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KSprite01

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  1. We used it on Freedom (Jan 2018, Son 1 yo) and Anthem (Feb 2019, Son 2 yo). It was $6/hr before 6pm and $8/hr afterwards, which is a bargain compared to what we pay for daycare! They did not charge us for time we didn't use, such when we got him half an hour early, nor when he had an issue staying there (see below), which we appreciated but didn't expect. Don't assume your kid will be fine if they've been in daycare! Even though he had been in daycare since age 6 months, when he was 2 he had a tough time with it and they called us to get him a few times. (First time after 45 mins of crying, next after 30 mins, final after 15 mins, though we told them not to wait too long if he didn't settle.) Actually, they forgot to give us the pager, so they did a shipwide page for us the first time. We canceled two appointments he had and were able to get him to be ok twice in the end, for a Wonderland dinner, and 2 hrs on the last sea day. Which leads me to - they give you a pager and expect you to be able to pick up your kid if there is an issue. I didn't get the impression they would be excited if you went off the ship and couldn't get the page/get back quickly (15 minutes or so), but you can ask them. I wouldn't have wanted him crying for 3 hours while I was unreachable on an excursion - and it would have never occurred to me my daycare kid would have an issue and be inconsolable. Kids are all together. I think they may also accept older kids than 3 years that aren't fully potty trained and therefore can't be in the Adventure Ocean. It was a windowless room so once we were contemplating booking for a 6 hr stretch and they suggested breaking it up so that he wouldn't be cooped up with no sunlight/fresh air etc for that long. We always did 2-3 hours. They had you fill out a sheet of last bottle/food, etc, expected naptimes, etc, and would report back on what the kid ate/slept/diaper change. If yours is 2 it may not be an issue, but FYI that the first trip when he was almost 1, we mixed up a bottle of formula once while in the elevator on the way up, and they almost refused to accept it and let him have it - they needed to freshly mix it (but didn't tell us this rule in advance). As people noted, it's based on availability. We always went to sign up and book times first thing on board. The only times that were an issue were formal nights. They only let you book one of them, and as others said, had a max on the hours you could book initially. I want to say it was about 15 hours? We've never used them all. (The first time we didn't book the max, the second time we did, but canceled 2 visits and we had to get him early other times as noted above.) Hours seem about right for what others said above. We always got him by 8:30 for bedtime, but they do have late hours. If no one is booked they'll close early (e.g. 10PM). Note that for privacy reasons they only let one family in the room at a time to check in/out. This can be frustrating when you're waiting 15-20 minutes and 1) your kid is say, inconsolable and you're trying to break them out, 2) you are picking them right up at the deadline and it's stressful if you'll be counted as being "late" (never happened though) or 3) you have dinner reservations you're trying to make. Not sure why some people took forever. Our kid was great with excursions at age 2 (we did one just after he turned 2 and another when he was 2 yrs, 9 months, though no nursery on that ship), we just took care to book ones that worked for him (easy beach days, a train, a glass bottom boat, etc.)
  2. I cruised on Royal (Explorer) to Southern Caribbean while 17-18 weeks pregnant. Changes: - We avoided Caribbean cruise itineraries with Mexico, to limit potential Zika exposure. (I also got mosquito repellent bracelets to wear on my wrist and ankle, which really seemed to work at I usually get bitten a ton but got only one bite the entire trip.) - I avoided buffet sandwiches and soft cheeses, and asked at dinner about pasteurization before eating soft cheeses. - I limited any alcohol (a few sips of DH's wine at a few of our specialty dining nights). :( - I limited my hot tub time to one 15 minute visit when it was cooler than usual, sitting only half in so my stomach wasn't submerged and I didn't elevate my temp. :( - I felt no guilt at having my husband take our son into the chilly pool every single day and only joining them sometimes. :) - I was exhausted. DH was a trooper and took our son out of the cabin many mornings so I could get more sleep. DS always wakes up early on vacation (sigh, no idea why), so that helped me feel functional for the day and limited/eliminated my nausea. (Into the 3rd trimester, I still have nausea particularly if I don't get enough sleep.) DS enjoyed getting a daily donut treat with dad before his second breakfast with all of us ~8am. - I took the elevator (often with the toddler) with no guilt while DH walked up/down the stairs when the elevators were crowded, when in the past we all might have walked. - Got round ligament pain only once, while walking back to the cruise terminal, but DH took the heavy beach bag from me (while carrying our not quite 3 yo) since we initially weren't sure why I was hurting as it presented differently than it had before. - I didn't lift our suitcases. - After a Royal Caribbean employee told me I could avoid the metal detector and pointed out the sign (which says pregnant women shouldn't go through, not just that they have the option to skip), I skipped it going forward in favor of the pat down. I didn't need to modify any excursions, because we were more restricted by what DS could go on (ahem, Aruba, where there was virtually nothing he could do). We did low key toddler-interesting things such as a little train ride through town, a glass bottom boat, a beach bed, and a (non-inclusive) beach day.
  3. Bummer about the pub. We enjoyed eating at the pub on Anthem last year. Oh, not to worry, we have the 3 day package already booked (plus a 4th from our TA). Just trying to decide if it's worth paying $120 pp to upgrade to unlimited. Another factor is our toddler naps at noon, so we can't do lengthy lunches. Not sure whether they are faster at lunch than dinner (never dined at specialty restaurants then - usually do Windjammer).
  4. Does the Crown & Kettle Pub on Explorer of the Seas serve any food, and if so is there a fee for it? If so, can you provide a link to the menu? Considering whether to get the Unlimited Dining, and as I'm not a big sushi fan, it seems we'd be bouncing between Chops & Giovanni's, with maybe a lunch or two at Johnny Rockets (where I understand we'd still need to pay for any milkshakes). I'm concerned we might get bored eating at the same places over 9 days (and 5 sea days), so I'm trying to determine if there are any other places where the $35 a la carte dining credit might apply.
  5. How long does it usually take to hear back? I emailed rcldining@rccl.com with a dining request on on 10/18 and followed up on 10/26 with no word yet (cruise is 11/28).
  6. Our cruise departure was on the early side (3PM), so when we arrived around 10AM, the place was cleared out already from departure traffic. YMMV. But as I said above, after 11 is also probably good because those on our cruise just walked straight on, no waiting. If that's the general practice, I'd say that's the sweet spot.
  7. We got there about 10:05, and were initially thrilled to get the last seats in the general waiting area. Then we discovered people checking in after us were able to walk right on the ship, while they *very slowly* sent those of us waiting onto the ship (after all of the status folks). Very frustrating. We didn't end up boarding until after 12:30, which was tough as I had been hoping we'd get our toddler fed and napping in his stroller by then, before the early muster drill ~2:30PM. Struggled to keep him out of trouble in the waiting room when he was super tired, and then struggled to get him to nap before muster drill. Dinner was also really fun given the short nap. So...I'd suggest either getting there before 10 so you're one of the first people waiting, or getting there after 11 and you may be able to walk straight on.
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