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About Sailing12Away

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  1. We had connecting cabins, #9520 & 9518. Rooms were great, 2 lounge chairs and 2 regular chairs on the decks. They wouldn't unlock the door between the 2 balconies for us though because of the wind (there was no wind). Plenty of room for the 4 of us to sit out there together and play cards. Definitely pick a room on the left side of the ship. When you sail pas the Napali coast, the cabins on the left get views first before you turn around and let the other folks get a peek. We had amazing views with the sun just starting to get a little lower, on the flip side it was getting darker.
  2. We were just on this cruise the last week of July, first week of August. It's a great way to visit Hawaii if you've never been there before. You get a little taste of each island, and the hassle of travel between them is taken care of while you sleep at night. The 2 overnight stays in Maui & Kauai help you pack a lot into those days as well. Keep your eyes on the prices, and go for it when you see them drop.
  3. We opted for the Rome embarkation point for the Mediterranean cruise we did last May. We flew in a few days early, then stayed a few days after the cruise as well. I didn't realize until after we were past the final payment date that this was a split cruise. Unless you're flying in early or staying late after the cruise, and that is why you prefer Barcelona over Rome, I would strongly suggest going in/out of Rome. When we got on in Rome, we walked right on with no wait. Granted, it was late in the afternoon and most people were probably already on board, but there were no lines and no hassle. When we got off the ship in Barcelona for our tour, it was chaos. When we returned to the ship after our tour in Barcelona, it was chaos. I'm guessing it's at least a 70/30 split between people who embark in Barcelona vs Rome. So if you get on/off in Rome, you have much less crowds to deal with. I guess I got lucky with flights, we found an amazing deal through Alitalia. JFK to Rome, nonstop was $500 each for the 3 of us. NCL didn't have the free airfare promo at the time, but with those prices and our 3rd passenger coming in our mini suite for 'free' it was a no brainer. Not knowing your exact dates, but a quick search for flights from 6/24 - 7/1 from JFK to FCO shows a price of $835 on Alitalia for the ability to choose your seats with luggage included. For comparison, the best deal I see on Kayak out of Philly is for $1376 nonstop on American, but no bags or seat assignments included. If NCL is offering you a flight from Philly to Rome for only $600.... I would jump on that. There's a very good chance it's the nonstop on American anyway.
  4. We tried Haven once. It seems our experience was different from the majority, but we didn't care for the butler service at all. We splurged on a short 5 night cruise since the price was "low", but we're not itching to do it again unless a good deal can be found. What was great - the Haven pool area. The main pool on the Jade was small and always crowded, but the Haven pool was practically empty every time we went. Yes, the pool itself is tiny, but when you're the only one in it, it doesn't matter. The concierge was also a huge help for disembarking and on excursion days - you skip ahead of the other 2,000 guests through crew member elevators. Last minute changes to dining reservations were no problem either - they do the work for you. Our butler sucked though and wouldn't help us with anything. But our room was huge (DOS) and that worked out great on our one day at sea where we had breakfast in the room, then lounged and rested all day sprawled in our enormous suite. If you go in with realistic expectations and are comfortable with the price, then it's a win. The hard part though is finding a price you're comfortable with the way the prices just keep climbing.
  5. When we were on the POA in August, we almost missed the boat in Kauai. The traffic was horrendous coming back from our private photo tour. As we were pulling into the port area my sister's phone was ringing with NCL calling to ask where we were. We had to run through security and had staff yelling at us to hurry up 😞 Don't be that person.
  6. We sailed the Jade in February - they didn't take reservations for the shows. We didn't have any problem getting seats. Granted, we were in Haven, but still, there was plenty of room.
  7. I honestly didn't feel comfortable. We were stuck with the butler the whole trip regardless. I felt that if I made a complaint the service would just get even worse. Wrote a lengthy detailed letter to customer service when we returned, they thanked me for my letter and said they couldn't open the word document attachment and asked me to resend it. Granted, it took them the full 3 weeks to reply at all, and then an additional 3 weeks to the day to send a follow-up after they were able to actually read the attached letter of our issues. The $100 was for a future cruise, which took 3 separate phone calls, 45 mins on hold each, to finally get applied to our most recent POA trip we took earlier this month. The biggest issue for me that I tried to explain to them was that with Haven, you're paying for a certain level of service and extra perks. That's how we justified the price jump from a regular balcony cabin. We didn't come close to getting that. I wasn't expecting a free trip or even a substantial refund, but $100 didn't even cover the cost of our prepaid gratuities... It felt more like a slap in the fact, especially when it took them 2 months to respond at all. But yet here I am, with another cruise under my belt and 2 more booked..... guess I'm a sucker and they know it.
  8. I think it depends on who you get and how persistent you are. We were in a DOS in February on the Jade and when I asked for help in booking an excursion - no problem. Emailed them again about 2 weeks later to request a second excursion and was told "we don't do that, you have to do it yourself". I was like, wait, what? Isn't that exactly what your job is? And if it's not, why did you do it once but not now? They ultimately ended up booking it, but it was odd.
  9. Our only experience in Haven was on the Jade in a DOS. Our butler was pretty bad and unresponsive, so I'm hoping that was just bad luck. Cabin steward was great, but not enough for us to justify spending that kind of money again anytime soon. When I complained to customer service when we got back they gave us a whopping $100 OBC. Gee, thanks.
  10. We've done it twice and are planning on doing it on our next 2 upcoming cruises as well. If the price is right and better than what you can do on your own, go for it. Our first time we had flight delays and almost missed the ship, but that would have been on them to find a way to get us caught up. Next trip was much better with no issues. First time we were put on American Airlines, second time was with Alaskan Airlines. Once you get your flight assignments in your edocs you can find your record locator number. Use that on the airline's website to manage your trip and pick your seats. I didn't have to pay extra, but my sister did because she waited too long and had to pay for extra leg room seats in order to sit next to her husband. Checked baggage costs extra (on average ~$30/bag depending on the airline). NCL also includes an extra fee for transfers to/from the airport to the ship. You can request these to be cancelled if you would rather take a taxi. Depending on the airport/port, the peace of mind is helpful. The biggest downside is you have no say in which flights they put you on (early morning vs later afternoon), which airline (they tend to go with AA and their subsidiaries most often), and how many layovers you get stuck with (although they do try to limit them as each leg adds a step for things to go wrong).
  11. Sorry, but I'm still confused. I was always told that in order to use the $50 port credits, I had to call to book excursions or book onboard. You couldn't book online yourself if you wanted to claim the $50 credits. Has that rule now changed? I would obviously prefer to book online myself than sit on hold, but don't want to lose that $50 credit. It's not much, but on an 8 port cruise it adds up...
  12. We failed horribly on the Epic as well. Sailing her again in January and hoping for a better go around this time (although we've already forgotten everything and will probably fail once again.)
  13. We did this cruise last May and it was great. I've got a fairly lengthy trip review if you want to know all of our favorites and lessons learned.
  14. Same with us. We did the Little Train to Nice during the film festival. Was traveling with my MIL who has some mobility issues, so this was perfect. You start off with a little time in city center at the marketplace where we grabbed some fresh pastries and coffee. The little train ride was nice with great views up at the top. After we got back hubby & I walked to the festival area - too early in the day to see anyone or anything, but we got pictures of the red carpets and security lines. Palma was one of our favorite stops. We had no plans, just took the shuttle to city center and wandered the streets. Found a great chocolate shop, a butcher selling mini chorizos in a cone, got lost, fumbled our way speaking broken Spanglish to ask a local for help in getting back to the mar (uno izquierda & dos derecha), then back on the boat. We went in with no expectations, and I think that helped too. I have a full review of our Mediterranean trip last May in my signature if you want more details that I'm not remembering now.
  15. We've had a bottle waiting for us in our room on all 3 of our NCL cruises. First cruise we were in a mini suite, maybe that helped? Second and 3rd we were Bronze. It's not too bad for free.
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