IT SO I CAN FILL IT WITH WHATEVER I MIGHT WANT
7 - What type of outlet do the cabins hold? Will I be able to charge my Iphone/Ipad successfully? YES
8 - In the photo gallery for my room, it shows a dividing curtain between bed and sofa, do the rooms actually have this (important as my 11 month old son will be in our room too so its good to have some dividing area for his earlier sleep time) - NO CLUE
9 - I have a Crown & Anchor Society Number but my status is blank - I haven't cruised with them yet, so does that mean I can't get priority boarding? PROBABLY NOT. PRIORITY BOARDING IS A PERK. NEWBIES DON'T USUALLY GET PERKS, UNLESS YOU ARE GETTING AN UPGRADED SUITE
10 - Any beaches within walking distance from the Port of Bridgetown, Barbados, Castries, St. Lucia and Philipsburg, St. Maarten? ST MAARTEN HAS A WATER TAXI THAT TAKES YOU ACROSS THE BAY TO A BEACH. NOT A TERRIBLY REMARKABLE BEACH.
11 - If I arrive at 12pm to board the ship, how long should I expect to wait to actually be boarded and free to roam around? We will have 3 babies and 1 four year old so we want to limit queing times - should we board later? I TRY BOARD AS SOON AS I CAN. USUALLY IN LINE FOR 9.30. VACATION STARTS WHEN I GET ON THE SHIP, WHY WOULD I WANT TO WAIT? REMEMBER, YOU NEED TO BE ON BOARD 2 HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE OR YOU DON'T GET ON AT ALL.
12 - Can I bring a bottle of wine on board? DIFF CRUISELINES HAVE DIFFERENT RULES. SOME ALLOW ONE BOTTLE PER ADULT, SOME (NCL) YOU CAN BRING AS MANY AS YOU WANT BUT YOU GET CHARGED A CORKAGE FEE.
13 - Can we bring food offboard when visiting the ports (say pack a picnic lunch for the beach). ABSOLUTELY NOT.

TIA!
EDIT: all these questions are good questions, especially for the newbie... however.... nothing against RFD at all... but the best place to ask them is cruise critic. That is the premiere site for All Things Cruising. There are some things about the site that I find pathetic (can't share deals, some topics are not permitted to be discussed, no private messaging abilities, etc)... but for information about a cruise.. it can't be beat. Also.. be sure to sign up for your sailings Roll Call to get to know people before you sail. They even arrange meet and greets, sometimes with the ship's captain and officers.

Enjoy your vacation, and don't be too scared the first time you flush the toilet! (You will understand after you flush the first time!! hahaha).
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Didi_beee wrote:
Nov 8th, 2016 12:56 am
So I'll be embarking in 7 days on Royal Caribbean departing from Puerto Rico. I have been reading up on Cruise Critiic since I am a first time Cruiser, but a seasoned traveller.
There are still a few questions I'd like to get a quick answer to if possible from seasoned Royal Caribbean Cruisers:
1 - Winjammer cafe is opened 24/7, free and consists of buffet style?
2 - Main dining room is buffet style?
3 - If I choose to use cash to load onto my SeaPass instead of entering my credit card details, will I get any existing unused balance returned to me? Even if I choose credit card option for my SeaPass, can I pay with cash at the end of the trip (we want to avoid huge conversion fees)
4 - Is the currency in USD on the ship?
5 - Is room service free?
6 - Are there bar fridges in the cabins?
7 - What type of outlet do the cabins hold? Will I be able to charge my Iphone/Ipad successfully?
8 - In the photo gallery for my room, it shows a dividing curtain between bed and sofa, do the rooms actually have this (important as my 11 month old son will be in our room too so its good to have some dividing area for his earlier sleep time)
9 - I have a Crown & Anchor Society Number but my status is blank - I haven't cruised with them yet, so does that mean I can't get priority boarding?
10 - Any beaches within walking distance from the Port of Bridgetown, Barbados, Castries, St. Lucia and Philipsburg, St. Maarten?
11 - If I arrive at 12pm to board the ship, how long should I expect to wait to actually be boarded and free to roam around? We will have 3 babies and 1 four year old so we want to limit queing times - should we board later?
12 - Can I bring a bottle of wine on board?
13 - Can we bring food offboard when visiting the ports (say pack a picnic lunch for the beach)

TIA!
Windjammer is buffet, but not open 24/7
Main Dining Room is ordering off a menu. (think going to a dinner at a banquet hall)
I've never used cash to load up SeaPass. If you use cash, you have to put down a $500 deposit. and the lines to get the money back is LOOOONG on dembarkation day.
Room service is free during the day, but there is a delivery charge after certain time (midnight I think)
There is a small bar fridge, loaded with drinks. You can ask the room attendant to remove them.
Usually 1 US and 1 European outlet by the desk in each room. The newer ships have USB ports. Bring a power bar if you have lots of stuff to plug in.
RCI uses generic photos, so some but most ships have curtains between the bed and sofa for balcony rooms.
You C&A does not come in effect until AFTER your first cruise.
For RCI, you're allowed to bring two wine bottles per room.
If you arrive at 12pm, you should be able to get on the ship right after you register.
Bringing food off the ship depends of the port you're staying at. Best not to do it.
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cbr663 wrote:
Aug 6th, 2016 7:54 pm
Just watched your video review of the Royal Princess. Nice looking ship. What size was that cabin? It was small as was the balcony. I can only imagine how small the washroom must have been in that cabin.
spintheblackcircle wrote:
Aug 9th, 2016 12:48 pm
cbr663 wrote:
Aug 6th, 2016 7:54 pm
Just watched your video review of the Royal Princess. Nice looking ship. What size was that cabin? It was small as was the balcony. I can only imagine how small the washroom must have been in that cabin.
I think the cabin is around 400 square feet. The room isn't massive, but certainly a usable size. The balcony was comfortable for two people to sit and put their feet up. The washroom is small, but functional.

Balcony rooms I think are generally mid-range accommodation (at least from a price point) on ships. If you want/need something bigger, get (and pay for) a suite.
Normal balcony cabins are about 233 sq ft. Interior are 166 to 175 sq ft. Suites are bigger.
http://www.princess.com/learn/ships/rp/staterooms/
It's alright if you don't agree with me... I can't force you to be right. - Anonymous

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