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Everything posted by twins_to_alaska

  1. Ah, I hope that's still true. Although if I found a lower price with 48 hours I'd reprice lower instead of just getting the difference in OBC.
  2. When you make the booking and get to Who's Traveling put in passenger information page on the left there is a small link for View cancellation policy. You have to click on that to see the new Best Price Guarantee as I copied above.
  3. Go and make a fake booking. You have to look for it. But I just made one again this morning and copied and pasted what I showed above.
  4. In the past even pre-Covid you could reprice if the price went lower before final payment. Now it looks like you can only reprice within the first 48 hours of booking and then can't reprice lower if the price drops. That's a big change.
  5. That one no longer applies to new bookings, had to book by March 21, 2022. It was a generous 48 hours before you sail... note the new wording. New booking has BEST PRICE GUARANTEE You will have 48 hours after you reserve to find a lower price. If you do, you will receive 100% of the difference applied to your reservation as an onboard credit. This lowest rate must be a rate publicly advertised by Royal Caribbean International. Program terms and conditions apply.
  6. This is what it says when booking BEST PRICE GUARANTEE You will have 48 hours after you reserve to find a lower price. If you do, you will receive 100% of the difference applied to your reservation as an onboard credit. This lowest rate must be a rate publicly advertised by Royal Caribbean International. Program terms and conditions apply.
  7. I wondered if they'd let you reprice with price drops myself after booking a cruise yesterday (with a refundable deposit) and saw that it said you had 48 hours to find a better price and if you did they'd give you the difference in FCC... made it seem like no more repricing after that. @Ourusualbeach? any word on whether no longer allowing to reprice lower?
  8. I woke at 5:15 and decided I'd slept enough. I hung out on my balcony as we approached Miami. Still quiet and dark and magical. I got up to the Windjammer at 5:59. A few dozen folk were waiting. They opened 6:03. Piled my plate with waffles, bacon, and sausage and picked up a pulpy OJ. Back to my balcony for the final meal. Freedom got to the end of the water and slowly turned around. She can turn on a dime! 6:14 we were approaching Terminal A. By 6:40 I'd showered and was packing up. Self Assist Walk-off was 7:15-7:45. The Key was in the 7:45 departure group but I wasn't waiting for that. Left my room at 7:10. I thought I'd need the 'elevator up to go down' method but the elevators weren't busy yet and I just went down to Deck 4. Chose Aft. Line stretched outside the dining room. In line I was talking to a man behind me for a bit before I realized his wife and two boys were in front of me. A single large suitcase for all of them! I wish I were that efficient a packer. I had mentioned that my first cruise I didn't have my sea pass card ready to scan leaving and had to dig it out. His wife mustn't have heard because she was missing one of their son's cards. Had to find and fish through the passports and be double checked while those behind waited and wished they were in the other line. I was off the ship by 7:50 and it was a straight non-stop walk to Customs and Border Protection's facial recognition camera. Temporarily pulled down my mask and kept walking outside to the right to the front of the taxi line. $27 flat-rate fee from Port of Miami to MIA airport. Very little traffic that Monday morning going in my direction. I had TSA pre-check but the regular line was as short and ended up being quicker as the TSA agent wouldn't let a family in front of me through. Not sure the issue but she offered to help with their luggage and stroller back out the line. She was the only agent in the TSA line and I chose to wait for her to return as I had plenty of time. At my gate by 8:25 and backtracked to a small empty gate (must be for prop plane?) for the hour and 20 minute wait until mine boarded. I was on the plane at 9:55. It was a terrific trip! Really glad I finally made it to Coco Cay and lucked out with a truly perfect day there. Nassau I'd probably just stay on the ship next time unless the Taylors come out of retirement. I'd take another Royal Cruise. Thanks for reading!
  9. I was there May 7 on Freedom. Cruisemapper said just Freedom but Independence had switched their Nassau/Coco Cay days and they got there just before us. I did snorkeling from Chill Island and also spent time at Beach Club. Neither were crowded. It was a lovely day.
  10. I was there May 7. I chose to stop and sign the waiver and get a free vest at the Snorkel Shack on my way to the water. First one in! Later in the day there were a lot of folk close to shore snorkeling without a vest. You don't have to blow it up and it wasn't very annoying to wear.
  11. Up to the Windjammer for a late lunch after changing to regular clothes. I discovered the lemonade for the first time! So refreshing and pulpy. I had been drinking lemon lime sparkling water from the Freestyle machine for meals. The lemonade was much better. The rain had stopped so ate outside on the balcony then had some reading time. Back into swim clothes for the Perfect Storm but it had lines so only went down twice. Got a mango daiquiri from the Lime and Coconut. Happened to talk with a man waiting for drinks who had also been at Margaritaville Resort! They hadn't arrived until after 11 and his wife told him the 4th floor area was for hotel guests only so they didn't make it to the infinity pool or get much time in before the thundering rain. They'd enjoyed the lazy river. Last wash/wring/hang of the swim clothes and returned my towels. Verified my count out was back to 0. Flavors of the Caribbean dinner was just so-so so I didn't eat all of it, but I made up for the lost calories with two satisfying desserts - the fudgy chocolate cake I'd been eying all cruise and a slice of almond pie. Two more glasses of lemonade. To give my stateroom attendant a chance for a final visit I popped up to the Dunes 9 hole mini golf. Left cash for him in the envelope for extra tips that had been left on my bed along with The Key luggage tags and disembarkation information. The golf course is very basic but I had fun. Laughed a lot trying a dozen+ times to get the ball up the conch ramp. One last bar stop for a peach daiquiri. Felt I just about got my money's worth from the $16.99/day refreshment package. A longer trip I'd probably just buy drinks individually. And drink lots more lemonade! The Key was worth it to me for $17.99/day. I didn't use it for embarking, disembarking, final dining room breakfast, activities, or show seating but I was going to buy the internet anyway. I really enjoyed the Chops menu lunch. Dropping off my carry-on luggage was the unexpected best part. The Beach Club I'm glad I experienced for $88.46. I don't think it was worth it. I didn't take advantage of raising the flag on the table nearest my lounger to have drinks brought to me... just went to the bar and got and returned myself. The bar was quieter, the loungers more padded and sparsely spaced, the lunch excellent, and the emptier water view pretty, but I think I'd be happy spending the day at Chill Island and snorkeling more. Quiet evening reading and some packing. I was walking off so didn't need the luggage tags. Had a 10:15a MIA flight home.
  12. My sister-in-law (vaccinated once boosted) was positive even on antigen tests for over two weeks with (probably) Omicron. Hope you have a lighter case and you're negative soon. Wishing you patience, hot water, and quick meals.
  13. I walked around the pool and down the stairs to inspect the sandy clean beach. Waded in the shallow water. Plenty of loungers. Not many umbrellas up but lots ready. There was one large anchored floating mat in the water and another being towed out. One of the friendly employees told me they're popular just to lie or sit on and I should come back later and try them. View not as pretty as Coco Cay. I climbed the stairs to the 4th floor balcony. Folk were in the big hot tub. Wow, what a view! Independence and Freedom off to the right, private beach in front, and public beach to the left. The beaches were only sparsely populated throughout the day. Here's a still from a short youtube drone view. The water park was supposed to open at 10 but the lazy river was running so I grabbed a tube. Adeline had warned me it was a very lazy river, not a rapids. I was eager to see if I'd enjoy my first one. ... It's ok, a little boring. Probably more fun if you had pals in other tubes with you. The river split at times and several water features splashed you. Third time around it started raining and I remembered I'd left the paperback borrowed from my husband - Larry Niven's Neutron Star a collection of short sci-fi stories - on a lounger near Adeline and not in the locker! Uhoh. It was luckily a short light rain shower. Minimal water damage. After safely stowing the paperback I visited the larger pink and blue water slides. The insides are pitch black. The employee supervising asked me what I thought of that. Quite unexpected. He said some find them too claustrophobic. I've done caving so that didn't bother me. They weren't as long or high as the Perfect Storm slides but they were there and empty so I went down 4 times each. They ended side by side in a small pool instead of the water troughs like on the ship. I asked about the 10' jump and the employee showed me where it was around the corner part way up the slide stairs. It took a bit of nerve to jump as I've got arachnophobia and acrophobia. Takes a while to resurface. Once was enough. Grabbed my sunscreen and paperback from the locker and back to the 4th floor. There were two rows of loungers. The first row was right at the edge of the infinity pool. The second was empty so I took one of those loungers next to an umbrella at the quiet end away from the hot tub. Just wow again for the infinity pool. Slightly cool water and shallow for the first half left to right then down a few stairs to the deeper part fronting the breaches where the water ran over the edge. I saw someone kayaking and a couple taking turns with the paddle board. A great view of the waterpark, too, including the 10' jump, which some were enjoying more than me. I spent most of my remaining time here. Another longer harder shower came through and cleared off all but 2 other guests for a while. Many seemed to be from the hotel. I hunkered down under my umbrella until it passed. Alternated lounging/reading and in the pool. There was a super clean restroom on that level around the corner. Also an unmanned towel stand which I patronized. Just before 1 pm the clouds rolled in again more menacing with the forecasted thunderstorms. The SurfRider had been running but when I got downstairs they had shut it down for the storm duration. I would have tried it. Too busy onboard. I did a final lap around the lazy river and as it had started raining harder and thundering I decided to call it a day and head back to the ship. I had worn my swimsuit clothes and had my belongings in a large ziplock bag so getting wet wasn't a worry but lightning was to be avoided. Joined with lots of folk heading back to the ship. There were lines but not long wait to show ship card and ID at cruise port security. Entering Freedom was just walk on.
  14. I know the Ranger coconut cookies are a fan favorite so I was looking forward to trying. I prefer a softer chewy cookie vs a hard crisp one which is how they were.
  15. Mother's Day and Nassau. I heard the rain overnight and woke to a full rainbow! Colors were more vivid in person. Lucky to be on the right side (literally) of the ship. My other cruise stop in Nassau I'd done a truly private (just me!) morning snorkel excursion with Basil and Kathy Taylor, owners of Blue Hole Watersports. Kathy had come along as chaperone. Awesome experience. Later in the day I'd gone out with Bahamas Adventures through Celebrity. I had my own mask and snorkel but had relied on them for fins and found once we got to the snorkel site that they only had 1 pair size 7-9 and 4 ladies who wanted them. Unbelievable. I had chatted with the crew about how excited I was to be snorkeling as we motored out and they gave me the fins. After that I bought my travel fins. Kathy had emailed at the start of the pandemic wishing my family well and sharing their faith as Jehovah's Witnesses and I'd emailed back. I emailed before this trip and found they had been forced into early retirement. Decided against a ship excursion. Margaritaville Beach Resort had opened and I bought their day pass from resportpass for $59 in February. It later went up to $79. Forecast was for thunderstorms in the afternoon but the day started dry. I lucked out with docking as Independence was closer to the cruise terminal and my cabin faced the water this time instead of them. Picked up a plate of standard breakfast fare with some delicious pulpy orange juice for a relaxed meal on my balcony. No line getting off the ship. The cruise terminal area was under construction. Walked over to Margaritaville. Not many folk out and about early but felt safe on the walk over. By 9 I had checked in and received orientation from Adeline. Paid $16 for a locker. The locker key was on a waterproof elastic coily wristlet. The day pass included their Fins Up Water Park (lazy river, 10' jump, water slides, kids' water slides, climbing wall, SurfStream), pool, hot tub, towel service, wifi, beach access (chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, paddleboard, big anchored water 'carpets'), and adults only area with infinity pool and hot tub on the 4th floor balcony. Food and drink were extra but I'd had a large breakfast.
  16. The Key only had private activity times Coco Cay day. 8:00-9:00 am Flowrider 4:30-5:30 pm Ice Skating 5:00-6:00 pm Rockwall I headed back to the Perfect Storm, which was open until 6. It was quiet again. A solo young gentleman kindly agreed to race me two times. He beat me. It was even more fun racing then just going down myself. I had stopped moving in the slide the previous day and got the tip to push off at the start. Spent some time at the top of the spiral staircase enjoying the view of Coco Cay. Unlike Celebrity where you can just pick up/return pool towels as wanted, Royal Caribbean makes you check them out and charges $25 for each un-returned towel. You can check out as many as you want so I usually had 3 as I use them to wring out my swim clothes. The tub was helpful for rinsing off my snorkel equipment. Hung damp clothes on hangers off the lounge chair backs (while in ports) or from ceiling magnets over the couch. Even the lighter weight magnets (I had the 30lb ones) can be hard to pull straight down from the ceiling so helps to hang them near the ceiling panel indents and then slide them to the opening. Independence across the dock. I was a little bummed not to have the expected water view but it wasn't for long. Windjammer opened at 6. Indian night! Be careful of the gulls. I had put my tray outside and gone in for my drink and two were already on the railing eyeing my plate. Quiet rest of the evening reading on my balcony then inside on the comfy armchair.
  17. I don't care what others think. I masked with N95s on plane and KN95s on ship outside my cabin on my cruise earlier in May. Brought a small tray to get food from buffet and ate in my cabin. Crew members were required to wear KN95s and many were double masked. 99.9% of passengers were unmasked. Masking didn't cause any enjoyment loss for me.
  18. Saturday May 6 Cruisemapper only listed (and still only lists) Freedom at Coco Cay so I was surprised when I awoke to see Independence approaching the island ahead of us. They switched Nassau and Coco Cay days. I was disappointed as I thought we'd have the place to ourselves but I didn't encounter any crowding. I packed my short travel snorkel fins, mask, and snorkel and lucked out. The 20 mph winds were out of the SSW and Chill Island snorkel area is on the NNE. Flat water and little wind there. We were cleared to debark by 7:50 am. I stopped at the snorkel shack to sign the waiver and get a vest. First in the water! You want to go early as with the sandy bottom visibility drops later. I forgot to leave my wedding ring and Fitbit in my cabin... remembered had on when I was snorkeling around the back of the central rocks. Back out to store those.... the wedding ring slipped off my finger in my brother's pool last summer but was easily retrievable there. I thought it was very good non-reef snorkeling. Easy sandy no-wave entrance. Warm water. Schools of fish and juveniles around the rocks. And no waves meant could swim very close to those rocks. More schools at the cannons. Plenty of variety. Several dozen huge fish in the sea grass near the shipwreck. I snorkeled for 1.5 hours. Saw 3 rays. I had picked up water at the Wacky Seagull heading to snorkel. Went back and was disappointed to find no mango or peach on Coco Cay for daiquiris so had strawberry. Packed up and walked over to the Beach Club. On the way I exchanged the towel I had brought off the ship for a dry one. I had made an 11:15 am lunch reservation (phone number on info sheet in cabin) but changed to 11 am when I checked in. Used the outdoor shower to clean off. There were very nice towels for use in the Beach Club. I stayed in my swim clothes the whole day - swim leggings with attached skirt and bikini top under long sleeved rash guard. Barefoot in my Keens. There were many empty padded umbrella shaded loungers so I chose one 3 rows back and cracked open my paperback - A Night to Remember - about the Titanic sinking. The served lunch was wonderful. I had the grilled Bahamian lobster and grouper with the roasted garlic potatoes in a back corner of the left (facing the beach) eating area. My server asked what I was reading and he told me it was a hoax. He brought over his phone and played a conspiracy humor video for me which was amusing. youtube.com watch?v=3ytwcOGk32g I read until 2. At one point I smelled cigarette smoke. It was much windier at the Beach Club location with the wind blowing from the right to the left facing the beach. A couple at the far right had both lit up. I went and informed them it was a non-smoking area and that everyone down wind of them (the whole beach) was getting their smoke. They stopped. The bar had a tropical juice mix of pineapple, papaya, and guava from which I had a daiquiri. Back to Chill Island for another 45 minutes snorkeling. Was thrilled to see a humongous sea cucumber over at the shipwreck. It was very crowded in the water near shore. Still plenty of umbrellas/loungers. Back to the Beach Club. I hadn't showered yet so was still pretty sandy. One of the desk crew jokingly asked if I'd been attacked by a shark. He said he fishes for them there. Showered. They were closing up the restaurant as it was just past 3. One family was still eating so I asked their server if it was possible to get the brownie. It was! And it was quite tasty. I took a front row shaded lounger with a better view. Another daiquiri. The Beach Club was very empty by 4. It had never been crowded. Tons of empty loungers all day. I went into the infinity pool and then into the ocean. On the walk back I took a dip and lap around one loop of the Oasis Pool just to say I'd been in the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. Lifeguards started telling folk to get out of the water for closing.
  19. Liberty of the Seas finishes up porting in Galveston with an Oct 23-30 '22 cruise. Nov 1 she leaves from Fort Lauderdale. Any idea where she is in between? The Nov 1 departure currently 8 pm. Do departure times ever change earlier? With such a late departure no lunch embarkation day? boarding starts after lunch?
  20. After unpacking (loved the wire shelves in the closet) I went to The Lime and Coconut for a mango daiquiri and picked up my Freestyle cup there. Later I was behind someone trying multiple times to use a regular cup at the Freestyle machine outside Sorrento's. I showed them mine and explained they needed a drink package cup to activate. Perhaps they should put a sign near the machine. I enjoyed some time on my balcony. I took advantage of the quiet no lines on day 1 for the Perfect Storm water slides. Open noon-6. 60 steps up the circular staircase to an expansive view at the top. Worth climbing up just for the view! I went down 14 times with a peach daiquiri break in between. Back to my balcony for sail-a-way. Picked up dinner from the buffet. They strongly encouraged hand washing at the sinks on each side of the entrance or hand sanitizing. The buffet varied from the not-so-good to excellent. Not-so-good: the Guinness Stew beef and Jerk Pork were inedibly tough, the Caribbean Goat and sliced beef extremely fatty, guacamole, and the warm hazelnut cake dry and not worth eating. Excellent: the Indian dishes, grilled mahi-mahi, and sliced roast pork. I enjoyed the baked potatoes which were hot enough to still melt butter. I tried half of one of the coconut "Ranger" cookies but didn't see the appeal. I didn't go to any of the evening entertainment. I'm an early to bed early riser. The bed was comfortable.
  21. After lunch I returned the dishware to the luncheon then wandered around the ship familiarizing myself with the common areas and enjoying the view and weather. It was a cold rainy weekend in Baltimore and my husband (who won't cruise) was disappointed baseball games were cancelled Friday and Saturday. Examining the deck plans I had decided on 9338 hump Junior Suite which had the benefit of passing 1 cabin then around the corner to the stairs and up two flights to the Windjammer entrance. I planned to eat buffet. I loved Celebrity's Luminae (suite) and Blu (aqua) restaurants but the one main dining room cruise underwhelmed me. My Time Dining also opened later and would be slowed by being served. This is a great video of my cabin: Freedom of the Seas Junior Suite 9338 Room Tour by The Weekend Cruiser youtube.com watch?v=ccf9Wh5qhXs Cabins were ready by 1:30. My luggage was waiting for me. I loved my Junior Suite. So much space. Huge bathroom. Amazing walk in closet. Wonderful deep covered balcony with views forward and aft. Comfortable couch and armchair with ottoman. Two loungers and two chairs and a decent sized table on the balcony. So much nicer than the Celebrity Hoppen'ized Millennium Sky Suite I had in November 2021. Uncomfortable couch and desk chair (with arms too high to fit under the desk so it takes up valuable floor space) are the only seating and the tiny table is a joke. The balcony had an all weather couch, table, and two small hard wood chairs. At least as a solo I could lounge on the balcony couch sideways.
  22. They let us onboard at 11:30. I lucked out with my muster station right there so checked in and got that done. So easy watching the safety information online and then just checking in in person at the muster station. Freedom is a lovely ship. She only had 1 cruise pre-pandemic after being Amplified. I enjoyed watching this video: Amplified Freedom of the Seas Review by EatSleepCruise youtube.com watch?v=lzKUw7vJ65c My daily choice is ultra Covid cautious. Had my second booster two weeks before I flew down, wore N95s on plane, and KN95s outside my cabin. Didn't cause any enjoyment loss. Brought a little cafeteria tray from Amazon to pick up meals in the Windjammer. 99.9% of guests were carefree but with the rising rates crew were required to wear KN95s again and not a few were double masked. The Key included an embarkation day abbreviated menu lunch from Chops Grille in Main Dining room Deck 3 starting at noon. One of the perks of The Key was leaving my carry-on and backpack with them before lunch to be "hand delivered" to my room by 1 pm. Two thumbs up. My server kindly packaged up the burger and lava cake and I went (unencumbered by luggage!) to Johnny Rockets covered outdoor seating and ate there. I had thought it would be closed, but then a waiter came out with a menu. He said it was fine to eat other food there and offered me water. The crew were fantastic. Had the outdoor area to myself. The lunch was excellent. The burger was bigger than a slider but smaller than a regular burger. There's an extra plate because I'd popped into the Windjammer after dropping off my luggage to get a plate and silverware/napkin. I thought I'd have to transfer the food myself but was happily surprised to get the covered plates.
  23. I finally experienced my first Royal Caribbean cruise after 4 on Celebrity. Freedom May 6-9. I had three Royal cancelled due to the Pandemic - May 2020 to Coco Cay, Sep 2020 to Bermuda, and lift shifted Sep 2021 to Bermuda. I've had Celebrity Suite (1st cruise with my twin to Alaska for our 50th) and Aqua on S class and Family aft corner veranda and Sky Suite on M class. All solo trips except Alaska. This was another solo cruise. My Kindle is good company and I'm social enough to talk with folk if I want more interaction. During the Black Friday sale I purchased The Key for $17.99/day, Refreshment Package for $16.99 (normally 2 alcoholic drinks/month although won't say no to a glass of dessert wine), and Beach Club for $88.46. Will include thoughts on all. Thursday May 5th I flew from BWI to MIA. Stayed overnight in a super clean basic airbnb between the airport and port. Only disappointment was walked to the planned Mexican restaurant for take-out and line out the door as I'd forgotten it was Cinco de Mayo! It was already late for me to eat so I found food elsewhere. I walked to a Cuban bakery the next morning to sample the guava Pastelitos. Sticky and tasty! I arrived at the Port at 11 based on the Key arrival information (got app check-in time noon) and started with The Key but upstairs right before being taken to the Key area they said I'd be better off in Suites so led me there. Had a great view of my cabin.
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