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Freedom Of The Seas Is A Wonderful Vacation!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 21, 2013


ImageMy wife and I sailed recently on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom Of The Seas on a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise. This was the first of the Freedom Class Ships that Royal Caribbean built. This class of ship is a Voyager style layout only longer. So the fact that the ship is longer gives it more room to add more “Stuff”. On this ship Royal Caribbean added the Flow Rider on the rear of the ship. The flow Rider is a water ride that lets you surf in place as water shoots up an incline. This proves to be very challenging but lots of fun! The also added a boxing ring. Why they added a boxing ring is beyond me, but I guess there are some people that will use it. During our cruise, I did not see anyone in the Boxing Ring.

The food in the main dining room was very good. They now have regular 1st and 2nd set seating plus “Anytime Dining”. With the regular dining, you are assigned a table and a time to eat. With Anytime Dining, you can eat anytime between 630PM to 9PM but, you have to make reservations for a time and you do not have the same people at your table for the week. I really like to have a large table with the same people all week as that’s what cruising is all about. I have met many good life long friends on cruise ships over the years and most of them were out table mates at dinner.

Royal Caribbean has also put a Large Video Screen out by the pool area. It was a nice addition and added to the fun of the pool area. There is a lot to like about this ship. They have a great crew and a wonderful attitude.

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Art Auctions at Sea, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Haiti, islands, luggage, Oasis of the Seas, restaurant, royal caribbean, ships, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean Updates Crown & Anchor Loyalty Program

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 28, 2011


Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor

Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor at Labadee

On January 21, 2011, Royal Caribbean updated and enhanced it cruise Loyalty program. The program called the Crown & Anchor Society gives frequent cruisers the ability to earn point and special benefits on current and future cruises.

The old program counted how many past cruises you sailed on to figure your benefits. The new program now counts how many days you sail. So if you are on a 3 night cruise, you will receive 3 points. If you are on a 10 night cruise, you will receive 10 points. So you now are rewarded based on the number of days you have sailed with Royal Caribbean and not just the number of cruises. Now if you purchase a suite, you get double the points. So if you sail in a suite for 10 nights, you receive 20 points. So you now have an incentive to book a suite as you double your point total on that cruise.

The new program also added two new levels of recognition. Under the old program the levels were Gold, Platinum, Diamond & Diamond Plus. The new program adds the Emerald Level and the Pinnacle Club Level. So the new program is now Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The number of points needed for each level is as follows

Gold – 3 points   Platinum – 30 points  Emerald – 55 points  Diamond – 80 points  Diamond Plus – 175 points  Pinnacle Club – 700 points

Under the Pinnacle Club they have added a free 7 night cruise when you reach a certain level. This is a great incentive to sail with Royal Caribbean as often as possible.

I am looking forward to checking out the new Crown & Anchor program on my next cruise which is coming up quickly. I will let you know how it was when I return.

Check out the program here http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cas/benefitsLoggedout.do;jsessionid=00009y8VJBAow9ZtIhLR3VFmCjo:15lbbpnkd

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Haiti, islands, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

US Passport Fees Are Going UP!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on July 10, 2010


The US Passport office will officially increase the price of a United States Passport on Tuesday July 13, 2010. The new fees will raise the price of a passport by approximatly $35. The chart below outlines the new fees.

Remember, you need a passport to leave the United States. You cannot travel to a foreign country on your drivers licenses. It amazes me that people in the US think that they don’t need a passport to travel around the world.

But get you passport before July 13 and you will save $35!

Passport Fee Chart

Passport Fee Chart

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, cruise line, cruises, Europe, first class, Government, islands, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, politics, royal caribbean, ships, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is the Allure of The Seas A Clone of Oasis of The Seas?

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 19, 2010


Central Park on Allure Of The Seas

Central Park on Allure Of The Seas from the interior Staterooms

The Allure of The Seas is due to set sail on its maiden voyage on December 1, 2010. This inaugural cruise is billed as a “4 Night Labadee Extravaganza” cruise. This cruise will include 2 days at sea and a day at Labadee Haiti, Royal Caribbean’s beach port.

The Allure of The Seas will make Fort Lauderdale Florida at Port Everglades its home. But the question on everyones mind is this. Is the Allure a carbon copy of the Oasis Of The Seas? Well, looking at the two ships brochures, you find that the layout of both ships are identical. But the Allure will be different in its Boardwalk neighborhood. Instead of the Seafood Shack, the Allure’s Boardwalk will have a Mexican restaurant, Rita’s Cantina. A specialty hot dog counter called the Boardwalk Dog House, will be located where the doughnut shop is on the Oasis. So where is the popular doughnut shop on the Allure going to be? Well, it is next to the premium ice cream shop. I have no idea where the ice cream shop is, but that’s ok. I am getting confused now.

There is going to be a first in shopping on the Allure as “Guess” clothing opens up it’s first Clothing Store at Sea! Guess will be located on the Royal Promenade, where the Focus photo store is on the Oasis and the Focus Photo Store will move to the new photo gallery area on the Allure. Are you throughly confused now? Don’t be. If you have sailed on the Oasis then you will be able to navigate your way around the Allure without much trouble.

So is the Allure Of The Seas a Clone of the Oasis Of The Seas? I will leave that up to you, the passengers to tell me.

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, art, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, economy, Europe, first class, food, free, Haiti, Hotels, islands, luggage, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Royal Caribbean Returns to Labadee Haiti

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 23, 2010


Royal Caribbean Ship at Labadee, Haiti with beach in foreground.

Royal Caribbean Ship at anchor at Labadee, Haiti

Royal Caribbean returned to Labadee Haiti this past week. It was the first time the Royal Caribbean ships have stopped at Labadee since the devastating earthquake leveled Port au Prince on January 12, 2010.  Labadee is Royal Caribbean’s private resort and is located on the northern coast of Haiti. The Labadee resort area did not sustain any damage from the earthquake and was able to reopen to passengers of Royal Caribbean cruise line this past week.

Royal Caribbean has taken some criticism since returning passengers to the Resort. I for one applaud the company for bringing tourist back to this country that urgently needs the money. Royal Caribbean has pledged one million dollars toward the relief effort in Haiti. And with the return of the ships to Labadee brings urgently needed supplies and food for the people of Haiti. Royal Caribbean is using every ship in it’s fleet that calls on Labadee as a supply ship for the relief effort bringing much needed food, supplies and personnel. Royal Caribbean has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals and allowing another 200  locals to sell their wares in the native market within the resort. Royal Caribbean pays the Haitian Government $6 (US) per passenger that arrives on their ships to Labadee. This means that a Voyager Class ship that holds 3114 passenger pays a total of $18,684 per visit. There are at least 3 ship visits per week at $18,684 equals $56,052.00 per week. Plus all the money the passengers spend at the native market, Royal Caribbean is pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into Haiti every month. And they have been doing this since 1986!

Zip Line at Labadee

Zip Line at Labadee

More than any other company in the United States, Royal Caribbean has been helping Haiti for over 20 years. So the next time you hear one of these pompous radio talk show host beating up on Royal Caribbean for bringing tourist back to Labadee, ask yourself, what has that talk show host done for the people of Haiti before or even after the earthquake? Some food for thought.

Posted in Brilliance of The Seas, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, emergency, Haiti, investments, islands, news, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oasis of The Seas makes some last minute changes

Posted by thetraveldoctor on December 2, 2009


The Oasis of the Seas Boardwalk area

The Oasis of the Seas Boardwalk area

Royal Caribbean new ship Oasis of The Seas is now sailing as the World’s Largest Cruise Ship. But there were a few last minute changes that were made to the ship before it arrived for it’s first cruise.

The original design of the Boardwalk “Neighborhood” was to have a tattoo parlor offering temporary tattoos and a tarot card reader store. But the tattoo idea was nixed and was replaced with a Pets at Seas store where passengers can make their own stuffed animals. The Tarot Card Reader Store, well let’s just say it was not “In The Cards.”

This is a great ship and if you have never cruised before, this would be a great ship to take your first cruise. Also Oasis has really out done itself with on the Entertainment offerings. Try it You will LOVE IT!

Posted in airlines, airplane, Allure Of The Seas, art, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, Credit Cards, cruise line, cruises, food, islands, luggage, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

My Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of The Seas

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 11, 2009


Alan & Lil on The Tender with the Mariner in the background

Alan & Lil on The Tender with the Mariner in the background

This is my second time on The Mariner of The Seas and my 87th cruise over all. With all these cruises under my belt, I feel that I have a good Idea of what makes a great cruise vacation.

My wife and I departed on July 12, 2009 from the Port of Los Angeles on Royal Caribbean’s  Mariner of The Seas. We were very excited to be on the Mariner again and were looking forward to a great vacation at sea. We sailed away from the dock at 5:45 PM and headed south from LA to Mexico in the crystal blue Pacific Ocean.

We Unpacked and settled into our stateroom.  We headed to the dinning room at 555PM, as we had first seating dinning. Royal Caribbean has instituted a “As You Like it Dinning” as an option for people that don’t like  early or late set dinning times. This option gives you the choice to come to the main dinning room at anytime between 6PM and 8:30PM and you are seated as if you were at a restaurant. I personally like the fixed seating at the same table, waiters and people at my table all week. We were seated at a table for 6 with two other couples. One couple was from the Chicago area and was also in the cabin next to us we discovered. The other couple was from Big Bear California. Really very nice people and we had a great conversation at dinner. But that’s what dinner on a cruise ship is really all about. Meeting new people, great food and great conversation. The food was excellent, which was nice to see that Royal Caribbean had not cutback on the quality of the food during these trying economic times.

After dinner it was off to the Savoy Theater for the welcome aboard show. We met our Cruise

The Parade on the Mariner of The Seas

The Parade on the Mariner of The Seas

Director Abe who gave us a rundown of what to expect during the upcoming week. Then we were entertained by a juggler and a comic, who were both very good. The evening ended with a great “Welcome Parade” on the Royal Promenade. So for the first day, things looked pretty good.

Since we had travelled with Royal Caribbean on more than 24 cruises, we are considered Diamond Plus members in their Loyalty program, which is the top tier of the program. Along with being in the top tier brings some perks, such as a special on board coupon book. Now it’s been 18 months since our last Royal Caribbean cruise and we were expecting the same perks in the coupon book we received in February of 2008. Well they have decided to change the coupon book and take away a lot of the “Perks” that they gave to their best customers. This did not make much sense to me. Why would you take away perks to your best customers. Things such as a free 8” X 10” photo is now gone and replaced by a 20% off coupon on a special type of 8” x 10” photo. Gone also is a free 30 minutes of internet usage, replaced by a $10 off coupon for internet usage. At a ridiculous $0.55 per minute (OUCH!) you will use that $10 credit up real quick, as the internet connection on this ship is so slow, you could finish the novel War and Peace before you could send your email.

Gone is the “Ship Shape” program. This program got people involved in the fitness activities aboard the ship. You would earn Ship Shape dollars for participating in the activities and you would then be able to redeem them for “Ship Shape” gifts at the end of the cruise. A really great program that I really was sorry to see it eliminated as I was on the ship that they started the ship shape program back in the 1980’s. I guess the one thing that Royal Caribbean eliminated that I was really sad to see go was the Mint and Saying on the Pillow at night. Did I eat the mint every night, no, but It was like a warm fuzzy that I had come to expect on Royal Caribbean ever since we sailed on our first cruise on the Song of Norway in 1978.

To be continued……..

Posted in airlines, airports, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, Coach, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, economy, Europe, food, gas, islands, luggage, lunch, Mexico, Panama Canal, pillows, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Disney Names New Ships

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 6, 2009


 

Disney Ship in Port

Disney Ship in Port

Disney Cruise Line has named it’s two new ships. The cruise line began construction on the two new ships in March. The ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The delivery dates for the ships are 2011 and 20012. The new ships will weigh in at 128,000 GRT’s and will have 1,250 staterooms. The new ships will be named The Disney Dream and The Disney Fantasy. A Disney spokesperson called the names “a natural choice for our ships.”

Posted in airlines, Art Auctions at Sea, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, economy, food, Hotels, investments, islands, luggage, Med, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, restaurant, sailing, ships, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean Creates “Youth Zone” On Oasis

Posted by thetraveldoctor on November 8, 2008


 

Oasis of The Sea

Oasis of The Sea

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will introduce the “Youth Zone” on it newest ship, The Oasis Of The Sea debuting December 12, 2009. The Youth Zone will be one of the 7 “Neighborhoods” on the ship. The Youth Zone will include, Kids Avenue and Central Boulvard which will connect various themed play areas. And Adventure Ocean Theater, a theater just for kids. Plus a first for Royal Caribbean a Nursery for infants at least 6 months old and toddlers.

The Oasis of The Seas is going to be the World’s Largest Cruise Ship at 220,000 GRT and will carry 5400 passengers.

Posted in airlines, airplane, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, Business Class, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, Europe, islands, luggage, Med, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, Transportation, Travel, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of The Seas – A day at The Panama Canal

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 8, 2008


 

One of the Mules that Pulls the ship through the Locks

One of the Mules that Pulls the ship through the Locks

Alan at the Midpoint at the Gatun Locks

Alan at the Midpoint at the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas exiting the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas exiting the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas at anchor in Lake Gatun

The Brilliance of The Seas at anchor in Lake Gatun

Approach to the Gatun Locks

Approach to the Gatun Locks

 This past January my wife and I took a fascinating cruise thru the Panama Canal on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of The Seas. This is a wonderful ship and a great cruise for anyone that loves cruising. The day we began to  transit the canal started early in the morning just before sunrise. Our pilot arrived at our ship as the sun broke the horizon. We then picked up our two tug boats that would help our ship into the locks.  The total transit took about 3 hours. The pictures below are my “Photo Blog” of our experience through the Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side of the canal.

If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.

If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.

Posted in Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, Europe, gas, islands, luggage, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, pillows, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »