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About sharonann24

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Travel, reading, scrapbooking, walking, cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Holland America
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  1. Dinner in the MDR has never been longer than 90 minutes. We were just on the Pearl and the MDR experience were very pleasant. We were never rushed and usually were seared by a window. Of course we were a party of 2. As for O’Sheehans, we will never go back! We were there on the rib night. The service was awful and the portions were so small. I did complain and the Maitr’d did follow up. But MDR or specialty are the way to go.
  2. We have done well with the free at sea and perks package. We like the pre paid gratuities, beverage and the included restaurant meals, and did actually use three of the port shore excursion credits on our recent cruise. Had a great cabin as well. We also had the free air, which actually proved to be a godsend since we were on the Pearl last week, and had to disembark in Barcelona. That meant they had to rebook our air which was one less worry to have. I will always look for this deal when planning our next cruise.
  3. We had the free airfare on our recent cruise. We got our original flights about 45 days out which was a little nerve wracking, but not the only issue. They booked us on Delta going out from NY to Amsterdam and on the return with the same route. We had a connection in Boston both ways which was a little ridiculous since we live in CT. The flight out was a decent 2 hour connection but the return had us arriving In Boston at 6pm and flying to JFK at 5:55am the next morning! I do work with a TA and she fought for us. Took three levels of NCL service but they changed the return flight to only a 2 hour connection, but the carrier was now KLM. Now for the next part—we were on the Pearl, which had the mechanical issues and was forced to suspend the cruise, keeping us in Barcelona. While others were scrambling to get flights to Rome we were assured by NCL they would re-route us, which they did. The flight was still KLM. However, when we did get to the airport our flight was delayed and we would have missed our connection home. The KLM agent did an AWESOME job finding us a great flight home on Air France, which was even better than the original plan and actually got us home earlier. So, lesson learned is that the NCL booked airfare was ultimately the best option! I would definitely consider it again if it is offered.
  4. We have used the thermal spa for our last three cruises and it was my husband who really was interested in it. It is so relaxing. You do need to be cognizant that during sea days it may be more crowded. We tend to avoid mid day, and generally go late afternoon, before getting ready for the evening. This past cruise we got the sea salt scrubs to use in the shower to exfoliate and the hopped into the sauna. The cost for our 13 day cruise was around 570, but we had on board credit that we had saved for this purpose. Definitely a perk that is enjoyable!
  5. Good morning! We were on the Pearl for this trip and got home to CT last night. We fortunately (in this case) had the the NCL flights (and were flying straight home) so they did rebook our flights for us. To clarify we were told on Tuesday when we were in Malaga that we would not be going to Palma and would be going straight to Barcelona. Disappointed about that since it was going to be our on our own day, shopping, etc. but love Barcelona. We had extra time ashore in Barcelona that afternoon after our tour to Montserrat which was a bonus. We were told to be back onboard by 8. That night we were told again there was a mechanical issue that meant we would now not leave until 6am the following morning. Obviously that didn't happen and when I wandered down to Guest Services around 8 am to see what was going on there was already a small group sharing the information that we would probably not be able to make it to Rome, and many people were already trying to make alternate arrangements. The captain sent out an announcement about an hour later saying that we would not make it to Rome and would remain in Barcelona. NCL was giving us 50% refund on our cruise, 50% off our next cruise and $300 flight compensation to those who had their own travel arrangements. There was the opportunity to go ashore that day in Barcelona but we opted to remain on board since I wanted to see what our travel arrangements would be and how quickly we would need to get ourselves packed and ready to go. MANY people left the ship that day, but as the day progressed, the pool area began to fill up and those of us who remained were definitely making "lemonade out of lemons". One fun fact--dress codes for the specialty restaurants were loosened that night so DH was able to go to our scheduled dinner at Le Bistro in shorts! We did not get our confirmed travel until 11:30 that night which was kind of a bummer because we could have gone into Barcelona after all, but we made do. Our personal experience with the staff, crew and officers was very positive and I found them very accommodating. My only criticism is that they should have been more forthcoming with our time in Barcelona on Wednesday. This next point is important. I will definitely advise any and all travelers to adhere to arriving at the airport for international travel 3 hours in advance because that was our only glitch. Our NCL travel had us leaving (KLM) at 11 am to Amsterdam with a one hour layover to connect to JFK. We were at the airport by 8 and found out as we were permitted to check our baggage at 8:30 that our flight was delayed and we would miss our connection. Kudos to the diligent KLM agent who searched out many possibilities for us and found an Air France flight leaving at 10 am, connecting in Paris at 2pm. All went smoothly, and we were home in CT by 7:15 pm yesterday, in time to hear and see some fireworks. This will not deter us from NCL further cruises. In fact, my parents and brother and wife are on the Getaway Baltic cruise in August. My only question is about the travel insurance which I did purchase and I am going to investigate whether we can make a claim. Wouldn't hurt! I am so sorry for those who were on the next cruise. I hope you are able to make arrangements for this and future situations! So lessons learned: NCL flights are not necessarily a bad thing, always have a back up plan, and remember that nothing is guaranteed.
  6. I like to write out a packing list about a week or so before which included clothing, toiletries, carry on items. I do one for myself and my husband. Then the night before (because of possible wrinkling which happens regardless) we pack and cross off each item. Then double check!
  7. So glad to see that some information has begun to be posted about the Pearl. We are on the June 22 sailing and have not seen much. This will be our 3rd NCL, the first two on the Breakaway. I am looking forward to being on a smaller ship, as well as hoping we won't have to fight as much for sun deck spots on sea days. Can anyone speak to that? We were in the Haven previously so didn't have to deal with that. Also, it seems as if the entertainment is more low key. Any additional information would be appreciated! Less than three weeks to go!
  8. We dock in Tilbury for our 12 hour stay in England. I originally was just going to have us putter around the town, seeing a few sights, hitting a pub or two rather than take go to London. However, it seems as if there is not much to do. My TA mentioned taking the train to London. Does anyone have any information about this, location of stations, proximities to any major sites? We are 30 days out (June 22 sailing) and I don't have much time to research as much as I ordinarily would. (I also posted this on the British Isles link)
  9. We dock in Tilbury for our 12 hour stay in England. I originally was just going to have us putter around the town, seeing a few sights, hitting a pub or two rather than take go to London. However, it seems as if there is not much to do. My TA mentioned taking the train to London. Does anyone have any information about this, location of stations, proximities to any major sites? We are 30 days out (June 22 sailing) and I don't have much time to research as much as I ordinarily would.
  10. HI, We will be on our 3rd NCL cruise next month. Our first two were on the Breakaway, one to Bermuda and the second to the Baltics. We got an opportunity to upgrade for the first and it was fairly reasonable. Were we ever happy! The Haven on the BA to the Caribbean made all the difference, with the very crowded pool area and "spring break" type atmosphere. Loved the priority boarding, sun deck, Haven bar, restaurant, all the other perks, disembarkation... Last year we booked directly again based on the price and it was again fantastic. This year we are on the June 22 sailing on the Pearl (Spain, France, Portugal, Italy) and booked a mini suite. Again got an upgrade invite but I turned it down based on the price itinerary, and frankly the size of the ship. The Haven on the Pearl did not have as many as the amenities and it really was not worth the price. I would prefer to spend that money on excursions, specialty restaurants, maybe thermal spa and other experiences. We will see what the pool and deck situation is, however. I think you need to consider this on a ship by ship basis. The larger the ship the more I would go for the Haven!
  11. Does anyone know if NCL provides any kind of shuttle from the port of Livorno to Florence? If so, do they charge or is it complimentary? We are on the Pearl June 22 cruise and think we want to do Florence on our own outside a guided tour, which we did the first time we went.
  12. I am working with my TA to do just that, drive to Boston and just omit the NY piece. NCL (we had the free air) is giving us a hard time about that. Hopefully we can work this out.
  13. Right now our air is horrendous. We are 50 days out flying from NY to Amsterdam and NCL booked us on a connecting flight, NYC to Boston to Amsterdam. The return flight has almost a 12 hour layover in Boston. My TA is working on it but this is a definite deal breaker. We are in CT about 50 miles from JFK so this is truly ridiculous.
  14. I appreciate the feedback. I am waiting to hear from my TA to see if she can change the flight to non stop from NY. I know my husband will not go for the transfer, and am trying to see if he would be willing to leave from Boston. I am beginning to see why some people were not happy with the free air perk. I really thought it would not be an issue leaving from the NY area.
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