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CntPAcruiser

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About CntPAcruiser

  • Rank
    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. Aruba was full of firsts for us--first port on our first cruise, and first snorkel. We didn't use a ship excursion, but instead just booked a catamaran sail from Eagle Beach that took us out after lunch to snorkel over the shipwrecked freighter and then closer inland over some coral reefs in shallower water. A few years later we were there again on a cruise, but with two friends who were more comfortable using a ship tour. It was nearly identical to what we had done independently, except the ship tour used a catamaran company that included a little bit of food, music, and dancing (and of course drinks--they all have that). If anything, the second time was probably more fun because of the extra activities. Aruba is one of those ports where it really isn't at all necessary to use ship-based tours under normal circumstances. And there are several good independent operators for island tours. It's easy enough to do a beach day on your own, but as the OP mentioned, for a time ship tours may be required.
  2. I can't speak to the Blue Hole, but for Dunn's River Falls (and also Green Grotto caves), we used a private van from Ocho Rios for the four of us. We did the caves first, which were very nice, and then our driver took us to Dunn's, where we parked, and he gave us some tips and got us into the park. Our driver told us not to bother paying for or joining a group tour to climb up the falls. It was generally crowded, or busy at least, but since we were on our own, we just took it at our own pace and had a blast climbing up, splashing in the natural pools and small waterfalls, and enjoying the beautiful views. In fact, we like it so much, we walked back down and went up a second time. If you can, get a more private tour or transportation so you're not with a big group. The groups that went up the falls went in a long line with hands joined and honestly didn't look like they were having much fun. Although it sounded like a very touristy thing to do, going up the falls is one of our favorite memories of that port stop.
  3. I'm struggling to remember if there was somewhere to shower after the mud baths, but I do recall being mostly "clean" before heading on to the waterfall when we did this. The mud leaves your skin feeling extremely soft; it acts as an exfoliant, and is probably loaded with good minerals.
  4. We were supposed to sail on Explorer in January 2020 but had to cancel. It was going to be a final farewell to the ship we knew in the more or less original Voyager-class layout. I hate what they are doing to the fitness centers on these ships when they "amp" them. Now maybe we'll get a second chance at Explorer at least. It's already too late for some of them, like Navigator. With all the new builds, I wish they would leave some of the older ships alone for those of us who like them, though I know we are in the minority, and business is business.
  5. The last time we were at Mambo Beach, we found there to be a noticeable dropoff. I would go with Aruba, Eagle Beach.
  6. Royal does put it's LGBT mixers and meetups in the Cruise Compass nowadays. On our last couples of cruises, there was a later-night mixer the first night of the cruise, and on subsequent evenings there was a scheduled daily meeting time in a specific lounge. These are always variable in attendance, sometimes because of what time they are scheduled for (too early or too late for a particular mix of people), but as mentioned above, you can always advertise your own desired time/place on a card on the community notice board.
  7. I've often remarked that I don't mind if people smoke ... as long as they never exhale.
  8. Loved the Snack Shack! Only time I've had a funnel cake in the rain in the Caribbean, and it was delightful. The other food was ok, and at least something different from the usual cruise/beach food. The buffet lunch on Coco Cay was quite nice, and all the fresh fruit was delicious. Not just the usual melons, but also mango and papaya!
  9. I second the issue with Voyager-class ships having the stairs leading up to the promenade. It's like a chimney for the smoke to rise and pollute the upper area. This happens to a lesser extent with Freedom-class ships as well. And having one part of the casino designated nonsmoking is about as effective as having a non-peeing section in a swimming pool. As for the newer ships, if that is intended to include Oasis, Allure, etc., then I have to say yes and no. We didn't notice the smoke smell coming onto the promenade on those ships as much, but the smoke would move from the casino into the main dining room if the doors to the main dining room were left open, as they usually were during service. We were seated near the entrance for late seating and had to have the headwaiter close the doors every evening during dinner, and once at lunch we simply got up and left because the smell of smoke was so bad in the main dining room. And of course, unless it has since been corrected, because of the location of a crew lounge, you could smell smoke in the fitness center on Oasis and Allure.
  10. Specific to Vision, there are beverage stations convenient to the pool deck, in the Park Cafe and back by the Windjammer that will have ice water, coffee/tea, and often one or two flavors of flavored water. In the morning they may have orange juice from the dispenser. I'm an iced tea fan, but do not do caffeine, so I make my own by the glass at the beverage station using two teabags, steeping, and then icing it in the glass.
  11. The first time we were on Curacao, we spent some time walking around and shopping. Willemstad is a lovely, walkable town with a mix of touristy and European-type shopping as well as good restaurants. There are a few historical sights and, of course, the famous floating bridge. After that, we ended up taking a small bus tour that covered other areas of the city and island and included some beach time. We didn't plan that ahead, but rather picked one of the tour operators offering tours from downtown. Many people go to Mambo Beach, which has changed since we were last there, but current information is likely available on this board/elsewhere online. You can get a taxi from downtown for your group, and arrange for a return or pick up a taxi from those waiting at the beach. You'd probably wanted to head to the beach first thing and allow some time afterward to look around downtown before returning to the ship.
  12. Bonaire, snorkeling is amazing, and we like Woodwind for their snorkeling excursion. St. Kitts, Royston is an independent operator with an old van who will take you on an adventure, all-inclusive. Aruba is definitely a place to go to the beach if it's your first time there. St. Martin could also be a beach day, but has good shopping and restaurants on the Dutch side where Royal typically docks.
  13. My husband doesn't eat seafood (except for fried shrimp), so when we booked, we requested some non-fish/non-raw substitutes and they did their best to fulfill the request. Overall, the class was fun and interesting and left us with a pile of sushi to eat. We were not allowed to take anything away from the restaurant. Others who knew this in advance had family join them after the class to finish off their creations.
  14. Last time I checked they thankfully had not sent the gin selection the way of the vodka on the diamond drink list and it was still Beefeater. Please don't give them any ideas! NA gin is basically orange-flavored vodka, pfui! Best wishes on your birthday, and enjoy that sip!
  15. My gym has opened where we live, and the information they sent to members is that for now, the pool, whirlpool, sauna, and even the showers will not be available. In this gym, the showers are individual stalls, so I really don't know why they are not letting gym-goers use them. I mean, presumably the toilet stalls are available for use, and those are less closed-off than the shower stalls!
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