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Everything posted by 3monkeys4me

  1. There is information in the Diamond Princess thread about leaving the door open. In short, leaving the door open may have contributed to the spread of the virus on board. It had to do with the pressure and the different filtration systems used in the cabin vs. the hallway or something similar.
  2. It isn't confusing. The typo is just funny. If you look under the blue line it says " which includes undresses or slacks..." instead of sundresses and slacks.
  3. My teens did it last April and they loved it. They made several rolls and had a lot of fun. They weren't able to finish what they made. On Ovation last April they could not take the leftovers with them, but I have heard you sometimes can. They felt it was worth it. Both of them and my 10 year old will be doing it again in the fall. I would like to do it myself at some point. I have made sushi before so I don't know that I need a class but it looks like you get a lot for the $35.
  4. This is what I would do if I wanted to rope drop one of the parks. For us, coming off the cruise we usually don't want to rush. When we have done Disney parks and cruise together (or really any land vacation with cruise) we do the land portion first, then plan either a late afternoon flight or a flight the next day so that we can relax post cruise, leave the ship between 8:30 and 9 and just take it easy that day. So for us, we would just make our way to Disney, make a reservation somewhere for lunch and plan either a pool day or a half day in one of the parks. Good luck!
  5. We found the break even point for the refreshment package to be 3-4 mocktails/coffee drinks a day with maybe 1 bottle of water (we mostly just drink tap water, but occasionally grab a bottled water for extra water in port or something) when it was on sale for $19. If the package was any higher than that I would not buy one and purchase as I go. Lately, it has been about $30 a day in the cruise planner for our sailing which is just too high, IMO.
  6. No more than 1 a year for me. And usually not every year. We take 2 big vacations and 3-4 weekend trips throughout the year. We cruise sometimes, when the price is right or it fits what we are in the mood for. But it isn't our favorite way to travel when it is just the 5 of us.
  7. I wouldn't read too much into that. That has been pretty much my experience traveling through Asia for the last 5 or 6 years at least. October 2018 Japan was doing a temporal temperature check on all kids under 13. The same for Korea, only it was kids under 12 in Feb. 2018. I've not flown into an airport anywhere in Asia since 2015 or so and not at least walked through the scanners that were checking everyone's body temperature as they were walking through. And even I wear a mash when I have the slightish hint of a cold when traveling there, as it is the norm.
  8. Pixels was all that was available to prebook for our cruise as well. It wasn't opened for booking until 80 days or so before sailing that time. But I have heard that the time varies from sailing to sailing.
  9. Since it is a kids sail free sailing could they just have the 4th passenger be a no show if it comes to that? They should still get the taxes and port fees refunded, correct?
  10. Merion Mom was also on the previous cruise AND there are posters in another thread on these boards supposed to board today that are at the port being told they can not check bags and that boarding is delayed until tomorrow. So I expect your friend will soon find out she is not boarding her cruise today
  11. I've never really traveled solo, aside from going home when I was on leave before I was married. Since then I have pretty much always had either the kids or the husband with me, the only exceptions were flying to my hometown to attend my grandmother's funeral and one weekend with girlfriends (so still not alone). I would travel alone if I was given the opportunity though. It just isn't in the cards for me right now. But my husband and children love to travel so I enjoy that. Someday when the kids are out of the house our circumstances might change. My husband does travel al one for business a couple of times a year though. And a couple years ago I started checking into a local hotel for one or two nights (depending on what we have going on). The little time away for me to be completely selfish is so nice.
  12. It is pretty small (which seems to be the norm now) and there weren't many books last April. We left a few that we had brought with us to read on the cruise but didn't find anything we were interested in reading. I had my kindle with me too, so I just downloaded a few books after I was done with the books I had packed.
  13. We will be on Allure in the med. in October. My kids aren't huge fans of the kids clubs. On our last cruise they were 9, 13 and 15. In was in the South Pacific and had a lot of seas days, so the opposite of our next cruise really. The younger two met someone to hang out with the last few days but my oldest never did. Even with friends, they tended to stick around with us in the evenings. We saw some of the shows and our oldest loved some of the evening trivia games. She would also just sit and chat with us in one of the bars in the evening, with a mocktail or whatever. My younger two hung out with friends in the day and after the show they most went back to the room to relax and watch movies. One night all three of them watched a movie on the pool deck, cuddled with blankets since it was quite cold. Anyway we found plenty to do as a family, even with mostly sea days. For Allure in the Med, I think several days we will all get to bed early. Especially since we will be very busy traveling for the 8 days prior to the cruise.
  14. You can switch now. If the room is cheaper you'll get a refund. If it is more expensive you pay the difference. After final payment, you wont get a refund.
  15. Honestly I think this is key when traveling with children. Instead of doing an all day tour we plan our own things. We might do something like a hop on/hop off bus, but we try not to keep strict schedule. If we are visiting a site they might not enjoy as much in the morning, we do something in the afternoon they would enjoy. We stop at parks, grab ice cream or other treats through out the day. We haven't had an issue with the language barrier. Frequently kids from the countries we have visited have been eager to practice English (especially in Thailand and Souther Korea) and our kids have enjoyed learning new works too. My teens speak a bit of Mandarin and that has helped some too though. And sometimes kids surprise you. We spent almost 3 weeks in Japan recently. We visited Tokyo Disney and Universal Studios Japan, fed the deer in Nara, went to the Robot Restaurant and the Samurai museum. When the trip was done all three kids agreed their favorite day was the day we spent in Hiroshima visiting the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which was something my husband and I really felt was important but we expected it to be too heavy of a day emotionally for them. They were 15, 13 and 10 at the time.
  16. We haven't done one of these cruises but I totally would go for it. You know your kids and if they are generally pretty flexible and open to new things they will likely be fine. The nice thing about the cruise is there should be at least some familiar settings for them. We have traveled a fair amount with our kids (primarily in Asia the last few years) and so far we have run into very few issues with the kids, they are 10, 14 and 16 now. They were 6, 10 and 12 on our first Asia trip. Our oldest was born in Italy and we started traveling in Europe when they were very young.
  17. Parent names aren't on passports, at least not in the US, though you need both parent's permission (or proper legal documents) to get a passport for a child under the age of 16. If you are in contact with the child's father I would bring a letter giving you permission if that is feasible. If not, I would bring whatever documentation you have giving you full custody. It is just easier to have whatever documentation on you in case you run into trouble.
  18. The kids don't have to have them at all really, only if they are going to be by themselves and need to purchase something or get into the room by themselves. Other than that you can carry the cards or even leave them in your room (unless they have beverage package or you are going into port) My 10 year old carried her own card for the most part, she did have self check out from adventure ocean so she needed to be able to get back into the room. She was also allowed to go to a few places around the ship with one of her friends from on board or with her older sister so she sometimes needed it. But frequently she left the sea pass in the room if she was going to be with me at the pool or something similar. She just wore her card on a thin lanyard. The super cheap kind is what she liked the best since it was thin didn't rub her neck as much.
  19. Yes, they were. They were about $25 for 4 mini cocktails ( 1/2- 3/4 size depending on the drink) is what is included. Our bartender added 3-5 "tastings" of different tequilas and rums to the classes I went to. The class included a print out with the recipes of the 4 drinks that were served and our bartender gave us a few others he thought we would like and some different recipes for the homemade mixers he liked. I do think he went above and beyond the basic class.
  20. We enjoyed the cocktail classes last cruise. The margarita one is my favorite. Our last cruise they offered a classic cocktail class, the margarita class and another that was rum drinks. I did 2, my husband did all three. The bartender did serve samples of the various rums and tequilas so that we could taste the differences. The only tasting I remember was the wine tasting. We didn't do that one as I generally only drink wine in the evening and it was an early afternoon tasting.
  21. We also had an issue with a hold on our credit card last cruise. We always travel with at least two credit cards, so it wasn't a huge issue but the card we used for the cruise is the one we prefer to use since it has a lower limit, the larger limit card we tend to keep for emergency use only. We had a double hold from Royal, along with a charge, plus a hold and charge from an 8 day pre cruise hotel stay. So, most of the available credit was used and we had to use the other card at the next hotel. It is probably one of those fairly rare things, just all the circumstances lined up just right. In any case going forward we will likely just do a cash account since we prepay for almost everything I doubt we would even get close to the $500 limit before needing to pay.
  22. No issues bringing sealed packages of crackers and such. Most ports will allow factory sealed items as well, but always check into what is allowed where you are going. I have a picky kid that also has some medical restrictions so we always travel with at least some food. She's not gone hungry on a cruise, if she can't find enough at dinner we can usuallly find something she'll eat in the Windjammer.
  23. I don't think there are many of them but the boardwalk cabin we have reserved on Allure has a sofa bed and a upper pullman. If you could find/snag one of those it would give you more room in the morning if the pullman was used instead of the sofa bed.
  24. We have our kids booked across the hall, they are 16, 14 and 10. Last cruise they were 13. 15 and 9. The teens were across the hall and the 9 year old bunked with grandma. Previous to that they had stayed in their own non connecting hotel room a handful of times. I make sure to get a key to their room so I can check on things as needed. We book everyone in the cabin they are sleeping in, we just find it less complicated that way. I generally book myself by calling Royal.
  25. There really are too many variables for anyone else to say whether or not this is a good idea for your family. So much depends on your family dynamic, how laid back your kids are, what kind of travel you are used to and what you want to get out of a vacation. When my older two kids were younger we could have easily done that type of vacation... small cabin, not a lot of kid orientated activities, etc... would have been fine. The kids were pretty content and easily amused. At that age they didn't really think much beyond what there was in front of them. So even if our previous vacation was Disney World, they were fine with tent camping at a small state park or whatever. It didn't matter. We pretty much just did whatever vacation we wanted to and they went along with it. We did make an effort to have some downtime and planned activities that they wouldn't get too restless with. Even now as teens, they would be fine with cruising on the Empress without all the stuff on the larger ships. My youngest child however is completely different. She needs a lot of activity to keep her entertained. She has been like that since she was born. While she wouldn't outright complain on vacation, especially when she was younger , she would be bored and it would be my job to entertain her. I personally can only handle so much time at the pool before I am done with it. So we have had to evolve our vacations over the years, not only to keep her occupied but so that I could have an enjoyable vacation too. As for lack of space... I think we would have been okay with two young children. At this point there is no way I would spend 12 days in a single cabin, even a larger one. My 2 of my children are now adult sized and we just need more space. We had one night with the 5 of us in a larger hotel suite and I was feeling pretty cramped by the time we checked out the next morning. But when they were 3 and 5 we spent 5 months living in a tiny RV while our house was being built and it wasn't an issue at all. Anyway, good luck on deciding. Report back if you do the cruise, I am curious how it will go for you!
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