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Everything posted by printingchick

  1. All of it! I can't wait to drive up to the pier and see the ship there and, as I do every single time, marvel at how big cruise ships are. (We're sailing on Serenade, so NOT a mega-ship.) I can't wait for that feeling I get when I board the ship and every last bit of tension leaves my body and I feel totally relaxed. I can't wait for that first celebratory tropical cocktail and my first lunch at the Windjammer. I can't wait for my waiter to put the napkin in my lap before my first dinner at the MDR. I can't wait to have breakfast outside as the ship is pulling into port. I can't wait to see that aqua-blue, Caribbean water. I can't wait to play mini-golf on a moving ship. I can't wait for my first towel animal. I can't wait to hear, "This is your captain..." I can't wait to hear the sound of my Seapass card being scanned. I can't wait to actually experience - rather than vicariously experiencing - all the fantastic shore excursions I'm researching and planning. I can't wait to cruise again!
  2. Last thing I read was that Norwegian was standing its ground on requiring vaccines. I've never sailed Norwegian, but commend them for taking a stand. As others have said, I'm vaccinated and am thrilled to now be able to do things like grocery shop without a mask! I don't have to prove I'm vaccinated to do so, but then again, I don't come into close and extended contact with other grocery shoppers. If someone in the grocery store is found to have Covid, I will not be forced to stop my shopping and quarantine in the store. And trips to the grocery store are not events I spend two years saving up to enjoy. Focusing on the Caribbean for the moment, since Florida seems to be a major factor, most ports of call are absolutely dependent on tourism. It is the #1 form of income for most of the inhabitants. I'm sure they are anxious for cruisers to return. However, if those cruisers infect the local population, it will only further decimate an already suffering local economy. I'm an obsessive planner and already researching port options for my cruise in February 2023, all the while knowing that many of those options will have disappeared by then. It's easy to think a tour or attraction that has closed down due to Covid will reopen once the threat has past. I suspect that for many, that will be financially impossible. Individual or family-owned resorts, attractions, tour companies will be forced to either sell out to investors (likely destroying the benefits of small locally-run excursions), or simply go out of business. That will negatively impact cruising now and for years to come. You don't hear travelers protesting having to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever, Polio, or Malaria when traveling to certain destinations. What makes this vaccine any different?
  3. I'm a cruise fanatic, but I totally disagree. Universal Studios is primarily an outdoor event. Even when indoors, you're with different people all the time, not confined with the same people for seven days. Sporting events are also typically outdoors and last a short period of time. That said, you've been lucky. Norovirus is NOT limited to cruise ships, but it's where outbreaks most often occur because the SAME people are in close proximity for a LONG time. Remember when this all started? Large numbers of cruise passengers became stranded as the virus ran rampant through the ship and they were not permitted to dock and disembark. Who wants to be part of that? I am a budget traveler by necessity and I sure don't want my big vacation investment to become a nightmare. My cruise is over a year away, so I hope not to be impacted beyond the disappointment of finding many great local tours I'd have enjoyed have been forced out of business by the virus. (So sad...) But if this is still going on, I would absolutely cancel before final payment. I don't understand the objection to the vaccine requirement. No one balks at having to get shots to travel to countries abroad. It's a choice. So is this. I wish RCCL would stand their ground.
  4. I think that the rule on land (correct me if I'm wrong) is that a 10-day quarantine is required for anyone exposed to Covid. A local restaurant near my home had to shut down for 10 days recently, due to an exposure. My fear is that - in B_A_H example - the entire ship population would be quarantined, not just the family that brought it on board. What a way to totally ruin everyone's cruise! I'm hopeful this will be sorted out before my next cruise. I totally agree with all those calling for a vaccination requirement. What's the big deal? Travelers are required to get vaccines to travel to all sorts of places. Why should traveling on a cruise ship be a problem. Don't want to vaccinate, don't cruise until the cruise industry and CDC has deemed it unnecessary. I know of no more social form of travel than cruising, so safeguards shouldn't be remotely surprising.
  5. I scheduled my upcoming cruise is in February of 2023, primarily because I hope to be past all this by then. I'm vaccinated. I would prefer the ships require passengers be vaccinated, but I get that Florida is making that virtually impossible. I would not cancel my cruise due to a lack of vaccine rules, but WOULD cancel if protections put in place would drastically reduce my ability to enjoy the experience. I don't want to be limited to taking only ship-sponsored shore excursions. I don't want to have to wear a mask while sunning by the pool or dancing in the club. I've been on ships where the buffet food had to be dished out by crew - no self serve (due to noro on the previous sailing) - and I'd be okay with that, but not the elimination of the buffet entirely. I don't want my dining room experience to be rushed because passengers are required to spend limited time unmasked. I'm hoping that none of that will remain by 2023. However, I'm realizing that - even after the "new normal" returns - things in the ports will not be the same. Most of us enjoy booking private excursions with locals. Thenford Grey, Levi LeBaron, Javin and his monkey, and many more help elevate the local experience. But how long can these folks continue to survive without any income? At what point do they STOP offering tours because they've had to find other work to support their families? Tours and even major attractions in the Caribbean are at risk of shutting down permanently. I'm hopeful that the on-board experience will be as I have always known and loved, but not so sure about the port experiences. THAT concerns me.
  6. I have to agree that the beds on RCL have always been rock hard! Hate them, even when I request a mattress topper. Sailed on the post-dry dock Summit last year and the beds were heavenly! Most comfortable bed I've ever slept in on any cruise ship or in any hotel.
  7. Cozumel gets a bad rap because it's a place most cruise passengers end up visiting multiple times. But I actually like Cozumel. We're thinking of doing a jeep tour on our cruise and visiting some places we've never seen. I didn't realize it was a place to get vanilla! Good insight.
  8. Johnny Rockets is not free unless you get a coupon as a loyalty perk. I think the only FREE options are the main dining room, the Café Promenade and the Windjammer Buffet.
  9. Would love to, but can't afford a 10 night. Doing the seven night. Of Caribbean cruises, the southern Caribbean is far and away my favorite, but pinching pennies these days, so chose western. I like the western itineraries that include Roatan and Belize. I've visited Grand Cayman often enough. I like a bit of variety.
  10. Played it safe and looked out to 2023. I'm booked on Serenade, sailing on February 4, 2023. It's a LONG time to wait, but I wanted to be sure it would be the cruise experience I love, including the buffet, no masks required, no social distancing. I'm hoping to retire in 4-5 years and this may be the last cruise I can afford to take, so I want it to fabulous.
  11. As others have mentioned, Celebrity is also worth trying. If you have at least 5 cruises on Royal, they recognize your loyalty status to an extent, which is also nice. Went on Celebrity Summit just before Covid hit in early 2020 and loved it. Similar to Royal, but minus a few of the more "cheezy" things that I actually like. (Such as the belly flop contest and the 70s party.) They offered a FREE galley tour (even gave us champagne.) Speaking of champagne, you get a glass just for boarding! It's a more upscale experience, but still in the Royal Caribbean family.
  12. I read somewhere you were working on posting a detailed review of this excursion. Is it live and where can I find it? Thanks in advance.
  13. That collage gives me some 80s party clothing ideas. Thanks!
  14. I'm fine with the 80's theme; it's just that 70s music is so iconic. Granted, disco happened in the early 80s as well. ("Funkytown" by Lipps, Inc. and "Celebrate" by Kool & the Gang were both mega hits in 1980. Rick James hit the charts with "Super Freak" in 1981. Even though most people associate the song with the 1970s, The Weather Girls actually hit with "It's Raining Men" in 1983.) The decade wasn't only about leg-warmers and big hair! 😉
  15. Anyone know about the tendering procedure? Do you need tickets? Do you stand in line? Do passengers going on ship-sponsored excursions follow a different procedure?
  16. Thank you, Biker 19. Yes, I know everything is different in the COVID era. My cruise is booked for February 2023, in hopes normalcy will have returned by then!! Fingers crossed!!
  17. A few more questions: Regarding the tenders, does the process differ if you book a cruise ship excursion? Do they still do the Murder Mystery Dinner? Is it any good? Is it worth the money? Can you still bring 2 bottles of wine per cabin onto the ship on Embarkation Day? How does the Muster Drill work now? My last cruise was on Celebrity. No life vests and it was held in a public forum indoors, not at the lifeboats. Is the "Quest" game still a thing? Besides the 70s party, are there any other regular events that are not to be missed?
  18. Can anyone compare and contrast these two all-inclusive beach club experiences?
  19. Thanks, Crewseeper. I will check out Native Choice.
  20. How do the tenders work? It's been a long time since I was on an itinerary that involved a tender port. Is there some sort of ticket system? Do folks just line up? I believe that people who booked cruise ship excursions and those with high-level loyalty perks used to get the earliest tenders. Will have one tender port - Belize - on my 2023 cruise. Thanks!
  21. As others have said, I won't cruise with a mask requirement. I'm absolutely fine with following mask protocol, but if I'm escaping on a cruise vacation, I want the cruise experience and wearing a mask while sunning by the pool is not part of that experience. I'm fine with vaccination requirements or testing requirements. I'm booked in early 2023, hoping normalcy will have returned by then. But we'll see. I will cancel if I'm forced to mask. Honestly, I'm not an anti-masker, just NOT on my cruise vacation. By the way, I'm fully vaccinated.
  22. I was hoping the dropping off luggage was a change across all of the RCI world, and not just something unique to Celebrity. It was a HUGE improvement!!
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