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About PelicanBill

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Upstate NY near Rochester
  • Interests
    Travel, Science Fiction, Computers
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    oh gosh thanks for your vote of support. I sure agree with your comments! Going up Julia Street can be difficult with 2 weeks luggage and my wife needing a cane to walk. And not clear that Taxis will be waiting up there... or that there will be enough Ubers to get one (I waited a LONG time in NYC twice even though the map showed dozens nearby... all busy I guess.) We have never done Cirque because it's a waste of a meal to me. I want a show without the meal. I don't care for the one meal fits all approach. Hope to see you again on a future cruise!
  2. PelicanBill

    Tender Unloading Accident on Maasdam

    Even though early reporting on incidents like these is chaotic it's a big improvement over the days when we may never have heard, or only get the spin doctored press release, or the capsule news summary that has wildly inaccurate facts. This is crowdsourced information and it will usually start sketchy but usually comes together. We should doubt less, and debate more, as many times these early reports DO turn out to be true. I hope this incident sheds some light on tendering. I have always viewed it as a very risky operation. Many times I have seen NCL's ships deploy 2,000 people to Great Stirrup Cay, only to have a storm blow up and then rush everyone back. Rushing is bad. A storm is worse. I have crossed that little gangway with a 2' rise and fall and heard of worse when they have no choice but to get everyone back on the ship. I watched last week as they accommodated wheelchairs and scooters across to Grand Cayman. It was calm this time... but I have seen conditions that would be very dangerous. My wife walks with a cane and cannot keep balance well. One shift and she's on the rail.... a much shorter rail than on the ship proper. She'd go over in a second if not for a crew member with hands on her on both sides of that gangway. If an elderly or otherwise mobility impaired person crosses, and there aren't two crew members with hands on, guess what. Good chance they go overboard. In the space between the tender and the ship. A tight and dangerous spot. Someone's got to go in after them too. On the other hand, it's a small part of the injury landscape in cruising. In a 3 year study done in 2010, 3.6% of injuries were on tenders. Most were ashore, next most was in cabins. My opinion: Tender gangway connections need to be more substantial. Wider, with taller sides and handrails within. Mandatory hands-on assistance both sides. If someone falls while crossing, it should not be possible to go overboard. Also probably should advise that there are more risks tendering and required a form to be signed with registration (electronic.) And full disclosure of ports that require tendering (I can't believe how often people are surprised that they have to tender!)
  3. PelicanBill

    Serious incident on Royal

    Pretty bad journalism to quote an unnamed and unverified source. Shame on MSN.
  4. PelicanBill

    Specialty Dining and food favorites ?

    Le Bistro is my favorite on your list, enverything is great and French Onion soup far superior to MDR's version. Service is better here than most places (only Ocean Blue is better in service). Moderno is great for meat lovers and salad bar lovers ... I only wish I could be hungrier when I go here. Ditto on that roasted pineapple. The sides are yummy too. Too much good food to have it all! Cagney's gave me a very good meal but still my least favorite of my 4. Filet was good and cooked right this time (only bad meal I had was at Cagney's 3 years ago, overcooked and took so long I could not wait for it to be re-cooked.) Sushi Bar: Don't waste a dinner here. It's cheap - so get a roll to share as a snack. With a Wasabi Cocktail, my favorite drink on the ship.
  5. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    Thanks. One nice thing is that given this was a one way to New Orleans, and we were in touch with hundreds of people on the cruise who lived here, or were also staying here, we had lots of people willing and able to help us if we needed it! Lots of love to all those people who responded while I was there.
  6. PelicanBill

    Free at sea Internet. Upgrade to Unlimited?

    How to redeem your credit toward an unlimited package without seeing the Internet Manager (and she wishes this instruction was posted clearly too!) Follow the posted instructions to create your account and log in You will get a screen telling you that you have a credit (mine was 250 minutes) Nothing else shows except a REDEEM button. I was unwilling to redeem it as I was afraid I would be locked out from using it as a credit toward an unlimited package. But you have to click REDEEM. Only then do you see the options for various Internet packages including the 3 unlimited packages. You pick one, credit applied, charged the balance. (I got $125 off the basic unlimited - middle level.) Not that on the Basic Unlimited you CANNOT do Wi-Fi calling, Facetime, etc. You must have premium. These were enabled the first half of our cruise by accident. Then turned off. Minus 250 points to NCL IT.
  7. PelicanBill

    Free at sea Internet. Upgrade to Unlimited?

    Yes. When you go to Log in, and the other person is presently logged in, you will get an error and a button that allows you to terminate the other session. Have fun with that. I did!
  8. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    That's all folks! But other questions are welcome. Time to start planning my next cruise!
  9. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    Endnote: New Orleans I've never been to New Orleans and my wife only for a business trip and never as a tourist. So we were excited about our 2 days there. We stayed at the Prince Conti, one of a few boutique hotels right in the French Quarter. Loved it. You will too if you like old style charm. That means peeling paint and uneven floors and a long wait for the hot water to reach your faucet. But for some of us that's wonderful. We enjoyed the afternoon walking the French Quarter, getting lunch, and then riding the St. Charles streetcar to the river bend, and back to the Ponchetrain Hotel's rooftop bar to watch the ships sail. We watched Carnival Dream but gave up on Breakway, late again! (sailed after 6, was supposed to be 4? or 5?) Headed back to the French Quarter and chose a seafood restaurant. Dining with 2 others from our cruise, we enjoyed dinner, and then: My wife and I both started getting fraud alert text messages from our bank and credit card companies. And her purse was gone. It had been at our feet between us. Someone scooped it from under our noses. It was caught on the security video. But her cards, driver's license, and both our passports were gone. We waited 2 hours for the police, who did not show. Went back to our hotel to make all the necessary calls. The police called us back and send someone at 11pm and we filed our report. The next day I convinced my wife to still go on the 3 hour tour I had booked. It was very enjoyable and made her feel better about New Orleans. I called the airport TSA and learned what we had to do with no ID for her (Just show up an extra hour early, they open at 4:30am.) The tour dropped us at the other end of the French Quarter and loaned us an umbrella so we could walk back at our leisure and find stores and see the sights. We had Po' Boys for lunch. She rested and I went to the Three Legged Dog, a local bar, for a couple of drinks and had fun talking to transplant/locals. I have a three legged dog so this was a required stop for me. Then we went to dinner for a second time with our friends, this time with no thefts! My wife headed in and I stayed out for a while listening to music and taking in the scene.. somewhat suppressed due to the rain and cold. The next morning we got up at 4:00, arrived at the airport at 5:15, checked in, and headed to the checkpoint. On arriving the identity check announced our special need and set aside to wait. Several people came to talk to us. After a half hour they took her away (Yes we were separated, be prepared for that, I knew it would happen.) I went through security as I had my driver's license still and waited. They looked her up in the secret databases and quizzed her until satisfied. A half hour later she was clear and through security. With plenty of time until the 7:30 flight. Phew.
  10. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    Disembarkation. We chose the last scheduled time because we had nowhere to be urgently - just a taxi to a hotel. Gangway is level to ship which is nice. No hills to climb up or down. Long halls as at most ports and airports. Escalator down required with your luggage, or wait for one elevator. Claiming of luggage was a bit difficult. We went to the area marked by a sign with our tag color, but many of us could not find our luggage. It was 10 minutes later someone could tell us our color was split up and there was another area - around the corner. Luggage found. Now to find a porter. Hmmm. busy. busy. busy. then nobody. Someone went looking for one for us. Nothing. Decided to start moving even it's not easy with 2 weeks luggage. Went through immigration faster than ever. Looked at our passports, looked at us, said welcome to New Orleans, and on we went. (No forms to fill out, no questions either!) Turned a corner and found madness and mayhem. Crowds of people in a small space. People yelling instructions to go to door numbers 4, 3, 2, 1 depending on what transport you have - and yet nobody could move. Then I saw why. I had wondered about how this port would handle 2 large ships with a 2-lane service road. The cars were not moving out there. Not at all. My theory formed quickly and was correct: The vans, buses and taxies that needed to take us away could not get in. Meanwhile, since we were the later people, we now have hundreds of arrivals for the next cruise. Their cars are out there trying to drop off luggage. Those people have to CROSS THROUGH those of us trying to leave in the same 15 foot wide 300 foot long hall. They were getting in line with us thinking they needed to. The officials did not know this and were unable to marshall the 5 or 6 different categories of people in a small space. Many people jumped the line moving forward and cramming in at the front and people started getting hot and hostile. Eventually, they got the taxi line organized down one side of the hall, the new cruisers down the other side, and others escorted through in small groups (airport, tours, etc.) It took 2 hours 45 minutes to get a taxi. I kid you not. Standing all that time, carrying luggage, my wife on her cane. Moral of the story: If there are 2 large ships in port: Get off early, before the crossover with arrivals begins. If departing on a new cruise, arrive later, like 12:00, not in the 10-12 window that we experienced. There is simply not enough "front door" space for departing and arriving people on 4 cruises. With a 2 lane road.
  11. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    I managed to find out that Vuk, the hotel director, expects to remain on Breakway for another year or so. Good news for you future Breakaway cruisers. He runs a good operation in my opinion. However, it was not without difficulties. Remember I asked about provisioning a 2 week cruise? I got a chance to talk later and give him some good-natured ribbing about running out of Diet Pepsi, Patron, Lemons, then Limes, and mint (no Mojitos!) Fruit quality never hit Caribbean level, as most of what we ate was from NYC with a little resupply in Jamaica and Aruba.
  12. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    The last sea day was pleasant in the morning but got windy and cold later. We knew New Orleans was in for some rainy and cold weather and we were starting to reach it. We entered the Mississippi between 8and 9pm. We traveled fast at first. almost 20mph. I was up late at Syd's and then Howl until closing and watched a little of the riverbank. Surprisingly more populated and industrial the whole way to New Orleans than I expected. I woke at 5am and saw the bridge and lights of the city. Showered fast and was on the balcony for the final bend, then ran up topside to take pictures and video clips of our arrival. We were followed quickly by Carnival Dream slipping into the space between us and the bridge. Disembarkation began a little early... 7:00 am.
  13. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    Our last port day was in Cozumel. Surprise, we docked at the International Pier. Bad news for those wanting to walk downtown. Good news for most excursions with shorter rides and little road congestion. Also good news that we were early, and departure was an hour later than originally published so we had a very long day available! We had pre-booked at a small day beach club called Nachi Cocom. They only accept 100 people per day. And it turns out they have plenty of space - so it felt deserted a lot of the time! Don't tell them but they could have 200 people and it would still feel uncrowded. Could get anyone else interested in going out on the snorkel boat for $39 I got a great massage instead for $45 plus tip. Lunch is from a menu; you pick an appetizer, salad, main, and dessert. It was terrific. The chips and quacamole, fruit salad, and ceviche were all amazing. An assigned waiter kept drinks coming, set us up for lunch and took the order, and got us a taxi when we were ready to go. This place cost $88 per person and very well worth it. There was plenty of shopping at the pier and we soaked up our extra time there.
  14. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    Thanks! I have learned that Howl depends on the entertainers - are they your style or not? Maybe great, maybe good, maybe so so. Syd's Pour house is not a beer house! They did not give it a makeover for beer selection. it is a Rock n Roll venue with a house band that performs several times, and with the help of some Rock of Ages cast members. On our cruise, the 3 cast members who wrote the show were included several times (remember it was a 2 week cruise.) Dining - oh yes. We had a 4 time package. We chose Moderno (like it, wish we could be hungrier). Cagney's (very good, and redeemed after a bad time on a prior cruise). Le Bistro (a favorite, and very good.) Ocean Blue (my favorite, service is far above all the others, food was excellent!)
  15. PelicanBill

    Live Breakaway Repo NYC-NO with crazy start

    So sorry I have no idea of the concierge and did not have a chance to ask someone in the Havens before the cruise was over.