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Posts posted by LAFFNVEGAS

  1. 3 hours ago, geoherb said:

     One thing not mentioned on the Princess website was free bottled water for each of us delivered daily in addition to the stocked minibar.

    Thanks geoherb, I totally forgot about that. You saved me $7.00 lol, my last Princess was in November on the Ruby in a Mini Suite so I did order a case of water but the one prior to that was in a Suite on the Diamond and Yes we had two bottles a day, actually if we did not use the previous days they did not replenish but as soon as we used them they did. And it was complimentary. I went into my Cruise Personalizer and canceled the water I ordered a month ago. Definitely looking forward to our morning Mimosas in Sabatini's :classic_biggrin: We are in count down mode.

  2. 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. 


    5 hours ago, lithlith said:


    There is one dining room at the back of the ship on deck 6, which is the only dining room open for breakfast and lunch, and then it is open for those who are assigned to it for dinner as well.


    There are 2 dining rooms mid-ship on 5 and another 2 dining rooms right above those on floor 6.

    One of those four dining rooms is marked as Club Class.


    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 :classic_biggrin:  

  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. 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.



    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.

  7. 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.

  8. The thermal suite on the Bliss (now located aft to make way for the observation lounge) is smaller than other -away class ship (bad). While the Escape made improvements to move the saunas to the outside with windows (which would have been ideal for Alaska) the saunas have moved back to the interior and are smaller.


    The changing rooms are about the same size. Don’t recall loungers in the Escape changing rooms.


    So,,, the important fact is that the Bliss has a lot fewer passengers than the Escape. Hence a smaller Thermal Suite.


    My big gripe is that they moved the Thermal Suite aft. But they forgot to move the Spa rooms aft (they are still up near the forward elevator lobby). So you have to traverse the ship to get to the spa. The “selling point” of spa rooms was that they were right near the spa,,,, not. This same “error” was repeated on the Encore. We have a spa mini booked on the Encore, at the opposite side of the ship from the spa.


    Escape - April 2018




    Bliss - June 2018



    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.

  9. We will be in 17126 on Oct. 20 - any more balcony photos to share, or of the room? In addition to the upright chairs, were there loungers on your balcony as well? :-)

    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.

  10. e

    So this is odd. When we checked in for the Bliss at the port, they actually had fancy new scanning machines to scan our passport and grabbed the security photo from that. I.e., no webcam photo. RCCL has allowed upload of security photos,,, but we have seen them re-take photos at the port because the system did not send the uploaded photos through.

    I think it is pretty odd as well, when I called NCL to find out about this they told me the best way to do it was if I had the new app on my phone which I already had and could do my on line check in there if I wanted so I tried uploading the photo, they do make it very easy but guess what I took at least 40 photos between my husband and myself and none were excepted. I already all the correct information in there and it has been done for a few months so definitely not going to worry about it. But I would think it still be better security wise to have them scan the passport at the pier :confused:

  11. 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.

  12. Some people seem shocked by the Joy prices but at least for the Alaska sailings (I didn't check the Mexico ones), they don't seem that much higher than comparable sailings on Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Carnival. The Joy is more than those but not by much, $200-$300 from what I saw. I don't know much about the ships from the other lines but I would think the Joy is newer and has more to offer than they do.

    That may be the case for Interior and Ocean View and maybe balcony but what I am comparing is Mini suite and higher, specifically Suites while granted the Haven is Nice but not thousands nicer. The Bliss Mini Suite is truly just the size of a Holland America regular Balcony with smaller actually balcony yet the price is almost triple. Comparing Suites the prices are all more than double of a full suite with HAL, PCL and the new CCL Panorama. Truthfully that new CCL Panorama is going to be quite nice for 1/3 of the price, then Princess is bringing over to the West Coast the Royal Princess.

    The current prices of the Joy are that of what the Bliss was in January 2017 for the 2018 Alaska season and at that time they were running almost double of what the other lines were running for Alaska. The other cruise lines loved it because it gave them the opportunity to sell early and not drop pricing, NCL eventually had to make some big drops especially for many of the Haven categories. Alaska for 2019 at this time of year is normally starting to sell strong for all the lines but with NCL having such high prices for Bliss and Joy the other lines jumped on the band wagon and brought out a lot higher pricing. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts. But for Mexico the others are all drastically lower priced than NCL in Mini Suite and higher.

  13. That was my impression as well. The costs are prohibitive at this time. Hopefully slow sales will cause NCL to adjust to more reasonable levels. I am not usually one to complain about prices... it's just what the market will bear... but I have a hard time believing the market is going to bear those prices. I expect them to come down.

    I totally agree how long till they decide to lower the prices. Many will book elsewhere who plan cruises out for more than a year. I myself am booked through 2019 and currently planning Spring 2020, by that time I will have done over 50 cruises but oddly enough have never cruised on Carnival. I am seriously thinking of booking the Havana Suite on the Panorama for about 30% of the price of the H5 we will have on the Bliss in a few weeks. I was willing to pay a bit more for the Haven in Alaska but for Mexico I am not spending of 4k more for the same Haven Suite of what I paid in Alaska. While I totally understand I am not getting what NCL offers I can still have a pretty nice suite on this new Carnival ship and buy their drink package and save thousands. With these prices they will just encourage early booking for the new Carnival ship.

  14. Personally NCL is dreaming if they think people will pay those kind of prices for the Mexico cruises with the new Carnival Panorama that is about 1/4 the price and will be a brand new ship for West Coast. Then HAL will be bringing over the Koningsdam for some sailings pre Alaska and post Alaska and Princess will have Big Royal Princess sailing out of San Pedro. Also for drastically less money.

    Way too many options for Mexico with NEW ships for once for NCL to be charging those kind of prices.

  15. Just curious since u took a cruise around the same time in October. Our cruise is billed as the Fall Foliage Cruise. Do u remember seeing great colors during ur 2017 cruise? (We are spending a week in Tokyo/Kyoto pre cruise; main reason for trip/cruise is to see Japan, not Fall Foliage, so if we miss the colors, still OK, but if we get lucky and see the fall colors, an added bonus.)

    Last year we went early to mid October, it was not billed as a Fall Foliage but thought maybe toward the tail end of the cruise when we went to Akita we would see some of the fall colors and unfortunately it was still fairly green with the leaves just barely starting to turn.

    Our next cruise while it is basically the same dates we are heading much further North and hitting Russia and it is billed as a Fall Foliage so I suspect we will see some color. But with you going down to Kyoto I would not count on the fall colors.

  16. "They"- is funded by revenue, and higher cruise fares. I'd greatly prefer, minimal changes and lower cruise costs. :)

    Me too, I personally thought the prices for the Bliss Mexico were way over priced but NCL thought they could get away with it since it was such a short amount of time that Bliss was doing the Mexico cruises. Now that they will have Joy being a bit more permanent on the West Coast I am hoping to see the prices be more realistic to what a 7 day Mexico cruise should be.

    Carnival is coming out with their new BIG ship that will home port on the West Coast as well with drastically lower prices. NCL will have to bring the prices down to compete.

  17. While I am so thrilled to have a NCL ship on the West Coast instead of the few sailings they originally had set for the Bliss, I cannot help but feel they made many mistakes with Asia and not giving it a few other options. Why not open it up for sales to North America? Why not open up the itineraries in SE Asia with more options for Japan. Princess sells out the Diamond Princess 6 months in advance for their sailings around Japan. I know because I was on the Diamond last year and spent 2 weeks in Japan Not sure if they had some kind of agreement with China which was and will be returning October 2019. I would have gone NCL if the Joy would have been opened up to North American passengers with some good itineraries. So why they did not allow world wide reservations and why they could not have changed up the itineraries??

    Oh Well I guess that is water under the bridge now but just my person opinion while they are spending the money to make a Bliss twin I do think they need new Hull Art, possibly get Wyland to do a Dolphin themed Hull. Don't get me wrong I think the art work on the Joy is nice but only if she stayed in Asia.


    Looking froward to seeing the new updated itineraries I can start to see if I can fit in a Mexico cruise in early 2020 ;)

  18. OK I am going to state some common sense here.... If HAL sent out an email all at once or say even in a two day period to every single passenger and their Travel Agents that is on one of the sailings that is involved in the change stop to think of the mass calling into HAL. First off this is hundreds of passengers, they would have to have the plan set in place of what will be offered already and where they can move them. Then logistically how many people do you suppose they would have to have manning the phones to answer and assist these passengers calling? How many hours are your willing to wait on the phone to have someone assist you.

    Believe it not they have done this a few times. There is a process to this madness of delay.

    You are far better to wait till HAL has contacted you. While I agree the TA that called into HAL should have been told the correct information it takes time to move and make offers to each and every passenger.

    HAL may have sent out an email stating one's voyage was effected and that they would be contacting you shortly letting you know your options, but we all know that would cause problems and not stop people from calling in.

    Thankfully not everyone reads Chat Boards and HAL will get around to contacting everyone and be offered a reasonable good offer getting close to what they had prior.

  19. a660c9ce806280b6631ca722c4e6488a.jpg7af75aa895128fcdb785793cbeb879f7.jpg


    Ok so 1st is 18126, it’s skinny but long! Longer the room. 2nd is yours down at 17126, it’s shorter in length but deeper!




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    Thanks . Definitely bigger balconies in those cabins. We had only done Haven once before and it was in the Jewel. But normally have the deck 10 aft suites on Jewel Class. We prefer the bigger balcony. I think we will really love the Bliss .



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