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Posts posted by fondtravel

  1. It’s one thing about cruising we can’t help wishing were a little different. We would love to sleep in on disembarkation day. But it makes sense that the crew has to get everyone out in order to turn over rooms for the next set of guests who are likely to be boarding by lunchtime. Sometimes we wonder if it wouldn’t be better if both check in and check out took place a little later in the day, similar to resorts on land. But this probably wouldn’t work as long as most ships need to get underway by the late afternoon?

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! We remember Georgia from our own PoA cruise a year ago— we also thought she was terrific. And the balconies/decks on those forward owner’s suites are really enormous....


    I’m surprised that there were so many children on your cruise— maybe it’s a summer phenomenon. We traveled as a family with children during President’s Day week, and even though this is a holiday week in many US states, there were relatively few children- the children’s club was pretty empty.


    And on one excursion the tour guide noted that they rarely get children from PoA on their tours— but maybe that’s just because other families with kids tend to choose other activities.

  3. Like others, I’ve usually had very slow (and essentially useless) internet connection when out at sea. But quicker better connections in port. So on my last trip I gave up on trying to use the internet except when the ship is close to land. I assumed that this was everyone’s experience- just an unfortunate reality of cruising. But have other folks been able to get good internet access while out at sea?

  4. I have to say I really did enjoy the former cirque dreams dinner show. It may not have been on the scale of a Cirque du Soleil show, but then the latter would have been impossible to pull off on a cruise ship. And it wasn’t as expensive as going to a Cirque du Soleil show even though dinner was provided (admittedly, not a great dinner)....

  5. It does sound like a good idea for your friend to see an allergist. That said, she should be aware that allergy testing is far from perfect. There can be false positive and negative results with both skin and blood allergy testing. And results don’t necessarily come back as a clear cut yes/no result— antibody levels may come back in the equivocal middling range. If that turns out to be the case, and there isn’t time or opportunity for a “food allergen challenge” in the controlled setting of an allergist’s office, then avoidance may be the best approach in the cruise setting. But there should be no problems bringing epipens on board. And there is enough awareness of nut allergies these days that waitstaff can check to see if there are nut ingredients.

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  6. I don’t have much direct experience with other cruise lines yet, but I’ve researched other lines to decide whether to make NCL suite bookings go with suite reservations elsewhere. And it doesn’t look like other lines with suite-only restaurants or facilities are doing anything like this.


    For example, next year I made reservations in the Haven on an NCL Alaska cruise. But I’ve also made a suite reservation on a Celebrity cruise with a similar itinerary. I’m going to wait and see how things pan out before I make a final choice. At first the cost appeared mildly favorable for NCL what seemed like similar accommodations and itinerary. But I’m concerned that every amenity offered may actually be worse in some way.


    Earlier I felt like differences were ones I could deal with (e.g., beverage package being truly all inclusive on one line versus having substantial exclusions on the other).  More generous internet package included in suite booking for one line versus the other. But it’s a bigger deal if the Haven only restaurant and bar lounge will no longer Haven only (whereas Luminae on Celebrity isn’t being widely hawked around for ship-wide booking like a specialty restaurant).


    And while I don’t 

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  7. I agree that one major advantage of the Haven is the ability to avoid lines, including lines for sit-down dining. We’ve appreciated the being able to go to the Haven restaurant at a flexible time for dinner without making advance reservations. If Haven guests will now need to compete for tables with all other guests on the ship, this may be lost.

    There are a number of other cruisecritic threads where people have posted that there’s little point to booking a Haven category suite on an NCL ship if the ship doesn’t have a dedicated Haven restaurant and bar. It seems like all NCL ships adopting the new policy will effectively cease to have a dedicated Haven restaurant and bar. Instead these will become a premium restaurant and bar available to all on a paid basis, with Haven guests getting complimentary access. 

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  8. I have to admit that when I eat out in a restaurant in my home town and leave a tip, I don’t know if it’s getting distributed to all of the people behind the scenes who perform necessary tasks but don’t interact with me personally.

    For example, the folks who are washing the dishes and mopping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms. These are all important jobs, and I hope that the people who perform them are being adequately paid. But I don’t usually have them in mind when I tip for the personal service I’ve received.

    And regardless of whether the tips are pooled among the restaurant staff versus awarded to waitstaff only, they are still at the discretion of the customer. Of course in the U.S., customers are usually expected to tip something in a table service restaurant. But they aren’t compelled to do so unless it’s a larger dining group such as 6 or more people.

  9. We were on POA last year as a family group—we’re not retirement age, but we’re also not the thirty-something singles demographic that your son may prefer.

    My sense is that there will probably be some people in their early thirties, but not that many.

    But then for most people the POA isn’t really about hanging out and socializing on the ship anyway. With the ship being at port every day and sometimes staying overnight, most cruisers are going ashore every day, often for most of the day. Maybe your son can sign up for some of the more adventurous excursions?

  10. When we’ve eaten in specialty restaurants, we’ve sometimes had our children eat off the children’s menu for free. But sometimes they’ve eaten from the specialty restaurant menu for the usual a la carte specialty dining charges.


    The 20% gratuity is additional— and as Sauer-kraut points out, it is usually listed up front when you reserve the package, because you usually have to pay it up front when you reserve.

  11. If there are prior threads addressing a similar topic, it may be useful to point them out to the OP so that he or she can search for them in order to get more perspective on the question.


    But I agree that this doesn’t mean that a question or issue shouldn’t be brought up just because it’s come up before. With time, there may be new or different perspectives on the same or similar issues from different posters.

  12. What do you think are the most important considerations in deciding between a Jewel 7-day northbound Alaska cruise and a Bliss 7-day Seattle roundtrip Alaska cruise for a family with grade school children? Both itineraries involve Glacier Bay in August, but it looks like port stops or times may be a little better for the Jewel 7-day northbound (which also includes Hubbard Glacier)? But then it’s a smaller ship than the Bliss, so probably less for children to do? The Jewel is also an older ship recently refurbed- but some recent cruisecritic reviews make it seem like the refurb was not that extensive? This would be a first Alaska cruise for the family, and there might not be another one.

  13. Given how quickly these sell out, it’s surprising that NCL doesn’t raise the price. It sounds like there are quite a few people who would be willing to pay more. But maybe they want people to have a chance to get one at a lower price if they can find a way to board early enough.

  14. I’m glad that that the crew members from overseas earn a lot relative to what they would receive at home. It must be difficult to be away from their families for so long. I was surprised to find that so many of them had young children that they have to leave behind for so many months at a time. It would have to be really worth it for so many to make that sacrifice.

  15. Sorry to see that the Breakaway received an unsatisfactory score on its recent Vessel Sanitation Program inspection by the CDC in March:

    CDC Vessel Sanitation Program inspection report


    But it looks like they came in just below the 85% threshold. This is the first time that I've looked at a VSP report before-- it's encouraging to me that they perform such detailed inspections. I expect it must be difficult to avoid any deficiencies on these.


    From a quick search, it doesn't look like any other NCL ships had unsatisfactory scores in their most recent VSP inspections.

  16. The concierge will try to help Haven guests make reservations for specialty restaurants if they request them once they get on board. But it’s still better to make those reservations in advance, because tables at the most popular specialty restaurants tend to book up once the voyage is underway (at least during peak dining hours).

  17. When we’ve stayed in the Haven on seven day cruises, the menu in the Haven restaurant didn’t change day to day. So if you think you may want more variety, it may be worth trying out some of the specialty restaurants on board.  But that doesn’t mean you have to go for a specialty dining package, if it’s no longer being offered free or at a discount. If you think you might want to go to a specialty restaurant on just one or two nights, for example, you could just book the restaurant separately.  Just make sure that you put in your reservation early, because the specialty restaurants do tend to book up at peak times. So package or no package, or Haven or no Haven, it can be hard to get a last-minute reservation. 

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