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Everything posted by Rogueperson

  1. I did a live thread on the princess board comparing it to Royal. I love Royal and Royal is my brand, but my cruise on the Ruby Princess last May threatened that standing. Sure, Princess can't compare to the major entertainment spotlights that Royal Caribbean has, but it makes up for keeping a lot of the old cruising standards. I found the service to be WAY better on both my Princess cruises. Something that has been slipping on Royal and Carnival. Its kept a lot of the classic cruising details that other mainline ships have dropped. (chocolates on pillow!) The two things that stood out for me on Princess. First. Their burger at the Salty Dog edges out for me as best burger at sea, even beating out Guys which i love. The main reason is that its a similar burger BUT they cook it to order and that wins out. Second. Their bed is absolutely amazing. Its to the point where I'm looking to see if i can buy it for my house and dropping 1600 bucks for a king size mattress (not quite there yet).
  2. When doing an estimate of the number of people, I use the math of 90% of full occupancy (as oppose to double occupancy which is every room has 2 people). Full occupancy for a cruise ship means every bed is filled. From what I hear that number falls at 106% of occupancy which is what Royal Caribbean aims for. They cannot have more people than lifeboat capacity. I did this when I found out there was going to be 8 cruise ships at Fort Lauderdale on my December 1st sailing on the Allure. I came up with a number of 56400 people (90% of full occupancy of all ships x 2 coming and going). I was scared that they would beat the record that day. I was right about that they did beat the record, but the number came in at 55964, so I was really close considering.
  3. I read sometime ago that damages are applied to your account. I know it was a fairly recent post because it was about the virtual interior rooms. Someone damaged the screen, which is in essence a large TV hung on its side to simulate a window. They got nailed for like 5K on their onboard account or something like that.
  4. I was on the December 1st Allure cruise and did the Chef's table. I agree that it was not the best venue, but the Voyager class was worse. They put you on the landing in the MDR which was loud throughout. At least for us, the diamond lounge calmed down after 8:00 when the happy hour was over and we could actually talk afterwards. However, I found the presentation to be lackluster and scripted and the wine pairing to be mediocre at best. I've done it on Grandeur, Navigator, Anthem and now Allure. Grandeur was the best, but Allure was easily the worse. On other cruises, the chef who did Chef's table seemed quite proud of their achievement, whereas this one, it was just meh. There was no pride or anything. Plus, I expect Chef's table to be the most diligent when it comes to allergies, and this one could have ended in disaster where one lady had one of her allergies accommodated to, but not the one about tree nuts, and my wife was almost served the peanut butter dessert despite her peanut allergies. It just felt like they were barely going through the motions.
  5. The Chef's table on this ship is the best two i've been to. I've done Chef's Table on Grandeur, Navigator, Anthem and Allure. The top two were on Grandeur.
  6. https://cruisefever.net/port-everglades-breaks-world-record-for-cruise-passengers-in-one-day/?fbclid=IwAR1MTtqkhgdcztwh93rTES9uBqrZzurvvT7nmo3NvFPpE-vFa-G_0Ao35s4 Hey @FionaMG, we actually did break the record!!!
  7. https://cruisefever.net/port-everglades-breaks-world-record-for-cruise-passengers-in-one-day/?fbclid=IwAR1MTtqkhgdcztwh93rTES9uBqrZzurvvT7nmo3NvFPpE-vFa-G_0Ao35s4z Boom!!! Called it!
  8. FYI, when we left for our Allure cruise on December 1st, there were EIGHT ships there. I was afraid they were going for world record that day. From what i see (or don't see actually) I don't think we made the record, but I'm certain there was over 50,000 passengers there that day.
  9. Roatan was a major reason I booked this cruise. Although I have been there before, my wife hadn't. Was a little disappointed when they canceled it, but pretty much saw it coming for like 4 months when it was announced Allure was still suffering from propulsion issues.
  10. @FionaMG Are you scanning the Compasses. Yours looks so perfect and mine are twisted and gnarled and cut off because my picture taking skills stink.
  11. There is a very small chance I might hit the Grandeur in March of 2020. Lots of things have to fall in place. If it was just me, I have the time and the money to book another one. However, my wife can't go, so it would be a solo one again and I'm not willing to do another solo unless at least one of my friends join me...but at the same time, I have to do it solo, so i can get the extra points, so my friends, if they go, have to either go solo, or find a companion. The one friend who would do it...*cough* @death_star needs the points more than I do, and if he can do it, will also do it solo, but he has even more restrictions than I do to hop on a ship and go in March.
  12. That's my point. You had to work at seeing the sea. You had either deck 5, or deck 15 to see the seas and everything else, was closed in. The central park is enclosed. The Boardwalk is enclosed except for the rear, The Promenade was much more enclosed and had fewer windows (or maybe I missed them). On other ships, even the Anthem, there was more windows that looked out. Anthem felt similar because of the size, but it wasn't nearly as bad because of the additional width of the Oasis class. And if you weren't near a window, that additional width on Oasis class makes it tougher to glance out the window. Even on 15, if you had to be right next to the edge to see the sea, or you see nothing. This is just my observations and my preferences for cruises.
  13. I told myself that the only way I would do a Oasis class, is if it was more than 7 days. 14 day cruises is a bit too much. I found the sweet spot of cruising for us is 10 nights. An Oasis class spanning that time frame would be perfect. The transatlantic ones are 11 nights, but only happen like twice every 5 years or so. I thought I might be able to catch it, but things didn't work out.
  14. Are the specialty restaurants the same price on other ships as well? I thought Chops was only 35 on Navigator last year, but i could be wrong. I had the 3 dinner special then too. I think i also paid 75 for it, not 99 per person.
  15. On other ships, I found the reservations on board is a little weird. They will tell you they can’t take you, but then you look in the restaurant that night T that time and it’s totally dead. On Allure, the restaurants were actually more crowded.
  16. I did NOT pay gratuities because I booked the 3 dinner plan ahead of time. That still feels off if you ask me. You’re paying a higher fee on board AND they tack on an additional 18%?
  17. I missed my review of Jimmy Rhodes. What little I saw of him, I loved him. I really think what Mike Szwajkowski said was right. The larger ships is not where a good CD shines. He shines on the smaller ones. There’s so much going on, his energy gets lost in the shuffle.
  18. Final Thoughts on the Allure of the Sea. Here is where i break down my review of my cruise and my last thought. Embarkation. Amazing. 6,000 people boarded on embarkation day. The port traffic was snarled due to that stupid train i mentioned, but that's not the cruise line's fault, its the port's fault. Who puts a railroad right in the middle of the artery that feeds all the passengers into the port. As i said, it literally crossed the road, stopped, backed up, went forward, backed up again, and then went forward before it got out of the way. But less than 15 minutes from door to ship regardless of status. There was no diamond line even though I would have qualified for it, it was never an issue. Food. Our first night at the MDR was great. We had a high spirited lady named Dina. Her name was much much much longer. She was personable and genuine. I would have loved to have her for the entire cruise. But that didn't happen. We changed out for a different guy who turned out to be much slower. So service at the MDR is hit or miss. Like it usually is. Food at the MDR is what is usually is. I enjoyed it for what it was. I've had it many many times, and there really isn't that much of a surprise for me. Although compared to my specialty restaurant experience, I think you're better off going to the MDR here at least on THIS ship. This trip as some of you have read, was more of a specialty dining one than a MDR experience. So i'll break it down here. Food. Inconsistent. 150 Central parked talked a great game, but failed to deliver. Chops has great steaks, but their appetizers were reused from the MDR which seriously gives me pause at the retail 50/person they are trying to charge. A $50.00 Steak is a Morton's Steak and although their steak is good, its not THAT good. Giovanni's Lunch was good for what it was. Though I've had better food at Giovanni's before. Pasta can be messed up. Izumi's hibachi is good, as long as you don't get seafood. The show IS different than some of the hibachi places you may have been. They especially love to sing. No fire tricks, due to being on the ship. Oh, did i mention that gratuities are now NOT included with the specialty restaurants now. When did that change? I kind of feel like Royal Caribbean shafted everyone here. They took away the worker's gratuities that were once part of the upcharge. They shafted the passengers by making them pay the gratuity if they book on board. Fortunately Chef's table still included gratuities...for now, however, I can see them pulling this as well, which means its an additional 17 bucks/person. Service at these restaurants. They really want to give you great service for your meal and I applaud them for the attempt. However, I started to notice it is a little scripted, which isn't necessarily bad, but there is no follow up. On other ships, I felt they were more on top of allergies, where here, people didn't seem to either understand, or failed to follow up correctly. The inclusion of Chickpeas in my wife's dish after he was told she's allergic to PEAS, AND BEANS was bad. What's worse, chickpeas was NEVER mentioned as a major ingredient in this dish, because she would have passed on this dish if she had read that. Food quality was hit or miss. My duck at 150 Central Park was a hockey puck. Inedible. No attempt to rectify it these deficiencies. @death_star's wife had the same duck dish I had at a later date, and she confirmed that it was just as tough as mine was. It was not a fluke, that's just how they cook it. bleh, and they don't care. Also, it maybe cultural, but the host should not be saying "Well, its about time you showed up" when welcoming you to your restaurant. Especially when THEY screwed up the reservation and then go "but that's okay, because we can accommodate you fortunately" It should have gone "Oh crap, we screwed up, let us make it up to you" Chef's table. I love love love Chef's table. This one did not disappoint for the most part. But they too had deficiencies in the same vein as the other specialty restaurants. Again, allergies in this venue I feel is a bigger offense because according to the description of what they are selling you, you are getting a personal meal made specifically by an executive chef of the ship. These guys are not line chefs. These guys are professional chef's with reputations. In this venue, I see Chef's gearing up for the challenge to deliver a special quality meal in accordance to everyone's restrictions. There should be no excuse where anyone at our table had to push their food away because of obvious contamination. Her dish WAS ALREADY specially made to accommodate her shellfish allergy but you miss her other tree nut allergy by garnishing it with candied walnuts? My wife was given a dessert that had peanut butter in it. It was thankful that this time around, the waiter caught his mistake and removed it before anything bad happening. 2 near misses for allergies. And then someone's post that caught the fact that the wine they are pairing is very cheap. As I told him, I know nothing about wines, but he has a point. The wine is being cheapened AND they were stingy about filling glasses. I'm not even sure if they refilled ANYONE'S glasses. They have in the past. Despite these issues, I still enjoyed this venue and would still do it again. Someone else in our party noted that the presentation was very scripted and passionless. Previous Chef's table, you can feel the pride the Chef's creation. This time, not so much. Its supposed to be special, yet little things detracted from it. Conclusion reached about UDP. We had difficulties getting reservations for any real time frame. We could not reserve our other 2 dinners until we boarded. It was fortunate that we got 150 at the time we wanted at the restaurant we wanted because they choose the first restaurant and we wanted to try that...to our detriment (see above). Do people with UDP get a priority status for booking restaurants. It seemed like we were relegated to either late 8:30pm or later, or really early. Can you reserve if you have the UDP, because if you can't, then this would frustrate you to no end if you paid for unlimited and can't use it because they can never fit you in. So the bottom line with Specialty restaurants on the Allure. Serious issues with quality and service. Much different from my experience on other ships. Entertainment and Activities. This is where this ship shines. The entertainment staff and the professional shows and headliners. They were mostly good. A couple of head scratches for some of the shows, but they were still visually stunning. Mama Mia as I said was awesome. It is my wife's favorite show. My issue with this is that there is so much to do, that you're not going to get everything. I expected that there was too much to do that 7 nights is just not quite enough. But at the same time, with such a large crowd, you HAVE to overlap to accommodate everyone, but it feels like organized chaos a little. I had to just accept that I was going to miss a lot of things and that didn't quite sit well with me. At the same time, with so much going on, I didn't really get a chance to relax, for fear of missing something. I feel that the smaller ships do better here with their shows where they structure it against the set dining periods. This made me feel that I didn't had to rush, and the design will allow me to experience all the ship has to offer over time. I did not get that. It was more like a grab bag of activities and whatever you got, you got. Ports of calls. I haven't really run into a port that i *hated*. My least favorite port is Grand Cayman because I feel its a bit sterile on culture. But i always manage to find something to do, even in Nassau where i've been there many many times. I was a little disappointed with missing Roatan because I wanted to take my wife there. Ship ameneties. The app....The app stinks. It can tell you one thing, the reality maybe different. I made reservations with a live person where he repeated the reservations back to me. On day 2, I was at 150 Central Park and made reservations for day 3 and day 4. Confirmed with the guy. I asked if the app would reflect that, he said yet. On day 3, I noticed that my reservation for izumis was for day 5, not 4. Can't do 5, we were busy at that time. I called and they fixed it to 9:15 for day 4. When we got there, that's when we got that snarky welcome. My app and my verbal confirmation was 9:15, they showed 5pm. We were late to the Harry Potter trivia because the app said it was in the Schooner yet in reality, it was at the On Air club. Another thing that goes without saying. This ship is friggin huge!!! I lucked out having a room right next to the elevator, but still I felt like we did a LOT of walking and weren't even trying. My wife's phone clocked her at a minimum of 8000 steps/day. ON THE SHIP!!! It was more in port. Ship design. Here's where they shine. People said that they didn't feel crowded on this ship. I would have to disagree slightly with this statement. I did feel crowded. However, the ship is HUGE. Worse yet, it FELT huge. So the crowds were on par with any other cruise, which gives credence that the design of this ship was well intentioned. However, I did feel crowded. There's a lot of people here. I felt crowded in how rigid the activities and entertainment were. If you planned everything to a tee, had reservations, like I did, I got to experience a good chunk of the ship, but I was still aware that there were 5999 other people meandering around. They do a wonderful job of crowd control and no one was left out of anything only because there was too much around. The result of this, is a cruise that felt like organized chaos. There were so many things popping up here and there, on the app, on the compass. It felt like there was no rhyme or reason with their activities, whereas on the other ships, even the Anthem which is the next sized down, there was some organization between the two dining times. There were specific things you needed reservations for, but the rest, was scheduled around the dining times. I liked that. Another thing i hate, is that most of the activities, had you holed up somewhere. You're in the schooner bar, no view outside. You're in central park, no view. You're in the boardwalk, no view except if you go all the way back. If you don't have a ocean view balcony or oceanview room, you got no sea and may as well be a glorified interior room. I just did not feel like i was on a ship. I guess people like that sort of thing, but for me, it is the farthest I've ever felt detracted from a cruise. The Quantum and the Freedom class felt like this too, but not nearly to this extent. I mean, even on the top deck, you look across the deck, you see sky, no sea, because the ship is wider and you are at least 15 stories up from the waterline. Disembarkation. Again, incredible. Is this normal for Fort Lauderdale now? You never see a port agent. They take you up to a scanner, they read your facial and then you go get your luggage and leave. Done. Ship to door, 10 minutes and 10 seconds. New record absolutely shatters all other cruises where 30 minutes is the minimum. The last time I came into Fort Lauderdale in 2015 off a Celebrity Ship 1/3 the size of this ship (Infinity) and it took over an hour and a half. My final thoughts. I don't think I will do an Oasis class again. Its too much for me. Did i have an amazing vacation. Yes i did. I'm glad I got to experience an Oasis class. But my feelings are that if you're on a cruise, you're on a cruise first, and a resort second. The resort fits on the cruise ship. As a result, you may find some truncated resort amenities, but its made up for the fact that you're at sea. On an Oasis class, you're on a resort first, and a cruise ship second. Its big enough that there are full size resort amenities. You forget you're on a cruise until you try to do something that you could easily do at a resort and you're stymied. But at the same time, even at the size of this ship, you're still fighting for space in a very limited area, even at the size of this ship. So you have a lot of the cruise ship drawbacks, but losing the cruise ship benefits. If i do an Oasis class again, it HAS to be more than 7 nights. And there has to be more days at sea. I hope you've enjoyed my in depth live thread of the Allure of the Seas. Another first. I have NO cruises booked at this moment in time.😚 The one that we almost book, we would have gotten no perks whatsoever. Apparently, the Bermuda cruises are exempt from their specials. Still, we WILL book that soon, probably in the next month, but it isn't until 2021. So probably no live threads from me until then.
  19. The wawa was where we originally planned to go. However, that wawa had closed 1/2 their pumps for cleaning so the others were Jacked. Thats how we discovered the scam ones.
  20. So our day began in West Palm Beach. We rented a car from FLL and came up here in the off chance of setting a friend of mine. That didn’t happen. But we did find this place. We got brunch. It was quite good especially for the price we paid. After that, we made our way to Disney Spring in Orlando for this. This is at a place called The Void. It is a hyper virtual reality hybrid. You interact in the VR world, but there can be a real life correlation. It is really hard to explain. Dinner was Art Smith’s Homecoming. I failed to get many pictures here. I got the cheese board and my wife got the fried catfish. The fried chicken here is amazing. Sorry, i screwed up the picture. They also have moonshine. I tasted everything but that’s it. This will send be away if i drank all of this. So now I made it to the airport and my flight is on time... supposedly. We remember the last time. Its a trap! We also had a little adventure trying to fill up the tank to our car rental. The two gas stations nearest the airport was trying to charge $4.80/gallon?!?!? Go one more mile down the road and it’s normal price. I should have been suspicious when they didn’t post their prices.
  21. They don’t mark your drinks up? I thought they upcharge for premium stuff. We got the drink package once and that was before they make both people in the cabin get it. I remember the limit is 13 bucks or else you had to pay the difference plus tips. Me, I’m cheap. my drink of choice is Iced tea. I don’t drink enough soda to make that worth it, much less the refresh package so even if i convinced them i don’t normally drink, I still would not break even. And since I have no real medical reason I don’t drink, there or no way i would even qualify.
  22. I WAS at Cozumel. I just didnt do the ruins this time. We’ve been to both Tulum and Coba and Even though Chitchen Itza was offered, it is a 3 hour drive. The funny thing was, there was a slight chance my wife would not be able to cruise. due to some emergencies, she ran out of leave and did not have enough to cover our vacation. The likely situation was she would have unpaid leave. Worst case was her leave approval could be rescinded. The best case happened where her job allowed it paid and for her to make it up. If she has not gone, i may have gone with the flight to Chitchen Itza which was a whopping $675.00!!! She would have never gone on the tiny plane needed fort that trip.
  23. The minimum charge I saw on board for wine was 11 bucks. Add the gratuity and you are paying a minimum of almost 13 bucks/glass for wine. That wine is many times the same quality so overall, drinking on the ship is a ripoff in my opinion. Yet people will pay. As I said, I got the experience I wanted. Despite the wine selection, it was a great experience. I have some qualms about THIS specific chef’s table which i will cover in my recap.
  24. I usually have low expectations for debarkation. This is ship to door. We did self disembark because we needed to get to the airport to get our car, but we didnt need to be the first out. Plus, I didnt get to sleep until 3 so i needed a little sleep. Again, we did not show our passports nor did we ever see a customs agent. It was all automated using facial recognition. I don’t know whether to be impressed or terrified. We decided to use this company that also took us to the port. I may not have been happy with them going to the port. But I am definitely happy with the airport transfer. They were already waiting for us when we got off.
  25. Personally, I know nothing about wine. Although, I did do research on some of those wines. They may not be expensive wine, but they paired with our food quite well. Their presentation was more scripted then usual, however the product is still good enough for us to keep going to chef’s table. However, the other specialty restaurants experience has been wondering if i should do them anymore.
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