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Kierste

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Posts posted by Kierste


  1. Thanks!   Very helpful answers!  I have flipped back and forth about wanting to go out of California or Florida.  Leaning toward Florida, we have done two spring break trips out of Florida and they were NBD, but the California ones are short, 3 and 4 days... I feel like those may have a different atmosphere, maybe not because it is still Disney?


  2. Hi all!  Just got home from a multi-island Hawaii trip, that included a few nights at Aulani.  We have been cruising NCL every other year or so, and like their casual vibe, plus free drinks always being thrown in is a bonus.  Teen dd says before college she wants to do a DCL cruise.  We live on the west coast, have never done this side of Mexico, so that is a possibility, or we can head over to Florida and do a cruise out of there.  

     

    Teen club is up to 17 I see, and looks super cool.  So if we wait till her senior year she will be aged out of teen club (thinking spring break or early summer.)  So now I am thinking junior year, maybe spring break because that would be easiest if she gets a summer job, 2021.  DCL doesn’t seem to release calendars very far out?  I like to book as early as possible and take advantage of paying over time.

     

    No drink packages? But soda is free? What about things like virgin piña coladas and such?  Lattes or mochas?  I saw an ice cream shop on one of the ships, is that an upcharge?

     

    Dinner... is the early seating solid kids? So if we wanted a “quieter” dinner we should choose the later and hope we stay awake thru it?  I read somewhere they rotate you and you sit with the same people every night. Is that mandatory? Can you skip a restaurant or repeat one, or eat with just your family?

     

    Castaway cay, it sounds like this port gets skipped a lot.  When they skip it what happens? They float around or do they add a different stop?

     

    I am sure I will have other questions... but for now the big differences between NCL and DCL are what I am thinking of.  We are big DL geeks... we just never did a DCL cruise before.

     

     


  3. When our Dd was younger, we would schedule dinner at 6, tell the waiter that she wasn’t having an appetizer and what she wanted for dessert and they would bring her dinner with our apps and her dessert as soon as she was ready. Then one of us would drop her at kids club at 7 when they opened and come back to dinner if we weren’t finished yet. After a certain age they can check themselves in and out (I think dolphins group which is 10-12.) Now that she has aged up to entourage (teens) there is one night they have a dinner out together, you sign up a couple of days in advance.


  4. We just got off the Spirit a couple weeks ago. Have sailed on the Pearl and the Escape in mini-suites. Our balcony room on the Spirit was noticeably smaller. But we expected as much. Otherwise everything about the cabin, the ship, the crew, was pretty wonderful. I wish the curtains in the cabin were better at blocking out light. It gets light out really early on the Adriatic! But if that is my biggest complaint, it must have been a pretty good cruise! (And it was!) Spent 11 days on the Spirit and could have stayed for more. Enjoy!


  5. I just did the M&G on the Spirit on 7/9, we had about 45 sign up and about 25 attend. Maria, the event coordinator for the Spirit provided name tags for us (and coffee, juice and pastries.) I brought wrapped paper straws to give out, blue lanyards, little highlighters, and some nautical themed pencils, erasers and stickers for the kiddos (thanks Amazon!) I got cabin numbers from the RSVPs and made my own reminder cards and delivered them the night before. I think it was worth the work on my end. We didn’t do any games or anything. The crew talked and I reminded everyone to have fun and if they have any concerns to address them with the crew before the end of the cruise. Then we just chatted. It was a small, but nice M&G.


  6. We just flew out of Rome. We stayed an extra night after the cruise. The airport was absolute chaos on a Friday morning. If we didn’t have sky priority with Delta I am pretty sure we would have been running to make our plane (we arrived 2.5 hours before the flight.). Disembarking was super easy from the ship, and then we actually walked to the train. If you paid for private transport directly from the ship remember it is still over an hour drive. I wouldn’t risk a flight before noon.


  7. Okay but what some people think will happen and what will happen is often very different. When you board that minor’s card have a clipped corner. They show this card when they enter entourage to register and for the first day or so... after that, if they are regulars, the staff knows them and the minor is not asked for their card again. I know this from very recent experience a week ago on the Spirit. We registered my teen into entourage, and did the paperwork, chatted with the teen counselor (there were 2 on the Spirit for the 11 days) and the main one remembered my DD from the Escape! After day 2 they were only checking cards for clipped corners for the kids they did not recognize. Entourage is different from Splash Academy... the teens come and go constantly, they do not check them in and out, as the lounge is mostly a meeting place. If the almost 18 year old in question does not go down and get an unclipped card on their birthday, and/or is a regular and never asked to show their card, they will continue to use entourage for the duration of their cruise with no issues. I would be willing to bet on it.


  8. Returning is likely more okay than leaving... we were stopped in a port getting off the ship, well DD was stopped, because we were in front of her in line and scanned out and started off and they held her asking who her parents were... we started putting her between us :cool:


  9. Hi all, just got off the Spirit... so of course I need another cruise booked. Dd is going to be a HS freshman in the fall, and would like to cruise for her senior trip. As 2020 itineraries are being released now, I realized it won’t be long and 2022 will be released in the grand scheme of things!

     

    So in 18 months or so when 2022 starts coming out, I will want to jump on it so I can get the ship (she wants a big ship), itinerary (Caribbean or Mexican Riviera) and rooms I want (would love an aft facing balcony or mini suite, with an inside across the hall.) Here is the catch... she wants to bring a friend. Hence the inside very nearby. But you know how girls are, and high school girls. Just because she has had a bestie since 4th grade, doesn’t mean they will still be besties in 4 more years. And what if the 1st choice parent says no... I can’t take their kid out of the country? Then I need a back up kid... can I book a room and change names at a later date? I know worst case scenario I will be out of luck after final payment (120 days now?) But between now and then, is it kosher to change names? Both girls will be 18 whether we end up going over spring break or in June after grad. I can put them in a room right? Don’t need to change the ressies to make a parent in each room? :confused:

     

    Anyone with this experience? And yes, I know Dd is spoiled. But I budget and plan, and that is why I will be booking as soon as I can so I can pay it off over time. TIA...


  10. We just used it for 11 days on the Spirit. You have to download the app before the cruise to the devices you want to use. When you get on the ship you can register your app to your name and cabin and have full free access to your account, reservations for dinners, what is happening on the ship. For $9.95 per device you can add messaging. This allows you to text others on the ship that have also paid the $9.95. We used this daily to text with our teen, who had the app on her iPod. It works great, but you do not get a notification, you have to be diligent about checking for messages. Wasn’t a problem for us, as I knew approximately when she would be texting us. We have done the app 3 times and will continue to.


  11. Yes, I agree, you were on a great vacation that 99% of the people in the world will never get to do ! How can people complain ? About anything. I'm lucky(although, my Wife and I worked very hard our whole life) enough to be able to play a lot of Golf. When one of friends complain about a bad shot or a missed putt, I always say, " there are 2 little kids hanging on to a boat in the Mediterrean, they wish they had your problems" ! That usually shuts them up ! We'll be on the Spirit in Oct and we won't be complaining about anything ! And we'll be sure to say please and thank you to everyone ! We treat all people the way we want to be treated !!

     

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Forums mobile app

     

    I love your attitude! I wish more people thought this way... don’t sweat the small stuff! :cool:


  12. My tween and now teen carried a little Le sport sac cross body. She used the iconcierge app on her iPod and we texted with that, worked great. And only cost us $20 for 11 days ($10 per device). She also had a lanyard for her room card.


  13. You register the first day and that is the age you are for the cruise as far as the kid’s clubs go. I have heard of some parents getting their kids into the next age group up when the birthday occurs on the ship, but that is from the beginning of the cruise. But that is an exception. They do not boot kids from one group to another mid cruise because of a birthday, and therefore, would not boot them out of entourage either and leave them clubless. But if they are 18 when they board for the 1st time, they would not allow them to age down. This goes for all age groups.


  14. We just got off the Spirit on 7/19, third cruise for us (have also sailed on the Pearl and the Escape), hubby, me and our 14 year old daughter. We flew all the way from Oregon to London a little over a week before the cruise. Spent some time touring London, Paris, Naples and Rome and finally took the train from Rome to Civitavecchia the morning of embarkation.

    The train was very easy, but many people were stressed out and on edge. The train we were on went from Rome to Ostiense to Civitavecchia, and onward to Milan. The sign just said Milan. You have to watch the train number and time, and ask if you are confused. Much easier then stressing out that you are on the wrong train. On disembarkation we walked back to the station, walked in and bought our tickets back to Rome and were on the train in 5 more minutes... for 5 euros each. Super easy and no reservations needed (we had reservations pre-cruise.)

    The room:

    We had 11512, a regular balcony, just forward of the forward elevators. This room has the small couch by the slider. Our steward made the couch up each night for DD. Note, when it is set up as a bed, you have to walk on the bed to get to the slider and go out on the balcony. No big deal for us, but there is not even a spare inch between the bottom of the bed and the desk (or between the sofa bed and the regular bed for that matter). The regular NCL sized balcony had 2 chairs and a small table. We brought boca clips (towel clips) and used those frequently to hold down drying swimsuits and towels to the chairs when we were enjoying the balcony. The bathroom has a shower with adjustable wand and glass door, and a small cubby for the toilet with its own sliding door within the bathroom. I knew that storage was minimal in the room and we used packing cubes on the shelves for undergarments and I also brought a hanging cube style organizer that folds flat for additional items. DD used the drawers under the fridge and we had plenty of room for our things. We kept our luggage under the bed.

    We rarely used the “make up room” or “do not disturb” cards you put in the key card slot on the door. But our steward figured out our schedule and the room was always kept up.

    Entourage:

    DD had enjoyed splash academy on the Pearl and entourage on the Escape, and was looking forward to entourage again this trip. We put the I-concierge app on my phone and her iPod and paid the $9.99 per device to be able to text between them. Our rules were: text on arrival, if you change venues, and when you are headed to the room and no going into other people's rooms. If we had an early port day the next day she had a 11:15 pm curfew (to allow time after the activity ended to get back to the room), sea days the next day she got to stay out till the 1 am kid’s curfew. This was more lenient than we were on the Escape. The reason was the hours for entourage were not consistent in the evening. Splash academy had their normal ship-wide closure times (for lunch and dinner), but entourage was shut from 7-9 or 8-10 or 8:30 to 11... for no apparent rhyme nor reason. So each day we really needed to pay attention to the hours. Frankly, with the late closures, most nights by the time entourage opened, DD was too tired to make the effort to leave the room (we had a very port intensive itinerary.) She did have a pack of friends and they did some of the organized activities together, others they skipped and just hung out with each other. We were told there were about 250 teens on board for our cruise.

    Food and drinks:

    We had the UBP and the 4 meal dining package. If I ordered a drink for me and a virgin drink for my daughter they did not charge me for my daughter's drink. You were allowed to buy two drinks at a time and we found the rules to be the same on the Spirit as they were on our Escape cruise. Both cruises I had intended to buy my daughter's drinks, but never was asked to pay for one. Galaxy of the Stars was directly above our room, and was our go-to bar at night.

    We ate at Le Bistro, La Trattoria, Cagney's and Teppanyaki for our specialty dinners. All were very good and dinner lasted between 90 minutes and 2 hours. I would eat at all of them again. We also ate at Cagney’s for one breakfast and one lunch by special invitation. On the Spirit, Cagney’s serves as the Haven restaurant. Both lunch and dinner were lovely, but not much more impressive than the MDR.

    We did Garden and Windows for a couple lunches and a few dinners each. Enjoyed everything we got. Service was good, and we were nearly always done in an hour. 3 dinners we ate at Shogun (which is a free Chinese food venue that is open for dinner). DD loves Chinese food, and we always ordered a variety and told them we were eating family style and they were very accommodating.

    Now we do not eat late, all our dinners were between 5:30 and 6 and we only had reservations for the specialty restaurants. The only time we ate later was after Olympia we went to Garden around 7. Every time we were seated with no wait.

    Breakfasts were in the buffet (except for our one Cagney’s breakfast). Seating was tricky during "prime time", if you wanted to stay inside. Outside on the terrace there always seemed to be a place to sit. Mart who is one of the omelette chefs was great, seek him out.

    Crepe station at night... they ran out of Nutella for half the cruise, this was very sad. They did manage to get single serve packs near the end, which was great. And they would not cut up a banana, if it wasn’t out it wasn’t an option. We still had a couple crepes during the cruise, and that was lovely.

    We had lunch and snacks occasionally in Blue Lagoon, easy choice with the same menu as far as I could tell as O’Sheehans.

    Straws: I brought my own paper straws. Worked great for slushy drinks. The waiters got a kick out of my bright colored straws.

    Entertainment:

    DD and I went to the aerial duo show (DD has been doing aerial arts for 6 years), called Sounds of Love or something. The show was good, if you don’t do aerial arts, it looked technically impressive. However, nearly every trick my 14 year old can do. We also went to Elements, which was entertaining. And the encore performance of Tre Amici, three male singers, who were very good. Seating was easy, we showed up 10 minutes before the 7:30 shows for two of them and found great seats. Walked in right at 9:30 for Elements, and found seats, but was definitely harder!

    We didn’t really hang out in the public spaces at night. Port days were tiring, even with half-day excursions, we were ready for bed by 9:30 or 10 usually. We did not go in the pool or hot tubs, and if we went looking for a lounge chair, our favorite areas were under the lifeboats on the boardwalk, or in the aft tiered area by the kiddos pool.

    I spent a small fortune on a massage in the spa (first and last time I will do that.) Did not appreciate the auto-gratuity of 20% for a massage that was already priced too high. In the states I would not have tipped so much, I thought it was a fine massage but not even in the top 5 I have ever had. I left the gratuity alone. But will comment on my survey.

    Ship in general:

    Mid-way thru the cruise they replaced the dumb floral carpet in our hallway to the NCL fish carpet (yay fish!) No smell or noise, it was done while we were in port. We were excited to walk on the plush new carpet that night! The ship appears to be well kept. Has funky little touches like fish tiling in the cabin bathrooms. The washy-washy team seemed very diminished. We had one washy-washy girl in the mornings (Maria) that would play... we would say washy-washy and she would sing happy-happy. I missed the antics of the washy teams of old. The staff was very friendly and accommodating.

    Join your roll call, go to the meet and greet! I managed the meet and greet, we had 45 people RSVP and only about 25 showed up (even though I delivered reminder cards to nearly everyone the night before.) But it was a great start to the cruise and we met some great people. Also, if you have a complaint mention it while you are on board, they will do what they can to fix it right then. If you wait till after the cruise is over, complaints tend to grow to unreasonable sizes and then there is nothing to be done.

    Excursions:

    We did more NCL excursions than we have in the past. Sea kayaking in Dubrovnik was our favorite! Slovenia Postojna Caves was amazing, and so nice to be cold for once on a summer day. Olympia and the Beach was fine. Olympia was very hot, but our guide was good. The beach part was nice, except the pushy peddlers bugging you every two minutes. 4x4 jeeps in Malta was a great way to see the island. The commentary was over the radio and hard to hear in an open topped jeep.

     

    Overall, if I cruised the Spirit again, I wouldn't really change a thing—except to carry more euros and kuna (for Croatia), we were forever stuck without enough cash on hand and having to find an atm. The European society is not nearly as dependent on plastic as we are in the states, and were were often wandering into shops that took cash only (gelato... daily.) We had never been abroad before and saw so much, we had a great time. It is a vacation after all... what is there to complain about really?


  15. Just got off the Spirit today, the ship is in great shape IMO, they were laying new carpet in the hallways of deck 11 (new fish carpet) during port days, lots of cleaning, varnishing and painting happening. I would sail her again tomorrow if I could!


  16. What makes it too small? Is there not room for four people to sleep?

     

     

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

     

    Technically there is enough room... the two beds can be apart as two twins, or together as a “queen.” The couch flips down into a twin, and the bunk comes out of the ceiling over the couch and is made up each night for that guest. That said with all the beds set up, and the ladder out, everyone better be very friendly with each other as there is no room to get any privacy without going on the balcony or into the bathroom. A shower curtain hung between the beds and the sofa/bunk will create a screen that will literally be in the one inch of space between the sofa and the nightstand for the bed. This creates “privacy” that will block some light from one side of the room to the other but otherwise creates no real privacy.

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