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    Cruising, traveling, snorkeling
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  1. Thanks! Do you have app recommendations? I typically book independent excursions as they usually are a much better experience and value. I’m not sure if it’s because these ports have so many more options and having zero experience in Europe in general but I feel like I’m going to need this full year + to get my plan together!
  2. I would love to do that same excursion you mentioned for Almafi coast, Positano, Sorrento and Pompeii, it sounds amazing and exactly what I’d love to do if I can get over the excursion price sticker shock for four of us (or win the lottery!) 🙂
  3. Thanks! That’s where I’m struggling the most, is trying to get an idea of what’s all possible and realistic to see in a day.
  4. This is a great resource! Thank you for sharing 🙂
  5. Looking for feedback, suggestions and recommendations for the following ports. Our cruise isn’t until July 2021 but figured early planning and daydreaming is one of the best distractions and boredom busters that I know. 🙂 Will be sailing with DH, DS 17, and DD 15. Would like to have ideas on what ports are best for just walking off and DIYing it and which ones we should have planned excursions at. We’ve never been to any of the places we are visiting and it’s a little overwhelming with so many ports and everything sounding like it shouldn’t be missed. Thanks!
  6. Day 8 - Heading home It’s usually bittersweet and a bit sad the morning leaving the ship. In this case, catching up on bits and pieces of the news, I was really looking forward to being back home. We had an earlier departure from Orlando at 11am, and chose to do the self assist departure. From the balcony could see that people were leaving at least 30 minutes before the official announcement was made at 7am. We made our way off the ship, through customs and were in the pick up area within 15 minutes! Our Cortrans shuttle was there and waiting with several people already on. We only had to wait a few more minutes for the other two to join us and we were on the road at 745am for Orlando. Traffic was a non issue and the rest of the process in getting through the airport was easier than we thought it would be considering so many people were changing plans and Orlando Airport on Sundays in my experience, being a busy place! A few hours later back to the comfort of home. Conclusion—my opinions on hits and misses. We most often sail Carnival so my list is based in comparison to those experiences. Onboarding and departure—major RCL kudos! Never, ever have had an easier experience even with FTTF. I feel now like FTTF is a waste of $ knowing much easier processes are out there especially on ships with double the capacity! Get with it Carnival 🙂 Ship Amenities/Entertainment- RCL comes out on top. The entertainment is amazing and there is so much to do, almost too much. Might have felt more so due to being 1st timers on an Oasis class ship. Private Island - Coco Cay is the best private island I’ve experienced! I would hands down do an RCL cruise that has multiple stops here! Overall ship experience - this is closer to a tie than I thought it would be! There is absolutely nothing else like an Oasis class ship, it is mind blowing. I loved the different neighborhoods and until weather changes happened, it’s almost hard to imagine that you are on a ship. We often referred to Royal Promenade as the mall 😂. I liked that the split pool areas spread people out but did miss having one central pool area where all the fun was. Also missed the dive-in movies. Just wasn’t the same sitting in the not so comfortable aqua theater versus a lounge chair on the pool deck. Cabins - this one goes to CCL and only because the 4th bed pulls from the ceiling creating more usable space. The actual room sizes are almost identical but 4 passenger rooms on Harmony all place the bed at the front of the room. That plus the loss of space with the trundle out made it feel SO much smaller! I liked the bathroom on Harmony better, especially the shower door versus curtain. I too liked that Harmony had several places for charging devices. So maybe it’s more of a tie after all. Most likely I think 2 rooms will be a much better option for us going forward. Food - CCL. The food on RCL was fine, and overall have no complaints. Only things that I think are better on CCL is Guy’s Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and the deli. We enjoyed Park Cafe but the hours were limited compared to deli on Carnival. In all, I am so grateful and thankful that we had this opportunity. So much in the world has changed in the last 11 days and had we been scheduled the week after it wouldn’t have most likely happened. Testing the RCL waters was great and so was our experience! They will now always be a contender for our future annual cruise options. Safe and happy sailings to you all! 🛳 🚢
  7. More people were watching than waiting! I don’t think many figured out that this area of the ship was not as windy as the other outside deck area on 15. There were no lines for any activities back there.
  8. Day 7 - Sea Day! The captains day 6 evening announcements about a less than smooth ride back to FL was no joke. I’m fine with a gentle rock to sleep but this was a first in waking up due to the movement! By the time we finally got up and out to get breakfast, new accessory bags were available all over the ship. The ship changed the clocks ahead at 2am Saturday, which also really seemed to throw a lot of people off. We attempted to have breakfast at the Windjammer but the lines getting in were massive—the worst I saw all week so that plan was scratched and attempted the near by Mini Bites. Not the best plan as the wind caused the food to go cold before you could enjoy it. Speaking of Mini Bites, was the concept changed? We never saw during the week any mini bite options, only breakfast and then burgers, hot dogs and nachos. With our room location, we primarily used the aft elevators. Returning down to 6 from deck 15, could see quite the lines below on 5. Apparently the internet service was down ship wide. Not the best of timing with I’m sure so many users trying to do their online check in for flights home. Deck 6 was busy as well with really long lines for checking out pictures and placing final orders. The extreme wind and rocky seas forced the closure of deck 16 and the waterslides, eliminating poolside fun for us. Debated about starting the never fun chore of packing but decided to postpone that plan in favor of indoor fun at trivia. After, we headed up for a late lunch at the Windjammer, it was seafood day and DS was in heaven with crawfish, shrimp, mussels and whatever else they had. We sat out facing the basketball court which worked out great to watch the basketball knockout challenge. It was all ages and the younger kids were trying so hard, it was really fun to watch, especially as one started hitting the baskets and won! I noticed that there were still people playing mini golf and all the back of the ship options were still up and running. It was a surprise that it was FAR less windy back here, so enjoyed a lot of the afternoon watching the flowrider surfers, sitting in the sun and finally convincing my mom to try both the Ultimate Abyss and the zipline. I really wish I could have strapped the faux-pro on to see her face down the slide 😂! Heights when suspended are not my thing...I’ve struggled big time on ropes courses before and almost backed out last second of the zipline. It’s short but still unnerving until finally pushing off. Perfect length for someone like me! Early evening was uneventful in finally tackling packing and getting ready for departure the next day. Took a break for dinner and to catch the Celebration Parade, was a fun way to cap off a great vacation.
  9. Thank you! I feel horrible for the state of the travel industry and everyone impacted. It’s been a challenging week and it’s been a good distraction to write this review.
  10. Thank you! Snorkeling is the best, I wish I had the opportunity to go more often!
  11. Day 6 - Cozumel Cozumel is one of our favorite and most visited ports. There are so many great beach clubs and options on how to spend the day. It was going to be a BUSY day, I believe the captain shared that 8 other ships were scheduled and about 28,000 passengers would be arriving. We arrived around 730am and started getting ready to head out for our day’s destination, our favorite of the beach clubs, Paradise Beach. The forecast was iffy with thunderstorms forecasted, we all had our fingers crossed that the day wouldn’t be a washout. This was our first time at the pier RCL uses and outside of different restaurants, very similar with lots of shopping available. I think Puerta Maya has a bit better layout and better area for the taxi stand. Off we went! Since it was relatively early there was hardly anyone at Paradise Beach. We opted for the all-inclusive option and added the water package which included snorkeling gear, paddleboards/kayaks and the inflatable park, all which was reserved in advance. Our waiter for the day was Luis who was awesome and very attentive! He brought us to the beach area where w pretty much had our pick of where we wanted to be. Paradise Beach is gorgeous—beautiful landscaping, huge pool, large beach, great food/drinks and typically lots to do in the water. I say typically, because this time was quite different ☹️. The rough and wavy waters equalled A LOT of seaweed washed on the beach and the water was not the normal turquoise and instead was very murky with no visibility. They were working all day trying their hardest to rake, remove and clear but it didn’t seem to make any difference. Due to the water, they were not providing snorkeling gear and it was too rough for kayak or paddleboards. Honestly, I think they should have advised this at arrival and refunded the water package price. Instead of enjoying the beach, most of our time was spent around the pool. The forecast so far wasn’t as predicted and was bright and sunny! It worked out ok for us making the most out of the all-inclusive package as we had more time to eat and drink since we weren’t actively playing in the water. We got a little antsy for something fun to do and decided to go parasailing. This was a first for all of us! It was SO much fun and being away from the beach, the view of the waters was the colors we hoped to be enjoying. As we sailed above, I was a bit envious of the beach clubs further down as it didn’t look like they were experiencing the same seaweed problems. As the afternoon went on we made our way back to port earlier than what we would have, had the beach conditions cooperated. This turned out to be a great idea because not long after we returned to the ship, the clouds that rolled in opened up. Cozumel is a great place to people watch everyone returning to the ships, all were delayed in leaving due to rough waters for the excursions that went via ferry to mainland Mexico. Our ship alone had hundreds of late arrivals back. As we made our way out to sea, the captain shared it was not going to be smooth sailing. It was very windy and rocky! Our evening was spent enjoying dinner, trivia and other indoor events around the ship.
  12. Day 5 - Roatan Continued Needless to say, the random vendor boat excursion was a success, I had a great time and I‘m really glad I went. After returning to the resort, I walked down to the cliff at the end of the beach. The entire beach area was quite busy and there were the occasional vendors walking trying to sell bracelets and massages. There was also quite a bit of security and police officers walking up and down the beach as well. One vendor near the cliff area was selling fish food which was bringing in a lot of fish and the little kids nearby were loving it. The beaches were beautiful and it was a gorgeous day! Made my way back to the resort, taking a break to relax and just enjoy it all. Decided to head again to the water to try snorkeling from shore, which wasn’t bad at all, just not as great as what I had seen earlier in the day. Even though I was starting to look like a prune, I could have swam all day. Unfortunately for us, it was time to start getting our things together, change and head back to the ship. Even though I didn’t use the pool, Infinity Bay was a great resort with a great west bay location and would highly recommend the day passes. I’d actually love returning to stay. Food and beverages were decent priced and service was great as well. We were back to the port around 130pm so plenty of time to look around. It was crowded and really hot, so we didn’t spend as much time as I thought we would. The NCL ship that was in port was using a tender, so that really added to the congestion with a long line for those waiting. Back to the ship we went. We people watched from our balcony for quite some time before getting ready to go play trivia in On-Air. It was 90s night so I was hoping to do ok, and ended up winning and the proud owner of a new keychain 😂. Not quite the same as a ship on a stick but something is better than nothing. It was chocolate night in the Windjammer which completely satisfied my sweet tooth and was fun looking at the different creations! Even though it wasn’t even 10pm, I was wiped out! It would be another early but not quite as early morning arrival scheduled for Cozumel the next day that we were looking forward to.
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