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Everything posted by bkrickles1

  1. Actually, I wasn't rude at all. I made a joke about your math skills which you are obviously defensive of. But in addition to your math being wrong, your understanding of the drink package as a perk is wrong too. The perks, such as the drink package, dining package and free air are only for the first 2 in a cabin. If you have 3 adults in a cabin and receive the drink package as a perk, only the first 2 get it and the 3rd is on their own. So, you can pick the 2 that drink and list them as the first 2 and they'll get the package and the 3rd can buy as they go. And the perk does require you to pay the gratuities, which are 20% or $20 per day, per person. How do you figure that comes to 8 drinks per day, per person? Beer is approx. $7 or $8 per and other drinks are usually $10 to $12 per. Your math is wrong, your understanding of the free perks is wrong and you don't understand a joke when you hear it. And me being perfect is not the point, although I do consider myself a legend in my own mind. Lmao!! Please go to the NCL website and peruse the faq section. It will better explain what I just mentioned. Peace out.
  2. Completely agree. If you were ok with being in the shade, you could get seating at any time. If you were interested in the sun (like I was and without Vibe), it was a little difficult but not impossible. Up until around 10:30am, there were seats available in the sun without trying too hard. From 11am until 2pm it was definitely the busiest and more difficult to find a spot. Between 2pm and 3pm, some people began to leave and go elsewhere and that trend continued the rest of the afternoon. We usually hung out on sea days up on deck until around 4pm and I was paying attention after reading so much on here. I keep repeating myself but I truly felt it to be the same as every other ship I've been on as far as crowding, chair hogs and availability of loungers. There were definitely many nooks and crannies to be found on 16, 17 and 18 for people looking to lounge. If you had to sit right next to the pool, that's another story. We didn't get off in St. Thomas so we did sit by the pool that day until mid afternoon and it was very nice not having the crowds. We almost always pick one port to ignore on our sailings and we've been to St. Thomas so many times, we seized the opportunity.
  3. On the rebel yell catamaran, exactly one week ago, we pulled up right to the beach and stepped down into maybe 12 to 24 inches of water. Pretty much the same when we boarded about 3 hours later. As I mentioned previously we had the 8:15 excursion through NCL and arrived at White Bay at around 9am. It was definitely a highlight of our Encore cruise.
  4. As others have mentioned here, math is obviously not your strong suit. Although I felt like I had 34 drinks on our day in Tortola. Lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drink package perk is soooo worth it, even if you're a light to moderate drinker. Regarding the pool deck, as I stated in my review here, it wasn't any more crowded on a sea day than any other cruise I've been on and I've been on more than a few. Was it hard to get a chair on a beautiful sunny seaday? Yes it was, but if you were patient and used your head a little, you could always find a place to plant yourself. I spent as much time at the pool area as anyone possibly could have and paid attention. There were always people coming and going and as long as you were flexible to where you sat, you would find a spot. It was no different on the Escape (that had Spice) or any of the rccl and celebrity ships I've sailed. The little person in me is wondering if I could drink 34 drinks per day. Probably not but it could be a fun challenge. Maybe next time.
  5. I just got off Encore 1/26 and for 7 days we never even walked over to the go-karts, laser tag or VR as we had no interest. In fact, except for taxes in port for drinks, shore excursions and dsc, we had no extra expense charged to our account. We were not nickle and dimed at all. We enjoyed the incredible amount and quality of "free" entertainment that was available everywhere on this very beautiful ship. There wasn't enough time in the evening to get to it all, but we tried. Lmao! The Encore is a mega ship in the truest sense of the word. If you are confused about what you want out of a cruise or are unprepared for the twists and turns of a modern mega ship, it could be highly frustrating.
  6. There are so many bars on board. At the pool area I went only to the one closest to the buffet. Before dinner on a couple of nights, I would try and hit 3 or 4 different ones for a drink each. Definitely hit up the one at the OL. They are so nice and accommodating there. Also the Atrium bar, but it was sometime crowded. At night, when we didn't have a show, we'd walk around and stop at the various bars too. Being a beer drinker, I really enjoyed the District Brewhouse. Enjoy yourself!!
  7. sorry I didn't reply in the other thread. I had bloody mary's every morning but didn't see clamato juice, which I'm guessing is the key.
  8. Some people are just so nasty. I was on this sailing and Dave is right on with his observations. First of all, the pool deck was no more crowded than any other cruise I've been on and we've been on a few. I was on the Escape 18 months ago with Spice and the additional space outside of Vibe and the crowds were no different. While I'm sure if measurements were calculated that there is less overall "free" space, it's probably not a huge difference as the area around the pools on Encore is larger than Escape and deck 17 also has more nooks and crannies, I believe. Nobody spent much more time outside than my family did on sea days on this particular sailing and it was a very typical experience. Did I miss Spice? Sure I did, but there was enough seating outside (shady & sunny) for everyone on our sailing. You can choose to believe Dave or not but I also had a very similarly positive experience and I didn't have Vibe or Haven. No cruise is perfect but the 1/19 - 1/26 sailing of Encore was pretty darn good in almost every way.
  9. We were informed ahead of time of changes for 1/19 sailing but the changes were only to Tortola and the addition of GSC. Tortola was changed from 8-5 to 6-2pm. St. Thomas was a full day 8-6pm. The times you're stating don't seem right so I'd check again in myncl.
  10. I know I wrote "light on children" but that's not exactly what I meant. And yes I know the groups your referring to. I meant that based on pictures and reviews of virtually all the previous Encore sailings there seemed to be less kids than on those sailings. I saw videos and pics of the water slides, for example, and the lines were all the way down the staircases. There were whirlpools overflowing with kids too. It definitely wasn't like that on our sailing and it would be hard for anyone to have been up on deck more than me. The lines were way shorter and I never had an issue going in the whirlpools either thankfully. I picked the week because most students would definitely be back in school, except for my daughter who gets an insane 2 month winter break. And we loved being in front of Hendo's. It was just me with my grey nike hat, my wife and my beautiful 19yo daughter. I was the one making 6 trips to the bar for painkillers. Lmao!! And on the ride back to the pier we sat in the front enjoying the rum punch and the incredible views!
  11. You can absolutely show up at 9:30 or 10am if it's important for you get on board early to book stuff or just to start your vacation as soon as possible. We always do and it's never an issue. The time on your edocs is more of a suggestion so everyone doesn't show up at the same time. Regarding the 250 minute perk. As Bird said it's value is $125 and it can be used towards an upgrade. What we did was not use wifi on sailaway day. It's a short day as you can use regular service until at least 4pm or whenever sailaway is and you should be too busy having fun to be interested in your phone anyway (this was a hard sell to my 19yo). The tip lies in the fact that unlimited wifi costs (rounding up) $30 per day or $210 for 7 days. Waiting until 12:01AM of that first night allowed us to not pay for that first day, saving $30, and paying $180 minus the $125 credit for a total of approx. $55 for the entire week. Again, a good value. It's key to not use wifi at all that first day (until midnight) or you'll lose the $125 credit. My daughter did it herself at pretty much exactly 12:01am, as I was sleeping already, and it worked perfectly. She used it mostly but my wife and I did have her log out occasionally so we could log on and check on things back home. The wifi worked reasonably well all week and I thought it was a clever tip that I learned about on these forums among many other things. Also, if you're on Verizon as I am, your regular data plan will work as if you're home in both San Juan and St. Thomas. Have a great cruise!
  12. Restaurant reservations were made in Teppenyaki which is across from Social.
  13. I booked everything for mine and my aunt and uncles cabin. I called in pre-cruise and booked the main theater shows and our specialty dining for both cabins. The only thing we had to do onboard was the comedy and it was no problem as long as you know all the cabin numbers.
  14. Just got off the Encore and liked the new bottles. Only issue was they are square and don't fit into the cupholders in the main theater. Certainly not a huge issue though.
  15. I thought about the kiosks, but I was booking for 2 cabins and had read you can't do that from the kiosks unless you have a card from each of the cabins and my aunt and uncle were boarding later than us. Also, we boarded as early as possible and the Social was easy to navigate and took me about 5 minutes.
  16. We actually decided to stay on board in St. Thomas. Jost Van Dyke excursion was sort of expensive and we booked a cabana in GSC and decided to chill out on an empty ship instead. Turned out to be very nice too. Thanks for the reply. You are extremely helpful.
  17. Our stop was changed to 6am to 2pm but we had from the beginning booked the earlier time slot of 8:15. We were obviously unaffected. People who had the later time slot were cancelled. I do know someone who had changed there reservation from the late to earlier time, but when they got to their cabin they had received a letter saying they didn't have a spot for them. This excursion books up fast so I believe you might be out of luck. Sorry about that.
  18. Just got back last night from our 7 day Encore cruise. Just to get it out of the way, I'll say it was great! It was me, my wife and 19yo daughter sailing with my aunt and uncle in 2 balcony cabins on deck 14 aft. No Haven, no vibe, no priority access. Just regular passengers who were prepared because of these forums and successfully navigated this beautiful ship. Big shoutout to Birdtravels whose crazily detailed review was awesome for planning. Thanks again!! I booked this sailing in December, 2018 and had all 6 perks. Dining, drink, 3rd pass. free, $50 shore excursion credit per port, 250 minute wifi and free air. I thought it was a great deal and we took advantage of all of them. We didn't like the time of our return flight yesterday (5pm), but we saved so much I'd say it was worth it. We arrived in Miami the night before our sailing and stayed at a hotel 5 minutes from the pier. We got up early, took an Uber to the ship ($6) and arrived before 9:30. We checked bags at the curb and was waiting on line at security for about 20 minutes before they opened it up and we zipped through and got our boarding group card (we were group 2). By around 11 they started the boarding process which was fast and easy. Again, we had no priority but boarded immediately after the priority people. We went straight to finish our reservations. I had already booked Choir of Man, Kinky Boots and our 3 SDP meals so we only needed to book comedy. We went to the Social and it was painless. The line went fast and they had lots of staff there who were very helpful. They had papers there that had the schedule so you could figure out how to coordinate your days and evenings so you could avoid conflicts. I'll add here that we had determined before our sailing that we had zero interest in the Go Karts, Laser Tag or Galaxy Pavillion. This definitely would change some things if they are important to you and from what others said, it can add some stress. I'll also add that I believe this sailing was light on children. I was told there were 4500 passengers on board but never asked for a kids count. I'm determining this because we spent all of our sea days on deck 17, overlooking the pool area in the exact same loungers, and I'd glance over at the water slides and the lines were never that long. In fact I thought they were short and easy to get on. After making comedy reservations, we headed to the Observation Lounge for drinks and snacks. We were sitting in chaise lounge chairs by the front windows having a cocktail before noon. This is where we had made plans to meet our aunt and uncle when they boarded, which was approx. an hour later. After they boarded, we had another drink or 2 and headed to the mdr for a nice sit down lunch. I believe avoiding the buffet before sailaway is the way to go. The OL might be one of the nicest spaces I've seen on a ship. Just beautiful, friendly service and virtually never a crowd. It's enormous! My aunt and uncle spent much of their time there and we'd make the occasional visit for a drink and a snack. Great bartenders and great walk around service. I'd highly recommend the space, especially for when you first board. Good tip if wifi is important and I can't take credit for it as I learned about it here. We stayed off it on sailaway day and at 12:01AM my daughter logged in and updated to unlimited. We received $125 credit and saved the $30 for the first day and our net cost was $54. Again, a good value and the wifi was pretty good overall. At least that's what my daughter said as she was the one using it 95% of the time. We even facetimed a few times with people from home and it worked reasonably well at times. Food was very good overall. Our specialty dining was at Q, Los Lobos and Teppenyaki. Los Lobos was our favorite. Everything was good and we tried everything on the menu. And the desserts were even better. Teppenyaki was also great. Fun, with fresh and tasty food. Q was very good. Great apps, good entrees and good desserts. MDR's were good too. Had our best meal at Manhattan room but we ate in Taste and Savor too and enjoyed them as well. Of course everything wasn't great but you pick and choose until you find something you like and it's quite enjoyable. Service was great in all dining venues, although we had one waiter in Taste one night for dinner that wasn't on his game but I actually believe it was a language barrier thing. We're pretty laid back (not my uncle) and roll with it pretty well. Buffet was pretty much like every buffet on every ship we've sailed on. Again, you try different things until you find something you like. Seating wasn't an issue and we'd frequently get stuff from there and bring it to the pool deck (deck 17 actually) to snack on. Ate at the Local once and it was fine too. Chair hogs. Same as every ship we've sailed on. There's a 15 minute rule (that seems extremely short to me) that's posted on the big screen always but not enforced too much from what I saw. With that in mind, people were able to find chairs somewhere almost all of the time if they were patient. This didn't affect us as I went to the gym every sea day at 5:45am and was up on deck 17 before 7:30 getting 3 chairs for me and my girls (who were sleeping) and I never left. I'd go in the whirlpool and listen to music until my lazy girls made it up on deck. In fact, we had the exact same loungers every day we went up there. We like the sun and the pool atmosphere and we'd stay up on deck all day. The 3 of us would never leave at the same time so we did follow the rules. The DJ was good and the Temperature Band was very good. I met a couple of people who got Vibe passes who boarded just after us so for this sailing I don't believe you needed priority access to get it. Every sailing is probably different so you have to decide how important that would be for you. I know I could have gotten them but I didn't want to pay and, as I said, we like the busy pool atmosphere and we always had loungers. Entertainment was so much fun and the quality was terrific. I think we hit every venue and we enjoyed them all. Choir of Man should never be missed. We saw it on the Escape 18 months ago in the supper club and said it was the best show we'd ever seen on a cruise ship and the new production with the new set and additional players was awesome too. And my daughter (and wife) thought the guys were super cute! Kinky Boots was great too. Started a little slow and then it gets going and is a top notch Broadway production. Comedians were good. The Social is a really nice venue and we went and saw both comedians in their 18+ sets. Phil & Keisha at the Sugarcane were good. Saw Yesterday (the Beatles tribute band) at the Cavern Club and the main theater and had a blast. The Cavern Club was especially fun. Jim Badger at the DB was good too. We went there one night for about 45 minutes and enjoyed it. This ship, probably more than any other we've been on, had so much music everywhere and it was good. I love music so this was great for me and my people. There was a terrific piano player who frequented the OL and the Atrium (there was music all the time in the Atrium). Guns and Rojas played everywhere and played all sorts of stuff from PInk Floyd to Sinatra. Strange but surprisingly good. And the country band in Q, Top Shelf, were so much fun also. My wife and daughter love country and couldn't have been happier with the band. Deck parties were fun. We didn't make it to Glow but stopped by for the 80's party and the Band mashup which featured most of the musicians playing together and that was really good. I read just about all the reviews prior to sailing and got such good advice. The criticisms I read about just didn't apply to us. I think it was mostly because we were so prepared and we are pretty laid back when we vacation. Those that said they couldn't get drinks, I just don't comprehend that. Did the pool bar sometimes get busy? Of course it did, but I never waited that long. I'd glance over before wandering over and if it was 3 deep (extremely rare), I'd wait a couple of minutes. The other bars on board were like any bars you'd go to on land. Sometimes you waited a couple of minutes, other times they were practically empty and you were served immediately. I got great value out of my drink package (lmao) and went to almost every bar and liked it all. They knew me in the OL so I'd sometimes have a drink before I sat down. I was also able to get a couple of unopened beers at the bars and bring them back to my cabin so I could have one at my leisure on the balcony. I had my mini fridge emptied the first day just for that reason and to fit some water bottles. Cabin steward was so nice. We left her a note on the first day with our requests (and a $10 bill) and she fulfilled everything right away. We saw her when we wanted but she wasn't intrusive. We had a problem with our safe 2 times. It just died and they replaced the battery once and then they replaced the safe entirely. Nobody's fault. We booked two shore excursions. The first was in Tortola. It was "Escape to Jost Van Dyke" and it was great!! We had an 8:15am time slot so we met on the pier, boarded a catamaran and took a 45 minute ride around Tortola to the island of Jost Van Dyke and into the bay of White Bay Beach, home of the Soggy Dollar Bar. Catamaran pulled right up to the beach and we spent 3 hours lounging in front of an establishment that's right next the Soggy Dollar, called Hendo's. Great lounge chairs with umbrellas and even better painkillers. I believe I had 6 of them, but who's counting. It was definitely up there as one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. Ride back to the pier had rum punch included so it was a good day already and it was only 1pm when we got back. On Great Stirrup Cay we booked a large cabana. It was very nice to have a spot and it was nice for my aunt and uncle to have shade. It took a little while for the guy bringing drinks to get his stuff together by we did arrive early and once he got going, we were good to go. There was a hot dog cart right in front of us and a food truck right next to us that some pretty good sandwiches. The mahi mahi was very good. There's a lot of food in various spots and plenty of bars too. Anyway, another real good day and we did stay there until almost the bitter end. Our tender back was an adventure. It was super rough and we couldn't get close to the ship for awhile. And then once we did, they couldn't get the ramp set up and then it was slamming against the tender, making it a little precarious getting off and onto the ship. But we survived. I'm gonna leave it at that. We had a great time with virtually nothing to complain about but as I've mentioned here a couple of times, I pretty much knew everything ahead of time and wasn't surprised by anything. The Encore is a mega ship and if you're clueless I could see it being extremely frustrating. I met several people who couldn't get into the comedy shows, who didn't know the OL existed. These folks were spending their nights on standby lines and still not getting into some things. This would drive me crazy. We were discussing one night how it was 20+ years ago. You could board a cruise ship and just let it come to you. No reservations. No worrying if you'd get a seat somewhere. No forums to spend your whole life obsessing over. Lmfao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, sorry if I was a little scattered. I believe I still have alcohol in my system and I'm a little foggy still. If I missed anything or you have questions, feel free to throw them out there.
  19. We got off Encore yesterday and it was fantastic. We ate at Teppenyaki, Q and Los Lobos. Los Lobos was the best of the 3. My group of 5 ordered almost everything on the menu and it was all good. And the desserts were equally good. Just a great meal. Teppenyaki was also great. Fun with fresh and tasty food. Q was very good. The apps were great, main course good and desserts good. We did speak with a lot of people who went to Onda. Some loved it, some didn't. I was told it was pretty noisy and the service was hit or miss. Some, like myself, who are from NY said it was different and didn't love it. And again, some just simply loved it.
  20. Do the excursion. It's great! Left the pier at 8:15 on a very nice catamaran and took a lovely ride around Tortola into the bay at White Bay Beach. Got there approx. 9am and it's just beautiful. They pulled right up to the beach and let us off to the right of Hendo's, which is right next door to the Soggy Dollar and is the last place on this side of the beach. We chose to sit right in front of Hendo's as they had much nicer loungers and umbrellas. They were free with the expectation that you'd purchase something at their bar. All the places along the beach had loungers and they had the same expectation. We stayed until around 12:15 and then headed on back to the pier. The crew was very nice. One young girl went around with a map on the ride there and showed us exactly where we were and the surrounding islands and gave a nice explanation. On the ride back, they served up rum punch and made it a little more fun. It was me, my wife and daughter and we all loved it! My wife, who can be critical (lmao!), said it was the prettiest beach we've been to and we've been to many. BTW, there was always a pretty sizeable line at Soggy Dollar waiting for painkillers and I never waited more than a minute at Hendo's. Glenmore was the bartender and was super nice and made just as good of a painkiller. I had 5 of them and was feeling no pain. They also had a very nice menu but we didn't partake as the time flew and we were on our way back before we knew it. Book it. You'll be glad you did.
  21. I'll get back to you tomorrow with a little detail but short answer is it was awesome!
  22. Lmao! It's gonna be a great week. We always have fun and the party almost never stops.
  23. I know they have some of the same parties as I've seen dailies from a few sailings ago and I'm sure, even without Spice, that the ambiance is good. Maybe it'll be better as I remember going to the Glow party on Escape and while it was fun, it was close to impossible to get a drink at the bar and was congested getting in and out of there. Maybe they keep both bars open by the pool and it is more of an open area. I'm sailing her in 2 days so I'm about to find out.
  24. All food is included on GSC and your drink package will work the same as on the ship. There are plenty of loungers and they are free
  25. Yeah, this review doesn't change anything for me. His target audience for this review is pretty small. Don is a 57 year old single guy who doesn't really drink and doesn't like Broadway type shows (although he does like the shows on Encore. Odd?). It appears he wasn't thrilled with the amount of bars on board. Every mega ship has a bar around every corner. Complaining about the decor in the hallway leading to his cabin? I haven't heard that before. Lmao!! He had one good meal and one not so good? What about the rest? He didn't love the buffet because of amount of choices but I know there are a lot of choices. Odd? He's not a go cart guy or laser tag guy. Ok, that I understand as I have zero plans of going near that stuff. He is right about the activities costing $ compared to some other ships. On some rccl ships I've done bumper cars and ice skating and it was included. But I know this ahead of time and, as I said, I'm staying clear of these activities on Encore. No mention of specialty dining, Observation Lounge or Waterfront. Odd? What about the terrific musical entertainment in all the various lounges? Maybe Don is not a music guy either. If you haven't watched his video, I'd say give it a pass. I don't think it's a real world review. I'm sailing Encore in 2 days and I bet it's fantastic!
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