Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Royal Caribbean - Horrible Cruise Recap

Okay - for today's post I am going to do my best to explain why I HATED my cruise I just returned from in December 2019.

I went on the 6 night/5 day Western Caribbean Cruise that left Fort Lauderdale, FL and went to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel through Royal Caribbean.

I splurged and got a balcony room for Mom and myself so we would be sure to have a serene place to just watch the water and read in peace if needed. Plus, I love watching and hearing the ocean! I thought this was going to be an amazing vacation!

I wanted to try a cruise because I figured once we spent that money up front; the rest of trip would fall in place and all food, recreation, lodging and beverage is paid up front. I selected the option to pay gratuities up front also so that charge was paid ahead too - I did not want to have to worry about any additional charges.

Not even a week passed after we booked the cruise and I got an email from Royal Caribbean asking if I wanted to pay an extra $30 EACH/per person/per day for wifi (So extra $210 per person). Then I got another email asking if I wanted to pay an additional $50 EACH/per person/per day for unlimited dining options (So extra $350 per person). Then another asking if I wanted to pay and additional $50 EACH/per person/per day for unlimited drink options (So extra $350 per person). I then came to find out that EVERYTHING is extra! Crazy!!!!

We flew into Fort Lauderdale and I was still super excited for the trip. I was cherishing spending that time alone with my mother. The night in the hotel in Fort Lauderdale was wonderful - great breakfast and spent a little time at the pool in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale before we headed off to the boat. Here is the view from the pool!



Then ...I learned how to use Uber. That was a bright spot in the vacation - Uber is great! It is so easy to get a ride and make sure you are in your correct ride and we used it from the hotel to get to the boat.  It is really convenient and cheap!!!

Then the horror really began....

We went to the boat...we were herded like cattle through rows and rows of security checks, etc. to get onto the boat. They separated us from our luggage and we found out we would get it back later that evening after we set sail...what they did not say was that you could opt to keep your luggage with you and take it on the boat yourself (apparently frequent cruisers know this). Note: my luggage never made it to the room until 8PM that night?!?!?! UGH?!?!?! 

Once on the boat - you have a life jacket muster station drill. Everyone is to go to their assigned muster station...ours was on the deck, in the sun. We went right away (I in my sweats as my luggage had not arrived at my room) to our station but we all had to wait until EVERY PERSON arrived...some people showed up 20 mins late!!! WHAT!?!?! Yes, we all stood at our stations until all the "better than thou" people finally showed up to join us (funny thing: if it was the real thing they would have been shoving their way there first!!!!) UGH!

The first night we sat on the upper deck to watch the Steelers game. Here are the photos from that...


 

The entitlement continued everyday on the boat! Families would get towels and use them to save chairs near the pool and then never show up to use the chairs. Or they would save six seats together and there was only ever two people laying there! This was ALL DAY every day! Dads would shove you out of the buffet line to get the family in there first!! You would think these people never ate! Honestly - all you do is eat...ugh!

So onto the issue with more charges. Every activity on the boat had a fee too! With the exception of the nightly shows - they were free and they were actually good. It was crazy!!! We had some icky weather so we decided to check out Bingo. We paid $60 to play bingo on the ship and they only did three games...seriously, three games!!!! I play at home and it is 16 games for $15. RIP OFF!!! My Mom did beer tasting only to find out at the end that there was a $25 fee for that too! The only free activity was napkin folding - I kid you not!!!! CRAZINESS!!!

The ports were a whole disappointment in and among themselves! We got off the ship at the first port to shop...every store had the same things! Very touristy and too many people begging you to come and ship in their store - we got back on the boat. 

I decided to check out reviews for the next port, Costa Maya. We were docking at Costa Maya and I found out that if you leave the cruise ship area and take a taxi to a public beach (Mahahual) you can escape the crowds. So, we took 20 minutes just to figure out how to leave the cruise ship area and get a taxi. I asked the taxi driver to take us to Mahahual Beach and he convinced me to go to a "better" place where for $15 we would have a chair and umbrella. I should have listened to my guy but we opted to go with his suggestion. We ended up at a tourist trap. The cab dropped us off and the men led us to a little, crowded beach and lounge chair. we no sooner sat down and had someone come by "Beautiful lady, you want to buy cigars?" then "Beautiful lady, you want a massage?" then another person "Beautiful lady, you want a wind chime?" then "Beautiful lady, you want a dress?". I did you not; it was constant. I left the chair thinking I would go in the water to escape the sellers and as soon as I walked into the sea...the man standing next to me shot a snot rocket out of the left side of his nose into the water. I never left the ocean more quickly! SICK AND DISGUSTING!!! UGH!!!! When I got back to my chair the disappointment hit and I just started crying....like balling...I could not stop. My Mom felt bad and kept saying "it is not that bad" but she hated it too. We stayed another 10 minutes and then paid for a cab back to the boat.

The last port, Cozumel, we did not even attempt to get off the boat. We left Cozumel port on Thursday Dec 19th to start back to Fort Lauderdale and then next day at Cozumel is when that accident happened where the two Carnival ships collided. It is weird because we kept saying it was shocking that they don't hit more often because the ships are soooo close when they are pulling in...it really felt like we were going to hit another boat many times when we watched from our balcony. Here is when we docked in Cozumel right across from another ship...we watched people get out of bed...HA HA! Look how close we are on this dock!!! HA



Okay - my last cruise disappointment...the BALCONY! I was super excited to have the balcony to escape the entitled crowds. I could read in peace and not have to worry about anyone ever taking my chair. Well, I was sitting out there on Day 2 while we were sailing and all of the sudden cigarette smoke was wafting over to my balcony-lots of cigarette smoke. and then marijuana smoke!!! UGH!!! I was so pissed! First of all, it is illegal and second of all, I do not want to smell pot - it is a big pet peeve of mine since my last boyfriend!!! So, I called guest assistance and they said they would address it with the guest. Not sure what happened but for the next four days - I smelled both pot and cigarettes EVERY time I went on my patio. So I called everyday to report them. They just kept saying it was being addressed. The only thing they did was on the last day offer me and my Mom $150 off our next cruise. I started laughing and said that there would not be another cruise ever. She then extended the offer for two years so I would have time to think about it. 

No chance I will EVER take another cruise - EVER!!!! 

In closing, I will leave you with a few pictures from our balcony...




The few bright spots of the trip...
  1. spent great time with my Mom (when I was not crying) LOL
  2. learned to use Uber which is awesome
  3. enjoyed a few smokeless hours on my balcony here and there 

So, that is my Cruise trip summary. I honestly only took like ten pictures the entire trip!!! 

Crazy for me!!! Anyway, back to Aruba next year!

Ever been on  a cruise? What is your favorite destination for vacation? Do you Uber?


51 comments:

  1. I am sorry your cruise was such a disappointment. I actually love cruising, we've done two on Carnival and one on Royal Caribbean. You do point out some of the pitfalls, some of which are "rookie mistakes" and some are inevitable on a cruise ship. Crowded terminals, chair hogs and latecomers at muster drill are never-ending sources of aggravation to cruisers everywhere. Smoking issues ...ugh. And we generally stick to shore excursions sponsored by the cruise line to avoid being hassled like yo were on the beach.

    Uber is wonderful, though. I haven't used it -- I use a similar service called Via -- but my daughter uses Uber frequently.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed your cruises. I think I am truly just not a "cruise" kind of person. I like a solitary beach and a blanket...that is all....HA! HUGS - have a great week!

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    2. Cruising isn't for everyone. l loved your reports about your previous vacations.

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  2. Awww that sucks! Sorry you didn't have fun :(

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    1. Thank Julie - but lesson learned right? You live and learn and from now on my vacations will be hotels and beaches only! HA! Have a fantastic week!

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  3. OMG, I'm so sorry the cruise sucked so bad. Thanks for your review/warning! I'm glad you were there with your mom, though.
    Honestly, I've never felt the urge to go on a cruise. I've yet to use an Uber, but my kids are well versed.
    Welcome back!

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    1. You are not missing anything in my opinion Abby. It is just not my cup of tea. Thanks for the welcome back - have a great week! HUGS

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  4. Aw, you found out what cruising is all about. Yes, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Always cigarette smoke on the balconies. They don't address much either. We don't cruise and for some of the same reasons you stated. Save your money and go to a nice hotel with all the amenities and enjoy yourself. You'll save money and have a much better time.

    Thank you for joining the Happy Tuesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Happy Tuesday. ♥

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    1. I am totally with you Sandee! That is why I love Aruba...stay in the hotel, head to the beach and then at night walk around the town. No crowds anywhere!!! Just could not relax at all on the cruise...always something annoying!! HA HA! Lesson learned

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    2. Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

      Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

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  5. I have never had a desire to take a cruise - 1. I get so motion sickness & get sick on small boats. 2. The idea of being stuck in an area with so many strangers just freaks me out.
    All of this just reinforces my desire to not go on one.
    I thought the big draw WAS the fact that the fee covered everything. That is RIDICULOUS you had to pay so much more for things that cruise ships feature. Much less, that you cant ENJOY - the whole patio thing would have been my tipping point.
    & I probably would have had to say something to the GROSS & SICK man who does a snot rocket right in the midst of everyone. Again, this is why I dont go in oceans & dont even care for pool. People are disgusting.
    Well, I'm sure the time with your momma was still priceless so focus on that.

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    1. It was like every time I thought it could not get worse - it DID!! LOL! If all you say above is true...you do not want to spend any money trying out a cruise...I promise ...you will not enjoy yourself. Oh well, live and learn! Have a great day Rebecca Jo!

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  6. I HATE cruises. For the reason you stated and more. It's just a big fat hotel on water and you can't get away from these damn people. There is nothing about a cruise that appeals to me. When I worked in travel and people would ask me I'd say, go to an all inclusive resort, no hidden fees or tips needed. Everyone said my trip to Sandals had to be expensive. No it wasn't. No tipping allowed first of all. EVERYTHING was included. I mean to tell you everything. If you wanted a bottle of champagne you went to the bar and got one for your room. The food was superb and the dining choices were excellent. Buffet or restaurants on site. I tend to go where there are no kids because I prefer that but there are all inclusive for families too (Beaches is one of them) Also they bring the shopping to you so you don't have to leave the resort if you don't wish to. One day a week all the artisians set up on the beach of the property and you can shop in your bathing suit and cocktail and then march back to your room to put your wares away and go back to the pool if you want. I tell everyone I know do not do a cruise. The line you chose also makes a difference. Carnival is like the Walmart of cruises and the guests and kids will fall in line with that. The higher end ones will give you very old quiet people. That should be explained to all those who wish to cruise. I'd rather sit in snow than ever go on a cruise again!! I had to do 2 of them for work once. thankfully they were only 4 days each. I would never ever pay for a cruise. Sorry you had such a bad time, but now you know. Try an all inclusive next time!! :-) Oh and wouldn't the pot be legal in international waters or the area you were at at the time? Like if you're in California bitching about that will get you nothing, it's legal. But if they are making noise you can complain. Know what I mean?

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    1. Thanks for all the affirming feedback above Margaret! I have done hotels and beaches and loved the entire trip. Not sure why I decided to try this except I thought...well, if it was all included and I did not have to pay for food and drinks that would be even better - nope!!! Next time I will DEFINITELY try an all inclusive hotel! That sounds like my kind of paradise! No more cruises for me ever! HA! And, yes to all the above...I know what you mean Margaret!!!!!! HUGS - Have a great day!

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  7. Very sorry you were so disappointed with your cruise. We have only done one cruise and although some things you mentioned (standing on deck for the safety check, extra fees for some things) we actually enjoyed it. We went up the coast of Norway and saw some beautiful scenery. Yep Uber is great.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed yours - it seems like such a waste when you come back so super disappointed but I guess I would never know it was not my cup of tea until I tried it, right? I think I am one of the last people to try Uber - HA!

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  8. Oh, I'm so sorry you had such a bad trip. What a disappointment! I don't travel very often, so that would have devastated me - to spend that money on a once-in-a-blue-moon vacation, you want it to be a dream, not a horror! It seems people either love to cruise or hate it - my aunt & uncle go on several cruises every year, and they love it. I also have friends that went on their first cruise last year and they just returned home from their second one yesterday. Truthfully, I'm not sure if it would be my cup of tea - the extra fees sound horrendous, and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable in crowds of strangers all together on a boat like that. It sucks that the actions of others around you can really impede your enjoyment of the trip. (It reminds me of the time a few years ago my mom and I went out of town to a wedding - when we returned to our hotel room after the wedding, there was a massive party going on in the room next to ours. Once the partying died down, someone in the room proceeded to be violently - and loudly - ill over and over. I remember around 3 AM saying, "Mom? Can we just go home?" It was AWFUL.)
    Then again - think of this. I haven't been anywhere - literally ANYWHERE - in over 2 years. LOL! So at least you got out, had some quality time with your mom, and had an experience. And this will make you appreciate your next vacation so much more!! :)

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    1. I hope you can wrangle a vacation soon since it has been 2 years Jill - I would be stir crazy bu then I travel to see family every weekend it seems - LOL! Thank you for sharing your experience! I think I would have had your exact same reaction to the hotel issue...only I did not just ask to go home...I sobbed like a baby too! HA HA! Oh well, life experiences, right??? HUGS To you! Have a great day!

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  9. I'm a cruise fan and I'm so sorry this one is such a bust. Over the years they've added charges for so many things. I eat in the regular dining room -- no extra food charges and skip people pushing at the buffets. No drink package and no fancy coffees. That bingo charge is outrageous! I also stick to smaller ships. Did a cruise of Scotland last summer and loved it. Small ports that the big ships can't get to and a small ship -- 800 people. My only extra charges were wifi, excursions -- some great ones per the ship -- and one photograph. They didn't make much off me. Did one Carnival cruise and never again for me. Have never done Royal Caribbean and think the ships are way too big. I try to find times that are mostly retirees and find it's quieter and less raucous.

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    1. Hi Buttercup! Someone else mentioned smaller ships also but I think I will just stick to land. It is just far too many people in a small space for me. Plus, I go on vacation to get away from people so I am not looking to make new friends or meet people. I know that sounds awful but I really am not. HA! The fewer humans - the better! HA! Have a great day! Thanks for coming by!

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  10. I have never been on a cruise. I am sorry your first experience was so horrible. I have several friends who love cruising, but they typically stick with the smaller ones. My husband would tell you his favorite place to vacation is home. I enjoy attending stitching retreats and enjoy wandering around the colonial area of Williamsburg.

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    1. I think that is a male mentality to want to stay home - my father is the same way! Total homebody. I love to travel and explore places just not with other people! HA! I should have already known that cruising would not be my cup of tea! HA! Have a great day Robin!

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  11. I have only taken two of those big line cruises and even then, they were the smaller ships that held about 600 people. I like the river cruises, more expensive, but much calmer. I do think the additional charges were a rip off. I do not spend $50 a day on wine!! Ask a travel agent in the future and give her your complaints. YOur mom look like a very nice person to go on a cruise with!

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    1. My Mom is a wonderful person and one of the very few people I can spend a lot of time with - although, she may not feel the same way after this last trip! HA! I think for the future I will try all inclusive hotels...that way charges are paid upfront and no crowds...fingers crossed!

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  12. sorry this was so awful. I have never had the desire to go on one, so the answer is I never have. I don't do boats or air planes and I despise crowds of people. we don't take vacations now because we are retired and poor, but when we did we went to beaches that no one else goes to. Like Ormond Beach and did nothing but walk early am and late evening on deserted beaches. I have friend that take 2 cruises a year and love them

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    1. You sound like my kind of traveler. I travel to get away and relax - not meet and mingle with others! HA! Enjoy your retirement...you are rich in so many areas that the money things don't really matter!!!! Plus, I can vacation in my mind any day!!! HA! Have a great day Sandra!

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  13. Sounds like the cruise from hell
    I’ve been on two cruises and I’ve enjoyed both. I didn’t take up the drinks special. I just paid for my drinks that I had
    But I did book a day trip for eqch port That way we actually did do and see something special and not just the shops at the ports
    Yes they are expensive. But when you factor in it’s accommodations travel and food. It’s not too bad
    I didn’t pay for wifi. I figured I’d just catch up on everything once I got home
    Maybe try another cruise company

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    1. I am really happy you enjoyed yours Angela! There would not be so many cruises to pick from if there were not many people that love them for sure! But for me...I think I am just going to stick to hotels and beaches. I spend a lot of time with my family on boats in the summer so that will be it for me! HA! Have a fantastic day!

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  14. what a shame- we've only been on one cruise Holland America- no extra charges for anything- and we were in the cheapest room available. No one hogged chairs, butted in line etc...guess we were lucky!

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    1. You were lucky Kathe! That is amazing but I still would never try another! HA! Have a fantastic day! HUGS

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  15. We used Uber once here and it cost nearly double to get to the airport than in a taxi because of surge pricing.

    We've taken three cruises. One very expensive one on the River Danube for about two weeks and it was the best holiday we have ever had. Although it was expensive, everything was included, including all drinks. There was no gratuity as the Dutch captain insisted that all staff on board receive Dutch pay and working conditions if they wanted him to captain cruises.

    The second was a Mediterranean cruise, Barcelona to Rome, about 10 days and it was quite good and mid priced. While we knew that gratuities were optional, my partner insisted that we pay. We did buy the drinks package.

    Last year we took a 12 day cruise to New Zealand and back as it was so cheap, like $1700. But oh, the ad ons. Nor did I like the mix of people on the cheap cruise. While the entertainment was good, actually getting a seat to see a show meant arriving an hour early. We gamboled by not buying the drinks package but then discovered that once on board, the drinks, unlike on other cruises, were very expensive. The ship won that one.

    As far as I know the no balcony smoking was enforced on all three cruises.

    As we are the usual non tipping Australians, it was made clear at the time of booking that there would not be a non compulsory gratuities charge, yet once on board, the pressure was on to leave the suggested gratuity. We didn't and just tipped a couple of staff who served us well.

    Never again.

    To conclude, you might enjoy it more if you go a bit high end, even though it may seem like a lot of money upfront.

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    1. Boo to that horrible Uber experience. Ours was so much cheaper than a cab!
      At least you have cruises for your experiences, right? New Zealand sounds amazing and so does the Mediterranean cruise!!!!Your sound pretty good - at least better than mine but I would still never try on again. Too trapped with others and yes, I agree...I would rather tip individuals that did great service for us rather than tipping a pre-set amount in a giant pot of money. I hated it so much - I would not go if someone else paid my way! HA HA!
      Have a fantastic day! HUGS

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  16. We went on our first cruise this past summer...Royal Caribbean. It's true that they want to upgrade you on everything, but I just ignored most of it because it wasn't something we needed. I knew we might have a drink here and there, but I didn't need unlimited alcohol so skipped that one. I did buy the soda package, but it was only $30 for me for the whole trip and since I got the cup with the chip in it, Tim could just take the cup and get it filled if he wanted. We got a case of bottled water sent to the room because someone said we should brush with bottled water and we'd want it for excursions. That was a waste. They were big bottles and we didn't even use half of them. I think I still have one or two in the frig (for what they cost, I shoved them in the suitcase and brought them home). The bingo was expensive, but if you happened to win (we didn't) they had big cash prizes and the last game on the last day they gave away a cruise. Some people were rude, but mostly we ran into nice folks and it wasn't too crowded. The only thing that got annoying was that there were 2 pools and one was supposed to be adults only and there were ALWAYS kids in there that nobody said anything about. I guess it wasn't so annoying for us because we went with another couple who has gone on many cruises and they guided us through so we didn't get hit with any nasty surprises...other than me being queasy for the first two days. Next time I'll know to get the patches because the pills didn't do a thing.

    Anyway, I hear RC is one of the worst for add on stuff, but there are others out there that are all inclusive. I think part of it is that you headed for the Caribbean so those are huge ships and tons of people. We did New England...only about 5000 on the ship.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed your cruise Stacy! It stinks to spend that money and come home so disappointed but I keep telling myself that it was a lesson learned. I did not have bottled water in our room, we just drank out of the sink-HA! I did not get sick so I guess that is okay. I think I will stick to beaches and hotels from now on! HUGS - have a great day! Enjoy your part time!!!!

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  17. Oh wow, what a disappointment. Maybe if you ever do decide to try another cruise a different cruise line might turn out better. I know people who have gone on cruises and said they were wonderful and that everything was included without being contacted about paying for all the extras.

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    1. No more for me Ann. I think I will stick to hotels and beaches...no need to waste any more more on a disappointing and stressful vacation! HA! I am grateful I could afford to go but just wish I had stayed in a hotel on land! Live and learn! HUGS - have a great day!

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  18. We have friends who cruise all the time. Joe and I went once, probably 28 years ago, and HATED it. We have never tried again, even though our friends tell us it is different now and that we just had the wrong ship, etc., etc. I would rather just go to a beach hotel and enjoy doing what we want to do. I'm with you! Never again!

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    1. I am soooo super totally with you on this Terri! No need to try another ship or cruise line...I will be fine just hanging out on beaches with me, myself and I. HA! Have a fantastic week!!!!

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  19. So sorry you had that experience. I have friends who cruise often and I have a few times and it's been ok. Aruba sounds good too!

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    1. Aruba never disappoints Tamar!!! If my family was not here I would move there in a heartbeat! I love the people, culture, island, food, etc. NO CROWDS! HA HA!HUGS - have a great day!

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  20. I've been on several cruises (a couple of times in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Alaska) and enjoyed them. To me, it's a great way to see multiple places without needing to unpack and re-pack multiple times.

    For our last two cruises we splurged and got a room with a balcony. Had no problems with rude neighbors. We don't buy any add-ons, but did choose an activity in most ports.

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    1. I am so happy to hear you have enjoyed yours Kathy! So many people love them I am sure it is just me - I can not get into the mindset needed. I vacation to get away from people and that is just not possible on a cruise. Oh well, to each his own. A friend is headed to Alaska on a cruise in September and asked me to go along...."NOT A CHANCE" was my response. Maybe someday I will fly there but NO MORE CRUISES. HA! Have a fantastic day!

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  21. Now, I know why I will never take a cruise. Thanks for firming my views. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful Wednesday.

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    1. LOL Patrick! You are missing nothing AT ALL! Promise! I hope you also have a fantastic Wednesday! HUGS!

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  22. I would never take a sea cruise: the amount of pollution from one ship alone is staggering. Plus, I don't think it would ever be like the Love Boat. A river cruise would be something I would consider, also because of the amount of water you don't see. For now though, I stick to the holidays with my sister we organise ourselves.

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    1. It is definitely NOT the Love Boat! The funny thing is...after I was crying and walking back to the ship...I told my Mom we needed to find Gopher because he would make it all better!!! LOL!!! Promise - it is not the Love Boat experience!!!! You are smart to enjoy time with sister NOT on a ship! HUGS - have a great day!

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  23. I have been on delightful cruises but that was many years ago. Mercy what a horror story. If I ever had the slightest urge to try again, you have talked me right out of it. I'd send this post to the cruise line and if they won't give you a complete refund, I'd post this entire blog on their site under reviews.

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  24. I am so sorry you had such an awful experience on your trip. We haven't cruised in 19 years and it sounds like it has changed quite a bit; and not for the better.

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  25. Good gosh! That is just plain awful! We've been on a Princess Alaskan Cruise, Mediterranean Cruise, Viking River Cruise and a Princess Cruise in Japan and they were all pretty darn good. That's awful that people would save spaces for such a long period of time. It's thoughtless and selfish. What a shame. What a shame! You can bet I won't go on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Thank you for the warning.

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  26. I think cruising is one of those "either you love them or hate them " things. No happy medium. We are people who love them for all the positive things they offer like having lots of activities to choose from and not having to walk more that a couple of flights of steps to get to them. We also like being able to travel to different countries or places without packing and unpacking every time we move to a different location. There are lots more we love about cruising but I definitely know people who do not like cruising at all and I will never try to convince them that they should. Just like I don't pay attention to people who try to convince me that I should not like cruising.

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  27. I've never been on a cruise. What a horror story you had. I can't believe all those extra charges. I thought they were all inclusive! Your story makes me not want to go on a cruise. Haven't used Uber in a long time but it is a nice service.

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