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Everything posted by Pellaz

  1. Mine doesn't either unless I contact her first (and I'm fine with that), but she does email me with offers. My friends booked our last cruise without involving my PVP (they booked direct), but for our intended 2025 cruise I want to book through her.
  2. OP, thanks for the review. A friend of mine surprised me today when he posted he was boarding Elation for his very first cruise, so it's good to hear a mostly favorable report on her. Hopefully he'll have a good time.
  3. Oh, sure; that's why I used the cabanas as an example based on the poster's experience ("ten or more still available" just prior to embark). That's a serious drop in demand. FTTF is a different story, since it's basically "free money" with not too much at risk and no real concerns about unsold inventory such as cabanas and villas. Or the Private Oasis, and I don't EVEN wanna know how much THAT costs nowadays. 🙂 I had FTTF on a cruise just prior to COVID and went down to Guest Services. There was one non-priority person being helped at the counter by the lone Guest Services officer and no-one else waiting. I just got into the regular line. When the officer called me up she said, surprised "Sir, you COULD have gotten in the priority line; you DO have Faster To the Fun." "Sure, but there's only one of you and there was really no need." She was taken aback, but clearly pleased. "That was very nice of you, sir. Most would have gone to the priority side." Sadly, 'tis true. Some might, but Carnival doesn't generally do "dynamic pricing," whereas, e.g., Royal does. From a supply-demand perspective (as well as good ol' fashioned ruthlessness), it would make more sense to sell cabanas at, say, $500 up to a point, and when there are just a few remaining, jack up the price to $700. Maybe it's a good thing Carnival doesn't do dynamic pricing. 😄
  4. Well, then it shouldn't be too hard at ALL for you to list, say, five things the owners could have done to prepare their canine for the terrifying rigors of cruise-ship travel. Please enlighten us. So, perhaps the owners of the dog "knew best" that little or no preparation was needed for their well-trained dog?
  5. So when "the Beards" see that cabanas are no longer selling out, they should do some math: "Is selling 6 cabanas at $700/each better than selling all 16 cabanas at $400 each? No? Maybe we should drop the price a bit." I said "should," not "will." Time will tell. I WILL say that my interest in going to HMC has waned a great deal since the prices there skyrocketed. As for FTTF, I just turned Platinum, so I don't have to care about the lesser beings in steerage anymore. 😄
  6. Works for me.... I legitimately like and enjoy Golden Corral. 🙂 The mystery deepens.
  7. That was one thing that struck me two weeks ago on Freedom of the Seas...along with the surprising lack of "free"/included dining options compared to even one of Carnival's older Conquest-class ships. 😮 You simply DON'T easily feel a connection with the ocean on Royal's ships. Carnival and Norwegian have included outside or "lanai" decks closer to the ocean on their new-builds. On Freedom, while there is an infrequently-used, utilitarian outside promenade deck, that's basically it. The interior promenade is basically a large shopping mall, and the upper outside decks are pretty far from the sea surface. We really enjoyed the lanai-style decks on the Magic, Vista, Horizon and Mardi Gras.
  8. This would be the case with any cruise line; for environmental reasons it would need to be done at least 12 miles offshore.
  9. Our group of 6-9 people always gets YTD on Carnival and it's worked great...and it's a no-brainer on the Excel-class ships. If we get a really good serving crew, we ask for them on future visits. This can sometimes be a challenge for the staff, but they have gone above and beyond trying to accommodate us...even, in one case, sitting our group in a different section, but served by the same crew. We tip cash rather handsomely on the last night, too.
  10. Of course, I was referring to a stolen or misdirected ship-card and whether an unscrupulous user could make purchases with it until it was reported as lost or stolen to Guest Services.
  11. Do the point-of-sale systems onboard have a way of determining that the card is not being used by the valid user? Does your photo show up when they scan your card so they could see that someone else is using it?
  12. I was disappointed with my cruise on the Freedom last week, but first, a caveat: it is a charter cruise and it's pretty obvious that Royal up-priced many things on us, and expended less effort on others. For the first time in 20 cruises, 9 on Royal and 11 on Carnival, I did not tip my stateroom attendant...because I didn't even see him until the third day. I've never had that happen before on any cruise. My SeaPass card was not in the "inbox" on embark day, but my two roommates' cards were. They brought a new card to me in the room, but it took 30 minutes and of course, I couldn't leave. No idea if my original card was stolen or just overlooked, but that also has never happened before. I was hoping that when a person buys a drink or something, their photo pops up on the display to foil card thieves. Does anyone know if it does? MDR service was lackluster. Granted, this was a charter cruise with open seating on the first level (only) of the MDR, but it didn't seem like the staff really wanted to be there. The menu was limited, too: I went on "Caribbean Night" and I ended up getting the standard steak item because I'm not a fan of jerk spiciness. Nothing for us diabetics on the dessert menu either, except a cheese plate. No fruit plate offered. The shore-excursion process was an absolute cluster. All excursions had to gather in the main theater, get assigned a sticker with a number on it, sit in the assigned numbered area, wait for a while.... Keep in mind that the ship had already been docked and cleared. Then we were led out onto the dock and to the usual gathering spot right past the duty-free shop. This process took 45 minutes...when they could have simply had us go to the gathering spot onshore and look for the tour operators' signs. This extra wasted time cost us the "beach break" portion of our snorkeling excursion -- as the tour operator was careful to point out. There WERE a few bright spots: service in Chops Grill was exemplary, the little sandwiches in the Promenade Café were much improved from last year, and the Windjammer options were also a bit better.
  13. Oh, if the price had been THAT low I'd have purchased it for two devices and helped out a friend with his access, since he'd just been laid off before the cruise. He ended up booking the wi-fi onboard...at $1 less per day than the pre-cruise price. Still WAYYY overpriced for the lousy speed we got. Two, count 'em, TWO cheers for Royal.
  14. No, one device only. $27. This WAS a charter cruise, however, and Royal soaked us for as much as they could. $15 for the soda-only package, and of course no alcohol package was offered since this is the biggest-drinking cruise at sea. Even the excursions at Taino Bay/Puerta Plata seemed overpriced.
  15. That surely must explain all the cutbacks on Carnival. 😉 🙄
  16. It was $15/day for our cruise last week on Freedom, and I thought it was worth it. I easily had enough sodas daily from the Freestyle machines to make it worth it. Of course, it also included Powerade, etc. from the machines as well as sodas.
  17. Go to Guest Services and ask them to punch a hole. On the Freedom this past week there was an employee with a big hole-punching machine, and a sizeable line of people awaiting same when I got there. Why Royal doesn't have the cards already pre-punched, like Carnival does, is a mystery.
  18. Sorry, no. It was $27/day for us when bought pre-cruise. It was one dollar cheaper per day if purchased onboard, but even at that huge discount, most felt it simply wasn't worth it. Not, it was not a temporary issue. I posted these speeds in the charter's largest FB group (3,000+ members) and the overwhelming consensus was that speed had been THAT slow throughout...with a smattering of "I couldn't get ANY service in my cabin at all" posts, likely due to a lack of nearby wi-fi gateways or access points. I didn't ask for any sort of discount or credit, and perhaps I should have: One person posted they had received a full refund when they went to Guest Services to complain.
  19. As a follow-up, this was the speed we achieved on the Freedom this past week. I performed this test and another one (similar results) after departing the Dominican Republic for Miami. Our consensus as a group charter was "not worth the $27/day price."
  20. Yeah, I'm sailing in just a few days and it's startling how...unhelpful...the app is. For our upcoming cruise, only the Ultimate plan is being offered, no 3-night plans, which is a shame because we bought the latter on our cruise in 2020...but the UDP price is just too high.
  21. They started it on Vista, but then dropped it and went back to normal elevator operations a few weeks later. We were onboard during that brief period when Destination Dispatch was used, and we liked it. But, as others have observed, there are capacity issues during busy periods (like embark) and because large parties only pressed their floor's button once. In fairness, I don't recall any instructions on the Vista saying to press it once per person. We have been on Horizon recently twice, and liked DD there also. On embark day they operate the elevators in manual mode, with a crew member in each car manually pressing floor buttons using the button pad behind the locked panel on the left side. After embark the system was returned to DD operation. And now I'm curious as to how the two systems' dispatch algorithms differ, and how they're similar. 🙂
  22. And it's been years, but as I recall there's a handy dining pavilion close to it as well.
  23. Since they might not allow your glasses on the slides, you could consider wearing your contacts, along with a pair of clear swim-goggles to keep your contacts from any harm.
  24. We sailed on the Mardi Gras, very similar to Jubilee, and we were amazed at all the "free"/included dining venues. I discovered exactly what shawarma was, and also bulgogi beef, thanks to the station on the Lido and Street Eats, respectively. And then there are a myriad of other options, from Shaq's Big Chicken to the oft-overlooked Fresh Creations salad bar up in Serenity. If you haven't opted for YTD, please do so, since YTD also includes Cucina del Capitano and Chibang! as part of your dining experience as well as the MDR.
  25. I was wondering about this also, since the only option offered for our charter sailing next week is Voom Surf + Stream at a whopping $28/day. We weren't sure if Royal had dropped all other tiered internet plans or if RC was "sticking it" to us charter cruisers. In the past, there's been a combined internet + soda package offered. Has that also gone the way of he dodo? For those of us who are...bemused...at the higher prices, is it still possible to purchase wi-fi by the hour, a la carte? Also, is it possible to purchase the Surf+Stream plan onboard, on the second or third day?
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