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plaz70

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  1. It depends on what's on the menu in the MDR and the day's activities. The quality of the food varies ship to ship and at dinner, the buffet can be rather quiet. Sometimes, it's quieter than the MDR. If we are tired from the day's activities, we may not want to sit through a long meal in the MDR. In the buffet, we can take bite size portions of several items and try foods we might not normally eat without the worry of needing to order something else if we don't like it. Sometimes, the MDR can be busy so we prefer not to wait. We don't like to make advance reservations for dinner. We are on vacation and want to eat when we are hungry. We aren't always hungry at the same time. For us, being served or not is not important. Being waited on doesn't make us feel special. It's the food, timing and company. We don't have to cook or clean up either way. We've had very enjoyable meals in the MDR, but we've had very enjoyable meals in the buffet as well.
  2. Stairs mostly. I only use the elevator if I'm in significant pain. Upstairs is rarely a problem, but downstairs is harder on my knees. Downstairs is easier if I turn backwards, but I won't do that if there's a lot of traffic on the stairs.
  3. It was really annoying to not be able to get a chair near pool for the 30 min the kids would be in the pool when they were young. One or two chairs were enough for 5 of us. As teens, they can swim without a parent now so it doesn't matter where we sit. On a Carnival cruise a couple years ago, my husband and I used the hot tub on the serenity deck late at night several times. Most times we were the only ones in it and stayed until the attendant had to close it. It's amazing how many people, mostly men although some may have been sent by wives, came to lay out their towels or other items on chairs between 11pm -midnight. The thing that baffled me was the serenity deck was packed during the day, hot tubs fill to the max and salad bar with a longer wait in line then the windjammer at lunch. It was anything, but serene.
  4. We've only cruised the Caribbean, but we took a 2 week land trip to France and Spain. Our boys were 14 and daughter 15. I made sure that in addition to history/sightseeing tours, to schedule something active and also let them go off on their own for a while. That depends on the area you are visiting, but normally areas catering to tourists are ok if you use common sense. I rented bikes for a week in Girona, Spain and let them ride around on their own sometimes. Mostly, the boys rode to a park to play soccer and bought a lot of snacks, but I've found that when they perceive a destination as boring, giving them a little freedom makes everything more interesting to them and they are more agreeable when I insist on doing something as a family.
  5. Connecting rooms have 2 interior doors. One on each side just like connecting hotel rooms. We've used them with our kids and on at least one ship, when the doors closed, they automatically locked. So when we "closed" the door, we kept something in the doorway to prevent it from closing completely, but kids were young and we didn't want the doors to lock closed. We couldn't open the kids door from our side. For adult kids, I would just book 2 separate rooms and wouldn't worry about them connecting. If you book 2 balconies, you may be able to connect the balconies, but unless you all want to spend a lot of time on the balcony together, it really doesn't matter where your rooms are in relation to each other. We spend very little time in the room. There are plenty of quiet places on the ship during the day to meet.
  6. Don't enter anyone else's cabin and don't let anyone into your's. Stay in public areas of the ship. Avoid secluded areas No climbing/sitting on railings (keep feet on the deck) and notify a crew member if you see anyone do this. Set a curfew. Ours varies according to when the teen club closes or organized activity ends, but there is rarely an excuse for teens to be out past midnight unless they are with parents. I have 2 teens boys soon to be 16. Being a teen boy is no excuse for bad behavior. My boys spend a lot of time at the sports court and utilize the jogging track. Make them understand that if they misbehave, the entire party can be put off the ship at the next port. Set consequences and follow through. I stayed in the cabin with my daughter, then 11, for an entire day once because she brought a couple of girls into her cabin so they could apply make up in the bathroom. She's never let anyone in her cabin again. Go to guest services and tell them what limit to put on their charging privileges. You can return later and add more if you wish. I normally do this the first day and when they run out, that's it. They need to learn how to budget. If they run out of funds, there is enough included entertainment and food/drink. We've never brought any kids other then our own on a ship so can't help you with those details.
  7. All 3 of our kids are booked in an adjoining room, not connecting for our December cruise and they are all under 18 so I'm not sure why you were told they couldn't be booked in their own cabin, especially since one of them is over 21. As long as it's adjoining or directly across the Hall, Royal allows it, but you have to call them. We always get 5 keys to each room.
  8. In PA, one can be put on the registry for "interference with the custody of a child". That could mean a non custodial parent returned a child a few hours late and the custodial parent gets mad and reports it. There doesn't need to be any type of child abuse to get put on the registry for this reason.
  9. We've done 3 Thanksgiving cruises 9& 10 days. The first was the explorer and the kids had a blast. They were 9,9 &10 at the time. There were 850 kids on board and the worst thing I saw the entire cruise was once I got in the elevator and all the buttons were pushed. I did hear a few people complain about the number of kids on board, but if you are going to cruise a mass market line over a school break, you should expect a lot of kids. We did do one cruise over Thanksgiving on NCL that had some badly behaved kids, but mine refused to hang out with them. The Thanksgiving cruise we did on Carnival had some badly behaved adults. There were not "young adults". Most were middle age and older. There were groups who took the fun out of all the games and trivia by constant complaining. I've never seen so many people upset because they didn't win the "ship on a stick", "boat on a rope", keychain or pen. We really liked the explorer. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise on that ship again.
  10. They can issue extra cards that can be used only for opening the cabin door at guest services. We always book 2 rooms for our family of 5 and I've always been able to get 5 cards to each cabin. The duplicate cards can only be used to open the cabin door. They can't be used to charge anything or to get on and off the ship. You could hold on to his first card and let him carry the duplicate while on the ship.
  11. I've lived and traveled all over the US with the exception of the pacific NW ( I'll get there). The best pizza I've ever had was in Tucson, AZ.
  12. On our last RCI cruise about 6 years ago, I went to guest services and put a $25 limit on each of my kid's accounts (they were in elementary school). When they hit $25, they were unable to spend more.
  13. I've had that happen in while traveling through Canada and again when booking Airbnb's and train tickets in Spain and France from home. Once I was using my card at a festival less then one mile from my house and all of a sudden it got declined. I called immediately and it was turned back on once I told them the charges were legitimate. My husband had a fraud alert at home and he had not been traveling. I've been called numerous times to verify charges that I made myself. Sometimes, if I use it for something out of the ordinary, the card gets declined until I call. It's good to have a card from a company that monitors for unusual activity.
  14. RCI let us book 3 teens (under 18) into an adjoining (not connecting) cabin for our upcoming cruise in December. We booked with RCI directly and were told we can book this way as long as the cabins are adjoining or directly across the hall. I would be comfortable booking a few doors down, but not on a different deck or opposite ends of the ship.
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