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Everything posted by Board_Shorts

  1. T Officially, absolutely take as much luggage as you want. Give it to a porter when you arrive at the port. He doesn't care about the size or weight
  2. Ha! The joke's on you buddy. You're the one who opened it, you're the one who read it, and you're the one who even posted on it. It's fair to say that you care a lot. No need to reply, I won't see it. I'm going to make you disappear now. Bye bye. BLOCKED.
  3. OP again here. Regarding those mysterious APD's. MDR Waiters are now told to promote the Specialty Restaurants, Galley Tours, Backstage Tours, Champagne Lunch, etc, etc, to their guests. It's terribly awkward for them, because it will usually be mid-cruise and it seems very strange to guests that their waiter is trying to make them go somewhere else for Dinner. It always used to be someone connected to those restaurants walking around the MDR and trying to get guests to sign up. So you have probably noticed waiters doing this lately, they would never do that by choice, they want you there every night. The Head Waiter of that section will also do the same thing once a week. It feels like we are all being interrupted at some point every night for something or other. It's true that Good Grades / 10's / Being personally named on the survey, does earn them small rewards. For example, the waiter who has the highest number of successful sales to specialty restaurants each week might be rewarded with a day off (they don't get to choose which day) Another reward is a solo Dinner for the winning waiter in one of the Specialty Restaurants. There are a few others rewards too. My method of avoiding all this is to deal with it on the first night. As soon as the waiter asks if I enjoyed my starter and if we are happy with the service. I reply with "It's a 10, and so are you at the moment." They instantly know what I'm talking about, give a knowing look, and obviously thank us. I say "At the moment. But if it gets mentioned, you'll lose a point every time. Of course this exchange is all done happily and jokingly, not abruptly or rude as it looks here written down. I then always say, "you can be relaxed with us." I think it helps that we're in our mid thirties and are perhaps more relaxed than most. 99% of the time we build a really great rapport with our waiters. One of our best ever waiters (actually, our assistant waiter, who we had absolutely clicked with) Asked if we had plans for the next day in Bonaire. We'd done a great tour of that island the year before, so we didn't have plans. He said, "Come with me then!" So we did! We met at the gangway at a certain time and had the most wonderful day and a private tour of Kralendijk, by our assistant waiter. That was the first part of a back to back, and although I'd requested the same table for both cruises. The waiters change every week. But he never failed to come and say hello, he also told our new waiter our exact preferences. It was just perfect. Of course at the end of the two cruises we became Facebook friends. He's now back home in Malaysia, and very successfully playing the real estate market!
  4. Well that's all very interesting, but they should tell us that they use that system. It's a terrible system to use if they want actual feedback instead of us feeling that we have to lie, or someone could lose their job. At the moment, all the information they are gathering from the surveys is false and useless, many people feel that they have to lie, because they couldn't bear the chance of being part of the reason someone could lose their job. Most of them are supporting parents and grandparents, spouses and children.
  5. They are still doing it Bob. My last three waiters have done it, and I even had a girl in the Windjammer ask me, because she'd handed me a water from the tray. These were all even after that question was added to the survey. But who can blame them?? Most of the crew are supporting whole families. So it's no surprise they do everything they can to get the 10s. It must be a constant awful worry for them.
  6. I know the days of crew members begging for 10's on the survey have mostly gone now, or are supposed to have gone. There's even a question asking if any crew member has mentioned the survey to you, and if so, to name who it was. But the system still works in the same way. Anything less than a 10 is a fail. Too many fails, and the crew are disciplined. Because I know this, I always do mark everything as a 10 on that survey. I've never met a crew member I didn't like, and I would hate to be a part of someone getting into trouble when I had no idea that I was. But the whole idea is still a complete farce, and it's still true that anything less than a 10 is a fail. I know a lot of people who say they would never mark a 10 on any survey, because to them, a 10 would mean perfection, and as we all know, nobody's perfect. As a huge international company, RCCL must surely know things like this, so I really do wonder why they do it. Do they only want to hear nice things about the company? Does negativity upset them? The whole point of a survey is to pinpoint areas that need improvement, or to check how new methods are working for example. Otherwise, why do they ask us? It's a complete waste of time for them and us. I remember hearing something a while ago, about the scores being used as part of the information that is used for industry awards. "Best Mass Market Cruiseline" for example, which Royal usually wins, or "Best Premium Cruise Line" for Celebrity, both are RCCL companies. Maybe I'm just thinking too much into it. I do get very intrigued about these things.
  7. Lots of interesting replies. Most saying Harmony. Honestly it's a fabulous ship. But may I ask the 'Harmony' people if for any of you that was your first cruise? If not, do you remember how amazed and delighted you were on your first cruise? Maybe even astounded. I know I was. I didn't stop smiling the for whole week. I bet you couldn't wait to go back again for another cruise, right? Maybe on the same class of ship or another class, just as wonderful. My first Oasis class cruise was my 7th. Before that, I'd done Voyager class, Freedom class, and Radiance class. I was so pleased that I enjoyed Freedom so much, it was the world's largest cruise ship not too long ago, it had all the great features that Royal are so well known for. Each ship just impressed even more, and of course I loved every single one. Could I also just mention that the ABC Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, are the most beautiful places I've ever been. The blue of the water and the white sand beaches in Aruba are unbelievable. (Please do a Google Image search for Aruba.) The wild Flamingos in Bonaire are the pinkest in the world because of an unusually high level of Beta-Carotene in the inland lakes. I'm not too sure what route Harmony is doing at the moment, but I do know it will be around for a long time yet. So my opinion (which you don't have agree with of course) is Freedom. It is a wonderful, enormous ship, and will soon be even more incredible with new waterslides for the kids and all the other features that it has always had, and are being added to. Apologies for typing the equivalent of a hardback novel!
  8. Hi there. I'm sure when this post has had a few more views, the majority will suggest Harmony, it's newer and larger, but is a very different experience than a regular cruise. I guarantee that at some points while on Harmony, you'll forget that you're on a cruise at all, and feel like you're in a small shopping mall with a park outside, some very nice restaurants, and a crowded waterpark on top. I'm not saying that I don't like the Oasis class (of which Harmony is one) I actually love all four and have sailed them all. BUT, I would never recommend it to an (almost) first time cruiser. Unless you have an Oceanview Balcony on Harmony, you can easily go for days without actually seeing the ocean. Central Park Balconies have no sea view at all, but are beautiful at night while watching the park below beautifully lit up (and hear the cicada/cricket sounds which are actually played through hidden speakers in Central Park and also at night on the Pool Deck. Some Boardwalk Balconies have a very restricted sea view (the further back you are, the better it is.) A lot of people try to watch the Aquashow from their Boardwalk Balcony. Don't do that, you really don't get the full incredible experience, it's all included in the fare so just go to the Aqua-Theater where it is designed to be viewed from. My first cruise was Liberty, a 99% identical twin in almost every way to Freedom. It was absolutely the best time of my life, I'll seriously never forget that cruise. Freedom still is an enormous ship, and there are SO many awesome things for you to do, and for the kids to do, the age specific kids groups are perfect, and many people with kids say goodbye to them in the morning and the next they see them will be bedtime. (Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing that, depending on their ages) but that really shows how much there is to do on Freedom. The main reason I say to do Freedom before Harmony, is that you will experience all of the amazing features of the Freedom Class, and love all of them. Freedom does have a beautiful Royal Promenade, so many awesome other features, the most beautiful main dining room of any RCI ship in my opinion, and all staterooms have recently been refurbished. Don't forget that before Oasis was launched, Freedom was the world's largest cruise ship. Compared to the Sovereign, which was huge for it's time, you will be astounded by the size of Freedom. So trust me, don't start with an Oasis class ship. Slowly work your way up to it. And after all that info, my favorite ship is Navigator! (Just a slightly shortened version of Freedom.) I adore Navigator and in the nine times I've sailed on it (2 Med, when it was homeported in Rome, 1 Northern Europe from Southampton, and 6 back to backs from Miami.) I know I will never get bored. (Although I was terribly disappointed when the beautiful Navigator Diamond Lounge was moved from deck 14, where it had wonderful views and a lovely outdoor seating area, from which we would always sit with a few drinks and watch the sunset before dinner.) So, in answer to your question, and sorry for going off topic slightly, it really has to be Freedom. I promise you'll absolutely love it!
  9. Thank you SO much Bob. I knew I could count on you. Wonderful! :)
  10. I apologize in advance for this laziness, I do know there are methods to work these things out, but I also know there are some real experts on here. So before I spend the whole day with my eyes crossed, trying to count on deckplans, can anyone tell me if any of these Symphony room numbers have the bed by the Balcony. Thanks so much. Deck 11 - 11326, 11728 Deck 12 - 12730, 12142, 12144 Deck 14 - 14278, 14148 Thanks again experts! :)
  11. Thanks! Very helpful. This was a cruise last November. I was just studying the invoice. I'd forgotten about the % off a second person, so maybe that was it. Seems I got lucky with the combinables!
  12. Just a quick one. Can my Diamond balcony discount be combined with my father's +55 senior discount? He is Gold. I ask, because after looking at the invoice from a recent cruise, I'm quite sure that they have been combined, just not broken down into their constituent parts. My father's payment showed as $1000 less than mine on that sailing. That seems a lot! Could my travel agent (with whom I have great trust in) have added the balcony discount, our OBC, and the Senior Rate together and just shown it as one discount? No biggie, I'd just like to know if anyone has any ideas. Thanks!
  13. Michael. Please don't feel you have to explain yourself to anyone, especially here, to people who spend what honestly seems like 24 hours a day on this forum. I'll never understand why they are so condescending? Or post messages that contain no information, like the one you're responding to, just demeaning words which seem to have the sole purpose of making others feel inferior. It wasn't common knowledge to me, so THANK YOU for posting. It doesn't matter whether I'm D+ or Gold. I still learn new things every time I visit this forum. If it wasn't for people like you fighting through the insulting words, bullying, and some very dark, even 'creepy' (sorry, but it's true) members ugly replies. I'd have been long gone. Thanks for keeping the very weak, but still faintly shining memories of fun and laughter and the original spirit of this forum (admittedly now on life support) just about alive, for me at least.
  14. Based on the location, and another empty space across the hallway, and the same 'empty' space on all decks above and below. I'd say it's the route for the funnels and tubes and other various systems to pass through vertically to the funnels on top of the ship from the engine room down below. There's no other way to do it. This lines up with the smaller aft funnel structure, which comes out near the flowrider and is also incorporated into the new slide structures. I'm sure there will be maintenance facilities and store rooms, emergency equipment etc in there too. My guess is that funnel.
  15. Or they are seeing the larger round Deck 3 Main Dining Room windows and assuming they are cabins. They are much larger. I highly suspect this is the answer. All Oceanview have the same sized windows. @louhun88 compare the deck plans for deck 3 to make sure.
  16. For everyone who misses the last days of the 'old' Royal. I hope these videos and commercials might bright back some happy memories. The following video would play whenever your TV came on. (And still does on some ships!) I for one love this video, and hope it stays. 'Get Out There!' 'The Nation of Why Not' (This is still the 'on hold' music on some ships ...and now I want Room Service after hearing it!) 'WOW' 'The Sea is Calling, Answer it Royally' 'Part Cruise Ship, Part Space Ship' (Is this still the 'on hold' music for land based calls?) 'This is not a Cruise, this is not the Caribbean' 'Come Seek' And finally, some VERY 80/90's nostalgia! I hope all these bring back some happy memories 😊
  17. I'm sure I remember learning somewhere that they have them. Or that at least some do? I've just been watching videos of Symphony, and of everything I saw, I didn't see any. I know there are two layouts of Interior rooms on this ship, one with the beds facing the main door, like a Voyager or Freedom Class Interior, and another layout, similar to a real Balcony with the beds at the side. The videos I've seen just show a plain wall where the balcony would be with maybe a picture or mirror. This is the Category I thought had VB's Am I getting confused with Quantum Class? The more I think about it, the more I think I am. Do ANY Symphony rooms have VB's? I'm trying to squeeze in another cruise before our next and can't usually do without a balcony and some light in the mornings, so I'm thinking this could be the solution. Otherwise a real balcony it will have to be! Could someone please tell me which category on Symphony has VB's. If any. Thank you! 😊
  18. I fully agree. MDR coffee is much better. It seems to be a totally different blend than Cafe Promenade and Windjammer. I'm not much of a coffee snob, so I still drink it at Cafe Promenade and Park Cafe, and I do like it, but I much prefer MDR coffee. You can get very hot water in Cafe Promenade, it's there for the tea, but there's no reason you couldn't use it. You could pack a small French Press, and your favorite coffee. In fact, I might actually start doing that myself 😊
  19. And with that, I'm outta here! With a mental note to firmly remember the fire pit of insults, accusations of lying, and the bullying that come hand in hand with a genuine post on Cruise Critic... I should have gone with my gut instinct and not come back to CC at all. What a shame that I even had to consider that. The general public and Cruise Critic members don't need to know this inside information. It doesn't help or change anything. Cruise Critic members however, like to know inside information and so I considered this an interesting piece of inside knowledge to share. I couldn't have been more wrong! At least the figure was back to 14% removals last week, still with a large number of those TA guests onboard after connecting B2B with the five night. This week will be even less thank goodness. Thank you, and goodbye. 😊 (Bonaire today was wonderful as always by the way!)
  20. No. Technical production (lighting/sound/stage) the Orchestra, Theater Performers and Ice Cast are not tipped positions. They are on quite different contracts and are salaried positions.
  21. Yes, I used the word 'removed' because that was the information that was provided for the crew's information.
  22. OP Here. My gosh, while I've been out enjoying Aruba and Curaçao, this thread seems to have become rather unfriendly. Not that I didn't expect some disagreement of course, I did NOT expect personal attacks, thankfully this reminded me why I stopped using CC quite some time ago. I now realize that I should have explained that this information was NOT provided by tipped employees. I have an old (we're in our 20's) friend from home who works in theater production on NV, hence my numerous wonderful cruises on this ship. Because of him I have also been introduced to numerous others over many cruises on NV. Theater cast for example (I've actually just got to bed after meeting up with a production singer for example, we even discussed this thread.) I have no reason not to believe an old and very trustworthy friend, or other close friends and performers. They have no reason at all to lie, especially not to me. I'm VERY happy to say that on the 5 night cruise before this 9 night which I was also on, following the transatlantic, the figure was back to around normal at 14% removals. I don't appreciate the personal attacks, I'm not used to that, but I'm very aware that CC is renowned for this so I'll say no more about that. I don't think I'll be returning to this thread, I stay far away from negativity, unless something "in my opinion" needs to be addressed. Thank you to everyone for some great ideas and suggestions, let's hope Royal really do read this forum. "In my opinion" just like in Australia, gratuities should be included in the displayed travel agent or website price for EVERYONE. Not only Australia. Do please remember that without gratuities/tips/auto-tips/the Australian system, very few of us would be able to cruise. The astronomical cost of paying a living wage to tens of thousands of tipped employees would obviously cause prices to become extortionate. So please let's all do our little bit if we can. The current system usually works well "in my opinion". The Navigator service is as wonderful as ever. I have extremely deep respect for this crew. Thank you all for your comments 🙂 Bonaire tomorrow! 🌴🏄🌞
  23. Linda! How absolutely wonderful to wake up and see the beginning of a brand new 'Bit of a Blog' from you! You are BY FAR my absolute favorite blogger/reviewer. I sailed with you on Oasis in the Med just prior to the dry dock in 2014 and I adored reading your blog when I was home. I'm REALLY looking forward to this... Have a wonderful cruise! And may I just say, you're looking fabulous!!
  24. Currently on a Navigator B2B, which directly followed the transatlantic crossing from Southampton to Miami. I have now heard the figure of 60% from three completely different crew members. That makes it difficult to believe that this figure is not correct. I know the sailing had an itinerary change (to a far better one in my opinion) and an issue with a stabilizer, but surely this doesn't warrant punishing your stateroom attendant, waiters, and behind the scenes staff? They are certainly not to blame. Any complaints should be dealt with by guest services or by contacting Royal after the cruise. As much as I hate to say this, it does have to be said. The vast majority of guests were British. I sincerely hope they at least preferred to pay cash instead of auto, but still, everyone is not covered using this method. I know tipping is not the same in the UK, and guests may not have realized the effect they had, but "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". When in Britain, do as the British do. When on a cruise, do what cruisers are expected to do. I never thought I would take part in a tipping thread, let alone START one. But this upset me after experiencing the wonderful service on this ship.
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