New member here - Have been on the 'other' ' Big Gorilla' site for years. I would like your thoughts on my up coming cruise on RCI AOS.
Back round: Was on NCL Getaway for a 04/15 - 7N Eastern Carib cruise. After final payment (70 Days) a new itinerary was sent out. It was a 'Western Carib' cruise to Costa Maya/ / Harvest Caye / Roatan / Cozumel. Reason - And I quote "The previous itinerary is not available due to the ports not being ready to receive ships.) Now if you read my profile - I own a timeshare in St Thomas, and have been there over 20 times, I know a few people there and decided to call up a few. One of them, Don, owns a charter service, Said - and I quote " Heck No - We are not closed or shut down, sure there are some problems after a hurricane - we were closed for a month or so to help rebuild, but in all honesty - we need you - the tourist community brings in a lot of money" Carnival was here last week...I do not know why NCL would cancel - It's been months since the hurricane and we are probably @ 80%.
1st - I have no interest in visiting Mexico or any parts associated with it. I find most AI's and ports to be rather unimpressive. I have done AI's to Cozumel (2), and Acapulco (3) and I'm not impressed.
2nd - Especially when the 'State Department of the US' issues a travel advisory to Mexico - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/mexico-travel-advisory.html for and
I quote "Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread."
So - I called NCL and was able to cancel (for a full refund -YEA!!) for my cruise. Now if you bear with me, this is important, IMHO I was bidding in that new system that NCL offers to upgrade to a suite - I had a mini suite booked with large balcony. So I cancel my NCL reservation and started to look elsewhere to cruise (I really do have the fever now!! LOL:) Always wanted to try a different cruise line and here pops up RCI AOS with almost the same itinerary as NCL previously had.
Now to the "Meat & Potatoes" :
Booked RCI AOS Grand Suite (forgot to tell you all - I'm taking my parents (80 - 82 yrs. on their 60TH - YES 60 YEARS OF MARRIAGE - CRUISE) OK - Not bad, cost a few more bucks than NCL's 'MINI Suite' - The following week, with help from my brother, I was able to 'UPGRADE" to a full blown "ROYAL FAMILY SUITE W/ BALCONY" - Really - Get Lost!! -for $200.00 less than I paid for a GS - Go figure!! And I was willing to pay NCL upgrade program a bit more mind ya, for that same type of suite - well almost!! Well 3 adults in a suite that sleeps 8!!!!!! - I only have one word for this - AWESOME!!
Well - Now that all the magic is starting to sink in, I finally come to a few of my questions:
1 - Sky class on RCI - Is it really that great? Concierge and Coastal Kitchen?
2- - Suite Class - Early boarding an option? (it was for NCL)
3 - Do you need to make reservations for the 'specialty dinning' or just wait to you are on board?
I'm sure I'll have many more questions and i want to thank everyone in advance for their responses......
Bill (aka - Ozmin)