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About Optifire

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Southern New Jersey
  • Interests
    Cruising, Traveling, Making Candy
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean, Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska, Europe

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  1. Optifire

    Redeeming Credit Card Points

    Hi Joan: You can use your rewards up to 7 days prior to sailing for OBC, but I find that it is best to do it a little further in advance then that. You do not want to do it too far in advance as the reward points, once applied to a booking are non refundable or transferable, if you should have to cancel the cruise, you will loose the reward points. Yes, you can use the reward points for gifting to another reservation. I find it is better to call in, rather than doing it on line. The phone number that I use when redeeming is 1-888-305-4626. You will need their reservation number, Ship Name, Sail Date and the persons name as it appears on the reservation when you call. Reward points are good for 60 months (5 years), after that they expire. If you have points that you suspect will be expiring, you need to call Bank of America, not the redemption center and they will be able to tell you how long you have on the points validity. If your points are going to expire soon, and you do not have a booked reservation, you can call the redemption center and redeem them for OBC or a Cruise Credit and you will then have 180 days from that redemption date to find a booking. If you do not find a booking within that 180 days then you will loose the reward points.
  2. I always book directly with RCCL. Years ago I used a TA and when I had seen that the price of the cruise had come down drastically (savings of $500.00 for my husband and I) I called the TA and told them. They checked on it and said that RCCL would not allow me to have it. I called RCCL directly and asked them why and they said I could have the discount, but it is up to the decision of the TA to give it to me. When I called the TA back, they still maintained that it was RCCL that was blocking it. I never received the discount and it was too close to the sailing to cancel. I would loose more money then the discount was worth so I was stuck. So for that reason, I have booked my own reservations directly with the cruise line ever since. I have control of the reservation. If I am up at 1AM and see a price drop, I call RCCL and they are happy to give it to me. After I book the cruise with RCCL I watch the cruise price everyday on the internet and as soon as I see a lower price or an added On Board Credit appear, I call to have it added to my account. It is fun to watch it and makes the time pass quickly. I have found that booking a cruise like a year or so ahead will give you some good price drops and added on board credits as the cruise gets closer. ,
  3. We have taken many cruises and one of the most interesting things that we enjoy is really getting to know our cabin stewards and their assistants as well as the waiters and the assistant waiters. When speaking to them you will learn so much about their lives and the dreams they hold as well as the struggles they face. We have learned from them that they do not care how much extra that you give them, because the amount does not matter to them as much as by giving, they realize that you know how hard they do work and you appreciated it by giving them a little something extra. They do work so hard. Everyone of them that we talked to could not emphasize enough to us, if we were happy with their work, to please fill out a form at Guest Relations for them for a job well done. At the end of the day, they do the extra work indeed for "Gold Stars" as by getting enough of them, that is what gets them promoted to a higher ranking position which in turn means higher wages on an everyday basis. That is what they strive for. So many times, people go out of their way to tell GS when something does not meet their expectations but they never seem to find the time to tell GS when someone really was great. When we find that our wait staff was great, we usually give them all $20.00 each extra, but we make sure we go to the GS Manager, tell him their names and what a great job they did and ask to fill out a form for them. Then we go back to the Stewards and Waiters and tell them what we did so they know how truly appreciative we were and how their extra hard work made our cruise so special.
  4. Thank you all for taking the time to reply with your information. I truly appreciate it. Her and I usually travel together, but I am not able to go a this time, so I am like a nervous mother sending her off by herself and just trying to get as much info as possible so she has a smooth sail. I have made notes of all your tips and info and will pass it on to her. Thank you again.
  5. Hello Everyone! Happy and Healthy New Year to all. My friend is booked on the Anthem of the Seas next month and I was helping her with her On Line Check in Process. There are some new procedures in place since I last cruised. RCCL is now giving you the option to upload a photo of yourself, therefore eliminating the need to go to the check in counter. If you fill out your credit card information and the photo and you have your set sail pass printed out, they said that a mobile agent will be walking around and will scan your set sail pass and you can go directly to your cabin as your Sea Pass Card will be waiting for you in a sealed envelope in front of your cabin door. My questions is, has anyone been on the Anthem or other RCCL ships where this is in place and used it and if so, how did it work out for you. Our concerns are that anyone can walk down the hallway and take the envelope with your Sea Pass Card in it and use it since the credit card info was uploaded already when she did her set sail pass at home.
  6. Optifire

    Non-Refundable Deposit

    A Fan of Royal Caribbean But Not A Fan Of This New Booking Implement I have a cruise booked for 2018 and check it every day for price drops. I was thrilled when I saw it had come down. I went onto RC's website and pushed it through as a mock booking to see that my savings would be ($100.00) and chose to stay with what I have. When I further read the fine print under the NRD booking, it listed the following: "Non-refundable deposit booking (“NRDB”) cancelled prior to final payment due date will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of the deposit minus a $100 per person service fee (the “FCC”). FCC is non-transferable and expires after 12-months from issue date. $100 per person service fee applies to changes to NRDB ship or sail date." After reading that, I thought, well that is not too bad, you still get a future cruise credit, it's not as if you are loosing the deposit after all. But reading further, my deposit is $500.00, so right off the top, according to what is listed above, I loose $200.00 for the FCC fee (Future Cruise Credit).. THEN they are going to charge me another $100.00 per person service fee for changing the sail date, which is a no-brainer if I had to cancel the cruise. So in summary, if cancelling, Yes I will have a future cruise credit of $100.00, but it cost me $400.00 to get it. Lastly, Is RC going to adjust the pricing on their travel insurance now? It seems only fair that they do, if you book under the NRD and you took out the insurance, you are not going to be able to use the cancellation protection so there should be an adjustment made to the price to reflect this since you are loosing some benefits of the insurance plan that was originally priced with the cancellation protection implemented. If prices remain unchanged, more money for RC's pockets. I look for this new NRD program to net them more profit from cancellations, then by actual sailings.
  7. TeddyBear231: You had mentioned in your post that you left a room key in the slot so your A/C was always on. Can you explain that a little more? Does the air go off automatically when you leave the room?
  8. Hi Yahoogirl. I understand your frustration as I am always on the hunt for a good price. Since this happened rather recently, my suggestion would be to try other cruise selling sites. Royal Caribbean may not have any of those cabins available at that price, however, another cruise selling site may have the cabins with the price that you were looking for and since it is rather recent that you did this, they may still be on sale. You may do even better with them, as they usually also give you incentives such as OBC to secure your booking. Good Luck.
  9. Optifire

    Roommate Forced to Cancel

    I know this is an old post, but I want to put this up to warn others. If your cabin mate cancels out and you find someone to replace him/her, make sure when you call Carnival to add them in, that they pay in full for everything. We just had this happen, our friend broke her foot, she cancelled out and there was another lady take her place in the cabin. Carnival told that woman she only had to pay for the port fees and tips as the money from the lady cancelled had to stay on the account and she had the insurance and would get paid everything back except the $49.00 she paid for the insurance from Aon Affinity, Carnivals Insurance carrier. When she turned in her claim, Aon said she had a valid claim and could pay her, however, they can only pay what Carnival tells them to pay. Carnival said she only gets back $150.00 as the woman who took her spot in the cabin went on her fare and it was up to the lady to get the cabin fare back from the woman. We called many numbers of customer service with Carnival and even corporate Miami customer service, but to no avail. Even though it was Carnival's rep's mistake not collecting the money from the woman for the full cabin fare instead of just the tips and port charges, they would not budge. The ship has sailed and they will do nothing to rectify this mistake, it is up to the passenger to collect from the lady. She does not even know the lady and has no means of getting in touch with her. So she paid for someone else to go on her cruise, bottom line. So please be careful with trusting the Carnival Reps, just because they tell you it is so, does not mean it is. Get it in writing.
  10. Optifire

    Saint John, NB - guided or self tour?

    We recently returned from a Carnival Sunshine cruise and we were in Saint John on Oct 19 2016. We also were trying to decide on which way to see the sites. We were with a group of 20 so our decision was to go with a group guided tour. The link below will show you the details of who we used and what we saw. Our tour guide was very informative, patient and funny and never minded when we would ask him to stop for a photo opportunity. We saw so much in the 6 hour tour that I know we would have never seen on our own. We ate at The Cave's restaurant in St. Martin and it was busy, but moved fast and it was so worth the stop as it was delicious. I had the Lobster roll and the fish chowder which were both excellent. My husband had the fish and chips and loved it. https://carnivalsunshinecanadacruise.shutterfly.com/saintjohntour
  11. Optifire

    Sunshine pictures

    I agree with Beacha, Carnival should pay you for these photos. The clarity is fantastic, the angel that you caught the ship in the photo was great. Even the beautiful sky cooperated to make such a post card like photo. Thank you for taking the time to post the photos for us.
  12. Optifire

    Le Havre to Paris

    We were in Le Havre and took the Celebrity cruise ship bus excursion to Paris. We left the port at 9am and the ride took about 2 1/2 hours to get to Paris. We were taken to all the major sights of Paris, but viewed them only from the window. We did get out for a photo shot of the Eiffel Tower. We were then taken to the most popular square in Paris, Place de la Concorde, and we were dropped off for time on our own to do as we wished for three hours. The bus driver walked us to the taxi stand and pointed us in the direction of what we were interested in seeing. if we preferred to walk it. We met the bus back at the square and returned to the ship. We made a few mistakes on this tour. Mistake #1, our group of 4 chose to walk it. Our time was limited to three hours, so we should have hopped a cab so we could get more in. Mistake #2, some of our group needed an ATM machine and we spent a good half hour walking the blocks of Paris looking for an ATM. So get your money before you go as they are hard to find there. Mistake #3, we found many quaint cafe's with out side eating (small) for lunch, but we choose to go to the Louvre and eat in the lower section. It was nothing more then a food court you would find in the States. We are returning to Le Havre in April and we have decided to take the ship bus once again, however this tour we will take the 5 hour private time that just drives you in, drops you off and takes you back. I am hoping to find a private tour company in Paris that will pick us up where the bus drops us off and takes us around for the 5 hours and then brings us back to the bus stop.
  13. Optifire

    Le Havre->D-Day beaches

    Our port of call stop was at Cherbourg and we were fortunate enough to get Overlord Tours as our guide to do the beaches of Normandy, The American Cemetery and the town of Saint Mere Eglise. The entire day was very moving emotionally. We were torn between going to the Caen Peace Museum or doing the Normandy beaches. We were so glad that we did the tour rather then the museum as our guide had photos of the exact spot where we would be standing which showed what was going on the day of the invasion.
  14. Optifire

    Private tour guides in Rome

    CruiserBruce: Thank you for taking your time to let us know that this was a question that was asked awhile back. I was aware of the time line, however I felt, even with my own experiences, that someone that is cruising to Rome now would perhaps have the same question in mind. Rather then start a new thread and loose the other valuable information that others posted, I chose to answer this thread with my recent information and experiences of a tour guide in Rome.
  15. Optifire

    Private tour guides in Rome

    We were in Rome twice, the most recent was Nov 23, 2013 and we used the company Limoinrome. Claudio was wonderful. We had a perfect time on both occasions. On our first visit Claudio took us to all the main attractions sights including the Vatican. Claudio arranged for us to have a private guide for us inside the Vatican. It is true what you mentioned, he was able to get us close to the sights, and we saved so much time with not having to walk.. We rarely stood in line at any of the sights. The full review on both tours are listed below. A private tour is the way to go. October 2011 https://celebritysilhouettecruise.shutterfly.com/rometour November 23, 2013 https://constellationtransatlantic.shutterfly.com/rometour