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  1. That reinforces my earlier point that comparisons are futile unless you have a true apple-for-apple scenario. That's also where "ranking" the various buffets to sort that out is a must. For example...comparing the "free" Windjammer on a Royal Cruise ship to the Bellagio buffet is totally a farce. Thanks for pointing out your key comparison factors above.
  2. Good points. It took us 1 1/2 days to get to New Zealand back in December, and a full sea day on the return.
  3. Having done numerous buffets in Vegas and on Royal ships... The easiest way to compare...will be subjective based on personal tastes and food selection. Overall ----- Royal (Windjammer) Buffet (scale of 1 to 10) = 5 - 6, depending on the specific ship Vegas Buffets (same scale) = 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 Put simply...without a specific buffet (like the Bellagio Buffet - 7, or Paris Buffet - 6, Encore Buffet - 9), comparisons are pretty much meaningless and most subjective.
  4. Marketing/repackaging. Likely the result of many weeks of marketing meetings about how to create something "new" and then increase revenue.
  5. You give them the names on boarding day - also when you get 6 wristbands.
  6. Yup. Saving our "collection" of them here too...will be assembling a nice framed set of them with some cruise pix as a memento display.
  7. That's another good point. The regular prices on our flight were more than the 10 day cruise for 2 people. Thankfully...based on FF program benefits...we got the cost way down on air travel. Retail was $3600 for 2 seats - no way would we have paid that otherwise.
  8. Agree with you philosophically...but in the real world...a large percentage of people simply "cannot handle" flights of 15+ hours just to get to a destination. There are medical, practical, and psychological reasons why it doesn't work for them. It also adds 2-4 round trip days to their trip, which some folks won't sacrifice. Please note that we just had a group of 6 do a Dec 2018 vacation to Sydney, Australia...followed by a 10-day cruise on Ovation of the Seas to New Zealand. A spectacular trip. The 19 hours on flights challenged everyone, even the experienced travelers. When asked...4 of the 6 said they were "very glad" they made this 2 week+ vacation experience, but felt they "probably couldn't ever do it again". I could, but it seems to be the exception to the general traveling public.
  9. We enjoyed our Western Mediterranean ported out of Barcelona aboard Allure of the Seas. Our stops were among the longest ever in each destination port, which coupled with private tours allowed us comfortable, relaxing, memorable, and non-rushed views of Florence, Pisa, Rome, Capri Island & Pompeii (from Naples), as well as Marseilles, France and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. One example of this was arriving in Civitavecchia Italy, being met by our private tour driver and his Mercedes Sprinter van. Less than an hour later we were in Rome - with a wonderful full day of seeing all the sights on our extensive agenda. Since the ship didn't leave port until about 10pm - we had about 12 hours in Rome to see everything without rushing. Outstanding experience we can highly recommend. Having been to Venice and other Eastern Mediterranean port destinations...we found them to be dirtier, people less friendly, and the sights mixed overall. Your own personal preferences should drive your choice.
  10. Congrats! We have some offers as well...but specifically chose a pair of neighboring Junior Suites in the first place for 5 family cruisers. The bidding is somewhat tempting...but the unknown of approval, cabin type, cabin location offsets our interest in an upgrade for the most part.
  11. What seems clear is that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to: Ship amenities Port preferences Dining preferences Size of ship preferences Cabin type preferences Perhaps that's why there is such a wide range of ships in the fleet that offer a variety of that list of choices. If someone is looking for more upscale dining experiences...likely Celebrity or another cruise line would be an option. Otherwise...most of the other "personal preferences" can be satisfied in the existing fleet that RCI offers.
  12. Good to know. We'll be on Navigator soon, and looking forward to the amenities you mentioned.
  13. No one's taking "credit" for anything...just noting one of several hints by multiple people in multiple threads on the name. DUH.
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