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About illiniwahoo

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Upstate New York
  • Interests
    Cruising. Raising children. Engineering
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere! Corfu, Alaska, Roatan, Rome

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  1. I'm looking at cruising when my kids are 3 or 4 on NCL. They are fully potty trained. We were on the Allure of the Seas last month and loved the splash park on it. Which NCL ships have the best splash pad for smaller kids? I'm sure my kids will be too short to ride any slides, so I'm just looking for the water cannons, spray fountains etc.
  2. I agree that the staff were so sweet to the kids. Making flowers out of napkins, hearts out of straw paper, etc. They really did try to make them happy.
  3. We were on allure, so it should be very similar. We registered them the first full day. They also had registration the first night, but we missed it. You do check them in each time you drop them off, but it's not the full registration like the first time. There are maximums at each level. About 50 kids. It seemed to be based on staff (more staff in the 3-5 room, but the maintained lower ratios), so I don't know if they staff up during busier times.
  4. We LOVE labadee. Especially with young kids; it is such a great free day. We got off at 1000, the projected arrival time. They actually started letting people off at 0930. We got chairs in the shade on Nellie's beach. I brought sand toys from home. We already broke one bucket playing in st. Marteen so I'm really glad we got that wine bottle bag. It held sand and water quite nicely. When we needed a change or scenery they played at the splash pad, much smaller than the ship, but still fun. Lunch, then a lawn chair nap for daddy and daughter while my awake son played in the sand at my feet in the shade. Swam and swam until about 445. Got back to the ship at about 5 for a 530 all aboard. Almost no one was left at that point. On Nellie's beach you could also rent an umbrella. But we were early enough for tree shade so didn't. The grilled chicken at lunch was great! Hot dogs and hamburgers were nothing special.
  5. Let's talk about is 3 a good age to take kids on a cruise? We have patiently waited until they are three to make sure they were potty trained and could go to the kids club. There is a very small diaper splash area on Allure. It was crowded with babies most of the time I saw it. We started potty training in March to support the October cruise. Happily it was pretty easy and we were potty trained in plenty of time. Do note they they need to be completely independent in the bathroom for the kids club. Staff are not allowed to enter as there are no cameras. So no help wiping or pulling up pants allowed. My daughter didn't want to go to the kids club, so I didn't make her. My son went once and enjoyed it, but didn't beg to go again. They love swimming so we swam and went to the splash pad a lot. Would I recommend taking 3 year olds? Not really. You still have to deal with naps and the bed situation. My kids were kind of fussy the first few days, but settled into it by mid cruise. Dinners are long, but the staff tried to make it fun and bring their food fast. Allure is a great ship for kids, but 4 or 5 seems like it might be a little bit better for a cruise to me. Both the boardwalk and central park are lovely, but it gets hot. There's little breeze in either area. Central park was usually fine before dinner as the sun was angled so it was all shade, but it was still a little muggy. Park cafe is open until 6pm and makes a good place to grad a pre dinner snack for the kiddos. Chips and fruit cups were usually there, unless they ran out which did happen (and then we had cake for a pre dinner snack- hey its vacation, right?) We definately heard children crying from the connecting room. I usually look for this, but we needed a room for 4 ppl as close as possible to my parents handicapped room, so there were little choices. (It turns out they were twins too!)
  6. We didn't try any specialty restaurants. They all looked so good, but I was happy with the MDR food, so why waste the extra money? But overall the restaurants seemed EMPTY. I had made 6:30 my time dining reservations each night. We passed the ones in central park every night on our way to dinner at 6:30, and saw sabor as we rode the carousel after dinner at 8 or 8:30. None of the restaurants were even 30% full when we say them. They did not offer any specials that I saw. I was looking a little, but not that hard, and I didn't ask either. Several nights we had a drink at the wine bar before dinner. It was very empty, so I didn't feel badly taking the kids in there. We stayed in a corner out of the way of other people. Of the three times we were there, there was maybe 10 people max in there besides us. And yet the service was sooo slow. I have no idea what they were doing! But if you get a bottle of white to bring to dinner, they bag it up in a reusable ice bucket (really heavy duty bag). This bag also doubles nicely as a sand toy - FYI. They did run out mid cruise, so do this early if you want one. The wine bar has a separate wine list than the MDR. It had some great wines (I love Michael David's Petite petite). The mark-up is a little higher than I expected. $65 bottle on Rccl, $18 at local wine store at home. Vintages did have many of the wines that are only listed as by the bottle by the glass. Just ask. I had several glasses that were not listed as available by the glass. We had the beverage package and many of the wine by the glass had a few dollar surcharge. Our room steward was average. On celebrity, I once called guest services becuase our toilet was broken. The room steward appeared immediately out of thin air and asked that we always call him first. Now that we have many occasions to call the room steward on celebrity, but someone always answered the phone. The first night, when we still had not met the steward, I had to call to get the pack and plays. They were delivered while we were at dinner. When we got back to the room after dinner and found out that they were mini, I called to get him to come make up the bed, no one answered. I waited 5 mins and called again. No answer. I finally flagged down a guy in the hallway who told us that he didn't have our room, but he would call our guy. He tried. No answer. So that guy made the bed for use and we tipped him for his help. Our room steward all week was mediocre. There was a problem with our reservation. Even though we have checked in on line and had the sail pass or whatever it's called, my daughter disappeared off the reservation. It took a long time to sort out at the port (grr). He left us only 3 towels until he remembered to ask us what room "she really belonged in becuase his supervisor needs to know". Once was assured him that she really was booked in this room there was some problem With the reservation, he started leaving 4 towels. Expedited arrival would have been amazing if it had worked. I believe you have to check in with the app to.get it. Everyone else seemed to be sailing through. Somehow even though I had booked dinner and show reservations for all 4 of us, had checked all of us in the week before, and has all 4 sail passes, my daughters reservation was gone at the port. It took about 45 mins and two levels of supervisors to get it fixed. Without that, we would have been on the ship in under 20 mins easily. I had checked in with the app earlier I. the week. Everyone but me was listed as expedited arrival. I called to ask how I could get it as well and they told me that if one person on the reservation has it, everyone could use it. It made me laugh that on our sail pass (or whatever its called) each of us had a different check in time. Really RCCL? You want me to check in at 1pm, my one 3 year old at 2pm, the other one at 2:30, and my husband at 3? How bad are your IT people to not give everyone the same time? Not that it mattered. No one ever seemed to look at the check in time. We arrived at the port about 1230. We stayed at the crowne plaza the night before. It was fine.
  7. Rather than a full review, I'll just cover the highlights and what I feel was unique to our party as it might help others. Eight of us traveled together- me, the hubby, our twin 3 year olds, my mom and dad, who is in a wheelchair due to a stroke, and my aunt and uncle. We had a great time and can't wait to do it again when the kids are a little bit older. We are experienced cruisers (11th cruise and have hit most of the major lines). Celebrity is our favorite, but with the kiddos, we tried RC again. Our only other RC cruise was about a decade ago on the Splendour in Europe. Loved the food! I remember last time being unimpressed by the food. This time I though the MDR food was almost equivalent to celebrity. Beef tenderloin was especially tasty. The cribs included are NOT full pack and plays!!!!! I highlight this as a critical piece of info for parents of toddlers on cruises. I knew they would be pack and plays, and I was hoping two would fit in our balcony room. The good news - two do fit for those that need to know in the future. The bad news is - these are the MINI pack and plays. It would fit a baby to 1 year old. Maybe 18 months if your kid is small. My three year olds that sleep in cribs at home and pack and plays for travel, definately did NOT fit. And I wasn't really planning to transition to beds on vacation. But we had no other choice! They slept parallel to the balcony door. Arms of the couch kept them from falling out. We made it work. Where were the people? For so many people the ship hardly ever felt crowded - except the buffet. Wow. One breakfast and we never ate there again! My dad in his scooter had NO chance of braving that mess at peak hours. We found MRD does a breakfast buffet too (and a la carte but that always had a line). All the same food it seemed. no chaos. Johnny rockets was also good for breakfast if the sun wasn't beating down on you. We have kids, so wipe out cafe usually sufficed for lunch. We cruised the week before halloween. No decorating or anything special that week. I have lots more comments. I'll post more later today.
  8. There are 4 of us in my family, including two 3 year old children. Each of us have a different boarding time! So I really hope they aren't enforced!
  9. We go next week! Thanks for the info. i think we will at least get him off the ship for a while.
  10. I'm looking for the 7 night main diniing room menus. We are on the Allure, but I imagine they are fleetwide menus. I tried the search function, but on my cell phone I can't find a way to limit the search to just the royal forum. I've tried some recent Live threads, but they all seem to focus on the specialty restaurants. Can anyone post them or send me a link? Thanks!
  11. For perspective, Japan, Germany, Ireland, The Bahamas and New Zealand have all issued travel warnings against the US.
  12. In Barbados we went to the beach club The Boatyard. Nice place, but the best part is the there are several shipwrecks off shore and locals will come by and offer short snorkel trips out to the shipwrecks. I loved it! One was a very old wooden boat which was turning into a reef. They other was a newer metal boat which was much more in tact.
  13. It really depends on the port and what your interests are. If you just want to hit up a beach, winging it is totally fine. If you don't research before hand you might end up at a beach club that gives a kickback to the taxi driver, but it's a beach! If you want to do something like sail, snorkel, zipline, etc it really depends on the port. Some ports like cozumel will have many options for stuff to walk up and do when you arrive. Other ports, like Antigua, have no options when you get off besides a beach (I speak from experience and was mad we wasted the day in antigua because we hadn't made advanced plans). Other ports like Bermuda we had a general plan of renting a scooter, and then we winged it from there.
  14. It's my parents first time traveling since my dad's stroke, so we haven't looked at the world through a handicapped accessible view before. How is the accessibility on labadee? Handicapped bathrooms available? Do they have regular chairs besides beach loungers? I'm hoping my dad can use a walker for a few feet into the sand, and we can plunk him in a chair under a tree. A beach lounger would be way to low! He's typically in a wheelchair but we are getting him a scooter for the cruise, which I'm sure can't be driven on sand. Are there any beach wheelchairs to borrow? Any other tips or suggestions are welcome!
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