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About punkincc

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    NCL, Royal Caribbean
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  1. The POA had an extensive dry dock in March 2016 during which the entire ship was redone from top to bottom including all public areas and staterooms. We sailed on her immediately after, and it was essentially a brand new ship, so you have no worries there.
  2. Friends, families, or Roll Call members for a particular sailing often set up non NCL tours through independent tour operators. Some of the tours offer the option of cash payment, day of the tour. Depending on how the tour operator wants the cash handled, the person who sets up the tour may want to collect cash from each participant in advance to save time and confusion prior to the start of the tour. IF there IS a written rule, it would probably be related to a ban on the solitation of some sort of sales or services by a cruiser. I don’t imagine NCL would like someone on the ship promoting and selling independent tours which would compete with their own. As long as you are not setting up a table on deck with a big sign asking folks to sign up and pay here for a proposed tour, I doubt NCL has any problem with you collecting monies for tours at the meet and greet which were booked well in advance of the cruise. We just take care of any cash exchange after NCL staff has left the meet and greet.
  3. As someone who always experienced issues with a traditional mask and snorkel, ( bad fit, leaks into mask, getting water into my mouth, fogging, feelings of suffocation, made me very ill at ease). I used a new Tribord full face mask on a recent S Pacific Cruise. I did my research and bought one of the top two rated brands. These masks are not intended for use in diving below the surface. I experienced no issue with fogging or leaking, and to the best of my knowledge, no issues with carbon dioxide build up despite hours long use in the water on several snorkel trips. It was very easy to slide up off the face at any time, yet would completely seal when lowered back down. I am a huge fan of this mask, and in fact will go so far as to say that it probably saved my life on one occasion. Had I had on a traditional mask and snorkel, no doubt I would have been fish food. I am a “good” swimmer, but as a Senior, am finding that I tire and become short of breath quickly. I am wary of snorkeling in strong currents where a lot of energy may need to be expended for this reason. Nonetheless, things happen, and on a snorkel tour, while floating about being mesmerized by fishes and corals, I raised my head and was a little alarmed to see snorkel boats and snorkelers much farther away than I was comfortable with. I quickly started swimming in that direction only to find that with the current pushing against me, I was making zero to negative progress even with maximum effort. I had to talk myself down from a near state of panic on several occasions. Only the fact that I had on this full face mask, which allowed me to breathe normally with my face in the water kept me calm enough to get back within view of the boat after a very long and exhausting fight against the current. Even in full view of the ladder, I would get swept past the boat. The operator had to enter the water to help me reach the ladder. Seems to me that many, with no real evidence, have passed judgement on this type of mask. Let’s wait for the testing to see if the concerns about carbon dioxide are founded. People have been dying with traditional snorkels for many years. Where’s the hue and cry that they are “unsafe”?
  4. We have met Mary Lou's tour from the POA with no difficulty, but I'd make sure they have your cell number. But don't worry, I'm sure they will wait. You will need a tender ticket, and they get handed out first come. Read your Freestyle Daily the evening before Kona. It will tell you where to line up for tickets the following morning and what time they will start. The location will probably be in the midship area, probably one of the bars. When we have had an early private tour, we make sure we are within eyeshot of the line up area well before the indicated start of the handout process. When a line starts to form, we get in it. The first xxx number in line gets tender #1 etc. They will announce tender numbers on the overhead speakers one by one. When your number is called, you can proceed to the tender area. They usually start running very soon after 7:00 am. We have been ashore at 7:30 or before. Several tenders will be running so it's a quick process. My guess only, but I doubt many ship tours leave the ship on the first few tenders. They will go based on tour time, and of course will go to the front of the line. Likewise, not everyone in a suite wants off the ship at the same time, depending on plans. The Concierge will walk small groups off a few at a time on demand.
  5. Not saying it has never taken hours to get off the ship in Kona, but have never experienced this. Guess few on the ship wanted off when we did, or it was just our lucky day when got ashore by 7:30😁. Twice, we have met independent tours ashore and managed to get there by 8:00 or 9:00, once having to make a 20 min or so taxi drive down the coast to meet Fair Winds, and we got there more than 30 min early. The only commonality in our experience was that we were ready to roll very early. My guess, and it is only that, is that wait times increase around 8:00 and 9:00 am, and then demand tapers off. So if you line up at 8:00 for a ticket, you may be in for a wait. All anyone can do is get a ticket at the first opportunity possible and hope for the best. We have always been among the first several in line for tickets. If that means we must rise early, or have a very quick breakfast, or none, then that is what we do. Or, find a new best friend who is in a suite. You will then be walked to the head of the line by the Concierge.😉
  6. Hi,dexddd! Not doing the transpacific this time. Been there, done that, on the POA with you in 2016. Joining the ship in HNL for the two legs down to Sydney. Should be a great cruise! So many ports! I've lost track of how many tours we have booked. Let you know how it goes!
  7. Thanks for the review. We have not sailed Celebrity for many years, but have booked an Aqua Class on the Edge, primarily because I was intrigued by the new Edge cabins, which have an infinity balcony. Looked at some Blu menus, the dedicated restaurant for Aqua class, and honestly saw nothing that I would order. I have a very strong feeling that I might love the cabin, but hate the cruise in general. I fear I will be longing for NCL the entire cruise. Strongly considering cancelling this cruise.
  8. Our last visit to Waikiki, we were heading to breakfast at Tropics Bar and Grill at HHV. Looking down the beach toward the small boat harbor, we could see a small plane sitting on the sand which we could only imagine had just done an emergency landing. Finally figured out they were filming a scene. You never know when you will run across a film crew in Hawaii.
  9. As suggested, you'd have to call the rental agency location you plan to rent from and ask if they provide shuttles. I doubt if non airport site locations provide them, but you might find one who does. Or, just rent from the airport location. We use Thrifty. Renting through Discount Hawaii Car Rentals makes this easy. Call them to reserve or do it through their website, just add a dot com. Then just catch the shuttle inside the port to pick up the car. When you return it, the shuttle will take you back. If you keep it overnight, park in airport parking lot near the rental offices. You can take the shuttle back to port. Just check with them to see how late the shuttle runs.
  10. As a general rule, specialty restaurants are open for dinner only, so unless something has changed, I don't think an embarkation day lunch is going to work out for you. We did once get a lunch set up at Teppanyaki for several roll call members on another ship, but not on embark day, and, the one who made the request through the concierge was in the Garden Villa.
  11. Just a comment about cruising out of Vancouver. We've only done it once, and it was a piece of cake. Maybe we were lucky, or maybe the fact that we stayed at the Pan Pacific which sits atop the cruise terminal made the difference. The hotel has a wonderful harbor, bay and mountain view. The best part is the option to have your luggage picked up in your room and they walk it directly to the ship. We took an elevator down to the terminal level and walked straight to check in. It's a wonderful walkable area to stay in with miles of sea wall paths.
  12. It's worth noting that you can avoid the $25 cover charge fee precruise when booking Moderno ( or Teppanyaki ). If you have the SDP for 3 meals, you just make those restaurants with a cover charge in your first 3 reservations, and book the a la cartes last. The system assumes the first 3 reservations are on the SDP and doesn't charge you. Once onboard, the order booked doesn't matter. Use the Platinum certificate at Moderno if you choose, or use the SDP.
  13. House Without a Key has a large lawn beachside with lovely views. From around 5:30, they have live Hawaiian music led by former Miss Hawaiis at the back of the lawn. It's a tourist favorite for cocktails and watching the sunset behind the performers. The lawn is set with chairs and very small tables suitable to hold appetizers, but not full meals. There used to be a huge Kiawe tree which shaded the lawn and contributed greatly to the ambiance, but I heard it was destroyed during the storm which came through in 2016, so I don't know the situation now if you come early when the sun is hot. There is a covered patio area where dinner is served, but we've only gone twice for cocktails and appetizers. Look for the reviews on Trip Advisor.
  14. Some of the newer ships do have their own rules, but they are even more relaxed than the standard NCL dress code, rather than stricter, allowing shorts in the formal MDR. I have never heard of one which is stricter than the standard, which has never prohibited jeans by the way. It only specifies "long" pants. Perhaps because of the guest mix on your European cruise, the ship felt most would be expecting something a little dressier. When the code deviates, I've always heard that it is noted in the Freestyle Daily. Would be nice to know what's expected when you pack however. Personally, I think the practice of each ship making up their own rules is a bad one. Why should the Escape, for example, be any less formal than one of the older ship like the Dawn?
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