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Cruiser Bruiser

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About Cruiser Bruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Portland, OR
  • Interests
    Being social, going out to eat, movies, staying in with friends. And cruising.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Hawaii was a dream, but I really want to do the Mediterranean and the Baltic.

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  1. Perhaps a harbinger of Leonardo? One can hope.
  2. I am scheduled to be at OC on Sunday, January 26. My cruise ticket still shows we will be there from 09:00 to 23:00. Fingers crossed. I'm so glad to read that I won't have to pay for booze while on the island. That gives me an incentive to stay longer.😀
  3. This is good to read. I've sailed the Brazilian coast on HAL. It was a one-and-done itinerary, and I was excited to see that MSC sails the Brazilian coast every South American summer. Then I read some particularly negative reviews, and I was instantly discouraged. I appreciate your more measured descriptions. So long as I can sleep when I want to, I don't mind a raucous scene by the pool. I'm guessing there's some interesting people watching.
  4. Anxious to read more. Thanks!
  5. One would think it would be someone in Miami (i.e. MSC Cruises USA), but I'm guessing it's someone in Geneva. Someone mentioned above some anticipation of prices rising in Europe; likely the software change is having a global effect on all of MSC's operations.
  6. I'm on Armonia on Monday, January 20 and I was waiting for my travel-buddy's money transfer to me to clear before I put the Easy package on my credit card. Who knew that one-day delay was going to be such a pain? After enduring a half-hour of Mediterranean Moments on the speaker phone, the gal at MSC reminded me that I booked through a travel agent and could not help me. 😣 In any case, the TA got Easy added to our reservation for the going $245 pp. It makes you wonder, then, why MSC removed the functionality just as Wave Season was ramping up? MSC will never be able to compete with mainstream North American cruise lines if they continue to make bone-headed decisions like this. (No matter how sexy their new ships are.) That said, it should keep prices low for those budget cruisers like me that are willing to jump through all the MSC hoops. 😉
  7. I guess I'm a "traditional cruiser." On NCL, I have sailed Pride of America, Dawn, Star, Epic (x3), Getaway, Jewel, Pearl (x5), Sun, Sky and Spirit. My cruise priority is to sit by the pool most of the day, and sit in a bar or a restaurant most of the evening. I do try and get to the gym, and I love a good spa. I drink, I smoke the odd cigar, and I avoid the buffet like the plague. So, my ideal ship is really a mid-size HAL ship, but I'm not fond of their demographic and they keep screwing around with their entertainment. I love that I can create a small-ship experience on NCL's bigger ships by dining exclusively in specialty restaurants, spending outdoor time only at Spice H2O, and getting a spa pass. But, NCL keeps raising the price for all of the above, so that dynamic is pushing me to smaller ships at other brands, like MSC. Leonardo might bring me back, but if appealing spaces on Leonardo class require substantial additional fees, that will likely count me out.
  8. Thanks for your fun, honest review. I love the new studios. It seems like a really fair trade to have a smaller bed but more floor space. I also love the virtual window. I'm assuming the mood lighting is gone? With the mood lighting, double beds and see-through showers from the original studios on Epic, I feel like NCL was going for more of a hook-up vibe that probably seemed more appealing in theory than it was in practice.
  9. I love all of the umbrellas in Vibe; they add a bit of redemption for this odd, odd ship. I wish NCL would add more umbrellas to Spice H2O on its other ships.
  10. Hiya, as I'm always curious about all things cigar, I did a little research of NCL's smoking policy: There is a cigar lounge on Encore, Deck 8 midship: "Cigar Lounge: Cigar smoking is permitted in the designated cigar lounge. Cigarettes, pipe, electronic cigarettes and vapor smoking devices are not permitted in the cigar lounge. Cigar and pipe smoking on board Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Star and Pride of America is permitted only in designated outdoor areas as there is no cigar lounge onboard. There is an error in the information, though: "On Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe smoking and vapor smoking devices are permitted at Spice H2O, starboard side." Obviously, there is no Spice H2O on Encore. Wow, in fact there is no outdoor smoking space on Encore. You are relegated to a glass box. Yet another reason to hate CC's ship of the year.
  11. Hiya, as I'm always curious about all things cigar, I did a little research of NCL's smoking policy: There is a cigar lounge on Encore, Deck 8 midship: "Cigar Lounge: Cigar smoking is permitted in the designated cigar lounge. Cigarettes, pipe, electronic cigarettes and vapor smoking devices are not permitted in the cigar lounge. Cigar and pipe smoking on board Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Star and Pride of America is permitted only in designated outdoor areas as there is no cigar lounge onboard. There is an error in the information, though: "On Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe smoking and vapor smoking devices are permitted at Spice H2O, starboard side." Obviously, there is no Spice H2O on Encore.
  12. Interesting. Looks like increased consistency across the brand is on the menu. That likely makes sense as North Americans become more aware of MSC and thus become more interested in sailing MSC outside of NA and Europe.
  13. I was very impressed with the renderings of Spirit. I'm also very intrigued by the itineraries. NCL's biggest discounts right now are on Australian and Asian itineraries. I'm looking at an 8-night from Singapore on Jade, as it's $599 base fare, even with the solo supplement. For whatever reason, NCL seems to have difficulty holding prices in Australia and Asia. I think those Spirit prices will come down a lot in time.
  14. NCL stopped being a value proposition a long time ago. They have a few super-cheap itineraries right now, but they are the exception. One could decide to sail NCL's sailaway rates exclusively, but then one would be subject to NCL's ridiculous on board prices. On Epic in May, I made the mistake of ordering a "Tanqueray and tonic" instead of a "gin and tonic." That was a $21.50 drink. By contrast, I sailed MSC Magnifica in August to Italy and Greece from Venice. I paid $239 for MSC's unlimited drinks package for seven nights. Granted, it only includes cocktails of €6 or less (of which there are 8-10, I think), but it also includes unlimited bottled water (still and sparkling) several wines by the glass including Prosecco, one tap beer, espresso drinks and smoothies. All that for 11 Tanqueray and tonics on NCL. I'm booked on MSC again in September, and I'm trying to sneak in one last-minute MSC cruise in December or January. One particular example of an excellent solo price on MSC leaving November 30: 11-night southern Caribbean on Divina for $761 including taxes and port fees. Newer MSC ships have studio cabins, too, for an even lower price. Plus the pool situation is far superior on MSC, and MSC ships have a new production show every night of a 7-night cruise. For me, in every conceivable way, MSC is the new NCL. Once MSC's pricing goes up and/or Leonardo class stuns with its sexiness, I will reevaluate. But by then, MSC will have produced another 10 ships, including four for its Yacht Club-inspired luxury cruise line. Each will likely be sexier, and more resort like, than anything NCL can produce so long as it is motivated to cover the top decks of all of its ships with go kart tracks, laser tag courses, VIBE, and other for-a-fee enterprises. Besides FDR's crass reference to NCL's passengers as wallets, he neglects to mention the negative effect of expecting the ship's crew to constantly be grabbing money out of those "wallets" has on customer service. MDR waiters are overworked, as are cabin stewards and bar servers. It's hard to have "fun" when you're surrounded by folks that are being worked to an extreme.
  15. I predict an MSC Africa, MSC America and MSC Asia to follow. Exciting.
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