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    Cruising NCL,HAL & PCL
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    NCL< HAL & PCL
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  1. The cruise line Gift Cards are great and can be a big savings depending how you purchase them since many places offer them with a discount but the one thing many forget to think about when using them is to keep them even when they have used the card. If by chance sometime later you need to cancel that cruise the refund is always placed against the card pr cards that were used for payments. So if you have a refund coming back that credit will go back to the gift card, they see it like a credit card. If you throw away that card and a credit is given then you will have no way to access the credit.
  2. If you booked direct with NCL you contact them and if you booked with a TA you contact them, NCL will not talk to you about your reservation if you booked with a TA.
  3. Another year, another fee increase on the high seas. Even as the cruise lines offer up specials for 2019 during #ChooseCruise Month, Holland America Line is quietly raising its daily gratuity charge by $1 per person, per day. Early last week I heard about HAL raising their gratuities but that happened while the CC boards were down so figured I would wait to see if anyone posted this information. Since I did not see it thought I would pass it on. Although it seems that Cruise Critic did post it on their site October 9th. https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=266 https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Holland-America-Line-Raises-Gratuities-for-2019 I have no problem with the increase since it is still lower than many of the other lines, what is frustrating and to others I speak with is that HAL is the only cruise line that does not allow to pre pay or allow you to lock in the cost. For 2 people it is not bad on a 7 day cruise but for a family of 4 or possibly of a Grand parent is paying for the whole family this can be quite an increase. Even Princess their sister line will lock in the price and allow you to pre pay.
  4. I have been following the Upsell Offers from HAL Very closely over the past 9 plus years. The past year has had the least amount of offers available. The likelihood of a Balcony to Signature Suite are nil to slim. The HAL Department that handles these have actually reduced the number of employees in this department due to LESS Upsell Offers. There are two Major factors in this, one the economy has improved and those with extra money are willing to spend upfront knowing they will in fact have a Signature or Neptune Suite. Second. HAL has numerous Travel Partners/Travel Agencies that do Special Sales with places such as Travel Zoo. These Travel Agencies partnered with HAL for Special Reduced pricing allowing in some cases the Suites prices to be several hundred dollars less per person. These tend to happen more often on the 7 day voyages but in doing this very often all of the Suites Sell Out. There was a time when people who booked Signature Suites had a very good chance of getting an offer to a Neptune but that is definitely no longer the case. My opinion is if you want a Neptune, Book it when it is available.
  5. I am a bit confused by your post I don't see where the Spa Mini Suites are near the forward elevators. They are pretty much Mid Ship between forward and aft except for 4 that they added as extras like 15180/15780. They are on the same deck as the other "Spa cabins: Haven and Balcony. For Logitical reasons the Spa Minis are located where the other Mini Suites are located in the decks below. I do not see a way they could have placed them any closer due to deck lay outs. I have not had the pleasure of sailing on the other Breakaway Class ships only Jewel and Dawn Class so have no comparison that the Bliss Spa was smaller but thought the size was very good. It was never crowded. I would have liked to have the Saunas have a window (loved the one on the Pearl) but have to say that I still loved the set up for the Spa on the Bliss at the aft. I love the Wake views. Our most recent cruise we were in The Haven and I walked every morning to the gym, then spent a few hours in the Thermal Suite. I honestly thought it felt like it was much closer than it was. It never took more than a couple of minutes to walk there. Not like other ships I have been on that felt like the distance was much further from one end to the other. The Bliss is most definitely the best laid out ship I have ever been on.
  6. Unfortunately no more pictures of the cabin. The chairs and small table you see in the picture was all there was but I am sure we could have asked for loungers if we knew we would need them. We loved the location but the cabin felt small. This was our first time in the Larger NCL ships, we have been in the One Bedroom Haven on the Jewel which is much bigger and frequently stay in the aft category SF Suites on the Jewel and Dawn Class on deck 10. This cabin was definitely smaller than those. I recently booked the Encore for May 2020 but this time chose to do one of the Spa Haven Suites on deck 15, I always book a spa pass so this saves me plus it appears the suite is much larger and also has a large balcony.
  7. We disembarked on the 15th if September and we’re in 17126, loved the location, HUGE balcony, quick access to get out to the elevators and around the ship.
  8. e I think it is pretty odd as well, when I called NCL to find out about this they told me the best way to do it was if I had the new app on my phone which I already had and could do my on line check in there if I wanted so I tried uploading the photo, they do make it very easy but guess what I took at least 40 photos between my husband and myself and none were excepted. I already all the correct information in there and it has been done for a few months so definitely not going to worry about it. But I would think it still be better security wise to have them scan the passport at the pier :confused:
  9. I am traveling with friends on the Bliss for the 8th of September and several traveling with us received emails over the weekend that their on line check in was not complete and required their Passport photo to be uploaded. Oddly I did not receive this email and my online registration showed complete. So I called NCL, this is a totally new procedure they are experimenting with to speed up the on line check in process. The reason I did not receive it was that we are in The Haven and they are not requiring this for their Haven since the check in process is handled differently but they told me to go to Proof of Citizenship and if I wanted to I could upload the photo from our passports but not required for Haven. I was just surprised since no one has mentioned this here on CC that I had noticed.
  10. That may be the case for Interior and Ocean View and maybe balcony but what I am comparing is Mini suite and higher, specifically Suites while granted the Haven is Nice but not thousands nicer. The Bliss Mini Suite is truly just the size of a Holland America regular Balcony with smaller actually balcony yet the price is almost triple. Comparing Suites the prices are all more than double of a full suite with HAL, PCL and the new CCL Panorama. Truthfully that new CCL Panorama is going to be quite nice for 1/3 of the price, then Princess is bringing over to the West Coast the Royal Princess. The current prices of the Joy are that of what the Bliss was in January 2017 for the 2018 Alaska season and at that time they were running almost double of what the other lines were running for Alaska. The other cruise lines loved it because it gave them the opportunity to sell early and not drop pricing, NCL eventually had to make some big drops especially for many of the Haven categories. Alaska for 2019 at this time of year is normally starting to sell strong for all the lines but with NCL having such high prices for Bliss and Joy the other lines jumped on the band wagon and brought out a lot higher pricing. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts. But for Mexico the others are all drastically lower priced than NCL in Mini Suite and higher.
  11. I totally agree how long till they decide to lower the prices. Many will book elsewhere who plan cruises out for more than a year. I myself am booked through 2019 and currently planning Spring 2020, by that time I will have done over 50 cruises but oddly enough have never cruised on Carnival. I am seriously thinking of booking the Havana Suite on the Panorama for about 30% of the price of the H5 we will have on the Bliss in a few weeks. I was willing to pay a bit more for the Haven in Alaska but for Mexico I am not spending of 4k more for the same Haven Suite of what I paid in Alaska. While I totally understand I am not getting what NCL offers I can still have a pretty nice suite on this new Carnival ship and buy their drink package and save thousands. With these prices they will just encourage early booking for the new Carnival ship.
  12. Personally NCL is dreaming if they think people will pay those kind of prices for the Mexico cruises with the new Carnival Panorama that is about 1/4 the price and will be a brand new ship for West Coast. Then HAL will be bringing over the Koningsdam for some sailings pre Alaska and post Alaska and Princess will have Big Royal Princess sailing out of San Pedro. Also for drastically less money. Way too many options for Mexico with NEW ships for once for NCL to be charging those kind of prices.
  13. Last year we went early to mid October, it was not billed as a Fall Foliage but thought maybe toward the tail end of the cruise when we went to Akita we would see some of the fall colors and unfortunately it was still fairly green with the leaves just barely starting to turn. Our next cruise while it is basically the same dates we are heading much further North and hitting Russia and it is billed as a Fall Foliage so I suspect we will see some color. But with you going down to Kyoto I would not count on the fall colors.
  14. Yes, and had an amazing wonderful cruise on the Diamond, we are returning to the Diamond in October 2019 for Northern Japan. :D
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