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Mini&Me_Cruisers

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  1. The only lobster we saw was in Cagneys for an upcharge above what you already pay for specialty dining. I think Ocean blue also had it
  2. Are you definitely planning on NCL? Royal Caribbean has a lot more ships with childcare for kids under 3.
  3. Like I said, it wasn't a big issue and we were able to get great seats on our own. It was just that the reserved seating wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. I guess I assumed it would be like RCL, which reserved the first couple of rows for their top tier C&A member. I only mention it in case other people are under the same impression. I like having center seats at shows, but I am also routinely 15-20 min early. Arriving just before the show starts would have meant sitting either pretty far back or to the far left or right of the stage, or in the reserved area if you are a haven guest. I have to admit, I didn't notice if they release the seats in haven reserved area 10 minutes before showtime as they do the rest of the "reserved" seats. Maybe someone else could comment on that?
  4. yeah, we definitely had NO view out of the port hole window in the master...in fact we had to keep the curtain pulled to keep people from seeing in (from the crew deck, which is forward on 8 I think). Higher would definitely be better in that regard. The view from the balcony was good, though I think it would have been better higher up.
  5. Day 3-Roatan This was my first time to Roatan, but thanks to some CC research, I booked a private excursion with Daniel Johnson's Monkey and Sloth hangout. We had SOOOO much fun! The dock that NCL uses is about 20-30 min away from the hangout, but we were picked up right outside the port area. Daniel sent directions and told us what time to be there (1 hour after docking). The driver was hold a sign and was super easy to find. She drove us to the hangout, giving us a little tour of the island as we went. As one might expect, Roatan is a mix of mostly very modest dwelling with a few expensive houses, resorts, or businesses mixed in. Our driver explained that finding work on the island was difficult. Historically, fishing was a major industry, but the fish aren't plentiful anymore. Tourism is about the only thing that brings money to the island. Once we arrived at the hangout, we were put into a group of about 8-10 people. We started with holding the sloths, which was great. What's really neat is that they don't cage the sloths. They are literally just hanging in the trees around the complex. The guides are very careful with how they handle the animals and how they let the visitors interact with them. Everything is done with the animal's best interest in mind. The don't want you to pet the sloths, because apparently they don't like it, but the sloths snuggle into you while you are holding them. Everyone who wanted to hold them got the chance and they made sure everyone was able to get a good picture with the animals. Next we went into the cages with the small monkeys (don't remember what kind they were). They are also there of their own free will. Apparently they are let out in the evenings and come back in the mornings because they like getting fed treats. There are also macaws and spider monkeys, but you don't go in with the spider monkeys. I think all of the animals are rescued from the pet trade. The guides are fantastic and you can tell they really love the animals. They know each one by name and will tell you little tidbits about who likes whom, how some are related, or funny personality quirks. After seeing the animals, we went out to a reef that is a very short boat ride away (like less than 5 min). The water is from 4-8ft deep so it is very good for beginners or people who might be nervous in the water. They provide all the equipment, but we brought our own. There were two groups on the same boat, a guide for each group, plus a boat driver/spotter. The guides were smart enough to split the family with 3 small children off from the rest of the adults. Snorkeling was so fun. We saw a ton of fish, lobsters, puffer fish, eels, sea urchins conchs, coral, anemones (i think). I could have spent all day there. I think we were actually in the water close to an hour. After that, we got back on the boat, rode back to the sanctuary, changed clothes, then went to a beach. I don't remember what beach it was, but it was clean and had plenty of chairs. We ate lunch at the restaurant (bring cash) then headed back to the ship. There would have been time to hang out at the beach if we had wanted, but we were ready to return to the ship. The driver waits for you at the beach/restaurant area until you are ready to leave, then drives you back to port. It was a fantastic excursion and I would do it again if we returned to Roatan. I think we were back on board around 2pm and relaxed for a little while. We ate a bit early in the Haven restaurant, which was wonderful, then went to watch Burn the Floor. At risk of getting boo-ed off of CC, I am going to admit that I really didn't love the show. Now don't get me wrong, the dancing was incredible. I just couldn't follow any sort of story line if there was one. It just sorta was a series of fast dancing, slower dancing, changing costumes, and repeat...for an hour at least. I kinda started nodding off at the end. Other people we talked to loved it though, so go see it and decide for yourself. I think everyone will appreciate the skill of the dancers even if you don't love the show. After that we had a few drinks up in the haven bar, then went to bed. Oh, and to mention one kinda odd thing- there are reserved seats for the Haven guests that are supposed to be "the best in the house," but the area reserved in the Getaway theater was in the left section of the theater, about half way up the rows. I thought we'd have something in the middle section near the stage. We didn't sit in the reserved seating for any of the shows. We got better seats on our own, arriving about 15 min before the shows. It wasn't a big deal, just not what I was expecting. I don't think any of the shows we went to were full and we never had a problem getting reservations to see things. I think most of the seats in the theater were pretty good actually. The rows had enough pitch to them to where you could easily see over people who were sitting in front of you.
  6. We did choose the forward suite due to the layout. It is essentially like having a two bedroom but significantly less $$. The other two girls said they didn't have any issue with sea sickness (one ended up being wrong!). I knew I was a little prone to it, but had always been fine with the patch...and I was until it came off. We really loved the room though. That being said, I might choose differently next time.
  7. Well, I think what I should say is to ask your doctor if its okay, but from personal experience, it wasn't an issue.
  8. It is night and day difference. When we went midship or further back, the motion was much less noticeable. We were literally as far forward as possible on that deck. Also, after the second day, the motion decreased a lot, but we could still feel it. The ship's speed was less (22 knots vs 8-15 knots) and the waves were significantly smaller (5-8ft vs 0-3ft) for the rest of the cruise. We had always stayed mid or aft before this cruise and it was definitely better. We really liked the room given that there were 3 of us and the separate living area and bedroom gave us a lot more space. I didn't realize how much difference it would make being really far forward though.
  9. Day 2- At Sea Seas were a little rough on the way to Roatan and it was very windy. The ship was also sailing at a pretty good clip, so there was a lot of motion all over the ship on this day. It was sunny and beautiful outside, but the wind made it a little difficult to sit outside in a lot of locations. We started the day with breakfast in the haven pool area. They set out coffee, tea, juice, fruit and pastries at 7:00am on sea days (6:30 on port days), then serve breakfast starting at 7:30 (7am on port days). The menu is the same inside and outside for breakfast, but this is not the case for lunch (we didn't know this until our 3rd day...wish our concierge had told us this during the orientation). There is a larger selection of self serve items inside the restaurant once it opens- yogurts, cereal, fruit, bread, etc. The menu has some nice selections, but they will make things that aren't on it, like a BLT. All of the food in the haven was excellent. After breakfast, we shopped a little in the stores, wandered around the ship, lost more money in the casino, then sampled some drinks at various bars around the ship. The haven bar was the best. Christian is an amazing bar tender. Everything he makes is wonderful and he made us several "surprises" throughout the week. They were SOOO good. We really didn't want to drink from any other bars after we had his drinks. If going to the haven bar wasn't convenient, we would stick with something simple like a glass of wine or vodka tonic. I ate lunch at the outside area, which was good, but I wasn't super happy about the selection. I ate half a sandwich then met the other girls at O'Sheehans. Their food was typical bar food. Not bad really, not great really. Sadly, they use a weird buffalo sauce for their wings. Fish and chips was supposedly good. I thought the nachos looked gross, as they use the movie theater cheese, but one of the girls said they were good. Spinach dip was different than I expected, but pretty good. Had we known the Haven restaurant had a gourmet lunch, we definitely wouldn't have eaten here, but it was okay all in all. After that we found a table at the waterfront and played domino train and cards for a while. I loved the waterfront area, but it was difficult to get a seat on sea days. We wanted to eat out there the first night when we went to Cagneys, but the staff said it was too windy. We had a Captain's cocktail party in the haven that night at 6:30 and dinner at Ocean Blue at 7:30. This was my birthday celebration night. Unfortunately, my scopolamine patch had fallen off (I took it off to reposition it and it fell off at some point without me knowing...bad move on my part) and I started feeling pretty sea sick. I ended up skipping all of that and going to bed early 😞 The other girls went to the sushi restaurant for dinner and said it was good. Our room steward or butler brought a birthday cake to our room, which was very nice, but the cake itself wasn't good at all. Most of the snacks the butler brought were pretty good. The first day was canapés and the second was chocolate chip cookies. He asked if we liked anything special. I said we liked cheese and cracker plates. We got SO. MUCH. CHEESE. Some days he would bring 3 full plates of cheese with fruit and crackers. It was delicious cheese (not the stuff you find on the buffet) but we'd had enough by the 4th or 5th day. We kept meaning to tell him, but would forget until the next cheese platter showed up. The last day he brought us a veggie tray...I happened to be there when he dropped it off and he said "I thought you might be getting tired of cheese..." I couldn't help but laugh. Our butler was very nice. While I didn't feel like he went out of his way to do extra things, he did everything we asked. We ordered room service for breakfast several times and had him bring extra coffee a couple of times. Haven rooms have Nespresso machines in them, with 3 coffee options: A lungo option (vivalto lungo) which is for a 4oz cup of coffee, the same in decaf, and also an espresso pod (ristretto). I really enjoyed having good coffee/espresso whenever I wanted it. You can also get french press coffee in the haven area. We never had to drink buffet coffee, which was a huge win.
  10. You said you've been in the haven before, so you probably know this, but tell your concierge the day before what you need to do. He might be willing to have someone take you down to the gangway early so you are there waiting when they start disembarkation
  11. hard to say what effect the construction will have, but if you are returning on a Sunday, unlikely that the construction will actually be in process. As far as disembarkation, be in the haven a few minutes before the scheduled dock time and the concierge will take you right down as soon as the gangway opens. That process is super easy. Oh and make sure you hand carry your luggage. That's the fastest way to disembark. Grab a cab as soon as you are out of customs and you should be fine.
  12. Having your kids at the restaurant in the haven for breakfast or lunch shouldn't be an issue. The same menu is served inside and outside, so outdoor seating might be the way to go as it is a little less formal. There are quick items in both places (fruit, breads, tea/coffee outside, those plus yogurt, cereal, milk etc inside) Service also seems to be pretty quick for breakfast, so little ones can handle sitting for that amount of time probably. Lunch outside is very informal and there is a limited menu of sandwiches and burgers. While the restaurant is quite small, the menu in the restaurant is more extensive (and fabulous), so if your children can tolerate a meal that's about an hour long, they should be fine. As long as the children aren't crying or running around, no one should have any complaints. There were more overly loud adults than children when we were there last week. Often, the same people who complain when children are too loud are the same adults who are completely oblivious to their own volume. I find the latter to be much more irritating, as they should be able to control themselves better than a child. Dinner might be a bit tricky...as I said, the restaurant is small, so there isn't really a place you can go that would keep you from disturbing others if your children were crying or restless. Dinners are still a fairly long affair, usually 1-1.5 hours if you choose multiple courses. If your children are going to the clubs, you could easily feed them early then enjoy a quiet dinner in the haven. We never had to wait for a table no matter when we showed up. Oh, and the food in the haven put the specialty restaurants to shame.
  13. I just returned from a lovely week onboard the Norwegian Getaway. I wanted to write a review of our experience. Though I will describe each day in short detail, I will try to focus on a few main areas: Room, Haven experience, Food, and ship features/entertainment. I was part of a group of 3 girls, celebrating my birthday 🙂 . We were in Suite 9106, which is part of the haven, but not in the haven area. More on this later. On Saturday, we flew into FLL, took a hotel shuttle to Cambria Hotel in Ft lauderdale (or Dania maybe). The hotel was very nice. Waiting on the shuttle took a while, but I was in no rush. The other two arrived earlier and took a cab for $25 (its 4 miles away). I'm not sure if cabs in Ft. Lauderdale have a set fee for airport pick/up drop off or not, but the fare was very high. It would have been half that with a lyft or uber. Our hotel was very nice. We ate dinner there, which was okay, but typical bar food. The beds were comfortable and the room was clean. The next morning we booked an Uber XL to take us to miami cruise port. We had to choose an XL because of an excess of luggage . It was $58. A taxi van estimate was $75, but we hit some traffic so I'm sure it would have been closer to $100. We arrived at the port around 10:30, dropped our massive amount of luggage off with a porter, then proceeded to the haven check in. There was no one in line, so it took less than 5 minutes. We then sat in the check in room for about 15-20 minutes until it was almost full. Oh, and the check in room had snacks/drinks. We were then escorted to another waiting area upstairs, which was actually a little crowded. There were also snack/drinks up there, but the ones by check in looked better. We didn't eat/drink any of them though. We were escorted onto the ship around 11:30 I think, straight up to the haven. Our concierge gave a very brief talk, basically saying we could go to our rooms if we wanted and could have free lunch at Margaritaville if we wanted. I wish he had talked about the haven amenities a bit more, as there were things we didn't know until later in the cruise, but more on that later. Lunch in Margaritaville was good and the service was quick. We were the first or second group there. It was starting to fill up by the time we left. I should mention, you have to pay tax on your alcoholic beverages while in US ports, so the drinks cost a little over a dollar in tax I think, despite the beverage plan. No big deal, but just didn't know about it. Next we went to our cabin. Technically it wasn't open yet, as the cabins outside the Haven area (deck 15/16) weren't ready til 2pm, but we didn't realize this until we met our room steward at our cabin. He told us it was no problem for us to go on in. He already had our room ready. His name was Jerico and he was the BEST room steward I've ever had by far. His contract was up at the end of our sailing and he was going home to see his family after 9 months away. We were so thrilled for him. Unfortunately for Getaway, he is going to Sky when he comes back. I hope this is a happy move for him! Anyway, we checked out our room, which was fantastic, and unpacked our carryon bags. This will be my main review of the suite. The room is divided into two rooms, the first being the living room/dining room area, with an adjoining master suite with an amazing bathroom. This room has a max of 3 people, so the bed in the living area is a single. The master bedroom has a king bed, but it cannot be split into two twins. All of the beds were VERY comfortable. The bathroom is huge for a cruise ship...picture a nice hotel bathroom. It has a large soaking tub, separate shower, and a water closet area for the toilet. My only complaint about the toilet area was that the glass was not fully opaque...so it didn't really give much privacy. Same for the shower door. Maybe okay for a couple (though I still want privacy in the toilet) but a little inconvenient for us. The vanity was huge with a double sink. There was plenty of storage and a clothes line in the shower. There weren't outlets in the bathroom, but there was a makeup vanity right beside the bed that had a ton of shelves, make up mirror, nice lighting, and a hair dryer. Storage in the master bedroom was also great, with two closets, plenty of drawers, and room under the bed for suitcases. We never felt cramped in this room. It was almost like having two rooms with the exception of having to share the bathroom. There were a few negatives, however. First, our balcony was tiny and obstructed on the forward side and below. We had a nice view out to the ocean, but we looked down onto part of level 8 (like a service area or something) directly below us and then onto all of the mini suite's large balconies aft. We couldn't really look forward, as a structural part of the ship came across the forward part of the balcony at an angle. One of the chairs sat beneath this. It wasn't awful, but it definitely wasn't the nicest balcony I've ever been on. The porthole window in the master bedroom looked onto a crew deck, so we had to keep it closed all the time. The crew deck was also quite loud at all hours, with people talking, moving furniture, etc. Earplugs are a must for sleeping in that bedroom. I didn't hear any of that in the living room though. The other major noise issue was the steering mechanism, which must have been right below us. Whenever we entered or left port, it was extremely loud and vibrated enough to rattle the glassware. There is no way you could have slept through this. Luckily, we were up by then typically, but if you like to sleep in, choose a different room. The other two issues with the room may or may not be a problem for most people. First, being as far forward as possible, there is a lot of motion. This is to be expected, but not where someone prone to motion sickness needs to be. Second, this room is not in the haven complex. My roommates didn't exactly understand this. They thought we'd have some magic elevator that only haven guests could use to take us straight up there.....but that isn't a thing that actually exists. Once they got over their disappointment, it became a non-issue mostly, but it would have been nice to be able to walk right out to the bar to grab a drink or something. It was a pretty good trek up to the haven area from where we were and waiting times for the elevators was quite long at times. We also felt like we might have missed out on some of the haven perks. There was no offer to help us unpack, no fresh flowers, no bowls of candies, etc. All in all we liked our room, but would choose a different location in the future. To finish up day one, we explored the ship for a while, then went back to our room to unpack our luggage, which arrived about 4pm. We had dinner reservations at Cagney's that evening, which was great for the two of us who ordered surf & turf (filet and shrimp), but not so good for the one who ordered ribeye. Her steak had a good flavor and was cooked to the proper temperature, but there was so much fat and gristle running through the steak you could barely cut a bite size piece. It was also quite tough. Sides were good (potatoes au gratin and mushrooms for me, can't remember what they had). Dessert was okay. Raspberry creme brûlée was surprisingly good. Can't remember the other desserts, but none were really a standout. Oh, and there is no lobster on the menu, unless you want to pay an additional upcharge. We had some drinks around the ship that evening and hit the casino...which may be the worst casino ever...It should be renamed, as a casino implies you occasionally get to win money...on the slots, most of the "wins" didn't even cover your original bet. Bonus rounds would be worth a few dollars at best. I think literally burning twenties would have been more fun and lasted longer than feeding them into the slots and having them totally disappear a few spins later. Believe me, we don't expect to win big on cruise ship casinos and we don't even mind giving donations to the casino gods for a few hours of a good time, but the machines were so tight that you couldn't even play for 30 min without losing $100. We just quit going after the second night. We turned in after that and had a good night's sleep until one of us woke up sea sick. Ginger ale, scopolamine patch and a couple hours later all was good. Seriously, if you have any motion sickness or if you don't know, this is not the location for you. I've been off the ship for two days and still feel like I'm moving. Scopolamine patches are wonderful. I never sail without them. You need 2-3 for a 7 day cruise, as they only last 3 days and I usually put them on the night before I get on the ship because they take a few hours to start working.
  14. it isn't the pee that's the problem (urine is actually sterile in most healthy people)...its the bit you're holding while doing so
  15. Hi Tomservo- you mentioned that there were 4 people in your party, but didn't specifically mention age range of children (i'm assuming two of your party are kids). That might heavily influence your choice. The very first cruise I went on was on Disney Dream with my daughter for her 3rd birthday. We went the first week of December, which is actually one of the least expensive weeks on DCL, but still higher than NCL balcony I think. Not sure if it's similar price to haven room during that time period. The ship was beautiful and Disney really goes out of their way to make things magical. From the phone call from Mickey to the beautiful cruise packet, themed waiting area to board, and costumed staff, every detail seemed special. Our favorite part of the trip was Castaway Cay. It is far and away the best private island we've been to. If I could go stay there for a week, I would do it in a heartbeat. Balcony rooms on Disney are larger than balconies on NCL for sure. The bathroom also has a small bathtub, which is important if you have younger kids. Food, in general, was very good. Main dining room food was definitely better than RCCL or NCL MDR, but I think there was only one specialty dining restaurant on DCL. The staff onboard the Disney ship was top notch. If your family really loves Disney, they will have a good time on a Disney cruise. We enjoyed DCL, but for us, it wasn't worth the extra cost. There were a number of things we didn't really like. First, the way their kids club is structured was not great for a young child without a sibling. They don't have separate clubs for younger kids. There are different themed spaces, some of which are geared more toward older or younger kids, but the club is one big space. There isn't a staff member responsible for specific age groups either. It was just too much for my daughter. We much preferred the setup of RCCL's kids clubs. We haven't taken my daughter on NCL, but I think NCL's clubs are pretty similar to RCCL, in that kids are divided by age into groups and there are planned activities for those groups. Other things we did not love about disney included the character appearances. They were truly awful. They would bring a character out for about 15 minutes. If your child wanted to meet the character you had to get in line 30-45 min ahead of time. Some of them you actually had to get tickets to be able to attend. My daughter did one and hated it as much as I did, so luckily I didn't spend a large portion of the cruise standing in line. For a Disney themed cruise, I felt like the characters should have been out and about much more often. Dinners were also exhausting. Despite the cruise being geared towards kids, dinner in the main dining room was a 2 hour affair every night, either at 5:15 or 8:30 (and you had to stick with one time). Neither time was particularly convenient with a young child, but earlier was definitely better for us. Unfortunately, they stuck us at a table with another family whose kids (3 & 5 I think) were terribly behaved. My daughter certainly didn't have perfect manners at 3 years old, but these kids whined, cried, screamed, spit out food, were constantly up and down, and only ate crap (one of them only ate mac and cheese, chocolate milk and ice cream every night). We gave up on eating in the MDR just to avoid sitting with them. The pool area was pretty nice, but on sea days it was so crowded you literally couldn't move in the pool. At one point it seemed very unsafe due to some older kids engaging in rough play despite the crowded pool, so we left. The water slide had a 42 or 44 in height requirement, despite the fact that it was quite small and splashed down into a few inches of water. My daughter was very disappointed that she couldn't use it. The shows were amazing, but if you had early dinner, you had to go to late shows, which were too late for my 3 year old. (However, they did broadcast them, so you could watch from your room) All in all, I guess I expected the cruise to be more kid friendly, given that it was a Disney cruise. There were also so many kids on the ship (as you might expect) that all the kids activities were super crowded and always involved waiting in long lines. We actually had a much better time on RCCL, simply because there weren't as many kids. As far as the haven, again, the age of your kids probably matters a lot. Little kids aren't really going to get much out of the extras that the haven provides in my opinion. Elementary school ages and up might enjoy having special treats brought to their rooms and might appreciate the excellent food. if your family likes the type of shows offered on your sailing, having premium seats available whenever you'd like will be fantastic. Priority embarkation, tenders, etc will also be very nice. However, depending on which haven suite you pick, some are actually quite small and might seem crowded with 4 people. I think Disney rooms tend to be larger than similar categories on other ships. The bathroom arrangement is also better (water closet & sink in one bathroom, shower/bath and sink in other bathroom in balcony rooms).
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