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About kayteecat

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  1. I have a booking on a June 2020 sailing on the Encore to Bermuda, but after that I'd definitely be looking to try Virgin Voyages. Seems as if my boyfriend and I fit squarely in their target demographic, as we're in our late 20s, both working on graduate degrees (the June 2020 sailing is actually supposed to be my graduation gift to myself, I'm scheduled to receive my MBA about two weeks beforehand) and we both have professional careers. The idea of a ship with no kids is certainly appealing, and while grad school + full-time job leaves very little time for partying (LOL at grad school frat party) we do take the opportunity on vacation when we don't have to be functional for work the next morning. 2021 is a long way away, but maybe enough time to see if VV lives up to the hype.
  2. I don't know if you drink alcohol, but Islandz Tours offers a rum-tasting tour that lasts about 2 - 2.5 hours and departs from Pirate Republic Brewing Company, which is about a 5 minute walk from the port. The guide, Julio, was great and had lots of suggestions about things to check out after the tour. You get two full-size rum cocktails with the tour, as well as some rum tastings (and snacks like conch fritters to help soak up all the alcohol!). We had a really great group of maybe 10 people or so. It's a nice mix of the rum distilling process as well as the pirate/bootlegger history of Nassau. Not sure how long you'll be in Nassau but it's something fun and a bit different to check out. If it weren't for that tour, we probably wouldn't have left the ship either.
  3. We were so delighted by our towel animals on the Escape that we told our room steward, Jacinto and he showed us how to make several of them! He earned a Vacation Hero card for that one. 😃
  4. I was just on the Escape over New Year's and we had a pretty good experience in all 3 dining rooms, food was always served at what I felt was an appropriate temperature. Some upthread have complained about the Manhattan Room, we ate there 3 times and it was the only MDR we ate dinner in (we would eat breakfast/lunch in Taste and Savor) and didn't feel that the service was particularly slow, but I think it is more popular for dinner since that's the only time it's open.
  5. @JamieLogical has actually considered this in some of her previous posts - she was able to look at the code that NCL sends to the third party that processes the bids. If I recall correctly, Latitudes # is included in the data but nothing about previous cruises or previous spend. That means that in order to use that information, the third party would have to get that information from NCL in some other way and then match it up. That's not to say it's not considered at all, but she was able to tell what information NCL provides. EDIT: She's already replied in the time it took me to write this but the point still stands.
  6. Agree with the profiteroles, I read about them on CC and made sure to try them. Definitely worth the calories!
  7. My strategy on our last cruise on the Escape was to go with what we think will be the most popular restaurant on the first night - so we went with Cagney's. We closed out with Moderno the last night, and since we were on an NYE cruise we had Le Bistro that night. My only mistake was that since we were sailing out of Manhattan, it was too cold on the first and last nights to eat on the Waterfront so I do regret not swapping that around. We did eat at Pinchos though, so we didn't completely miss out on the Waterfront experience. I had my eye out for Food Republic and wasn't aware it was even open the first night! Next time I would definitely take advantage, that was one of our favorite meals.
  8. Yes the continental breakfast is free, no convenience charge. We had a lovely breakfast on our balcony while in port in Miami waiting to be cleared to get our day started. Yogurt, raisin bran, croissants (butter and chocolate), coffee and orange juice delivered to our room a bit before 8:30, all we had to do was open the door to come get it. We also brought our Yeti cups and every night before bed would go fill those at the buffet (please use the cups provided at the buffet to fill your refillable bottle/cup as instructed by the signs and avoid the transference of germs). Though in my experience, using the ice from our bucket and the tap water from the bathroom sink was the same experience, my boyfriend preferred to get his water from something meant for drinking. He is a bit of a snob though and hated the coffee too. I drink mine from a Keurig and don't much care what it tastes like so long as I get the caffeine fix.
  9. Thanks everyone, I checked the guidelines and wasn't sure whether it was kosher or not. The tour operator was Islandz Tours and we had Julio as our guide and he was wonderful. We found them on Viator since they have the worry-free cruise excursion guarantee about getting you back to your ship on time, and we paid about $72 but it looks like you can book directly on their site for $64.95. We were in port from 8 AM with onboard time of 5:30, but we did the 11 AM tour which ended around 2 with plenty of time to spare so booking directly with them may be the way to go.
  10. @victory2020 apparently I can't PM you but if you Google "rum and food tasting tour Nassau" it will be one of the first results. It cost us about $70 per person and for the amount of booze, food, and entertainment we considered it well worth the money.
  11. @victory2020 I will send you a private message as I don't think I can list the name of the website I used to find the tour company. The way the port works as that you get off the ship, and there is a short (less than 1 mile) walk off to Woodes Rogers Walk which is the first street right up against the water. There are a number of shops, restaurants and taxis right along here and on the next parallel street, Bay Street that are pretty touristy. That said, our tour met at Pirate Republic Brewing on Woodes Rogers which is a cool little craft brewery that I'd recommend checking out if you're into that sort of thing. Everyone there was friendly and they sell merch - I wouldn't pick up a kitschy Bahamas souvenir, but I did get a Pirate Republic Brewing t-shirt that indicates it's located in Nassau so I consider that my souvenir. The people on CC who despise Nassau had me believing that the hassling would be much worse than it actually was - as someone indicated above, if you've ever been in a city where you've had to walk past people asking for handouts you're well equipped to deal with the situation. It's mostly people trying to get you to go on their tour, get in their taxi, or let them braid your hair and honestly I think that's typical of a lot of these places. I went to Bermuda a few years ago and it happened there too, though granted there's a lot more of it in Nassau. The worst thing that happened was I ignored someone and they called me rude, which doesn't bother me at all. And all of them were only located on those first two streets closest to the port.
  12. I just got back from Nassau and granted it was our first time, but I booked a rum and food tasting tour through a third party with local guide and we had a fabulous time! We got off the main drag and saw some lovely buildings and sights on the side streets, learned some Nassau/pirate history (apparently bf already knew all the pirate lore ), and learned about the rum-making process. Our guide was great and we definitely got to see some tidbits that we probably wouldn't have seen on the NCL excursions or picking up a tour out in front of the port. It satisfied my desire for a more authentic cultural experience, we met some great travel companions staying locally and we had a great and full day. But I guess it really depends on what you're looking for in the experience, and the hassling on our walk off was admittedly less than pleasant.
  13. I didn't enter it while I was on, but we spent a lot of time in Tobacco Road which is directly adjacent and I almost always saw open seats. I know my boyfriend bought a cigar from the Humidor while on board but I wasn't with him and he smoked it up in the smoking section of Spice.
  14. Just off the Escape, and my consistent favorite was the Moscow Mule (which they do not serve in a copper mug, but do serve with a spear of candied ginger which is just fine by me!) and my boyfriend got many Old Fashioneds from Tobacco Road and said it was his favorite drink on the ship. For the pool, as mentioned by many, you can't beat a Mango Meltdown. I flagged a bar server early on in Great Stirrup Cay and ordered 2 and gave him a cash tip, next time he came by we ordered 2 more. He came back with 4 - he said they were running out of the mango mix and he wanted to make sure we got another round! We followed with another cash tip. Every time we ordered the Mango Meltdowns, people would ask us what the drink was - it's that good! Just frozen mango mix, strawberries and rum but it's a killer concoction! Finally, there's a drink called the Pineapple Rum Champ that I liked so much I took a picture of the menu. It apparently was a finalist for the Top Bartender's Competition and it contains Captain Morgan, cinnamon, pineapple juice, passionfruit puree, lime juice, bitters, and mint. My boyfriend is a former bartender and we're determined to recreate this at home. They serve it at all of the pool bars and in the comedy clubs/theaters, so it's a good drink to fall back on when you're not sure if the bar you're at has the proper ingredients for one of your other favorite drinks. Also wanted to note that as of 12/28 the Escape was serving frozen drinks with paper straws, and I'm sure you could've gotten them for other drinks on request.
  15. We just got off the 12/28 sailing and I am watching your review with envy! We heard the next sailing was 2 weeks and wished we could've just not disembarked! The crew on the Escape was fantastic and we had a great time on the ship. Yes, Joey is the Assistant Cruise Director and I almost liked him more than Alvin! He gave a truly stunning performance during the Dance Battle so if he's hosting an event, I'd be sure to stay a little and watch. Rasheeda was also very fun, though as we were disembarking she seemed to have lost her voice the night before so you may not see much of her until later. Thank you for letting me relive the Escape vicariously through you!
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