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  1. For what its worth...Two is a tough age to cruise with-so much of your time would be spent caring for her and she's not really old enough to enjoy the kids club. My husband and I never got away together after our kids were born. They are teenagers now. Sadly, we didn't have family that could stay with our kids -it would have been really good for our relationship to have time without kids....so I think you should let your child have a special grandparent week and not give it a second thought. Cruising is great for families -if you want a FAMILY vacation. If it is your anniversary-try to go alone (IF you can enjoy yourselves without worrying about your kiddo). If she was old enough to enjoy (and stay) in the kids club then it would be a different story. We only cruise because our kids love it so much-but they could send all day at the kids/teen club and we barely see them. Also having a toddler in tow limits your excursion options. I also wouldn't do the drink or dining package. Maybe do one or two special dinners. The food on board is fine and they have so many options-you probably cant even try all the free options on one cruise. As we learned with the drink package (even with juice and specialty coffee etc) that unless you are a drinker it isn't worth it. My husband can drink 3-4 drinks in a night ONCE in a while but not day after day. And he didn't like the ship coffee and wished he could have Starbucks but felt obligated to drink what he had already paid for. Don't miss the shows. Make a reservation as soon as they open and try to book each show toward the beginning of the cruise in case they have to cancel it-you will still have a chance to go. I was never bored on Oasis Class. There is so much to do and see. We were on Celebrity last summer and gosh I was so bored. You will have a blast.
  2. I'm trying not to panic and it probably isn't a big deal but. This year I told my teenagers that we would all have dinner together in the MDR EVERY night. I booked this cruise over a year and a half ago and I made all my show and dining reservations as soon as they were offered in the cruise planner. Just by happenstance I was looking through our reservations and noticed that my kids are only showing on our dining reservation for the first night- even though I know I made our reservations with all 4 of us each night. The kids are in an adjoining room and have a different reservation number so they had to be added separately. I thought I would just modify our reservations to include them -I figured it was a computer glitch- But when I tried to go back and add the kids to our reservation all the "good" times are gone. I read on another thread that you can literally just show up to the MTD MDR with no reservation. Is that what we should do? is there a better approach?
  3. Just my experience. I get motion sickness. Oddly, I can handle small boats (fishing, jet skiing, zodiac, etc.) just fine. Choppy waters and bouncing don't bother me a bit (I think it's fun). As long as the boat doesn't do donuts (that makes me sick for the rest of the day). Everyone said I would be fine on a ship. I wasn't. I don't know if it is not being able to see the horizon or what-but even on literally the largest cruise ship I get sick. I also learned the hard way that motion sick meds (even the non-drowsy) make me too sleepy to function. Still I pack all the OTC meds and devices I can find when I go on a cruise. Ginger chews, behind the ear patches, Bonine (even though I will lose a whole day to it), the pressure point wrist bands etc. On my last cruise I didn't get sick. At all. The thing I did differently was to put on my OTC (Amazon) "Holistic" patch an hour BEFORE we started moving. Then I just replaced the patches as needed through out the week. I do use two at a time. I had such a delightful trip. We leave again in a few weeks and I am hopeful that this technique will work again.
  4. Jim in Dallas, I was really joking around with the PP as I am the person he doesn't understand. My husband is a sit down and be served sorta person. I don't want to wait. I hate the MDR because I always want to eat and then go go go. So we compromise. Breakfast buffet and slow boring dinner LOL.
  5. My children would say Oasis Class on RCI hands down. They are now teenagers and they are so exciting about our next cruise. My daughter made all these spreadsheets comparing the activities and restaurants on all the major ships/cruise lines (she doesn't care about ports) and she picked Symphony of the Seas for our next trip. I'll admit I love Oasis class ships too. There is so much to do for all ages. It is a really fun atmosphere!
  6. Ah, I can't understand those who do dining room breakfast ha ha. I LOVE even the most abysmal breakfast buffet. I can eat as much fruit as I want and pick the crispiest bacon. 3 types of breakfast potatoes on one plate-yes please!
  7. I can only comment on my personal experience. Getting to see Alaska is awesome-so however you do it DO IT! We did a Seattle to Seattle Alaskan cruise last summer on Celebrity. The cruise was a company bonus so we did not get to pick anything about the experience. We had a suite on Celebrity. The suite dining room was fantastic-the room itself was no big deal. There were a few perks-the best one was getting a private viewing session on the helipad approaching Sawyer Glacier with hot drinks, headphones and a personal naturalist to narrate for us. I really liked the Alaska history/nature educational lectures on Celebrity-they added so much to the trip. The ship was lovely and comfortable and clean-but had a very slow pace (we were bored several times-when there was no scenery). My mother-in-law just did a longer Land and Sea package with Princess. I think the land portion was disappointing for her because the had very bad weather and didn't see much. She seemed to enjoy herself but said she wouldn't cruise Princess again (although she didn't really elaborate on why). The only MUST do for your first Alaska cruise is to make sure you have a balcony. If I could pick my own experience I would probably do a one-way cruise and choose one with as MANY ports as possible. Some people prefer certain glaciers/ports but I think they are all wonderful.
  8. We didn't think the buffet was bad at all. (Its been two years since we were on Royal and we were on an Oasis Class ship if that makes a difference). If you pick the wrong foods it will be terrible-you just have to know what to avoid. If it is normally expensive then its not going to be good on the buffet. Steaks and seafood etc. should be avoided (those are definitely Golden Corral quality). I think "American" foods tend to be weird on cruise ships because the chefs aren't from the US and don't get the subtleties of US comfort foods. The Asian/South East Asian foods are good. Made to order Omelets are better than eggs in the chaffing dish. Some foods are great when fresh and awful after they sit a while (fried things). Fresh veggies, salads, fruits are always good. Breads are usually OK. Some desserts are blah and others are really good. I found that the pizza (in the pizza place) was meh-unless you got the chefs special-which was usually pretty good. Our last cruise was on Celebrity. I didn't really think there was a huge difference in the Celebrity Buffet and the Royal Buffet.
  9. We have only been on Celebrity, NCL and Royal. My kids love the Oasis class ships on RCI. The food is average I agree, but when my kids are happy my husband and I are happy. I think the shows and entertainment on the Oasis class are better than any ship we have been on. They have so many activities and we love the different neighborhoods. Its an adventure just to walk around at night. I also think the itinerary and class of ship and the level of room (suite vs non-suite) can make a big difference in your experience. Celebrity was pretty boring but we were in Alaska so we soaked in the scenery. The food was great but we were in a suite-so we got to eat in the suite only restaurant. For NCL we were in a suite -I don't think I would enjoy NCL if I was in a standard room. We enjoy Royal without upgrading rooms or dining-so that makes a difference for us too.
  10. I'll play devils advocate. My husband got the beverage package and it didn't work for him. He is an occasional drinker. Maybe one day he could make it pay for itself, but he couldn't drink that much everyday for 7 straight days. He didn't like the "fancy coffee" that was included (he even paid out of pocket for Starbucks). Getting a bottle of water was met with sighs and eye rolls and many places flat out said they didn't have any. Getting fresh juice was time consuming and took longer than the meal sometimes. All in all he opted out of getting it for our November cruise. For the record we brought two bottles of wine and one came home with us. So NOT big drinkers. If you can drink at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with cocktails before bed and in the afternoon-and you can do it everyday and you want to drink that much everyday-then it is a deal.
  11. We will be in Coco Cay this November. I imagine my teens might like to sleep in and join us on the beach later in the day. Will they be allowed to leave the ship? Or will we have to trudge back to the ship to meet them so they can leave with us?
  12. Just be aware of packaged meats like sausages. We had so much European meat (think summer sausage-completely sealed and shelf stable) confiscated in US customs on our return home. It was such a waste.
  13. Try the coffee first before committing. My husband didn't care for it and it was one of the reasons he bought the drink package. He would have rather paid for Starbucks...still not his favorite but much better, in his opinion, than the ships specialty coffees.
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