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About mil76

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Denver, Colorado
  • Interests
    Flowriding, Martial Arts
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    St. Maarten

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  1. We have booked a couple of our recent cruises after final payment deadline and while we do save money on cruise fare, we usually have to be forgo choices as far as specific type of room we want, room location, itinerary, class of ship, dining times, entertainment options, etc. We just booked Oasis today for the beginning of March, and although we are saving a few hundred dollars, we don't get all the choices/benefits/flexibility on the ship as someone who paid the higher rate 6 months ago. Room was guarantee so no stateroom choice, no MTD is available, entertainment showtimes are already picked through, and we missed all the sales for onboard activities, drink packages, etc. To top it off, we will end up giving all of those savings to the airline since airfare is usually an inverse relationship to cruise fare as you get closer to the date. Maybe I should call the airline and complain that the airfare was $300 cheaper 6 months ago...
  2. Was there on Anthem Thanksgiving week (lots of kids). Got off the ship shortly after arrival and went right to the waterpark and was able to cycle through all of the slides with no wait. By the time we started to do 2nd runs, the lines suddenly got extremely long, as if everyone showed up at once. Went to the beach for a couple hours and came back after lunch to find the lines non-existent with the exception of the big red slide, which had a wait of about 15 minutes. After lunch is when we got our $92 worth as we cycled though everything multiple times. When you first get to the park stop by the big red slide. If you are early enough you can go straight on with little wait, otherwise they give you a card with a time to come back later so you don't have to wait as long. After lunch they didn't have the cards since the crowd had dissipated.
  3. Biggest difference is that the older installations (can't say older ships since some older ships got Flowriders after ships much newer than them) have a solid metal rail at the top of the wave, where the newer installations don't have this and the top of the wave has a soft pad. On the older waves with hard rails I'm able to do a step-in load from the top and go right into heel-side that I can't do on the newer waves. I find it easier/safer to ride and do stalls on the top on the newer waves since it is more of a bump than an actual rail. They made the change for safety reasons as falling on the hard rail is not fun. My worst injury ever was falling on the rail on my hip years ago and I still feel it. The change to "pillow pads" (that's what Flowrider calls them) happened about the time of Quantum being built and Navigator being retrofitted, so all Freedom class and Oasis/Allure had the hard rail, and all Voyager and Quantum class, along with Harmony and Symphony have pillow pads. From what I'm reading it sounds like they may have retrofitted Oasis with pillow pads during the recent drydock, but AFAIK they haven't retrofitted pillow pads to ships that already had hard rails before that. The condition of the pump has an impact as well, so somebody saying one ship is horrible due to how it rode a year ago may not apply today. I was on Allure in October the week after the 2nd pump was replaced after the 1st was replaced the week before and thought it was awesome. The pumps cost about 100 grand each, and each Flowrider has 2, so they run them as long as they can, even to the point of complete failure before replacing them. Nothing worse than being on a cruise where a Flowrider pump gives up the ghost. I also remember cruising Navigator out of Galveston a few weeks after it got its Flowrider and it was the strongest wave I had ever ridden. Of course it was so strong that I saw a kid doing boogie board get an injured shoulder from being slammed into the back wall by the force of the water, so I can understand if they modded it since then. That said, Liberty has been may least favorite wave and it is just as bad every time I cruise it. It has a dead spot right where you want to carve on the goofy side. You can't do hard carves on that spot or your board will go flying. My preference is the older waves with the hard rail (other than Liberty), then the new waves with pillow pads, with Liberty taking up the rear. But then again, tell me I'm leaving tomorrow to cruise on Liberty and I won't complain in the slightest.
  4. We had a Chill Island Beach Bed last week and it was in the bottom left corner of the island in the the maps above. It is well off the beaten path and nobody working on the island seemed to know where they were. It was a hike to the tram/food/pools/etc. We would not have gotten the bed if we knew where it was, seeing how everyone told us the beds were right by a tram stop, and they even directed us to the old location on the island. My father in law is not very mobile, and they ended up taking almost an hour to get there after getting off the tram at the wrong spot and no one knowing where the beds were. The attendant told us there are complaints every day from people thinking they fell for a bait and switch.
  5. This is getting ridiculous. Based on my experience last week if you get off the ship early you already have "exclusive" use of the waterpark and will have no problem finding chairs. We got off about 8:00am (arrival around 7:30), went straight to the waterpark and were able to do all of the slides with little to no wait. By 9:00am as we were finishing up the last slide a huge wave of people arrived and the lines got really long. So now RCL is going to try to charge $30pp for something that already exists anyway?
  6. On Anthem last week if you were an experienced rider the threshold was about 3 seconds on the boogie board to get your blue band. If it was stand-up specific hours you did this at the beginning of your turn and then got to do your stand up run. Even noobs who had no clue what they were doing and would wipe out multiple times on the boogie board were given blue bands at the end of their run. I have no idea what kind of "skills" they are looking for to warrant doing this, but from a time perspective it didn't really slow things down in the grand scheme of things. Now Mixed Session hours, that's a different story...
  7. Was there on Thanksgiving and I don't think you would have a problem tag-teaming with one pass for an adult in the park and an adult outside the park. You basically scan the Sea Pass as you enter, it dings to verify to the staff standing there that the pass is valid and the screen tells you to have a perfect day. Then when you exit the park you have to scan the Sea Pass again. This seems to prevent a group of people entering and then one person leaving with the Sea Passes from the people who already entered and then having additional people use those passes to enter, but it won't prevent different people from using the same Sea Pass to enter as long as only one is in the park at a time. There are no wristbands and I didn't see any pictures pop up on the screen after you scan like you get leaving and entering the ship. Not condoning the practice, but based on the process they have in place, I thought this scenario would be easy to pull off as I was going in and out of the park last week.
  8. Last week was similar as well. Dropped the family off at check-in at 10:00am, then headed to Alamo to drop off the rental. By the time I got back on the shuttle and through check-in (~30 minutes later) they were already on-board. I also was impressed that they have managed to make what was already a smooth disembarking process even smoother with the facial recognition. Did self-assist and set out from Cafe Promenade about 7:15. The initial mad rush was over so we were able to walk straight through everything with no lines and were past security at FLL by 7:45. Longest "delay" was waiting for the elevator down to customs since they wouldn't let us take big suitcases down the escalator.
  9. Tried that once. Stood at Guest Services for over an hour while they tried to switch people into different rooms. Something about not being able to change the passenger manifest before departure. Got fed up and just asked for extra keys, which took 30 seconds.
  10. It's still happening. DS is 20 and in college. When he turned 18 we were all Diamond, and since then he hasn't gone on 2 cruises which boosted the rest of us to D+. We booked a cruise for later this year where he can join us and when we looked at his status we fully expected to see him as D, but he is showing as D+.
  11. Not only a new revenue stream, but a simultaneous cost cutting move. No more scrubbers needed to process the bunker fuel emissions, since it will all be absorbed by the meat.
  12. We had the Key on Liberty in March. From a Key benefits perspective that was a lifetime ago. We mainly bought it since we were getting internet anyway, and we wanted the extra Flowrider hours. I'm hearing now that they have cut back the Key Flowrider sessions drastically, and that combined with the extra cost means I won't be doing the Key again. Anyways, for embarkation we didn't get to the port until about 11:00, we went right through security and had a separate Key check-in desk. We whisked through everything, and by the time we got through the boarding backlog was cleared so we went right on the ship. Curb to ship was about 10 minutes. The luggage drop-off was convenient for us as we carry a bag and our Flowboards on with us. Instead of having to lug that around until the rooms opened, we dropped them off and they were waiting in the room for us (along with the rest of our luggage, but that didn't seem to be a Key thing since there was plenty of luggage in the hallway when they opened the rooms). Chops lunch was very nice and relaxed, a big difference from the mob that is the Windjammer on embarkation day. We had other people with us who didn't get the Key, so they paid for Chops lunch separately and joined us. As I said, the extra Flowrider sessions were the selling point for the Key, and we were not disappointed. We got an extra 5 hours with almost all of the time to ourselves. If you would have added up what private sessions cost on the Flowrider the value was over 1500 dollars. We were very lucky, as I have read about people having big crowds and only getting 2-3 runs during a Key session on other ships. I didn't use the theater seating benefit, but the DW did. The seats aren't the greatest, but they showed up right as they released the seating before the show and they got to sit with the people we were sailing with who didn't get the Key anyways. Other than the Flowrider benefits, the next most valuable perk for me was the last day breakfast and the walk-off. Disembarking the Liberty can be crazy, since a big proportion of the cruisers drive from all over Texas and want to get on the road ASAP. In the past this meant the self assist lines snaked throughout the ship starting before 6:00am, and it was bedlam in the terminal. Instead we went to the MDR and had breakfast. The breakfast was the best I've ever had on a ship. When we were ready to leave they walked us straight to the front of the line to get off. Going through the terminal we were on our own, but the Key luggage was waiting in a separate area, but there was no separate Key line for Customs/Immigration. With that said, Liberty changed the disembarking process on our cruise, where self-assist cruisers are now assigned letters, and you are not allowed to go to disembark until your letter is called. By doing this they got rid of the need to queue up, and controlled the access to the terminal so it was not the bedlam it has been in the past. By the time we were ready to leave at 8:30am they were well ahead of schedule and all of the self-assists were already off the ship. The terminal was a breeze and there was no line at immigration. We made it to Hobby with plenty of time to spare for our noon flight. So in closing, Key was worth every penny to me when it was $20/day. Since then they have raised the price, taken away most of the Flowrider benefit, and seem to have fixed the early disembarking problem. On this cruise we hit D+, so the rest of the benefits we pretty much get anyway. So from now on we'll just buy the internet package and enjoy the smoother disembarking process as we carry off our own bags.
  13. We had the same situation 2 weeks ago when we went on Liberty. We had the $20/day price and nothing showed on our set sail passes. We even called to confirm we did indeed have the Key. I guess they punish us for not paying full price by making us stress out that they screwed something up.
  14. We need a Flowrider in Colorado in the worst way.
  15. $345 for a private hour on the Flowrider vs. $280 for two of us to have the Key last week, in which we ended up with 5+ hours on the Flowrider by ourselves (including the 8-9am hour almost every day), plus internet, plus other perks we didn't really care about. Key wins hands down. As for the hours, they change all the time. I found a Key schedule from Liberty a few weeks ago where most of the Key Flowrider hours were in the middle of the day during hours that were usually open sessions in the past. Because last week was a peak spring break week, they told me they switched the schedule to give Key the 8-9am hours since they expected a big crowd during their open session hours, and the weeks before Spring Break the Flowrider was dead so they could get away with doing Key hours in the middle of the day.
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