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About brookie848

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Albany, NY
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  1. I am a tipper, but I am also pleasant and friendly to the servers. They thoroughly appreciate both. A few years ago I spent a decent amount of time sitting at the bar at Gatsby's on the Dawn. The bartenders gave everyone great service, but they had an extra touch for the people who were "nice" to them or regulars for the week. My drink was made with a different liquor than the standard drink and two bartenders made sure they were always the ones to take care of me. When I sailed on the same ship 16 months later, one of the bartenders was there and remembered me. Tipping extra is nice if you are inclined to do so (like BirdTravels I make sure I have a supply of $1s and $5s for any vacation), but being friendly and respectful goes a long way as well.
  2. Thanks for the information about how it comes packaged now. I think what makes it awesome is whatever slightly sweet coating they put on it. I might have to break down and order some...it's been a while.
  3. Okay. You used to be able to buy this is 5 lb. increments, but I don't see that option any longer. It seems you can only buy 15 lbs. at a time. This DOES get stale, so if you don't think you can distribute this among friends (or eat it all yourself), you might want to call them to see if they will sell you a smaller quantity. https://www.newurbanfarms.com/munchie-crunchie-mix/ I'm not sure which CC member originally discovered this, but I am grateful to them!
  4. I have not been on the Pearl and I'm sure someone will be able to give you details on the ship. Please note, however, that the Pearl is one of NCL''s older/smaller ships. It is NOT a megaship and may be missing some of the amenities your kids would enjoy (multiple waterslides, go-karts, ropes course, etc.). If you are looking for those types of activities to keep your kids occupied, then you are going to want to consider ships built after (and including) the Epic. This means Breakaway, Getaway, Escape, Encore, Bliss, and Joy. They have various "fun" features for kids (some free, some with an additional cost). The newer ships also have more restaurants/bars. One pain with the newer ships is that you will need reservations for shows, which you won't need to do on the Pearl. If your kids enjoy just being on a cruise and don't need/expect all the bells and whistles of big ships, then you should be fine. While we've mainly cruised on the larger ships, we have enjoyed our two trips on the Dawn and loved the different show every night. One thing to note about the larger ships -- often the inside cabins are NOT right across the hall from the balcony cabins -- they only appear that way. The door to these cabins is actually within an interior hallway. So if you do look at the larger ships, take that into consideration.
  5. My husband had a kidney transplant on January 26. I remember sitting in the hospital while he talked to his uncle who lives in Oakland, CA. His uncle was talking about coming for a visit. After he hung up with his uncle, we talked about the fact that a visit probably wouldn't be smart with the virus and my husband's compromised immune system. On January 28 I knew that traveling through airports probably wasn't going to be a smart decision. Even though information was still emerging, this was not rocket science.
  6. Most of the Washington Post's virus coverage is not behind the paywall, but this article may not qualify for that since it is more of a feature. One thing about this virus is that it is easy to look back and question decisions, but as others have mentioned, by the beginning/mid-March it was becoming obvious that things needed to be shut down. I think all the cruise companies made horrific mistakes throughout this ordeal. Once it became obvious how it was spreading on that first ship, they should have cared enough to shut things down. I know it isn't simple, but these corporations should have done it. I hope the cruise industry survives this. We love cruising, but even though we have a cruise booked for next year, we will likely cancel. It is not worth the risk for us until there is a vaccine.
  7. We have a cruise scheduled for the end of February which we plan on cancelling. We won't feel comfortable cruising or doing a lot of other things until there is a vaccine. My husband is on immunosuppressants after having a kidney transplant and as much as we enjoy cruising/air travel, it is not worth the risk. We do have vacations planned for later this year that we plan on taking, but those don't involve flying (he actually isn't allowed to fly until a year after his transplant -- this was before Covid-19) and we can better control our exposure to crowds.
  8. This. ⬆️ We usually have three in a cabin. Our OBC is usually split $300 to Person 1, $300 to Person 2 and $150 to Person 3 (or something like that). Generally Person 3 never swipes her card, but her OBC covers the costs swiped by Person 1 and 2. We also only have one credit card covering costs for the cabin, so that keeps things simpler for all of us.
  9. You did the right thing. We have still have time, but we're likely going to end up cancelling our February 2021 cruise. My husband just had a kidney transplant and is therefore immunosuppressed and we just don't feel comfortable flying or getting on a cruise ship without a vaccine. We're waiting a bit in case something changes, but while I'll miss the cruise (and we missed this year's because he got his transplant), I know it is the only smart thing to do.
  10. Suites have been 130 days. We had a cruise booked for 2/23/20 (ended up cancelling) and I booked my reservations on 10/16/19, the day reservations opened. It's been that way for a while. You can't actually expect NCL to update their website with accurate information.
  11. I haven't sailed on a ship that was having a CAS event, but last year we were on the Dawn and the ship had a large corporate group on it. It definitely affected our sailing and we would try to avoid such situations in the future. Our meet and greet was not held at the normal time or location. Different restaurants/spaces were closed off to regular cruisers at certain times of the day. Neither of these were that big of a deal, but they did cause us some issues (especially the meet & greet). The other thing that bothered us was that a good section of the group had not cruised before and you could tell. Because of this lack of experience, their behavior could come off as rude when they were moving as a group. In addition, I had to say something to two men from the group who were kind of in charge. We were at a martini tasting and they were standing right behind the chairs having a LOUD conversation -- we couldn't hear what was being said by the people running the tasting. After a few minutes of their obliviousness, I turned around and asked them to be quiet and go in the restaurant that was holding their event. The other people at the tasting clapped when they were finally quiet and moved back to their domain. So while it by no means "ruined" our cruise, I would try to avoid such sailings in the future. It definitely affected the vibe of the sailing and we didn't enjoy it as much as we did the previous time we had sailed that ship/itinerary.
  12. I think there are two questions you need to answer. First, how attached are you to the aft balcony? If you spend a lot of time on the balcony and love it then it may be worth the annoyance of someone sleeping in the living room. Is everyone in your family on the same schedule? That is one of the greatest things about three people in a 2-bedroom. There is room to spread out if people wake up early or stay out late. The second question is how much privacy does your daughter want? We love the 2-bedrooms because the third person gets their own room and bathroom. It may not be a large room, but it is perfect for sleeping and having privacy to get ready. I also like being in the Haven complex. I feel that even if we don't ask a lot of the concierge, it is still nice to walk past their desk and say hello. I also like the convenience of having the bar and restaurant close by. And my husband likes the convenience of stopping in the courtyard to get M&Ms and pound cake when he walks through. Good luck with your decision.
  13. We've stayed here several times. Great hotel and my favorite thing is the fact that we've never had "elevator issues" the morning of the cruise (we were able to get on an elevator without a problem). The Happy Hour was just 1 or 2 free drinks at the hotel bar. No free food, but there are plenty of great places to eat in Brickell.
  14. My parents sailed in 14034 and they loved the location. And the balcony was HUGE -- potential for several lounge chairs huge. Advantages besides the balcony size are the close location to the elevator/stairs. It is forward, and that is where you want to be for the buffet, theater, etc. The buffet is only one quick flight up for food. They did hear some noise in the evenings from the buffet, but it didn't bother them. You'll notice that this is near the kids club, but they never heard any noise from that. Like all of the megaships, the hallways can be loooong. It was nice to quickly be to their cabin soon after entering the elevator lobby.
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