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About kathy884

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    St. Louis, MO
  • Interests
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I've only tried Carnival and NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I've only cruised to Caribbean and Canadian ports

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  1. OP so nice to hear that you enjoyed the hump balconies. We have two of those and an ocean view balcony all next to each other on floor 11 for a Harmony Cruise in February. Any chance that we could get the dividers opened? I am guessing no (Last time we were able to do that was on a Carnival Cruise about 16 years ago -- so fun to have everything open and a big family deck). I understand that is typically not done except for cleaning the decks these days as it is considered a fire hazard. It's just yet another reason we like to get the larger balconies, so extended family can all sit out together. As for shows, my mom loved the Cat's show on the Oasis and went to see it twice. She and most of our family really enjoy most musicals and saw the traveling show and other performances of the show off cruise too. As for Grease, we let DS 24 pick the ship and this show was one of the factors he considered in picking the Harmony. I understand the "for mature audiences" verbiage and think it's up to parents to decide what shows they bring their kids to. I personally like the more wholesome High School Musical more than Grease (Disneyesque personality lol). Appreciate the warning on the elevators. My dad has some mobility issues, so good to know in advance to be patient and leave extra time to catch these.
  2. I have some of the bug repellant clothing that I purchased so I can do things like walking the dog at home and minimize mosquito bites without putting on deet spray. I wear this same light clothing when practical in cruise ports for something like an island tour and carry deet wipes. Typically for the beach during the day with the wind, mosquitos aren't a problem, but I still use this clothing as a beach coverup. If doing any wildlife, mangrove or jungle tours, I use deet on top of protective clothing for all exposed skin and apply this before the tour starts. I am a mosquito magnet. I have found strangely enough that removing bananas from my diet (read an old wives tale about that and one tour company "Caravan" mentions this too for their Costa Rica tours) really helps me. There is no scientific evidence that I am aware of about this, but I've tried so many different things and this more than anything else has been huge in reducing mosquito bites for me. Even at home, I now only eat bananas during non mosquito season. My favorite tropical destination are the theme parks in Orlando. I don't know what they do there, but that is the only tropical climate place where I have never done anything for mosquitos and have never gotten a bite. Go rah Disney, SeaWorld -- haven't done Universal enough to comment.
  3. This is sort of how I feel about cruising. I think the cruise I'm doing this February on the Harmony will be the last cruise I ever do. We have one of those extra large balcony cabins (the ones midship that stick out a bit) for my dad 82 and son who is 24 for about $3400. DH and I are next door in one that is about $3100 (regular sized balcony next to the large one). The excursions non ship we are doing are actually fairly inexpensive, we aren't doing any specialty dining, and no one has more than one or two drinks a day ever (most won't have any alcoholic drinks), so no expensive drink packages. But there are some other extra costs of cruising too (insurance non-ship with good medical evac and medical coverages, etc., for DS 24 (high speed internet for the week), and hotel and related expenses pre-cruise. Sure, we'll do the shows and enjoy those, but we have season tickets to our rep theatre at home, go to broadways shows that come to our home town that we want to see, so we aren't starved for theatre. We'll enjoy the shows, but aren't necessarily looking for that, but it is something to do on the boat. All in all doing the ocean view balcony cabins that we all want (really don't want to cruise without private space viewing the ocean - that is one of the appealing things for us of doing a cruise for us) and going on a ship with lots of activity like a big RCCL one that appeals to DS will price wise come very close to my entire vacation budget for the year. There are quite a few other US based land based vacations where I can do a full week nice vacation and another mini five night four day vacation for the same money. We go to the western US a lot (We love the mountains). Interestingly enough, though, one year we decided to do a vacation to Key West (flying right down there and fairly high season, first week of March). When I added everything up, price wise it was almost exactly the same cost as a cruise vacation we had done the previous year (big newer NCL ship) around the same time and a shorter trip than the cruise too, just a five night stay. Also, an eastern US leaf peeping tour thru Cosmos that appeals to DH that we might do in 2021 cost wise when I add up everything comes out to almost exactly the same cost as the RCCL cruise we are doing next February (almost right on the money cost wise - same length of trip too). So for us it's really what frivolous fun thing we want to do with our vacation dollars (a fun proposition for sure). (A trip to Paris/Belfast we are doing that is outside of our vacation budget (bucket list European travel) just for three people vs. four is going to cost us about 3K more than a RCCL big ship cruise for four. That's more of a once in a lifetime trip for us, though, as we usually stay closer to home. I also spent extra for premium economy seats for the long haul flights adding to cost to make the long flights a little more pleasant perhaps. Still there is no question that a high season (late spring trip to two cities in Europe (eight nights) is for how we want to do it pricier than doing a nice Caribbean cruise high season winter - also eight nights with pre cruise overnight stay). Still doing a cruise that really appeals to us at a time that appeals to us (nice to get out of the cold) is not an inexpensive proposition in our book. It seems like a reasonable value with all that is included, but is still expensive and usually for our family land based trips win. The one really cool thing about a cruise though for me is that it is the one vacation besides a house or condo rental for a week that my dad who is 82 will do, and having him along is great. And DS 24 interestingly enough loves cruising (This is who has always talked us into doing one). For me and DH a cruise is more meh -- in the end though for both of us sure why not (we'll come along for the ride on occasion).
  4. Yes. I loved the move, but thought the musical was much better. Usually I prefer whichever came out first (the original), but not in this case. I thought they did a wonderful job with this show. Just some more comments too on "Come From Away" -- adding to the love for that show. We saw "Hamilton" and "Come From Away" the same weekend in New York. "Hamilton" is an amazing piece of work, but my whole family loved and preferred, "Come From Away". I'm also one who is thinking given the size of the ship theatre and expensive of shows, that a smaller show is going to work better on one of the RCCL ships.
  5. We went to see it twice too and would see it again. I think it would work well on a ship too.
  6. For an older show, I think "Once" would be a great show for them to do. Another excellent one that I think would work well aboard a ship that is a newer show is "Dear Evan Hansen". I saw another poster mention "Come From Away" which is a favorite of mine. It has broad based appeal for sure, but I'm not sure cruisers would be happy about the minimalist set. That would be my main hesitation about that one. It's one though that I would go see again for sure, though. Already saw it on Broadway and in the traveling show when it came to my home town.
  7. If it was just me I was considering I wouldn't cruise again, but I'm someone who would never say never. Personally I prefer land based vacations to doing a cruise, but DS 24 would really like to do a cruise again and a cruise vacation is the only vacation except for visiting family at their homes that my wonderful dad (82) likes to do. Also DH is totally cool on doing a cruise. All that said we let DS pick a cruise that we'll pay for, and we are doing RCCL Harmony of the Seas in February and my dad and god parents are coming along too. We if cruising always like ocean view balcony, and I thought those seemed pretty pricey on the RCCL big ships for the dates we were looking at. In the end, though, we decided to go with DS's first choice which wasn't all that out of line with other choices he was looking at, budgeted for the cruise, and are booked. I'm thinking maybe this will be the last cruise I go on. But I'm only 59, so probably not. Even if something isn't my first choice, I mostly think of vacations as a really fun backdrop for spending time with my family, so it's pretty easy to talk me into things.
  8. For us less expensive flights, more flights, less expensive lodging (great value for the price) all available in Orlando is why we went for the Harmony rather than one of the other large RCCL ships. I'm sure not a big deal to most cruisers, but we with this port can also fit in a day at the Magic Kingdom and spend and evening and have dinner with a relative (who we really enjoy seeing) who lives in Orlando, some more big pluses. // I'm sure it depends on where you live, but from our home city it's way more expensive and a much bigger hassle to fly into Fort Lauderdale or Miami. I love being able to fly into Orlando (MCO). That made picking the Harmony an absolute no brainer for us.
  9. We will be taking an uber from Orlando to get to Port Canaveral to board the Harmony on a Sunday. How early should we leave to make sure we make the ship on time? Would leaving Orlando at 10:00 a.m. be sufficient time for contingencies (something unexpected like bad traffic or an accident) do you think? That is the check out time for our condo.
  10. Is there any issue taking an uber from Port Canaveral to MCO for the return? That's what we were planning to do.
  11. We picked the Harmony when we were considering the two for the same reason you did: Cheaper flights to Orlando than Miami/Fort Lauderdale from where we live. We also see better deals on lodging in Orlando. We get to visit my nephew who lives in Orlando doing this. We can stay and extra night and do a day at the Magic Kingdom too and stay in budget -- it was that much less expensive with air and lodging to be able to fit that in budget. I love Maho Beach with the planes (my all time favorite beach). We have never done either of the ships, so all shows would be new to us. I don't think either is a bad choice.
  12. We picked the Harmony for our extended family group - ages 24-84. This will be my immediate family's first RCCL cruise. Critics think of the large RCCL ships as good choices for the younger teen early 20-something set because of all the activities. My parents in their 80s did the Oasis (similar RCCL) mega ship and loved it, making me think it is a good choice for older cruisers too (It was their second favorite cruise ever -- They love MSC because of the classical music and one of those cruises that had classical musical student from Italy doing tons of entertainment is #1 for them). MSC though does not appeal as much to the rest of our extended family. Regarding the mega RCCL ship, they said the Oasis didn't feel crowded due to the great ship design, and the Harmony is quite similar. In general my parents who have traveled on numerous lines say cruising different mainstream lines is more similar than different, so chances are if you liked one mainstream line you will probably like another one too.
  13. Just an FYI, not with the cruise ship, but here is the old city walking tour we booked. It starts at 9 a.m. San Juan time and lasts for two hours. We booked it thru that TripAdvisor owned company Viator who is a consolidator of various tour. It's $40 pp. https://www.viator.com/tours/San-Juan/Old-San-Juan-Walking-Tour/d903-16292P1
  14. For our cruise in early February on the Harmony I paid $69 PP for two full day passes (1/2 day not offered). Now it's listed for $89 PP. I originally expected the water park would be included free of charge too. I think that's high, but I have certainly paid more than that for other excursions in the past. The lovely waterparks in Orlando are all less than that and look better IMHO. You are sort of captive though at Coco Cay, and DS 23 wanted to do this. He and are doing it. DH and my dad are skipping. DS picked out the cruise and part of his picking this itinerary (probably due to all the RCCL advertising) was to see Coco Cay - the whole thing including waterpark. If it's something you want to do, seems a shame to skip it when you are already spending so much on a cruise. Putting this into perspective too, we did a cruise two 1/2 years ago (NCL Escape) that stopped in Nassau and sprung for day water park passes at Atlantis. OMG those prices seemed totally crazy to me (something like $150 or so). Even so, I sprung for these for DS and his friend as they had seen the advertisements since they were little and were really keen on checking it out. DH and I just did the less expensive Aquariums tours closer to a $30/$40 price point. With the high price of the waterpark there, we weren't going to spring for that for DH and me (not worth it to us). Looks like with all the price changes, Royal is maximizing profits and doing a supply and demand thing. And I guess we all need to decide individually if it's worth it to us.
  15. The emergency evacuation limits being low and medical limits too are why I booked third party insurance instead of RC's. For me, DH, and DS we got more coverage for a lower price. For my dad who is 82, I had to pay a lot more for his coverage third party, but wanted the peace of mind of having adequate limits. I talked to a broker on insure my trip when selecting a policy. In my case, by booking insurance within 30 days of deposit on the cruise the policies we had waive all preexisting conditions. We aren't aware of any of these for anyone, but I still like having that waiver, should something new come up at a doctor's appointment or test for someone prior to sailing.
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