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mking8288

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About mking8288

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    "Big Apple" NY
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    Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, CCL, RCL
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    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. There isn't an answer that will address OP's question, with variables like ship, itinerary and cabin category (I/S, OV or Balcony ... usually, all have GTY) It can in within a few days of booking, possibly upon full payment while others get one assigned with a "nominal" deposit ahead of the cancellation deadline and/or whether it's a holiday sailing or one-of-a-kind repo or T/A, etc. You "choose" to accept the GTY booking with the givens, and that one will be assigned at some point at NCL's discretion ... we do NOT book that far out for variety of reasons and usually already within the penalty phrase & no cancellation deadline has passed - and had noticed the GTY staterooms not being assigned until it get closer to the sail date: hence, could be weeks, if not months after booking one. We just booked a last minute one at 25 days out, watching prices on SailAway with GTY cabins dropped ("should've waited another week, LOL - oh, well ... we don't look back, but might call in to ask for something else instead & try) - Category ID, that's not much more than an IX; and, 2 days later - an "IC" cabin on Deck 11 was assigned to us. We aren't going to in the cabin that much except for Day 2 as it is the only full sea day ... banking the savings on against a balcony, maybe just an oceanview - with a poor bid to upgrade (and, that offer came on the same day as a pop-up banner, ahead of the email that came less than 24 hours later, to both of us ...) Downside to bidding a little extra to upgrade meant that we could well be given a porthole forward view on deck 4 or 5, or a midship picture window under the gallery. There are really no proven, golden rules that anyone can definitively assured of when & what ... do your own diligence & track, monitor prices over the next several months; as, the price you are booked & holding with - most likely - just a deposit or with a CN certificate, meant that you might be able to upgrade to higher category where a cabin can be selected, at the current price (or, possibly lower than now.) It's not uncommon for cabin prices to drop last minute as it closer for sailings for the first half of December. What is "important" to OP & rank order isn't necessary the same for others, good luck !
  2. Movies are (were) free in Haven and full suites (Gem/Jewel/Dawn, etc.) but not mini's - interactive stateroom TV has a typical library of about 60 fairly recent selections to choose from, $10 per movie. Free movies are limited and repeated during the week on the designated TV channel, also shown on big screen in the atrium lobby. Other option - load up that Fire HD tablet w. a 64GB or 128GB microSD card, download from one's favorite source like Amazon or (we sideloaded PlayStore & used Google Movies also) to keep more than 3 dozen videos for playback when offline. The 10" Fire HD was on sale just last week for $100 and it's sturdy, take a beating when dropped and continue to work ... keeping our iPad/Air 2 free for other things when traveling
  3. From Fort Erie, it looked like the I-190 route toward 390 East thru Corning/Elmira, onward toward Binghamton and then I-81 South thru PA is your best route, then I-380 to the Delaware Water Gap (just a one-way toll of $1 collected on the return trip, westbound only ... EZ-Pass accepted & if I remember corrrectly, cash lanes are available - sometimes with a slow down, traffic is usually not bad on weekend mornings) This would skip driving on the NYS Thruway into Syracuse before heading south on I-81 south to Binghamton (no tolls from there thru DWG & onto NJ) - difference of about 20 miles vs. the alternate shown on Google Map. This route would result in minimal to no tolls until you get down to NJ nearing the metro NY area, depending on how you are routed by Google or Waze - and, where you are staying for the night ... you could "plot" & plan a route to avoid toll, slower with the go-around. Avoid driving on & using the NY Turnpike and/or Garden State Parkway and you shouldn't run into any tolls (I think ...) Or, you can consider picking up a EZ-Pass On-The-Go Tag, available at NYS Thruway toll facilities & at Fort Erie, NY ahead of the trip or day of travel. http://www.thruway.ny.gov/ezpass/otg/index.html
  4. With the USB stick, you get copyrighted release & free to make multiple copies to share, distribute & give away - on the 10 pix or 20 or 30 that you purchased. It used to be a nicer stick (by Kingston) but last November, it was a cheap & generic thumb drive - probably cost them like $2 or less a piece @wholesale. Get & bring along a good selfie stick and with a half decent smartphone camera, you can probably take DIY pix as good as some of the ones we rejected & refused to pay a dime for onboard NCL. Look around, there are always fellow cruisers on deck, on the pier and in ports willing and helpful, offered to take those Kodak moments if you can't take timer-portraits yourself. Enjoy your cruise & have fun on the Joy ... that's sailing Alaska, if I'm not mistaken.
  5. If it is early May Bermuda sailing, prices are dropping with fire sale, now ... $349 for 4/28 sailing with IX - GTY and next weekend is $499 p/p with IX - GTY. Book it and see what NCL will assign, you take the chance & might up with a ID, IC or IB category with a better mid-ship location and deck level. Besides, you can roll the dices again to bid up to an Oceanview (and, even for a Balcony) for much less than 1K in total. Upgrade Advantage offers to bid are available to CAS guests, even for those using land-based certificates. Less than 48 hours after our friends booked a last minute one (different ship, next month) - the offer to bid showed up.
  6. Depending on when you are planning to sail/go on a NCL cruise - and, if your travel plans are flexible - wait till last minute, like we are planning to do from hereon Escape to Bermuda @ SailAway Rates, skip the "Free At Sea" "deals" with GTY stateroom assignment: 4/28 - this Sunday @ $349 p/p for Inside, $499 for Oceanview 5/5 - next Sunday @ $449 p/p or $599 respectively, as above These were going for twice as much if you booked them 4 months ago, 8 months and a year+ ago ... those 5% or 10% or even 15% discounts were useless, even if you thrown in the OBC. Get a CruiseNext Certificate at less than 50% face value (at $250) to apply as partial payment ... and save yourself another $125 to possibly $150. Enjoy wine ... no problem, being from NY - buy your own case or 2 bottles for the week at $10 or less (comparable to ones sold on the ship at $40 + 20% fees) and pay a $15 corkage fee per bottle) - stay ahead of the marketing game !
  7. What ship are you sailing on & when ?? (soon, I assumed ... prices given are as a general guide & as you should know, subject to change w/o notice) If you are sailing within 120 days & signed into your MyNCL account, you should see (3 for us) photo packages - but it isn't offered with the "free" USB drive, as that is typically available onboard. Sailing NCL for the first-time ? you are going to miss out on as much as 30% Latitude member discount, based on tiered level. It's good for a mix of almost any 10 pix, 6 x 8 and 8 x 10, currently stilled priced at $149 - our tier discount lowered it to $104.30, not too bad - as the "embarkation" photo is now $25 for the 8 x 10, others are usually $20, smaller ones are $15 ... lately, we learned that any Specialty Dining photos are EXCLUDED from being a part of these package, buy on the spot & charge it to OnBoard account (discounts given, however). I recommend waiting until you are onboard, any and all photo specials/promos will be in the daily inserts bundled & left in all staterooms. Check out the pix taken & see if they are good and worth keeping ... and, buying. Then, buy it if you feel it's a good value - the last sea day before disembarkation is usually crazy at the photo shop's checkout counter, go early in the morning if you got a batch of them.
  8. OP stated trains and/or buses/shuttle transfers are NOT an option for them, simplicity is (and a decent mix of cost, value & ease of getting to their lodging) End of August/beginning of Sept. is annual US Tennis Open not far from LGA next to CitiField; and, although we lived across its Runway - still much rather fly in/out of JFK, an extra 20 to (sometimes) 40+ minutes away. The LGA long-term construction AND roadway work are ongoing but not as bad as 2 years ago .. another 1 to 2+ years to go, fingers crossed (but, I still dislike its short runways for aviation safety reasons & limitations to short haul & narrow-body/regional jets) I recommend & vote for JFK, long runways even if two are out (unless ILS are required due to inclement weather - excluding VFR as that will hit it on landings & takeoffs; and, LGA & even EWR will likely get impacted just as much.) Flat-rate yellow taxis are outside all JFK terminals, basically no shuttle transfer or long walks for ground transportaton - sit back, enjoy the longer ride into ... even if the taxi is using the tolled tunnel into mid-town, it will be for a faster ride (just went up to $6.12 for the EZ-Pass discounted toll rates for taxis ... Car Service/FHV will & are known to charge $9.50 now for the same crossing.) Even with the new congestion surcharge ($2.50/$2.75 per trip) and rush hour surcharge, added together will STILL be cheaper than coming from EWR.
  9. From my indirect source - luckily they called in last week & booked their land-based offers (from the NE), expiring/deadline to book via CAS is tomorrow 4/23 @ 21:00 EDT ... Wait time typical, not too bad - cancel & moved one booking, hold time was 20+ minutes mid-week then but even longer last Friday when friends called in again, after holding out for possible tax day "sale". Last minute bargain hunters flooding their lines ??
  10. BA was the only ship that metered & track usage by the MB instead of minutes - 250 minutes is credited as 1 GB, and depending on usage (minimize uploads & downloads, avoid streaming even if it is not blocked) - we got a lot of minutes of airtime than 250 as a "free" package. Just rememeber to log off/out completely as the "meter" will otherwise continue to run, careful of any background upload/cloud access as those are known to run silently & not disconnecting.
  11. Here's a virtual view from the front windows of the Gem's Spinnaker Lounge during one of the more stormy crossing, choppy seas with 15' waves - outdoors closed for safety reasons. One of my favorite place to sit & enjoy the "ride" https://www.dropbox.com/s/sfsyuivgz9mkfu3/VIDOS0505Gem-SL-1126.mp4?dl=0 Oh, there are some outlets there to turbo charge one's iPad, tablet or smartphone if the battery is running low. Loungers are very comfortable to sit back & relaxing ... not recommended for those prone to motion and seasickness.
  12. The forward slanted part of these OV cabin on the Escape (Breakaway & Getaway are very similiar, if not identical) isn't sloped lower - it might looked to be angled lower & claustrophobic for someone exceptional taller than average ... everyone else should be just fine. Check out this brief video - link on YT. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTU5NAG5K5Q Whereas NCL used to provide a chair with a low seat-back for sitting at the desk/dresser area, it has been replaced with a (round) seating stool, for space saving reasons. Inside Staterooms are the smallest and most definitely, do NOT have any type of couch "thing" and yes, you get the "universal" sitting stool (also used on the Gem ... whereas the Breakway stool has "hidden storage" underneath when you flip the cushioned cover up (that's where the RS are known to "hide" & store those liquor, beer & soda, etc. when one asked for the mini-refrigerator to be emptied for the week. We had stayed in one of those mid-ship OV on deck 5, those are great for us - comfortable for 2 and when seas are rough, you will appreciate them even more - very convenient and easy access via the elevators & stairs to go everywhere, skipping the crowded & other packed atrium lobby on deck 6. On the Escape, Fwd OV cabin with the # **700, however, are bigger - that sleep up to 4 and that has a couch/seating area (no cushions or paddings, etc. - however)
  13. IMHO, Goooooood luck tweeting to COO, Andy Stuart for a (canned) response from someone doing the PR on his "semi-barely active" social media corporate account, used mainly to spin only positive "news" good for shareholder publicity. - click here for link - We almost booked this cruise last minute as prices were dropping and DW's friends from work had no idea until yesterday morning when I ring them with the news. They booked via their local T/A (3 cabins) - disappointed about missing the 2 port stops but VERY disappointed at the way NCL is handling this. T/A are scrambling to help them change plans this weekend. After this fiasco, they are going back to Royal & Princess.
  14. Congrats, Alison ... (Woot Woot) you are going to spoil him with all that pampering; and, what a way to celebrate Happy 35th. And, if I am not mistaken, you will also get priority tendering - very useful for 2 of the port stops. Plus, reserved seating exclusive up in the stage box up in the sky (on either side) for the main theater. There is also - I believe - one (1) portable ship-only ("old" Nokia style, candybar phone to use while roaming around the ship ...)
  15. OP, welcome to CC's 1st. post. That's Columbus Day weekend and a shorter school week, and could be popular ... I would not be looking for a price drop (on SailAway rates, without the "free" perks) until very close to sailing date, if booking are still behind. Weather-wise, this year is supposed to be one with average to below norm # of hurricane and storms on the Atlantic coast; with, the Northeast trending in getting those peak to late season ones coming up, sometimes turning toward Bermuda ... ships are known to getting chased around or running ahead/behind them - and, Canada/New England ports are full of scheduled cruise ships docking. Always be prepared for a rocking & rolling ride 700 nm into the middle of the Atlantic; and, serious consider trip insurance vs. going self-insured (and, rolling with 3 dices.) Otherwise, Bermuda is nice in early Fall, very comfortable air temperature & not humid, unlike the Bahamas & Caribbeans - NCL has been extending the Fall runs to Dockyard, doing two 5 days run into early November. It's very easy to get around with ships berthed overnight, free to come & go at all hours. Lots to read, research & consider ... do take time to read some of the feedback from last year on older CC threads.
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