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jazzydiver

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About jazzydiver

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    Oregon

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  1. I hope he is still on the Dawn when I cruise in January! He was the CD on the Jade on my cruise about a year ago. It was the first time I ever was so impressed by a CD that I actually remembered his name. (Or any of the senior staff's names, to be honest.)
  2. Great Stirrup is a private island that is actually owned by NCL. Food there is free, and if you have the beverage package, alcoholic beverages are free too. Harvest Caye isn't quite the same - it seems like a private island, but because NCL is leasing it, the food and drink must be purchased from the vendors there - no free food and drink. You can get to the mainland without booking an excursion, but you still have to pay for the ferry. --I was posting at same time as ColeThornton.
  3. I am a two cup a day tea drinker at home. I may average using 1 or 2 tea bags per day per cruise. I always try the iced tea too, but sometimes it's not so great 😜 Sometimes there is one dispenser that has better iced tea than the others.
  4. I found sailing out of New Orleans to be very pleasant. We booked a stay via VRBO in an apartment near the French Quarter. We arrived on a late afternoon flight. Took Uber to the apartment, walked to a place to have dinner, walked up and down Bourbon Street, took a late night trip on the St Charles streetcar all the way to the end of the line and back (it was fun even though it was dark and couldn't see super well). In the morning we walked to a place for breakfast, took Uber to the port, boarded ship fairly early. At sailaway, we enjoyed being out on deck watching our ship pull away from the dock and stayed out for a while watching the sunset and the city and bridge recede into the distance. Going down the river was interesting to watch. After a while, we went inside for dinner and the show. I think I wound up paying tax on one drink, and we don't use the casino, so the delay in getting to international waters didn't really affect us much. I would be happy to sail out of New Orleans again.
  5. Two cruises! The more cruises, the better. 🙂
  6. Wonderful! Thank you for the very helpful information, everyone! 🙂 J
  7. I will be going on the Dawn for the first time in January and I have the drink package. I know many bars and restaurants have their own specialty drinks, and I like trying them. Is it possible to go to Los Lobos for just drinks without having to pay the restaurant cover or use SDP? Does that restaurant have a separate bar area? Thanks!
  8. I have slept three adults to an inside cabin several times. I find the pullman bed to be comfortable. The storage on the Jewel-class ships is vastly superior to the Escape or the -away ships. I would sail three to an inside on the Jewel-class ships without hesitation, but I don't ever want to on the larger ships again (much smaller shelves and no drawers!).
  9. I had no problem making a 10:00 flight - here is a link to my report so you can see what our experience was: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2598910-trip-report-re-1000-am-flight-out-of-miami-700-docking/ Please bear in mind that I was on a smaller ship (Jade), so it will be even more important for you to get up early enough to be close to the head of the line. But a 10:30 flight should be very do-able, barring any unusual circumstances.
  10. I'd never paid too much attention to the cruise director prior to my last cruise - yes, sometimes I'd notice if someone was extra-friendly, but didn't ever remember their name. But on my October cruise on the Jade, I thought Richard Matic did an outstanding job. He was really funny and personable, seemed to be everywhere, and I really enjoyed his demeanor.
  11. I was on the Jade last week and there is no slot for a key card, it's just a regular switch by the door. Interesting about the Dawn and the European outlets. The Jade definitely has the opposite ratio. I think on each side of the cabin (by the desk and also at the little counter below the TV) there were two North American type outlets and one European one, plus a USB port. There may have been one more North American type outlet on one side. There were also USB ports at the small lights at the head of the beds. Razor-only outlet above mirror in bathroom.
  12. I am posting this to report my experience with having an early flight out of Miami on our debarkation day. It is a topic that comes up repeatedly and I wanted to share my experience. Bear in mind your mileage may vary. Our group weighed the risks and decided we personally were comfortable with the level of risk. **I am posting a quick sum up here, since I wound up getting really wordy below. We debarked almost a half hour later than I expected. We had to call our shuttle service to adjust the pickup. Were picked up at 7:50, at airport at about 8:15, had a frustrating time wastage of almost 45 minutes at the airport concerning whether we had to pay baggage fees, and still had time to grab (very quick) bite to eat and board our plane on time. If you don't mind getting up extra early to be first off the ship, there is indeed plenty of time to get to the airport. If you get stressed out very easily, you may not want to try it. **Factors that made this plan work for us: We checked in online before getting off the ship to have the security of knowing the airline knew we intended to make the flight. We all have TSA pre-check to help get through security faster. We pre-booked our private shuttle service ahead of time. Being familiar with the port and the airport added another level of comfort for us. As I stated before, we had 45 minutes of time wastage over one problem and still made the flight just fine. The likelihood of having weather AND customs clearance AND traffic AND airport holdups all happening on the same day seems unlikely but of course isn't impossible. We accepted that risk. The purpose of this post is to share my experience, not to convince people to do something they are uncomfortable with or have already decided they don't want to do. If you want to read my long-winded report, keep reading. Part of our decision was based on our past experience of sailing on the Escape last January. We had a docking time of 8:00 AM and flight time of 11:05 AM. We were actually cleared to leave the ship prior to 8:00, and were on the curb so quickly we called the shuttle service to see if they could alter our pre-arranged pickup time to pick us up immediately. They arrived within 10 minutes and we had plenty of time at the airport for a leisurely breakfast. On this trip (cruise end date was Oct 23), we were on the Jade and our docking time was listed as 7:00 AM and our flight time was 10:00 AM. Given our prior experience, I scheduled our shuttle pickup for 7:25. Our last night on the cruise, I was mildly concerned to hear our debarkation time would be 7:15 AM rather than 7:00. We chose to get up extra-early and started lurking in the atrium area somewhat after 6:00 AM. We were eventually (6:20? 6:30?) directed to wait in Bliss, and found the debarkation line had started forming down the passageway next to Bliss. We were about 20 people back from the start of the line, maybe more. By the time 6:45 or so rolled around, the line was getting very long. We started moving at somewhat after 7:00 or so, but then were held up by some unknown issue and stood on the deck waiting again. There were two passengers who debarked first, and the rest of the line stood waiting around for several minutes. I was able to call our shuttle service to request the pickup be delayed, and also to advise our pickup point would be different (we docked in Terminal D instead of Terminal B), and we were advised to call back once we were curbside and ready for pickup. We were let off close to 7:30, and Customs was a breeze - hardly any wait. We phoned the shuttle again and they picked us up about 7:50. We were at the airport by probably about 8:15 or sooner. We then had issues with trying to have our luggage fees waived (credit card holder benefit) and stood at the customer service desk for a solid half hour while the rep tried to sort it out. Finally had to give up and pay the fee. At this point it was 9:00 AM. We headed to the separate TSA pre-check area, got through within a fairly short time. Managed to hustle up to an airport lounge we have access to, snarf down some breakfast (this used up about 10 min), and walk very quickly to the gate. They were boarding the last group at that point, and we were boarding the plane at about 9:40 or so. At no point did I ever have a concern about missing the plane. Was it relaxing? Not really, but all of our leisure time was sucked up by the time-wasting luggage nonsense. Would I do this again? Absolutely, but I would not book a flight any earlier. I would also not book the shuttle pickup quite so early, since apparently we were pretty lucky in how quickly we got off the Escape. For all those who would ask WHY have an early flight...we live on the west coast and flight times to get home the same day are somewhat limited - especially if we are trying to get home before midnight. If you have questions, please ask. If you just want to flame me, please move on. I already explained that the risk level was acceptable to me. Thank you.
  13. Just returned from my cruise and thought I'd follow up to this thread. We used SE Aruba Fly N Dive and I definitely recommend them. They don't automatically set up the gear for you, but are very helpful if you need assistance. Did two-tank boat dive to the wreck of the Jane C and Barracadera reef. Safety protocol was very good. When one diver was getting low on air, the lead guide signaled for one of the other dive masters to accompany the diver to the surface, and the rest of us got to finish the dive - I appreciated this very much. All around good service and I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They picked us up at the cruise port (had a sign with our names on it) and also drove us back to port. In Curacao we chose not to dive but walked all around downtown area instead. For shore diving in Bonaire I recommend Gooodive (yes, three Os) but our schedule was pretty tight for renting a truck, picking up gear, getting in two dives at 1000 Steps, returning dive gear, returning truck, walking back to ship. Port time was 9:00 - 5:00 and we cut it pretty close. We were return customers to Gooodive so they knew we had been through the Bonaire Marine Park protocol - if we had had to do a check-out dive we would have had to cut the other dives short. To sum up, I recommend Gooodive but if you are new to diving in Bonaire and aren't there on an extended stay, you might want to choose either more catered service or diving from a house reef close to port. Our plan worked for us because we are familiar with Bonaire. Let me know if you have questions. I appreciate the info I get from Cruise Critic and would be happy to reciprocate!
  14. I would just like to re-iterate the suggestion to the O/P to check with whichever credit card they used to pay for the cruise. As others have stated, several credit card companies have automatic travel insurance built in as one of their benefits.
  15. All of the OVs have pullman beds? I looked at the deck plans and a lot the OVs don't have a plus sign or a triangle - meaning they are designated as two person. So...my fear is that NCL will "make" a two-person room become a three-person without a pullman available, by moving a trundle bed into it. I think the pullmans are comfortable but *don't* want to sleep on a trundle. Thanks for the heads up about the sofa bed being folded up during the day in the balconies - I had the impression they were not because I had read reviews about people having to climb over a bed to reach the balcony. Perhaps it depends on the steward. I think I'll pass on bidding, since I'm OK with the inside. I knew it was a long shot to find out if someone had directly experienced such a specific thing, but I appreciate the input I received. Happy sailing!
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