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About Andrew72681

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Frederick, Md
  • Interests
    Sunny destinations, non-smoking. Asinos
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Norwegian
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Western Caribbean

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  1. We did. After starting it just devolved into a normal cruise critic response of people bitching about things so I just let it die. It’s a shame this community is so negative. It’s a cruising version of Reddit.
  2. For anyone checking in on the liveblog. Was hoping to keep it current throughout each day, but the WiFi has been late 1990s terrible through the week so far. I most definitely miss the voom service from Harmony of the seas where I’d get 8mb down. Being that the Meraviglia is actually younger than Harmony I would have expected better.
  3. We took an Uber from the station, which was about ten bucks. The train ride itself was about thirty minutes.
  4. The Brightline was a great idea. It’s a simple Uber ride up from the airport and once you walk inside the station you instantly notice you are not in Amtrak country anymore. Access is controlled to the terminal by scanners. The select lounge is also gate controlled. We noticed on several occasions people trying to “tailgate” in with other people walking in There was ample seating along both sides of the window. Wifi was also available for free in the terminal and was plenty fsst When we first arrived they were between more substantial snack times. There were fruit,chips, and Clif LUNA bars available. About halfway through our stay they brought our Charcuterie which was quite good. a few minutes before our departure an announcement was made, we Went down to the track and were welcomed aboard the front car seats in the select car are in a 2-1 configuration. Some of the seats are setup around tables, but just know that if you are looking to sit across from someone it means one of you will be riding backwards. After we departed Fort Lauderdale we were greeted by a very friendly car attendant named Kae who was available to make mixed drinks, sodas, and also had snacks When we arrived at the Miami station we were greeted by a beautiful new station right in the middle of downtown, claimed our luggage, and were on our way.
  5. As we always fly Southwest on vacation (companion pass and BWI Based its an easy choice) we have to fly in Fort Lauderdale as our gateway to south Florida. This time we’re arriving today around 1 so we’ve got some time to kill. Our normal course of action would be to just hop in an UBERXL, which normally with tip sets us back ~100. This time though we’ve got an extra family friend so 5 people and large suitcases we might have needed two. After hearing some friends (not the Phoebe and Chandler variety) we decided to try the Brightline train. The Brightline Train (now being called Virgin Trains USA) opened in January of 2018 with service between Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm. There’s a plan to expand the line to Orlando which would be a great fit if they could wind it up to Port Canaveral and then over to Orlando proper. While many have had trouble with the website, we didn’t have any trouble getting tickets booked for the five of us. The Fort Lauderdale station is a few miles north of the FLL Airport just north of the Las Olas Blvd. area. We’re going to take two separate uberX’s up to the station. Seats can be selected in advance which gave us the opportunity to make sure we were all together. Brightline has two classes of service, Smart which is a standard train seat with WiFi and power and food available for purchase. Their other option is Select which features a seat two inches wider 21 vs 19 as well a many other great features alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included, snacks included, chargers available to borrow for your device, one free day of garage parking, conference room access, early boarding, and my favorite a Pre-departure lounge with food and drink to wait until boarding. Pricing seems to stay pretty low on this route with Smart tickets being as low as 15$ between the two stations, for our date there were two options available for Select a less flexible 21$ and a fare that can be changed at no costs up to an hour before for 25$. As we were flying in from Maryland, I decided to that the flexibility was worth the 4$ per person. We’re booked on the 3:39 train so I’ll be sure to report back this afternoon.
  6. Today’s travel day. So excited to finally be on the way there. Yesterday was a great Pre-travel day consolation though as we got to hang out with the Washington capitals at a Hockey Fights Cancer event.
  7. It was a great suite last time. Tons of space and a huge bathroom. Just be sure no to confuse the JW Marriott (35k points) and JW Marriott Marquis (50k points)
  8. Yes. Cleared to an Executive corner bay view suite. It’s a great use of the Marriott Brilliants annual up to 50K cert.
  9. I’ll be sure to note the boarding procedures. I was able to match to Black which became diamond by way of my hotel statuses.
  10. They officially moved our itinerary all around today. While we thought they would add Cozumel on day 6, we didn’t think they’d also move around Costa maya to go with it. Working through moving excursions now to reflect the new itinerary, and officially cancelled my cabana at Ocean cay since there’s no longer any hope of it being open. ignore the left side as they messed up the original itinerary (I’m not even sure how that happened because all they had to do was pull it up online to put it in the email)
  11. We have both Cirque shows booked, just the cocktail and show as the YouTube videos of the Cirque dinners left a lot to be desired. So you’re on this sailing as well?
  12. Enjoy Seaside, seems like a great ship aside from the pool problems.
  13. Will do. We looked at adding the ATV but are still unsure about doing that with a child. You’ll have to let me know how the zip lining is when you get back. We got spoiled doing it in the rainforest of Costa Rica so have avoided the touristy ones.
  14. As we’re now officially a week out, it seemed like a great time to start with my precruise thoughts and background for our first MSC cruise on Meraviglia. Cruise History- this will be cruise number 11 for us and number 9 for our 9 year old daughter. We started out with Carnival, then onto Norwegian and Roysl Caribbean. It’ll be hard to compare to the week long cruise we had in Harmony of the seas this time last year. That was a great cruise on a great ship with great service. Background- to sound a little bit like an opening credit narration of an 80’s movie, we weren’t ever supposed to be on this cruise. We had booked the third sailing of Norwegian Encore for 12/1, however a change in my wife’s work schedule facilitated a change back in August for a cruise we had booked over 600 days out. Luckily we had booked a refundable deposit and were able to get that cancelled without penalty. We’ll definitely be looking to try out Encore sometime in the future, especially since the deposit I had was a NextCruise credit that needs to be used up by 12/05/2021. After cancelling that found us in a tailspin on what is very short notice for me (we booked a cruise for next November that was 650 days out on booking) and while there were many options most of them took a big jump up in price because of thanksgiving week. We nearly pulled the trigger on a Disney repositioning cruise from New York to San Juan. Then almost booked a Mexican riviera cruise on Norwegian Joy (flights were crazy from the East coast), and almost booked Oasis of the Seas first cruise back from Dry Dock (it would be three times what we ended up paying for Meraviglia.) For anyone who is with the military or government one thing to remember is that MSC does offer a government discount, it’s 5-10% depending on the room type booked. We ended up saving about 200 dollars, and it was combinable with the discounts being offered that week. Traveling Party- It’ll be myself (Andrew), my wife (Nikki), and our daughter Addison in our room. My mom and a friend will be in another room on the other side of the ship. Rooms- we seemingly lucked out and one of the balcony rooms on the aft which is normally part of the family rooms opened up a few weeks ago so we moved to that room. We’ll be on the aft of deck 9, with a balcony room featuring bunk beds. Addison always loves the Pullman beds on other lines and as it opens up a space to sit during the day, I’m always for it. We hoped a Yacht Club room would open for our week, but none ever did outside of the interior rooms that only sleep two. My mom and friend will also be in a balcony but Forward Starboard side also on deck 9. Itinerary- As of right now this one is still up in the air. We think we know what they’ll do but may not know until we embark next Sunday. As of last week, before the announcement of the December opening of Ocean Cay our itinerary was Day 1- Miami Day 2- Sea Day Day 3- Costa Maya Day 4- Belize City Day 5- Roatan, Honduras Day 6- Sea Day Day 7- MSC Ocean Cay (not happening but they haven’t updated the itinerary) Day 8- Miami Based on route and history, I’m pretty sure Day 6 will become Cozumel, Mexico and day 7 will become our sea day. One of the MSC phone agents tried to tell someone in the group that we’d be in Cozumel on Day 7, which clearly can’t happen unless they’ve added rocket boosters to the ship. PreCruise Stay and transportation- We’re big believers in not risking it and arriving the day before. We’ll be flying BWI-FLL on Fort Lauderdale Saturday morning and then trying something interesting. We figured we could take an Uber like usual, but decided to give the BrightLine train a try. It drops off only half a mile from our hotel, and for only 21 dollars per person a train ride with Food, Drinks, and a departure lounge to wait seemed like more fun than the UberXL for about the same cost. There’s only a few Marriott properties near dodge island (most are on Miami Beach or further away) so we picked on we really liked last time, the JW Marriott Marquis. It’s in a nice downtown location nearby a CVS and Whole Foods to get supplies (I love to have Amazon prime packages delivered to Amazon lockers rather than lugging things like Sunblock with me) Last time we got a great suite upgrade, and will be trying to use another Titanium suite upgrade certificate for this stay. Excursions- For Ocean Cay we had booked a Cabana, which were very reasonably priced at 249, which for 5 people is a good deal, considering some of the Cabanas at CocoCay are 700+ some days. Costa Maya- We tried to book Maya Chan for the day, but as 4 other ships are in and one is Symphony of the Seas, it was already sold out by the time we booked. We took a recommendation from a friend and booked Nohoch Cay for the beach day. Belize City- in our other visits to Belize, it has never seemed like a place where you would just venture out on your own. This time we booked Cave tubing along with several other members on another social app for our cruise through a service called ButtsUp Cave Tubing. It almost seems too cheap for an excursion as they only charge $35 per person, and it weirds me out that they only take cash on arrival. Roatan- we’ll venture out on our own this time again in Honduras, probably take a cab to see the Monkeys and Sloths as they are Addison’s favorite. We’ve always been very comfortable. So all in all, I kinda feel like I’m flying blind when it comes to MSC, they seem to be very polarizing online, but as we’ve learned with society, it seems most things are polarized now. I also know that you can’t expect Filet Mingon at Sirloin Prices (or in this case Regent Seven Seas Service at MSC prices) I’m going in to this with an open mind and very much taking the “no matter what a day at sea is better than a day at home.”
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