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About michelle-nh

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Hampshire
  • Interests
    History, Genealogy, Adventure, Travel, Kayaking, ATVing, Snowmobiling, Skiing

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  1. Okay. Thanks, everyone. I'm feeling better about it and won't stress anymore. I think we're all just trying for a really fun and stress-free time as a family, and so are trying to take care of all the little details ahead of time so we don't have to worry about them then. As I said, we all booked direct through RC and the agent told me she had linked the reservations, but apparently she didn't which is I guess what is causing all the confusion now. I just went into the planner and linked the other two reservations to mine, so we should be all set now.
  2. When you say "link" the reservations, what do you mean? Do you mean in the cruise planner online? I thought that when we all booked the cruise last spring the agent told me she HAD linked them, but from the confusion of agents when we called recently it appears that didn't happen.
  3. We weren't asking to choose the restaurant, day or time. We were simply asking that we be given a table for 6.
  4. So please understand that I came to Royal Caribbean used to Norwegian's freestyle system. But what the heck?!! We have a cruise planned with family next month, on the Allure. Six of us, three separate reservations that we made last spring sometime. My brother-in-law reserved first and signed up for 8 pm dining so the rest of us did too. Okay, I hate to be told what time and where I have to eat, but I can deal with it. We all booked within hours of each other, sharing our reservation #s with the agent who helped with booking so they knew we were together. Well, last month a professional association I belong to held their annual conference on Mariner of the Seas. It was just a 4-day short cruise and I promised family I'd report back on dining and whether we should pay for premium restaurants. I was signed up for any-time dining - this was a conference with friends/colleagues and I wanted the flexibility to enjoy dinner with these people that I only see once per year. Night #1 a group of 5 of us wanted to eat together; 4 of us were any-time dining and the 5th was 8 pm. We went to ask for a table together and they gave us what we wanted, but without telling us they switched us ALL to 8 pm dining plans. So now we were obligated to eat with these same people every night at the same time. Okay, maybe we could have lived with THAT, as annoying as it was, but 8 pm dining cut into evening conference events. Which meant if we went to the events we MISSED dinner, which we ended up doing on the last night and then found out the buffet was closed TOO! Luckily Izumi was able to accommodate us last minute which meant we got charged extra. None of us were happy! Before you get the wrong impression, we loved the ship and the service was OUTSTANDING. The food was also good. But the dining times and system is so confusing!!! Fast forward to the present. After our experience I advised family that I thought we should all buy the 3-night plan so that on the nights when our 8 pm dining would cut into other plans we had flexibility to eat at other places/other times (and at less than what we would pay if we waited until we are on board). So, we all went into our Cruise Planners and did that. But then we realized we each had specialty dining reservations for 2 and that since we aren't even allowed to choose the first restaurant it was possible we'd even be at different restaurants. So we called. Simple request: 6 of us are traveling together and want to make sure we can dine together; here are our reservation numbers..... Well, apparently not so simple. It has taken 6 frustrating phone calls (2 from each family) to get this request honored. They didn't even seem to understand what we were asking for at times. Seriously? When groups travel together they don't want to eat together? I would think this would be a common situation! They say they finally have our reservations linked now, but I'm not feeling optimistic. I hate the thought of ending up in that longgggg guest services line on day 1, trying to straighten this out. So, mostly this was a rant because I'm frustrated. But, I also honestly want to know what we did wrong? Is there some different way we should have booked all of this? Maybe we should just have waited till we got on the ship? Are there some insider tricks to dealing with this dining system that I'm missing? It is really a shame because as much as I LOVED the staff and service on Mariner and have every expectation I will on Allure as well, this is really turning me off to RC. We have an Alaskan cruise booked with RC for next summer and I'm honestly rethinking it.
  5. We leave this Friday. I did laundry and piled everything for me on the dresser last night (5 days out). Plan to get it in the suitcase and weigh it tomorrow. This is late for me, and I’m feeling a little anxious about it. My husband will wait till the last minute and eventually I’ll pack for him.
  6. Thank you! Less than 2 weeks for us now.
  7. I feel your pain. Just finished the second to last episode and was thinking “wow am I glad I booked for June and not next week.” It may be the first time in my life I’m glad vacation starts a little later.
  8. Not in my experience. We had $200 in OBC from our travel agent that we didn’t spend and NCL gave it all back to us in cash at the end of the cruise (recently...last month).
  9. Thank you! Do the taxis take credit cards? Or should we make sure to exchange for some Euros before leaving the airport?
  10. We are using Barcelona Day Tours. We are flying in a day early, but the plan is for them to pick us up at the hotel on cruise day at about 9 am and then drop us at the cruise port after a 4 hour tour.
  11. We’re arriving in Barcelona a day before our cruise (a few weeks from now) and staying at a hotel in the Gothic Quarter. We always use Uber when we travel but just read they outlawed Uber there earlier this year. What will be the best way to get to our hotel? Will there be lots of taxis outside the airport or should we arrange something ahead of time? Any advice? Two of us, two suitcases, and two carry ons.
  12. We were on the Escape a few weeks ago. Absolutely loved our balcony rooms. Our friends stayed in the next door room and we spent a surprising amount of time just hanging out on our balconies watching the water and talking. It was quiet and relaxing. Granted, we had the drink package and we each had 3 vouchers for specialty dining, but we honestly weren’t ever tempted to spend extra money. In fact, we had $225 in onboard credit, and they gave us about $200 back in cash on the last day. We never felt pressured to spend more. if you are looking for relaxation, you might love the spa. Honestly, the pool deck WAS loud and crowded, but none of us are pool people, so we tended to avoid that deck during prime times, and enjoyed time in the spa pool instead. The spa was never crowded and always quiet. Loved Choir of Man. A definite don’t miss, and free. Howl at the Moon was also lots of fun, and we really enjoyed the performers in the Tobacco Road bar and the Brew House. The atrium was always crowded and we mostly avoided it, but we stopped to watch a couple of shows that were fun and worth putting up with the crowd. After our first experience at the buffet for breakfast (madhouse!), we opted the rest of the cruise to eat breakfast in the dining rooms. That was soooooo much nicer and more enjoyable. We did have between meal snacks at the buffet a couple more times and I was never as crowded again as that first time. O’Sheehans is the only restaurant we didn’t like. Service was way too slow and the food is just typical pub food. All the other restaurants were really good, never crowded, always great service - and that includes both the complementary dining. Except for the specialty restaurants, we didn’t have reservations and never had to wait. Finally, we also loved the waterfront area. It was a quiet and comfortable place to sit with a book and a drink when you wanted to be near the water, but not your own balcony. I can definitely see why some would find it loud and crowded. It definitely was in prime areas like the pool and atrium. Our solution was just to seek out the places where it was more relaxing and quieter and thoroughly enjoyed it. To me Escape had something for everyone and I loved that about it....lots of options.
  13. We have two cruises booked with Royal before the end of the year. When I go into the cruise planner, sometimes the extras ( like the drink package or excursions) are on “sale” for one of the cruises but not the other. I haven’t purchased anything yet, but should probably start thinking about it. How do you know about the sales? I never seem to get emails. Should I? Or do I just need to make a habit of checking the cruise planner regularly?
  14. I’m so sorry. The mac and cheese looks disgusting. We were on Escape for the first time two weeks ago. We ate in Cagney’s, Bayamo, and Teppanyaki and had great meals and service in them all. We were with another couple, and one of them can be kind of picky about food, and even he thought everything was great. But honestly, the food and service in the MDRs was just as good. If the vouchers didn’t come with a booking, I might not feel the need to eat at a specialty restaurant. The only place we had slooooooowwww service was at O’Sheehans, and the food wasn’t bad, but wasn't great either. We gave it a second chance, but it was the same the second time so we avoided it after that. We’re going on the Epic in two months with the same dining package and I’m curious to see how everything compares across ships.
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