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About Hoopster95

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    Maple Ridge, BC
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  1. Very thoughtful and respectful posts. As a non-suite dweller and very loyal to Royal cruiser, I wish to offer my take on this... I am still very much loyal to Royal, especially when cruising solo, however I was extremely ignorant to how good a so-called luxury line was until I tried Oceania a year ago. Outstanding. And then I calculated the per diem to a Royal GS when including all free amenities on Oceania compared to Royal... I was floored. So in my humble opinion, if you regularly sail in suites or want a special cruise vacation, I believe the value for that kind of travel is miles better on a higher end cruise line than Royal, NCL,Princess, etc However I would not consider solo or a "less expensive" get-away on Oceania... I'll be back on Royal every time with the entertainment, amenities, and superb loyalty program (I'm very cognizant and grateful for these amenities), etc RCL provides. Royal can't sail into the Sahara Desert, so we're booked on a 4-star escorted tour Morocco 14 days in December. So 2 weeks all-in, escorted tour with all breakfasts, 7-8 dinners, one-night safari on camel and sleeping in tents in the Sahara, all transportation, days with tours and days on our own, 1st class (lie flat pods) return airfare Vancouver/Casablanca... all-in costs approx $12,000 Canadian or a little over $9000 US.
  2. Superb review Rowse. Thank you! 😊 Re your UK trip, if you have a little time and wish some return "review entertainment", may I offer you this? https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2560648-brilliance-british-isles-june-19-july-22018-review-wlots-of-photos/
  3. This. I recommend as well. Pre-planning essential with the short port time 7-3:30 and it was a lot of driving (thus not enough time stopping at places) however amazing scenery and iconic photo stops.
  4. Very cool! This was about 10 min ago... she's out of site from the webcam now, up the Hudson around Chelsea piers
  5. It was 2 stops both times I did their tour. You will have zero issues with the staff keeping an eye on you... I was extremely impressed with how they help novice snorkellers. Like you say, interesting to see the morning tour at 3 hours vs. the afternoon tour 4 hours. If the extra hour has more value (you see more and snorkel more for the same price), I would tend to stick with the afternoon snorkel, as a land tour on the island would take 2nd place to Woodwind for sure... the island is very small and truthfully there's not a whole lot to see and do (unlike Aruba, St Marten, Antigua, etc) unless you're a diving enthusiast. I personally would like to travel to and spend more time in the national park and Rincon during high season (instead of a full island tour) the next time I visit Bonaire to see more of the people and the culture... we were there off season and it was literally a ghost town. Have a fabulous cruise!
  6. Thank you for the kind words. Pretty sure it was about 3.5 hours... I believe we started at 9am'ish and got back around 12:30pm as we quickly walked back to the pier area to our afternoon tour. I would email voyagerbonaire and ask them what your options could be in the morning (I believe they ran the same tour I took in the morning) in order to get you back in time for Woodwind (all these tour providers know each other by name, the island is small), and also contact Woodwind again to confirm if their afternoon snorkel truly starts at 12, or maybe they meant 1pm?
  7. http://www.voyagerbonairetours.com/ They have a booth at the pier as well if you don't book on-line... first come first served. There's a couple of other land tour companies available as well. Like you have planned, I did Woodwind in the morning and then in the afternoon the island tour with the above company Scroll down to post #145 to see a photo review & description of the afternoon land tour Post #134 - #145 is a Woodwind photo review. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2310655-adventureabcs-aug-20-272016-review-wlots-of-photos/page/6/
  8. Me too. First time I'd seen that. I guess specialty sales were not very good for that sailing... Chops and Giovanni's only about 50% full the last 5-6 days other than the final night. I believe it's different on Oasis Class (different itinerary/demographic/etc) as both times for me specialty was pretty much sold out after night #2 with only 5:30pm or 9:30pm available. Agreed... too early and too late. 100% agree with others who already posted, have a plan before you board.... go up to one of the venues and book your entire week. You can always change later on the fly if other times/venues are available as you go. Never had a problem in the past few years selecting what venues I wished to dine at and at what time, different times on different days depending on port days/sea days/etc, and several times changing a couple of things midweek. On my recent sailing, I twice changed my Chops time, and also cancelled 2 Giovanni's reservations to a different venue. However as mentioned above there was space/flexibility on my sailing.
  9. Hey singinalot... How's things? 😀 Great review ROWSE... following quietly 👍☺️
  10. Ugh... I was afraid with the numbers of D / D+ they'd open up this venue for the masses, a windowless enclosed space. At least you can easily go out to the helipad from the starboard door just past the audio booth (looks like a crew only door but it isn't), unless of course they've locked it in order to limit entry into the D/D+ event. I sincerely hope you don't feel the absolute need to be inside this venue during gorgeous sailaways, especially Portland. What's happening in the Viking Crown?
  11. Great job so far Dragon! Thank you for this. Excellent description of embarkation morning. I wish to mention the traffic issue was very busy on my embarkation day as well, so this wasn't a one-off thing I suspect for Quebec City. RCL's used embarkation port Pier 22. It is only... not exaggerating... a 2 block direct straight line walk from the middle of old town with 4-5 very great hotel choices. I stayed at the Hotel 71 (you can google the location and other choices around there). It's the same taxi flat rate from the airport here as anywhere else in old town. It's also two walking blocks from the funicular and everything else any tourist wishes to have around them. Unlike some other embarkation port cities (ie. San Juan), if you are not mobility challenged and able to roll your luggage, I fully recommend staying close to the port. We walked over to the ship in 10 minutes on our embarkation, rolling our luggage easily down the sidewalk and into the cruise terminal.... and that was a a prime hour 12pm'ish. I think from hotel to WJ was easily less than 1 hour total. p.s. deck 7 balcony by rear elevators is primo location in my humble opinion for Voyager Class. Well done 😀 p.p.s. If you're Diamond and heading up for happy hour (with the other 2000 C&A members!!! ) say hello to DL Rafael for me if you have a moment from Claudio & Penelope. Let him know that Penelope did in fact ruptur her achillies tendon on the sports court after all! 2 inch gap in the muscle, walking boot for 3 months, 4-6 months total estimated rehab.😭
  12. Huh? This doesn’t make sense. Anyways... for another discussion without hijacking this thread so Springaussie or Geoff, you’re thinking a bigger ship from the USA possibly through the PC, and then off to Oz to join Ovation in Sydney (with Voyager leaving the area)? Or are you thinking possibly a longer full season deployment in LA?
  13. Quality for sure on that occasion... Carol said it best the previous page: results will vary from ship to ship. This exact same answer goes along with Chops, Giovanni’s, your stateroom attendant, the Coconut ranger cookies, production shows, etc etc etc etc. Unfortunately, as repeated on this forum often, RCI = Really Consistently Inconsistent.
  14. True story..... I brought my late 20’s at the time business partner & wife along for a 7 day out of Miami on Freedom a few years back when MDR was still regarded as far superior to WJ. MDR service and food was awful 1st two nights. They thought the formality and length of dinner was a joke. Next night we headed up to WJ. Turns out the maitre’D Up there was the Philippina lady who used to be shown on the welcome video in all state rooms pouring wine for dinner. Anyways, her and two other servers treated us like MDR immediately, bringing bread, changing our cutlery, topping up wine, having chats with us,etc. They asked us whether we were returning the next night and we said likely around the same time. Lo and behold next night we headed up there... they had the same table with a reserved sign on it and fully set for us. They met us at the front entrance and escorted us in. Much better than several MDR experiences I’ve had up until that point. We dined there the rest of the cruise with the great unobstructed aft view against the back windows enjoying sunsets. My then late 20’s business partner, now mid 30’s, still does not like MDR. I experienced excellent MDR on Brilliance last year in Europe (enjoying amazing Scotland sail aways and scenery from the open back deck rather than from a mostly view-less MDR seat) and most recently the WJ theme nights in the awesome WJ on Ovation (Q Class WJ much better than all other classes in my humble opinion with various options, bakery area, etc)... again in my humble opinion a much better experience than sitting in a view less American Icon or Chic. Caveat to the above positive feedback... it’s not always positive. My experience on Explorer and Jewel WJ were very bad, so much so on Explorer the one time we left most of our food on the table and quickly dashed down to MTD before they closed. WJ was quite unacceptable that night, shocked me frankly.
  15. Great start Dragon! I was on the 9/16 southbound two weeks ago. Looks like you have great weather to start your sailing in Quebec. We had sun throughout except for one day... although the leaves hadn’t changed yet, we ended up with several days of 70’s temps. Hope you get the same. I opted not to do a live or post cruise review this time so I’ll be living vicariously through this thread.😃
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