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About laurabegorrah

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    The wilds of New Jersey
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  1. It's the opposite for me - I love aft, but most ships, trying to find a room that is not directly below the buffet or directly above the theatre can sometimes be challenging. With food in front, many more room opportunities open up for me!
  2. The biggest thing to keep in mind with in room dinning is the wait time. Especially if you are ordering from multiple different restaurants. We went crazy one night and ordered from 4 different places for out party of 7 in the Gem GV). It took over 2 hours for everything to get pulled together lol. It wasn't an issue b/c weren't in a hurry...but with kids that might get cranky if meal time is late, you might want to warn your butler and order as early as possible! The experience of in room dinning is wonderful though - your butler will serve you one course at a time. It's not like hotel room service where they jsut wheel a cart in and leave. It's more like a normal restaurant experience - having a waiter serve you - just in your room
  3. I think the key phrase here is re-faring vs cancelling and rebooking. Maybe your TA is being conservative, not wanting to risk losing your specific room in the time it takes to cancel and rebook., and just negotiating a price adjustment on the current reservation. Only a thought. Could also be (as mentioned) different NCL customer service people will give you different answers to the same question.
  4. I would assume a TA would be able to do the leg work for you and find the itineraries/ships that would create what you are trying to do. It's always nice to have someone else puzzle together something this complicated for you lol
  5. That was the excursion we took. We were planning to do the bus both ways, but made a last minute call and booked through the cabins. Having spent all day the day before and knowing we were going to be all day in the car the day after, the though of 12 hours on a bus just didn't seem appealing. I think if we were spending multiple days in Denali, the bus both ways would be amazing....but on a tight schedule, it just made sense for us to maximize. The bus pass price was included in the price of the tour. We ended up on the camper bus back, but you could take any of the park buses back. While not narrated per say, the driver will point out and stop for animals along the way. Our pilot was telling us that they have multiple flight paths that they can take, and they can't always circle the summit if the weather is crappy.
  6. This is how we planned out post cruise from Seward with a similar timeframe: Day 1 - disembark ship and do a Kenai Fjords boat tour. Take the 6pm train north to anchorage. (Major Marine took care of getting our luggage to the train). The train north from Seward has the most beautiful scenery in the whole Alaska RR Line. We were there in July, and it was light for the majority of the trip. We got to see an amazing sunset about an hour outside of Anchorage. Spent the night in Anchorage (@ Quality Inn near the train station) Day 2 - picked up rental car and drove to Denali (we rented from Enterprise). Stopped for lunch and a bit of wandering in Talkeetna. Stayed @ McKinley Cabins just south of the Denali park entrance. Day 3 - Short am hike at the mouth of Denali park. 11am plane tour up around summit of Denali and landing at Kantishna. Took the park bus back out. This saved us 6 whole hours on a bus (seeing same scenery twice) and was worth every penny as we were trying to maximize our time. Another night @ McKinley Cabins Day 4 - drove straight back to Anchorage. We decided to spend another night in Anchorage (@ Dimond Center Hotel) so we didn't have to worry about traffic issues on the drive home, but we could've easily made an early evening flight out. Day 5 - Returned rental cal and flew home
  7. Short answer, you will see both the MDR and the buffet are still very well visited, and there aren't enough seats in the specialty places for everyone no board to eat there every night. I wouldn't invest in buying extra nights of the package. Use the 3 meals that you have in the al a carte places (ie: Cagneys, le bistro, la cuchina). If there are nights where you don't like the MDR/buffet/o' sheehans as an option, you can go to one of the specialty places that is still one price - moderno lol. Side note, while La Cuchina is al a carte, you can still eat pretty cheaply, so if you could hitTeppenyaki as a free choice. While Teppenyaki is single price, it's an expensive single price - I would never pay for it. It's not bad, but it's kind of meh - it's worth it at free lol
  8. I think a lot depends on your daughter's interested. As an 11 year old, I would've enjoyed a cruise like this - outdoor hiking and sightseeing type stuff. And I was usually pretty content hanging out with adults and didn't need other kids to play with. But if that is not her cup of tea, you might want to consider letting her stay home. There is nothing that will spoil a vacaiton faster than a sullen tween lol
  9. That is just the supplemental buffet.....the start of this thread shows all of the other breakfast menu options. This is the only Haven exclusive dinning venue. You can obviously hit up the MDR, O'Sheehans, or the full buffet if you wanted to add more variety lol
  10. So on the Gem, there is no Haven restaurant. Both Haven and Penthouse Suite guest have the option of breakfast and lunch in one of the specialty venues (I think in the Moderno location in Jewel class ships). The breakfast and lunch menu I think are the same/similar to what is posted here. There is not Haven/Suite dinner location
  11. Just an FYI, both Le Bistro and La Cuchina have fabulous steak options on their menus that might end up costing you less. If you end goal is just to have a delicious steak, I would check out those menus as well.
  12. Based on the small cabana we rented last year, 6 people will not fit if everyone wants to be in the sun on loungers. I think there is room for 3 MAYBE 4 loungers on the deck area if you squish, but if all 6 of you want a loungers, you will not fit unless you invade your neighbors space lol. Now, if 2 or 3 want to be on loungers, and the others are ok with comfy seats inside or loungers down on the public beach around, you'd be ok. Pretty much all of the cabanas have great views - not 100% beach front, but all with ocean/beach views. As mentioned, the larger cabanas are all up on a hill, so could be an issue for people with mobility issues. But I feel like the views up there would be incredible. Don't forget that if you book on board, you can both use OBC to pay and get the $50 shore excursion credit. But you are rolling the dice on them selling out. And with the size of the Joy, it's a good bet. And in the Caribbean, the weather is pretty consistent year round, so summer and winter = similar temps. The view from our small cabana last fall:
  13. I would definitely rule out the Dawn. Loved the ship, but they don't have much of a spa compared to the newer ships. I have not done the Encore yet, but have sailed Spa Haven rooms on both Breakaway and Escape (and Getaway). Breakaway and Getaway are identical. Of the 3, I think the Escape wins, mostly because it does have more room - and the snow room is kind of fun! The the pool waterfall thing is loud, but for me it kind becomes background white noise. I didn't notice if it was better on the Escape vs the other two, but I do remember hearing it in all 3. Below is a link to my photos from the Escape https://goo.gl/photos/TpmtwxRPYoQS3vvN9
  14. Sydney was lovely.....but being towed back into Melbourne was pretty spectacular as well lol
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