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About dchurchward

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Granite Falls, Washington
  • Interests
    Chess, Computers, American Football, Video Games
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Holland America
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Nassau, Bahamas

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  1. Thanks! I did check the travel.state.gov website. I asked here though because, as many responses have pointed out, the cruise lines seem to have their own rules. For the record, I call RCCL and they said that my passport had to be good for 6 months after the cruise. In order to be safe, I went ahead and renewed early. Honestly, the rule seems really dumb because what is the point of have an expiration date you need a new passport 6 months before. In any case, I do appreciate the advice.
  2. Thank you all for your assistance. I decided it was better to be safe than sorry and am doing an expedited Passport renewal so this won't even be a risk. I'd rather spend a little extra money now than have it be an issue during check-in or disembarkation at the end of the cruise.
  3. I see that most cruise lines recommend that your Passport not expire until 6 months after your travel. Does this really matter? I am on an Alaska cruise at the end of July/beginning of August and my Passport expires in October. Do I really need to renew it early?
  4. If it was just and my DW, I would likely have chosen Radiance as well or one of the Princess ships. Since I am bringing for four teenage children, I decided that the ship itself and on board activities were more important, so I should either choose Ovation or the Norwegian Bliss.
  5. One thing I have seen is that the shore excursions and on-board activities currently for sale (specialty dining) are selling fast. I talked with RCCL today and was told the same thing by the support agent I spoke with.
  6. My family and I are booked on this cruise in late July 2019. We definitely went with the ship over the itinerary, but also because we live in Seattle, it is way easier to get to the port over Vancouver for us. However, if Ovation was going out of Vancouver, we probably would have still booked her. It seems like Seattle is will see some competition between the Ovation and Norwegian Bliss for passengers next summer.
  7. Yes, that is certainly possible. It seemed like they called it out specifically for the dry dock in 2017 so would be interested if it was the propulsion or something different this time. I could find any details in some quick search engine queries.
  8. It is interesting that RCCL is not stating that it is dry dock for propulsion repairs. When it went into dry dock in 2017 RCCL said it was for, "maintenance on components of the ship's propulsion system." They have just said it is unscheduled maintenance this time. As others have said, it must be below the waterline though, if it required a dry dock.
  9. I probably didn't explain myself clearly. I'm talking about that situation that seems to arrive if you have set aside money for something you want, but haven't spent it yet. It always seems that a need or an emergency comes up and while you very likely have the money to cover both, it can be very tempting to use the money you have set aside for the thing you want. For a specific example, after I paid the initial deposit on the cruise, my daughter started experiencing some serious medical symptoms. Overall, getting her issue diagnosed has cost my wife and I over $20k over and above what our insurance paid. While I had set aside the money for the cruise, including the dining and beverage packages, excursions, etc. it was very tempting to cancel the cruise so i could use the money for the medical expenses. It is not about having money for both things, it is about priorities for money that is budgeted, but not yet spent. And, yes, I did get the cancel for any reason insurance.
  10. I am very happy to hear that you were able to get the amounts refunded from RCCL and the airline. You have my deepest sympathies for the loss of your brother. Hopefully you will find peace and comfort in the upcoming weeks and recall positive memories of your time with him. If possible, I hope you were able to put the refunds aside so that when you are ready, you can go on another cruise and get some time to relax and reflect.
  11. You have received some good advice. The one thing I would add is the method you ask your parents to use depends on what you consider an emergency. If you are looking to only get contact in the case of a situation that may cause you to fly home from the next port, giving the grandparents the way to contact the ship may be sufficient. If you want to be accessible for important items, but not true emergencies, then a wifi plan or adjusting your cell plan may make more sense. For me, I will generally get the wifi plan as having internet access, plus being able to be contacted is worthwhile to me.
  12. Not really, I have 4 children so if one didn't survive while I was on the cruise that would seem like acceptable losses. ;p In truth, it might depend on which set of grandparents were watching the kids. My wife and I took a trip to Hawaii when my two oldest were very young. We received multiple calls per day about how to address very basic things. I think they volunteered to watch the kids, but then regretted it because I am sure they knew what to do in most of the cases. It didn't ruin our vacation, but was highly irritating.
  13. Since I am cruising in July 2019 next year, my final payment is not due until April. I was wondering if there are any reasons to make the final payment early, or if it makes more sense to invest the money, and pay closer to the final payment date? It seems to me that the advantage of paying early would mostly relate to not facing an unexpected expenditure that requires you to use the money, but I don't see any other reasons. Am I more likely to see sales on the beverage and dining packages, shore excursions, etc.? The only real downside to paying it late is if the payment somehow didn't get applied in time and you lost your reservation. Since I'm going through a TA, that possibility seems remote. Any thoughts from the experts here?
  14. You will get a lot of different opinions on this question. My family and I will be on Ovation in July 2019. If you truly want to get great pictures, you can't go wrong with a one way North or South bound between Vancouver B.C. and Whittier or Seward. If you go on Princess or Holland America, they are both able to go into Glacier Bay which is beautiful. If it is your first time, I would suggest a Vancouver departure instead of Seattle because you spend more time in Alaska and don't have to stop in Victoria B.C., although Victoria is a nice place to visit. It may be worthwhile for you to ask in the Alaska board as well to see what advice you get there. In terms of month, I highly suggest July and August, but the weather in Alaska can vary a lot so you still may get rain whichever month you choose. I hope that you have a great time, Alaska is incredibly scenic.
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