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Everything posted by RobInMN

  1. We stayed at the DoubleTree. It was fine. And they had a shuttle to port.
  2. Occasionally there will be an evening excursion after dinner. Dinner will be earlier. We've done 5 river cruises, 3 on AmaWaterways. We are not dancers, and don't really care too much about most of the local entertainment. We are fine just chilling and listening to the piano player for a while. Maybe go through the pictures we took that day (deleting duplicates and bad ones). Sometimes we'll socialize, but we've never felt bored in any way. We'll also go back to our cabin and watch something from a streaming service for a short bit to wind down before going to sleep. Usually when the lounge changes to dancing πŸ™‚ Like others have said, it's easy to be worn out from the excursions earlier in the day.
  3. We've become fans of City Wonders. Day 1: Arrived, checked into our airbnb. Day 2: Wandered Rome on our own. Did not enter anywhere. Started down at Circus Maximus (since that was not included in any of our tours), then by the Arch of Constantine, the Colosseum, outside the Forums, along Via dei Fori Imperiali up to the Alter of the Fatherland. We then made our way to the Spanish Steps where our evening tour began, which was 'Illuminated Rome Night Tour with Wine and Appetizers'. We thought this ended up being a great introduction tour and included Trevi fountain, Spanish steps and Pantheon. Day 3: Borghese Gallery. Unfortunately, I bought tickets only. I would highly recommend booking a tour guide. Later, we did the Colosseum by night. This included the underground area. Day 4: Took the high speed train to Bologna, and then caught a city bus to Sant'Agata (1 hour each way) and went to the Lamborghini Factory and Museum, then reversed that and went back to Rome. Tis was a 12 hour day, but totally worth it. But book the factory tour, not just the museum. Day 5: 'Extended Vatican Museums', and then 'Crypts and Catacombs' Day 6: 'Colosseum Belvedere with Roman Forums'. This tour did the 4th & 5th levels, then the Forums, which included Palpatine Hill. This whole place could easily be 3 or 4 separate sites. You can spend hours wandering around. Day 7: Checked out and went to the port for the cruise. Yes, 2 different Colosseum tours and walked around it on the outside another time. I'm a bit fascinated by the Colosseum. I have the Lego set with a framed collage photo next to it. We are going on another cruise out of Rome in October, and going in 3 days before. For that, we've booked: Day 1: Arrive, check into our airbnb, then that night we'll do the 'Dark Heart of Rome: Ghost and Mystery Walking Tour by Night'. This is the tour that started the whole City Wonders company. Day 2: 'Semi-Private Ostia Antica Half-Day Tour: An Ancient Roman City Frozen in Time' Day 3: 'The Official Angels & Demons Tour'. This tour is supposed to be very, very good, and Castel Sant'Angelo is part of it. Later, we've booked the 'Roman Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere Food Tour with Dinner' Day 4: 'St. Peter’s Basilica Tour with Dome Climb & Papal Crypts'. Not 100% sure we'll do this or not. It's from 7:50am - 10:50am, and we have to checkout of the airbnb by 10:00 and then head to the port. So, plenty of options. Take your pick. πŸ™‚
  4. Allure is March of 2025 (end of February to early April).
  5. This isn't the normal dry-dock, it's around 6 weeks and while they are not using the term "Amplification", there have been strong comments indicating that yes, this will be the postponed/cancelled amplification from 2020. How close they stay to the original plan remains to be seen, but people sailing on her are already being told that Sabor and the Champagne bar are going away. Here's the original press-release: https://www.royalcaribbeanpresscenter.com/press-release/1403/new-amplified-adventures-on-royal-caribbeans-allure-of-the-seas-to-make-a-summer-splash-in-europe/ Also, I believe that I had read somewhere that as part of the Amplification, that all the TVs and electronics were going to be upgraded. But who knows now. Plus, as you know, they don't necessarily wait for drydocks to change out carpets. πŸ˜‰
  6. Allure is getting her Amplification from late February to Early April 2025. So might be a great time to do the Western Mediterranean. Anyone's current opinion of the ship will probably not be overly applicable post-amplification. Some people don't like here because she's not amp'd, and for others she's their favorite ship specifically because she is not amp'd. There's a number of people (like us) that booked the post-amplification TA Oct '25 the minute it was released if that gives you any idea. When comparing to Anthem, in general, I think more people like the Oasis class better than the Quantum class BTW, if you are trying to decide between boarding in Barcelona or Rome (only applicable on the Oasis class Western Med?), here's some threads:
  7. Just did this last night for a Radiance cruise. Tip: The phone app will let you go immediately to picking an arrival time and allow you to skip everything else. 5 seconds, done. The website will force you to first do your contact info, identification info, emergency contact, on board charges CC, etc. The picking your arrival time is 3 pages in. The only thing you can skip is the taking of your photo.
  8. The only time we've been in this situation was when we sailed on Navigator out of LA Fall of '22. We got there before they cleared the ship and started boarding so the lines were absolutely crazy. We found the front of the suite line and asked the RCI person if it would be OK if my daughter and her boyfriend (both 22 at the time) could join us in the suite line so we could stay together and she said no problem, so we found the end of the suite line and and entered together. But as indicated, I am sure this is dependent on port, ship, and time.
  9. Are you curious specifically about RCI's version of the excursion? Or generally curious about whether a specific attraction/site is worth it or what you think it is? You could try the Ports of Call section of this message board: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2-ports-of-call/ But if you are more interested in reviews of sites/attractions themselves, and not as much the implementation of the tour by RCI, maybe TripAdvisor?
  10. My personal preference would be Rome, but please read my post here to help you decide. In summary, when deciding which port to use, I think it really comes down to 2 questions: Which port would you like to spend extra days in (if you are spending any extra days) Which port would you not mind seeing "...in a day" Here's some other previous discussions asking the same thing.
  11. I forget which thread it was right now, but someone in their cruise review (live?) had a picture of an extension cord delivered by the cabin steward and mentioned that they had ordered one (with a lot of other people) ahead of time via special requests. I assume it was for a CPAP. So, if you'd rather not bring one yourself, you can go that route. (If you trust RCL to follow through).
  12. That is correct. It was discussed in the original thread here:
  13. Yes. On the Oasis class ships, they removed Jazz on 4th and made it a non-smoking casino. The main casino still has a smoking and non-smoking half, but there is no physical barrier between the 2 sections and the smoke definitely drifts. People like to compare it to having a peeing and non-peeing section of the pool. It's also typically smoky next to that spiral staircase in the Promenade that goes down to the casino. I agree with every point @TeeRick makes, but Royal seems deathly afraid of loosing gambling revenue by limiting smoking any further in the casino. I think they should at least try putting the smoking casino in the small casino on 1 Oasis class 7 day ship (out of Florida), and compare the gambling revenue to another Oasis class 7 day ship out of Florida. Apples to Apples. I'll be there's statistically no difference. RC won't even put doors on the casino to keep the smoke from drifting out. This is especially bad on the Radiance class ships where the central Atrium acts as a giant chimney under the right conditions. We were on Jewel for 24 nights and there were multiple days where it smelled smokey on deck 10 even 20 feet down the cabin hallways.
  14. Just thought of 2 other possibilities. Maybe a "phase 2"?? Might be useful to indicate 7N vs. 3/4N or 6/8N ?? Somehow highlight drydocks? Like Allure is not sailing at all in March '25 as she has a 6? week dry dock form end of Feb to early April. Most dry docks are only 2 weeks, so not exactly sure how to indicate that. But could be of interest
  15. Great resource. Some suggestions & corrections: Oasis class is off a row Vision and Enchantment (As per @Blue Eyed Belfast Belle) Radiance class is IN ALL CAPS Make the whole thing proper case Highlight the class rows in light grey Dark grey the cells prior to ship launch (Utopia/Star) Year borders are not full (like between N & O) Year borders between 2024 & 2025 are between April & May Quantum class has borders between every cell in Nov 2024 & May 2025
  16. We did a Star class on Allure for the first (and maybe last) time last fall, which obviously includes the Unlimited Dining package. And OMG, that thing is so good! Might be one of the best things we ate all that week!
  17. Mr Pibb works also. I believe that early on the Freestyle machines had Mr Pibb (Pibb Xtra) as it is a Coca-Cola product, but at some point it was changed to Dr Pepper. This is quite common from what I've seen other places that use the Freestyle machines. But without any hard confirmation, we'll have to just bring our own as @Biker19 said (and cancel a soda package).
  18. We have never been on a ship without Coke Freestyle machines. We will be on the Radiance Panama Canal and just realized that Radiance is apparently one of the few ships without Freestyle machines. Dr. Pepper is the only soft drink that my wife actually likes. Is Dr. Pepper available (like in cans?) on Radiance? If not, we'll need to hit up a store before boarding. We were on Allure last fall out of Galveston in a star class suite and there was Dr. Pepper along with other soft drinks stocked in our fridge. But not sure if that was just a Texas thing or not. The PC is out of Tampa. Not as much of a Dr. Pepper hot bed as Galveston is.
  19. https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/resources/pdf/cas-amenities-jan-2024-final.pdf
  20. We had the opposite issue on Jewel. We went back to our room and neither of our cards would work. Of course, the first thing CS thinks is that we need new cards, so they print 2 new cards (really? both cards at the same time?). Go back up to our room (3/4 of the way down the deck 10 hall to the aft). Still won't open. Called the CS from the courtesy phone near the elevators, they wanted to make new cards. I'm like no, we just did that. They finally sent maintenance up. They tried their master cards, nope. Then they finally hooked up some device that must supply temporary power and can override the door and finally got the door open. On the inside, they popped the cover off, replaced the battery pack, and then everything was fine.
  21. We received our 210 block on Allure last September. Just booked the Allure TA in Oct of 2025 when it was posted Tuesday night. I have just calculated our cruises between now and then, and wouldn't you know it, we will hit 280 on that cruise. 🀣 If anyone gets a second Symphony and wants an Allure, I'll trade ya when we get back!
  22. Nice! I hope she is ready for you also! We were booked on her post-Amplification TA in 2020 that was obviously cancelled. The new post-Amplification TA was just released Tuesday night and we booked it right away.
  23. There is no information yet as to whether there will be any changes from the original amplification plan. Here's the original press release from 2019 for the cancelled 2020 Amplification: https://www.royalcaribbeanpresscenter.com/press-release/1403/new-amplified-adventures-on-royal-caribbeans-allure-of-the-seas-to-make-a-summer-splash-in-europe/ If they stick with the original plan, I believe that Sabors will be replaced by Portside BBQ. The Diamond/Crown lounge becomes Playmakers, and yes, the Crown lounge would go to the windowless deck 4. Dazzles will become Music Hall. The one I really hope they drop is changing the Champagne Bar to a Bionic Bar. I think that has run it's course and I think RC knows it. I think they'd be much better off trying to put the Pesky Parrot in there instead (that's what Utopia will have in that spot). Studio On Air will most likely become Spotlight Karaoke. That seems incredibly popular, and what it's used for much of the time anyway. However, for me personally, I like your idea of a piano bar. But we'll have to just wait and see what gets announced.
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