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About BuckeyeMark

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Dallas - Fort Worth
  • Interests
    reading, coffee, CS Lewis, Teddy Roosevelt, Ohio State football
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  1. Thanks for reminding me. It was good. I'd recommend it if seeing ancient history and learning about other cultures is your thing. Native Choice is very professional and has very nice (new) vans. The downside is you have to get out of the Costa Maya port complex to get to them. I didn't really "get" this before going there but there is no such thing as Costa Maya. No such town exists. It's a shopping complex and pier that is completely artificial. It is squeaky clean and nice and new - think Disney World building something. So the ship docks and you head down the pier and into this big half circle "mall" with shops in it. There is no easy exit. You have to walk from 3:00 o'clock (if you get my meaning) all the way round to 9:00 o'clock to finally get out of the mall. Crazy! Then you go down the street a couple of blocks and there is Native Choice. It did feel kind of weird leaving the compound and being in "real" Mexico but once you get to Native Choice's offices it's all good. They have a lot of vans and they assign you a van and off you go. Our guide was very conscientious and very good but his English wasn't always the best, so he was kind of hard to understand. He did know everything about the ruins and culture and really took the time to show us stuff, especially plant life. It takes about an hour or so to get to the ruins. It's about the most un-scenic drive ever. Think driving across Florida. It's mostly a big swamp/wetlands. How the Mayans survived in that area I'll never know - it's not an easy area to live in. The highway is absolutely arrow straight. I've never seen anything like it. The driver could have lashed the steering wheel in place and took a 30 minute nap. I'm not kidding - the road is that straight. Absolutely not curves or turns for what seems like forever. Finally you hit a main highway ("wake up, driver, time to turn left!") and you're there in a few more minutes. The tour is kinda cool. The Mayans built these big stepped pyramid like things and a variety of other stone buildings etc that go with it all. Some of it the experts aren't super sure how it all went together. It is hacked right out of the jungle - we did see some monkeys. And it is HUMID. We were there in November. I am not sure what that would have been like in July but I'm thinking it would have been unpleasant times eleventy bazillion. There is a fair amount of walking and even some climbing. Our bus driver brought chilled water bottles (thank you!) and even had a bunch of golf umbrellas if it had been sunny. The tour takes about an hour then you shop the little craft kiosk area (note: crafts more expensive here than the same thing being sold in the "mall" at the port) and go to the restroom. Board up and back you go. We stopped at a native farmer's market and the guide hopped off and bought pineapple for those who wanted some. A ziploc baggie with several chunks for a buck. We bought some and I was surprised it wasn't nearly as sweet as Hawaiian pineapple I've had. It was okay. Then back to the compound/mall. It's kinda long ride to see the ruins. Not sure what else to say. Is it the single greatest thing I've ever seen? No. Was it interesting and am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I go again? Prolly not. It's not the kind of thing you need to see again. Did Native Choice do a good job and would I book something with them again instead of the cruise excursions? Absolutely. I don't blame NC at all for the ruins being a long drive from the port or that they are in a steamy jungle. If you want to see the ruins they can get you there. They do a good job getting you out there, explaining it to you, and they don't charge as much as the cruise line. For me that's a win.
  2. We were in a JS two weeks ago on Explorer and I'm afraid we made a big mistake: we'll never be able to cruise in an inside cabin or ocean view again! IT WAS WONDERFUL. Huge closet. Bath tub. Sitting area. Wow oh wow. We got the chance to buy an upgrade for next to nothing and now we're hooked. #smartMarketingRoyal
  3. We wear (and love) our lanyards. On the Explorer they were selling lots of lanyards with bling all over them so clearly RCL thinks this is an option many are still interested in. GO FOR IT.
  4. Here's the deal on sports on the Explorer: * you will ask everybody - cruise directors, bartenders, the guys at the Tavern - and they all give you different answers, or no answer because they don't understand American football anyway. * the boat does get ESPN which makes you hopeful but mostly it shows ESPN cricket, which will drive you insane. * the ship can get other channels though - so Thursday night there was Fox showing the NFL game. one of the channels in your room is "Prime One' which seems to me "whatever we want to put on there but mostly we recycle stuff from Red Bull on their daredevil athletes all day." * the real reason this is such a mystery and a hassle is that RCL has to pay rights fees to show games. finally a tech told us this. "Will we see the Penn State-Ohio State game?" "Maybe. If they paid for it." Fees for big events, like the Super Bowl, can range up to $50K he said! So Saturday came and on the Prime One channel there was two minor college teams playing (Kansas, I think) and then in the 3:00 hour there was Texas and Baylor. that's it. no other games. * what's frustrating is that someone at HQ paid for those games so just go ahead and tell lus what you bought so we don't get our hopes up. * all of this will change in March when they redo the boat's entertainment/TV systems. there's a rumor we'll get REAL espn!
  5. The Explorer docks at 5 AM. What’s the earliest flight you would be comfortable taking out of Rome? We dock in Cittavecchia.
  6. First, the reason I went over was streaming the radio feed from the Ohio State radio network (hello Paul Keels!) as I listened to us beat Penn State! Second, thanks for the tip on the telemarketers! GENIUS!!!!
  7. So a lot of folks are saying "You need to be in airplane mode." Okay ... why? I literally just turned my cell phone's CELL DATA to OFF. Not hitting a tower. And it works fine. Why? Because it's on wifi. So why did my phone go talk to the ship's tower when it had wifi? It doesn't need to. Btw, this was day 5 of the cruise. I used my phone a LOT during the week, surfing all kinds of Internet stuff. You'd think I would've got a text from AT&T way sooner if this was an issue. Something happened Saturday afternoon where the phone needed to serve me something off the Internet (probably college fb scores) and it couldn't get them from the wifi. So it pinged the tower and the meter started running. WHY DID IT DO THAT?
  8. I'm not doubting you but it makes no sense. when you're phone is on wifi it doesn't need cell data. it goes through the wifi. my in-laws live where there is no cell service. we connect to the wifi and do all kinds of stuff on our phone without any issues. my phone was on ship's wifi. it was running through the ship's wifi and shouldn't have "talked" to the tower on the ship for anything.
  9. I don't think I was in airplane mode. But I'm not in airplane mode right now (here at home) and I'm not using data. I'm on my home wifi. So since I was on ship wifi why did I pull cell data?
  10. I will talk to AT&T tomorrow. Not sure what we we were doing that kicked me off the ship's wifi. We weren't calling anybody. Thought I was fine and kinda feel like it shoulda been okay since I had the wifi package. Guess not!
  11. Yesterday as the Explorer steamed for port suddenly my phone beeped in a text. AT & T was letting me know that I had a big overage on my cell plan! How is that possible since I had the Key program and Wifi on the boat? My phone should've been on Wifi and not hitting the ship's cell tower, running up a big bill?! Would like to better understand how this works. Should my phone be in airplane mode? Did Royal drop the wifi and my phone rolled over to the cell service automatically? I'm unhappy but wondering if this is my fault, and what to do about it. Thanks.
  12. Seems like I saw somewhere that if you're on the Rio Secreto excursion they have lockers to put your stuff in while you actually do the river? Is this correct? Did you feel your stuff was really secure in there? I'm kinda worried a little about my wallet and wondering if it should just go swimming with me. However, that prolly doesn't work as well for my camera!
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