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  1. I was thinking of having my Travel Agent work on this because it is extremely difficult to find. I have searched randomly and never found an open DOS. I was fortunate to reserve it only because I did it immediately after the cruises to Alaska were offered. Even at that point, there were only 2 cruises where the DOS was available. They were all sold within 2 weeks of the re-opening of the Alaska cruises this year.
  2. I just got off Encore and was in the DOS. The second bedroom has a murphy bed that pulls down over the couch (it is not a sofa bed but better). Queen size. The second bedroom also has a bathroom with shower. There is a sink and toilet in the hall bathroom. The master is huge, giant closet, and all six people could easily be in the bathroom at the same time. There was a wonderful sofa bed in the main living area, queen bed size. The main deck could easily hold 4 plush loungers, probably six if you move the table and 4 chairs to the side. There is a side deck which is accessed by a wind door that can also accommodate 3 people sitting there out of the wind and some privacy. There is also a 3rd deck that is only accessible from the Master Bedroom that sits next to the "wind protected deck". That Master bedroom accessible deck also looks into the glass shower, so the shower shade needs to be lowered. The main room can sit 3 easily on the sofa bed couch, there are 4 siting chairs around the dining table and one stand alone swivel chair, 8 people could easily sit in the main room. I looked out at the 2 bedroom family suite on the way out. Very nice. Much smaller than the DOS, the 2nd bedroom has a sofa bed, not a pull down murphy bed so might not be as comfortable as the DOS pull down murphy bed. I looked at this room because the DOS is so difficult to book, and was curious if the 2 bedroom Family suite might work.
  3. There were not many people in the Haven Bar/Reception area. For Colleen's Birthday, there were probably no more than 15? We were having so much fun that a few people came down from the Dining Room because they heard clapping and celebrating to see what was happening. The Friday Closing performance was word of mouth and was probably no more than 30. We changed our Choir of Man reservation in order to participate in the repeat performance to Thursday. Turned out the Choir of Man Friday show was cancelled for "technical difficulties" so we were able to hear Ronnie's medley of songs and also see the Choir of Man. BTW, Ronnie won a talent show competition that took place in the Middle East among many of the guest workers a few years ago.
  4. Sailing12Away, THAT WAS THE THREE OF US! Reading your posts, I thought we were on the same cruise, and we were. Wasn't that a fabulous time! Since this was our first NCL cruise, we weren't sure if they do this all the timer, or they were just so happy to be cruising again and seeing their "crew family" again after all this time. Thank you for posting it. I took a video for the couple that was celebrating their birthday the next day and they were dancing to Ronnie's song on Friday Night.
  5. I got the feeling on Encore in Seattle that we could have boarded as soon as the last guest departed from the previous cruise. I believe the first covid testing time was around 9AM, which might allow you to get to the Haven Check in Counter around 930-945. BTW, no one ever checked our Boarding Times that were reserved on the NCL website, only asked for identification and to show the printed Boarding passes from our eDocs. Things could be very different outside of Seattle. When we boarded at 1130, our plan was to have Breakfast at the Haven dining room before exploring the ship for the next 5 hours before departure, but the Concierge staff informed us the American Diner was open at no charge for all Haven Guests that day and for that cruise. We enjoyed American Diner since it was not one of our Free At Sea Dining Choices. The lobster rolls were fantastic. BTW, the first cruise out of Seattle was a Covid Testing nightmare, with huge lines and disorganization. The next two saw improvement to the point where the 4th cruise had very few complaints and Encore left exactly on time.
  6. I just returned from a 7 day cruise from Seattle to Alaska in the Deluxe Owners Stateroom (DOS) on the Encore. We were very fortunate to reserve this cabin because they always appear to be “sold out”. YouTube Videos can show the details of the 2 bedroom, 3 bath cabin that is 3 times the size of a normal cabin, and the balcony is so large it wraps around the front quarter of the bow of the ship. However, it was Maria the Butler and all the Haven Staff that made it all special. We met Maria and her supervisor after our cabin tour and before we left to explore the Encore around noon. We introduced ourselves and I presented her with a gift. The gift was a wrapped mini-maglite flashlight to pre-thank her for being our Butler. She didn’t understand at first that this was just our gift to her for being our Butler. Her face brightened when she realized the maglite was just a welcome present. At the end of the cruise, we also gave her a $60 per day tip ($20 x 3 occupants). BTW, it seems passengers need to depart the ship by 930 AM, so we encountered no delays in Boarding the ship as we arrived at 1030 AM, were through Covid Testing at 1115, and started our Cabin Tour at 1130. It appears that NCL learned many things from the prior 3 cruises. The Haven experience began when we were escorted from the Check in Area to the Encore right to Elevator being reserved for Haven Boarding on Deck 7 and taken directly to Deck 17. We stopped in the main lobby of the Haven for a quick visual tour, then asked our escort to be taken to our room to drop our carryon luggage. We headed to Room 18700, he tested our keycard, told us the room wasn’t quite ready, and gave us a brief tour of the 1400 sq. ft. space that would be our home for week. A bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne was in an ice bucket, the Bar Top had at least 6 boxes of water, 6 bottles of Pellegrino, 6 bottles of a Spanish Sparkling Water, and various mixers, Pepsi, Sprite, Mountain dew, and other soft drinks (probably 20 cans at any one time). There were three bottles of Liquor I had ordered at no extra charge, and I guess the 20 cans were to enable us to use any “mixer” we wanted with the liquor. For 7 days at least two buckets of ice and three place settings with napkins were sitting on the Bar or the dining table. The second morning I mentioned the room service coffee was not very good, so at 6:30 AM every subsequent day a press pot of coffee was waiting along with an assortment of pastries. I like my coffee strong, so Maria left it un-pressed so I could do it when I thought it was ready. If I was awake, I would open the door. If not, I would open the door of the master bedroom and it would be there on our dining table. There was also an expresso machine on the bar with assorted pods from which you could select whenever I wanted something stronger. Every afternoon, there would be a selection of goodies. We liked the mini BLT sandwiches, so she brought those. The fruit bowl was always replenished and Maria might just use her imagination or bring up selections available in the Haven observation Area buffet. It was raining in Ketchikan so she found us another Haven Umbrella. She had tears in her eyes when we hugged and departed the ship. We saw her at least once a day since we spent quite a bit of time in this amazing cabin. The Haven bar staff, restaurant staff, and people generally around the Haven were just as spectacular. They staged a Birthday concert for one of my friends at the Bar area, had birthday cakes arranged to present to her at various times (3 separate times), one of the drink servers sings, so we encouraged him to sing Show Tunes every time we were in the Bar. Not only is the Haven staff well trained, I think NCL focuses on finding “nice, genuine, and caring” because those traits are impossible to train. Because my two companions and I were genuinely interested in their lives, backgrounds, and families, we developed a connection with the staff and we believed they liked us as much as we liked them. We went on no organized excursions, but those that did could meet at the concierge desk and were escorted down to the deck 4 for a speedy exit. In most ports, we started the day with a leisurely breakfast at the Haven Restaurant and walked off the ship to explore the port. There was a Haven Area at the main shows, we scanned our key cards, and walked to the reserved seating area where an Attendant let us into the roped area. We mainly walked the Stairs up and down the ship to get around, so we never felt overly exposed to crowds or potential Covid situations. In the rare cases we used the elevators, we quickly put on a mask for the short rides in the crowded environment. i would reserve the DOS AGAIN if I could ever find its availability again. with only 2 of them on the Encore, I might never have that opportunity again!
  7. Sthrngary, I just got off Encore and was in the DOS. Previously you provided me some excellent advice about the Haven as I was a first time NCL cruiser. Would it be of interest to post a review of my Haven DOS experience? BTW, it was spectacular. It might be kind of lengthy.
  8. is access to the Spa only on a weekly basis, or do they have day passes? I assume I can purchase this once I am on the ship? There are three of us in my party. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. I am a novice to cruising.
  9. I am new to NCL and haven't been on a cruise in 3 years, before that it was 10 years. Myself and 2 friends are interested in the Spa on a Port Day. we have seen cold rooms, snow rooms, steam rooms, etc. in videos but have not been able to find prices. Is there a charge to get access to the Spa, Is there a daily charge for the Spa? I am assuming the massages etc. are extra and there would be a menu from which you can choose. Is it usually full? Thanks in advance for any guidance.
  10. I am new to NCL. I have the "free at sea" drink package. I understand that I can order any drink that is $15 or under and it is included in the package? Does this mean I can go up to any bar on the ship and order any drink under this package? If the drink is over $15 I will be charged the excess over $15? At dinner, I can also order a glass of wine using the same guidelines? How about a glass of beer at the Brew Pub? Thank you in advance for your guidance.
  11. How is the wifi on the ship? I receive a certain amount of minutes via the "free at Sea" but am considering purchasing the "streaming option" when I get on board. I believe you get one account, so to enable the other people in my cabin to use it I simply need to log off, to let another person use the account? I also could wait until I get into a port and just access using my normal cellular service (AT&T) or find a free wifi in town? Suggestions and guidance would be appreciated.
  12. Looking forward to your updates and insights. The Bird's review was so helpful for a first time NCL cruiser and someone who hadn't been on a cruise in 3 years. I have seen and read updates on the Antigen Test conducted now at the Pier, rather than at the Marriott. Seems like it is more organized with dropping your luggage at the Pier and walking upstairs for the test. One review said they GIVE YOU THE SWAB AND YOU DO THE NOSE SWIRL, another says a technician does it. I am curious if it is self administered or if a technician does it. Curious also if they are linking your test time to the Boarding Time for the Ship. I am on the August 28 cruise so the updates and insights will be very helpful to me. Thank you.
  13. Thank You BirdTravels! I am new to Cruise Critic, New to NCL, and new to Alaska Cruises. My cruise is at the end of August and your information is extremely helpful for a first timer. R U a travel agent, or someone who loves cruising and is being kind to share your experience and insight? Again, thank you. Thank you everyone on this Board for their helpful information as well.
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