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CntPAcruiser

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About CntPAcruiser

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Harrisburg area
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Only been to Caribbean so far, but enjoy it

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  1. Navigator of the Seas no longer has locker rooms for the fitness center. Apparently there is a small locker area to put personal items, but no actual changing room, just toilets.
  2. Years ago when we tried out Oasis and Allure, we went to the spa on embarkation day and purchased the couples pass for the thermal suite. It was $199 plus the ever-present 15% (is it 18% now?) gratuity for the two of us. Compared to the generous locker rooms and large free saunas/steam rooms on some of RCI's other ships, the thermal suites on Oasis/Allure are a disappointment, and not just because of the cost. The facilities are relatively small and awkwardly designed, and if there are more than a few people in the thermal suite, it gets loud (there's nothing to dampen the sound) and can get cramped. It is mixed sexes, so bathing suits must be worn (which is pretty gross in a steam room or sauna), and couples tend to be chatty. The specialty showers can be enjoyable (mist/rain/thunderstorm/waterfall effects), and the heated ceramic lounges are nice, as long as people don't decide to use them to hold their spa robes and other stuff while in the sauna. You have to be careful in the steam room because of the steam jets under the seating--your legs will get scalded if you're sitting where the steam comes out. And lastly, the men's locker room is small and gets crowded if there are three guys in there, practically, and it is well down the hall from the thermal suite. But all of that said, if I were stuck on an Oasis-class ship, I'd still get the thermal suite pass because we really love to include the sauna/steam room as part of our daily gym routine and post-workout relaxation. You just have to find the times when the thermal suite is not so crowded or noisy.
  3. It's not necessarily that people are upset about "going a week without" the sauna/steam room. For some folks, their cruise vacation is the only time they get to use such facilities, or, as in our case, it is a big part of the relaxation of going on a cruise. So to have a ship that now basically has no sauna/steam room for general use, and no thermal suite, it takes that ship out of the running for us when selecting a cruise. Lots of people book vacations, cruise or land-based, purposely at venues that have spas or steam/sauna facilities, so taking them away (in the case of Navigator) is, in my thinking, a mistake. And the worst part is, the Voyager-class (like the Freedom-class) ships had such beautiful fitness center facilities and fine locker rooms with the steam rooms and saunas. It is/was a crime to destroy those facilities.
  4. St. Kitts--van tour with Royston. It's kind of a crazy ride, but unforgettable. Check out other reviews/descriptions of his tour here on the St. Kitts board. If he's available, you would be the only ones, since his van can do 6 to 9 people, so I would discuss what you'd like to see or how much time you'd like to spend where. He is great and enthusiastic, but will spend a lot of time driving around to show you things if you're not clear about what you want to do/see. In any event, definitely hit the highlights like Brimstone fortress and the rain forest area.
  5. As already mentioned above, the organizer can choose wherever they would like to do the slot pull, but having a nonsmoking section in a large open room is like having a non-peeing section of a swimming pool. We have done slot pulls where the passenger organizer is directed by the casino host/manager which machine to use; others pick their own (which we prefer, and we generally seem to have better luck when we don't involve the casino manager).
  6. Depending on the size of the tour bus/van, they can park in a flat area just below the fort, but there is still a long walkway that is stepped to go up to get to the fort, and additional climbing of stairs and walkways once you get up there, since the fort is on several levels. The views are definitely worth it, though. Once you are up there, there are several vantages from all sides, but the ones looking out to sea are amazing. Below the fortress, there are a few outbuildings that are also nice to explore and have their own views, but you would not have to do these.
  7. I've never had any luck getting a specialty coffee in the MDR diamond breakfast section. When asked, the waitstaff have invariably said they were sorry, but the coffee machine was out of order for the MDR. I don't know if it was a big hassle for them to do a latte or cappuccino for the diamond section or something, but there must have been a coffee machine working somewhere, because other guests in the regular dining section were getting them ...
  8. There are a couple of cocktails I enjoy that include triple sec, and on occasion a nicely tipped DL bartender has on request gotten a small pour in a glass from the regular bar to make such a drink for me. My go-to apart from a gin martini is a Negroni (Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth). It's an excellent aperitif. I also like Manhattans, but unfortunately there is no bourbon, only Tennessee whiskey, so I will usually opt for a Rob Roy, which is the same formula as a Manhattan but made with scotch instead of bourbon. I've seen a few reports that sparkling wine has not been included in the DL bar recently. That is difficult to believe, if it's true, and annoying, because it takes away a whole class of "spritzer"-type drinks that could be concocted with the DL list.
  9. We used a van tour we bought tickets for right in town on our first time in Curacao. It covered a bit of the island and the city, and made a stop at the Curacao "factory." There wasn't really much of a tour there. Instead, there were displays and a tasting room and store where you could buy bottles of the liqueur. This was almost 10 years ago, so I don't have a name for the company, but I'm sure there is information to be found on the website that is a good trip advisor, generally, about tours available in Curacao.
  10. The prohibition on shorts/tank tops for men on Royal is in the evening in the main dining room. It is not a general rule. Royal is very casual, generally, though many do still dress up for dinner and dress formally on the formal nights. It is not required, even on formal nights, but there are dress suggestions for the dining rooms and restaurants. The number of food venue options included in your cruise fare varies by ship on Royal. Many of the larger ships and some of the smaller classes that have been redone have additional complimentary options. But unfortunately, there is a big push from Royal to get additional revenue from specialty restaurants that incur a cover charge or otherwise charge. We tend to stick with the main dining room for dinner (and lunch when open on sea days), and the windjammer for breakfast, and have found the offerings work for us. When my husband really wants a nicer steak, he can get it at dinner in the main dining room for an upcharge that is nowhere near the cover charge for dining in the steak restaurant, Chops.
  11. On St. Kitts, if you are feeling adventurous, Royston is our go-to tour guide. He has a somewhat rickety older van with the windows popped out and a cooler full of local beer and sodas. He only takes around 6-8 people, so the tour can be customized depending on whether you want to see more beaches, swim, etc., but he goes to the major stops like Brimstone Fortress and Romney Manor/batik factory, as well as some beautiful outlooks. There are also more conventional tours on St. Kitts that are highly recommended, and most are quite reasonable (Royston was $45 including a light lunch). I believe Royston also does a rainforest tour that is very active--perhaps there is information on his website or a certain website that is a good trip advisor. We used Lawrence of Antigua, who was reasonable in price, hit the highlights and then some, and overall did a good job. There are a number of historical sites, if that is your thing, as well as rainforest and beaches. He was $40 (or $50 with beach time). On St. Lucia, we used Serenity Island Tours, which we very much enjoyed. We were made to feel very welcome and were escorted the whole time, including the sulfur springs and waterfall. It was to have been a small group tour and ended up being just two couples, so it was very private. This tour included a buffet lunch and was well worth the $80.
  12. With regard to my earlier post, "Best of Curacao" is the name of the souvenir and t-shirt shop one or two streets back from the Handelskade. They have high-quality embroidered t-shirts, hats, etc. Curacao (the liqueur) would certainly be a memorable product to bring back as a souvenir as well, and it can be purchased in various colors (and a few flavors in combination with the original orange) at many stores around town, not just at the "factory" itself.
  13. Regarding 8 ) What machines/appliances are in the gym/spas? Are there saunas and steam rooms for regular passengers? Does it usually get crowded? It looks like you're sailing prior to the so-called Amplification, so the existing fitness center with its nice locker rooms and complimentary saunas/steam rooms will still be in place. It's unclear what will happen to Explorer, but when Navigator was "amped," they tore out the fitness center and replaced it with cabins, and built a much smaller fitness center elsewhere on the ship with no locker rooms/showers/sauna or steam, only a small locker area with a restroom. The current fitness center will have treadmills and bikes, weight machines, and a small free weights area. At times it can get busy, but I've never had a problem getting cardio equipment.
  14. Curacao is a lovely town to just walk around and check out the shops and restaurants. It's a bit like a European town plunked down in the Caribbean, with Dutch-looking buildings in tropical colors. Once you cross the floating bridge, there is a manageable area to walk around and check out the window displays from the Handelskade (first street along the channel you crossed on the bridge) to Columbusstraat, which parallels the first, and several alleys and cross-streets between. The floating market, which ran along the street turning the corner from Handelskade, is reportedly greatly diminished because of the issues with Venezuela. Of course there are the usual touristy (junky) souvenir stores and more commercial chain store, but there are still smaller, local shops. We really like one of the local t-shirt shops, but the name is escaping me at the moment. I will try to add it to this thread later.
  15. CntPAcruiser

    Town

    Based on our most recent time there, within the last two years, yes, you can walk into town. The first time we were there, more than five years ago, there was little for tourists, but now there is tourist-type shopping and sometimes an artists market (on days when a cruise ship is in port?).
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