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Everything posted by Stealthdog

  1. Yes it’s possible. I did it last year - after final payment I upgraded from a balcony to a forward facing suite. Lost the distinctive voyage perk from the original booking but gained the double latitudes points as the current promotion at the time of the upgrade.
  2. We’ve done one 15 day and two 14 day cruises. The longer ones let you get a better feel for the ship. I like both - if we do a 7 day we will (usually) spend a couple days before and after the cruise at the embarkation/disembarkation locations. Packing can be more complicated on a longer cruise. i have yet to ever get bored on a cruise ship no matter the length. We did that same itinerary (Miami to Santiago) except it was on the Sun. It was great.
  3. We did the museum pass this summer for our stay in Venice post cruise. Definitely worth it. They have several options for museum passes. My partner had a good time with the spa on the Star. It was one of his favorite spas on NCL. Kotor is very easy to do on your own. Walking to the city walls and buying the tip separately is definitely doable. Hope they port there on your cruise!
  4. Some of the stops do feel a little rushed, but there was still enough time to do what we wanted to do. Generally the port is right there at destination attraction. In Dubrovnik it was all about Game of Throne for us so we didn’t research any Dalmation Coast beach options. 4 hours was enough time for a quick city tour and then go back to the steps and do the Walk of Shame.
  5. Thanks for the feedback! With the 20% off latitudes and cruise next deposits I figured why not - cost was really low. Am most interested in ease of getting there and back. For us it’s no flight - only a shuttle bus or train ride from DC. Embarkation sounds good easy - we would probably do what you do and get there early afternoon. Hadn’t considered immigration, but if we aren’t rushing for a flight, wouldn’t be effected by delays. Only downside is the cold sea days down and up. But it’s over a year out, so can rebook a different or cancel if we change our minds.
  6. I haven’t been following. Reading them now. Next cruise is on Celebrity, so following those more. It’s a shame Kotor is getting dropped on some sailings. Going into the cruise I probably would have shrugged my shoulders if that happened because I was interested in Dubrovnik and Greek islands. But kotor was a nice stop and people will lose out of that experience.
  7. For me depends on location. I very rarely tip excursions when on European cruises. Private tours I have a couple times. Tours through the cruise line in Europe I have never tipped. On Caribbean cruises I tip the guide about 1/2 of the time ($5-10/person) and never tip the driver. Really depends on what the excursion is and my satisfaction of the guide. If all they are doing is bringing me from one place to another and saying a few things on the way I won’t tip. I don’t tip bus drivers in the city I live in when I take a bus, or a bus driver that take me from DC to NY. I don’t personally see the need to tip a bus driver for an excursion.
  8. What are your thoughts of sailing out of NY and the embarkation and disembarkation process there? We are going to do our first out of NY next December. Agree completely with your wife about the food. I find the main dining really lacking on NCL. And i wouldn’t splurge on the specialty dining either. But with the free at sea (and status perks) most have at least a few nights at them. Did you check out the casino at all? If so, how would you compare it to Carnival and Royal?
  9. Why? If you are already paying for tips for the bartenders, why do you think people should be tipping beyond what is already done?
  10. I need to become a cruise bartender! That estimate, plus the 18% for those drinks from people not on the plan, plus all the $1s, $2s, and $5s they get, it looks like they make 2-3 times what I made bartending when I was younger. 😀 That assumes it all goes to them, which I doubt is true.
  11. There are certain port cities that are frustrating (to me) to have as a stop. Rome and Barcelona are two of them. There is so much to do and see in those two, that they are much more effective as embarkations or disembarkations so you can spend a few days before or after the cruise there. Given that your current cruise sails out of Rome to London, I personally would keep it unless that one stop in Barcelona is a deal changer for you, and look to do a future cruise out of Barcelona. Many of the European stops are fine for one-day stops. You will want more than one day in Barcelona.
  12. I did the same thing - lost distinctive voyages perk from original booking but the upgrade was definitely worth it with the suite perks, more OBC, and extra latitude points per night.
  13. My June sailing wasn’t being added. I submitted the request to add it twice. Nothing happened. Called my TA this week. Next day the June cruise showed on my cruise history. I’d recommend either you have your TA fix it or call NCL directly if you did not use a TA.
  14. I did 3 mock bookings of that cruise and the discount worked for me. Did the cheapest balcony rate on NCL while logged in, on NCL as a guest, and on a 3rd party site. The booking on NCL while logged in was $500 cheaper per person than the other 2 mock bookings.
  15. @Cyclospora - glad you had a great cruise! Sorry to hear about the donkey steps and your parents. :( Hope they are doing well now!
  16. Our next cruise is on celebrity again. Like others have said Celebrity is generally an older clientele than NCL and Royal. But we have never had trouble meeting younger passengers - we are late 30s/early 40s and there were others like us. The production shows and other theater entertainment on Celebrity are much worse IMHO (for a younger audience) and we skip those now and just do other things instead.
  17. Eric loved the cold plunge. I think he told me it was only in the men’s locker room.
  18. Cool story - you do you and I'll do me. I don't shame or try to belittle what you do and don't care what you think of me or what I do. :)
  19. Yes. I wouldn't pay that. I was already of the opinion that Moderno (generally) is not as good as Texas de Brazil or Fogo de Chao. And now they are charging the same amount as a land Churrascaria? I don't even use the dining package on Moderno.
  20. I agree with this completely. We have come across several we saw on previous cruises (most who were never tipped) and they have all been great. I think it is more about how you treat people and interact with them than how many extra dollars you give them. If you really want to take care of the workers, fill out the comment cards at the end of your cruise and give them outstanding praise for what they did for you on the cruise. Or even better, hand write a note to give to one of the managers directly. This means more to them than a couple extra dollars.
  21. My baseline going onto a ship is no one - already paying the pre-paid gratuities/daily service charge, the tips for the beverage package, and the tips for the dining package. If I get average service of what should be expected on a cruise ship, I don't give any additional tips. Sometimes a room steward or server goes above and beyond what I expect and I'll give them a little extra for thanks. The only exception is the Platinum level dining perk - I'll leave tip on the $0 receipt because gratuities are not already included like the UDP.
  22. They move an hour ahead for those two. I think it will be in the daily and the room steward should put a reminder notice in your room the day prior to moving ahead and the day before moving back again.
  23. SHHHH. We aren't supposed to know that. :)
  24. 1) People on excursions through NCL aren't necessarily first off. If you book an excursion through NCL, you will have a meetup time (usually in the theater) and then follow instructions until your tour is called. While waiting for our tours to be called in the two tender stops, we heard the announcements of tenders being boarded - so others were getting off before us. And it sounded like they were getting the tenders moving fairly quickly once the port authorities authorized. I really don't think the tender process will be that difficult for a first time cruiser. You will probably be a little stressed and nervous, but trust me, its not overwhelming. Just follow the instructions they publish in the dailies (I posted copies earlier in the thread for our sailing). 2) You will have to take the tender back to the ship. Some of the tenders have very large capacities and can carry hundreds of people at one time. They will publish when the last tenders will leave the port for the ship (typically it is about 30 minutes prior to the all aboard time). Just make sure you are back to the tender by the time they state for the last one. You will not need return tickets to take it back. 3) Taking a ship tour will not make it faster getting on a tender back onto the boat. There is no priority for getting back on the tender - its whoever is next in line. The tender at Santorini back to the ship is pretty quick. Just make sure you are in line in time for the last tender. 4) I think there is a website that tracks how many and which ships are projected to be at a port on a given day. I'm not sure what it is. On our day in Santorini, we started with 3 ships, and we were the last to leave. There was still another ship in port when we made our way to the tender site, so the area was packed with people waiting in line to take the cable car back down to the tender site. You should definitely be able to do Oia and dinner on your own. But, with this being your first cruise, it may be less stressful to do an excursion through the cruise line. I saw signs for transport to Oia, so its probably just a matter of looking up the schedules for when the ferries depart and booking tickets independently. These are the excursions we did. We had the Platinum discount and the $50 per port discount, so we did all through NCL. In the Caribbean, we will normally do most on our own or third party, but the prices worked for us on this one. - Kotor - Hike to the Top of the City Walls - Corfu - Best of Corfu - Santorini - Volcano Hiking - Mykonos - Delos: Birthplace of Artemis and Apollo - Argostoli - Cephalonia Highlights - Dubrovnik - Game of Thrones - Venture through Kings Landing I would not recommend the NCL tours we did for Corfu or Dubrovnik. The other 4 we would definitely do again. You don't need to an organized tour for the city walls in Kotor - you can walk there and purchase your own tickets. There are pros and cons of using the cruise lines excursions. Pros are that it is generally less stressful and hassle free. If the ship excursion is late getting back to the ship, the ship waits for you - so you don't have the stress of looking at your watch. Cons are that they usually cost more than a private tour or just doing your own thing, and they tend to be larger groups so you don't get the experience you would in a small group. The tendering process seems to be a little stressful for you, so I would recommend booking excursions through the cruise lines for the two tender stops (I think in Santorini, they have at least one Oia excursion) and doing your own thing at the other four. In Santorini, if you want to have dinner in Fira after Oia you will still need to get back to the tender site on your own. If the tendering process doesn't bother you, and I was recommending one of the ones we did, it would probably be the Mykonos - Delos one. But, I am completely into ruins and archeology sites. It really depends on what you like doing.
  25. Unlimited apps and deserts. Just had 3 apps on Bistro a few days ago. The only time there is a restriction is if you are using the platinum perk (1 app and 1 desert), but even then they don’t enforce it.
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