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tomservo

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About tomservo

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NYC
  • Interests
    Good food, relaxing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Bermuda

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  1. I think those with means (and money) can get their hands on them, ie NCL corporate. I was wondering about that myself, but the wording is directly from a Port of Virginia news release, not just the newspaper itself. I certainly hope it’s true but I would take it with a grain of salt.
  2. Hopefully this helps anyone who was on a recent sailing feel a little more at ease, especially with the reports of a 2 year-old on the 3/1 sailing testing positive. "The Norwegian Cruise Line ship has a 1,700-member crew but no passengers aboard. The crew members have all tested negative for COVID-19 but will be confined to the ship, according to a Port of Virginia news release sent Wednesday." https://www.wavy.com/news/norwegian-cruise-ship-to-dock-in-port-of-virginia-during-coronavirus-crisis/
  3. Shows are still going on, we saw Six last night and it’s on again tonight. They closed down places like mini-golf, table tennis, the library, etc. Otherwise everything is normal.
  4. As a Charmin Red user, NCL tp leaves a lot to be desired (even in the Haven), but as others have said it’s what the ship’s septic system can handle. You can get those moist wipes (is from costco) but I wouldn’t flush them, you can put them in the sanitary bags and then in the trash to be safe.
  5. They have heightened sanitation procedures in place, they’re constantly wiping everything down and they’ve taken away all the bar menus. We missed GSC due to wind.
  6. They disembarked the Europeans in Nassau so they could fly home before the travel ban takes effect so we were late leaving Nassau. In other news we saw a hearse pull up to the ship in Nassau, and on the bus to the ship we heard someone got really drunk and fell off deck 10 onto deck 8 so we had to dock early in the morning in Nassau so they could be taken to the hospital. I don’t know all the details but the person was apparently very lucky to have not fallen into the water and may have gotten away with just some broken limbs. It’s been a pretty eventful cruise.
  7. Looks to be sailing pretty full today. There was a nurse taking everyone temperatures before you go through security. In other news they’re currently converting Margaritaville into American Diner. They said it should be done on Thursday.
  8. The captain announced that the delay had to do with new/extra paperwork that has to be filled out and they’re still getting the hang of it. Presumably related to COVID-19. Also the Bliss seems pretty full today. Not sure about the passenger count but at the Splash Academy they said we had 400 kids.
  9. I’ll be on the Bliss next week, I’ve never eaten at Cagney’s so I have no baseline, but I’ll report back.
  10. Day 7 It was starting to get cool as we headed back to NJ, but the pools and water play areas were still open. My sister and son signed up for iFly, we were a few minutes late getting to the simulator where we thought we had to check in, but the check in desk was actually the next deck down and we ended up being about 7 minutes late. They told us we missed the video and that we were too late to participate. I asked if they could squeeze us into the next class but they said they were completely booked, so I asked if we could wait around in case there were any no shows, and they said that was fine. Make sure you are on-time for your reservation and make sure you find the right place to check in. They finally gave us the ok and we sat and watched the training video. I helped my son suit up (I didn't participate) and we went into the waiting area. I couldn't go in but I stood outside and watched - he had a blast. We went to the main theater to watch cast of We Will Rock You perform pop songs. It was a good cast and the show itself was great, I highly recommend it. We ate in Two70 for lunch. The scone was not good, and the salad would have been much better without the noodles - they were terrible and tasted like plastic. My son and I played the augmented reality game Expedition Two70, which was fun, but people were watching a movie in there so our adventuring was kept to a minimum. Raisin Scone Thai Chicken Noodle Salad Dinner We had dinner in the Solarium Bistro with my sister. When we checked in they asked us if we had a reservation, we said no, and they said it was fine. I'm not sure why we would need one, it was mostly empty for the whole trip. I think they treat it like a specialty restaurant but the quality is on par with the MDR - some things were better, some were worse, it was mostly just different food. The buffet in the Bistro had a decent selection of Mediterranean food, and we ordered the chicken skewers and the skirt steak. The chicken was dry and looked like it had been steamed in the oven (instead of roasted or cooked on a grill) and the steak was ok but it was a very tiny portion, maybe 1/3 of the size of the prime rib I had the night before. It was also cut up into very tiny pieces which was weird. Our kids ate some of the chicken and beef and we picked at a few things in the buffet. Some of the desserts looked good, but quality again was buffet level. I think I also tried the Galatoboureko and Baklava, and I think those were decent. We were mostly here because I wanted to get a chance to try it out before we disembarked. We then got ready for our actual dinner. Chicken Skewer Chocolate Nocciola and Raspberry Tart Dessert Section Actual Dinner We had reservations again in Coastal Kitchen for the last night. Service was once again exceptional and we left a tip for our waiter at the end of the night. I didn't have any cash on me so I spoke to the maitre d and he told me he would print a check and could write the tip in there. I also saw some people tipping the maitre d as well, which I wasn't expecting. I think they were Pinnacles who appreciated the service. It's a shame that the food wasn't as good as the service, and in the Haven the service wasn't as good as the food. Haven restaurant service is very good, but like someone said in a recent review on the NCL boards it's more like a Stepford Wives thing, whereas here the staff felt genuinely warm and they really made an effort to try to get to know you without being obnoxious or obtrusive. I know they are coached to do that, it's not out of the goodness of their heart, but the point is I think RCCL does a better job coaching their CK staff on interacting with patrons. I just wished the food matched the service. A lot of the other guests there were Pinnacles, so I think a lot of the service is geared towards them as well. Compared to NCL, I think RCCL does a much better job of taking care of past cruisers, which is why there are so many more Pinnacles than there are NCL Ambassadors. They're really cultivated the whole "Loyal to Royal" mantra. One hiccup I ran into that I wanted to mention - when we went up for dinner the 2nd night, I asked the host at Coastal Kitchen if we could try it out for breakfast the next morning. I know we were lowly JR suites guests, but I thought it was worth asking especially since the ship was half full. He said that he was sorry but we could not, which was fine. On the way out after dinner, he stopped us and told me that we would be able to enjoy breakfast and lunch in CK, and said that we didn't have to bother eating in the buffet anymore. He referred to us as VIP's, and I thought it was a really nice touch to make the exception even though I just asked to try it once. I thought to myself that maybe they are trying to convince us to book a full suite next time, and it really did make me consider it. When we showed up the next day for breakfast, he told us there was a mix up and apologized profusely. Turns out we're not VIPs and he was so sorry but we could not eat at Coastal Kitchen for breakfast or lunch. I was surprised that they didn't even let us eat there once since we were there and it was his error, but I didn't press the issue. I was very disappointed and so was my wife, who was also looking forward to trying it out and was initially impressed with the "VIP treatment". His error was that he was looking at the wrong person in the room, the room had also listed the couple who were previously in the room, and they were casino VIPs - this is what he meant by being VIPs. They won an upgrade to another room and we won an upgrade to their room, but they were still listed on our room. Royal really needs to fix the upgrade process - I pre-ordered a few things for the room (alcohol, a stuffed animal for my kids) and none of it showed up in the new room. When I asked about it the staff asked me if I checked our original room. Not sure I want to barge into someone else's room "looking for my stuff". Regardless the whole experience with the host's mistake left a bad taste, and he didn't make any attempt to make up for it except for apologizing. Back to dinner. My wife had the Pizette, which was decent and she enjoyed it. I had my usual shrimp cocktail and the Hamachi Crudo, which was also good. For entrees we had the Sesame Crusted Tuna and the Cauliflower Fried Rice. The tuna itself was a little soft but good, and as some have suggested I should have gotten it over the Cauliflower Fried Rice. I really was in the mood for coconut rice and I thought it would go well with the tuna, but the rice itself was not good, just hard and not well cooked. BE WARNED! The Cauliflower Fried Rice was not made with Cauliflower Rice, for anyone doing keto. It is just regular fried rice, and honestly my wife isn't sure if it even had any cauliflower in it at all. It was good, just not what we were expecting. For dessert they made a special sundae for our kids which they loved. I had the Matcha Cake - normally I like green tea and green tea flavored things (ice cream, etc), but this was not good. I'm not sure why, but it was just not good. I didn't want to waste my dessert on it so I sent it back. The server tried to warn me not to get it and I should have listened. I don't recall the replacement. Menu (from another site) Pizette Hamachi Crudo Sesame Crusted Tuna Cauliflower? Fried Rice Kids Sundae Matcha Cake Finally I grabbed some pics of our JR Suite. Bathtub in Bathroom 1 Bathroom 2 Room Balcony Embarkation We choose to carry our own luggage for walk off embarkation, and we ate in the MDR for breakfast. The food was fine, it was a little rushed and hectic but expected since they're getting ready for the next cruise. After breakfast we went to the embarkation deck (I think deck 5?). Embarkation was pretty quick, we were off the ship and through customs in about 20 minutes. In my final post I will list my overall thoughts and some comparisons to NCL.
  11. Ok, let's try to finish this up. Sorry this is taking so long. I'm just going to run through the highlights of the last 2 days. Day 6 Lunch We finally got around to having lunch at the MDR. The hours seemed really restrictive to us so we kept missing it. I had the pork belly appetizer, which was ok but the crispy skin was inedible because it was so hard. I also had the chilled peach soup, which was fine but a little too sweet for me. My wife had the caprese salad which was good (and had avocado for some reason). For the entree I had the salmon which was pretty good. The corn succotash and beans that came with it were good too. My wife had the risotto, which she said was ok - she's not a huge fan of risotto but it was the only vegetarian option. For dessert we shared the Napoleon - it was not good, just stale and hard. Lunch Menu Crispy Pork Belly Chilled Honey Roasted Peach Soup Caprese Salad King Salmon A La Plancha Butternut Squash Risotto French Napoleon Dinner Since it was lobster night, we made reservations for the entire family, 9 of us in total. It was nice to dress up and have dinner with everyone. This was my only meal in the MDR, and the food was decent overall, even though service was slow and our meal took a long time. It is understandable since the MDR was completely packed. The kids split an order of the cheese tortelloni, my wife had the caprese salad and tomato soup, and I had onion tart and caesar salad - apps were decent. For dinner I had lobster tails and prime rib - they really seem to encourage you to get both, which I appreciated, it didn't feel like I was being pressured to limit what I ordered. When the tails came out they acutally took them out of the shell for me which I appreciated and was not expecting. The prime rib was ok - next time less prime rib and more lobster tails. For dessert we ordered the lava cake, the cheesecake, and the apple pie. The desserts were fine too, although any lava in the cake had since solidified. Overall it was solid banquet food. Cheese Tortelloni Insalata Caprese Caesar Salad Roasted Tomato Soup Vidalia Onion Tart Broiled Lobster Tail Slow Roasted Prime Rib Chocolate Molten Cake Royal Cheesecake Apple Pie a la Mode Celebration Cake Dinner 2 It's lobster night! And I'm in a JR Suite! Of course I have 9pm reservations (for one) at Coastal Kitchen so I can eat more lobster. I went extremely light on the apps because I was ordering 3 entrees. Also I had previously eaten dinner. 2 of them were seafood and the portions are pretty small, so it was a reasonable amount of food. It would have been better if they brought them out one at a time so that my table wasn't crowded with 3 entree sized plates, but I didn't mind since it sped up dinner. For the entree I had the salmon sashimi which was good. For entrees I had the scallops, lobster, and lamb. Everything was pretty good, although as others have said I would recommend getting the sauce for the lobster on the side, or replaced with drawn butter altogether. I skipped dessert. Coastal Kitchen Menu Salmon Sashimi Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb Seared Scallops Butter Poached Lobster I promise I'll finish tomorrow!
  12. Honestly I never would have known that if I hadn't read these boards. NCL does not advertise that little caveat readily...
  13. Thanks for the context, and I certainly appreciate your perspective. Your original statements made it seem like you were just shooting from the hip. I'm certainly not an advocate of CAB in and of itself, but as the article I posted pointed out (not sure if you had a chance to read it), there is a case to be made for private label beef. Some of it is really good quality and you get what you pay for (DeBragga, Snake River Farms, Niman Ranch, etc). I guess you can be skeptical about any and all of them, but for us average consumers who aren't in the industry, this is the best we can do. Of course I can't prove that it's better, just like I can't prove that organic produce/meat is better. You could certainly argue that "organic" is just marketing fluff as well, but many look at it as something that is grown/raised with a certain standard that consumers look for. They're not farmers, so it's the best they can do. I haven't heard concerns before about CAB not living up to the standards that they claim, and even in the article I mentioned Marc Sarrazin from DeBragga ("legendary New York specialty butcher") says "If a consumer sees something like CAB Choice at retail, they will get something better than run-of-the-mill—it's 100% absolutely better," says Sarrazin. "High Choice is the sweet spot in the market right now." Is Marc Sarrazin full of it too? Unless he sells CAB I'm not sure what he would get out of lying. I'm not sure what this means, I'm not in the industry so I'm not allowed to comment or have an opinion? I backed up my opinion with articles, you're asking us to believe you because you were in the industry. I'm not saying that your opinion is invalid, but you're making claims without any proof. If you can cite something that shows that CAB does not live up to its standards then people should know that, otherwise it's hearsay and opinion. Since you were in the industry I do give some weight to what you are saying and will be a little more skeptical of CAB in the future. The whole point is that if NCL is giving me a choice between a completely made up standard of beef and CAB, I'll take my chances with CAB.
  14. Just a food enthusiast, I never claimed to be an expert. I did cite my sources however. If you disagree with me, make your argument. If anything I said was incorrect, cite sources. People often say things on messages boards off the top of their head that are completely incorrect with nothing to back it up, and it contributes to misconceptions. I cite sources to back up my claims.
  15. On a side note, "food fraud" is very real and is a common occurrence. Sometimes by accident, often on purpose. Most "Kobe beef" is definitely not real Kobe beef, probably not Japanese beef (Wagyu), and may not even be American or Australian Wagyu. Truffle oil almost never is made from truffles, and a lot of San Marzano tomatoes and Parmesan cheese are not authentic even if they are advertised as such. It's an especially big problem with seafood. Here's some further reading: https://www.eater.com/2016/7/14/12179648/fake-food-kobe-beef-menu-fraud https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/04/12/foods-biggest-scam-the-great-kobe-beef-lie Caveat emptor.
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