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About Siobhanl

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. Yeah, that’s the problem. Would prefer a paid for mini cruise that we could all go on :).
  2. Come on NCL please do a taster cruise from Germany to Southampton. The short taster on Escape was our first cruise and got us hooked with NCL being our favourite. Give us Europeans a chance to have a little look at Encore not just Travel personnel but the actual potential passengers.
  3. Yes, a bit tiring but actually more relaxing than a city break which is the only other holiday we can take at the moment. We can only be away for three nights maximum so taster cruises are very useful. Cost wise they are better value than a city break but not great value in general cruise terms. A real cruise of 7 nights or more would be better value. Only discovered taster cruises after we had a city break in Stockholm and went on a 5 hour dinner cruise which we loved. When I saw how much my husband liked being on a boat I googled boat trips when we got back to the UK just thinking of dinner cruises or similar but what came up was an offer for a taster cruise on the inaugural Escape from Hamburg to Southampton. Never knew you could do short cruises before that. We booked it right away and searched for cruise channels on the TV. There we saw a 3 night taster on Anthem which we also booked for my birthday and we’ve been hooked ever since :)
  4. We did the two night mini cruise on the Jade recently because we did the same mini cruise last year and greatly enjoyed it. Currently we are limited to mini cruises because we can’t be away for long so we have done several. While booking our usual Aft Stateroom a window popped up offering a Suite for not much more so we decided to try that. We only booked it to see what it was like and had no idea of “perks” so once booked I started researching Suite life on Cruise Critic because we find it invaluable for advice. Unfortunately due to traffic we arrived quite late at Southampton so missed lunch in Cagneys which was one of the perks. It was 1600 when we arrived so check in was a breeze since there was almost no one there. Priority check in was one of the perks but as we were late that wasn’t necessary. A nice gentleman spotted that we were Suite guests, called us VIP’s ;) and got us checked in. We were then taken to another gentleman who I think was a concierge who told us that we couldn’t get anything to eat because everything was closing as it would be muster in an hour. That wasn’t a problem as we had reservations at Le Bistro for 2130. I think he offered to phone the buffet to see if there was time to grab a bite there but we declined. He then sent us off with a young man to take us to our Suite, unfortunately the escalators were sealed off and we had to board via steep steps. We only had two small cases but they were heavy and it was a very hot day. The young man didn’t offer to help with our luggage at all despite the fact that my husband struggled to carry both cases as I can’t carry anything due to health issues. He then showed us where the lifts were and promptly disappeared. We found our own way to the Suite without difficultly but didn’t really see the point of him at all. He wasn’t a porter but an offer of help would have been welcome. I’m not a porter but when I was younger I frequently helped people struggling with luggage, pushchairs etc as I used to fly to the UK every weekend from Ireland. I thought he was a bit inconsiderate really. Our Suite was wonderful and would highly recommend it. It was very large and there was tons of storage with lots of drawers and more hangers than we’ve ever had. The wardrobe opened from both sides - the entrance hall side and the dressing room side but the entrance side had more light so I’d use that side. There were two safes. Bathrobes that fit larger people and slippers. Outside the bathroom area was like a dressing area that had a make up mirror with lights and a hairdryer etc. The bathroom had a small bath and the toilet in a separate cubicle if you wanted to close the glass door separating it from the sink and bath. Shower gel etc was from Bvglari. The bed was huge and very comfortable. There was a good sized marble topped table with four chairs - great for having breakfast in your Suite. A small sofa with a view of the wake. Reasonable sized TV with some recent films but you couldn’t view your account on it so not so modern. There was a list of DVD’s that your butler could provide on request. Nespresso machine and loads of glassware and cups/saucers. Small mini bar fridge which we didn’t use. A tray of hors d’oeuvres was on the table waiting for us together with a bowl of fruit and a bottle of sparkling wine in an ice bucket. The balcony was a good size and had one sun lounger, two chairs and one small table. The lounger and chairs had comfortable cushions. One of the perks we had read about on CC was that Suites came with a Butler . Our Butler appeared after we came back from Muster. Having read about the perk of having a cooked breakfast from Cagneys delivered to your Suite for breakfast we were greatly looking forward to this. We were also keen to have dinner in our Suite and this was also suggested to us in our welcome letter. I asked about having a cooked breakfast delivered the next morning and I didn’t find him that helpful. He sort of grimaced when I said it. I asked could we see a menu because we’d never eaten in Cagneys but he said “it’s just the usual stuff scrambled eggs etc”. I’d read great trip reports mentioning crab cakes, eggs Benedict etc but I just wasn’t sure what was allowed. I said we’d go look at the menu ourselves. Our Suite breakfast was due to be in Moderno and lunch in Cagneys. When I asked about having dinner in our Suite the following night he said he could only do 1900 as he had 14 Suites to take care of and 2000 and 2030 were booked. I asked could we do 2100 but he said that was too late as the restaurant would be closed which was odd as Le Bistro is listed as open till 2200 and we had dinner reserved there for 2130 that first night. In the end we decided it to skip dinner in our Suite as it appeared to be a hassle. Possibly as this was a two night taster everyone was trying to fit everything into a short time. When researching Suite life on CC etc we couldn’t find any video of our Suite so my husband decided to do a video which we wanted to do while the Suite was pristine. I didn’t want to get in the way so I said I’d stay on the balcony until he was finished. I figured it wouldn’t take long. I’m Irish and I don’t tan and have to be careful in the sun. It was a scorching day even in late afternoon. I sat out on the balcony and waited for my husband to call me back in. I waited and waited getting more and more irritable as I burned with no shade on the balcony. I didn’t want to come in and ruin his commentary! After 20 minutes I’d had enough and stormed back in not careing if I spoiled his video. No sign of husband, was he in the bathroom? Had he left me sweltering outside without bothering to tell me he’d finished the video? The doorbell rang and I eagerly went to answer it hoping it was the Butler with menus for Cagneys or news that he could fit us in for in suite dinner after all. I opened the door to find a seething husband sitting on the carpet outside our room. Turns out he wanted to start the video in the corridor but forgot his keycard. He’d been ringing the doorbell and banging on the door for 20 minutes getting more and more cross while I’d been outside roasting getting similarly angry. There followed a quick row as he couldn’t believe that one couldn’t hear the bell while on the balcony until I shut him out there to prove it. Once we cooled down we thought it was very funny 😂. We decided to have a small snack as we hadn’t eaten since 8am so we went to O’Sheehans to have chicken wings and nachos. We had the drinks package as part of our cruise so I had a glass of wine and my husband had a cocktail. Although our order was taken quickly we waited ages for the food. It wasn’t busy at the time but there was one large table so that may account for the delay. In any event the wings were great but the nachos were stone cold with the cheese liquid like milk. I felt it had been left hanging around and given the hot day I didn’t eat them. I just ordered a bowl of fries and that was fine. We had another cocktail each and left. It was a little disappointing as we love O’Sheehans. Went back to our Suite with our cocktails to enjoy sailing away but the cushions had been removed from the balcony furniture so it wasn’t so comfortable. I guess it is in case they blow away or something but it would have been nice if they’d been left until we left for dinner. We searched the room but couldn’t find them. Quick shower and change for dinner in Le Bistro which we love. I had the mushroom soup which was great as always and my husband had the l’escargot which he said was also great. I had the salmon as a main course and for the first time ever was disappointed in Le Bistro as it was dry and tasteless. The tiny potatoes were undercooked and I really didn’t eat much at all. My husband had beef and his was wonderful. We didn’t have dessert. I’d read in reviews that it’s possible to have your butler bring you dessert later but we didn’t think our Butler was very friendly and we weren’t sure how to arrange this or if it would be considered a bit over the top so we didn’t do it. As our reservation was for 2130 it was very quiet there. Earlier they had phoned us to suggest that there was availability earlier if we wanted but we like to dine late as we do at home. This was a bit of a reoccurring theme as when we booked Moderno for 2100 the next evening they also tried to persuade us to eat earlier. Don’t understand this because naturally we pick the time we want. This hasn’t happened before on either Jade or other mini cruises we’ve been on. We decided on an early night and went back to enjoy our Suite. The ship was moving quite quickly so there was a bit of movement but I think that helps you sleep. The bed was really comfortable possibly the most comfortable bed ever. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep well as I’m a light sleeper and there was a small but very annoying noise like a tapping, like something loose in the adjacent room which was a crew only room containing electrics or something. Thankfully the second night this noise was barely discernible perhaps due to the fact the ship was moving slowly. If we had been on a longer cruise I would have asked if anything could be done about the noise. Before going to bed we put out our room service breakfast menu. We filled in our breakfast order by writing in the things we hoped to get like waffles and bacon. The Butler came the next morning and set up the table with white linen table cloth etc and brought an abundance of food. He certainly did a great job with breakfast - we got a huge plate of crispy bacon. I love crispy bacon and I can only get it on American cruise ships or by going to the States. No where does it as good! I think we ordered too much food for breakfast but managed to eat it all. We were very lucky with the weather as it was the start of a heatwave. As it was our relaxing break we lingered over breakfast and watched a film followed by a soak in our bath as we’d only ever had showers on previous cruises. As we were about to leave the Butler phoned to see if we were about to leave as he wanted to clear away the stuff. We went for a wander around the ship enjoying the good weather though the ship was moving quickly so there was quite a wind blowing. Had a look in the shops and went to the Spa to ask about a day pass. It was possible to have a day pass but it was about 70 dollars each so would only have been worth it if we’d gone early as it was afternoon when we went there. When we realised that the Spa area is divided into a Male section and Female section we definitely weren’t interested. It would mean we couldn’t use the sauna together only the one hot tub in the communal area. Seems a strange set up as it’s not like you can go naked as it says swimsuits must be worn so why separate areas. When on a break we want to spend our time together. We had a great time in the Spa of the Escape having had a day pass - tip from CC. We went to lunch in Cagneys as it was one of our perks and it was very nice but not outstanding. We’ve had lunches just as good in the Main Dining room of some cruises. It was nice and relaxing though. Initially they seated us right in the middle of the restaurant beside a very large family group including small children so I asked if we could sit by the window and they moved us no problem. After lunch we just relaxed on our balcony reading, enjoying the good weather and the view. Our Butler called with a tray of cookies and some hors d’oeuvres. We only managed a cookie as we had eaten quite a lot. Intended going to get a cocktail to enjoy on the balcony but got too comfortable to bother. I’d wanted to have another Mudslide (again thank you CC posters as I’d never heard of it before) as I only have them on cruises. Watched another film - Peter Rabbit and had a nap.
  5. Hi Ken Many thanks for the quick reply. Looking at 6188 but it appears to have a flaw in that it looks like it’s under On Air which seems to be a bar so probably noisy? Not much availability so may have to rethink this. I see from previous posts that you know about bed placements also so do you happen to know if 6188 is by the balcony or bathroom? Many thanks Siobhan
  6. Hi I think that some staterooms on deck six are under Play Makers so can anyone tell me if these are likely to be very noisy? Will it be noisy all night? Anyone stayed in these rooms? Are any Ocean view balcony rooms on deck six obstructed view? Thanks Siobhan
  7. Meant to add that you are indeed told that Butlers and Concierge are not included in the gratuities. It was in one of the leaflets delivered to the Stateroom. Happy 4th July!
  8. Hi All, Thanks for the many varied and helpful replies to my original post and the not so helpful reply from someone suggesting that because one books a Suite it follows that you are a serial complainer. Just to clarify a few things and to let you know how we got on I’ll fill in some details. This was a short cruise, in fact it was a two night cruise from Southampton to Hamburg on the Jade. We did this cruise last year and enjoyed it. Fully aware these taster trips are just that and not like a proper cruise. Unfortunately due to commitments these are all we can take at the moment and we have done several. We cannot be away for more than a few days. We didn’t set out to book a Suite but while booking our normal Aft stateroom a pop up window suggested upgrading for a very reasonable amount so we did. We upgraded simply to see what a Suite was like and only discovered the “perks” later thanks to CC. I find CC invaluable due to the extra information you get here and researching the Suite perks was no different. I know the young man sent to show us to our room wasn’t a porter but I think good manners alone should have prompted him to offer help with our luggage. It was only two small cases but I can’t carry anything at present and my husband did struggle a little carrying them as it was a very hot day and steep steps. Don’t really understand what he was there for since he did nothing but show the lift. I think we’ve managed to find our way many times without help. I just hope he isn’t a butler or concierge in training! I was disappointed about our Butlers reaction to my meal requests and a bit confused as our welcome letter specifically said why not enjoy in Suite dinner. Also the fact that he pretty much grimaced when I asked about the cooked breakfast options and the possibility of seeing a menu from Cagneys. Telling me it’s just the “usual scrambled eggs” etc isn’t helpful as how could I be expected to know what the usual is? I’d read mouth-watering reports on CC about crab cakes for breakfast etc and this is not usual for me but I would have liked to try them though I didn’t want to ask for something that wasn’t usually allowed. We always have breakfast in our Stateroom on every mini break though it’s usually just the continental breakfast provided and naturally we tip whoever brings it. Regarding dinner in our Suite we certainly were not suggesting that the Butler push aside someone who had already booked 2000 or 2030 as a time slot nor that he try to accommodate us at the same time. What I asked was if we could have dinner at 2100 but was told that was too late the restaurant was closed. Confusing as the restaurant was Le Bistro and it’s open till 2200. We had a reservation there the first night for 2130. I knew from CC that there are night Butlers also so wondered if the night butler could do it but was told no. In the end we decided not to have dinner in our Suite as my husband wasn’t comfortable asking the Butler to try and fit us in. In truth it would be stressful not relaxing having someone surly setting up dinner for us. The Butler came with snacks both afternoons and did our breakfast both mornings. I was surprised that he would do it the morning we disembarked and was very happy with that as we normally go to the dining room disembarkation day. This was our only contact with the Butler and that was fine. Breakfasts were great, we wrote in what we hoped to receive and got everything in abundance including a huge plate of bacon and also waffles which I love. Couldn’t have waffles on disembarkation day as they don’t do them but could have French Toast so all was good. Our ice bucket with our complementary bottle of sparkling wine was never replenished but we weren’t likely to drink it anyway as we had the drinks package and that was more than enough. Found it rather awkward both mornings trying to make conversation with the Butler as we were trying to be friendly but he very obviously didn’t want to talk. Understand that he has a lot to do but we just tried to chat while he was setting up but he didn’t engage at all. Clearly English isn’t his first language so maybe that’s why he didn’t want to talk. I think it would be nice if NCL explained more about what having a Butler is all about. For example this extra phone in the Suite is for calling the Butler? Is it? I don’t know I assume it is because I’d read about it on CC but there was nothing in the room to tell me that. Bit like the switch by the bed with the orange light, we pressed it and nothing went on or off then we worried that it was to summon the butler but thankfully later discovered that it’s a light under the bed. Have to say I really do think that being English/Irish and not American made the Butler think he wasn’t going to get a tip. I base this on the fact that in the past every time I’ve tipped on a cruise the receipent seems surprised. That and reading forums where people from the UK have talked about removing gratuities from their bill or else paying but then not giving any extra tips. Obviously not everyone does this. Before being limited to short breaks, our holidays were usually to the Maldives where tipping is the norm. The Butler seemed happy and again surprised when I tipped him. Another awkward moment when leaving and I tried to shake hands but he looked like he was about to hug us. Not something we’re used to 😂. Just wish he’d been that friendly during the cruise so maybe giving something at the start would have been the answer. I won’t name him because I have a relative who once worked in a five star hotel in Dublin who told me that even the smallest complaint can get staff fired. Also because I feel that 14 Suites is too much work. We didn’t tip the concierge because we didn’t use him nor did he make himself known to us at all. No idea what he even looked like though I do know his name from our welcome letter. It wasn’t Omar that’s been mentioned often on CC. I would definitely love to get a Suite again especially for a proper cruise in the future. Loved the extra room and cooked breakfast. Enjoyed the cruise just as much as last year. Shame it’s not scheduled for next year but we’ll look at doing a short one from Europe. We did a one night on Breakaway last month from Copenhagen to Germany and also loved it. Really like NCL a lot. Last year on our two nighter we had booked before the all inclusive drinks came in to force and I phoned up to see if we could get it as we had only paid deposit and they gave it no problem. Found them very helpful. We are not major cruisers being limited to short trips but have been on Escape, Jade and Breakaway NCL as well as Celebrity, Princess, P&O and RC. Think I like NCL best.
  9. Hi All, Bit disappointed about our first experience of “Suite Life” on Jade. We were really looking forward to this and researched a lot on CC. Check in was fine and quick because due to traffic we were later than we hoped. Very nice gentleman even referred to us a VIP’s 😄 then handed us over to our concierge who explained that as we were late nothing was available food wise as it was 4pm and muster would be at five. Not a problem as we have reservations at 2130 at Le Bistro. He then told some young guy to escort us to our Suite. Got to the escalators and they were sealed off and someone said board down here. This involved steep steps carrying our luggage which my husband had to carry for both of us as I have health issues. No offer of any assistance from said young man who took us to the lift and said this is the lift you take and disappeared! Now it was only 4pm for a cruise departing at 8pm. Second disappointment just now when our Butler called. After much excitement and research on CC we were very much looking forward to a nice breakfast from Cagneys on our balcony in the morning especially due to the great weather. Also to having dinner in our Suite tomorrow night. Butler signed deeply when I said we’d like cooked breakfast from Cagneys or as it turns out Modernos and said something like he couldn’t come very early! We said we didn’t want early but what time would best suit him? He just said mark down your time - maybe it’s language difficulty. I asked if we could have a menu for the cooked items and he said “it’s nothing really just eggs benedict or waffles or scrambled eggs”. I said no problem we’ll swing by Modernos and look at the menu. I then said we’d like dinner in suite tomorrow night since our welcome letter even suggested it. He said I have 14 Suites to take care of and can only do 7pm as 8 and 8.30 is taken. I said could we go later like nine and he said no it’s too late restaurant is closed but we’re eating in Le Bistro tonight at nine thirty and it’s open till ten. After all I’ve read online I’m disappointed. This is only a short cruise but we were interested in booking a Suite in future if we felt it was worth it but that’s looking less likely. I don’t think we’re being demanding - haven’t asked him to unpack or draw a bath etc just two meals served in our Suite. Have we lucked out with a bad butler? Is it that we’re not American so he thinks we won’t tip? Actually we changed money into dollars especially to tip him but he’s not going to get much if he’s so unhelpful. Thankfully our room steward seems very nice though he has taken away our cushions for the balcony furniture and we were hoping to sit in comfort as we sailed away. Trying Royal Caribbean in August but up till now Norwegian was our favourite. We were so excited reading other people’s experiences of having a Suite and now I wish we’d just gone for our regular aft balcony.
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