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Everything posted by Megalyn

  1. For me, I did not get an option to bid on an upgrade in a studio room. I've heard the emails that are not guaranteed for everyone, so I don't know for certain that it was related to the fact that I was in a studio. I do appreciate the option to potentially get a bargain on an oceanview. For bids you need to pay "double" your bid if you traveling solo, but it's still nice to have the opportunity.
  2. I agree...mostly. The one piece I wish NCL would still drill down more into is the Sail Away cabins. The "perks" for Free At Sea are not important to me, but selecting my cabin does matter. A slightly higher price point that includes cabin selection but does not have perks would be my absolute sweet spot. But yes, as a fellow solo traveler and non-drinker I love the ala carte approach.
  3. I took the free wifi perk on my trip last month. I downloaded some playlists prior to the trip, but decided I also wanted a white noise/rain sound. I attempted to download it while on wifi, but it would not work. Most of my apps worked (slow but functional) on ship wifi. But Amazon Music was quite adamant that I was not connected to the internet and would not even permit a search. I would not assume that your streaming service will work.
  4. A wrap was sufficient for me. It’s easy to stash in a purse when you don’t need it. Some areas are warm enough that a long sleeved shirt would be too much, like the areas where the doors to the Waterfront are located. I was normally okay with short sleeved dresses, but sleeveless would be chilly in spots.
  5. If you end the cruise with a negative balance, they mail you a check rather than crediting your card. Happened to me with a cancelled excursion that I prepaid.
  6. Yes, they now have towel stations just off the gangway in port. You just state a cabin number and request the number of towels. They might question a request for 20, but 2 is complete normal. You can also turn in the towels when getting back aboard instead of hauling wet towels all the way up to the pool deck.
  7. Agreed. I was on the Breakaway October 13th. All of my ships have had USBs on the lamps...until this time. I was on Getaway last year and had plenty in a studio cabin. Costlier balcony room on the sister ship had zero. If anyone is bringing maxi dresses on the trip I also recommend some strong magnets. The closet was too short for mine, so I ended up putting hangers up on magnet hooks on the blank wall across from the beds.
  8. Has anyone actually been charged for a towel though? I feel like it is simply going through the motions. I cannot fathom that they are going through a ton of handwritten papers to match them up. And since it’s purely verbal, the possibility of a recording error is too great to end up arguing with a guest over. For me, the larger irritation was the cabin steward taking them every time. We would pick up towels in the evening so we could go directly to Spice H2O in the morning. Then the steward would take the clean, freshly folded towels during turn down service. We even tried hanging them up - the signal for “don’t replace” with bath towels. Taken every single time.
  9. You may not be able to book excursions yet through myNCL, but you can probably still see them. Just use the main NCL site and go to Explore, then Shore Excursions. There is no guarantee those exact ones will be available when you cruise, but it will give you an idea of what is out there. Personally, I've never been brave enough to do private excursions. I'm sure they are perfectly safe because the media would be all over it otherwise, but somehow it triggers the "don't get into cars with strangers" part of my brain in a way that the NCL coordinated ones do not. For me, paying the higher fee is worth it to prevent the anxiety.
  10. They CLAIM to do flights a certain number of days out. When I booked, the site said it would be around 75 days out. I called my PCC to inquire around at around 50 days out & he said they were currently running at about 40 days out. My domestic flight info didn't arrive until 29 days before the cruise. Not sure if that was a temporary staffing issue, but I want to set realistic expectations.
  11. I would keep excursions in mind. GSC is pretty limited because it’s a private island - but if you like water sports you are all set. Cozumel has more variety. I did the sting ray excursion a few weeks ago and loved it. It’s a short one and near the port, so it wasn’t as tiring (or expensive) as many others. But it still involved a short bus trip and a secondary location so I saw at least some of the local area. I also took a friend for her first cruise and made sure we did one off boat trip. It showed her how easy it is so she would be more comfortable booking solo ones in the future.
  12. One thing I like about the smaller boats is that there is a new show in the main theater each night. On the Breakaway class, many performances have 2 nights just due to capacity. It got me wondering about the Panama cruise I will be taking (eventually). How often is the entertainment switched up for 16 or 21 day voyages? That’s a lot of potential set pieces and performers. Do they fill in with more game shows and contests?
  13. I was on the Breakaway last week. I can tell you that there was a desk set up in front of the Ice Bar with an "Ice Bar Reservations" sign and an extremely bored employee. I had no interest so I can't comment on prices, but it definitely wasn't a popular spot. I camped out on nearby couches to read and listen to the music so I had direct line of sight to the door often. One night I saw a party of four enter...and that the only activity I saw over the course of 7 days.
  14. I was on the Getaway last week. I'm a silver member and received boarding group 20, so it's apparently hit or miss. The only separate lines I've seen at check in are for Platinum and up.
  15. I was on this same cruise on October 13th and was actually amazed at how LITTLE I could smell the smoke. As an asthmatic, I tend to be hyper sensitive. I've been on six cruises and this was the only time the smoke did not bother me. I loved the fact that smoking areas have been limited. On the Getaway last December one side of the Waterfront was for smoking. This cruise, it was a small section of the pool deck and a chunk of Spice H2O. There are also non-smoking sections designated within the casino. I know for certain there is a slot machine area. I believe there was also a section of table games, but I'm not 100% certain of that.
  16. I'd be less cranky about the drills starting late if they didn't start lecturing about no phone/ebook usage so early. These can include threats about taking away your device. I have absolutely no problem paying attention during the presentation. I even watch on flights since it seems rude to ignore the flight attendant. But the expectation of me putting my book away when you aren't actually doing anything yet drives me bonkers. The benefit of the indoor muster stations like the theater is that at least you get to sit down and be in air conditioning. But it's easier to hide behind someone with your Kindle when you are lined up 5 deep outside. 🙂
  17. But realistically, don't those same things apply to most travel? Flights can be cancelled, weather can keep you stuck in a resort, other people in your hotel can be involved in a brawl, you can get sick anywhere. The only piece exclusive to cruising is that you are trapped with the others. But even with the upset happening on the cruise in Norway right now - the other passengers were able to simply avoid the atrium and stay away from the mob.
  18. If you pre-pay, you will received a credit onboard after the excursion is completed.
  19. Buy a bathing suit - and you are ready! Please don't put additional pressure on yourself.
  20. You may also want to speak to your doctor about some anti-anxiety meds. They are commonly used for people with a fear of airplanes just on travel days. It may be worthwhile to have some on hand just in case. It will provide you with an option if a storm hits. Even having them in your possession may give you more peace of mind. Best of luck & I hope you have a wonderful time!
  21. As far as the spa portion - yes, the primary perk is access to the thermal spa which could also be purchased separately. The rooms are also located closer to the spa. For a 7 day cruise, the thermal spa pass is usually $199 if you purchase in advance. The spa rooms can often be over $1k more than the regular balcony.
  22. Your perk doesn’t get applied until after the excursion. So if you pay $150 and go, you get $50 back. If you don’t go, you get the $150 back. If you don’t book a replacement for that day you lose the credit. If your onboard account is negative with refundable credit at the end of the cruise, you receive a check several weeks later. That happened on my last cruise since I had booked excursions early so I could budget one per month. One was cancelled due to weather; the other I cancelled since I wasn’t feeling well.
  23. Greetings! I had a bad experience with Carnival many years ago with the shuttle from the airport to the boat. It was an early flight and we ended up waiting nearly three hours at the airport for the bus to leave. It wouldn't have been as bad if they were up front about it, but kept saying "soon" so that we were not able to wander around. I vowed not to do the bus again and to get a cab. I grabbed a cab (Miami airport) last year for an NCL cruise and ended up feeling unsafe - I'm a solo traveler. Very angry cab driver without strong English skills. Things were so packed around the port that the police made him do laps before queuing in line for dropoff. Driver blamed me since he was using for extra gas for a flat fare. I had no issue with giving a larger tip, but couldn't really communicate that well. I seriously considered getting out of the car at one point when we were in backed up traffic but my luggage was in the trunk. I got my free flight information for my cruise next month and I'm due to arrive at the airport at 10 am. I'm torn on whether to cab or bus it this time. I feel like both of these experiences were the exception to the rule. Leaning towards the bus since I'd rather be inconvenienced than terrified but I thought others may have experiences to share about the NCL shuttle bus service to help me decide.
  24. "Lactose free" milk does contain lactose - it just also includes lactase (same as Lactaid tablets) to help digest it. Since you can tolerate that, you should be okay using the tablets as well. You could certainly ask for special preparation, but carrying along some tablets as well will ensure you can enjoy the foods regardless. I actually pack two bottles of pills for cruises since the soft serve ice cream machine is one of my very favorite parts of the boat. 😀
  25. There are two other "benefits" to booking a studio. They are in a separate section of the ship, behind an additional locked door. It's similar to some countries that have a "single ladies wing" in their hotels. It's considered extra security because less people are wandering around that could push in when you open your door to enter/exit. The other piece is the studio lounge. Concept was great...in my experience the execution was less so. NCL originally planned on having solo events in the lounge, but since many solo's booked their own non-studio rooms they had to move everything to a public area. That kept the lounge empty on my voyage. I didn't consider either of those pieces a real benefit to me, so I don't plan on booking studios in the future unless there is an excellent deal.
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