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Everything posted by pbenjamin

  1. 11630 is under La Cucina, not the Great Outdoors. We did an Alaska cruise on the Jewel in 2019. Our party had 3 mini-suites (now Club Balcony) and a 2BR suite, all on Deck 11. One mini was 11628 (next door to 11630, under La Cucina) and the two others were aft-facing (11154,11156) under the Great Outdoors. The 2BR was 11012, under the Library. Nobody experienced any noise issues.
  2. On the 10/2 sailing of the Breakaway, the stores were closed until the afternoon of Day 5 when they had a "grand opening". No models yet. Nothing with Breakaway or any of the ports on it.
  3. Flamingo poop. You make this statement time and time again and ignore others who relate having successfully gotten dinner reservations taken care of by the pre-concierge.
  4. From what I saw, the only reason to buy alcohol at the duty free shop is if you have nonrefundable OBC. I bought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a bottle of Zacapa 23 and a Macallan Lumina. The first two were priced on par with Total Wine here in Phoenix. The scotch is a duty free only item, so no comparison.
  5. They do make them. Just google "Illy Nespresso pods". They are aluminum, too, quite useful if one is boycotting Nestle for doing business in Russia.
  6. Nice tip, thanks. That's how to avoid the annoyance, but I still don't understand why they have started making these unnecessary contacts when I haven't done anything different than I have done in the past.
  7. I believe that I was logged in, in fact I think it remembers me and logs me in automatically. Maybe I should do my fake booking from another browser that doesn't log me in, but my behavior hasn't changed and this was not happening in the past.
  8. I often do fake bookings on ncl.com, to see what cost, availability, etc. is like. In the past, such a visit would often result in automated emails to finish the booking, kind of annoying, but harmless. Twice recently such visits have resulted in phone calls to both house and cell from someone claiming to be a PCC. I have a PCC. At 6:30 this morning I was awakened by such a call. This new activity is more than annoying. I spoke to my PCC and he was unclear on why this was happening.
  9. We ate in La Cucina on the Jewel in 2019, it was one of our favorites. We went there on the Breakaway earlier this month and it was really disappointing. The Spaghetti Carbonara was great (was on the Jewel, too). The rest was either awful or not memorable. The pizza was undercooked and tasteless. The Beef Lasagne Al Forno "just tasted like ground beef and tomato sauce" according to my wife. Our opinion seemed be shared by our fellow cruisers, as this was the only thing I was able to book online (we booked the cruise well after reservations were opened to all). It was also the only specialty restaurant that we ate in that seemed to have a lot of empty tables. The service was also pretty bad but I can't remember any specifics. We had 4 specialty dinners. We ended up going to La Cucina, Cagney's twice, and had a dinner from Le Bistro in-suite.
  10. This was not a suite thing, it was a Haven bar thing. I asked for a can of soda at the bar, handed my key card to the bartender, which he waved away. I got the same result from other Haven bartenders.
  11. As of 10/9, Breakaway had no Zacapa 23, no Hendricks and only Johnny Walker Black and Red. That was the Haven Bar, didn't check Maltings.
  12. They are not. They are roughly 1.75"x8.5"
  13. What makes you so sure that it was an exception?
  14. To be clear, there was no charge. My wife likes to drink a soda in the evening and I would just walk up the bar and ask for one. Below the bar there is a fridge with the popular items like Coke and Diet Coke. They would go back around the corner to a cabinet for more obscure things like Diet Sprite, which weren't refrigerated. At one point, while sitting at the bar, I mentioned that my wife was suffering from a bad case of motion sickness (remnants of Ian). The bartender, Agnello, pulled out a can of ginger ale and a green apple and sent me on my way.
  15. I'm pretty sure it's free. I had them make a smoked Manhattan with Whistle Pig rye but I had the Premium Plus beverage package. I'm sure that there wouldn't be a charge if they made it with a whiskey from the basic package. Smoked Manhattan
  16. At the maître d station for the Haven restaurant on the Breakaway last week, there was a small sign outlining a dress code. I don’t remember much of it, but it did mention collared shirts. Due to the weather and time of year, there weren’t a lot of people running around in shorts or bathing suits.
  17. A week ago on the Breakaway we got cans of soda from the Haven bar on several occasions.
  18. We were just on an October 2-9 NE/Canada cruise and nothing had changed yet.
  19. Pretty sure there is no step. There is a drain in the floor behind the toilet. They would want drainage to go there rather than down a step in to the bedroom.
  20. I’ve eaten at Churrascarias in both the US and Brazil. Moderno is not much better or worse than any of them. In my mind it’s not something I need to do very often. We took a family group there on the Jewel and they really liked it since they had never been to such a place. Novelty is its strong point.
  21. We enjoyed sitting at the bar. We would head down there for a drink prior to dinner. We would sit there no more than a half hour and then move on. As often as not the seats would all be occupied and the same people would always be in them. One time we arrived to see a guy get up and take his drink with him, leaving his seat and the one next to it vacant. We went to sit down and were told by one of the regulars that someone was sitting there, that he just had to make a phone call. We retreated to the lounge seating. He came back about 15 minutes later. When we came back from dinner he was still sitting there. Seems like in a polite society people should be more considerate and share what is clearly a limited resource.
  22. On our 2019 cruise on the Jewel, I used a Nespresso machine for the first time and liked it so much that we bought a machine, which I use most mornings. On our Breakaway cruise last week, the coffee didn't taste right, even with using the same brand and make of capsules (Nespresso Ristretto) that we have at home. Now home, the difference is very noticeable. Although it is possible that they are not cleaning the machines properly but I'm thinking that the more likely culprit is the capsules. A sleeve of capsules has a production date and a "best before" date. My guess is that they are using old capsules that sat unused when there were no cruises. Next time I'm throwing a couple of sleeves in my suitcase when I pack.
  23. I had assumed that refunds from cancelled excursions would simply go to my credit card, but that is not the case apparently. For one thing they insist on paying you in cash. This I learned on disembarkation day when the OBC desk was out of cash. Worse yet my assumption that non-refundable OBC would be used before the refundable funds was wrong. Examining the invoice it appears that only the duty free liquor went against the non-refundable balance. Three things (NYC beverage tax, crab cake upcharge, t-shirt from gift shop) went against the refund from our cancelled excursion! My advice would be to cash out any refundable OBC as soon as they let you.
  24. Posting this here as it relates to Haven. Unlike many of the participants on Cruise Critic, we don’t go on multiple cruises a year, in fact we have multiple years between cruises. This was our fifth cruise, our first was in 1996. This was our second NCL cruise, our second in a suite with a butler, but our first in the Haven. We chose an October Canada/New England cruise out of Manhattan, in hopes of seeing fall colors, and so that we could visit our son and daughter-in-law, who live about an hour north of the cruise terminal. Having enjoyed the suite and butler on the Jewel on an Alaska cruise, the Haven in the Breakaway sounded right. Like many people, we had 3 cruises cancelled on us in the last few years, and the discounts and future cruise credit associated with that made the Haven quite affordable and even made the Free at Sea Upgrade package doable. We booked the cruise about 2 months before sailing, after the 130-day period for booking dinner reservations had started. I emailed the Pre-Concierge desk and asked for the times that we needed. There is a know-it-all poster on Cruise Critic who states frequently and vehemently that the Pre-Concierge is “totally useless”, that they can’t do anything that you can’t do yourself and can’t get you dinner reservations when requested. That’s a bunch of flamingo poop. On this cruise (as well as the previous one) there was a notice waiting for us in our suite confirming the changes that we had requested. Unlike most folks embarking at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, we had a rental car to deal with. We had picked it up from Avis at Newark airport 4 days earlier and would return it to Avis on West 43rd Street just a few blocks from the terminal. Not real excited about driving in Manhattan, but it was pretty painless. Getting Lyft to pick us up worked well and we were soon at the terminal. We had a 12-12:30 check-in time and that was when we got there. After dropping our luggage, we were soon in a Haven waiting area where the wait was minimal. Canada had just dropped the requirement of using the ArriveCan app and doing a test, which made the process much simpler than it might have been. We got our key cards and were quickly led up to the Haven lounge. We no sooner sat down when we were told that the staterooms were ready. We had intended to use the American Diner for lunch but it is open air, and the weather was cold, rainy and windy so we had lunch from the Haven Restaurant in the Haven courtyard. The suite was great as was Romel, our butler. We had breakfast each morning in the suite. The Haven restaurant was great, the non-repeating menu was not a problem as we had four restaurant credits. We ate there twice for dinner and once had dinner in-suite with some of the food coming from the Haven restaurant. The only criticisms were that the Tomahawk Pork Chop was a bit undercooked and that the lunch menu didn’t have much of anything we wanted to eat. Our “go to” lunch place was O’Sheehans. One sea day I went there for lunch and was told there was a 15-30 minute wait. When I produce my key card and he saw it was Haven, he seated me immediately. We did have lunch in one of the main dining rooms one day just to see a different menu, and in Halifax we ate in a local restaurant. We had dinner in the suite from Le Bistro one night. It was one of the best meals we had. The Coq au Vin was wonderful. We had really enjoyed La Cucina on our previous cruise but this time we were disappointed. The food was nothing special and the service was awful. We ended up going to Cagney’s twice. I wish that they didn’t use that gimmicky e-tablet wine list. I had to ask for the real thing each time and the wine steward didn’t seem real knowledgeable. The meats were great, but I’d advise against the Barley Risotto. The service was mediocre, I guess we were spoiled by the service in the Haven. At the table next to us, one person had the 5 oz filet and the other had the 8 oz. They were delivered 15 minutes apart! One of the best things about the Haven is the bar. The bartenders are the best ones on the ship and very friendly. Once they determined that we had the Premium Plus beverage package they went out of their way to make suggestions. A negative was that there is something like 9 stools at the bar and there were people that seemed to take possession of them for the entire cruise. I ordered the Smoked Manhattan one night, which is worth the experience. The Premium Plus beverage package was a good thing. There were some items that were not available due to supply chain issues (Hendrick’s gin, Zacapa 23 rum) but we were able to make liberal use of items such as Veuve Cliquot champagne, Whistle Pig rye whiskey and Remy Martin VSOP cognac, as well as nice bottles of wine. Once when a particular bottle of wine was unavailable, they let us have another more expensive bottle not included in the package. We had a fair amount of non-refundable on-board credit. With the promotions there was little to spend money on. Not caring about the spa, the only option was to spend it in the gift shop and duty-free shop. It was closed for most of the cruise and when it did open on day 6 there wasn’t much there. There seemed to be a lot of jewelry but there was not nearly as much liquor or gift items as we had seen on our previous cruise on the Jewel. A tee-shirt specific to the ship or the ports would have been nice, and a Breakaway Christmas ornament would have been perfect. An excursion was cancelled when we could not tender in Newport. The money came back as (refundable) on-board credit which you had to receive on the ship as cash. This was not made clear, and I found myself standing in line at guest services (the on board credit desk was out of cash) at 9:15 on disembarkation day to get the cash. There were instances of passengers being held back from leaving the ship when this credit situation showed up when their cards were scanned. This lumping together of on-board credit with the excursion refunds made for a confusing invoice. I got the cash for the excursion but ended up losing $83 of onboard credit. That $83 would have been a nice upgrade to the bottle of scotch I bought. We booked the “deluxe” hop on hop off bus for Halifax. They booked more passengers than they could accommodate. We hopped off at one point and when we wanted to hop on there was no capacity. Some people said that multiple full buses had gone by. We had to walk back to the ship. It was about a 20-minute walk, the weather was nice, we were OK with it, but there were people with less mobility who had to pay for rides back to the ship. NCL and Gray Line Tours need to resolve this for future cruises. Overall, I’d give the cruise a B-. Remnants of Hurricane Ian made us miss Newport and gave my wife a sick day and a half. Our Kennebunkport excursion was cancelled without any advance notice. It was nobody’s fault, but the leaves were late in changing this year as we saw no fall colors. The ship was estimated at 89% capacity. Maybe it’s a COVID thing but we are somewhat uncomfortable with crowds. The ship might just be too big for our tastes but the smaller ones don’t have a proper Haven. The Haven area was great but we didn’t much like going below Deck 15.
  25. I’ve heard 3555 which puts it at about 90%.
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