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The Cruise Ship and Cruise Line Discussion Thread!

P. 131: "Margaritaville at Sea" cruise line announced

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My family is thinking about taking a cruise on Freedom of the Seas this fall. We've been on two Carnival cruises and one Princess cruise, so cruising is not a new thing for my family. What I want to know is if there's anything that makes cruising on RCCL any different or better from the other lines. Any information from past Freedom cruisers would be great!

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^ Yes, I think we will try the Freedom. My only worries about it are the waits at embarkation and tendering. And I would like to know if there's any 24 hour restaurants, like a midnight buffet or pizzeria. Either way, it looks better than the Carnival Dream. We read terrible reviews about that one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since I'm going on my cruise in two days, does anybody know the state of wifi aboard the older Carnival ships?

 

- I know it costs money to use the wireless, but what about using the terminals in the Internet cafe?

- How fast is the connection? Fast? Slow? Average?

 

I'll also be stopping in Nassau and Freeport... Are there any must-do activities that I can't miss?

 

Thanks

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^^Yes go on Freedom!! I went on Freedom of the Seas when I was about your age and was blown away! The Aqua Zone was one of my favorite places to hangout for the day My friend also went on the Freedom of the Seas during Spring Break '10 and had a blast!

 

As far as 24 Cafe or Pizzeria, I wasn't awake during those hours so I couldn't tell you! I know one night there is a midnight buffet type thing where they have a bunch or ice sculptures & things (at least when I went).

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  • 1 month later...

I'm so glad I found this thread! We're planning our first cruise with a US/IOA and RCCL package the last week of October. If we decide to do it, we would be on the RCCL Monarch of the Seas, which is like the oldest ship of their fleet. Anyone have any experience on that ship? (We were originally trying to get on the Freedom of the Seas, but the timing just didn't work out for that itinerary). Our only ports of call would be Coco Cay and Nassau. I've read the previous posts about Nassau and Atlantis, but I still have some questions.

 

1) Besides booking a hotel room at Atlantis or the neighbouring hotels, is there ANY way to get into the waterpark for cheaper than $110?!?! Gosh, that is so rediculous! Like, can I sit through a timeshare presentation or something for comps??? Sacrifice my first born, perhaps?

 

2) Does it cost to get into the casino, and are the drinks free like in Vegas?

 

3) Am I wrong, or is there basically nothing to do in Coco Cay but beach and water activities?

 

Also, I've never been on a cruise, so I'm not sure about the following things. When we're on the ship, I understand that the main meals are free, and alcoholic drinks cost extra.

 

A) If I'm sitting by the pool on the ship in the afternoon and get hungry for like, a slice of pizza or an ice cream, is there someplace to get that, and is that also included in the price?

 

B) What are the drink prices like? Is it like airport prices, or more reasonable?

 

Despite being like the oldest ship and the lamest ports, I'm still excited for the experience, AND we will be at Universal for HHN over Halloween! Thanks anyone for your help!

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I'm so glad I found this thread! We're planning our first cruise with a US/IOA and RCCL package the last week of October. If we decide to do it, we would be on the RCCL Monarch of the Seas, which is like the oldest ship of their fleet. Anyone have any experience on that ship? (We were originally trying to get on the Freedom of the Seas, but the timing just didn't work out for that itinerary). Our only ports of call would be Coco Cay and Nassau. I've read the previous posts about Nassau and Atlantis, but I still have some questions.

 

I haven't been on Monarch itself, but I have been on some of its sister ships and to Nassau about 100 times so please ask any extra questions you have as well.

 

1) Besides booking a hotel room at Atlantis or the neighbouring hotels, is there ANY way to get into the waterpark for cheaper than $110?!?! Gosh, that is so rediculous! Like, can I sit through a timeshare presentation or something for comps??? Sacrifice my first born, perhaps?

 

Sorry to break it to you, but.... No. The only option (and with a family it isn't going to be very likely) is to try and sneak past the security guards guarding every entrance. Unless you *really* are impressed with waterparks I don't think Atlantis is worth it at all.

 

2) Does it cost to get into the casino, and are the drinks free like in Vegas?

No and No. There are actually a decent amount of free areas to walk around in Atlantis. Restaurants, shops, main lobby, etc. The casino is not vegas size but pretty decent although the slots were pretty crappy the last time I tried them. Drinks are not going to be free unless you are dropping some decent cash on table games. Food and drinks in Atlantis are RIDICULOUSLY expensive compared to ..well .. really anywhere else on the planet. A simple, crappy turkey sandwich and soda will be in the $17-$18 dollar range. Plan to eat anywhere else but there.

 

3) Am I wrong, or is there basically nothing to do in Coco Cay but beach and water activities?

There are organized beach activities, DJ, Food,etc...but that is pretty much it. It's one of the smaller private islands but it is pretty well maintained and has a decent beach area. Get off, go explore and if you get bored come back and enjoy your deserted ship.

 

Also, I've never been on a cruise, so I'm not sure about the following things. When we're on the ship, I understand that the main meals are free, and alcoholic drinks cost extra.

A) If I'm sitting by the pool on the ship in the afternoon and get hungry for like, a slice of pizza or an ice cream, is there someplace to get that, and is that also included in the price?

Yup! Windjammer buffet is right near the pool and will have various food options throughout the day. You can eat it there or bring it back to your pool lounge chair. There is also 24 hour a day room service which is free (there is a small late night service fee if you want a 3am burger).

 

B) What are the drink prices like? Is it like airport prices, or more reasonable?

A bit more reasonable.. Drink of the day will run you between $5 and $6 as will basic well drinks. Call drinks will be in the $7-8 range and cheap beers and wines in the $5-6. Super premiums of all sorts are also available along with drink specials (buckets of beers, discount martini nights, etc). If you are a soda drinker you should get a soda card which will include unlimited soda at all bars and restaurants for the duration of your cruise. You break even at about 2.5 sodas a day.

 

Despite being like the oldest ship and the lamest ports, I'm still excited for the experience, AND we will be at Universal for HHN over Halloween! Thanks anyone for your help!

 

This will be a great intro cruise for you to get hooked on. Then you can try some of the bigger and better ships out there in the future. I'm sure you will have fun!

Edited by disneyfan1313
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Latest Cruise Line Expansion News:

 

- Princess has ordered two new, large ships of a new class and design. The newly named Royal Princess and Regal Princess will be the line's largest ships yet at over 140,000 tons, despite their 25,000 ton difference, the new ships will only carry a few hundred more passengers than the line's Caribbean/Gem variants of the Grand-class ships, which should result in a very high Passenger/Space Ratio.

 

- Royal Caribbean has no new ships beyond Allure of the Seas on order, instead they plan on investing in their current fleet (and no doubt pay down some of the 'Genesis' debt they have accumulated). RCI does have an option for a fourth Freedom class vessel, but nothing new to report there.

 

- Celebrity has named Solstice 4 Celebrity Silhouette. Solstice 5 will begin construction soon, rumors abound that X will accept the option for two more Solstice class ships, which would bring the total to 7.

 

- Carnival has announced it's newest ship Carnival Magic will begin her life in the Med briefly before crossing the pond and taking up shop at her new home port of Galveston, TX. They have also announced the name for the third Dream class ship: Carnival Breeze.

 

- Rumors are circulating around the industry that Norwegian Cruise Line is set to sign a letter of intent with Germany's Meyer-Werft for the construction of two new sister ships of a new lineage for the line with an option for a third vessel should it be exercised. These vessels will NOT be clones of Norwegian Epic, but more of an expanded variation of their Jewel Class ships with Epic touches.

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Has anyone ever been on the Ectasy ? It's a Carnival ship. I was on a Royal Caribbean ship directly behind it following it out of port when

this happened.. pretty freaky..

 

http://www.nytimes.com/1998/07/21/us/cruise-ship-catches-fire-60-people-are-hurt.html

 

 

It pretty much comes down to...

If with family - Disney

If with Date/Wife - Royal Caribbean/Princess/other expensive option

If trying to tag random ass - Carnival

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^ Ironically my folks were on that same Royal Caribbean ship when this happened, everyone called me to see what was going on and I had to assure everyone my folks were on the Royal Caribbean ship and not the Carnival. But in other news, we booked my 25th Birthday cruise on Oasis of the Seas in 2012, I'm so excited!!!

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....

This will be a great intro cruise for you to get hooked on. Then you can try some of the bigger and better ships out there in the future. I'm sure you will have fun!

 

Dude, thanks so much for all your insight! I thought of a few more questions for you, (or anyone else who cares to answer).

 

1) Dinner times. We will want to see the musical shows every night, so how does that work with dinner? I've read about assigned dinner times, and that we will be put at a table with strangers. I would rather we just sat alone (2 of us) and how can I be sure to get to the shows if they assign us a late dinner time?

 

2) When we're on Coco Kay, are the restaurants/BBQ on the island also included in the price?

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1) Dinner times. We will want to see the musical shows every night, so how does that work with dinner? I've read about assigned dinner times, and that we will be put at a table with strangers. I would rather we just sat alone (2 of us) and how can I be sure to get to the shows if they assign us a late dinner time?

 

The show times work perfectly with dinner! You will have either an early or a late dinner seating which will pair with an early or late show time. My wife and I like to eat by ourselves as well and it is almost never an issue. You will get a guide when you check in that will list the place to go on the ship to make dining changes (usually you meet with the head waiter at one of the restaurants). GET THERE EARLY (you can usually get on this ship as early as noon) and it shouldn't be an issue... just explain you want a table for two. The head waiters do work off of tips as well so if they start to say that "The ship is full and they don't know if it is possible", I promise that if you slip them $10 or $15 they will make it happen. A simple request has always done the trick for me however. If you are not a fan of the main dining room food (or if you want 2nd dinner one night) you can hit up the buffet, room service or the upcharge restaurant (Sorrento's - good Italian).

 

2) When we're on Coco Kay, are the restaurants/BBQ on the island also included in the price?

Yes! It is limited food service (burgers, chicken, hot dogs, salads, etc) but usually pretty yummy. There will also be at least one place on the ship open as well if it isn't what you are in the mood for.

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OK, We're booked and I'm psyched! Now I have another question for anyone interested:

 

1) I usually have a bottle of water with me at all times that I just fill up at taps along the way. Can you drink the tap water in Nassau and on Coco Cay? If not, is the bottled water package offered by the ship (approx $28 for 8 bottles plus 15% gratuity) the best option, or is it better to just buy bottles on land?

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^Bring a few bottles with you and then fill them with the sink in your room before going ashore. If you run out of bottles you can always just buy one on the ship. I don't see a need to buy the whole package. Also they are ALWAYS selling bottled water just before you get off of the ship in case you forget while going ashore to bring your bottle.

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Somebody posted this on my facebook this morning, and I thought it was entertaining, and relevant:

 

Pacific Sun Cruise liner in very heavy seas:

 

 

...This message brought to you by the Department of Intelligent Cruise Knowledge or DICK for short....

 

That video was pretty incredible and entertaining. In the interest of getting more people to cruise, I'd like to share these facts... The ship in this video is 23 years old and was decommisioned from the American market a number of years ago.. Its about half the size of an "average cruise ship" and a third of the size of the newest and biggest ships. It doesn't have modern stabilizers and pods....This type of ship is the 8-track of the cruise industry... So, to make a long story short, this will not happen to you if you ever go on a cruise on a modern ship (or you can pm me for a full refund).

 

 

Chris "But it's still an awesome effing video" Connolly

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What amazes me about the video is:

 

at :47 the person getting knocked into the pole in the back ground.

 

at 1:07, the guy who seems to be attached to whatever that thing is (kind of looks like a piano) and gets dragged with it, almost slapstick style!

 

--Robb

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^You'll be fine, don't worry. Your ship isn't even going that far from land, so barring any evasive maneuvers around hurricanes you won't have any sort of rough seas.

 

Also, don't be freaked out by the lack of stabilizers. Even ships that have them don't use them all the time (costs money!). I've cruised across the Atlantic ocean with no stabilizers! If you're worried about getting sea sick, best to bring some non-drowsy Dramamine and take it the second you think you might be feeling ill or it will be too late.

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Hi mrmorgan... You've asked a bunch of great questions and planned a good trip. You will have an awesome time..Cruising is the ultimate vacation ( except for tpr trips of course) . Don't worry too much about the details.

Edited by Chroniq
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Interesting article that I thought I would share about some of the top new technology for RCCL. To me it will be interesting to see what they could do with this technology in the future. Things like the shape recognition cameras could be used not only for restaurants but also to see what the waits were for tenders to go to shore, etc. Cool stuff!

 

 

5 Ways Royal Caribbean's CIO Taps Emerging Tech

 

(Information Week) – Royal Caribbean International CIO Bill Martin is feeling the demand for new IT projects. The company launched the biggest cruise ship ever built late last year, with plans for more new ships this year and next. As up to 5,400 guests roll on board the Oasis of the Seas, they bring ever-rising expectations for technology, and the cruise line also relies on IT to serve that mass of vacation-loving humanity. As Royal Caribbean ramps up those projects, here are a few emerging technologies Martin has bet on, technologies facing the real-world test right from Royal Caribbean guests.

 

Facial Recognition Software – When guests check in to Oasis of the Seas, at one of 90 check-in points, a staff member shoots a high-resolution photo, which is sent to the ship and linked with a passenger’s stateroom key. That picture is then in the security system, but also merchandise systems such as the point of sale system. When the ship photographer shoots action shots, they're dropped into a personalized photo tower, based on the facial recognition software, for guests to buy or ignore. Guests can access photos at kiosks, or from their rooms interactive TVs. The facial recognition software isn’t perfect, but "it's north of 90% accurate," Martin says.

Shape Recognition Cameras – Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship ever launched, and one of the company's guiding principles is zero tolerance for lines, Martin says. So at each of the 24 restaurants on the ship, shape-recognition cameras count the number of people seated and if any are waiting. That would be mildly interesting data if it were used to do post-cruise reports and study how effectively they’re hitting "no line" compliance. But it gets really valuable thanks to …

Interactive Media – That data on restaurant crowds gets sent in real-time, in the form of red-yellow-green signals, to 300 digital signs around the ship, so that people can self-select the least-crowded venues. "The subtle impact is you never run into a line because as soon as we start to get full we're indicating that to everyone on board, that maybe this isn't the [restaurant] you want to go to," Martin says. More than 40 touchscreens also offer interactive mapping, something like a Google Maps for the ship, to help people find their way around. And they're using interactive TV for steps such as access to photos, to schedule activities, and for the company to send customized offers. Hotels have had lukewarm use of interactive TV, Martin says, but on the ship people often have seven days or more to get used to it, so the uptake has been good.

Wireless Everywhere – What's new about Wi-Fi? Nothing – except how effectively you use it. Many companies have Wi-Fi in their businesses but haven't done anything more than allow Web access for staff or visitors. Guests on Oasis of the Seas, for example, can outfit their children with a wristband that sends a signal to one of 900 wireless access points on the ship, which connects to an iPhone app that shows parents where their kids are, by displaying a blip on a diagram of the ship. The specially equipped iPhones are for rent during cruises. Wi-Fi is also making staff more mobile. Guests need a waiver to ride the surfing simulator, skate on the ice rink, climb the rock walls, or use the zipline that runs several stories above the deck. Those waivers all used to be on paper. Now sports staff give people a wireless tablet, they swipe their guest key, and can sign waivers for any of the activities they plan. Some point of sale terminals are wireless. And the maintenance staff are dispatched using Wi-Fi connected handhelds, so they log fewer miles going back-and-forth to a central dispatch point, and get to problems sooner on the massive ship.

Real-Time Analysis – Using data to drive new products and growth is the single biggest opportunity in front of IT leaders. For Martin and his team, this is far from the same old, reactive report generation cycle; it's a real-time opportunity to drive revenue while a cruise is underway. Royal Caribbean has more real-time data than ever before because every point of sale terminal and booking system is networked, so analysts can know what’s selling well, what services are being under-used, plus the demographics of who’s on board. Analysts onshore have started crunching that data while the cruise is sailing. Combine that with the interactive media on the ships, and Royal Caribbean has a chance to put customized offers in front of people, say for a particular type of spa treatment that has more openings than usual, to a person most likely to want such a treatment, delivered direct to their interactive TV.

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