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About Markanddonna

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Westerville, OH USA
  • Interests
    Genealogy and writing

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  1. Markanddonna

    MSC USA website

    I'm not familiar with your specific cruise, but is the reason because they "start" a cruise at various ports? Maybe it will work if you attempt to book it from a different port. The MSC website can be so wonky!
  2. Markanddonna

    Completely terrified of doing another solo cruise.

    If I was traveling solo and looking for someone to talk to, I wouldn't pick a husband and wife couple or a group. I would look for someone sitting by themselves and engage them in conversation. That said, my husband and I have befriended singles on a cruise who we met through CC get-togethers. One place that is a conversation starter are the bridge viewing rooms. I've started (and so did the other person) lots of conversations that lasted quite a while.
  3. Markanddonna

    Early booking catastrophe

    I have a January cruise that is now $50 more than what I paid in October when the final payment was due. In my category, only guarantee cabins are left. We often book far ahead but keep an eye on the prices up until final payment. I have also had good luck with contacting the cruise line and receiving an upgraded cabin (obstructed OV to a balcony), but I wouldn't be upset if they refused.
  4. Markanddonna

    Does MSC issue an actual card?

    With all of the issues of getting a card and the recent changes in the status ranks, I am hoping to get an actual card that says "Black Card Status." I was issued that status based on my Platinum NCL and others are reporting that Platinum NCL is now being issued gold status. So, do they give you an actual card?
  5. Markanddonna

    early December cruise

    I've done that.
  6. Markanddonna

    shore excursions

    Lots of good advice about using private excursions. The only times I booked an acceptable ship excursion was 1. when we were in Maui and our next stop was a week later in Fiji. and 2. when we did "Paris in a Day." There was really no good alternative to the ship's excursion. I've been on about two other ship excursions which were totally inferior to any private ones we have ever done.
  7. Markanddonna

    First NCL--Need help with Perks Offer

    Only you can decide what is valuable, but I would agree that the drink package for someone who doesn't drink much is one to leave out. Consider that it is just fine if you don't use any of the perks to the max, but the drink promo is expensive even if you drink almost nothing. Maybe, you'll use the shore excursion twice on one of your eleven ports. Here's how I would do it: Definitely book the dining and internet. Check to see if your departure city is one of the major ones where the airfare will be close to free. Realize that NCL's airfare is one of the worst deals because you have no say so in deciding flights and times. After you check this out, select airfare or excursions as the other perk.
  8. Markanddonna

    Celebrity Cruise Paris Shore Excursion

    We did the "Paris on your own" bus tour in May 2018 from NCL. Fortunately, it was a lovely day in early May. It didn't start well. We were the shortest trip to Paris on the tour schedule so had to wait until all the other Paris tours were out of the theater. That process made us late starting out so our time was shortened. "The lovely French countryside" on the way to Paris was really quite ordinary- think America's midwest. Our tour guide helped us get a cab to see Notre Dam which was not quite as grand as I expected. Very old, some interesting items in the interior, very crowded. My opinion may be because of the other outstanding churches I have seen in Europe. We walked back to the bus along the Seine and attempted to see some other items such as the exterior of the Louvre. The bank of the Seine was often obstructed with wooden stalls selling souvenirs. We knew we would be going past the Eiffel Tower on the bus, so didn't even attempt going there. Almost tripped over a homeless person laying ACROSS the sidewalk. We walked at a steady pace and had maybe 30 minutes to spare before the bus left. As the bus went past the Eiffel Tower, we heard sirens and the police ran out of their cars to chase protestors at the Eiffel Tower. There was smoke everywhere. Not sure what they were protesting this time. So, was this rather expensive excursion worth it? I'd say maybe since I have never had a desire to go to Paris. I can at least say I've been there. I've been enthralled with most other European major cities from the start of a visit, but not this one. I'm not sorry we went, and our major goal was to see Notre Dam. Was it worth it? No, but it was "an experience."
  9. Markanddonna

    2020 Baltic Cruise on Escape NCL Airfare Questions

    I have attempted to book airfare through NCL twice but have never followed through because of the conditions. I have traveled on Air2Sea (RCL) and was pretty satisfied because you can choose your airline, date, time, seat, etc. With NCL, you have to talk to an agent so you can't see the options on your computer like with Air2Sea. We usually want to tack extra days or even weeks onto our trip to Europe. We use inexpensive flights within Europe once we get there and have never been disappointed. NCL won't let you do that. I was told, "A few days maybe, but not a week." So, NCL's airfare seems to come with all sorts of complications. I want to manage my booking and approve of the details before I commit. Recently, we have been using Norweigan Airlines. We fly from the midwest to FLL, stay overnight and fly from a FLL airport to Europe. It still works out so much cheaper!
  10. Markanddonna

    Cruise inside cabin but eat in the Haven?

    I never met Adrian, but I already like him a lot. Some people obviously have a lot of time on their hands.
  11. Markanddonna

    early December cruise

    Can anyone give me a rough idea of what the weather is like from early to mid-December in Greece and Israel? I'm predicting a range from 50-70 with a bit more rain. I'm just fine with that as we struggle with warm temps. Am I correct?
  12. Markanddonna

    Completely terrified of doing another solo cruise.

    I would advise new cruisers to not judge the cruising experience by a three day cruise which most consider to be booze cruises. They tend to be more locals who gather family and friends for a cheap getaway. We met and hung out with quite a few singles on our transatlantic cruise. The roll call was quite active for them and they got their act together that way. They ate and did activities together. Every sea day, the roll call met for game time in the rear of the buffet area and many singles participated. That gave the singles and couples a nice chance to interact. I love to meet interesting people from around the world on cruises.
  13. Markanddonna

    Free Air Fare?

    Your rate out of San Antonio was cheaper than mine. Ours was about $200,000 pp. They obviously don't want passengers from the Midwest.
  14. We typically take two kinds of cruises: Transatlantic and Transpacific- these allow us to enjoy the ship and visit some interesting ports in order to get to Europe, Australia and New Zealand for a land vacation. The land vacation is our focus. A Caribbean cruise during the winter- we are looking for a WARM place with no snow. We have discovered Florida is often pretty chilly in the winter and often not much of a difference from our midwestern temps. We visited all around the USA before retirement but didn't have the time for these longer trips when I was teaching. How nice to enjoy the shoulder season for travel!
  15. Markanddonna

    MSC status match

    I tried to find the chart on the MSC site that showed which status you would receive from another loyalty status. If they want to change the rules, that is their prerogative, but once the status match was issued, it shouldn't be revoked. Can anyone provide a link where I might find this chart?