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Don'tNeedAName

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  1. Responses here seem on point... just thought I'd add my $0.02. My wife and I were on the Empress for 4 nights last July, so info is about a year old. Either way, our two young kids were staying w/ grandma and grandpa, so we made and received a number of calls back home using wifi calling on our phones with only limited issues (a couple times just had to hang up and call back). I think we did voice only, but we may have done a video call too... just can't remember now. We also VPN'd into work network a couple of times, and although the connection was slow, it was sufficient to send a few emails over VPN.
  2. Would you suggest that (1) once a tradition is established, it must be continued no matter what, lest society crumble; and/or (2) a tradition can only serve to "help form the structure and foundation" if it is continued (rather than, say, studied)? It was once a tradition for wives to stay home while husbands worked. Some families still maintain this dynamic (as they should, if that is their prerogative), but things have shifted toward more dual-earner households or stay-at-home husbands. I'd say the societal implications of working women are far more important to the world than who-wears-what in a cruise ship's dining room. Should women have been ridiculed and shamed to stay at home instead of joining the workforce in order to maintain this tradition? Consider, also, that perhaps the most common "tradition" with respect to fashion is that it is cyclical. Fashion trends have always been evolving, and I'd argue that the move to more casual dining attire is right in line with that tradition of constant change. My wife and I have always dressed up for dinner in the MDR because she enjoys it, but I just might have to switch to shorts and a ball cap after reading this latest thread. From all our meals, I cannot for the life of me recall one single item of clothing that anyone else around us was wearing because it had zero impact on us. To those saying that your dining experience is ruined by the presence of shorts, I say "get a grip!" If another cruiser's decision to wear shorts ruins your dinner, I'd argue it says more about you than the other cruiser. As it stands, RCI has unenforced suggestions. If one cannot bear to be in the presence of shorts while eating, then one should seek out a cruise line that has a satisfactory dress code.
  3. My info is a couple years old, but might still be helpful and maybe others can fill in the gaps. In June 2017, we took our 18 mo. old with us on a Bermuda overnight cruise out of NJ (5 nights on RCI Anthem). I know he was a little bit older than yours, but it was definitely still vacation to us! The one thing I found great about it was that we ended up napping every day along with him. We're normally so "go go go" on vacation that it was something that actually helped us relax a bit more. We brought the baby monitor with us so that we could be on our balcony when he napped, and it was perfect. One of us would put him down while the other went up to the buffet and bring a plate back, then the other would go up and bring a plate back--lunch and a couple drinks out on the balcony, then nap time for us too! As for actually being in Bermuda, we got there the first day at 9:00am. We just did the Snorkel Park Beach right there in the Dockyard. It's not much, but it got the job done for us as we really didn't spend a ton of time at the beach, and knew we were going to get back on board a little before 1:00 for nap time (at that age, ours wasn't quite as good at the "sleep anywhere" thing anymore). The beach is rocky, but our son liked sitting in the sand and picking at the rocks, so it was a "win" in that regard. As I recall, you only had to pay for admission (for the adults) once, so we could go back out/in the rest of the day. Day 2 we woke up early and were on one of the first mini-buses to get to Horseshoe. It was great, only $7pp each way (no charge for our son who just sat on my wife's lap). Can't remember what the cost was for a couple of beach chairs and umbrellas, maybe $40, including tip? Not sure, but it was nice getting there early, as the beach really wasn't crowded for most of the time we were there. Again, we probably left around noon, and when we got up, told a family nearby that they were welcome to use the chairs/umbrella. Seemed to make their day, which was nice. Other than beach time, we spent time walking around the Dockyard. The 2017 Americas cup was in Bermuda the weeks surrounding our time in port, so there were even some of the racing yachts about. Unfortunately, the actual races were all on days other than when we were in Bermuda. We shopped and ate there at the Dockyard... but had dinner on the ship, since the staff was so great with our son. He was in heaven, but perhaps it's worth finding somewhere better to eat on the island. I think we were just shy about it being his first real vacation and not wanting to push things too far. We are booked to go back to Bermuda (only for the day this time) in July/Aug with our now two sons--3.5 and 1.5y/o. This will be our longest cruise ever at 8 nights. Can't wait to go back to Bermuda!
  4. Hey @BooBooMonkey, we're Columbus-based cruisers as well, and will be following you through NJ just a couple months later on Adventure. Enjoy your cruise! As 138east mentioned earlier, the garage has a machine you can pay prior to exiting, but I am hoping she can chime in regarding the overflow lot. When we cruised out of Bayonne a couple years ago, we ended up in the overflow lot right across the street and I think we had to pay cash upfront, but honestly cannot remember now. Just figured it was worth a follow up in case you happen to get sent to overflow. @138east, do you know about payment for the overflow lot? Pre-cruise? Also, thanks for all your knowledge sharing on NJ!
  5. Is it fair to require someone to take a phone call outside of a movie theater instead of inside? Would it be unfair for the theater to remove a customer who would not stop talking on his phone in the theater? Society places restrictions on these things all the time, and it is certainly fair to ask people to take reasonable steps (such as going outside) to partake in certain activities. By your un-ironic use of a term like SJW, I can tell we will likely never agree on this, and if you are insinuating that I am a SJW, you are incorrect. Using your logic, smokers are the ones who want things their way "to make THEM happy"--forget the consequences to anyone else. However, you are missing the point. It has nothing to do with making people "happy." Secondhand smoke is dangerous. That is a fact. It is absolutely fair to place restrictions on the place and manner in which people choose to engage in dangerous activities that put others at risk. Racing in the wrong environment (public streets) is dangerous; if people want to race, they can take it to a track. This allows safe enjoyment of public streets, and it is fair because it doesn't prohibit racers from using public streets. Similarly, prohibiting smoking indoors allows for safe enjoyment of indoor common areas, and it is fair because it does not prohibit smokers from enjoying those areas where smoking indoors is prohibited. Although the impact of secondhand smoke may not be as immediate as some other examples, it exists nonetheless. Of course, another significant difference is that other dangerous activities like racing or shooting guns can be done safely. There is no way to smoke safely.
  6. Yes, I mentioned that in my post. You originally asked about fairness, and your reply here gets to my point exactly. To slightly rephrase your own question back to you: "But how is that fair to the [non-]smokers? Why should it be fair for only one side?" By banning indoor smoking, smokers and non-smokers alike can enjoy an area equally (i.e., the fairness you originally asked about). Smokers do not have to avoid the area; rather they need only step outside to smoke.
  7. No doubt, Biker's post a few back about beating a dead horse is right on, but I'm sorry... this post is just wrong. First off, many people working in these types of environments may not always find it as easy as you suggest to "go work somewhere else." Furthermore, your attempted analogy to not liking your work schedule is erroneous. For most lines of work, an employee's schedule is not a matter of safety. For lines of work that involve safety concerns related to employee schedules, timing regulations do exist (e.g., air traffic controllers, truck drivers). The real problem, isn't simply that people don't like second hand smoke; it is that second hand smoke is irrefutably dangerous to be around. I don't think you would suggest that all workplace health and safety regulations are wrong... would you? Employers should take reasonable steps to ensure that employees and customers alike are fostering a safe and healthy work environment. Permitting smoking is antithetical to that proposition. Requiring smokers to take it outside is undeniably reasonable when the other option is to put the health of others at risk. There is also a consistency problem with the "go work somewhere else" suggestion. If it were just a matter of working somewhere else, and all workplaces applied that rule, then ultimately people wouldn't have a place they could work because people would be smoking inside everywhere.
  8. Pretty extreme. Like having a bad night at the Texarkana Holiday Inn and saying I'll never stay at the Intercontinental Tahiti. Same parent company, totally different experiences/purposes. Not good news about problems with the toilets, etc. though. We went on Empress last year and had possibly our most relaxing cruise we've ever had. Definitely a different experience on such a small ship.
  9. Banning indoor smoking is a fair solution because smokers cause harm to other people. Second hand smoke is dangerous, and anyone's perceived right to fairness should end when they are actively putting others at risk. Smokers would not prohibited from smoking, but would be prohibited from doing so in an enclosed environment where the risks to others are heightened. Seems fair to me, and in fact, seems to be the only way smokers and nonsmokers can co-enjoy an area "fairly." Using the casino as an example: in a non-smoking casino, a smoker who wants to smoke does not have to avoid the casino entirely because he could step outside and have a smoke, then return. In a smoking casino, a nonsmoker who does not want to be subjected to smoke would have to avoid the space entirely. How is forcing a choice between one's health and being able to enjoy the ship's amenities fair? (Note, this also ignores the fact that the smoke does not actually stay within the confines of the casino.) Someone brought up the alcohol comparison earlier. Although, as has been covered already, it is a poor overall analogy, I think it can provide background for the purposes of discussing fairness here. It is legal to drink, but it is illegal to drink and drive. By drinking and driving, drunk drivers are putting innocent parties at risk. It is legal to smoke, but in many places it is illegal to smoke inside, near doorways, etc. By smoking inside, smokers are putting innocent parties at risk.
  10. Yea, if it's needed, setting up the pullout bed is definitely the big ticket item on turndown service. I've never "turned down" the turn down service (wow, an absolutely horrible pun), but agree that it definitely makes sense to let them know in advance.
  11. I say this as someone who loves cruising, and RCI in particular, but I have to laugh reading comments about MDR dress code that talk about "respecting the atmosphere." The atmosphere... really? Of a mass-market, budget cruise line? Even though I don't think I've ever worn shorts in the MDR, the "atmosphere" of a Royal Caribbean MDR is 100% a shorts-type atmosphere if I've ever seen one. Wear what you want! Also, don't allow what other people wear to affect your cruise/night/atmosphere/mood/etc.!
  12. Later in the article, it actually clarifies: "she wrote a will on a piece of paper despite already having a formal one in place, just so she could explain what had happened in the event of her death." What? So she could explain what happened? You don't need to write a "will" to do that. It sounds like these people are just melodramatic to the extreme.
  13. TL;DR: probably just do what you want, but you may technically be breaking the law. It seems like the question is aimed at understanding the application of the Cuba travel restrictions. I have always found the intricacies of the travel ban interesting, so I am probably about to waste a bunch of time for anyone who is not weird in that same way. The general consensus seems to be that it doesn't matter, and you can pretty much do what you want. I will admit that to my knowledge, no individual has been randomly audited or punished under the restrictions. Thousands upon thousands of cruise passengers and other travelers from the US have gone to Cuba, walked off the ship, done nothing to satisfy the applicable regulations, and have returned to the US to live their lives without any hint of trouble. However, as I have posted previously on other threads, the laws do exist, and the penalties are theoretically steep. Note that the enforcement of the restrictions is not within the jurisdiction of Customs/Border Patrol, but rather the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. So, unless Treasury starts stationing officers at cruiseports, this is unlikely to be an issue for most travelers. Don't lie to a border patrol agent though! Although they don't enforce the treasury's rules, it is still a separate crime to lie to them. Of course, they aren't likely to ask you any questions with respect to your detailed travel agenda anyway. Since you don't explicitly indicate taking a ship excursion, I thought it would at least be worth pointing out the following regarding the people-to-people travel license. After a November 2017 amendment, the "people-to-people" general license to travel to Cuba under 31 CFR 515.565(b) no longer permits such travel individually. However, people-to-people travel may still qualify for a general license provided that, among other listed requirements, such travel is done "under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact." A local tour operator would not satisfy this requirement, as the tour would have to be organized by (i.e., under the auspices of) a company subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Royal Caribbean's tours appear to qualify, as well as any other company subject to U.S. jurisdiction. However, other tour providers I have seen are typically aimed at providing the whole trip. That is, I am not sure there are that many that are available to cruise-ship visitors on a day-by-day basis. As noted by Tagsalong, the ports and your activities there are not linked. The travel restrictions apply throughout the duration of your time in Cuba, and thus doing a tour one day will not satisfy the requirements for the next day (whether in the same location or not). The travel licenses generally require a "full-time schedule of activities" permitted under the license, although a full-time schedule is not explicitly defined. That's a lot of digital ink to spill for something that is, in all practicality, no different than taking a hardliner stance like: "YES, YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW IF YOU DRIVE 66mph IN A 65mph ZONE." While it may be technically true, are you likely to be caught? Much less questioned, and even much much less punished? Of course, that's no defense in a court of law! I am not providing legal advice, and to the extent you are concerned you may be in danger of breaking one or more federal laws, you should consult an attorney.
  14. Matter to whom? I suppose you are also the final arbiter on what "matters" as well.
  15. For some folks, I guess, but it fits your comments to a T. I suspect no amount of back and forth will serve to "prove" anything to you. And yet... No financial or business benefit? Plenty of studies have concluded that millennials spend more money on experiences than other groups. One example, see here: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/private-equity-and-principal-investors/our-insights/cashing-in-on-the-us-experience-economy. A couple of key quotes: Consumers of all ages are opting for experiences, with millennials leading the charge. Millennials spend more than Gen Xers and boomers on experiences. The fact that millennials are now the largest spending cohort, and that the cohort of higher-income consumers is growing as well, creates greater confidence in the sustainability of the trend. Emphasis mine. So yes, I would say your opinion that there is no financial/business benefit to catering to millennials is lacking. The summary of McKinsey study also included this part on travel: "In addition to shifting spending toward local events, activities, and restaurants, consumers have been splurging on travel. A foreign-travel boom has lifted expenditures by 6.6 percent a year, while spending on domestic hotels and motels has increased at an annual rate of 6.0 percent. Spending on packaged tours has increased at a slightly lower rate than overall PCE—but one higher than spending on goods." For a cruise line like RCI that seems focused on experiences and "ship as a destination" type cruising, especially, that seems like a demographic ripe for the picking. Get them on board, and give them experiences they want to throw money at (as studies have shown they are willing to do).
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