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Everything posted by natefish95

  1. Thank you for doing this review! It's so interesting to see all your pictures and experience a non-Caribbean cruise. I've never been to Israel, but I would love to go someday. Haifa seems like a really great city.
  2. After my NCL Gem cruise in February, I spent the weekend in NYC exploring on my own. I stayed in Chelsea and walked all the way down to the 9/11 museum. It was a long walk, but a good way to see a bit of the city. When I was there, I saw Hamilton. Times Square is a giant cluster****, but I had a really great pre-show dinner at a place called Burger+Lobster. Really great food, great drinks, and a nice bar to sit at. I'd also recommend lunch or dinner at Eataly at some point. I grabbed lunch at the one by the 9/11 museum. It's a fun city. You'll have a blast.
  3. Really looking forward to your review! I have my first Celebrity cruise next year, but I'm already reading everything I can. Really curious to see what you think of the food in Blu!
  4. I did it last year on the Freedom and it was not worth it at all. I had OBC to burn, but still wouldn't do it again. I could barely see a difference. Just get it done at your dentist office.
  5. Thank you for the picture of the Peloton bikes! So excited to ride while looking out at the ocean!
  6. Both were removed when Enchantment was lengthened years ago. All the other Vision class ships (Vision, Rhapsody, Grandeur) have a free sauna and steam room.
  7. Carnival has been taking the cheap way out for 50 years. Why are we surprised?
  8. Yup, can confirm there is a locker room with lockers, a single shower, single stall toilet, and a small steam room. Completely free and almost never anyone in there. (I will say that on the Gem in February the lockers couldn't be opened, but that may have been a COVID measure. Or I'm just dumb haha) If you like the steam room, sauna, and a quiet relaxation area, I would highly recommend the thermal suite on the Jade. I've done it on every cruise and spend so much time there relaxing, reading, and napping.
  9. Was on the Carnival Valor last week and the sauna and steam room is still free, open, and in the men's locker room. It wasn't used very often and most people wore shorts. It was working most properly most of the time, but the sauna would get extremely hot. The ladies working in the spa would often walk through the men's locker room without notice, which was super annoying. The same thing happened on Freedom last year.
  10. Was just on the Valor for 5 days. Second what others have said about the hot soups. The broccoli cheese and poblano corn soups were incredible. From the Deli, the buffalo chicken sandwich was really good, but you have to get extra hot sauce and add pickles. I had a Blue Iguana burrito every day and it was always delicious. Guys Burgers and the new fries were awful. The burgers were charred to a crisp and had zero flavor.
  11. Great rollup! I'm about to book the Jewel southbound. How did y'all get from Seward up to Anchorage?
  12. Overall, I thought the Valor was in good shape. The cabins are old and dated (and still only had one plug), but updated cabins and Carnival just don't go in the same sentence unless you're talking about Mardi Gras. The other big issue is that AC in many cabins did not seem to work very well. My cabin was fine, but the last night I was sweating and couldn't sleep. A few people were able to get fans, but if you have the space in your big bag that you'll leave with the porters outside and not hold up security with, you might want to bring your own fan. All the public spaces looked to be in good shape though! The gym had good equipment. The water fountain worked and actually had cold water. The spa seemed to have new tiling. Word of caution though, the sauna would get really hot sometimes, like dangerously hot. Don't cook your insides. That's not covered by trip insurance. Second word of caution, the spa ladies would waltz into the men's locker room whenever they pleased and without warning. UHMMMMM...don't love that. Reverse the genders and there would be an uproar. Had the same issue on the Freedom last year and Guest Services and the Spa Manager couldn't even pretend to care, so I didn't bother voicing my concerns this time.
  13. Getting to the port, I honestly could have walked and it would have taken about 20 minutes. However, Satan himself has been breathing on New Orleans and it was hot and humid as hell. The uber was like $8 so no big deal. If you take an uber, I'd recommend coming in from the south by Mardi Gras World. We had to go all the way down and then make a U-turn and turn into the port. Thankfully, traffic wasn't a huge deal. Since I follow directions and know how to act right, I had my vaccination card, COVID test, and whatever else they needed in Verifly. The woman I saw only looked at Verifly and then sent me on to security and said I was good to go and thanked me for being organized. Now let me to y'all, some of these people in the security lines I swear to goodness, left their brains in the parking garage. If you're thinking about bringing a giant, checked bag size, bag through security, please don't. The people in front of me had about 5 giant bags that took them forever to maneuver up onto the conveyer belt. Next came all the backpacks. Then they forgot to take all their phones and keys, and change. WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH LOOSE CHANGE? Did you dump a roll of quarters into your pockets on the way to the port. Some people.... Upstairs it was a bit of an organized zoo checking in. They had people directing the lines. On the right there were lines for suites, diamond and platinum. To the left, was all the common folk. Anyone else feel like they'll never reach platinum after being at Gold for so long? Ugh... By the time I made it through the line, they were already boarding my zone thankfully.
  14. Hey everyone! As I sit here in the New Orleans airport waiting for my flight back to DC, I figured I would take some time to jot down some notes about my quick cruise on the Valor. Background I booked this cruise several months ago using a casino rate that I couldn't pass up (all I'm saying is that my flights were more expensive than the cruise...). Seems a bit silly to go all the way to New Orleans for such a short cruise, but the timing actually worked out really well for me and I really needed a quick getaway from work. I always travel solo and am content to just do my own thing and read my books, but I met some great people and crew members! As far as pre-booking things, I had drinks included in the casino, but I bought Cheers because I knew I would be spending time at the Alchemy Bar and Serenity Bar. I also got the "Value" Wifi plan. I usually prepurchase bottles of water, but I actually wish I did. It was easy enough to get bottles of water at bars, but I really like having water readily available in my cabin. Getting to the Port Flights have been a disaster lately. My nonstop flight from DC to MSY was the last flight of the day. It was delayed two hours and I was really getting anxious because if I missed this flight, I would miss the cruise since everything the next morning was completely booked. Thankfully, the missing flight attendant showed up and we eventually landed in MSY about midnight. So glad I upgraded to First Class because I really needed those drinks y'all. Took a quick Uber to my hotel down after I landed. I stayed at the Q&C Hotel and Bar downtown, which is part of the Marriott Autograph collection. It was a nice hotel in an older building with what looked like original floors and some exposed brick. Definitely my style of hotel! The room was fine, but the lobby is literally just a bar, so checking in was really loud (and the front desk staff was a bit rude). Probably wouldn't stay here again unless the price was right. As a quick note, this isn't going to be chronological, but want to get all of this out of the way first. If y'all have any questions, feel free to ask away!
  15. A bit confused by what you said. Isn't everything coed on the Bliss and the locker rooms are just showers and lockers? No men-only sauna/steam room (highlighted that above)
  16. Oooooooh I am excited for this! Your reviews are always some of my favorite and I love all your random observations. The ashy feet man made me choke on my water lmao. Your hair is gorgeous by the way!
  17. I was on the Gem in February and really enjoyed it. It has a really nice setup with a central co-ed area with a thalassotherapy pool, jacuzzi, and heated loungers. The men's area has a sauna, steam room, single size jacuzzi and some padded loungers (plus the normal lockers and showers). Most people wore bathing suits, but maybe Europe will be different for you.
  18. Good afternoon people of Cruise Critic! I'm sitting at LGA airport after having spent a weekend in NYC after getting off the Gem on Friday 2/18. Since i have some time now, I'm going to put down a few thoughts about my cruise. As you can see from my signature, this was my fourth cruise since the restart, but my first back on NCL. I'll compare NCL to Carnival and Royal when I think about, but I'm going to avoid overdoing the comparisons. Who is this guy? Hi, I'm Nate 🙂 I live in Arlington, Virginia, love to cruise, and just enjoy being on the water. I always travel solo, so NCL is usually my preferred line. Last year I started dabbling with Royal, but no one does solo cruising quite like NCL. Booking Now NCL reallllllllllllly tried my patience during the pandemic y'all. My birthday cruise in April 2020 was cancelled obviously. No big deal. These things happened. I waited to book and when NCL announced they were restarting with the Gem in Punta Cana, I jumped on that for September 2021. Since cruises were starting to open up, I also booked the Jewel from San Diego to Panama. Now let me tell you, when these were cancelled the same week, I was SAD. I got the nice 10% discount for a future cruise, but you can only have one in your account. Oh you had multiple cancellations? Too bad. Sucks for you. I didn't agree with the way NCL did this, but hopefully this should all be behind us now. I rebooked on the Jewel from NYC to Panama (Im going to get to Panama dangit!). Welp, cancelled too. At this point I was cranky with NCL. I liked the idea of cruising out of New York, so I decided to book the Gem on a 10 day Eastern Caribbean. By this point, the Gem was back in service sailing from Miami and I was confident this time the ship would actually sail and NCL wouldn't do my dirty again. This is why I have trust issues. I booked an interior on Deck 9 with all the Free at Sea promos thrown in (beverage package, dining package, wifi package, shore excursion credits). I decided to upgrade the wifi package for about $150 or so? I also prebooked a 6 liter water bottle package and a thermal suite pass. I bid on an upgrade to a balcony and not surpassingly, got it since the ship was so empty. I think every single bid was accepted for this sailing. I was moved to forward balcony 10044.
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