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Old 04-28-2014, 09:51 AM   #91
anna08
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Thanks much for your informative and descriptive TR! We have our first RCCL cruise booked for late this year and it's helpful to have your recommendations.
In light of avoiding more photos posts, do you have an all-around impression of your cruise?

Did your son prefer it to DCL or is it apples & oranges?

Was the smoking in areas easy enough to avoid? I, too, have trouble and am like a canary in a coal mine for the presence of smoke except I start bark-coughing instead of singing...

Thanks again!
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:25 PM   #92
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Weird to charge. Try tinypic

I don't want u to pay but I love pics and they are appreciated
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:42 PM   #93
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New month, new bandwidth limit.

Let me know if you can see the pictures; I can, but let me know if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anna08 View Post
Thanks much for your informative and descriptive TR! We have our first RCCL cruise booked for late this year and it's helpful to have your recommendations.
In light of avoiding more photos posts, do you have an all-around impression of your cruise?

Did your son prefer it to DCL or is it apples & oranges?

Was the smoking in areas easy enough to avoid? I, too, have trouble and am like a canary in a coal mine for the presence of smoke except I start bark-coughing instead of singing...

Thanks again!
As DS got rested up, he saw that RCCL was just as fun. It was the 4th night when he got to the kid's club, and he went each day after and had a great time. No there's no dance floor that lights up, he didn't make flubber, etc etc. But they had a great staff who kept all the kids entertained and active the whole time they were there. And they made pillowcases and pirate bandanas (which, besides the flubber, is 2 more crafts than he's ever made on DCL!).

Smoking...as long as you pay attention to where you are (don't accidentally wander into the smoking section) it's easy enough to avoid. Neither cruiseline allows smoking on verandahs, so that's good. RCCL does have a lounge or two that allows cigars. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the lounge on Freedom, but it's to the right of the lounge with the Egyptian theme. Connoisseur, maybe?



At this point, my family thinks that nearly any cruiseline that gets us out on a ship and on the seas is a fave cruiseline. Now, that's not to say I'm going to start jumping onto Carnival ships...I have to admit to a totally irrational (yet maybe not *totally*) wish to avoid that line. I mean, we've been on Royal and DCL and like them, so why not just stick with them, right? We would go on either.

Spoiler alert. Because my son isn't ready to go back to Disneyworld (we do have a DisneyLAND trip over Labor Day while otherwise visiting my brother in southern California, but that is rundisney-based), and because we had book a Disney cruise quite awhile ago for October, we knew we didn't have to worry about throwing WDW into the trip. But...4 nights on DCL just didn't seem quite enough. And one day after this trip I got a bit silly and found a cruise on Royal that got into port the same day the Disney ship leaves. And it's 5 nights. So we booked it.

The kicker? That one leaves from and gets back to Fort Lauderdale. So we'll be getting off that ship, getting to a rental car agency and just bookin' it up to Port Canaveral. Let us start putting out good, no accidents, no roadworks projects, no nothing standing in our way at all, for that day.



I'll get back to pictures and the story. I don't dislike the concept of paying for photo storage. It just kept messing with me. Confusing mix of emotions.
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:08 AM   #94
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Love the idea of the back to back from RCCL to DCL! There is more than one way to get up the coast, so you will be fine! :D Thanks for checking in! I could see pictures.
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Old 05-09-2014, 06:12 PM   #95
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Yay for a back to back cruise!
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:55 PM   #96
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Love the back to back cruises. I love spontaneous changes and a little adventure mixed in. Hopefully the drive from FLL to Port Canaveral is uneventful . I have mixed feelings about WDW. I miss it, but not sure when we will be back most likely sometime 2015. I can't wait to try a RCL cruise, but I may hold off until my kids are teenagers. They already at age 10 and 11 prefer Universal so I'm afraid if I switch to RCL I may never get them back on DCL.
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:43 AM   #97
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I love it! Glad to see you back here. We might be heading to DLR in August, but before you are there (unless you decide to do a mega-trip like WDW!!!). Just crunching the numbers, and seeing whether United is going to give me back my miles that someone stole from me.

And I need to hear more about your cruise, and the upcoming cruise! I am a bit obsessed/addicted to cruising now and want to hear everything! Crazy how things turn out!
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Old 05-12-2014, 02:22 PM   #98
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We did that opposite drive over spring break - we got off DCL and drove down to a hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Very uneventful, all highway. I love the idea of back to back cruises on different lines! Thanks for your answers!
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:42 PM   #99
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Really enjoying the trip review so far.... will you be finishing it? We are cruising on the Freedom in August 2015 for back to back weeks. We have cruised Freedom once before and LOVED her!!!
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:47 PM   #100
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Well THAT was quite a break from this story! Not like I was gone (well I was for a bit) or in the hospital or anything like that...just had absolutely no "get up and go" to do it. Weird.



Quote:
Originally Posted by debsters41 View Post
Love the idea of the back to back from RCCL to DCL! There is more than one way to get up the coast, so you will be fine! :D Thanks for checking in! I could see pictures.
More than one way, yay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by annmarieda View Post
Yay for a back to back cruise!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ofinn View Post
Love the back to back cruises. I love spontaneous changes and a little adventure mixed in. Hopefully the drive from FLL to Port Canaveral is uneventful . I have mixed feelings about WDW. I miss it, but not sure when we will be back most likely sometime 2015. I can't wait to try a RCL cruise, but I may hold off until my kids are teenagers. They already at age 10 and 11 prefer Universal so I'm afraid if I switch to RCL I may never get them back on DCL.
We've never done them back to back, so it'll be interesting!


Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy drew View Post
I love it! Glad to see you back here. We might be heading to DLR in August, but before you are there (unless you decide to do a mega-trip like WDW!!!). Just crunching the numbers, and seeing whether United is going to give me back my miles that someone stole from me.

And I need to hear more about your cruise, and the upcoming cruise! I am a bit obsessed/addicted to cruising now and want to hear everything! Crazy how things turn out!
So sorry for disappearing from my report.

Someone stole miles from you? Eep!

Well be heading to San Diego over a week before the race, a relatively shortish time in Anaheim, then back to San Diego.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anna08 View Post
We did that opposite drive over spring break - we got off DCL and drove down to a hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Very uneventful, all highway. I love the idea of back to back cruises on different lines! Thanks for your answers!
Uneventful, yay!

The key is that we have a basic room booked on RCCL, then concierge booked on the shorter cruise. I keep trying to find a bargain on at least a junior suite on Vision, but the price is still annoying. Since we got a GREAT rate in an intriguing room (panoramic oceanview, which means nearly floor to ceiling walls but otherwise just oceanview) it's hard to find an equally great upgrade rate! But I keep a lookout, since it would give us double the points or whatever RCCL uses and would get us closer to the next level.


Quote:
Originally Posted by need2go2disney View Post
Really enjoying the trip review so far.... will you be finishing it? We are cruising on the Freedom in August 2015 for back to back weeks. We have cruised Freedom once before and LOVED her!!!
Finishing it. Yes. Promise. I know it's silly to pay for photobucket, but I like 'em but hate their ads so let's see how the pay version works.

Back to back WEEKS, oh how lovely.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:55 PM   #101
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As I mentioned above, I was actually gone. For 20 days! We had a crazy opportunity to follow Robert on a work trip; got official permission, made sure the hotels were the same price for 3 of us vs just him, etc etc. Found airfare that didn't make me physically ill. Got on the plane.

To England and Ireland! Woo! Now that we've been home 8 days I can say it was great. I had lousy travel both there and back, and that always obliterates my joy about the trip for a bit. First days were in Dublin where he met with coworkers, then he and one coworker flew to England while E and I did the "sail-rail" program over to Birmingham. The day they moved by car to Nottingham, Eamon and I went to London and then from there to Nottingham at the end of the day. That half day was NOT enough so we actually had an London overnight a bit later in the trip. Then Robert was done with the work trip and he took about 6 days personal time, and we rail-sailed back over to Ireland, back to Dublin then drove over to the West of Ireland (my fave part).

I was shocked at how much I enjoyed England, and I cried (as I did 19 years ago) the day before we left Ireland...if you happened to be at the Cliffs of Moher on the 21st and saw a crying woman walking slowly to the car...that was very likely me.

So that was my adventure this month.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:16 PM   #102
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DAY FIVE! St Maarten






I love the "pirate safety notice" and parade info in the pages above and below, but it is very important! The kids were having a parade. They had to be there early, and they couldn't then LEAVE early. No one could leave early, so if you didn't want your kids to be in the parade, don't drop 'em off!




























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Old 06-30-2014, 10:30 PM   #103
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I can't decide which picture I like better, so you'll have to decide for me. Either way, there's no losing.








The Royal Princess.




Water.



More water.



We, especially DH and DS, were exhausted this day. The heat and the walking in San Juan really did us in. I was really glad I hadn't scheduled anything at all for this day, because it would have been hard to be alert for it. So a simple day of wandering worked well. Now...I hadn't planned on that. I had really wanted to schedule something, but just never figured out what. But it worked out.


We were able to get up and out to get breakfast, though! Everything was good except for french toast that was weirdly hard.

I'm not writing with my receipts now so I don't know about the lattes and waters and whatnot. Just assume we had some, but not quiet enough to break even on Replenish. Biggest issue there was not knowing we could get waters and virgin drinks on Coco Cay, and having bought the huge water package for Eamon.


On the way out of the ship...











Walking on the dock in St Maarten makes you feel very very small, that's for sure!









And immediately I saw foliage I'd never seen before. I didn't get close enough to see leaves, but just the way the greenery looked going up the mountain was totally different. Gorgeous, too.







Ohhhh, I will take THAT wee little boat, please. Please? Oh please please please?




We walked over to the water taxi, making a stop at Effy to get more $10 pieces of glass.


How do people live in places like this? How do they ever look at their computers or anything else?













Walking to the water taxi.




More foliage.







And we were on our way to city center.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:26 PM   #104
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We skipped the first stop on the water taxi because it's not the city center one. Got off at the second. There's an Effy right there, so looked at more colored glass. This time I passed because it was black glass, and I didn't want that, but they were super-sweet and gave E the small pendant for free.

As we continued from the dock to the front street, we saw a woman who had fallen and hurt herself enough that an ambulance was called. Not a great start to her day. I hope she was ultimately OK.


Robert went to try to get some cash (unsuccessful! which was weird) and E and I took a little time to hang out on the public beach that's *right there*. If we'd wanted a chair or lounger we would have had to pay someone, but just hanging out there was fine. The water was bizarrely deep right off the beach; a man was in the water and would dive down, completely disappear, and come up with shells.

Well, you can see the water difference in this shot, with the guy in the background.







Same kid, more of the beach/foliage.




No kid, back down the beach along the walking path from the docks I believe.




I've heard that the public beach here used to be pretty gross, but it didn't seem like it this day. Seemed awfully pretty and tempting! But we weren't prepared for a beach day. Oh well!




We wandered, we saw the St Maarten dogs (San Juan has the cats if you recall), Robert managed to buy me some tanzanite even while I said that it was a ripoff (sometimes I have to let him spend some money or he just doesn't feel right), we met nice salespeople, we got more Effy (I think we did). E had brought his pack of cards purchased at the El Morro giftshop, who knows why. He got taken for some fake Legos (when negotiating down b/c you really don't want your kid to get something, make sure the husband stays far FAR away! they can sense when the money-spender comes into range! the negotiation halted immediately when Robert approached and said $10 for 2 sets is good, not realizing they weren't real legos). Wander wander.

Found the Yoda Guy. Hmm. Ever feel like you need to donate just because you kinda feel bad for someone? That was our experience. He never ever said that he was THE guy that designed it...he was just A guy that worked on Yoda. I knew that. But his museum is not tempting (and had horror movie stuff in it, so E wasn't going to go in it, that's for sure) and while he was sweet, there was just nothing there I wanted to buy. So we donated a little something and hit the road.




At some point, someone discovered that his pack of cards was missing. This was most definitely Not Good. In a different family nothing would be done and the child would Learn His Lesson. In our family, since almost all of E's money comes directly from us, that doesn't work well. So we retraced our steps, quicker this time, to find them. And, amazingly, we found them. They had been sitting right where E had been sitting, in some random electronics shop that Robert sucked us into. The staff had been just about to put them somewhere safe when Robert went in while E and I went somewhere else. Eamon went in to thank them in person. Good kid. And we were much happier.

HUNGRY though. And so, despite the fact that the ship and all its pre-paid food was RIGHT THERE....




....we went to Hard Rock and had some generic food. Felt a LOT better after, though. I might have had one of my patented "this trip is ruined" moments before the food showed up. At some point the guys are going to realize that they aren't the only ones with issues when the blood sugar gets low. But for now let's just keep it a secret OK?


Of all the odd things to learn while dining, we found out that a day or two before we docked, a sister ship had been denied entrance to the port because of noro. Ewie. The Hard Rock employee was glad, because if people who are sick but don't know it come into the port and touch everything, they spread it to those on land, and that's not fun. They were glad the ship had been stopped.

My little photobomber.





We didn't eat here (the one with "Blue" in the name), though their menu seemed good, even for vegetarians.








Funny how different the specific angle of the sun makes things look!





E is wearing his solar-changing shirt.





I have a thing for pictures of clocks and churches.





Bells.





The courthouse just right out in the middle of everything.





Back on the watertaxi.





They have a TV and the TV was playing Psy (though maybe not at the moment I snapped the picture). E was very happy. He loves that guy. And this is a picture of the water taxi.





Beach foliage.





Myyyyyyy boat. Mine!





If I weren't afraid of 8-legged things as big as my head, I would climb this hill.




Aha, I've exceeded my picture limit! Gotta split it up.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:44 PM   #105
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For those who don't make it over to the French side of the island (like us), never fear, there's a small Belgian Chocolate Box right near the ships!




We were stopped in our tracks by the Guavaberry Rum kiosk on the way back to the ship. Didn't intend to, but ended up buying a bottle. On RCCL they take it as you enter the ship, close up the bag, staple and stick tags to it, and put it off in some other room. They return it to you in time to leave the ship.


I want to live there, in sight of MY boat.




Gotta say, I love the Royal Princess's balcony glass.




From our balcony. Remember, it was early February and around 5 by this time!







This night they did some sort of thing in the dining room. The pictures are blurry but you can see how high the dining room is. We were on the bottom floor.







I have absolutely no idea what anyone ate this night. My sense of taste and smell was getting worse. Maybe this night, maybe another, maybe I've already told the story, but I was having Robert taste things for me and tell me if I would like them. If yes, I'd eat it. If no, I wouldn't waste the calories. I remember ONLY tasting chocolate and coffee and that's pretty much it. I was eating by texture, mainly. Very depressing.


E went to the kid's club, and I think Robert and I went shopping. Finally it was time to wait for the pirate parade! Here they come!




My blurry boy.




If you're going to have your kids participate, I want to warn you, this is what it will look like while they are standing and singing piratey songs.







Wow, one lone good shot.




Those people up there on the balcony have the right idea!





Picked him up a bit later. I was still reading the mystery I'd picked up from the library. Not sure what else was going on.

Take a lesson from me folks, don't take any long pauses in your trip reports! Feb to the end of June here. So sorry!

But from Day 5, goodnight.
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