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Ren1216

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About Ren1216

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Florida, USA
  • Interests
    Travel, spending time with family... preferably both at the same time
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean & Princess top the list for now. Hope to try Celebrity and MSC soon.
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Of the Caribbean Islands we've visited so far, St Lucia was our favorite (had awesome tour & guide).

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. Ha! I'm the only one who caught it? It was in the buffet that evening on the chocolate lovers table (it had a different name that I can't recall now).
  2. Hello, Harmony deck 14 friend! Glad your luck finally changed this sailing. Looking forward to the rest.... and your pictures! So the dining issue, is this because you hadn't made a reservation? We've always chosen early traditional dining, but my mom was just saying she'd like to try My-Time. I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Personally, we don't mind a late dinner but the rest of my family eats around 5pm.... 6 at the latest. I haven't looked into this much, but on the surface it seems like My Time isn't exactly flexible. And even with a reservation, you still wait? Hubs and I have done the Anytime dining on Princess and it worked fine, no wait that I recall. Maybe things have changed. Wonder why this seems more complicated on RC. Quick edit to add: Also very glad we chose the starboard side! And I agree, muster drill was cringe worthy. Get rid of that absurd video and give us a professional safety presentation, please. Elected not to fight the crowd afterward, stayed in Boleros for our first 🍹.
  3. I did not see any aluminum cans of water, only plastic.
  4. I do have all of the Compasses, minus 1 evening schedule (maybe my mom has it though). Give me a little time to track it down and scan them. The Native Choice tour was private: https://thenativechoice.com/ We selected the Chacchoben Ruins Tour which was $55pp at the time. They offer several tours, very reputable tour company. To take their tour, you will need to make your way out of the pier area and out to the road. It's a maze of shops, pools and restaurants with no easy exit. Private tours are not allowed onto the port property. Just outside of the gate there are taxi's available, but none wanted to take my group to the NC tour office. They kept claiming the walk was only 3 blocks. This is not true, it's more like a mile. So if you cannot walk that far, insist on a taxi to take you. Here's the map I gave my group for getting out of the port area: And here's the map from the NC website for finding their tour office (I edited it to better reflect that actual route, start at marker 3 after following the first map):
  5. There are 3 piers in Cozumel, you'll need to find out which one your ship uses. Pretty sure I read that Royal Caribbean uses the International Pier, but I'm not certain if that is the case for ALL of their ships or only the one I was on. If you are on Harmony or docking at the International Pier, see the map I posted above. The red arrow shows where the Alamo location was, to the best of my memory. I can't tell you the most direct way to get there because we headed out of the pier area and down the street before learning we were going the wrong way. Here's the link for Alamo that I used: https://www.alamo.com/en_US/car-rental/home.html For the pick-up location, type in "Cozumel" and it will list several options... International Pier is called "Cozumel Cruise Ship Terminal". If you'll be at a different pier, you'll see them all clearly listed, including the airport. No deposit or pre-payment was required. If you make a reservation, print you confirmation and bring it with you.
  6. Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I really didn't know how long that was until I started posting it. What an eye burner! I'm so sorry the rental didn't work out for your day! I hope you found something else to do. Cozumel is pretty much on every Western route, but we still enjoy it. Feels familiar to us. Looking forward to your review, interested to hear your thoughts on the same sailing. We were late arriving to pick up our rental. In addition to a slow start getting off the ship (hubs fault this time, not mine!), we had some trouble finding it. I should have included this in the review. Online when booking, the map and address provided put their location outside the terminal just a bit to the north (think it said across from some hotel). We headed that way expecting to see a sign or recognize the hotel. When that didn't happen, we eventually started asking people on the street.... they all had blank looks on their faces initially, then said they thought it was back toward the pier area. We weren't certain we could trust the directions at that point as most of these folks wanted our tour business. But we turned back, asked pier security (who also seemed uncertain), then finally one officer led us in the right direction. So we were an hour late. The rental rep made a slight mention of this when it came time to discuss the car we'd receive, they'd already given ours away. We understood. Then he said "but we have a nice Jeep for you to use that I think you'll be happy with". Indeed we were. A suggestion to others, definitely bring a printed copy of your rental confirmation, including the price! There was some discrepancy with ours, luckily I had it in writing. Here's a map of the International Pier, captured from Google. The blue arrow is where we erroneously walked to, the red arrow is about where I believe the Alamo rental office to be. There was at least one other rental company here too, but I don't recall which. No idea if that walkway is actually open (left of red arrow) for easy access, I didn't see it but wasn't looking by that point.
  7. I assume you mean Schooners. Yes, we tried it a few times but found it wasn't on par with what we'd experienced on Freedom and Independence. So we didn't spend a whole lot of time there like we usually do.
  8. Here's the List we did this time (incl Rules), distributed at sail away. It was better received than I anticipated.... we all became quite competitive, lots of whispering and secretive picture-snapping so others wouldn't notice your find. I'd planned to have each team submit a flash drive containing their photos, but in the end we just used the honor system to calculate our totals. SCAVENGER HUNT RULES: Use your digital or cell phone camera to take a picture of each item in the list below Every “Someone” must be a Stranger Pictured Items Cannot Be You Or Belong To You Each picture will earn 1 point, liberal interpretation will be allowed Extra Credit points awarded for items noted as “XC” (1 pt each unless noted otherwise) The Hunt will end: __________________________ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FIND ANYWHERE: Ships Officer (XC - Captain) Sushi Roll Pink Flip-Flops Bingo Card (XC- winning card) Gangway Someone Dancing Smooching Couple Steam Someone Wearing a Mask & Snorkel Nap in Progress (XC 2 people / same photo) Ship Passing in the Night Your Reflection Your Shadow in a Silly or Creative Pose Crab (XC - alive) Besties Something Floating Decorated Cabin Door (XC - MOST decorated) Someone Playing a Game Someone Doing What the Sign Says Someone Climbing Someone Surfing Someone Sliding (XC - water involved) Someone Zipping Someone Skating (XC - kid) Someone Riding a Horse Life Preserver (XC - someone is wearing it) Porthole Cherry On Top Pelican Part of a Creature Protruding from the Sea Man With a Beard but NO Mustache Hard Cover Book (XC - green) Someone Wearing Sunglasses Inside the Ship Ladle Wood Pencil with Eraser Bubbles Man Wearing a Fedora Someone Wearing a Cast (XC – if you sign it) Purple Painted Toenails Treasure Wacky Outfit IN PORT: (XC – add'l photos in each port) Name of Island Sign License Plate National Flag Police Vehicle Traffic Sign Beach Chairs Under an Umbrella Free Roaming Animal Island Name Written in the Sand Kids Playing Foreign Currency Native Flower Street Vendor or Cart Fountain Bridge Church Spider Web Gun Boat Here are some of our photos: National Flag ship passing in the night island name written in the sand crab cherry on top someone zipping part of a creature protruding from the sea free roaming animal
  9. Almost done......... a few last topics to wrap things up. ISSUES / COMPLAINTS: The few issues we had were quickly remedied. For example, even though all the reservations were linked together, one couple was assigned a different dining table than the rest. We headed straight to the MDR upon noticing and it was fixed within a few minutes (this moved us from the American Icon Grill dining room to Silk). One cabin had some trouble with the toilet the first night, also quickly fixed. As for complaints, one thing I didn't much care for (and I had read about this before hand) was being approached by staff -while eating- with what initially appears as just casual, courteous conversation... only to find out you're getting a sales pitch. I understand why they do it since it was effective with us on two occasions (ie: galley tour and 150 Central Park reservation). But it still bugged me. Also wish there was a set of elevators mid-ship to help disperse the crowd AND make walking distances shorter. Might not be an issue for younger passengers but it is for older / mobility challenged folks. OVERALL THOUGHTS / CONCLUSION: Some liked Harmony's size, others not so much. It's definitely a lot of walking, do consider this if you have mobility issues. One aunt said she'd not wish to sail on Harmony again, but my mom would love to. The up side are all the cool features and amenities. There's so much to do! For the most part, Harmony is able to handle her massive passenger load... we were told 6500+ pax, plus 2800 crew. The second half of our week was really windy! On a ship this size, I didn't expect to feel much movement – and didn't the first half of the trip as she cut through the water like butter. But once the seas kicked up, she rocked just as much as any other. Personally, I love it – even when it makes me look like I've had too much to drink. Now if you've cruised before, you've probably encountered some rudeness from fellow passengers. Have to say I was pleasantly surprised on this sailing to find nearly everyone was polite and helpful, even when things were rushed and crowded. There's always a couple bad apples. But the overall mood was great. This could be my grandmothers last cruise as she's to the point where getting around is tough and she tires so easily. The trip was exhausting for her but she did well and had a great time. RC did a good job accommodating all of her needs, all of our needs really. My family is grateful to have had this experience together. If you have plans to sail Harmony... take lots of pictures, connect with one another, and enjoy your week away from everyday life. Remember: the cure for everything is salt water... sweat, tears, and the sea. I'm happy to try and answer questions but there's a lot we just didn't get to. Hubs planned to spend an evening in the casino, but fell ill on the last sea day, which wrecked his grand plan. Seemed we were always full, so we ran out of time to try all the included eateries. I'd like to do a mini golf tournament next time, maybe a slot pull. What we really need is a longer itinerary or a b2b! Maybe next time.
  10. Cozumel (International Pier): We originally had no plans for this port since we've been here many times. But about a week before sailing, decided to make a reservation with Alamo. Ended up in a nice, new Jeep. Price was a little steep since we took the insurances offered and the $20 return gas as-is option. Think the total was around $110 (actual rental was supposedly only $26). TIP: Check your credit cards for one that has no foreign transaction fee (used my Citi Costco card). Circled the island, spending most of the day on the east side (something we've done before). Rest of the gang hung around the port area and then went to Margaritaville for lunch. They had a BLAST. Really enjoyed the atmosphere and fun vibe the servers provide while interacting with the patrons. Live band. Food was good, portions were big. Said it was the best Margaritaville they've ever been to. Even Grandma had fun dancing in her chair while the others did the conga line and had booze poured into their mouths. Imagine a group of 60-90 year olds acting like youngsters.... they're still talking about it. Another long pier with no transport.
  11. PORTS: Note – we docked on the starboard side in every port. CocoCay: This is a really, really nice private island! We were all impressed with how much it changed since our last visit. I was surprised when none of us wanted to swim or do the water park. Maybe it was a bit too chilly (we typically sail in the fall). Instead, we took our time going ashore and then just walked around the island taking pictures. Lunch was plentiful and tasty. We quite enjoyed the Coco Locos! Browsed the huts looking for unique souvenirs and such. Talked a bit with a very nice man who custom etches bottles, I bought one. It's a long pier but they do have trams, some will accommodate folded wheel chairs, not sure about scooters. Costa Maya: A very commercialized port area, but worth walking around. Some of our group took the Chocchoben Ruins Tour with Native Choice – great company and tour. The walk to their office is about a mile. Supposedly you can take a taxi, but when they tried, were basically turned away and told the walk was “only 3 blocks”. Not true. Clearly the drivers didn't want to miss out on a bigger fare, which is understandable. But in light of this, I think NC should offer a transport option (for a fee). At any rate, Lorenzo was a great guide. He shared loads of info about Mayan culture and history, and provided a very enjoyable tour. The skies opened up and poured buckets on the way back to the ship – definitely bring rain ponchos ashore in every port! Another long pier, no trams that we saw. Roatan: Victor Bodden Tours – our guide, Francisco, was really good. Took us where ever we wanted to go. Got to hug sloths and play with monkeys, such a neat experience. Lunch at Temporary Cal's Cantina (which is for sale) was very good. Friendly service, fantastic view. Mom and Aunts quite enjoyed the Monkey LaLa! My aunt saw an armed man standing guard outside which shook her a little, I missed it somehow. Not sure what he was protecting... us or ?? Our weather - not so good, rained most of the day. Still had a nice time though. This was the shortest of the piers.
  12. PUBLIC SPACES: The Royal Theater... Aqua Theater... Studio B... Boardwalk... Central Park… ...all very nice! Good amount of comfortable seating in all of venues – and varied – couches, chairs (some with arms, some without), booths, bar counters with stools, etc. Though the Card Room initially looked to be a decent size, it was often full. Busier than any card room I've ever seen, and very noisy! Unfortunately, it's tucked away inside on deck 14 with zero view and no bar near by like on other ships. So we took to playing cards elsewhere when possible. Many times the music in the Promenade was way too loud, couldn't carry on a conversation. Otherwise, this is one of our favorite places. The photo center was good, though some of the walk-up computers weren't working. Staff was helpful and purchases were made. The Solarium is lovely.... but we miss the pool! Rising Tide bar is pretty cool. Pools are nice, saw lots of open loungers. Kids areas looked fun. As did the mini golf.
  13. ACTIVITIES: We typically enjoy a few game-show type activities. Love and Marriage, Battle of the Sexes and The Quest Game are all pretty reliable for some laughs. I noticed a bit of a different flavor/attitude this time with The Quest, which caused me not to enjoy it as much as in the past. Just personal tastes. Maybe it was our activities manager that I wasn't overly fond of. Still fun for the most part. We escaped the Rubicon with 42 seconds to spare. Had 6 from our group plus 4-5 others to work with. Some of us would have preferred it to just be our group alone, but I think we'd have been locked in there all day without the extra minds and hands. It was hard! Then again, it was my first escape room. Definitely fun and worth trying. Four of us took the Galley Tour and thoroughly enjoyed learning all about what goes on behind the scenes. All felt it was worth the cost, and said the included lunch was outstanding. Something new for this trip... I concocted a week-long photo Scavenger Hunt and split the group into 3 teams (by cabin). The List contained items to find on board as well as some to find in port, plus chances for extra credit. Working on it enabled us to discover more about the ship and also created opportunity to interact with our fellow passengers since none of the photos could be of us or anything belonging to us. At the end of the week, the winning team was awarded a prize. Everyone really got into it and seemed to have fun, think we'll be doing this again.
  14. DRINKS: Within our group there was a Soda Pkg and a Refreshment Pkg, they had absolutely no problem getting drinks anywhere. None of us had any issue with weak drinks. Grandma bought one can of soda, it was almost $4 with the gratuity included. Us gals enjoyed trying all the drinks-of-the-day. Strawberry and mango Lava Flows are always a favorite ($14), but I also enjoyed the Portside Punch ($10). Coffee was said to be strong but decent. Seemed the iced tea was better than I remembered it. SERVICE: Service from the actual bar was good everywhere. Our dining room waiters, Septiyan and Salih, were attentive, thorough, and efficient. Very nice young men, they tended to our every request and then some. We saw no bar service in the MDR, our waiters tended to all drink orders. Not as many roaming servers as there used to be, anywhere. Don't understand why, it was disappointing. We tipped add'l cash and asked them to come back, but rarely did they. We've always enjoyed chatting with the staff (when time permits) and hearing about their lives outside of the ship. Very few seemed interested in connecting this way, so the overall experience wasn't the same. Efficient. Cheerful. But not personal. Not really a complaint, just an observation. One visit to Guest Services found them attentive, patient and helpful. ENTERTAINMENT: 1887 A Journey In Time was very good (Grandma loved it!). The Fine Line was an interesting and entertaining show, everyone enjoyed it. Luckily, we reserved the first showing, later shows would be canceled due to high wind and rough seas. Unfortunately, our mid-week reservation for Columbus was also canceled. They rescheduled it for Friday which upset our existing reservation for Grease, which then conflicted with our dinner seating. Then I think Columbus was canceled again. We ended up missing both, which was disappointing. We've been spoiled by our Schooner experiences on previous cruises which had awesome entertainers, we usually spend countless hours in this venue. Not this time, it was just so-so. I will say the Headliner ventriloquist was better than expected. Started out kind of meh but got better and had us laughing hard by the end. I suggest scheduling shows that are of the greatest interest to you early in the week in case cancellations and rescheduling occurs. Actually, you can probably count on this, I've seen a lot of others mention this lately. It's a bummer, but we appreciate that the Captain cares about the safety of the performers.
  15. FOOD: For the most part we're pretty easy to please, keep that in mind while reading our thoughts on the food. MDR – Chose the early traditional seating at 5pm as some in the group don't care to eat late (and frankly, some tire early!). As we all know, quality has declined over the years. That said, we all felt the food in the MDR was still pretty good. Of course everyone has different tastes, but we didn't have many complaints. Most everything was tasty and cooked well. One aunt didn't care for the prime rib while others thought it was good. I loved the French Onion Soup, mom loved the escargot, Grandma loved the shrimp cocktail. Desserts were decent. We were all full upon leaving each night. We wound up in the Silk Dining Room. BUFFET (washy-washy!) – Overall, pretty good. It was definitely crowded at times, particularly around the hot-dishes area upon opening. And sometimes it was hard to find a seat, until we discovered the reserved accessible tables. Lots of choices, great salad bar (uncle said the salad dressings were bitter), decent veggie choices, great meat choices, good always-present options like hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders, french fries, pizza, etc. There were theme nights such as Mexican and Italian. Breakfast was typical but decent. Fruit was good, lots of dessert choices that were good. Beverages were the usual lemonade, tea, water, coffee... soda was easy to obtain from the servers or the Freestyle machines. Dirty dishes were removed quickly and continuously. Hubs and I had dinner here 3 times (more than usual), service was very good for us every time. But others in the group had trouble getting help with drinks or other things, particularly in the morning. Obviously there would too much waste keeping the buffet open 24hrs, but it really would be nice if they kept a small section open until maybe midnight. Some of us are accustomed to eating later at home, sometimes you return late from port and need a nap before dinner, and sometimes you just want a mid-night snack! Sorrento's pizza was pretty good. A few had breakfast in the Solarium Bistro and quite enjoyed it. We had every intention of trying Mini Bites and The Dog House but never got to it. Three in the group went to 150 Central Park and said it was “exceptional”. After reading tons of reviews in prep for this cruise, we didn't feel any of the other Specialty restaurants were going to be worth $100+ per couple, so we didn't bother. We were happy enough with the plethora of included dining options.
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