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Russ Lomas

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  1. I think this may be incorrect. You can book an April 15, 2022 cruise on the Wonder now on RCCL's website that is a 5 day sailing out of Port Everglades. That is the last listed cruise for the Wonder right now, so she likely heads to Europe after that one.
  2. There are three seams. Each one is about three inches wide and about 1 1/2 inches high. The two outside ones are just outside the white of the crown and anchor symbol. The other one (and most annoying) is right up the middle. The seams run from the very bottom to the top of the wave surface. They really play hell with your riding if you carve hard. It makes riding much harder than the other waves. I am told Freedom also has this newer wave type with the seams now after it got Amped. You can learn a few ways to get over the seam easier, but it still rides much worse than the other waves because of this. Why the seam could not have been on the underside of the surface instead of on top (unless it is on both sides) is beyond me. Photos below from Nick Vitani
  3. 970 on our Odyssey cruise last month. I had the Flowrider to myself for a couple hours each day I chose to ride on our cruise. The most people in line I ever saw was 6, so I left then and let the other 5 have it. It was awesome (other than those 3 horrible seams in that new inflatable design)
  4. I have only read about one death they deemed due to Covid which they say was a cruise ship passenger. Easy to search on the internet. I had the link posted here, but as you can see from the comment below, I decided to remove the link. I do not feel like getting a "time out" just for answering your question.
  5. That is one reason to always book the refundable deposit (assuming the news of an itinerary change comes at least before final payment). After that point, you are settling for what ports they take you to as stated in their cruise contract. Many of these changes are for sensible reasons (political unrest, hurricanes or disasters, port closures due to other reasons like pier reconstruction or Covid-19). It is those ones that are reasons like a cruise company wants to move ships around after originally selling them that is frustrating to cruisers and there is no recourse.
  6. I still think that they are going to limit cabins. They want to be operating at enough capacity to be turning a profit (which cannot be done at some of the very low passenger levels they have had the past month or so), but they are not going to crank up the occupancy and risk having a ship shut down due to an outbreak and putting the entire industry in the spotlight again. I do not think they will have too much trouble selling out cruises (especially the more desirable ships) when the time comes, but right now, I am sure they are thinking about the long game and not short-term profits. Very unlikely. I cannot vouch for the validity of a statement someone who sailed with me on the Odyssey last month made to me, but they said they talked to some senior crew members (this person said they were sailing the Odyssey again in April) and they were told that they hope to have the ship at about 80% occupancy by then. If this is true, that would bode well for you not being at full capacity next month. I would be shocked to see any RCCL ships sailing full prior to Christmas, at the earliest.
  7. I agree that trying a board out is the best way to see if you like it before committing to making the purchase. A great way to do it is if you strike up a conversation with other riders using their own boards at local waves and many will be happy to let you try them out. I was never crazy about the ship's Outlaw boards. I purchased a wood Ash board and loved it. It rides like a big smooth Cadillac though. Super stable and a great board to learn on. I added a fiberglass Mak board with channels to my collection next and found it less stable but far more agile and fun for hard carving and tricks. Trying out a few different boards prior to buying is the best thing to do.
  8. Hated all the hoops we had to jump through to cruise in August, but LOVED the cruise on the Odyssey. We are scheduled and plan to do it again in March 2022. We are hoping that some of the testing requirements are not needed by then, but who knows. A large chunk of the group we plan to sail with also have mixed vaccines, so hopefully the CDC and RCCL will start to recognize this regime as effective as well and permit them to sail. The one big holdup for us for March is we have flights booked from Detroit and we live in Canada, so we need that land border crossing open before then.
  9. I remember seeing Wonka pies on cruises for a few years. They were often available in Cafe Promenade, but also available in the Windjammer. Never in the MDR. I cannot help you with a photo of the Wonka pie, but they are not like the ever elusive rainbow unicorn, they do (or did) exist. We found that a lot of times the chefs working for RCCL have been there for years and they are happy to pull out an old recipe card for you to make some of these items that are no longer on the menu (for example, the cold soups that we get served every night to us in the MDR even though they are not on the menu)
  10. A nephew of mine loves them and we last cruised with him March 2017. It was his birthday, so his dad asked our waiter if his son could get a Wonka Pie for dessert on his birthday. The smile on his face lit up the dining room as our waiter brought out his birthday treat. The waiters and chefs will do whatever they can to make you happy, such as on this special occasion.
  11. How long until you flight/cruise. If it is before final payment of the cruise still, you are entitled to a full refund of the flight costs (even though the majority of people have not paid this prior to final payment, so if that is the case, you would just cancel the air portion with no penalty).
  12. I am just curious why the UK announced they will not be vaccinating 12-15 year olds. Are they referring to vaccinating them with AZ? Canada has been vaccinating 12+ with Pfizer since April. Likely will be an even younger age bracket vaccinated in a couple of months as well with Pfizer here.
  13. Same areas as normal for ships (though I admit my knowledge of these areas are not likely as good as one who seeks them out). Part of the casino permits smoking. Also, the port side of the pool deck also permits smoking (the main reason we always try to walk or sit on the starboard side of the pool deck).
  14. That has been the pattern for the past 4-5 sailings. Please let us know how many passengers were on your sailing when you know and that will confirm that this pattern appears to be continuing. Enjoy the ghost ship. It feels very odd at first, but you get used to it after a couple of days.
  15. Only issue I had with them was when I was reaching out to touch deck 13 with a towel in my hand and the towel's proximity to the buttons selected every odd numbered floor beneath the 13...11, 9, 7, 5, 3
  16. You will have an awesome time. The number of passengers on board will be far below capacity (probably about 1/3). If you are on the 8-day sailing, you will have even less passengers than on the 6-day one. I will see them at the Flowrider then. If you are doing standup surfing, you have to stand tall and unweight the board and not carve hard over the seams or the board will catch terribly. The other thing I found to work was to try to have the board more perpendicular to the seam. If you have it close to parallel to the seam, more of your board will catch at the same time and you are more likely to be knocked off balance. I am sure I will see them both in March. See you on the 12th. We loved having just 6 of us on the Odyssey two weeks ago, but having a large group is great too so you are always running into people you know around the ship. I have learned though to not try to keep a large group together. Each individual small group should do their own things and if they align with others in the party, that is great, but to wait for 30 people to disembark the ship at once, or do an activity, will just cause frustration waiting because waiting for a large group like that will always have some late or some who forget things.
  17. Thanks. I loved how different the ship felt to all the other RCCL ships that I have been accustomed to. I am looking forward to sailing on the Odyssey again in March to see how it "feels" with more passengers on board. I have a big group of family and friends going March 12, 2022 (I lost count when we got over 60). Come join us.
  18. I booked it last Black Friday for $19.90 Canadian (or about $16 US at the time) for a cruise this past summer. I paid $30 Canadian (about $25 US) for it for this past cruise we were on a couple of weeks ago on the Odyssey. I probably had enough to cover the costs of it, but I did not save much over purchasing the drinks individually. It tells me that if I get it for less than that amount for our upcoming March cruise, I will consider it, but at anything over that, I will probably pass as well.
  19. I am not the one to ask. The only thing I can guarantee you about me and a casino is that I never come out ahead, so I have learned to stay out and leave gambling to those who are more skilled or luckier than I am. My only foray into the casino this entire trip was for one purpose, to say "Hi" to Chris and get the photo snapped to send back to a friend back home that asked me to take a photo with him. I am a non-smoker and the one time I went through the casino to reach the Music Hall, I vowed the smoke bothered me enough that I would not step foot in the Casino again.
  20. It does not have anything to do with pricing of the 8-day cruises. We sailed on her a couple of weeks ago with only 970 passengers on board. We were transferred over (along with many other passengers) from the Indy when she was moved to Texas. RCCL opened up our sailing and other summer sailings on the Odyssey (quite expensive as you mentioned and I agree since I paid about 1/5 the price they were asking for our cruise). RCCL closed off the summer cruises for sale and proclaimed them "sold out" not due to regular capacity, but due to meeting their pre-determined load capacities for safety and to comply with the CDC recommendations. Our in-laws wanted to go on the cruise with us but they kept checking back on the "sold out" cruise and it was not made available for purchase at any time during the months of July and August. I am sure others would have booked it as well if it had been up for sale. I also talked to a few senior crew members and they said that the CDC has placed more restrictive limits on passenger numbers permitted on cruises over 8 days in length. I had not heard this (though it would not surprise me since the CDC originally banned sailings over 7 days in length). I think that if you continue to monitor the number of passengers on the Odyssey you will notice the pattern of double the number of people on the 6 day sailings as the 8 day sailings. This has been the pattern thus far. What you say is true. Another thing I believe RCCL is doing is proving to the world (and particularly the CDC) that they can run a safe cruising experience and the cruise industry itself does not need to be demonized. By continually bringing more and more ships back on line and having no COVID outbreaks on their ships that have now been sailing successfully for 3 months in the Caribbean, RCCL is probably hoping both public perception and the CDC realize that cruising is as safe (or safer) than being on land under current protocols.
  21. We had an absolutely amazing time on the cruise. It sometimes feels strange reading from people in CruiseCritic or on Vlogs and then meeting them in person. Kind of like this chap I met on the cruise in the photo below. Best wishes on your continued Vlogging.
  22. Too bad we will just miss you. Add the 8-day and make it a B2B and we can say hello personally. If not, be sure not to break her before we board. Have a great cruise. Congratulations. Nothing like Central Park on the Oasis class ships pop out as a great background for photos on the Odyssey for a classy photo. Lots of great fun locations for some candid shots (playing the giant chess game, bouncing on SkyPad, in a bumber car, etc.) Maybe the massive LED wall art piece when you enter the MDR. The glass chandelier that hangs from deck 5 down to the dining room below would be neat but I think the railing behind you would get in the way of the perfect photo. If nothing is going on in Two70 lounge in the way of shows, that would be a nice place in the evening for a quiet drink. The Solarium is an amazing quiet place in the evening, but the bar there closes at 9 pm, so it is BYOB. Giovanni's Wine Bar would be nice too, but I never saw a single person in there our entire cruise. Many of these photos were taken in the middle of the day. Normally to get photos like this, I need to get up at 6 am to get them without people in them. I like showing the business of the cruise areas in my photos with lots of people as well, but there were so few people on the ship our cruise (970), the photos would have looked even stranger with only a few people in them.
  23. If you are on the March 12 sailing (which you may very well be since that is the Ontario March break week if Ford does not decide to delay it again), then we will see you on the Odyssey then. I have a group of about 60 of us booked for that sailing.
  24. Cabins. We stayed in three interior cabins on deck 11. Our cabin steward, August, was great (as they all are). We rarely spend much time in our cabins, so we prefer to spend our money on other activities during our cruise. The inside cabins were relatively spacious for two people in my mind. Someone else on Facebook thought they were too small though. The cabin was well laid out. The bed was comfortable but a bit too firm for my liking. There are two small closets, one on either side of the bed. We found them adequate for our clothing. Above the bed are two doors that fold up that you could store a lot of things in if you needed extra space, but they would not be that functional to access them. I also loved the USB charger in the side of the telephone beside the bed. I love interior cabins for how dark they are. I always sleep better on the ship than anywhere on land. One thing I did not like that I could not turn off (and neither Guest Services and housekeeping were unaware of this until I asked them about it), the light in your cabin just inside the main entrance does not turn off 100% when you turn out the lights. It remains on like a large 6" nightlight in the ceiling. Although this is likely done as a safety feature, I missed the total blackness of the interior cabin. The bathroom is nicely done. We liked the swinging shower door as opposed to the usual sliding one. The ladies also liked the bar in the shower to shave their legs.
  25. Now to where you find me much of my cruise...the Flowrider. The activities staff were all outstanding. Special callout to Sai and Mark for making the week so great. Being a brand new wave, I expected it to be the best of any on any of their ships. NOT!! In fact, in my opinion it is by far the worst wave I have rode. It is one of the new inflatable waves that they say are much safer. The problem lies in the fact that there are three large seams on the TOP of the wave surface (one in the middle and one just outside of each side of the crown and anchor emblem). For bodyboarding, these do not affect the ride much at all, but for stand up surfing they are horrible. Currently, only advanced riders can do stand up surfing due to crew not being permitted to hold your hand to teach you. Even advanced surfers will have trouble getting knocked off balance every time they cross one of these seams. It really makes stand up surfing much less enjoyable and much more dangerous. Once RCCL opens up stand up surfing to beginner riders again, these ridges are going knock people down so quickly that they will become very frustrated with it. As the week progressed, I got more used to methods to traverse the middle ridge, but it was still far less enjoyable than other wave surfaces.
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