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  1. 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.
  2. I understand these 2 BR grand suites located in the aft of the ship were previously one larger suite (Presidential maybe)? My question is because these suites are essentially one very large suite split into two large suites, is there an advantage of one side vs the other? From what I can tell on Youtube, aside from the differences in the layout (for example, where the master is located), the two cabins on each aft seem similar. The only exception is looking at the balconies for 6416 and 6716 where the port side cabin has a bar, and the starboard side cabin has a hottub left over from the one huge balcony for when the two were one large cabin.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. No, I did not. First, a ship cannot just recoup expenses; it must make a profit. Second, you are complaining because a cruise ship charges more than a comparable venue on land. This is not, however, apples-to-apples. A Johnny Rockets on land operates on a different business model and cannot accurately be compared with their shipboard version. Third, the passengers pay port fees, but the cruise ship still has to pay them and cannot afford to break even. And they have the exorbitant fuel fees that you did not address. Compared to other vacation types, cruising is still a good value; if it wasn't you wouldn't do it, I would guess. What I have trouble grasping is why complain about a few of the upcharges when you have the freedom to avoid the restaurants you think rip you off and dine in the MDR or Windjammer where meals are included in the fare. I resent your impertinent insinuation that I have been brainwashed or I am one of those "suckers born every minute" if I choose to pay more than you feel I should for a meal in a chain restaurant on a ship. When I dine in an upcharge restaurant I am well aware that the cost is probably higher than its counterpart on land. I don't care as long as the food is decent and the service is friendly and attentive. I do not cruise to save money. I cruise to spend and enjoy myself. If I whine about every dollar spent that is over and above what I would pay on land, then my vacation would be miserable.
  6. Updated 6/25/19 --- My hope is to put update this thread every few days or at least once week. To do that, I need cruisers (or others that somehow have 'insider information') to let me know who they come across on sailings. HAPPY CRUISING! What Activity Manager have you come across? Post the name, ship and sailing date to help keep this thread as accurate as possible. ****Adventure OTS – Kelly Leuch, her first assignment as AM. She was GREAT said a cruiser on board with her….how terrific! ****Allure OTS – Flavio Maeda will be onboard until July 14 when Assata Young-Mayers takes over. ****Anthem OTS – Tresha Robb has posted that she is onboard. I am trying to find out more on this. ****Brilliance OTS – TT has been reported as onboard on the completed sailing 4/20/19 and still onboard for the May 4 – 19 transatlantic sailing. No information on when he started to guess how long he might be onboard. ****Empress OTS –Eric Lopez has been spotted doing the morning show with Elvis the CD. ****Enchantment OTS – Saini has been onboard, but could be completing a contract and departing the ship. Who is currently onboard? Gemma Frances will report to EN after the completion of her vacation at the end of July. ****Explorer OTS – Aysy Sadrislamova is onboard from information by a cruiser who sailed on Explorer in early March 2019. Based on what people have uncovered Daniel Edwards will be taking over in June. ****Freedom OTS – Jerry Kubli is currently onboard. No timeline for contract period. ****Grandeur OTS – Mike (unknown last name) took over from Katrina Blair on 6/13. She is returning to Grandeur on 8/13 after her vacation. *****Harmony – Mosese Vatuloka is onboard since May 19. Then on July 21, Chris Turdo takes over from Mosese. ****Independence OTS – Katie Turner should have taken over from Allison Hasler when she went on vacation recently in June. Alison Hasler will return in August after vacation. *****Jewel OTS – Luana from Brazil should have returned to Jewel in mid May. Looking for confirmation. *****Liberty OTS – Kim is now on Liberty, unsure of start date… ****Majesty OTS – Tornado Tanya has taken over from Mauricio Diaz who departed the ship on 6/15 for vacation. I have asked Mauricio if he is going to return to MJ when he returns from vacation. *****Mariner OTS – Alex Paul signed on to the ship on 3/25/19 for a 4 month contract. *****Navigator OTS – Looking to find out who is onboard now? *****Oasis OTS – Nick is onboard and probably took over mid March. ***** Ovation – Angelle took over from Christopher Turdo on 5/13 when Chris left for vacation. *****Quantum – Who is currently onboard. *****Radiance OTS – Emma from the UK (unknown last name) has been spotted in Early February 2019. No information on when she started….just that she and her CD Cuddy worked well together. **** Rhapsody OTS – Gemma Frances left Rhapsody on 5/25 for vacation. Who replaced her? **** Serenade OTS – Elizabeth Hackett was on the March 25th sailing. She may have arrived in mid February, and could be on a 4 month contract until June. I do know she is still onboard as of 5/30. **** Symphony OTS – Katy McCullagh returned on 2/23 for a 4 month contract. ***** Vision OTS – Palo has been identified as onboard, unsure when his contract began. *****Voyager OTS – Kitty should have taken over on May 3, 2019…..looking for confirmation on this, please.
  7. Below is a list of the ships in the fleet. Cruise Directors play an important role in the entertainment onboard, and their assistant is the Activity Manager. If you know the name of the Activity Manager onboard one of the ships, please reply. Adventure OTS – Allure OTS - Anthem OTS – Brilliance OTS – Enchantment OTS – Explorer OTS – Freedom OTS - Grandeur OTS – Independence OTS - Jewel OTS - Legend OTS - Liberty OTS - Majesty OTS - Mariner OTS - Navigator OTS - Oasis OTS - Quantum OTS - Radiance OTS - Rhapsody OTS - Serenade OTS – Splendour OTS – Vision OTS - Voyager OTS -
  8. 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.
  9. As I currently understand ship assignments for this summer... Adventure OTS - Capt Shawn McDuff (started rotation 5-11-19) Adventure OTS - Capt Krzyszthof Szymkarczuk Allure OTS - Capt Ron Holmes (started rotation 6-9-19) Allure OTS - Capt Tore Grimstad Anthem OTS - Capt Henrik Loft Sørensen (started rotation 6-10-19) Anthem OTS - Capt Felix Srecko Ban Brilliance OTS - Capt Ole-Johan Gronhaug (started rotation 6-19-19) Brilliance OTS - Capt Ante Cavala Empress OTS - Capt Diego Lombardic (started rotation 6-3-19) Empress OTS - Capt Carl Graucob Enchantment OTS - Capt Nils-Petter Hoeydal (started rotation 5-24-19) Enchantment OTS - Capt Toni Tomljanovic Explorer OTS - Capt Malvin Bardsnes (started rotation 6-22-19) Explorer OTS - Capt Kjetil Gjerstad Freedom OTS - Capt Frank Martinsen (started rotation 6-2-19) Freedom OTS - Capt Thomas Busto Grandeur OTS - Capt Patrik Jukes (started rotation 4-20-19) Grandeur OTS - Capt Thordur Thorsson Harmony OTS - Capt Gus Andersson (started rotation 6-2-19) Harmony OTS - Capt Johnny Faevelen Independence OTS - Capt Iv Vidos (started rotation 6-6-19) Independence OTS - Capt Teo Strazicic Jewel OTS - Capt Dustin Castelsky (started rotation 6-7-19) Jewel OTS - Capt Trym Selvag Liberty OTS - Capt Anders Ingebrigtsen (started rotation 5-26-19) Liberty OTS - Capt James MacDonald Majesty OTS - Capt Daniel Budzelewskiis (started rotation 4-27-19) Majesty OTS - Capt Per Kristoffersen Mariner OTS - Capt Toni Calne (started rotation 6-3-19) Mariner OTS - Capt Tobias Oster Navigator OTS - Capt Mattias Persson (started rotation 5-31-19) Navigator OTS - Capt Angel Oviol Oasis OTS - Capt Claus Andersen (started rotation 5-26-19) Oasis OTS - Capt Göran Peterson Ovation OTS - Capt Henrik W Loy (started rotation 5-3-19) Ovation OTS - Capt Sverre Ryan Quantum OTS - Capt Sindre Borsheim (started rotation 4-19-19) Quantum OTS - Capt Erik Standahl Radiance OTS - Capt Marek Slaby (started rotation 5-31-19) Radiance OTS - Capt Espen Been Rhapsody OTS - Capt Kjell Nordmo (started rotation 6-1-19) Rhapsody OTS - Capt Trond Holm Serenade OTS - Capt Aris Medina (started rotation 6-2-19) Serenade OTS - Capt Stig Nilsen Spectrum OTS - Capt Charles Teige (started rotation 4-18-19) Spectrum OTS - Capt Flemming Nielsen Symphony OTS - Capt Rick Sullivan (started rotation 5-11-19) Symphony OTS - Capt Rob Hempstead Vision OTS - Capt Juan Luis Caranti (started rotation 6-15-19) Vision OTS - Capt Michael Lindberg Voyager OTS - Capt Huimin Wu (started rotation 5-19-19) Voyager OTS - Capt Pehr Pehrsson
  10. Okay, I don't know if I should post this here or on the family board. We're giving our son more freedom this time on the Dream. We've advised him we will let himself sign himself out of Camp Carnival/Circle C however we are trying to figure out a way to keep track of him if he does that. Like give us call that he is going back to the stateroom or going to the pool instead type of thing. At first we thought walkie talkie but after seeing all the negative comments here on that we nixxed that idea. I'd prefer to not use the data on ship for us to keep up with our 11 yr (almost 12) son but I don't know what other option there might be. Entering new territory here with an almost tween wanting a tad bit more freedom.
  11. DH and I recently off Freedom and we commented how few kids there were. Most we saw were young kids with their families. Not many teenagers and pre-teens. Some yes, but way less than we have experienced on our other Caribbean cruises. We commented that our kids would have hated that cruise as teens because there was nobody to make friends with. We loved it.
  12. 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..
  13. 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.
  14. 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!!
  15. Liberty, Indy and Freedom all started out with the 4 bedroom Presidential Suite on deck 6 aft. This is now the 4 bedroom Villa suite on Liberty and Freedom. On Indy it was converted into two 2 bedroom Grand Suites. All of the other aft 2 bedroom grand suites on all 3 ships used to be called the Royal Family Suite and have not been reconfigured.
  16. We stayed in what used to be called the Royal FAMILY suite twice on Freedom. Once was during her 2nd year at sea and then again about 7 years ago. They were not formerly one suite; you may be thinking of the Villa suite that is now on Freedom that has 4 bedrooms and was converted from other cabins once we were on deck 8 and then on deck 9. The cabins you are referencing above are the 4 br villa. The 2 BR suites do not have a hot tub. Neither side has an advantage over the other; deck 9 has a better view than 8. Deck 6 does not have a 2br Grand on Freedom 6414 is the result of the suites converted to a 4 br suite with hot tub. Freedom has 4 of these 2 BR suites . Make sure you are watching a YouTube that is post refurb which was 2015!! i suspect your video is old We are staying in one in August
  17. So I was looking at an Ocean Suite room for four guests, and found this, unique to the Freedom: 2 Twin Beds (convert to King), Single Sofa Bed with Convertible Bunk Does anyone have a picture of this set up? Is it similar to an upper pullman? Thanks!
  18. Good observation - in far too many, an effective belief in freedom of speech is as rare as moderation in expression.
  19. 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.
  20. You can visit the 9/11 Memorial without the museum; go to the top of the Freedom Tower; visit the Oculus. All are next to each other. The ferry to JC right there. O
  21. Favorite spot on a Radiance Class is the back of the WJ for lunch. Been on the Radiance 4 times, Brilliance & Serenade once. Largest ship I have sailed on was the Liberty twice and soon to be Freedom next March. Radiance Class offers you great views from inside of the ocean while the Freedom Class doesn't, but love both classes.
  22. 34 days until the Freedom! Was supposed to go on the July 13th Vista trip, but we were able to reschedule for the July 28th Freedom!
  23. 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
  24. We've also stayed a few times in the formerly named RFS on Freedom & Indy always for some reason in #9708..Enjoyed that cabin especially the large balcony..Not sure why they changed the name or that it made any difference.
  25. I think it can depend on the itinerary, type of passenger and number of each type of dining room. On Oriana and Aurora there are roughly equal Club and Freedom places. I believe Early Club and Freedom (which passengers use like Early Club) are most popular. A late non Select booking is likely to Late Club. This is great for us as it is what we like but we tend to book Select anyway. On Oriana I like to know where my cabin is located. Best wishes, Stephen.
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