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Old 10-19-2011, 11:26 AM   #166
karajeboo
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Holy massive ships, Batman!!! That ship is ginormous!!!! Just watching the sailaway is so impressive! I had such good intentions of watching you in real time, but, well, yeah. OK, so I didn't. But I thought of you like an hour later!!!! (and after seeing that video, I'm surprised I couldn't still see that monster an hour later!!!!).
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:27 PM   #167
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I too am priced out of DCL in 2013. My same cruise of 2012 is just barely more expensive than it's 2013 twin! I mean, when you're booking nearly 24 months in advance, you'd think that the cruise would be significantly cheaper, maybe 3 4 hundred bucks? nope.

And the Fantasy? How the $*%)$ is anyone paying THOSE prices? And WHY is she so expensive a year after her maiden? The Dream didn't stay sky high. DH said maybe they took the Fantasy name so literal that they are making sure it's a 'fantasy' for most of us to ever get on?

I do believe we will be doing a bit more RCCL sails in 2013. Oh well. By the looks of this trip report- we're not going to be lacking for things to do!

Oh, and what's the Tally? Are we still keeping one?
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:26 PM   #168
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I too am priced out of DCL in 2013. My same cruise of 2012 is just barely more expensive than it's 2013 twin! I mean, when you're booking nearly 24 months in advance, you'd think that the cruise would be significantly cheaper, maybe 3 4 hundred bucks? nope.

And the Fantasy? How the $*%)$ is anyone paying THOSE prices? And WHY is she so expensive a year after her maiden? The Dream didn't stay sky high. DH said maybe they took the Fantasy name so literal that they are making sure it's a 'fantasy' for most of us to ever get on?

I do believe we will be doing a bit more RCCL sails in 2013. Oh well. By the looks of this trip report- we're not going to be lacking for things to do!

Oh, and what's the Tally? Are we still keeping one?
Looks like we are priced of DCL for 2013 too. Over $5800 for the same week in September '13 as the one we are doing on the Fantasy in 2012 for $4700. Luckily we can go that same week on the Allure again for $4700. Same room configuration too. So guess who's going to go on the Allure again in 2013....

As far as the score... I think it was starting to look bad for Mickey. She has kind of scrapped the scorecard for now.

Ron
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:42 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by sperkins921 View Post
I too am priced out of DCL in 2013. My same cruise of 2012 is just barely more expensive than it's 2013 twin! I mean, when you're booking nearly 24 months in advance, you'd think that the cruise would be significantly cheaper, maybe 3 4 hundred bucks? nope.

And the Fantasy? How the $*%)$ is anyone paying THOSE prices? And WHY is she so expensive a year after her maiden? The Dream didn't stay sky high. DH said maybe they took the Fantasy name so literal that they are making sure it's a 'fantasy' for most of us to ever get on?

I do believe we will be doing a bit more RCCL sails in 2013. Oh well. By the looks of this trip report- we're not going to be lacking for things to do!

Oh, and what's the Tally? Are we still keeping one?
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Originally Posted by livingis2me View Post
Looks like we are priced of DCL for 2013 too. Over $5800 for the same week in September '13 as the one we are doing on the Fantasy in 2012 for $4700. Luckily we can go that same week on the Allure again for $4700. Same room configuration too. So guess who's going to go on the Allure again in 2013....

As far as the score... I think it was starting to look bad for Mickey. She has kind of scrapped the scorecard for now.

Ron
I hate seeing those prices. But Jen convinced me that RCCL Freedom class was the next logical step for us (after falling in love with cruising on the Magic last year!) so we're booked on FOTS for 2013 spring break. Category D1 aft balcony cabin on deck 10 for LESS than an interior stateroom THIS year on the Magic...... I know that DCL is not a charity, and with only 4 ships the price is higher. And I know that they stay full so SOMEONE is willing to pay those prices. Just sad it's not me.....

As far as ships go, I can totally see RCCL winning that battle. I'm more curious now that we've sailed away (notice I say "we" cause I'm living vicarously through you!) about comparing food, and service......
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:16 AM   #170
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Oooohhh....random dancin' fan here! Love love love it! May I join?!

Still keepin' a close eye on this killer report. I think DCL's 2013 itinerary pricing paired with this report, we may a bunch of folks jumpin' ship over to RCI! I'm still watching releases with them, too.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:20 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by livingis2me View Post
Looks like we are priced of DCL for 2013 too. Over $5800 for the same week in September '13 as the one we are doing on the Fantasy in 2012 for $4700. Luckily we can go that same week on the Allure again for $4700. Same room configuration too. So guess who's going to go on the Allure again in 2013....

As far as the score... I think it was starting to look bad for Mickey. She has kind of scrapped the scorecard for now.

Ron
Wow, I feel bad for griping about the 3600 DCL wanted for DH and I for an inside room if you cruise was going to cost 5800. I mean, do you KNOW what we could do with 5800?? DH's answer would surely NOT be to cruise the Fantasy. LMAO

We're in a different price bracket anyway b/c we don't yet have kids, and not kids old enough/big enough to need more space than one cabin. Right now, we're cool with an inside if we *had* to. I'd prefer an outside at least, or on a longer cruise a veranda, but DH doesn't mind.

When I priced the Allure last, I could take us on most of their 7 day itineraries (other than the special holiday cruises) in the same cabin class for 700 bucks LESS than DCL.

*sigh*

Why am I so loyal to the mouse again?

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I hate seeing those prices. But Jen convinced me that RCCL Freedom class was the next logical step for us (after falling in love with cruising on the Magic last year!) so we're booked on FOTS for 2013 spring break. Category D1 aft balcony cabin on deck 10 for LESS than an interior stateroom THIS year on the Magic...... I know that DCL is not a charity, and with only 4 ships the price is higher. And I know that they stay full so SOMEONE is willing to pay those prices. Just sad it's not me.....

As far as ships go, I can totally see RCCL winning that battle. I'm more curious now that we've sailed away (notice I say "we" cause I'm living vicarously through you!) about comparing food, and service......
I mean, honestly, I think other than the sail away party and the terminal at embarkation, RCCL is winning in my book. Look at all that stuff to do! And we haven't even made it to international waters yet! Or have we? Either way- it sounds like a clear winner so far to me.

Add that to the fact that it's cheaper to cruise RCCL, and in my case there's a ship whose port of call is almost literally in my backyard, and I think we may be exploring them a little more often as well.

On the other board I'm active on, there are many of us from this same region, and several have recommended the FOTS as an RCCL ship to cruise on, as well as RCCL in general because they're so close to us. I think you'll enjoy your cruise!
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Last edited by sperkins921; 10-20-2011 at 08:36 PM. Reason: swapped out abbreviations- *sigh* never post when tired
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:13 PM   #172
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I hate seeing those prices. But Jen convinced me that RCCL Freedom class was the next logical step for us (after falling in love with cruising on the Magic last year!) so we're booked on FOTS for 2013 spring break. Category D1 aft balcony cabin on deck 10 for LESS than an interior stateroom THIS year on the Magic...... I know that DCL is not a charity, and with only 4 ships the price is higher. And I know that they stay full so SOMEONE is willing to pay those prices. Just sad it's not me.....

As far as ships go, I can totally see RCCL winning that battle. I'm more curious now that we've sailed away (notice I say "we" cause I'm living vicarously through you!) about comparing food, and service......
I have to agree, even though we said we didn't want to sail again unless it was DCL. We can take a cruise in a suite cheaper than an oceanview on the Fantasy, on some itineraries. At this point, if we want to cruise, it will have to be with someone else. We weren't happy with LOS, so we might try Grand Princess next time. I'm anxious to see about the food too.
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:17 PM   #173
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Jen! Amazing sailaway cam! That ship is HUGE!!! I got so excited for you, I almost cried, imagining if I was your family waving to you live onlin! You packed alot into your pre-sailaway time - I almost forgot you hadn't left yet.

Too bad about the chair snatchers! I'll bet they saw your drinks there and just didn't care.

P.S. I saw a preview of some more fun, I won't mention here so cool!
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:35 AM   #174
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I mean, honestly, I think other than the sail away party and the terminal at embarkation, RCCL is winning in my book. Look at all that stuff to do! And we haven't even made it to international waters yet! Or have we? Either way- it sounds like a clear winner so far to me.

Add that to the fact that it's cheaper to cruise RCCL, and in my case there's a ship whose port of call is almost literally in my backyard, and I think we may be exploring them a little more often as well.

On the other board I'm active on, there are many of us from this same region, and several have recommended the FOTS as an RCCL ship to cruise on, as well as RCCL in general because they're so close to us. I think you'll enjoy your cruise!
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I have to agree, even though we said we didn't want to sail again unless it was DCL. We can take a cruise in a suite cheaper than an oceanview on the Fantasy, on some itineraries. At this point, if we want to cruise, it will have to be with someone else. We weren't happy with LOS, so we might try Grand Princess next time. I'm anxious to see about the food too.
I hate to feel this way, too, because I am a DIEHARD Disney fan!!!! But I think especially as Ally gets older and the characters are not the big deal anymore, I like what FOTS has to offer.... REALLY looking forward to this cruise.

Tammie, isn't LOTS the same class as FOTS? What was it you didn't like? I just love the look of the promenade and the pool area and the H2O zone look incredible. And did we all mention price already?

We are cruising in an inside stateroom on the Magic this year...... We booked onboard and are paying $3300 less our 10% onboard booking credit. So basically $3000. I looked into upgrading a couple of weeks ago. Our same cabin is now $4400!!!! For an INSIDE stateroom for 3 people! That is just insane! So obviously we are not upgrading...... But I got our D1 aft balcony on FOTS for LESS than that! How nutty is that?

Mickey, I love you, but.......
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:21 PM   #175
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I hate to feel this way, too, because I am a DIEHARD Disney fan!!!! But I think especially as Ally gets older and the characters are not the big deal anymore, I like what FOTS has to offer.... REALLY looking forward to this cruise.

Tammie, isn't LOTS the same class as FOTS? What was it you didn't like? I just love the look of the promenade and the pool area and the H2O zone look incredible. And did we all mention price already?

We are cruising in an inside stateroom on the Magic this year...... We booked onboard and are paying $3300 less our 10% onboard booking credit. So basically $3000. I looked into upgrading a couple of weeks ago. Our same cabin is now $4400!!!! For an INSIDE stateroom for 3 people! That is just insane! So obviously we are not upgrading...... But I got our D1 aft balcony on FOTS for LESS than that! How nutty is that?

Mickey, I love you, but.......
Doesn't it make you wonder what's going on over there at DCL corporate? I just priced our same 2012 itenerary for 2013. It's now only $100 cheaper than the 2012 cruise. $100. While booking 19 months early?!?! How is that any incentive to book early?

Meanwhile, the same cruise period on the AOTS, or OOTS, is $500 cheaper than Disney. That's time in the spa, drinks at the bar, souvies, whatever! And for what they're asking for two inside stateroom on the Fantasy in the summer, we could have the best or darn near suite either Allure/Oasis.

I feel like a Disney traitor, but seriously, other cruise lines are looking better and better, you know?
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:44 PM   #176
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I totally agree with what you guys are saying about Disney prices.

Here is my example :

In 11/2010 we paid $1830.86 for dh/myself for 10 - yes ten - nights on the Emerald Princess (window-no balcony). It was a fantastic ship and trip to the Southern Caribbean, too!

In 5/2011 we paid $1220.48 for dh/myself for 3 - THREE - nights on the Disney Dream (window-no balcony). And we went with the cheapest, guarantee we could find. I couldn't believe balcony prices and would not pay what they were asking!

We are looking forward to cruising on the Oasis this coming Thanksgiving.

I do love the mouse and we are going to go on the Fantasy in 2012, but it is nice to venture out and try different things.
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Old 10-22-2011, 06:27 PM   #177
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just catching up thanks for the updates
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:02 AM   #178
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Holy Frijoles! Fiesta! Tequila! Ole!

We did not have much time after heading out to freshen up and make it down to dinner! We are My-Time Diners (which means we do not have a set time for dinner), but this evening we would be starting this cruise off with a bang. We had reservations for Rita’s Fiesta at the specialty restaurant Rita’s Cantina!



Rita’s Cantina is a Mexican restaurant that started off exclusively on Allure of the Seas. Due to its’ immense popularity it has since expanded to at least one other RCCL ship, Radiance of the Seas, and I’m sure there are plans for it to open on other ships.

Rita’s is a Specialty Restaurant and so it requires an additional fee to dine there. There is the normal dining option which costs $3 pp cover to enter and then each menu item you order also carries as small price ($2-5 each), and then there is the Fiesta!

If you aren’t aware of this offering, the Fiesta is quite a good deal: a three course dinner (set menu) and three (strong!) alcoholic drinks for $20 per person. Or if you prefer to not drink: dinner and three non-alcoholic drinks for $10. Ole!

We had made our reservation online well in advance of the cruise. Rita’s Fiesta is very popular and tends to sell out, even on the first night. When we booked it, the time was listed at 8:30 PM, but we noticed after reading reviews that they had a pattern of changing the time on the first night to 6:00 PM. We expected this to occur on our cruise as well, and sure enough about 2 days before sailing we received an email that our Fiesta would be held at 6:00 PM. The reason given was that it conflicted with the Aquatheater schedule. So be aware of this if considering the Fiesta for the first evening. Also we noticed that on other nights of the cruise the Fiesta had a slightly different name (“Mexican Madness” for example). We are not aware of any differences in the actual experience regardless of what they called it. The other days and times the Fiesta was offered on our Eastern cruise was on Days 4 and 5 at 8:30.

And we are headed to Deck 6 aft, the location of the Boardwalk, to get this party started! Inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear, the Boardwalk will dynamically engage the entire family in classic fun- whether young or just young at heart -with eateries, retail outlets, and carnival games. Here is where you find the Aquatheater, the (full-size!) Carousel, restaurants like Rita’s, Johnny Rocket’s Diner, The Ice Cream Parlor, and the Boardwalk Dog House. It is also home to shops like the Candy Beach vintage candy store, Pinwheels toy store, and Pets at Sea-which is similar to Build-A-Bear!

Welcome to the Boardwalk!














Be warned: this little kids' play area next to Rita's is a toddler magnet. We practically needed pliers to pry Sarah off of it and every time we neared the aft end of the Boardwalk she took off running to it.








The party started without us!



We headed down to the boardwalk and checked in at the podium outside Rita’s Cantina, staffed by none other than Rita herself. We were quickly seated and chips and salsa were immediately brought to us.



Rita's Cantina regular menu and drink menu:









As part of the fiesta, each participant is given a straw sombrero and also a colorful flashing necklace to keep!





Dress code at Rita’s is always casual, and shorts are perfectly acceptable here. Be aware the open areas of Allure are quite warm this time of year, including the Boardwalk. There wasn’t much air circulation and despite some fans and the fact that the more “inside” parts of the restaurant are air-conditioned , it was very, very hot for our meal. You won’t regret dressing comfortably. Besides, you will be dancing.



The fiesta–colored chips and salsa, while attractive tasted just “OK”. They were not homemade chips, and the salsa was also not freshly made ('from a jar' as I’ve read often on Cruise Critic is the most fitting description). It didn’t bother us too much, but when they brought out some pico de gallo, we loved using that for our chips, as it was freshly prepared!



The servers kind of float around at Rita’s. We didn’t have one set waiter. Whoever was around brought the food, and different servers filled our drink orders at different times. When you check in, you are issued a wristband with three removable tabs. This is how they keep track of your drinks. The alcoholics get the green wristbands, and the teetotalers get the red ones that say NO ALCOHOL on them. LOL!



The first round came quickly and the kids enjoyed a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri, virgin Miami Vice, and a Shirley Temple, respectively. Ron chose the Patron Perfect Margarita, and I chose the Strawberry Margarita. Do take a minute to look at the drink menu, and remember what you might want after they take it from you. I wanted to try the Pomegranate Margarita and forgot about it later.

They aren’t messing around at Rita’s. The drinks are STRONG! I had a few inches of pure tequila floating at the bottom of mine (and plenty more throughout)!





Rita comes out to introduce herself and start the dancing:

(Video- Click to Play!)



We are soon brought our appetizers, chicken and shrimp quesadillas, and chicken and shrimp taquitos arranged in alternating fashion around the plate, topped off with a small bowl of tempura style fried shrimp and zucchini:



The appetizers were pretty tasty, especially the chicken quesadillas- very cheesy! They do tell you which are chicken and which are shrimp at the time, but it is very noisy (loud music) and they rattle it off quickly.



**Continued**
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:25 AM   #179
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Holy Frijoles! Fiesta! Tequila! Ole! (Part 2)

Just about when enough time has passed for your first drink to “hit” you, the dancing starts. If they place one of the big sombreros on your head, be prepared, you will be dancing in front of everyone.

They were wise and chose Savannah instead of me!





Video: Click to Play!




The dances were easy and fun, dancing to songs like Tequila and Macarena.

Oy...the Macarena.....
Excuse me, 1996 called, they want their dance back!

Video: Click to Play





Then they get everyone up and out on the Boardwalk for the Casper Slide.

Yes, everyone!

Even I can handle this one (slightly tipsy at that!)







Video: Click to Play!




You have to limbo back into the restaurant too!





Video: Click to Play!




Round two!



I swear his drinks are virgin..or are they?



Soon after the dancing, the main course arrived: mixed fajitas. These are chicken and steak served together on a large platter. Our table (just our family of 5) received two huge plates of fajitas, and about 12 total tortillas.





While it looks delicious, the taste- again only “OK”. There was no flavor or spice at all to the fajitas- they were quite bland. Also they didn’t have any “grilled” or blackened taste to them. I was disappointed. I would equate them to what you might get at maybe a neighborhood chain like Applebee’s.

Also we did not have near enough tortillas, unless we wanted to over stuff the ones we did have and make gigantic Chipotle Mexican Grill sized burritos for each of us. Since we didn’t have an assigned server, we tried to catch the attention of one of them in passing to fetch us more , but we eventually gave up. We ate enough to no longer be hungry, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Fajitas are not something usually on a 3 year old’s rotation of meal choices, so we were unsure of how Sarah would do with them. She had more fun putting together her “taco” as we called it than eating it. But I am happy report she did not starve during this cruise (thank you soft serve ice cream machines!)





After dinner, more dancing. This time it was a dance contest participated in by about 7-8 folks selected by Rita. She started with the girls, the restaurant voted a winner by applause, and the champion dinner wins a shot of – what else? – TEQUILA!

Girls Gone Wild. I'm so, so very thankful I managed to avoid being picked for this.

Video: Click to Play!



Rita’s Dancing Partner:





Video: Click to Play!





After the girls, same thing for the guys. Ron was selected and he had fun doing the Beavis and Butthead dance! Cracked us up! He did not win, but he specifically tried not to, since the strong drinks were enough and even another shot might have put him on the floor. (Just the fact that he actually danced in front of everyone is a testament to the drink strength here, trust me!).



And if you weren’t full and drunk enough by now, here comes dessert! There was a “sampler” plate with full size servings of each of Rita’s desserts: A huge slab of Mexican Flan with fruit salsa on top, Scrumptious Banana Custard Enchiladas, and of course Cinnamon-Sugar rolled Churros with Chipotle-Chocolate Sauce. Mmmm!



None of us had been able to consume all three of our drinks, so the serving team collected our remining tabs, and brought us drinks to go. For the non-alcoholic drinks we chose soda, which was provided in cans, and for the alcoholic drinks we chose beer, which was brought in bottles. Terrific! Don’t let those unused drink tabs go to waste!

While I’m mentioning drinks, Rita’s did not have the “free” drink options available on RCCL like the iced tea, lemonade, fruit punch, or flavored water. I love iced tea and drink it with every meal, si I made sure to bring along some iced tea from Park Café. In fact there are no free drink options anywhere on the Boardwalk- this is important to remember when you stop by to eat at the Dog House or Boardwalk Donuts. You’ll have to bring something to drink from elsewhere onboard or purchase a drink from the Dog House or nearby Johnny Rockets. Very inconvenient.

Anyway, back to Rita’s: the whole experience took about 2 hours. It was the perfect way to start off your cruise as a party, and also to avoid the craziness of the MTD section of the MDR on the first evening. It was absolutely worth the price and I wholly recommend it!





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Old 10-23-2011, 12:41 PM   #180
karajeboo
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VERY informative! I just told Jeff that I need to stop reading this TR before I book another cruise!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of Rita's the first night to kick off the cruise! And LOVE $20 for 3 drinks (with a little food in there for good measure).
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