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Everything posted by OldCaver

  1. Same experiences for me. I find that taking a four hour nap on arrival in Europe gets you all synced up right away. Love those sea days, no shortage of things to do. Sometimes after six sea days or so, I would get up in the monring, look out and see land, and it seemed weird, somehow.
  2. Things to consider: 1) If your cruise has a lot of port days, you won't drink as many back on the ship, which would make your package worth a little less to you. 2) If you are D+, you might want to tell your server not to count a soda or cheap drink against your 5 free drinks. (or 4 if you're just a lowly peasant D). Your mileage (or drinkage) may vary. 3) Often, your server will simply not bother with the extra price of your premium diamond drinks. This will be somewhat more likely if you (ahem) fold a buck next to your seapass card when he takes your order. But if he does charge your card with the extra buck or two, it's worth it to you for the premium liquor, or you wouldn't order it - am I right? 4) I once calculated that the package wouldn't be worth it for just the alcohol, but when I realized it also included coffee or orange juice, it became a good deal for me. Just things to consider when you're banging on your calculator.
  3. We like to buy key chains from each port. They then become Christmas tree ornaments.
  4. Now see, that is the attitude that virtually guarantees a great, enjoyable cruise. We, the passengers, are the single most important factor in whether a cruise is good or bad.
  5. If there is a line of people waiting to board, they likely won't let you on. If there's no crowd or line, they'll let you on. The point of scheduled boarding is to avoid the long lines. It's one of the best changes they've made.
  6. We loved trans-Atlantic/Pacific. Plenty of time to relax. I loved the lectures, but I hear they don't do that anymore. Saving some bucks for the cruise line, I suppose. Definitely prefer Europe to USA, because of the extra hour on many days. Going east I was tired most days. A 25 hour day is much better than a 23 hour day. We made a point of arriving in Europe 3 days early, so we could enjoy things before the cruise. As long as you have to fly, might as well make the most of it! Agree with Cruisegirl1 - fewer kiddies underfoot. If you just skimmed her post, go back and read it. So far, we're just now slowly getting back into cruising. It's more expensive than before Covid, but boarding is far easier than then, and there are other improvements. For now, we'll settle for 3-7 night Caribe cruises.We've been to all the ports, and we skip many of them and pretend that it's a sea day. This works for us.
  7. I just asked Mrs. Caver (la esposa) about this. We generally bring around $500 for all expenses, including stuff on the way to the port and back. We never use it all. We tip maybe $20 per person in the cabin to Stewart (in addition to the pre-pay money), and a buck each time we order a drink or drinks.We don't ask much of Stewart, keeping our room more or less neat and orderly, so all he or she has to do is empty the trash and make the beds and maybe replace the towels once during the cruise. You do not need to bring a huge stack of ones, since it's way easy to break a ten or twenty at guest services, but you should still estimate what you need for tipping so you can avoid the long complaint lines. If you do exceed your estimates, it's not a problem, just a slight inconvenience while you wait for twenty people to complain about it raining too much. If you take an excursion (whether it's managed by the cruise line or not), you should be prepared to tip your guide or driver, but that's easy math.
  8. We bring along photos taken on other cruises, or of us doing things other cruisers might conceivably find interesting - such as caving. We change the photo each day, and some in our hallway remark that they look forward to the new photo each day. Other's decorations come in handy to alert us to the fact that we took a wrong turn and are on the wrong side of the ship! 😉
  9. Ginger anything is helpful for seasickness. I have had the best results with ginger chews, ginger capsules, and ginger beer (not ale). You can get ginger beer at any of the bars. It is not alcoholic, it's just a major ingredient of Moscow Mules. All three have high ginger content, in the order I listed. If the ship is rocking side to side it's far worse for seasickness than front to back. When it's side to side, I take some ginger and go to bed.
  10. That's pretty much what we do, except we don't do MDR anymore. The Food Jammer is our preference now. They have new hires roaming to offer to get you a drink or something between clearing tables, while they practice their English skills, and if you tip them, you really make a friend! We don't tip additional at the bar until a waiter is friendly to us - and then we hand them a buck along with the sea pass card. This continues for the rest of the cruise. This results in somewhat stronger drinks, and also in some very lovely conversations about the waiter's home port, which to me is as nice as the stronger drinks.
  11. We honestly don't care. So the first time we bump into Stewart we tell him to get it whenever works best for him. He seems to be happy to have that flexibility. Other than the bed not being made, or the trash can having stuff in it, we barely know the difference anyway. We put things where they belong at all times. We only use the cabin for sleeping, showering or changing clothes - which is why guarantee cabins work so well for us.
  12. That was our experience as well. While we were in the water with the stingrays, petting them and feeding them multiple times, we could see the ship's excursion about 100 meters away, sharing maybe two stingrays among them, having paid twice the fee. And in this case, there was virtually no chance of missing the ship when it left.
  13. I would NEVER Be disrespectful to any staff person. Pressure bar staff to violate the rules about sharing my drink package. Go to the buffet and put more food on my plate than I am likely to eat. Sit outside near the pool. I would NEVER AGAIN (see the difference?) Attend an art auction. Once was more than enough. Put money into a slot machine. Stay dressed up after formal night. In fact, I'd rather just hit the buffet and stay away from the promenade, or wherever they've stationed the photographers. Participate in the "Karaoke Super Star" thing. I can entertain a crowd, but competing takes all the fun out of it. Think of a ship's excursion as the highlight of the cruise. That will only triple the odds of it getting canceled just before we get to the meeting place. 😜
  14. My first cruise was on the Splendour of the Seas, a transAtlantic cruise. We sailed on the Splendour several times after that when we could arrange it. I don't think it's part of the fleet anymore. I thought it was the perfect size ship. They don't have ships that size anymore, so we've gone with the next size up. I still have no interest in sailing on one of those monster ships. The smaller the better.
  15. I agree about the beds. Reminds me of a cruise we took when we booked the last cabin available. The room was so small that with the beds together, you had to climb over the bed to get into it - either that or walk sideways like a crab. By separating, the two walking areas were combined so that you could easily walk between the beds.
  16. In about a week, we're going to take our first cruise since the pandemic ruined it for us. (I cannot wear a mask for reasons I won't go into.) Main reason is to find out what it's like now, whether it's still worth it. I can tell by reading these forums that RCI is cutting corners and pinching pennies as hard as it can, and I don't blame them. They lost a LOT of money. For me, I'll generally take an interior because it's cheaper (and yeah, that matters to me), which means if we decide to resume our cruising habit, that means more cruising. I'll address several things on this thread: I have a form of night blindness, which you would think would make an interior cabin out of the question. But my smart wife always sends me to bed first, and after I fall asleep, she places two rows of those battery operated little candles from the bed to the bathroom. It looks like a runway, but it works. I can find my way easily when I get up to answer nature's call, and for her it makes a sort of night light. I've enjoyed balconies, and all things being equal I'd prefer one, but the price is anything BUT equal. Saving bucks means more excursions, more drinks, more generous tipping, and the possibility of turning a short cruise into a B2B. In other words, I postpone the agony of getting kicked off the ship! Bottom line, even though I like balconies, how much time do I really spend on one? So with an inside, I can choose which side of the ship has the shade I want, while on a balcony the sun gonna shine if it wants to, and if I don't like it I have to go back inside. With an inside cabin, yeah, I spend almost no time in the cabin, and with a balcony, I spend more time there. Oh, and my experience is that a balcony usually allows more noise into your cabin when you try to sleep. People partying too loud either up a deck or two, or to the left or right. I remember one cruise where a drunk couple started a loud argument up one deck and over two cabins. (I ignored the noise until I heard him start throwing stuff at her. Then I picked up the phone.) I'm pretty flexible when it comes to features and amenities, since the important thing for me is watching the sea go by and smelling the salt air, and you can do that on that wide deck where they used to have the mustard drills. Balconies are good, but if inside cabins save me enough clams that I can convert to a B2B, or buy specialty coffee, and maybe hit J.Rockets once or twice for a BLT, and assuming I can still enjoy things with the cost-saving efforts they've necessarily had to implement. It's a beautiful thing that a ship can offer so many options for all of us. This thread explains all the pros and cons nicely. Now I need to find a thread that will help me figure out if I should try that royal up thing they do.Not this trip, but for future cruises, should this one pan out as I hope it will.
  17. Since ginger isn't a controlled substance, but rather just a food, you should take it any time Captain Speaking advises rough seas may be ahead. Useful forms are ginger beer (not alcoholic, though you can get a can from any bar), ginger snaps (cookies), ginger capsules (if for some reason you don't like the taste of ginger), or just a hunk of candied raw ginger root. It will also help your stomach if you ate some spicy food on an excursion or something. The key word is "help," as in make it better but not perfect.
  18. I haven't been on a cruise since Covid began, but I hope to resume in a year or two when they decide it's over. We're diamond plus on Royal, but back when we began, the first thing we did was go straight to the Food Jammer to eat. About the third or fourth cruise we realized that the free food wasn't really worth the crowding and difficulty of finding a table. So after that, we ate before arriving, and toured the ship instead. But I lied, there was one thing we did on every cruise and will do again when we resume cruising. We'd find a bar, and order a BBC for each of us. It was kind of a ritual. Now the BBC disappeared from the drink menu at some point, but we found that most bartenders on the ships can still make them, provided they still have a supply of bananas. Bailey's, banana and colada. I know that's the next question. Not low carb at all, but it's only one, and it keeps me from getting hungry until dinner time. So... #1 Find a bar and order a BBC. #2 Explore the ship even if we've been on it before. #3 Do the mustard drill (I will miss those, they were fun.) #4 Find somewhere uncrowded for sail away.
  19. I don't mind the occasional storm. Usually the captain will go around it, or something as good. If your ship is rocking badly enough to matter to you, you can minimize it by hanging around the lower decks. If you have to deal with seasickness, get ginger in just about any form - ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger cookies, raw ginger. All will help. You may want to skip dinner in the dining rooms, but you can pick up a small snack if you're hungry - which you won't be if you're seasick. If all else fails, go to bed. The rocking will become quite pleasant, like being rocked in your mother's arms. I did that during one storm where I couldn't find any ginger. If you're like me and you enjoy thrill rides, go to a dance floor on the highest deck you can find, and if the rocking is severe enough, you can experience something like weightlessness, followed of course by standing up with several G's. 😉 I would say that in all my Atlantic crossings, I would estimate maybe one significant storm for each three times you cross. Your mileage may vary.
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