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About natefish95

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    Arlington, VA
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  1. On the Jewel and Jade there is a central co-ed area with heated loungers and a thalassotherapy pool. In the men's thermal area there is a jacuzzi, cold plunge tub, steam room, sauna, rainfall showers, and comfortable chairs to relax and read a book in (plus the obvious normal showers, lockers, bathroom, etc.) On the Pearl and the Gem there is a larger central co-ed area with a thalassotherapy pool, jacuzzi, and rainfall showers. On the mens side there is a steam room, sauna, comfortable chairs, single person jacuzzi and a cold plunge (plus the normal bathroom, showers, lockers, etc.) There are some really good tours on YouTube. I've done the thermal suite on the Gem, Pearl, and Jade and really enjoyed it each time, but the Jade is definitely my favorite.
  2. I'll be doing the repositioning cruise from Tampa to NYC. The transatlantic does look awesome though!
  3. I'm a bit late but I was on the Jade in February 2019 and it had a large whirlpool in the thermal suite. You can also see it on the deckplans. I'll be on the Jade again in April 2021 and hope it's not removed by then. If the cruise lines are cutting costs, I can't see that maintenance being a priority. I got hooked on the thermal suite on the Jade and now get it every time I cruise.
  4. On Independence is there any type of water fountain in the locker room? Never sailed Royal and looking forward to some steam room time after working out (or to sweat out the hangover haha).
  5. Really appreciate that, I had not seen that thread when I searched a few days ago. I'm traveling solo, so it's not super pricey for just one on a 5 day.
  6. Awesome, that's what I assumed, but wanted to double check with the experts on here.
  7. Good Morning everyone, I have my first Royal cruise booked for September of this year on Independence of the Seas. A few weeks ago I saw the Deluxe Beverage Package was $45 a day. I stupidly didn't jump on it then and now it's $65 a day. If I book now and then the price drops, can I call and rebook with the new price or am I locked in? Also, does anyone have experience with The Key on Independence? Seems pretty interesting especially since I was planning to get Voom anyways. If anyone has any tips or tricks, drink recommendations, etc for Independence or what you wished you would have known for your first Royal cruise, I'd love to hear that as well. I feel like I'm really going to like Royal and have my eye on a few cruises next year too. Thanks!
  8. Great review! I was on this sailing as well and had an incredible time!
  9. Some members on CC think minor issues are the end of the world, so I'm not surprised they feel that way. I thought it was great and did not take away the view in any way. I still enjoyed sitting out there and watching the sea go by like on a "normal" balcony. Yup, they are the same thing, different name. I did not even know they had a lunch option! Thankfully the musician was very talented, but just a bit too loud for me trying to talk with new friends.
  10. So for day 2, we moved our clocks back an hour. I woke up about 8:00am and decided to make a smart choice and go to the gym. I ran on the treadmill for about 30 minutes. That's the most exercise I would do all week. Afterwards I decided to check out the thermal suite, but the doors were locked. I was yanking on the door when finally one of the spa ladies said it was't 8:00 yet. Ooops, forgot to turn my clock back. I decided to check out the Garden Cafe for breakfast and it was very crowded for 7:45am, but I had no trouble finding a seat. I could not find Eggs Benedict for the life of me, so I finally asked someone. He took me over to the omelette station where the chef made it fresh for me. They don't set EB out and you have to specially ask for it. No big deal-delicious as always. I finally went back to the spa, which was now open, and relaxed in the thermal spa for about 90 minutes. The comfy chairs by the hot tub on the men's side were great to sit and read in for awhile. The sounds of the jets from the hot tub made it a bit loud, but it wasn't a big deal. Plus, you had amazing views out the front of the ship. We had our Cruise Critic/FB page meetup at the beer and whiskey bar at 10:30. There was no official meetup set up with Officers or anything, which is my first, but it was still nice to meet people you've been chatting with for the past few months. The Garden Cafe was supposed to open at 11:30 for lunch, but it was closer to 11:50, so I was rushed since I was trying to make trivia at 12. I inhaled a burger and ran down to trivia. Now here's a tip, the daily displayed on the app may not be 100% accurate. On the app it said World Currency trivia. I'm a geography nerd and would have crushed it. When I got down there, it was Cartoon Character trivia, which is what the physical Freestyle Dailies said. I made it a point to always carry the physical copy with me the rest of the week and not rely on the app. I never noticed any other discrepancies throughout the week though. For the rest of the afternoon, I laid out by the pool, spent some more time in the thermal suite reading, relaxing, and making new friends. There was definitely a nap involved. We had our solo meetup at 5:30 like normal and then went to the Alizar Main Dining Room for dinner. Menu pictures below Crab and cheese wontons were a big hit! The gumbo was pretty good (but I have high gumbo standards) And then the beef sirloin medallions were excellent! The steak was cooked perfectly. That night we went to the show, which I believe was Palace of Lights, a Cuban themed singing and dancing show. It was good, not great, but good. It was far better than any show I saw on the Getaway last year. It was enjoyable and only lasted about 45 minutes. Brenda, the solo host, had us reserved seats in the balcony, so we had a great view of the show. I definitely had my fair share of martinis that night. Mat, the bartender at the martini bar, is excellent! There was another bartender who did tricks with ice and your key card, but I forgot his name. It's a really enjoyable bar to sit at and have some great drinks. Next up-Costa Maya
  11. Continuing on- Dinner at Jasmine was very nice and complimentary! Below are menu pictures Pot Stickers Hot and Sour Soup Beef Chow Fun I thought everything tasted great! The portions were a bit small, so definitely order more than you think you can eat. It was only the first night, so I had to pace myself for the week. Jasmine was also very loud because there was live music being played in the area below by the champagne bar, so it made conversation a little difficult and annoying. Nonetheless, I would have defintiely gone back if I had time. The rest of the night was very relaxed. We did not go to the Welcome Aboard Variety Show, but we did close down Sugarcane mojito bar. I loved the mojito bar on the Getaway, so I was very happy to see it on the Jade. The mojitos were still good, but I had 4-5 and did not feel tipsy at all. I would have been annoyed if I was paying full price for a drink with little to no alcohol in it. The Pineapple Coconut mojito is definitely my favorite. Up next-day 2, sea day number 1
  12. Afterwards we went to the pool deck and grabbed some frozen drinks to really kick off vacation and lounge in the sun for a bit. Neither of us packed swimsuits in our carry on bags, we just looked on longingly at the people in the pool. After who knows how long we went to the Spa and Fitness Center. We did the spa tour because I had been having an internal dilemma for months on whether or not I should get a thermal suite pass. I ultimately decided to get it because I'm worth it and I wanted to treat myself to something relaxing. Plus, I wanted to find out if I would actually enjoy it so I can plan or not plan on it for future cruises. The thermal suite on the Jade has a co-ed area in the middle with heated loungers and a little thalassotherapy pool. On the mens side there is a sauna, steam room, showers, lockers, comfy relaxation chairs, and a hot tub. I'm sure the women's side is the exact same. This is the sauna on the men's side. Hot tub Comfy chairs for reading Showers in the middle area, with two rainfall-type showers on the left and 3 normal showers in the back left, and the steam room out of front on the right. We then checked out the Fitness Center. I didn't take a picture of the class prices, but they were much cheaper than what I remember on the Getaway. I believe a spin class was only $12. Take that Soul Cycle! I ultimately didn't sign up for anything and the Fitness Center attendant was a little pushy. I did go back once to run on the treadmill and it was crowded. Small gym, but had everything you need. Pro-trip: there is a small locker room off the fitness center with a very small steam room. It seems like a very well-kept secret. After that, rooms were ready so we went and checked out our home for the next week, balcony cabin 10508 which was all the way forward on the port side. Room pictures below We separated the beds, which made walking by the beds a bit tight and the toilet/sink area in the bathroom was very tiny. I'm only 5'5" (5'6" on a good day), so it wasn't a big deal for me, but Brian is taller so it was a bit tight. There was plenty of closet space and the beds were very comfortable. Muster was at 3:00pm (which felt very early). We were in the Stardust theater balcony, so it was quick and painless. We watched sailaway and then went to the solo traveler meetup at 5:30 in the Spinnaker Lounge. We met the Serbian version of Pitbull aka Bodja the bartender who took great care of us all week. We also met the solo host for the week, Brenda! I cannot say enough positive things about her. She is honestly one of the most incredible crew members I've ever met, and she really cared about making sure solo travelers had a great. You'll hear lots more about Brenda throughout the week. This was apparently the first week where they had a full week planned of solo events. There were coffee chats scheduled with Officers, reserved seating for all the shows in the theater, hosted meetups every night, and several other activities throughout the week. Jacky the Cruise Director is also very passionate about solo travelers, so he was very supportive of Brenda all week. The solo group this week definitely skewed older ( as did the entire ship). I'm 23 and I was definitely the youngest solo. Everyone was super nice, but we found a core group of about 6 people that we hung out with most of the week. Towards the end, Brenda brought out glasses and a few bottles of champagne. I like you already, Brenda! In the next installment, I'll discuss dinner in Jasmine and whatever else I can remember from the first night. Please ask all the questions you have and I'll do my best to answer!
  13. Sunday-February 17th A few days before embarkation day, NCL texted, emailed and sent carrier pigeons that we should not arrive at the port until 12. Being the ardent rule followers we are, we decided to get to the port by 10am. I woke up and walked to the nearby Starbucks to get my fix, we packed, and Ubered to the port and arrived around 10:15. Security took a grand total of 5 minutes. Check-in took about 1 minute, and before we knew it, we were in the waiting area with a Group 5 boarding card. Getting there early definitely worked out and we boarded shortly after 11:30am. After boarding, I was immediately impressed by how nice the Jade looks inside. I knew it was an older ship, but NCL takes care of their ship and it looked amazing! We walked to the Jasmine restaurant to make dinner reservations, which took forever (okay, 20 minutes max) because some people took forever. Not sure why they were having trouble because we were able to get Teppanyaki, Le Bistro, and Cagneys at the times we wanted and the nights we wanted. Teppanyaki had to be at 5:00pm, which is a little early, but we'll live. Le Bistro and Cagney's were at 6:00 and 6:15 respectively. By the time we finished that, we went to the main dining room for lunch. I had the scallops gratin and the shrimp burger. The burger was excellent (Brian hates seafood so we was probably gagging at my order). The scallops on the other hand...they tasted fine, but I've seen bigger pieces of fish food. I'd recommend something else.
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