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nzdisneymom

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Everything posted by nzdisneymom

  1. I had the same question because I only just now found out (thank you Cruise Critiic!) that Royal Caribbean usually docks at Crown Bay. We've been twice to St. Thomas (2009 on RCCL and 2019 on Disney) so both times were at Havensight. There's a shop there that we want to go to to get a t-shirt for DH. We bought one in 2009 and when we were there in 2019, they had the exact same design/color so we bought him a new one 10 years later. We thought we'd look again this time before heading out on an excursion. Guess we need to change our plans! Thank you for posting this - I had wondered the same thing about whether it was gated off or not.
  2. Aw, we love to get pictures with these sort of things. Where is this one located in St. Thomas?
  3. Thank you so much for the link - the pictures are beautiful and the information about Puerto Plata is helpful!
  4. Did you travel yet, and if so, what did you end up doing?
  5. We will also be there on the Adventure in April. We plan to do some sightseeing since Labadee will be the day before and will be our "beach day."
  6. I don't know about the cable car, but I am interested in what you thought about the botanical garden.
  7. I find YT to be a great source of seeing what there is to do in a new place, and you're absolutely right that there is more and more to see for Puerto Plata! Thanks for the suggested search terms.
  8. Thanks for posting and sharing the pictures. We are planning a ship excursion that will be back by lunch so we want to explore the town outside the port area. Your review is helpful and informative. Also thanks for the mention of Larimar - I haven't heard of that before but it's a beautiful stone - definitely adding it to my souvenir shopping list! We like to find something that is somewhat unique to an area - this will fit that!
  9. Thank you for your review - we are interested in walking into town after we get back from our shore excursion. Were their "tourist" signs to point to some of the places of interest (like Pink Alley and Umbrella Street)?
  10. Royal Caribbean docks at Taino Bay. https://www.porttainobay.com/en/home
  11. We haven't, but it's on our short list of options. We like to do ship excursions when it is our first time in a port. We'll be there on a second cruise several months later and will likely be more adventurous. What I like about this one is that it is just 3 hours and offers 2 departure times (8 AM and 9:30 on our sailing). So if we do the early one, that gets us back with plenty of time to explore Taino Bay and the area outside the port gate. And even if we do the later departure time (for those sleepy-heads in our group), we'd still have some time to walk about.
  12. So @Colatech did you get to look around the Taino Bay area for shopping for souvenirs and if so, how did they compare to what is available within an easy walk outside of the port area? We're looking at booking a shore excursion through the cruise line but then spending some time nearby once we get back. We're scheduled to be docked 7A-4P and we're looking at a 3.5 hr excusion so we figure we'll be back to the ship area by 12:30. Did you get to try any of the restaurants nearby for some authentic cuisine?
  13. We booked on Deck 8 cabin 8536 (yeah, it has a structural support poll - we saw a youtube video) so I think it's a decent enough location. They said it's under where the pool towels are. I don't mind the noise from the day, and we've sailed in a similar location on other ships. I kinda like being able to listen to the pool deck activities / music, etc., without having to be up on the pool deck, so I expect we'll hear it from the balcony. And yeah, I'm glad to know about the sulfur smell more likely from the aft rooms.
  14. Yes, the Solarium on the Jewel is enclosed. We enjoyed going there in the evening around 8:30 or so and relaxing in the quiet before the cafe opened at 9. I don't remember how many hot tubs.
  15. I've noticed that in my initial search for posts about the Grandeur. Is there a story behind why she's referred to as Lady G? (I like it - just wondering.)
  16. Thank you for your review - we are considering booking the Grandeur for early 2025, so I'm glad to hear she'll have another dry dock before then. My favorite ship is the Disney Magic, so when we were learning about the Grandeur and looking at her age (the same as the Magic) and features (like the outside promenade), it seemed a lot of things were what we like about the smaller ships. I like the layout as it seems like you don't have to go through the casino to get everywhere like it feels like on other ships. We are considering a junior suite but haven't decided if we want to try for a Deck 7 across the aft or just pick something on Deck 8. We don't plan to get the internet package so no worries about that for us.
  17. We had MTD on the Jewel last week and our reservation times we made before sailing were all over the place based on availability. We had another friend who booked the cruise after us and his times were also all over the place. We wanted to coordinate, so we went to the dining room right after getting our muster station checks. We asked about moving to early dining but were told it's very unlikely but they were able to link our reservations and give us 6:45 every night. We ended up only eating at the dining room twice during the 8-night sailing, partly due to menu, partly due to being in port late, partly due to not wanting to go on formal/dress your best nights. We went to the dining room at 6:30 on the first night because we weren't sure what the line would be like so we wanted to check it out (and were prepared to wait or come back at 6:45) but they were able to seat us right away. The second time we went was on a port day where all aboard wasn't until 7:30 PM so we figured they would be able to seat us early - we went down at 5:45 and were seated immediately. A lot of early dining tables were empty due to the late port stay. Anyway, I share that all to say that the best thing to do is talk to dining on embarkation day and see what they can do for you, and also see if you can get a reserved time as early as possible. Then based on your itinerary, you may have similar experience where you can actually eat earlier. Or you may find some of your party wants to just eat in the Windjammer depending on the cuisine of the evening and whether there are other activities they want to participate in that MTD would interfere with.
  18. Seems like the items were in the $8-$12 range. I probably wouldn't go starving, but if you're wanting to experience some local cuisine, this would be a good way to try. I have food allergy so I didn't want to risk anything, so we were able to eat at the cruise ship's buffet before going to the show. I didn't get a picture of the sign with their offerings.
  19. nzdisneymom

    Passport

    To answer my own question in case anyone else wants to know - you can get your passport stamped at the cruise terminal which is full of shops - but there is a large waiting area and the immigration office is over in the corner. Have your passport with you, knock on the door, and ask the immigration officer very nicely if it's possible to get a souvenir stamp for your passport. We were able to get ours (fwiw, these are actual official passport stamps - but we were advised to specify "souvenir" by guest services on our ship so the immigration officer would know why we were asking and to avoid any confusion).
  20. We did a ship excursion that was a bus tour that stopped in the National Park where you get to stand on what used to be the ocean floor on the north end of the island. We stopped for photos at a beach cove, and visited the Nena Sanchez Gallery which is in an old house of some significance that I don't remember. But we got to see a lot of the island and our tour guide was wonderful so we learned a lot about Curacao. We also were getting back earlier than planned so they added a tour of town which was nice so we could see where we were planning to walk later in the afternoon. There were several tours offered not just through the cruiseline but also through vendors as you are coming off the ship.
  21. We walked from the ship through the Rif Fort and across the Queen Emma Bridge, doing some shopping and taking some photos along the way. We had done an excursion in the morning that took us to other parts of the island but we had the afternoon to explore / shop on our own near the port.
  22. Reporting back that we did go to the Bon Bini Festival on Tuesday, April 11th. We were docked at the pier/berth by the cruise terminal building. We walked along L. G. Smith Blvd which was well lit and had quite a bit of foot traffic down to Oranjestad Street and then up a block to the Museo Historico Aruba. We could hear the music of the pre-show from down the street so we knew we were in the right direction. The cost was $15 US/person. The seating is in a courtyard in plastic chairs. They have a food counter that served local hot food and drinks. There are clean restrooms at the facility just off the courtyard. The show started around 7 and finished at 8:30. It took us about 20 minutes from the time we were ready to leave the ship until we got to the venue, and same getting back. We didn't hurry as it was hot and we had time. You could bring in water bottles and probably anything else... we didn't see anything to discourage it, but of course they want to sell their food and beverages. The show tells some of the history of Aruba and highlights some of the significant events in their history along with interpretive dance and poetry, some traditional dancing and costumes, and a big loud brass and drum finale! One of the performers has been with the Festival since he was 6 years old and he's now in his 30s. I would definitely recommend this as an option for anyone who is in Aruba on a Tuesday night with a later sailing time. You could leave early to make it back - our all aboard was 10:30 and we were on board and getting cold drinks at the Pool Bar by 9 PM. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them.
  23. Here's the link to the special needs form online: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/resources/guest-special-needs We have sailed once since I started using a CPAP (Mariner, Sep 2022). The extension cord and distilled water were waiting for me in the cabin when we first entered. I used duct tape to hold the cord on the floor to prevent tripping in the dark, but that was a bad idea as it didn't really hold to the carpeting, and the gummy part was hard to remove from the extension cord at the end of the cruise. I had the hook magnets but didn't know they could attach to the ceiling until we were home and I was searching for a solution for next time. So this time we are going to try the magnets across the ceiling.
  24. We plan to go to the Bon Bini Festival when we are there in two weeks. We have My Time Dining which doesn't start until 6:45 on our cruise, so we'll miss dinner onboard and thought we would just get something from one of the other venues around 5. Our friend sailing with us doesn't get back from his excursion until 6 PM and I wanted to leave the ship no later than 6:15 (doors open at 6 PM and I don't want to have to "run" to get there). In fact, I told him it's probably best if he doesn't come back on the ship and we just meet him off ship to go. If you have already sailed, what did you find out about the food situation? If you haven't sailed, I'll report back on what we discover. Also, if you've already been, can you tell me which route you took walking and how it was street-light-wise? Google maps gives me a few options but it's a little hard to tell what's the best way to get there.
  25. We haven't been yet but will have a similar situation with time to fill in the afternoon. I have to eat gluten-free so was asking on other sites about suggestions and got several recommendations for the Dutch Pancake House that is just by the cruise terminal at the Renaissance Mall. They said it was really good for anyone, so we expect to try it.
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