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drpclarke's Achievements

  1. Thank you everyone for responding!!!! I will share all of this information with her. You all are amazing! Thanks! Rachel
  2. Hi all! I am a travel agent and I have a client who is taking an Alaska cruise with embarkation/disembarkation in Vancouver. She will be flying to Vancouver from Charlotte. She does not have global entry, and has heard that customs in Vancouver is just a NIGHTMARE. Anyone have recent experience with this? Thanks! Rachel
  3. Just off of the Norwegian Encore. This is my second time doing Norwegian. For point of reference, have also done Carnival (never again), Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. Embarkation: Took us 20 minutes. That's IT! It was amazing! Arrived at our designated time and embarkation was so quick it felt like we had a whole other "sea day". Awesome! Cleanliness/housekeeping: The staff is on top of things when it comes to keeping this ship clean. Yes, some things are worn (like the chairs in the Garden Cafe, but hey, the ship is going in dry dock soon)..but everything is CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. You know how passengers are just notorious for leaving plates and glasses anywhere? Only saw glasses out-of-place once. That staff is amazing! Dining (Garden Cafe): This is typical buffet. Mainstays are the salad bar, fruit, desserts, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream. Food changes each meal in all of the other bars: Wok, Indian, Pasta, and "hot bar". Things are hit and miss, but there is always something for everyone to enjoy. My personal favorite was the Indian bar, and this was pretty popular with the crew, too. Sugar free desserts also available every day. I thought breakfast was a bit lacking, as it seemed the same thing was at every station. Dining (Specialty): I only did that once, at Ocean Blue. While the sides were nothing spectacular, the sea bass was absolutely amazing! The ahi tuna appetizer was also delicious. This was worth it! (Beware, a photographer will come by to take a picture and try to sell it to you). Dining (dining room): Only did once. I ordered clam chowder (nothing resembling a clam in it). For my entree, I ordered bluefish. Weirdly enough, it came with arugula and sauteed mushrooms, so a strange combination. One of my friends ordered the same thing. She took a bite, said it was ridiculously bland, and grabbed the salt. I took a bite of mine and it was inedible due to TON of salt on it (and I love salt). This, by far, was the worst mail of the entire cruise. I may have just had bad luck, but heck, cruise time is limited and I wasn't going to gamble on a good meal again! Choir of Man show: I had heard that this was a great show and shouldn't miss it. However, I generally hate cruise shows. I have a background in music and I tend to be pretty unreasonable about my expectations. The singers seem to be shrill and it's just very amateurish. Knowing there were good reviews with Choir of Man, I decided to give it a try. On our first night on the ship, I went to make reservations (it is needed for this show!). However, by that time, only ONE SHOWING was available...the next to last night. THIS SHOW WAS BOOKED! ..and for good reason. It's a great show. The plot is a bit weak but those are some VERY TALENTED MUSICIANS who sing with beautiful harmonies. This was such an unexpected surprise and a highlight of the cruise. If you're going on the Encore, SEE THIS SHOW. We're actually due to go on the Encore again in January, and I'm determined to see this show again! Entertainment: The cruise director is friendly and energetic and an absolute joy. She is in the position of singing for some events and she isn't a very strong singer (again, note how critical I am of musical stuff on the boat, so that my comments with a grain of salt). Most games were designed to be family friendly. Comedians were funny, and the adult show was hysterical with no unnecessary vulgarity. Veterans: I love that Norwegian truly treats veterans well as compared to other cruise lines. There is a nice discount, but now they do receptions for the veterans. The veterans are given pins, patches, challenge coins, etc. and get their photo taken as a group. I wish they did a recognition of the various branches of service just so we could see what everyone did - even something as simple as "Clap if you served in the Marines! Hoo-ah!". As the wife of an Air Force veteran, I really appreciate that Norwegian treats our veterans with additional respect. Communication: This is a bit lacking in some areas with regards to the ports. For example, we were told there was a Juneau shuttle (and there was)...but there was also one in Victoria, and while it wasn't readily mentioned, many of the passengers went to the shuttle so we could visit Victoria. However, we were going to the shuttle not knowing any sort of schedule or how much it cost, so we all found out it was $15 round trip per passenger while we were waiting in line. We also didn't know that we would get charged taxes on the drinks that we purchased while we were in port in Seattle waiting for the ship to sail, so that was a bit of a surprise. Not a bad charge, just a "surprise" charge and those aren't fun when you've budgeted for a trip. Shore excursions: We only did one with NCL, and I appreciated that the communication and signage was very clear. Once I got off of the ship, it was obvious where to meet my group. No confusion! Disembarkation: Ran quickly so we were able to get off the boat earlier than we expected. However, we had no idea when we had to vacate the room and had to ask the room steward - the time was not communicated in the paperwork. However, it was communicated in the Atrium - so you were in the know if you hung out there. Atrium: very small, active, and very crowded. Definitely the center of activity on the ship. Here is where some of my questions were answered via a projecting powerpoint presentation (rather than in the newsletter). Observation Lounge: Rumor has it this will shrink after dry dock. It's a great place to be, and they have afternoon tea (sandwiches and desserts) too! One glitch here: a pre-recorded "audio tour" is played here during Glacier Bay and other times throughout the cruise. However, everyone is busy talking, so you don't hear the audio. Deck and outdoor activities: it was beautiful weather but cold, so I can't comment on deck or outdoor activities. Overall, it was a great cruise. As mentioned, I'm going again in January (although a different itinerary), and I know to expect. The high point was definitely the service by the staff - always professional!! Let me know if you have any questions; I'm happy to help!
  4. THIS is what I needed! Thank you so much. I always go through the learning modules before I book a cruise, and I didn't see any with Explora...so your input is so valuable and appreciated! Thank you! Rachel
  5. I've found these boards to be helpful in answering all of my questions about cruises, whether it be for myself or my clients. People are always willing to help and offer recommendations, which I have found valuable. No reason to be rude to me; you don't even know me. My question was legitimate as I'm just learning about Explora and wanted to be sure I wasn't overlooking anything obvious. Thanks!
  6. I just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing anything. As you know, sometimes a rate is higher but includes so much more that it is worth it to book. I couldn't figure out what that would be in this situation based on what I was reading, and I want to do the best for my client. Thanks!
  7. Thank you so much. With there being such a price difference, I thought there was something I was overlooking. I appreciate it!
  8. I did contact Explora, and got this message....so it still seems like the Unique Escapes is the way to go for my clients, unless I am understanding it wrong. I probably am the only TA not to have been comped because I've never had a client ask about Explora before :0) The Unique Escapes is a time-limited offer to enjoy value savings on select journeys and a reduced deposit of 10%. It is only applicable when booking an Ocean Terrace Suite or Ocean Grand Terrace suite. Explora Early Booking Benefit is available for all suite categories and journeys and is a saving of 5% when booking by paying in full within 7 days of booking. It is available up to 180 days prior to departure for Ocean Residences and up to 105 days for the rest of the suite categories.
  9. So a cruise is "Journey" and the shops are "the Journey"... oh my, no wonder I'm so confused :0)
  10. ...and this is my first rodeo with Explora. Explora doesn't seem to offer additional trainings for TAs, so I'm just popping on these boards, visiting their websites, and trying to understand all things Explora. While I am learning about it, the pricing is just baffling to me. For example - the cruise they are looking at...(April 2025, Explora 2) ...the "Unique Escapes" rate (this looks like a short term promo) starts at $5285 per person. The "Early Booking" rate starts at $6695 per person. It goes on to say that the "early booking" rate is a great deal on the "journey" fare. Huh? Journey fare? Is the unique escape not a journey fare? I just don't know all of this Explora terminology...can anyone here help? Thanks! Rachel
  11. Hello travel friends! Looking at Norwegian Sun, September 17, 2025 out of Papeete for a client...only to see there is also a September 18, 2025 cruise on the Sun out of Papeete. So I look at the 9/17 itinerary and sure enough, the Sun sits at Papeete on the 17th taking on new passengers, and doesn't take off until later on the 18th. Of course, the cost to embark on the 18th is cheaper. I've never known of a cruise to sit there a day before sailing away. Is that because of waiting for flights to come in? Thanks! Rachel
  12. Hello travel friends! Helping a client with her Princess Royal cruise. She upgraded to Princess Premier, and gets two specialty dinners. A few questions for you (as I'm on everlasting hold with Princess customer service).. 1. It says two specialty dinners. Is that two for two people, or just one dinner for two people together? 2. The client tried to book specialty dining today, and she was asked for her credit card number. If she has Princess Premier, what is her credit card being charged for? Thanks, everyone! Rachel
  13. I have a client asking - the cabins next to elevators on the Norwegian Prima - do those cabins hear a lot of racket from the elevators? Thanks! Rachel
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