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Turtles06

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  1. Not for most things, but it really depends on what you intend to do. For example, you would not have been able to have the fabulous lunch we had in Antigua at a place mostly frequented by locals unless you had quetzales, since they take only their own currency and no credit cards. But if you are willing to use your ATM card at a safe location, you should be okay.
  2. Shipboard WiFi, especially NCL’s crappy product, is not reliable, so if you absolutely must be reachable on board, be sure you have a backup. Also, shipboard WiFi can be verrrry slow, so those 100 minutes might be used up faster than you think.
  3. LOL, you have a good memory. 😂 I do miss Huatulco.
  4. We will soon be wrapping up our short visit to Zihuatanejo, 7am-2pm, with the last tender at 1pm. For those not aware, Zihuatanejo, in the Mexican stare of Guerrero, falls under the U.S. State Department’s “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory because of widespread “crime and violence,” and indeed there was a very visible armed police presence in town. Zihua is a little beachside town, and we walked around for an hour or so, but given the short day, the amount of time taken up by tendering, and the “Do Not Travel” advisory, I’m really not sure why NCL calls here (few cruise lines do); there are certainly more desirable ports in Mexico imho. Well, at least today was a first for my wife and me: we’ve now visited someplace on the “Do Not Travel” list!
  5. I’m on the Gem right now, our fourth cruise aboard this ship. We love the Gem — it’s a great size, it’s comfortable, and has wonderful public spaces. But some of it is really dated. While the 2017 refurb helped (especially in removing the bordello-worthy purple and green furnishings), the dark, old wood laminates in the staterooms imho are really dreary and dated and should be replaced. NCL should consider giving the Jewel-class ships a genuine update, the way Celebrity is updating its older M-class ships. Gut the staterooms and give them a true refresh.
  6. Things have totally calmed down now. 😊 The itinerary map just appeared in our stateroom, in a tube, so Puerto Quetzal may have been a delivery point. Perhaps Malbec will re-appear. 😆
  7. The vehicle entrance is at 55th Street. Police will be directing traffic in the terminal and your cabbie will have no problem dropping you off in the correct place. Tell the driver you are going to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.
  8. A random factoid: the Gem ran out of Malbec about halfway through the cruise. Also, for $8.95, you can buy a copy of the itinerary map at Guest Services. This is a pretty special itinerary, and so I’ve done that. However, I was told that while they have the maps, they don’t have the tubes for them and are waiting for them to be delivered. Maybe with the Malbec? 🤣
  9. Lots of rolling starting in the wee hours today and continuing right now. Strong winds (60 knots according to the Nav Channel) and big swells. Furniture banging around, and spray splashing over the high decks. It’s possible we are in an area affected by the Tehuantepec winds. I expect things will calm down later. It’s a beautiful sunny day otherwise (and I don’t mind the motion, but I know many do). But the prom deck and Deck 13 are closed, so that’s a shame on one of our few remaining sea days.
  10. I know some folks have asked about shorex. Yesterday, from Puerto Quetzal, we took the ship’s transportation to Antigua (this is called “Antigua on Your Own”). We did this several years ago as well, and again had a nice visit. However, since that time, large buses have been prohibited in Antigua, so we all had to get off our buses just outside the city to transfer to mini-buses for the short ride into town, and do the reverse on the way back. Three years ago, we had about four hours on our own in Antigua; yesterday, it was barely three. That’s not much, and I hope that first-time visitors felt it was sufficient for them. (The drive to and from Antigua is about 90 minutes each way.) There was also a new shorex option from NCL — hop on, hop off mini-buses in Antigua. This was really popular, as this shorex filled seven large buses from the ship (300 guests we were told), v two buses for our On Your Own tour. The historic area of Antigua is very small, and we talked to several folks who did the Hop On tour who spent the time walking on their own, and several who did that but also made a full circuit on their mini-bus. I would imagine it was helpful for guests to have the various sites pointed out during that circuit. When it came time for the hundreds of us to meet back at the Jade Museum in Antigua to board the mini-buses for our transport to the buses back to the ship, it was a chaotic mess. Obviously we all got back, though. 🤣 I do recommend Antigua for first-time visitors to Puerto Quetzal, and, given the distance, the traffic, and the two lane roads, I strongly recommend one of the ship’s tours to get you there and back. (This is the general wisdom over in the Guatemala port of call forum.) In fact, the Gem left Puerto Quetzal about two hours late yesterday because of “traffic.”
  11. @DebInAntigua @cpayne Today was our port call to Puerto Quetzal and our visit to Antigua. We came armed with quetzales and a map and had lunch at Rincon Tipico. OMG it was fabulous!! Thank you both for the recommendation. We had the chicken as Deb recommended, with two sides and a drink. It was all incredibly delicious, and being able to eat in a truly local place was very special. The price was Q30 each. It’s hard to believe we had a meal that good for under $5 pp. Thank you again!
  12. Here’s the thread I started some months ago to collect info about these changes. As I suggested then, if you are booking one if these suites, take a screenshot of the listed amenities (e.g., butler, concierge). I agree that more needs to be known about the changes. P.S. The ships are the Jewel-class (not Jewell).
  13. Since there are folks following this thread who will soon be making their first transit of the Canal, here’s a link to a “transit day guide” that I put together several years ago before our first transit, and updated before this one on the Gem (along with some photos). It’s intended to highlight points of interest along the way through the Canal, especially things that might easily be missed if you weren’t in the right place to see them (like the only visible remnants of the original French excavation). I hope it’s helpful. https://panamacanalnclgem2020.shutterfly.com/canaldayguide
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