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4 hours ago, CategoryQ said:

Any review by @WinksCruises is a great read. Here's a link to his latest:

 

Also enjoy @Jamman54, @LittleMissMagic@BillOh@mitsugirly, @harryfat1

Missing the reviews from years past of @maxs mom , @KansCocoa, @Kcjarvis

 

Thanks for the shout-out! I wrote but never posted the last day for Harmony of the Seas - the timing seemed wrong because all of the cruises were being canceled due to the pandemic. I keep wondering when the timing will be right.... maybe soon, just to reminisce about the calm before the storm. That was such a great cruise.

Also, my family had an Alaska cruise booked this summer, but of course that was canceled - major bummer, but we do want to sail Alaska again, whenever things are safe and we have the opportunity.

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On 6/30/2020 at 9:49 PM, Yorkvillain said:

Search reviews by SailorJack, JohnGaltny, maureencruiser and TheDougOut.

Those are my favorites. SailorJack is a fantastic writer and hilarious.

 

Stop flirting, Villain!  

 

On 6/30/2020 at 10:35 PM, Yorkvillain said:

 


Ha. Nice. The only problem is that the funniest posts (i.e. Maureen’s photos) are no longer online.

 

 

But, you still have those "other" photos I sent, right? 😜

 

On 7/1/2020 at 1:30 AM, Missusdubbya said:


Hoopster95 does an excellent review too 😁


Second @twangster  plus @PCWalton1, @A&L_Ont, @John&LaLa, @Yorkvillain , @APDMOM, @CruiseLifeRick

From a few years back:  @KansCocoa @Familygoboston

 

Thanks to all of them for taking us along on their adventures!

 

I miss KansCocoa, anybody know what's up with her?

 

On 6/30/2020 at 10:40 PM, Ourusualbeach said:

Say its not so....the one in the bar in Cozumel is missing?  Tragedy

 

It was so notorious, they tore down the bar.  😂  I've been out on disability since February, need to get both knees replaced.  I just can't stand in the pharmacy all day long.  I applied for a work from home job with my company, you know, the one with more than 3 letters in its name... if I got it, I was going to do a cruise like review of my trip to Florida.  It was 2 months of training in Orlando.  I was going to drive down with my cat.   Alas, I didn't get it.  My March Harmony was cancelled, so, I rebooked for August.  That cancelled, so, now I just have Harmony November  15 with MrFunInTheSun.  We both have our fingers crossed for that one.  Stay safe, everyone!  

 

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22 minutes ago, maureencruiser said:

so, now I just have Harmony November  15 with MrFunInTheSun.  We both have our fingers crossed for that one.  Stay safe, everyone!  

I’ll look forward to reading that review from the Oasis.  My fingers are crossed as well.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think I still have the Monarch grounding on the reef review. Honeymoon Disaster story. It is not my story, but it is a good one that I rescued before Cruise Critic changed over. If there is any interest. 

 

I really wish that I had kept the Roatan, Belize one too. And that gentleman who was left behind on Nassau. 

 

There are almost too many favorites to list. Singinalot, RSharpe, Sailor Jack, Maureen of course, Cruise Life Rick, A&L Andrew, YorkVillian.....and many more. It is so nice of of other members to take the time to share their sailings with the rest of us. :classic_biggrin:

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As I mentioned. It is not my story or review. It was originally posted on Cruise Critic by the person who experienced it on Monarch OTS, and it is a great review. :classic_biggrin:

 

I was shipwrecked on my honeymoon, on RCCL's Monarch (looong story)
We got married in December of 1998, and everything about the wedding was perfect. I had moved back in with my parents for a year before the wedding to save money for the honeymoon of a lifetime. We booked a balconey room on a Royal Caribbean cruise of the southern Caribbean, and were very excited. At our reception, my parents announced that the travel agent had contacted them. Apparently our cabin had been double-booked, and we had been upgraded to the **OWNER'S SUITE**!!!! It seemed like the ultimate payoff, and we were ecstatic!

The cruise started out perfectly. We sailed from San Juan that Sunday, and cabin was as exquisite as we hoped it would be. That evening, we went through the emergency drill, ate dinner, and went to a show. We had a ball exploring the ship, and thoroughly enjoyed our first full day as man and wife. The next morning we docked at St. Thomas, and took the excursion to St. John. The beach there was powdery white sand, and the water was crystal clear. The honeymoon was off to an ideal start!

Once back on board, we dressed up for dinner - it was formal night, so lots of people were in tuxedos and taffeta. It was also the night of the Captain's Party, so there was free alcohol. Lots of people got blitzed, but we only had a few drink each. We ate dinner, watched a comedian, and went back to our cabin. We fell asleep at about 12:30, and about an hour later all HECK broke loose!

There was a sudden long loud noise, like the crunch and tearing of metal. The entire ship began shaking violently. Things were falling off the dresser, and some people's cabin doors flew open. All of a sudden, the power went out, and everything got very very still. Just as suddenly, the power came back on and the captain's voice came over the public address system, "Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. You must put on your life jackets and report to your life stations immediately."

That was all the encouragement we needed! We bolted out of bed, quickly threw on our lifejackets over our pajamas, and then tried to put on our shoes. It was like something out of the Three Stooges - the life jackets were so bulky that we couldn't bend over far enough to get our shoes on, and we were so frantic that we were clumsy anyway. In the end, we had to help each other put our shoes on.

My husband grabbed our cabin key, and we ran out the door. The hallway was chaos, people running every which way. Crew members were doing their best to direct people to the emergency stations. Fortunately, we had paid attention during the drill, and knew exactly where to go. Once there, they actually separated the men from the women and children (I'm not even kidding), and Kyle was sent to the back of our group. I was sent to the very front, so I couldn't see him at all.

There I was, a newlywed in the company of strangers, unable to see my husband, scared to death. The captain announced that the ship was taking on a lot of water (translation: sinking) too fast to stay stable, and he was going to try to ground the ship into a large sand bar. "Let's just hope she goes in straight," he said.

That's when I got really nervous, and women around me started crying. We heard the engine sputter to life once more, and slowly we inched forward. Eventually the ship dug it's way into a sand bar, and we were safe - for the moment. At this point, they lowered the life boats in front of us, and pulled down the little gangway for us to walk onto the lifeboat. That's when I really started to panic, because once in the life boat, they would have to lower us 7 decks to the dark ocean below. That made me really nervous! Fortunately, we never had to do that.

The nearest island, St. Martin, started sending out small boats to take us to shore. We were very, very lucky in that our emergency station was the third one to be released to be taken to shore. It was a very slow process, and some groups had to wait on deck the rest of the night, waiting for a boat to take them to shore. The sea was uncharacteristically rough, so they actually had to half-toss us from the ship onto the boat, where large men caught us and helped us get our footing.

When we finally made it to land, it was almost 3 in the morning. We were so relieved to be on dry ground! We were on a small cement peir, and were told to wait there until the cruise line could find accomodations for us. We put our life jackets on the ground, and sat on them. As more and more passengers were taken off the ship, the cement peir got very full. Because it had been formal night, some people were still in taffeta and tuxes, but also because it had been late at night, some people were in bathrobes and rollers. We were resplendent in our pajamas, but figured we'd be back on the ship by that evening....of course, we were wrong!

By the time the sun came up, I realized that I had left my birth control pills on board. Since we had both "waited" until we were married, I wasn't *about* to mess it up now! We approached the people in charge, and explained that I had left my "medication" on board, and would need a prescription written. They were very understanding, and told me where to stand to wait for a local doctor.

About an hour later, he arrived, and they let us leave the pier with him. He seemed to be in a hurry, and fairly sprinted through the streets, with us following at his heels. Soon, we were out of the area where the tourists go. His first stop was at an old Catholic mission. The back wall had been blown out, and sick people were lying on folding tables. There were nuns handing out water and coffee. We watched as he checked on each of the patients, and then he motioned us to follow him as he jumped out the back wall of the building. We pursued him through alleys and down a few streets, when he finally approached a little car. He explained that his clinic was too far away to walk to, so we'd take the car. The island was starting to wake up, and streets were full of pedestrians. This did not stop him from hitting the gas with his foot, the horn with his hand, and driving *backwards* down two blocks. Suddenly he turned onto another street, and sped off.

As we approached the clinic, he turned to me and asked, "Can you climb a fence?" Stunned, I just stared at him. He explained that there was a drug problem among some of the locals, and if he tried to go in the front door to the clinic, he would be mobbed by people looking for meds. As such, he had to climb a couple fences and sneak in the back door of the clinic. Since I seemed uncertain about my climbing abilities, he parked the car and gave us directions to the clinic which was about three blocks away. Off he went down an alley, and we walked on to the clinic.

Without exaggeration, the waiting room was only about twice the size of my walk-in closet. Do you remember the song (I think from Romper Room, maybe Sesame Street) "Something here is not like the other ones..." That was us. This was obviously not a place that tourists frequented, and with us in our pajamas, we were quite a site. Some of the clientele stared at us with open curiosity, others with open suspicion.

Eventually the nurse called me into the back, and after filling out a couple forms and answering a few questions, I was given a prescription for my pills. The nurse told me there was a pharmacy a couple doors down that would be able to fill it for me. I went back out the waiting room, collected my husband, and we went down the street to the pharmacy. The nice people there spoke very little English, but were wonderfully friendly. We had no money at all, but they only said, "Okay, okay, boat people - okay!" and gave us the pills for free! By this time, the whole island knew what had happened to our ship.

We walked outside and realized at that moment that we were completely lost - in a bad neighborhood, in our pajamas, with no money and no way home. We just started walking. God was with us, because eventually we stumbled on an old Baptist mission, and there were some other "boat people" there! They had been taken there and told to wait for a bus, which would come to take them to a hotel, as soon as one could be found.

We were there a couple hours when an old school bus arrived. The windows did not open, except for one that was broken, and there was the pungent smell of urine. The day was getting hot, which didn't help matters any. One person actually threw up on the way. The driver peeled around curves, and tore up and down hills. The ride was about 45 minutes long, as he took us to the other side of the island.

Ultimately, we pulled up to a little seaside resort that looked very peaceful. I realized that this might be where we would spend the rest of our honeymoon, and everything hit me all at once. I started crying, and Kyle (my husband) put his arm around me. I was still a little upset when we were standing in line inside to register. I chuckled when I saw a sign on the desk, "Come take the Tiko Tiko party boat cruise - all nude cruise!" Kyle looked and said, "If you think that's funny, turn around and look at that..." I turned around and got the shock of my life - a BUCK N A K E D MAN was walking through the lobby. Can you guess the punch line? The cruise company had farmed us out to a N U D I S T colony...

Just two days removed from virgnity, we each blushed beet red, and didn't know where to look. Although the staff was dressed, the rest of the guests at the "resort" were completely nude. We were told that we would have to wait a couple hours for a cabin to open up, so we sat on a bench in the lobby and tried not to watch all the naked people. Eventually, we were given a key and directed to a cabin. We should have been exausted, but we were still a little keyed up to sleep. We each showered, and then walked down to the beach.

We were getting very hungry by this point, since we hadn't eaten since the night before. We saw some other "boat people" down at the beach, and they said the resort was putting out dinner for us in the open air restaurant. I won't go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that you have never experienced *everything* until you've gone through a buffet line behind a very large, very n a k e d, very shiny old man.

After the meal, the resort was kind enough to open up the bar to the "Textiles" (that's what they called us, because we wore clothes. They felt that after all we'd been through, surely we could all use some liquor. I was at the bar getting my second margarita, when a spider snuck up and bit me on the arm. It stung a tad, but I didn't think anything of it. Shortly, however, my arm started to throb. I got very woozy, and actually threw up when we got back to our cabin. I'm sure it wasn't the alcohol, since I really only drank the first one.

We climbed into bed, and slept for a couple hours. All of a sudden, there was loud knocking on the door, and someone shouting that we had to leave immediately. We opened the door, and were told that there was a bus at the front gate, waiting to take us to the airport. Totally groggy from lack of sleep, dizzy from my spider bite, and starving (since I'd lost my dinner, I hadn't had any nutrition in about 24 hours) we stumbled through the resort to the waiting bus.

This bus was much nicer than the one that took us to the resort. It was upholstered and comfortable. I might have been able to fall asleep, except for the fact that the spider bite was making my arm very sore. The bus rounded a corner, and suddenly a chaotic scene was before us. What we didn't know then was that the ship stewards had gone into all of our cabins and packed up all our belongings. The luggage was then taken to an empty parking lot at the airport. We got off the bus, and were told to go look for our luggage. The huge parking lot lights fully illuminated the area, but there were about 6000 pieces of luggage to sort through. One particularly surly man wearing a Royal Caribbean uniform stood on a platform and announced through his bullhorn, "You must now proceed to the terminal. You may not spend any more time looking for your bags. If you don't proceed to the terminal immediately, Royal Caribbean will have no responsibility to you and you will have no way home." In all, we were given five minutes to look for our bags.

By now, the "boat people" were getting restless. Our vacation had been ruined, we had been tremendously inconvenienced, and now we felt we were being herded and manhandled. I was feeling very ill, which I attribute to the spider bite. My arm had become very hard, with red splotches all over it. I tried to tell one of the cruise representatives, and was curtly told that I could obtain medical attention when we arrived on the mainland. Meanwhile, I'm not sure what the rush was to get us to the terminal. When we got there, it was empty. We stood in line at an un-manned ticket counter for almost two hours. Eventually, a small crew entered the area, and began processing passengers.

Very shortly, we were taken to a gate, and from there left through a door and went down outdoor steps to the tarmac. A flight attendant led us over to a plane, waiting to take us to Miami. At this point, I should mention that my mother flew with American Airlines for thirteen years when I was a child. As such, we have always been fairly particular about flying on name-brand airlines, so to speak. When I stook on the tarmac and looked up at that dirty plane, realizing it belonged to no airline I'd ever heard of, I launched into the one and only panic attack I'd ever had. Everything backed up on me all of a sudden - the shipwreck, the clinic, the bus, the naked strangers, the spider bite, the nasty man with the bullhorn, my wrecked honeymoon.... I'm sure it didn't help that I had barely eaten or slept since the whole adventure started. I actually sat down on the ground and started wailing and shaking. It took three of them to get me on the plane, at which time I promptly fell asleep.

When I woke, we were descending into Miami. The "crew" handed out customs forms for us to fill out, but they were in German so we had no idea how to fill them out. When we landed, it was already morning. The customs agent seemed amused that we had nothing to declare and were attempting to enter the country in our pajamas with no passport or other identification. However, he understood our plight and let us through without incident.

Once through customs, we were led through a hallway lined with eager looking Royal Caribbean employees. In my mind, they represented everything that had happened to us that week, and so I glared at as many of them as possible as we were led to a waiting charter bus. I know it wasn't their fault, but I wasn't feeling very rational by this point.

The bus took us to a hotel in Miami. We were taken into one of the large conference rooms, and processed. They took down our cabin number, home address, and assigned a hotel room to us. They also gave us each little kits with shampoo, deoderant, and dental supplies. At the end of the line were boxes filled with brand new underwear. As strange as it sounds, the idea of clean underwear was very appealing. I dug through the box with other people, and located a khaki green pair in my size. They're still in my drawer today, though I only wear them as a last resort on laundry day.

We were told not to leave our rooms, since if they found a flight for us we might only have 30 minutes to get to the airport (remember, it was December, and very close to Christmas - most flights were overbooked already). We were also told that all the luggage was being flown up to Miami, and they would be doing their best to match us up with our belongings.

Miami sounds like a decent place for a honeymoon, but it was actually in the middle of a record cold snap. The bell boys were allowed to wear sweatpants under their bermuda shorts, it was so cold. Since we weren't allowed to leave, we ordered lots of in-room movies, and charged them to the room. We were given credits for use in the hotel dining room, and just had to check in with the cruise people when we were leaving the room to go eat.

Finally on Thursday evening, our luggage arrived!! We signed for our belongings, and also for the contents of the safe that had been in our cabin. While my husband was taking care of the last of those details, I double checked with the ladies who were trying to make flight reservations for everybody. One woman made a phone call, and then smiled - she had found a flight for us on Delta to Atlanta! From there, we would eventually get a connecting flight home to Richmond!

We had time to shower and change, and then took the courtesy van to the airport (which turned out not to be "courtesy", since the driver charged us when we arrived at the airport - in retrospect, he was probably double dipping by charging the hotel and the passengers). Our flight to Atlanta was smooth, and we ate a wonderful dinner at a restaurant there in the airport. Several hours later, we secured seats on a flight home! Things finally seemed like they were going our way again...famous last words.

When we arrived in Richmond, there was nobody to meet us at the airport. My parents had been all set to pick us up the day we were *supposed* to get back, but we got in on Friday morning instead and had to take a taxi. That was no big deal, except my parents also had the swipe key card to get us into our apartment complex. Since we didn't have it, the taxi driver had to let us out at the complex gate. The apartment building that Kyle had been living in - our new home - was the furthest from the entrance. It was about 30 degrees, and we were wearing shorts and t-shirts, but we dragged our bags through the complex anyway. I crushed my big toe in between my suitcase and the curb, and it's been numb ever since - permanent damage, but it doesn't affect my balance or anything.

We finally made it to our building, and climbed three stories to the apartment. Kyle unlocked the door and prepared to carry me over the threshold.....until I looked inside. The ceiling had caved in while we were away. Here's where the story speeds up.

Two days later I came down with a urinary tract infection. It was so severe, we couldn't have sex for two weeks while it cleared up - after waiting 23 years, we were both less than thrilled. The week after we got back was Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Richmond was hit with a mammoth ice storm. We had just finished dinner when the power went out (the storm was so bad that some people were without power for 8 days). Five minutes later, Kyle started groaning and then erupted with the worst intestinal virus I've ever seen. I actually saw my tough-man husband sobbing on the bathroom floor, telling me that his insides were melting. I've never seen anything like it. Suffice it to say that by the time he was better, I had cleaned stuff off of ceilings.

Our world slowly returned to some semblance of normalcy. We both returned to work, and proceeded to settle into a routine. I was anxious to change my name on my credit cards, driver's license, etc. After a few weeks when our marriage certificate had not arrived, I called the courthouse to inquire about the delay. I was informed that the marriage license had never been received and processed, and the time frame had expired. After everything else, we weren't even legally married!!!!!!! To make another very long story short, we found the license and cajoled the state into letting us be married retroactively.

Since then life has been wonderful! We built a house the next year, and had a baby the year after that. Though my career was going well, I'm now a stay at home mom, and happier than ever. My only regret is not taking our camera with us when we evacuated the cabin. As amazing as our adventure was, I have no pictures of it to scrap!

A couple of sidenotes: We found out later that the ship had hit a coral reef, causing the whole fiasco. The reef tore two holes down each side of the hull, each hole bigger than the one in the Titanic. Though the ship, Monarch of the Seas, is now in service again, it cost them $41 million to repair it. I would also like to say that this should in no way be construed as a reason to not cruise. We have cruised twice since then, totally without incident, and have enjoyed it tremendously. In fact, we'll even cruise on Royal Caribbean again next year!

I was hoping to have a very happy ending to report earlier this year. Every year, Thrifty Rental Car sponsors a "Honeymoon Disasters Contest". The winners get a one week vacation to Grand Cayman! *We didn't win.* The winners wrote that it rained throughout their entire honeymoon, the desk clerk hit on the bride, and their rental car broke down. Awww, poor babies (do I sound bitter? lol)!

Edited by Coralc
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5 hours ago, Biker19 said:

Look in your profile - any thread you started should be in there.

 

Thanks, I did try that, but it seems to time out.

 

I did find it last night using a different channel.  Apparently I posted the links to my past reviews in the Bella thread.👍

 

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54 minutes ago, dani negreanu said:

 

Hi Bill,

 

Amazing as my picture keeps popping up from your excellent review 😁😁😁

LOL, I figured it out. Your  picture is the last response in the review 😂😀

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On 6/30/2020 at 11:29 PM, Tree_skier said:

I love @twangster reviews his pictures are amazing and his detail of activities is second to none.

 

+1. @twangster reviews have made me want to sail on the Empress, any Vision-class (while they last) thru the Panama canal and sail the land down under. His photo's are 2nd to none. And he always sprinkles little-know fun facts through out the review to spice things up!  Not that it needs spicing up. 

 

In fact, I find myself drawn to the reviews of some of the more exotic itineraries that I know I probably will never do or little reviewed ships (i.e. older, smaller).  @Sailor Jack and @PCWalton1 come to mind.

 

Special shout out to you, @Tree_skier Your Oct 2018 Liberty review was one of my favorites. Especially since I was sailing the week after you and it was the first time we were taking our adult daughter on a cruise with us - her first cruise actually. As it had been years since I last sailed Liberty, I needed a refresher. LOL. Your timely and informative review helped me make her first cruise even more special. 👍

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1 hour ago, PCWalton1 said:

LOL, I figured it out. Your  picture is the last response in the review 😂😀

 

🤣 Looks like you will have to do a post cruise “end of thread” picture 😇

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On 7/27/2020 at 8:47 AM, singinalot said:

 

thanks Jimbo 😊

currently on a trip to Montana and Florida and feeling weird that I don’t get to write about it. 🤣


I guess we could bring the thread, “what did you do on lockdown today” back to life. 🤷‍♂️ 
 

I liked it. 

Edited by A&L_Ont
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On 7/27/2020 at 8:47 AM, singinalot said:

 

thanks Jimbo 😊

currently on a trip to Montana and Florida and feeling weird that I don’t get to write about it. 🤣

Same here. We’re in st Thomas for 2 weeks and weird that I can’t do one if my lengthy reviews about it. I’ll have to just post it on my website. 😂

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5 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

Same here. We’re in st Thomas for 2 weeks and weird that I can’t do one if my lengthy reviews about it. I’ll have to just post it on my website. 😂

Really looking forward to reading it!👍

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8 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

Same here. We’re in st Thomas for 2 weeks and weird that I can’t do one if my lengthy reviews about it. I’ll have to just post it on my website. 😂

 

 

im going to post on my blog as well...sadly it doesn’t get as much traffic as the CC forums do

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