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mking8288

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About mking8288

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    "Big Apple" NY
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    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, CCL, RCL
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    Bermuda/Caribbean
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    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5nup7xtw3ell4g0/CruiseCritic%20Abstract%20-%20mking8288%20-%2011.2018A.doc

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  1. Great info ... nice. Aren't some folks ending this crossing earlier today and disembarking the ship ? Did everyone need to clear CBP for immigration/custom purposes ?
  2. OP, for the Jewel or similar ships in the general class/tonnage like the Gem or Star, Dawn is nearly identical - there are no fully obstructed balcony stateroom, and yes, there are what some considered partially "obstructed" balcony known as Privasea balconies - mainly, Deck 8 Fwd. Wordings used by NCL in its generic description is for them to cover all their bases. The Epic might be an exception with lifeboats overhanging but you aren't sailing that unique ship with other design "issues". Recently, we bid a fairly low ("fair" range) from Inside Sideway "IB" on Deck 8 Mid to win our GTY upgrade to an unobstructed OV, category "OA" on Deck 5 Mid. Our bid for a balcony didn't get accepted as we could've ended up with a Privasea balcony on Deck 8 - these are the odds/chances that there is always a slim possibility of getting the "worst" cabin in that upgraded category. Folks had been shocked & upset with being upgraded by being moved from Deck 8 to Deck 4 on these ships. Regardless, there is no absolute guarantee against noisy next door neighbors, kids screaming & crying and inconsiderate cruisers slamming doors across the hallway. Deck, location & specific section aren't important to us - others with different priorities & values will not take chances, it's up to you. Every now & then, folks had been pleasantly surprised getting an AFT (extended) balcony with a BX booking. One of our BIL just booked 2 BX on the Bliss sailing this April - got 2 nice "BA" category, Deck 11 Mid/Fwd porside ... 3 doors apart; not bad at all, for what they've paid using 2 CruiseNext each. Just joked with them to put in a low, cheap bid for an oversized bathroom & see what happen in a few weeks (that's for a "mini" suite upgrade) ... with luck, NCL might toss them lower to Deck 8 or 9 Fwd with one of those large/extended mini's.
  3. Typically, some i/smartphone can act as hotspot using the incoming cellular signal - I do that all the time over my T-Mobile USA plan (it is allowed & not throttled badly). You will need a doubled/bridged connection to do that relay work - easier to do with a laptop PC or one of the highy-rated nano travel router, in which the duplexed speed will be reduced further, by definition - 50% - making it slow, very slow, awfully slow to almost unusable; even if it is not detected and blocked/connection dropped. This is tricky for the average cruisers and hospitality vendors are getting smarter in blocking these efforts, using a variety of methods. YMMV, it might work but odds are it most likely won't work reliably and consistently to make it worthwhile. Indoors with metals & visual obstructions, expect a working range of 50' to 100' at most. Some of the earlier discussions on NCL ... lately, it's is getting more difficult to bypass and evade - IMHO, forget streaming over satellite at sea with the ship moving; and, pay for that slow speed connection when using it, one device at a time - or, stay off-line and use shore-based cellular or free/unsecured open WIFi, while expecting interference. On a 25/25 Mbps+ or better fiber-optics hard-wired ethernet connection, I would do it running DD-WRT customized firmware over a Linksys & select TP-Link/Edimax or HooHoo travel router, if it isn't blocked or locked down tightly by the ISP/vendor.
  4. The newer/est "Cruise Norwegian" App is better, improved over the old "iConcierge" App, over the ship's inTRAnet (Cisco & Lenovo industrial-graded hardware/servers) - and updated more frequently with rolling bug fixes & enhanced/refined. Depending on your needs & expectations, is a nicer product as a whole. The bottleneck is upstream with NCL's satellite technologies, fallen behind Royal, Princess, Carnival & MSC's comparable & competititve service tiers. WiFi over inTERnet, including streaming, is slow, sluggish & frequently below acceptable and minimum threshold for reliable video & streaming - high latency & packet losses not helping ... the system as a whole burdened with congestions and more users than it can support vis-a-vis capacity/bandwidth. It is fine for basic web surfing, email and basic needs over such a narrow connection, stretching what we consider "broadband" these days - think copper, analog DSL over a twisted RJ-11 thin pair of wires, 15 to 20+ years ago. "Improved" but not something that I would waste money on, not for $30 to $35 a day per user/device unless it is deeply discounted or subsidized or get reimbursed as a necessary/deductible business expenses.
  5. One of my BIL just booked 2 cabins on the Bliss, collection of pro quality pictures are going to be very useful to preview. Pictures from the port stops literally tell the stories. You are absolutely correct on the steep climb up those historic ruins; and, mine, coming back down. Knowing DW, she would just stay on the bottom of the foothill & admire them from a distance. Perhaps, folks should be wear long pants suitable for climbing in the tropical climate. One of these days, on our bucket list - to combine the Western Caribbean itinerary again and stretch it with the South or East Carib routing, on a B2B ... How about it @Arzeena - 2021 or 2022, perhaps - start stashing away some of our retirement funds aside to make that final payment later on. Or, wait for the newer class of Norwegian ships ?? Spring is around the corner, not seeing us doing a last minute cruise since it's now a green light to fly to Asia, probably a 2 country land tour.
  6. Keep it simple, you don't need/have to made it complicated. Ask and see if others on the Roll Call might want to donate & offer to bring some prizes - spend as little as you can/or none at all, especialy if you are traveling to the embarkation port and/or will be flying, or take time to "shop" & collect them prior to the M&G. Enlist the help of other volunteers from the Roll Call. It can be nice, cute & useful items on any cruise, i.e. lanyard & holder for those key cards, luggage tag holders for those NCL tags, sparkling wine and/or bottle of wine (from those that don't drink or got "extras" to give away) ... or, even bottles of water (as much as I hate to suggest this, at NCL's inflated prices ... it will be onboard & in your stateroom, no need to worry about carrying them, etc.) extra NCL ship pins from the old days or even those old ship photos, etc.
  7. If you are into Asian food in SF area, skip the "old" Chinatown & find your way to the Richmond District, just north of Golden Gate Park, along Clement Street - unlike the historic & colorful downtown. Superior, nothing like what you had onboard the Gem - just ask around and/or look it up on friendly "Google". The other area with wonderful Asian/Chinese dining options is in San Bruno, just east of SFO Airport, about 10 minutes away if you have a rental car or friends that are familar with the area - numerous places to eat, easily off I-380 at El Carmino Real ... on both sides in the north-south running corridor - as usually stay & book our extended lodging in that area. What are plans for San Pedro tomorrow, going ashore or stay onboard ... Any interesting shorex by NCL, for the "convenience" ??
  8. OooooKay ... odd location for a naughty room with stainless steel wide entry doorway. Probably best to not ask more questions to find out what is stored in the pantry, given its proximity and access to a nearby facility. Google search came up empty for the "descriptive entry" used.
  9. Lately, we fell in love with our 16 and 20 oz. Contigo double insulated stainless steel cup, keep it hot or cold all day or all night long. Plus, my own favorite French Vietnamese drip coffee by Lee's Sandwich, sold via Amazon. It maintained temperature for good 8 to 10 hours, ice cubes don't melt entirely all day long.
  10. Bob, Turtles & all onboard, enjoy your sea day en route to arrive at San Pedro tomorrow, some of the pictures bring back memories of our Mexico Rivera cruise on the Star 11 years ago. Thanks for sharing & taking the time to post. Now, here's a trivia for you, while you are still on her. Dawn has a similar one, same location but unmarked ... Deck 4 mid ship, port side. What is Age Pantry, see if you can find out 🙊 just ahead of the elevators & stairs, around the corner.
  11. Most definitely, they are in all the staterooms - including Insides, Oceanviews and Balconies onboard the Gem as well as other similar ships in the NCL class. Check with your pharmacy about specific & safe temperature range for storing your medications ... it is generally chill enough but possibly a bit higher/borderline on being within the safe range. If temperature is critical, you might want to bring along a certified/calibrated thermometer to monitor ... typically, at that sweet spot between 36° and 46° Fahrenheit for insulin products if storage is neede for an extended cruise.
  12. mking8288

    Is Hong Kong safe?

    A quick update & heads-up, consistent ebslcc's post just above. Minor confrontations has flared up between HK Police and the protesting rioters, a relatively small number of trouble-makers that aimed to disrupt, sabotage & determined to destroy the economy - personally, I consider these fractions to be more "militant" in their approach, unpredictable & not afraid to invoke violence. In recent weeks, police has seized more homemade firebombs, pipe bombs, modified air guns and deadly firearms with lived ammo due to better intelligence, taken from multiple locations, including collapsible batons and even bullet-proof vests, apparently imported & shipped from abroad. These are good indicators, suggesting an underground movement to "be water" while staying low, waiting for an opportune time to spike. For the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday weekend coming up - police are expecting more trouble to be staged, likely at different locations - an extra 2,000 cops are being strategically deployed for rapid mobilization, with Mong Kok, Kowloon being a prime hot spot for the trouble-makers to gather. Best to avoid and steer clear of the area, especially this Sunday, starting from midday on & certainly by late afternoon/early evening (Jan 26th). Expect a high profile police presence in the coming days, some will be armed and on mobile patrol, to maintain a visible presence as a strong deterrent … along with water cannon truck and lightly armoured police personnel carriers & other tactical vehicles. No need to be alarmed but if you see, hear and smell trouble in that or other unexpected area, turn and leave calmly, no need to run from the scene - police will generally issue plenty of warnings and raise different color flags to alert the public. The Lunar New Year celebrations across HK has been scaled back/down, for public safety reasons and to minimize large crowds. Major retails stores, shopping malls & businesses will possibly be closed and/or cutting back their extended open hours - check ahead first to reconfirm. After the holidays, a trade group is forecasting that 500 retail food & dining establishments are expected to shut their doors and close up permanently - despite any promised government bailout programs or privately-funded subsidies or financial aid offered.
  13. LOL, DW thought it's because we're below in "steerage" - whether being Platinum+ or not, doesn't matter as we rather to go under the radar, if we could. Absolutely not in my sights to lock onto the pursuit of Ambassador status, whatsoever. The extra perks not worth chasing. Congrats to OP for recently earning & paying their ways to reach top dog status … much like how legacy US airlines has continued to "tweak" their frequent flyer tiers, perks & benefits. United Airlines began to wonder how come we cut back on flying their once friendly skies and didn't pursuit lifetime million mile status … guess what, loyalty is our own wallets, not how deep they can sneak their hands into the cookie jars. With top-tiered airline status, at least one always get priority boarding … among other privileges and recognition, often unspoken, even when you are in the "main" cabin, extended as a courtesy by the senior/chief purser … with the passenger manifest, they know who's who. I think it was 3 years ago at one of the Captain's Reception (Breakaway, not 100%) that NCL acknowledged about have 50'ish Latitude Ambassadors in the entire "universe" with 2 of them sailing onboard. Fast forward to May 2019 on the Dawn, the rank has been reduced to under/about only 40 - they're onboard but only one was at the reception & acknowledged. Recently, on NCL's official FB page, 2 Ambassadors were featured - sailing their 100 cruises, or 1,241 nights with Norwegian - David & Jeffrey, neither of them appeared to be in the 90's in age. Link is here - see for yourself, should be known/recognized by hard core CC'ers here. (If link is taken down, just go to their FB page & find it there, easily) P.S. Tell them when booking the hard-earned "free" cruise, that you are celebrating a milestone, maybe, that will be enough excuse onboard for them to send an extra plate of chocolate-covered strawberries or small cake, for your convenience, at no extra charge.
  14. For domestic flight, look at both LGA as there are likely more price-competitive options to MSP, typically 30-45 minutes travel time & shorter distance vs. 60+ minutes to JFK and higher fares/longer trip time. 31st of July is Friday, a weekday and road/highway traffic will generally be heavy even in mid/late morning, going to either airport - best to book an early afternoon flight, 1 pm or later, for either airport - just in case. Better to be checked in early, get thru security & find a comfortable area to relax & wait, then to sweat it out in traffic racing against the clock. When pricing for an online quote with Dial 7 or Carmel for an exact/confirmed price, you do NOT need to input an exact flight number - really, just be sure to use a 2 or 3 digits flight number and whether it is a domestic or international flight that is all - it isn't going to validate the flight details. If and when you are ready to commit by booking the car service, then, be sure to update & change the exact flight/airline for them to include in the confirmation - or, call them if already book for the specifics. Flying MSP back to NY, if the friends do not wish to come down to NYC to meet for whatever reasons, and, hotel costs will definitely be MUCH higher than the mid-Hudson River area near them. Consider looking up flight options to Albany, NY area (NY's capital) that's about 65 to 70 miles north of Newburg-Beacon area, an easy & direct highway trip on Rt-87 (NY State Thruway) with very reasonable toll charges, and much less traffic to deal with. Flight options exist for Steward Airport (SWP) but they are likely to be less & more expensive: yet, will be a lot closer - saving time, money on ground transport. Both Albany & Steward airports are smaller and much easier to get picked up, compared to JFK with the free AirTrain loops and longer walkway or LGA with the airport/terminal expansions-reconstructions From Albany airport, it's about a 75 minutes, no more than 90 minutes trip to Newburgh-Beach and much easier, IMHO than to go north when returning from MSP. The most difficult & challenging is getting to JFK to make that late night flight. Even for a summer Friday evening, you want to set aside extra time for that 2.5 to 3 hour drive from the Hudson region to Queens, tolled bridge crossings & plenty of weekend getaway traffic. A standard 4 door sedan, then, should suffice with reasonable amount of traveler's luggage. Just wanted to help think outside/stretch that "box" and go beyond.
  15. It's far easier, use a browser like Edge, Firefox, or Chrome ... to lookup & search, the "cookies" will track & trace you, with ways to follow up on your "shopping cart" unfinished. Linux Mint, as I set up mine, made it a little more difficult but I know it's done.
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