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About Sthrngary

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Birmingham, AL
  • Interests
    RVing, Movies, College Football
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Celebrity, NCL, Oceania
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Any where

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  1. OK, I absolutely see how frustrating this can be. My cruise leaves in 122 days. As I said in a previous response. Last week, I booked Specialty restaurants for the week on the cruise website. My daughter wanted them all changes. So I sent an email a few days ago and have not heard back. So I called the concierge earlier today. Within minutes all the reservations were changed, showed up online and I was completely satisfied. I like I might be able to help you on the Spa Passes. I am assuming you mean the Thermal Spa. If so, good call on your part. Lovely place. We had access on our last cruise because we had a Haven Spa suite and the Thermal Spa comes with that. On to my point, two approaches here. First, I promise you without a question, you will be able to purchase the access pass to the Thermal Spa when you get on-board. They are limited but especially on day one, they are readily available. Second, spa company (Canyon Ranch think is is) can be contacted directly just search on google.com. On the excursions situation. The excursion department is a much better place for all excursion situations. I would call them directly. There number is: 1-866-625-1167. I have always gotten much better answers from this number then from any other NCL source for Excursions. On this item also I would say you have NO ISSUE. The number of folks that book excursions on the day you depart is minimal. I still would call the number above. I hope that helps. Cruise well.
  2. First, if you are in the Haven, you can book most shows and specialty dinning reservations 130 days prior to cruising. If you are not in the Haven, it is 120. I booked my specialty dinning on day 130. Then like everything in life, my family wanted me to change almost every one. Today is 121 days prior to cruising and the online Haven concierge has not gotten back with me as of yet on my changes. I will be calling their phone number today to make sure I get what i want. The key here is they can do miricles for you before you get on board or even after you are on board, just no guarantees. Second, check online for the excursion you want from 120 days to 7 days before your cruise. Some excursions pop up all the time. The greatest example was the Beach Villa for the NCL private island on my last trip. It did not exist online yet I knew they had them. I just figured they were sold out. Then one day it showed back up. If I would have missed it, the Haven concierge could have put me on a wait list if someone canceled it. Remember, they can not nice things but not every time. Hope that answers your questions. Cruise well.
  3. I did see a few things hanging on the outside of the doors. I think the issues are not to damage the doors. Some folks left messages, others asked for comments. On the messages situation, NCL had a neat relatively inexpensive way to keep in contact with your cabin mates. You use their on-board phone and texting service with your phone. I think it was $9.99 per person for the entire week. That ship is big, i used it several times. Hope all that makes sense.
  4. Lots of folks have attached my post on this subject. It will help you. I was there on Thanksgiving and there was a game that day at 12:00 PM. My experience was once I got away from the stadium, all things were clear. Please also remember I got to the port at 10:45 am on purpose. I knew that this would get my wife and I on the ship quickly. Please understand part of my plan was because my wife and I were staying in the Haven on the ship. This mean first on; first drink and the vacation started quickly. Normal embarkation was not crowded at that time either. We had our cab drop us off at the port, no real delays at all. Opened the truck, gave the porter at the port $10.00 and was in and out of security in less then 5 minutes. By the way, I wrote a review on my experience on the Getaway and it just one top five reviews for last month. It might give you some incite. Enjoy your cruise and stay sailing.
  5. I will tell you two stories. First about 30 years ago, I took my wife to a very nice restaurant in New Orleans. I was wearing a ball cap. The owner came up to me and asked me to take it off. I was more then happy to do so. I had no idea it insulted folks. The key here is the owner in a nice way asked me to take it off. Second, during my last cruise in the Haven on the Getaway, I really never saw anyone inappropriately dressed in the Haven Restaurant. Since the Haven Bar was right next to the pool, I did see some folks ordering drinks with bathing suits on at the Haven Bar. None of that bothered me. What bothered me was a group of eight 20 year olds drunk in the hot tub making a scene. Only one of them was a Haven Guest and he let his friends in. The Haven Staff was made aware of it and did nothing. That was disappointment however it only happened once. No cruise or cruise passengers are perfect. The key is go with the flow and enjoy yourself. We paid a lot of money to be both on the cruise and in the Haven. The rule for today is just enjoy life.
  6. Not sure I responded to this post. Yes, I will post a review after my Encore experience with my entire family in May 2020. A little update on my planning. We are 134 days out. in 14 days my family and I are having a Family meeting. We will gather to select: What nights and times we will go to which specialty restaurants. What nights and times we will reserve each show. What excursions we want to go on. On this one, I will look for my favorite excursion which is a Beach Cabana/Villa. Just my favorite thing EVER. What hotel we will attempt to stay at in Manhattan the night before the cruise. There will be no choice on the Restaurant in Manhattan however, with five people I want to go to Carmine's. No negotiation there. Finally, we will set the rules. Dad paid for the 2-bedroom Haven Villa. You all have a credit card under your name because I will not pay for your extras. PERIOD. Now that is a good deal. Wish my dad did that for us. We went to a dude ranch and played volleyball in the fields. LOL Lets enjoy our respective cruises, DEAL.
  7. I have also seen folks at the Haven Bar in a bikini. Did something out of character for me. I said, "Excuse ME sir. Don't you think you need to cover up?" When you have been cruising as long as my wife and I have, you remember how formal things used to be. Back then folks said, "This is my vacation, I should not have to dress up all the time." So the cruise ships and most brands said casual. Do folks take it to far, YEP. Even though I am a bit old (62), I figure everyone should have a really good time. Dress the way you want and I do the same. As my son says, "You do you." Do I think it is wrong to were a bikini at the Haven Bar, only if you are sitting there for a while. If you just came in from the pool and want a drink. Fine. "You DO You!"
  8. Ok, let me be clear, I was on the NCL Getaway. This "All Inclusive Bungalow for Two" was located on Rotan. The excursion started off rather rough. The Getaway could not dock so we had to use tenders. This also forced us and other to get up an hour earlier which effected how late we stayed out the night before. The tender ride was awful. It was way longer then it needed to by at one hour. The tender back to the ship was 10 minutes. The ships crew seemed to be take by surprise not being able to dock. So this update would not be fair unless I shared that with you first. The ride to the resort is 45 minutes. There is a tour guide in the air conditioned bus with you. This guide is attempting to share history with you on this island that is kind of run down. The guide really pushed her enthusiasm a bit to much to compensate for the negative attitudes of the folks on the bus after this rough start. Not her fault but everyone wished she would just shut up. The resort is nice, not great, nice. We were escorted to a section right off the beach where the Bungalows were located. Only those with Bungalows were allowed in this area yet we could go to the beach anytime we choose. That was a plus. The Bungalow were very nice indeed. About eight of them lined up. Lovely basket of fresh fruit waiting and a chilling bottle of Champagne. Met the butler and bar tender. It was a full bar of nice brands. The shrimp cocktail followed which was very nice. Lunch was Caribbean Lobster tail with steak. I rate the food 6.5 to 7. I got in the water with the provided floating tubes because that is really what I love about this excursion. Then after five minutes it was time to get the party rolling. As my neighbors came in the water I introduced myself. As more joined I waited until 8 or nine folks were in the water. My was reading her book on the bed. Then I sprang. I got the bartender to get the 8 of us in the water shots of tequila. More folks joined us in the water including my wife. 7-8 shots each later, everyone was having the time of their lives. No one was feeling any pain I assure you. When it was time to take the bus trip back to the ship (45 minutes), everyone was singing and happy. We offered the bus driver $100.00 to stop at the only Popeyes Fried Chicken place on the island so we could get a bucket for the bus. Seems they only have to fast food places on the Island, Popeyes and Pizza Inn. The bus driver would not take the bribe. I had a GREAT time but I always do. This or any excursion as well as cruises are what you make of it. You make the determination for you and your guests. Please remember if you want a 3rd of 4th person, each one is $199.00. I hope that helps your decision. Wish I was there with you. Be well.
  9. Your answers are below. I love coffee in the morning also. However, please remember two lovely things. 1) The Haven Resturant at breakfast has French press coffee, yum. 2) when you upgrade your Premium Beverage Package to the Premium Plus Beverage Package, there is no charge for specialty coffees As well as other benefits. Hope that adds flavor to your coffee question.
  10. The concierge makes a call. With one minute someone shows up. They take down the freight elevator. You are first online getting off the ship for excursions and last day. This is very important for excursions. You get breakfast at the Haven, got out first especially on early departure excursions. Last day we were out, got our bags, through customs and in a cab in less then 10 min. Hope that helps.
  11. If you are on the ship for 14 day, sure; Margaritaville will be a good initial change of pace. I used to live at the beach. I simply did not care for the food. That being said, it is a perk, if you don’t like the food, go back up to the Haven. Personal preference not bad food. Now O’Sheenes was bad food.
  12. I loved the Getaway and just did a review. Last year I was on the Celebrity Equinox for a lot more money. I did not enjoy that experience half as much as the Getaway. So because you were so nice, I am going to give you some more hints: Haven Bar: The Bartender's name is Patrick. Say a guy named Gary suggested he make you the Smokey drink. It is a show and a half. Water Slides: Go after the first day at sea. I never had to stand in a line for more then a few minutes. Show Reservations: Make your show reservation now and coordinate your specialty restaurants reservations based on that. As I mentioned in other post, the Haven Restaurant does not take reservations. Haven Desk on the Ship: You have a question, ask them. You have an issue, tell them. Smoking: If you smoke, do not smoke anywhere that is not an expressly approved smoking area. They will fine you. Tour the Ship Day One: They will give you an invitation for lunch at the Haven Restaurant or Margarettaville. Don't take the bait, have lunch at 12:00 PM day one in the Haven. Prior, bring your carry on to your suite even if it is not completely ready for you. Then come back to the Haven. After lunch, tour the ship before it gets to crowded. Fish On the Rugs/Carpet: In the halls, look down at the fish in the carpet. There heads indicate the front of the ship, tails back of the ship. Harder to get lost knowing that. Room Service: Don't order off the in-room menu. Have the butler get you your food from the Haven. That being said, if you have an early excursion, room service breakfast is a nice way to go providing a kind of wake up call. Venture All Over the Ship: As nice as the Haven is, you got to see the rest of this ship. Putt Putt Golf, Rope course which my wife would not allow me to do (I was drunk at the time, good wife and I am 62), shuffle board for shots is fun. Premium Plus Drink Package: If it does not blow up your budget AND you do like to indulge with adult beverages AND you like to have really great bottles of water (with or without gas) at meals AND you like specialty coffee's AND you would like to have a full bottle of wine at dinner then take what is left over to your room AND you like top shelf brands of Liquors. Then pay the upgrade from the Premium Drink Package. If you don't drink and don't intend to drink, skip this bullet point. Shows: Go into the theater on the left side, the Haven reserved section is mid-way on the left. Nice perk. Burger By the Haven Pool: The Haven Burger comes this the cute basket of fries. Sit by the pool, the servers will be out there, have a burger by the pool one day. So good and no nice. Chocolate Haven Cake: Unbelievable. I broke my Keto diet for this cake with vanilla ice cream three times. Other Must Eat Items: Salmon or Pork Chop for lunch; Beef Short Rib appetizer for dinner; Prime Rib for dinner is crazy good, Smoke Salmon is on the Breakfast Buffet for a starter, the almond danish is great, my Favorite breakfast was the steak and eggs. Love the French Restaurant for the experience and the deserts are to die for. Enjoy your trip and keep on cruising. Encore here we come in May. Be well.
  13. I am on the Encore in Mid-May to the Bermuda with my family of five in a Haven 2-Bedroom Suite Also. Here is the approach, hints, stratigies, and my thoughts. Let me set the foundations. The Haven Restaurant does not take reservations. You may have to wait some nights for as long as an hour. Rare but true. If you go at 5 to 5:45 PM, no issue on a ship that the Haven was sold out. Next step is not restaurant, it is shows. Reserve your shows and once done, make your specialty restaurants accordingly. Also take into account your excursions time back prior to making reservations. Do everything online as soon as you can. If you have or need a change, the Haven Desk will accommodate MOST Times. I hope that answers all of your questions.
  14. Sure thing. This tread has taken several turn in emphasis and focus. The first was away from the Haven Experience and on a small comment I made about rude children/parents of those children in the Haven Pool area. The second turn in this thread was to how to leverage all the benefits of the Haven. Now the focus on the different type of Adult drinking packages and how to leverage them effectively. That is the core of your question to me. When we all purchase our cruises from NCL, we usually get the option of a Perk called the Premium Beverage Program. Prior and the first day of the cruise, if you have this perk (or purchased it), you can upgrade this program to the Premium PLUS Beverage Program (PPBP) for $250.00 per person, per week. This PPBP allows the purchase of bottles of wine, flights, and bottles of liquor for a 40% discount. You can order Bottles of Liquors off your room service menu. Please note, you will have a service fee of 20%. A normal liquor bottle is $100.00. You can now make a decisions knowing the discount applied.
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