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About dswallow

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Long Branch, NJ, USA
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  1. What's strange is that any cruise line still sells internet service "minutes." It's like they think the dialup days are still with us. I don't "connect to the internet" on any of my devices; my devices are connected to the internet and generally interact with things constantly. 🙂
  2. As far as I know RCCL has already announced Glacier Bay is no longer happening on any sailing.
  3. They're in the process of pulling unsold cabins from groups on the TA so you'll some availability come back.
  4. Specialty Restaurants are generally only open for lunch on sea days, which is why the package specifies it's good for lunch at them only on sea days (they're just not open on port days, and if they were, you'd probably see different wording about lunch options with the package). Johnny Rockets is open every day, just different hours; the Unlimited Dining Package includes Johnny Rockets whenever it is open. Just recently for instance, on Freedom of the Seas, Johnny Rockets opened at 2pm on port days and 11:30am on sea days and it was included in the Unlimited Dining Package.
  5. There's a short window from 5/1/2020 when the last Miami sailing returns and 5/4/2020 when the first NJ departure begins.
  6. I've learned to use Resilio Sync (torrents) to move files between land-based servers and my laptop on the ship; then I don't really have to oversee it; it makes it soon enough without any further intervention. The nonsense of transfers failing and having to start things over is gone. But you do need a land-side server you can reach remotely, VPN from the ship so as to permit connections to the various sites in the sync group, but once it's working, it's pretty seamless for transfers in both directions.
  7. I'm a software developer, and I've worked from the ship on Grandeur, Explorer, Anthem, Allure, Harmony and Liberty so far. Different experiences, sometimes different experiences during the same cruise, but I've always managed to get to some usable point. Sometimes I've had to do odd things because it wasn't so much an internet problem as a WiFi-from-the-cabin problem, but I'm pretty well versed in sorting it all out now (usually I just use my phone and share WiFi over WiFi from it -- Samsung Galaxy can do that; iPhone's can only share cellular data over WiFi, and sometimes in my cabin to maintain a decent reliable signal I've had to position the phone in odd places so that my laptop is usable with reasonable decent connectivity). Be it using VPN's (RCCL really tries to block those, but there's really only so many approaches they can take, so creativity usually lets you find ways they couldn't block), using remote desktop and similar services, multi-person video conferencing, or just working locally with occasional need for email or updating files from version control servers. The biggest impact is usually if there's a decent 1080P TV in the cabin to use as a second screen; it's kinda annoying when it's a tiny LCD that's 720P or worse. If you have any software that can't handle longer ping times (750ms or more which can happen) you might have a problem, but those would generally be unique applications not basic common things.
  8. No; the cruise planner purchases aren't affected by a repricing since the reservation number doesn't change.
  9. Any money you hand over to an individual is kept by them. They may distribute it to others among their team; it's up to them. The officially collected gratuities are distributed following a formula that the cruise line gives out basic info about; all of this money gets distributed to eligible employees based on this formula. If you add an additional gratuity on a bar check it goes to the server or bartender that served you. They may choose to distribute some portion to others on their team. Pre-collected gratuities such as for drink packages get distributed based on some formula the cruise line doesn't really disclose, but all of it gets to staff in some way directly; it's not kept by the company or redirected for any other purpose. If you remove the officially collected gratuities you will reduce gratuities someone receives; you won't be able to get to every person affected by your removal of those gratuities in order to compensate them directly.
  10. %-off prices are shown representing they are for your sailing and are a percent off an "onboard price". There is but one onboard price for your sailing, and you'll see it when you board. Internet pricing though does not vary like drink pricing does. Except for price increases which seem to occur on an annual schedule, they do not go up and down sailing by sailing. There does seem to be a variance by whether the ship offers O3b-based internet, but that's it. There is a legitimate case that RCCL may choose at some time prior to sailing to change the price they plan to seel something for onboard. But that does not go up and down and up and down and up and down on a weekly basis. It doesn't. And it's simple enough to prove by just examining the numbers and identifying the way it works when RCCL advertises a sale. It complicates it when the percent-off numbers are plain wrong, but again, examining the numbers as they are provide during, after and before sales, you again can identify a pattern of failures in their pricing automation, and see that each and every time the numbers end up correctly represented and are consistent. Most recently a few ships or sailing on a few ships, at least, they've dramatically changed onboard drink pricing of packages with no explanation given. I'm referring to the jump to $82 onboard, and in at least some cases where they actually applied a 50% discount only to the second persons package (in other words, they refused to spread the discount as they do online -- 25% off each person, such that a solo package purchase was a a 25% discount. So yes, without question, as RCCL knowingly keeps a broken system in play (I refer to the percent-off mistakes that are readily documented by looking at how the numbers are presented), it is deceptive. Does it break a law; I don't really know -- someone familiar with exactly what such local or federal laws detail would have to provide an educated opinion, but as a layman, I consider it deceptive to everyone who isn't completely aware of how it really is working. Is it fraudulent? I think it's bordering on it in some ways. That may be a more difficult thing to make a legal case for, but it should be worrying to consumers and to loyal RCCL passengers, and as such should be something RCCL clarifies better than they currently seem to do.
  11. Even though there's no sale going on, individual sailing prices can still be at sale prices, rather than at full onboard prices. And as mentioned full onboard prices are changing/have changed, so that'll affect the sale price, too. Finally, the percent-off banner is often wrong the first day of an official sale, and I've seen it even become some strange, also wrong, different number inbetween sales. There's no question RCCL's web site is a complete and utter mess. But if you actually try reverse calculating the onboard pricing based on a few guesses at the percent off it may actually be, you do often come into the correct onboard price ballpark. I do agree that RCCL needs a serious fraud lawsuit to get them motivated to fix this stuff. They should truly be embarrassed by the current behavior. BTW, the next official Cruise Planner sale runs from 9/18/2019 to 9/25/2019, so expect to see prices start adjusting tomorrow, and by the next day banners to mostly catch up. 🙂 http://www.creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Promotions/Snapshot_of_CruisePlanner_Offers.pdf
  12. I notice the "outdated" staterooms by the lack of storage space that is found on cabins on newer ships; there just wasn't as much thought placed into it for the older ships, even slightly older ones like Allure. Of course, Allure shows its age by having old iPhone docks in rooms as well. 🙂
  13. Funny that... one of the reasons I dislike Bermuda as a port on a sailing is how it tends to be overnight or even multi-overnight in port. If you want to sit in the port for 3 days, fly in and get a hotel. 🙂
  14. On RCCL, if you pay the fare as a solo traveler for a cabin that is normally double occupancy, whatever the single supplement surcharge is, you will get the extra point per night as a solo traveler in the cabin. The only time you don't get the extra point is when you book into a cabin that is specifically intended for solos... typically a "studio" cabin as they'll be called.
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