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Everything posted by havanadaydreaming

  1. I'm no expert but i'll throw a dart at the wall. usually, cruise ships drydock to both upgrade cabins/common areas to be more modern and to retrofit ship with current popular amenities (specialty restaurants/shops/etc). Carnival retrofitted older ships with the Guy's burgers, Blue Iquana/Red Frog bar on lido...all very popular. soooo, I don't remember the Escape totally (sorry!) but I know it recently replaced Margaritaville with American Diner mid cruise. I figured that would have happened at drydock. it has the popular Waterfront feature that offers outside dining at pay restaurants and public walkways/access to the water views. I know Epic had an Ice Bar but I didn't see anyone go into it the entire 11 nt cruise so I double Escape gets that. Epic also had a Cirque tent with a dinner show - I don't recall that being on the Escape, that would be a good upgrade. I cant think of anything else the Escape would need that it doesn't have. perhaps switching out a couple specialty restaurants for more popular options???
  2. the newest NCL ship I've been on is Escape, so I'd be very interested in sailing anything newer. I also like the uniqueness of the smaller, older ships (Sky, Carnival Paradise) we've sailed. we only booked the Epic and Sky due to cruises being the best bang for the buck at the time of sailing, but we loved each of them. I'd go on the Epic again in a new York minute, the bathrooms are wacky but not a dealbreaker. Epic EASILY had the most storage in our cabin, and by a wide, wide margin. that was nice. Sky didn't have one of my (admittedly weird) favorite things - the ship gps info on cabin tv. I hate to admit that I tune to that channel on a daily basis when cruising - half for the Caribbean music and half for the raw data.
  3. thank you! I am very much a preplanner/researcher. I like to know as many details as I can about the ship, ports, things to do, etc, etc in order to make the best decisions possible. However, on coastal trips on the mainland some of our favorite "finds" are when we just wing it and explore. that said, I struggle to not know everything I can about a place i'll only be 6-8 hours and possibly never again.
  4. Has anyone ever taking a cruise and not know where they were going? That's a pretty ludicrous question without context...my wife is surprising me with a trip mid summer, one that should be of fairly significant length or new to us itinerary. (I just had one of those iconic birthdays that ended in a "0"). My best friend's wife is a TA so they arranged all the flight and cruise details unbeknownst to me. My wife even ensured with my 2nd in command at my office that I was ok to take vacation during that timeframe. I don't know where we're departing from, where we're going, who we're sailing with, etc. I'm not really tempted to learn more details as I appreciate her and the effort she's put into the planning. I think it would be cool if a cruise line could pull off the same surprise sailing concept but I doubt it would be very popular with cruisers - who I bet want to know exactly where they're going before committing significant money to booking. but....it would be fun to be surprised by the dailies and learn last minute where one was headed.
  5. My son and his wife were on this cruise for their honeymoon. He had some interesting updates. Evidently the Escape was late getting into Port Miami on 2/29 - which delayed embarkation. I don't think he got onboard until 4pm or so (they had a 1pm arrival at FLL via NCL "free airfare" promotion"), they had a fairly lengthy wait at the terminal after being shuttled from Lauderdale on the NCL bus. He said the CD was fantastic. He's only been on one MSC and one Carnival cruise previously, but that gave him enough frame of reference to compare/contrast. He LOVED Cagney's but thought their other two specialty dining selections were good, not great. He commented that there was a ton to do for young adults onboard. Sounds like a good time was had by all.
  6. My unrelated opinion on the Margaritaville at Sea "failure". I would have loved to have seen the menu pared down to just "Cheeseburgers in Paradise", much in the same manner at Guy's Burger on Carnival. Only a few choices, efficient to prepare and serve fresh. Complimentary. I know the Margaritaville was complimentary originally and it was mobbed, huge lines all the time. It was kind of a train wreck and folks didn't really enjoy the experience...so specialty dining pricing went into effect (a big dud) and then a la carte (which was a little more popular, but not a hit). As I said above we love NCL but the one thing I miss onboard is the ability to get a great burger freshly prepared on the Lido deck (like I can on Carnival). I know it's not just me, everyone I know who has sailed Carnival has really enjoyed the Guy's burgers - most eat them several times per week onboard.
  7. Just for kicks I just checked out the info on Escape on NCL website, it still shows Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea on the deck plans, etc. For the vast majority of cruisers I don't think this update will have an impact. American Diner will be pretty comparable and maintains the a la carte pricing for its dining. However, I'm a big time parrothead(53 shows attended and counting) and we booked our cruise several years ago on the Escape specifically so I could get to a Margaritaville at Sea (I know, I know...ha). I really enjoyed being able to go up there and at least listen to a half hour of Jimmy Buffett music on the PA while sipping on a beer. that cruise was our first NCL experience and it has quickly become our favorite line to cruise.
  8. I haven't heard and my son, who just disembarked today, didn't see any notifications on HC. odd, he said the Landshark pool didn't open until 11am. we were there last year and I don't recall the pool opening that late in the morning but it's possible we didn't get there until 11 or so.
  9. My son is on the Escape this week (honeymoon cruise) and just told me that the Margaritaville At Sea was changed mid-cruise to an American Diner. Also, the 5 o'clock somewhere bar was shuttered. in addition, the Landshark Landing at Harvest Caye was closed for remodeling. First I've heard of this. Anyone have details if this is fleet wide?
  10. I just watched a youtube video on a Balmoral excursion from ship yesterday. it didn't wow me. cruisers said it was $69pp and their lunch was $56 for a couple sandwiches, chips and sodas. the pool area looked kinda cool, not too many out islands have what I assume is a fresh water pool on them. there was only one beach area for the cruisers most of the rest of the island was blocked off for Sandals. Ive seen video on the Blue Lagoon and it looked superior, give it a looksee. that said, we are in Nassau next month and have a beach visit excursion to Rose Island. stay tuned!
  11. Almost everyone I've seen in the specialty restaurants (guys) wear slacks, usually a golf shirt/long sleeve collared, and shoes (not sandals). im sure there have been folks who wore dress shorts but I literally can't recall them outside the MDR/buffet. I've seen ties and even sportcoats but not anything approaching formal, not there would be anything wrong with that.
  12. last M&G we attended there was a white elephant gift exchange, where each gift could be swiped up to 3x. I think there were almost 75 participants and it took forever. I had one of the last choices and I refused to steal anything in order to do my part to help move things along. There were several, how do I say, LARGE personalities who kinda made the event exhausting. My recommendation is to set a floor price for any gift bag cruisers bring, perhaps $15? I know we personally spent 2x our limit to hopefully ensure whomever selected ours wasn't devastated. there were quite a few coffee mugs, only, that went over like lead balloons. good luck on the door prizes. I think any sane person would appreciate the effort and thoughtfulness no matter what they receive.
  13. Anyone know of new additions or changes to ncl main theatre shows in '20? Normally I'd just go to ncl website and search ship by ship but I've made commitment to the Mrs (who booked surprise cruise later in year) to stay off the website, even without logging in. Ha! ***We saw Priscilla on Epic and it was way better than I anticipated. We liked the Cirque show but i hated the cramped seating at dinner table, itty bitty living space! We missed both shows on Escape a few years ago -went with Jersey Boys dinner show instead.
  14. Cagneys Teppanyaki Moderno Bistro Cucina Supper Club That's my rankings, so far.
  15. Balcony deck 8-10...no smell whatsoever. I did smell it on deck 2 or 3 in hallway when getting back on ship from a port.
  16. We spent 11 nights on the Epic and I would gladly sail her again. Is the restroom thing odd? Yup. did it impact my enjoyment level of vacation? not at all. I will say the overall storage we had in an Epic Balcony room was heads and shoulders above any other cruise ship cabin. I can agree with the lack of water access in public areas (fixed on Escape and newer ships) is a bit of a downer, but enjoyed most everything else on Epic.
  17. I support this option 100%, unless you stay in South Beach and decide to wander the streets admiring the art deco architecture and many dining options. Enjoyed both almost equally. If you get the intercontinental pony up for a waterfront view. Truuuuuust me.
  18. Imma say this...I had soda daily as a kid and i graduated high school 6'2" 165 lb. I gave it up two decades ago and have fairly consistently gained weight since (due to aging and metabolism decreasing). I don't eat sweets or junk food. It's a cruise vacations....let the kiddos eat cake and quaff Pepsi!!!
  19. Enjoyed Cagneys all 3x we've dined there, 3 diff ships. I'm a mid level steak snob, go to top shelf steakhouses on land only 1-2×/yr.
  20. Download the lyft app, first few rides usually get discount credits. Easy, inexpensive. Highly recommended.
  21. The free laundry is a fantastic option. You can pack less or go home with almost all clean clothes. A win win. My wife is platinum and we had our entire entourage (3 rooms, all family)board priority late last year. Granted it was about noon and hardly anyone was there.
  22. The luggage tag can be useful to many, not all. We just got one 2 weeks ago. Far better than the crumpled up lanyard from early '19.
  23. Wander around old San juan. Find a spot to eat. I have my favorite haunt but I lucked into it my 1st trip. Lots of great food to discover!
  24. Used metal straws last week on Paradise. Saw 2-3 people at bar buy them after seeing me reuse it. Paper straws suuuuuuck!
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