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chadcf

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  1. I was excited to see this as an offering on our royal caribbean cruise next august, but looking at it I see they claim it's an 8 hour trip. The schedule shows an 8am departure and 4am return time (the boat doesn't leave until 6pm). From what I have read, the trip is about 5 hours by bus plus 1.5 hours by ferry, which puts us at 6.5 hours of travel out of an 8 hour trip. Add in some misc delays and transfers and it's likely less than an hour at the site. For anyone who has been there, is that worth it? It seems like a place I'd want to spend more time at so I'm contemplating doing one of the ruins trips at Costa Maya instead and perhaps saving Chichen Itza for a future non cruise trip...
  2. Awesome, I'll have to keep an eye out. What section in the cruise planner is it under? I'm guessing Internet & More? I'm so far out everything just says it's unavailable except excursions at ports.
  3. Does anyone know how far in advance they start selling this? My cruise is a good 18 months out and lots of things aren't available in the cruise planner, but I'm curious when I should start watching out for the key to be purchasable.
  4. I don't know if this is the right board to ask this but I don't see other "general discussion" kinda boards... I'm looking to book a cruise in late august 2020. I've got a narrow window because I want to go after my son turns 21 and before my daughter starts school. This leaves our departure window to be roughly August 26 - August 30. We're looking to do a caribbean which puts us with 3 good options that I can find and we're looking for 2 balcony cabins. MSC Seaside I actually already booked this one but it's completely refundable. The big pros are what I would consider the best itinerary and lowest price. The ship also looks beautiful. By the time of our trip the cruise will stop at their private island and unlike every other line will stay docked at the private island until 11pm. I feel like this would be awesome, to not be rushed to get back for dinner and get to enjoy the sunset and stars on the island. The other ports also look great (Ocho Rios, Georgetown and Cozumel). Price is amazing at $4200 for 2 balcony cabins. Downsides, the reviews are real questionable. Every cruise I've been on have bad reviews but seaside seems like the ratio of negative to positive is a lot worse. I'm slightly concerned about some of the amenities we might miss though from our past RCL cruises (no real video games in the "arcade", no rock walls, no ice skating, etc etc). Little worried it will be boring, and also it seems like less food options than other cruises (my kids love johnny rockets on RCL, on MSC it looks like you basically have the buffet or dining room and that's it). Carnival Vista I like this option because of the havana cabins. While not quite a balcony, having a private pool area would be amazing and I like the lounge chairs on the patio. This is a reasonably good value too, with the havana cabins working out to around $5400 for 2 cabins. The ship looks pretty nice too, and a more similar atmosphere to our past cruises. The itinerary is just a bit meh (Cozumenl, Belize City and Roatan). But with that private havana pool area sea days might be a lot more pleasant. One concern is the Galveston departure. This is not actually bad since we have some family in Houston we could visit but I heard from someone else that cruises departing from Galveston tend to be 90% Texans and have a bit of a Texas vibe that may or may not be great depending on your perspective... Also from the reading I've done it sounds like the port at Galveston is a hot mess compared to the florida ports. There's also the option of doing the Carnival Horizon out of Miami but it's a 6 day instead of a 7 day and instead goes to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Harmony of the Seas We've already done Harmony and like the boat so we pretty much know what to expect on this one. The itinerary looks pretty good (Perfect Day at Cococay, Cozumen, Roatan, Costa Maya). All things considered we'd probably do this one again but it's by far the most expensive at $6700 for two balcony cabins. Ouch! But it might be worth the splurge.
  5. I've been on 4 cruises to date, all of which had a bunch of negative reviews. I loved all 4, even the el cheapo carnival cruise on an old boat going from LA down to baja. Maybe I'm just easy to please, but I don't let negative reviews get to me. I've booked an MSC cruise on seaside for next summer because there are really only 3 boats that are an option for us and MSC looks like the best value for the itinerary (Harmony of the seas would be a whopping $2500 more for 2 balcony cabins). I'm also really excited about stopping at their new private island with a late 11pm departure which is something I don't think any other cruise line does (at least all the ones I've done depart their private island by 5 or 6 pm and you never get to spend an evening there). Most of the complaints don't concern me. I've seen complaints about too many rude foreigners on board. Well every cruise I've been on has been full of rude people and I don't personally care what nationality they are. Staff who aren't always in your face happy? That sounds better, I get slightly freaked out by the Disney style of service where it's just so over the top trying to make everything "magical". I've seen show complaints but then descriptions and reviews of the shows sound great to me and I like that they are shorter and offered every night rather than most cruise lines doing 2 big 1+ hour shows a few nights of the cruise. The only things that slightly concern me are: 1. Lack of comedy shows. Improv is ok but I always enjoy stand up on boats. 2. Lack of casual dining options. My kids really liked having johnny rockets and the like on RCL ships, looks like on seaside your options are basically buffet or dining room. 3. All the yacht club people on here talking about how non yacht club passengers are treated like dirt. I suspect it's just a bit of snootiness from people with large pockets and high standards and we'll be just fine but it does make me wonder if my bella balcony experience is really the modern equivalent of steerage... At the end of the day though I'm pretty undemanding and don't get worked up over things, and every cruise I've been on had bad parts which in the end aren't a big deal if you just accept it and enjoy your trip. And I look forward to trying something a bit different. When we were on Harmony last summer we saw the Seaside and I'd never heard of MSC before but though the ship was beautiful and different, so I can't wait to give it a try.
  6. I'm hoping so as well although the drink package is pretty limited, but it makes upgrading cheaper. I went ahead and booked for August 2020, given they have full refunds until 90 days out I figure if a better deal comes along later on I can either try to convince them to give it to me, or worst case cancel and rebook.
  7. Our last cruise we ended up with a terrible cabin, it had a connecting door to a room where some parents stuck their 16-18 year old kids while the parents stayed in their room, and the kids got drunk and loud every night in their cabin. I called security every night who came and yelled at them yet never once went to get the parents who were breaking the rules by having minors in a room without an adult nearby (and kids who were drinking underage). It was an exhausting cruise to say the least. That room was a central park view on deck 9 and I want no repeat... Obviously this time around I'm making sure we don't get a connecting room. I'm looking at an ocean view balcony this time and the other thing I remember is a lot of hallway traffic noise. I'm thinking about going full aft and getting a cabin at the very back of the boat. My thought is then no one will be walking by our room in the middle of the night and if we get the end of the boat we'll only have neighbors on one side. Is this a good strategy or is there a downside to being fully aft? I'm also thinking about going for deck 6 this time. My thinking here is that we're close to boardwalk and the promenade where my kids spent a good bit of time last cruise (close to food, drink machines and entertainment). The other option would be to go higher to be more in the middle of the stuff around the promenade and the pool deck but being on deck 9 last time was a lot of stairs or waiting on elevators and I feel like it's better to go all the way up or all the way down so at least you're close to something...
  8. Hmmm really? It seemed like a suspiciously good deal, right now they're showing $779 for a balcony stateroom sailing August 29 2020. Which seems really cheap because royal caribbean is like $1300 for an ocean view balcony around that time. And after the 10% off coupon that's down to around $709. $709 for a balcony seems really good, is it not? Last cruise I waited too late to book and paid a lot more than that...
  9. I haven't booked yet but I was planning to book with MSC for a carribean in August 2020 on the seaside, they've got it for half price at the moment plus another $200 off with the 10% off code.
  10. It seems like the MSC soda package is WAY more expensive than other cruise lines at $29 per night. I'm traveling with 4 kids and on a 7 night cruise that's a whopping $812 for soda! And I assume that doesn't even include gratuity. I'm contemplating spending the $90 on the "Fantastica" experience to get 12 drink tickets and then just paying for them after that, seems like it would have to be cheaper than $812. Am I missing something? It says it includes specialty coffees and "soft ice cream" (is that gelato? or just soft serve?), but I'm not sure that makes up for the price. It seems hard to imagine than a kid could consume $203 worth of drinks on a cruise unless they charge $10 a soda or something.
  11. I've done this many times. I've never once had anyone ask to see any papers, but I always take them just in case... Here's a royal carribean consent form though it says austrlia on it, I just cross that out and write in US: http://www.royalcaribbeaninternational.com.au/rcfilelibrary/consent_form_au.pdf I also get a temporary power of attorney granting me all parental rights so I can sign waivers and stuff just to be safe (though this may be of questionable legal value outside the US).
  12. FYI they tried to tell me this too because my status was wrong and my past cruises were missing, somehow it turned out I had two C&A numbers and they said if I change my name in the profile it would then prompt me for my C&A number again and I could put in the right one. That did not work. I eventually had to give them my password so they could try because they didn't believe I was doing it right, but it didn't work for them either. Eventually they told me they'd have to submit a ticket to their IT people to fix it. A month later I got an email saying it was fixed and indeed it was... The new website really seems like a hot mess. Half the time I click cruise planner it sends me to a log in page even though I'm logged in. And randomly trying to update my online checking I get an error message as well... Plus their android app just immediately crashes when you launch it. I hope their ship engineers are better than their tech people!
  13. Port Everglades is the only cruise port that uses it so I figured I'd get it ready to go, but I was reading that they don't require you to fill out customs forms anymore, instead the customs agent just asks you if you brought anything in etc. So I'm wondering, does the mobile passport actually save time getting off the boat? I was under the impression that the app was just a replacement for having to fill out the form so I'm wondering if there is any point now.
  14. Nope https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification Though if we can score a passport it's pretty moot.
  15. Yes we are flying, but she's under 18 so she doesn't need any ID to fly.
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