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About arlodog

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  1. arlodog

    Royal Up Offers & Winners

    I got an email offering me to upgrade on a sailing in March. The problem is that it isn't my booking! I don't have another cruise booked until November 2019. Also, when I go to my cruise planner I am apparently going to the Panama Canal on a cruise with some guy I don't know. I am mildly amused, however my husband thought I had booked a cruise and forgot to tell him about it. I had to explain that I must have a boyfriend who booked a cruise for me! Thank heavens we have been married so long he thinks its funny too. I told RCCL about the mysterious Panama Canal cruise and they said they would remove it about 4 months ago. Still not done. Gotta love RCCL IT dept!
  2. I think we gave him $10pp we may have given him $40. Our friends may have tipped more. We really had a great time. Enjoy your day!
  3. We just got back from our 4th tour with Victor Bodden tours. We had a blast and would highly recommend the private tour. We were a group of 5 and William was our driver. He made sure that we were able to do everything we wanted and got us back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. We were able to go and see the monkeys--our granddaughters favorite thing to do and all she had talked about for the past year! We also got to hold sloths, zipline, spend a few hours at the beach and stop by the cameo factory. William had made arrangements for us to go snorkeling while we were at the beach, but the wind came up unexpectedly. He alerted us to the changing wind conditions and even walked down the beach and got our money back so we could enjoy our lunch. Exceptional customer service as always from this company. Highly recommend!
  4. It has been 5 years since we sailed out of Galveston. We used to sail yearly out of there when the kids were younger but found it was easier for us once the kids grew up to go out of Florida since we didn't have to pay for 4 airline tickets. We will go back to Florida now as Galveston is a 10 hour drive for us and flights are the same cost wise to Florida from where we are in Kansas.
  5. arlodog

    Grabbing an Uber when we dock in Galveston

    There was a long line when we got off last weekend for the ride share. We just needed to get back to our pre-cruise hotel so we grabbed a cab. It was actually cheaper than our Lyft ride to the pier where we got stuck in traffic!
  6. We recently sailed out of Galveston on Liberty of the Seas. It was a horrible disembarkation process with long waits. We finally got through customs/immigration and were leaving the terminal when we passed a table by the exit doors and were asked if we had purchased any alcohol or cigarettes. If you say yes, you have to pay taxes. It was $7.50 per bottle of alcohol and $15.00 per carton of cigarettes. They then give you the tax stamps and tell you to apply them. Just thought I would share this with everyone so you know what to expect. They are on the honor system, but they won't let you leave if you have made a purchase without paying the taxes on your duty free purchases. Needless to say due to the high prices for hotel, distance from the port to the airport and poor terminal management we won't be sailing out of Galveston anymore! Pity as we have sailed many times over the years out of this port.
  7. Just realize that with a 2 year old you won't have dinner together as a couple. Your kids won't be old enough to go to the Adventure Ocean program. Children must be 3 years old and potty trained for you to drop them off. I just don't want you to be surprised that you can't have your alone time. There is no in cabin babysitting available. The royal tots program is just a room that you can take your child and play with there but you can't leave them. I think that Carnival allows kids younger than 3 into their program. Please read on the family cruising forum and they will be able to help you plan a cruise that you will enjoy and be able to have some alone time with your husband before he deploys. Please thank him for his service!
  8. arlodog

    Teens getting bored on ship

    Our kids were middle school when we took our first cruise. They didn't like the kids club and never went. They enjoyed spending time with us or just exploring the ship We just made it a rule that if they weren't with us they had to stick together. They would go to the arcade (they had a spending limit each day) or swam in the pool on sea days. There is still things to see and do outside of the kids clubs on board. They loved having the freedom to explore. In port we just picked things for the family to do together. Some things they liked more than others. We always tried to infuse a bit of culture and history in our vacations--it was fun as they got older because they could understand and speak to what they had seen. They must have enjoyed it because they are both grown up and still want to come with us! Next month we are taking our granddaughter on a cruise with us. She can't wait. We have great family memories of our vacations together. We didn't worry about them being bored. They were lucky enough to go on a cruise. A privilege not given to everyone!
  9. We are booked on Liberty of the Seas in an aft balcony on deck 7. We have been on this ship before in an aft balcony so I am aware of the superstructure on the back of the ship. There is an available aft balcony on deck 8. I have tried to research the difference, all I can find is pictures of deck 9 which show a more open view. Is there much of a difference between deck 7 and 8 as far as the structure goes? Just wondering if it is worth changing cabins. I love to watch the wake and relax with a book on aft balconies! Thanks for any input!
  10. We did our med cruise 3 years ago for my 50th. I agree with the above poster who stated pick the cruise for the itinerary, not the ship. You will be too tired to really enjoy the ship after touring all day. It really is just a floating hotel in the Med. We spent 3 days pre-cruise in Rome and didn't really see it all. We spent 2 extra days in Barcelona after the cruise. Both are fabulous, but we preferred Rome. So much history and very compact compared to what we are used to here. It will still take lots of planning to really see the sights. We chose a hotel in central Rome. It would have been cheaper to stay further away, but not as convenient. The good thing about staying central is that you can easily walk to many of the sights. Buses are easy to take and the hotel can help you to find the correct places to get on and off. The Vatican takes a day itself even with a guided tour. We also wrote ahead with our dates and were able to get tickets to the scavi--the tombs under St. Peter's where they claim to have found the bones of St. Peter and why the Basilica is there. Absolutely fascinating. They only take small groups and it is very limited so you will need to plan ahead if you want to go. We also did a tour of the Coliseum, For the other sites we downloaded Rick Steve's podcasts and did self tours. The biggest difference on the med cruise was having to split tours with people on our roll call. We made arrangements to go with others due to the cost in all of the ports. It was actually quite fun as we met people we never would have otherwise. It was not something that I was used to doing as we usually go to the Caribbean and excursions/tours are cheap. One of the best tours was a walking food tour in Valencia Spain that one person on our roll call organized and we asked if we could join in. We learned all about tapas and gelato and the city. Visited about 5 restaurants and were able to taste multiple different samples at each. We were blessed to have an active roll call and people who were willing to share tours. Once you decide where you want to go make sure you join your roll call and see what tours others are organizing (or organize it yourself). I honestly don't remember the name of the ship we took. I looked at multiple lines until I found an itinerary I wanted and booked it. Have fun planning! We can't wait to go back and explore more.
  11. arlodog

    Alaska Questions

    I agree that late July/early August cruises are better. Just be prepared, they are also more expensive for that reason! We did one then and again end of May. Big difference! You want to go when the salmon are running as it brings out the wildlife. We have rented a car in Skagway both times and used Murray's guide to drive up the Yukon Highway. We have seen bears both trips on the side of the road. The flowers are blooming and you still see the snow on the mountain tops in July. Definitely go to the Alaska boards and get information. I also would suggest sailing out of Vancouver if possible. We used HAL and NCL for those cruises in Alaska and HAL does a much better job IMO. They bring a naturalist onboard that give lectures. Also, they went deeper into Glacier Bay (of course it was July instead of May) but overall I have heard HAL and Princess do Alaska best.
  12. arlodog

    Shuttle to port price?

    We have shuttled many times from FLL to Miami. We have used Jiffy Jeff's a couple of times and it is $15pp. Others are similar in price. Go to the Florida boards for recommendations. Uber is around $40-50. You just need to figure the cost and how many people you have to see what is most affordable for your situation.
  13. Grand Cayman has a great beach--7mile beach. Absolutely beautiful and an easy cab ride or take the public bus from the pier. Very easy to do. Falmouth doesn't have anything right at the pier for a beach excursion. Most suggest not leaving the pier area and just wandering around by yourself. We have always hired a guide in Jamaica through Marva Shaw at Know Jamaica Tours. She is highly recommended on these boards and we have been with her 3 times now. Highly recommend for a personalized tour. We have always had a great time and felt completely safe with her. If you read the destination boards frequently you will find the same names of the local tour guides come up over and over again. We have always booked with local tours recommended on these boards and have never been disappointed. Here is a link to the boards where you can get more information on what is available at each port. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=587 Have a great time on your first cruise!
  14. arlodog

    Safety level on Roatan?

    We have used both Victor Bodden and Rony's tours. We have just booked our 4th tour with Victor Bodden for our November cruise. You will be completely safe. My mom and I went on a Panama Canal cruise together and she was very reluctant to let me book private tours at each of our stops too. Once she did them she saw how much better it was than booking through the cruise lines! We had a great time and we were able to do as much or as little as we wanted to at each stop. Tell your mom not to worry on Roatan. Since we have been so many times we have traveled all over the island to get a feel for the out of the way places away from the tourist crowds. We never felt unsafe and it is an interesting island full of wonderful people! If you are interested there is a museum that gives a bit of the history of the area. I believe admission is only $1.
  15. I didn't do a lot of shopping on our med cruise, but the exchange rate is not in your favor!