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Travel R

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  1. I've only been on one Carnival cruise and only based on my one experience, although there are more similarities between the two than not, I enjoy RC more, and truthfully, unless we receive another deal like the one we got for that cruise, I probably would not go on Carnival again. [In my review of the cruise (see signature), I believe I wrote a comparison between RC and Carnival.] As far as the buffet is specifically concerned, if I remember correctly, I would probably rate them about the same - however we usually only ate the buffet during lunch and usually the MDR for dinner.
  2. From the RCI website (for casual nights): "Jeans, polos, sundresses and blouses are all the right amount of laid back. Please keep swimwear to the Pool Deck. Shorts are welcomed for breakfast and lunch." See https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/generic-onboard-dress-code As per their own rules, shorts are not officially welcomed for dinner, even on casual nights in the MDR, regardless of what people are writing. However, the question of whether they enforce their rules is another story.
  3. Thanks for sharing your alternate cruise adventure. Very informative with a lot of practical information about your travels and the ports.
  4. I am not sure if I am her reincarnation, but seems like we would have been great friends. FYI - Fraunces Tavern no longer requires jackets. I used to work two blocks from the restaurant and frequented it many times for lunch and a few times for dinner (very good food) and have tried to eat there when I need to be in downtown Manhattan (which is not very often since the pandemic). For those that do not know, the restaurant was the site of a lot of history and there is a (small) museum upstairs about early NYC and American history. If that is not enough to visit the Tavern, it must be noted that they also have an extensive selection of spirits.
  5. Although you probably are asking in a more physical context, not to sound too metaphorical and not to sound too sappy, it would be "memories." However, besides those memories that are stored within the recesses of my mind, it also includes all of the photographs and notes. I guess to me, the most important things I take from the cruise are my notes and photographs. While on a cruise (and for some land-based vacations) over the past few years, I take notes (almost like a short-hand journal) of each day's events so I will not forget the little things. These notes are then transcribed into my cruise reviews (see signature below). I will admit I do not look back at them very often, but before I begin planning my next cruise (every few years), I will almost always take a look at the photos and read through some of my thoughts. It provides me a sense of nostalgia, a look back at great memories, and a measure of how much my daughters have grown. I also enjoy looking back at my thoughts and thought processes in planning each of these cruises; the planning for an 8 and 13 year old is a lot different than for a 17 and 22 year old. Interesting to note that I do have a collection of the Dailies from last several cruises. They are kept in a large "memory box" with all of the museum brochures, travel guides, admission tickets, etc. that I have collected over the years. Every few years, if I am straightening out my basement, I may get distracted by looking through the box, but it is not very often. I predict that one day in the not-so-distant future Dailies will be electronic only, so we will have them as keepsakes.
  6. Our next cruise is June 2022, I began researching and planning when we booked two month ago - June 2021. However, we were planning on a romantic land vacation in Italy followed by a cruise to Greece (out of Venice) to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year (2021). I had begun doing research and planning (no reservations) in 2019. I enjoy the researching and planning part of vacationing (land & sea). As a history buff I learn a lot of great information that I am able to pass onto my fellow travelers. Even if we take a guided tour, there is a lot of data that the guide does not tell you, which is sometimes more interesting than the high-level information they recite. I learn all of the little hints, tips, and secrets about the ships and ports that either leads to a more enjoyable vacation - or provides quickly decided options in case Plan A was cancelled. I find that knowing all the options in advance saves time by choosing the best course of action first, and being able to suggest an alternate course instead of spending time deciding what to do and then deciding upon upon something that is less-than-optimal. I am also of the belief that if I put in all the work before the vacation I can just enjoy everything while I am on vacation. As I say to people, "while on vacation I do not want to think or stress, I only want to enjoy." In this case "think" is a relative word - for me it means that I do not need to make any decisions since I had already made them after much consideration and thought. To be honest, the only decisions I need to make on a cruise is what to eat. My DW and family know that when they go on a vacation with me everything is handled. Although I do confer with my family on the overall plans (itinerary, ship, travel routes, hotels, excursions, etc.), they know that all of the arrangements are made and that I have done my homework to provide the best experience possible (for my family). They also expect me to make it interesting - when on long driving/land vacations I do my research on side-attractions, so side-trips to the grave of a foot, a paranormal & bigfoot research center, or the Pez museum is always a welcome surprise; but it takes research to know that these things are out there. On a past cruise vacation, I was able to create and guide them on a DIY walking tour of Copenhagen based on Hans Christian Andersen - which included recitation of some of his works at related sites. As I mentioned above, I enjoy the research and planning. To me, it is part of the vacation itself.
  7. Would never have thought about throwing out the gym clothing - If I find something I am comfortable in (especially shorts), I tend to hang onto them for a while, so on the ship I usually bring 2 pairs of shorts & 3 shirts (all dry-fit) and wash them after use. As mentioned above, place them on balcony (and bring clips so they do not fly away). [The only time I throw away clothing is for something like the Disney Marathon Weekend in January - its cold in the early AM, so will buy some heavy clothing to start out with (from a second hand store), then discard it when I begin running (Disney collects the discarded clothing and donates them to a local shelter).
  8. Obrigado. I was asking for the OP. [Unfortunately, I will not be back in Europe until sometime next year for business and not until 2023 for pleasure; but will keep the link handy in case this bad dream does not end before then.]
  9. I have sailed inside and OV, but I will admit that enjoy sitting out on the balcony - especially in the early morning after a jog, in the evenings waiting for my DW to get ready, and many times just to sit and relax in quiet in the afternoon looking out at the scenery; but that is what I enjoy. Even during the extremely port-heavy Baltic cruise, I spent some time each day out on the balcony, even in the cold. However, some people just do not enjoy it as much. If a person is literally not in their cabin very often, then a balcony would be a waste and allows extra $ for other things; and for some, it may be the difference between cruising or not (especially when travelling with a family).
  10. @xxHadleyxx - Hope all is well. Not to throw another wrench into this, but do you have any information from your side of the pond regarding the travel restrictions for US travelers coming to Europe? If it does go into effect, hopefully it will be lifted before the OP travels.
  11. Sound like it may be a good plan (if you not postponing the trip for another year). Just be aware of any COVID restrictions for places (such as museums) you want to visit and any time for dress restrictions within churches/cathedrals. Also, if renting a car, make sure you rent one that complies with the Zero Emissions laws (and know where the Zero Emissions Zones are located (I know they have them in at least Madrid and Barcelona). We have been to Spain via cruise and land vacations - a beautiful country and wonderful people. Good luck!
  12. From a legal standpoint, I agree. My fictional news title, was over-dramatization, which is the MO for headlines in the news. On the other hand, as a few have stated above, RCI conducted this giveaway as a good will promotion. By denying this health care worker (the OP) the prize, it would be a bad reflection on the company - if it were to go public (i.e., beyond this thread). Although exceptions should not be freely given, in my opinion, I think this would be a time where that exception would be good for all. If I was RCI, I would even leak out the story to the media on how they helped this family of a healthcare worker to go on the "cruise of their dreams." RCI gets good PR and the OP gets their cruise vacation.
  13. Unfortunately, reading the Terms and Conditions of this giveaway it is limited to a specific ship and sailing dates: 8. Prizes shall consist of a 4-night Ocean Getaways cruise for up to two adults and two children sharing a stateroom (chosen by Promoter at its sole discretion) onboard one of the first two ‘Anthem of the Seas’ cruises from Southampton this summer, departing on July 7, 2021 and July 11, 2021. and further includes a second paragraph that states that if you cannot make the date you have agreed to sail, they are not responsible for compensating you for a later cruise: 16. Once the date of the trip is communicated, it is irremovable, and if the winner is not available to travel on the selected dates, they will lose the corresponding prize. Going by the rules, RCI is under no obligation to provide you with a future alternative cruise. When you accepted the prize, you also accepted the terms and conditions that go along with it. The full T&C are available here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/gbr/en/terms-and-conditions/999-prize-draw-terms-and-conditions However, as you Brit's say, this is "bad form." If it was someone like me that is not on the front lines during this pandemic, I would be SOL; and chalk it up as another consequence of this pandemic, which we are all getting used to. IMHO, as a healthcare worker, one would hope that RCI would make some type of concessions and provide you and your family with a similar cruise at a future date. From a company perspective, I would think it would be the right PR move for them to offer you "something." I can see the headlines "Health Care Worker That Won Free Cruise That Got COVID Refused A Makeup Cruise By Cruise Line." It is small consolation, but I (and most others) appreciate thank your wife and all the other health care workers out there for their service.
  14. In the past I have opened the bottle in my own room (after asking the cabin steward for a corkscrew and wine glasses) - poured the wine in my cabin, and carried it down to the MDR. On my last (domestic) flight TSA confiscated a small nail clipper that had one of those small nail file extensions, so would probably not bring a corkscrew if flying to port. Funny thing is that they did not confiscate the grooming scissors that were in the same bag (which are much, much sharper). I did have the option to have them "hold" if for me in storage. I said "seriously, just chuck it" and she just gave me a shrug.
  15. As a follow-up, I re-read your original post again and noticed that the vacation would be for 5 weeks. Depending on your granddaughter, that might be too long of a trip. Knowing my own daughters, my older DD would jump at the chance (regardless of what age she is) - even if the trip was 5 months. My younger daughter (now 16), on the other hand would probably prefer a shorter trip. You mentioned that the trip would be part self-guided and part cruise. If possible, maybe only taking her on part of the vacation would be best? Also, when choosing a cruise ship/line, try to chose one which would have a larger number of older teens onboard.
  16. My daughters have been on a few cruises, and we going again next year (they will be 17 and 22 when we cruise) - and I think they are looking forward to it even more than myself and my DW. My suggestion is to have them help select any excursions you may take during port days.
  17. We have been lucky enough to do two European sailings with my daughters (9 and 13 then 13 and 17) to Western Med and Baltic Seas. As mentioned by others above, your granddaughter involved with the planning. Although I planned most of the trip, I performed research on the ports and excursions and then provided what I had found to my family (and yes, I included excursions that I may not have liked, but thought that my daughters would). I also chose the cruise line/ship based on what would be more kid-friendly. After they looked at the materials (including links to the various places/activities), we discussed them and decided on what to do in each port as a family. Just keep in mind, that there are sacrifices -- No, I did not get to see all of the art museums I would have liked to visit, or taken that wine tasting tour, but we chose excursions that we could all agree with. We also decided the activities pre- and post-cruise together. We ALL had a great time on both cruises. We did not get WiFi for the ship on either cruise, however, they spent so much time with other kids they met at the Kids Clubs, they did not need their phones anyway. [The key is to get them to attend the initial teen meet-up the first night of the cruise where they will meet their best friends for life for as long as the cruise lasts; actually my older DD still speaks to some of the friends she had met on prior cruises.] Our rule for spending time was that they had to go on the excursions with us during the day (European port excursions can be long full-day tours), and spend at least two dinners eating as a family. [There were many times they would have dinner with their friends - I remember one "formal night" where they and all their friends (boys and girls) dressed up and sat at a top-10 in the MDR together.] Lastly - what the kids say and what the kids really think are two different things. At 16 teens think they know everything and will say that all this "old stuff" is not of any importance to their world. However, if you watch and listen close enough, they do appreciate it - they will just never let you know it if they can help it. Although both of the cruises were a few years ago, you can read my reviews (the links are in my signature), and I did gear both reviews to cruisers travelling with teens. Take her and you will all enjoy! Travel R
  18. 9 and 13. As others have stated, there is no perfect age to begin cruising. It all depends on your family and your circumstances, and even the type of cruise you want to go on (a short Caribbean cruise with corporate cays on the itinerary vs. a port-intensive European cruise). Whatever your choice, it will be the right one for you.
  19. I think we all agree that the FCC cannot transfer from one individual to another (and this case does not fit into any of the exceptions). The question is whether RCI will allow for an exception for the OP since the initial sales rep (an agent of the company) allegedly provided incorrect information. I wonder how the cruise line will handle this?
  20. Take some time pre or post cruise to visit New York; the City is beautiful in the winter, especially decked out for the holiday season. [Just don't block the middle of the sidewalks to stop and look when us locals have to get to/from our offices.]
  21. The traditional "cruising experience" included formal nights with most people wearing tuxes or suites, lobster night, and a chocolate on your pillow when you got back to your room at the end of the night, and a whole lot of other things. Everyone on the ship "dressing up" (at least for me) on formal nights enhanced and charged the atmosphere for the evening. On the other hand, reading some of these threads through the years (and there is always a formal night type thread popping up on here every so often), formal night and wearing a suit/tux was akin to torture worse than waterboarding to some passengers and I am sorry that I had been insensitive to your pain. The "cruising experience" in recent times is not the same (for better or for worse). Cruising has transformed since I first cruised in the 90s. [Has it really been that long?] Although I admit that I do miss the ole' time formal nights (yes, I do like to dress up), let's be realistic, times are a changing. Whereas formal night used to be one of the highlights of a cruise, it has become just another cruise dinner. I can also admit that it is a lot easier and much more convenient to pack and travel without a full suit in-tow (I still pack a few dress shirts & ties) - especially with all the modern air travel restrictions and charges. Honestly, for the most part I am really not going to notice what you are going to wear. If I do notice someone wearing a suit or occasional tux, I will be a little envious. On the other hand, if you are dressed at the bare minimum to meet the dress code, you are okay in my book. In the long run, as long as what you do does not interfere with what I do, I don't really care. The one exception is that if you are wearing something very form fitting and revealing I will notice. To the OP - if you want to wear a tux, I am behind you 100%. Life is short - do what you like. Travel R
  22. I have read that there may was a shuttle from either the port or HCH to the Raptor Rehab Center. The info I have read seemed to be dated. Does anyone know if this shuttle was still around in 2019?
  23. Oh right, I almost forgot, this was a thread about someone asking about help with choosing an itinerary. I too wonder what the OP has chosen.
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