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About birdlord

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  1. Actually, I had to have a card reprinted on Symphony last month (bartender returned the wrong card to me) and it printed the drink package on the card again. But Symphony might have the most up-to-date/advanced tech on it.
  2. Well, good news then - Royal is showing me an OBC and my travel agent gave me one, too. Not that either amounts to much. Thanks!
  3. Back when we first were able to use OBC on the cruise planner (a couple years ago), it was only for Royal-issued OBC, not TA-issued OBC. Has that changed now? I ask because Royal is telling me I have OBC available but when I booked, I didn't get any through them, but I did get OBC from my TA. I wasn't sure if the policy changed and now all OBC (regardless of who issued it) can be used on the cruise planner.
  4. Ah yes, you are correct. I guess I'm more curious if shorter cruises even get offered the sales. I can't imagine why not, though. Thanks 🙂
  5. We are doing a "quickie" cruise next year (5 nights). We've never done anything less than 7 nights. My question is this -- are there typically cruise planner sales for beverages, dining, etc. for shorter cruises? I am happy to wait for the sales, but right now everything is reflected at full price.
  6. Brief because we did not do a lot of activities (on or off ship) this cruise as it had been a LONG TWO YEARS in between cruises and we were soaking up the sun and relaxing. We stayed a Miami W (Brickell) pre-cruise for one night. Great location, quirky but lovely hotel with a beautiful rooftop deck/pool area. Not cheap. Oddly, taxis the next day to get to cruise port were almost impossible to come by because of the Art Basel thing going on (hotel even said it's their BUSIEST weekend of the year). But we called a company and one was dispatched to us. Embarkation at the port was super fast and painless. Actually I forgot I checked in on line, so I was sent to the desk where the line was much, much shorter than the line for the others that checked in on line. I probably shouldn't give that secret away. Since we were in stateroom 8202 (literally right "behind" Park Cafe), we went to Park Cafe for lunch. Not crowded at all like it was on other boarding days on other Oasis ships. Room was ready as promised at 1pm and luggage was delivered shortly thereafter. Fastest luggage delivery we ever had. Symphony, as all Oasis-class ships, is an engineering marvel and absolutely beautiful. I wouldn't hesitate to sail her or her sisters again (and she was our third time on Oasis class). I like the big ships and the smaller ships, but I have to say in our opinion, nothing compares to the Oasis class! But I am looking forward to some different itineraries coming up on other ships for our future cruises. Sunday was at sea and we spent they day in The Solarium. It still gets a bit warm in there, but nothing intolerable. Monday we booked our own non-Royal excursion to Daniel Johnson's Sloth and Monkey Hangout. We met them right outside the security gate and we were assigned Navan as our driver/guide. He was fabulous. The Hangout itself was smaller than expected, but we had a WONDERFUL time. It seemed to me they ran a very clean, legitimate business and we weren't rushed or overcrowded (we came in late that day, so earlier ship was already there). We only did that (no snorkeling or other tour) and got back in time to enjoy the ship a bit before the majority of co-cruisers returned. The rest of the week, until Perfect Day at Coco Cay, we decided to stay on the ship and take advantage of less people at the pools and slides and what not. As far as shows go, we didn't even go! We didn't miss it as we aren't big show people anyway. The new features we hadn't been to before were nice. Playmakers was downright mobbed for Sunday football. But it was a fun atmosphere and they did show some games on the big screens in the Aqua Theatre as well. We did not order any food there, so I can't say what that is like. I thought El Loco Fresh was a huge hit. I didn't want to like it, but I love Tex Mex and also have an addiction to chips and salsa -- so you know I was there for snacking every day. Paired with a frozen margarita, I was a happy camper. The lines can get long, but I felt they moved along well. We used the track almost everyday for our morning runs and I did use the gym treadmill in its place on a particularly humid day while in Costa Maya. As usual, the Vitality Bar (where you get juices/smoothies) was one of our favorites. This was the first cruise where we did any of the alternate dining options. I bought the Chops Plus One package to test the waters. Chops was on Day 2 and extremely busy. Our waiter was trying his darndest to give us great service, but there was a very large group when we were seated and when they left, immediately followed by another large group in same section. For their part, they did acknowledge that we were being patient and had a long wait for our food and drinks. We did get a platter of chocolate covered strawberries, truffles, etc. delivered by the manager a couple days later which was unexpected. Not that it was the *best* they could do, but better than nothing? Our other dining reservation was at Jamie's. Now, I hear a lot of "meh" reviews, but our service and our food were superb. I would definitely go again. Main Dining Room was predictable food wise. However, they had messed up my request for 2nd seating, so I complained. We have not enjoyed or had great experiences with My Time Dining in the past, so we have been doing 2nd seatings now. The manager had nothing in any of the real main dining rooms, so we were assigned a table in the (at least what used to be) private dining room for suite guests (a little room off to the side on 4th floor, port side). It wasn't as opulent as the main dining room, but I think we liked the experience a lot more. Less kitsch and more service. Our waiter, Randy, and assistant waiter, Dewa, were flawless in their service. Voom service was iffy. One day it was out practically all day (daytime hours) and we were credited $2.89 each (ha). It would go on and off line sporadically, but never for that long except for the one day. Perfect Day at Coco Cay -- although it felt a little "Walt Disney" to me, we really liked it despite we didn't have the best weather in the world. We'd be happy to return. We initially started out at the beach but moved quickly to the Harbor Bay area which was lovely for the kind of day we were having (weather wise). DEBARKATION was a bit of a mess. We had a very early flight home (8:34 a.m.) and were very nervous about getting off the ship. We talked to Guest Services the day before about where to position ourselves to get off next morning and reconfirmed with them the next morning where we should stand so we weren't in the wrong place. They lined us up and we were first in line, much to the disappointment of some guests who had been waiting, but not in the right spot (made ZERO difference - we all got off at exactly the same time -- no reason to get all bent). Anyway, at the very last minute, a man and his wife show up DEMANDING that they had to be first to leave the ship. At this point, self-debarkation line wrapped all the way from the exit around to the side of (so the entire forward part of the ship). Instead of defusing the situation and explaining to the man there was a line, no one (staff) did anything. When they opened the ropes, the man barged through, pushing a woman out of his way. Much yelling and cursing ensued. Finally the staff came to him to try to get him to the back of the line, but by then it was too late. I nudged my husband forward (we were in front of all this) so we got off without incident, but we still wonder what ever happened to that man. We rushed outside to find NO CABS again. We did get in a passenger van that zipped us (and two other couples) right off to the airport and checked our bags, got through security and to our gate in plenty of time. Just to board the plane and sit for almost two hours on the tarmac. But we got there and home safely and that's what matters.
  7. Not really interested in doing a beach day or a ruins tour. Is there any other types of tours (no snorkeling or zip lines) to get an idea of Costa Maya out there? A simple, short tour? Or is there really nothing else to see but beach/ruins? I don't mind staying on the ship, but since first time here thought I might be missing an opportunity to see something new.
  8. Thanks for this. And thanks everyone for their responses; all good information!
  9. My apologies as I am sure this subject has been discussed ad nauseum, but with the new format on the Boards, I can't find anything when I search (or I execute a search and results come back for different cruise lines which may have different policies). Anyway, we will have a decent amount of OBC from our travel agent in an upcoming cruise on Symphony this December. After using it for gratuities and what not, I wasn't sure how to go about using OBC in the casino. Do I just go to cashier and they give me credit? Also, second part of question - I know there used to be a way to get cash from the casino using OBC, but not sure if that is still even possible. We rarely gamble, but if we have to use up OBC that we aren't using elsewhere, I was thinking the casino might be where to do it.
  10. The issue you had with the wait, even with reservations, for MDR is exactly why we gave up on My Time Dining. It was awful on Harmony (not terrible on Oasis, but still not perfect). We are just now doing the old fashioned way of the set late dining time. But we don't have children, which makes it a bit easier for planning purposes. Does anyone remember when they were proposing that dining plan where you just showed up on a different level for different cuisine (and dress code) every night? I wonder what kind of chaos that would have been, though I loved the concept.
  11. That is exactly the information I was seeking. I had no clue it was a 45 minute ride from cruise port to the airport. In Ft. Lauderdale, it's more like 10-15 minutes at that time of morning. Getting thru customs took about 3 minutes when we self-disembarked from Harmony and of course FLL is a much smaller airport. Thanks.
  12. Seems to be a matter of preference. We really despise waiting around for our "number" to get called on the last day, so we'd probably do self-disembarkation early a.m. anyway just to get it done. I might take the chance - but it could be expensive. I have some time to mull it over.
  13. Comfortable sure does mean different things to different people. I can only judge from when I did this in FLL -- it was crazy fast getting to the airport -- so early that we weren't even allowed to check in for our flight. But, I have little experience with MIA and the travel to/from the cruise port. It sure is crazy how flights seem to be either early or late with nothing really "in between."
  14. We are sailing Symphony of Seas December 7-14, 2019. Ship due to dock at 6am on December 14. Last time we did this (on Harmony), we self disembarked early (6:30?) and were at the airport by 7am... of course, that was FLL and not MIA. Anyone here familiar enough with MIA cruise port and MIA airport to know if self-disembarkation would allow enough time to get to MIA for a 9am flight (we have TSA pre check). I know there's no way to account for coming in late to port due to emergencies, etc., but if everything were to go smoothly, would this be unreasonable? I don't want to book the next flight leaving at 2:15 p.m. if we can make the 9am comfortably.
  15. Oh, how nice. I just happened to book this hotel, kind of by "accident" (or really panic as the weekend we'll be there is apparently already booking up quickly and prices are outrageous) this morning. Now I feel even better about my choice :-)
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