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snorklinbarb

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  1. While Platinum Plus is guaranteed a spot at the Officers' Dinner, they generally have a "lottery" and platinums tend to get added -- at least that has been our experience. So it seemed a reasonable question to ask if you had attended. Even other latitudes levels have a "shot" with the lottery although these days there are a lot of Plat. Pluses and enough other Platinums to fill the dinners. Last one I attended there were 2 couples plus me (solo). One of the hosts was the Casino Manager and the key host was a corporate trainer. It was highly interesting even though the dinners have largely moved away from say the Captain, HD etc. actually doing the table hosting. I'm speaking for the larger ships though so not sure how it is handled on say Jewel class. On Bliss last year we had one of the ship doctors and the table was hosted by the CruiseNext Manager. Dinners we've attended have all been in one of the MDR's with the regular menu and complimentary wine. We have enjoyed every single one of them. Another one we went to last year on Breakaway was hosted by the AHD and went very well until one of the guests started a conversation along the lines of "Here's why I think NCL has gone downhill." The officer handled it very well, listened and commented on her concerns. It did put a bit of cloud over the dinner though! Besides the dinners (and water), we have availed ourselves of the 15% shorex discount. Since we had also chosen the shorex credit as a perk, it made for quite a nice savings. As for concierge "access," it's true they no longer send a letter to the cabin offering services. However, the Cruise Next team will give you the contact number if you just ask at the desk. Of course they are busy with Haven guests but will help if you call (or leave a message).
  2. Always love your insights. Sounds like you're having a great time! The buffet on Bliss did not drive me crazy but must say had to chuckle about searching for that sausage gravy! Agree the Indian buffet is the best in the fleet with expanded offerings at lunch and dinner. Really authentic spiciness and nice variety. You have offered a lot of help on this board especially on the upgrade bidding process. So it's fun to see your onboard adventure (and lovely pic in that fresh air on the deck!) We thought the best thing about Bliss is that Observation Lounge that seems to go on forever. What a great job they've done putting out some breakfast & lunch items on a small buffet. Gorgeous decor and views! Thanks again for sharing your cruise with us! Did you like the Go-Karts and Laser Tag? How did you find the entertainment onboard in the lounges and theater?
  3. Thanks for sharing this especially seeing the ingredients for each drink. Very comprehensive list. Does this mean one can order any of these on NCL even if they do not all appear on the menus? Would suppose it would depend on bartenders being familiar with all these drinks. How did you handle that?
  4. Thanks Darby Dean for starting this thread! Our previous cruises on Epic in 2010 and 2013 featured Slam Allen at Fat Cats and we just about lived there. Now we'd be interested in trying the Cavern Club and appreciate the heads up, Mike, on 4 Blue band! We listened to some videos last evening and they seem to have a very tight sound. Weird was the theater show seemed to have a sax lead but in Cavern Club saw no sign of brass so maybe another entertainer was invited to join for a number? Anyway given blcruiser's post that the current band is Albatross Air, is it fair to assume they will be signing off and your daughter's friends then joining Epic? Do you have any info as to the changeover? Have read that when ships change to a European itinerary, the Caribbean reggae bands are left behind and another type of group takes their place. But I can't see them having 2 rock bands at the same time! For those concerned about the crowding for the Cavern Club shows, especially Beatles, I was on Breakaway for 2 weeks. They repeated the shows there as well as in Spiegel Tent and then a big show in the Theater. Same for the Queen tribute band. First night wall to wall guests but by the 2nd week of the cruise quite easy to get a seat without the long lines. The transatlantic Epic is 15 nights so plenty of time to catch all the entertainment over the course of the cruise.
  5. Would be flying in. Do any of the above offer a complimentary or reasonable shuttle from MCO? How about a shuttle to the pier the next day? Even if there is a small charge pp. Or how much would a taxi run (only 2 people). No car so parking pkgs n.a. Any ever show up on Priceline or Hotwire? Thanks!
  6. Related but haven't exactly seen this issue addressed, responders about the airfare perk indicate NCL will always fly guest in and out on exact embarkation and disembarkation days. Otherwise there is a diversion fee, etc. My question is what happens in the event the cruise line's arranged air does not arrive in time? Generally I know guests booking on their own are responsible for getting themselves to the next port. What is the case when booking via NCL? Specifically I am looking at a TA so missing the ship (whether weather, mechanical, whatever) would be a real problem since there are many days at sea before the first hard to reach port. Have been searching T & C but can't seem to locate anything about missing the ship and who then becomes responsible. Thanks for anyone who can share insight or experience.
  7. They were offered on the new Cagney's menu in Nov. on Breakaway. Like the ribeye price going up, so have just about all entrees. The lamb chops are now $23. My guest had the porterhouse and I believe it was the same price. One has to look pretty hard to stick to that $20 limit for the entree given the hiked prices. The lamb chops were as good as ever!
  8. How did you like the special local dish for lunch? The description suggests a stew. Was it flavorful or more a boil? Were you there end of October? Looks like many guests dressed for rain. Or does it tend to be wet? Was it challenging walking in any spots?
  9. On a recent 15 night cruise, the Exec. Chef was asked during a Q and A session about the seemingly high level of sodium. He indicated they are very aware of this and have a specific policy to reduce the amount of salt by quite a large %. More seasonings to maintain taste but less salt. His answer was very well received. I'm one whose ankles start to swell on a longer cruise and have been told by the doctor that it's a combination of saltier food and water, richer foods and perhaps a tad too much wine. Have prescription med just for cruises! I've never thought about ordering a special meal in advance but interesting to read how others have handled. Must say when it comes to those garlic butter-dripping escargots in Le Bistro I don't exactly put on the brakes.
  10. I'm confused why would you were limited on the apps as the SDP even if offered as a perk allows multiple apps and sides but only one entree. Not that you didn't have enough but the information given is not exactly correct. Or has this changed? Have read so many threads and witnessed first hand at Le Bistro where the waiter said to people oh you have the dining plan, that entitles you to 1 app, 1 entree, 1 dessert. Even throwing in sides, that seems to be incorrect.
  11. Had new menus in most specialties on Bliss and recently on Breakaway. Neither has Bayamo but now looking at Escape which does. Many posts of new menus at other venues but couldn't find anything beyond March for Bayamo. Since it was a relatively new menu then, perhaps no changes? Looks like an extensive menu. Only time we ever ate in Bayamo (totally different menu) it was quite limited. If menu is same as posted here, how about prices? Thanks!
  12. Did you hit "details" on the right side of the screen? When I checked Pearl TA and Dawn out of SJU, both offering "free (or reduced) airfare" I could see the cruise fare, taxes/port fees, airfare and transfers all broken out as separate line items. If choosing a perk the gratuities (if applicable) are also listed separately. It would probably be better if the "total" were not bundled into the cruise fare, causing one to check details. That said, with one quote being "0.00" and the other 149.50, the perk can be quite a savings, though obviously varies by sailing. Still not sure I'd label the perk a "joke" though many are reduced fares rather than completely free. What I don't understand is the "transfers." One lists $100 pp (I believe from Amsterdam port to airport) which seems awfully steep. I've purchased NCL airport transfers before in various ports and usually runs $25 or so pp. Any ideas?
  13. To bring this up to date, I just got back from Oct. 27th 15 night repo (NYC to NOLA) on NCL Breakaway in an inside cabin with no supplement. The studios, although not double an inside cabin for 2, were higher as they come with 1 perk and the no-supplement solo rate was for inside, ocvw, balcony, mini suite guaranty's. Those wanting specific cabins had to pay double. Then the following leg 7 night Nov. 18 NOLA-NOLA appeared for $299 pp (plus taxes/fees) and no solo supplement so I booked it. Also an inside gty (2 cabins away) so the move was pretty painless. Long repos are often an excellent deal whether solo or with companion(s). The average age on our cruise (Breakaway) was 61.5 yrs whereas it fell to 54 on the following 7 nighter. The studios were also full and the solo early evening gathering on the long repo drew over 50 guests. NCL assigns a CD host to the studios - group dinners are arranged, shows with a row or two reserved, etc. The studios have quite a following of return solos and a separate lounge.
  14. See you onboard but hope you're joking about muster. Since they are allowed 24 hours in which to hold the drill, I expect it to be tomorrow morning. Or I'm showing up in my nightgown. Expect a lot of crew to be up till the wee hours. The adventure continues before it's even begun!
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