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Sailing12Away

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  1. Is that for all ships? We'll be in the OS on the Jewel of the Seas in about 12 days. Never sailed with RCC yet, so trying to wrap our heads around the differences between them and NCL Haven for what's included vs what isn't.
  2. The model of the ship is in the observation lounge. There's also smaller ones available for purchase near the shop areas. The carpet has fishies showing you which way to the front of the ship. If you're doing a bar crawl, can try and take photos of all the different beer taps as they differ by bar. Also the liquor bottle selection as that too will differ by bar. I didn't spend much time exploring the ship when I was on her last month, didn't even make it to the laser tag, go karts or virtual reality area once. But I did spend a lot of time taking photos of the numerous cocktails we drank. I'm a bit of a nerd, so if I was to do an odd photo scavenger hunt of sorts I would probably try to find all the emergency equipment. Life jackets, rings, boats, slides, floats, hooks, etc. Specific for Alaska: humpbacks will be easy but the Orca is more elusive. Not just a bear - but find a bear eating fresh salmon. Seals floating on an iceberg, eagles sitting in a nest, a crab leg cracker, the whale statue at Icy Straight Point, the humping bears at the Arctic Bar in Juneau, the painted rocks of previous ships that have sailed into dock (I think that was in Skagway), an Alaska license plate, the snowplow attachment for the White Pass Railway in Skagway, the Northern Lights...
  3. Is it sad that I'm just happy to see that bathroom image at the end of the video showing the toilet with plenty of room to actually sit comfortably on there and wipe? Getting a little sick of the airplane toilets enclosures on some of these ships...
  4. We were booked on the Pearl for a Greek Isles trip which was eventually cancelled and replaced with a different ship. But when we were originally booking, a 2BR Haven suite was $3K more than the equivalent 2BR non-Haven suite. For us, $3K for a private pool area wasn't worth it. If you love the pool area and plan on spending lots of time there, maybe for you it is. Price out both, and the difference is your gauge for when it comes time to bid for upgrades. If the price to outright get into Haven was $3K, make sure your bid is lower than that and you'll feel like it was worth it if you get in.
  5. As others have already said, there are some small perks to booking a new sailing while onboard a current sailing, but that depends on the category of cabin you're looking into. We did it once and booked a BA balcony room at the rate of the BF - saved about $500 total. But when it came time to looking into upgrading our room when prices dropped, we were being charged the price difference of the BF instead of the BA. So even though we were in a BA and it would be $200 to go into a MA, we were being charged as if we were still in the BF so the upgrade cost would have been $750 and no longer worth it. Prices kept dropping and we ended up outright upgrading to an H2 instead for $1000/pp on a 10 night cruise - still feel like we stole that one from them.
  6. Is that new? When we were on the Epic pre-Covid we booked 3 cabins for a NY to Bermuda cruise and got a total of 4 CN certificates to apply towards them. 2 went to our cabin, and 1 each for my parents and sister's cabins. The cruise ended up being Covid-cancelled and then that became a bit of a beast to get the 4 CN certificates back in my name - but we were able to use the CN we purchased on board as the deposit for those 3 cabins.
  7. If money is not a factor in your decision, the DOS on the Epic is a no-brainer. We were just in an Aft Haven cabin on the Encore, and we prefer being in the Haven courtyard area.
  8. It depended on the day. The first sea days were the worst at night, it woke both of us up. The noise wasn't horrible, but the vibration was just odd as we weren't expecting it. We got used to it by the end of the trip, but it was the only cruise we actually felt the ship that much. If you enjoy spending a lot of time on your balcony, or even just that view in the morning with your coffee and at night looking at the stars with your wine - then it's probably fine if you're not a light sleeper. I loved just standing out there looking at the beautiful scenery. I think the bigger issue for us was the distance from where we were to the Haven lounge/bar area. If we were just a few steps from the lounge we would have been there multiple times a day. So it's probably the overall impression of everything that is clouding my opinion. We enjoyed the trip tremendously, but if we sail Haven again we will not pick aft as our first choice. Others love it and swear by it, which is fine because they can have it and leave me extra choices closer up front.
  9. We were in an aft cabin on deck 14 last month and felt a TON of vibration and noise. Thought it was just us... guess not.
  10. They had lobster tails on the Encore last month. $19 upcharge in the specialty restaurants, free in the Haven one.
  11. I keep rechecking the pricing for my Sept 2023 sailing and the price just keeps going up for my cabin. So I'll count myself lucky for locking in early and on the 'right' deck that still has the hot tub (for now).
  12. Sailing out of Cyprus. We're vaccinated, but had to register with Eurofins for testing at the pier before being allowed on board. Once on board the email says we need to register for our Covid test to come back home to the US. Not sure how we'll do that if we don't have the internet package...
  13. Can someone clarify if you guys are ordering and performing these tests for your own piece of mind, or are they required? I'm sailing for the first time with RCC in <20 days and just registered for the test being administered at the pier pre-embarking - but I'm not aware of any other self testing requirements. Am I missing something, or are all of you just overly cautious?
  14. We're <20 days from our first sailing with RCC. Do they ship out luggage tags to people ahead of time, or do we need to print them out ourselves? I'm used to NCL sending the stickers for guests in the Haven, wasn't sure if RCC did something similar (we'll be in an owners suite).
  15. Very similar story to ours. Epic was our first in a mini suite, and then our 2nd time in Haven. Our favorite part was being able to walk front to back on any deck. A lot of the other ships feel like an escape room puzzle to figure out how to get from A to B without having to go through areas I don't want to be in. Our most recent trip to Alaska just 2 weeks back put us into platinum with the quadruple points. It goes fast if you take advantage of the double/triple/quadruple rewards point offers.
  16. I assure you, this was the free at sea wifi offer as that was the only thing I had. Hence why it says $0.00 charge and 250 minutes remaining, and why I took a photo of my laptop when I saw that comment about the $3.95 activation fee. My bill had been so messed up the entire trip and I was already on my 3rd visit to the Haven concierge to fix the other (more expensive) mix-ups that I didn't bother when I got that message on the last sea day to go back again over a measly $4. It's the principle, not the amount that got me. Both my Icy Straight Point and Ketchikan excursions had been cancelled and rebooked (by NCL). But when they rebooked them for me, they billed me at the higher rate without the Lattitudes or shore excursion discounts applied. So instead of walking onto the ship with a negative balance from my OBC, we owed them another several hundred dollars on day 1. Plus, I still haven't seen the refund from those cancelled excursions - so they double billed me and now I have to keep watching my credit card for the refund in the next ~2 billing cycles. If we were talking about $150, no big deal. But to be double billed twice (and at the higher, wrong price for one of them) for the $725 Ketchikan Hummer tour - that hurts your wallet when you're not expecting it.
  17. When you get your price before booking, it is clearly listed as a free at sea gratuity fee before you hand over any money. You know the cost at the time of agreeing to it and before giving them any money for your trip. Whereas with the "free" internet, you only see the $3.95 charge at the time you go and try to actually use the internet. That's more bait & switch than the drink package gratuities IMO, but since it's only $4 I guess they're able to get away with it without folks getting their knickers in a twist.
  18. Supply & demand and the enormous great unknown. That's why I book early and price watch regularly to see if it comes down and I rebook - or the price goes up and I pat myself on the back for getting it when I did. We just came off the Encore a few weeks ago. 2 of us in a Haven aft cabin cost ~$10K, my MIL sailing solo in a balcony who booked at the last minute when extra cabins opened up got her room for $3200. Similar cruises on the same ship around the same time of year for 2022 come in at 15K for our room, and $4600 for MIL's balcony. So yes, they're higher but we're still only 1 month into return to sailing - so anything can happen to those prices. To each their own, but I'm not sure it's a fair apples-apples comparison to put NCL against Carnival. What sounds egregious to some is on par with expectations for others. Having said that, I'm still waiting for my Star sailing in May 2022 to be cancelled with me being forced to rebook as the price I paid for an MA cabin has now gone up over 60%.
  19. It certainly was great, until it wasn't. We had put a forgotten can of beer from Seattle in the outer pocket of the suitcase, so we just assumed it had popped and leaked from the handling of the bag and that was what was holding it up. Nope - can was a little dented but the beer was intact, as was the salmon and other snacks we bought and brought home. No sign of anyone even rummaging through the bag for a standard TSA check. I blame this one 100% on Alaska Airlines for simply putting it on the wrong plane.
  20. Backpack is fine, but roller bags no. The testing site is a bit small when you start filling it up with hundreds of people. Imagine hundreds of people and even half them with a carryon roller bag - uggg. Good luck walking through all that. Small purse/backpack/messenger bag/tote bag is fine. Anything else beyond that leave it somewhere else. Regarding lost bags - we were on the 8/28 sailing and used the Port Valet to get the bags from our cabin directly to the airport. We were happy with the service, until we got to JFK and found ourselves one bag short. Checked with the Alaska Airlines rep and he claimed the bag was held up in Seattle by TSA, and that it was "normal" for them to hold bags from an outside 3rd party courier. We got to the airport at 10am, flight wasn't until 1:40pm. Bag was eventually reunited with us the following day at home and the tags told a different story. Alaska Airlines shipped it from Seattle to San Diego for some reason instead of JFK. Then the following morning they shipped it from San Diego to JFK, got to NY at 3pm, and a courier dropped it at our house at 10pm. They (AA) claim they're giving us a $100 credit for the inconvenience, but I still haven't seen it yet and have no plans to use it. Just annoyed that they lied to us about where it was.
  21. Not sure why everyone gets so hung up on the NCL drink package. For a 7 day cruise, it works out to about 3 drinks per day to break even, depending on your adult beverage of choice. Less than $40/day. For my upcoming RCC cruise at the end of this month, I'm getting charged $59/day. When I'm on vacation I like the freedom to drink whatever I want, whenever I want. I tend to stick to cocktails as I'm too lazy to make them myself at home - who has time to keep fresh mixers and fruits and herbs and everything else? Not me. I get to try liquors I either don't have at home or have and don't know what to do with. I get to try something I normally wouldn't go for because if I don't like it - I don't have to finish it. If you're a strictly bud light type of guy/gal, first off I need to introduce you to better beer. Secondly - stick to paying as you go. Or if you're mainly 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner and that's it - again, pay as you go. But if you like to dabble and experiment and not have to think about how much you're getting charged or whether you truly want that mimosa with breakfast, it's worth every penny. As silly as it sounds, the thing that really irked me on my most recent cruise was the $3.95 activation fee for the "free internet". I'm more pissed off about a $4 charge for internet than I am about anything related to their drink package.
  22. These were the show days/times during the 8/28 sailing. I presume if/when the shows are reinstated they would be similar.
  23. Last night in the Haven bar on Encore, 8/28/21 sailing. VID_20210903_203415.mp4
  24. Was the birthday celebration after Icy Straight Point? If so, I have a video of that serenade. The last night of the cruise was amazing at the Haven bar, Ronnie did a show for everyone and then all of the bar staff sang to us. Not sure if I can upload the videos directly here, but I'll try... VID_20210830_214346.mp4
  25. From Seattle before getting on board the Encore last week we had some salmon jerky and vacuum sealed salmon that was fine. Also had a can of beer that we forgot about and that made it onto the ship as well. I figure it was more hassle for them to dig it out of our suitcase and hold it for us than to just let the single can go through. Coming home we had additional vacuum sealed salmon stuff and jerky (not refrigerated, as long as you don't open the package they said it was good for several months) and we had no problems. The beer can also made it back home to NY as well, along with 3 bottles of liquor we purchased on the ship.
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