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Everything posted by BensonFan711

  1. What's the expiration date like on those kits? My cruise is at the end of October, so I don't want to buy too early, but if it's good beyond then, it's one more thing to check off the list.
  2. Nothing for October specifically has been announced, aside from the testing and vaccination requirements applicable to the end of the year. I doubt anything will come out until closer to the end of September, since the situation is changing quite rapidly. You're best bet is to check the "Health Sailing" page frequently leading up to your cruise to make sure you have all of the necessary requirements. If you're not able or willing to do that, the best thing to do is to contact RCL or your TA to determine what your options are.
  3. I'm 60 days out and still waiting on luggage tags. Worst case scenario, the bags will get tagged at the pier. My bigger concern is making sure I remember to schedule my Covid test when that opens.
  4. Insurance and the government program will pay for tests deemed "medically necessary." Travel is not in this category, and most places will charge you to do testing for travel. For me, there's an Urgent Care near me that will do rapid NAAT (listed on RCL's website and accepted) testing and hand you the results in 15 minutes for $160. Considering what I already have invested, and the fact that I just want to get on the ship, I'll fork over the cash to get my results on time and not have this added stress.
  5. LOL....Google is search engine, not a source...nice try though. There are plenty of articles being written about this, and there’s an entire Internet for you to verify the information. so, what you’re saying is that your personal experience, which is statistically insignificant, is what’s real. Sure. Ok. Excuse me while I ignore the multitude of cases that refute that.
  6. LOL.....that wasn't a personal attack, but nice try.
  7. My source? Do a Google search. Duh. You can find the answer to that as there are several articles out there. You got lucky on airfare and hotel. 90 days from March 10 is JUNE 10.....*checks calendar* it's still May. Chil, and don't be a jerk. There are too many of those as it is.
  8. Just want to point out a few things here..... 1. It's not just RCL. EVERY cruise line is having this problem currently, and they're all doing the best they can to get through it. 2. Every passenger for every ship since mid-March has to a) provide preference of FCC or refund (you don't get in the refund queue until you do this) and b) has to be processed. They're not working in their offices anymore than the rest of us capable of working from home. It's a lot of refunds to process, and it takes time. 3. The lag may not be with RCL; it could be with your bank. Banks are ALSO on modified working arrangements, and in some cases, people are being pulled in from other departments to handle the influx of traffic from the travel sector as a whole. Because these transactions run into the thousands, the process is more complicated than if you, say, retrned a ***** to Macy's for $50. There's more scrutiny to it in order to prevent fraud or erroneous transactions (my brother works for a bank...it's crazy at the moment). 4. Due to the sheer volume of passengers that have to be refunded, it's not going to be as quick as if the ship was still sailing and you were one of a handful that decided to cancel. The average time for refund is running about 90 days - for all cruise lines, hotels, and airlines. 5. Refunds usually come as a reversal of charges based on payments you made. So, if you paid for your cruise in 3 installments, you will likely get 3 separate refunds as opposed to one lump sum. Patience is extremely important at the moment, and while I can understand the frustration, please remember that no one is doing this to spite you personally. It's simply another case of a company that got blindsided by COVID-19 and the global impact (like many companies did).
  9. I would book. In fact, I *did* book in March the week things shut down. I have my trip insured (and you can check your policy before you purchase). Now, I generally pay of my cruise rather quickly to have it over and done with, but I have set autopayments for this one for the absolute last day possible (my TA set it all up for me), just in case there's a cancellation. Royal has been making some pretty great offers for cancellations, too. What I've seen so far has been a choice of 100% refund or 125% future cruise credit. Do I think they'll go bankrupt? I hope not...I have stock! 🙂
  10. Doubtful. The entire industry got whacked pretty hard to the same degree. No company is really in a position to buy any other. Instead, they'll be focused on their own operations and not really looking into acquiring new problems. We're seeing this in other industries, too. Companies that are in prime positions to be acquired aren't because the ones who would be the "buyers" are in their own turmoil.
  11. My TA was on hold with them for 3 hours today, and she says it's been like that all week. Their system shuts down when they reach 200 calls on hold. Best bet is to call EARLY.
  12. I just got back from a cruise with 3 other couples, and we just went to the MDR on the first day and made reservations for the week. One person can do it for the entire group, and as long as you have all of the cabin numbers, it won't matter what room number your party gives.
  13. I've never had a cruise flight get so much as a delay.....BUT, I've been on plenty of other flights where there were delays or cancellations. Air travel can be fickle. At an absolute minimum, I leave the day before the cruise, on the first flight out. That gives me a full 24 hours to screw around with airlines if I need to before we really run into problems. It's well worth the cost of the hotel room, just for the piece of mind. The superstitious part of me is also convince that the ONE time I think I know better and try to save costs on that hotel room is the time it will all fall apart. The ONLY city I travel to for a day of cruise is Boston....and only because that's a 30 minute cab ride from my house. An hour with traffic.
  14. Well, that's a bummer! I really liked the Dreamworks movie channel...I generally put it on in the mornings for noise while I'm getting ready.
  15. I did a B2B on Oasis about 2 years ago in two different rooms. Towards the end of the cruise, they'll leave a notice for you that explains exactly what you need to do, but yes, the crew will move your luggage for you. The notice will also explain where you are to go on turnaround day to have your new ship cards issued for the second week, and all B2B cruisers will have to go through Customs and reboard the ship (I'm sure this is some regulation somewhere, and the ship really can't do much about it). It's quick, and once you're done, you're free to do whatever you like. When I was there, we were given tickets to a complementary lunch at Giovanni's table on turnaround day.
  16. My recommendation would be Royal Caribbean. Royal has a partnership with Dreamworks, so there are character breakfasts and photo ops for the kids, ans well as other Dreamworks themed events. But, many ships also have a Solarium, which is an adult-only area with a pool (in most cases....check out the deck plans for the specific ship you're considering, if this is something you want) where the adults can hang out. And, on the Oasis class ships, there's a recreational pool and a sports pool, plus a kids swim area. All of the Royal ships will have kids clubs (I believe there's an extra charge, but from what I've heard, it's worth it)! Plus, they have family friendly entertainment earlier in the evening and adult only entertainment later in the evening. The menu is great for little ones with picky taste buds, and there will be plenty for the adults to choose from as well. If you're game for a big ship, I highly recommend Oasis or Allure of the Seas. Oasis is actually my favorite ship, and I plan to sail her again in the near future. If you want something a bit smaller, I'd recommend something like Freedom or Independence of the Seas. Good luck, and have a great trip!
  17. Actually, yes, your friend IS more loyal to Royal. Those 5 cruise added up to 80 points, which is 40-80 nights, depending on whether or not there were double points on any of them. Your 11 cruises could have been 3 or 4 nights each, and unless you got double points on all of them, you didn’t get close to 80 points. Double points for suites are because of the price difference. A JS (generally) is about 2x the price of an interior - you get rewarded for that. Virtually every single business works this way. Ever change cell phone companies? If you have an individual plan with one phone, you won’t get much incentive to stay. Manage a corporate account? They will TRIP over themselves to keep you. I’ve been a decision maker in vendor selection in my professional life, and this happens every single day - the more money you spend with a particular company, the more appealing you are as a customer, and the more effort they will expend to keep you. Also, I never said I wasn’t nice to the guy buying groceries (or coffee, in your scenario). What I said is that I’m not going to offers a whole lot of discounts or perks, if that customer chooses to shop elsewhere. Same is true with Royal - the ship crew is (generally) a nice bunch who do their best to create a good trip for you. But, they have zero control over the rewards system - that comes from corporate. It’s not personal; it’s business. The better the customer (which means money spent); the more you work to keep them.
  18. Yep.....just because you book a specific category doesn't mean that's the category you'll be in. It means that's the LOWEST category you'll be in. Guarantee rooms are great...but only if you literally don't care where your cabin is (I pretty much only sail GTY). You can get a great deal on them, but it sounds like you have strong opinions over where you want your cabin, so I wouldn't recommend it for you, no matter how attractive the price is.
  19. Nope, you can specify at check out if you want to apply the credit towards the purchase or use a credit card. Single means (in theory) the entire $150 would go into your account. BofA and/or Royal isn't so good with this because my then-boyfriend was able to snipe my $100 credit I got from points. I was NOT happy. Shared means the whole thing will show up on the cruise planner for both of you and the first person to use it gets it (this is how my credit got swiped). At least a week before sailing. I just cashed in my points for OBC last week for a cruise I'm going on on the 27th.
  20. You're absolutely free to go check out the competition, and if you can get your gum cheaper somewhere else, more power to you. As the store owner, you aren't really budging my bottom line much, so what incentive do *I* have to retain *you*? You haven't given me any incentives either. Business is a two way street - the business has to be attractive to the customer, but the customer also must be attractive to the business. Cruising is no different. Repeat cruisers tend to fall into one of two categories - brand loyalists and deal hunters. Royal wants to take care of their brand loyalists, because those are the cruisers that will sail Royal and only Royal....unless Royal pisses them off to the point where they go shopping for another line. Deal hunters are just that - they book based on price, itinerary, sail date, etc, and they're not particular about which cruise line they sail on. If you've only done a few cruises with Royal, they're not sure yet which category you fall into. So yes, you get a few small perks for coming back (there's you meager incentive for you so far meager business), but there's not much incentive yet for them to give you deep discounts or any perk that's more than a nominal value. They'll give the big incentives to their brand loyalists, who come back cruise after cruise. All Royal has to do to get a deal hunter back is offer the best deal. Perks are irrelevant to those types of customers. As for that specific sale, since I don't have it in front of me, there's not much to say about it. My guess (and it's just a guess) is that there was something in the Terms & Conditions about who it applies to because there always is. No, I don't agree that Royal runs "fake sales" because the conditions are always spelled out in the fine print, if you take the time to read it.
  21. First off, I was speaking in general terms, not just about that specific promotion, which is obviously aimed at new to Royal cruisers. Secondly, you missed my point. At Platinum, you’re not a “loyal customer.” That label comes with Diamond, when you start seeing some really good perks. If I run a convenience store, and you come In and buy a pack of gum once a week, and threaten to leave, fine. You don’t spend enough in my store to be worth the effort to try to keep you. But, if you come in and buy, say, 10 cartons of cigarettes per week (yes, smoking is gross, but they turn a nice profit for convenience stores), that equates to about $120/week. Yes, I will spend some effort to keep your business. Airlines do the exact same thing. They will bend over backwards for their frequent flyers, but if you haven’t hit that status, you’re not one of their “loyal customers” they have any interest in trying to retain. You can become one of those customers, and you do it by flying a lot. Same thing with cruise lines. The difference is they give you “status” after your first cruise. I use that term loosely because and airline certainly won’t do that after 1 flight (generally...I got Silver on my flight to Australia, and that was one of the longest flights available in the world). But as far as actual status goes, Royal hasn’t done enough business with you until you reach Diamond for there to be motivation for customer retention.
  22. Oh, for the love of all things holy..... First off, yes, of course you'd give discounts to first time cruisers. Two reasons: 1. You're giving people their very first cruise experience, which will likely result in brand loyalty OR 2. You're trying to poach customers from competitors (I gave up my NCL status to switch to Royal because of several factors....and I'm not the only one to ever do that). Now, let's look at this criticially. You say you're Platinum, correct? Ok, you've spent 15-30 nights on Royal Caribbean cruise ships (depending on your stateroom category, some of those could have been double points). I hate to break this to you, but you haven't actually spent a lot of money with Royal Caribbean. That's 2-8 cruises, depending on how long you cruised for and what your point accrual was during those trips. It seems like you're expecting them to give you every promotion out there, even the ones that you aren't the target demographic for. You're in that weird space between being a new customer and being a preferred customer worth keeping. There's a solution to this, of course. Work your way up the tiers and hit Diamond. At the moment, you're still paying your dues.
  23. Nope. I don't even do US cruises with same day flights. Couple of things to consider here: 1. A good headwind will delay you by several hours. 2. Airlines are notoriously fussy. The day you NEED everything to go perfectly is the day it will be a phenomenal disaster. 3. Jet lag. I've travelled from the east coast of the US to Melbourne Australia, and it takes a good 3-4 days to even start to acclimate to the time change. If I were in your shoes, I would do a few days in a hotel BEFORE the cruise instead of AFTER.
  24. Oooooo.....my FAVORITE kind of post! Walmart of the Seas....lol....yep! That's how I understand Carnival to be. They're the cheapest in the game, and so....yeah. Anyway, let's talk about Oasis. First of all, I love Oasis; she's my favorite ship by far. Let's go through some of your concerns one by one: Deck 10 or 11 is great. Both are sandwiched between other passenger cabin decks, though if you're toward the aft stairwell, I'd go for 11 over 12. The reason for that is that Dazzles is located on Deck 9 by the aft stairwell. If you're sensitive to noise, you may or may not be able to hear something from there. Personally, I've found that the rooms in Oasis are pretty quiet....I was on Deck 3 under the casino and heard absolutely nothing on the second week of my back to back (hey....I paid almost nothing for that week; totally worth it) 1. Food and drink packages - you will have to select your dining option (early seating, late seating, or MyTime), but none of those are an additional fee. You can book specialty dining and beverage packages through the cruise planner after booking (it could take 1-2 days to pop up on Royal's site). 2. Personally, I recommend doing some research and getting a TA. They'll handle rate changes for you. If you want to go through Royal, then you can cancel and rebook up until the final payment date. However, it will be on YOU to monitor, not the cruiseline. I have a TA do it, so I'm not sure if it freezes once you make your final payment or not. If it does, I would personally hold off on final payment until the last day to be able to cancel and rebook. 3. Oasis is a BIG ship, but she's wonderful. Prebook your shows, and anything else you want to do. Anything can be cancelled and refunded. The shows onboard are free, so if you don't go, no big deal. I booked shows for every night of my trip, and only went to about half of them. I'm a cruise geek, and I personally go on YouTube and watch ship tours before I sail so that I'm not totally disoriented when I get there.
  25. the insurance company still gets a ton of business from Royal, which creates a conflict of interest. I don’t buy flight insurance through airlines for the same reason. I either buy it through my TA or my bank. I want someone I know - for sure - is working for ME. Given how many issues people have had with insurance booked through Royal, my hunch doesn’t seem to be so wrong.
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