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Everything posted by sushitex

  1. In mid-July, we disembarked from the Vista and spent a couple of hours in Mahogany Bay. Hubby and I took the scenic route and walked along the nature trails to take pictures of the Vista and of the beach area itself. Once we reached the beach, we set up our towels, etc. on some loungers under some kind of tropical tree (not a palm) and we took turns swimming in the sea. It was very peaceful and not crowded at all (we went rather early in the morning.) We did not buy anything to eat or drink, although there was a bar and restaurant very close to us. On the way back to the ship, we debated stopping to souvenir-hunt in one of the few stores that are located in the beach area, but we chose not to. We did find out from a worker that the "magical" chair lifts cost $12 or so for an all-day ticket. We opted out - hubby doesn't care for things that are high off the ground (so no North Star, lol) and I had no urgent desire to go on them, anyway. We would likely go back to Mahogany Bay if Roatan is on our itinerary again on a Carnival cruise. We've done the "animal petting and beach shore"excursion twice with Victor Bodden tours, so we didn't feel a need to do something like that again, at least not for awhile.
  2. “Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom.” https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/food-drink-onboard-policy
  3. Very good to know - we have Lighthouse booked, from Sept. 19 - Oct. 6, for our 3 upcoming cruises on the Independence. Booking the times we needed online on their website was quick and painless, and I was able to email someone from Lighthouse (beforehand) that online booking was the way for me to reserve. Prior to Lighthouse, we had just used the Port of Galveston lots. We thought that we would give the independent lots a try, and maybe save a little $$.
  4. Two nights ago, I ended up at the ER with food caught in my chest and had to get an endoscopy, with an antigen test required beforehand. Thank goodness it was negative. However, I had purchased the Abbott Home Self Test kits at $19.99 each plus tax at our local HEB. This is the test that is not monitored, I only purchased them because our daughter, a public school teacher, tested positive a week and a half ago and hubby and I were going to test ourselves if we felt symptomatic. BTW, Daughter is okay, with only cold symptoms, she and her hubby are fully vaccinated. They all did the home self-tests and only daughter was positive, but of course, they are quarantining until after Labor Day. In the meanwhile, we ordered, and received yesterday, the Abbott monitored home tests available through eMed. With shipping and handling and taxes, it was about $177 for 6 tests. We may be using them for our upcoming Royal cruises, and 1 Carnival cruise. I texted a local drive-through testing center (not a government agency; they only do symptomatic people testing in our area) and they texted back they only do the free ones for symptomatic people as well, but hey, their website states they will charge $190 per test if one needs it for travel. Yikes.
  5. If you go to the eMed website, there's a little blurb in there somewhere which states that the FDA has extended the expiration date, and even a link to the actual letter from the FDA to the company. People are posting that there is a sticker on or in the shipping box that states the same information about the extension.
  6. I guess that I am relying on the guy who blogs for Royal Caribbean - he posted an article about how easy and stress-free it was to take the monitored test through eMed. I also have been reading a lot of the posts concerning the monitored tests here and in the Royal Caribbean blog forums (hope they don't kick me off CC for mentioning them, lol.) So far, the reviews have been mostly positive.
  7. We are in a terrible surge of the Delta COVID-19 variant down here in Corpus Christi. Hospitals and the county drive-through testing clinics are swamped. Sure, we can pay up to $190 for each test if we want to go through a drive-through (and not lie about being symptomatic) but we don't want to do any of those things. Our consciences won't let us tell fibs, so we are choosing to pay for the eMed tests. Waiting for approval right now from eMed. (I think they are writing up the necessary prescriptions.) We still will try to get the free antigen tests at Walgreen's or CVS, as long as they allow us. We have other cruises booked in late October and in the winter, so those eMed home tests will be used eventually.
  8. I'm not making excuses for the CDC, but I read in another forum that the unvaccinated are allowed 3 days because they must take the PCR (NAAT) test, which takes longer to process. However, because the vaccinated are allowed to take the same test, should not they also be allowed 3 days, instead of 2?! I am seeing a dearth of appointments for the antigen test every day online at my local CVS (non-existent, actually) and Walgreen pharmacies. It looks like our options for testing for our upcoming cruise on September 19th will be : 1. keep checking online in the hope that Walgreens or CVS will actually have availability for the day(s) we need to take the tests; 2. give up and order the 6-pack of home tests through eMed; or 3. do both. Option 3 it is! I just placed an order for the eMed test kits. We will still try to get appointments for the rapid tests, but I'm afraid that they may cancel any appointments we manage to snag.
  9. Tony's latest video (from La Lido Loca) shows an image of a mobile Covid testing lab (van) "cruising" around a Floridian cruise port, lol.
  10. I called the Customer Service phone number listed on the website and asked that exact question a few hours ago! The answer I received was, "yes, we do the telehealth monitoring 24 hours, 7 days," and he said that was true for holidays (not sure I would risk that, however.) We haven't ordered the kits yet, but I am leaning hard towards doing so, even if we manage to snag 2 coveted appointments for antigen tests at a local CVS or Walgreen's. Reading online about the pharmacies suddenly cancelling appointments scares me.
  11. From what I have learned from Club Royale and the FB group concerning Royal Caribbean Casinos, after March 31, 2021, all club members' points went back to zero, but we kept our statuses from whatever they were in March of 2020. You should have also earned a total of 2 tier (annual) cruises if you are Prime or above. Once you gamble onboard a Royal ship, you will have from that cruise until March 31, 2022 to qualify as Prime or above for the next "casino" year (April 1, '22 - March 31, '23.)
  12. If you have played in a casino onboard a Royal ship, and you inserted your SeaPass card either in the slot machine or had it scanned by a dealer on table games, they should have recorded your play. If that is true, you can check to see if you have any offers using this website: https://www.clubroyaleoffers.com/ You will need to type in your Crown and Anchor number and last name, of course.
  13. I have 2 similar recollections. On our Majesty of the Seas cruise (March 7-14, 2020) I recall crew standing outside each restaurant ensuring that everyone took a squirt of sanitizer and a few were singing the “Washy Washy” song. During our July 17-24, 2021 cruise on the Carnival Vista, I was a little surprised that there were no crew offering sanitizer in the venues. Hubby and I made a point of using not only sanitizer, but also those cool “ hand washing “ machines that were outside the buffet area on the Lido deck (and he joked that we should have one installed in our home.) I probably went a bit overboard, but I tried to squirt some sanitizer in my hands whenever I handled the utensils in the buffet line. Then again, maybe not! Anyway, yesterday, our FB group postings for that cruise included one in which people were reporting if they had tested positive or negative or even were symptomatic. So far, only 1 positive, but she is ok.
  14. We are booked B2B2B on the Independence, beginning on September 19th. We went on the July 17th Carnival Vista cruise out of Galveston, and having no one check our passports on the way out of the terminal took me by surprise - I had those passports in my fanny pack, ready to show, and nothing, lol. I had forgotten about having the photo taken while going through check-in. The only delay was actually when we had to wait for a taxi - they were few and far-between. After an hour wait, we ended up going back to our hotel to pick up our car by sharing the minivan taxi with other people who were doing the same thing, only staying in an adjacent hotel ( all were vaccinated.) I’m not sure why there was such a delay, but hubby said that either the cabbie or the porter told him that only Yellow Cab is running to the port, if not all of Galveston. Calling Uber or a Lyft didn’t seem to be viable, either, although another couple waiting at the taxi stand finally booked one. Anyway, thank you to everyone for posting photos and writing these posts. It’s nice to know that Royal looks as normal as it can be, and nice to see the Independence. We’ve sailed on her sister, the Liberty , twice, but never the Independence. Below is a photo of the Independence that we took from the deck of the Vista on July 17th.
  15. We just did our second tour to Shark Ray Alley and the Island Excursion (back to Caye Caulker, yes!) during our cruise on the Carnival Vista last week. It's been 6 years since the first time, but if memory serves, we were led around a shallow coral reef for maybe an hour. This was the "snorkeling" part and I was fine with that (perhaps traipsing around a coral reef is no longer allowed.) This time around, with a different shore excursion company, we went out into 40-feet-deep water to snorkel. Hubby had hurt his toe the day before, and I wasn't keen on going into that deep of water, so we stayed on the boat. However, afterwards, I joined most of the other passengers as we snorkeled and stared at the nurse sharks and stingrays swimming beneath our feet and flippers. After that, we returned to Caye Caulker, and ate lunch at the Lazy Lizard (same as the first trip, but this time, we ate at long tables under palapa huts outside; last time it was indoors.)
  16. Although it's been almost 5 years since we last visited, we have been to Victor Bodden's Monkey Business twice, and it was great fun walking around in the screened-in areas, while monkeys and macaws hopped and flew around, and on, our heads and shoulders. At the time, sloths weren't a thing, I guess, at least not there. Our son, a teenager at the time, greatly enjoyed the "Zip" (ziplining) part of the tour - I graciously took photos of him dangling from the ziplines (there were several, in cool, woodsy, jungled, hilly areas. ) Hubby and I just paid for the "Dip" of the "Zip and Dip" package, which meant that we all boarded the van which took us to a beach afterwards (Bananarama?) I remember we ate lunch and maybe dipped in the sea the first time, but we were able to skip the dip the second trip, and they just dropped us off near the pier. We returned almost a week ago from the Carnival Vista, and for this cruise, we actually didn't book a shore excursion - we went to Mahogany Bay (Beach) for the first time. Quite enjoyable, and of course, not too crowded. We liked the nature trail!
  17. During the July 17th week cruise on the Vista, I walked through the Lido deck while a movie was being shown (I have no idea what it actually was.) I saw a sign stating that a bag of popcorn was $3.00. No mention was made of a charge for refills on the sign.
  18. Most women, like myself, seem to rely on purses or handbags more than pockets, although and I have seen a few women carrying little purses around on cruise ships. I must be a dinosaur left over from the 90's - back when we were an active duty military family, with frequent trips to Disney World, and later on, long flights to and from Japan, I started using a fanny pack. I still do - the one that I have just seems to last and last, cruise after cruise, as well as on trips to places like Las Vegas. I guess lanyards don't bother us because hubby, as an educator, always had to wear an ID badge and I, who worked for the local government, had to wear one as well. Lanyards are much more efficient and a lot easier to remember to slip off your neck so you don't accidentally throw them in the laundry. So, even though I may look unfashionable, I prefer the term "retro," thank you very much. 😛
  19. We booked this tour through Royal when we took our first Royal cruise in June 2019. I don't know if Carnival offers the same tour because we never went to a Jamaican port during our past 7 Carnival cruises (no reason to look.) I booked the tour because hubby and I aren't avid beach bums and I was looking to do something different. The tour started out with a narrated tour of the area in the minivan (there were only 8-10 of us) and then when we arrived at Rose Hall, the manager of the place took over. The narration was dramatic, lurid and rather horrifying, referring to the discussion of the White Witch's cruelty. After the tour, I looked up the story on the web and most of the sites seemed to debunk the whole story, but, it was entertaining to watch. At the end of the tour, we stood around the White Witch's tomb while the manager sang a song (originallly penned and sung by Johnny Cash, who owned a nearby plantation, Cinnamon Hill, which is not open for tours.) After the tour of Rose Hall, we did go to a mostly-empty shopping center. I thought that I struck a bargain when I bought some t-shirts on sale. Turns out, the first time that I washed hubby's and my t-shirts, they shrunk like crazy. Nope, not buying those cheapie shirts anymore. After shopping, the minivan driver and our tour guide offered to drive us to go somewhere to eat, and we all were eager to try some Jamaican food. We all ate at Scotchie's, a local restaurant. I really enjoyed the pork jerky, rice and beans. The prices were reasonable and were posted in Jamaican currency. While I wouldn't necessarily need to return to Rose Hall or the shopping center, I would jump at the chance to revisit, and enjoy, more of the yummy food at Scotchie's!
  20. We received the same email, even though the vaccine survey was in our cruise manager yesterday morning and I filled it out and our check-in was then listed as "complete." Of course, after reading the email, hubby called Carnival, and the agent was able to find out from her "higher-up's" that it was a glitch. The survey should have been sent to, and completed by, only those cruisers who are cruising July 15th or earlier (our cruise starts on July 17, on the Vista.) She said just to keep checking until we see it, then fill it out again and submit.
  21. I see on Carnival's website that the Vista has a Jiji's. Is it above the buffet area (as stated above) or somewhere else, and is it free during lunch, including boarding day? This reminds me of the Pasta Bar, which we used to go to for lunches on some Carnival ships.
  22. Several years ago, we were onboard a Carnival cruise ship and wandered into a BBQ place that was located outside (maybe on the Promenade deck.) The food was delicious, but I don't remember any brand-name or logo posted, it was just there. In March, 2019, we boarded the Carnival Glory and discovered by happy accident that up on the second level of the Marketplace (?) Buffet, they had recently set up a BBQ restaurant that WASN"T labeled Guy's Pig and Anchor. I truly believe it was Guy's brand, however, because, later when I read about the Pig and Anchor online, the same food items and sauces were mentioned. Whatever it was, it was fantastic - we ate there for every single lunch of our 5-day cruise, with the exception of our shore excursion in Cozumel. Funnily enough, on that first day, we practically had the place to ourselves (with the exception of a few ship's officers) but by the last day, the rest of the passengers had discovered it. We are booked on the Carnival Vista on July 17th, and I fully intend to frequent its Pig and Anchor. My favorite meats from the previous BBQ places were the grilled chicken and the pulled pork, just YUM!
  23. Currently, no: https://www.travelweekly.com/Cruise-Travel/Royal-Caribbean-reverses-vaccination-policy
  24. Well, actually, no. We had cruises in August, September and October booked on the Explorer (also out of Galveston) and on the 9/19 Liberty sailing. Hubby and I both received emails stating that 2 of our Explorer cruises will be moved to the Independence after Sept. 27 (one of the cruises started on that date.) Our 2 other cruises on the Explorer, on Aug. 30 and Sept. 3, will not be moved. Both are casino cruises, one being a discounted (not comped) was lifted-and-shifted to September 2022, and the other (comped) was replaced by a new cruise offer. I also received an email stating that the Liberty 9/19 cruise would be moved to the Indy, which gave us a different itinerary and a bonus night. 🙂 So my belief is, once the Liberty returns on September 26, the Indy will return from her last 7-night cruise on September 27. On that date, she takes over the late September and October 4 and 5-day cruises for the Explorer. Actually, this is more than my belief - the CSR from Club Royale figured it out and explained it to myself and hubby yesterday during our first phone call with CR.
  25. Here’s a Cruise Critic news article: https://www.cruisecritic.com/ab/agents/variation-a/news/6165/ I didn’t see any dates given for the most recently approved test cruises.
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