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About BuckeyeMark

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Dallas - Fort Worth
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    reading, coffee, CS Lewis, Teddy Roosevelt, Ohio State football
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  1. Royal sold you a cabin?! Interior or exterior? On what ship? Do you get to cruise permanently in YOUR cabin? Oh wait...
  2. I did NC in Nov 2019 and it was great. full review in here:
  3. I second (or third!) what everyone is saying ... I was on it in November and the ship was great. Food was incredible. Crew was good too. Really had a great time. There have certainly been very different reviews, "which just shows to go you" that people look for different things and evaluate cruises differently. We liked the boat a lot. A lot. I think you'll be very happy. And after the dry dock ... look out!
  4. We’ve done a bunch of Princess but were on the Explorer in November. While that boat got bashed about a good bit here by folks unhappy with it (and it is going to dry dock) we really liked it and thought the food was much better than Princess. We’ll be on Royal in the future. Someone commented that only Princess and NCL get into Glacier Bay and I don’t know if that is true but that would get me back on Princess. Glacier Bay is incredible. Just incredible. I’d take a rubber raft if that is what it took to get in there! But we’re over in the Loyal Royal bunch now... imo, Princess is good but Royal is much better.
  5. We were on her the week before Thanksgiving and thought the ship was very good. We didn't see all the rust and decay some seem to have seen everywhere. We thought the food was excellent in both the MDR and Windjammer. Basically we loved it.
  6. Was on her in November and loved it. Everything but our cabin steward - she wasn't the best. But the rest of the crew and staff were crazy good. Food was superb. People evaluate differently and look for different things. But for us, she was very good and I guess will get even better after dry dock!
  7. We LOVED the comedy magician guy. He was absolutely hysterical. There was another guy earlier in the week who seemed to be of the Don Rickles School of Comedy. "I'm mad about everything, and my wife hates me and I hate her." He actually said the way to stay married is to fight. Uh... And I think you're so very right. Cruises are a lot what you make of them. Want to be unhappy. You can be. Want to be happy? You can be. It's kinda up to you!
  8. I appreciate those who are noting that food opinions are very very subjective. We were on the Explorer the week before Thanksgiving and through the MDR was outstanding. We talked a lot about how good the food was. On top of that, we thought the Windjammer was outstanding as well - enough that we really struggled a couple of nights whether to go down to dinner or up to dinner! Others, clearly, didn't have the same experience. I am only adding this to say not everyone's experience with the food was "it's terrible." We loved it. Just loved it. But we thought our comedian was awful. See? Different strokes for different folks!
  9. I would be interested in what was happening on the bridge of the Oasis during this. Since she was tied up I wouldn't think she'd have a lot of options? Probably just an officer on watch but what could he/she do when seeing this thing slowly unfold? Must have felt mighty helpless as the Carnival ship nearly ran Oasis over!
  10. They were on the Explorer and nobody was making a big deal about them ... but because of this thread I tried and they are quite good!
  11. Thanks for reminding me. It was good. I'd recommend it if seeing ancient history and learning about other cultures is your thing. Native Choice is very professional and has very nice (new) vans. The downside is you have to get out of the Costa Maya port complex to get to them. I didn't really "get" this before going there but there is no such thing as Costa Maya. No such town exists. It's a shopping complex and pier that is completely artificial. It is squeaky clean and nice and new - think Disney World building something. So the ship docks and you head down the pier and into this big half circle "mall" with shops in it. There is no easy exit. You have to walk from 3:00 o'clock (if you get my meaning) all the way round to 9:00 o'clock to finally get out of the mall. Crazy! Then you go down the street a couple of blocks and there is Native Choice. It did feel kind of weird leaving the compound and being in "real" Mexico but once you get to Native Choice's offices it's all good. They have a lot of vans and they assign you a van and off you go. Our guide was very conscientious and very good but his English wasn't always the best, so he was kind of hard to understand. He did know everything about the ruins and culture and really took the time to show us stuff, especially plant life. It takes about an hour or so to get to the ruins. It's about the most un-scenic drive ever. Think driving across Florida. It's mostly a big swamp/wetlands. How the Mayans survived in that area I'll never know - it's not an easy area to live in. The highway is absolutely arrow straight. I've never seen anything like it. The driver could have lashed the steering wheel in place and took a 30 minute nap. I'm not kidding - the road is that straight. Absolutely not curves or turns for what seems like forever. Finally you hit a main highway ("wake up, driver, time to turn left!") and you're there in a few more minutes. The tour is kinda cool. The Mayans built these big stepped pyramid like things and a variety of other stone buildings etc that go with it all. Some of it the experts aren't super sure how it all went together. It is hacked right out of the jungle - we did see some monkeys. And it is HUMID. We were there in November. I am not sure what that would have been like in July but I'm thinking it would have been unpleasant times eleventy bazillion. There is a fair amount of walking and even some climbing. Our bus driver brought chilled water bottles (thank you!) and even had a bunch of golf umbrellas if it had been sunny. The tour takes about an hour then you shop the little craft kiosk area (note: crafts more expensive here than the same thing being sold in the "mall" at the port) and go to the restroom. Board up and back you go. We stopped at a native farmer's market and the guide hopped off and bought pineapple for those who wanted some. A ziploc baggie with several chunks for a buck. We bought some and I was surprised it wasn't nearly as sweet as Hawaiian pineapple I've had. It was okay. Then back to the compound/mall. It's kinda long ride to see the ruins. Not sure what else to say. Is it the single greatest thing I've ever seen? No. Was it interesting and am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I go again? Prolly not. It's not the kind of thing you need to see again. Did Native Choice do a good job and would I book something with them again instead of the cruise excursions? Absolutely. I don't blame NC at all for the ruins being a long drive from the port or that they are in a steamy jungle. If you want to see the ruins they can get you there. They do a good job getting you out there, explaining it to you, and they don't charge as much as the cruise line. For me that's a win.
  12. We were in a JS two weeks ago on Explorer and I'm afraid we made a big mistake: we'll never be able to cruise in an inside cabin or ocean view again! IT WAS WONDERFUL. Huge closet. Bath tub. Sitting area. Wow oh wow. We got the chance to buy an upgrade for next to nothing and now we're hooked. #smartMarketingRoyal
  13. We wear (and love) our lanyards. On the Explorer they were selling lots of lanyards with bling all over them so clearly RCL thinks this is an option many are still interested in. GO FOR IT.
  14. Here's the deal on sports on the Explorer: * you will ask everybody - cruise directors, bartenders, the guys at the Tavern - and they all give you different answers, or no answer because they don't understand American football anyway. * the boat does get ESPN which makes you hopeful but mostly it shows ESPN cricket, which will drive you insane. * the ship can get other channels though - so Thursday night there was Fox showing the NFL game. one of the channels in your room is "Prime One' which seems to me "whatever we want to put on there but mostly we recycle stuff from Red Bull on their daredevil athletes all day." * the real reason this is such a mystery and a hassle is that RCL has to pay rights fees to show games. finally a tech told us this. "Will we see the Penn State-Ohio State game?" "Maybe. If they paid for it." Fees for big events, like the Super Bowl, can range up to $50K he said! So Saturday came and on the Prime One channel there was two minor college teams playing (Kansas, I think) and then in the 3:00 hour there was Texas and Baylor. that's it. no other games. * what's frustrating is that someone at HQ paid for those games so just go ahead and tell lus what you bought so we don't get our hopes up. * all of this will change in March when they redo the boat's entertainment/TV systems. there's a rumor we'll get REAL espn!
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