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Everything posted by LAFFNVEGAS

  1. We are getting ready to head to Japan for a cruise for our 2nd time but with Princess but with that being said it sounds like you really want the NCL and truthfully I cannot blame you I would too. I have three favorite cruise lines that pretty much tie well actually NCL is really number one for us but HAL and Princess are tied for 2nd lol. I have cruised RCL 3 times and the third time I stated never again.. I know everyone has their favorite cruise lines. And actually shame on me for dissing Royal Caribbean since it has been many years since I have sailed on them but the same goes to those that diss NCL they probably have not sailed NCL recently or probably not at all. I agree that the itinerary you listed for NCL is a very good one. I wanted to take NCL but the time we needed to go did not work with dates I could take off or we would have booked NCL for our 2nd cruise to Japan. Although we did truly enjoy our first cruise on the Diamond Princess and felt that Princess does an excellent job with Japan. I would say that it will probably be worth losing the deposit to get the cruise you really wanted.
  2. I love this, I wish they would do this on all the ships that do not have a Tamarind, this is a great side menu ๐Ÿ‘
  3. The Club Class Dining on the Diamond is in Sante Fe Dining room and is the only Open Dining.
  4. Thanks for your review, it is good to see something about the Diamond and Japan. We last cruised on the Diamond doing an 8 night Circle Island Japan in October 2017. Many of the things you stated were the same such as having the two Cruise Directors but our 8 day was totally different as for nationality demographics. We were expecting mostly Japanese on our sailing and instead more than 70% were from North America US and Canada. I think there were something like 400+ from Hawaii alone. They had told us that less than 10% of our sailing were from Japan. Before Sail Away they did the Breaking of the Sake Barrel which those announcements were done with the two Cruise Directors first in English then the second in Japanese but that was the very last time we heard any announcements in Japanese the whole cruise the remaining announcements were totally in English. We loved our trip to Japan and sailing on the Diamond Princess, so much so we are returning September 9th for the 9 night on the Diamond. I am hoping for more diverse nationalities. I expect it to be a totally different cruise. We were told last time that it does change drastically from sailing to sailing. Interesting you brought up newbies because our sailing in 2017 had a lot of Captain's Circle members. But I think that was due to being so many from North America. Over all we found things to be just slightly different than a normal Princess cruise even with so many North America's on board. One big difference is Shore Excursions which is technically not operated by Princess or Princess Crew members but rather Carnival Corporation. even their uniforms and names tags did not say Princess on them. While it looks like a Princess ship there is that underlining feel that you are not embarking on a normal Princess cruise sailing out of Port Everglades or Port of Los Angeles. One thing not mentioned that I love about the Diamond is that if you book a Mini Suite or higher category they have the Japanese style toilets in the cabins as well as many of the public toilets through out the ship. These are wonderful and one of the things I am looking forward to again. We also loved the offerings of more Japanese food in the Horizon Court. The Noodle Bar was good as well as we felt the quality of the vegetables and meats were much better. We found ourselves eating more of all our meals there including the last Formal night. We laughed because we decided not to dress up but eat in the Horizon Court and it was packed including people dressed in formal wear having dinner. Everyone else was also preferring Horizon Court for dining. Also thanks for the heads up on the Green Tea soft serve ice cream, that they did not have when we were there last and I love Green Tea Ice Cream
  5. The cruise line Gift Cards are great and can be a big savings depending how you purchase them since many places offer them with a discount but the one thing many forget to think about when using them is to keep them even when they have used the card. If by chance sometime later you need to cancel that cruise the refund is always placed against the card pr cards that were used for payments. So if you have a refund coming back that credit will go back to the gift card, they see it like a credit card. If you throw away that card and a credit is given then you will have no way to access the credit.
  6. If you booked direct with NCL you contact them and if you booked with a TA you contact them, NCL will not talk to you about your reservation if you booked with a TA.
  7. Another year, another fee increase on the high seas. Even as the cruise lines offer up specials for 2019 during #ChooseCruise Month, Holland America Line is quietly raising its daily gratuity charge by $1 per person, per day. Early last week I heard about HAL raising their gratuities but that happened while the CC boards were down so figured I would wait to see if anyone posted this information. Since I did not see it thought I would pass it on. Although it seems that Cruise Critic did post it on their site October 9th. https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=266 https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Holland-America-Line-Raises-Gratuities-for-2019 I have no problem with the increase since it is still lower than many of the other lines, what is frustrating and to others I speak with is that HAL is the only cruise line that does not allow to pre pay or allow you to lock in the cost. For 2 people it is not bad on a 7 day cruise but for a family of 4 or possibly of a Grand parent is paying for the whole family this can be quite an increase. Even Princess their sister line will lock in the price and allow you to pre pay.
  8. I have been following the Upsell Offers from HAL Very closely over the past 9 plus years. The past year has had the least amount of offers available. The likelihood of a Balcony to Signature Suite are nil to slim. The HAL Department that handles these have actually reduced the number of employees in this department due to LESS Upsell Offers. There are two Major factors in this, one the economy has improved and those with extra money are willing to spend upfront knowing they will in fact have a Signature or Neptune Suite. Second. HAL has numerous Travel Partners/Travel Agencies that do Special Sales with places such as Travel Zoo. These Travel Agencies partnered with HAL for Special Reduced pricing allowing in some cases the Suites prices to be several hundred dollars less per person. These tend to happen more often on the 7 day voyages but in doing this very often all of the Suites Sell Out. There was a time when people who booked Signature Suites had a very good chance of getting an offer to a Neptune but that is definitely no longer the case. My opinion is if you want a Neptune, Book it when it is available.
  9. I am a bit confused by your post I don't see where the Spa Mini Suites are near the forward elevators. They are pretty much Mid Ship between forward and aft except for 4 that they added as extras like 15180/15780. They are on the same deck as the other "Spa cabins: Haven and Balcony. For Logitical reasons the Spa Minis are located where the other Mini Suites are located in the decks below. I do not see a way they could have placed them any closer due to deck lay outs. I have not had the pleasure of sailing on the other Breakaway Class ships only Jewel and Dawn Class so have no comparison that the Bliss Spa was smaller but thought the size was very good. It was never crowded. I would have liked to have the Saunas have a window (loved the one on the Pearl) but have to say that I still loved the set up for the Spa on the Bliss at the aft. I love the Wake views. Our most recent cruise we were in The Haven and I walked every morning to the gym, then spent a few hours in the Thermal Suite. I honestly thought it felt like it was much closer than it was. It never took more than a couple of minutes to walk there. Not like other ships I have been on that felt like the distance was much further from one end to the other. The Bliss is most definitely the best laid out ship I have ever been on.
  10. Unfortunately no more pictures of the cabin. The chairs and small table you see in the picture was all there was but I am sure we could have asked for loungers if we knew we would need them. We loved the location but the cabin felt small. This was our first time in the Larger NCL ships, we have been in the One Bedroom Haven on the Jewel which is much bigger and frequently stay in the aft category SF Suites on the Jewel and Dawn Class on deck 10. This cabin was definitely smaller than those. I recently booked the Encore for May 2020 but this time chose to do one of the Spa Haven Suites on deck 15, I always book a spa pass so this saves me plus it appears the suite is much larger and also has a large balcony.
  11. We disembarked on the 15th if September and weโ€™re in 17126, loved the location, HUGE balcony, quick access to get out to the elevators and around the ship.
  12. I am traveling with friends on the Bliss for the 8th of September and several traveling with us received emails over the weekend that their on line check in was not complete and required their Passport photo to be uploaded. Oddly I did not receive this email and my online registration showed complete. So I called NCL, this is a totally new procedure they are experimenting with to speed up the on line check in process. The reason I did not receive it was that we are in The Haven and they are not requiring this for their Haven since the check in process is handled differently but they told me to go to Proof of Citizenship and if I wanted to I could upload the photo from our passports but not required for Haven. I was just surprised since no one has mentioned this here on CC that I had noticed.
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