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Old 02-20-2012, 12:14 PM   #451
Jennifer48
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I hope everyone in your house is feeling better!

We felt the same way regarding the intimate tables in Jiko. DH & I barely talked because we didn't want to feel like we were disrupting anyone's meal like they were to us.

What is with those grilled tomatoes everywhere?!
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:00 PM   #452
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We have missed you!!
Glad your back and we hope everyone is doing better!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:01 PM   #454
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tipping

I'm sure you will get to this in your TR...but what about tipping? On Disney you have the same serving team every night...but with all the choices it sounds like you wouldn't have the same serving team...so do you only tip the room steward? Just curious! Loving your report!
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:08 PM   #455
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Originally Posted by livingis2me View Post
Well, it's official... We put our deposit down for 9-22-13 on the Allure. Just can't wait to get back.... That will end up being two years in a row that we cruise the same date. ....assuming those Mayans are wrong.

Ron
Can't wait to do it again! Next time is a Western- to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Labadee (RCCL's private "island" on Haiti!).

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Originally Posted by MAGICFOR2 View Post


Me too! I keep waiting for DCL to do a Southern! I wonder why they don't


I know- and they used to back int he day (like 2006) My very (very) old Passporter had all of the Southern port info on it. BRING IT BACK DCL!

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Oh, no jet skis like Water World?
Ha ha! Now THAT would be interesting!

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I don't know - there were lots of little shipping containers and shops and Taxis right thereYay for booking!!!! Now you can start your spreadsheet!
Oh my gosh I haven't even started my Fantasy Spreadheet yet....I know, I know I may just have to turn in my Dis card. LOL.

In my defense though I've been waiting for the Fantasy to start sailing so I can get an idea of how things will shakedown onboard. Shows, Meets, Pirates, Rotations, all of that good stuff I have NO IDEA how it will go yet. And it is slowly killing me.


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Originally Posted by iloverags2 View Post
Yea! Savannah enjoyed the zip line...very cool! And the lunch she ate to "pack" on those pounds (um, looking at pictures it does not appear she packs on much though!) looks yummy. Who can go wrong with chocolate cake, right?
Never! (even though that particular cake was questionable. LOL. No she sure doesn't pack on the pounds. But I gained enough for both of us!

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I think it's time for an update Jen.

Ron
Yeah, yeah yeah I know. You can tell the story too ya know!

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Miss you! Please come back
I promise I won't abandon ship on you all! as soon as I think we're back on track around here something else comes up. BUT for now the seas are calm so ...

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Originally Posted by LoriABil View Post
The H2O Zone looks amazing! Can't wait to read more!
It really is so much fun!!! I admit i thinkt he donut pool might just be my favorite too!

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Originally Posted by iloverags2 View Post
Another great update! Sorry you haven't been feeling well...hope you are well on your way to feeling great now. Interested in hearing about the new camera!
Not 100% yet, but hanging in there. I go back to the Dr on March 7 and have to get a bunch of bloodwork and stuff done so hopefully I'll be back to my old self by then. I was just thinking today I haven't used a single day of vacation time since this cruise last Sept so I am starting to get really tired and burnt out at work. All the more reason to get lost in this TR, right?

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What a major disappointment as far as your dinner is concerned. I agree on those tables...too close for comfort (and how I felt eating in Le Cellier). At least dessert was good though, right? (A person can pretty much always count on chocolate!)
Oh yes, I wish we had realized it was going to be such an uncomfortable situation. I hated taking the pictures- but actually when the table to my left turned late in the meal, the lady who was seated there was taking pictures too and it was funny we had a short conversation about our food porn. I should have asked her if she was a Diser too! Haha!

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Love those comic menus in the Comedy Club! Seems like you ended the evening on a good note!
Oh yes, we did! It was a ton of fun!!

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Originally Posted by Jennifer48 View Post
I hope everyone in your house is feeling better!


Getting there, thanks!!

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We felt the same way regarding the intimate tables in Jiko. DH & I barely talked because we didn't want to feel like we were disrupting anyone's meal like they were to us.
Yes! Such a shame, since I think our meal- like yours- would have been so much better had the seats not been like that. We made sure to not be seated in the same type of situation the next night and it was so much better!!

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What is with those grilled tomatoes everywhere?!
I know!!! Too funny!!!!

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Originally Posted by Disney Family Lee's View Post
We have missed you!!
Glad your back and we hope everyone is doing better!!
Thanks so much, everyone else is good, I'm slowly getting better. I'm going to try to keep this ball rolling!

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Great updates. I love comedy shows!
Thanks, me too, it was so much fun! It is the most popular show onboard Allure and I know why!

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Originally Posted by DisneyZell View Post
I'm sure you will get to this in your TR...but what about tipping? On Disney you have the same serving team every night...but with all the choices it sounds like you wouldn't have the same serving team...so do you only tip the room steward? Just curious! Loving your report!
Excellent question! On Allure if you do traditional dining, you have the same servers each night, like on DCL. If you do MTD like we did, since you may not have the same servers, you are required to prepay tips prior to the cruise. The tip money is them distributed evenly to all of the MTD staff. In our experience on RCCL most of the time we had the same servers in MTD. You can certainly request to have the same serving team each night if you like. On this particular cruise we only had different servers one night and that was because we were late for our reservation but still in a hurry, so they seated us at the first open table, which happened to be in a different section. They are great about accommodating you.

Thanks so much for reading!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:16 PM   #456
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Originally Posted by nenner1 View Post
Excellent question! On Allure if you do traditional dining, you have the same servers each night, like on DCL. If you do MTD like we did, since you may not have the same servers, you are required to prepay tips prior to the cruise. The tip money is them distributed evenly to all of the MTD staff. In our experience on RCCL most of the time we had the same servers in MTD. You can certainly request to have the same serving team each night if you like. On this particular cruise we only had different servers one night and that was because we were late for our reservation but still in a hurry, so they seated us at the first open table, which happened to be in a different section. They are great about accommodating you.

Thanks so much for reading!!
good to know. thanks for the info!
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:57 PM   #457
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Capt. Alan's Wild Ride

Thursday September 22- Day 5- St. Maarten

Can you believe it’s already



I can’t!

We had already docked in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten when I awoke this morning. Initially skies were blue and it looked to be a gorgeous day in the islands:









There were a few dark rainclouds scattered here and there. Nothing too ominous. Here’s my breakfast on the balcony: a Pumpkin Spice Latte, yum yum!



Today we had booked a charter independently with Captain Alan (www.captainalan.com). We had read about the Three-island snorkeling tour on Cruise Critic on the St. Maarten port boards in 2009 and previously went on the same trip with him in 2010. Even though conditions weren’t great on that excursion, we had so much fun we decided we had to do it again. It is easy to book online through their website, and they even offer a clothes optional version of the trip for those of you who like to get a bit nekkid!

We had to meet near the pier at 8:15 AM so we had to hurry up. As soon as we stepped off the ship, we could see it was raining in a nice even strip along the boat. It wasn’t raining anywhere else but where we needed to walk. In fact I don’t even think it was raining up by the bow. The stern was getting pretty soaked though. It’s a big ship, you know. LOL.
The little shower didn’t hinder us at all. We were going to get wet anyway, right? (Oh boy, were we!)

We stopped for a quick mandatory picture at the sign. I was thinking maybe we should do this on the way back but now I’m so glad we didn’t. As it turns out, we didn’t have a working camera on the way back!!



Looking back at the private for-Allure-only rain shower:



We arrived right on time, and it turns out most of our group had assembled and we headed for the taxi to take us to the marina. The taxi ride to Oyster Pond took about 20 minutes. Once we arrived at the dock, we took care of a little bit of paperwork, paid the remaining balance, and got fitted for our gear. It was so much easier to do this here than on the boat!











Meanwhile Captain Alan got the boat ready for us. We were on the Awesome last time, but we would be on the smaller (and more powerful) scarab “La Bonne Vie” this time around (translation: the good life). This boat looked great, as it had a lot of bow seating and we discovered on the last trip that that’s where all the fun is! We would not be disappointed! We had to wait a short while for one more group to join us, in all it was three groups of folks, our family, a group of three gals from California that were a whole lot of fun, and another friendly, older family group from Allure.



When it was time to board the kids scurried right up to the front of the bow seats. There was plenty of room for all five of us plus the three girls up front. It was to be quite a ride!






It turns out there was a storm a brewing in the Caribbean. It wasn’t a serious one but it would evolve into Tropical Storm Ophelia. The disturbance was causing choppy seas (Alan said 5-7 ft. swells) so it made for quite a bouncy ride around the island. The kids- LOVED IT! And so did everyone else!





Sarah called it a roller coaster boat ride, and she pretty much nailed it with that description. The most fun I’d pretty much had anywhere. It was thrilling!

Here’s some video of Captain Alan’s Wild Ride!

(Video- click picture below to play)



And what Sarah thought about it:

(Video- click picture below to play)




The pictures really don’t do the waves justice, but I didn’t want to have my camera out during the really high waves since it isn’t a waterproof camera, and we were getting splashed pretty good up there. I kept it rolled up in my towel, in a death grip when we weren’t going slow enough to have it out.



We rode all the way around the north side of the island to Creole Rock, where there is a spectacular reef with amazing snorkeling!



Ready to go!!!



I took Sarah so Ron could go on the little tour with Alan. He showed everybody the great spots to snorkel at and the gorgeous sea life. Ron said it was right up there with the barrier reef at Cayman Islands as the best snorkeling he’d ever seen!





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Last edited by nenner1; 02-22-2012 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:00 PM   #458
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Capt. Alan's Wild Ride (Part 2)



Meanwhile, the two other kids cruised around and I dealt with Sarah. She got in the water briefly but got cold (it was still overcast out and a bit windy) and wanted to get back in the boat. I was so thankful that one lady from the other family group had stayed on; I would not have been able to get Sarah back onboard without her help! She was so nice, but didn’t speak English much so we couldn’t have much of a conversation. I tried, LOL, but I only had 2 years of Spanish. Haha!



The island of Anguilla in the distance. Both Anguilla and St. Barths are close enough for a day trip.



Back on our side of the pond:











Before too long, everyone made their way back to the boat and we headed to the next stop, which is absolute favorite beach of all time, anywhere ever: Happy Bay Beach.





We had been here before on our last Capt Alan’s trip. It is just beautiful. It is secluded and rustic, and being on the French side, beachgoers tend to let it all hang out. We’d explained to the kids before about nude beaches and they thankfully acted mature and ignored the few nudists that were out this day. Generally our experience has been that when they see kids approach, the nude sunbathers will cover up or turn over. With the exception of one guy who was strutting his stuff, it was completely a non-event.

Even on an overcast day, just beautiful!







On Happy Bay Beach is where the mud bath is held, a tradition with Capt. Alan’s trips- it started on the island of Tintamarre- which is now a protected nature preserve. The special mix of minerals is great to slather on your skin and hair and let dry it really does noticeably exfoliate a bit, leaving your skin smooth and silky. Legend is it will give you 10 extra years to live… not sure about that one but it’s worth the shot, right?

Captain Alan shows us the mineral mud prior to mixing it and explains how to apply it:









Everyone had fun playing in the mud!












As if on cue, the sun came out just in time to dry us up like mummies!





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Old 02-22-2012, 06:04 PM   #459
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Capt. Alan's Wild Ride (Part 3)



After applying the mud, we all relaxed on the beach for awhile. Ron and Sarah built a nice sand castle, complete with windows, stairs, and a slide (as all good sand castles must have!).

It’s just paradise!

The sand castle video:

(Click to play)












All too soon, it was time to rinse off the mud and make our way back on the boat. We still had one more snorkeling and one more island stop to go!
Capt. Alan rigged up a little rope for the kids to grab, as the waves were so big they were having trouble holding on. This helped a lot!



I believe this is Grand Case:



Our next snorkeling spot was a little reef close to the main island. It’s hard to tell from the map, but I believe it may have been Anse Marcel. Ron let me go first this time since I got so little snorkeling time at Creole Rock. I thought it was just amazing! The reef is just gorgeous. Tropical fish everywhere corals, amazing colors. Fantastic. After a bit I went back so Ron could get in. He said this reef was not as amazing as Creole Rock, boy I sure thought it was pretty great though!!








Meanwhile, back on the boat this kids enjoyed their little snack: Be advised that his website states just that: “little” snack, and he isn’t kidding, it’s basically just a pack of crackers. We didn’t really care though! (There is also an open cooler filled with sodas, water and beer!)



Something’s burning up there….



We were shortly on our way to our third and final stop, Pinel Island. This used to be an old French penal colony. Really? Someone please tell me what I have to do to go be punished here!









The resort on the island was closed, due to it being off-season. Even though it was totally closed and abandoned, no doors or locks, just a sign that said “Respect My Place” Awesome.







Looking back towards Cul De-Sac/Orient Bay.



What a gorgeous place!!!






Of course Pinel Island was the calm before the storm, so to speak. As we headed back towards Oyster pond, the seas were rougher than before. More watercraft were out, causing us to encounter some large wakes. We were having a blast plowing into these HUGE waves, the airtime was amazing. What a thrill!!!

But before long we hit a wave that took even Capt. Alan by surprise! We plowed right into a gigantic swell, and the wave crashed right over the bow, washing those of us sitting up there right off of our seats! It was like a real life tidal wave! It was super fun, until I realized I still had my camera in my lap, wrapped up in my now completely drenched RCCL towel! OMG!

Oopsie. It was my own fault; he had warned us we should put anything that shouldn’t get wet underneath in the cabin. We weren’t the only ones to lose a camera, though, the group of ladies from Cali also had theirs with them, and it was soaked now too! Neither of our cameras would turn on now.
The last picture taken with my Canon Powershot S3 IS, may it rest in pieces…



Since there wasn’t anything we could do about our cameras, it was back up into the bow to enjoy the rest of the exhilarating ride back! It was just so awesome I can’t put it into words! And we were laughing hysterically at the huge pool of water at the back of the boat that had been washed aboard with the wave. Swimming around in it was soda cans, snorkeling equipment, sunglasses, sunscreen containers and other debris. It was freakin’ hilarious!!! And of course Alan, who has a great sense of humor, was loving it as much as we were!

We were so bummed to see this half day trip come to an end. Truly, the best excursion evaaah. Can’t recommend Capt. Alan’s enough. Try it, you won’t be sorry! (Waterproof cameras only. Seriously.)

So after bring dropped back at the Marina, we all piled back in the van to head back to the port area. The three girls got their camera to turn back on but ours was pretty unresponsive. I guess we would be going camera shopping once we got back into town.

One thing that sucked was all of our towels got drenched so we were carrying a 40 pound bag of wet towels around, hindering our shopping. Plus we were dropped in the area right by the port- not the main shopping area of Phillipsburg. If we wanted to go into “town” so to speak we’d all have to ride the water taxi, and lugging six wet…dripping, completely soaked towels would not be fun. So we stuck to the little shopping area right where we were- it had one…one electronics and camera store.

We didn’t have a lot of cash, and although we had a backup credit card, of course, we didn’t want to use it unless absolutely necessary. I am the type that likes to do a lot of research before buying anything electronic and especially cameras, so I felt uncomfortable having to shop uninformed. Even though I was wanting to buy a DSLR anyway we didn’t even entertain the thought of such a large purchase at this time. Instead we just wanted to grab a cheap point & shoot to get us through the rest of the cruise. Of course when I asked the price of one Canon model I was looking at, it was nearly $300- for a P&S!! Ack! I told the guy I was hoping for something under $100. He looked at me like I was crazy. LOL.

So Ron and I began discussing if we should just pick up a camera onboard the ship, and lo and behold the salesman told me they did have one $99 deal- for a Nikon Coolpix S3100, with a case and a 2 GB memory card. Sold.

I was afraid we’d just been had really bad and imagined that we’d just bought a $39 camera for $100 but when we checked the prices back home -although it is an older model- the prices were actually comparable. So…we kind of really did get a deal. And it turns out the cameras in the shop onboard were all over $250, so we were really happy about our purchase in the end.

Back onboard, we headed to Park Café for some lunch. All I had was my flip video cam since the new camera had to charge. So here’s our lunch!!!
(Video- click picture below to play)



Up Next: Giovanni And His Table
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:37 PM   #460
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Wow! Captain Alan's sounds incredible! I will definitely look this one up when we go on an Eastern cruise.

So sorry about your camera...thank goodness you were able to get a good deal before heading back onboard.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:22 PM   #461
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Wow!!! Awesome day!
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #462
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Wow St. Maarten looks beautiful! Good job on the sandcastle Sarah!
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:28 PM   #463
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Don't be too sad about our camera... It came back from the dead a few weeks later. The lens doesn't run as smooth as it once did, but it still takes good photos. That still didn't stop us from using a big chunk of our tax return this year on Jen's new toy.

Can't wait to do Capt Alan's again!!! I'm pretty sure we'll do it on this year's cruise.

Ron
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:12 AM   #464
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Can't wait to do it again! Next time is a Western- to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Labadee (RCCL's private "island" on Haiti!).

Loved that itinerary! Jamaica was everything I hoped it would be, and Cozumel was fantastic!

Oh my gosh I haven't even started my Fantasy Spreadheet yet....I know, I know I may just have to turn in my Dis card. LOL.

In my defense though I've been waiting for the Fantasy to start sailing so I can get an idea of how things will shakedown onboard. Shows, Meets, Pirates, Rotations, all of that good stuff I have NO IDEA how it will go yet. And it is slowly killing me.

Well, not too long to sail date for Fantasy - then your questions will be answered!
It was great to see Savannah finally got her Zip on, and that she enjoyed it so much!

Love to see little Sarah golfing.

Too bad Chops didn't blow you away. That's how we felt about our Palo dinner. We felt like quality-wise we could do just as well in the DR, and they don't even offer filet anymore - tenderloin was the "prime cut" and you can get that on the regular menu. I still want to try the brunch, but Jim wants to skip Palo next time.

The comedy looks good! The Phil Tag video made me LOL! -

I see you've posted another update, so I'm off to read that one! Wow - when you update, you are serious!!!
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:22 AM   #465
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WOW nenner1! I can't believe your thread is still going!

We've come and gone on our Thanksgiving Oasis cruise a looooong time ago!

About a month ago we decided to book a cruise for our Spring Break week this March from the university we work at. We've already done the Oasis so it was between 7 nights on the Allure (we live very close to the Fort Lauderdale port), or 5 nights on the Dream with a double dip to Castaway Cay.

We only looked at inside cabins and the Allure was actually about $200 less than the Dream (virtual porthole!). Soooooooo, we decided on the Dream, with 2 nights prior at Pop Century with our APs. It was a big decision, but after some disappointing things on the Oasis I could not talk my dh into the Allure. Maybe next time, I'd love to to both of the big ones.

We've been on the Dream before but it was only for 3 nights and that was not enough time. So I am looking forward to this one on the Dream for 5 nights. We have the Fantasy (7 nights!) booked for next Thanksgiving!
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