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Grenouille21

The Symphony, The Key, Two Teens, And Me!

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On 4/4/2019 at 9:44 PM, Grenouille21 said:
It must really be a secret.  
 
Do any of you know why I thought this sign was funny?  Think way back to the 1980's... or maybe 1970's.  I'll leave you to ponder that mystery.

 

Great review! I went to bed last night pondering this question and I didn't see where you answered it? We are in Northern California, the birthplace of cults, Moonies, People's Temple, etc. And that was my first thought. 

 

I was approached by Reverend Moon followers back in the 1970's and declined,  but I don't recall that he was advertising hair regrowth? 

 

So what was it that you were alluding to? 

 

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11 minutes ago, Coralc said:

46624452315_1a5c38d205_b.jpg

 

Great review! I went to bed last night pondering this question and I didn't see where you answered it? We are in Northern California, the birthplace of cults, Moonies, People's Temple, etc. And that was my first thought. 

 

I was approached by Reverend Moon followers back in the 1970's and declined,  but I don't recall that he was advertising hair regrowth? 

 

So what was it that you were alluding to? 

 

 

Ok, but only because you asked.  I did not make this commercial so please disregard any cultural offense.  I grew up in the 70's and 80's and early 90's, and this is the stuff that formed my identity.  Anyone in a 5 + - age range of me probably knows this reference.  People older than me probably all know it.  People my age definitely know it.  People younger than me probably know the later Calgon slogan for a different product: "Calgon, take me away!"  

 

Whomever Calgon contracted for advertising did their job well.

 

I don't think I can embed it, so here's the link.  This was a thing in my day, and it became part of our language.  Don't want to tell your friend where you got that super sweet pair of acid wash jeans?  "Ancient Chinese Secret".  Can't reveal what you did last night?  "Ancient Chinese Secret".  

 

If you didn't grow up with it, it probably just offends you.  As it probably should.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJP5f-fsHrs

Edited by Grenouille21

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Sorry can't see it. I do remember the ad for Calgon. But I don't quite the connection, but that's fine. Your review is wonderful. 

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LOL. No it doesn't offend me at all. Thanks for posting a working link.  Your review is wonderful. I wouldn't quite put the photo and the old ad together. (kind of obscure) But when you put them together it is indeed very funny! 

My emoji thing is broken. 🙂 Cruise Critic is really starting to annoy me. <rolleyes> 

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1 hour ago, Coralc said:

LOL. No it doesn't offend me at all. Thanks for posting a working link.  Your review is wonderful. I wouldn't quite put the photo and the old ad together. (kind of obscure) But when you put them together it is indeed very funny! 

My emoji thing is broken. 🙂 Cruise Critic is really starting to annoy me. <rolleyes> 

 

Sorry for the delay, I couldn't get the link to show up as a video before.  It is so funny to me that this is considered an obscure reference because it is such an ingrained part of my childhood.  Sometimes I forget how generational some things are.  

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5 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

 

Sorry for the delay, I couldn't get the link to show up as a video before.  It is so funny to me that this is considered an obscure reference because it is such an ingrained part of my childhood.  Sometimes I forget how generational some things are.  

I remember it clearly and got the connection. 

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6 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

it is such an ingrained part of my childhood.  Sometimes I forget how generational some things are.

Enjoy your memories! We are certainly enjoying how you tell your vacation stories.

 

The only problem I have is you keep apologizing for your writing! Your writing is fun, witty, and (a rarity these days) even syntactically correct!  The best part is how you continuously capture those little asides we say to ourselves when we note something a little quirky--most of them immediately disappear in the flotsam and jetsam of random events surrounding our days. You have put us in your head on this trip brilliantly, and it is not as scary as you might think. No joke.

 

You must be a wonderful teacher.

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8 minutes ago, mayleeman said:

Enjoy your memories! We are certainly enjoying how you tell your vacation stories.

 

The only problem I have is you keep apologizing for your writing! Your writing is fun, witty, and (a rarity these days) even syntactically correct!  The best part is how you continuously capture those little asides we say to ourselves when we note something a little quirky--most of them immediately disappear in the flotsam and jetsam of random events surrounding our days. You have put us in your head on this trip brilliantly, and it is not as scary as you might think. No joke.

 

You must be a wonderful teacher.

Yes. I agree with this! I've written reviews and they're always dry and humorless, "just the facts, ma'am". It's quite a feat to make your review true story telling with humor while still giving us all a good taste of your vacation.

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On 3/30/2019 at 2:09 AM, Grenouille21 said:
Day 4 continued
 
Before we got back on the ship, we wanted to do some shopping.  DD wanted to buy something to wear for dinner, as she had only brought t-shirts and jeans, and a dream.  So we explored some of the shops.  We had reservations at the Escape room at 4:00pm, and we had to be there exactly at 4 or we would lose our spot.  It was probably 3:30 and I kept telling DD that we had to get back on the ship, we had reservations, etc. but she was absolutely set on buying a "nice" shirt or dress.  

Did you book the Escape room when you boarded? If so, when and where did you do it? We haven't had it come up on our cruise planner and we're only a few weeks out now. Thank you and LOVE your review!

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Loved your review, and sounds like you had a great time, minus the sweatshirt.

 

Thanks for sharing

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Oh my goodness, the last sunset, the last night in the solarium, the saddest sight of all the suitcases in the hall - that just brought me right back to how that feels, every time!!  I really need to try a B2B!!

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11 hours ago, tennislvr8 said:

I remember it clearly and got the connection. 

The link brought it back some, and totally got the connection, but I expect I may have more of different era calgon ads 🙂  Ah Gen X variety years 🙂

Edited by ShillyShally

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12 hours ago, mayleeman said:

Enjoy your memories! We are certainly enjoying how you tell your vacation stories.

 

The only problem I have is you keep apologizing for your writing! Your writing is fun, witty, and (a rarity these days) even syntactically correct!  The best part is how you continuously capture those little asides we say to ourselves when we note something a little quirky--most of them immediately disappear in the flotsam and jetsam of random events surrounding our days. You have put us in your head on this trip brilliantly, and it is not as scary as you might think. No joke.

 

You must be a wonderful teacher.

 

Thank you.  I really appreciate your kind words.  😋

 

I feel like I don't remember half of what happened, but taking 8,000,000 photos has helped job my memory. 

 

12 hours ago, 2Long2NxtCrz said:

Yes. I agree with this! I've written reviews and they're always dry and humorless, "just the facts, ma'am". It's quite a feat to make your review true story telling with humor while still giving us all a good taste of your vacation.

 

Thank you.  I feel like I got lost a bit there, with some "just the facts" moments, but that was due to extreme sleep deprivation.  

 

11 hours ago, flcruising89 said:

Did you book the Escape room when you boarded? If so, when and where did you do it? We haven't had it come up on our cruise planner and we're only a few weeks out now. Thank you and LOVE your review!

 

I booked it in advance on Cruise Planner.  I went looking for the email confirmation to see when I booked it, but I cannot find it.  I want to say it was within a month of sailing?  But it had been available for a while.  I wonder if they are going toward booking on board only?

 

11 hours ago, Lionesss said:

Loved your review, and sounds like you had a great time, minus the sweatshirt.

 

Thanks for sharing

 

That darn sweatshirt!!!  Luckily he has worn the Symphony of the Seas shirt he did end up getting, though.  Thank goodness.  

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1 hour ago, ShillyShally said:

The link brought it back some, and totally got the connection, but I expect I may have more of different era calgon ads 🙂  Ah Gen X variety years 🙂

 

Apparently Calgon is a magical Ancient Chinese Secret that not only cleans your clothes, it also takes you away from all of your problems while turning your bathroom into an ancient Roman bath.  

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@Grenouille21 I just caught up with the last of your review. From Mittens, to the murder van, to the ancient secret and volunteer work  you pretty much had everything covered. Actually the way you described the kids, any vehicle could be the murder van. 😉

 

Many have said it and I will echo it, great photos and review. We didn’t feel like we were behind the post or the back room in the Attic, you brought us front and centre.  Thanks for taking the time to bring us along.

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30 minutes ago, A&L_Ont said:

@Grenouille21 I just caught up with the last of your review. From Mittens, to the murder van, to the ancient secret and volunteer work  you pretty much had everything covered. Actually the way you described the kids, any vehicle could be the murder van. 😉

 

Many have said it and I will echo it, great photos and review. We didn’t feel like we were behind the post or the back room in the Attic, you brought us front and centre.  Thanks for taking the time to bring us along.

 

Thanks so much!  As I have said I have thoroughly enjoyed your reports, and with the addition of the Scopes it really felt like I was there with you (not in the creepy way it sounds- I promise I don't drive a murder van, just a murder SUV).  Looking forward to your next one!

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Day 8.  Get Off The Ship.
 
I had let all of the anxious naysayers get to me, and I was once again worried about getting to the airport and making our flight.  I swear everything I read and heard was about the long lines, both in the port and the airport, and how it was very risky to take a flight before noon.  I mean, I advise my clients to book flights after noon, too, but I don't completely freak them out about it.  
 
We had sailed 3 times, in 2 cities, and we had always arrived at the airport before 9.  I know, anything can happen, and the ship can be detained, and you never know.  And that is what was getting to me.  The "You never know..." thoughts, and the "We arrived at the port at 6am but we weren't allowed off the ship until 10!" stories.  
 
So I think I had us wake up at 6:00am, or some ungodly hour like that.  I went to the window and saw a very dark version of the exact view we had on boarding day.  So it was true.  The cruise had really ended, and we had to get off the ship.  
 
On DCL you are rudely awakened by announcements in your room that she ship has arrived and it is time to get off.  The whole vibe of the ship is "GET OUT".  We didn't hear any announcements in our room, ever.  If I ever heard an announcement I tried to step into the hall to hear it.  Usually I couldn't hear them.  This morning was no different.  
 
We got up and got dressed, and brought our bags downstairs.  I had picked up the account statement and I wanted to talk to Guest Services.  
 
When I had checked us in online, I am positive I was asked who would have charging privileges, and I only selected myself.  I made sure of this, because we had issues on DCL where someone had taken DS's card and charged $200 in the arcade.  DCL took $50 off the bill but made me pay the rest.  I didn't want to take any chances.  
 
On one of the nights, the teen club went to the arcade.  You see where this is going.  I assumed that if they were taking the kids to the arcade as an activity, it must be free play.  DD had been there that night, so it must have been the comedy night, and she had been texting me that the free games were lame blah blah blah.  Yet somehow she had played $50 worth of games.  You guys, I swear I turned off charging privileges!  Is anyone at check in time and if so can you tell me whether you can turn off charging privileges on your kids' accounts?  Because...
 
I went to Guest Services and asked how the arcade charges had happened, since my kids didn't have charging privileges.  They looked it up and said both kids had privileges.  I said no, I had turned it off online during check in and they said that wasn't possible.  I was told the ONLY way to turn off charging is through Guest Services on board the ship.  I argued it and they insisted I was wrong.  I wasn't going to spend hours arguing about it.  But it left a bad taste in my mouth.  The bill was really harmless, especially compared to DCL who hits you with the bill for all of your drinks and excursions and souvenirs and EVERYTHING at the end of your cruise.  Talk about a shocker!  We had about $20 in port fees returned to each of us, and $50 on board credit, and the Escape Room credit, so our ending bill was just over $100.  I said to go ahead and pay with the Visa on my account, and we headed to breakfast.
 
Again, I was feeling anxious about leaving.  When we went to Guest Services, there was a line down the hall and beyond sight of people waiting to get off the ship.  That did not help.  
 
The Key:  We went to the 4th floor, where the Key disembarkation breakfast was.  We were able to leave our luggage in the waiting area, and we were walked to a table.  It was maybe 6:45 and there were maybe 3 other tables in use.  I said we were in a bit of a hurry and could we please have faster service, and they said no problem.  We were given the menu, and we asked for orange juice.  They came around with a basket of pastries and I think one of us took a danish, or something.  I don't know.  I had planned on ordering the filet and eggs, because I could, but after all of the red meat/steak/filet I had over the previous week I just couldn't do it.  So I ordered French Toast.  I know one other kid did, and I think the other one ordered pancakes?  I don't know.
 
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It was served quickly, and it was really good.  But I was still just in panic mode and I couldn't really enjoy it.  I like having plans after the cruise so I don't feel this pressure to get off the ship and go home.  It just doesn't feel good.  Or at least I need to schedule a later flight, or something.  The breakfast was really good, and we enjoyed it.  
 
I took this photo of the other breakfast that was being served on the 3rd floor of the MDR.  Looked like a buffet set up, and did not look too crowded.
 
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The Key:  When we had finished, it was about 7:10am.  I asked about our priority disembarkation and I was told that they were escorting people off the ship at scheduled 30 minute intervals.  This had not been communicated previously.  I was told I could wait until 7:30 for an escort off the ship or walk off on our own now.  What do you think I chose?  Of course.  We left.  This benefit was of no use to us.  
 
We went back to Deck 5 to disembark, and there was no line whatsoever.  Sweet!!!  We got up to where they scan your Sea Pass one last time.  This was it!  We were saying goodbye to the Symphony, uncertain of when we would see her again.  It was really sad, especially because we could see the balloons set up for the drop that would happen at midnight that night with all of the new guests.  Such a punch to the gut.  Those balloons are such a happy sight on the day you arrive, and so incredibly depressing the day you disembark.  
 
I handed over my Sea Pass one last time.  
 
DING!  
 
"What's that?  What does that mean?"
 
"I'm sorry, you have a note that you need to go to Guest Services."
 
"What do you mean, I was just there.  Why do I need to go back?"
 
"I don't know, but you can't get off the ship until you go."
 
"I was JUST there, maybe this is a mistake?"
 
"I don't know, you have to go clear that up with them."
 
Of course now that it was after 7 the line at GS was much longer.  I was so mad.  I mean, looking back we had PLENTY of time.  It was 7:15 and our flight was at 10:30.  We had our bags, all we needed was a taxi and a 20-30 minute ride to the airport.  But try telling me that when I am in panic mode and I will cut you.  
 
I stormed off to GS and the wait wasn't too long, but that didn't matter.  What could they possibly want?  It was so frustrating.  
 
I get to a GS representative, and they scan my Sea Pass, and they said my Discover card had been declined and I needed to pay my bill with another card.  
 
"I'm sorry, what?  I don't have a Discover card."
 
"Your Discover card was declined.  You need to pay your account with another card."
 
"I don't have a Discover card.  I have never, in my life, been in possession of a Discover card.  Why is there even a Discover card linked to my account?  I had a Visa linked.  Use that to pay my account."
 
"I don't see a Visa here, only a Discover card."
 
"But I don't HAVE a Discover card!  I have NEVER had a Discover card!  Who linked a Discover card to my account?"
 
"Ma'am, I see a Discover card here on your account, and it was declined.  We'll need another card to close your bill."
 
"But there isn't a Discover card linked to my account.  I. do not own a Discover card and never have."
 
"I can see right here in your account that you have a Discover card linked."
 
"But I didn't DO that!  Who did that?"
 
"I can't see that.  All I can see is that your Discover card was declined and we need another form of payment."
 
This right here was the worst moment of the week.  How did this happen?  I have never, ever, ever, had a Discover card in my life.  I set up my charging account myself.  I am the only adult in my family, and the only adult on our reservation, and the only member of the family old enough to have a credit card.  Who did this, and how?
 
I still have no idea how this happened.
 
But at this point what can I do?  We have a plane to catch.  I have heard horror stories about leaving the ship.  I can SEE the exit from where I am, and I can't go until I just give them a freaking credit card and pay my bill.  I would deal with it later.  
 
I still haven't dealt with it.
 
So by now there was a long line again at the disembarkation place across from GS.  Great.  
 
I remembered someone had said there was another exit down past Sorrento's.  So we headed there, and lo and behold there was no line.  Everyone was going to the one exit where the line was.  I AGAIN handed over my Sea Pass card for the last time, and it scanned perfectly and we were told to have a safe journey home, or so I'd like to believe.  I have no idea what we were told because now it was time to get to the airport and I had no idea what to expect.  
 
It was 7:27am. 
 
We walked through the port.  I had our passports out but I was told we wouldn't need them.  Please step to the line and look right here.  Ok thanks, you are all set.  Thank you, have a nice day!
 
Whoa!  That was even easier than the passport scanners in Vancouver!  Facial recognition for the win!  
 
We walked out and easily got into a taxi. 
 
It was 7:35am.  
 
We headed to the airport and arrived without incident.  No traffic at 7:40am on a Saturday!  We got to the airport, went through security (TSA Pre-Check), and discovered that our gate was at the veeeeeeeeeeeery back of the airport.  Farthest gate possible.  I feel like this is always our gate, at every airport.  "Chicago?  Oh put them in the back.  All the way back."  Always!  So mean.  
 
So we shlepped our stuff, walked past every other gate, every newsstand, every bathroom, everything in the whole airport and we finally arrived at the gate.
 
It was 8:05am.
 
I guess we made it in time.  
 
I could go on about our return, but it was event-free.  We got home safely, the cats were happy to see us, and our vacation was over.  
 
I'll be back with a final wrap up, with thoughts about the ship, the itineraries, The Key, Royal, etc.  And ask me questions if you have them!

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Grenouille21, thank you very much for a wonderful, well written, entertaining, and informative review! Great pictures, too!  I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! I’ve been waiting for a long time for our turn on Symphony. I keep pinching myself now because I can hardly believe that in a few short weeks it will finally be our turn! 

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11 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

I booked it in advance on Cruise Planner.  I went looking for the email confirmation to see when I booked it, but I cannot find it.  I want to say it was within a month of sailing?  But it had been available for a while.  I wonder if they are going toward booking on board only?

Super strange. Yeah, they might be as it's no where to be found on Cruise Planner. I guess I'll ask someone when we board where to book it.

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11 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

 

Apparently Calgon is a magical Ancient Chinese Secret that not only cleans your clothes, it also takes you away from all of your problems while turning your bathroom into an ancient Roman bath.  

Oh I totally remember the bath scenes and all the ways Calgon was supposed to take me away - lol, still a phrase I'll utter 🙂

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Oh and GRRRRR on the card issues and the whole Discover card debacle, *****?!?!?!  I'd definitely follow up with them on that!

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On 3/27/2019 at 5:40 PM, Grenouille21 said:
The cups you see are the refillable soda cups.  All of the cups looked the same, so we used a Sharpie to write our names on them.  That rubbed off a few times so eventually I put a Sea Band on mine so I could identify it.  


Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but if you leave the shrink-wrap on your cups, you can exchange them for a different color design at a bar or kiosk selling the drink package.


As for the mildew smell, I'd be willing to bet that someone in a neighboring cabin overflowed a toilet on a previous cruise, since you smelled the mildew in the hall, too.  I was on the week before you in an inside room, and had no mildew smell whatsoever.  

Edited by brillohead

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Regarding your billing debacle... This may sound too obvious....but

 
 
" I said to go ahead and pay with the Visa on my account, and we headed to breakfast."
  
 Couldn't you have just shown them your paid receipt?? I'm pretty certain it shows the last 4 digits of the card you used to settle the account. 
Edited by lcpagejr

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