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  #1  
Old August 25th, 2008, 06:56 PM
melissa@cruisecritic melissa@cruisecritic is offline
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Default Chat With Special Guest Bennie (a.k.a. Chris Harms)!

Have you seen a little blue bear living it up on Royal Caribbean cruise ships? That's Bennie, and he's joining us -- well, his owner Chris Harms is, anyway -- to talk about his cruise experience and how you can take him along on your next trip (oh, and to gossip about Oasis of the Seas, of course!).

Chris Harms (a.k.a. Cruiserccl) is starting high school next week, but he's no freshman when it comes to cruising -- he's been on eight cruises to date and is now such a fan of taking to the sea that his entire bedroom is decorated with cruise ship memorabilia. But beyond that, you may know Chris by way of his pal Bennie, a Beanie Baby who's a bit of a celebrity on the Royal Caribbean forum. Since March 2008, Bennie has been traveling from ship to ship -- each time with a different Cruise Critic member. Chris founded and runs the popular program via Bennie's very own Web site, wheresbennie.com, where you can read about his travels on various ships on various itineraries.

So how can you take Bennie on a cruise ... and when will he be making his debut aboard Oasis of the Seas (after all, the bear's booked solid well into 2009)? What's Bennie's biggest achievement to date: Dinner with the captain, a parasailing excursion or something far more exciting? Has Bennie ever "missed the boat"?

We've finagled some time with Chris, who's taking a time out from his busy social calendar of back-to-school shopping and end-of-summer parties to answer all of your questions in this special Q&A -- exclusive to Cruise Critic! He'll also be able to talk about cruising from his own unique perspective, discussing how cruise lines can make the cruise experience even better for kids and teens -- and what it is about Oasis of the Seas in particular (from the Boardwalk to areas well beyond) that could make it the holy grail of family vacations.

Bennie (and Chris) might also venture a few guesses as to what's going to be revealed about Oasis of the Seas during the event, and would certainly love to hear yours!

Post your questions below; Chris will answer as many as possible from 6:30 until 7 p.m. EDT on August 26 -- but feel free to post questions beforehand. Our Q&A will be available to read all through the week.
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Last edited by melissa@cruisecritic; August 25th, 2008 at 10:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old August 25th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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RCCLCARIB RCCLCARIB is offline
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Chris,

I have several questions:
  1. How old were you when you took your first cruise?
  2. Do you want to end up in the cruise industry-specifically RCCL?
  3. Is Diamond Plus in your future??
Congrats on having a spotlight on cruise critic!
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  #3  
Old August 25th, 2008, 11:27 PM
cruiseformesesame cruiseformesesame is offline
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As a friend, I know you work very hard on this Bennie web site. But, how do you manage your social life with all this work Bennie has brought?

Last edited by cruiseformesesame; August 25th, 2008 at 11:31 PM.
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  #4  
Old August 26th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Hi Chris,

Thanks for answering our questions! I'd love to know whether your friends like cruising too. As a teenager I'm not sure whether I would have liked cruising myself -- what do you think is appealing about it to teens?
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  #5  
Old August 26th, 2008, 02:16 PM
Kate Monster Kate Monster is offline
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Default Other traveling stuffed animals?

Hi Chris and Bennie,

I always travel with a stuffed moose and he's been on lots of cruises. Does Bennie ever make friends with other stuffed animals onboard? Perhaps cruise lines should start stuffed animal meet-n-greets...Friends of Fluffy, anyone?
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  #6  
Old August 26th, 2008, 04:37 PM
iTourist iTourist is offline
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I have a question. Won't you be in bed before the "party"?
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  #7  
Old August 26th, 2008, 04:59 PM
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I'm curious to know when Bennie plans to cruise on Oasis of the Seas, is he scheduled to go already? And are you going with him, Chris?
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Last edited by kimberly@cruisecritic; August 26th, 2008 at 05:00 PM.
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  #8  
Old August 26th, 2008, 05:51 PM
mecruiselongtime mecruiselongtime is offline
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Hi Chris,

How do you make sure that Bennie doesn't get stolen (or tossed overboard, or left behind on a ship)? What's your screening process for cruisers who want to sail with Bennie?

Thanks!
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  #9  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:16 PM
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Chris, congrats on this great idea you've created and all the popularity it's gained!
And to be completely OT for a second, good luck in HS. I just started my Sophomore year and can say that Freshman year was pretty fun.

Anyway,
I'm also interested in knowing the answer to mecruiselongtime's question above and RCCLCARIB's questions (especially the one about if you plan to work in the industry some day).
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  #10  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:26 PM
waitingforoasis waitingforoasis is offline
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OMG! I want to take Bennie on a cruise someday!

Chris, what do your parents think about this project? I think it's great to see you being so entreprenurial at your age!

What's the one thing that Royal Caribbean could put on this ship that would blow your mind? Is there anything you are disappointed in so far?

~~* Pam *~~
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  #11  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCCLCARIB View Post
Chris,

I have several questions:
  1. How old were you when you took your first cruise?
  2. Do you want to end up in the cruise industry-specifically RCCL?
  3. Is Diamond Plus in your future??
Congrats on having a spotlight on cruise critic!
To start off I would like to say thanks to all that have asked questions and to Cruise Critic for letting me have this opportunity! And if you still have a question to ask you can still ask it below!

1.I was 8 years old when I took my first cruise back in 2003. It was aboard the Radiance Of The Seas.

2.I would love to work in the cruise industry especially for Royal Caribbean! My dream is that one day I would be the president of Royal Caribbean! My other passion is for politics and if the cruise industry does not work out I would like to run for office one day!

3. Yes I can see diamond plus in the future! Im really grateful that I am already diamond at such a young age and I have my parents to thank for that but I am only 14 and I still have many, many more years to cruise!
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #12  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiseformesesame View Post
As a friend, I know you work very hard on this Bennie web site. But, how do you manage your social life with all this work Bennie has brought?
You know when I first thought of the idea of a “Royal Caribbean Traveling Bear” I never would have thought Bennie would be this popular today! That’s a tricky question I guess that when ever I have a free minute I spend it on Bennie but I don’t let my “work” interfere with my school or social life!
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #13  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soliteyah View Post
Hi Chris,

Thanks for answering our questions! I'd love to know whether your friends like cruising too. As a teenager I'm not sure whether I would have liked cruising myself -- what do you think is appealing about it to teens?
You know my friends have cruised before but are not even as close as into it as i am. Some of my friends don't even know what ship they were on and stuff like that some will say "ohhh it had 2 pools" and stuff like that. I think cruising appeals to teens because they are allowed to go free away from there parents with the parents knowing there's no where they can go! There's also soooooo much to do aboard these ship now especially with the new Oasis!
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #14  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Cruiserccl Cruiserccl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate Monster View Post
Hi Chris and Bennie,

I always travel with a stuffed moose and he's been on lots of cruises. Does Bennie ever make friends with other stuffed animals onboard? Perhaps cruise lines should start stuffed animal meet-n-greets...Friends of Fluffy, anyone?
Thanks for your question! When Bennie first came back to me after being at sea for about a month i was very surprised to see all the things he was traveling with that i did not put in there. There were clothes and other stuffed bears that he was traveling with. So yes Bennie does travel with different stuff and other items are always welcome! Also there are some pictures of Bennie's other traveling mates he has meet up with on Bennie's website! www.wheresbennie.com
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011

Last edited by melissa@cruisecritic; August 26th, 2008 at 06:47 PM.
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  #15  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:47 PM
melissa@cruisecritic melissa@cruisecritic is offline
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Hi Chris -- wow, great questions (and answers) already! Thanks for joining us.

I'd like to know something, too. As a younger cruiser, do you stick to the Windjammer and Johnny Rockets...or do you like to try meals in the main dining room or specialty restaurants with your parents? I am sure for some parents, feeding their kids while traveling is an issue!
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  #16  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:48 PM
Cruiserccl's Avatar
Cruiserccl Cruiserccl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmiekaz View Post
I'm curious to know when Bennie plans to cruise on Oasis of the Seas, is he scheduled to go already? And are you going with him, Chris?
Bennie is already booked on 2 Oasis cruises! I will be taking Bennie on the maiden voyage and on January 2, 2010!
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #17  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:53 PM
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Cruiserccl Cruiserccl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecruiselongtime View Post
Hi Chris,

How do you make sure that Bennie doesn't get stolen (or tossed overboard, or left behind on a ship)? What's your screening process for cruisers who want to sail with Bennie?

Thanks!
Great question! There's really no "screening process" to decide who takes Bennie and who doesn't but i do use good judgement to decide who takes Bennie and who doesn't. Also i will look on Cruise Critic to see if the member who want to take Bennie is a regular poster and after exchanging a few emails with the person i can get a feel if this person is serious about taking Bennie or if they are just taking Bennie for the heck of it.
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #18  
Old August 26th, 2008, 06:56 PM
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Laurie12820 Laurie12820 is offline
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I just wanted to say that you rock Chris and that DH and I enjoyed being able to take Bennie on one of his first few cruises. We are sad that he won't be joining us on the Liberty next August, but we hope Bennie has a great time with whomever he will be with. You've started a great thing!
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Disney Magic - July 8, 2012 - NE/Canada (DD's 1st Cruise!)
Grandeur of the Seas - January 5, 2009 - W. Caribbean (Babymoon)

Mariner of the Seas - May 11, 2008 - E. Caribbean (2nd Anniversary)
Enchantment of the Seas - July 16, 2007 - W. Caribbean (1st Anniversary Cruise)
Empress of the Seas - July 15, 2006 - Philly - Bermuda (Honeymoon Cruise)
Nordic Empress - August 25, 2002 - NY - Bermuda
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  #19  
Old August 26th, 2008, 07:00 PM
Cruiserccl's Avatar
Cruiserccl Cruiserccl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waitingforoasis View Post
OMG! I want to take Bennie on a cruise someday!

Chris, what do your parents think about this project? I think it's great to see you being so entreprenurial at your age!

What's the one thing that Royal Caribbean could put on this ship that would blow your mind? Is there anything you are disappointed in so far?

~~* Pam *~~
Just send me and email with your request and hopefully Bennie will be available (www.wheresbennie.com)! My parents are really supportive with Bennie and cruising in general. When i first told my parents about Bennie they thought it was a GREAT idea. My dad gave me a few helpful tips on what i should do and stuff like that but basically i created Bennie's website and stuff by myself. Royal Caribbean has already blown my mind away with the Oasis but i would like to see a "water park" aboard one day. I dont think theres anything im disappointed about so far but i would like to see the Oasis sail a little bit sooner! lol!
__________________
Well Yes I Am From Wisconsin thread!
Past Cruises At Only 15!
2003 Radiance Of The Seas
2004 Mariner Of The Seas
2005 Mariner Of The Seas
2006 Voyager Of The Seas
2007 Explorer Of The Seas Mariner Of The Seas
2008 Voyager Of The Seas
2009 Mariner Of The Seas (Inaugural Cruise From LA),Liberty Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas (Pacific Coastal) Oasis Of The Seas (First Pre-inaugural plus front row seats for Rihanna!) Oasis Of The Seas (TV Crew, Interviews, A Dream Come True!) Oasis Of The Seas (Inaugural)
2010 Oasis Of The Seas
I'm now Diamond Plus!

NEXT UP:




Allure Of The Seas December 5, 2010
Allure Of The Seas January 2, 2011
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  #20  
Old August 26th, 2008, 07:02 PM
SuziClue SuziClue is offline
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Hi, Chris! Will any UK cruisers be traveling with Bennie anytime soon?
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