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Old 10-23-2011, 02:19 PM   #181
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Rita's definitely sounds like a great deal for the drinks alone! Nice they give you to-go drinks if you do not use up your allotment during dinner. What a cool way to start off your cruise!
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:15 PM   #182
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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.......
Yes, I think LOS and FOS are the same ship, like Magic and Wonder.

1. Hmmm, top of my list would be the food,. It was horrible. You know it's bad when your favorite meal is the little sandwiches in the coffee shop. Others on our cruise, even the most positive ones, felt the same way. Maybre it was a fluke, or they gave Arbonne a great deal and then cut back on our food - although 1/3 of the ship was non-Arbonne

There was no food available at the pools - you had to go inside to the buffet. The ice cream was free, but only open during limited times - we had a hard time finding it when we wanted it.

There was a $4.50 cover charge to walk through the doors at Johnny Rocket's so we could PAY for an ice cream sunday there, after the cover charge.

2. 2nd would be how they nickle and dime you. The cooking class on LOS - $140 pp. This did come with an apron, however. The cooking class on DCL is free and they gave you free wine to go with it. Yes, there are "free" beverages, but they are hard to find. The free beverages are watered down tea and lemonade, although you could get some decent coffee and tea in the coffee shop. The "soda card" isn't a bad idea, if you think you will be drinking enough soda. We just didn't think we would. Orange juice is $3.99 per glass at breakfast, unless you want watered down tang stuff. If you want juice, you have to have a "juice card." One time, they actually came around and served us bonafied Kool-aid at the buffet - Strawberry kiwi - are you kidding me?

You are not allowed to bring any drinks of any kind with you, although I know some people did do it and didn't have a problem.

No self serve laundry available - for us it was no big deal, we just had some things laundered, but with a whole family, this could get really spendy.

3. The activities - like trivia games, etc. They were held in bars, and it would last about 10 min. - just enough time for them to take your drink order and move you to the next bar for the next activity. It didn't feel like they were truly there for you to have a good time, just to sell drinks. They are pretty in your face about getting as much of your money as they can.

We did enjoy the Kareoke nights, though. - That entertainment was provided by the guests!

If you are into partying and gambling, I guess there is probably more to do - we are just a little boring, and enjoy the shows and trivia games more than the a smokey casino and loud head banger music. It just seemed like everything was for the early twentiers or the senior citizens.

The sports bar only played soccer games, and the sports trivia game was a room full of American men and the questions were about European soccer. we pointed this out to the CM, and she just smiled and kept asking - so Jim got up and left.


4. The service - other than our room steward, we were very disappointed with the service. We are nice people and good tippers, so I don't think it was personal - we even took showers!

We had questions about the "day stay" program and ride to the airport, and we could not get an answer - we were put on a bus to Miami when we needed to be in Ft. Lauderdale - no one knew what was going on, and would not reimburse us when they got it wrong - cost us an extra $115 at the end of the trip. It was hard to find a CM in customrer service who spoke enough English to help us.

If you wanted to re-book, there was never anyone even in the cruise booking office at all. It was located in the coffee shop area, where Jim's cookies were, so we were there alot.

5. The entertainment - With the exception of the Ice Capades, I thought the entertainment was cheesy and boring. Now that they have Shrek, it might be better - Jen's video looks good!

6. The SMOKE They had indoor smoking areas right in the middle of the ship - right where you needed to walk to get from place to place. Not appreciated - even the pub in the Promenade looked like a fun place to go, but we didn't feel we could take that much smoke.

7. The excursion guides - it was a very confusing, very chaotic process, with no communication about what to expect. On DCL, I just felt like they took better care of us. We did just as well on our own in Jamaica with getting around.

8. The fun factor when things change. We were delayed in getting of at Grand Cayman due to a hurricane, so alot of us didn't get off the ship. They didn't adjust for that at all. We had a hard time finding a bar open by the adult pool and it was hard to find crew members to help with things - they blamed us because they "didn't expect so many to stay onboard." Hello. You know Disney would have come up with a plan!
*******************
Okay what we DID like:

1, The cabin!!! It was beautiful and comfortable with lots of storage!! We had a King sized bed situated right by the balcony, so you could wake up and look right at the ocean from the bed!

2. The Ice show was amazing! Great talent, and pretty impressive.

3. Having an ice rink there was fun- we just didin't seem to have the time or energy at the limited times they offered skating. Our fault, I think.

4. The itinerary - we loved, loved, loved jamaica and Cozumel! I have heard great things about Grand Caymen, too. I think Labadee is great - you just can't expect CC for sure. Oh, that food was better than Cookie's BBQ, I thought.

5. The Promenade - it was cool to have a Mall in the middle of the ship, the shops were fun, there was always something going on there, and the parades were really fun!

6. Starbucks - it was great to be able to get really good coffee drinks - however it was a premium price.

7. The Cantelevered(?) hot tubs. Very cool and very big! The adult pool area was nice too.

My TR is still in my siggie, if you want to see it - Overall, we had fun, and it was a free trip, (almost) so we didn't want to complain. But as Jim said, if he's paying he would want it to be Disney. We really tried not to compare, but I think you just have to know going in that you saved money up front, but you will def be spending more of it onboard.

I don't want to ruin your excitement - this could have just been a matter of taste, or the fact that we spent alot of our time waiting around for my teammates, who have different touring styles than us. I am willing to try again sometime with just us, but it will probably be a different cruise line.

I'm sure the McSparkelsons are more fun than us, so you 'll make it fun whereever you go - and there is the flowrider, which we felt too old to try, but you go girl!
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:03 PM   #183
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Rita's! How fun! I wish they had one on the Oasis. But, I would die if they picked me (or dh ) for the dancing!
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:44 AM   #184
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Rita's looks so fun! I love that when everyone went out to the Boardwalk to dance your DH brought his drinky-drink with him. That's great! I wonder if we could get by doing only 1 of us a drinky-dinner, the other 3 unleaded drinkies, then Tracey & I sip off the 'ritas together. We so rarely drink. If they mix them strong I don't think either of us would drink past 1 much less 3.

Lovin' it! Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:24 PM   #185
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I have to say, in the great RCI/DCL debate, that even though we had a great vacation on RCI, we all agreed the DCL cruises we took on the Magic were really, really better. My kids had fun because of other kids- not at ALL because of any kids club employees, who were fairly scarce. If we had been cruising without as many kids onboard, they would have been bored. They said so- and they said flat out that Disney was waaaaay better. There was not alot for them to do once they got past the rockwall, ice skating and playing mini-golf a few times. As far as food, some was good, a couple of things were great, but most were just eh. Pods thought DCL food was better, for sure. We REALLY missed the food by the pool- the kids didn't like that either. We liked Portofino's better than Palo, though. And we really liked those little sammies in the PC! I would definitely cruise RCI again in the future- in fact we plan to go on whatever ship is in Cape Liberty the summer of 2013- but we are hoping Timmy will be ok with it because he will be older (14) by then. The service we received in all other areas of the ship was equal to Disney's service- I could not have loved our servers and cabin steward any more than we did- they were beyond fantastic. But I think the Explorer is known for having the friendliest RCI crew, so maybe that was why. But I have to say, ITA with everyone- those Fantasy prices are just too much- they, I think, have pushed the envelope a little too far....

Anyway...Jen, I LOVEd watching your family on the sailaway, that was SO COOL!! And Rita's looked like a blast- Sav did a great job dancing as usual, and I would have paid cash money to see Ron up there, it must have been a riot!!
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:29 PM   #186
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More, please.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:58 PM   #187
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Please come back! I have been comparing '13 eastern carib cruises and the price difference for an ocean view on DCL vs. RCI is running between $1k - $1.5k. I know everyone says that RCI "nickels & dimes" you but how much would you say you spent on the things you wouldn't have spent on DCL? Also, is the quality of experience really worth the difference in price? I know its subjective but I have will be 8 year olds, they've cruised once on a 3day Carnival and loved it (easy standards), so I am struggling with the idea that the "magic" is worth $1500. Kwim? Very interested in hearing your thoughts!

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Old 10-26-2011, 04:20 PM   #188
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1500???

Are you really going to spend 1500 on board? Whether you do DCL or RCI you will have excursion expenses, photos, drinks etc. My bill for a 4 night was $450 but we did spa, drinks, tastings, and Palo. Either way you will sppend $ but will you really spend 1500 more on an RCI cruise?
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:30 PM   #189
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Are you really going to spend 1500 on board? Whether you do DCL or RCI you will have excursion expenses, photos, drinks etc. My bill for a 4 night was $450 but we did spa, drinks, tastings, and Palo. Either way you will sppend $ but will you really spend 1500 more on an RCI cruise?
No, the difference in price on the cruise from DCL vs RCI is about $1500 for our family.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:35 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by floydfamily4 View Post
Please come back! I have been comparing '13 eastern carib cruises and the price difference for an ocean view on DCL vs. RCI is running between $1k - $1.5k. I know everyone says that RCI "nickels & dimes" you but how much would you say you spent on the things you wouldn't have spent on DCL? Also, is the quality of experience really worth the difference in price? I know its subjective but I have will be 8 year olds, they've cruised once on a 3day Carnival and loved it (easy standards), so I am struggling with the idea that the "magic" is worth $1500. Kwim? Very interested in hearing your thoughts!

Dawn
We don't feel nickle and dimed. The things we pay extra for- photos, bar drinks, excursions, bingo, spa- are there on all the cruise lines. We don't do cooking classes, wine tastings or other things that you pay extra for that differ from one cruise line to the next. Occasionally our kids do late night in the clubs, and the $5/hour/kid on RCCL is not that big a price difference. Same for soda, yes other lines charge for it but it's probably 1 soda a day per kid i.e. $5/day.

We just got off a 5 night RCCL Bermuda cruise and spent $600 onboard, and I felt like we splurged way more than usual because it was our anniversary. More drinks/wine than normal and some indulgent spa visits. Otherwise it would have been half that.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:41 PM   #191
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No, the difference in price on the cruise from DCL vs RCI is about $1500 for our family.
A prior poster said that RCCL "nickel and dimed" you so you are not saving as much. I just do not seeing spending 1500 above what I normally spend on the "nickel and dime" stuff.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #192
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I will have more soon, I promise. We are just so busy with dance, halloween prep, football playoffs, etc.

For those curious, we had the smallest onboard bill EVER on the cruise. Our final bill was well under $500- I think about $389. Ron took care of it so I'll have to see if he still has the receipt.

OK he found it. $361.10

Of course our gratiuities were pre-paid so that is not included. We bought a few things prior to boarding such as Rita's, Chops, and the Turtle Cove Excursion that also were not on our final bill. Those add up to a couple hundred. So the prevailing opinion out there that RCCL nickel and dimes you to death is so not true. We were not restricting our onboard purchases at all and ate at many "extra fee restaurants" and bought plenty of drinks and souvenirs, as you will come to see int his TR. I didn't buy as many pictures as normal (only 4), mostly due to the fact that we didn't dress up much and didn't take the time to have many taken.

There's my brief answer I wish I had more time to delve deeper right now and I will answer the questions and address all of the comments a bit more specifically soon.

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Old 10-26-2011, 05:55 PM   #193
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I will have more soon, I promise. We are just so busy with dance, halloween prep, football playoffs, etc.

For those curious, we had the smallest onboard bill EVER on the cruise. Our final bill was well under $500- I think about $389. Ron took care of it so I'll have to see if he still has the receipt.

OK he found it. $361.10

Of course our gratiuities were pre-paid so that is not included. We bought a few things prior to boarding such as Rita's, Chops, and the Turtle Cove Excursion that also were not on our final bill. Those add up to a couple hundred. So the prevailing opinion out there that RCCL nickel and dimes you to death is so not true. We were not restricting our onboard purchases at all and ate at many "extra fee restaurants" and bought plenty of drinks and souvenirs, as you will come to see int his TR. I didn't buy as many pictures as normal (only 4), mostly due to the fact that we didn't dress up much and didn't take the time to have many taken.

There's my brief answer I wish I had more time to delve deeper right now and I will answer the questions and address all of the comments a bit more specifically soon.

That's great Jen! You had a family of 4 and did better than we did! Ours was about $460 and we had prepaid for tips and excursions - we ate no "for fee" meals and no starbucks. I had a bottle of wine, and we had only a few drinks, and did very little shopping. I think we did spend a little extra for tips - but we didn't buy any pictures. Maybe our excursion wasn't added on until we boarded.

There are things we chose not to do because of the cost, like the cooking class, but I still think your cruise looks WAY FUN so far!!!
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:02 AM   #194
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A prior poster said that RCCL "nickel and dimed" you so you are not saving as much. I just do not seeing spending 1500 above what I normally spend on the "nickel and dime" stuff.
I think what she is saying is that before ever getting on the ship, DCL is $1500 more just for the cruise itself. And I have also heard that RCI nickels and dimes it's customers..... Again, that's just heresay because I have yet to cruise on RCI.... HOWEVER, some of these things would include paying for soda on RCI (although I think DCL is the only one with the complimentary soda fountain? If so, this doesn't really count RCI vs the whole industry), the cooking class, and some other events that are included on DCL and some other lines.

They are all offering the "for fee" restuarants now, and hey, just because RCI has Starbucks and Johnny Rockets, I don't know you can call that nickel and diming, because you don't have to go there..... All cruise lines have "extras", right?

But I guess if RCI is going to "nickel and dime" me for that and extra $1500 then I might as well cruise on DCL, is this what you are trying to say? I think?

When it comes right down to it, I am SO excited to hear more from Jen because RCI's ships really intrigue me with what they have to offer. And yes, I'm not afraid to spend a little extra onboard, because that's what a cruise is all about!

Oh, and as for more being included on DCL, how does a final onboard bill of $1700 sound????? That included Palo, all gratuities, Castaway Cay excursion, a few souvies, spa, and the rest is all drinks and "miscellaneous." So it adds up really fast, no matter what ship you are on!
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:36 AM   #195
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At the moment, I am having a massive vacation debate with myself.

We are booked on the Fantasy for August 2012. One Category 4C for me, Mike, my Mom, Allison and Michael.

I looked at the 9 night on RCI out of Bayonne to Bermuda, etc. after reading Ellen's trip report. I don't think we can do a 9 night (hard for Mike to get off that many days). However, Norwegian has a 7 night to Bermuda (the only port) from Bayonne. For $1300 less than DCL I can get two (count 'em TWO!) connecting balcony staterooms. Plus no airfare for us. NCL also has a sale right now offering OBC for each cabin and 1/2 off deposits. While not DCL, and not RCI with Dreamworks, NCL has Nickelodeon.

I have always wanted to see Bermuda. Plus the money thing and no flying is attractive. What to do, what to do?
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