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About jayintx

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    Pearland, TX
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  1. jayintx

    Week of Aug 22: Cruise Olympics

    Since there are as many countries represented by the crew as are in the Olympics, I would suggest swimming competitions with award ceremonies where the winner would sing his / her national anthem.
  2. jayintx

    Showtimes Jewel of the Seas

    We were on the Jewel in June, and they had 2 shows that started at 7:15pm. Since we were on first seating, we were unable to make either of them. I think I will take MTD in the future, just in case.
  3. We have cruised over 50 times and have seen most of the world from shipboard, but we also have taken as many or more land based trips in our lives. We seem to remember the combination trips the most. We recently spent a month in Italy interrupted by a 7 night Greek Isles cruise, then a transatlantic from Rome to Galveston (45 minutes from our house). If I lived in Australia, I can't think of 1 reason to cruise the Caribbean. Most of the islands are crowded, dirty and cater primarily to shoppers. You can find private beaches and rent cars to drive around, but in general if I never go again, it will be just fine. Exceptions to this might be St. John, Bermuda, Grand Cayman and the BVIs. St. Barts is also very nice, but very few ships are allowed there anymore. Our favorites are the European cruises, Alaska cruises and repositioning. Being weird and loving days at sea, we really like the many consecutive days at sea to be found on repositions. This year we are finishing with a Hawaii cruise from San Diego for 15 days (not a good way to see the islands if you have never been), and then a 12 day Australia / New Zealand bracketed by 2 weeks in Australia and a week in New Zealand. If you really love the states, try one of the New England cruises. You'll get to see a lot of the eastern seaboard and beautiful parts of Canada. Good luck in whatever you do. We are going to brave the flights and come visit your wonderful part of the world.
  4. jayintx

    Good Places to Eat...

    We used to live there, and stop at Bobby Rubino's for ribs every time we are back. On Hwy 1 and not fancy, but there are coupons online and sometimes in the books that will give you 2 for 1 dinners. The best baby back ribs in South Florida and we really like the baked sweet potatos. Enjoy.
  5. There is more than enough information to help you decide - read and do what you are comfortable with. After more than 50 cruises, we have not booked a ship excursion in the last 12 years. We have had higher quality and/or less expensive experiences in every port. We have had not one incident where we were worried about making our ship or our safety. Conversely, we have seen disastrous ships tours. We found 46 people stranded in Venice when their guide decided the lines were too long at the Dogue, sent them in and went home. Our private tour guide talked to them and arranged to have a friend of his bring his water taxi to the dock and take them back to the ship, along with the 20 of them we were able to get onto our boat. We met those people many times in the next few days angry and complaining at the shore excursion desk - eventually they just reimbursed them the 5 euros the water taxi had charged. We met folks from a ships tour in Instanbul who had been dropped off at the Blue Mosque and never saw their guide again - they were able to get taxis back to the ship fortunately, but didn't get the second half of their tour, and again got no compensation from the cruise line. (First incident NCL, second Princess). So understand that the ship will wait for you, but the level of service and dependability does not increase with ships' excursions - remember they use local guides also - and our experience has been that the level of satisfaction has been far greater with private tours. Read the Roll Call for your ship, read some of the other postings for your port and book the tours with those who get rave reviews from other CC'rs. Stefano was mentioned above, he is great, we have used him in Rome and Amalfi, and we are using him for a transfer from downtown Rome to our ship in November. A caution for Rome tours, if you take the ship excursion your bus will not be able to take you into the heart of the city, you will have to walk up hills and steps and over cobbled streets both directions. The smaller private vans can drop you right in front of the monuments. You will find the same dependable individuals in every port. Just do your homework - and have a great time!
  6. jayintx

    Sun Review- Baltics 8/3/10

    Thanks so much for the review! We are sailing TA on Oct 4 and really excited about the trip. Our 15th NCL cruise. I was pretty astounded by your child count - 900 children! On a ship that holds 1900 people! And you didn't see them! I'm assuming you meant 90, otherwise the staff doesn't earn nearly enough money!
  7. jayintx

    Mount Dalsnibba Geiranger

    We were in Geiranger in May and drove up to Mt Dalsnibba as part of a driving vacation of Norway. I can't speak for this cruise, but we've been on many, and I don't believe there is an option other than the shore excursion. Geiranger is very small, with a number of hotels, and a couple of good cafes and coffee shops. My suggestion is to contact the tourist office at: Tourist@geiranger.no and ask them if there is a local option. Your other option is to contact one of the hotels, perhaps the Union, and ask them if they are aware of any tours from the town. There are no rental car facilities anywhere near here, and I'm not sure how much time you have. The road is very narrow, windy and difficult and may take more time than you think depending on traffic. It had just opened when we were there (couldn't clear an avalanche area for weeks) and even then traffic was bumper to bumper. In truth, the view is spectacular, but the real beauty of Geirangerfjord is the fjord itself, so you will not be disappointed. A word to the wise - Norway is the most expensive place in Europe, so be prepared - there is a small pizza parlor near the dock that had decent food - a medium pizza and 2 colas cost us just under $60, and this is typical of the entire country. Also, they do not take US currency anywhere, and their exchange rate for the Euro was pretty one-sided, so I would suggest some Kroner if you are going to spend time there. You can do the whole town in an hour if you just want to walk around. Hope this helps.
  8. Last time we were on the Jewel, 6 months ago, and the time before also, surcharge for the specialty restaurants was half price before 6:30pm. We took advantage of this 3 times to eat in Le Bistro, still one of the best restaurants we have ever been to. Has this changed? Also, I concur - Alex is the best!
  9. jayintx

    Just off the Jewel

    We love the Jewel. We just booked a back to back next Sep - 13 day Baltic and then repo to New York. This will be our 4th and 5th sailing on her, and I have been more than satisfied each time. We have done very few NCL excursions - I think they do an ok job, but we have had better service, more time and better prices with private tours every time. After more than 40 cruises, I think we have it down pat by now. Nice to hear positive things about her - it amazes me that people gripe about miniscule things so often. We are also spoiled with freestyle dining - I have done a couple of fixed seatings recently and really missed setting my own schedule. Also, since we always book a mini-suite, I have no complaints about cabin size.
  10. There are none. Plugs are just above the desk.
  11. jayintx

    Urgent...need NCL experts please

    We have sailed in mini-suites on a number of NCL ships and really enjoy them. Our favorites have been the stern cabins on 10 and 11 (Jewel). Sheltered from the wind, great unobstructed views and large balconies. I think it would also be much better for 3 people (assuming 1 is sleeping on the sofa) since there is a curtain that separates the 2 areas. Our only experience with a bow balcony was windy, noisy (public areas below and above) and not great views, since we had to look over the bow of the ship to see anything. We are doing back to backs in Europe again next summer and got our stern cabin again. Something to think about.
  12. jayintx

    Back to Back Deposit

    Yes, you will have to pay 2 deposits. We just booked back to back Baltic and Transatlantic on the Jewel and that was the requirement. I'm not sure what you mean by how many certificates. If you are using the certificates for upgrades, it's not the most economical thing to do. Wait until you have enough for a $500 certificate and go that route. If you do a guaranty in your selected category, you will almost always get a 1 cat upgrade anyway. If you have multiple $500 certificates, you can use them all you want up to $3000 per cruise.
  13. It is extremely unlikely that you will get an upgrade. You may get a one category up on a guarantee reservation, but that's about it. You need to tell your TA that you would like to have NCL contact you with upsell offers. We were able to move to an owner's suite in South America three years ago for $300 - we jumped on it! In '06 we were offered an upsell from a mini-suite to a penthouse (1 category) for $1800 per person! We actually called NCL to confirm that this wasn't a mistake, and they told us it was not - with a straight face! We paid not much more than this for the entire sailing, so politely declined. It's really a crap shoot, but your chances are better on Caribbean sailings per the Latitudes desk at NCL. Goood luck.
  14. jayintx

    NCL Mastercard FAQ

    The certificate value is the point value. 2 $500 certificates will give you a $1000 payment (not really discount) on any NCL cruise. Read the caveats in previous posts. We have had 2 cards for many, many years and with our currently booked back-to-back will have received over $12,000 in reduced cruising. I can't think of a better affinity card. If only some of the other cruise lines would go from a 1% rebate to the NCL 3%!