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About jazzydiver

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  1. I have slept three adults to an inside cabin several times. I find the pullman bed to be comfortable. The storage on the Jewel-class ships is vastly superior to the Escape or the -away ships. I would sail three to an inside on the Jewel-class ships without hesitation, but I don't ever want to on the larger ships again (much smaller shelves and no drawers!).
  2. I had no problem making a 10:00 flight - here is a link to my report so you can see what our experience was: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2598910-trip-report-re-1000-am-flight-out-of-miami-700-docking/ Please bear in mind that I was on a smaller ship (Jade), so it will be even more important for you to get up early enough to be close to the head of the line. But a 10:30 flight should be very do-able, barring any unusual circumstances.
  3. I'd never paid too much attention to the cruise director prior to my last cruise - yes, sometimes I'd notice if someone was extra-friendly, but didn't ever remember their name. But on my October cruise on the Jade, I thought Richard Matic did an outstanding job. He was really funny and personable, seemed to be everywhere, and I really enjoyed his demeanor.
  4. I was on the Jade last week and there is no slot for a key card, it's just a regular switch by the door. Interesting about the Dawn and the European outlets. The Jade definitely has the opposite ratio. I think on each side of the cabin (by the desk and also at the little counter below the TV) there were two North American type outlets and one European one, plus a USB port. There may have been one more North American type outlet on one side. There were also USB ports at the small lights at the head of the beds. Razor-only outlet above mirror in bathroom.
  5. I am posting this to report my experience with having an early flight out of Miami on our debarkation day. It is a topic that comes up repeatedly and I wanted to share my experience. Bear in mind your mileage may vary. Our group weighed the risks and decided we personally were comfortable with the level of risk. **I am posting a quick sum up here, since I wound up getting really wordy below. We debarked almost a half hour later than I expected. We had to call our shuttle service to adjust the pickup. Were picked up at 7:50, at airport at about 8:15, had a frustrating time wastage of almost 45 minutes at the airport concerning whether we had to pay baggage fees, and still had time to grab (very quick) bite to eat and board our plane on time. If you don't mind getting up extra early to be first off the ship, there is indeed plenty of time to get to the airport. If you get stressed out very easily, you may not want to try it. **Factors that made this plan work for us: We checked in online before getting off the ship to have the security of knowing the airline knew we intended to make the flight. We all have TSA pre-check to help get through security faster. We pre-booked our private shuttle service ahead of time. Being familiar with the port and the airport added another level of comfort for us. As I stated before, we had 45 minutes of time wastage over one problem and still made the flight just fine. The likelihood of having weather AND customs clearance AND traffic AND airport holdups all happening on the same day seems unlikely but of course isn't impossible. We accepted that risk. The purpose of this post is to share my experience, not to convince people to do something they are uncomfortable with or have already decided they don't want to do. If you want to read my long-winded report, keep reading. Part of our decision was based on our past experience of sailing on the Escape last January. We had a docking time of 8:00 AM and flight time of 11:05 AM. We were actually cleared to leave the ship prior to 8:00, and were on the curb so quickly we called the shuttle service to see if they could alter our pre-arranged pickup time to pick us up immediately. They arrived within 10 minutes and we had plenty of time at the airport for a leisurely breakfast. On this trip (cruise end date was Oct 23), we were on the Jade and our docking time was listed as 7:00 AM and our flight time was 10:00 AM. Given our prior experience, I scheduled our shuttle pickup for 7:25. Our last night on the cruise, I was mildly concerned to hear our debarkation time would be 7:15 AM rather than 7:00. We chose to get up extra-early and started lurking in the atrium area somewhat after 6:00 AM. We were eventually (6:20? 6:30?) directed to wait in Bliss, and found the debarkation line had started forming down the passageway next to Bliss. We were about 20 people back from the start of the line, maybe more. By the time 6:45 or so rolled around, the line was getting very long. We started moving at somewhat after 7:00 or so, but then were held up by some unknown issue and stood on the deck waiting again. There were two passengers who debarked first, and the rest of the line stood waiting around for several minutes. I was able to call our shuttle service to request the pickup be delayed, and also to advise our pickup point would be different (we docked in Terminal D instead of Terminal B), and we were advised to call back once we were curbside and ready for pickup. We were let off close to 7:30, and Customs was a breeze - hardly any wait. We phoned the shuttle again and they picked us up about 7:50. We were at the airport by probably about 8:15 or sooner. We then had issues with trying to have our luggage fees waived (credit card holder benefit) and stood at the customer service desk for a solid half hour while the rep tried to sort it out. Finally had to give up and pay the fee. At this point it was 9:00 AM. We headed to the separate TSA pre-check area, got through within a fairly short time. Managed to hustle up to an airport lounge we have access to, snarf down some breakfast (this used up about 10 min), and walk very quickly to the gate. They were boarding the last group at that point, and we were boarding the plane at about 9:40 or so. At no point did I ever have a concern about missing the plane. Was it relaxing? Not really, but all of our leisure time was sucked up by the time-wasting luggage nonsense. Would I do this again? Absolutely, but I would not book a flight any earlier. I would also not book the shuttle pickup quite so early, since apparently we were pretty lucky in how quickly we got off the Escape. For all those who would ask WHY have an early flight...we live on the west coast and flight times to get home the same day are somewhat limited - especially if we are trying to get home before midnight. If you have questions, please ask. If you just want to flame me, please move on. I already explained that the risk level was acceptable to me. Thank you.
  6. Just returned from my cruise and thought I'd follow up to this thread. We used SE Aruba Fly N Dive and I definitely recommend them. They don't automatically set up the gear for you, but are very helpful if you need assistance. Did two-tank boat dive to the wreck of the Jane C and Barracadera reef. Safety protocol was very good. When one diver was getting low on air, the lead guide signaled for one of the other dive masters to accompany the diver to the surface, and the rest of us got to finish the dive - I appreciated this very much. All around good service and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They picked us up at the cruise port (had a sign with our names on it) and also drove us back to port. In Curacao we chose not to dive but walked all around downtown area instead. For shore diving in Bonaire I recommend Gooodive (yes, three Os) but our schedule was pretty tight for renting a truck, picking up gear, getting in two dives at 1000 Steps, returning dive gear, returning truck, walking back to ship. Port time was 9:00 - 5:00 and we cut it pretty close. We were return customers to Gooodive so they knew we had been through the Bonaire Marine Park protocol - if we had had to do a check-out dive we would have had to cut the other dives short. To sum up, I recommend Gooodive but if you are new to diving in Bonaire and aren't there on an extended stay, you might want to choose either more catered service or diving from a house reef close to port. Our plan worked for us because we are familiar with Bonaire. Let me know if you have questions. I appreciate the info I get from Cruise Critic and would be happy to reciprocate!
  7. I would just like to re-iterate the suggestion to the O/P to check with whichever credit card they used to pay for the cruise. As others have stated, several credit card companies have automatic travel insurance built in as one of their benefits.
  8. All of the OVs have pullman beds? I looked at the deck plans and a lot the OVs don't have a plus sign or a triangle - meaning they are designated as two person. So...my fear is that NCL will "make" a two-person room become a three-person without a pullman available, by moving a trundle bed into it. I think the pullmans are comfortable but *don't* want to sleep on a trundle. Thanks for the heads up about the sofa bed being folded up during the day in the balconies - I had the impression they were not because I had read reviews about people having to climb over a bed to reach the balcony. Perhaps it depends on the steward. I think I'll pass on bidding, since I'm OK with the inside. I knew it was a long shot to find out if someone had directly experienced such a specific thing, but I appreciate the input I received. Happy sailing!
  9. Here is my situation - I am booked in an interior cabin on the Jade with two friends. I have sailed several times with in three in an interior cabin and find the storage space in Jewel-class ships to be fine. I am fine with interior cabins - I nearly always sail in them. I got an upgrade offer and was strongly tempted to put in a minimum bid, but have pretty much talked myself out of it. I did some research on the balcony cabins, and three in a balcony cabin seems to make the balcony almost unusable due to the door being blocked, and the sofa/chair bed doesn't sound like it's nearly as comfortable as a pullman bed. So I was still considering bidding on an OV...but then it occurred to me, would NCL "upgrade" three people into what is normally a two-person OV cabin (no pullman) and use a trundle bed for the third person? I like the idea of possibly having a window or porthole, but the trundle bed sounds really unpleasant. I have pretty much made up my mind not to bid, but just thought I'd put this out there to see if anyone has had any direct experience with this happening.
  10. I'm brave enough to eat in the buffet, so I don't bother to wipe down my cabin. Sometimes it crosses my mind to look for bedbugs, though. But I'm not consistent about that.
  11. I'm glad I have photos from my early cruises, but I'm OK with it disappearing. Like others have said, everything was very pretty to look at, but the flavor of the desserts was lacking and I was always disappointed most things didn't taste as good as I expected.
  12. :confused: Hmm...I didn't think it was possible for a ship to be uglier than the Epic. ...although upon further thought, TracyE's comment that it looks like party streamers makes me reconsider somewhat. I guess the Epic still wins the ugly category! But not by much! ;p
  13. OK, thanks, I will look into The Dive Bus some more for Curacao. I may wind up just snorkeling in Aruba - looks like it is easy to take the public bus to the beaches to the north and a couple are rated as decent for snorkeling.
  14. Going on a cruise this fall to the ABC islands - I have previously visited Bonaire on a week-long dive trip and am familiar and comfortable with the shore diving there. I already have plans there for my diving (unguided, with same buddy & travel partner). My question is, are there any dive shops in Aruba and Curacao which have any easy, close-by shore diving? From what I can tell, there is easy-entry shore diving available on both islands. But when I research specific shops, it seems that all I'm seeing for shore diving is guided diving. Does any place have a nice house reef where we can rent gear and just dive? And not have to rent a truck? There are many places you can do this on Bonaire without having to hire a guide - how about Aruba & Curacao? Thanks in advance for recommendations.
  15. And for those people who buy one bucket of beer, and maybe three or four cocktails throughout the week, UBP makes no sense but the bucket of beer does. My math is usually pretty good (unless I drink the whole bucket of beers at once ;p:D:')).
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