1st Cruise on RCL AOS 4/15 Eastern Carib - Dropped my NCL cruise because of Itinerary changes....

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 Happy  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)

 

 

 

4 Answers

Sounds like an awesome trip.  I wish I could tell you the answers, but have not sailed with either cruise line.  Don't forget to log into your roll call (might even get more answers there) by going to "MORE" and following the prompts.  60 years is wonderful, please pass along Congratulations for me.

We have sailed on AOS absolutely loved it!  Keep a watch on your cruise planner on RCI website.  I believe specialty dining opens up around 90 days out.  On this class ship, it wasn't absolutely necessary to make dining reservations ahead of time.

I highly recommend the Ice Show.  Very entertaining and it's an amazement to me how they can skate when the ship is rocking.  They aren't Olympic level, but talented nonetheless.

Congrats to Mom and Dad for 60 years.  They should enjoy the cruise.  AOS is one of my favorite class of ships for the ship lay out and amenities.  I cruised on her a few years ago and I'd be happy to go on her again.  Be sure to catch some of the entertainment on the Royal Promenade.   

 

Anytime your loyal to one cruise line and try another it is different,  just have an open mind and enjoy the cruises.  IMHO I think it is better to try multiple lines and see what line fits you best.

 

One nice thing RCI does is it transfers your loyalty program level from RCI to the other brands in the RCI family.  So if you hit Diamond on RCI you get Diamond benefits if you cruise Celebrity or Azamara.  They do not add them all together from all the RCI brands but you get benefits of the highest level you have reached.

This is the 2nd big itinerary change I have heard of on NCL.  Our October cruise was supposed to be a 10 day RT , NY to Quebec.    It was changed to a 12 day Quebec to NY one way.  I suspect a lot of people backed out.   There may be a back story here with Norwegian.  

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