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About HowardK

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  1. OP- did you currently have a promo with your studio? Was the balcony a sailaway rate vs. a normal one?- Do not fret yet- Check back 7-10 days before and see what a Balcony is for 1 person. On 3 times (last one being for the Escape last May)- I called 8 days before sailing an updated to a Balcony ( non sailaway) for $50 more and picked up a second promo. Note that this would work if there is still space on your sailing- so I would wait until around a week or so before.
  2. If you get unlmited go karts for the week- do you reserve that first thing and do you have to pick all the times you want to go?
  3. I agree- I liked the Maudro and 4 of them one night and have purchased them back here in NJ. I'm no expert but it seemed a little similar to the Milk Stout but not as thick.
  4. I would agree with you- fares have steadily increased with subsidizes some of the ships cost of the alcohol. Also, in doing the math- I paid $122 and $100 on the gratuity for the free drink package and even at 50 drinks on the first cruise (got drinks for other people I was with) and 30 drinks on the last cruise - they are still making money at an average cost of $3 or so per drink. They also make money off of the SDP's as well - even if not a gratuity plenty of people buy them as a non promo
  5. I typically am in line early and one of the first off the ship- usually around 7:45-8:15 and have always made a 9:00 bus from Port Authority just to give you an idea. But delays could happen and I would agree with the previous post about not booking earlier than 1:00 pm.
  6. I'll be on the NCL Encore 5/17/20- I had the Escape 5/18/19 of this year but had to postpone due to a ton of Billy Joel and Stones shows requiring days off! I am still considering Bliss to Alaska 8/18
  7. Hello, in 3 instances I called 7-10 days before and paid the difference as if it were a new booking. However, it did not work for a recent cruise that was already sold out. I would go on 7-10 days before and price out the non-sail away prices for a balcony . In May, I paid $70 more- $50 for the balcony difference and $20 as my UBP service fee increased from original booking. I then picked up 250 minutes in internet as a free second promo which I upgraded to unlimited for around $125 (probably due to using the UBP extensively the first 2 hours of the cruise!!)
  8. I hope the OP and others made it on. The free air fare doesn't sound all that great- from talking to people from east coast to Seattle for Alaska cruises it was a discount and not a free flight at all. I always arrive a day earlier if by bus and a day or two earlier when flying. Too much can go wrong the day of
  9. How did you like the Breakaway compared to Escape and The Bliss? Did any passengers get up on stage at Syd Normans as with other venues on the other ships? I did the Breakaway in '13 and '14 and am planning on returning next year for Canada/New England- did the Escape 2x last year. and have Encore next year.
  10. I did not hear great reviews on Snorkel Bay but it is close. However, in the dockyard I enjoy going to Fungolf and the Bermuda History Museum- they are both enjoyable. I also liked taking the ferry to St George- sometimes I like the ferry ride as much as the destination. - I used to just shut the phone off right when I get on board before it sails- in NY I heard there is around a few mile radius before you are charged roaming. *However, I had an Ipod so used that with my free wi fi package- i Ipod touch was basically a Iphone with out the phone.
  11. What about using a water bottle? If it is 32 ounces you could fit a few beers or mojitos in it. It's a good idea and I might try it- it would be good to be able to get a drink 6am before heading out sometimes to the gym or breakfast
  12. On my last 5 cruises (Epic, Breakaway 2x, Escape 2x) I booked Studios and then a week before on 3 of them upgraded to a balcony for minimal cost (sometimes $50-$100 total due to ship not being sold out and waving single supplement). My main takeaway is even if you don't book a studio you can still attend the solo gatherings. Last year I did Bermuda and was able to upgrade, but Canada/NE was sold out so I kept the studio. The only thing that bothered me was less space to unpack and keep luggage but I would keep one suitcase underneath bed and one near phone standing up. with my recent studios I took the UBP as a perk, for Bermuda I was able when I paid the $50 upgrade to pick another perk so I took 250 internet minutes and then upgraded to unlimited. I have the Bliss booked for Alaska in August but might not go as in my opinion $1,849 + everything else is too much for a studio. I';ll return next year on the Encore and hopefully upgrade. Average age for Bermuda in studios was (45-60, I would say skewed more towards 53-55), Canada New England I heard the average on ship was 62. I was 45 on both but went and played at music venues, did roll call etc. so met a lot of people on both. I would say I didn't use the lounge much- I would get Mojito's at 4 every day for an hour- they had a regular crowd there and then sometimes do the solo gathering. However, on this last cruise I ended up getting the meal package (since I won cruise critic roll call raffle) and did more things on my own than normal.
  13. I did the Jewel once and there weren't any of the solo things like on my other sailings (Epic, Breakaway 2x, Escape 2x last year). Note that even if you are in a non-studio you can still attend the solo gatherings. A few times I upgraded from a studio to a balcony the week before. To me the only drawback with the studio was less space for unpacking; I found it comfortable and slept great in it.
  14. Reading your post before I go out in the nice 17 degree weather and get my cold hat and gloves out of car.
  15. I find it to be hit of miss- I really liked the corned beef sandwich I had as soon as I boarded- but it was after a few or 4 dark and stormys so I might not be the best source. Sometimes I found the service to be far to slow and sometimes the hot dogs not great.
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