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  1. I would look at the cost of booking a same category cabin today for 3 people and compare to the fare you paid. Idk if cancelling the 4th would result in a refare or not, but you would at least have a price to compare to. Often the 3rd and 4th passengers pay a reduced rate. You'll get port fees back either way but if you only paid $99 or whatever for the 4th person then it wouldn't be worth cancelling and messing with the booking info imo.
  2. I just want to point out there's a vast distinction between never letting your child out of your sight (btw, you sleep don't you? I have stories of things my children have pulled in the middle of the night, too), and letting the child roam freely around the ship. There is most likely some middle ground most parents allow depending on the maturity and age of the child. And I agree, I too have seen plenty of kids who could have benefitted from more parenting (currently present or not) on the ship. The fact is, statistically, children are safer among complete strangers than among family and friends. Quote me a hundred horrible things that could happen to any child and I could probably quote you a hundred more where that same scenario was perpetrated by someone that child knew. Look, if I only parented by absolutely avoiding every risk to my child, that child would have to live in some kind of bubble. Even something as simple as introducing a child to a PB&J for the first time would never happen. Why? Because there's a thousand stories out there of deaths from peanut allergies. We as parents pick and choose what risks to avoid and which we knowingly face anyway. You drive your kids? Yeah, let's not talk about the thousands of stories of horrible things that can happen on the road, either. My 8yo is rarely separated from us on the ship, outside of kids club. And even more rare if they are they alone without their elder sibling. But I'm not gonna be over here pretending I'm some kind of perfect parent with perfectly behaved children and situations have never happened whether in my control or not that have led to my 8yo being separated from us. But I can say with absolute certainty that if/when we are separated, anywhere/anytime not just on a ship, the expectation has been clearly set and procedures clearly laid out for reconnecting with a parent. Not only in theory, but followed in practice too. Which is why I feel maybe more comfortable than others allowing the kids to return back to the stateroom on their own while we finish dinner, or leave the theater to use the restroom, or go get a cup of soft-serve while we stand in line for Guys.
  3. You're right, of course. But as the current parent of an 8yo, I can tell you that my child is out of my site 10 hours a day most days of the week between school, afterschool care, visiting friends and other activities. To presume that there are only upstanding people in the world at large is foolish too. As a parent we can only mitigate the risk so much, and trust in stranger danger and similar educational tools for the rest. So while yes, my heart skips a beat letting my 8 yo out of my sight (even dropping off at school when I think about it), I have to also slowly allow my children to gain small bits of independence. They are certainly not given free reign of the ship. I am in no way advising anyone to let their 8 yo out of their site. My earlier comment was given from experience dealing with my children who believe themselves older than they really are. In theory, I would know where they are 100% of the time. However, practice hasn't always worked out that way. It sounds bad, I know, but up to this point, thankfully, we have always been able to reconnect and it's never taken more than a minute or two. Tools we use are making sure they know where we're headed (in case we get "lost" on the way there), and making sure they know where the cabin is and how to open the door with their card. We also make sure they know their room # and how to call guest services or the stateroom if they need extra assistance, and then pointing out the phones available for them to use. We also show them the deck plans aka maps of every floor, which are usually found near the elevators, and will show them a video tour of the ship we'll be on before sailing. They also know which way is aft, forward, port and starboard. It helps too, to point out the bathrooms closest to us whenever we go somewhere so they can get there and back on their own if nature calls. OP, I apologize for my earlier snarkiness. I'm realizing how utterly unhelpful "there's only so many places" really is.
  4. I think it's a little of both. On the Jewel, we asked about capacity and they told us it was limited to 8 kids per staff. The room wasn't very large either and it seemed quite full when it was at capacity. Previous experiences for us has primarily been on DCL. On DCL, they actually limit how many kids can be booked on the sailing based on their kids club capacity. This based on anecdotal evidence of rooms being available (or not) when changing the ages of the kids sailing. The only time we sailed CCL with the kids was to Alaska the 1st week of September .There were only a dozen kids on the ship then so I never had to worry about capacity then. Frankly, I was surprised at how NCL handles the kids club and was disappointed too, especially with the restrictions on time. Not that we would have left them there all day, but having to sign in exactly at opening or not having a change to go in at all for that session was a bummer. We def won't sail Spring Break on their ships again but the kids had fun. Even standing in line, they were having fun socializing with the kids around them. Have you sailed other cruise lines during peak times?
  5. I hadn't heard of a virtual queue before! Wow. So this can be very good or very bad. On spring break two years ago, they had way more kids than they had capacity for on the Jewel. Now Alaska tends to be less interesting to kids, so you may not have quite as many on board in the first place. For our sailing, we had to line up 30-45 minutes ahead of time to get a spot in the kids club and then wait as kids were checking in for our turn. The whole process probably took an hour out of the day. Given that, a virtual queue and YTD would have made that process so much more convenient. OTOH, given the capacity restrictions, a virtual queue means setting alarms and making sure not to miss it the first minute or risk not getting a spot at all for that session. Yikes. Kids club on NCL have set times, and close for meals. Usually they're open from 9-12, 2-4, and 7-11. After 11 you can pay per hour. It's not too difficult to plan for meals around this time (2 hour window for lunch and 3 hour for dinner), and NCL has not only YTD but also the buffet open. We have been know to dine in one and get dessert in the other, or even dine at the MDR and come back for dessert at a later time. Say you do eat at 5:30, and you're pinged at exactly 7pm... you have until 7:15 to get your kids there. You don't have a receipt to sign, and you can take your dessert to-go if absolutely necessary. There's no reason you can't make it to kid's club 1hr 45 min after you sit down and chances are you won't get pinged at exactly 7pm. Or depending on your kids' age let them check themselves in while you enjoy a leisurely dinner. Please come back and let us know how it works out for you!
  6. Even if you don't want to spend a lot of time sitting down at a restaurant, at least plan to stop for local snacks or pastries to go. When else are you going to get another opportunity to experience local cuisine? You have to remember that the sights are just a part of the experience.
  7. Camp ocean they can't sign themselves in or out and shouldn't have need of a device there. Are they concerned the kids might randomly walk away and get lost? At 8yo the children should be able to find their cabin on the ship. For 1st time cruisers it can be a learning curve, but surely if they can find their classroom in school, they can find their stateroom. The parents can make a plan like meet back in the lobby or in the room if you get lost. Speaking from experience, I have explained to my children multiple times about staying together and needing to know where they are at all times, and yet I have managed to lose them plenty of times. The good thing is, there's only so many places a child is likely to wander off to and they have never stayed lost for long. And if you ask them, they were never lost. It was me who lost them, not them who didn't know exactly where they were. Oh, sorry the question. No, there's no good apps or ways of "keeping track." Gots to rely on old fashioned trust and communication. Really though, once you're on board the ship isn't as big as it seems. You can almost immediately rule out dining rooms, bars, casino, restaurants, and stateroom only floors, which is like 80% of the ship. Oh man, I'm not very reassuring, am I? Well, my kids get lost (sorry, again they're not the ones lost) because I let them go places on their own not ever because they randomly walked away from me. I have a 10yo and an 8yo. If the parents don't allow their kids to explore on their own there's very little chance they need to be concerned about being separated. There may be thousands of people onboard but it's not so crowded that you'll ever lose sight of one another. We do, otoh, make sure to hold our kid's hands as we leave the theater, for example.
  8. I looked at the "upgrade" cost from a regular cabin to a spa cabin and chose to upgrade. It was less than booking a spa pass separately per person. This was on the Radiance, which doesn't have the thalassotherapy pool; but we loved the location, and found the spa worth it for the upgrade price. If you are a frequent user anyway, it'd be worth it for the proximity alone. Also, because they're spa cabins you're likely to have less kids running around the hallways.
  9. I barely got caught up on this one, and I'm already behind on your next adventure! Your loss and grief was felt from the beginning. There were definitely moments on the cruise that served as a reminder of your dad and the memories you shared together. I hope that the experience was cathartic overall, and that you walked away glad that your mom encouraged you to sail and grateful for the experience. Many hugs. For sure too, you also had moments of joy and relaxation. The ship was beautiful to see and experience through your eyes and humor. Thank you again for another live.
  10. There are zero sea days. None. It was so much fun, but I think I had just as much fun researching each island and deciding what to do when and where. Ship excursions are very limited; I loved what we got to see at a fraction of the cost by renting a car. Rental car agencies are generally a few miles away or less. As for the POA: ship was decently maintained and crew generally nice. Activities onboard very limited but after a long day of exploring we weren't looking to do much more than sit and enjoy a drink or two. We still found opportunities to learn the hula and make flower leis, too. In Hawaii, the FAS does include bottled water. Protip, if you like MDR breakfast, the cappuccino is also included in the dining room with FAS beverage package in Hawaii. Otherwise, specialty coffee is extra. Biggest con: the food. Some well made dishes but I'd say 2/3 things we tried were only "fine." Anytime dining is as it sounds, never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. Just show up at the MDR when you are ready. Oh, and one of the two MDRs has a stricter dress code. FAS also includes one or two specialty dining depending on when and where you book your room. Worth it; best meal we had all week. Traveling with kids? Kids club was only open when not in port. So like every other day from 7-11. If you travel during school breaks you may run into more kids at the pool as people return from shore. Just wasn't much anything else for kids to do onboard, really.
  11. Honestly, I couldn't care less what footwear anyone chooses to use but I could see that distinction as an argument for/against the MDR allowability. BUT I will argue that any shoe with a toe thong and no ankle support that makes a "flop" noise when walking deserves the to be called a "flip-flop" regardless of material used in its construction. And they do all make the sound, if you walk in a quiet enough space. You do you, boo.
  12. What is this chair vs deck chair nonsense? I too never heard a distinction before. Is this like comparing sandals to flip flops? Some people argue adding bedazzled flip flops are indeed fashionable sandals suitable for MDR, etc. So let's all bedazzle some regular outdoor chairs and call them deck chairs! Woohoo 🎉
  13. 1. We spend much about the same time in our room/balcony on a port day or sea day, so not a big factor. Port day excursions are replaced by sea day activities. 2. for sure 3. I would much rather look at blue horizons than sit outside on a cold Alaskan day. Yay for differing preferences 🙂 4. Varies 5. Does one really need a balcony for bow chica wow wow? 🤣 JK, JK. 6. As an introvert I appreciate getting away, but that can be in the room as well as outside as well as at a poolside lounger with my nose in a book 7. does not apply
  14. Looking at it from the POV of OPs question, you have decided that upgrading to a balcony is worth it for you and that the upgrade "cost" or "value" of $600 is your breakpoint. You are in fact giving up OBC to upgrade to a balcony because you get more value out of it that way. Some may argue they'd rather have the inside room and keep the OBC. Because either choice is a viable option, you can't claim the upgrade to be "free" even if it didn't cost you out of pocket. Personally, I look at financial decisions as a net effect. If I choose to keep the inside and OBC, I could pay gratuities, excursions, or drink packages out of that and not spend out of pocket for those items. Or, I could pay out of pocket for the extras, but also have a balcony room upgrade. In this case, the upgrade to a balcony has cost me the dollar value of my extra purchases or $600, which ever is less. Silent income, but why not strive to maximize the value out of it? In either case, it's not free. Companies pay a % of transactions to the credit card processors in fees, which can add up to thousand of dollars easily. You bet some of those costs are passed on in some way to the consumer. But I can choose to charge my everyday purchases to a cruise line rewards card, an airline miles card, or a simple cash back card. Depending on any individual's lifestyle, one card may make more sense over another. Again, I look at the net financial affect. I'm not familiar with the card that will reward you with a balcony upgrade, how much does one need to spend to earn said upgrade? What would that equivalent spend earn on a different rewards card? Based on what you prioritize, then yeah upgrading to a balcony could be your maximum value. But what's true for one person, is not true for everyone.
  15. This math is off. Scenario one includes t/f/p for 3 out of 5 passengers. Scenario two includes t/f/p expenses for 4 out of 5 passengers. If you ignore the t/f/p for all passengers in both scenarios, assume 3&4 are free you see that: (399 + 399 + 0+ 0) + 559 = 1357 VS (399 + 399 + 0) + (399 + 399) = 1596 The difference is 239.
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