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About leaveitallbehind

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  1. Most cruise lines do that. And you would not get the difference as an OBC - your fare would be repriced at the lower rate. The pricing would be repriced at the time of the drop and can be done anytime the price would go down. Any price changes resulting from a fare decrease, however, would have be done prior to final payment. But you have to monitor pricing yourself and need to contact RCI to have this done if booked directly - they do not do this proactively for you. If booked through a TA, if they are a good agent, they should monitor and do this on your behalf. Have done this many times, but unless this is something new, never heard of it being available 45 days from sailing - I would double check that with whomever told you that.
  2. Glad it worked out - you were fortunate with your timing. The 4:30 check in time would still comply with the final timeline necessary for the manifest, which is typically 90 minutes prior to departure. (Some cruise lines have it earlier). Regardless of scheduled check in time the ship would allow anyone the opportunity to board by that final time. (Scheduled times are rarely adhered to).
  3. ...other than an apparent mutual interest in trivia! 😉
  4. Of the three Caribbean itineraries, the southern is our favorite. I realize all of these are not on your itinerary, but Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, and the ABC's are our favorite Caribbean islands. St. Martin is fine, but is typically visited by 5 or more ships at a time and can get quite crowded as a result. But if you've never been there, it is well worth the visit. And Freedom of the Seas is a great ship. Although the western has it's appeal, I would pick the southern itinerary on RCI over the Western on Carnival for sure.
  5. Not necessarily so. On several lines a dedicated area or deck within the MDR is used exclusively for anytime dining and operates in a manner similar to land based restaurants - reservations are accepted with planned tables to accommodate those who have reservations (usually the same each night for the same party if desired), and walk up's are seated as available, usually with only a short wait. The remaining dining areas or decks are dedicated to traditional seating. Very effective uses of tables.
  6. Assuming they have group space reserved for the itinerary in question - and not all do. But on an individual passenger basis the fare structure at any given time from the cruise line is the same direct as with a TA. That being said I agree that along with potential group or block reserved fares, there are a number of advantages in booking through a TA.
  7. It is at least with RCI, Celebrity, and NCL. You can make them in advance through your cruise planner or on board, and can change them as needed.
  8. There is no price advantage between the two as the pricing offered by the cruise lines directly is the same as that offered through a TA. Also no benefit to pricing with booking directly then transferring to a TA. Either way you can take advantage of any future price decreases, but with a direct booking that is on you to track and notify the cruise line of your desire to reprice. A good TA will do that for you. A TA may also offer perks (typically OBC) not offered by the cruise line.
  9. With non-traditional any time dining (different names on different cruise lines) you can also make reservations, which avoids any waiting at popular (or any other) times; you can have the same table and wait staff if desired, which also means you can dine with the same people if they so choose. (We typically cruise with others so we typically also dine with them, or dine alone, so random stranger conversation is not an issue with us). Anytime dining also provides flexibility with port times or other activities that may compromise set dining times and your schedule can be easily adjusted day to day for any ship entertainment, etc. Nothing against traditional dining, but obviously for all the reasons mentioned, this is our preferred option. And to the OP, having to try to fit a 5:00 PM dining time every night into our preferred cruising schedule would be an impossible nightmare. Our flexible preference is 6:30 - 7:30 on any given night. Just my opinion...
  10. Frequently book independently in advance through an activity's website. Often just rent a car or book a cab to go to different places on our own. At times wander around the port or stay on board the ship. But never book through the ship.
  11. No. Most of the beaches or resorts we go to provide them if we want them. Would not want to add that to our packing.
  12. I would also suggest discussing your plans with a travel agent - they will best be in a position to provide alternatives that will best suit your expectations.
  13. You will also frequently find alternating repeating itineraries on the same ship such as an Eastern Caribbean followed by a Western Caribbean, then followed by the Eastern, etc. Such is the case in particular with RCI's Oasis class ships, as example. The repositioning cruises are essentially one-way, which are then followed by repeating same itineraries departing from the final destination port of the repositioning cruise. So could do the repo followed by the first leg of the new port itinerary to accomplish the different ports objective.
  14. ....I take the stairs! My wife is a bit more adventurous than I am, however, and rides the elevator. But I usually get there at the same time!
  15. True, but it is very prevalent in SJ in part due to the use of the locally brewed Bacardi rum, which also got it's start in Cuba.
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