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  1. Hi. I'm going on a 14 night cruise in October on the Ventura. I've been on a 4 night cruise with P&O before so know the score on most things, but wondered if the menu in the main restaurants (Freedom and Club) change during a longer cruise? Not sure if I want to dine at one of the select restaurants, though it's always an option and I like to try new things, but if the menu is the same all 14 nights (apart from black tie nights) I may do for variety. I'll buffet a couple of nights anyway - not sure I can take a four course meal every evening!! Thanks..
  2. This is long, but I hope it is helpful. My sister and I were on the June 10 “Journeys” cruise on the Sunrise. We booked the cruise a year in advance, long before the announcement that the Triumph would be transformed into the Sunrise. However, the end results of ship refurbishments are pretty standard – more cabins, more revenue-producing space, less non-revenue-producing public space. We looked at the hype about the new features on the Sunrise with a fair amount of skepticism about how it would affect our cruise experience. In comparing deck plans, I concluded that about 40 new cabins were added in the forward section of deck 3, in the space that was formerly the stage level of the theater. The lounges at the back of deck 5 have been replaced by about 50 cabins. About 7 cabins were added on deck 11, in the area of the spa. There may be a few more new cabins tucked into various areas, but these are the major additions that I noticed. That’s a couple hundred more people. The former theater, now called a lounge, has been reduced from 3 levels to 2. We are active during the day and usually not terribly interested in the evening shows, so I can’t say for certain that you should go early to get a seat. But with more passengers and a smaller space, that would be my recommendation. One evening we headed to a comedy show in one of the other lounges (on deck 4 where the cigar bar had been), but we got there too late, meaning about 10 minutes before the showtime. There was no seating left, including in an overflow area in the hallway with bar stools and video screens. Everyone’s tolerance for inconvenience is different, but we don’t want to waste our precious cruise time staking out a seat for a show well before it starts. Keep in mind that the lounge space at the back of deck 5 has been eliminated, so there are fewer venues for evening activities. There is one big design change that we really didn’t like. While we were never on the Triumph, it had, based on deck plans in an old brochure, the same walkway, with ample seating, along the starboard side of deck 5 that we have enjoyed on the Conquest, Liberty, Freedom, Valor, and Splendor. This has been our favorite space to sit in the evenings to watch the activity, and usually live musicians were performing in the vicinity. Now, in order to go aft from the atrium on deck 5, you must walk through the casino. We hated that – the smell of smoke was noticeable, and I personally hate the sound of dinging slot machines. The remaining (reduced) amount of seating in that section of deck 5 is opposite the new bar where karaoke is done. I appreciate the enthusiasm and courage of those who do karaoke, but the talent level among passengers is . . . inconsistent. Karaoke should be done in an area where only those who want to listen can hear it! There is a new enclosed piano bar that could have been used for Karaoke. We didn’t use the new Serenity area, which is forward on parts of the two highest decks. There is no shade there. A few of the lounge beds are under a slatted cover, but that does not provide full shade. The ropes course and other sports-related activities on the upper decks seemed popular with the kids on our cruise. We found the décor attractive. I don’t know what the Triumph looked like, but we have seen our share of the colorful-to-the-point-of-garish Carnival décor. The Sunrise colors are more muted, with a lot of pleasing shades of blue and aquamarine. A small but important new feature in our cabin was an electrical outlet with room to charge 2 devices at a time, plus 2 USB ports in the headboard. A power strip for additional outlets may not be needed. We were pleased that on the two port days with afternoon arrivals, the dining room was open for breakfast and lunch. The Lido buffet was typically crowded on this cruise, so the dining room for lunch on a port day was a nice option. (Sea day brunch was as it has been on our other Carnival cruises. The dining room was not open for lunch on the port days with morning arrivals.) Embarkation was awful. We arrived at our assigned time between 1:00 and 1:30, and we stood in line outside for an hour and 40 minutes before entering the terminal building. It was raining that day in New York, but thankfully we were under a shelter. After entering the terminal building, the rest of the process moved fairly quickly. We don’t know what the reason for the delay was. During an onboard Q & A session with officers, they referenced an unusual amount of luggage from the 14-day cruise before ours and an unspecified “technical” issue. We will never know for sure. We sailed about 2 hours late. The absolute worst experience: Our first port was San Juan, arriving a little past the scheduled time of 3:00. Given all the usual issues upon arriving in port, debarkation started maybe about 3:45. We had no plans other than going to a particular store and just strolling around the old town. We headed towards the gangway forward on deck 0 after waiting a bit hoping for the crowds to thin out, but the backup on the stairway went to deck 4. After a few minutes with the line not moving, we gave up and went back to our balcony. The store we wanted to visit would be closing by 6:00, and by 7:00 it would be getting dark. Thankfully, we have been to San Juan multiple times, or the disappointment would have been worse. We were in port until 10:00 or 11:00, but the Fun Times actually recommended not being out in San Juan after dark. However you assess the risk for yourself, there is clearly a disconnect between Carnival’s advice to avoid being out after dark when a good deal of the port time is after dark. The next day, there was a mix-up with our pre-purchased excursion in Tortola. Our 11:00 choice had been combined with the same excursion at 9:00, and despite the staff’s insistence that a notice had been delivered to our cabin, we never got it – and we read everything in the cabin. We only found out when we met at the location stated on our 11:00 tickets. Our accounts were credited for the cost of the excursion, and we were offered an opportunity to go on the only excursion that hadn’t yet departed. But we weren’t interested in that and simply walked around the port area for a while and then returned to the ship. As with the San Juan fiasco, we have been to Tortola before, or the disappointment would have been worse. Stuff happens, and at times like this, we look at each other and say, “We are not at work.” 😄 Our other port stops, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk, were uneventful – other than witnessing a couple latecomers being left behind in St. Thomas. 😲 Sadly, evidence of the 2017 hurricane damage in St. Martin and St. Thomas is still very evident. The guides on our excursions expressed appreciation for visiting their islands that depend so much on tourism. Now about the new-and-not-improved disembarkation procedure. We are used to disembarkation groups being assigned based on transportation plans, with corresponding numbered tags delivered to our cabin. Instead, the printed information described timed deck-by-deck debarkation for those taking their luggage off themselves, and then “early” and “late” debarkation for those who prefer to leave their luggage out the night before for collection. For those choosing to leave luggage out the night before, we were to pick up a numbered disembarkation group tag ourselves at a location on deck 5 anytime between 9:00 and 3:00 on the last day. By the time we did that around 10:00, all but the last “early” tag numbers were gone. I was concerned, as I had purchased a Carnival transfer to La Guardia, and the meeting time printed on the ticket was earlier than the “early disembarkation” time. I asked at the front desk about the discrepancy and was rather dismissively told not to worry, the bus wouldn’t leave until people were off the ship and on the bus. Later, an early disembarkation number was delivered to my cabin with a letter stating I was getting it because I purchased the transfer. OK, that was good. But if I had planned on getting a cab to the airport, I might have been stuck with a later time, causing more stress about getting to the airport in time. I don’t know how long this experiment on pick-your-own time will last, but it seems problematic in that pretty much everyone wants to be off early, regardless of their transportation plans, so those earlier tags were long gone if you didn’t grab yours early in the morning. Those with luggage disembarked first – a long process presumably due to the heavy elevator use. While most of my comments seem negative, that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time. An annual cruise is a tradition for my sister and me, and we adjust to circumstances fairly well. We had our balcony for quiet space, and if eating in the Lido, we strategized in order to avoid the worst crowds. But there is an effect with the double whammy of passenger capacity being increased while public space is reduced. This was a very crowded cruise, made a little more so by our choice of cruising when some schools are out for the summer. Sometimes we were in a mood to cut Carnival some slack, given that this was like a new ship, and they might have been still figuring some stuff out, especially in the areas of getting people on and off the ship. But then again, Carnival is not exactly an upstart cruise line unfamiliar with managing big ships. We would recommend this ship only if you are prepared for and not particularly bothered crowds and lines. Or, of course, if you are interested in the new features of the Sunrise.
  3. Starting this off again on our new Board. Walt , could you please lock the thread on the old board. Many thanks. David. Who is cruising ? A list for Australian and NZers who are cruising, both locally and overseas on any Cruise Line. and for overseas guests cruising down here to visit and cruise with us.. *This colour denotes International Guests and Destinations. This list is not intended to replace Roll Calls or Signatures, it is merely a summary of who has a cruise coming up. Your name will only be added , should you wish it to be, by you posting personally . You can join the list by using the Post Reply button and giving us the Departure Date ,the Ship and the Destination. Who is cruising in March 2011? 29 Mar davenmarcia Pacific Jewel Crystal Reflections 30 Mar flatron Pacific Pearl NZ 30 Mar Skyrules 30 Mar Kruzein 30 Mar silky*** Who is cruising in April 2011? 01 April terrydavidphoto MSC Magnifica Mediteterranean 04 April suey Rhapsody of the Seas South Pacific 08 April purpledragon Dawn Princess Hawaii 35day 08 April Babsjo 08 April Stevie39 09 April thied Pacific Dawn South Pacific , Fiji 09 April ambo25 09 April Palocruiser 14 April Debsta Sun Princess Brisbane to Sydney (2 Nts end of Cherry Blossom ) 14 April macca46 14 April luvToCruise13 14 April Gold Coast Cruisers 14 April Billy and Charlie's Mum 16 April bussletoncruisersSun PrincessNorthern Explorer Sydney to Perth 17 April tassie cruiser Pacific Pearl South Pacific 17 April barnsey1802 17 April Debsta1802 20 April lorry like a truck Pacific Jewel 21 April Sven51 Pacific Dawn Easter Cruise 24 April dougo in oz Pacific Pearl 3 B2B cruises 29 April luvToCruise13 Pacific Jewel Going Nowhere 30 April Rasa Sayang Pacific Dawn Brisbane return Noumea/Lifou/Vila Who is cruising in May 2011? 02 May didanz Pacific Pearl Bounty Discovery ex Auckland 02 May bizzygurl 02 May dougo in oz (3 B2B cruises ) 03 May killigrew Sun Princess India and South Africa 03 May windsor26 06 May Billy and Charlies Mum Diamond Princess Asia/Alaska/Canada 07 May evansy78 Pacific Dawn South Pacific 08 May Agelmar Pacific Sun Week Fantasique ex Brisbane Return. 10 May ausielil Sea Princess San Francisco/Alaska 12 May dougo in oz Pacific PearlFood and Wine Cruise ex Auckland (3 B2B cruises) 13 May johndon Dawn Princess South Pacific 13 May mezza 13 May Zanny 14 May macca46 Pacific Dawn Pacific Islands 15 May stki Sapphire Princess Alaska 15 May Kruzein 15 May Youngjude Pacific Pearl Auckland Norfolk Queensland 21 May shaddow101 Pacific Jewel South Pacific 21 May robinph 30 May kiwipete Pacific Pearl Pacific Discovery Who is cruising in June 2011? 03 June musicorn Norwegian Pearl Alaska 18 June Motynl Sun Princess Treasures of Asia, from Fremantle 18 June Annabelle100l Pacific Dawn Noumea,Lifou,Vila. 27 June luvToCruise13 Pacific Pearl Auckland to Sydney 29 June stevedonna Sun Princess SE Asia Who is cruising in July 2011? 01 July Kiwi cruiser Pacific Pearl South Pacific 28 night 25 July Lizard© Pacific Jewel Crystal Reflections 25 July NS. Who is cruising in August 2011? 04 Aug Palocruiser Crown PrincessBritish Isles 06 Aug terrydavidphoto Pacific Dawn Queensland Coast 06 Aug bundygirl 19 Aug am1984 Pacific Pearl Tropical Dreams 10 night 21 Aug AuzzieCruiser Carnival Valor Western Caribbean 28 Aug mezza MSC OrchestraB2B Baltic/ Norwegian Fiords then Western Med. 30 Aug oysterfiend Pacific Sun Indonesia 31 Aug Palocruiser Emerald PrincessB2BScandanavia/Russia..Copenhagen to Ft Lauderdale 29 nights Who is cruising in September 2011? 07 Sep paul929207Dawn Princess Circumnavigation of Australia 07 Sep TAN066 07 Sep kiwipete 13 Sep nenasmum Carnival Spirit Alaska Glacier Bay 14 Sep Jodez Pacific Sun Flowers of Asia 14 Sep killigrew 14 Sep cookie at home 17 Sep stki Pride of America Hawaii 24 Sep nenasmum Oasis of the Sea Caribbean 24 Sep bussletoncruisers Norwegian Star Coastal Pacific.Vancover to LA. B2B with Panama Cruise 1 Oct 23 Sep Grove family Pacific Dawn South Pacific 27 Sep Mothballs Radiance of the Seas Hawaii to Sydney Who is cruising in October 2011? 01 Oct nenasmum Disney Magic Caribbean 01 Oct Billy and Charlies MumPacific Dawn Brisbane to Christchurch NZ 01 Oct bussletoncruisers Norwegian Star Panama Canal . LA to Tampa. 02 Oct cotton93 Freedom of the Seas Western Caribbean 05 Oct Johhno Dawn Princess South Pacific 05 Oct paul929207 05 Oct Dizziedi Rhapsody of the Seas NZ B2B World Rugby Cup Cruise 09 Oct nenasmum Disney Dream Bahamas 13 Oct Seadreams27 Pacific Jewel 20 Oct luvToCruise13 Pacific Pearl South Pacific 20 Oct leggyliz 30 Oct Sailaway John Sea Princess NZ Who is cruising in November 2011? 15 Nov pippin10 Dawn Princess NZ 18 Nov stki Radiance of the Seas 2 day Cruise to Nowhere 18 Nov Molly Doble 18 Nov mezza 18 Nov rugbypopsie 18 Nov yamcrzrand friends Radiance of the Seas 18 Nov Raison 19 Nov lear Pacific Dawn NZ 19 Nov horrie33 20 Nov Billy and Charlies Mum Radiance of the Seas NZ 25 Nov callmewhatever Sea Princess NZ 27 Nov lorry like a truck Rhapsody of the Seas 27 Nov Debsta Diamond PrincessSingapore to Sydney 27 Nov silverwillow 27 Nov resordanis 30 Nov CarmicCelebrity CenturySydney to Auckland Who is cruising in December 2011? 03 Dec Topaz-M Oasis of The Seas Eastern Caribbean 11 Dec Topaz-M Celebrity Solstice Western Caribbean 17 Dec Sven51 Pacific Dawn Christmas Cruise 18 Dec musicorn Radiance of the SeasNZ Christmas / NYE 18 Dec traveller4fun Pacific JewelNZ Christmas Cruise with 20 family & friends 27 Dec simmo67 Rhapsody of the Seas South Pacific , NYE 28 Dec Flipper133 Sun PrincessNZ ex Brisbane return , NYE 29 Dec barnsey1802 Diamond Princess Auckland to Sydney , NYE. 29 Dec tassie cruiser Who is cruising in January 2012? 15 Jan yamcrzr Radiance of the Seas NZ 22 Jan Jamar 72 Rhapsody of the Seas South Pacific and Fiji 23 Jan luvToCruise13 Diamond Princess Auckland to Sydney Who is cruising in February 2012? 12 Feb bundygirl Radiance of the Seas Tasmania 12 Feb coastidee 12 Feb wildweston 16 Feb Itachi Pacific Pearl Fiji Adventure 19 Feb The Fox Radiance of the Seas Sydney to Fremantle. 19 Feb robinph Radiance of the Seas Sydney to Perth/B2B Perth to Sydney 34 days 21 May shaddow101 Pacific Jewel South Pacific Who is cruising in March 2012? 06 March coastidee Radiance of the Seas Fremantle to Sydney 06 March robinph 2nd half of B2B Who is cruising inApril 2012? 05 April Dizziedi Radiance of the Seas Honolulu 05 April terrydavidphoto Radiance of the Seas Sydney, NZ, French Polynesia, Tahiti & Hawaii 15 April Billy and Charlies Mum Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean 28 April Billy and Charlies Mum Star Princess San Francisco to Hawaii Who is cruising in May 2012? 01 May thied Pacific Dawn South Pacific 01 May ambo25 16 May killigrew Sun Princess World Cruise 16 May stevedonna updated to post no 308 on old thread and post No 1 over here.:)
  4. TL/DR - we enjoyed the ship, itinerary, crew and fellow passengers. No major complaints, mostly nit-picking. It was a good trip. Ship Our fourth ship (Allure, Freedom, Harmony) This ship felt a bit narrow and cramped, though I think we’re spoiled after being on Allure and Harmony. The promenade feels like it has more space dedicated to stores and less to walk or enjoy. The outside pool area and running track also felt crowded. While at sea the weather was 50’s & 60's and rainy, so we spent little time outside, which just made the inside seem all the more enclosed. It does have two adult attractions – Northstar and Ripcord. Northstar was nice – about 8 or 9 minutes up with a pleasant view and an attendant making wisecracks. When we were at Dawes Glacier they charged for the ride. Northstar was not working for the first 2 ½ days of the cruise. Ripcord was like a popular ride at a theme park – an hour waiting in-line for a minute long ride. I was disappointed, because it needs a bit of skill, which means more than one trip, and there’s not enough availability. It was fully booked as the cruise began. It’s similar to FlowRider in that a passenger mastering the basics will be allowed more time, while someone wiping out early is just moved out. There was a large multipurpose indoor court / area where there were bumper cars, skating, and ball games, with volleyball and a dodge ball contest. This area was always in use and quite popular. We felt the ship moved / rocked more than Oasis class. Others probably complained, as the captain made an announcement regarding currents and ship stabilizers toward the end of the cruise. We overheard someone say “top heavy”. Certainly the sea did not appear choppy enough to cause the excessive and never ending movement, but it was substantially more than we have experienced on other trips. The gym was well equipped (for our needs). No vitality cafe, which we missed. Royal Theater was large and the seats comfortable. We saw two headliner shows that we really enjoyed, more so than any other cruise so far. There were also two live bands, one was the worst we’ve heard on any cruise. I guess it averages out. Two70 is a nice area with great views, we caught part of the show, which was entertaining. That food option is fine, (assembly salads and sandwiches) but could be so much more with some better training and logistics. Both the theater and the food are nice options not available on the Oasis class. No smell of smoking anywhere, and this was the first time we've been able to walk through a casino. Not sure where the smoking area was, we only saw smokers twice, both times a couple of jerks secretly smoking in public areas. I think we would have found this ship more enjoyable if we hadn’t cruised first on Allure and Harmony. Still, More nits than real complaints. Itinerary We didn’t care for a sea / land combination, so the Seattle round trip appealed to us. We were nonetheless left with a feeling of too many sea days (4) and not enough port visits (3). The ports we did visit were very good, with a nice variety of both RCI and locally based excursions, plenty of time to visit. We saw lots of marine life, including two Orca pods that were kind enough to spend over an hour with us and put on quite a display. It’s still a good option for people looking for a simple Alaska visit and not interested in ship / land combinations. Crew Crew was just as good as ever - hard working, trying to please. Fellow passengers Different from Caribbean cruises. Not as much drinking, partying or at the pool. Also not as many families with young children. Not as much yelling. On formal nights there seemed to be fewer passengers with formal dress. Overall, dress was not as relaxed as we’ve seen with Caribbean itineraries. We were in a grand suite (second time), breakfast and dinner in CK, lunch in WJ. No complaints about the food. Lots of variety. Some people just don't know basic hygiene and etiquette in a buffet, but this was definitely less of an issue than we've seen in the Caribbean cruises. CK staff was top notch, Nadia in the lounge was perfect. The lounge was fine, with a nice view. Sometimes crowded and often noisy but always a place to sit and never unpleasant. There were 5 Pinnacles, we met them and had some pleasant conversations. Surprising, it turns out they are real people and just like everyone else. (based on comments here I expected horns, tails and pitchforks) Seattle port terminal is a zoo, makes us appreciate Port Everglades all the more. Both priority check-in and departure is quite limited – almost non-existent. We queued for 40 minutes to check in, with many RCI people around but none particularly helpful. For disembarkation we used Seattle Port Valet, which was very helpful. There was an immigration / customs check, but they didn’t really do much except smile and glance at the passports. The terminal is very small and a full ship overwhelms it. In and out early is best, and better to allow plenty of time for the crowds. I went down for coffee at 6 and saw lots of passengers queued for early self-departure. Good binoculars and a rain jacket are a must for this cruise.
  5. Good evening! We are booked on the Carnival Freedom in August. We have YTD and I was wondering if any recent Freedom cruisers can tell me which dining room has the YTD? Thanks so much for your help. Also, this is the first 7 day cruise we've done in 3 years (we've been doing the 5 days on the Valor). So, can any recent Freedom cruisers confirm they DO serve lobster and escargot on 7 day cruises? I was disappointed to find out they don't serve lobster on 5 days anymore, plus, on our 5 day in April, the Carnival fleet was not serving escargot due to a shortage of escargot. Just wondering if they are serving now. Thanks so much. As always, a cruise, even without lobster and escargot, is better than NOT being a cruise, lol.
  6. Adventure OTS - Clo O'Connor July 6 for 2 months. Then who? Allure OTS - Jimmy Rhodes March 11 for 4 months, then Mitch Merucciis scheduled to return August 12 for 2 months. Anthem OTS - Dennis Charles May 12 until September 6, then Chris Brown starts September 6 for 4 months. Brilliance OTS - Mike Szwajkowski July 3 (for 2 or 4 months?) Empress OTS - WHO is the current CD? Enchantment OTS - Bobby Broughton April 6 until early-September. Then who? Explorer OTS - Topi Ylönen returns June 8 until July 27. Then who? (Graham Seymour may return as regular CD again for the rest of 2018, or Dennis Charles is also rumored to be joining Explorer). Freedom OTS - Drew Devine March 17 until July 28, then Topi Ylönen returns July 28 until September 29, followed by Drew September 29 for 4 months. Grandeur OTS - Bob Leininger June 2 until October 6. Bobreturns December 1 for another 4 month contract. (Mitch Merucci is unsure if he is joining GR in October as planned. It may be Mike Szwajkowski instead.) Harmony OTS - Dru Pavlov April 21 until early-September (need handover date) then Abe Hughes returns early-September for 4 months. Independence OTS - Joff EatonMay 28 until September 22, then Tim Connor returns September 22. Jewel OTS - Simona Ferraiuolo June 16 until August 19, then Andrea Olivieri returns (for 4 months?) Liberty OTS - Jeff Arpin May 27 until July 22, then Marc Walker starts July 22 for 4 months. Majesty OTS - Patricio Honores late-June (for 2 months). Mariner OTS - Ricky Matthewsuntil July 9, then Carlos Torres joins July 9 for 2 months, then Ricky returns in September for 4 months. Navigator OTS - Rob McNally May 6 until late-August, then Cuddy Cudworth returns in late-August. (need handover date) Oasis OTS - Dan Whitney early May for 4 months. Then who? Ovation OTS - Mike Hunnerup March 23 (until late-July? then who?) Joff Eaton returns November 28 for the Australian season. Quantum OTS - Is Fang Lixin is the current CD? Paul Rutter returns in the Fall (Sept/Oct) for a few months. Radiance OTS - Cuddy CudworthJune 15 for 2 months followed by John Blairin August until January. (need handover date) Rhapsody OTS - Tim Connor June 23 for 2 months, then Elvis Pinto returns mid-August for 4 months. (need handover date) Serenade OTS - Jamie Fentiman May 13 for 4 months. Then Who? Symphony OTS - Michele Scarpato March 11 until late-July (need handover date) then Bobby Brown returns through the TA November 9 Vision OTS - Steve Davis April 6 until August 6, followed by Ken Jones for 2 months. Voyager OTS - Michelle Oliveira began late-May (for 4 months?). Jerome Sueur is reportedly joining Carnival and getting married soon. Keith Williams has been cleared to return from medical leave, but does not currently have a ship assignment. Casey Pelterworks shoreside for Celebrity as Manager of Entertainment. Graham Seymour is semi-retired but fills-in from time to time as needed Rich Edwards sadly passed away in June 2017. RIP Rich. John Perry is Operations Manager at Hyatt Hotels (per LinkedIn) Ken Rush works at corporate in Miami as RCI's Director of Entertainment, and occasionally fills-in as CD Amy Fickert-Southgate works shoreside Luke Aerowsmith is working at the corporate office in London Gordon Whatman is retired, but fills-in from time-to-time if needed. Allan Brooks works for Celebrity in their corporate office. Richard Spacey is a CD with Celebrity Becky Thompson works for Celebrity Cruises in their corporate offices in Miami. Dave Chapman is a CD with HAL James Andrews is a real estate agent in Sydney Leo Papa is a Product Manager at Tauck Corp in Connecticut Anna Bass is a make-up artist João Pereira is the Cruise Sales Manager on the Liberty of the Seas. Kirk Detweiler is now CD with Silversea cruises. Simeon Baker- is a sales exec at a Porsche dealer in Saskatchewan Matt Baker - Sim's brother - is a radio presenter. Kieron Buffrey - CD with Viking River Cruises Tom Canosa - teaching 6th grade science in North Carolina Peter Benfield and Johnny Osborne have emigrated to Thailand Anthony Richards is working for Royal Media Partners as Manager Port Revenue Operations Rico du Breil is a CD with SilverSeas out of Italy Paul Lancaster is no longer with RCI, and resides in England Abel Jeney is with The World - Luxury Residence at Sea Parker Cristan is living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - staging/choreographing for local theater Ashley Kerr - married and living in Vancouver BC, working as a marketing rep for a PR firm Karen Maybury - has a consultant/pr/entertainment agency Jannie Cloete - leading expeditions on small ships Warren Allen (aka Warren Melhuish) lives in Ontario, Canada. He has retired from ship-life but still works on the stage Thomas DeCell is no longer with RCI Leigh Xuereb and his AM Frankie Portera are CD's for Carnival
  7. Can anyone tell us where we would go to make reservations for our specialty dining package once we get on board the Freedom of the seas ship today? Is there an assigned location or will the dining room or Chops restaurant be available to do this right when boarding? Thank you.
  8. We have only cruised on Voyageur, Freedom, Quantum and Oasis class ships mainly because our kids have enjoyed the activities on those larger ships. We are planning an adults only trip on a European cruise. While I see that Oasis class ships sometimes sail these routes, I am looking into some of the Radiance and Vision class ships. for those who have sailed both larger and smaller ships, I would appreciat your opinions regarding: what did you miss the most (about the larger ships) when on the smaller ones? what did you appreciate the most about the smaller ships, having done both? For context, my wife and I tend not to stay up late, and we do not prioritize the shows. We anticipate doing excursions or tours at each European port. We really enjoy the areas on the larger class ships (like the promenade or Central Park) to sit, have a snack when we want, and have a coffee or a drink at night.
  9. Actually, HAL does not abide by the same laws as you do in the US, particularly on their ships, which are not US territory. So, the question of equal opportunity to religious services is not subject to US law, but to Dutch law. While not denying your right to religious freedom, within the US, as defined by US law, when outside the country, you are subject to their law. This would be similar to protesting that you were not given religious freedom in a country with a single, official religion, just because you have that freedom in the US. HAL, and all cruise lines, do not endorse various groups, just because they allow space for meetings. They allow these meetings as a convenience to the passengers.
  10. In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God.[1] In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo ("to worship") which means to bow down to God or kings.[2] Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Scripture, particularly the Psalter; this form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practiced by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as some Protestant denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism. In Evangelicalism, worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception. Have you heard of right to assemble peacefully , freedom of speech or freedom of religion ? They were written to protect people like us from people like you who would restrict or eliminate those rights if given the chance . HAL does business in America and is subject to the same laws . I worship in private and in public and have the right to protest something if I don't like it the same as you , hence this thread that you are writing on . But I'm not trying to restrict your freedom as you are ours . There are many groups that HAL endorses by giving them space and time to meet and allows the people to know When and Where to meet that are not for profit so it's not only about profit . God help all if cruising becomes only about profit .
  11. We are taking Mom on her very first cruise in August to celebrate her 90th birthday. My husband and I have done the Mystery thing a long time ago and did enjoy it-I cannot remember what ship. Questions : How is the meal? Is the "mystery" fun ? We want this to be a great week for Mom and she is quite a mystery buff. There are 6 of us and its a bit pricey, but I dont want to waste the time and dollars if it is "meh". THANK YOU!!
  12. Good day, We're interested in the Southern Caribbean itinerary this July, and we have a few questions. First, would this trip be suitable for an adult couple or would it be geared toward families? Also, what food on the ship is available after the Windjammer closes at 9:30 p.m.? I know that there's room service, and I see a general reference to snacks at Cafe Promenade.
  13. We got a car rental for the day at $52 so we are just going to drive there instead of taking the ship's tour and buy tickets senior tickets there. We are not concerned about getting to the airport as our flight does not leave until 7:30 pm. I just like the freedom of not being stuck in a bus.
  14. Hello Everyone! We’re off on another adventure! Thank you to those have followed along with us the last few reviews! This time, we’re trying out Harmony of the Seas, our first time on an Oasis Class ship! We’ve previously sailed on Vision/Radiance/Voyager/Freedom Class ships, plus Majesty, and are excited to try out the big one. A little bit about us: We’re both career educators, me a middle school band director, a saint, I know, and him a high school administrator, both in Hillsborough County. We love our jobs, but every chance we have to get away we take. While I have the summer off, he works 12 months, so this is our only opportunity to sneak off this summer. We’ve only been cruising regularly for a little over 2.5 years, but fell in love with it almost immediately. This is our first cruise with just the 2 of us since June 2017, and that may just be the most exciting part. Don’t get me wrong, we love our cruising friends, but it’s nice to get away just us too. Living in Florida has its perks...there are 4 ports between 20 minutes and 4.5 hours away. Cruising is very easy. Being an educator in Florida who likes to cruise, however, has its downfalls. Very rarely do I get to cruise without someone from my school on the ship. This cruise is no exception. The PTSA President and her family will be on board, and staying on the same deck. Joy! The cruise: We are doing a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise. The itinerary is below. We will be staying in a Boardwalk View Balcony. I’m excited to try one out. As I said before, this is our first time on an Oasis Class ship, so the neighborhood concept is new to us. We’ll see if we like it. We have the second to last room aft, so maybe a sliver of ocean and the aqua theater viewable, depending on how much Perfect Abyss blocks. Itinerary: Day 1 - Sailaway Day 2 - Perfect Day at CocoCay Day 3 - At Sea Day 4 - St. Thomas Day 5 - St. Maarten Day 6 - At Sea Day 7 - At Sea Day 8 - Back to Reality I chose this sailing for 2 reason. First, the ship. We wanted to try it, and I wanted the food choices. Second, the itinerary. We’re visiting CocoCay for the first time since renovations, and St. Thomas and St. Maarten are two of our favorites. We’ll go anytime we can. Maho Beach especially. It was #1 on my checker list from the time I was 15 until I got to check it off. For this sailing, I booked us the Ultimate Dining Package. Over the course of the year since, RC eliminates the Ultimate and rolled out the Unlimited. I’m beyond excited to eat my way through this cruise, not that I don’t every cruise, but with so many dining options to try, the foodie in me is ready for new things. With UDP comes a lot of reservations to keep track of. Throw in the show reservations, plus excursions and it easily becomes overwhelming...at least for me it did. I teach middle school. Everything is planned out because it has to be. Chaos and 12 year olds holding thousands of dollars worth of equipment don’t mix well. So, while for some it’s overkill, for me, having an itinerary works well. It keeps us on track, and gives me a visual. Will we follow it 100%? Absolutely not. But at least I have an idea of what a day holds. We all work differently. Of course, I’m extra, so it’s color coded. Sidebar...I posted it to another website, and it’s amazing how many people there with so much free time that they stop by to let you know you’re planning your vacation wrong. Well...that’s a start. Plenty more to come. If you want more content, feel free to follow us on FB and Instagram. Our page/profile on both is queensonthehighseas Thanks for following along!
  15. One point: This is NOT a story about Freedom of the Seas. This is a story about passengers on Freedom of the Seas. It doesn't sound like this accident had any connection to the ship itself -- the ship wasn't involved. (That would be like if I crashed my car on the highway in Florida and someone said it was a story about Michigan. Yes, the driver might be from Michigan, but that's as far as the connection goes.... it's actually a story about a car accident in Florida.) With that being said, best wishes to all involved.
  16. I can't help it i'm long winded. You've been warned. I thought I would write a review of our recent cruise on Freedom of the Seas. I hope some find it helpful. I tried to include things that I wondered about before going, and also some info on what we tipped because I have seen that question a lot on CC. Tipping can be confusing and can make people feel like they gave too little or too much. Anything is appreciated when it comes to tipping. I don't think there is a right amount, it's what you feel comfortable giving. I included some pictures and reviews of the excursions we did. We sailed Jan 6-13, 2019 out of San Juan to St.Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, and St. Marteen. Our traveling group consisted on myself, my husband, our 2 children ages 16 months and 3.5 years, my parents, and 2 of my aunts. We had 2 grand suites and one with a connected balcony stateroom on the 10th floor. Originally I had a 2 bedroom aft suite with a connecting balcony on deck 9, but when my aunts wanted to come we moved up a deck so we could be all in a row. It worked out well. Our adventure began as it seems most do with us...with a problem. Some of you may have read my review from the Allure in March 2018 where we had to drive 27 hours to Ft. Lauderdale because a Nor'easter grounded all flights. This time it was not a Nor'easter, but still soaking rains. Since we had 8 people and at least 12 suitcases I thought it best to hire a van to pick us up at 4am to get us to the airport for our 7:40a flight. 4am comes and I see the lights of the van at the end of my driveway. Awesome- we are right on time! But wait... why is the van not moving from the end of my driveway? Send husband and father out to investigate. They come back in 10 minutes later soaking wet from the rain to tell us the Sprinter van is stuck in the grass. The driver missed the driveway and was now spinning tires stuck on my lawn, tearing it to shreds. Now I am getting nervous. We are on a tight time frame since we still had to get my aunts in another town and get to the airport an hour away. Finally at 4:20 I went out to call the shots because sometimes let's face it, men need the push of a woman to get things moving. The final verdict was to use my husband’s truck to push the van, and thankfully that worked. A little behind schedule, soaking wet from the rain, and shoes covered in mud we were off to the next stop. Thankfully this was the one and only hiccup we had. I'll take it. I was too perturbed to say the least and forgot to take pictures of the debacle. The cost of the van was $287 and we gave him $350. We arrived at the airport and passed through the ticket counter and security with no problems. Our JetBlue flight was on time. We utilized family board so we could install the car seats without holding too many other passengers up in the aisles. Our kids have flown about 4 times now and we always bring their car seats. It can be a pain, but it’s the safest way to go. We have a system where we put the car seats in the seat part of the umbrella stroller and use a bungee cord to secure them. This makes it easy to move around the airport and down to the plane since you only have push the stroller. We had a great flight crew and they were very sociable and funny. This made time pass quickly. The kids slept for almost the whole flight, which was about 3 hours and 45 mins. Safe landing in San Juan and off we went to find our driver to the hotel. I used Go Puerto Rico Shuttles and our driver Idelisse was waiting at baggage claim with my name on a sign. She was very nice and waited as we got a porter to help with all 12 suitcases. We were headed to the Courtyard Marriott Isle Verde which was close by. The cost was $45 and I tipped her $30. She promised to be back the next morning at 10:30a for our ride to the pier. I tipped the airport porter $25. We had 3 partial ocean view rooms booked at the Courtyard. The property is very nice but the rooms could use some updating. The rooms were clean and the beds were comfortable, but there was a slight smell of mold in the hallways and the rooms could use a paint job. The property next door leaves much to be desired and our room was really the only one of the 3 that had a decent ocean view. The other 2 looked into the rundown building next door. In fact we took a quick walk along the front of the hotels and my 3 year old said he was little scared. Regardless, we enjoyed our stay here and we felt safe. Our first stop was to find food. We ate outside on the patio. Service was good but slow. I swear we were there for 3 hours just eating lunch. The room came with 2 pina coladas each and some bets at the casino. I got the virgin pina colada and my 16 month old loved it. We had everything from nachos to pizza, steak, grilled chicken, and blts. The food was good and I'm sorry I don't recall what the bill was. I don't remember it being overpriced though. From there we took the kids down to the beach and the pool while some went to the casino. Because it is a public beach, if you go up to the pool attendant they will give you towels and wrist band allowing access to the pool. My kids loved loved loved the beach. The sand is forever embedded in their bathing suits. I read about sand fleas ahead of going and was given advice on CC to get Cactus juice spray. I did and sprayed us all down before going out on the beach. No one got bite and I don't know if it was too early in the afternoon/evening or the spray worked but either way, no bites here. We had a good night sleep and enjoyed the buffet breakfast the next morning before Idelisse came for us. Breakfast was standard fare with an omelet station and this amazing cornmeal porridge made with coconut milk and sugar. I also wanted to mention that we were able to get a crib from housekeeping for our 16 month old. It was like one of those metal institution cribs, and she only slept in it for 2 hours before waking. 4 people in a king size bed… sounds like my every night at home. The room rate came to $365 with all the taxes and fees but I was able to save $40 by using my AXEM blue card that had an offer for Marriott stays. view from our room steak so tender you could cut it with a spoon
  17. ADVENTURE: Drew Devine #1027 ALLURE: Jimmy Rhodes, Mike Hunnerup returns in August # 1108 ANTHEM: Mitch Merucci until July 13. Then Dan Whitney #1223. Mitch returns Augugst 29 #1051 to January 5, 2020 BRILLIANCE: Rob McNally #1169 EMPRESS: Elvis Pinto #803 through early July #907 ENCHANTMENT: Bobby Broughton until September #1158 EXPLORER: Graham Seymour until mid July then Cleo July 21. #1204 FREEDOM: Patricio Honores as of February 24 #848 GRANDEUR: Cory Rogers until August 8 then John Blair until November 30 #1194 HARMONY: Marc Walker until July14 (back on 9-29 #1097), then Dennis Charles for 2 months to cover Marc's break. INDEPENDENCE: Mark Rous as of 5-18 due to Jamie taking ill #1126, Cuddy Cudsworth as of June 11 for 4 months #1151 JEWEL: Andrea Oliviri returns March 13 #878 LIBERTY: Brian Leavitt new CD through August 11 #893 MARINER: Marcelo Alvarado #1192 MAJESTY: Mickey Urrutia as of 4-27, #1115 NAVIGATOR: Hugo Arenas #849 OASIS: Mike Whitte as of May 12. #1201 OVATION: Joff last name please as of 6-21 #1217 QUANTUM: Paul Rutter (until when?) RADIANCE: Susan Adams #1053, Cuddy to return approx 6-28 #1114 RHAPSODY: Michele Scarpato #1109 SERENADE: David Bradshawe #1086 SPECTRUM: Fang last name please as of June 13 #1213 any update? SYMPHONY: Mike Szwajkowski until August 17, then Ricky Matthews to cover vacation #1123 VISION: Cecy Del Razo #925 Steve Davis as of May 6 #1147 VOYAGER: Michelle #1141 last name please
  18. We were in that waiting area twice...cards checked and verified each time we entered. Now that I think about it the first time was when the Freedom was still there and we were in a junior suite. So that would explain the first time... BUT.....when we sailed this past March one last time on the Oasis as D+ and the sign at the waiting stated it was for D+, Suites and Pinnacles. Our cards were checked and we sat in that area. Seems every time they bring a new ship they change things. Now we are back to the corral and boarding even after those who bought The Key package..
  19. We have been able to use our Firestick to watch Netflix & Amazon...but one time on Freedom had problems due to the interactive TV. Our cabin steward got in touch with an onboard electrician and he ended up switching out the TV for us...his idea as we would never have asked or expected them to do this. We were just on Vision and had no problem at all but this ship has no interactive TV. Please come back and let us know how this was solved for you on HOTS...we'll be on there in May and certainly want to use our Firestick.
  20. Freedom ex San Juan ....how early can we board on departure day?
  21. The link works fine for me, but the page seems to be pretty temperamental. Yesterday it pulled up the September 29th sailing of Freedom, no problem. But today it tells me: "No voyages were found for that ship and date; please verify that this information has been entered correctly and try again." Tried several other dates for Freedom, with the same result. Didn't try any other ships. So it works just like any other page on RC's site. 😀
  22. The link works fine for me, but the page seems to be pretty temperamental. Yesterday it pulled up the September 29th sailing of Freedom, no problem. But today it tells me: "No voyages were found for that ship and date; please verify that this information has been entered correctly and try again." Tried several other dates for Freedom, with the same result. Didn't try any other ships. I've had problems with it in the past, but have not needed it much lately. Royal's web programming seems to get very confused with old cookies/cache, so I'd try clearing those first.
  23. The link works fine for me, but the page seems to be pretty temperamental. Yesterday it pulled up the September 29th sailing of Freedom, no problem. But today it tells me: "No voyages were found for that ship and date; please verify that this information has been entered correctly and try again." Tried several other dates for Freedom, with the same result. Didn't try any other ships.
  24. I haven't seen anybody trying to restrict your freedom here. If you or anybody else puts a group together for whatever reason, whether it's worship, knitting, card playing, etc., I would hope that HAL would make accommodation and provide an appropriate space if one is available. But my understanding is that you're asking for more than space; you're also asking for HAL to provide a minister to lead services. That's a big difference, with a significant expense to HAL, whether by paying the minister, or by comp'ing the cruise. It seems like HAL has chosen to do so for Catholic priests, but I don't think they're required to do so; nor do I think they're required to provide spiritual leaders for other faiths, any more than they're required to provide knitting instructors for a group interested in knitting. My guess is that they're trying to balance the demand against the cost. Perhaps they see more demand for Catholic priests than they do for other ministers; although there are more Protestants than Catholics in the US, they're also divided among many different branches, and it may not be clear (at least to HAL) how well a minister of one Protestant branch would do at serving passengers of other branches. Or perhaps the cost is lower because of support provided by AOS, with there being no comparable organization for other faiths. Or perhaps it's something entirely different; I have no clue. The bottom line is that if you want ministerial services, you'll have to show HAL that there is sufficient demand to warrant the costs. But unless HAL sees such demand, I wouldn't just expect them to provide ministerial services. In the meantime, it seems like your choices are either to survive without organized services while cruising, find another line that provides the clergy you want, or give up cruising. Those are the same choices that we all have to make with regard to a variety of aspects of cruising, whether it be entertainment, dancing, dining/liquor, itinerary, dress code, or something else. Either convince HAL that item has high demand, find another line that provides what we want, or give up cruising. I don't see why religious services would be treated any differently. Obviously, the depth of commitment to religion may be different than other things, but the concept remains the same--HAL is figuring out what combination of services to provide is most cost-effective/profitable to them, based on their perceived demand.
  25. Going to be arriving in Sydney 5 days prior to our cruise in early March 2020. Have decided not to fly to Cairns to do Great Barrier Reef, as I do not snorkel and I really have no interest in watching others snorkel and I do not want to spend loads of money for a airplane or helicopter tour of the GBR. We will spend our time in Sydney and surrounding area. We are interested in seeing the Blue Mountains. I know we can take the train from Central and get there in a couple of hours. My dilemma. Should I simply rent a car and make our way there that way and then have the freedom to stop along the way. We are from Canada and I know that Australians drive on the other side of the road. We have been to UK and are accustomed to driving on the other side. But our issue concerns the cost of the rental car and specifically the insurance that we have to buy extra. Wondering if other Canadians have rented cars in Australia and New Zealand and how they fared in this regard. Was car rental very pricy including extra insurance! Normally, our credit card will cover our insurance or our personal car insurance would cover the insurance however not for Australia and New Zealand we have been told because of high risk of car accidents in Australia and New Zealand according to our carrier. I hate taking tours and would much prefer to drive ourselves. Can I hear from Canadians who have rented cars in Australia and New Zealand.
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