I'm going to start this review by complaining about the change of itinerary. No fault to Royal Caribbean but booking a cruise specifically because you want to go to Cuba and then having that taken away was cause of great stress. My choice of this ship wasn't because I was interested in the ship it was because of the port of call. Majesty of the Seas is 27 years old - that is ancient in cruise ages but this mighty ship impressed me very much.
I have a motto that once I've paid my money, I will have a good time no matter what. THAT'S exactly what happened on this cruise.
Our cabin was small and with the four of us, we had to be creative with packing. Everyone was contained to a backpack and carry on except my husband who had a huge duffel bag. Everyone had packing cubes for their clothes and everyone was limited to three shoes (even the hubby stuck to this to my surprise). To my surprise there was plenty of storage. All our luggage were emptied out and stored under the bed. I typically would not put my clothes directly in the drawers but because we were using storage cubes, I didn't mind because everything stayed contained.
As you can see, there are two ways to configure the beds depending on how you are traveling with.
The ship of itself doesn't look its age. They've done a great job updating it and keeping it tact. You can see some wear and tear in places like showers and bathrooms but overall it's in great shape. It's not a big ship, the size was actually perfect because you ran into the same people and I was able to have conversations with some lovely people. My son came home with a pen pal (more like internet friends in this technological world).
I was pleasantly surprised about how much entertainment was offered. The entertainment team always had some type of dancing/trivia/competition situation happening. They are young and are engaging with the guests even when you see them out of duty. The nightly shows had some awesome singers and they blew me away with the performance. Our cruise director "Tornado" Tonya from Manchester was hilarious. Like I said, I always have fun and we did.
The best part of traveling with kids and for me to call it a real vacation is when I have the opportunity to send to away for couple of hours (don't judge me). Adventure Ocean did not disappoint. The kids were begging to go after dinner and any other opportunity that we gave them. I was able to go to the spa (of course), the Hubster was able to get a spa treatment and we partied to almost midnight on a separate night. The kids were worn out and we were grateful.
As many of you have seen from my posts on Facebook, the food looked and tasted good. There was only one dish I didn't like and since you are on a cruise, you can easily order something else. Matter of fact, you can order every dish (OK, maybe not every dish), but you can order two of everything if you want to try them. Don't be wasteful though, be considerate and eat what you order. The best part is, there is no kids meals posted so the kids are forced to try different dishes. This might come back to hunt us later because my song took a liking to steaks.
I shouldn't have this as plural because there was really only one thing that got on my nerves. There are only two pool options on board and the deep one was emptied on the first day. The one that most kids would want to hang out was hugged by drinking adults. My daughter kept saying that the sign says no food or drink in the pool yet all these adults are seating there drinking. RCCL should try to have kids swim time when there are no adult only areas.
Would I sail on this particular ship again, definitely but there are some newer ones on my list first. Let's chat about which sailing/ship you would like to cruise on next.
Amtrak’s auto train is the only one in the country. It originates from Lorton, VA or Sanford, FL. The concept is simple, travel from Virginia to Florida with your car but you don’t have to do the driving. There are coach seats and roomette. It’s an overnight trip with dinner and continental breakfast in the morning. You are assigned one of three dinner times based on your arrival time.
There were 38 cars on our ride down with 15 of them being for passengers. There were 452 passengers with 181 cars. I didn’t get the numbers on the ride back because I wasn’t paying attention and our kids were too excited in the sleeper car. In total, they can transport up to 300 cars per trip.
We choose to ride coach on our way to Florida. The ride was very smooth and seamless. Our car wasn’t full so the kids were able to spread out and it definitely made for a more pleasant experience. The seats recline to a comfortable angle and we had plenty of space for backpacks and snack bag. There is overhead storage as well if needed.
Dinner was good both ways and the kids loved the coffee cakes for breakfast. If you are traveling with someone that can not get to the dining car, you can order your food for delivery.
It was cheaper for our family of four to take the train with our van than flying to Orlando and renting a car.
We enjoyed the experience. The kids had a blast and enjoyed the sleeper car much better than the adults.
The food was actually not bad. The customer service is great. The staff on board are engaging and information is shared as we pass different locations.
This can go either way: you get to bond with your kids. We played board and card games. Yes they wanted electronics after a while, but you can’t play board games on a plane. There is free WiFi on board. Keep in mind that it will be spotty because of the cell towers. It’s stronger in the lounge car which is where we spent lots of time.
It takes a long time. The ride is 16 hours. Always overnight 4 pm to 8 am. Arrival depends on rail traffic. Leave some wiggle room in your schedule to allow for late arrival. We didn’t arrive to Sanford till 9 am.
There are no security checkpoints. This was on my mind because of the climate society is in. However, I didn’t let it damper the experience.
Overall, this is definitely a way to travel to many Florida attractions and we will do it again. There are other train vacations options available but doesn’t include taking your vehicle.
Is this a mode of transport you can see yourself utilizing?
Contact me for more details on booking your next family getaway. Check out my Facebook page for videos and more pictures.
As I mentioned last week on my Facebook Live, a client had to cancel her cruise that was sailing this week at the last minute due to business commitment. They weren't happy about it but were relieved to know that by purchasing the travel protection they will only be losing out on a minimal amount of their investment.
Most people think that purchasing insurance is a waste of money. Those same people also think that nothing can go wrong before or during their vacation. As with any additional costs when traveling, you have to weigh the pros and cons. So let's look at some of the general things that are covered under a travel protection plan. Keep in mind that there might be some differences in what coverage you will need for cruises versus land vacations but the general idea is, it doesn't hurt to have it.
What does the insurance cover?
Trip cancellation: This is the base insurance. In most cases you will be able to get your money refunded to you as long as you have the correct proof of the reason you are cancelling.
Stolen/Lost Luggage: This is pretty self-explanatory and mainly it’s for big electronic items. You get a reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage but don’t expect it to amount to the headache that you would have acquired from the experience.
Trip Interruption: Full or partial reimbursement for a trip you need to cancel prior to departure, a trip that gets cancelled because a tour company or resort goes out of business, or a trip that gets cut short for a wide variety of reasons
Emergency Medical: This basically covers the medical care you will need if you were to get sick while on travel.
*Side note: While we were in Tennessee last year, my husband ended up in the emergency room the second day we were there. Imagine if we were out of the country and he needed medical care? That cost alone is enough to make you sicker.
Just because you have health insurance at home does not mean that it will cover you on your trip. You need to check the ins and outs of your particular health insurance policy. It may cover you while you travel, but many do not. In fact, some insurance policies don’t even cover health emergencies experienced on foreign-flagged vessels - which is what most cruise ships are. Check with your provider, ask me for suggestions, and of course direct any insurance-related questions to the provider
Emergency Evacuation: Imagine you are enjoying an excursion in an exotic location and you hurt yourself. You have to be transported to the nearest facility/town. That, my friends, is where this comes into play. You most likely would not have a say as to which treatment location you are taken to because it’s stipulated by the insurance company, but it will pay the coverage for that transport and to get you home. This is also for disaster, dangerous weather, and political emergency.
Pre-Existing Condition: This isn’t always offered so it’s best to shop around or have me as your agent know ahead of time that this is a concern. If you think you will need care while in a different country, it is important that we make sure you purchase the correct coverage. Don’t assume that you will be covered.
What isn’t covered by insurance?
Please note that there are more things that can be covered by the insurance coverage you decide to purchase, however, note that you cannot claim inconveniences. Things happen when you travel and sometimes we end up not having a good time. Those are not reason enough to file a claim.
How much does it cost?
That is the first question I get from my clients. I actually will only send quotes with insurance already quoted. I let my clients review the policy and decline if they so desire.
There are several types and levels of insurance. The main items that factor into the price are, the length of the trip, cost of the trip, who is being covered, and which coverage you choose. Third party companies charge roughly between 5% and 7% total cost of your trip. I also advice to purchase it during your booking process. It could make a difference if you don’t qualify for the reasons above if you are able to recoup any money/credit back.
So, you still want to know if you should purchase insurance?
Weigh the cost of the trip with the cost of insurance. If you just bought a $79 ticket for a quick weekend in Chicago - is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. If, however, you’re headed out on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that you’ve been saving for for months, travel insurance is likely a great idea.
If you’re looking to maximize your fun and minimize your risk, travel insurance might be just the right option for you. Take your time, ask tons of questions, and find what works best for you and your family.
Have questions about insurance – or any other travel-related topic? I’d love to sit down with you in person or over the phone and get to know you and your travel plans better. To get in touch, just click here.