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  1. @Ourusualbeach Thank you so much for your guidance on this. Apart from the Royal Caribbean cruise, I am also doing a Cruise with Confidence change to a Celebrity cruise. (Cancelling a Jan 2022 cruise and using the FCC to an existing 2021 cruise.) I know this is the Royal thread but in the Celebrity Terms and Conditions there is this line "...To receive the benefit of “Cruise with Confidence” guests must opt-in by calling CEL at 1-800-437-3111..." Do we have to do this to Royal Cruises? If we want to cancel up to 48 hours before a cruise for any cruise booked before the start of August even if it is in May 2022, or get a price reduction as OBC after final payment, do we need to register and Opt-In for these benefits? I couldn't find equivalent Royal fine print.
  2. Just to let everyone know, if they want there is now an A1 2-bedroom Aquatheatre suite available on Harmony of the Seas in January 2021 for the Jan 20 Western cruise. We did a L&S to the Symphony for Jan 2022. We are very pleased as normally we would travel from Australia to the US for 3 weeks doing a Disney / Universal / Shopping trip with a weeks cruise. Not knowing if the borders would be open or if we would need to quarantine coming home, moving the holiday by a year saved us a lot of stress. It is likely that we would have just eaten the $1K or moved it to an Australian 2022 cruise and taken the $400 change fee, but moving it one year into the future made us feel a lot better. The Symphony 2022 cruise was retailing about $5K more expansive than the Harmony 2021 cruise, but we were given the new room at the same price as Harmony. The only cost difference was $170 increase in port fees. Both were western Caribbean with exactly the same ports.
  3. Leaving port, we were invited (with a lot of other people) to go to the front of the ship and watch departure from the helideck, but the weather wasn’t the greatest so the sail away got cancelled. They had sparkling wine and canapes ready to serve us, so they tried to get us to take them just standing around. Instead, we went back to our room to watch sailaway. And on the other side of the mouth of the harbour is the Bacardi factory. An enjoyable port stop, but very short. You really only had time to do one thing and that was all. The Bacardi tour was very interesting if you like the product. Hearing that it is still privately owned and some of the brands they own as part of the company made this a good tour.
  4. San Juan For me, this meant leaving the family so I could go to the Bacardi factory. First time in port, so booked the ships tour. The rest of the family did the old and new San Juan. After a short bus journey around the harbour we were here! Everyone is given a buzzer, a drink cup and a drink ticket at the welcome centre, and told to look around. After the buzzer goes off, you hop on a small tram and taken to the start of the tour. At the end of the tour you walk back to the welcome centre after exiting through the gift shop. Back at the Welcome Centre, you exchange your drink ticket for the cocktail of your choice in the cup which is yours to keep. This photo shows the tram and you can see the old fort in the background. The ships aren’t that far away either The tour takes you past some of the older buildings, and then gives a story of the family and some of the different items that they make. One of the things I found interesting, was that similar to Champagne must come from a certain region in France, the Bacardi family sued in the United States and the NY Supreme Court in 1936 got copyright / trademark protection so that if you asked for a Bacardi, you have to be given a Bacardi rum and not another white rum, it is not a generic term like cola. If you wanted to go to the factory by yourself, these are some of the tours you can do. Including the Historical Tour which is what we did as part of the ship based tour, that included the bus to and from the ship.
  5. Escape Room Was included Laser Tag Was included. The Genie arranged the time and session for each. For Laser Tag, we were told to wait near the ice theatre and went in through a side entrance rather than walk past everyone waiting. The Genie always met us at the scheduled activities and escorted us in. The Escape room was a lot of fun and we were put in the room with a couple of other families. However, even though the ship was only a couple of months old, some things had already started to get broken or worn out. Starbucks drinks were included. It was a regular stop from the Main Theatre on the way back to the rooms for a hot chocolate for the kids. I understand what you mean by saying your previous Genie was ok and not Magical, the previous one we had was okay as well. (In fact he moved to HOTS - so who knows?) We didn't know what a real Magical Genie was until we got on Symphony. My biggest tip was when the Genie contacts you personally 1-2 weeks out, let them know what you want to do (we wrote back we want to do everything an Oasis ship has to offer). I gave a list of all the restaurants I wanted and approximately what time. eg. 150 Central Park on First Formal night to allow us to get to late show. Late dinner on first night so we can watch sail away from our room. Our Genie booked the shows so that she only had one group in each show to look after, eg. Each Session of Hairspray she only had one cabin, so it made us feel like we were the only people she looked after. The other thing we have learned is don't be afraid to ask, not demand, ask. As the week goes on, plans change, you want to do more of something or less, let them know so that they can rearrange things and at the end of the week, you have had the holiday that you want and not be stuck to someone else's schedule. We enjoyed the comedian at the family show in the main theatre and said this to the Genie. We hadn't planned to go to the "Adults" session, but found him funny, so asked and we had a table reserved in the second row (my request not at the front) for the next session. Not having to plan things six months in advance when bookings open like at Disneyworld makes it a much more relaxing cruise. Also ask them after a couple of days once they have got to know you, what else that you haven't booked do they think you might enjoy.
  6. The ship was late leaving the port, from the times on the photos, about an hour late, but it did mean I got to watch multiple pier runners. Best entertainment ever from the rear of the ship. And we were really late leaving port, so all of these people should have missed this ship, as they all came after the sail away time.
  7. Heading back to town we stopped in Phillipsburg for some shopping, where you could walk out onto the pier to look back at the ship and also see the main beach at Phillipsburg. You could always get a water taxi from the ship to this beach, hang out for the day then get a water taxi back to the ship. Walking back to the ship gave you good views of the rear Including the Aquatheatre balconies. From our balcony looking back at Phillipsburg The beach and Pier at Phillipburg where I took the previous photos and where the water taxi goes to. And where the water taxi leaves from
  8. The stretch of road was jam packed, and no cars moved when the plane came over. Parked cars and other day tours then tried to head out, but it was very busy road and took some time for the traffic jam to clear. Others just went back to swimming waiting for the next plane. There was a couple of safety signs about The famous bar at the end of the beach had today’s arrivals listed, but there were a lot of very small planes that flew over not listed.
  9. And of course the highlight, is Maho Beach. Since the hurricane, there wasn’t as many large planes coming here. The shot of the 747 is long over. Also, you know all those pictures of the empty beach, where you can stand wherever you want. That too is long over. We scheduled the whole day to make sure we were here on time, but we got there a little late. Also because of the woman that died not long before we visited, I wasn’t directly under the flight path. But still pretty close and a high light for the cruise for me. I never thought living in Australia I would ever get to visit this location. When my wife suggested we make sure this is one of the ports on the cruise, I was beside myself.
  10. Ports of Call Apart from a brief 4 Night Disney Cruise, we had never been to the Caribbean before so we looked forward to all the stops. If you could plan your ideal 3 port cruise for us this was exactly what we wanted. A stop to see the Barcardi factory, a stop to see Maho Beach and a stop to allow a swim. St, Martin / St. Marteen I think most people on these boards would recommend Bernards Tours. So I booked a private tour for the 4 of us around the island. We weren’t that interested in stopping at the beaches, but wanted to see as much as possible, as we are unlikely to get back here for many years to come if ever. The tour allowed us to get out, look, take photo and then move on, without waiting for lots of people with different agendas. No matter which way you go, group tour or private. Like everyone else, I found Bernards to be very professional and it was a great day touring. As I had never been to St. Martin before, I didn’t know where the meeting point was, and even though the instructions are semi clear, I still managed to get lost, so to help others, I have put together this guide to find the tent. Some shots around the Island, including Hurricane damage, pictures of the other islands (Anguilla, St Barts) in the background (they are really close). The ferry to Anguilla use to leave from one pier, but it was sunk during the hurricane, and hasn’t been repaired so it takes twice as long and leaves from a different part of the island.
  11. We were told to make sure we had closed toe shoes, as the floor can get very wet and slippery. This tour was part of a paid group and we were just added to it, (bottomless Galley Brunch) rather than being just for Suites. There were mature 3 ladies that had spent a lot of time on their hair and makeup, and were dressed for the pool. Slip on shoes, bathing suits covered by sheer beach wear. More interested in being seen than going anywhere near water. I don’t know why they went on the tour. (Unlimited bad sparkling wine?) I don’t know why they were allowed on the tour, with the footwear they were wearing. Two of the 3 couldn’t speak English, or couldn’t understand it very well, so started speaking amongst themselves. Loudly! And Talk, and Talk. Over the staff members who were trying to act as guides in the kitchen, stopping those at the back from hearing what was being said. Just at the end of the tour, we were walking towards the main dining room, when one of them slipped and hurt themselves, apparently quite badly. They never made it to the brunch, and the tour was held up while the main guide had to stay with them when they went off for medical treatment. Eventually a replacement staff member was found to finish the tour for us. I felt sorry for the staff members that would have had a lot of paperwork to fill out due to the accident on the ship tour on their watch, but the ladies weren’t paying attention while walking and didn’t have on the right footwear, it was 100% their own fault. The only thing the staff did wrong was not turning them away at the start of the tour until they got the right shoes on. So if the Galley tours are cancelled in the future, or not as extensive, you can blame these 3 ladies who decided it was more important to look glamorous than practical. But we did get to go into the main dining room. It looked very nice. As it was a sea day, they were serving lunch in the dining room on a different floor.
  12. The bridge tour was interesting, but they are starting to look the same. Most people like looking forward, I like looking back at the ship. But here is the forward shot. And the stuff the have on the walls, for the first visits. I remember seeing these on Legend of the Seas, as they were in a public area. It is a shame these are on the bridge and not somewhere everyone on the ship can enjoy.
  13. The ice skating shows were good. How they do what they do on such a small rink when the ice is moving underneath them just makes it more spectacular. As you can see from this shot, we had good seats. The little boxes in the middle of the rink help control the drones for the start of the ice show. Not really a tour, but I went to the cruise critic “Meet & Greet”, it wasn’t a huge turn out and their wasn’t a lot of mingling. I only put 3 names down, but when I got there, by myself they had all four names as participating and gave me 4 tickets to the raffle. This was only the second “Meet & Greet”. In the first one, I won nothing, but this time all four tickets were drawn out. I gave some of the winnings away, but kept the sun glasses and other inaugural season booty for myself. I tried to get to the top tier event, as it was the first one I was eligible for (being a Platinum), after this cruise, I became Emerald. It was due to be held in the Aqua Theatre, but it had rained, so they postponed it to the next day and it clashed with something else, so I still haven’t been to one.
  14. Again, sorry for the delay and back to our regular scheduled programming... Shows and Ship Tours We went to the main production shows – Hairspray and Flight. Both were really good. The Family Friendly Comedian was very funny, so asked to go see them at the non-family friendly session. Our Genie reserved a table for us (not at the front) with little notice and he was just as funny, without too much swearing. A really good comedian doesn’t need to swear every second word to try and make themselves look hip and cool and the two we saw were good. There were two main shows at the Aqua Theatre, (3 if you include rehearsal). We didn’t need seats reserved for us, as we just watched from our balcony. I sadly didn’t see the second show as it was held only once and I was packing, but the kids watched it, and I caught parts through the window. You often saw the performers rehearse during the day. These photos were taken without a flash.
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