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Mike D.

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About Mike D.

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Interests
    NASCAR, physical fitness
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  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    New Orleans

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  1. I'll chime in (having stayed in the "kids" bedroom) on the Breakaway--it was fine with me. I think you'd find that the main area of the Haven Family Suite is much nicer than the main area of the mini-suite. More space (although probably not a bigger balcony), better seating area, better table area and better coffee/bar area. And the main bathroom is terrific. Enjoy your cruise. Mike
  2. I suspect you'll get lots of answers to this. For me, a 10:50 a.m. flight would be too early. While I don't know what day of the week your cruise ends, Los Angeles traffic can be problematic on any day/time. And LAX itself can be crowded traffic-wise. Having said that, I admit to having "control issues" and I just don't like finishing a vacation knowing that there is a challenge making a flight. Yes, walking off with your luggage will be quicker than waiting for your color to be called. Enjoy your cruise.
  3. NCL Joy Officers and Staff as of September 2019 Captain--Gunnar Hammerin Staff Captain--Arne Karlstroem Chief Engineer--Ioannis Karloulsos General Manager--Hannah Han Staff Chief Engineer--Blazo Stanisic Chief Electrical Engineer--Bjoern Arnesen Asst. General Manager--Marites Sonza Food and Beverage Director--Gilbert Derecho Cruise Director--Daniel Causito Executive Housekeeper--Rommel Temones Beverage Manager--Wade Cleophas Cruise Next Manager--Kimberly Bennett Shore Excursion Manager--Catalina Kiss
  4. My favorites (some already mentioned): Escargot and Mushroom soup at Le Bistro Carrot cake (only place I've had it is the "suite" lunch at Cagney's on the Star...and I've had it a lot. Actually a waiter who shall remain nameless would also get it "smuggled" into our cabin) Bread pudding (Garden Cafe) Cooked to order Omelet (Garden Cafe or Haven Breakfast) Fruit salad at breakfast (Garden Cafe) Ribs in "Q" 8 oz Filet Mignon rare at Cagney's Salad bar in Moderno--specifically the olives, hearts of palm, proscuitto
  5. The 1st occasion the dinner was with the Staff Captain in Taste (I think...on the Star and it wasn't Versailles) with 6 other guests. It was really interesting to hear about his love of the sea and his path to Staff Captain. The other occasion was with a Assistant Hotel Director in the Haven Restaurant on the Breakaway (where we were lucky enough to be sailing) with just my cellmate and one other cruiser. His story was also quite interesting but was about the hospitality industry. Both were memorable occasions. For the first PP dinner, I had signed up with the Cruise Next folks on the first day (along with booking the freebie tour)--I'm pretty much there right after the muster drill, the second dinner was arranged by our concierge in the Haven. I appreciate the perk. MD
  6. I'll chime in with experience. I had been Diamond at Harrah's (Caesars) for a number of years when I first noticed a cruise offer in late 2013 at the Harrah's Tahoe facility. I don't know if I had missed one before. I had never cruised. So I asked my buddy if he wanted to try it. So my first CAS cruise was on the Jewel from New Orleans in 2014. There have been 17 more since then, all CAS or booked though the CAS phone number with my Harrah's/Caesars discount. I learned fairly early on that I did not have to drive to Lake Tahoe to get the certificate out of the machine for the NCL offers there. I have other reasons to go there but I don't really need the certificate for Tahoe. Just my Total Rewards # (which NCL seems always to refer to as the Marquee number) and the CAS phone number. 877-742-9521. HOWEVER, I suspect that strategy may not work for CAS offers at the various Las Vegas Casinos that Caesar's owns. In July this year, at Caesar's Paris, the employees and the instructions they handed out at hotel check-in (which I didn't save unfortunately) made it clear that if the certificate (which does have a unique number unlike that scrap of paper that comes from the machine in Tahoe) didn't get picked up by the Sunday morning deadline it wouldn't be valid. I don't have a way to verify that since I already picked up the certificate. But the employees at Total Rewards were clearly tracking what certificates were picked up. I don't know what happens at other Harrah's/Caesars casinos. I suspect the OP's offer might be from Harrah's NOLA...I like the place but I haven't gotten an offer from them. It is also about 2,500 miles away so I don't hang out there much. Best to all, MD
  7. I can only speak to Cagney's for Steaks. They have both a 5 oz and an 8 oz filet that I find generally excellent. (Just my opinion of course.) I haven't been to Ocean Blue (my cruise buddy thinks "fish" is a tuna fish sandwich), so I can't speak to the Lobster there. I think you can search this site and find both the Cagney's and Ocean Blue menu's here. Enjoy your cruise. MD
  8. Thanks for your review. Good read. I was in the Haven on the Breakaway in January and also had a wonderful experience. You mentioned the A/C. I travel with "Nanuck of the North" who thinks sleeping in a refrigerator is perfect. He got his own bedroom (I took the "kids bedroom" in a 2 bedroom Haven Family Suite) and he nearly got the A/C to hang icicles from the ceiling. Ugh. But the living room and "my" room were kept a reasonable temperatures since there were 3 separate thermostats that actually worked. Costa Maya: I grab a "taxi" at the back of the Costa Maya port (costs $4 US) and ride into Mahahual. There is a great strand to walk on, lots of hotels, restaurants and massages on the beach. Nice place to spend an afternoon. I generally walk back to the ship (probably 45 minutes) and get my steps in for the day. Honduras: I expect your port was Roatan. I'll echo that it is a place for an excursion, not for walking around in the port area. Inside the port is OK but my hoofing around the port area was, uh, unrewarding. Thanks again.
  9. I haven't been on the Joy yet (going in August) but it does not have the option of Thermal Suites or cabins that include that as part of the fare. The Bliss does. I bet other folks who have been on both ships will chime in. MD
  10. Hello mgcharleston. I'll give you my opinion which is worth exactly what I'm charging for it. 😎 It depends on a number of things which have much to do with you and what makes you comfortable. Booking late can get you good deals and it is a "shoulder time" for Alaska. --Are you close to the port so that you don't have to make extensive flight arrangements to get there? Last minute airline reservations can be problematic and/or expensive. --How long do you intend to wait to book? On board things (like restaurants and excursions) can get booked up although restaurant reservations can generally be booked when boarding the ship. --Is your schedule such that you can modify it at the last minute to make the cruise? Or do things at home/work need planned around certain dates? I don't think there is much risk the ship would totally fill-up but you might have limited cabin choices booking late. If you have your hearts set on a balcony and an inside would be disappointing, that might impact your choice of timing. --Are there any perks now that might not be available for a last minute booking? I've never done a last minute (since I'm not very close to a port and I have control issues) but it might be worth considering. Enjoy your cruise!
  11. My experience in Suites and the Haven has been that the on-board concierge has been super helpful in arranging and rearranging dinner reservations after we are on the ship. That isn't the ideal answer for a compulsive planner like me, but, again my experience has been excellent getting booked into restaurants there weren't "available". Enjoy your cruise. MD
  12. My experience in the Haven on the Breakaway was that we were "checked" going in and out of the "secured" areas. We had to walk past the concierge desk on the way in (generally getting acknowledged) and our access cards were usually scanned whenever we went in the Haven Restaurant. The concierge definitely knew me by name. Having said, the door between the Haven on the 15th deck leading to the spa was often ajar, as was the door on the 16th deck leading in/out of the Haven. I didn't notice anyone who didn't "belong" but my mission is to enjoy my vacation and not worry about who is going in and out of anywhere. I don't drink so I don't buy the drink package so I have no experience about the Haven bar. MD
  13. I'll just add that I have eaten in Margaritaville for lunch on embarkation day (Breakaway in January). It was open to Haven Guests complementary (because the Haven Restaurant wasn't open yet) but I believe any guest could order (and pay) there. Enjoy your cruise.
  14. Another example. This was the January 26th 11 day on the Breakaway. We were in a Balcony cabin. These are the minimums, I didn't record from the maximums were: H2 $1,500 H3 $1,500 H4 $1,000 H5 $500 H6 $800 H7 $500 H9 $500 One of those minimums worked for us. MD
  15. I see a 4/5 and a 4/12/20 Mexican Riviera cruise for the Joy on the NCL website just now. Plus the 4/19 Pacific Coastal that you alluded to. Best, MD
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