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About actuarian

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  1. That is true IF you book a fare that includes a refundable deposit. Such fares are always higher than fares that include a non-refundable deposit. If you book a fare with a non-refundable deposit, there will always be a penalty for cancellation unless you purchase insurance and the cancellation is for a cause that is covered by that insurance. Refundable deposit fares are not available for the top suites (grand suites and higher).
  2. Nothing is "free" on a cruise. My wife and I have been on a total of 91 cruises. If all 91 had been on Royal Caribbean, we would have over 800 C&A points now and would have become Pinnacles about a year ago. However, 40 of those 91 cruises have been on other cruise lines so we have only a little over 450 points and are only Diamond+. People "pay" for their loyalty benefits by giving up the variety of experiences that comes from cruising on many different cruise lines. Like anything else that people pay for, people have a right to feel entitled to their loyalty perks and, if those perks are not delivered, then there will be no reason to cruise repeatedly on the same line instead of shopping around for variety. As it is, whenever we think about booking another cruise on a cruise line other than Royal, we find ourselves thinking "if we do that, we will never earn the 242 points that we still need to make Pinnacle." If perks are reduced, we will no longer think that way. None of that changes the fact that we are fortunate to be able to cruise at all. Of course we are. It just means that we feel as entitled to get what we pay for as we would be if we spent the money on expensive cars instead of on cruises. The perks are part of what we pay for even though that part of the payment is in the form of loyalty to Royal rather than cash.
  3. You would get 5 extra specialty restaurant dinners and 5 specialty restaurant lunches for $120/person. It would seem like a pretty decent deal even if you only use 8 of those 10 meals. That would be $15/person/meal. My wife and I are doing B2B 5-night cruises on the Explorer and we booked the unlimited dining package for both halves. However, we do like sushi. We probably would not do it if we had to take all 16 meals (10 dinners, 4 sea-day lunches and 2 boarding day lunches) at only 2 restaurants.
  4. I too have had the rack of lamb at Chops when it was so tough that I had to send it back. However, the last time I ordered it (on the Navigator in August of this year), it was tender and delicious. The people who supply their meat seem to be very inconsistent. It is best to ask the server whether the current offering is good. They usually know and, if the server misleads, you can always send it back and order something else. Still, Chops always seems to offer good filet steak, good shrimp cocktails and good baked potatoes. However, when my wife and I first visited Chops around 15 years ago, it really was a special experience, comparable to visiting a top-rate steakhouse on land. It is not like that any more. Rather, it is just a way to get a meal that is as good as the main dining room was 15 years ago.
  5. It used to be on deck 11. However, it will have been relocated to deck 4 when the Oasis comes out of dry dock. The old lounge on deck 11 used to have a beautiful view. The new one on deck 4 will not be as large and will not have any view at all. That tells us something about what the people in Royal's executive offices think about C&A members who are not Pinnacles and are not sailing in the top suites.
  6. Royal Caribbean's sister cruise line Celebrity offers 3 different alcoholic beverage packages: standard, classic and premium (although the standard package is not always available). However, Royal Caribbean itself offers only the one. They seem to assume that Celebrity is their more upscale line and that anyone who really wants upscale drinks will choose Celebrity.
  7. You have a right to compensation if the cruise is shortened or if you are not accommodated in the cabin class you paid for. However, the law and the cruise contract are clear that you do not have a right to compensation if a port stop is cancelled or, for that matter, if an entertainment event is cancelled or if you are re-accommodated in a different cabin in the same price class. The truth is that what you are really paying for when you book a cruise is room and board. Port stops can always be cancelled by the captain if there is any kind of safety issue. For example, Disney has had a pier at their Castaway Cay for over 20 years (it was the first such pier) and, for that whole 20 years, the stop has often been missed during the winter months and cruisers have often complained but there is simply nothing to be done about it.
  8. I have attached the Chops Grill Holiday Menu. You will note that it includes "WHOLE MAINE LOBSTER" with no mention of any upcharge. It is not that this menu does not show upcharges because the upcharges for the Seafood Towers are clear but there is no upcharge for the whole lobster. ChopsGrille_HolidayMenu_2019.pdf
  9. Many, if not most, discounts are not combinable with each other. However, with the best travel agent sites, you can enter all of the discounts that you are entitled to and the site will show the price of each possible combination along with the perks (such as on-board credits [OBCs] or prepaid gratuities) that go with it. Often, the lowest price is not the best. For example, my wife and I would rather have a $300 OBC than a $200 reduction in price since we always use up OBCs.
  10. If you look carefully at the menu, you will see that it is really not the same at Chops. The big difference is that there is no extra charge for lobster during the holiday dinner. The holiday dinner costs $50 more than the regular dinner but the lobster would normally cost $21 and the split of Moet would normally cost $22. Those sum to $43, which is all but $7 of the extra cost. Therefore, it is not a bad deal if you want to dine on lobster and you do not already have a beverage package. (I am not sure whether beverage packages cover Moet but I certainly would not pay $22 for a glass of Moet if I had a beverage package.) The holiday dinner at Giovanni's costs just as much but does not include lobster so it makes a lot less sense, although the Giovanni's holiday menu does include at least one item (Cioppino) that used to be on the regular menu but is no longer there. Still, the main reason why they charge more for the holiday menu is that many of us want a holiday dinner that is more special than what is available at the MDR.
  11. There is a You Tube video of Allure 9706 which shows a perfectly clear view in all directions. That would mean that 9708 (next door) is also unobstructed and 10708 is right above 9708 so it must be unobstructed too. However, Allure is an Oasis class ship so the question has nothing to do with the previous comment regarding "obstructed balconies on Quantum class ships".
  12. They often overbook guarantee cabins but GS guarantees are rarely offered so I doubt that this is the cause. However. they may guarantee a block of rooms to a travel agent and then fail to set all of them aside. IMHO, this would be a good deal if and only if the OP gets to keep all of the perks of the GS because in that case the OP would be getting 74% of the space (297/401 sq ft) for 50% of the price. It would be a particularly nice offer if made to someone who was already a Pinnacle, since Pinnacles get all of the perks of a GS anyway.
  13. My wife and I cruise often and we have long since learned that the only jewelry we bring on a cruise are the engagement ring and wedding ring that she sleeps with and never takes off. Other than that, our watches and the rest of her jewelry goes to the safe deposit box before we leave for a cruise and we wear inexpensive stainless steel watches during cruises. Nevertheless, we have suffered an expensive loss during a cruise; her removable denture. She removes that before bed and leaves it overnight in a paper cup in the bathroom. One morning, she forgot to put it on before going to breakfast and when we returned to the room, the cup and the denture were both gone. The denture was never found and I assume that the cabin attendant thought that the paper cup was trash and did not even look inside it. It never even occurred to me that the loss was anyone's responsibility but ours. On another occasion, my wife left her handbag behind at a Schooner Bar. Fortunately, that was found but the cash in it was gone. However, we always knew to carry only enough cash to cover the current day's gratuities and to leave the rest in the room safe so that loss was minimal. The bottom line is that the cruise line has no responsibility for anything you leave behind so we bring only the valuables that we actually need to have on a cruise and we even store those in the room safe when they are not in use, along with cash, passports, drivers licenses and credit cards. We always make doubly sure that the room safe is empty before we debark the ship.
  14. Of course, Royal Caribbean, like most businesses, will charge whatever people are willing to pay. I guess my real question is, why aren't people willing to pay as much for a cabana at Labadee as they are willing to pay for a cabana at Coco Cay.
  15. I am not sure what cabanas at Coco Cay cost because my wife and my next cruise goes to Labadee instead. However, as of today, cabanas at Labadee are available for between $395 and $579, depending on location. They also rent beach bungalows at $264, but those are sold out. (Does anyone know what the difference between a cabana and a beach bungalow is?) Those prices seem high but are in-line with what other cruise lines charge for cabanas; cabanas at Disney's Castaway Cay cost more than that. However, it is hard to imagine spending $1,000 for a cabana and $55 for lunch also seems out-of-line. Still, that $55 per person might be in line with the $89 cost for Christmas Eve dinner at Chops. Does a cabana at Coco Cay really cost more that a cabana at Labadee and, if so, does anyone know why?
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