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About QuadraCatLady

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Quadra Island, BC, Canada
  • Interests
    Fishing, writing, cats!, hiking, scuba/snorkeling, poker, gardening
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Don't know yet!
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
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  1. Happy if it helps. I had such a difficult time getting information about this tournament. I wouldn't have booked if I'd known what it was like.
  2. I want it to change. I spoke to several guests and a few dealers who all said they wished there was no smoking in the casino. It's easy to do and non-smokers (who are the overwhelming majority) shouldn't have to breathe secondhand smoke. This isn't rocket science.
  3. Update: I wrote an email to NCL about their smoking policy. (I stuck to one topic as that tends to be more effective I've found). I explained that we had been assured more than once that the tournament was smoke free and I also discussed, more generally, the harm of secondhand smoke to guests and staff and expressed my concern that they allowed smoking in public areas. I did not ask for any compensation. I did ask how they planned to address the issue. This was their (non) answer and they also offered us a $100 credit (whatever, not interested). I love the highlighted line. Makes it sounds as if the ship itself decided to let people smoke and that management has no control over it. Thank you for your letter regarding your voyage aboard the Norwegian Getaway.After delivering cruises for many years, our goal remains the same: to offer a fantastic cruise experience to all our guests from beginning to end. We are truly sorry to learn that we fell short of your expectations and apologize for the disappointments you experienced.As the health and well-being of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance, indoor public areas, with the exception of the cigar lounges and the casino, throughout all our ships are smoke- free. Some of our newest ship have a designated smoking room within the Casino. Unfortunately, all our other ships allows guest to smoke in the Casino during game hours. Feedback from our valued guests is vital to the continued success of our organization. Please be assured the constructive criticism you have offered has been forwarded to the various departments involved, so they may be aware of your impressions. It is by receiving feedback such as yours that we are able to highlight areas that may need closer attention.As a gesture of goodwill, we have arranged for future cruise credits, valid towards the cruise fare only on one future voyage.
  4. Oh yeah, he mentioned the crazy rake! Have you done a Card Player Cruise before? I was consider a cruise with them instead but didn't know if there would be enough big action to keep Hubs happy.
  5. Thanks for the comments everyone. I haven't replied because Hubs and I are on the road. KKB, I'll just note that, no, the main event was not a turbo, but 30 minutes is a fast format for a big event. Otherwise, yes, seems like you and Hubs agree on everything else. 😉 And congrats on the win!
  6. Thanks Mike. I recieved better information from you than from everyone I spoke with at NCL combined! We're both really sensitive to smoke--Fred more so even than me. He loves playing at the Venetian because even though the surrounding casino allows smoking the poker room is smoke-free, and the casino is very open and has excellent ventilation. I really feel bad for the NCL staff who have to work in that environment. It should be illegal to expose employees to secondhand smoke.
  7. Thanks. Yes, I'd choose a different ship or cruise line for sure. But there was more than the smoking that convinced us it's not our thing. Maybe we'll try again in another decade? 😁
  8. There were, I believe, over 400 players. 10 per table. Dealers were average, at best.
  9. Thanks, Art! It was nice talking with you and your wife too! 🙂
  10. Yeah, Hubs said the rake was ridiculous. So, from Quadra, we have to catch a short (10 minute) ferry to Campbell River, then drive to Nanaimo, then the ferry (1 hour & 40 min) to Vancouver, then fly out of Vancouver. Our flight left at 7am on the day before the cruise so we went to Vancouver a few days early and stayed with friends. We do have a good airport not far from Campbell River (in Comox) that we usually use as a quick connector to Vancouver flights but since our air was booked through NCL we had no control over the time of our flights. Just an excuse to visit friends. 🙂
  11. Hi David. Thanks for the reply! Regarding the drunks, I worry that they will hurt someone else. Will NCL be liable when that happens? I know where I come from that servers are legally responsible if they over-serve a customer who then harms themselves or someone else. Thanks for the video! Good gravy. Where did everyone's manners go??
  12. FINAL THOUGHTS I was hoping that this cruise would convince us that cruising wasn’t as “not us” as we’d imagined. Sadly, the good things we experienced were ruined or overshadowed by the bad. Looks like cruising isn’t for us, after all. Glad we tried it, but we’ll never do it again. Or, if we do, it will be on a much smaller ship with a much better staff-to-guest ratio and on a vessel that is entirely non-smoking. I actually had to wrestle with my guilt to book this trip because I know how environmentally hostile cruise ships are and how much damage they can do to the spirit of the people who live in their ports (we had a stopover on Grand Cayman Island once and saw that there were seven giant cruise ships in port, the look in the eyes of the servers where we had lunch was just dead and hopeless). We only planned to get off on Roatan for this cruise. We rented scooters from Capt. Van’s (really lovely folks) and explored the island ourselves. On the ride back, we talked with our host about the island and the cruise ships and the crowds. He said, melancholy, “I miss the way our island was seven of eight years ago.” That just depressed me and I too wish he could have his old island back. I wish everyone happy cruising and thanks to all who offered advice and suggestions and answered my many questions. Fair winds and calm seas.
  13. THE BAD Part 2 MISC. I did not like the feeling of constantly being upsold in some fashion on the ship. As an example: at the spa, after leaving the thermal suite and waiting for my husband in the lobby I was approached more than once and nudged to book services. No. Just don’t. I’ve paid my money in advance so that I can relax while onboard. Leave me alone! Water. The ship’s tap water was great! I come from the west cost of Canada, I know good water. Bring a water bottle. No one should be buying bottled water and putting even more plastic into the environment! Theater manners! At the two performances we attended, I wanted to scream at all the people with bad/no theater manners. The number of people walking up and down the aisles and in and out of their seats during the performance was unbelievable. The shows were barely an hour long! Plan ahead. Stop ruining the illusion and disturbing everyone around you. Has no one been taught basic manners? Super disrespectful to the other guests and to the hardworking performers. During one show, I had a couple behind me talk through the entire show. Items for sale. How is it that the ship sells 8000 watches and not one cell phone charger? There were some pretty basic and necessary items that we simply could not find for sale. My husband forgot his headphones and wanted to buy a cheap set to wear during the poker tournament. The only set he could find were for kids, with the NCL logo on them. Seriously? These are the kinds of items you’ll see in any airport for good reason. Straws. Yes, I want to do away with plastic straws as much as anyone else but the paper straws that were available were crap and fell apart before we’d finished our drinks. Maybe offer silicone or metal straws for sale? We would have bought them. Internet. I knew going in that the internet would be bad but it was completely and utterly unusable. I didn’t get on even once. And, fair enough, I enjoyed being offline for a week, but offering 250MB of free internet as a “perk”? Don’t spit on my cupcake and call it icing.
  14. THE BAD Part 1 Bear in mind that the main reason we booked this cruise was for the poker tournament so that’s what we were most focused on. There were also things we didn’t like that weren’t necessarily bad, just not to our taste. YMMV. Smoking – This is my number one complaint for multiple reasons. First…WTH? How is a business allowing their employees to be constantly exposed to secondhand smoke? There is absolutely NO safe level of exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. If you’re a smoker, that’s fine, but forcing the rest of us to breath in your smoke is beyond thoughtless. I only booked this trip after I called Casinos at Sea and asked—twice, just to be certain—whether the poker tournament would be smoke-free. I was assured by the representative I spoke to that the tournament would not be held in the casino but in a separate, non-smoking, smoke-free room. When we arrived and my husband checked in, we learned that only half the players would be in this room and the rest would be in an area that was open to the casino and all the smoke and noise. And the entire casino area absolutely REEKED of smoke. We both felt ill. We both had headaches from it. I spoke with table dealers and players who complained and I noticed how at almost every table the vast majority of people were either non-smokers or would (considerately) go elsewhere to smoke (thank you). Same thing for the adult-only pool bar. Of course, the two places we wanted to be—the casino and the adult-only pool bar, were filled with smoke. It was gross. But as disgusted as we were, it’s the staff that are suffering. This is a serious health hazard and NCL should change their policy immediately OR create a fully enclosed area, with no staff, where the smoke will not reach other guests or staff. I cannot believe how backwards and thoughtless the owners and managers of this business must be to allow their employees to be harmed this way—clearly, they are just exploiting people who are powerless. The Poker – I’ve written a separate, detailed review of the tournament but long story short it was disorganized, unprofessional, loud, cramped, and smoke-filled. A tournament of this size, with big name pros attached to it, should have been much, MUCH better. I’m livid that we wasted our time and money on this event, not to mention that we were lied to about the smoking. Breakfast and Lunch – While we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dinners on this cruise, the other meals were mediocre at best. I ordered room service the first morning as a treat and never bothered again because the food quality was so lacking. I would have paid extra if there was even one restaurant where I knew we could have gotten a really high-quality breakfast (my husband’s favourite meal) with great service. Disappointing. Drunks – Okay, I don’t begrudge anyone a good time on their holiday and I expect some people to overindulge (myself and Hubs included) now and then, but NCL needs to have a better policy/training/enforcement when it comes to overserving guests. Our first night’s dinner was at Cagney’s. As I mentioned in my intro, this cruise was our very long overdue honeymoon and I planned for us to have a lovely romantic dinner to start the trip. Our meal was first rate and our server was excellent but we were seated right next to a family group (Gramma, Grandpa, two adult kids with their spouses, and their young kids). The three men at that table got drunker and louder as the meal went on, and yet the staff continued to serve them. Everyone around them was visibly annoyed, the Gramma tried a few times to quiet them down, and we finally asked our server to move us—yes, we waited too long but we didn’t expect it to get so bad. What would have been a perfect first dinner was ruined. I spoke with another guest who’d had a drunk at her poker table at the tournament who ruined the play for everyone and yet staff continued to serve him. NCL needs to address this. Waste – I’ve been to Vegas enough and I had enough pre-warnings about cruises and their buffets that I expected to see people waste food but it still makes me angry. Seeing full plates of buffet food left behind, to be cleaned up by people who come from countries where so many people go hungry, will always bother me. One night I watched a woman who couldn’t figure out the soft serve ice cream machine. Instead of walking away or asking for help, she just let ice cream fall out of the machine over and over. We avoided the buffet as much as possible. Service – To be clear, I do not blame the staff for any of the bad service we had. The bars were understaffed for the number of guests and the pool bars were pure chaos. I should not have to bribe a bartender to get served before people who arrive five minutes after I do. It’s not rocket science. Put more staff on duty and/or mark areas where people who aren’t sitting and drinking at the bar need to line up to order. I blame all our bad service (and we had some looooooong waits in bars and restaurants) on the folks on high who design the systems and decide on staffing levels. At the poker tournament, it took my husband three hours to get a server to order from. That’s bullsh*t.
  15. THE GOOD! Part 2 Stateroom – We were in 14818, a midship, balcony stateroom. I’m so very glad we booked a balcony stateroom! We live right on the ocean and almost all our travel is to ocean locations. I would have been disappointed if I couldn’t see the ocean whenever I wanted. Loved having a quiet place to sit and drink our tea, coffee, or cocktails, watch the water, and enjoy the warm breezes. The layout was great, comfy, lots of storage, etc. Hubs had a few minor quibbles (he’s big into streamlining and organization) but otherwise no complaints. Bed was comfy and we enjoyed the free movies and being able to make our own coffee and tea. Service – There were some service issues but I feel it’s important to note that those weren’t the fault of the individual employees. Almost every staff member we encountered was friendly, helpful, and hardworking. Our stateroom steward, Armel, was a gem! He was genuinely concerned whenever we left our “do not disturb” light on and he couldn’t clean our room. We explained that we didn’t need it cleaned every day but I think it still bothered him, lol. I was really impressed by all the staff. (Note: my husband and I have both worked in tourism and hospitality in the past). The Thermal Suite – This cruise would not have been very enjoyable if we had not had access to the spa’s thermal suite every day. It was HEAVEN!! We especially loved port days when most guests were off the ship and we had the spa area pretty much to ourselves. If you like quiet and relaxation, spend the money and buy a pass!! We went every day, soaked in the various pools, sat in the steam room, stretched out on the ultra comfy loungers, read, napped, drank water and tea and nibbled on the snacks we brought with us. I know everyone rushes to get Vibe passes but, in my opinion, the Thermal Suite is a far, far better choice and you can buy the passes well ahead of time. There was only one day where some folks were noisy but as soon as anyone turns on the pool jets they drown out all the talking in a lovely white noise. Entertainment – We only saw two shows because of the poker tournaments but, wow wow wow, were they terrific! Burn the Floor was just spectacular. I was in awe of all those dancers. That is an hour of crazy cardio—I’m tired just thinking about it. Fabulous music, dancing, singing. So good. Cirque Dreams & Steam was also fabulous! We’ve seen three different Cirque shows in Vegas and I was curious to see what they would do in such a small venue, and one that’s constantly moving, no less. We were not disappointed! It was basically a condensed Cirque show, with all the thrills and chills and eye-popping wardrobe you’d expect. (Note: My Hubs and I were professional stunt performers for film and TV for many years—17 for him and 10 for me—and anyone who isn’t in awe of the skill and showmanship of these performers needs to give their head a shake!) Waterslides: We love waterslides. These waterslides were thrilling! YEE HAW! We rode the slides every day but one. It was often just us and a few kids in line, which was perfect. Sooooooo much fun! Selection – While Hubs was on the ship for the poker and I was there pretty much just to read and relax, I was blown away by how many things there were to do on the list that arrived at our stateroom every night. It seemed like there was lots to keep most folks busy and entertained. Meet & Greet – Thanks so much, again, to Lauri for organizing this event! We didn’t end up talking to many other guests, sorry, but it was nice to meet some of the crew and pick their brains. And we went home with two lovely shot glasses, (one customized with the name and date of the cruise!) and a beautiful card—thanks Heidi! To the folks who got our shot glass (the one with the starfish on it) sorry that it didn’t have the name of our location but Quadra Island is pretty small! It was made by a local artist and is hand-blown glass, if that makes you feel better. The Good -- Summary: Overall, as a first time cruiser and as someone who has spent a lot of time on (small) boats there was much that impressed me about the design and operation of this ship. I don’t think cruising will ever be our “thing” but I can see why so many folks love it!
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