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PatJim

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About PatJim

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    New York
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL

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  1. Thanks for posting the free bus link, Parrotheadtoo. Jim and I will wait until their fall schedule is online, before planning our trip to Acadia. On our last cruise stop in Portland, last October, quite a few passengers opted to go to LL Bean. It was definitely closer than from Bar Harbor, as Host Carolyn says.
  2. We've been on several NCL cruises that included stops in Bar Harbor. We take the free bus service to Acadia National Park. (L L Bean helps pay for it, to help cut down on private car emissions in the park.) It's a short walk from the tender pier. There is a national park admission charge, but if you already have a national park membership card, then the bus is truly free. Go online to find their schedule and route maps. Buses leave frequently, and cover most areas of the park. You just hop off when you wish, then get another bus when it comes along. With a little research on the park, you'll know which attractions you'll want to stop for. Jim and I get off at the entrance to the historic Jordan Pond House, the only restaurant in Acadia. It's full of tourists (like us!), but we love having lunch there. (Try the lobster bisque and blueberry popovers.) Again, just go to their web site to view menus, then call direct to book lunch. They are popular, and fill up fast! Before or after lunch, hike along some of the well-marked trails, then grab a national park bus back to Bar Harbor. You'll still have time to explore the town before your ship leaves.
  3. We've never lost out on booking a cruise we wanted, because we tend to book early. But we have lost out on adding someone to our cabin. A couple of months before departure, we invited a friend to share our suite, only to find out about the above-mentioned life boat rule. Couldn't add her because the life boat capacity for our 'quadrant' was full. Same result even if we switched to another suite at another ship location... Lesson learned, but a very disappointed friend.😒
  4. Thanks, everyone, for responses. Sorry I didn't find the earlier postings about this, as I did a search here using the Uplift name. Did learn something new--that one can pay NCL direct in installments, with no added fees. Totally agree that the Uplift program is an insane way to throw away $$$$. Patricia
  5. Jim just went on NCL's website to check cruise prices, and found something new. NCL has started a 12-month payment plan, partnering with Uplift.com. When you sign up for a cruise, you can choose the Uplift option. Only after providing more information to that company, will they reveal how much will be each monthly payment. I would guess that there is an extra cost for this 'service,' though those who like the idea of a fixed monthly cost to pay off their cruise will welcome it. Couldn't find a news release from NCL, or anything here on CC about this new program, and NCL is not yet listed as a partner on Uplift's website. If anyone chooses to pursue this option, could you let us know the additional cost? Thanks! Patricia
  6. I hear you! We're also sailing this September, from Quebec City to NYC, down the Canada-New England coast. I definitely prefer warmer-weather cruises, but Jim loves it colder. Life is about compromise. Having said this, we've sailed Canada-New England a few times, mostly repeating ports. The joy of going back to the same place is that you make it 'your own.' We know where to get the best lobster rolls in these ports, where to shop, where to hike, etc. Same for our Caribbean cruises: which are the best beaches, which to avoid, how to get around more cheaply than with ship excursions, etc. We do love the NYC-Bahama cruises now. When we first started cruising, it was all about the itinerary. Now it's as much about just being on the ship. As repeat cruisers on the Gem, we've gotten to know many crew members, and some of them have become life-long friends. It adds a depth to cruising that we hadn't anticipated. Also, there are great deals on Bahama cruises, if you look. It's our experience that Bahama cruises--short and with only 3 port days, including NCL's private island--are harder for NCL to fully book, so they lower the prices. Patricia
  7. Congrats on your great turnout, but 62 people on a Cabin Crawl is just too many.😱 You risk getting complaints from other Haven passengers. It would be a shame if NCL HQ decided to ban Crawls in Haven cabins, as seeing suites is one of the highlights of a Crawl. I've led quite a few Crawls on the Gem, the Jade's sister ship. Here are some suggestions: You will have to break up members into 3 groups. Have staggered starting times @ 15 minutes apart. Get 2 volunteers for each group. One will lead the group and the other will be the "sweep" at the back, to make sure no one gets left behind. Group #1 will include everyone showing a cabin. This will have your largest number of people, because after viewing their cabin, they will stay there, and then continue the Crawl with Group #3. Group #3 will start as your smallest group, and will grow as they pick up all the people who have shown their cabin. Your brainstorm to find someone else willing to show suites that are not physically in the Haven is a good one. If you can't get the Garden Villa, Owners and Deluxe Owners suites are great to see. The first are on decks 9 & 10 forward, with 2 balconies; the second is on deck #15, with wrap-around view of the pool. The 2-bedroom suites, on deck #11, don't have Haven access, but IMHO have the best master bathrooms on the ship. Divert at least one of your groups to these suites. I've had success recruiting suite guests, even though they are not CC members, by talking it up in the VIP lounge before embarkation; an Elvis impersonator and his wife invited our group to their Deluxe Owner's Suite, and a very nice couple in the GV agreed to show. You never know, unless you ask. Everyone showing their cabin should just let their cabin steward or butler know they are expecting guests after [your starting time]. They will have the cabin spotless while you're at breakfast or lunch. For those showing suites, the butler will be happy to arrange snacks, such as bowls of M & Ms, potato chips, cake & cookies. Just let her/him know a day or two ahead about the expected number of guests. Spread out among 3 suites, it's manageable. Finally, you could try to cut the number of participants by (a) closing it out, and (b) not advertising the Crawl once on board. It's surprising the number of people who forget to show up! Do, however, leave a reminder the day before with everyone who is also showing a cabin. You don't want them forgetting! Good luck!
  8. Hey, Dan. Nice to hear from you. We do love the Gem, but somehow out of 5 future NCL cruises, only one--Dec. 12, 2020--is on the Gem. I do think she has the best crew in NCL's fleet. Sorry to go off topic, but wanted to say hi. Patricia
  9. Love the Metropolitan Museum of Art, probably the best museum in the U.S. Could spend weeks there, but it's fun to nip in and out. They still have a 'pay what you wish' entrance fee for NYC residents, but just received permission from the City to charge non-NYC residents $25 admission. So that's probably out for you. Love the High Line/newly opened Hudson Yards suggestion. They are next to each other. You'll have to get from the cruise passenger terminal at W. 48th & 12th Ave. (a/k/a West Side Highway) down to W 34th Street. After exploring a bit of Hudson Yards with its expensive shops and restaurants, walk the High Line south. It's less than 2 miles long, and ends south of W. 14th Street. It's amazing. The landscaping changes every few blocks. If you're reasonably fit, you can gage the time it would take to walk NYC blocks as 1 minute per block. Twenty blocks equals a mile. Take a backpack for the essentials you don't want to put in your checked bags (medicine, jewelry....). It's easier than trying to walk around with a roller carry-on bag. To go by taxi, go back up to the upper arrivals level of the terminal and grab a cab, though they are expensive. And NYC just added an additional congestion tax for commercial cars south of 96th Street in Manhattan. Surcharge for taxis is $2.50; Lyft and Uber is $2.75. That's on top of the base starting price.
  10. As already posted, the Norwegian Night Out ("Dress up or not" is still used to describe it in the Freestyle Daily) is Day #2, the first full sea day. It's also an opportunity to have your photo taken with the ship's captain, which is a reason for some to dress up. Just line up at the designated time to pose with him, though if you're in a suite, you'll get a photo op with the captain at the captain's reception later that same night. We do like to dress up in cocktail clothes that night, and then have dinner at the most formal restaurant. On the Gem, it's Le Bistro. It's become a tradition that we both enjoy.
  11. As mentioned, NCL has a special diet consultant on their ships, who will meet with you at lunch or dinner, to plan your next day's meals. If you are in a suite, ask the pre-cruise concierge to let them know you require this service. If you're a returning Latitudes member, call Latitudes with the same request. First time cruising on NCL? Ask your TA to let the ship know. Then, as soon as you board, get in touch with the diet consultant (ask guest services for their extension), to set up your first meeting. You don't have to have a food allergy. You may need to avoid certain foods for your well being. My husband has to avoid salt for health reasons. The special diet staff members on all our cruises were great about seeing him every day and arranging his meals. They consult with the various restaurant chefs, to ensure your needs are met. Can't say enough good things about them. We do give them a tip at the end of the cruise. It's not asked for, but they appreciate it. They work hard. Patricia
  12. We've been buying and using them for years. What we like most about the CN Deposits (besides paying 50% less) is the ability to book cruises waaaay in advance by just using the deposits, without additional out-of-pocket spending. We usually get the best price for our cabin category by booking as soon as the itinerary is listed. Then, if we cancel before final payment, the deposits are returned to our online account, without waiting for a refund from NCL. Of course, you have to think you'll be taking a future cruise with NCL....
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