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Everything posted by Smitheroo

  1. I tip my room steward extra (usually $30 for 5 day cruise and $40 for a 7) just as a general thank you for doing the work they do. Unless someone has a dining room steward they request often it would be very hard as there are so many that attend to each table. There's the one that brings you to the table, then the one that pours the water, then the one that takes the order, then the one that brings the extra spoon, and on and on. When my travel partner is with me (we have separate cabins) he tips throughout the cruise. I tip at the end.
  2. ok, got it I havent reached that stage yet where I want to upgrade. Of the 4 cruises I've been on in modern history (only one has been a transatlantic) I've been 100% satisifed with the cabin I've booked. Well, I'll say maybe 95 % with this current "studio" things are spread out all over- "closets" in two different areas, toilet, shower and sink in different spots in the cabin. Its okay but I think I would prefer a solo inside at this point. I have a studio again for my next cruise and will come to a final conclusion. On the Getaway I like that the Studio section is very close to the Forward Lobby ( as long as you remember to go that lobby and not the Aft Lobby) I guess some solo travelers like the added security but that's not important to me. I've never had a cabin on the main corridor so not much traffic going past.
  3. Yes, 5 days are too short! My first cruise on the Joy was 5 days and I noticed a big difference with my next cruise on the Encore for 7 days. What I would really like is a transoceanic (either one) with a week of sea days. I had one booked but then my sister in law wanted to go to Alaska at the same time so I cancelled and booked with her.
  4. Oh, nice. It was very rough seas going down and now rain going back up but not a huge surprise for the East Coast in January. Maybe you'll have better weather going up and down but even if you dont, in between should make up for it.
  5. Of course not. I was just quoting my friend, one that used to go into NYC with me when we were in high school. I told her she was crazy (politely) and that anything can happen anywhere (thus my reference to the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine in a place where the motto is "Maine, the Way Life Should Be".) People get mugged in their local grocery store parking lot, anywhere. I hear this all the time when I camp alone also. I'm not exactly sure what "no repercussions" meant either. I'm assuming that she meant there is no law and order, which is why she called it the Wild West lol. Yes, I do think she has an "issue". She owns an assault weapon type gun for her protection. There was an incident in the past year or two where someone with an issue about something drove up into a crowd on the sidewalk in NYC. It was on our local news in Maine. No, if anyone asks me for advice I will tell them about the positive experience I had.
  6. Aww, I'm envious. Where are you headed?
  7. The ship was packed. I waited on the Guest Services line to add my drink gratuities (needing a drink at that point) and noticed a sign "no staterooms available". Not sure why there was a 45 minute wait. But next time I get on a ship I will go straight to the main dining room and see what the situation is. I've done the Garden Cafe on embarkation day twice now. This time was terrible. Just too many people with not enough places to wait, or at least people not being familiar with the ship yet and not wanting to explore. Most people are very hungry by that time and the choices are mind boggling
  8. That was a great deal, especially the senior rate of $9 It was quite popular also with younger adults
  9. My husbands thoughts exactly. Some of us think differently. In my case, I welcome an immersion experience and learn from that. After a lot of research before the trip I realized that there wasnt much to fear. It definitely wasnt just to save a few bucks.
  10. This is the advice I got from a former high school friend (we used to go into NYC frequently to do the things young people like to do) "Be very, very careful about NYC. It is NOT like it used to be. People drive up on the sidewalks (I'm not kidding), her son goes into NYC everyday (he works on cell towers) and says its like the Wild Wild West with people all doing their own thing with no repercussions. You have been warned." My answer was thanks but you are going to find crazy situation everywhere, including Lewiston, Maine where we had our first mass shooting. And if I remember there was one incident not that long ago where someone drove up on the side walk, I think Times Square, for whatever reason.
  11. The hostel had many pluses: location, close to the subway, many businesses in the surrounding area, a cool international vibe, very friendly and helpful staff, a great snack bar with good variety of food, very clean and they run tours and other activities, many of which are either free or small charge. the negatives: what you would expect with a hostel, the lack of privacy. I was hoping that in January I would be lucky enough to have a room (4 female room) for myself. Nope. The website states that there are privacy curtains. Nope. I rigged up a makeshift curtain with the top sheet they gave me which helped. I would probably go back but would bring a more substantial material to use for a privacy curtain. The room was too small for 4 females who didnt know each other. One guest thought nothing of putting the light on at any time, another went out nights and slept during the day, the third was just plain weird but she only stayed 1 night. Pleasant enough people (well, two of them were) but the nature of the accommodation was difficult (although what you would probably expect with a hostel) I thought the bathrooms would be sink, toilet and shower in one unit (some hostels have this arrangment, I think Boston HI does) with many units. This one had the typical instituational type bathrooms with multiple sinks, toilet stalls and shower stalls. But all very clean. If you've lived in a college dorm it will seem normal to you. I have not. They also have a huge self service laundry and a kitchen where you can cook your food. They also have private rooms you can book but of course cost a lot more. It would be a lot better if it were 4 females who knew each other sharing a room but like I said, I would go back with modifications. I had a great sleep mask which provided me total darkness but need better ear plugs. Another thing- the beds are short. I am 5 ft 2 inches and my head and feet touched the rails at each end. So if you are a taller female you might not be too comfortable. The mattresses were so-so. I'm a camper so I can deal with that. I imagine the male beds would be longer. Also, my 24 inch suitcase did fit in the locker front to back with some room on the sides and top of the suitcase. (I purchased a padlock for $6) I saw a room for additional storage which i think there is a fee for, plus a really nice patio that would be nice to sit at in good weather
  12. I know. I do weird things sometimes. It was an immersion experience for sure. I dont think I would do it again with a suitcase. WIthout a suitcase I would do it unless it was bad weather. I never felt any degree of danger.
  13. I am on the Getaway right now, returning to NYC from a 5 day cruise to Bermuda 1/12/24-1/17/24 I posted my experience on how I got to Pier 88 in another thread. I flew into Newark Airport where I picked up the Newark Airport Express to Port Authority, NYC (also stops at Grand Central and Bryant Park) $9 for a senior fare. Great deal. From 42nd street I made my way to the Hi Hostel in the Upper West Side where I stayed for 2 nights. On 1/12 I made my way to Pier 88. Embarkation was very easy in the terminal and the line moved fairly quickly. I was very pleased. However, when "general boarding" was called and I got on the ship I realized that the people who were allowed to board earlier were already on their 3rd round of drinks (so it seemed) and were camped in the Garden Cafe (waiting for their statesroom to be ready?) There was no where else for them to go because this ship does not have the Observation Lounge that the other NCL ships I've been on have (Joy, Encore and soon Bliss) So there I was juggling plates of food (almost spilled hot coffee on the head of a child shorter than my elbows) while all these people were not leaving the tables in the Garden Cafe. The crew did try to find spots for people they could see struggling. Advice: passing by one of the main dining rooms I heard "we have a 45 minute wait at the current time". Next time I would go directly to one of the dining rooms and reserve a spot because it would have been quicker than trying to eat in the Garden Cafe on embarkation day. Once I got some food in my belly I was in a better mood A crew member found me a spot at a table with another passenger and we had a great conversation. Statesrooms were soon ready. My first impression was that there is not a lot to do on the Getaway other than eat, drink or hang out in the Atrium but I soon discovered various activities to pass my time. I decided to get the expanded wifi package and also put the drinks gratuities back on my booking because I needed a drink after that Garden Cafe experience. Starting the night of embarkation and all the next day (the sea day down) seas were very rough. Not surprising with all the storm activity up and down the East Coast. I dont know how rough because I dont have much experience with rough seas but I think plenty of people were in their statesroom and I noticed the barf bags had appeared at the elevator banks. I had signed up for the entertainment and saw Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet. Both were excellent, especially the 2nd. I have a gripe about people who have no idea what "theater etiquette" involves but wont go into that now. I thought the performs in the quartet were as good as the original artists (Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis) And if you sign up for this show, do not run out when you think its over. The finale is as good as the actual show! Unless flashing lights bother you. I didnt bother with any of the specialty restaurants as I am traveling alone this time. I am not a foodie so the main dining rooms included in my fare are more than adequate. First day in Bermuda was rainy and somewhat humid but today was lovely and the pool deck came alive and people went from hoodies to their cruisewear. We are now on our return, with last sea day tomorrow and so far seas are very calm. I have a studio cabin but have decided I actually prefer a solo inside. There isnt a lot of storage space in this studio and because the bathroom facilities are in 3 locations it makes for a lot of messy clutter (unlike having one room with a large vanity and a door) The studio area is very modern and quiet. the lounge is very nice but I have seen only 1 person in it on two occasions. No sign of an attendant or meetings. There were refreshments available including a bar but I never saw a bartender. I have another studio booked on the Bliss to Alaska the end of April but I think after that I will stick with the new category, solo inside. (or possibly solo balcony) What started out as a slight disappointment has turned into a very nice cruise (rough seas dont bother me) However, I think I prefer ships like the Joy and Encore (and probably Bliss) Not having that wonderful Observation Lounge is a big minus. Even half of one (the Joy) would be better. The Atrium has been packed and there just arent a lot of places to hang out if you cant go out on deck, other than the bars. I will report back with disembarkation after experiencing it. I have reserved an NCL transfer from the pier to Newark airport for $37.50
  14. I was involved in a thread of this topic several months ago. It may have been on another part of Cruise Critic (which I couldnt find just now) in which case this thread will be moved. The discussion was about the different ways to get to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. I asked if the neighborhood was "seedy" and was lambasted by someone who lives in the neighborhood. I would like to report back on my personal experience. I stayed two nights at the Hi Hostel NYC in the Upper West Side and on the morning of embarkation I took the subway to the 59th street station. I did this because the 59th is "accessible" in that it has an elevator. When I arrived in NYC (Newark Airport Express bus into the Port Authority from Newark Airport) I came into the Port Authority area (bus discharged passengers on the street, not in the terminal) and went to the 42nd street station to take the subway to the Hi Hostel. The escalator and elevator were both out of order and it was really really difficult for me, a 73 yr old woman with some mobility issues, to lug my 24 inch suitcase plus a brief case plus a back pack through the subways and onto the trains. I am digressing here but I want to say that my experience was that although it was extremely difficult for me, the number of New Yorkers who offered to help me was remarkable. Mostly men, young and older, black and white, professionals (in appearance?) and blue collar workers (in appearance?) It was amazing. I did a few staircases on my own at first after which I gladly accepted help from these remarkable New Yorkers. Ok, back to my account. So I left the Hi Hostel at 9:15 am and walked to the 96th street subway station on Broadway (it had a working elevator at the time, the 103rd street had no elevator) I got off at the 59th street station (for the reason explained above) and started walking to Manhattan Cruise Terminal with my luggage. I wove my way down there by walking one block horizontally, then going down one block towards the dock, repeating this pattern over and over. I thought it would be easier to walk the city streets with my luggage rather than lug it up/down the stairs in the station. I arrived at the waterfront by 11 am, in plenty of time for my chosen embarkation time at Pier 88. Fortunately the weather cooperated and it was very pleasant. But it was a lot of work and I would not recommend any one to do this unless young and in good shape. (I did see a middle aged couple coming up 46th street from the waterfront with two large suitcases and they looked a bit winded) About the footbridge- I tried to take that across 12th avenue and found that the end on the waterfront had only a staircase down which doesnt make a lot of sense when it has a ramp on the other end in addition to a staircase. The other choice I had (the staircase was a non choice to me at that point) terminated at the Intrepid Museum with a number to call to get access to the ship terminal. I turned around, went back over the footbridge and down on the street, crossing 12th ave by foot. Advice to anyone trying this: just cross at the crosswalk. It is clearly marked and there are traffic lights. Plus there was a traffic cop directing traffic from the arrivals. Forget the footbridge. Sorry that this is rambling but I wanted to report back because there was quite a discussion previously. My advice is to find another way to get from the Port Authority to Pier 88 where NCL docks only because it was very tiring. I felt completely safe. There were people everywhere going about their business, doing their jobs, and walking dogs. I hope the person who was offended because I asked if this neighborhood was "seedy" sees my update.
  15. I've never seen mention of babies diapers other than not to flush them so I'm thinking in the trash? I would get those smell blocking bags you can buy on Amazon. They work very well. I wouldnt throw dirty diapers in the trash without one. Or you could ask your room steward.
  16. I had a Free at Sea booking and at the time I made it I figured since I was traveling alone I wouldnt drink alone so asked to have the drink package gratuities removed Well, the day of embarkation was so bad for me I need a strong drink so went right to Guest Services and asked them to put the drinks gratuities back on. And they did. And I took full advantage of it. So, to summarize. I add the drinks gratuities back on the first day of the cruise on board the ship. I dont think they actually take off the drink package Its part of "Free at Sea". They remove the drink gratuities which means you technically dont have the drink package.
  17. OK- just read the link. At first my rebooked cruise seemed okay because I did get all the money back (in the form of Cruise Next certificates, the only payment that was given). The problem is that it is the same exact cruise- same date. *Except* I am okay with going with the original payment date for insurance purposes. It is still within the "sensitive time period" so it looks like my rebooked cruise will qualify for insurance. What kind I get will depend on what the Insurance Store says. As I said in other posts, medical is always necessary and for me, that includes pre-existing conditions must be covered in some way. (either by purchasing within the time sensitive period or the insurance covers pre-existing conditions anyway, like GeoBlue Voyager Choice)
  18. Thank you, I will give the Store a call My email inquiry has not been answered but I know that sometimes happens with that type of contact, it disappears into cyberspace. I havent read your link to rebooking a cruise yet (but will) I will say that I agree with their reason for not allowing it but there should be some way around it, such as I suggested- using the date from the first booking *assuming everything about the cruise is the same*. in my case the only difference was how I was paying it (Cruise First instead of Cruise Next) and I cant remember why I wanted to do this. I do remember my reason made sense, just cant remember waht it was. I will check into the link. Thanks
  19. I wish everyone the best making a choice that works for them
  20. But the insurance is being purchased exclusively for the planned travel, no other reason. I dont see how stating that someone can travel on July 15th (an example) has any bearing on a cruise the following May 15th, the cruise that the policy is being bought for. Doesnt make an ounce of sense
  21. I am done with Trip Insurance Not jumping through the hoops. This "able to travel" was the final "straw". As a single traveler who makes modest choices (inside cabin etc), not flying to the other side of the world to meet my cruise ship, my risk is not high. I have two cruises coming up in January and April and for these I will have GeoBlue Voyager Choice for rmedical expenses. (medical is necessary) I will also put $200 for each cruise in an account to "self insure" for the future. After these two cruises are done I plan to re-assess the situation. I have learned from this forum that the proper order is 1) get the letter from your doctor if you want a pre-existing condition waiver then 2) book the cruise and 3) buy insurance, the last two within the time sensitive period for a pre-existing condition waiver. If I were a family, going on expensive cruises with expensive flights and hotels it would be a much different scenario. That isnt my travel style. I'm not ruling out the complete package (trip cancellation plus medical) for future trips but for the next two I am just going with medical coverage.
  22. I was booked for a cruise on NCL using CruiseNext certificates. After a few days I decided I wanted to use one of my CruiseFIRST certificates. (I forget the exact reason) The only way I could remove one type of certificate and apply the other was to cancel the first booking and make a new booking at which time I would use the CruiseFirst certificates. NCL took care of my request. Seems simple, right? NOPE While doing the extensive research I always do when I dont even know what questions to ask- I find an insurance company (and I cant remember which one)where one of the requirements for the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver is that it has to be your first booking for the cruise. I get it- people would cancel and rebook cruises to extend the "time sensitive period". So, why not ask if its the first booking and if not, allow the person to use the first day of payment of the first cruise (the one I cancelled) If that is not within the allowed time sensitive period then no insurance would be allowed to be purchased for that cruise. So now I am left wondering if this cruise that I did this maneuvering of certificates on can never have travel insurance purchased for it. I know the answer is "ask your broker" and i plan to, just wanted to point out what i found out by researching. Something you would have to have dug hard to find on your own.
  23. I know that google translate isnt always correct with their translation. I used it to communicate with people in Mexico . One of the topics we were discussing was a man named "Jesus". Common name in Mexico. Every.Single.Time I referred to this man named Jesus ,Google translated it as "Jesus on the Cross" I am not kidding. As in "I think I will have to meet Jesus at the train station at 3 pm" was translated as Jesus on the Cross at the train station. And someone is expected to use this for serious medical conversations? Another time I was discussing a woman named "Blanca" Another common name in Mexico. Google translate insisted on translating her name as "White". I guess google translate has a problem with proper nouns
  24. Yes, I have read the explanation. What I'm left wondering is just how being fit to travel on one day has any bearing on a cruise booked in 2 years?
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