Your experience with Royal Caribbean Cruise?

Claremore, OK

We are suppose to go on a cruise soon, and I was wondering about your experience with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. We are suppose to go to the Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Cozumel.

Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated. Things to do. Things to avoid.

I'm wondering about the duty free shop and cameras. Did anybody do the dolphin swim?

Hubby wants to go to one of the botanical gardens he saw on TV that I think was in Jamaica, but it looked like a real snore zzz to me. They didn't show any plants just these goofey blue lizards in part of a show that I saw.

All the best,

Deborah

NE, KS(Zone 5b)

Oh, Deborah, I went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise, years ago. Our ship was the Song of America.. very nice.. the food is outstanding. We went to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. I was young then, we went with a couple that were friends and had a great time. I shopped the end of winter clearances (at home) and got great deals on formal eveningwear, it was fun to dress up...I'm not sure if they are still that formal. Everyone is on vacation on a cruise ship. (you might enjoy the gardens in Jamaica...) It's supposed to snow here this weekend, so a bad tourist day in Jamaica sounds better than a good day here right now. My then husband was bothered with motion sickness for the first 24 hours, but we found the dramamine vendor.. You can buy things tax free on the ship, and the places we visited had tax free purchases as well. You're probably on it right now! How exciting and fun. Post back and let me know how you like/d it. Which ship are/were you on?-B

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

I've done 6 cruises on Royal Caribbean, and we're going on another to Alaska in August. I've also done one Carnival Cruise, and 2 on Norwegian Cruise Lines. I like Royal Caribbean the best. The ships are always very nice, and the staff friendly and helpful. Carnival has too many of the 'drink till I pass out young people' on board, and some of them can be quite noisy and obnoxious. I'm 60, and way past the loud party phase. Norwegian has nice ships but it just isn't as well run, IMHO. Not that I'd turn down a free cruise on any lines. You should have a good time. The food is pretty good .... and there's more than anyone can really eat available. Lots of shows and other entertainment. Take part in the exercise classes and pig out is my advice. The falls in Jamaica were fun, and Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman was great. We went to the Mayan Ruins outside of Cozumel. If you're young enough to get pregnant, avoid the Fertility Pyramid there. LOL

Mary

Claremore, OK

Thanks your experience mirrors mine. I did an hour on the treadmill everyday and my weight stayed the same.

The food was great. Staff excellent

Wellington, TX

We've been on 10 plus cruises with Royal Caribbean and always been extremely satisfied.

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

We just got back from our Alaska cruise. Had a great time. We only went to the dining room twice because they've improved the casual dining so much, in both taste and presentation. We could eat as much or as little as we wanted and didn't have to dress up to be there. We could usually find a window table to enjoy the wonderful views while the ship floated through a 'smooth as glass' inside passage. The ship was lovely, and the staff friendly and helpful. Loved it!

Because we know the waiters count on tips as most of their income we made a special trip to the dining room where we awarded them their full tips, as if we'd eaten there every night. That way we could eat upstairs without the guilt trip. We felt like kids doing mischief when we'd look at the dining room menu, grin and dash upstairs. We had even gotten a note that they were 'concerned' because they hadn't seen us in the dining room. My DS and BIL were in the cabin next to us, and they got the 'concerned' note too. The mischief must have been catching, because we soon started to see our dining room tablemates skipping the dining room too ... and joining us upstairs. We always seem to meet up with nice people on these cruises. One of our tablemates was into photography as much as my husband is, and they've been on many cruises too.

The worst thing about cruising is when they make you leave at the end of the cruise..... sigh....

Claremore, OK

I was wondering about the Alaska Cruise. We had a wonderful time in the Caymans.
Thanks for posting,

Deborah

Glendale, AZ

We did an Alaska cruise once over July 4th thinking it would be "nicer" then. Cunnard Princess. Big mistake. Food was not good - some of us beelined to eat in town when we docked. . Weather was awful (not their fault), but it meant no one wanted to be on deck, which meant everyone inside, which was crowded with musical chairs - if you got up, you never got a seat again. We had an inside cabin near the steps going to the employee area. Constant LOUD partying. (Were advised to get an inside cabin because you're never in there anyway - yeah right.) Lost a stablizer in open sea coming back. Otherwise.................

Claremore, OK

Good to know these things.

Thanks,

Deborah

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

Yikes! Sorry to hear that HaroldS! I'll cross off Cunnard Princess from my list, If I do another cruise to Alaska. (And I'd like to do another one someday)

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Anybody still here?
I am up late and freaking out because our ticket says we dine at 8 30, and have one formal night in our five day cruise. So, if we choose to dine in dining room, then we go at 8 30?? but we can eat at buffet if we want anytime? and will they pick the night of our formal? When do we find out what night? I will email or call the guy who booked it but can't help fretting tongiht. We have emergency shopping to do if we are pulling off this formal thing.

Claremore, OK

Sooooooooooooooooooooooo, what did your guy say?

If I remember right, there were different times you could eat. You might ask about the time thing.

I think the formal night hubby did the suit and tie. I had something glittery on and slinky pants. I saw the whole range of fashion statements. LOL However, I did not see anyone being arrested by the fashion police and deported back to the U.S.

Are you going with a group?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Still waiting for reply. Really I just need to know which night is the formal. I don't want to invest the $ and baggage if we are supposed to go forml on the night I planned us to be exploring the island to the fullest.
Thanks for the comments re the fashionstatements! LOL. My DD has some cute dresses I could wear but feel that above knee may look too girlish on me. I have dresses, just not 'cocktail' dresses!

Our group is our family plus two friends of DD She will have a blast

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

Oh dear - I was away on vacation so I didn't see this. They usually have the formal night on a day when you're out to sea, and if there isn't one of those they'll have it on a night when people have to be back fairly early. They like to have it on the day at sea so that people will make appointments to get there hair and nails done. More cash in the ships coffers that way.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Aha.
Yes our formal night was at sea, the day after the day we boarded so it was nice timing.

Our Royal Caribbean Bermuda cruise was awesome. After initial shock- w have never been on one before and rarely stay at exclusive hotels or eat at expensive restaurants- we adjusted and all had fun. The ship was spotlessly clean and well maintained. service was enthusiastic and unflinchingy friendly.
First timers--we asked for advice and got some but still were shellshocked by the huge mass of humanity when we all boarded.
My tip----everyone packed into the buffet as soon as they boarded and it ran out of space and plates. Just roam the ship another half hour or hour, or claim a deck lounge, and then eat when the crowd thins. This also happened the day we had to reboard at 1:30 pm.
Regarding dress code-- for formal night go as fancy as you like, most men went with sport coats dress shirt and tie. Many take advantage of formal night for portrait pictures. For other nights in the dining room at our assigned seating, you can really dress casual, even though it says pants required for men, shorts are OK. . One guy even wore a baseball cap. (Sheesh.)

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

This is all very timely information. We leave for our first cruise on 10/31. Thinking it will be especially interesting to be on the ship for Halloween. We have costumes all picked out. Haven't dressed up for Halloween in at least 20 years, but actually kind of excited about it.

We are going on Carnival to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Halloween should be a blast on a cruise ship!

Minneapolis, MN

Quote from shuggins :
This is all very timely information. We leave for our first cruise on 10/31. Thinking it will be especially interesting to be on the ship for Halloween. We have costumes all picked out. Haven't dressed up for Halloween in at least 20 years, but actually kind of excited about it.

We are going on Carnival to Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Cozumel.


Great time for a cruise. Have you been to these places before?




Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

I have been to Jamaica when I was a kid and Cozumel once when I was much younger. Now we are 13 days away and I can't wait!

Minneapolis, MN

Grand Cayman is lovely. I would recommend an island tour with a stop in Hell. Yes, I said Hell. Stingray City is interesting if you like that kind of thing. You actually feed and interact with them. In the water. My best friend is down there right now celebrating her anniversary with her hubby.

Cozumel has changed drastically from the scuba/snorkel haven it was. With several cruise ships in each day, the directors try to scare everyone into staying on the malecon (oceanfront road) and only shopping at their "approved" (and most often rip off) stores. The all-inclusive "beach clubs" get pretty crowded and you aren't exposed to the true island atmosphere. You can always rent a car or taxi and go to the east side of the island. There you can hop from spot to spot, have a drink or great lunches. Cheaper if you share a ride/rental.

There are still little restaurants on the plaza downtown. Ask about taxi fare before getting in. Stay out of Diamond Int'l., Columbian Emeralds, etc. It IS ok to go off the main drag and check out the little shops and cafes, etc. DO NOT RENT A SCOOTER. Too dangerous and easy to get into an accident there. Other than that, have a great time! I LOVE Cozumel.

www.cozumelinsider.com is a good starting point to discover things to do. Try American Tony Rome's Embassy Bar and Restaurant on Avenida 5 Sur between Calle Rosada Salas and Calle 3, 1 blocks south of the plaza. Telephone: 872-0131. You can get a free call home from his place and he's WIFI too.

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

I've only cruised on RC and, in general, I can't imagine it could be run better.

Some suggestions; book shore excursions through the ship. Yeah, booking stuff separately might save you a little money, but if a tour bus breaks down, the ship will wait for their own excursion group to return. The ship will not wait for 3rd party groups.

My wife won a coupla paintings just attending the art shows. Look for coupons too for that and other stuff on the boat. Enter any 'contest'/drawing.

If you want to snorkel, try NOT to do it in a group or from a boat.(in a group, other swimmers will kick off your mask - or you will kick their's off. the only time I got REALLY seasick, was snorkeling from a boat). Shore snorkeling at Cozumel is unparalleled.

Book for activities on-line. That way, something popular won't be sold out and you won't have to rush to the desk to sign-up.

Did you get a package with pre-paid gratuities? very convenient, but expect to be 'bugged' a little for the comment cards. That's how your staff gets their tips.

If you drink soft drinks, get the prepaid card. If you like an odd drink, take a few with you if you can spare the luggage space. Or, take some kool-aid, fizzies, or powdered tea type packets and mix in with water.

Personally, jamaica may be best enjoyed in one or 2 group excursions. We liked the fern gully/walkers wood tour. Dunno if they still have that. Expect to be pestered if you decide to walk around on your own. Buy some Blue Mountain coffee beans, maybe some dark Rum. Ask the ships guide for the best places to buy those. There IS fake blue mountain coffee and BMC blends - watch for that.

Chankanab park on Cozumel is awesome. Highly recommended.

If you even THINK you may be seasick, take some scopalamine patches with you. The ship will have - uh - Bonine I think. Just ask and it may be free. You can also buy it at the onboard store.

that's all I can think of at the moment.

have fun!


DOH! - just noticed how old the OP is! Oh, well, some of my suggestion are 'universal'.

This message was edited Oct 22, 2010 10:41 AM

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

Well, I am still thankful for your suggestions. I have purchased Bonine, but maybe I should get some patches. Getting seasick is my greatest fear.

For Grand Cayman - We are going the Stingray, Turtle Farm, trip to Hell excursion.
For Jamaica - We are doing a Margaritaville, Negril beach day.
For Cozumel - We are going to Excaret.

We book all of our excursions through Carnival because I wasn't taking any chances on getting left.

We are planning on doing the soda card.

So here is a question...when you get off the ship in the ports, do you take your passport with you? If not, do you take any kind of id?

We are taking our own masks and snorkels. We are also taking our waterproof camera to take underwater pictures as well as all the other pictures with no fear of getting it wet or in the sand.

Only 9 days until we leave and I am getting SOOOOOOO excited!!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I am pretty sure all we took off the ship was our room keycard. Taking your own snorkel is great, and underwater cameras is a fun novelty- works well

(Carey) Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

shuggins - you should only need your cruise card for disembarkation at each stop. You will be bombarded with information! Most crew-members are more than willing to help. They're all versed in the day-to-day operations for cruises and can answer just about any questions you may have.

We've cruised a couple of times with Royal Caribbean but DFIL is a cruise/travel agent so we're probably the most versed occasional cruisers ever. :)

For a lot of travel info for particular sailings, www.cruisecritic.com is the most informative site possible.

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

bumping this to supply a link to a graph showing effectiveness of motion sickness meds;

http://www.motionsickness.net/images/16article.gif

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

Thanks! I am taking every precaution...Have Bonine (since it is supposed to make you less drowsy than Dramamine), Accupressure wristbands, and going today to get a prescription for the patch. Can you tell I am concern..... Hopefully because I am very prepared, it won't be an issue.

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from shuggins :
Thanks! I am taking every precaution...Have Bonine (since it is supposed to make you less drowsy than Dramamine), Accupressure wristbands, and going today to get a prescription for the patch. Can you tell I am concern..... Hopefully because I am very prepared, it won't be an issue.


On the show Mythbusters, the magnetic bracelets were ineffective.

But, I think both testers reported ginger pills to be effective.


I really only had one or 2 brief 'flashes' of queasiness on the cruise ship. But smaller boats were definitely an issue in anything other than 'mostly' calm seas.

good luck!

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

I have been looking for the Ginger tablets, but haven't found them yet.

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

Unless there's a big storm out there you'll probably be fine with the Bonine. The big ships have great stabilizers. The only time I felt slightly sick was when Hurricane Bertha was stirring things up, years ago. I'd love to do another cruise next year.

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

Yeah, well believe it or not (I am still in shock), there is a new tropical storm headed for Jamaica and Grand Cayman on the exact days we are supposed to be there. They were making a big deal on the weather about how this is unprecedented for have a storm this large, this late in the season. Yeah, great. Always love being part of unprecedented events......?!?!?!?!

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from shuggins :
Yeah, well believe it or not (I am still in shock), there is a new tropical storm headed for Jamaica and Grand Cayman on the exact days we are supposed to be there. They were making a big deal on the weather about how this is unprecedented for have a storm this large, this late in the season. Yeah, great. Always love being part of unprecedented events......?!?!?!?!


[jimmybuffett]"you just can't reason with the hurricane season"[/jimmybuffett]

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

We leave today and so far Carnival isn't posting anything about the storm or our itinerary. Guess we will find out when we get on the ship. There are several different theories on what is going to happen on the various cruise boards.Only one that doesn't appeal to me is that we go to Cozumel and spend the other 6 days floating around the Gulf. Otherwise, whatever ports they choose to divert us to will be fine. Some have also said that we will only miss out on Jamaica, but still get to Grand Cayman. Others have even suggested that they might sub Belize for Jamaica. Guess this will be even more of an adventure than we originally thought.

(Carey) Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

shuggins - DFIL and DMIL were out in the Atlantic when the big storm went up the coast earlier this year. Their captain didn't change their itinerary one bit but did take them out an extra 400 miles to go around the storm. They got into port a couple of hours late and had some 'fun' with some 15' waves but not bad considering!

They'll evaluate the storm each day while you're at sea and make the decisions fairly early on the track. They may skip a port if they need to as they did with us a few years ago when the waves were just too strong to dock.

Good luck either way. Even if worse does come to worse, you'll have a fantastic time on board. They do plan for extra days at sea. If they can substitute stops, they will.

(Mary) Poway, CA(Zone 10a)

They did our itinerary backwards when we were dodging Bertha. It was still a great vacation.

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

WE'RE BACK! Got lucky and Tomas slowed and decreased in size. We went through all of our ports without any incident. We did have one night that the ship rocked pretty good, but it wasn't too bad (and had nothing to do with the hurricane). It was pretty cool in Cozumel, but don't know what brought that on. Actually, it was cooler in Cozumel than it was in Galveston when we got back. We had a really good time and no seasickness!

Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from shuggins :
WE'RE BACK! Got lucky and Tomas slowed and decreased in size. We went through all of our ports without any incident. We did have one night that the ship rocked pretty good, but it wasn't too bad (and had nothing to do with the hurricane). It was pretty cool in Cozumel, but don't know what brought that on. Actually, it was cooler in Cozumel than it was in Galveston when we got back. We had a really good time and no seasickness!



awesome!

any advice/thoughts? It might be helpful to the next person reading this thread.

(Carey) Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Glad it you had a great time! Did you eat enough for 10 people?

Houston, TX(Zone 9b)

Okay, here's my tips...Don't forget to bring basic first aid kit (and include a thermometer). DH started to feel feverish on Thursday and we ended up in the infirmary basically to get his temperature taken. Problem was after we confirmed he did have a fever, we didn't have any way to monitor it. Definitely bring a power strip because there was only one outlet in our room. Be sure to bring a lightweight jacket, even when you are sure you won't need one. Bring a backpack to carry your stuff when you go ashore. Even though we did not have to use them, I would recommend that at least on your first cruise, please consider bringing some type of seasickness meds. In our case, the patches are good for like 2 years, so we paid once and can take them on the next cruise (Yes, there will be a next one, probably next year with the kiddos). We bought the unlimited soda cards and I think they are worth it, if you drink sodas.

I am sure that I will think of some more tips and will be sure to add them. I spent lots of time trying to find the answers to my questions, so maybe these will help someone else.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

With the soda card, can you get a server to refill your drink that is walking around offering mixed drinks? Or do you take it to the bar? We didn't buy the soda card but then had to go to the drink station ourselves.You do get kind of tired of tea, water, and weak fruit punch/ lemonade

(Carey) Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

sally - our experience with the soda card was that you could walk up to anywhere that had beverages and they would provide the sodas. At mealtime, the servers took note of whatever you drink and would have it waiting for you at your table. Our last cruise was funny - DH drinks a lot of diet coke, and our server noticed this, so every mealtime there would be two glasses full to the brim and he'd have two put aside to bring immediately. lol!

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