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Island Beachdog

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Everything posted by Island Beachdog

  1. I would imagine that they have discontinued that perk as it was always listed when they offered it before.
  2. Yes, the small ones are classic cabanas. The large ones are now the Premier Cabanas.
  3. The 120/130 days out only applies to dining and entertainment reservations. You can book excursions (which includes all GSC items) as soon as they are posted for that cruise. I booked my cabana the same day I booked my cruise, which was 9 months out. All options at GSC were available to book as well. The current free at sea promotion applies to all ships. You can opt out of promotional items if you so choose at the time of your reservation. The open bar that existed for everyone on the sky was discontinued quite a long time ago.
  4. I was looking at my upcoming reservations and noticed that all 3 now say "Default Itinerary". That includes Dec. 5th Encore; June 12, 22 Joy to Bermuda: and Prima Dec 16, 2022. Hopefully, this is a glitch. 😱 Anybody else experiencing something similar? Seems odd that all of them are going to be cancelled.
  5. Are any of the specialty restaurants ever open for lunch? Seems like that would be a good idea on a sea day.
  6. At the risk of contributing to further argument, every new variant increases the risk for everyone, vaccinated or not. That is the why the experts are pushing everyone to get vaccinated. A virus that is held in check in the population is less likely to have an opportunity to mutate and create a new strain. Vaccines are developed to target specific known strains at the time. New variants create greater and greater challenges for existing vaccines. I am not an expert, but I have spent my career working in a hospital. While I don't expect to be fully protected by a vaccine, I do expect it will allow me to survive covid if I get it.
  7. Just read this on news feed. USA today said 2 on the Celebrity Millennium cruise tested positive 72 hours before scheduled to return to port as part of the end of cruise testing. Reportedly they are asymptomatic and in quarantine.
  8. I struggle with the aft vs Haven decision every time I start to make a reservation. Having experienced both on more than one occasion, I now usually make the decision based on both the ship as well as the itinerary. The next two cruises I have chosen are in aft balcony cabins. The price is much less than the Haven and I can go on two cruises for the current cost of the available Haven cabins on my second cruise. I might wind up changing that though if an aft Haven cabin opens up on my 2022 cruise. As far as the excursions, I seldom find them worth the price. The last cruise we went on, we didn't go on any. We took a shuttle into town or just walked off the ship to explore on our own. There again, it would depend on the itinerary. Probably wouldn't do that if I was going to do an Alaskan or European cruise.
  9. The 2 bedroom suite that we had on the Dawn had 1 lounge and two chairs. There would have been room to substitute a second lounger for the two chairs, however, you would have to crawl over one to get to the other. We were on the ship right before the refurbishment.
  10. We like to lounge under an umbrella and enjoy our libations. The last time we got passes, we were only able to do that one time as it was so windy they would not open the umbrellas the entire time we were moving. We did have drinks sitting at the bar a couple of times. The bartenders were great. Just not worth it for us though.
  11. If you try to book a specialty dining reservation, what date does it tell you to come back to book? You will need to "select" even though it says it is too early to book in order to get the date.
  12. Excursions are open for booking now if they are in the excursion listings. Dining and shows open 120 days out. Not all the shows can be booked online. Some, like the comedy show, have to be booked as soon as onboard. Same goes for the spa..
  13. NCL promotes the freestyle concept. It implies that you can spontaneously decide where you want to eat or what shows you want to see. That is not the case. As soon as your specialty dining and entertainment reservations open up, you need to book them! Otherwise, you can secure reservations as soon as you get on the ship. I cannot emphasize that enough. Like the previous posters, I recommend Cagney's and Le Bistro. They book up quickly. We love the Epic. The bathroom set up and the rounded walls were of no bother to us. I hope your first cruise sans kids is a great one!
  14. How does the SDP perk work with the a la carte restaurants? Thanks in advance for help.
  15. Just home from Dec. 8 cruise on Allure. While we had a nice time on the ship, I feel compelled to review my experience with the Chef's table. We receiving an invite to meet in the library on the night of our reservation. I thought was a nice touch. As it was formal night, everyone arriving was dressed for the occasion. The library, however, was open regular hours and was in fact in use at the time. We were presented with a glass of champagne, however, there were not enough chairs for everyone to sit so we stood as the sommelier talked about the champagne we were drinking. We were then escorted to the upstairs section of the lounge. As the diamond members were packed in for their evening happy hour, the noise was uncomfortably loud and continued to be so after being seated. The sommelier seemed very passionate about wine and overly enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. He advised us this was a new team for the Chef's table. He seemed to be team leader and somewhat anxious about how things were going. In addition to the noise, it didn't help that people kept coming upstairs to be seated for drinks at the small tables around us, only to be asked to leave, as this was a private event. The meal started well enough with some excellent bread and an introduction of the first wine pairing. It went down hill after that. The kitchen seemed a little slow and with each new wine pairing, the sommelier talked more and more until it felt like we were attending a class about wine. Most of the food was on par with the occasion, however the venue was intolerable. There was little opportunity to talk with your table mates as the sommelier talked incessantly and was ever present. When you did try to talk to anyone who wasn't sitting right beside you, one had to literally yell. By the time the meal finally ended, 3 hours and 45 minutes later, we were all glad to be done. The couple who sat across from us summed it up perfectly as they were leaving "Wow, that was really bad."
  16. We will be on the Allure in a week. Sounds like the Piano guy is definitely worth catching. Did you catch his name or which venue is the piano bar? Loving your live review! Thanks
  17. Thanks for the information. I have not been on Royal Caribbean in about 15 years so it takes a while to see how things are done on different cruise lines. We always tip wait staff, bartenders and the room steward in addition to the service charges. It is confusing that cruise planner shows the additional gratuities for the beverage package but not the dining.
  18. If the first specialty reservation is not scheduled until the third night, embarkation would be ahead of the 48 hour requirement. If I understand it correctly, they make a courtesy reservation your first night at the preselected time and you can book or change additional reservations once onboard. I intend to keep the chef's table reservation as I am aware that it is not included in the dining plan. If the dining plan precludes the chef's table reservation then it is a mute point. I do not want to miss that.
  19. It is my understanding that if you purchase the unlimited dining plan on cruise planner, the gratuity is included in that price? What about the pre-purchase of individual specialty restaurants? Does that price also include gratuity? I am a planner and don't want to lose my already scheduled dining times. If I were to purchase UDP could I keep all reservations except for the first night and cancel once on board? I have the chef's table on second night so I could meet the 48 hour requirement for cancellations. Thanks for your help in advance.
  20. We will be celebrating our anniversary on our Allure cruise so I was looking for something special for dining. I booked the chef's table but now have started having second thoughts. My husband is vegetarian. After repeated difficulties adhering to this while traveling, he will eat fish if necessary. My question is if the chef's table menu is available prior to the meal? If no beef or chicken we should be fine. I know that it says vegetarian options are available but if they have already planned a menu with wine pairings how good could a last minute change be? Thanks in advance,
  21. Are the cabin stewards able to change out the deck chairs on the balcony for ones that recline? We reserved a large balcony cabin and it looks like there is plenty of room. I would be totally happy with the ones that have the ottomans but didn't know if Allure had those. Thanks,
  22. Does Royal Caribbean have the wine packages for sale like they have offered on NCL. I am referring to the ones where they have a table set up on embarkation day and you can choose 3 bottles at a discount for the package? I haven't been on Royal for quite a while and am trying to figure out whether to buy the beverage package. Thanks,
  23. `Thanks everyone for taking time to reply. This will be very helpful.
  24. Can someone tell me what options there are for lunch on embarkation day? We will be on the Allure for the first time. I know the Windjammer will be packed and would prefer to avoid if possible. What other options are there? Thanks
  25. I have been a long time NCL cruiser. I follow the boards regularly but rarely participate in discussions. I have been watching the changes in terms of pricing and packaging since the first of the year. I have been waiting for the structure to return to a more reasonable base price while still offering the opportunity for some perks to be had. I do not want to have to pay for "free" perks I do not need or want. I do not want to fly "free" as it simply is not worth the aggravation. Since I wanted to cruise again this year, I got tired of waiting. I booked a RCL cruise instead. I got a higher level cabin, added on the dining plan and still came out with more than enough to cover the alcohol. If the promotions are never going to end, why don't they just go ahead and state that clearly. Do they think this is a transition to becoming an all inclusive line? I am frustrated! I can't be the only one who feels this way. I haven't been on Royal for over a decade but I am willing to give it another try. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.
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