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About Captain_Cruising

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    New York

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  1. You can use the drink plan immediately upon boarding. I'm uncertain of the exact distance that needs to be traveled to be considered out to sea. However, until the ship leaves port and is "out to sea", you will be responsible for the local sales taxes on your drinks.
  2. On a Caribbean Cruise sailing from New York, we went to lunch - probably between 12:00 - 2:00 PM. Hostess was initially hesitant to seat us, as she explained the occupants of our room from the previous sailing, were still on board. I "assume" it was an NCL snafu, as I doubt Homeland Security would allow us to board while passengers had not yet disembarked (no zero count). I very carefully perused my on-board charges for that day.
  3. Haven on Gem - I have booked and sailed on several Gem balconies in the Caribbean and loved the experience. On one booked balcony, we won the bidding system and received a discounted Haven 2-Bedroom. Don't get me wrong, the Haven is VERY nice, but on the older Jewel Class Ships, the Gem does not of all the bells & whistles of the new ships. There is a small courtyard with a tiny essentially a wading pool with a retractable roof that can be rolled open/shut depending on the weather. The private sun deck was up one flight of stairs and was virtually empty for our 10-day cruise. The second bedroom was very small and had two singles beds, very stiff beds (really not Haven quality, but available). The master bedroom is very nice, there is a beautiful private deck, small living room, small table & chairs for eating in your cabin, one giant luxurious bathroom and a second balcony side bathroom. There is no bar or restaurant in the Gem Haven. Breakfast and lunch was served in Cagneys exclusively for the Haven & Suite guests. The butler could be utilize to bring bar drinks to you in the Haven (to the courtyard, sun deck or your room) from any of the "regular" bars. Additionally, dinner or any food could be brought to you by the Butler, as well as any little num-num snacks during the day. The concierge will get you any priority seating at shows, restaurants, excursions, as well as embarkation / disembarkation. To repeat, its a VERY nice experience and you will want for nothing, but not as nice as the newer Havens. In your particular case, if you booked two balcony rooms, all guest would be entitled to all five offers. However, your 6-year old obviously does need the liquor plan. You are then paying for two cabins. With that in mind, if you booked the more expensive Haven, first two guests receive all five offers. As of right now, guests 3 & 4 can sail in the Haven for "free" - no fare but you pay the port taxes and gratuities only. In summation, you may want to research pricing for two balcony rooms versus one Haven room. Do a mock booking on both options for pricing. Pick your rooms in this drill - NCL will advertise a Balcony as low as $1,049, but this is a guaranteed room and comes with ZERO perks. To get the 5 perks in a balcony you need to book each cabin somewhere between $1,300 to $1,600 each. Single Haven 2-bedroom sells for $3,900. Here is what I see in TAKE ALL 5 issues on a seven day Boston to Bermuda. With the Haven you would need to separately purchase the number of specialty dining nights for two guests. NCL will give guests #1 and #2 three specialty dining in the PICK 5. This again assumes the 6-year old would be happy in a steakhouse, French restaurant Hibachi dinner experience, etc. as opposed to dining in one of the two the main dining rooms. Drink package - depends on the volume of drinks consumed. If alcohol usage would be considerable, then consider purchasing one drink package for the third over-21 guest. If one of the three adults is not a heavy drinker, rather than buying a Beverage Package and spending $99 per day on the package, just purchase individual drinks (to make the package economical, your "weakest" drinker would need to consume 8-10 drinks each day, including the port days in Bermuda where you will probably be off ship most of the day). Hint: Make sure the two "stronger" drinkers are listed a Guest #1 and Guest #2 if booking the Haven. The $50 per port excursion benefit is per cabin, so 2 credits for 2 Balcony cabins verses one credit in the Haven. Cannot bank or stack the credits - if don't use it any day, you lose it. Again economics depends on the number of NCL sponsored excursions taken. If you use an outside vendor or go on your own, the $50 credit is worthless. No need to worry about getting back to the ship on port day 1 or 2. Day three is obviously critical. If Wifi access is critical, the TAKE 5 usually gives 250 minutes per cabin. Three days in Bermuda - I'm relatively ceratin that the 2 twenty-somethings can easily locate free Wifi in shopping areas / restaurants etc.. My personal opinion - If I were looking to splurge, I would go for the Haven. Either way, it sounds like a great vacation - Enjoy! Several years ago we did an August NY-Bermuda on the Dawn. It was VERY hot & humid for our cruise. YMMV
  4. We won a Gem Haven upgrade a year and a half ago. There was an elevator up to the haven courtyard level, one flight above the Cagney / Moderno area. Needed to insert a Haven access card into the elevator to get the courtyard level. The sundeck was definitely up a flight of stairs right off the pool / hot tub area of the courtyard. I don't recall an elevator, however, as I wasn't looking for it, may have missed it.
  5. Same here on the Jewel water slide. As it was relatively cold (August in Alaska), the pool was virtually empty. Got my butt stuck and had to "inch worm" my way down. Thankfully, no pictures were taken to memorialize the event.
  6. For our December 1991 honeymoon, we took a pair of back to Caribbean cruises. We sailed the Seaward (Western Caribbean) from Miami and then the Starward (Eastern Caribbean) from San Juan. These were the first cruises for both of us. The first night in the theater, the Cruise Director announced that the average weight gain on a cruise was one to two pounds. After a slight comedic pause, he quipped - that's per day. Unfortunately, he was very accurate. This was long before free style cruising. All cruisers sat for dinner at the same table, with the same 8-10 guests at the same designated hour. That regimentation hampered our experience, as you were tied to a restrictive schedule - had to be back on board, showered, dressed and seated on time at your designated table each night. We did miss a few shows because dinner ran late. I fondly remember the Maitre D, Mr. Lee. As a gift, our travel agent had a bottle of champagne sent to us on the ship. At the first night's dinner, Mr Lee announced the HE had a bottle of champagne for us. We asked him to bring it out on the formal night, with enough glasses for all the guests at our table. Each night, like clockwork, Mr Lee reminded us that HE had this special champagne sitting on ice. Each night we answered, please bring it out on the formal night (I think it was the fifth night) . The way he continued his repertoire, one would think that Mr Lee himself had gifted us this champagne. Finally on the last night of the cruise, we are all seated for dinner. Back then NCL issued little envelopes for gratuities. All guests had their little gratuity envelopes at the ready. Incredibly, Mr Lee never came to the dining room that night. My bride and I are not gamblers by any stretch of the imagination, however, right after dinner we proceeded to the casino and gleefully deposited Mr Lee's gratuity into the quarter pushing machine. To this day we still laugh about Mr Lee's gratuity and our donation to the casino. As we had the later sitting for dinner, it was a few short hours until the Midnight Buffet began. We were astounded by the huge display of assorted goodies. We loaded our plates and grabbed a seat. After a few mouthfuls, we realized that there was no way we could partake so soon after dinner. That was the first and last Midnight Buffet we attended. I still recall the sail away party on the smaller Starward. As soon as the ship started pulling out of San Juan, a deck full of cruisers with cocktails in hand, a very large number of guests vanished to the bowels of the ship. I never saw so many people get nauseous at once. The following night there were still a few empty seats at dinner. Fast forward to 2010, the kids are now teenagers, and we jump back into cruise vacations. Some have lamented that NCL no longer grants Latitude credit for the "ancient" cruises. Back in 2010, I inquired about our 14-day credit from our honeymoon. NCL indicated they had no records going that far back and I would need to prove my claim. Fortunately, I had the old style docs, portraits taken by NCL staff photographer from formal night and dockside pictures with the mascots, and some original handouts (see below). I even had the menu, which was sold in the on-board gift shop. NCL issued the Latitude credits. I don't recall any swinging chairs. Ah, the memories of a lifetime. By the way Mr. Lee, your champagne was excellent - thank you.
  7. The non-slide pool is the adult pool. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  8. (1) Over a year and a half ago I got the okay from my boss in writing to take a longer than normal vacation (2) Before booking my B2B Med and transatlantic I discussed it with her and got approval (3) Now because others don't plan ahead I may get denied vacation Short term solution --> Travel insurance Long Term solution --> start updating your resume.
  9. BazookaJoe, I will also be on the Nov 26th sailing of the Gem. I’ve done several variations of this post Thanksgiving Caribbean itinerary. At the last port, St.Thomas, there are several shops in the immediate area of the dock. Assuming we dock as opposed to tender, it’s definitely worthwhile to go ashore. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
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