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Everything posted by TheTides

  1. So normally I would pick the Jade, and a lot of comments here mention the Great Outdoors being the biggest selling point of the Jade over the Star. After the past refurbishment though, I think I would choose the Star for the Spice H20 area. It’s like the Great Outdoors but amplified with better seating/couches and 2 hot tubs overlooking the aft. For us, hardly ever crowded, and a great place to enjoy sail-away. The Star also has a fantastic forward facing hot tub as well. I know its not always about outdoor space, but for us the Star did a nice job with spaces to relax and enjoy the “Great Outdoors” without having “the Great Outdoors” the Jade has.
  2. We have been on the sun in a triple, but viewed a quad balcony..... you are correct there would be 2 on the double pullout couch. I really cannot imagine how this would work without a tight family of four... but hey good luck to you!
  3. Easy... Just do it. One of our best vacations. If you have never been to Hawaii this is a fantastic way to see all 4 of the islands. Each have their own charm and will allow you to come back and really know where you want to invest a week or 2. The food/service is all standard cruise ship food, but honestly you are there for Hawaii. I could easily argue its the best way to see Hawaii for the first time.
  4. I’m not sure what you are so frustrated about by these posters. Everyone has been relatively polite. Most shows stay the same on the ships for a period of time. We watched Blue Man Group 3 times and enjoyed it each time. But there is so much do see and do on the ship it shouldn’t be a problem. Honestly will free up some evenings making you feel more relaxed. We use to attend all the shows, now we see maybe 2-3 bc we just enjoy the other activities the ship has to offer. And do not feel “Gypped” by NCL, some cruise lines have the same shows on a variety of ships. Imagine how you would feel if you were on a different ship but watched the same shows!
  5. Thanks so much for your review! We were looking at this itinerary ourselves and love how you capture the trip!
  6. Great Questions! 1. Quite possibly you may need to wear pants. With that being said, we wore shorts every day of our trip in Greece. (Pants in Venice, but it was in the 60’s). When we were in Rhodes, we had to cover our shoulders and legs to enter a certain Greek Orthodox Church, but they gave you the appropriate thing to wear at the entrance of the church! 2. H20 is complimentary. Depending on where you are coming from, just head to the aft of the ship. This is also a great place to eat in the mornings as there was rarely anyone back here before 11 am.
  7. I am unsure of the exact dock, but it is the main cruise ship terminal in Venice. The people mover will take you to the dock, where you can then easily make your way to the Star (you cant miss her).
  8. I think a 10:40 flight is absolutely doable. We were in the airport by 8:30, and that will give you at least 2 hours to get to your gate. I have read all these horror stories of the Venice airport, but out experience was extremely pleasant. With that being said, you were only able to book NCL’s transportation if your flight was after 11. I also am the type of person who shows up at the airport 45 minutes before the door shuts (pre-check), so feel very comfortable cutting it close. Just wanted to put that frame of reference there!
  9. This puts NCL’s Speciality’s similar to Celebrity’s prices, and if this is the case I really wish NCL would follow up with more innovative dishes and meals. If I am going to pay 60+ for an entree, appetizer and desert, give me Celebrity where I can pay the same price and get whatever I would like instead. Just another way NCL is thinking too highly of themselves
  10. Final Day and summary: I know its for most the last day of vacation, but if you can, watching the sail-in for venice is special. We got up around 530 to watch us traverse the canals... only a few hours before MSC would crash into the riverboat! We had an 11:15 flight back to the US, and since we had read horror stories about getting to the airport on time, we bought NCL transportation for 20 pp and did self disembarkation. This process really couldn’t have been easier. We walked off at 7:50, and were escorted on the bus at 8. Once it filled up we were off to the airport. The NCL representative walked us to our gate and wished us a safe journey home. All in all it couldn’t have been easier, and a perfect way to end the trip. Final Thoughts This was a really amazing cruise. The nine night length is the perfect length, as you are able to dive deeper into an amazing area, and having a new port every day for us makes it even better. The port times were great, as we were able to explore in-depth every port, but stil had enough time to relax on the ship as well. The food was okay to great, but really didnt have too many dishes or meals that you were impressed by. I think Celebrity does a better job overall on the food and specialty dining, but there is a beauty of freestyle dining in Europe which makes it great. Our room steward was fantastic, service was hit or miss, but overall one of our best cruises thanks to such incredible ports, and the Star was a great way to go from place to place. If NCL is listening PLEASE hire more servers and bartenders.... it should not take 45 minutes to get appetizers... I am all for leisure dining but that shows how understaffed you really are. Also please be more imaginative in food selections! But for all who are planning to head to the Greek Isles GO. Honestly not only one of our favorite cruises but favorite cruises of all time. Thank you all for joining me on this journey and if you have any questions left do not hesitate to ask!
  11. Yes they will take Euros. Better yet they will also take credit cards. We never needed to change currency which was a blessing. Especially after our last ATM experience.
  12. Last but not least.... Dubrovnik. So I have never watched Game of Thrones, but this place is GOT (Game of thrones) ((learned this from reading reviews of Dubrovnik)) crazy. If you learn more of the history of this city, Star Wars, GOT, and James Bond were/are also filmed here. Anyway, if there is any tip here, GET HERE EARLY!!! Please! Get here early. When we were there there was only 2 ships in port, and by 10 am the place was like Disney for New Years, body to body. I digress.. We Bought the NCL bus package for 12 dollars per person to take a bus into Old Town. We felt like this was the easiest way to get to/from the city, and it was very simple. I will say a cab cost 25 Euro, and there are plenty of them. So this is an equally appealing option and going back I would probably use a cab service. It takes about 10-15 minutes depending on traffic to get to the old town, and we arrived a little before 8. The city was a ghost town, and it was fantastic. If you look at what to do in Dubrovnik (besides the GOT tour) the man focus would be to walk the walls of the old city, and they really are spectacular. So, advice here... Where the taxi/bus drops you off, walk through the main gate, and to your left is where you purchase tickets to the wall. Even though the wall opens at 8, stand there for 15 minutes to be one of the first on the wall. It really is magical to walk around with no crowds and just explore the views of the city from the walls. As we were leaving around 9:30 it was quite crowded and not as enjoyable. Now the tickets to the wall are 30 bucks pp USD, but Ill let the photos speak for themselves. It’s well worth it, and if that money is going to preserving this medieval city, I am all about it. From here, we just wandered the city avoiding the crowds. Could definitely see ourselves exploring this beautiful country, but I think I would go back to Greece before Croatia after this experience. From there, we wandered to the separate castle on the cliff outside the gate (where the bus drops you off). This is also included in the 30 USD ticket for the wall and had some really nice views of the city, but Ill let the photos speak for us. Since the ship was leaving at 1, we caught the 12:15 bus back to the port. Really sad to have our cruise come to a close, but once again, another spectacular sail away. Be sure to at least enjoy the water while you cruise past Croatia to Venice. While the dailies were packed of things to do, we mostly chose to relax and watch the world cruise past by the pool. As we got closer to Venice, it began to get pretty chilly, so we wandered back to pack and get ready for dinner at La Cucina. But first, some wings and mudslides at Osheehans. La Cucina was fantastic. Service was spotty but still okay. But the food was the stand out. The fillet was probably one of my favorite dishes of our entire trip. The appetizer pastas were all home runs. I’d probably skip the calamari, but the rest was delicious, including the desserts. So if you are following my review, skip Cagneys, goto Le Bistro and La Cucina, which gets a lot of hate on these boards. I have not been back since our less than impressive meal on the epic, but much better this go-round. Last will be getting to the airport/final thoughts. Thanks to all who have helped answer so many questions! And please ask away. The beauty of these boards is we all learn from each other to plan a memorable vacation with the people we love.
  13. You will be fine. Honestly I only have had one interior, and loved it. Literally could sleep 24 hours with no natural light in there. A very restful room to say the least
  14. Thanks Steph! Onto one of my favorite days, Argostoli, on the island of Kefalonia. You know when looking at our itinerary, and most Greek itineraries in general, Argostoli is an island that usually slips your mind. You spend most of your focus on Athens, Santorini, Rhodes that you forget you are also going to this beautiful paradise as well that just as well maybe your highlight! This his a hidden gem for us. We arrived around 845, and were off by 9 to head to the caves. If you look at the “best of” tours, they usually involve going to the Melissani caves, see Myrtos (photos look stunning), and enjoy the small villages along the way. Well, that was our plan, and we hopped off the boat to grab a private taxi (150 euro for a full day tour). Now here is where we ran into a slight challenge. We went to an ATM with our cab driver to have cash ready for the trip, and what do you know, the ATM ate our bank card. In speaking to our kind cab driver, he went into the bank with me to help talk to the tellers and explain the situation. At the end of it, we had 60 Euros, and no ATM card. So, we decided to just head to the beach! For 15 Euro we went to our cab driver’s favorite beach, Costa Costa. And it was a blast. It reminded me just of a Caribbean beach with beautiful water, waiters bringing you reasonably priced drinks, and no crowds. I’m sure this area gets packed for the summer, but if you are in need of a beach break, this would be the perfect spot for it. If my memory is correct, we paid 28 Euros for 4 padded lounge chairs and umbrellas. Just the perfect way to cap off our last day in Greece by going for a swing and enjoying the beauty around us. Yes I’m sure we missed some stunning scenery and natural wonders along the way, but we wanted to relax and this was the perfect place for that. While we hated to leave, we left around 12:30 so we would have an hour and a half to explore Argostoli itself. Make sure you allow time for this quaint gem. As you walk along the waterway, there are sea turtles swimming along side you. The town itself is maybe a mile long along the water, so easy to explore it to its entirety within an hour. We were one of the last back to the ship, where we enjoyed some drinks by the pool and watched Greece sail by! Tonight was Cagney's. In reading multiple reviews, Cagneys does not get a very flavorful review on the Star, but we had such wonderful experiences on the Getaway we went for it anyway (why not right). To be honest with you, one of our least memorable meals on the ship, to the point we were debating skipping dessert, just kinda done. Please avoid the lobster bisque, it is essentially tomato soup with lower chunks here or there. We all loved our Wedge salads, but the steaks were all overdone and tasted tough, like they had been sitting under a heat lamp (which they were, we wanted our steaks cook for 5-10 minutes before delivered). Desserts were fine, but please a dry chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream does not scream upscale steakhouse... more like a Chili’s. Overall, most unmemorable meal on our cruise. I really hope for those who try it that you have a much better experience. But I’d skip this one if I were to do it again.
  15. Hey no not a silly question! So we did not book a tour. We had planned in advance to book the ferry to Oia. I am not sure how the tendering process would change if we had arrived on time, but we felt the tendering process was a breeze. They will make an announcement roughly 2-3 hours before we dock. I would work on getting there around 30-45 minutes before they announce calling tender tickets. They will begin distributing about 15 minutes early!
  16. They will advertise this both days, usually the evening of. In the dailies, there will be a flyer or handout mentioning this deal!
  17. Great Question... And yes, there was apparently a bus. When we got there, there was a giant line, and after waiting 15 minutes no bus ever came, so we just said screw it and walked. I hope you guys have better luck than we did in this.... Also there are donkeys taking guests up the hill if you would prefer this option as well. While it wasn’t a bad walk, if there is a bus, take it!
  18. Sorry guys! Had a wild weekend! Will get back to this today!
  19. Mykonos. Love this place! We had plans to off-road throughout the island, but we decided to sleep in. We tendered here as well, but honestly, the process was seamless, and the costa ship that was docked people had to shuttle downtown, while we docked our tender right in town. Once again, like every other small town in Greece, just have fun wandering around and getting lost. The town of Mykonos is tiny, and is full of charm. We headed towards little Venice, the windmills, then up and down the streets. We were only here from 7-4 I believe, which as perfect for our time here. I wish I could tell you more, but just get lost and enjoy the small alleyways, street food, and these great people. Tonight was Teppanyaki. It was good not great. Extremely slow dinner... started at 9, ended at 11:30. One of the table mates was GF, which slowed the meal down even more. No worries at all of course, but it also shouldn’t take 45 minutes to serve a salad and miso soup. Once again food was good, but when I asked for extra veggies, they said they give plenty of veggies... which i know is not true. And of course I had one slice of carrot, one onion, and one slice of zucchini. NCL is not trying to help you eat your veggies. Nor will they give you extra haha. If you were to skip a specialty, skip this one. Food tasted like butter and garlic. All in all fantastic day. Next day: Argostoli!
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