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jbrinkm

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Everything posted by jbrinkm

  1. Yes, as @delmom18 and @NRWPA said, the attendant has a special key to lock and unlock the connecting door and they are the only ones who can do it. Also, the interior door only swings one direction. We were on what we considered the "wrong" side of the door the last time we had a connecting room with our kids - the door went into their room so they could have manually blocked it from opening, but we could not. Perhaps a large door stop or some other gadget could help fake lock the door from the side it swings in to.
  2. We enjoyed Allure immensely the first time we were on her two years ago. It was our first time on an Oasis class ship and they are impressive. (We didn't enjoy her as much last year, our second time on her, but that is a different story). The aqua show was fantastic and many people like Mamma Mia as the Broadway production. All of the staff were fantastic. Our room felt a little dated and we had some mold in our shower. It was a rounded door so they put a little extra bit of wall there and moisture got trapped in between, causing the mold:
  3. If you go the suite route, you wouldn't need this, but in the planner, there are special occasion gifts that you can purchase and the room will be decorated when you arrive plus cake, choc strawberries, etc.
  4. Looking for feedback on a number of places in Aruba to try to narrow down our sightseeing. We're doing diving & beach (different members of our party) in the morning and then we have a rental car for the rest of the day for non-beach/non-water places on the island. We do love interacting with animals - but I just don't think we want to do the animal garden + the ostrich farm + the donkey sanctuary + the butterfly garden. I'd love feedback on any of the possible stops to help us narrow down what to do. -If you went, did you feel that the time and admission cost was worth it? -Which would you rank over others, if you have been to more than one of these? i.e. Philip's is better than Ostrich farm -How many of these do you think we could fit into one afternoon? (we are not going south to Baby Beach or Arikok for a variety of reasons - we've already narrowed our options down to this list, thank you!) Butterfly Farm ($19/$16) California Lighthouse ($5) Alto Vista (free) Philip’s Animal Garden ($10) Ostrich farm ($15) Natural bridge (free) Donkey Sanctuary (donation) Aloe factory (free)
  5. Here is more info: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147247-i144-k7064019-Snorkeling_From_Shore-Aruba.html
  6. It can be a few minutes after midnight so just keep checking if it doesn't open right away. My latest check-in opened at 12:07am.
  7. I haven't been on Icon, just read a detailed trip report, but I think that I would greatly enjoy the Aquadome Market i.e. food court over any of the complementary options on Oasis class ships. What did you think?
  8. We brought $500 on our last trip, $100 in singles and various denominations for the rest - it WAS a lot of singles so we split it up between us. We came home with quite a bit left, but we didn't want to run short on cash like we did the year before. Two years ago, we ran into several "broken" credit card machines during different excursions and got so low on cash while on Cozumel that we weren't sure we were going to be able to pay the taxi to get back. My husband used his cash for one thing and I used my cash for a different thing (we split up with the kids and then met back up later that day) and we each hoped that the other would have more cash on hand than we did. My 12 year old son ended up saving the day - hearing us talk about it (i.e. panic and freak out), he said "I have cash" and proceeded to open the back of his phone to around $70 in cash that neither of us knew he had with him 🤣 (from his little piggy bank from various birthday and other gifts). We did have more on the ship but still ended up running lower than we felt comfortable that whole trip.
  9. JFK may have gotten better - someone can easily correct me since it has been many years since I flew into that airport on an International flight - but I remember feeling like it was cattle herding there. Everyone from all the flights, all in one big hall/chute, no order, people pushing and shoving to get past each other, dragging luggage over people's feet, etc. I have paid more since that experience to fly from any airport OTHER than JFK. (However, I've never flown into O'Hare on an International flight but the domestic terminals seem fairly well organized - albeit huge...)
  10. If you want to sightsee, you could look into luggage delivery or luggage storage in the city.
  11. Join your roll call and see if anyone wants to meet up for a slot pull, or a social/sport event, or a certain bar, etc.
  12. https://www.aruba.com/us/blog/arubas-top-rated-snorkeling-beaches I know Aruba also has a great bus system also if you want to take the bus to one of these beaches. The bus info is on the same website: https://www.aruba.com/us/plan-your-visit/getting-around-aruba
  13. Liberty is not amped; Freedom and Independence are. Both Freedom and Indy look to have 3-5 night cruises from Miami to different places.
  14. I'm a little confused. When I use insuremytrip, I get a choice of many different policies. Did all of the policies increase in price, or just one particular one that you were looking at? Is there a different policy that you could choose, or did all of them go up? BTW, this just happened to me also but on the Geo Blue site. I put in the ages for travel but they needed the ages right now. That is so weird to me. Also, we needed insurance coverage for a new car recently, but for a different state, and got a quote - but then the car came in a few days sooner and we wanted to bump up the start date. The policy went up by over $100 per six months. If it had been a one time cost, we wouldn't have minded, but it would be $200+/year more, every year going forward. And they couldn't explain why - just that it did and there was no budging them.
  15. Yes, I thought $20 was very reasonable for that. My parents won't have to worry at all about finding chairs at the beach (although they won't have an umbrella... but maybe they can find a tree).
  16. I'd recommend Royal Caribbean. The Freedom Class ships (although I'm not sure which are doing 3-5 days from FL - two are amped with slides and one is not) have interior cabins with Pullman beds that come down from the ceiling and those were fantastic as first cruises for our kiddos. We've since moved up to Oasis class, which are absolutely fantastic ships as well, but unless your kids would share a sofa bed, you have to look for which ones have the trundle style couches or pay more for the bunk bed rooms. Interior rooms are pretty small so it was fantastic to use some of the overhead space for sleeping rather than having another 2 beds set up on the floor and having to get around them. For your teen to have a little privacy (as mine always do), you could rig up fabric with magnets on the ceiling to wrap around the bed and block it off from the rest of the room. Honestly, I'd suggest you contact a good travel agent who might have group rates and pose your question to them for a recommendation. We are not allowed to share TA info on this board, but if you decide to go with Royal, there is another blog - royal caribbean blog dot com - and there is a current thread about finding a good TA in the message boards over there. With cruising, the TA can book for you but you still have control over your vacation. You would still book all of your extras. The TA would just handle any problems that occur between you and the cruise line as far as your room, your fare, etc.
  17. When do you go? I have a rental at the end of March and can check back in after that. We are using Top Drive (a 6 or 7 person automatic SUV) and they had an add on package for $20 that includes 2 chairs, 2 sets of snorkel equipment and a cooler - but I'll have to take the bus down to their meeting point. I'll have my 14 and 17 year olds, as well as my parents. The four of us will scuba dive in the morning while my parents just spend time at one of the beaches north of the port (Eagle/Arashi/Palm). Then we'll take the rental car for lunch and sightseeing, so a little opposite from your plan. We want to be back on the ship for an early dinner, then we'll walk around town for a little more sightseeing after dinner because we depart at 10pm. We have the following potential stopping points but haven't narrowed them down yet: Butterfly Farm Donkey Sanctuary Philip’s Animal Park Ostrich farm Natural bridge (the one that didn't collapse) Alto Vista California Lighthouse Aloe factory @kings2001 Can you remember how much the admission fees were for your trip? That may play a factor in which items we try to squeeze in. @mand75 Would you be willing to report back after you go and tell us how it went?
  18. I know a lot of people go to and enjoy Willem's, but it appears that there are other Dutch Pancake places somewhat near the pier. Has anyone gone to a different place and enjoyed the food? Did you find (that place) less expensive or less crowded?
  19. Would you consider snorkeling from shore instead? There are a few places where you can do that.
  20. You can go in the first day when they register for the program (for us, they just checked them off of a list and punched a "T" on their SeaPass cards). If you are on a ship with a Playmakers, I believe there are also some free games there as well. My teens are also introverted and we ended up connecting with a few other families on a roll call (cruise line specific blog message board, not on here because you can't DM here - some people also use Facebook for their roll call). We all had teens that were a little nervous about the teen club so we met up before the teen meet up, all got to know each other a little, then we all swapped cell numbers and the kids ended up hanging out for the whole cruise. One family even added on an excursion we were doing so the kids could still be together.
  21. It depends on the ship/class - Oasis class includes 12 year olds in the teen group.
  22. We have early fixed dining in the MDR, which we love, but with the menu changes and fewer vegetarian options, on our last cruise, we ended up for second dinner in the MDR several times. We'd grab our Freestyle cups and just hang out with some snacks and watch out over the sports court. Wow, that is appalling.
  23. I'm surprised that Icon went back to 13+ for the teen club. Oasis class puts 12 year olds in with the teen group. My son was 12 when we went on Allure two years ago and he was part of the teen group - which he much preferred than being with the younger kids (he mostly hung with his older sibling).
  24. @DrPepper7 I'm super invested in this now! Would you be willing to come back and share what you end up doing, or posting a pic of the bags when you finish?
  25. I like the idea of magnets - to play with (there are small building kits) and perhaps the kind where you can color the front and then put it on the outside of the cabin doors (something like these). Maybe some little portable games, like mini connect four or card games that can be played easily and quickly. My kids always liked putty, although that comes with its own risks. Do they still sell disposable cameras? Or maybe you can pull together a few outdated/old cell phones with no service for them to take pictures with. Stickers. Little ducks to hide. Lanyards in a style of their likes. Water shoes (I've seen them at Five Below before, another great place to look for some of these items). A special towel. Glow sticks or a special, fun, battery operated night light or battery tea light. A sleep mask (they might find it fun). A tiny beanie or stuffie.
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