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actuarian

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  1. ISkate was performed twice but both performances were on the last afternoon of the cruise, at 1PM and at 3PM. We were at the 3PM performance and that was about 80% full. I would guess that the 1PM performance was even less full since it is difficult to have lunch if you go to a 1PM show. There was no reserved seating anywhere in either the main theater or Studio B. It never mattered much in the main theater on Voyager class ships since the reserved seats were in the balcony and most people prefer the main level anyway. However, it used to matter in Studio B since the embarkation night ISkate shows were packed in our June and July shows. However, on this cruise, that did not seem to matter much either. It is just that anyone who purchased The Key must have felt that they paid for something that they did not receive.
  2. I do not think that the OP meant to say that his or her bid for a JS was accepted but rather that he or she upgraded outside of RoyalUp. When that happened, RoyalUp really should have canceled or expired all of the bids since they were based on upgrading from a balcony, not from a JS. However, the screen which was displayed looks like a bug in the software. Most likely, the developer never considered the possibility that a person would first bid for an upgrade through RoyalUp and then purchase the upgrade outside of RoyalUp. Probably, the bid will never actually be accepted since it is no longer meaningful but one can never be certain what will happen when one encounters an error in the software.
  3. My wife and I were on the 4-night Navigator three times this summer: June 10, July 8, and August 12. The last of the three disembarked only today. They were all wonderful cruises but we noticed a surprising number of changes in the mere 5 weeks between the July 8 cruise and the cruise that just ended, so I thought I would point them out: There were no reserved seats in either the theater or Studio B on the August 12 cruise. We were in a GS so that would have devalued the experience except that there were so many seats available for both shows that it did not seem to matter. It surely devalues The Key, but, being in a GS, we did not purchase The Key. It has been noted elsewhere but our Seapass cards were silver, not gold. The only people who had gold cards were the Pinnacles (and we are D+, not P). The lobster at Hooked was much bigger and much improved. It is now advertised as a 2-pound lobster, whereas it was previously advertised as a 1 1/4 pound lobster and I am pretty sure that those weights are correct. It was also prepared differently, more like the way it is prepared in better seafood restaurants on land, The claw meat was left in the shell rather than removed by the chef and the butter and stuffing were on the side rather than in the lobster. Hooked probably now provides better value than any of the other specialty restaurants. You now need to use the supplied nutcracker in order to eat all of the lobster. The sushi at Izumi is also much improved. Perhaps we just went on a bad day in July but the sushi in July was a little off; it just did not taste perfectly fresh. It was perfect on the last cruise. The Imperial Seafood Tower at Chops was incredible. This may not be a change since we never had it before but we ordered it as an appetizer to share and it turned out to be an entire meal for two. It had about twice as many shrimp, clams and mussels as the menu said it would have and the "lobster tail" was really a whole Maine lobster minus only the large claws. I think it was just as large as the 2-pound lobster at Hooked was. Neither of us was able to eat much of our entree courses after we ate that seafood tower. It is well worth the extra $19. The Ice Show (ISkate) was performed only on the afternoon of the last day of the cruise. Previously, it had been performed on the evening of the embarkation day as well as on that last afternoon. However, we went to the second show and Studio B was only about 80% full. Many people on the ship must have elected not to see it at all, which is a shame since it is a wonderful show. While the production shows ("Showgirl" and "Ballroom Dancing") were unchanged, the Headliner Show (which, of course, always changes) was, in our opinion, the best ever. The entertainer was the "Oh, What a Night Tribute" band and they were incredible. Of course, my opinion was affected by the fact that I have always loved The Four Seasons and am old enough to remember well when they had their first big hit (Sherry). It has been noted elsewhere but the welcome aboard lunch for people with The Key moved from Chops to the MDR. Chops was made available on embarkation day to people with the Ultimate Dining Plan and the old lunch menu (with the 8 oz. filet mignon) was back there instead of the Key menu with the smaller filet. Once again, you could order multiple appetizers at Chops. Jamie's was no longer open for lunch on embarkation day. The bottom line: IMHO, The Key (which we did not have) was notably devalued but the Ultimate Dining Plan (which we had) was worth more than before. The elimination of the reserved seats in the main theater and especially in Studio B was unannounced, unexplained and a total surprise. I would like to know whether that also happened on other ships or only the Navigator.
  4. My wife and I are on the Navigator in a GS right now and we do have the new silver colored sea pass cards.
  5. There is another fatal flaw in the program. It is addictive! Once you have cruised in Star Class, it isn't easy to go back to cruising without being in Star Class.
  6. The mid-ship rooms only have virtual balconies on decks 9 and 10. On decks 6, 7 and 8, they are cat. 1T promenade-view interiors, which have a bit of extra space but the promenade-view is a matter of personal preference. 1T's often cost less 4U's. Those three decks and deck 9 also have a lot of interior cabins that are right behind the mid-ship elevators (example, cabin 9329). Those cabins may be technically called aft but they are close enough to mid-ship that they would satisfy my wife and me. However, we prefer the promenade-views and they are very well priced although, like I said, they are not for everyone.
  7. I take it you mean no complementary lobster. I am pretty sure that every Royal Caribbean ship has a whole Maine lobster available for dinner in the MDR for an up-charge. Last time I checked, I think it was $29.99.
  8. That same third party runs the Celebrity MoveUp program and many airline upgrade programs. However, I am also almost certain that Royal employees have a "back door" to RoyalUP that allows them to accept (or reject) a bid before that third party issues the awards. This is based on my own experience: For my 8/12 Navigator cruise (now in only 2 days), I booked a cat. VP Panoramic Suite for my wife and myself for $674 per person (plus $97.74/person tax). This was actually a little less than a JS cost at the time but it was only shortly after they reclassified those rooms from Panoramic Family rooms to Panoramic Suites and simultaneously eliminated the minimum occupancy requirements. When RoyalUP became available, we put in a bid of $180 per person for a Grand Suite. The bid was marked "weak" and we thought it would fail. Actually, we were happy with the Panoramic Suite but thought it would be worth $360 to get a veranda and a mid-ship location, even though the view would not be as spectacular. However, that "weak" bid was accepted on July 17, almost a month before the cruise and, in my experience, about 2 weeks earlier than RoyalUP bids are usually accepted. My guess was that some Royal Caribbean employee went in through a back door and accepted the bid so that he or she could move a family into the VP suite. Both the GS and the VP can sleep 4 but the VP is much better designed for families with an extra half bath and a private sleeping alcove for children. Moveover, there are only 2 VP suites on the ship. The bottom line is that we got a GS for $854 + tax/person, a little over half of what it would have cost to book a GS when we first made the reservation. If you ever see a VP being offered for the same price as a JS, grab it. While it has no veranda, It is much larger than a JS inside, has spectacular views, and there is a very good chance that you will get a cheap upgrade to a GS via RoyalUP.
  9. They also have raised the price back to $24.99/person/day. I think that that was the original price but it had been discounted to $19.99 (occasionally even less) for quite a while. The discounts seem to be gone for now but, of course, they may come back at any time.
  10. I have had rental scooters on every Royal Caribbean class of ship except Quantum-class and Empress-Class. All of the ships have standard cabin doors that will fit the scooters, even the 37-year old Majesty. As I said above, the problem is that when the scooter is in the room plugged into the charger, you have to squeeze through a narrow space in order to walk around the room. That is very hard for me to do at night.
  11. The poster I was quoting said that the change in colors started just last month (July). Therefore, it would not have affected a spring cruise.
  12. It depends on the scooter but the standard scooters that you can rent from Special Needs or Scootaround will fit in a regular balcony cabin. However, I have discovered from experience that it is very difficult to get around a regular balcony cabin during the night when there is a scooter parked there and charging. If the person who is sleeping on the side of the bed that is farther from the bathroom has to go to the bathroom during the night, it is very difficult. By the way, there is no problem getting around if you are in a Junior Suite or larger or in any category accessible room. I need a scooter and I would rather be in an accessible inside room than in a regular balcony cabin.
  13. The algorithm is very complicated but designed to maximize Royal Caribbean's total revenue. What you originally payed seems to be a factor but it is probably a relatively small one. In your case, the fact that your original room 7330 was a cat. 1A was probably also a factor and maybe a more important one. There are only 7 cat. 1A cabins on the Oasis so it is not unlikely that you were the only person in a cat. 1A who was even bidding. If other people were bidding on cat. 1A, they had to accept your bid in order to free up a cat. 1A to award to another bidder. When they moved you from a 1A to a CL, they received not only the revenue from your bid but also from that other bidder's bid and you have no way to know how much that was. I believe that one of the best ways to win a RoyalUP upgrade is to start out in a room category for which there are very few cabins, like cat. 1A on Oasis class or cat. VP on Voyager class. For my next cruise, my original booking was in cat. VP on the Navigator and I was upgraded to a GS for the minimum bid, even though that bid was "weak".
  14. In exchange for having an obstructed view of the Promenade, people who book the "Sweet" get admitted to the Suite lounge and nearly all of the other benefits that come with a Grand Suite or above. However, it is only on Freedom-class ships and the Mariner is a Voyager-class ship.
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