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About Phaedrus78

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Indianapolis, IN

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  1. I feel like it eats too much quality real estate on the ship. I know there are compelling reasons to offer those kinds of benefits and I’m sure they’re lovely, but outdoor space is at such a premium I hate seeing it taken away from the general public. Go ahead and have giant, luxurious rooms with butler service. I wouldn’t know what to do with a butler and would feel awkward having one, but if others want that, that’s cool. I don’t mind a Haven-only restaurant, that’s fine too. But I’m bothered that so much of the beautiful outdoors are taken up with Haven-exclusive sun decks, hot tubs and a pool. The giant rooms come with nice balconies, I wish that was enough. Its a personal opinion. I acknowledge that it’s probably a weird, minority one at that.
  2. Sounds like basic supply and demand to me. That’s fine. It’s not like I was going to get a pass anyway. I’d rather not start my vacation by stressing out hoping to be fast enough to pay for the privilege of hanging in the Cool Kids Club. Of course, the pay-for-exclusivity areas are my least favorite thing about cruises in general. I’d love to see the Haven go away entirely, but of course that’s not realistic.
  3. Dont want to derail this thread more than I already have, but I was just on the Epic and posted my thoughts here. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2632405-review-epic-10-day-western-caribbean-12319-2219/ If you have any other questions, post them over there and I’ll share anything I know.
  4. I don't have the level of detail across all categories, but the BA category I'm booked into for the Encore on January 12, 2020 costs exactly the same $1319/pp today as it did last week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  5. Basically the Sail Away rate gets you a guaranteed cabin in the general category (inside, ocean view, balcony, or mini suite). It’s by far the cheapest way to get into the category, as people have said it’s about $300/pp or so cheaper than the standard rates. In exchange, you don’t get to choose your specific room, and you’re not eligible for any special offers. If you don’t want any of the special offers it’s a usually a really good deal. I’ve not done it, but many people swear by it. With the regular rates, you get to pick your room (unless you’re sailing guarantee) and you get the perks of the current Free at Sea promotion. How many of those perks you get depends on the category of room you’re booking. If you’re interested in the Ultimate Beverage Package, it’s generally going to be cheaper to book at the regular rate and take the perk (and any others you might be eligible for). The Ultimate Beverage package is priced exorbitantly high with NCL. Paying for it a la carte rather than getting it as a perk is... inadvisable.
  6. Best Value for what Phaedrus78 Wants From His Vacation. It was awarded in the form of booking a January 2020 cruise on the Encore. I know it doesn’t get the hype of the Cruise Critic awards, but to me it was the only one that mattered.
  7. Green Book won Best Picture, Black Panther didn’t. I know which Blu-Ray I prefer to own.
  8. Gosh, you’re right. I’m going to cancel my booking on the brand-new Encore right away so I can sail on a more sedate cruise line’s 10 year old ship. From what I can see, my fellow cruisers on that Celebrity sailing will be fun, accepting folks and not at all bitter. Plus I guess my room will be bigger. Its almost like the relevancy of the age of the ship is subjective. It’s almost like the popularity vote on a website might be subjective. It’s almost like different people might want different things out of their vacation, which was my entire point. Selling your opinion as absolute truth is condescending, and it’s definitely taken us a long way from the original point of this thread. So I hope you enjoy whatever vacation is best for you. And I hope it continues to be a different vacation than mine.
  9. The Equinox is 25% smaller and 4 years older than the Breakaway... and that’s if you’re cherry-picking the Breakaway as NCL ship to compare with. You’re not comparing apples to apples. If if you don’t grasp how your tone is coming off as condescending when you’re pointing out the “obvious” to the “sad”, I’m not sure what to tell you.
  10. I really enjoy the assumption that people couldn’t possibly book NCL without actually knowing what they’re doing.
  11. Yeah I hear you, and I think that’s a legitimate concern depending on your alcohol of choice. I’m easy. I’ll happily knock back well mixed drinks all the live long day. But if you’re a wine drinker, or something like bourbon is more your thing, I can understand. I personally enjoy tequilas, and I was already somewhat disappointed with the limited options there.
  12. Assuming we're still treating this as fact... Then yes, you'd be charged only the difference. $3.60 actually, the $3 difference plus 20% gratuity.
  13. Hang in there, this will get a little weird to explain. The difference is, nobody who wants the drink package on NCL actually pays a straight $118/pp. It's a little more complicated than that. Norwegian offers their drink package as one of their "perks" on booking, along with specialty dining, shore excursion credit, etc. If you select that perk, you don't pay the base $99/day, but you do pay 20% gratuity, so call it $20/day. That gets you any alcoholic beverage within a $15 limit. For me personally, that's all I need. This new package being offered by NCL will allow you to add specialty coffees and bottled waters, and removes the $15 cap on alcohol. For that, you add another $34.80/day ($29+20% gratuity), bringing your total per day to $54.80. Carnival's drink package I'll assume is still $56/day, though in my research it seems to vary a bit. They're going to add 20% gratuity as well, so the true cost is $67.20/day. That gets you the same beverages as NCL, but with $20 and 15/day limits. Now, what most people will argue is that NCL's fares are higher to make up for the cost of the perks they offer. I find this to generally be true. However, there's more that you're getting with those NCL perks than just a drink package. In my situation for my next NCL cruise in January 2020, I'm not only getting the drink package, but I'm also getting 3 meals of specialty dining, $50 shorex credit per port, and wifi. Again, I don't need the premium drink package for NCL, so my cost for the drink package on a 7 day cruise is $140 ($20/day). My cost for the only drink package available on Carnival would be $470 ($67.20/day). Add in the value of $100 shorex credits (visiting 3 ports on my cruise and I will likely book excursions on 2 of the 3) and about $100 in specialty dining (rough estimate, that could vary depending on your restaurant), and the Carnival booking would need to be about $500/pp less than the NCL booking to be a better value. FOR ME. Again, super-duper emphasis on FOR ME. Not everyone has the same preferences I do. The $15 limit on the NCL package matters to some. Specialty coffees and bottled waters matter to some. Shorex credits and specialty dining don't matter to some. Everyone wants something different out of their vacation, and ultimately NCL seems to get closest to what I want at the most reasonable price. Oh, and as for why I avoid Carnival... again, that's a personal choice thing. In my own personal experience, Carnival has been a lesser overall experience than NCL. I'm not going to claim to be the absolute authority on these things, my own experience is limited so far. But they say that Carnival is like the Wal-Mart of cruise lines, and I've found that to be a fair comparison. NCL is more like the Target of cruise lines... yes, it's still mass market and everything, but it's a bit of a step up in my opinion. And honestly, I WANT mass market. I want the big, flashy ships, which is why Celebrity and MSC don't do anything for me. As with anything else in life, your mileage may vary.
  14. I’m totally fine with this, but then, I’m not the target market for this one. I do not give a single solitary damn about specialty coffees, top shelf liquors, or bottled water (Nalgene bottles people. It’s not that hard). I understand that I’m paying more in base fare to get the perks, but when you factor in paying for the drink packages on Carnival and RCI, Norwegian is still beating them on prices for comparable ships in my research. Not it that I wouldn’t pay a bit of a premium to avoid Carnival. The final cost isn’t ALL that matters.
  15. Was on Epic a month ago, can confirm the pools were too warm. It was kind of a bummer.
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