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About graphicguy

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    Travel, Golf, being out and about
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    I like them all (but haven't sailed them all)
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  1. So OP....to answer your original question, I don’t see any of the cruise lines looking at a “pay to smoke” offering. If anything, they’re looking for ways to eliminate smoking on board.
  2. Just telling what the man does for a living and repeating what he’s shared with us. Aside from being a porter (which I don’t believe is union work), I don’t know what he actually does on the piers. Just that he’s said he picks up freelance work. He’s been doing this for years.
  3. Who told you that? I’m sailing on the Breakaway in a Haven Spa Suite next week for just under $4K and I get all the perks!
  4. My Father’s cousin is a porter in New York. He depends on his wife for insurance (she’s a teacher). He only works weekends when the cruise ships sail in and out. He works early mornings 6:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m. He loads and unloads the luggage carts. So, it’s not just taking tips and throwing the luggage on the cart. He has to make sure they get unloaded and on the ship. He picks up other pier work, but it’s not certain or consistent. And, dock work is paid at the end of the daily work hours. There’s no salary involved.
  5. I 2nd that suggestion. Fun place to spend your birthday and the food is always quite good, cooked and served fresh.
  6. The porters don’t get a salary. They work strictly on tips. And, they don’t get benefits, either, as they would get socialized medicine in the U.K or any other cruise port in Europe. They only work weekends, given no ships go out or come in during the week. So, the idea that they make a fortune isn’t quite accurate.
  7. I’ve actually had one of the servers bring me tomato juice when requested instead of the orange, cranberry, lemonade etc juices usually offered.
  8. Thanks for the update. I’ve only eaten the Ocean Blue Surf and Turf once, and it was very good. I’ll keep an eye out for others on the ship who order it. I noticed on the Escape, I was able to eat in LeBistro with shorts. That used to be a “long pants” venue, too. I wasn’t in the Haven, either. So, sounds like NCL is really loosening dress requirements in the other Specialty Dining Restaurants, too. I applaud that!
  9. Am so happy to hear that you can use your SDP credit for Ocean Blue. Their Surf and Turf is outstanding. Next question....do you still have to wear long pants when dining in Ocean Blue?
  10. OP....do you have any perks with your booking? If so, use one of them for 250 minutes of free WiFi.
  11. NCL is getting pretty restrictive on their newer ships with regards to smoking areas (or lack thereof). I suspect as their other ships come in for a refurb/dry dock, that trend will continue with what they’ve done on the Bliss, Joy, Encore, etc. I’m a non-smoker, and have no dog in this hunt. I’m not a non-smoking zealot, either. Just someone observing what’s happening, and smoking is being phased out on NCL’s ships, sooner rather than later.
  12. NCL considers “vaping” the same as smoking cigarettes. They don’t make a distinction between the two. The same restrictions apply.
  13. Yeah....I’ve noticed that myself recently. I can sail in the NCL Haven for what Royal has been charging for a mini-suite over the last couple of years.
  14. Nothing wrong with Princess, but I’ve never sailed them. However, I do feel like the Haven experience isn’t quite explained in its entirety. The pool/lounge areas on the Jewel Class ships is small. But, there aren’t many people in the Haven to use them, so they are not crowded like the ship’s other pool areas. You get a Butler, who handles all of your in cabin needs (even serving a sit down dinner) and a concierge who takes care of all your dining, entertainment bookings as well as any customer service needs. You really don’t have to do anything in the Haven. Ask for it (even special snacks brought to your cabin) and it’s done. That’s the real value of the Haven. All you do is show up and have everyone else cater to your needs.
  15. Stay out of the “snarky” comments as both lines have loyal passengers. You kind of hit the nail on the head, being a first time NCL cruiser, you’re not afforded much in the way of “perks”, as you get with Royal being Diamond. Embarkation will be determined by how early you get to the pier. If you want to get on early, get there early. That said, regardless of how early you get to the pier, you’ll still board after the disabled, Haven, Platinum passengers. My advice? Don’t sweat it. Get to the pier around 1-ish. That way all the initial rush to board will be over and your wait (if any) will be minimized. Your cabin is nice....mini-suite with large balcony. I had one of those on both the GEM and the Escape. Nice, big bathroom and big balcony. I’ve sailed on the Allure, Harmony, Liberty and Anthem on Royal. I’ve sailed SS Norway, Epic, Gem Getaway (2X), Breakaway (once but leaving next week for #2), and Escape. So, more or less able to do a direct comparison. Understand, there’s a reason I sail NCL more than Royal. But, have spent a goodly amount of time sailing both lines. I give the entertainment on NCL the edge. Not that RCCL’s entertainment is inferior. I just like NCL’s more. Royal uses the concept of having everyone spend time inward, where most of the activities happen. NCL has what they call “The WaterFront”, which encircles the ship and has many al fresco dining options as well as many bars and seats/couches to just relax and watch the water go by. You won’t find Merry-go-Rounds on NCL like you do on Royal. But, NCL has Ocean 678, which are the decks 6, 7 and 8 where most of the entertainment and specialty restaurants are located. You’ll find the casino there, too. NCL’s Spice H20 is comparable to Royal’s Solarium. Spice H20 is where the parties happen on NCL. You’ll see the Glow Party and I believe the White party there. It’s on the back of the ship with a large screen, its own bar, and it’s actually adults only there during the day so you can get a lounger and read a book or watch a video on the big screen. However, it does not have a roof like Royal’s Solarium does. So, it’s a good weather hang out. Food is generally subjective. I think they both do a good job in the buffet. I do like Royal’s Park Cafe for a quick bite. But, NCL has O’Sheehans, which offers food 24 hours. It’s pub food, but it’s good pub food. I like NCL’s Atrium, especially overlooking it from above (while sitting in O’Sheehans having wings and a beer), as that’s where they daily happenings are taking place. Plus, it has a 2 story screen that they show movies on, which makes of a good time eating pub food and having a cocktail as you watch the movie. Surrounding that area are adult bar games like a pool table, darts, etc. It’s just a great place to hang out on sea days. Specialty Restaurants are subjective, too. But, I’d say each line’s specialty dining restaurants are comparable. They all offer good food with exemplary service. I would put NCL’s MDR a step above RCCL’s. That’s mainly true because NCL has FreeStyle down pat. Show up to one specialty restaurant and get seated in a few minutes, or if the wait is long, go to another and be seated. MDR on NCL usually has seating immediately and the food there is quite good, too. There are no “dress your best” nights on NCL as they do on Royal, per se. They have a “dress up or not” night. I know there’s been ongoing debate on the Royal forums regarding how to dress properly on “dress your best” nights. You won’t find those debates on the NCL threads. NCL sort of takes the tactic of, if you want your picture taken wearing your Sunday best, go ahead and dress up. But, if you don’t (and most do not), no one will judge you. NCL is pretty liberal when giving out “perks”. By far the most popular is the drinks package, where the drinks are free and you pay only the tips. There are also other perks, like 250 internet minutes (depending on how close you are to a repeater, your WiFi will be quick, or dismal), Specialty Dining Package (usually 3 restaurants on a 7 day cruise), excursion credits, free/reduced airfare, etc. Those are the big difference I can think of right off the top of my head. Oh yeah, it was easier for me to get to Platinum on NCL that it is to get Diamond on Royal. Platinum on NCL gives you 2 specialty dinners for free, free bag of laundry, priority embarkation/disembarkation, 30 free internet minutes, and some other stuff that I can’t quite remember off the top of my head. They’re worthwhile perks, though. And, while I can’t quantify this, it seems I get priority seating at the Specialty Restaurants being Latitudes Platinum. Have fun. I think you’ll enjoy your first NCL cruise.
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