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Everything posted by Coastalbreezes

  1. Escape hands down for me. For me the cruise experience has as much to do with the crew as the ship and after sailing on Escape nearly 30 times, I return again and again because of the outstanding crew.
  2. On Gem a few weeks ago, we were seated with others not traveling with us and had no concerns.
  3. I have always received luggage tags in the mail after upgrading to a suite. It doesn't matter whether you are Ambassador (which I am) or not. There is no designation other than "Priority" for suites on the tags. If you haven't received them a few days before you leave, simply print them out or get them at the pier.
  4. Ditto on Gem August 15 and 22. All hot tubs open with no restrictions.
  5. On Gem last week, Cagneys offered a surf and turf (filet and lobster tail). $19 upcharge and the lobster tail was tiny and very undercooked, almost raw and I had to send it back. They removed the upcharge.
  6. Very subjective question but for me personally I would never sail Getaway again. Last cruise was February 2020 in the Haven. Food in some specialty restaurants (in particular Ocean Blue) was inedible and the Haven sundeck was rarely tended to: dirty towels, plates and glasses left lying around (in some cases for days). Worst Haven experience we've ever experienced and for that alone I wouldn't return.
  7. Interesting. I have sailed GA no less than a dozen times and Errol Bailey was GM on every one.
  8. I'll be on Gem B2B beginning this Sunday. After having 13 cruises canceled since March 2020, I just want to fully enjoy being on a ship again. Will post my experiences when I return home.
  9. Errol Bailey (formerly of Getaway) is currently GM on the Gem and Deepak Punia is Encore's GM.
  10. Pre-pandemic, CAS had quite a few special invitational slot tournaments scattered throughout the year some with top prizes of over $10,000. The still have a few listed for 2022: https://www.ncl.com/why-cruise-norwegian/casino-cruise/special-events For the regular on-board slot tournaments, held every cruise, the buy-in is $25 per round and the tournament is held over several days. You sit and spin at your allotted time and can re-buy as many times as you like for $25 each time. Only the top 10 go to the final round, usually held on the last day of the cruise. The top prize on my last several cruises was $500.
  11. Typically you are allowed one appetizer, one entree and one dessert per person. Some restaurants are a bit more flexible allowing an extra app or dessert; ask your server. At Food Republic, you are allowed four items (per FAQs, link below). https://www.ncl.com/specialty-dining-package/faq
  12. Because your group is so large you should call the pre-concierge desk to arrange for specialty dining reservations. The number to call is 855-625-4283.
  13. In the past I have always received a call from someone at NCLH plus an email confirming that the credit was added to my account. For my upcoming cruises, it just appeared in my vacation summary.
  14. Correct but that 20% goes into a pool and is not given directly to the person who made or served you the drink.
  15. I tip cash in all restaurants, free and specialty, in the casino for drink service and wherever else a tip might be warranted. As someone mentioned, crew work 12-16 hour days, seven days a week for months on end to make my vacation perfect. A few extra dollars here and there won't break me but will let someone know they are appreciated. After not working for a year and half, crew members could certainly use the extra dollars as cruising restarts.
  16. Onda was by far my favorite restaurant on Encore. Easily my favorite of any specialty restaurant on any ship. We ate there five times during our cruise it was that good! I highly recommend at least one dinner there and book soon because it does sell out pretty much every night.
  17. Only my cruise friends really understand my passion and excitement to get back on a ship. I got sick of listening to my non-cruise friends who believe all ships are "floating petri dishes". If I hear that phrase one more time I will scream.
  18. For about two months, my August cruise showed the same thing, us tendering in every port (Costa Maya, Cozumel, HC and Roatan). Now the words "tender port" are gone. Perhaps a computer glitch which happens frequently on the NCL site.
  19. Gem crew members are getting vaccinated in San Juan as did Encore crew. Unsure about others. My crew friends in Mumbai, India can't even get their work visas/paperwork approved because the hiring office is open only sporadically and they have yet to hear from NCL. I don't understand why other cruise lines have been able to bring in crew from India and yet NCL has only brought in a few.
  20. The big question is if NCL can get crew? I read somewhere that they need to re-hire/hire approximately 17,000 crew members and as of now they still can't get crew from India. Vaccinations are scarce in many other countries also so I hope these sailings actually go.
  21. For me it's not where we go, but that we go! Just being on a ship for two weeks next month is exciting.
  22. When you arrive, you will be asked if you wish to use one of your specialty dining credits. Just let them know you will pay directly and no problem.
  23. I am pretty sure this was sent out to travel agents. It is not on the NCL site yet.
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