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notes21

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Everything posted by notes21

  1. My parents and I did this cruise mid to late May 2018. It was unseasonably warm everywhere we went, but I still didn't see many adults in the pools as there was still a chill in the air. Some kids were though. This is a wonderful cruise, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did!
  2. Thanks for the input! It sounds like we should only count on 1. Hoping we will maybe be lucky and get a 2nd.
  3. Kim - I love to read your reviews, but rarely post. So sorry to hear about your fall, and hope your surgery and recovery go smoothly and well!
  4. Years ago, I started collecting jewelry, specifically pendants, from my trips rather than t-shirts that could not fit in a year, etc. This is often an inexpensive silver charm that reminds of the location but some nicer pieces have been purchased as well. I follow the rule of if I love it and have the money for it then it is fine, but I do research ahead of time and learn what stones or jewelry pieces are unique to an area and some general price ranges. Generally, I find better prices in places other than the ship, but on our Alaska cruise, they had some beautiful jade/silver pieces, that I liked much better than the land stores and were better in price. When I talk about land stores, I'm meaning local stores not the big chains such as Diamonds International's. Was it worth it for me to buy it from them, absolutely! I don't ever buy jewelry in my day to day life; so, it is something I enjoy doing on trips and having as a souvenir. Tanzanite is listed as one of the 10 most rare gemstones on almost every list I've seen due to it being from only one location. The others will sometimes change, but unless it is a pink star diamond , the standard gems of diamond, ruby, sapphire, etc. that were mentioned in some previous posts don't make the list. So, while buying it on the ship may be more expensive, etc., the claims about the stones being rare are not incorrect.
  5. Very excited about a 15 day Asia cruise in May. I know I'm super early to be thinking about this, but .....how many stuff the bag laundry specials are there on a 15 day cruise? I was surprised to see on my 9 day Venice/ Greek Isles earlier this summer that our steward actually put a slip for it on the bed on 2 consecutive days. Since I'll be flying so far, I"m debating tacking on something else to the cruise and just trying to figure out how feasible that might be. Thanks in advance for any help!
  6. For anyone who has cruised China & Japan with NCL, do they tend to do a cultural show on board? On our Baltic cruise, they has Russian dancers one night. I really would like to do an excursion to Chinese acrobats, but with the other excursions we want to do it doesn't seem possible. My mom is adamant that we do cruise ship tours especially in countries where we don't speak the language as we had 2 excursions have difficulty getting back on time on a previous cruise . Any info would be greatly appreciated? Also is port or starboard preferred for Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing (Tianjin), Kyoto(Osaka), and Tokyo (Yokohama)? ( I know it can vary based on where they have to dock, but just curious if anyone has tended to see that one side is better for sail-ins than the other?) Thanks in advance for your help!
  7. Doing an Asia cruise in May from Tokyo to Hong Kong now after originally being on the reverse cruise later in May. We are now booked in a starboard room instead of port bc I messed up my cabin numbers when on the phone. Has anyone done this cruise before & recommend one over the other? I know how you dock can vary at each port based on a lot of factors but just looking for advice as to whether I should call back & try to switch due to a sailin or anything. Thanks in advance!
  8. Thanks OP! You just helped us save $1600 on our Asia cruise in May. With our trip so far out I"m not checking the site very often so I really appreciate your post.
  9. Just booked on the NCL Spirit for May 2020 that starts with an overnight in Hong Kong. Having never done an overnight at the start of the trip, I have a couple of questions. Do they wait & do the muster drill on the day that they are actually leaving or is it done before you can leave the ship that first day? Does NCL offer any excursions for that first day? There is also an overnight at the end of the trip at the Tokyo port (Yokohama). Would they have excursions both days or only the full day? Could you get an earlier flight than normally disembarkation since you can come & go like a hotel? Thanks in advance for any help! I know in theory it would be best to call NCL, but with these being fairly new itineraries and all of the Cuba issues at the moment, I thought checking with people who may have had something similar in the past might be the quickest for easy information. I will of course double check anything closer to time. Thanks again!
  10. Sites are now saying that cruise ship travel will be banned. These say that already booked trips before 6/5 will be allowed to happen, but I can't imagine the ships would sail in the future at whatever capacity they are currently at so imagine itinerary changes are likely (other than maybe the closer dates) ..... Stinks for my December cruise there! ***Sorry that some of this was already posted. I think the two links weren't yet though. https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/04/politics/us-cuba-travel-restrictions/index.html https://www.apnews.com/67c721daee8143d4a2e6ee8c401bf215
  11. They are common in Australia as well for breakfast. I was introduced to it there initially and then UK. I'm very picky about sausage & bacon and usually places in Europe or on cruises don't cook them in a way that I can eat; so, it it nice to have another option that has some protein.
  12. Thanks for starting this thread. My 12/16 cruise didn't have it available when I looked on Thursday, but it was there today; so, I grabbed it. I know FTTF is not for everyone, but having a lot of meds and things , it is really helpful for us.
  13. Depending on location insure my trip will often provide some cruise plans that include pre-existing conditions until the day of final payment. We've used that several times as well.
  14. We did the Baltics last year on Breakaway, and used all NCL excursions. My mom prefers to do it that way, and so, we always pick the shore excursion credit as a promo. I did a short review that you can find here - https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2544587-breakaway-begins-the-baltics-review/ Really enjoyed this cruise & hope you will as well.
  15. Thanks so much for your response. That definitely alleviates my worries!
  16. We are booked on an Asia cruise in May 2020 that had the itinerary changed. We can't switch to the options they gave that were the same, but just realized that if we added the 8 day before then we could still get the ports that had been removed from our original booking. Debating on whether to rebook as the full 24 days (losing about 1300 in prepaid gratuities and on board credit) or just add the 8 days before as a separate booking making it a back to back. Do you have to collect your luggage and go through the whole process of boarding again in a B2B? or do they keep the luggage on the ship? Would we be able to do an excursion? The port is Singapore; so, we might never get back there and would like to see something if possible, but the excursions that I see as examples either say not available for beginning/ending in that port or end at the airport. Any advice from someone who has done something like this before would be really appreciated. Thanks so much!
  17. Going on the Star on 5/24, and had originally taken the 3 meal dining as one of our free at sea along with 3rd person free. The itinerary is very port heavy (no sea days on a 9 day cruise), and mom is adamant that we use NCL excursions. I realized that since it was a distinctive voyage, we'd come out better financially to switch the dining to another shore excursion credit so that would be $100 off each port. With the timing of many of the ports being later at night, figuring out when to do specialty dining is a bit more difficult anyway, but I really want to do Cagney's one night. If I bought one 3 meal package, could all 3 of us use it for that one night of dining? or do we each have to have a package? I should probably already know this, but since I couldn't remember, I figured I would ask.
  18. I'm on the 5/24/19 sailing as well. Hoping someone will be able to post some dailies to get some ideas.
  19. I took this cruise in May & one day it was 80 in St. Petersburg with next being 58. I’d definitely recommend layers. I ended up regretting not having more short sleeve stuff but sea days were quite cold.
  20. I have to start by saying that overall, I loved this cruise. The ports are so interesting, and well worth the time in each one. I cruised this time with my parents, and we got to Copenhagen 2 days ahead. During that time, we went to Tivoli, and did the grand day trip around Copenhagen with Hamlet Tours. Both were very enjoyable! We stayed at Scandic Copenhagen through NCL as we had booked the cruise as a distinctive voyage. The transfer process to the port was smooth, but embarkation told a long time. They were using 2 terminals (one for odd floors, one for even), but there were some computer glitches and long waits that I think were primarily from it being the first NCL cruise back of the season. The nice thing was that the rooms were all ready by the time that we got on the ship. This was my first time on Breakaway, but it was obvious that many of the carpets were new. Otherwise, I don't really know what was new or not. There were still only 4 outlets above the desk (2-240 needing European plugs/adaptors and 2-110). We were worried about storage space when we initially saw our room, a large balcony, but it worked out well. The room was fine for us, and we loved the balcony as always though it was a bit chilly on it some of the time. Our steward was always friendly and greeted us by name which I didn't realize until back on NCL that I had missed on my most recent Carnival cruise. Food -- We ate at the main dining rooms, O'Sheehan's, Cagney's, Le Bistro, and Cirque Dreams show/dinner. As I'd heard, the Manhattan room was nice, but just a bit too noisy for us which is ironic since we are all music teachers. We preferred Taste/Savor for the atmosphere though the food was good in all three. Cagney's was very good again as was Le Bistro. I was looking forward to the cones appetizer in Le Bistro and didn't realize that it was not on the larger ships, but the other food more than made up for it. (Sorry, I can't remember exactly what I had other than the french onion soup at the moment). I had read enough reviews to know that the Cirque dreams dinner was not necessarily going to be my favorite, though the steak was very good, but the show itself was very enjoyable. I've seen other Cirque Dreams and Cirque du Soleil shows, and was not left feeling like this was any lower in quality for the size of the venue. We ate at O'Sheehan's a lot for lunch b/c after walking around on a tour it was nice to be waited on, etc. and the dining rooms were often either not open on port days or closed earlier than we got back on tours. I loved the size of the O'Sheehan's on this ship compared to the smaller ships I've been on before. Shore Excursions -- Having distinctive voyages, silver discount, and my mom worrying about being left, we chose to do all ship shore excursions. The actual tours were wonderful, and we enjoyed each of them. We did Best of Berlin, Highlights of Tallin, 2 Days & an Evening in St Petersburg, Discover Helsinki, Beautiful Stockholm & Vasa, and then the City & Harbor tour (ending at the hotel) today when we left the ship. The process for getting people their stickers and to their buses was some of the most unorganized that I have ever seen. I don't know if that was b/c of the size of the ship, first time doing this cruise, or what, but as a former band director used to organizing groups of people, it drove me crazy until I just said -- I will not let this bother me. It did seem to get better as the week went on. I was a bit frustrated at the fact that I had to go twice to the shore excursion desk & stand in line for quite a while before getting my 10% silver discount applied. In some locations, it wouldn't have been worth it, but 10% of the cost of some of these tours was significant. It did get fixed the 2nd time though thankfully. For going to Stockholm, it is a significant bus ride, and I get extremely car sick along with taking medicine that makes nausea worse even on a good day. The 2nd shore ex desk visit I was told that a seat would be reserved near the front of the bus, but when I got down to the bus, there was no paper and people had already filled the first half of the bus. There were a frustrating few minutes, but the NCL staff did get it fixed though it meant switching buses. I was very thankful that they worked on it, and I'm also very thankful for a couple on the other/now our bus who volunteered to move back. It made a huge difference in me being able to have an enjoyable day in Stockholm rather than being sick the whole time. Entertainment - - I already mentioned Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy which was enjoyable. We watched some game shows in the atrium & yes, others are correct that the space should have been made bigger. We also watched Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages. I had only seen the movie version of Rock of Ages and felt ho hum about it, and really didn't like the Broadway version though the performers did a good job in their execution of it. It just wasn't my thing. We never got to the comedian or howl at the moon, though we had hoped to. Some of that was conflicting with our reservations, and the other was just the full itinerary and jet lag. This was my first time on a ship as large as the Breakaway, and the cruise as a whole was very good. I do think I prefer the slightly smaller ships that have the more traditional, different entertainment every night without a reservation over having to make reservations in advance and only having a couple of things playing for multiple nights in a row. Would I turn down a cruise on a large ship if it had an itinerary I was interested in? Absolutely not! For the right ports, I would definitely sail the Breakaway or a sister ship again. Sorry this review doesn't have pictures and isn't more detailed, but I was still having to teach my 5 online classes throughout the cruise. My only true week off is Christmas to New Years, but thankfully the online teaching allows me to work from anywhere in the world & helps pay for trips like this, lol. Oh, speaking of that, the internet: I got the unlimited wifi plan, and the service was very good most of the time. Of course, it was a bit slower than home and a couple of days had some spottiness, but overall, I felt it worked as well as I could expect. Hope this maybe helps someone who is looking forward to this cruise. I know I searched for reviews and read as much as possible; so, I wanted to give back a little :)
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