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Everything posted by ColdCruise

  1. The WC in the main Amsterdam train station has accepted cards for several years. While walking around Amsterdam a couple years ago, I had to use a restroom, couldn’t find a public pay one, so went into a coffee shop & asked. Then bought a cup of coffee afterwards - they would NOT take cash (€), so had to use my card. Of course in the US a lot f places won’t take credit card for a $3 purchase, but it was the preferred option in NL. We spent 5 days in Norway in 22 and I got about $100 in NOK from atm upon arrival in Bergen. I ended up buying lunch and a lot of candy at the airport when we left to use it up. The preferred option was plastic.still I always get a little just to be prepared but mostly use plastic, and get more local currency from an atm if needed As a bonus, plastic has the advantage of tracking your spending. well that plan has worked well in Europe for several years but on our recent 14 day Caribbean we went through so much cash…almost no one wanted or could accept plastic. They all wanted cash and excursions and transportation specifically stated USD, not local currencies. Such a throwback to the 70/80s.
  2. Pull out, very comfortable for 1 adult, not so much for 2 I’d imagine. DH was sick a couple days so I slept on the sofa (we had 2 room suite!
  3. Precisely - goes out 12 mile so they can open casino and shops, makes MONEY, sails very slow, returns to Catalina. Our ship anchored about 5:30 - we were on deck 7 forward and couldn’t miss the noise. It’s a tender. about 10am look off to the starboard side of the ship. We saw 1 or 2 whales hanging out, easily viewed from deck or the beach by the pier. nice beach but bring beach or water shoes, the sand is a light brown and gets scorching hot. St Lucia was changed from a dock to a tender port, our paper work said dock, but found out at theater show the night before that it was a tender port. We had a private excursion arranged. It worked out, probably for the better as the other Norwegian Holdings ship was docked other side of harbor. we loved it & prebooked similar itinerary for 2026 (2 different ports swapped in)
  4. We plan to dip our toes in to the Hideaway beach club with the day pass ($55) because 1) it’ll be our 1st visit & can only get a feel from you tube and cruise critic and 2) bit nervous how much of a scrum it will be in the free areas with 11,100 or more visitors (2 ships - Wonder & Allure) and 3) I hate crowds. plus we’ll be traveling with several other folks and getting a bed beach ($399 up to 4 ppl) might feel exclusionary to them and DH said the Coco Beach Club would be worse (205pp) and prices went up since I booked the 2x Hideaway beach passes .. or I should say the discount went down. I’ll monitor for a dip in prices … but somehow I think with 11,000 potential customers that may be unlikely
  5. The offer from Royal seems very fair to me. We have a very tragic and difficult situation in Baltimore as a result of a shipping ACCIDENT that is unrelated to any of the cruise companies that sail out of Baltimore. They’ve had to make pretty significant changes that are probably incurring extra costs. I just hope the federal, state & local governments involved can coordinate and quickly (relatively) clear the shipping channel without using this disaster as a way to score political points (in a major election year) OR pad the figures with unrelated pet projects which would add to costs the recover and rebuild. I have several coworkers who used that bridge to commute and their drives are way more complicated as a result of the bridge collapse. The government in Maryland is claiming 14,000 people’s livelihoods are affected or will be by the port closure. Plus there’s the 6 people who lost their lives, their families’ suffering to consider.
  6. My cruise planner shows $109 + tax (so about $130) for a 7 day cruise on Wonder next winter. is that a typical price for a week?used to another line which is usually in the $300 range for a week (albeit with pools)
  7. My Wonder otS on a December 8 cruise is showing $209 pp with current promotion (discounted from 259), expiring midnight tonight. Dynamic pricing ticks me off - why should your ship and date matter? You’re paying for the same stuff … 59 for person A and 209 for person B ….BS.
  8. @PORT ROYAL YES! Alas and unfortunately, they were fully booked. We booked the cruise rather late & all the most highly recommended activities were full in most ports. Our next Caribbean cruise hits St Thomas & Sint Marten ….any recommendations? Its early December so I have to get booking!
  9. We saw some Larimar for sale in the area we stayed in Punta Cana. However there was a big selection at the La Romana cruise port, and less money.
  10. We had booked a whale watching trip from Punta Cana to Samara Bay with toursbyterry. We adjusted our flights and hotel to get to D.R. a day earlier specifically for this tour. Unfortunately we were contacted by email as we were boarding our flight to be informed they were cancelling because they didn’t have enough people signed up. While setting up the tour it was never mentioned it could be canceled if not enough people signed up, if I knew that was a risk, I’d have tried to get people on Cc and that other site interested in the tour or set up a backup plan. As it was, I really couldn’t do much research while traveling (2 flight, not a long layover) or the evening after we checked in to our hotel. Really, REALLY think they would have known this at least the day before
  11. It’s in the new La Romana port, our NCL Sky was using it for several back to back cruises, Jan-Apr this year. Nice port but not as developed as Taino. Really nice pool area though. Besides the pool, nothing else to do other than shop and drink (some food but not a lot of choices).
  12. We used this company for transfers from our Punta Cana hotel to La Romana, then from port to PUJ at the end of our cruise. $90 each way for up to 4 people, clean van could accommodate more, probably negotiable.They wanted payment in USD cash. I found them from the Trip Advisor forum recommendations. mikefisherpuntacana@gmail.com Mike Fisher Tours&Travel: Our Excursions Our Private Airport Transfers The driver picking us up in Punta Cana was a bit early (nice), driver picking us up in La Romana not so much, although to be fair we did change the pickup time the day before. Neither spoke much English. Both vans were clean and appeared well maintained. We’d use them again. Originally I had booked through a hotel booking site for about $60 but read some complaints about reliability of the actual transport company so cancelled. However we used that company in the Punta Cana area with no problems, so I probably could have saved the extra money.
  13. We just went whale watching a couple weeks ago and saw 5 sperm whales lounging on the surface at overlapping times. I think in total we spent close to an hour with the whales. We did it on a ships excursion ($139) but the tourist office sells a similar tour for about $85. 2nd best whale watching experience I’ve had (best was in Alaska). what made this good? apparently there is an underwater trench that runs from Martinique to Gaudeloupe … right past the west side of Dominica. There are pods of residential sperm whales who live there year round, composed of females and offspring. The whales stay underwater approximately 45 minutes feeding then come to the surface for about 15 minutes to rest and breathe. These combine to make it fairly easy to find at least 1 group of whales during a 3 hour tour ( hehe) with some rudimentary listening equipment ( our guides used a good underwater microphone with a kitchen colander backed by some neoprene for a sound concentrator.) All of the above was described by the guides … I was on vacation so didn’t bother researching to confirm veracity. It was a successful trip.
  14. I second the Dutch Pancakehouse in the Renaissance Marketplace. It’s about a 15 minute walk from where we docked. We went around 0930 and probably waited 15-20 minutes for a table. Worth the wait. One of us had a sweet pancake (almost like a crepe) and the other had the small pancakes (Dutch work starts with a “p”). Both delicious.
  15. @PORT ROYAL still a heck of a lot less than $170pp! @Fairgarth thanks - I thought that’s what the guides said (not captive). Nice to hear they feed them even if not offering tours every day. definitely that was a highlight of our cruise!
  16. We had a short port day in Bonaire (6-2). Due to our late booking, by the time we started to inquire about snorkeling trip from local providers, they were booked up. There were 2 ships in port, us (NCL Sky) and Celebrity Equinox. we pre booked an excursion with Mandy & Hans of http://roadrunner-bonaire.com/ to drive their Renault Twizys sightseeing. The Twizys can seat 2 people, one behind the other, but we elected to each drive our own Twizy. All the other people did 2 to a Twizy, I don’t know what the view from the back was like. The all-electric Twizy was fun to drive - normal (albeit smaller) steering wheel. Payment is cash only, $20 deposit and balance due at end of ride. BRING CASH! Mandy providing instructions We disembarked our ship and walked over to the Celebrity where several tour operators had tents set up and located Mandy under the Road Runner tent. After the other people arrived off Celebrity, we walked over to a clean newish van and piled in for the drive to Mandy & Hans’ house. Signed waivers, then got instructions and keys to our Ttwizy. Andy led the way and we fell in behind, single file convoy style, the Twizys are street legal and licensed so we blended in with traffic. Everyone is regular cars were great and often adjusted their driving which allowed us to stay together at intersections and turns. The route took us through several neighborhoods and out a development of million dollar houses where we got out and were able to take some photos while Mandy provided interesting info. after this we went along the coast to 1,000 steps and a chance to use a port a potty or get a drink from a local hung out a bit watching divers and swimmers then mounted up to head to the flamingo lake (maybe a salt marsh). Drove through a wildlife preserve then a couple town until, we arrived at a cactus distillery. Had some samples, time to use the restroom then a long drive back to our starting point. after the Twizy part ended and we paid, people had a choice of returning to their ship or being dropped off at a beach for snorkeling or swimming. Sue to our early departure at 2 pm, we went back to the ship, as did most of the Celebrity pax. One couple chose to go to a beach and agreed on a time when Mandy would return to pick, them up and take them to their ship. We got back to the ship with enough time to look around the local stalls before all-aboard. this was a fun, non-beach activity. Road Runner Bonaire ran a very professional operation, we didn’t get to meet Hans as he was doing another excursion. They offer regular sightseeing trips as well as kayaks and other transportation modes. The owners are German transplants to Bonaire and speak excellent English and some other languages (I’m sure their German is get😜)
  17. Hi, we recently finished a 14 island cruise with NCL. Since we booked rather late, finding independent excursions was difficult. Antigua wasn’t on the original itinerary, but replaced St Martinique mid-December. On Antigua we took the NCL excursion to Stingray City. It was (of course) pricey that way and at the beach we were also joined by people who did arrive independently. had a great time snorkeling with the stingrays and a ton of people…some of whom obviously never snorkeled before. However most people clustered around the guides, so if you kept from the mob it was pretty decent. Details We boarded minivans which convoyed from the ship to the beach, about a 20-30 minute drive. At the venue, you get a briefing and get kitted out with mask and snorkel (no fins or water shoes allowed in the water with the rays) before boarding a catamaran (a few people were on smaller boats) for about a 15 minute ride out to a sand bar. The water at the site is between 4-4.5 feet. I’m 5’5” and could comfortably stand on the sand with my head and top of shoulders out of the water, you have about 45 minutes in the water. They feed the stingrays so they know to come when the boat arrives. As far as I could see they are not captive but I’m not 100% sure how they keep the bigger males away if that’s totally true. I meant to ask… anyways, I had a great time snorkeling away from the masses and still saw a lot of stingrays sail by, a few bumping against me. Also there were quite a few fish, interesting ones and some plain ones. Near the end I was still in the water as most people left and was talking to one of the guides. He was holding a ray and it looked like it was “kissing” him. I was asking him a lot of questions, petting the ray (top & bottom feel very different) then ended up holding her for 10-15 minutes. It was extremely surreal as she was just chilling in my outstretched arms (all 45-55 lbs of her) and we were communing about life - just kidding but it was very relaxing and she wasn’t trying to get away, just laying in my arms. On a practical point, one of the guides said they only take about half the people now compared before COVID. They used to have 2 platforms and only use 1. I still think there were around 75-125 people there.hard to tell cuz the transportation from the ship was a series of minibuses (15 pax?) I would recommend this, but suggest trying to book directly or with a local so more money stays on the island. You will probably save some cash as well - our excursion was about $170 from the ship.
  18. Hi @Sammae your suite was the reverse layout from ours. I never thought about having the desserts taken to our room for later…if we ever sail in a suite again! I didn’t care for some of the savory canapés so I asked the butler if we could just get fruit and cheese…too much of a good thing as the cheese plates were more than enough for 2 (and wedged between lunch & dinner,… let’s just say I was never hungry). BTW, I didn’t notice the “port day” on the shorter menu…good catch - that makes sense. Then again we only had 3 ports. @sjacobs11 I asked our butler about the pressed coffee and he said no. Asked a couple days later and still “no”. Definitely a YMMV thing, but as others mentioned they were able to get it, I was miffed. However the coffee he brought with continental breakfast was superior to even Cagney. We did a full breakfast once, omelet etc, but preferred going to Cagneys So I could have the eggs Benny or the breakfast steak. We still had continental breakfast most mornings on the balcony and would hit up Cagney about 30 minutes before end of breakfast period. It was really nice start to the day - no rush, lazing in our pjs on the balcony with some croissants and coffee. our next cruise was a totally different experience- 14 days, all ports, no sea days, so we booked an oceanview on an older ship (Sky). Didn’t think we’d need the bells & whistles cuz we’d be off the ship every day, usually 8-5, but the 128sq ft was definitely a step down 😜 Also the asking price for the smallest suite was more than we paid for the 2 room suite on Viva, so didn’t seem good value. After the first day, we adapted and rarely were in our room.
  19. Absolutely @CruiserFam3 see my trip report, lots of photos. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2972677-almost-live-…-sailing-aboard-the-ncl-viva-on-her-maiden-trans-atlantic/ look near the end at the posts first - I created an Index and posted it near the end. I also had some more information in post #26 (page 2) of this thread.
  20. I did notice they had one movie in the theater towards the end of the cruise. Probably because they were not putting production shows in the theater. On our 14-day cruise we had the following shows in the theater : - 2 days comedian Landry with combo of adult & family shows, - 2 days with juggler (who incorporated some magic), - 2 days with magician (who also juggled), - 2 days with female singer - 2 production shows, both musicals- one a “competition” between 2 female singers & 2 male singers, the other a medley of rock songs from 60-80s with dancers. - 2 days with supposed “Wheel of Fortune” which was cancelled after scheduled start team because not enough passengers paid to play, one time (afternoon show) they just told people “no show” and the 2nd time (evening show) they had an audience trivia game but you needed to play on your mobile device on some web site. Not like game shows on Prima/Viva but more like Deal/No Deal where it’s a revenue project, not just entertainment while performers were generally good, we were extremely disappointed by lack of even one real theater production. Next few cruises are planned on RCL - we like good theater shows and it saves us driving into unsafe DC or Baltimore for them.
  21. Don't get your luggage until you clear the immigration/customs snake line. You exit right past the luggage holding area. Pita maneuvering bags through switchbacks. Priority/suites line took 30 minutes
  22. Disembarkation breakfast - no shortage of bacon ! I did not request extra, this just came overall food quality, quantity has been. Quality of the regular steak in MDR has been exceptional… better than my last ribeye on Viva Cagney’s in Nov. MDR maitre d’ said they changed suppliers & are getting black angus now. typical misses in food department mostly IMO due to interpretation of dish by either NCl recipe or cooks’ cultural unfamiliarity with the dish. very strange- long ridiculous lines for both MDRs even if you had a reservation (highly suggest making those if you prefer to eat between opening &7). The dragons doing seating even tried giving us a pager when we had a reservation… after giving the walk-in ahead of us a table for 2. Spoke with asst maitre d’ and next time we ate mdr… no lines. In fact there were no lines the rest if the cruise (scratching my head over that - did they po people and every one just stopped eating mdr and went buffet?) buffet was pretty repetitive when we did use it big disappointment- The Local was only open fir dinner with very abbreviated menu service has been top notch - excellent in restaurants and bars. Head wine steward saud we were drinking wine more than usual 🤪
  23. @Martink45 welcome to CC and NCL… you sound like our kinda person - we love wine… and cruising 😀 We loved our transatlantic in 15196 on Nov - we had great weather so maximized use of that lovely balcony, avoiding the deck 8 fight for good spots, and actually enjoyed the occasional person shooting by under our gaze.
  24. One of the wine stewards (this cruise it’s Janine) runs the juice bar mornings. Not worth UBP+ upgrade just for those - they cost $3.60 with the mandatory 20% juice bar is at pool deck bar on left side where you enter the buffet
  25. @kenmyfam We’re getting off Sky tomorrow we picked a 1230 embarkation time, didn't matter. our transportation was early picking us up and drive from Punta Cana faster than google maps indicated. We arrived at La Romana terminal at 11 and processed right through. Whole process was less than an hour, including looking around port area - kinda like mini resort with free pool and loungers, restaurants and bars fill out your DR paperwork in advance and if you stayed in DR more than 24 hours before embarking you will have to pay $20pp in the port. Cash line is non existent but they do take credit
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