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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. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. We are booked on the Harmony in February, seven night with three days at Sea, two port days (St. Martin and San Juan), and Coco Cay. My dad and son especially like sea days, a big reason for our booking this. Am hoping we get to keep our sea days vs. loosing them and doing a second day or more time at Coco Cay. Everyone likes different things. Do you think sea days may be endangered on some of the seven night sailings?
  6. Just talked to dad on the phone. A chair will pay for itself for sure. The later airfares are $60 more per person ($120), and dad always tips the chair-pushers generously too. The main thing rather than even the cost is the convenience. Dad is much keener on getting a 12:35 p.m. flight instead of waiting around the airport till 6 p.m. That got him totally on board for the chair and self assist. He also is one that never likes to cut things too close. Dad also said he should actually have something like this anyway, so gave me the go ahead to get a chair. His main concern was would it be too much for me as the pusher. I won't have any luggage though on the way back, dad will have one small bag, and on the way there I will just have a backpack (small with a few incidentals), so this should not be an issue. Plus I told him, if it's hard for us at the airport, we can always get a sky cap. We also talked about that since we are doing ubers door to door to the Chicago airport that a fleece, a hat, and a pair of gloves or mittens should be fine, even in Chicago, the windy city. We are going to leave the heavy jackets at home to keep the luggage more to a minimum. You have been so helpful. It's very nice to have the logistics figured out for the most part. I would not have considered or thought of the chair/self assist option on my own. I also (although a little concerned, concerned enough to post anywat) was not up on extra time that very well could be involved for wheel chair assistance both on the cruise and at the airport. This is the first time dad's not traveling with mom who always did all the arrangements (My wonderful mom passed very unexpectedly this past March). This is the first time I am making travel arrangements for dad. I really want him to cruise with us and be comfortable with things, hence my doing the extra flying to travel with him. My godparents who are dear long time friends of dad's who have done a lot of traveling with mom and dad in the past, hearing that he was going to do a cruise, booked the cruise too and are going to be in the cabin on the other side of his and my son's. I wouldn't be surprised if my brother and my brother's girlfriend in the end decide to cruise with us too. Thanks again. Really appreciate your posting.
  7. I might just pick up something like this for dad for $100. This looks like it could fit the bill https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/karman-19-inch-aluminum-lightweight-transport-chair-19-lbs./ID=prod6117569-product?ext=gooKBM_PLA_-_Home_Medical_BCG_Heavy&pla&adtype=pla&kpid=sku6103417&sst=_k_EAIaIQobChMIwsKWhpaJ5AIVkVmGCh2oNgWEEAkYDyABEgIJQ_D_BwE_k_&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwsKWhpaJ5AIVkVmGCh2oNgWEEAkYDyABEgIJQ_D_BwE
  8. Thank you all. Excellent to know that I am pushing it or certainly could be pushing it based on wheelchair requests, and if we are requiring wheelchair assistance, I really need to book a different flight. I am flying to Chicago too the night before dad flies to Orlando and will stay at his house the night before we both fly to MCO. Prior to the cruise, we are flying in two days early and staying in Orlando two nights. I booked a nice three bedroom/three bath condo. Dad and my husband will enjoy the resort condo we are staying at, while DH and I do a partial day the Magic Kingdom during the day (rope drop to 4), and we will have my nephew who lives in Orlando over for pizza and salad the night before the cruise. Fortunately I booked all of dad and my flights with Southwest points (love those), so am not out the monies if I change flights, but still would need to fork over for the less convenient and more expensive flights. That is a great idea Brillohead. I really appreciate your posting. With that we could do the 12:35 p.m. flight and the self assist (do everything on our own). I also have DH and DS 23 who could help with dad's luggage and/or wheeling dad. Our cabins are next to each other (DS and dad in one and me and DH in the other). I think dad has always preferred not having a wheelchair of his own, but for timing and logistics on this trip, it's time to talk him into this. The savings between the costs of the 12:35 p.m. flight and the 6 p.m. flight would probably more than offset the cost of this purchase. If we don't purchase one, I could always rent one for the trip too.
  9. Hello, I just booked our flights for our Harmony cruise next February out of Port Canaveral 2/9 - 2/16. For our return, DH and DS have a noon flight from Orlando (MCO) to St. Louis. I will go ahead and have them do the self assist, so they can get off the ship quickly and easily get an uber or cab and make their flights. I don't see an issue here. I will also pack light so that we only have two suitcases and my stuff can go back to St. Louis with them. We are also traveling with my wonderful father who at the time of the cruise will be 83 and has limited mobility (requires wheel chair assistance to get on and off the ship). He lives in Valparaiso, IN about an hour from Chicago, and I booked 12:35 p.m. flights for him and me to fly to Chicago Midway (MDW) from Orlando (MCO). Then I have four hours to get his luggage collected and get him on an uber back to Valpo before I fly back to St. Louis. He lives by himself and gets along just fine, but has a handicapped parking sticker and cannot walk long distances (airports, getting on and off a cruise ship would really tough without the wheelchair assistance) // My only concern is do you think that 12:35 p.m. is too tight for wheel chair assistance off the ship and getting back to the MCO airport? I booked our flights with points, so could change to a later flight if need be, but there aren't any direct flights after this 12:35 p.m. one until 6 p.m. (a long time at the airport). Also, it's a more expensive flight that I don't have enough points for two tickets, so I'd have to pay cash for one of the flights. In addition this would make it a really late night for me, but I can still get home that night (lots of flights from Chicago to St. Louis including lots of late ones). You can see that if 12:35 p.m. is doable that I'd really like to go with that flight. Any tips for getting off the ship as easily as possible with the wheel chair assist and making that flight? I'd love to hear your recommendations. Can I wait with my dad and take his luggage. I won't have any myself, making this easy to do. Thought that could save some time. Appreciate any and all tips.
  10. Perfectly nice place to visit, but not a must do in my book. We visited and spent most of a day when we were in San Juan for a week long vacation. We also did a two hour strenuous hike with a guide. I'm not so sure I'd pick it for a port stop due to the distance from the port unless there wasn't anything else I was interested in. In that case, though, sure I'd do it. // For our next cruise stop in San Juan on the Harmony we are going to do a historic walking tour of Old San Juan (non-ship) with Tripolin Tours, but that's only two hours from 9-11, booked thru the Trip Advisor consolidator Viator. https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g147320-d12464628-Old_San_Juan_Walking_Tour-San_Juan_Puerto_Rico.html
  11. Thank you for all the information about the Harmony Apdmom and the photos. I learned quite a bit and have some more ideas about things to do. Your pictures helped so much too, to get a little bit of a sense of what the ship will be like. We'll be doing our first RCCL cruise next February with an extended family group and my godparents too (ages 23-82) and are really looking forward to it.
  12. I can understand the policy (side of caution). The important thing in my book is that no one should be doing water based activities alone and a responsible person needs to be there. On our cruise there is just one person in our party, my very responsible 23 year old who wants to do the waterpark and as I think he'll have more fun with someone else along and believe that water based activities should not be done alone I'm a 58 year old who purchased my full day ticket too (my husband and all the others in our extended family group won't be going to the waterpark). I'll skip slides unless they have a raft or mat (speed slides that don't have a mat are not my thing any more). If the slide has a raft or mat, though, I'm fine. I'll also enjoy the wave pool. I am a former competitive swimmer, lifeguard, swim instructor and swim coach. If DS had a friend / significant other on the cruise, I would skip it and just have them go, but that's not the case on this particular trip. And me, I'm the main person in our party who feels strongly about the not swimming alone theme, and I'm also the adult who enjoys waterparks the most - plus DS is really fun to hang out with.
  13. My parents love cruising and have done quite a bit of it (been on most of the mainstream cruise lines). Their very favorite line is MSC due to the entertainment (They love classical music type offerings, etc. go to lots of concerts regularly at a local University that my mom taught at) and the entertainment on MSC is perfect for them. My brother who cruised with them on one of these cruises and has cruised quite a bit, didn't care for MSC and wouldn't cruise that line again. It was his least favorite cruise, and he'd gladly cruise RCCL, NCL, or Carnival again (especially their newer bigger ships). Interestingly enough too, my parents recently cruised on the Oasis and give this class on RCCL second place behind MSC. They thought with the way RCCL designed the ship, that it didn't feel crowded at all. My mom loved the Central Park area. She also thought the production of CATS was wonderful (She had seen the traveling Broadway show before and thought this was just as good).
  14. Great thought LewLewBell. Thank you for posting. If they confiscate the one case, the worst that could happen (if I pay a high price for 12 at a grocery or convenience store), is that I am out $6 (1 1/2 cans of Diet Coke charges on the cruise line).
  15. The bottom line I think is that other people are like us and had a kid or someone in the family who had cruising on the Harmony as their top pick of the mainstream choices that are within the ole vacation budget and were willing to pay a premium within reason for that. Unlike some of the other posters on this thread I think Carnival offers a great value for a seven night cruise. Room comfort and size, included dining, comedians, etc. are excellent. I think their other shows aren't overly impressive and are sub par to offerings on other mainstream newer ships (but do people really cruise for the shows - maybe some do - still it is nice to have some shows that you would like to see, nice evening entertainment). For Comedy, though, Carnival really tops other lines that we have tried. We have done Carnival three times and were quite impressed with what was offered for the money. From what I have read, the older lower rated ships on Carnival with the super party atmosphere are often really more for the short booze cruises. I certainly didn't find that on the seven night extended family trip cruises that we have done on this line. My parents and so many other who cruise a lot and have tried tons of different lines in general say that cruising between different lines is quite similar is so many respects (more similar than different really). On all the mainstream lines, though, as many others have stated you are going to pay a bit of a premium for the in thing (what is appealing to the masses) (the newest ships with lots of features/amenities, people wanting to change things up and try something new). Also, back to my original comment, I think a lot of cruisers aren't super price sensitive within reason. We are a good example of that and are booked on the Harmony. DH had a deal for 1K off on any NCL cruise, and their new ships are really nice and similarly priced to Royal (We did the NCL Escape once - very nice). Even though Carnival is less expensive and NCL with the 1K off deal would be really cost effective (would have been best value for offerings), we didn't book either of those. Princess, Celebrity, HAL, and Disney were more expensive, and we didn't book those either. We don't cruise that often (only every so many years -- do more land based vacations), but for our next cruise for example, I had DS 23 who was the one in the family who wanted to do a cruise look at all the mainstream lines, ships, itineraries, and let us know his top choice. He spent a lot of time looking at ships, itineraries, offerings. The bottom line for us is that the particular cruise we are going on, on the Harmony, was his top choice, and that's why we booked it. (He liked the look of the ship, liked that it went to Coco Cay (sounds like he and others would like to see the new heavily advertised private island - I'm fine going, but this doesn't really appeal to me as a port), liked the other ports St. Martin and San Juan (we've been to both before), likes three days at sea because Grandpa likes more sea days and will join us, liked the show offering Grease better than main Broadway type shows offered on other RCCL and NCL ships, likes the idea of a relatively new ship, loves Carnival, but has done that one quite a few times and wanted to change things up). We were cool because it was within reason price wise of other options (fit within our vacation budget) and liked the fact that it goes from Port Canaveral - can do a day at Disney before and visit my nephew who lives there and it's easier and cheaper for us to fly there than most other places cruises leave from (even with DS and I doing a day at the MK). This FYI is why we are booked on the Harmony, and we are willing to pay a slight premium for a whimsical first choice for DS out of all mainstream cruise offerings he looked. Actually I think Disney would have been DS's first choice, but he knew no other relatives would come along on that one (With what we picked we will probably have quite a few others join). Also, Disney is so expensive that with our budget we would on Disney just be doing a three day inside with a magic window, instead of a seven day ocean view balcony on RCCL Harmony (same price lol).
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