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JerseyGem

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  1. Although I haven't cruised in Egypt, we have cruised with OAT and GCT. We are leaving in a few days for our fourth OAT cruise (this time, London to Lisbon). We have taken over a dozen GCT trips. Obviously, we've been very happy with our trips. I highly recommend this company (GCT/OAT). Travelor Thom described them well. You may not see many posts on CruiseCritic about GCT/OAT; they don't have the high number of passengers that the larger companies have.
  2. We cruise both NCL and RCL (about one each per year). Cape Liberty is much easier (and cheaper!) for parking, etc. than NYC. Royal's cruise terminal is convenient even if the signage to get there sometimes isn't too clear. Check the East Coast Departures forum for up to date info. Since you haven't cruised RCL in 7 years, two changes have made it more similar to NCL. First, you can select My Time Dining- similar to NCL's dining- for the main dining room. You still need reservations for the specialty restaurants. Secondly, RCL no longer enforces a dress code in the dining rooms- on our most recent RCL cruise (Symphony in January) we saw men in shorts and baseball caps at dinner, and one of the young women at our table sometimes wore her bathing suit with a very short cover-up to dinner. We were sure she would be asked to dress appropriately - not! The Anthem usually gets great reviews on this forum. I'd go for it rather than the Bliss or Epic (although we're sailing the Bliss this year- but it just worked out to be best for us).
  3. I haven't cruised on the Allure, but I was very disappointed in the tea selections on the Symphony OTS (January 2019) and the Liberty OTS( last year). I suggest bringing your own tea bags just in case. Also, make sure the ship's venue isn't using "hot" water stored in a large urn (more often on the Liberty) (rarely hot enough to brew tea). On the Symphony, I found that the cafe in Central Park on deck 8 always had appropriately hot water (but it was not open 24 hours).
  4. Thanks for your review. We cruise in December (our first on the Bliss but not our first with NCL), so I appreciate all your information.
  5. Unless your daughters hate going to a beach, I'd definitely choose Bermuda. If the weather doesn't cooperate, the Encore will have activities for them (plus they may be partying all night and want to sleep in during the day!). Three teens can safely travel together around Bermuda via public transportation (ferries, buses); I definitely wouldn't recommend that in Nassau.
  6. We do both, although since we've started river (and small ship) cruising, we do fewer ocean cruises. As retirees, our wallets are slim! We tend to do cheaper cabins and look for specials. This year, we'll have two ocean (Royal cruise was in January and an NCL in December) plus one OAT small ship cruise - returned last week. If we see a great deal on a river cruise that fits our budget and schedule, we'll add another. Both types of cruising are interesting to us. For me, ocean cruising is more relaxing than river cruising, where you're up and about discovering a new city every day. A lot of walking- Roman ruins, castles, museums, market places!! Our ocean cruising is usually in the Caribbean (or Alaska)- sitting on a beach, strolling through markets, whale watching from the lounger, shows each evening. Not too strenuous. But both are a great way to travel: unpack once but see somewhere new each day. We've also taken bus trips in Europe: a new city every day- pack, unpack, pack, unpack- exhausting!
  7. Barrheadlass already mentioned Grand Circle, and I'm seconding her recommendation. I suggest you look at their Last Minute Travel Deals. Go to their home page (GCT.COM) and scroll down to the bottom of that page- under Grand Circle Advantage, click on Last Minute Travel. You will find that this updates- usually weekly. This is how we took our first river cruise, and now we're hooked on traveling with them and their sister company Overseas Adventure travel (just returned from our 13th). Most of the specials leave within a month or two, so you have to be flexible re dates and cabin categories. But the savings are significant. Lynn
  8. We were on the Symphony in January. Many men and women wore shorts in the main dining room at dinner time. We even saw shorts on formal night. And on one night- a woman wearing a bathing suit with a short cover-up. Also, they now allow men to wear baseball caps at any meal. Quite a change since we first starting cruising 30 some years ago. It does make packing easier; but I think we've become too relaxed. (My personal opinion)
  9. Thanks! I couldn't read all the small print on the attachments to the previous posts. I'm sure it says it there -somewhere. We're booked for 2019 but trying to book now for 2020 to get a decent choice of cabins (need two connecting). We're tempted to book now at 30% off for the kids and hope for a KSF special before final payment.
  10. I guess just not on the sailings I have been considering for 2020. Rats!!! I just checked again- 60% off second guest but no KSF.
  11. We've been waiting for a KSF sale, but I don't see this sale when I log into Royal's website. Is this only offered through certain TAs?
  12. Write your cabin number on the voucher before giving it to the hostess at the restaurant. The hostess is supposed to attach your voucher to a paper receipt (so they know not to charge you for the meal). However, mix-ups have happened to us. When they look through the accumulated vouchers, they can verify that you really did submit a valid voucher.
  13. We did the railroad (with a short sail back to the ship) several years ago and don't recommend it. The write-up to that excursion is the most exciting part of the trip. You will have better views of the island from a tour bus, sail boat or taxi. In many areas, the train tracks have high berms on either side. If you sit down below (with the limited A/C and dirty windows), you'll see tall grass. If you sit up top (open air with a covering overhead), you'll see more, but it's hot, windy at times and sooty. And the scenery is only interesting in a few areas. There are not enough seats for you to move back and forth between the levels. Choose a seat and it's yours for the duration. Unless someone in your party is "into" trains, I'd pick something else. We did RCL's island tour that included a stop at a batik factory/shop. That tour was interesting. Lynn
  14. Symphony docks on the Starboard side every time except once per month (this is from the Captain's talk last week on the Symphony). Once a month, they have to lower the lifeboats to make sure they're working properly. If you like dockside, your odds are better booking starboard but no guarantee. We prefer not facing the dock. We were in 8140 on deck 8 (port) forward of the forward elevators. I would book any cabin on deck 8 except for those right by the entrance to the aft elevator corridor because that's where Dazzles is located. It's a great place to go for music, but it could be noisy right by that area. Deck 8 was great for a quick walk to the Central Park area.
  15. First- many more hits than misses! We had a great cruise. However, there are a few things we did not know before hand that might help future cruisers. You all may already know them, but we hadn't cruised Royal in almost two years, and this was our first Oasis class ship. The Symphony docks on her starboard side every time except once a month when they are required to lower the starboard life boats. (From the Captain at his talk) There's no clothesline in the shower. Instead there are two small hooks under the controls. A small part of the bathroom light stays on when you turn off the light- a perfect nightlight. Paper straws are available when requested. Some complained; I thought they were fine. Wonderland's Happy Hour: the 2 for $13 is only available for their four signature cocktails. Hooked lunch is $15 per person. The oyster appetizers (6 raw or 6 baked with assorted toppings) were great. Crab cakes were so-so. We sat at the railing overlooking the Solarium Bistro- rather noisy. Ask for the sides of the restaurant if you want some privacy. Cabin walls are metal, so magnets worked well to hold up caps, papers, etc. Ice buckets are only supplied when requested. DH uses a C Pap. There was an outlet right by the bed (no need for extension cord). Solarium Bistro- you order your omelet from the waiter standing near the omelet station and are given a number for your table. They'll bring it to you when ready. All the shows were great. As always mentioned on CruiseCritic: make ressies ahead of time! Theater seats in the upper balcony seemed to be a little reclined. Be careful if you're sleepy- much too comfortable. For Flight : sit in 6th to 8th rows, center. Due to "technical" problems AquaNation didn't run at all (if offered, do it early in the cruise- don't wait until last days). We had cabin 8140- OV balcony- a perfect location convenient to Central Park but quiet. I'd book it again.
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