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mking8288

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About mking8288

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    "Big Apple" NY
  • Interests
    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, CCL, RCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bermuda/Caribbean
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    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5nup7xtw3ell4g0/CruiseCritic%20Abstract%20-%20mking8288%20-%2011.2018A.doc

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  1. Latest "spin" from ConEd, the utility provider is that their system designed with redundancies somehow failed & tripped "While the cable fault was an initiating event, the customer outages were the result of the failure of the protective relay systems." Forecasts for this weekend isn't going to make things look pretty ... Saturday, temp's will be near the 100 degree mark, slightly lower on Sunday but remained in the mid/upper 90's on Monday, easing by Tuesday, basically a heat wave is coming. Heat advisories already issued to plan ahead & be prepared. The real question is what NYC and the State of NY are going to do about it, as they are the regulators - not NCL - ships are designed to be self-sustaining. As a matter of fact, I seemed to recall that, post-Sandy in 2012, the Gem was providing electricity to run shored-based laptop networks used for pier check-in and the cruise terminal was running on emergency generators trucked in, just somewhat darkened & cold.
  2. While I agreed with everything said thus far, DW and I don't need all the extra bells & whistles, and as much as I can pull strings to get shows & dining reservations on a mega ship if we must, it's nice to stick with easier freestyle dining & walk-up directly into the Stardust Theater, and not worry about booking nearly everything in advance - just wing it. If seas are choppy & weather god isn't nice, that Atlantic crossing to/from Bermuda can be rough sometimes - Gem will easily handle it - as ships will be closing its outdoor decks for safety reasons ... and the Escape's atrium lobby & O'Sheehan's overhang above will be jammed pack, standing room only with folding chairs set out already. Gem has the Fwd Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13, a great observation place to sit back, relax & enjoy the views - bar service just behind you for those with UBP ... I'm fine with my contigo thermo mug filled with iced coffee to relax. Driving into downtown Boston, parking & logistics are better in MA vs. coming into NYC & rooftop parking is easy, simle but more expensive. You get the same # of sea days but somewhat less "quality" time on the islands of Bermuda but not everyone venture out late in town anyway. For non-Haven/non-suite guests, ships like the Gem have a better crew-to-passenger ratios, regardless of cutbacks & short staffing, and it's what we would lean toward again ... nothing against the Plus class ships. Faster/easier embarkation & disembarkation with 2,500 pax vs. 4,500+ on a given sailing ... It comes down to a matter of expectations.
  3. Demographics of cruisers in the summer months on ships, packed to popular destination like Florida with school-aged juniors tend not to - IMHO - always generate a lot of interest in Roll Calls and/or M&G, etc. We're on the Dawn about 2 months ago & in fact, the Group Events Coordinator mentioned that they had not held or hosted a M&G for several recent sailings and the ones following us on the Canada/NE runs, also didn't had a big crowd ... sometimes, you do, get, last minute folks signing up - my rule of thumb is that 70% to 80% of those will actually show up & attend. NCL always seemed happy in hosting when a request is put in, regardless of the headcount - be realistic & don't ask for a (free) setup for 75 when you only had 25 or 50 signed up. It is also fine to do an informal and/or unofficial M&G on the ship, embarkation day lunch, etc. - whatever the folks agreed to. These conversation should be moved to & belong to the Roll Call sub-forum under NCL for the ship here, not on the NCL main forum. It is also against CC rules to promote/mention that book (face) as you risk exposing plentiful info & privacy, and MODS here will exercise their authority to delete ... personally, from experience, I concur & respect the guidelines established. Some of the best Roll Call's M&G were on smaller ships as the actual headcounts on a mega-ship (like our longer 14 nights cruise) had somewhere around 125+ packing the venue & nearly impossible for everyone to mingle - whereas on the mid sized ships, we had greater gatherings with 20 to 30 folks, and, children/teens interested are welcomed to attend & come along. Enjoy your cruise - with & without an actual M&G being hosted by the great team onboard the ship.
  4. My vote for Macau vs. the Lantau with the big statue on the hilltop in the middle of the largest islands in HK, and Tai O fishing village on the southwest corner, another 30 minutes bus/taxi ride away - with less ideal transportation to get back to the "city" via scenic (slower) ferry routes or reverse route to Tung Chung (near the HK Int'l Airport) for the MTR train transfer, etc. The Budda might be a worthwhile pilgrimage for the faithful, but to see a temple - Wong Tai Sin in Kowloon, 2 blocks from the nearest MTR station stop is free to visit, see & walk around instead of this commercialized tourist trap on the hilltop. Choice of & variety of food are rather limited on Lantau Island, except for fresh seafood at the village. Macau is rich in history, smalll & easy to see in a day or two, besides the Vegas-themed casino - a fast hour away by easy & frequent services via hydrofoil/fast ferry across the Delta River. In town, between seeing the churches & landmarks, you have excellent choices of international cuisine in a budget for everyone & anyone, Save time for high tea or afternoon coffee at the classic colonial hotel, Pousada de Sao Tiago, situated on a shaded & landscaped hillside with a panoramic view of the Macau harbor, this former fortress contrasted against the neon lights of the casinos across the bridge in the near distance. There are lots of things to see, do and sample in Macau ... not so much as the "countryside" of Lantau remained pretty much under-developed as the way it was then, small herds of abandoned farming feral cattles or bulls roaming & foraging along the roads.
  5. This has been done by others and questions asked here & on the East Coast Destination Forum ... in short, porters are there by 7:30 to 8 a.m. for disembarking pax, with some working early bird embarkating cruisers - checking bags curbside. However, port security will NOT allow any driver to sit & wait, stop & drop and leave the area immediate, for security reasons and to keep traffic moving along. Also, Intrepid discourage bring along larger backpacks - a small backpack or daypack with just the minimum essentials, medications, electronics & passports, etc. - subject to security inspection at the entrance ... an easy 5 to 10 minutes walk from Pier 88/90 - there is a walkway. Here's a plan - plan to arrive early, pre-purchase your musuem tickets in advance to save time; and, drop off the family & bags curbside & let them check the bags with the porter, the driver leave to return the Hertz rental ... then, either walk over to meet the rest in front of the Intrepid by coordinating the time. The rest of the group can make their own way slowly on their own. You should plan to leave the Intrepid by 12:30 or 1:30 p.m. - 1.5 to 2 hours (confirm with NCL about the cut-off) prior to , depending on sailing time (3 or 4 p.m.) to then go thru security screening & check-in ... yielding 2.5 to as much as 3.5 hours to explore the Intrepid.
  6. Pax on outbound flights (flying out of LGA) are directly dropped off in front of their airline terminals, whether it's a taxi, car service or Uber/Lyft - unless there is unusual and exceptional closures for that particular day or moment (only then, a free shuttle bus transfer from a remote lot with drop-offs are enforced). Arriving pax into LGA are finding it more challenging on which service is faster, better & easier ... depending on the airline/terminal & gate used; time of day & day of the week, etc. (i.e. a section of the service roadway or entrance/exit ramps being closed or lowered and repositioned, etc.) Hence, I have been recommending to allow extra time once at LGA - it could be another 15, 30 or even 45 minutes before reaching one's airline terminal for a dropoff.
  7. Yes, definitely call and speak to a T-Mo rep that is familar with international calling/roaming to walk you thru using the Note 3. I also found this from T-Mo about the Note 3 - https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-27711 Your "keys" to avoid surprised charges is to cycle thru & get comfortable with turning OFF/on "data roaming" and "mobile data" - enabling the Airplane Mode, and to set the device to use WiFi only when traveling abroad. Depending on your specific T-Mobile plan, as some of the features might be "grandfathered" in - is that WiFi calling, including data use, or even "regular" cellular calling abroad, might be free or inexpensive, for a few cents a minute - ask your T-Mo agent to review your options. If you have online access yourself to T-Mo account, you can see those options as well. SMS or text messaging are free/included in some of the T-Mo plans or inexpensive for other plans.
  8. Relax, power has been fully restored to a small section (6 areas) of the city affected by the outage ... that lasted up to 5 hours, in & around/near Manhattan's midtown West. Traffic lights are back on and subway services fully restored a little earlier, PATH & Amtrack services not reported to be disrupted earlier. It was NOT a citywide power outage affectiang 8 million, rather ... something like 72,000 customers in the "small" island of Manhattan, thus - maybe 300,000 residents & visitors, business as usual for the rest of 8 millon New Yorkers. During Superstorm Sandy (2012) MCT and other transportation facilities lost electricty but NYC and Con Edison (utility company) has backup plans to restore at least partial and critical functions to them ... including the deployment of massive generators - including mobile ones. MCT was up & running, on emergency generator power in the days after ... we sailed out of NY on the Gem that week - it was cold for late October then (without heat). Police, fire & other first responders are out in force and the city's OEM (Office of Emergency Management) is always staffed 24/7/365 - been monitoring non-encrypted live communications ... no reasons to be concerned or alarmed, whatsoever. LGA and JFK airport operations never affected as they have their own backup power and access to resources to remain functional. Otherwise, as a reserve volunteer, I would've been alerted to standby for mobilization duties across the city. 47 years ago to this date - NYC had a true massive, citywide blackout in the early evening hour and we remained calm, I was here in the Bronx then. Not expected to impact on cruise terminal operations in the morning, the Norwegian Escape is inbound at 15 knots, ETA is around 5 AM ... probably will be slowing down, I would guess, docking between 6 to 7 AM.
  9. Looks like you will be doing C/NE on the Dawn soon - most of the balconies have a Queen bed - formed together with two single beds. The 3rd. person will sleep on the convertable sofabed - yes, foam padding is thin, ask for foam toppers, maybe an extra one or use a comforter on top, to sleep on. Call NCL & ask them to note your reservation to split the beds apart - in case your Room Steward forget or didn't get around to do it ... just inform & ask that be done on embarkation day - should be easily taken care of, somehow - on a busy turnaround day. Here's a similar (older) picture of what the sofa bed looked like on the Dawn/Jewel class ships - the deco on the refurbished Dawn is pretty good. If the balcony can sleep 4, then, there's a bunk or upper pullman - otherwise, it's WYSIWYG A side note - there are no USB ports by the beds; and only one (1) USA 110v outlet, one (1) Euro 220v outlet and a third UK 220v outlet in the stateroom.
  10. How comfortable are you changing & adjusting settings on your smartphone - is it an Android or iPhone ? You should be familiar with putting your device into Airplane mode, turn on/off roaming (cellular) data, enable WiFi only, etc. Have you installed WhatsApp and began using it, to get comfortable ? How & who do you plan to call using WhatsApp ? Does the party/person on the receiving end of your "calls" have WhatsApp installed and using it ? Within the app itself (WhatsApp) - there is a "Dialer" function and that is where you will/should be making those calls - not from the default "Phone" dialer. Same is true for texting or messaging (MMS with photos) WhatsApp can and will make use of both WiFi data or cellular data - to avoid roaming/data charges billed to your "home" carrier (T-Mobile) - basically, you want to switch off data/put the device in Airplane Mode first, then turn back on WiFi, before using the App and to make calls or text. I highly recommend that you begin to "practice" and start making WhatsApp calls at home, before leaving for your cruise, to get comfortable with "how to". WiFi calling is supported by T-Mobile, and depending on your device - you might be able to use only WiFi (not cellular) data abroad to make/receive calls, as long as you are connected to a good WiFi connection source (i.e. hotel's "free" wireless internet.) If you are moving around, coverage & availability for any "free" WiFi would be limited to very difficult, unless you find a reliable open source, i.e. like a McDonald or Starbucks, etc.
  11. Lifeboats on the Escape are on Deck 7 and there are no loungers or chairs, etc. But, one deck up - is where OP wanted to be. Deck 8 is the Waterfront, we prefer the port side, running pretty much the entire length from outside the District Brew House all the way to AFT, past Cagney's - scattered are oversized loungers, long sofas and and "coffee/beverage" tables. It's free, no passes and on a first-come, first-taken basis ... can be windy & chilly out there. If seas are choppy & safety conditions indicated, the Waterfront are closed & locked to block access, and the outside deck can be slippery with salt water sprays & waves hitting the hull.
  12. As noted above - TA photo reviews has a few matches - see here https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g308272-d1196210-Reviews-Lu_Bo_Lang-Shanghai.html
  13. Based on what I've seen recently on the Gem & the Dawn, which are fairly similar in design, those are large closets for storage/access - hotel and/or housekeeping supplies. It can also be access to HVAC, electrical-mechanical & communications cabinets or panels. Another possibility is storage/holding & battery charging closets for motorized scooters & wheechairs, etc. as those need to be stored & kept overnight by room stewards. Maybe, that's where the butlers & concierge disappeared for the overnight hours but remained quickly available upon request. Crew access only elevators and elevators required far, a lot more space than what's "boxed" in there - as those served as emergency (secondary) egress routes for passengers if & when general alarms are sounded and mandatory evacuations are ordered ... those are typically right in front of/behind the passenger stairs and elevators - it's also the "secret" passages for Haven/suite guests when priority escorted by designated members like butlers & concierge, etc.
  14. We see that same email posted by @shof515 pushed out by NCL this morning on several of our email accounts as well. Wording suggested that the Double CN promo is already back ... gone on 7/1 after being extended. Let's see if anyone can confirm while booking or making (extra) payment to see whether it can go thru with OV or Insides.
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