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Everything posted by Toddcan

  1. It's been a few years (3?) since sailing on Royal. Just jotting down a few observations in this mini-review. Independence of the Seas Fort Lauderdale, Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica 5 Night cruise March 9-14, 2019 Cabin 8342 - center of the hump balcony. Embarkation - excellent! We left from terminal 19. Arrived at port in an UberXL at approx 10.15am after staying the night in the Sleep Inn Suites. Dropped off luggage, and made our way right through to the waiting area. We're Platinum, so we waited beside the "Key" cruisers (that's a new one for me). They started boarding a little after 11am I believe. I found it odd that we did not get our sailpass cards at embarkation. I suppose it's to same time at check in so the agents aren't all scrambling through the same box of cards for the right ones. Was a little odd, but probably the best way to do it. Ship: Love the Indy. I think this was our 3rd time on her. LOVED: -The ship - never felt crowded -Grease - the show was fantastic -Once upon a time - another show - fantastic! -Room attendant - we asked for ice - and she delivered - twice a day -Cans of pop on day one - that's a new option. We ordered 12 cans of pop which arrived the first evening. Hence the need for the ice -Giovanni's. -Solarium. A new twist for me - lifeguards and pool deck attendants very present. -Washy Washy duet. Corny, yes, but I had fun watching the energy of these guys. -Labadee beach bungalow on Columbus beach. We normally rented the OTW cabanas on Nellies, but the price is crazy high on those. Half the price for a beach bungalow and it's a nice area. Will do that one again. -Balcony chairs that recline! That's new. Very welcomed update. -Ice Cream machine attendant. Love that idea! Makes the machine area cleaner, more sanitary. -Roaming Piano player dude. Ran into him playing his piano in the oddest places - even on elevators a few times. -Ranger Cookies - love these little disks of coconut chewy crack! Meh... -Chops. We got the 3 night dinning package, and used 2 nights @ chops and 1 @ Giovanni's. Chops was decent - except for the desserts. Chocolate melting cake was great according to my wife, but the apple pie was horrible. The filling was more like an jellied apple paste- and it has raisins! The crust was rubbery. So, I asked them to take it back. He brought my next choice - key lime pie. I'm a huge pie fan - but I could not eat this one either - it was neither tart, nor tasted like limes. But, the shrimp cocktail was amazing! Steak was very good the first night, and mediocre the second night. -Falmouth. It's so bloody far from all the popular stuff. We did the Green Grotto caves which was decent. -Cruise Director - Jamie Fentiman. He was mediocre on stage - but could actually sing. He was Horrible on the TV morning show - which I suppose no one really watches anyways -Hard bedding. It didn't ruin anything at all for us, but even with the mattress topper (was already installed), the bed was a board. Dislikes -Johnny Rockets. Cover charge is now $9.95 per person. That's crazy. Used to be $4.95 from what I remember. We had BOGO Milkshake, which we enjoyed, but still... charging $10 pp over and above the cost they already factored in for a meal. Likely our last time in JR. There was only one other family there. The fries have changed too - or maybe we had a bad batch. We remembered them to be quite good - but they tasted like freezer bag fries. Not impressed -Room service - ouch.. $7.95 service charge no matter what time of day. I'm torn on this one since we very rarely used room service. But, at least we didn't see a lot of plates sitting in the hallways with only a small amount of food eaten - so that's a good thing - less waste. Overall - it's always a good week when you're cruising. I'd give this one an 8/10.
  2. Thx! I would imagine then it's just the speed. I last cruised on RCI 3 years ago, and VOOM wasn't on the Navigator (I don't think). A lot can change with tech in 3 years.
  3. Thanks Ken! Looks like you're a cruising maniac! Lots of time on the sea - good on ya! Thanks for the guidance. It's been 4 yrs since we have been in Indy. With the Freestyle machines - have you ever got the package, or used the machines? Are there only a few on the ship in total? Lineups?
  4. Yes, several times. There are green beers, and lots of people wearing green. You will NOT be out of place if you bring the typical tacky hats, glasses, t-shirts, necklaces, etc etc. I don't remember any ship-wide major events, but several smaller pub-related gatherings.
  5. I should have asked earlier, but we're selling our house and renovating our next house.. blah blah blah :) I feel odd this cruise as I have spend VERY little time preparing and researching for our upcoming Indy cruise, which is abnormal - believe me. So, I come to the experts for a little guidance, please. Please forgive me as it's been a few years since we've sailed on Royal, so I have not been even lurking on these forums - I see lots of changes as I dig into things. Hence the questions/clarifications. Please and thank you! Independence of the Seas 5 night Western - March 9-14 Labadee(my fav!) and Falmouth Q1 - Coke Freestyle. I see the Indy has one! Where are they located? Are they conveniently located for a sea day on the deck? What about on the way to seeing a show? We don't drink alcohol, but love the various possibilities with the diet sodas. Q2- Internet -VOOM - difference between Surf and the Surf/Stream packages? I'm assuming it's speed, but is it also data limits? I won't be facetiming, but I might watch a few YouTube, or play a few video games on my tablet (which need connections). I'm thinking I need the Surf/Stream. Thoughts? Also, if I get a 2 device package, does this mean I can use 5 of my devices, as long as only 2 of them are connected at any one time? Or... are the first 2 devices the only ones I can use - ever? Note: I am seeing a Soda and VOOM combo package which looks decent for pricing (relatively). Q3 - Ice show - tickets still distributed from a kiosk on the promenade? Q4 - Arrival packages?? I don't see any options to get in room decorations or chocolate covered strawberries, etc - are these options gone? Q5 - Pre-assigned arrival times? I know it wasn't a long standing thing, but for a while, they asked you to arrive at the port at a certain time - I've received no emails on instructions. Doesn't matter much anyways, we're usually at the port by 10.30am :) Any changes here? Boarding still starts between 11am (if everything goes well) and Noon (if there are delays on the ship) Any other Indy veterans who can chime in with any other tips/comments will be greatly appreciated. Cheers!
  6. For me, getting on the ship early (within the first hour) and heading to the Windjammer has just become part of the "tradition" for us. There is something about that first lunch that just makes me happy. People are happy - kids are excited, new cruisers are clearly impressed with the surroundings... all good feels. If you wait much past 1 hour after embarkation starts, then the windjammer turns into a zoo :)
  7. Ken!! Always good to hear from an old trusted poster! Thanks for the tip - I'll take a look. Been doing land vacations and a huge Tahiti vacation next summer - so cruising these past few years ends up being quick (read: less expensive) options. Sadly - vacation funds are not unlimited ;p;p
  8. Update: I ended up booking the Indy, leaving a day early. This means flying down instead of driving. The net cost to me is about $500 more to fly- when I factor in hotel stays, meals etc associated with driving. We fly out Friday night , arriving in FLL at midnight - which gives us about 16 hours until the cruise leaves. Was still able to book a hump balcony - which we had on the Navigator. End of the day, the price was within $1.00 of our cancelled cruise. But, it's even better because they offered a $100 OBC in addition to the $50 OBC we already had - so the cruise is actually $100 less with the OBC factored in. LOVE the Indy - love the Navigator too. Both sailings visit Labadee, which was our prime desire. Worked out well. I'm out of pocket an additional $400 at the end of the day. BTW, my DW works in the schools - so we have no flexibility on an extra day here or there. No kids anymore (empty nesters since last summer ! :) )
  9. Yea, I saw that one, but sadly, we are driving to this cruise (We're Canadian), and we cannot make a Saturday departure. Flying is extremely expensive from Canada during those weeks
  10. I know.. they can do whatever they want... But, I just got an email that our spring break cruise on the Navigator has been cancelled. It has been Chartered. The email explains some options - which are not applicable because this is the only week we can cruise (schools off). Of course they give me the option to cancel... but I want to cruise. Ugh... Is there some little-known trick I should follow to help me get another cruise? I can book another one, but they are much more expensive. I'm not expecting good news from anyone - but it doesn't hurt to ask.. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
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