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  1. We have also sailed on Silversea (3 cruises) and Regent (many more than that). Although we have not been on the Muse, we have been on the Spirit (prior to it being stretched), the Shadow and Whisper. If we were to cruise with Silversea again, it would be on the Whisper as we did not care for the Spirit. Silversea is so much better than Regent on sailings where food/wine is the focus (generally on transatlantic and transpacific crossings). The wine tastings are extraordinary. They have you taste wine with one food and then another. You easily see how you would love the wine if you were eating one thing but would likely steer away from the same wine if you had something, for instance, with lemon in it. Also enjoyed the knife skills class (no cost for any of these). Service on both lines are about the same but the officers on Regent are much friendlier and more approachable than on Silversea. Food is subjective. We prefer lunch at La Terrazza on Silversea to La Veranda on Regent. However, we prefer Regent for all other dining venues (especially the main dining room on Silversea - did not care for it very much). We don't care much about shows but Regent does have better shows than Silversea. Bottom line for us is that we may have preferred Silversea if we sailed on them before Regent. We were instantly hooked on Regent after our first cruise and are now Titanium level in their loyalty program (which gives us benefits that cannot be matched on other lines). We still like Silversea and do recommend them, however, we will likely be Regent loyalists as long as we continue to cruise. P.S. Tried not to go into the "dress code" thing but I do prefer Regent's dress code. My DH does wear a jacket on most nights and a tie on other nights on Regent. However, Silversea is a bit over the top in terms of their dress code (IMHO).
  2. Our family of four (two adults, two teens) have booked adjoining balcony staterooms. Our teens will be staying in one stateroom. Does anyone know if the bed in a balcony stateroom can be configured as two twins instead (to avoid the horror of them having to sleep in the same bed)? Or is it physically one queen bed? thanks!
  3. Becky, thank you for such a wonderful, informative and pictorial review! We are sailing on the Spirit soon and it was so good to hear you liked the ship and see all the pictures. Now I want to go to Norway after seeing your review and pictures! Thanks so much.
  4. We have cruised for the Super Bowl three times. I am a big Patriots fan and all three cruises they were playing. The first time was on the Spirit we watched Super Bowl XLVI in the theater (they did not have a TV on Lido) we lost to the Giants. They had some games and special food. The next time was on the Conquest Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks with the Patriots winning on a last second interception in the end zone (thanks Pete) this was mostly only on the Lido but they did have the game available in your room. I thought I would never see a better SB than that but then we cruised again on the Sunshine in 2017 for SB LI and I witnessed the best comeback ever watching the Patriots beat the Falcons. Same on this cruise everything on Lido with special football type food. I have the Panorama booked for Superbowl weekend in 2021 so I am hoping my streak of watching the Patriots in the SB stays alive.
  5. I understand that construction on the Silver Moon is underway. But it ought not to be too late to register some hopes/wishes for new features on that ship. I’m not talking about major structural matters or including waterslides and climbing walls. 😊 rather, I am thinking of features that might fairly easily be added even now. I should say that I have cruised a good deal on the stretched Spirit and visited Muse briefly when she was in port. It may be that the features I will mention now are included on Muse and are likely to be on Moon. First hope: could we do away with door tags requesting service or privacy and have a simple electronic mechanism where one can register these requests by turning the switch inside the cabin? The corresponding light would appear outside. On a recent Spirit cruise I observed —and chastised — kids for randomly turning over the signs as they walked down the corridor. Second hope: I gather there will be another thermal suite available for a surcharge. The current arrangement is laughable. Access is not monitored. People can simply walk in from the gym. Paying guests can arrive to find that all of the heated chairs are taken (in one case several months ago by a couple boasting that they never paid and had only once been discovered and turned out.). It should not be impossible to have access to the thermal suite controlled by use of the key card. Another suggestion was that bracelets be given when one paid the fee – say a yellow bracelet for a weeklong purchase and a red bracelet for a daily purchase. Other thoughts?
  6. It is way beyond time that I updated my previous guide to booking speciality restaurants when you have the SDP or latitudes platinum (or above) meals. I previously wrote a guide back in 2016, and it was quickly out of date due to the changes to the latitudes program introduced in February 2017. I did update the guide in the comments section, but it can be a bit confusing. Hopefully this updated version will be clearer. Under the new rules, if there is at least one person in a room who is Platinum, Platinum Plus or Ambassador level then a voucher is received which gives two meals for two people. One is for a meal for two plus a bottle of wine in either Cagneys or Le Bistro and another meal for two in either La Cucina or Moderno. If there are more than two people at the required level in the room then an additional voucher will be received, so that at each person gets two meals. At least one of the people who have qualified for the voucher must go to the meal, so you can’t officially give your voucher away, but one person can take someone else. For example, I have on occasion used a voucher with my son (who has no status) rather than my wife. The selection is slightly different on some ships. The Spirit doesn’t have Moderno, and therefore the second meal can only be used in La Trattoria (the Spirit’s version of La Cucina). The Bliss is also missing Moderno, and the voucher can be used in either Q or Los Lobos as well as La Cucina. Bookings for restaurants open up online 120 days out (130 if in a suite). Whilst you can prebook MDR’s, I have never seen the reason to do so and this guide is specifically for the speciality restaurants. Note that you can prebook your latitudes meals online before boarding, despite what some NCL reps have told people. They are booked in exactly the same way as any other bookings. You can also book meals that you intend to pay for with a SDP which you haven’t yet purchased (maybe because you want to use OBC to buy the package) If you have no dining package at the time of booking then you are required to pay for the meal when booking. However, for those restaurants which are a la carte, the prepayment required is zero (they don’t know how much you will spend). The introduction of Moderno as a option for the latitudes meal complicates things somewhat, as this restaurant has a fixed charge. Therefore, the system will charge you the cover charge when you try to book (assuming you don’t have the dining package - I will cover that later). Whilst I haven’t done this, I believe that they refund the charge as OBC when onboard if you use your latitudes meal after prepaying. This may be a problem if you already have lots of OBC or aren’t planning on spending much onboard. In this case, I would wait until boarding to book Moderno, but do it soon after boarding to get the most choice of times. Obviously, if you don’t have the latitudes meals and just intend to pay the Moderno cover charge then this is less of a problem. A question which is often asked is how you make bookings for meals if you intend to eat with friends who are staying in other cabins. Some people have gone to the effort of linking bookings in order to be able to do this, but it is not necessary. When you make a booking you just state the number of people, but don’t have to say who they are. You can book for more people than you have in your room. You can make a booking for yourselves and your friends in a different cabin easily, although if it is somewhere with a cover charge then you will be charged for everyone in the booking. If you have the dining package then the system will be aware that you do. Therefore, someone with a three meal SDP will not get charged when booking for the first three meals they book, even if there is a cover charge. This is very useful, but you do need to be a little careful to book things in the correct order. One thing to note here is that the system assumes that if the person who is making the booking has a SDP credit for the meal then so does everyone they are booking for. So, if we take the example where you are booking for yourself and friends in another room, no payment will be required when booking, regardless of whether your friends have the package or not. For this reason, make sure that the booking is done by someone with the SDP if possible. Anyone without the package will be charged onboard after the meal. Things get a little more complicated when you book more meals than you have the SDP for. This could be because you decide to have 4 meals but only got the 3 meal promo for example. Perhaps the most common cause of this would be when you have platinum meal vouchers as well as the SDP. In these situations, it is important to remember a couple of things. Firstly, the system knows you have the dining package but it doesn’t know about any platinum vouchers you may be entitled to. Secondly, whilst the system assumes the first meals you book will be covered by the SDP, this isn’t the case onboard, so you can use your SDP, platinum voucher or charge to your account as you wish. You tell the staff at the restaurant at the time. Why is this important? Well, you need to book restaurants in the correct order to make sure that you don’t end up paying in advance for a meal which you shouldn’t be charged for. For example, you have a three meal SDP but want to book five meals. The meals (in the order that you want to have them) are Cagneys, Le Bistro, Moderno, La Cucina and Teppenyaki. This may be because you plan to use a platinum vouchers for two of the meals or that you only have a three meal plan and intend to pay for two others. Even if you will be paying for the extra meal it is often helpful to avoid prepaying (for example if you have OBC to use for it). If you go online and book those meals in the order you intend to eat them then the system will assume that the first three are covered by the SDP and won’t charge you for them. The last one you book (Teppenyaki) will be charged for as you have no credits left. You will have to get your credit card out. However, if you book Moderno and Teppenyaki first then the system will assume that you will be using a SDP credit for them and the fourth and fifth ones you book (for example La Cucina and Le Bistro) will be the ones that are chargeable. The payment required in advance for those restaurants is zero, so your credit card stays in your pocket. When you get onboard, you can allocate the SDP credits how you wish, so the fact that the system assumed that you would use a SDP credit in Moderno or Teppenyaki doesn’t mean that you have to do so. There is an added complication on some of the smaller ships, such as the Spirit, in that Teppenyaki doesn’t open up for online booking. In this case, you will have to wait until boarding in order to be able to book. If Teppenyaki isn’t available on these smaller ships (with limited spaces in Teppenyaki) then it doesn’t mean that it is sold out, but that it was never opened up for online bookings. Another complication are the restaurants which have an uncharge or discount if you use the SDP. For example, Ocean Blue and Bayamo are usually a la carte, but you can use a SDP credit and pay a surcharge of $10 rather than the a la carte cost. Alternatively, if used at the dinner show then you are charged a reduced cover charge. I am no expert on these, having never been to Ocean Blue or Bayamo, and only using the SDP for Cirque once many years ago however, this is my recommendation. In Ocean Blue/Bayamo, I would book other restaurants first (assuming that you are booking more restaurants than you have credits for). In that case there will be no upfront charge to pay as the system will assume that will be paying the a la carte prices. You can then pay the upcharge and use a SDP credit onboard. For Cirque, you first need to decide whether you are going to use the SDP for this. There are differing opinions as to whether it is worth it or not. If you plan to use the SDP then book it first so you just pay the smaller charge. Otherwise, I’m not sure when would be best to book it. Perhaps others have better advice on this. I would be worried about any complications onboard if I was to book it first and then not use the SDP, so would probably book it last and pay the full amount. I may be wrong on that though. Finally, a word on which meals it is best to use the latitudes meals on and which to use the SDP. There is no definitive answer to this, as it depends on what you will order. However, there are some things to take into account. The latitudes meals are more restricted than the SDP. You are limited to one appetiser, one entree and a dessert. There is also a limit of $20 on the value of the entree (you pay the difference). The SDP is just limited to one entree (and some specific items in Ocean Blue are also excluded I believe), even though some staff members try to suggest other limits. The $20 limit can be quite restrictive in Cagneys, so you may get better value in Le Bistro. However, I enjoy the soup and a starter in Le Bistro, so often use my latitudes meal in Carneys instead. It is largely personal opinion. It is worth looking at the menus to get an idea what you are likely to spend before deciding. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion regarding these bookings. The various options can make things quite complicated, especially with the restaurants with upcharges. I will almost certainly have missed some variations, so feel free to ask questions below and I’m sure that people will have answers and suggestions.
  7. Couple from Palm Desert, CA . Looking forward to meeting and socializing with others on this cruise!
  8. Looking for help and info on shore excursions on ports of call on Spirit cruise around the British Isles. What ports are best for ship excurs. and what ports are fine for local tours or just walking around? Any info from previous passengers on this cruise would be helpful. I have searched on this site for info on this cruise (leaving July 21 - Aug. 2) from Southampton and can not even find this cruise listed anywhere. Can anyone tell me why? I can find reviews of the Spirit....and will take those with a grain of there salt. Has anyone out there done this circle around the UK? Thanks in advance.
  9. We are booked on our first NCL cruise, sailing to Norway on the Spirit in June 2019. I've been doing some reading about the restaurants. We have the 4 specialty restaurant package. If I'm reading things correctly, there is an Italian restaurant on most NCL ships called La Cucina, but on the Spirit it is La Trattoria. What is the difference? I found one very old post that said La Trattoria only has a pasta bar. Has this changed? Does anyone have a current menu? And as long as we are talking about the Spirit, I'd love to hear any other comments you may have about the ship. What are your favorite restaurants and activities? Anything you don't like about the ship? Any other thoughts? Thanks!
  10. Just back from Azura and though I do not wish to write a review, here are some snippets:- Andersons Gin is no more. The contract with the Andersons distillery has finished as they could not or would not increase production. Azura had half a bottle left but could not sell it as it was not on the till. A young barman gave me one by mistake so I suppose I had the very last one. Drink prices. Spirit prices are on the rise. Last July a gin flight was 7.85, in April was 8.85 and last week was 9.95. Though beer and wine had only increased by a smaller amount. Ventura For the 2021/22 summer Ventura will be based in the med with Oceana back based in Southampton. Unruly Guests Cabin next to us had a family in who argued and swore and banged doors during the night and one night father had fist fight with teenage son. Reported to reception who were very concerned and kept phoning us to see if it was still happening. It went quiet then but the last night at 1pm the father threw the boy out in his underpants. He ran off. As this was the last night we let it go but I am sure P &O would have put them off if they had persisted. Oh yes we were told by a senior officer that they had actually had to handcuff someone fighting on deck 4. Did not spoil our holiday as we had a great time. And last but not least, the food was 100% better than on Azura in April. The head chef this time was Andy Yuill. He was on leave in April. Can’t say if this was the reason.
  11. Hi all. We have uploaded a tour of this brand new ship from Saga Cruises to our channel. We where on the Travel Agent sailing and go to see this beautiful ship.
  12. A few videos in case anyone hasn't seen them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6MtI6Y3hbc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUP8S_GJpCM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc-oXVKnHCQ She looks so shiny and new!
  13. Hi can anyone advise me who the current CD Head Sommelier are on the Spirit thanks, much appreciared!
  14. First time cruiser leaving in 10 days on the Carnival Spirit! I want to use cash to put on our onboard account instead of using our debit / credit card. Do I literally just withdraw a bunch of cash before we leave and take it onto the ship with us? And how do we deposit it once onboard? Thanks!
  15. I've never heard anything I'd call techno on a cruise either. I do think they have a tendency to turn the volume too high for the venue (i.e., I'd like to have a conversation over a martini), but that's my primary gripe. Most likely they've got commercial EDM mixes of popular music (the uptempo version of Muzak). Of course I'm laughing at this entire thread because this rapidly becomes a cliched "you kids keep off my lawn" conversation. And sometimes we evolve. I HATED "Smells Like Team Spirit" in the '90s as a thirty-something. Now Nevermind is one of my all time favorite albums (albums being a word that ages me!). I'm pushing 57 and there's no way I could handle seven days of Sinatra and the Brat Pack! And I actually like some Sinatra!
  16. My partner and I are planning to go on a Silver Sea Spirit cruise later this year, could anyone tell me if Silver Sea cruise line is gay friendly or not ?
  17. This thread is exclusively for those wishing to post questions and updates on when rate windows will open only. Information posted elsewhere will be dropped here. Likewise - posts that are not specifically on this topic will be deleted from this thread. Thanks Mike ***Note - There were posts for Jet Blue and South West on this board - however in setting this up I lost them. Please feel free to re-post your information here. I will stick this thread to the top once it gets started. *** This thread will drop posts over 90 days old.
  18. As background, this was our second Viking ocean cruise after Homelands on Star in 2017. We are relatively new to cruising. My DW decided in April last year to retire in December so this cruise was chosen to coincide with her retirement. We have been to the South Island of NZ many times (skiing) so the itinerary was not critical to us .. rather we were just looking for a couple of weeks of low stress, maximum enjoyment - which we largely achieved. Of course things which delighted us might dismay you, so please always take this into account when reading. Firstly, a couple of things which didn’t go entirely to plan; *we noticed a significant number of lounge chairs around the Wintergarden were ‘reserved’ early each day and many were reserved all day. This was a complete contrast to Homelands where there was never a problem finding a lounge. Perhaps the greater number of sea days had an influence *the NZ Wine and Cheese Tasting on the Aquavit Terrace was a shambles. There was one table set up with the wine and cheese. We arrived 5 minutes after the designated start time - and the participants were lined up across the deck, into the World Cafe, past the gelato bar, and onwards towards the front door. Seriously, there must have been 200 people lined up waiting to receive their wine / cheese from one table. We walked out. Surely this would have been better managed around the pool with maybe 4 tables serving the goodies *we attended the Mars presentation in the planetarium dome. We assumed it would be some sort of documentary about man’s progress towards a Mars landing etc. Unfortunately it was a ‘movie’ (for the want of a better word) with actors pretending to be astronauts pretending to go to Mars. It was terrible. They lock the door when the movie starts .. we assume this is to keep those attending in, rather than late arrivals out *we enjoyed Manfredis and ate there 4 times, but we think it will be a more enjoyable experience next time with some changes to the menu We have been super critical with these above observations only because pretty much everything else was good, great, or superb. The ship is beatiful and it is a pleasure just to walk around and / or to find a spot for quiet reflection - or a cold drink. There were a number of occasions we had an area (both the main pool and the infinity pool, the hot tub, the forward area on deck 9 for example) completely to ourselves. The staff are almost uniformly wonderful. Our stateroom attendants were excellent, the bar staff welcoming and quickly remembered our favourite drinks, food service staff helpful and friendly, reception staff who handled bookings, account enquires etc responsive and accommodating ... and on and on. Very impressed. The senior crew were visible and engaging throughout the cruise. The Cruise Director (Bevan) is an Aussie and he did a good job - although some days he seemed so busy he didn’t have time to say hi or even acknowledge us as we walked past. Not the end of the world I know, but .... We were only a few steps away from the secret entry into the Explorers Lounge (ie the door near 7000) and spent time there every day. We loved it. We started with a cup of tea early every morning and often sat looking into the distance, or chatting. The piano player (Tim I think ?) was good, but not as good the fabulous lady who was with us on Homelands. Equally we found the Area on deck 1 near the Viking Bar to be a good place to mingle or to chill. More often the music there was violinist and cello player, who were also very good. We found the restaurant to be good, but preferred the casual dining of the World Cafe .. and we ate on the Aquavit Terrace as often as we could. The food across all venues was very much to our liking, almost with exception. We only attended one show (ABBA) and it was good. We were gifted the Silver Spirits Package as a booking bonus and highly recommend it if you care for a wine / beer / spirit each day. The package wines are much better than the included offerings (we tried both as an experiment). The package also has medicinal benefits. I had a sore throat for a couple of days but after a number of Whiskey Sour’s spread over those couple of days (a drink full of lime juice and a slice of lemon - lots of Vitamin C) - no more sore throat. 🙂 We used the hot tub on deck 1 several times and found it most enjoyable .. but we did not venture inside the snow grotto 🥶 Excursions were as advertised - but we only participated in a few. As mentioned earlier, we were looking to relax rather than actively participate. But for what it is worth .. we did the Waiheke Wines tour in Auckland. It was a really good day with a nice drive around the island, morning tea, wine tasting etc. The only criticism.. there were 41 of us trying to squeeze into small wine tasting rooms. They should have split us into 2 groups of about 20. We did our own thing in Tauranga. It was New Years Day and we didn’t know if we would be up for a more intensive activity. Tauranga is a lovely spot we would never have known about without its inclusion on the itinerary. We loved just walking along the beach and through the parks, then into downtown for some shopping and a coffee. In Napier we did the Clearview Estate and Abbey Cellars tour. Well worthwhile as it included a nice drive around the best Art Deco areas of the city. Both wineries were good, Clearview was better (in terms of the wine, the presentation, and the location). We did the included in Wellington. Enjoyable and worthwhile. We missed Christchurch due to high winds. In Dunedin, DW did the Wildlife Cruise which she enjoyed. I did the included which I also enjoyed. After DW returned from her tour we caught the shuttle into town (20 minutes) and enjoyed the great fish and chips at the ‘Best Cafe’ (across the road from the train station). We missed Hobart due to heavy seas. We have been to Melbourne several times and just did our own thing in the city and nearby. If you have a spare couple of hours we can recommend taking a taxi from the ship to the St Kilda lighthouse and then walking back to the ship along the foreshore (about 6ks or 3.5 miles). We previously lived in Sydney and did our own thing there as well. The sail into Sydney harbour was magnificent. A beautiful blue sky day, light winds, warm temps. Just fabulous. So in terms of an overall score .. our enjoyment factor was 8.5 out of 10. Mostly great with a couple of minor hiccups. To close - I just want to add a couple of personal comments about the itinerary .. and of course these are just personal observations. If I was travelling from Europe / USA / Canada etc I would find 4 sea days on this 14 day itinerary to be too many. Not because I don’t like sea days .. simply it is so far to come and there is so much to see there may be more port focussed itineraries which would better show you around this part of the world. Maybe 4 sea days would be ok on a longer cruise in the region .. just sayin. The trip from Dunedin to Hobart is about 1800 kilometres (just over 1100 miles) .. out of Dunedin at 6pm, then 2 full seas days, then into Hobart at 11am (that was the schedule). Unfortunately we encountered rough seas (some very rough !) and the Captain was forced to proceed quite slowly and therefore our travel time from Dunedin to Hobart was much increased. It became clear to the Captain more than 24 hours before our scheduled arrival that we would not make Hobart in time - so we headed directly for Melbourne where we had an unscheduled overnight stay. Our scheduled time in Hobart was from 11am till 6pm - just 7 hours. It didn’t occur to me until we left Dunedin .. but that is a very long way to go for just 7 hours. The Tasman Sea does apparently have quiet a reputation so I am guessing future cruises might sometimes encounter similar seas. There were some very disappointed passengers on board who were really looking forward to Hobart. The Captain explained what he was doing and why - and no one is questioning his judgement or his desire to keep us safe and as comfortable as possible. But again, if you are travelling a long distance and have your heart set on seeing Hobart you might be better suited to an itinerary which includes an overnight stay (in case your arrival is delayed). Just my opinion of course. And FYI .. we have been told we will be offered compensation for missing 2 ports (but no contact received as yet). Apologies for the length of this review. I decided to post in this forum as several very kind CC members exchanged messages with us over recent weeks and I though they might appreciate seeing it here rather than having to go looking in the Review section later. We are booked on Viking Sky in May (Iceland) and Star in June (Empires of the Med) and will no doubt be seeking your advice and guidance in this Forum ahead of those adventures. Best regards ..
  19. Tomorrow Saga's Spirit of Discovery is being named by HRH Duchess of Cornwall. My latest video filmed over the last week shares the 8 must-knows and 1 big watch-out about the ship.
  20. Hello Fellow Cruisers We have identified what look like good small group excursions from Haifa (on 27/10) to Nazareth and Galilee and from Ashdod (on 28/10) to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The cost is US$99pp for a min of six participants. If you are interested in details and possibly joining us, let us know. We are a British couple who have done a lot of traveling and have always tried to book our own excursions on cruises. All the best. Richard & Lorraine
  21. My husband and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary and are looking at Spirit in mid-December. We are taking our 4 adult kids also, so 3 cabins. We have never cruised with NCL and I am reading the reviews of Spirit and am a little concerned about the condition of the ship. But then I read that NCL has cancelled Spirits cruises in January for an extended dry dock so it looks like this is the last cruise for her for a while. Dates are December 15 to 22nd ... the itinerary looks fun. What are your thoughts? I've read of instances of last cruises before dry dock where the work is started and it is a mess with carpets being taken up, etc. Our other options was MSC Gloriosa, but it's just so big...and those reviews are even worse. We have cruised RCCL extensively, and Princess in Alaska. This cruise is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and we need to celebrate. We've been thru more than most (I'm a 5 time cancer survivor) and really want to do this right. Thank you so much for any help.
  22. Can someone please confirm that the Wind Spirit still has snorkel equipment available for use during the cruise. Can you take a set and keep it in your stateroom for the cruise?
  23. I'm loving your review! I absolutely loved this cruise and I'm certainly enjoying reading about the cruise from another perspective. I loved Galaxy Lounge and spent most evenings there with all my new cruise friends. It was just amazing -particularly on the many nights when the sun didn't go down. I also recognised some of the people in the Shanghai Bar- having a cabin Deck 9 just above it I usually went there for a pre dinner drink. I also did all my tours privately and had a wonderful time in all of the ports. I was also on the cruise before -so I definitely had a wonderful 26 days onboard the Spirit. I look forward to reading the rest of your review.
  24. Stavanger may be best known for the amazing Pulpit Rock. We wanted to hike up to the top, but our port time did not allow. I had contacted a local guide to see if it could be done. They could not assure us that we would be able to get back to the ship on time. Disappointed to miss this amazing sight, but we did the next best thing. We took a scenic cruise through Lysefjord which was beautiful. And we saw Pulpit Rock from below. We did not do any excursions through NCL. Their prices were just crazy. I am a true believer in booking your own excursions outside of the cruise ship. This has worked very well for us and saved us tons of money. But there is always that caveat: if something goes wrong, you are on your own. If you are on an independent excursion, the ship won't wait for you. Some people just don't feel comfortable taking that chance, and I can certainly understand that. But for us, with very carefully researched providers, we have had good luck with outside tours (but we did have one hiccup later in our cruise). I'm going to post comparisons of our tours with those offered by NCL. I'm not doing this to denigrate NCL, but just as a point of comparison. So today, we had a 3 hour boat tour through the fjord with Rodne Fjord Cruise company. The cost was 550 NOK, or about $64 per person. A very similar tour is offered by NCL, and includes coffee and waffles. It cost $129 per person. I did not want to pay double the price just for a waffle. Everything else about the tour sounded exactly the same. It was a very short walk from the ship to the excursion boat. Very easy to do this tour. The scenery was just stunning. It's hard to see from below, but that's Pulpit Rock up there in the next photo. It is the little square part jutting out in the top center of the photo, 1,982 feet above us. Here is the Spirit docked in Stavanger
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