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PaulInPGH

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About PaulInPGH

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    Alexandria, VA

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  1. I hope you win your bid! If you do, please drop back in and let us know how it went and what you thought. Have a great cruise! Cheers.
  2. Greetings. After five straight NCL cruises, we're looking at doing something different. We're planning on heading back to the Med, hopefully this coming October, and I'm currently weighing options. While there are certainly options on lines like NCL or Royal, we're considering doing something a bit different, which has led us to look at both MSC and Costa. I'd love to hear from anyone who's experienced both lines and could give us an idea of the pros and cons of each. Where are the two lines similar, and where are they different? If you had the option, which would you cruise and why? Really, anything you'd like to share would be appreciated. I'm posting this in both the Costa and MSC boards to get info from both perspectives. Your feedback is much appreciated!
  3. Greetings. After five straight NCL cruises, we're looking at doing something different. We're planning on heading back to the Med, hopefully this coming October, and I'm currently weighing options. While there are certainly options on lines like NCL or Royal, we're considering doing something a bit different, which has led us to look at both MSC and Costa. I'd love to hear from anyone who's experienced both lines and could give us an idea of the pros and cons of each. Where are the two lines similar, and where are they different? If you had the option, which would you cruise and why? Really, anything you'd like to share would be appreciated. I'm posting this in both the Costa and MSC boards to get info from both perspectives. Your feedback is much appreciated!
  4. We're also looking at trying something new after five straight NCL cruises. I'm not sure if you've looked at some of the MSC itineraries in Europe, but when I looked at some pricing for cruises this coming October, I was blown away by how good their pricing is compared to similar NCL cruises. Pricing for a balcony cabin was about half the cost of an NCL balcony. The Yacht Club was also priced $3,000 less than a Haven cabin on NCL. I've not looked at anything other than cruises from Italy, so no clue how they compare throughout the rest of the world, but I would strongly consider MSC, at least at the current pricing, should you be venturing to Europe. Cheers.
  5. My wife and I just spent a week in Paris back in November. If I was going just for a few hours, I would suggest really trying to limit yourself to one or possibly two places, rather than try to scramble around to just see the outside of a bunch of different sites. The metro is convenient, for sure, but you'll still have to spend the time locating the stations, reviewing maps, and generally figuring out how to navigate an unfamiliar city. Also, don't hesitate to use Uber to move between locations. We used it several times during our stay when we were too tired to metro back to our hotel, and it was always fast, convenient, and affordable. If you decide to spend your time near the Notre-Dame Cathedral (which is spectacular), you could also explore the nearby Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral, which is home to some of the most beautiful stained glass in Europe. A short walk can also take you to the Ile Saint-Louis (look for Berthillon ice cream, some of the best in the world), across the river to the Latin Quarter where there are plenty of lunch spots, or, only two subway stops away, the Saint-Germain-des-Pres area, which is home to a number of the most historic cafes in Paris. My point is, you don't need to zoom around and see all the major sites to have a memorable Paris experience. Pick one or two things that sound attractive and do that, and save the rest for the next visit. Cheers.
  6. Tipping is so subjective and entirely dependent on your individual experience. I don't think there's anything that's "appropriate" or not. For us, we felt that we didn't use the butler much at all, with the exception of the two mornings we ate breakfast in the room. Even that, I felt, was a little lacking, as I'd read that butler's typically set up your breakfast for you (with a table cloth, place settings, etc.), and Joseph simply dropped off the food. All that being said, we stayed at about the $50 range for tipping. Some probably do more, some probably do less. Just leave what you're comfortable with. Cheers.
  7. We definitely never had to wait at the Haven restaurant. However, we were only a party of two, so that may be a factor. We saw a couple parties of four or five have to wait, but it didn't look like they had to wait long. It was definitely nice to have that venue available essentially whenever you wanted it. We never had a wait at any other restaurants. Margaritaville seemingly gets pretty busy, so you may have a little wait there, but since we went on a day when the ship was in port, it was basically empty. We never did the dining room, but we've never had to wait at the dining room on any of our other NCL cruises. Again, being a party of two probably makes that easier. I don't recall seeing a beer opener in our suite; we never had need of one. Cheers.
  8. Well, this brings me to the end of another review. I'm certainly happy to answer any questions (though I don't have copies of the dailies, so I probably won't be able to answer specific days/times questions). Otherwise, see you after the next cruise! Cheers, Paul
  9. Post-Cruise: Wherein we are sad. Haven disembarkation is so nice, it might be worth booking a Haven cabin just for that final morning. We slept until 8:00, and we then made our way up to the Haven restaurant, which was fully operational. Because we were staying in Florida for a few more days and had nowhere to be, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while everyone else made their way off the ship. Escorted off the ship at around 9:15, we made it out quickly. But we then hit a long line leading into the luggage pick-up area, something to which we were not accustomed on this vacation. We eventually made it to the luggage pick-up area, but we had a hard time figuring out where the Haven priority luggage was located. It turned out that it was in a separate room a ways away from the main luggage area. This was very confusing, and could definitely have used some signage to point the way. We eventually made it outside. We’d intended to take Uber again, but the area was so chaotic, we opted for a taxi instead. We spent a delightful few additional days in Florida, where we spent time with my family, and ate some truly epic seafood. We flew home on Wednesday, and the universe had mercy on me, because the flight was uneventful. Since we’ve been home, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to our next vacation. There are a lot of places we want to go, and knowing us, a cruise will likely be part of whatever we choose to do.
  10. We spent the rest of the evening at Howl at the Moon. It was a lot of fun, even though they did not attempt our Rush request, despite our $5 tip. We finished the night on our balcony, lamenting the fact that we’d be off the ship in only a few short hours. Up next, Post-Cruise – Goodbye, beautiful Haven.
  11. We’d originally booked Cagney’s for our final night meal. But since we enjoyed Ocean Blue so much, and since we’ve eaten at Cagney’s a number of times, we decided to go back to Ocean Blue. I of course ordered the gratin again, and there was definitely cheese in that dish! We got a bit of a chuckle when we heard a woman complaining that she doesn’t eat seafood or steak, which begged the question, why on earth did you choose to dine at a restaurant that features nothing but seafood and steak? The meal was amazing. Here’s a taste of what we had: champagne, calamari, crab cakes, red wine, surf and turf, spinach, gratin, and Mac and cheese. Also, not to be forgotten, the delicious sorbet dessert. It was a lovely finale to a lovely trip.
  12. Thank you. That's exactly how I felt about leaving our Haven cabin and the most comfortable bed I've ever had the pleasure to sleep on. I still miss it:(
  13. Thanks very much. It is a bit of a struggle sometimes to come up with ways to make "we swam, relaxed, and ate a lot" sound interesting, hahaha. Not sure how much relaxing we'll get in on the next cruise, as we're looking at some Med cruises for our next trip. The last time we did one of those we were on the go from dawn til dusk. Very fun, but definitely not relaxing.
  14. You will love it, I'm sure. The Haven is fantastic and has ruined me for all future cruises.
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