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  1. Yes, a magnetic hook would be fine from the ceiling - and my expressed concerns were more about where it would be attached and not using other attachment devices. My point is the hanging basket is unnecessary to bring. And to me, duck tape is also unnecessary, but many do bring it.
  2. Park Cafe and the MDR (on sea days) are both serve complimentary meals. Cafe Latitudes will provide sweets for fee. Chops will be available for lunch for a fee. There is also room service. The Key is not required for any of these.
  3. Was on Ovation in May and didn't notice cigarette smoke anywhere inside or around our balcony.
  4. Although it has been many years since our children were involved with the AO program, our experience is that generally they do not, basing the group age assignment on actual age as of date of sailing - especially if the ship has a lot of children and the groups are larger. Each group is based on age appropriate activities for the age range, and your child - as you indicate - would be in Aquanauts (3-5) and your friend's child in Explorers (6-8). I have heard of exceptions being made, however, so all you can do is ask when you check your children in. But just understand that if there are others with similar situations they may not be able accommodate you as then they would have to make an exception for the others as well. I certainly hope that is not the only reason she booked the cruise, should they not allow them to be together.....
  5. Nope - RCCL and Celebrity also have the same process. And my response is accurate regarding NCL (and the others). They've basically replaced the old upsell with this.
  6. They will award the upgrades to the highest bidder and virtually never at the suggested minimum. You will be notified if you are awarded the upgrade by 48 hours prior to sailing and your internal boarding docs will be adjusted automatically. There will not be any public notification of the accepted bid amounts. Your credit card will be charged with the award and is a final charge with no refunds. The cruise line will assign the stateroom location within the bid categories. If you are not awarded an upgrade nothing will change on your booking and in that same time frame you will be notified of that. Up to you if it is worth it and that determination should be made by what you paid originally, what the last price was for the upgraded category (if known by prior checking) and the amount you are willing to bid.
  7. Also a good time to cruise to Bermuda, Alaska, Hawaii, Bahamas, or the Mediterranean. (Pretty much anywhere). And most cruise lines have favorable pricing then and with advanced purchase.
  8. Well we may post a lot but not sure if that qualifies us as experts - but we have cruised a lot, so maybe just experienced! 😉 But you're welcome. I'm sure you'll hear from others so keep checking back.
  9. Welcome to Cruise Critic! Just my opinion but I would choose Azamara hands down over Carnival any day. Much more immersive experience with far greater staff to passenger attention and service. I guess it would depend on your cruise expectations but they are two completely different cruise experiences, again IMO, with Azamara much better.
  10. On board cell use vary by cruise line but there will be cell service available via the ship satellite service and it will be at an extra charge. If you do not arrange for a specific on board plan - most have WIFI, etc., - and leave your cell phone on (and not in airplane mode) you will be charged for data and cell connection, which will be very expensive. You will want to avoid this at all cost. Check with your selected cruise line for their specifics. But most carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) have "at sea" programs where by cell and text plans are available - typically for 1 month - covering the time you are at sea - which are usually reasonable in cost. I would contact your carrier once you decide on a ship and itinerary and discuss options with them as well as look at on board programs.
  11. Just to add additional clarification as the OP is a first time cruiser, the US based closed loop ID requirements apply only to US citizens, of which I would think the OP and his wife likely are. But once they decide on a cruise line they also will need to confirm what that cruise line's boarding policies are regarding ID as some lines, even with the closed loop exemption, require a passport regardless of itinerary. A travel agent would be able to answer that up front with their research.
  12. Fort Lauderdale port, which is known as Port Everglades, is a large port. There are a number of different terminals and unlike an airport, they are not connected. But HAL uses Terminal 26 in Port Everglades, which your cruise documents will likely indicate as well. Also, your Uber or taxi driver (I prefer Uber) will know.
  13. ....which, since EM didn't provide the link, is here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/51-royal-caribbean-international/
  14. First, welcome to Cruise Critic! My suggestion would be to talk with a travel agent who specializes in cruises and discuss your preferences and expectations with them. They would be in the best position to advise you of the different options available that would best suit you. My recommendation would be to ask questions up front to confirm if they charge any fees not charged by the cruise lines for originating, modifying, or canceling a booking made through them and if so, don't use them and move on to one who does not have this policy. Travel agents are paid via commission from the cruise lines and any separate fees charged by them is nothing more than extra income for them out of your pocket. Good luck with your searching! I think a cruise would be a great vacation for your family to experience.
  15. You're right, it doesn't. But with MSC if you take advantage of their loyalty match, you need to cruise at least once every three years with them (and that may be changing to a shorter time span) to maintain your matched loyalty status or you loose it. So in that case if you were to abandon them, it matters.
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