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About MikeyB

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    Cool Cruiser

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    NCL, Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Almost Anywhere

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  1. Just off the Epic transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to San Juan. I refuse to believe the Epic Haven is the best in the fleet. In fact, if it was my first time in the Epic Haven, it would have been my last time. Enjoy your cruise!
  2. And no one said the chairs were removed every night. It was the cushions and towels. All cleaned for the next day.
  3. I did notice that the Breakaway also didn't have the same level of pool service a couple of years ago. Wetcoast- We had relatively calm days crossing the Atlantic. However, the first 5 or 6 days, very few passengers were by the pool. Also, when we were able to use the pool area, it was only for a few hours. The sun had to be above the ship. Due to the layout, it was still cold until the last 5 days or so, Not surprised Roel was a butler, he really wasn't very helpful unless he got to use the elevator.
  4. Just to answer a few questions- Brookie848- Sorry, don't know anything about Roel. I tried avoiding him. Most of the time I saw his assistant at the desk and not him. Wdstea- I beg to differ about the Epic Haven. It was the first ship built with a Haven but it's small and oddly laid out. You must constantly have your key card at the ready. I appreciate the gym, but other ship's like the Breakaway have pool chairs on two levels and is covered. The Epic is not and has a lot of engine noise. I should also have added that the Haven pool server was excellent. I would be up in the gym at 6:15am seeing him setting up the pool. At 5pm he removed all the cushions and towels. In between, he was always walking around serving drinks. I hope someone will report on when the Haven bar closes. I found it funny that the pool bar is open for drink orders at 7am.
  5. Hi, I don't normally do this. However, I believe it is necessary to provide my thoughts on my Epic transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to San Juan. I had a Haven 2 bedroom unit on deck 16. In no real particular order, here are my random thoughts. It is by no means a complete list. Just my thoughts. 1-The cruise did not start well. There was a noro virus problem on the prior cruise so everyone was late in boarding. Close to 2 hours on line. I would not have mind, but I asked if Haven meant skipping the lines. I asked three different people and was told to wait with the masses. I found out this was not true when I entered the terminal. From the Haven waiting room, a rep took us to the elevator on deck 6. We were told to wait. The problem was that the elevator waited for passengers on deck 7. I had to go up to deck 7 to tell the rep to come down to deck 6. Not a good start. 2-We were dropped off on deck 16. No one met us. We had lunch in the Haven restaurant. 3-The Haven concierge, Roel Gonzales, was my fourth favorite concierge. I have now been in the Haven on four cruises. 4-I did not mine getting a Haven tour but I traveled with another couple who were there for the first time. They could have used it. New to me was that Haven allowed access to Posh. I wish someone told me that before the third day. 5-There were a number of cabins on 16 and 17 being renovated. It looked like a construction sight for the first week. Another day, they replaced the carpet on the spiral staircase between 16 and 17. Why they chose a sea day to do this is beyond me. 6-There was always lines boarding the Epic at most ports and and different times. 7-We were also delayed disembarking the ship in San Juan. No info was provided by the concierge. 8- My cabin steward was great (Elisa) as well as my butler (William). The best after four Haven cruises. 9- The Haven restaurant had some great servers. But most were poor. Really poor. Problems taking orders, taking plates off the table or knowing the order to take the food. 10-On a related subject, the Haven toilet paper was the thinnest that I have ever seen. 11-Treadmills in Haven gym all had problems. With one machine, I had to indicate every 64 seconds that I was still using the machine. 12-The tonic water served with drinks was consistently flat. There was a nice selection of beers. The only remarkable bartender was by Cagney's restaurant. Did not get his name. 13-In Le Bistro a beverage manager ask for my thoughts during dinner. I took that opportunity to tell him how disappointed I was with the wine selection. Why does the wine prices top out at $9 or $10 when your liquor package allows selections up to $15? He couldn't answer that question but he did send a $3 bottle of wine to my cabin. 14-We ate once in the Manhattan room and thought the food and service was good. 15-I thought less of the food quality in the other specialty restaurants. La Cucina food was a major disappointment. Previously, I always enjoyed it. 16-Burn the Floor was fantastic. Saw it three times. Priscilla was also good. There was lots of music performed most nights. Almost all very good. I thought they cheap out on the entertainment in the Epic theater. 17-Something that really bothered me was my experience with the Haven lounge bar and the Epic general manager Nelson. Here is the short version- On various nights after leaving the theater, we would go up to the Haven bar for a nightcap. Arriving a night at 10:45 we were told it was closing but we could order a drink. Another night it was closed at 10:35. No one in sight. I went to guest services and asked when it closes. The rep called the concierge (who had no idea). The concierge contacted the bartender. I wasn't surprised when I was told it closes at 10:30 pm. I wrote to Nelson. Eventually he told me it should be between 11 and 11:30pm. He said he would contact bar services. This was the next to the last night. If this had been my first Haven experience, it would likely have been my last. I told my friends so many good things about the Haven that did not turn out to be true. I would like to blame the Encore (coming into service) for many of the problems encountered. Anyway, that is my story and I'm sticking to it. I will be back on the Epic in January in a mini-suite. I will be interested to see how different my experiences will be next time.
  6. thanks for posting. So I don't deal with those grumpy bartenders, do you remember the names of the individuals you liked?
  7. Hello, Does anyone know if these stores on Front Street are still in business? Wrote to them and i did not receive a reply. Among other things they sold liquor and cigs. Thanks Mike
  8. Do you happen to have the e-mail address for the Haven department? Thanks.
  9. Others are more adult than me but really now, it will be hard to ignore all of your "thoughts" during what I'm sure will be a mostly positive cruise. Cheers!
  10. I suggest showering.
  11. Please let us know your favorite bartender's and their locations (I hope one of you do drink).
  12. So just when I thought, I beat my question to an ugly death, what should happen? Answer.....Viking called me! I admit that I do leave a lot of crumbs. My name, my location and the details that I write gave me away. Well anyway, I appreciate the effect they made to contact me. But I must admit, it would have been easier for them to just post a reply here. After all, they have been known to reply on these boards. The person who contacted me was from the "post-cruise" department. She asked if I still had a question about the gratuities. Well yes, I did and will still question it until it comes time to tell Viking what I wish to give the staff. Auto gratuities don't work well for me without an explanation. She then said, she did not have an answer but will get me one. I was placed on hold. Hmmmmm, that's odd that she was not prepared to explain it, since she called me. After the brief hold she kind of said it was management who determined the amount. Again, my question as to how it was determined was not really answered, but I told the individual that Viking not having an answer was indeed the answer I was looking for. Please don't get me wrong, this will be my 7th river cruise (plus 2 ocean cruises) in 6 years. More bread crumbs. I really like the Viking product. Almost always a home run. It's just that Corporate Viking can make things difficult.
  13. On my July river cruise, it was 15 euro per person per day. They now auto-charge it to you final invoice. As previously stated, this amount can be adjusted. You can also pre-purchase it at the $18 recommended rate. No separate rate for the cruise director. Everyone apparently will share your generosity. In the past, I have been able to use the OBC (from both Viking and a TA) for tipping. But only if I do it while on board.
  14. Not sure if this answers your question. My cruise document booklet for Undiscovered China suggest $2 for the local guide and $1 for the driver. To me that means American dollars are acceptable. On the European river cruises it says 2 euro/1 euro. With China just devaluing their local currency, no one will reject the almighty dollar.
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