Congress of Gamers

Cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda
August 17-22, 2019

Cruise Info from Michael Fryar, our cruising specialist:

Passports
Required. Children under 16 can travel with a parent and an original, notarized or certified copy of their birth certificate.


Table Games
Michael is continuing to work on gaming space on the ship. We have secured all three conference rooms and will have some floating space: the dining room between meals and one of the bars that is closed during the day. We'll have a final schedule for gaming well in advance of the cruise. You will receive itineraries and updates before we leave, and then a daily schedule each morning at your door.

There is a $50 fee for each table game player. That gets you a polo-shirt with logo, a lanyard and badge, and it covers any other costs and expenses. The shirts may also be for sale to non-game players. I will forward information and links when that is available.

Cruise Registration
If you have not already done so, please go to https://www.royalcaribbean.com, click on Log In and create a profile for yourself. This lets you see ship and cruise details, including prices for drink and meal packages above and beyond the included food and beverages. It also lets you see excursions through Royal Caribbean. Michael is available to answer any questions you may have. That includes during the cruise!

If you have not done so already, please visit https://www.wastedgeniustravel.com, click on MyTrips and create a login. This lets you view details about your trip, such as due date for any payments, look at excursions offered through Shore Excursions, and get suggestions for what to pack or bring with you on the cruise!

Final Payment
Final payments are due by May 19. Michael will continue to check every new Royal Caribbean promotion to see if your price can be reduced. There is also a tickler in my system that auto-checks and will notify me if it looks like the new deal is a better one. There is no fee or penalty for rebooking the room at the reduced rate.

Ship
It’s a ship, not a boat. If you call it a boat on board, you will probably be corrected with good humor. If you are curious about the ship, there is a tour video from May of 2018 on youtube here: https://youtu.be/ZK8jYuIj1J4

Alcohol
You are allowed to bring two 750 ml bottles of wine on board on departure day. You may consume these in your cabin but, if you bring them to dinner or open them in a public area, the ship can (and probably will) charge you a $15 corkage fee. You are allowed to bring alcohol bought in Bermuda back onto the ship, but the crew will store them until departure.

The drinking age on Royal Caribbean is 21 – it is not a party ship. There are ships and companies that observe the 18 and over in International waters. This is not one of those companies.

Tipping the Crew
The crew you will meet are almost all from poor countries. Although their income is high for a citizen of a poor country, it's still little compared to incomes enjoyed in the USA. They are eager for tip income. You can prepay tips ahead of time so you don’t have to worry, or you can tip on board. It is always less expensive to prepay. Experienced cruisers will often bring some cash and give additional tips, because it helps move them from amazing service to luxury service.

Each cabin has a safe for storing valuables

Electrical Outlets
There are at least two outlets per room, with standard 110V American sockets. If you have four people, charging devices, a lap top, etc. you will need to get a multi-USB power port for at least one plug. DO NOT bring a power strip – you cannot use it. This is a fire hazard and strictly forbidden. If you use a CPAP machine or something that requires an extension cord, this is available on board on request. Michael has never heard of a ship running out, but still best requested in advance. Please let Michael know if you have any special needs or questions!

Internet/WiFi
Yes, you’re on vacation, but there are some people who can't completely cut the cord. There are two connectivity packages: a per device/perday wifi charge and a package unique to Royal Caribbean, called “The Key.” More information and pricing are on RoyalCaribbean.com, but note that "The Key" has to be purchased for every person in the cabin over a certain age. This is because it includes a meal plan and a few other benefits.

Meals and Drinks included
There is no additional charge to dine in the main dining room, Latte-tudes (small sandwiches and pastries), the Solarium's Park Cafe (adults only), and the Windjammer Cafe. Eat. Don’t hesitate. You will find that they are insistent about it sometimes. Once the food is prepared it has to be consumed. So go ahead and have that third cheesecake. No one is judging you.

Dining in the specialty restaurants on board: Chef's Table, Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, and Izumi require additional fees. There are fees in Café Latte-tudes for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, and for Starbucks drinks.

Room Service delivery fee is $7.95, and includes almost all the items on the meal plan menu.

Drinks
Free drinks:

  • tap water
  • milk
  • tea
  • coffee (regular and decaf)
  • lemonade
  • iced tea
  • flavored waters
  • juices (at breakfast and not fresh squeezed)
  • hot chocolate (via instant packets)
There are also beverage packages. These include: a case of bottle water delivered to your cabin, a soda package, a non-alcoholic beverage package, and an alcohol beverage package. Please keep in mind that the prices for the packages are PER DAY. So, if you’re in port, and planning on leaving the ship, a package may not be a good idea for that day.

Adventure Ocean
There is kids club for children between the ages of 3 and 17! You need to register kids on the first day – the Compass (the on-board newsletter) will have times listed for registration. It is open the first day, but there is a tendency to confuse the times for registration and the times it’s open to children. On sea days, Adventure Ocean is typically open 9am - noon, 2pm - 5pm, and 7pm - 10pm. On port days, Adventure Ocean is open continuously, but, once the ship leaves port, it resumes the normal sea days schedule. It is open until 10 pm. From 10 pm to 2 am it remains open, but with a fee of $7 an hour. This are mroe activites for the 17-year-olds than the 5-year-olds. Be warned. There is a "Pets at Sea" option. It is similar to Build a Bear. $20 for the pet, and then there’s clothing and accessories. You’ve been warned!

Here is a good breakdown of age groups and general activities.

Kings Wharf
Here's a link to a great article on Kings Wharf and things to do there. https://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_000027.htm The beach is a five minute walk from the ship. Because of the amount of tourism, pretty much everything, including the national museum, is within 500 yards of the dock. You can rent mopeds for an island tour, and there is a bus stop. Bus #7 goes to the famous South Shore beaches.

Packing Tips
Note – There are shops in Bermuda that will sell any of these items if you don’t want to pack them. The mall is a 5 minute walk off the ship.
Carry on bag with criticals (medications, phone/camera chargers)

  • two bottles of wine or champagne (750 ml) – one guest in the room must be 21 or older
  • 12 bottles of beverages (non-alcoholic – soda, water, etc.)
  • Activity appropriate clothing
  • One pair of closed toed shoes if you’re a flip flop or sandal person
  • Bathing suit and cover up if you are going to the pool
  • Beach Towel if you are planning a day at the beach
  • A sweater or light jacket – the open ocean at night is not warm. If you are going to be on deck, be prepared for a little chill
  • Backpack or beach tote – if you are planning on getting off the ship in Bermuda. Or winning a ton of money at the slot machines.
  • Sun screen and after sun lotion!
  • Toiletries – it is hotel like and the rooms will have some basics, but you may want your own.
  • Air freshener – you cannot open a window in the bathroom and the vent fans are not that powerful.
  • Medications for upset stomach/motion sickness – if you haven’t been at sea before, you may find you need a Dramamine or Bonine. Cheaper to bring it with you than purchase on-board
  • Underwater camera
  • Cash in small bills for tipping
  • Portable back up charger for phone or camera
Carry on bag for last night!
This is critical, as crew will collect your luggage the night before we port in Baltimore. This way you have your carry on bag with essentials for the next day as your luggage will be prepped for off-loading and you won’t have access to it. Perhaps include a favorite board game.

Congratulations all! Michael and Eric are looking forward to cruising with you!