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  1. Interesting as well as all the elevators are suspended and not in use (except for handicapped, etc.) prior to and during the drill. Everyone must take the steps to the drill to simulate a real emergency as the elevators would not be in operation then. And the crew is at fault to allow any of this activity in your area and had a responsibility to manage it to prevent any noise or other distractive behavior by the passengers. There is not a better way as this is the tried and true method used by them after 50 years of experience and refinement relative to the SOLAS guidelines. Ours, while not always enjoyable or perfect, have always been effective and conducted properly. Your experience was unique and not the norm.
  2. Your insight on these forums is widely known and appreciated, but as one who has cruised extensively with RCI I can say from long experience that the OP's perception of how the muster drill is recognized and performed by the cruise line does not represent the standard by which RCI manages this process. His experience is unique to our numerous musters attended over the years and is not an accurate reflection of the usual drill. If his description is accurate then shame on the crew in the lounge in which his was held as that is not acceptable nor the way they typically are conducted. In our experience, all bar and restaurant services, and other activities venues are indeed suspended prior to the drill and food and alcohol is not allowed at the muster stations. Quiet is maintained in the areas during the drill and crew members support the presentation with a demonstration of the proper life preserver use. All passengers are checked in - usually by way of a scan of the SeaPass card - and all staterooms cleared to confirm full attendance. The drill is not completed and the passengers released until full (required) attendance is confirmed, the muster information conveyed, and the Captain makes his final announcement releasing the passengers. The OP's suggestions as to how all of this can be improved also is reflective of his inexperience but his motivation is understandable if the drill occurred in the manner described. As to conducting a party prior to muster, it is each passenger's choice as to how they want to spend their first day on board prior to muster, and many of the bars and restaurants are open to support this. With initial boarding typically occurring several hours prior to muster, it is very common for people to start their own cruise party prior to muster - basic human nature. This is common among all cruise lines, not just RCI. But, as mentioned, these venues (and related activities) are halted prior to the first call to muster, so the celebrations would cease during this time. As to not wanting to ever sail with RCI, that is certainly everyone's personal choice, and I can think of a couple of reasons as well based on the many cruises we've taken. But the manner in which the muster drill has always been conducted based on our experience would not be one of them.
  3. Based on your criteria I would choose RCI Mariner. Note however that the newly developed "Perfect Day at Coco Cay" will not open until November and be fully operational until December, so you will not have the full benefit of all that is planned there in October if that matters. That being said I would still select Mariner as Freeport is nothing special as a port of call IMO.
  4. Regarding ice cream, Celebrity offers a selection of real ice cream flavors in their buffet at no charge v the RCL chocolate and vanilla soft serve and B & J's flavors for a fee.
  5. Just to be sure we are clear with this, if you are suggesting that because of the cost associated to do so that RCI does not perform these checks, you would be incorrect. By what method or manner or at what cost, I can't say. But I can say for a fact that they do perform background checks on all passengers on a ship's manifest 30 days from sailing, as I originally posted. RCI is one of two cruise lines that do this with every itinerary. If I am misinterpreting your implication then I apologize.
  6. Directly from RCI. You can also confirm it through google. See chengkp75's post as well, which references Carnival as the other line currently doing this.
  7. Actually, although not widely publicized, RCL does run background checks on everyone on the manifest 30 days prior to sailing. And based on findings they can refund money paid at that time and deny boarding at their discretion.
  8. Typically they want you out of your stateroom by 8:30 and off the ship by 9:30 - 10:00. The ship has to clear customs and be empty of all non back to back passengers before they start boarding the next itinerary's passengers, which typically commences around 11:00. So plan to be off the ship by 10:00 latest. You wouldn't want your boarding delayed by late to disembark passengers from the previous sailing, would you?
  9. That would be our rule of thumb as well. The good thing about taking too much cash is that it can always come back home with you. We, too, typically take about $100 per day. We also mix the denominations to allow enough small bills for miscellaneous tips and on shore cash purchases and request US $ as change prior to any purchase. Smaller denominations help facilitate this with making change.
  10. Never heard of this product before, but it's amazing what google will tell you..... Stugeron 15 should preferably be taken after meals. The tablets may be sucked, chewed or swallowed whole with water. Adults and children over 12 years: take 2 tablets two hours before travelling and 1 tablet every eight hours during the journey. I would say from that it should be before the departure time, as that is when any motion would commence.
  11. Will you make it? Impossible to say. Can you make it? Sure, there would be enough time. But a lot of things have to go right without any delay. MCO is an hour away from the port (with no traffic), and to be safe you should be there two hours ahead of time. Assuming there is no delay with your ship's arrival, you would need in whatever form of transportation you arrange and on your way from the port after departing the ship, collecting your luggage, and going through customs by 8:30. IMO that would be a little too tight for my liking.
  12. How often are they assigned as GTY's? Impossible to say, but it would depend on how many obstructed view balconies are not already booked at the time the GTY is offered and how many other standard balconies would be available to include in the GTY category. But as others have said the obstructed view balconies, while priced lower, are the least popular to book, so they would be the most likely to be available with a GTY - especially with the lower pricing level associated with GTY's. I would say to expect that your GTY assignment will be obstructed and you then will basically get what you paid for. And if your assignment is not an obstructed view, then you will be pleasantly surprised.
  13. Pixels is all the can be or needs to be scheduled in advance in terms of entertainment. Advanced booking for the other entertainment is not offered on Ovation. The other on board activities that can be booked should open up about 90 days prior to sailing. And to EM's suggestion, if you want to post this as well on the RCI board here is the link: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/51-royal-caribbean-international/
  14. I'm not arguing nor do I think you are someone who feels entitled. Just trying to explain the cruise line's policy. I just disagree with your position. Again, regarding the change fees, it is irrelevant what you paid for the room - what is relevant is how many people are in it, as that is what the change fees are based on - per person in the room, not cruise fare paid. And you got the same amount (for one person) as they did for the stateroom fare (for two people). Again the $300 you will receive is for one persons airline change fees. The $600 they receive is for two. It is simple math. But we will agree to disagree. And again, please try to enjoy your cruise.
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