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Posts posted by Justaddvodka68

  1. On 1/10/2020 at 10:07 AM, bostonfred said:

    We have sailed the Epic once before, so we know the ship itself is poorly designed. However, I just read about a dozen reviews and about 10 are one star. I know there are a lot of complainers out there and have seen other ships get slammed, but this is unsettling. We sail the 26 th of this month and are hoping we have a much better experience. We have about 30 cruises under our belt and at least 10 with NCL,. We have never had a one star experience, so hopefully this will continue. We will report when we return with a detailed review.

    Has anyone had a recent good experience?😎😎


    We didn't like the Epic at all. Design wise.  Felt disconnected from the sea. Didn't dig the casino set up. Felt like gambling in a hallway. 


    That said, we had a blast. Family of 6, ages were 12-18 when we went. Lots to do. Great food. Great entertainment. 


    You've sailed Epic before so I wouldn't fret. You know what to expect. It can be a great ship for family cruises as it's usually a bit cheaper than other ships, same itinerary. 

  2. We traveled on the Bliss Dec 13th from Manhattan. Just wanted to pass along the advice to not purchase the unlimited go-kart pass on this itinerary in the winter.  We had rough seas and rain for the first two days, closed the track completely. Then on port days it's not open until 7:30, and the first hour is reserved for double karts. That takes you to 8:30 and they close at 10:30, so two hours to get people with reservations and the unlimited people on the track. My kids were lucky to get in 2 rides each night. The next sea day it was open more, and the weather was decent, so they got in a few more rides, but then the next day was extremely cold with intermittent rain, so it was closed most of the day again. We complained and they did refund us the unlimited pass and charged by the ride for the number of rides the kids did get in, but they didn't want to. I had to really argue for it and even throw out, "I was thinking of getting some Cruise Next certificates, but I'm rethinking that . . . " before they caved in. 


    We did know of course that weather would be expected sailing out of NY in December, but hadn't given much thought to how that would impact the unlimited carts. I guess I didn't expect them to have such limited hours on port days, and since we don't usually stay off the ship the whole time we were in port I figured they'd make up for the closed days by riding a lot on the others, but with such a small window of opportunity, it just wasn't possible.  It was very disappointing because it was the kid's Christmas gift from their grandmother, and they had planned to ride to their heart's content. 


    Of course we still had a wonderful time doing other things, but I just wanted to recommend that you're better off paying by the ride unless you're on a itinerary with great weather expected. 

  3. There are pros and cons to each.  Yes, NCL has the admin fee and you pay the gratuity if you choose the drink package and/or dining perk. 


    That said, you get the perks.  On Royal, you're buying a drink package. If you're diamond and get your happy hour drinks and your casino drinks, that may be enough for you.  I prefer to have the full drink package I can use anywhere. 


    NCL, like you mentioned, isn't transparent, but they're also flexible. You can get casino rate on any sailing and if qualified, you free cabins on any sailing, where Royal you're limited to your offers or the trade in values.  


    I'm hearing more and more often lately that people are receiving great offers, but when you call the cabins are all gone and you can only upgrade if you can first get that cabin - and you can't downgrade to a lower offer, even when you've seen it and know it's out there for others. 


    Royal's comp program is clear and actually pretty easy . . . which means people are qualifying in droves and that makes availability tighter.  I'd also expect them to change the program at some point. 


    I uploaded my land offer to urcomped, and have comps booked on MSC and Royal for 2020.  


    Finishing out my 2019 NCL cruises and will be deciding in 2021 who will have my loyalty. 

  4. On 10/28/2019 at 1:24 AM, fla gang said:

    If you get lucky enough to get on a machine that will keep you playing on house money for a few hours each time you play then it is doable. I had 1400 on a 4 days with 3 port days and stayed in the casino each night until midnight. I finally went through what I had took, but my 7 day and 4 day combined got me Prime. Spoke to a lady that on day 3 had 23,000 points. She was playing 2 machines at max bet.


    Why would she need to get a matching that's playing on house money?  She said nothing about reaching Prime within a certain bankroll, only within the time-frame. 


    You can earn enough points for a grand suite in a few hours if your bankroll is big enough.  Just find the highest denomination slot in the joint, hi bet max and keep feeding it!

  5. On 10/23/2019 at 4:57 PM, discru said:

    Thank you, OHCruisinDad!  Sounds like it's doable...just need to decide if I want to do it.  ...or wait for a longer cruise. 😉


    Play the first session, per your normal play pattern.  See how many point you earned and how long it took you.  Get your "points per hour" number.


    Then just do the math. Approximate how many hours you think you'll get in on the days remaining.  Multiply it by your points per hour number.  Then you can see if  you're even close.  If not, wait.  If you're close enough, maybe up your play from $2 pulls to $3 to speed it up, or get a second card and play two machines.  You can also speed up your coin in by playing straight slots, which generally have better odds anyway. Simple Triple 7 games $1 with $3 max bet for instance, with no bonus rounds or free spin features.  (I know, boring.) 


    Some nights are better than others for points. Depends on how your machines are paying and how fast you're spinning!  

  6. NCL offers what they call the Atlantis Beach Break, 5 hours, includes beach chairs access to the dig, aquarium & casino.  Stipulates no pool, no waterpark.  The video on the NCL sites says access to all the beaches and marine habitats.  Does that include the Dolphin Cay beach?  


    I called the excursion desk and she was reading off their script and said "it says all the beaches." (I don't trust that.)


    Atlantis offers a Dolphin Cay Beach Break for $33 for people who want to observe the dolphins but not interact. 


    My 19 year old daughter is doing the shallow water Dolphin experience with Aquaventure and my boys, 17 & 21 are just doing Aquaventure, through the ship.  I'm unsure if I should do the Beach Break through the ship, or just taxi over and pay the $33 for Dolphin Cay access.  I'd like the full Beach Break with the transportation and everything, but not if it doesn't access Dolphin Cay, because I want to be able to take pictures for her. 


    Anyone do the $95 beach break through NCL have the answer? 


  7. 38 minutes ago, Two Wheels Only said:


    Each meal is assigned to the guest. 




    No need to dress up for Cagney's. Shorts and t-shirt are allowed there.

    The 5th guest would pay a la carte. 


    Thanks, I sorta figured. 


    Don't tell my kids they can wear shorts to Cagneys! 


    I guess I'll buy the extra 3 nights and make them join us.  Thinking it over, spending 3 dinners with us is the least they can do! 




  8. I'm sorry, I've done a search and can't find the answer. 


    We're sailing the Bliss Dec 13th and trying to decide if we need to purchase my youngest son, the 3rd person in the one cabin a specialty dining package. 


    Four of us have it as a perk.  That's 3 meals x 4 = 12 meals. 


    Can any of us use them as we see fit, or are they assigned to certain people?  I'm surprised I don't know the answer to this but the times we've cruised with kids we didn't choose this perk. 


    I ask because they're not foodies at all and perfectly happy in the main dining room, pub or buffet and would probably prefer it if they didn't have to change out of their shorts and t-shirts for the entire cruise.  They're 17, 19 & 21 and not particularly interested in taking every meal with us.  


    I was thinking of insisting on one dressed up meal at Cagney's for all 5 of us, then using the rest for just the adults. 


    Will that be allowed? 



  9. I'll be traveling on the Sky with my mom in a couple weeks. Originally, I was going with a friend, but she had to cancel, so I swapped my mom into the reservation. We have just an ocean view guarantee, which they've assigned. Looks like the room has a chair in the one corner, which if removed, would be a great place to park my mom's mobility scooter. Or, at the desk, if that chair was removed, and the scooter was folded up, it would slide under the desk to be out of the way. (So I'm not tripping over it when I come to bed hours after her.) 


    Does anyone know if they'll remove that chair if I ask? 



  10. 6 minutes ago, Catchum said:

    Could you add Great Aunt Mildred (GAM) as an extra guest in your room? If BF goes then you cancel GAM as the 4th in the cabin, if not cancel the extra room and change GAM to DD.


    To be fair I may have confused myself here


    Or book a fake name in with the BF.  If he can't go, that cancels and she's already in your room. If he goes, the fake name no shows, (or you cancel before hand) you get that person's port fee back, but nothing else on that cabin, as if he was sailing single, he'd pay the single supplement.  She's checked into your room, but stays in his.  He can get an extra key for his cabin. 



  11. 3 minutes ago, josephmz said:


    Like the ad says: "Don't Leave Home Without It"


    We love the spas. Usually hit it at least twice a day. For the most part they are not overcrowded.

    I'm sorry but I am a talker. Like to chat with fellow hot tub patrons.

    Last cruise on Escape I guess we were a little loud. An officer came by to remind us it was a quiet area.

    Do think it's a little ridiculous to allow folks to bring drinks in.


    There's enough noise from the water jets that if you're close to another person and just talking, it's fine.  It's a group loud talking and laughing that was annoying. 

  12. 3 hours ago, fastpitchdad said:

    . My one warning is that while the Pearl was never crowded the Getaway got quite crowded on early departure port days (mostly because they sold day passes on port days) and at peak there were not available loungers of any type (which actually led to some conflict which I will describe in more detail when I get around to writing my trip report). 


    I would be super annoyed with this.  You pay that extra for exclusivity.  

    I'd have asked for a partial refund. Reason: Because I wasn't offered to buy just the sea days, why should people be offered single days on port days?

  13. Adding, my plans for future cruises, based on my experience on the Epic, is to not pre-purchase and check the spa out myself first.  I'll see if they have the music. I know I could just bring my phone and earbuds and listen to my own, but it's not the same and I can't use that in the water. 


    If they don't have the music, I'll wait until the first day and visit a couple times to see what the vibe is.  If it seems people are using it as a party hot tub, I'll probably skip it and find myself another quiet corner to read/nap in. 

  14. Things I love about the thermal spas I've been in on NCL and my plans for future cruises . . . 


    -It's not usually all that busy and you can always find a lounger.
    -The tea and water bar.

    -The showers  and changing area, blow dryers, etc.  I never showered or did my hair in my cabin. The light was great for makeup as well. 

    -The Spa itself of course is fantastic. Loved the pool with the strong jets to work the knots out, the heated lounger, the steam room and sauna. 
    -It's open quite early and my husband is a bad snorer. We stay up very late in the casino and sleep in most days.  When I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep for his snoring, I had somewhere quiet to retreat to, and often would go right back to sleep in there. It was lovely! 


    Specific to the Gem, I loved the floor to ceiling windows and the spectacular view while lounging and the music they played, piano music with crashing waves and nature sounds. It really relaxed me and made for a very peaceful vibe in the room. I also enjoyed that they enforced the quite space rules. 


    Specific to the Epic, I loved the huge deck outside the Spa suite, with the two large beds you could read/nap on and the extra loungers.  However, that did take away from the view from inside the spa and the weather wasn't always nice enough to be outside. 


    The Epic spa was also loud and even the sounds of the water echoed.  They didn't have the music like the Gem so there was nothing to muffle the sound.  Also if people were loud talking or laughing it was amplified and quite annoying. 


    Pair that with the fact that on that specific trip there were several groups of people who would come into the spa with drinks, (which is allowed in plastic) and actually party in the spa like it was a giant hot tub. Talking, laughing, just having a grand old time.  You rarely say an attendant, so to complain you had to get up and go out to the desk. They'd come in and ask the people to please respect the quiet space policy, which was posted all over.  But a few minutes after she's leave, they'd be right back to the loud obnoxious behavior. 


    It was really putting a damper on my enjoyment of the spa, so on the last few days I just went early mornings and avoided it except to shower and get ready for dinner. 


  15. On 10/8/2019 at 7:49 AM, ToroAzul said:

    Responding to an old post, apologies. Were you playing $25 on the ante and blind or $125 on the ante and blind for that kind of point accrual? 


    Not the OP, but based on how he stated it, a $150 hand at that game would be $25 on the Ante & Blind with the possible $100 bet pre-flop.  That's how it was explained to me how they calculate average bet, and it's one of the reasons that both UTH and Mississippi Stud are better point earners than other table games. 


    Not only is their edge high, but the floor can't possibly track and count how many hands each player risked 4X on and how many he checked through to the end, so the play is based on the average possible bet.  So chances are playing as the OP described, he was tracked at an average bet of around 75, maybe more if he plays trips.  The Ante+Blind+MaxBet/2+Trips is what was described to me. 


    I only play $10 tables and go up if winning.  My host always tracks my average bet at $35 average. 10+10+40/2 = 30+5(Trips bet). 


    On Mississippi, (which I've never seen on a ship.) the points really rack up, because on a $10 table your average bet is $50+whatever you're putting on the 3 card bonus. (10+30+30+30)/2. 

  16. On 9/7/2019 at 6:56 PM, SlipperyP said:



    Are you guys sure about this for Canadians?  If so, this makes me very happy 🙂. If not, OP should find someone from a different country.


    As a Canadian, I get 30% withheld for taxes on handpays in US casinos.  I have to file US income tax and IF my losses exceed winnings, only then do I get some/all of it back.  I assumed this would be the same for cruise/casinos owned by a US company.


    You do have to file a us tax return to get the taxes withheld refunded, if the casino withholds. The casino shouldn't withhold funds for a Canadian and send it to the US, as they aren't on US soil.  Many have testified that the casino may issue a w2g to a Canadian, without withholding. The Canadian can then just toss it in the trash, as they don't owe Canada taxes on them and they aren't obligated to file in the US. 


    On 9/24/2019 at 4:30 AM, Casino Comp Chick said:

    Has nothing to do with where the ship is flagged, has totally to do with the laws of your country.


    Not true otherwise we would get a W2-G on hand pays in the Bahamas at places like the Atlantis or Bahamar.

    Americans don’t.



    Whether you owe taxes or not has to do with the laws of your country.  Whether the casino issues a W2-G or not depends on if they have a policy, either nationally or that casino to operate under US laws.  The W2-G is a US tax form.  The US can require that US citizens claim and pay taxes on gambling winnings, but it can't force casinos in other countries to withhold and file W2-G's on their behalf. 


    So both of these statements are true.  


    If the ship has a presence in the US, regardless of where it's flagged, they will likely follow US regulations regarding issuance of W2-Gs.  The Bahama Casinos have no requirement to tax US citizens or file W-2s on payouts to US Citizens. 



  17. On 10/9/2019 at 5:47 PM, tinkr2 said:

    In all of my cruises, I have only seen it offered once which was on Freedom last year out of San Juan on Day 5. We bought a few. I do a bunch of short sails out of Florida and have never seem once.


    Did you use all you bought or do you plan to use them on a future cruise? 

    I too want to purchase as a supplement to the prime casino drinks.  Was thinking if you knew you were going back again you could purchase extras to use on the first days of your next cruise.  


    Tip to those wondering if your sailing will have them and when, you could try asking in a roll call for a recent past sailing of your itin. 

  18. On 9/21/2017 at 11:06 AM, voyager70 said:


    Totally agree, I've seen people reach into those little dishes and would never touch the stuff.

    On NCL they have these little bottles that look almost like a tiny wine craft they put the bar snacks in that can't be reached into.  You have to pick it up and dump a little bit into your hand. 


    I love those because I have a huge don't touch my food phobia thing, to the point I make my family get their own little bowls of chips, popcorn etc and won't even share a bowl of nuts with my husband. (Which is stupid, I know, I mean I kiss him and so why does the idea that some tiny bit of his spit might touch my chip eeck me out so bad?  I don't know!)   I just can't stand the fact that people put their hands to their mouth and then reach in a common bowl of food.  Even if I have just watched them wash their hands. Can't do it! 



  19. On 8/21/2019 at 2:09 AM, OHCruisinDad said:

    We utilize the casino drinks coupled with the Diamond/Concierge lounge drinks including the 3 put on our card each day for "happy hour" (5 - 830).  If we have anything during the day outside of the lounge or casino we pay as we go.  It's much cheaper than buying a drink package.


    We normally get the package, as it's a perk on NCL, so I thought I'd want the package on Royal as well. but it's expensive! 


    I saw on here where Royal sells a package of 10 drinks for a price, around $80.  I'm going to purchase two of those, in case we want a bloody mary in the morning or something with dinner, and utilize the casino for evening drinks.  Should work out cheapest and keep the tab under control. 



  20. On 9/27/2019 at 4:23 PM, HunterBarb said:


    ~~ but in Feb, have an RCL 7 night cruise, booked thru URComped,  and am really looking forward to IT !


    Just be sure to earn at least 2500 points on the Royal cruise to make Prime and you'll leave the boat with a free inside offer and receive another inside offer after April, plus you'll receive offers from URcomped that should be at least a free inside, maybe higher. 


    If you want to keep receiving free comps, even it it's a little more that you usually play, play hard on that first cruise to get the offers rollin' in. 




  21. 22 hours ago, CineGraphic said:

    MSC fares are some of the cheapest in the Caribbean.....I'd much rather just pay them the $400-$500 for a 7 day inside instead of forking over thousands in slot play.


    I don't think anyone gambles with the goal of getting a free cruise in mind, but those of us who gamble, do want to maximize our comps when we're getting them.  If you don't know the point system, you can't do that.


    For instance, at my home casino, the first couple years I played, I'd see all these players that I know play at or below my level making the top tier every year, and I never quite got high enough for the black card. 


    Then I read the fine print in the players club faq on the website and found out I was missing out on tons of points because they have a daily point bonus. 170 coin in is a point, but make 20 in a day and you get 10 bonus points, but earn 30 and you get 30 bonus points!  Double points.  2000 to black.  Well I was playing and earning 15-18 points maybe at a time and not getting those bonus points.  Or stopping in for just a couple hours 2-3 times a week, earning 4 or 5 points, rather than going once a week and earning the full 20 or 30.  Once I started making sure I stayed  and got at least to 20 and often to 30 points in a session, I made black in the first few months of the casino year. 


    So if I were on a comped cruise and I played and the second to last day I knew I needed x points to make sure I get a return comp, I'd be sure to earn those points and not fall short by a measly few and blow my offer. 



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