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  1. With regards to how do you start / stop the clock, it's pretty straight straight forward. Based on my experience on the Bliss, when you get on the ship: a) You connect your device to the ship's WiFi network. b) You then go to "login.com" in your browser. -- When you first start out, you create a new account by entering your last name and birthdate. (This allows multiple people in the room to have separate internet access.) -- Once you log in, you can "activate" your 250 minute coupon or upgrade to one of the many packages (multiple devices, more minutes, faster service) leveraging the "coupon" as a discount. c) At that point, the clock starts. It runs until you enter "logout.com". You can utilize multiple devices, one at a time, using your "account". "Login.com" gets you access and starts the clock. "Logout.com" stops the clock. Using the Norwegian app, you can do its functions without being logged in. One of the functions of the app is the text and calling functions to other app users. There is a flat fee for doing that. I believe $9.99 is the price. BTW - folks did not have a lot of luck using WiFi calling from cell phones using the NCL internet. If phone is your issue, most phone providers have a Cruise Package to utilize the CellularAtSea service cheaply for around $100 per month (or less) depending on the features needed.
  2. Am on the Bliss in 17100 right now. In summary - Great room, nice sized balcony, no noticeable noise. Nothing to be concerned over. There is a door between the hallway and the Horizon Lounge, which you can pass through. As noted, there is a bathroom in the alcove between the hallway and the Horizon Lounge (on the other side of the door) but I have not seen anyone use it . There are no sounds you can hear from the lounge, etc. Quiet. From what I have experienced, no one should have any concerns selecting this room.
  3. Per the fine print, internet minutes are at the device level. Only one device can be logged in at a time. As I understand it, you connect to wifi and log in to access the internet. The clock starts. Do whatever you want. Log out. Clock stops. You can do that up to whatever number of minutes you have. I've not gotten a good answer about upgrades from the "free" internet minutes. From what I understand, you don't get much. The package I received was "valued" at $105 for my upcoming 15 day cruise. Upgrades are reportedly handled at the internet desk on the ship per the NCL person I talked to - which, I understand from forums, has a long line. But that's all rumor and I can't say I've dealt with it before as I always tried to unplug completely. This upcoming trip, I am not going to be unplugged due to the number of sea days, etc. I kept the "free" internet and added an unlimited premium package for my wife using the NCL.com online purchase discount. That way we can both use the internet when we want. It's pricey but it is supposed to have very good response time (for a satellite based system) on the Bliss. Claims are that you can stream video, etc. Maybe I'm a sucker but we'll see in a week.
  4. Yes, there is cellular on the Bliss. Whether it's expensive or not depends on your cell phone provider and what you choose to do. You can go to airplane mode. That shuts off everything. You can then turn wifi back on so that you can use the Norwegian app. Then when you go ashore, you can visit locations that have WiFi and touch base there. You can also discuss the situation with your cellular provider. For example, AT&T has 2 Cruise plans - 1 that is $100 for a month, which includes unlimited phone calls and text messages with pictures. One is $50 includes 50 min of calls, unlimited texts and no data. Calls are $3 per minute without a plan. https://www.att.com/offers/international-plans/cruise-packages.html Both include calling in several countries and Caribbean islands. Data is a piece of the problem, too. Apps on your phone do stuff in the background that can be expensive. Turning off mobile data roaming should keep data from being a problem. Data is part of the more expensive Cruise plan, too, but it's a nominal amount (200mb) in the $100 plan and it may be better to take the NCL plan for internet should you choose. (There is a cruise faq sheet at ATT.COM that may be of help.) AT&T also has International calling plans. For $10 per 24hours, you can use your plan in hundreds of countries around the world. Need to sign up in advance, though. Free to sign up and only charged for the day when you use a cell tower on shore. I'm sure other cellular providers have similar programs. This is just what I know about. Good luck!
  5. We have never booked the MSC Yacht Club but are interested in learning more. We have completed multiple NCL cruises and recently bid to get into the Haven Courtyard as an experiment. Our experience with the Norwegian Bliss Haven was delightful. (In fact, we booked 2 more Haven Courtyard stays due to our experience.) Our butler and steward were wonderful. If one was busy, the other filled in. Other Butlers and stewards helped out wherever ours were unavailable. And the public areas all had helpful staff continuously available. Other's Haven experiences likely depend on the ship booked as Haven area varies greatly between ships due to the evolution of the offering. It also probably would differ between Haven cabins in the courtyard vs Haven cabins spread throughout the ship. I agree it's a bit pricey but we did get 5 "free" offers (Drink Package, Dinner Package, Internet Package, Port Credits, Onboard Credit) The 6th offering we don't need but free 3rd and 4th in a 2 bedroom suite can calculate at being quite a deal. The Breakaway Plus ships have a huge forward facing glass enclosed lounge with snacks, a library, a bar lounge, a restaurant, a small private pool / jacuzzi area and a very nice outdoor area. The concierge desk helps with reservations, etc. For boarding, we had a private waiting area and were escorted on the ship in a matter of minutes. The concierge staff escorted us off the ship for each port and at debarkation. The Theater had a special area for Haven guests. For those who have done the MSC Yacht Club, how would you compare your experience with ours in the Haven?
  6. The Panama Canal trip is on my bucket list. We're going on the Norwegian Bliss, the largest Cruise Ship to pass through the canal as of Spring 2018. We like the ship's outward facing focus and its Observation Lounge. I agree with those who recommend reading " Path Between the Seas". It's a large but interesting book. If, however, you don't have time for this... David McCullough's PBS DVD "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama" provides an interesting overview of this material. One site that I ran across that has been of interest to me is Mad About Panama. When traveling, I like seeing a landmark and then being able to find out about it. Most Panama Canal books are about Central America tours and provide only cursory info about the canal itself. The concept of this site is that it provides information about the things you see during your transit, how the canal works, etc. (Cruise Transit / What You Will See). There are a lot of YouTube videos about transiting. But few have information that points out the buildings, landmarks, etc. you will see along the way. (The site tries to sell you a PDF of this information for about 4 bucks but you can browse the site and get the info, too.) It's not exhaustive but it provides a lot of information I've not found elsewhere. Enjoy your trip!
  7. Even though this is an old thread, a couple of quick thoughts should you face a similar decision: 1.) If you can get a Haven upgrade for $500, seriously consider it. This is a huge opportunity to try out The Haven inexpensively. If you end up not liking it, you did not spend a lot for the opportunity and will never feel the need to do it again at full price. The problem, for almost all of us that have done the upgrade, is that we won't willingly go back to a non-Haven room. It's a wonderful experience. 2.) Try for a room within the Haven. There are a number of "Haven Rooms", providing the privileges, that are not within the Haven -- but elsewhere on the ship. IMHO, these rooms do not have the same impact due to distance. Some folks, however, love them. 3.) The Haven differs a bit between ships. The Horizon Lounge on the Bliss and Joy offers 2 stories of beautiful forward viewing -- great for places like Alaska and Panama Canal. But that's not available on all NCL ships. One thing that is common for all ships is the private area behind locked doors with lounge, bar, pool. The thing I really appreciate about this is the ability to join in on all the ship activities and craziness. But when I wanted some peace and quiet, it was available.
  8. We just traveled on the Bliss in 17726, starboard side equivalent of 17126. Weather in Alaska was clear and in the 60's so the common areas were all in use. Yes, there is a ping pong table on both sun decks near 17726 and 17126. It's behind a barrier that somewhat muffles the noise. We did not find the activity objectionable. (The din from the Pool was far noisier but generally fun to listen to -- music, best male leg contest, etc.). Given that the youth population is reduced due to school starting after Labor Day, ping pong noise will likely not be a significant issue for you. On the positive side, I believe that 17126 benefits from the same larger balcony that 17726 does - due to the storage room between the suite and sun deck. Because of the larger size, we asked our steward for 2 chaise lounges for comfortable scenery watching. Highly recommended, if my suspicions are correct. Hope you have a wonderful cruise!
  9. Ship - Bliss Deck - 17 Stateroom # - 17726 Stateroom Category – H5 - Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony Starboard or Port Side - Starboard Quiet Stateroom? (With comments on problems) – Yes. Haven Restaurant above but no noticeable noise inside cabin that impacted. Noise from Ping Pong table, pool events - at times - noticeable on Balcony. Was stateroom a connecting stateroom? - No Balcony View - Give comments on view, noting if location of any obstructions was an issue. – Great view, no obstructions. Balcony Size? Normal or oversized for class? - Balcony was much wider than normal. Had room for 2 Chaise Lounges (requested from Steward), 2 chairs, side table and still walk around. (Balcony appears to utilize next door storage locker width.) Was wind a problem? - No If an aft cabin, was soot a problem? - N/A Any specific problems with this cabin? - Not really. Design of one of closets (FWD side) - sliding door "fights" with clothing (closet narrow) and 2 bottom drawers on non hanging side can't open if sliding door is not completely shut. Lights are very functional but under electronic control. Took a while to figure out how to turn on/off some of the lights due to lighting "modes" and multiple electronic switches. Fold out bed (small couch) is right in front of balcony door. Use would make things a bit tight. Any other comments? - Room: Cabin has a lot of storage for 2. Comfortable bed. Pillows are a bit tall and firm for my taste. Lots of storage for suitcases under. Linens/towels were changed regularly. Always fresh. Room kept very clean. Portable telephone that can be used around the ship is very convenient for staying in touch. Bliss option for texting via mobile app seemed to not work or was not obvious. Thus, having this offering was wonderful vs paying for CellAtSea. Buttons to indicate Do Not Disturb, Make Up Cabin were great. Similar to the Fairmont Gold experience, the Haven Staff provided an amazing quality experience. o Haven Butler and Steward constantly checked in, offering assistance. Not overbearing but present. Very personable. First day, asked if we had any special requests. From then on, regularly brought trays of snacks, ice, iced tea, etc. - plus any requests we had indicated. Great towel animals! o Haven Bar service friendly and efficient. Again, present but not overbearing. Very entertaining with great senses of humor. Always smiling o Haven Restaurant provided warm welcomes, friendly service, great views and excellent food. (Same menu all week with daily special. Also has morning buffet offering.) We found that the restaurant earned our loyalty and eliminated desire to go elsewhere. o Horizon Lounge provided beautiful views and snacks during most waking hours - starting around 7am. Seating can be limited and some folks would "save" multiple seats for family members that were not there. But that's not the fault of the Lounge. o Allowed one to be removed from the chaos of the main ship, when desired, but be only a few steps from it when wanted. Benefit of both a small ship and the massive one that the BLISS is.
  10. Having just returned from a Bliss cruise in the Haven, I have an answer to the original question and a thought on balconies... The box across the hallway from 17100 is the food preparation / service item cleaning area for the Horizon Lounge. If concerned about noise, don't be. My experience with the area is that it's quiet and the only time I heard noise from that area was when they opened the access door on the hallway between the Haven Courtyard and the Horizon Lounge. (BTW - we have booked this room for an upcoming cruise.) On the balconies, my experience is that the ones on Deck 17 are bigger than those on Deck 18. If you look at the layout, the hallways on Deck 17 and 18 align. Outside balcony doors appear to be generally aligned. Thus, rooms appear to be about the same size on both Decks. The difference that I saw was that the balcony for Deck 18 serves as the overhead for Deck 17 -- but it does not entirely cover the balcony. The balcony on Deck 17 sticks out about 3+ feet more. I believe this is why the rooms are essentially the same size but the balconies on Deck 17 are a bit bigger. My 2 cents.
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