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About Sailing12Away

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Travel, photography, video games, my dog
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  1. I plan on doing his myself in 2 weeks on the POA. We have reservations for the french restaurant, and I'm not sure I'll be happy with a lot of the options there. If I'm still hungry, I plan on hitting the buffet for a regular good old burger & fries.
  2. My PCC never responds to emails. I prefer email since their hours can conflict with when I'm free to chat on the phone. But they refuse to ever write back. They'll only assist if I call them, and even then it's hit or miss. The only thing they were useful for was when I booked my upcoming POA cruise so we could get connecting cabins for my sister and I. If I call the main number, they force me to go through my PCC and then I end up having to leave a voicemail and call back saying he didn't answer and I need someone now.
  3. Normally you can find good deals for the spa while the ship is at port as most people want to be off the ship. But with Pride of America, every day is a port day, including 2 overnight stays. Does anyone remember if there are any deals to be found for my sister to get a massage, or is she better off just pre-reserving a spot now before we board?
  4. We booked our January 2020 cruise while onboard the Epic in May 2018. If prices drop or better deals come out, you can always rebook with the better deal. If prices go up, you're SOL.
  5. What times were you hoping to get? They have to get you in early to ensure you make the ship, and typically won't fly you home until after noon to account for delays on the back end. Is your friends reservation linked to yours? Are they too doing the free air promo? If not, I'm not sure why you would expect NCL to know you wanted to travel with them.
  6. NCL doesn't determine baggage fees, that's all dictated by the airlines. It will depend on the airline they book you with. Most allow a carry on and personal item, then you pay $30-40 for each checked bag. I was booked on American my first time with NCL handling the flights, and will be on Alaskan when I go to Hawaii in a few weeks (also booked by them).
  7. Taking this same cruise July 27th. Looking forward to any other tips and hints you have to share. Sorry to hear about your adventure on the road to Hana. The fun of that trip is getting there, you're right, there's nothing actually in Hana itself worth seeing. Just past it is the 7 sacred pools, but you need to be mindful of the time if you want to get back in the daylight on those roads. We'll have a car the first day in Maui and will do the trip ourselves. My sister already said he has to be the driver or else she'll be the one puking on the side and we won't make it halfway for shaved ice. 😉
  8. More people will take the time to vent, rant and complain when they feel cheated or wronged of something they felt they deserved, than people who had a wonderful time and choose to write about it. The folks in category A are either hoping for sympathy or some type of handout for free, and it's 50/50 how many of those complaints are truly valid and justified as opposed to entitled incorrect expectations. Your vacation is what you make of it. My last cruise started off on possibly the worst foot ever with us nearly missing the ship, and continued with unpleasant things due to a bad butler in our first ever Haven experience. Overall though I still have more positive things to say, simply for the mere fact that I wasn't at work dealing with drama there. I'll take vacation drama over real life drama any day. Just take things in stride, go in with realistic expectations, and speak up to the correct crew members if problems do arise during your journey. Don't wait until you get home and come here being the next person to bash their trip without taking any proactive measures to correct the situation while it was happening.
  9. Specialty dining, excursions, transfers if you don't already have them arranged, booze above the $15 max, milkshakes, specialty coffee drinks (all the stuff excluded from the drink package), snacks in the gift shop to bring home for coworkers (we're a sucker for the rum cakes), and cruise next certificates definitely.
  10. I made a last minute decision to book Jefferson's Bistro for our first night to use up the last of our dining credits. I'm not a fan of French food, but they seemed to have 'normal' stuff like chicken and steak anyway so I figured I would be ok and wanted to see what everyone raves about. Did you have a favorite restaurant that stood out? We're also big wine drinkers, did anything really surprise you and make you want to find a bottle back home to drink that you remember? We're sailing in exactly 1 month, can't wait!
  11. I'll be on that sailing with you, we're less than 30 days away 🙂 My sister & I have adjoining rooms on deck 9. No suite life for us, unless our low ball bids get accepted for an upgrade.
  12. Anyone have suggestions on common drinks that are not on the menu that can be requested? I always work my way through the menu, but then want to change it up and draw a blank on what to ask for. For example, mudslides are not on the menu - but they can make them. Same with an amaretto sour... Just looking for some "regular" drinks that they'll know how to make that I can add in the mix when I want to stray from the same old same old. (Can you tell I haven't hung out in a bar in some year.... ) *Edit* Nevermind, just opened CardFan's quite extensive list... that will keep me busy and my belly full. Will be printing this out as a reference, many thanks!
  13. Took the words out of my mouth. You book with the current promos offered at the time. If new, better promos come out, everyone is allowed to cancel their current reservation and rebook at the new promo/pricing. Not all new offers are better....
  14. Some bookings have a 'perk' of reduced or free air. Even if your booking does not, you can always call NCL and ask them to check air prices for you as they get deals on chunks of flights/rooms. There's no guarantee it will be a discount, so price check it yourself first to know a ballpark figure of what the flight would cost you on your own. For example, my upcoming cruise in January 2020, I did not have a perk from NCL for a reduced/free airfare, but when I called them they were able to offer me flights from JFK to San Juan for $350/pp. On my own I've been seeing prices around $500/pp. So I let them book the flights for me. I have until September to cancel their flights if I find a better deal on my own, but so far I haven't. Do a mock booking yourself on the airline's website or through Kayak/Expedia/etc and see what the flight will cost you. Then call NCL and see what price they give you. Simple as that.
  15. My last cruise NCL booked the air for us, completely free (outside of transfer costs) from JFK to MIA. We almost missed the cruise due to airline delays, but since NCL booked it we would have eventually caught up with them on their dime or gotten a refund (missing 2 days out of a 5 day cruise, we wouldn't have bothered trying to catch up at that point). Flight was direct and should have gotten us into Miami by noon for a 4pm sailing. We didn't land in Miami until after 2pm and walked onto the ship at 3:54pm. Nerve wracking, yes, but that was American Airlines fault more so than NCL. Our upcoming cruise next month will be JFK to Honolulu for $600/pp roundtrip. Cheapest I've found on my own is over $1000. It has a short layover in San Fran going, and Seattle coming back, but honestly I'd rather have that chance to stretch my legs and pee in a normal bathroom than sit on a flight for 11 hrs straight. We're schedule to get into Hawaii before 3pm, ship isn't leaving until 7pm.... fingers crossed that there will not be a repeat of the issues we had last trip. We got that flight info around 52 days out, but NCL was having tons of issues with their website that week which may have delayed getting the edocs sooner. Pricing out our exact flights directly on Alaskan Airlines website, the tickets should have cost us close to $1200 each, so we got them at half price or buy one get one. Next cruise after that is January 2020 and we've once again let NCL do the flights for us (so far). Their price was $350/pp, the best I've seen on my alerts was $450 and that would require me to get to Newark NJ first - which I refuse to do. For that one I have until my final payment date of September to cancel their flights if I do manage to find something better on my own. For now I'm reserved with them at a cheap price (but lots of unknowns), and it gives me another 3 months to find something better on my own. If I don't, I've got the $350 flight saved for me and no trouble lost. Price out the flights yourself either on Kayak or directly with an airline (NCL likes using AA and their affiliates a lot, if you wanted to use them for comparison) and see how much savings you'll get. It honestly depends on the airport you fly out of as to whether you'll get a better deal through NCL (like us, since JFK is a major hub for lots of places) or if you're better off on your own. They won't give you a ton of stops if they can avoid it because each stop is a chance for something to go wrong. If they book your flights, it's their responsibility to make sure you catch your ship.
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