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  #81  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:01 PM
Rzelden Rzelden is offline
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Thanks for your post.
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  #82  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:03 PM
Rzelden Rzelden is offline
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Truthfully, until now, I really didn't feel the need to talk about my cruises here except with friends and family. I may get more involved with the site now that I understand what it can be used for, good and bad experiences, and even get tips on future cruises. This wasn't the first and it certainly won't be my last cruise. My wife and I are already booked on The Solstice on 5/17 for our 3rd cruise to Alaska and I can't wait. An no kids this time!!!

Last edited by Rzelden; February 1st, 2013 at 05:10 PM.
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  #83  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Rzelden View Post
Truthfully, until now, I really didn't feel the need to talk about my cruises here except with friends and family. I may get more involved with the site now that I understand what it can be used for, good and bad experiences, and even get tips on future cruises. This wasn't the first and it certainly won't be my last cruise. My wife and I are already booked on The Solstice on 5/17 for our 3rd cruise to Alaska and I can't wait. An no kids this time!!!
Was your child found in your cabin or a cabin two down from your cabin? The news artlcle makes it sound like he was in a different cabin.


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When they returned to their cabin two hours later, they discovered their oldest son, an 11-year-old autistic boy, in a cabin two doors down where the cabin steward watched over him.

Last edited by reallyitsmema; February 1st, 2013 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Edit to add quote.
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  #84  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:31 PM
Rzelden Rzelden is offline
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We had 3 cabins, we were a total of 9 people, all family
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  #85  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:38 PM
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He is verbal, but explaining why he does things is not the easiest thing for him, so we don't know why he left. I will go back to other lines and probably start cruising with an autism group called autism of the seas. They organize group cruises for families with autism, usually on Royal. When on one of their cruises, they post their employees in the kids club at all times in addition to the cruise staff because they are better trained.
I think this may better suit your needs. Sorry that NCL disappointed you. It does seem that cruise lines are slow to own up to their mistakes, and that is very unfortunate.
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  #86  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:39 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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Originally Posted by Rzelden View Post
Truthfully, until now, I really didn't feel the need to talk about my cruises here except with friends and family. I may get more involved with the site now that I understand what it can be used for, good and bad experiences, and even get tips on future cruises. This wasn't the first and it certainly won't be my last cruise. My wife and I are already booked on The Solstice on 5/17 for our 3rd cruise to Alaska and I can't wait. An no kids this time!!!
We are doing the Solstice the week of May 6-15th!
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Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).

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  #87  
Old February 1st, 2013, 05:55 PM
dsrdsrdsr dsrdsrdsr is offline
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There's a lot of posting on this thread about how autistic children "can't cope" and "shouldn't have been left". But where's the evidence?

This boy was evidently able to "cope" well enough in the kids club that throughout the cruise NCL staff never felt he needed his parents to stay with him; and he was able to "cope" well enough that when he wanted to leave, he left in a quiet and orderly manner and returned without incident to his cabin. As has been stated already, there is no single badge that fits all autistic children. Ben, at least, seems quite able to cope with this incident.
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  #88  
Old February 1st, 2013, 07:26 PM
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I am so sorry you had to have this experience. I was on the same sailing as you. Fortunately I didn't have as traumatic an experience as yours, but I must say I was extremely frustrated with the Kids Club on this sailing.

It was the most unorganized and disjointed of any NCL sailing we have been on. It was our 3rd time on the Epic and my son's 11th or 12th NCL cruise in the last 6 years. My son did not like the environment on this particular sailing. So much so, that he did not want to go the last night, so he did not.

At opening and closing times of the club, it was pure chaos and yes absolutely very strict on the sign in and sign out. BUT, I witnessed on off times when I would go to pick up my kid or drop him off, that often, there were NO Kids Crew members at the sign in sign out desk area. I would wait as long as 5 minutes for someone to appear. It only takes about a minute or less for a child to unlatch the gate and go up or down the stairs right outside the kids club area. I would bet this is what occured and was the time that your son left. Again, so sorry this happened to you.

The kids counselors on this sailing were lacking and definitely poorly trained.

I do have multiple NCL sailings booked and am hoping that this was a one time bad experience for me as I have had many Excellent experiences in the past, both on the Epic and other ships in the fleet. I did write a letter to NCL expaining the problems with the Current Epic Kids Club. It took them nearly 7 weeks (just received a letter yesterday) to finally respond to my letters and emails. Although my situation was nowhere as bad as yours, I felt the time it took for them to respond was horrible. They didn't ask me to sign a nondisclosure or anything and did offer me some "welcome aboard amenities" on my next cruise. What I want most of all from NCL is for them to reevaluate the kids program on the Epic and now after reading what happened to you, to definitely make sure the counselours are welll trained.
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  #89  
Old February 1st, 2013, 07:43 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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djmess, thanks for that information. It sounds as though that is what happened.
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  #90  
Old February 1st, 2013, 08:48 PM
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One of the (many) challenges with Aspie kids is that apart from a few similar traits each child displays some or all of those traits to a greater or lesser degree. Its not a One Size Fits All disorder and the only people who know what a child can or can't cope with are the parents of that child. Our Aspie daughter is very self-sufficient and compliant in most situations but a noisy, busy, possibly chaotic kids club would have been totally overwhelming and no doubt she would have done anything to escape to some peace and quiet too. So we wouldn't have used the kids club in the first place. Responsibility for a child's well being ultimately rests with the parents and their knowledge of the child's capabilities and/or limitations. And then they go and do something totally left field...
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  #91  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:06 AM
mjkacmom mjkacmom is online now
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I am so sorry you had to have this experience. I was on the same sailing as you. Fortunately I didn't have as traumatic an experience as yours, but I must say I was extremely frustrated with the Kids Club on this sailing.

It was the most unorganized and disjointed of any NCL sailing we have been on. It was our 3rd time on the Epic and my son's 11th or 12th NCL cruise in the last 6 years. My son did not like the environment on this particular sailing. So much so, that he did not want to go the last night, so he did not.

At opening and closing times of the club, it was pure chaos and yes absolutely very strict on the sign in and sign out. BUT, I witnessed on off times when I would go to pick up my kid or drop him off, that often, there were NO Kids Crew members at the sign in sign out desk area. I would wait as long as 5 minutes for someone to appear. It only takes about a minute or less for a child to unlatch the gate and go up or down the stairs right outside the kids club area. I would bet this is what occured and was the time that your son left. Again, so sorry this happened to you.

The kids counselors on this sailing were lacking and definitely poorly trained.

I do have multiple NCL sailings booked and am hoping that this was a one time bad experience for me as I have had many Excellent experiences in the past, both on the Epic and other ships in the fleet. I did write a letter to NCL expaining the problems with the Current Epic Kids Club. It took them nearly 7 weeks (just received a letter yesterday) to finally respond to my letters and emails. Although my situation was nowhere as bad as yours, I felt the time it took for them to respond was horrible. They didn't ask me to sign a nondisclosure or anything and did offer me some "welcome aboard amenities" on my next cruise. What I want most of all from NCL is for them to reevaluate the kids program on the Epic and now after reading what happened to you, to definitely make sure the counselours are welll trained.
It was over a holiday - of course the kids clubs would be chaos! And I'm sure the lines for rides at Disney were hours long, the airports were crazy, and there was tons on traffic on the highways. It is what it is. We sailed on the Jewel over a NJ holiday, and there were times that the entire hallway outside the clubs were packed with people. No big deal, the kids were on a cruise, and not missing school, but there were 800 kids onboard, and I assumed there would be issues (like the non-adult pool being absolutely packed with kids).

I wouldn't expect an apology from NCL, because that would be an admission of guilt, and with today's sue-crazy climate, I'm sure there is a policy they have to adhere to when mistakes are made.
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  #92  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 12:56 PM
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I think that the story about the boy in the band and the OP's son are related, because in both cases, the caregivers were in a situation where one child needed special attention, while in a group with other children. In each case, the people looking after these children were not able to give the child the one-on-one attention (or extra supervision) that he needed, because they had to watch a whole group of children.

In addition, both sets of caregivers (the parents on the band trip and the staff at NCL) were not usually responsible for caring for a child with special needs.

Yes, the staff in the kids' club on NCL dropped the ball in not noticing that the OP's child had left. It shouldn't have happened. But, they are not specifically trained to look after special needs children and they were probably not staffed to an extent that one person could be allocated to do this.

Thank you for this post. I cannot agree with you more. I understand that parents who leave their children in a kid's club wish to believe that they are safe. One thing the past several decades should have shown us is that the responsibility for assuring their children are safe in daycare belongs to the parent.

I also that a parent with a special needs child needs some time alone away from that child as do parents with "normal" children. However, it is a parent's responsibility to make sure that the environment the child is being left in is safe for that particular child. Care situations in most public venues are simply not set up for any child, special needs or otherwise, who cannot or does not follow the rules. The kid's club should not be put into the position of having to pay more attention to one child than they do the group as a whole. If a child cannot function safely without attention greater than the others in the room, the child should not be placed in the situation. It is not fair to the child, to the other children, or to the caregivers.
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  #93  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:19 PM
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You might have been a little less sanguine about the event if -- like the original poster -- your child was unable to communicate to you what happened and no one in the kid's club either stepped up to apologize or could explain what happened either....




As already pointed out, not all 10-year olds are "allowed" to leave. The parents have to give permission for them to be able to sign themselves in and out. That's two steps the counselors are supposed to go through if a kid -- yes even in that age range -- wants to leave: 1) they have to check that the parents actually gave permission and 2) the child has to physically sign him/herself out.

Neither of which happened here, apparently. Kids are not allowed to just walk out.

I know that when my child was 10, I did not give permission for him to be able to sign out and wander around the ship without a family member. I would be most unhappy if that actually happened, regardless of whether any harm came to him. I can't be the only parent to feel this way?
The question is whether, if seeing the door unattended, your son would leave without you signing him out. If the answer is yes, then your child does not belong in a kid's club. If your child would stand there until someone comes to let him out, then kid's club might be a good place for them.
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  #94  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by San_Antonio_Ex View Post
Thank you for this post. I cannot agree with you more. I understand that parents who leave their children in a kid's club wish to believe that they are safe. One thing the past several decades should have shown us is that the responsibility for assuring their children are safe in daycare belongs to the parent.

I also that a parent with a special needs child needs some time alone away from that child as do parents with "normal" children. However, it is a parent's responsibility to make sure that the environment the child is being left in is safe for that particular child. Care situations in most public venues are simply not set up for any child, special needs or otherwise, who cannot or does not follow the rules. The kid's club should not be put into the position of having to pay more attention to one child than they do the group as a whole. If a child cannot function safely without attention greater than the others in the room, the child should not be placed in the situation. It is not fair to the child, to the other children, or to the caregivers.

Wow - just wow. I really should stop reading this thread but I can't help myself.
Unless otherwise noted- programs are put on place for all children. The ADA assures the same rights to all regardless of disability and this includes children with special needs. I'm sorry for you that we live in a world where not everyone is your perception of "normal".

I don't know if you are addressing the original post in this thread that stated that this particular child had already been to the kids club - it wasn't his first time. Another poster said that the security was lax and the door was accessible to anyone when it shouldn't have been ... And if all kids follow the rules 100% of the time, why do they need counselors there at all?

Ugh!


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  #95  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Wow - just wow. I really should stop reading this thread but I can't help myself.
Unless otherwise noted- programs are put on place for all children. The ADA assures the same rights to all regardless of disability and this includes children with special needs. I'm sorry for you that we live in a world where not everyone is your perception of "normal".

I don't know if you are addressing the original post in this thread that stated that this particular child had already been to the kids club - it wasn't his first time. Another poster said that the security was lax and the door was accessible to anyone when it shouldn't have been ... And if all kids follow the rules 100% of the time, why do they need counselors there at all?

Ugh!


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Ha! You are so right. Some people will never understand.

All I have to say is that with 1 in 54 (nearly 2%!!) of the US population of boys being diagnosed on the ASD spectrum .. you'd better get used to us.
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  #96  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 06:31 PM
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Wow - just wow. I really should stop reading this thread but I can't help myself.
Unless otherwise noted- programs are put on place for all children. The ADA assures the same rights to all regardless of disability and this includes children with special needs. I'm sorry for you that we live in a world where not everyone is your perception of "normal".

I don't know if you are addressing the original post in this thread that stated that this particular child had already been to the kids club - it wasn't his first time. Another poster said that the security was lax and the door was accessible to anyone when it shouldn't have been ... And if all kids follow the rules 100% of the time, why do they need counselors there at all?

Ugh!


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I'm sorry, you have no idea what my perception of "normal" is, nor do you know whether the we live in a world in which everyone meets my perception of "normal".

I didn't understand that you believe the ability to use a "kid's club" on a cruise is a RIGHT, guaranteed to you. I always believed the kid's clubs were extras, not rights.

I did NOT say that ASD kids didn't belong in kid's clubs, so get your knickers out of a knot. All I said was, if your child will not remain in the kid's club if the door is unattended, then perhaps kid's club is not the proper place for your child to be, regardless of whether your child is "normal". I'm sorry that appears to have struck a nerve with you.

As for me, I refused to leave my children anywhere I do not believe they will be safe. That meant different things for my son and my daughters. There was absolutely no way on God's green earth I would have left a child I knew would "escape" if given a chance in a kid's club on a cruise - for just the reason stated in this thread. The OP was unbelievably lucky that their child made it safely from kid's club to their cabin without harm.

I'm sure if their child had been hurt, the parents would have been comforted by your statement that "the ADA assures the same rights to all regardless of disability and this includes children with special needs." They may not have had a child any longer, but hey, they could sue, right?

Parents are the people ultimately responsible for their children's behavior and for their children's safety. At least that was the way I raised my children. You are welcome to disagree and to trust others to care as much about your child's safety as you do. Personally, I would not have left my son in the kid's clubs at that age, because he would absolutely walk out if the door were left unattended. My daughters attended the kid's clubs throughout their life. Each child was treated differently based upon their needs. But that's just me.
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  #97  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 06:46 PM
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All I have to say is that with 1 in 54 (nearly 2%!!) of the US population of boys being diagnosed on the ASD spectrum .. you'd better get used to us.
I don't think there's any need to "get used to us", as you put it. The increase in diagnosis does not mean that there are more ASD people about, just that diagnoses have changed. 1 in 54 boys now have a label to say they're different; in the past, the 1 in 54 boys still existed, they grew into adults, they just didn't (and don't) have a label. They're just folks, like the rest of us. Some of the 1 in 54 are undoubtedly handicapped in a way that will prevent them living an independent adult life. Some are not.

Whether this label helps the boys to learn to behave in an adult manner in the adult world when the time comes, that's a subject for a whole different (non-cruise related) thread. But I doubt the attitude of "get used to us" will help the ASD boys get a job. It's not like the other 53 boys who don't have a label are a set of clones; they're all different, they all have to learn to get along with each other.
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  #98  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 06:53 PM
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The OP was unbelievably lucky that their child made it safely from kid's club to their cabin without harm.
Of course he wasn't "unbelievably lucky". If he'd been the sort of child with a tendancy to self-harm, then obviously the OP wouldn't have left him there. Just because a child is autistic doesn't mean he's entirely incompetent at everything, as you appear to think.

Yes, the simple act of walking from the kids' club to the cabin does have its dangers, and more so for an autistic child. But not to the extent that its successful accomplishment should be seen as some sort of miracle.

As for the rest of your post, IMO some of it is just wrong, the rest is contemptible. I won't dignify it by quoting it.
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  #99  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Of course he wasn't "unbelievably lucky". If he'd been the sort of child with a tendancy to self-harm, then obviously the OP wouldn't have left him there. Just because a child is autistic doesn't mean he's entirely incompetent at everything, as you appear to think.
OMG! Where did I say the child had the tendency to self-harm??? Where did I say that I believed an autistic child is entirely incompetent at everything???

I said none of those things, nor do I believe them. You don't know me or my beliefs. The OP said "Thank goodness for Jose, the stateroom attendant. If hadn't been there, who knows where Ben could have wandered off to."

I assumed they knew their child better than I - if they were afraid of him wandering off or being allowed to leave kid's club without being signed out, who am I, or you, to question whether that would have been safe for him.

The only thing I have said is that parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children's safety. You have the right to disagree.
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  #100  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:18 PM
rebeccalouiseagain rebeccalouiseagain is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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I agree that the parents should have expected their child to be kept inside the youth program while they went to dinner. That was a totally legitimate complaint from the OP.

What I do disagree with is leaving a child, any child for the matter, in an environment that many described as "chaotic". For one thing- I don't want my child getting hurt and I don't want to leave my child in an understaffed area. There should be no more than 20 kids to a counselor. If there were 800 children onboard, which I have read there were- there should be a space that can safely hold the # that actual participate in the youth program. Assuming that 50% attended the youth program at any one time. That is 400 children divided into say groups of 100. There should be 5 counselors in each group at that rate.

However- say (and I'm sure this is rare)- all the kids were to show up. Then you would need 10 counselors per group. And also a facility that could adequately hold this many children without injury.

I really am not comfortable with the prospect of 100-200 children in a confined area while I "relax" at dinner.

The arm injury and face injuries reported here illustrate the inherent problems with this type of "chaotic" environment.

If it was obvious to the other parents- then they shouldn't have left their kids there at all- autism or not. Hopefully NCL will figure out how to handle large groups of children over the holidays. Other areas of the ship should be used- like the dance clubs and lounges that are normally empty during meal time. Or they can have night sporting events on the basketball courts but all these kids in a confined area is not in the best interest of the children.
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Past cruises:Enchantment of the Seas 12/6/13 Bahamas, Grand Princess Alaska 7/19/13, Celebrity Solstice California Coast 5/13, Serenade of the Seas Western Med (1/4/13)Celebrity Summit Bermuda(8/12/12),Celebrity Infinity Alaska 7/6/12
Caribbean Princess New England (8/11), Holland America Maasdam New England (6/11)Celebrity Equinox Norway (7/09), Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas (4/09) Grand Princess British Isles (08) Holland America Zuiderdam Greece/ Turkey (08) Oceania Regatta Caribbean Southern Caribbean (08) QM2 Transatlantic (07) Celebrity Millenium Western Med (7/07), Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Eastern Caribbean(4/06), Disney Wonder Bahamas (8/05), Celebrity Constellation (4/06), Sapphire Princess Alaska (5/24/05) Celebrity Millenium Transatlantic (5/1/05), NCL Spirit Eastern Caribbean (3/05), Celebrity Galaxy (10/04), Carnival Victory (6/04), Celebrity Zenith Bermuda (10/01), Celebrity Zenith Eastern Caribbean (4/01),NCL Dynasty (12/00) NCL Sky Alaska (7/00), NCL Wind Alaska (5/98), Crown Princess Pacific repo (5/98), Royal Sovereign of the Seas Bahamas (10/97), Costa Victoria Western Caribbean (3/97), Crown Princess Alaska (6/96), Vera Cruz Christmas (1981), Holland America Volendam Christmas (1980), Holland America Veendam Christmas (1975).

Upcoming cruises: Norwegian Pearl Pacific Coast 5/3/2014 My Birthday! Celebrity Solstice Alaska 5/8/2014

Last edited by rebeccalouiseagain; February 2nd, 2013 at 07:22 PM.
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