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About davelinde

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    Cool Cruiser

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    golf, reading
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    Royal Caribbean, Carnival
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  1. davelinde

    Oasis Class Ships

    Yes, they only have one broadway production and it runs all week. You make reservations for all the shows on the Oasis class, opens about 90 days prior to sailing IIRC. On the Oasis itself I remember the broadway show, diving show, ice show, acrobat show along with the "regular" acts like comedians and singers.
  2. We've had our refund for a while now. It came in parts over time.
  3. One thing to be aware on Med cruises... The EU likes to tax you. We did a transAtlantic with b2b Med cruise and once we were departing an EU port the VAT kicked in and prices on board went up by 24%...
  4. davelinde

    Tipping more than the prepaid amount

    We tip extra if the service is exceptional, but honestly this is not always the case. Sometimes we use envelopes, sometimes we just find the person and hand them cash, and sometimes we use extra OBC to tip and handle it via guest services. On our last back to back cruise the first MDR team was awesome and we gave them a few extra dollars. The second leg the new team was really pitiful. In the WJ our assistant waiter from the first leg kept saying "hi" and would guide our group (4 cabins of folks) to a common table. We ended up giving her a second tip and none to the "needs improvement" MDR team. When we get exceptional service we always fill out the survey with all 10's and in a few cases we have sent notes to commend staff. As I understand the RCCL system those surveys and positive notes impact compensation as much (or more) than tips.
  5. In our first sailing on an Oasis class earlier this year I was surprised to find that the spa had no open (free) steam and sauna, instead had a thermal suite area with heated recliners, a room with some kind a fragrance as well as the traditional steam and sauna rooms. They were pushing this as a for fee service during the tour something like $120 for a single and $180 for a couple unlimited access. While cruising I do like to go do a good workout then spend some time stretching in both the wet and dry heat... so no free service was a disappointment - but I did not decide to buy it then. We are sailing on another Oasis class in the fall and I have some questions for any here who may know or have opinions. First, can I buy this service before sailing and is it cheaper that way? What is the least I might expect to pay? Next... did I misunderstand the tour or were these rooms in a common area? How does that work? Bathing suits I guess? It had never dawned on me to wear more than a towel in a steam room and for sure not a robe and swimsuit. Finally, any who bought this, was it worth it to you? Was it crowded?
  6. davelinde

    Oasis of the Seas Early Dining

    We had a 5:30 seating and were rarely done before 7. Part of that is on us since someone always arrived 5 or 10 minutes late putting us in a delayed rotation for ordering, bar service, etc. We did have one night we wanted to be in line for a show early and told our headwaiter in advance (and all showed up on time). We had to skip desert but he did turn us around faster as we requested.
  7. We got our fare back except for $66 which was the port tax for Haiti I believe. I was also happy to see we got all 7 of the Crown and Anchor days credited. I see the CDC site updated to indicate Norovirus was confirmed. We have booked another cruise on an Oasis class in the fall. So I have a few other observations on the ship in general before I forget - looking for feedback on our next cruise on RCCL Oasis class. We were warned away from the WJ several times by crew indicating other venues would be less crowded. On boarding we took that advice and went to the Solarium Cafe... getting a table there was very hard and the buffet line was huge. For our next cruise I'm looking for advice on where to get a light lunch without the heavy crowd on boarding day. As I noted before the steam and sauna were for a fee - I cannot remember any cruise having a full sauna and that has always been something I enjoy. For our next cruise I'm wondering how to get the best price on access to the sauna. And finally - in the MDR I was not so happy to get a choice of Medium rare or Medium well for all beef and the lamb. I got mostly medium rare and found it just a little too rare for my taste. I tried one steak medium well and, predictably it was too well done. For our next cruise I'm wondering how to get meat done medium.
  8. davelinde


    didn't mean to sound defensive, you made an on point observation and I was just adding our experience here. As you noted, some won't report and for us we gave up on reporting, but in fact we were likely not norovirus but food bourne infection. FYI as I mentioned in one of the other threads on this sailing, I overheard crew saying they thought Haiti was the culprit. No idea if that is accurate but it is plausible.
  9. davelinde


    We tried to report but after several promises of "we will call you back" (no call back) we gave up. My wife was symptom free when she left the cabin again and if she had food poisoning she was not contagious in any case. But yes... it is hard to know for sure how pervasive this is and how many people are not careful while still symptomatic.
  10. davelinde


    We were on the infected cruise and I'm curious when the first cases presented? My wife got sick around 11pm the night we left Labadee and was done with symptoms by 6am the next morning. We assumed food poisoning due to lax standards on Haiti and were actually considering attempting to take a tour in Jamaica. We actually tried to report her incident to medical but gave up after they kept answer the phone with "we will call you back" (and didn't). BTW - for the comment above on crew... the initial CDC report (the day we returned) noted 17 crew but as of today the report was updated to near double that. On the day the captain notified us the rumor I heard was 2% of passengers, and by the second day I think that number was 4%, the day we returned the CDC reported above 6% and now the CDC web site show over 9%. It is interesting that the CDC does not report Oasis having hit epidemic before. I wonder how cautious Jamaica was because we were inbound from Haiti (where cholera is still present). For my wife we really think the source was Haiti and not the ship - though we have nothing but the timeline and symptoms to support that guess. Other infection sources are possible I suppose.
  11. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/ is the place I started for info. This is an overview https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/desc/about_investigations.htm Here is the summary report, it's being updated https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/outbreak/2019/Oasis_of_the_Seas_1-6.html Not sure where you could get a full report, might be possible
  12. Yes I was in a party of 4, in two cabins on this cruise - my wife got sick and we did not. I've got a bunch of friends who are med students so I quizzed them on this and they confirmed that Norovirus is highly communicable while the food borne bacteria infections are not. For my wife with the onset of symptoms (~10 hours assuming food in Haiti was the source) duration of symptoms (~8 hours) and extent of symptoms (vomiting only) our unprofessional opinion was food borne... However we heard anecdotes of people with symptoms for 48 hours, full range if GI distress and acute enough dehydration to indicate IV fluid replacement... though age and general health could play a role. My wife and I are <60 and in excellent health. From looking at the CDC web site, Royal was required to collect samples and there will be some testing done and reported. It is certainly possible that they were hit with both a virus and a food poisoning event that combined made the numbers large. I also wonder if Jamaican authorities are more critical of inbound illness from Haiti than if the ship had come direct from another port? For sure Royal knew something after leaving Haiti because we all got letters in the cabin the next morning. The rumor the day we were booted from Jamaica was that 2% infection was threshold trigger for concern that day though even still the claim was being denied admission at the port was highly unusual. The next day the captain sounded dismayed to report the number infected was still rising... so my guess was they passed 4% then. The CDC report for the numbers on returning were over 6%
  13. It will be interesting to see if the CDC confirms norovirus or not. I was not on shore in Labadee but some in our party noted not just the flies but a few other food handling risks including low temps in serving trays, bare hands, and repeatedly topping off trays (leaving very old food in the bottom over time). I'm no food handling expert though... I can only assume Royal lost enough revenue and gained enough bad publicity to be all over figuring this out to the extent it is preventable. Since the number of staff infected was low they must have at least one data point to indicate if those staff went ashore in Haiti and ate there...
  14. agreed that this was a very comprehensive review of the Oasis and a unique cruise. After reading the media reports who found people who thought the experience of the outbreak was nightmarish I was really curious where this critique would go. I'd say my experience matches, and this review is spot on. Aside from the missed ports (we've missed ports for weather so...) the outbreak experience was disconcerting but really just one of the risks here. I'll add that once we knew it was happening, every twinge hiccup and passing cramp made us worry "oh my is it starting?" but after my wife's food poisoning, none of us had any impact. The food poisoning will make me re-think ever eating at the private beaches again - we will see. There is not much to add to such a comprehensive account here but I'll note that I did find the lines, kids, and some offerings of the huge ship less attractive than my experience on smaller ships. On arrival staff warned us AWAY from the Windjammer several times but the alternatives were crowded too. In the Windjammer we once had to wait to be allowed inside during a peak - though that did have the advantage of being given a table when we were allowed in (better than the alternative of sending scouts around to find and camp on a table while people go to the buffet in shifts). The idea of making show reservations was also odd, but made sense I guess. The phone app was really bad though, Royal might consider new IT people... (seriously) it was hard to use and clearly hard for Royal to maintain when things change... I heard people in line trying to figure out who really had a reservation and what time (of three choices they found) might a show actually be running... The counter to the crowds is the variety and quality of the entertainment. Since I cannot remember the last time I saw an "Olympic" caliber diver or figure skater up close I found both the diving show and skating show very entertaining. Yes some dives over-rotated and one skater caught an edge and fell - but WOW the pool and ice were postage stamps and I was sitting up close. Same for the production of Cats... we sat fourth row and loved the up close (not so keen on the play itself). As a last example of "tastes vary" we thought the arial show was great but the vocals weak - not bad singers but kind of uninspired versions of songs we love in the original... for one Phil Collins song I was captivated by the acrobat and when he took bow and the song continued I found myself wondering why they were still singing (like I said, just my opinion). On the whole though the Oasis is a "must try" due to Central Park and the inner balcony, though sometimes noisy, is a totally unique cruise experience. We went to sleep and awoke with absolutely NO indication we were at sea. Despite the virus outbreak, I cannot wait to do it again.
  15. You make a good point. My wife just saw the one bartender react and we were only guessing about what could cause the reaction. To be clear, our waiter, headwaiter and room attendant all went out of their way to apologize to us for OUR inconvenience and none of them gave any indication of the impact on them personally (tips or otherwise). Although the 7th day tip was refunded we trued that up (and then a little more) for our staff. The room attendant did tell us (when asked) that this has happened to her before, but only in her prior Pacific routes and that she has never seen a ship denied a port. She also noted that if it impacts too many crew there are more problems, eg that in addition to the captain taking steps to minimize passenger impact (for the obvious reason) he is also responsible for crew and must keep them healthy (for the less obvious secondary impacts there). Per the CDC report, only 17 crew (of 2150+) were impacted. Also because they brought on more crew I never saw anything short staffed. For sure as we left it looked like a lot of people were doing a lot of work (including entertainers running food service), so I can see how a bartender might well understand that he was about to put in a terrible long weekend cleaning... Thanks for pointing that out.