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About jakesnana

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Deltona, FL
  • Interests
    Travel, cruising, grandkids
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  1. We must have just encountered the "perfect storm" on this trip. The traffic on Summer Street leading up to the terminal was a disaster, filled with 18 wheelers (most of whom turned into the port, probably delivering supplies). From the time we turned onto Summer St. it took us 45 min. to get to the port 😞 After we dropped off our traveling companions and luggage we needed to return a car to BOS and uber back. The return trip in the uber was much better. I do know the area, we just relocated to FL 14 years ago and I used to work on Summer St. (next to the Boston Athletic Club), it just seems like they need to come up with a better strategy to get all of the passengers and supplies to the ship. Having everyone go on just one 2-lane street is a killer.
  2. As others have mentioned, your daughter will be too young for Splash Academy (the youngest children's group, starts at 3 years old), but they did have several times posted for the Guppies (0-2 years old) to get together. The Activities for Families was listed in the lower left hand corner of the Daily, inside the first page. Make sure to check that out.
  3. I didn't even try to change out the champagne, we just used it for mimosas in the cabin with our traveling companions. I just looked through the Dailies and there was a Merengue class on Sat., a line dance class on Sun., Country line dance class on Mon., Salsa dance class on Tue., Jazz dance class on Wed., and Cha Cha dance class on Thu. I agree with the noise level in the Atrium, I absolutely HATE it and refused to eat at Moderno's because of it, until they relocated Moderno's up to the old Star Bar. I agree with several posters who stated to arrive later (after 12 PM). There is only one way in and out of the port area and arriving earlier got us caught up with all of the 18 wheelers who were trying to deliver supplies to the ship. It was PURE HELL. The only reason we arrived early is because we had rented a car from the airport on Wed. at 10:30 AM and needed to return it by Fri at 10:30 AM to avoid another day's charge. I would never arrive at the port before noon again (if I ever sail out of BOS again). Sorry, I didn't really pay attention to who the ship's officers were, but Ferdie was our CD.
  4. There were several variations of the Quick Hit machines, the 88 Fortunes machines, Lock n' Link (4 and they were always full), Wheel of Fortune, Carnival Rio and some type of Mexican type game that was loosely played like Buffalos. That's all I remember off the top of my head. I will caution, if you sit down at a game you've never played before, make sure you read the rules. I sat down at a machine that didn't award the "free games" unless you were playing a certain amount. Playing the higher amount didn't increase the amount you won on regular spins, just made you eligible for the "free games", which were far and few between.
  5. 5/17/19 Norwegian Gem A little about us - I am 62 and my husband is 72, we have been on 60+ cruises and although I cannot remember how many specifically with NCL, enough to be Platinum. We have sailed the Jewel class before, on the Pearl, which we loved, so I was hoping for the same experience on the Gem. We were traveling with my sister-in-law (who has been on several cruises, one with NCL) and her 2 granddaughters, who had never cruised before. Rather than do a day by day review, I will break it down into sections. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION Although it is probably not all NCL’s fault, I will NEVER sail out of Boston again. The total scene is a hot mess. If Boston EVER wants to see an influx of ships sailing from there, than they need to do something about the traffic into and out of the port. On Embarkation day they have a baggage check for your carry-ons in the Bliss Lounge and the Grand Pacific Dining Room is open for lunch. I highly recommend taking advantage of lunch here rather than dealing with the crowds at the Garden Café. SHIP The ship was very pretty and kept spotless. I LOVE this size of ship. It seems to have the best space to passenger ratio. I don’t remember ever feeling like the ship was overcrowded. CABIN We had an inside category IA cabin and it was TINY!!!! With the beds pushed together as a queen/king I literally had to sit on the bed and slide my legs UNDER the corner of a table to get to my side of the bed. I have never seen a cabin so small, however, I will say there was more than enough storage for the 2 of us. The bathroom, well that’s another story. The shower is a good size and has a sliding glass door vs. a shower curtain (which I loved), but the toilet was positioned so that anyone but a small child would almost hit their knees on the wall. I am not a large person (size 10) and I almost hit the wall with my knees. I can’t imagine a large person using that toilet. STAFF Everyone was amazing. Although we were never addressed by name by anyone, everyone was very friendly, helpful and respectful. I did not run into one rude or unfriendly staff member the entire cruise. DINING We ate at Cagneys, Moderno’s, Grand Pacific, Magenta, O’Sheehans and the Garden Café, so we made the rounds. Cagney’s was amazing and our server, Ankit, was incredibly friendly and helpful. We had a blast there and it set the tone for the entire cruise (we ate there the first night). We had a good time at Moderno’s and I like the new location where the Star Bar used to be. It was too noisy across from O’Sheehans. The food was good and plentiful – you could not possibly leave there hungry. We preferred the Grand Pacific dining room over Magenta. We had a party of 5 and in the Grand Pacific they gave us a table to six and removed a place setting. In the Magenta they squeezed us into a table for 4, which made it very tight. I also thought the Magenta dining room was tight in general. The food in the main dining rooms was mostly good and served at the appropriate temperature. My husband and I missed some of our favorites (shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, escargot, etc.), but we didn’t go hungry. I really enjoyed all of the different stations in the Garden Café, but they need to find a way to establish what line is for which station. Many people didn’t know what they were standing in line for. I also wish they had a drink station right at the front of the café. Many times I was just going for a drink and had to walk beyond the first food serving station for it. I DID like that coffee service was available at several spots throughout the ship in the morning – the Bali Hai bar, the casino and O’Sheehans (you could get coffee to go at all times in O’Sheehans). We ate at O’Sheehans a lot for breakfast and lunch. The only disappointment was when we arrived at O’Sheehans for breakfast one day at 10:50 AM (they’re supposed to serve breakfast till 11:00 AM) and were told that they were CLOSED until 11:30 AM so that they could transition to the lunch menu. In all of my NCL cruises I have only seen O’Sheehans closed once and that was at 5:00 AM, while they were cleaning the kitchen, which is an appropriate time since there’s not many people up at 5:00 AM. I was slightly annoyed that a 24 hour restaurant was closed for over a half hour in the middle of the day. Despite that, we didn’t go hungry as the Great Outdoors was still open. DAILY ACTIVITIES I found the activities lacking. Most of them were some type of seminar where they would try to sell you something at the end. I missed having trivia different types of trivia 3-4 times a day. There were a lot of dance classes, but I’m too old for that. Also, they held most of the activities in the Atrium, which is too small and lacked seating. It would have been better in Magnums Champagne Bar, which had a TON of seating. Imagine trying to do origami in your lap (because there were no tables) or standing up (due to lack of seating). ENTERTAINMENT We went to all of the production shows and none of them disappointed. They were all awesome and I believe that NCL has some of the best production shows at sea. I love that they still have a show band and don’t use canned music for their shows. During the evening there were several music options, either in the Atrium or Magnum’s. Both venues were always well attended. CASINO Although not everyone will care about this, I will share for those that do. The casino is TINY in comparison to other ships. The types of slot machines were limited and they were missing several of my favorites (only one Buffalo machine and not one Hot Roll machine). Also, the table minimum for Black Jack was $10 and they only had 2 of them, not to mention that BJ only paid 6/5 on these tables. I’m used to that on $5 tables, but not $10 tables. BERMUDA What can I say, Bermuda is GORGEOUS!!! This was our 4th cruise to Bermuda, so we’ve pretty much already seen and done it all, but we crammed as much as we could into the trip for our traveling companions, who had never been there. We did a 6 hour tour on Sunday, which took us all over the island and showed us the best landmarks. On Monday we caught the first NCL ferry to St. George at 9 AM and explored all day, not getting back to the ship till 11 PM. On Tuesday the weather was expected to be bad, so we just hung around the dockyard, went to Snorkel Beach and did some shopping. Would I sail the Gem again, probably, just not out of Boston. Overall, the cruise did not disappoint and we had a great time with family. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer while everything is still fresh in my mind.
  6. This is the best advice. Book the cabin you want with your 2 children in it - period. No explanation to anyone, just book it. At the port just tell the res agent that the 2 extra in your cabin will not be going. This should result in a refund of the gov't taxes for those 2 passengers since the cruise line is only allowed to collect those fees on passengers who are actually sailing.
  7. It depends on what type of vacation you and your family are looking for. The Dawn is an American ship doing a European cruise. The Orchestra is a European ship doing a European cruise. If you're looking for an American cruise in Europe (food, entertainment, clientele, etc.) than the Dawn would be your best bet. If you and the family are adventurous and would like to experience a decidedly more European flair (food, entertainment, clientele, announcements in several languages, etc.) than the Orchestra may work for you. I have sailed on several MSC ships before they were Americanized (the Seaside) and really enjoyed the experience, but others didn't because it wasn't what they expected.
  8. That's what I was thinking. If you're splitting the cost with another couple, how do you decide who gets the "nice" master and who gets the smaller bedroom? If I were the one in the smaller bedroom and I was paying 1/2 the cost, I'm not sure I would be very happy.
  9. Back in the day NCL did this. That was my first cruise in 1988, I booked a "share guarantee" for an inside cabin. It was something I did at the last minute on a whim. I ended up with a porthole cabin by myself :) This was on the Southward. NCL arranged for all of the singles to share a table at dinner. We had a table of 10 of us who were all single, 4 women and 6 guys. We had a great time :)
  10. That was my philosophy, we have gone on 60 cruises and never purchased travel ins. After about 25 we figured that IF we needed to cancel than the amount of money we saved from the policies not purchased would more than cover our current loss. Luckily, we never needed to cancel (better luck with this than in the casino :) ). However, now that my DH and I are older, we DO purchase travel insurance because at our age you just never know.
  11. You have a 12 hour layover in Boston just to get back to JFK? Also, if I'm reading this correctly, you live in CT? If all of this is fact, I would just ask TA to do the air from Boston, not JFK. What is the advantage of driving to JFK vs. driving to BOS?
  12. When I did my check in for my NCL cruise, I was given the option of paying $25 for a policy that would insure any medical expenses incurred while traveling. I'm not sure if it is still available to you, but if you do decide to travel I would see if that is an option in case your child gets sick again while traveling. As far as purchasing "cancel for any reason" protection, you are well beyond that point. In every situation I have seen, it must be purchased by the final payment date at the latest, and would not cover pre-existing medical conditions. IF you needed to file a claim, your child's pediatrician would have to fill out a form and he would be required to put down that he had treated the child for an illness PRIOR to your purchasing the policy.
  13. It won't just be me he's dropping off, but my SIL and her 2 granddaughters (there are 5 of us traveling). I figured it would be easier to drop us and the luggage off than having 5 of us and luggage having to Uber back to Black Falcon. Once we leave the airport we will be nowhere near the tunnels until we return for the cruise. We are going to NH at the beginning of the cruise and then NH, Wilmington, Dedham and Seekonk after the cruise. Not sure if it's worth paying the daily rate for the easy pass for just a few times through the tunnel.
  14. Thanks for the info. Yes, we are renting from the Thrifty at the airport. Do you have an idea how much an Uber would be from airport to Black Falcon? Although my DH likes free, he's probably not willing to jump through hoops to get back to the airport and will opt for the fastest, least hassle way :)
  15. We will be in the Boston area for several days visiting family prior to our Gem cruise on 5/17. We plan to have a car to get around, but then need to return the car to Thrifty at BOS on embarkation day. I'm planning on having DH drop myself and the luggage at Black Falcon, return the car to Thrifty and then come back to Black Falcon. Does anyone know if Thrifty provides a shuttle to the port (at some ports it's an option)? If not, what would be the fastest/least expensive way to do this? We also need to do it in reverse after the cruise, go to BOS to pick up a car. Thanks in advance for the help.
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