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Found 6,116 results

  1. Good evening, fellow cruise critics! We leave tonight for San Juan! This is us: Left to right is my 24-year-old daughter (Emma), myself (Dina), my hubby Peter (not making this trip sadly, kinda long story short, he can't miss work) and my 22-year-old son (Joey). This photo was taken last week at the Gateway National Park at the top of the famous arch. Joey and I are doing a pretty good job masking our horror and terror caused by the incredibly rickety tram ride to the top. We were in St. Louis because Joey just finished up earning his undergraduate degree out there, so we went to the commencement festivities. Of course every great graduate deserves a phenomenal present, and Joey earned this cruise! (See how I rationalized that😜?!)
  2. Hi all! We sailed on the Freedom of the Seas, May 26-June 2, 2019 sailing. I'm slowly updating my complete report, but in the meantime, enjoy the Compasses! CC Day 1 0526001 (1).pdf CC Day 2 0527.pdf CC Day 3 0528.pdf CC Day 4 0529.pdf CC Day 5 0530.pdf CC Day 6 0531.pdf CC Day 7 0601.pdf
  3. How much was Chef’s Table prior to this change? My younger daughter is a foodie but underage, so having a no-pairings price is a nice new option on one level. But $200 to have it with pairings is more than I’m willing to pay unless this is a Michelin-star-level meal I’m getting. I did Chef’s Table on Freedom of the Seas by myself for $90, and felt that was a bargain after the wines and food we were served; I would say the food was on par with a land restaurant I’d been to that cost me $75 for dinner with no alcohol. I know Celebrity is a cut above Royal for food, and wouldn’t object to paying a bit more; let’s say $150 for a round number, assuming the wines are also a cut above. But $200 for me and another $140 for my will-be-16-year old daughter is just too big a pill to swallow on a trip that’s already going to be stretching all kinds of budget boundaries. Maybe they’ll adjust the pricing over the coming year as they get guest feedback, but I’m not holding my breath.
  4. One of the Sizzle included 7 day Freedom. Or was that the tax day promo🤔
  5. We are recently off the Freedom and while we were in our hotel after our cruise waiting for our room, there was a group of people who were in contact with the port/cruiseline/ship discussing how their bag that was put outside their room was not waiting for them when they got off and they were trying to locate it. I do not know what ended up happening for them. It was not settled by the time our room was ready.
  6. Does Freedom have Izumi Express? If so, was it covered in UDP?
  7. We enjoyed the unlimited dining package ($154/pp) on Freedom (Chops, Sabor, Giovannis) and would do it again . We do not enjoy the MDR. The only time we do MDR is if we are cruising as a group and want to eat dinner together. Otherwise we do not enjoy the experience. We also don't need big variety of food so were happy to eat dinner at each place twice. We made all of our reservations for the week as soon as we boarded and didn't have a problem adjusting them later in the week as needed.
  8. Good Morning! The hubs and I returned on Sunday from our very first Oasis class cruise as well as our first experience with STAR class. A brief background: we are in our mid 50's and this is our 23rd cruise. Between us we have bee on several Greek lines with names that escape me, Costa, Carnival, Disney ,NCL and Royal. Prior to children we did not cruise in suites but have done so exclusively since the "babies". We had alternated between NCL and RCCL in the past 11years but mostly stayed with NCL due to their (former) reasonable Haven rates , itinerary and suite service. We did a lot of comparing to NCL on this cruise and I shall inject some of these comments into the review. At present I cannot seem to insert pictures- but, seriously- we all know what Allure looks like by now! We drove from the Gettysburg area to Atlanta on Saturday; as we were delivering a car to one of our college students. Had dinner at the airport with our twins and a friend, noted that TSA prescreen was closed as dinner did not end until 9pm ( despite sitting down at 705pm) . Security was quite busy at this hour but we expect that from Atlanta. Our 10pm flight to FLL was delayed by over 2 hours and we arrived at the Embassy Suites FLL at 2:24am. Very comfortable beds and nice little suite. We had originally booked a GS, were offered a ROYAL UP bid 3 weeks before sailing. We placed minimum weak bids on 2 Star class suites- a 2 BR AS and a Star loft . 5 days prior to sail we got the CONGRATS email saying we were upgraded to a Star Loft which actually turned out to be the Owners Panoramic Suite. This was good for us as hubby had an injury right before sailing making stairs not-so-fun for him. EMBARKATION: Took Uber to port. As we were instructed , kept bags with us after the confiscation of my scissors. I take the same pair on every cruise and keep them with the travel "stuff"; Royal decided they were too long. Oh well. I'll just use one of the giant steak knives aboard if I need to cut anything! And I ended up doing so. A Genie porter took our bags and the Cliquot we brought along. I had ordered it prior to the upgrade and am glad that I did as it is my fave and a tradition with us. A Genie walked us to the check in gal who looked at our cell phones, gave us pretty black cards and wised us a safe and happy cruise. We boarded the ship , met our Genie, Daniel and headed to our home for the next 7 days. We were on the balcony by 1045am. Our bags followed shortly thereafter. QUICK COMPARE: RCL Star class hands down winner over NCL Suite class for embarkation with the caveat that we did not experience the regular suite class check in on this cruise. The suite used to be a piano bar according to legend. It is about 1,100 sq feet with a large but not ginormous balcony. It has a hot tub which we used daily, 2 chairs, 2 loungers, several little tables . The floor to ceiling ( maybe 18-20 feet) windows added a great touch to this marvelous suite. I WILL have my kid attach the suite pics here later. We had seen this particular accommodation on a Youtube video that did not do it justice in any way. Our steward , Carmen and her assistant DoDo stopped by for a visit after we were done reviewing the week's plans with Daniel. We decided to explore the ship a bit before lunch and ended our short tour in the Coastal Kitchen. This was a full sailing with 6,400 quests and 44 Pinnacles /55 Pinnacles depending on whom was asked. I only insert this comment as it seems to be an interesting topic here on CC. The CK was bustling on embarkation lunch. We were seated and then ignored.The couple to our right was arguing and insisting on hot tea in a pot with sugar and a tall glass of ice. This seemed to be a theme as the couple to our left were arguing first with each other and then with the waiter who did not realize that sweet tea can only be made with a tall glass of ice and a pot of hot tea and sugar, dammit!! The woman of the couple did a very nice storm -off. I cannot imagine being so upset by tea. We did observe her several other times during the week and pretty much everything upset her. A free dinner at 150 Central Park? " I wont eat that crap!". A patron wearing flip flops in the Suite lounge? "APPALLING!!! "She was quite entertaining . Later we would meet the international Champion of Cruising Blow Hards, Boasters and Sociopaths- but that will have to wait. Lunch was meh. Very few choices, slooooooooooooooooooooow service ( which we attributed to embarkation chaos) I was introduced to the Lemondrop by a fellow diner -great choice!! . QUICK COMPARE :NCL wins for Haven Restaurant over Coastal Kitchen for embarkation lunch. The views from CK on Allure and the suite lounge beat the Getaway/Escape class but not the Epic. After lunch my husband had a massage for the giant knots in his back whilst I drank lemondrops and unpacked. The skies opened up right as muster was to start so our muster location of Aquatheater was changed to Schooner Bar. Typical muster. Could have been any ship we have sailed Sailaway from our balcony was BRILLIANT! We were able to pick out some of our old Ft Lauderdale hotels; the Coast Guard put on quite a show and off we went! We were able to look down onto the pool deck which was - well- almost empty due to the weather. We were warned that the show in Aqua theater might be cancelled that evening but the weather cleared! We had dinner at Izumi Sushi and it was divine. We ate around 6:30 and the restaurant was empty except for the teppanyaki tables. We had a variety of sushi rolls which were all excellent' took the leftovers back for late night snack. I had a delicious saki and strawberry drink ..actually 2.5 of these! Daniel stopped by to make sure that all was well and it were! Quick Compare: There are more Teppanyaki tables on the larger NCL ships . The sushi offerings on Allure beat those on NCL and tasted better; Allure could use a noodle bar . At dinner Daniel told us to meet him at the Aquatheater 15 minutes prior to show. The Genies wait for their guests in the venue- in this case it was several rows behind the splash zones. We had drinks brought to us and enjoyed a wonderful show that is very different than any we have seen at sea. Don't miss this show!! After the show we moseyed into the Casino . CASINO COMMENTS: The smoking area smoke does not permeate the non smoking side as profoundly as on some ships. The smoking side is very smokey if you are sensitive. QUICK COMPARE: Allure's smoking side was just as smokey as the NCL ships- all of them. The non-smoking side was much fresher than the areas on the NCL big ships and Jewel class ships. ALLURE also allows smoking in the casino when it is closed. Bottom line- for either line if you are very smoke sensitive avoid the casinos. The Casino was not too busy this first night, I found some cute slots, hubby played some black jack and then joined me at the slots. We both were up at the end of the session. NOTE: we are not big gamblers. This particular casino was quite fun, good atmosphere and we had only one session where we did not come out at least $100 ahead. Whoopie!! We left, wandered about and off to bed. It had been a long 2 days with little sleep. Day 2 we chose to try breakfast at CK as it was a few steps away. It was slow despite only 5-6 tables being occupied; the menu was meh and the serving sizes small. We ate breakfast twice at CK during the cruise; the second time we used the buffet bar located in the lounge. Coffee was sub par on board all around unless we ordered a specialty coffee. No French press to be found! Quick Compare: Breakfast in the Haven blows away the CK.I remember some excellent breakfasts in Chops on Freedom and in the MDRs ; the Coastal Kitchen just does not have anything special. I had high hopes for the Mediterranean plate and was disappointed . Breakfast for Suites goes to NCL- later I will visit Windjammer which is a STRONG win for Royal. A little note about Star Class: How I wished they had this when we traveled with 3 little ones. All your laundry is done for you- every single day! It comes back pressed, clean and lovely. No squishing everything I can into a paper bag! The amenities in the bathrooms are L'Occitane ( I dont know what Sky has or suites on non-Genie ships. It has been a while since our last RCL cruise) They are big 10 ounce bottles. Our suite had 2 full bathrooms which was a nice perk. In the afternoon a bartender comes and takes your afternoon /per-dinner drink order. Our fridge was stocked with the beers and Diet Coke I requested, plenty of Evian, Chandon champagne. Another side note: The staff on the ship were universally cheerful, pleasant, helpful and smiling. In the shops there was one snooty wench in the cosmetic store but she was an outlier. Drink service was lightening fast at any bar we visited. Service on NCL is comparable, the cruise lines tie here Off to the grocery!!!! In real life, not in the review...
  9. Only Mariner and Navigator. I am interested to see if they will add it to remaining Voyager class ships, as it doesn't look like they are to Freedom or Oasis class. The thing is, the drinks take semi-skill and knowledge and time to make...so I while I absolutely loved it on the Navigator and spent many nights there on the 9-night, I know they had a hard time keeping bartenders happy there. They just don't want to learn it and do all of the prep that it takes to run a successful, semi-authentic tiki bar.
  10. Good point, I had realised that was not a lot different, but for clarity there is still free parking available + £20 pp less than we got on booking last June. So to complete my calculations we would have been £1.25 pppn worse off with OBC if we had booked now. Norralot methinks - must admit I was surprised to see that. We would have still had time to claim share benefit and got all the other freedom benefits if freedom dining is still available. The dining is one thing we would have definitely preferred, but would have lived with any, given that there will be a self service available. Freedom may indeed still be available - there are a number of cabins available in the grades I have looked at.
  11. This is being reported on the current Navigator sailing and will be fleet wide (at least for Freedom and below classes) Junior suite cards are the standard blue Full suite guests cards are SILVER Pinnacle and Masters in Club Royale are GOLD This change took place last week
  12. The one you had included (on the Rhapsody OTS) went off without a hitch, and we were favorably impressed with the "RCI small ship" experience. The one N Statendam will take the place of would have been on the Freedom OTS... truth to tell, I won't be cancelling til much closer! When I am more sure how things shape up. But I'm chuffed about 6 instead of 3 seadays, still seeing the ABC's, and MUCH easier cheaper flights sailing from FLL for the NS!
  13. Bummer. Well, they worked best if you were local. Laura did grab one on Freedom out of SJ
  14. You asked for explanations, so here you go. From NCL's FAQ about Service Charges and Gratuities (I have edited them down) What is the onboard service charge? Why is there a service charge? The reason there's a fixed service charge is an important one: Our Crew (as are the crew from other lines) is encouraged to work together as a team. Staff members including complimentary restaurant staff, stateroom stewards and behind-the-scenes support staff are compensated by a combination of salary and incentive programs that your service charge supports. Why would I prepay my service charges? The convenience of pre-paying the service charges allows you to plan your budget prior to your cruise giving you additional freedom while on board. If there is a service issue can the service charges be adjusted on board? Guest satisfaction is the highest priority at Norwegian Cruise Line. We have structured a guest satisfaction program designed to handle any concerns about service or on-board product quickly and efficiently. However, in the event a service issue should arise during your cruise please let our on-board guest services desk staff know right away, so that we can address these in a timely manner. It is our goal to reach a satisfactory solution to any issue when it happens and make sure our guests can focus on enjoying their cruise. Should your concerns not be met with satisfaction you can adjust the charges. What about gratuities? Unlike most other ships in the cruise industry, there is no required or recommended tipping on our ships for service that is generally rendered to all Guests. While you should not feel obligated to offer a gratuity, all of our staff are encouraged to “go the extra mile,” so they are permitted to accept cash gratuities for exceptional or outstanding service if you care to offer them. Also, certain staff positions (e.g., concierge, butler, youth program staff and beverage service) provide service on an individual basis to only some guests and do not benefit from the overall service charge. We encourage those Guests to acknowledge good service from these staff members with appropriate gratuities. Additionally, there is an 20% gratuity and spa service charge added for all spa and salon services, as well as an 20% gratuity and beverage service charge added for all beverage purchases and an 20% gratuity and specialty service charge added to all specialty restaurant dining and entertainment based dining. The basic economics are this: If NCL were to move to a flat fee model (complete all-inclusive), people would have a meltdown because they would have no control over gratuities. So, NCL created this hybrid method so that those of us that don't care to quibble about how the money is distributed can pre-pay and be done with it. For those of you that like to complain, you can abstain from paying and pay as you go or pay at the end of the week by chasing people down and handling them cash money. (does anyone really miss that? I don't). As a side note, in case it was missed in other replies...whether you pay for the UBP or by the drink (alcoholic or soda) you are always gonna pay the 20%.
  15. So we are going on the Freedom of the Seas this coming week and we are wondering if this cruise has an official cruise critic meet and mingle event sponsored by Royal Caribbean Freedom of the seas staff? If so when was it scheduled for as the ship is in port for 5 consecutive days beginning the morning of Day 2 (So no Sea day at the beginning of the cruise)? Thanks for the help and info.
  16. I am sure these questions have been asked but I cannot figure out how to search the boards. I bought photo package all prints. We leave in 14 days and I am thinking about switching to digital. The last time I cruised they didn't have unlimited photo package. We had to look for printed photos every day in a hallway on the ship and then we would purchase what we wanted and they had set prices. Cruise line decided the size of the photos (4x6, 8x10, etc). Now, do you view the photos electronically on the ship and decide what size you want? Or are they preprinted? Do they print as many pictures in whatever size you want? If digital, do they download the photos to your account every day - similar to Disney? If someone can walk me through the details of these photo packages I would appreciate it. I can't remember if RCI stores your empty luggage bags for you outside your cabin and then return the last night of cruise. Or do you store the empty luggage under the bed? Thanks in advance! I know these questions are answered somewhere on these boards - just no idea where!
  17. We are planning a Southern Caribbean cruise either over NYE or the first week in January. We want to make sure the cruise includes all 3 of the ABC Dutch islands. What I can see, out of all ships at sea, the only ones going to all 3 of the ABC dutch islands are with RCCL: 1) Explorer of the Seas - departs Miami Dec 27th - 9 nights. Ship is in Aruba - Dec. 31st 8am - 9pm. Bonaire - Jan. 1st 9am - 6pm 2) Freedom of the Seas - departs San Juan Dec. 29 - 7 nights Ship will be in Curacao - Jan. 1st (8am - 8pm) - Dec. 31st is a sea day 3) Adventure of the Seas - departs Ft Lauderdale Jan 4th - 8 nights * this cruise I am not concerned about because the holidays are now over and I'm assuming all tours are up and running again and everything opened. 2 Questions I have: a) Are the NYE cruises (Dec. departures) more crowded than Jan departure? b) Does anyone know if the locals will be running their tours and shops/tourist places opened (NYE and New Years Day)? I included only the ports during the 31st and 1st, as I'm sure the other days would be business as usual. We are aware the ship will have their excursions up and running, but when we go on excursions, we like to support the locals. We find it more personal. Thanks for any help you can offer 🙂 Denise
  18. It’s finally here! We are getting ready to set sail on the Vision of the Seas 12-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise round-trip from Barcelona June 11 - June 23, 2019. We are flying out of Tampa today for an overnight flight to Barcelona where we will spend three days before we board Vision of the Seas for twelve more days! Background: My husband and I have sailed with Royal Caribbean 15 times for a total of 91 nights at sea with Royal. This will be our 16th cruise with RCCL and the cruise where we make Diamond Plus. Yes, I know. We’re excited too! All together, we’ve taken 35 cruises for a total of 249 sailing days and we have enjoyed cruising with Royal, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian, Disney, and Holland America. I always say that we’ve never had a bad cruise. Not one. There are things we enjoy about each cruise and each cruise line, and for the most part we are pretty easy to please. There have been minor bumps and snags along the way, but I figure those make for the interesting travel stories. I’m Angela and I’m in my mid-40s. My husband, Mark is in his early 60s and we enjoy cruising as our vacation of choice. We looked at booking this cruise when it was released a little over a year and half ago. We celebrate our 20-year wedding anniversary June 12, 2019, and wanted a special cruise this year. The first Royal Caribbean ship we ever sailed was the Sovereign of the Seas in June 2000. It was our one year anniversary and our very first cruise. We were hooked. I remember that ship seemed huge. We drove up to the cruise terminal in Port Canaveral and I recall saying something like, “Oh my God look at it! We are going to be so lost!” It’s hard to believe the size of the ships have increased SO MUCH since then. We’ve sailed on the Sovereign, the Legend, the Vision, the Grandeur, the Rhapsody, and even the Enchantment (both before and after the stretch) before we “graduated” to the bigger Freedom, Oasis, and Quantum Class ships. But here we are…back to the smaller and more comfortable size ship where we first started cruising. We are both kind of looking forward to seeing what it feels like to come back to this size.
  19. We found all cable car tickets booked. There were several large ships in port as well. We opted for a taxi tour ( not pre booked) with 2 other couples. We set out early and were quite happy with choice. Cooler, less crowed and more freedom to explore.
  20. As, you say, the obc is not really here or there. Out of interest, we have a 35 day cruise booked in Ventura in January 2021. The price today, compared to when we booked in January this year, has increased by over £46 pppn. It will be interesting to see if the price ever comes down to less than we paid . Having said that, for a 35 night cruise, I would always want to be sure of selecting my own cabin, and having freedom dining. Saving a few hundred pounds and ending up in an inferior cabin, with 6:30 dining for 35 nights, is not a saving worth having, imho.
  21. We travelled on P&O and became friendly with a couple that we always joined up for the evening meal. It was freedom dining and having informed the maitre d' on the first night that she had various allergies they would bring her the following night's menu which she would go through and ask for alterations/substitutions, etc. Never failed once and this was despite not sitting at the same table every night.
  22. Sailing Freedom in August out of San Juan. It doesn’t depart until 8:30pm. I’ve only done cruises that sail around 4 or 5pm. Does the later departure time mean a later check-in and embarkation time as well? Anyone have any feedback on this experience in San Juan? Just trying to plan our day.
  23. Thank you for posting. We’re taking our 12 & 16 DD’s on their first cruise. I have been struggling with how much freedom to give them. The 12 yr old is a city kid who takes public transit during the school year. Our 16 yr old is being raised in the burbs and isn’t as independent. The age difference makes it hard to enforce the buddy system. I like the idea of limiting them to main areas and avoiding corridors.
  24. For a Grand Suite I know you get free internet on the Oasis class and Quantum class. There is conflicting information on whether it is free on the Voyager or Freedom class. Can someone who has recently cruised on the Voyager class let me know if you got free internet in a suite. Thanks!
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