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squick64

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About squick64

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  1. I've been on RCCL once (soon to be twice), and they charge for drinks packages, internet, a lot of activities (cupcake decorating and stuff), ship tours, and so on. There's always another e-mail in my inbox with the latest special offer to get me to buy another thing. Basically, all the inexpensive, mainstream lines charge for a lot of the "extras"--it's how it balances out. The only lines that don't charge anything beyond the cruise, port fees, and really over-the-top purchases like Dom Perignon and personal helicopter tours are the ones that charge you 5 figures or so to board and have all-suite ships. Of course, some of the nickel-and-dime pricings are used as a form of supply-and-demand control, like when NCL starting charging for Margaritaville because everyone was complaining about hour-long lines. What's worth paying for and what line is worth using is up to the cruiser, and opinions--well, we all have them, and they're all different. I've sailed with NCL more than with anyone else. There are a number of things I like about how they do things versus how, say, RCCL does things, but the reverse is also true. The perfect line doesn't exist, really, as it'd combine features from various lines. πŸ™‚ As far as food... Again, this is based on my limited experience with RCCL, but I was surprisingly disappointed by their specialty restaurants. Like, really. The MDR was actually pretty good, but the specialties were lackluster at BEST. On NCL, I've had the opposite experience. I've had nice MDR meals on NCL, but I've also had medicore experiences. Meanwhile, I'm in their specialty restaurants for at least half the cruise. So they're able to successfully nickel-and-dime me out of dining money, anyway. My next one with them includes 3 nights free, and I'm going to probably buy 7 or 8 more--and that doesn't include Food Republic. πŸ™‚ (I only ate in La Cucina once because I'm not really an Italian food person that much...I'm of no use reviewing it for the same reason, but I didn't find it exciting or particularly worth it.)
  2. I just dealt with this on a cruise as a solo. I left all my stuff and had no issues. I even risked leaving more expensive stuff. For what it's worth, all public areas should have security cameras. Most people aren't going to go through your things any more than you're going through theirs as you're walking past their chairs on the deck. And there'd be no way to know that the owner wasn't watching--or someone they knew. Still, put anything really worthwhile in your bag, if you bring one. But personal possessions (rather than just a towel) will indicate a "claim," and at least on some ships, it'll be well respected.
  3. At the moment, 1. I’m at the airport. πŸ™‚
  4. Since OP says he's on NCL, I seem to recall that nightclubs were 18+ after 1 am. That includes the on-deck party. They shut the music off to check everyone. Of course, the drinking was still 21+.
  5. I think it sold out in around 2 months (?), not counting the time period of onboard bookings. That's pretty impressive. And I think the ship's a bit larger, too. I know when I went down on day 1 to book onboard, thinking I could pretty much waltz right in, they were giving out pagers to everyone to wait, and people had 1+-hour wait times. Thank goodness they were taking names and doing bookings outside of normal operating hours so I didn't have to wait. I don't know how many years they'll keep doing them for, but I can see this becoming an annual trip for me.
  6. I have my overall vacation schedule roughly planned out about 1+ years in advance--I know basically what I'm doing from now until November 2020, although not all of that is actually booked. At the moment, I have 4 cruises in the hopper. Basically everything is partially or fully booked except for the summer of 2020, and that may end up being a somewhat brutal road trip.
  7. Hijacking the thread here... I'm new to RCCL, and my understanding is that the dress code is a little less relaxed than, say, NCL's. I'm "OK" with putting on proper clothes (like khakis), I guess (sigh), but then I was just thinking a minute ago, what about day 1? Are jeans and a t-shirt more accepted then (or any other time)? Or should I at least change shirts? I've booked the MDR for 6, and I'm realizing that that's not awfully long after sailaway, when I'll probably be on deck, drinking tropical drinks. I don't know how much I want to go "fancy myself up" from my barely unpacked suitcase.
  8. Thanks for sharing this. I'm also going to be solo on the Bliss in November 2020, but I decided not to do a solo cabin because it's a long cruise (16 days) and I think I might welcome having "real" space. (I've done solo on Escape.) It's nice that they switched from the neon in the solos, though, and put in the fake windows. I have 3 cruises to get through before I board the Bliss, poor me, but I'm still anxiously awaiting it.
  9. I've been on Jade twice, once for Norway and once for the Star Trek cruise. Of course, the latter was a massive exception to the norm. I wouldn't say it's an exciting sort of ship, but it's nice enough, and at this point, I'm pretty familiar with it. πŸ™‚ I didn't go to any of the shows on my Norwegian cruise because they didn't sound interesting. The food in the MDR was OK...? I'm not a huge fan of NCL's food, personally, and make use of the specialty dining. I don't know how they compare with Celebrity or Oceania, as I've not been on those, but it's a low-budget line (although not, in my experience, "trashy"). It's a decent choice if you're looking for a certain itinerary they offer and/or a good price, I think. If you're looking for exciting activities or luxury, maybe not.
  10. I don't know about using "double deposits", so to speak, but I know that you can apply a full deposit in lieu of a "deal." I booked not long ago and had a $250 deposit to use up, but they were doing their "$50 deposit" special. The website wouldn't let me deposit more than the $50 that they were doing a deal on, but I called, and the guy there made it go through.
  11. I'm booked on a cruise in November 2020. I'm sure there are plenty of cabins still, but at least a few of the ones around mine had been taken already (they're desirable cabins). My cruise coming up in April was booked in March of last year (so about 13 months out), and I remember seeing quite a number of cabins had already been taken when I was choosing mine. IMHO, it really pays to book whenever you decide you want to do that cruise, especially if you're particular about getting a certain location or cabin type.
  12. I remember having to check out towels on one cruise--they supplied them in your cabin, but if you wanted one while you were on deck and hadn't brought one, you had to sign for it or something.
  13. I always go a day early unless it's a major international trip. However, in the winter, there may be a benefit to going even earlier because of winter travel problems (not locally but coming from and going to other places). For the next Star Trek cruise, I'm doing 2 days early because it's so important and anxiety inducing, even though it's not in the winter. πŸ™‚ I'll hang around the hotel--it doesn't matter.
  14. Goodness knows what fearmongering shows the OP's kids have been watching. πŸ™‚ I was (and still am) scared of lightning after the Discovery Channel showed a special on how any of us could be struck dead at any second. All this disaster/alien stuff makes for good entertainment but is a bunch of hooey. There haven't been any more "incidents" (per capita) in the Bermuda Triangle than in any other triangle you care to draw on the ocean. I'm sure I've passed through at least small bits of the Bermuda Triangle and haven't heard anything mentioned. As someone said above, the ocean is absurdly large and all looks the same. There's really nothing to clue you in to where you are (apart from seeing land).
  15. I book when I decide what I'm going to do and when I feel like sitting down and dealing with it. There's no "I want to book cruise X on date Y but will wait until next month in case the price drops" or something. My only exception to that was that I was looking at a particular Norwegian cruise (Norwegian in both the cruise line and the itinerary) and had never been on NCL before. I had a cruise with them coming up, so I decided, "Assuming that cruise is going OK and I don't hate NCL, I'll book it onboard for whatever special deal they're offering." Half the time, I seem to book them at like 2 am on a Sunday and then wonder what happened the next day. :) My last one was booked at work one afternoon almost entirely on a whim, up to and including an unnecessarily expensive cabin. (Shortly thereafter, I said to someone, "Some people buy lots of shoes...I seem to book cruises." :)) I should note that these bookings aren't entirely impulses, though. I have a rough idea of my travel schedule for another couple of years and I know that a cruise going to place X or place Y is probably what I'm going to do in the fall of year Z, so...it happens. In the case of this last one, the itinerary looked interesting, and then I noticed it was on their newest megaship and it had fun new things, so...yeah. They convinced me to click the button, bless them. Anyway, I'm not worried about price because in my experience so far, the cruise lines will adjust my costs if needed--if the cruise fare drops, I can call and get my price reduced. I'm sure there are exceptions to this among cruise lines or bookings, but so far, this has worked. Plus, booking early means I get a good choice of cabins.
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