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BuckeyeMark

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Everything posted by BuckeyeMark

  1. Thanks for common sense and actual evidence... Of course, such is not welcome much any more...
  2. This is all very helpful. And I appreciate the kind tone of everyone's comments. We really are at a loss for what to do ... have planned this trip for a year and spent a lot of time working with it, booking special excursions, etc and now ... looks like it is not happening. Sigh. I didn't know the Odyssey was doing this itinerary in 2021. I'll look at that. Final payment date for us is July 1.
  3. They aren't even showing the cruise in 2021 so I guess not... Cruise with Confidence helps but I think a lot of my people won't want to make a final payment if they are going to tie up a lot of money in RCL. That may be funds they need now or could use to vacation in other ways. They'll use it to save a no-refund deposit but wouldnt' want to add to it.
  4. I've got a big group of folks going to Israel and Greece at the end of October on Explorer. We leave from Rome. Our final payment is coming up and there are a LOT of concerned folks, including me. We need to make some decisions but that's not easy to do right now. Can you help? Obviously no one knows what will happen or what things will look like in October. However, I'd be interested in informed opinions on what might happen, how RCL will handle this, chances the cruise is entirely canceled, etc.
  5. I will tell you what we learned on Explorer last November trying to watch college fb - specifically Penn State vs Ohio State on Saturday afternoon. Everybody gave me the run around, some saying "yes" and others saying "no" or "not sure." But I could tell no one really knew. Happened to be in the elevator with a guy that was in "Media Services" or something like that - so I asked him. He knew. The ship has to pay rights fees to broadcast stuff like that. For the Super Bowl it can run thousands of dollars he said. So it comes down to paying the fees. If they pay because they think a lot of folks want to see it (aka, the Super Bowl) you see it. If they don't, you don't. Here are the caveats: * Explorer going to dry dock where it will get the new sports bar that has 5 billion TVs. That looks to me like a lot more sports will be available beside ESPN Cricket, which is about all we saw on the TV for a week in November. * If they buy some kind of Olympic package that includes everything then you'd be good to go. So the answer is a definite "maybe." And like most things it comes down to money. Will RC pay the fees?
  6. Anybody had a cabin under the fitness center? We will be on the Explorer in the fall and there is a cabin we'd like but it's under the FC. Worried I could hear someone running on the treadmill or banging the weight machines or a fitness class ... at 6 AM! What's your experience with the fitness center being above your head?
  7. I'll weigh in. It's not RCI's fault and it appears to me they are doing everything they can to be accommodating and helpful. I'm pretty impressed with the offer. Don't know if I'd get on the Anthem but wow - that's a lot of credits they're tossing around. Good for RCI!
  8. anybody done the travel router thing? got one they could recommend that works with Apple devices?
  9. We've done Alaska three times - Princess, Celebrity, Princess. The last time we went to Glacier Bay. That is such an incredible day I would be willing to book everything around getting on a ship going there. And if you go to GB, get a balcony. The US Forest Service makes the ships stay at the glacier for at least one hour so once you sail up the fjord you will be at the glacier there for an hour. The boat spins after 30 minutes so each side gets a view. The kicker is on your balcony you can hear the ice crack and thunder. It's incredible. Then you go up on deck and everyone is talking and the US Forest Service guy is on the intercom explaining and while you can hear some it's not like on the balcony. That's my two cents worth. Lots of good ideas and advice here. But I say GO TO GLACIER BAY. You won't regret it! P.S. Salmon don't run big - tons of them coming up the streams till middle to late July. Thus no bears in the streams fishing till then. If you want to see fish and bears time your cruise appropriately.
  10. This is just ridiculously helpful. I really appreciate it! Seems like on our 5 day in November we got a paper bag a couple of days in that had a "special" price on it for laundry. Anybody know about when that special bag shows up?
  11. We never do laundry (back in the day when they had coin-op machines) on a cruise because we've never gone for more than 7 days. We just pack enough clothes. Going on a much longer cruise this year and needing to think about that strategy, esp since the airlines are now charging for luggage. So ... how does it work? Can you really send out everything, not just stuff that would normally go to the dry cleaners? Like blue jeans and socks and underwear and t-shirts? Is it expensive? And what is the quality of the work done? Wife will not be happy if they put a red shirt in with her white socks and it all comes back pink! LOL Just need the basic info on sending out laundry. We'll be on Explorer - no coin-op machines so it's either bring enough clothes or pay Explorer to do it for us. What do I need to know?
  12. Royal sold you a cabin?! Interior or exterior? On what ship? Do you get to cruise permanently in YOUR cabin? Oh wait...
  13. I did NC in Nov 2019 and it was great. full review in here:
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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!
  18. 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!
  19. 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!
  20. 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!
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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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