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Everything posted by FitchburgWIFamily

  1. So this thread has gone all over … and I am late to the party…but: I know the cruise line can’t control the weather, but I do think they could do more to make the passenger experience better when the weather is bad. My last cruise had some bad weather days, and when nobody can be on the deck the entire ship feels way too crowded. You feel claustrophobic and you get bored. I think the ship could have some back up dailies that they could circulate if the weather is bad enough to keep people off the decks. What about running rainy day movies in the ships theater? Doing more activities in some of the restaurants or lounges that provided both entertainment and a place for people to be? Like extra trivia games or more crafts. IMO, if it is too rainy to be on deck, I think they should try a little harder to create diversions.
  2. When someone doesn’t scan back on board, they make an announcement over the PA on the ship: passenger Doe, John and Doe Jane please contact guest services. So this couple’s family heard that and didn’t put down their margaritas to go help? Even if the ship wouldn’t let them disembark they could have helped pack a go bag and call the couple on shore to explain the next steps. And those of you who want me to empathize or sympathize with the couple would find me being a lot more charitable if the people left behind took accountability. Example I would have sympathy for someone who posted “we got back late to the port and missed the ship. We tried to contacting the port representative at the number provided and couldn’t get an answer. We ended up having to catch a cab to go into town on our own to find someone who could help us make travel arrangements to the next port.” <— Not being able to get a hold of the correct party is an issue. Ship leaving: not an issue.
  3. The most entitled phrase ever: “While we understand there are rules and guidelines we believe they followed them too rigidly in this case”. That may be a little bit of a paraphrase, but I believe the passenger from South Carolina said almost exactly this. it is this exact attitude that the rules that exist and not “for me” that got them into the situation. The ship’s daily provides the contact number for someone at the port. That is the person with whom everyone should have been in contact. That is probably the person with whom NCL left everyone’s passports. They FAFO.
  4. Priority Embarkation: dedicated checkin windows, usually with a much shorter wait. You are in the same queue as everyone else through security, but you can usually check in much faster than lower latitudes levels once you can get to the latitudes priority queue. In my last 4 cruises I had no wait at all to get checked in and get my key card.. Your boarding group assignment is port dependent: I’ve been in ports where we got early numbers and in ports where we didn’t. I now show up late enough so we can just walk on board so I don’t stress about boarding groups. Priority Disembarkation: only helps if you need luggage tags. Get your priority luggage tags the day before disembarkation from Customer Service and you’ll be the first color of luggage tags to disembark. Behind the scenes tour, wine tasting, etc. You have to sign up the first day you board at the cruise next desk. The tour is traditionally early on the first at sea day and will fill up.
  5. I’d take the balcony just for the cabin layout even if I never used the balcony. The sofa area and the larger desk area across from it makes it so much better than an interior. I always book an interior and either bid on an upgrade or purchase one if the price is right. If you purchase the upgrade you also get the additional specialty dinner…so it works out a bit better.
  6. A very quick review of our Breakaway Cruise out of New Orleans First, a little about us. My husband (62) and I (60) cruise about 2 times a year. We are pretty loyal to NCL, but have also sailed on a few other lines. We sailed with my niece (28) and her husband (31) and her best friend (28) and her husband (32). We all wanted to sail out of New Orleans during Mardi Gras so we could experience a little partying before we got on the boat to party. All of us arrived in New Orleans on Friday so we could enjoy some of the city. We enjoyed beignets at Café du Monde, hurricanes at Pat Obrien, a tour of the Sazarac House, and an excellent dinner at Vyoone’s. That Friday, we caught a small parade in the French Quarter during the day and quite a bit of some of the larger parades (Cleo and a few others) that night. We had no problem finding a place to stand and watch the parades when we wanted to. We went to a few places for a few more drinks after dinner before we headed back to our hotel. Friday was a win win. Saturday, we got up for breakfast…but only one other of the younger set was feeling up to breakfast. We went to Maspero’s for breakfast which was OK but a bit spendy. We were staying at the Blake Hotel, which is right on the parade route, and had bought access to their balcony for the parades on Saturday. Because of weather, they moved the parades to earlier and removed one from the line up. We watched some of the parades in the drizzle, but honestly…it wasn’t as much fun during the day on the balcony as it was the night before just walking along the routes stopping when we wanted. Plus the cold drizzle was less than optimal. I have to confess I judged the people who moved the parades around, because it rained throughout the day. That evening after all the parades, we went to Mother’s for dinner. It rained on us pretty heavily on the way there. While we were there, the skies opened up and let loose a torrent of rain like I have never seen before. Water was spurting up out of the man hole covers on our walk back to our hotel. We had a hard time seeing because you couldn’t look up into the rain. We made it back to the hotel and got alerts on our phone that there were severe storm warnings (duh) and flash flood warnings (duh again). Sunday, boarding day, was sunny and gorgeous. I spent a good chunk of time in our room that morning before we headed out ironing our wet clothes trying to get them dry enough to pack up. When we checked out I apologized to the front desk but told them they probably wanted to put a dehumidifier in our room because the whole room smelled like damp clothes. One of my travelling companions shoes got so wet they didn’t dry out for 4 days. We didn’t want to get to the port too early because we didn’t want to fight a lot of crowds. We got there around 12:30 or 1:00 and it was still pretty chaotic to get through security. After security there was another queue to get to the check in. They moved some ropes and a sign to let us get out of the line and head over to the Platinum check in since they had open windows. About 45 minutes after we left our bags with the porter, we were in Savor (or Taste?) ordering our first cocktail. After a leisurely lunch, I went to try to make dining reservations. Because our rooms came with 2 specialty dinners and our Latitudes status came with 2 specialty dinners, we had planned on eating 2 specialty meals as a group and 2 on our own. I wanted Oceans but there were no spots available during the week at all. So I picked the Brazilian and Cagney’s for the 6 of us, and La Cucina and Le Bistro for my husband and my solo dinners. We enjoyed some time on the waterfront having a few cocktails and waiting for sailaway and our rooms to be ready. The ship felt crowded but it was a jovial group and our spirits were high. The Disney ship in port with us left just before we did, and I was a little envious of their ship horn game. I just realized I promised this would be quick and it is very much not quick. Sorry. I still want to talk about our cabin, and the cruise itself. If you make it all the way to the bottom you’ll see an anecdote that might get me in trouble with one of my fellow members if she reads it. (That’s a tease) We had originally booked inside cabins, but as fares went down, we all upgraded to balconies. I didn’t pick out room location on the upgrade, and we ended up on deck 14 forward. Very very forward. Room was fine, but I have vowed to be more careful to always book a bed by the balcony instead of bed by the closet room. It was a bit hard for us to access the closet because it is tight between the bed and the closet. As we have sailed on this class of ship before, I brought a few things that made our cabin work better for us. A few storage cubes from Dollar Tree give us some place to stuff things that don’t stack well on shelves, as the storage is big on shelves and small on drawers. I bring a few magnetic hooks so we have a place to hang our sun hats, dailies, and other misc. I bring a few battery tea lights to use as nightlights. I bring my own shampoo and conditioner and a small bar of soap because I am not a big fan of the stuff in the dispensers in the shower. Back to the cruise: They warned us seas would be choppy that night and the next day. They were not wrong. It’s not just that seas were choppy, the winds were strong, it rained, and virtually all out door spaces on the ship were closed on our first at sea day.. So all of us were inside…getting in each other’s way. All of us except for the poor passengers too sea sick to leave their rooms. I had signed us up for the Latitudes behind the scenes tour that morning, and that was the highlight of that day. If you are Platinum or above, make sure you take advantage of this. Sign up the first day on board at the CruiseNext desk. I also got my Saphire pin from the CruiseNext desk, since this was my first sailing at the Saphire level. I can’t blame NCL for the weather, but I will say I was disappointed in the options available for activities during the first at sea day. If you exclude the activities that charge additional or are a thinly veiled sales pitch masquerading as an activity there was not much to do. I do think this is something NCL could improve on with not a lot of effort: On other cruises I learned how to fold napkins and make towel animals. I decorated cupcakes and watched a performance by the kids in the kids club in the main theatre. I participated in an an elevator race and did a scavenger hunt. The other place the Breakaway was lacking was in entertainment. I know they lost Six, but they really didn’t fill it in with anything. I did attend Burn the Floor and loved it, but there wasn’t much offered beyond that. We were just on the NCL Sky and I thought the “lounge” entertainers were excellent. They got the crowds going: dancing along to a latin band, singing along with a guitarist and a piano player. On the Breakaway, they just don’t have the same venues to listen to musicians. I missed that. Somethings that we always love about cruising we did love on this ship. I love breakfast in Savor or Taste. We love the dueling pianos. I loved how different staff learned my name and remembered my order. I have no idea how the waiter in the Atrium , the bar tender at the bar between Savor and Taste and the hostess at the 24 hour restaurant called me by name before they saw my card, or call me by name when I just walked by. It makes me feel so special. I love to fill out vacation hero cards at the end of my trip to call out the different staff that stood out. But there are some things I didn’t like as much on this ship on this sailing as I did on others. I think a lot of might have been due to weather, missed ports and rearranged ports, but the whole experience felt a little….flat. Instead of trying to prioritize the things I wanted to do, I desperately searched the daily for something I was willing to do. I watched TV more on this cruise than any other cruise I have been on. The Breakaway does not have enough places to sit around and hang out … especially if the weather is bad. Slightly bigger ships have the Brew House or an Observation Lounge. Older ships have the Spinnaker and the Pinnacle. Maybe the Breakaway and the Getaway are just not right sized for me. Anyway…enough about the ship, a little bit more about the cruise. This is our 3rd time on this itinerary, so there wasn’t a lot of new for us. Plus our stops were all mixed up, we missed Cozumel the first time, but then when we had to miss Costa Maya, they put Cozumel back in. In Cozumel I rented a cabana for all of us at Chankanaab. It was an easy cab ride from the port and a wonderful place to spend a very relaxing day. Prices were not too high for drinks and snacks. The park shows some signs of storm damage, but was still nice to walk through. The snorkeling would have been wonderful if not for the slightly choppy seas. Still worth doing though. We didn’t even get off the boat on Harvest Caye, we just lolled around on the boat where the drinks and food was included. The younger group all did and had a cocktail or two before heading back onto the boat. In Roatan, we used the NCL excursion to go to Maya Key. We have been before. Snorkeling is excellent, and the island never got crowded or loud. We walked around and took in the different animals and sights, ate a pretty big lunch and enjoyed our day off the boat. Back on the boat: we loved our dinners in the specialty restaurants. I did feel the emphasis on what the Latitudes meal comes with is a little offputting. It seems like the dining package meal comes with a few more options, but the Latitude meal is limited to a soup OR salad, a single side, etc. But it isn’t like I need a lot more food than that, so I am not too upset. We also enjoyed Savor and Taste for many meals. I love the smaller size of those restaurants and the friendly staff. We even went up to the cafeteria for a few meals. We ate at the American Diner a few times, too. Now that it is free, it is a hot ticket. We had to wait in line to get a pager, and then wait for the pager to go off to get a table. Since it is close to Spice H2O it really wasn’t a hardship to wait for a table, and we liked the food enough to make us do it more than once. Just plan ahead, because it will be 20 to 40 minutes before your table is ready. My husband says I should mention that the $7 milk shake looks good…but isn’t. On this cruise, for whatever reason, we never made it to the Manhattan, which we normally enjoy. Other people have left scathing reviews about NCL’s food. We had a couple of misses (some of the meats in the Brazilian were a bit overdone and some of the food on the buffet looks better than it tastes) but overall we all enjoyed our food. We found the bar staff to be outstanding, and never felt like we had to wait too long for a drink. This was a crowded cruise, but we didn’t find wait times to be excessive at all. We did have a funny (well…I thought it was funny) thing happen. If you are reading this and you were involved, please feel free to state your side. It was about 5 or 5:30, and the 6 of us were sitting in one of the lounge areas on the waterfront playing a game. The game didn’t involve vulgarities, but it did involve people trying to make guesses about a word someone was describing. We were playing, drinking and laughing when a woman from a proximate sofa got up and came over to ask us to stop playing the game because it was making it hard for her to nap. On the sofa. On the Waterfront. Outside. I was a little taken aback, and all the younger people with me looked at me to see how I was going to respond. I straightened up my spine and said “No…we can’t play this game without calling out the answers.” She asked us if we could move to our cabin to play our game. The six of us. In a cabin. I said “No..but you could go to your cabin to take your nap.” Our waiter was bringing us a round as she was there, and she asked him if he could ask us to leave, and he said “No.” too. She went back to her sofa and started packing up her stuff mumbling about how she had never, and how she was offended the staff didn’t stick up for her. It was a very dramatic packing up, taking a good 10 minutes while she audibly complained about us and the staff the whole time. Our last at sea day was much better weather, and a lot of fun was had by all. A lot. Maybe a little too much fun. But we made it up the next morning and managed to get off the boat with almost no waiting (a lot of walking but no waiting), and had our luggage, cleared customs and walked back to our car and underway before 9:00am. My next cruise is on the Bliss…I am excited to see if I have the same “meh” feelings about the entertainment options on board. If I do..I might need to think about only sailing the smaller ships or looking to a different line. Sorry my brief review was so long….
  7. We are on the Breakaway headed back to New Orleans. Monday, our at sea day was very rocky, very windy. We were all excited when we pulled up on a sunny day to Cozumel on Tuesday… but we never docked. Someone shared footage from a ship that did, and huge waves were crashing up over the gangway. I think the ship could have docked, but I don’t know if passengers could have negotiated the trip to shore. We got another sea day: this time with more sun. Roatan and Belize went ok, but they announced we wouldn’t make Costa Maya due to weather, but they would substitute in an afternoon at Cozumel: we were there Friday from noon to 8:00pm. Must be very specific to winds or something because Cozumel and Costa Maya are not far enough apart to have different weather systems. First time I’ve done this itinerary this early in February…not sure if it’s normal or not to have so many changes. I’ve done it twice in late March and never missed a port. $50 OBC per person for the inconvenience and $15 for port fees.
  8. I have never upgraded my drink package, and never run into an issue. I can get all sorts of fancy mixed drinks without an up charge. I have cruised on NCL extensively and I have never booked my dining or shows before boarding. I have been on very full cruises and when I went to reserve my specialty dining, I had to choose a later time than I might’ve preferred… but I have always been able to get into my restaurants on my nights. They’ll have an area on embarkation day where you can go talk to them to tell them the restaurants you want. Use them instead of the kiosks because there’s a little bit of strategy: some of the venues are much smaller venues. The staff will recommend which one to book first. in terms of what not to miss: I am surprised by how many people frequent the buffet as opposed to the free restaurants. If you don’t have a lot of time, the buffet is probably quicker, but when you have time to kill like on boarding day, it is so relaxing to go into a regular dining room and be waited on for your multi-course lunch. Head to Savor or Taste (two twin main dining rooms) as soon as you board and enjoy a leisurely quiet lunch. if you cannot get tickets to a show or an event, try to attend stand by. A lot of people with reservations end up not showing up. They have a designated area for you to wait for standby and they’ll wave you in close to the beginning of the show. And if there’s a specialty dining venue that you weren’t able to get reservations for, just go early in the evening and ask them if they think there might be any availability. Because of no-shows or other reasons, they can usually fit you in. my favorite part of NCL is their freestyle dining. Don’t worry so much about the dining and other reservations. have fun!!!
  9. We were on the Sky in August. First of all, the theatre is my favorite on any NCL ship: spread out so you don’t have to stand to let people by and comfortable seats. We saw 5 shows on our 9 night cruise. A good comedian, a talented male vocalist who did two shows, a production show and a meh magician. I thought overall it was standard cruise entertainment. Not the broadway shows of the big ships but pretty good. The non main stage music acts were excellent.
  10. Thank you so much for your wonderful review. I knew you were my people at “Travelers [sic]”
  11. I have sailed with my kids for years. they are all above 21 now but for years we sailed when they were in those in between years, You do not need a beverage package or need to be 21 to get into the nightclubs. The Bliss nightclub has an adults only late at night, but they are not very vigilant about checking for ages to get in. They are very vigilant about checking for ages to buy drinks. Your key card indicates that you are under age so if you try to present it to purchase a drink, they won’t sell it to you, however please be aware that people with the beverage package that are of age can get drinks sometimes provide them to minors. So have an honest conversation about what you’re expectations are if all three of your kids are in the nightclub unchaperoned. Definitely get a soda package for the ones not of age. They can use it for kitty cocktails or mocktails, and will just be easier if they don’t have to sign for every beverage. I have never had to provide two key cards to use the specialty dining package. They will ask you if you are both in the same room and if you are, they will only take one key card. You will need to either get the fifth passenger on a dining plan or pay à la cart for their meal when you eat in a specialty restaurant. I’m paying for the cruise so I always take as many of the specialty dining opportunities as there are. sometimes that means my kids don’t eat with me and we’re all more than OK with that. My husband and I can enjoy a wonderful dinner at Ocean blue, and my kids can pig out on burgers and fries at O’Sheans or the buffet. enjoy your cruise!
  12. The beverage tax also applies when sailing around Puerto Rico and for whatever reason you are in taxable waters for a few hours after departure. As to the à la carte pricing in the specialty restaurants: your mileage may vary, but on our last cruise, we had 4 diners with the dining plan, 2 with latitudes vouchers and one diner with no voucher or plan. I explained to the waiter that I wanted to pay for the 7th meal on my account. We were at Cagney’s and we all ordered appetizers, entrées, sides, and desserts when he brought me the bill, he had charged all the sides, desserts and appetizers to the bills with vouchers/dining plan and asked me to pay for the cheapest entrée only. so the menu may say à la carte, but your actual experience may vary. sorry to hear you got such conflicting answers on an adjustment. After final payment, I have been offered OBC for half the difference and future cruise credit for half the difference. But I normally use the difference to apply to a better quality state room. It’s a little like gambling because you only get one chance and you need to make the best choice for you at that time. If the prices go down after you made that choice you can’t get another adjustment. Hope you enjoy your cruise. I’m a little jealous because I have to wait more than 80 days before my next cruise.
  13. We were on the Sky out of Miami in August flying out of FLL. I never saw any Miami excursions available on line, but the shore excursion list on board had quit a few. We did an Everglades tour with a drop off at FLL. I think it was 119pp, and our 50 credit was applied so it was less than 200 for the two of us.
  14. If the prices are rock bottom, it might be an indication the cruise isn’t selling well, and a lot of the concerns about lines and crowds might not be a factor. I’ve sailed on 7? different NCL ships. I’ve had slow service in a restaurant or two. I’ve seen atriums overflowing with people participating in an event that never should have been scheduled in such a small venue. I’ve had a meal I didn’t care for. I’ve waited way too long for an elevator I could fit into. I’ve had wonderful stewards and stewards I barely saw. But for every bad experience I have had so many more positive ones. There are a LOT of reviews that spend hundreds of words complaining about one incident and the last seven words to say “other than that the cruise was fine” If you do book a cruise on the Getaway (a ship I loved last Aug) I can almost guarantee that there will be a few negative interaction, but if you can accept that as the cost of travel you will have a wonderful vacation.
  15. One thing to think about is: they will only accept one offer from you. If you are bidding on other cabin classes that you want more than the club balcony, you might not want to bid on the club balcony. I book insides and bid on balconies and club balconies, but never on ocean view. Ocean view isn’t much better than inside and my bid would almost certainly be accepted: meaning I wouldn’t ever get my balcony.
  16. On my last cruise out of Miami: we were unable to complete the online check in for two out of three cabins. We arrived at port around noon. We had no problem getting into the cruise terminal. Once in and through security, there are special queues for e-doc-less checkin. Since there were no lines for any checkin, they let all three cabins work with an agent at the same time. I expected the two cabins that hadn’t completed check in to take much longer: they would have to answer more questions, take more pictures, fill out more things…nope! We all got through like lightening. I may never do online check in again! I definitely am not going to fight to upload a picture no one cares about.
  17. A week ago we got off the Sky after a nine day cruise. I sailed with my husband, my son and his two friends, my daughter and her friend. My husband and I are not 21 almost everybody else we sailed with was. When I booked the cruise, I talked to the young ones to see whether they preferred a larger ship with more amenities or a smaller ship with more ports. They all voted for the smaller ship with more ports. I was kind of surprised. Since I was paying for everybody, we were all in inside cabins. The Sky is an older ship and one way you know it is the inside cabins don’t have as much storage as the inside cabins on the away class and bigger ships. There’s lots of room to hang things up in the closet, but not very many shelves and not much space outside the closet for storage. I put the three boys in one cabin, assuming it would be two lower beds and a drop-down bunk. It was not. It was two lower births in a fold out “sofa” that was not as long as a twin bed. My son’s friends are 6’3 and 6’5 tall. My son slept on the pull-out sofa on the part of the bed his friend’s feet didn’t over hang on to. The bathroom had pretty good storage, and except for the extremely small round shower with the dreaded, sticky shower curtain, it worked pretty well for us. Our mattresses and pillows were very comfortable. In our cabin, we had originally had the two beds pushed together to make one bed. It was so tight to get around the ends of the bed that we asked our steward to split them apart. The room worked much better for us that way. All in all it wasn’t my favorite inside cabin, but it really wasn’t that bad. The common spaces on the ship are wonderful with one exception. Two of my favorite spaces were seating areas around the open attrium. There was an atrium bar where different musical acts performed and seating on the other side of the atrium from that, and then one deck below, there was seating by the Internet desk, and on the other side from there. I loved these areas because they were great for people watching, the chairs were comfortable, and the waiters were quick to bring your drinks. Unfortunately, the cigarette smoke from the casino permeated both levels and chased me out more than once. The theatre was one of my favorite on any of the NCL ships, with lots of tables and room to walk by without making people stand up. And the seats were actually comfortable! Most nights the ship did the same show twice: once at 7 and once at 9. The shows we did catch we enjoyed very much. I appreciate the lack of needing to plan or make reservations on the older ships. You just show up and go if you are in the mood. I don’t know if people didn’t know all the different bars existed or they were just so many places to spread out, but we never had a hard time finding a place to relax. We very much enjoyed time in the spinnaker and in the pinnacle. Both had plenty of seating, great bartenders and comfortable furniture, We also liked the Local, but we miss the 24 hour food service of O’Sheans. The Local does have food, but it doesn’t start serving until very late in the day. The musical acts on the ship were some of the favorite I’ve ever had. Whether we were singing along with Dan on the piano or requesting tunes from Leoh and his guitar, the lounge acts were top notch. The live band was also great, and the theater cast ensemble was very talented. The only complaint we had about the entertainment is that my kids said the DJ in the Bliss after midnight struggled to get the crowd jumping. We only had one meal in the buffet, but often took advantage of the limited buffet of the great outdoors. We ate in both main dining rooms for both breakfast and dinners whenever we could. All seven of us dined at Cagneys, and my husband and I went to Le Bistro and La Cuccina. There were a few hiccups, but by and large we all very much enjoyed the food. Carlos the cruise director was fantastic, and his whole staff was very good. At events where you saw the senior staff, whether it was in the show the first night where they were introduced, in the Q&A, or at other events, there was a palpable camaraderie amongst them. They really seem to get along together and enjoy working on this ship. It’s been a while since I’ve had that fun feeling from the senior staff. A nine day itinerary was great with two at sea days, and almost all the ports back to back. We had a wonderful time in almost all of them, except for Antigua and that’s not Antigua‘s fault. It was just sooooo hot. We just didn’t do a lot in Antigua. I had rented a premier cabana for the seven of us on Great Stirrup Cay. The beach in front of the cabanas is so serene and beautiful. We walked over to the other beach and it was like an entirely different island. If you want a little bit of solitude and serenity, walk past the first beach and use the lounge chairs in front of the cabanas. There are tons of them and the beach is not crowded at all. of course, the uncrowded beach meant the ratio of jellyfish to swimmers was a lot higher on our beach. They did have the purple flags flying indicating dangerous marine life, but we just went into the water anyway, I think I got stung one time, but it was not a very painful sting and within an hour it didn’t hurt anymore. The jellyfish were so thick in the morning when we got there that you could not swim without slapping jellyfish. Later in the day, there were a lot less in the water. This is our second time in a cabana on Great Stirrup Cay and I will say that this time I was a little disappointed in the wait staff. They did stop by and ask what drinks we wanted, but not nearly as frequently as the wait staff from the Getaway did last August. We got in the habit of ordering two drinks each and putting one of them in the refrigerator. This was the first cruise for my son’s two friends, and my son’s first cruise in about five years. My husband and I cruise all the time and my daughter and her friend of cruise with us quite a few times. I was worried about the size of the Sky, and whether it would have enough to keep us all interested, but I worried for no reason all of us had a very good time. I would sail on the Sky again without blinking. As a matter fact, I am looking for future sailings to see when I can go back on the Sky again.
  18. What did it look like?? It was red, round and sticky. What was it used for? I’m not sure I know what you mean by this. How does one use a sticker? I assume that if I did not have my sticker and used my card to check into a restaurant or order a drink that I would’ve been gently reminded to go check into my muster station. But I don’t know that for a fact…because I had my sticker.
  19. On the Sky this month we were routed to our muster station on embarkation. The Sky is an older ship with the Muster stations on the promenade deck. When we boarded the boat we were told to go check into our muster station before we were allowed to go inside the ship. It took about 30 seconds once we got to the right station. Our cards were scanned and a sticker was applied to our key card.
  20. Has anyone sailed on the Sky out of Miami lately? I am trying to figure out if they offer lunch in one of the main dining rooms and if so, until when? One of my favorite things about cruising is that very first meal. After all the stress of getting to the port and getting checked in, I love to go sit down in a restaurant and order a drink and a three course meal. I am trying to balance my lunch with a desire to get to the port a little later to avoid the early boarding chaos. If we boarded after 1:00pm will we still be able to get lunch somewhere other than the buffet?
  21. I think this one is subjective. Things I love about the bigger ships: the waterfront, the observation lounge, better specialty dining and the less formal Savor and Taste for breakfast. But I also love the smaller ships for the great outdoors, the wow of the multi deck atrium, the spinnaker during the day, and the ease of not having to make a reservation for every show. So it’s just what is more important to you. If the best parts of your cruise were dinners at Ocean Blue, dueling pianos and Syd Normans, if your kids need water slides and go karts, you probably are going to be unhappy back on the small ships. If the best parts of your cruise are the ports, trivia, the cocktails and being at sea, then the small ships will be fine.
  22. I love my PCC. I need to use a PCC because I am often cruising with multiple family members in multiple cabins. NCL’s website doesn’t allow me to do that.
  23. We cruised last August with this promo and rec’d both prints and a thumb drive.
  24. It started before we even left port on embarkation day. My octogenarian mother, my just graduated from college niece and I were on our balcony having a conversation when our neighbor told us that we needed to NOT talk on our balcony. Balconies were for quiet time. He had a pretty thick German accent if that helps you hear it. We stayed on our balcony and whispered. It would’ve ended there if our neighbor wouldn’t have used their balcony to smoke. (Probably why he tried to get us off our balcony). I called to report him right away, and they did find cigarettes in his waste can, He was warned not to do ismoke again and was advised that the steward would be watching for evidence he was still smoking. What followed were a series of retaliatory attacks from him: he played the TV show Scrubs on his laptop dubbed in German at full volume for hours. He threw breadcrumbs to seagulls toward and even onto our balcony. He body-checked me when I went to the bar to get a cocktail and said excuse me, like he had “tripped” but I knew it was deliberately done. We asked for another cabin, but there weren’t any equivalent cabins available. I would have to go from a suite with a balcony to a regular balcony room. He essentially made it so that we couldn’t enjoy our balcony and had to be vigilant when we were out and about. The suites’ concierge found us a private deck area ( part of the crew’s deck area) and set up special chairs and tables for us. I wanted them to kick the jerk off the boat…but they didn’t. I do think they had another conversation with him because the seagull/body-check day was our 4th day and we never heard him or saw him again.
  25. In August, for reasons I can’t defend, I am sailing with five 21/22 year olds. 5. Two girls are in one cabin and three boys are in the other. I plan on finding the steward for the boys cabin on the first day to apologize in advance. I’ll slip them $100 and tell them they only need to empty garbage in the trash can and supply new towels. They do not need to make beds, vacuum or do any other cleaning for the duration of the trip. Because that cabin is going to be a hot mess and no one except the messers should have to put up with that.
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