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Everything posted by pookel

  1. I'm interested in cultural/historical sites much more than beaches, so that does sound like a nice idea. I worry about the expense though.
  2. I don't even know what this means .... how would I find an agent group like this?
  3. First - I know we're not allowed to name specific agents/agencies. I live in a smaller city and there are very few local travel agents. I also prefer to do everything online via email or text. But I'm interested in finding a travel agent who will get to know me personally and who can handle everything for me (hotel, airline, cruise). Every google search I've tried just gets me a ton of results from the large online booking agencies, which isn't what I want. So - what methods could I use to find someone? Are there reputable websites that list agencies? Or sites that post agent reviews? Any advice? I am in the US fwiw.
  4. So I went on my first cruise in January with my husband on NCL. We had a great time and I bought 4 CruiseNext certificates and we were planning to cruise regularly. But then he died suddenly in April and I guess I'm a solo cruiser now. I'm starting to look at my next cruise but I'm not sure what I would enjoy by myself. I'm not looking to meet singles romantically but I do want people to hang out with! I'm 46, and I'm not used to traveling by myself. I'm kind of shy and introverted and I'm worried about ending up in a situation where I'm just bored and lonely on a ship for a week or more. Any advice on best ships, destinations, types of cruises for having a good crowd to hang out with?
  5. Well, I'm 46 and I have a really good job, but I only have a week of vacation time built up at the moment and I need to save some to visit family. So the choices are "work while cruising" or "don't cruise at all."
  6. Oh, good to know - that's two votes for the Breakaway, I wonder if it's the ship or just a coincidence where sometimes it's great and sometimes it isn't.
  7. I should be clear, I'm definitely willing to pay for premium internet if it lets me take a two-week cruise! I don't really need to be in video meetings at work, I just need to be able to use the VPN and reliably browse the internet/get email/etc.
  8. I'm considering booking a longer cruise, but I have limited PTO at work so I would need to put in some hours while traveling. I don't need to stream video, but if the service is good enough for video, it should work for my job. Last time I sailed with NCL I just used the basic internet package, and we were on the Gem which I know is a bit older. So are their newer ships more reliable/faster? Are there specific ships or destinations where it works better? Also for those of you who need to connect through VPN, is there any technical barrier to doing so with the ship internet?
  9. Hey, I read this while my internet was limited & forgot to respond later, but THANK YOU for this tip, I stopped taking meclizine and my RLS went back to normal manageable levels. I just took zofran as needed if I started feeling seasick.
  10. This is funny - I'm just finishing my first cruise. I brought 12 magnetic hooks and ran out and wished I'd brought more. My hat, my husband's hat, my headbands, my scrunchies, my necklaces, my bracelets, my swimsuits while they dried, our towels while they dried, our lanyards which we used sometimes but not always ...
  11. Thanks for the info! We'll be dressed for the cold anyway as we're heading back to North Dakota, but now I wish the umbrellas weren't in the suitcase. Looks like we are already docked or at least stopped in the vicinity - I see city lights & we're not moving and my internet is working great. Fwiw, went to Swing! last night and it was OK but not really what I expected. I expected more of a "greatest hits of swing" show like Blazing Boots did for country music, but this one had more odd little songs I'd never heard before. Very talented singers/musicians/dancers though, it was a well done production, just not quite my thing.
  12. I posted a whole trip report over on the NCL forum but thought I'd do a roundup of info that might be useful for other first-timers. Things I'd do differently next time: Bring fewer shoes. I brought two pairs of sandals, two pairs of sneakers, and water shoes. Could have done with one pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers and the water shoes. Bring more socks. Normally I just slip on sneakers over bare feet unless I'm doing a serious day of walking. Well .... every day on the cruise was a serious day of walking. I should have brought 8-9 pairs, not 4. Bring only one swimsuit. People here talked me into two and I just don't swim that much. One would have been fine. Consider not getting a balcony. It was nice but we didn't really spend much time out there. Consider not getting the drink package, especially if I'm on a line other than Norwegian where it's more expensive. I did enjoy it, but I don't drink much soda & don't have the alcohol tolerance I used to, so I could skip it & drink less to save money. I also learned I absolutely cannot do port-intensive cruises. We had one sea day, then Bermuda, then a sea day, then Bahamas, then Great Stirrup Cay, then Port Canaveral, and now two more sea days before we're back in NYC, and I'm absolutely wiped out just from the three back-to-back port days. I'm sure this differs for everyone, but pay attention to how many port days vs sea days you have, and your energy level. The Gem was a great size and I don't think I'd want to do one of the bigger ships, although I wouldn't mind trying it once. I already had a hard time finding things and often got lost. Bring more magnetic hooks. I brought a pack of 12 and used them all and could have used more. Also bring *strong* hooks - mine started to slide down the wall when the dirty laundry bag got full. Bring a bigger magnetic whiteboard for the door. We brought a little one and found people from all over randomly left messages for us, which was a lot of fun! Pay attention to climate for packing skincare products. In North Dakota I have dry skin and need to moisturize all the time, but i mostly avoid deep cleansers that remove oil. In the Bahamas I was sweating all the time and wished I'd brought more intense cleansing/anti-oil products. Make a budget ahead of time and track spending. I didn't this time because we're reasonably well off and could afford it, but I think we ended up wasting money sometimes where we could have been more frugal. If we want to do this regularly we should pay closer attention to spending. Go somewhere cooler. I assumed that in January, even the Bahamas and Florida would be bearable, but it was hot (mid 80s) & sunny in both places and it was pretty rough for me unless I was in the water. I also should have gotten a pair of prescription sunglasses before going as it was very bright. Bring more T-shirts. I brought nothing but my comfiest clothes, but my shirts were more like dressy knit blouses than t-shirts, so even though I was comfortable, I felt out of place as I sometimes looked like I was dressed for a business convention. I don't regret bringing one formal dress, but for casual days t-shirts are better. Stuff I brought and didn't use: light beach blanket, umbrellas, bug spray, snacks, notepad, highlighter, flashlight, lanyard. Stuff I wish I'd brought but didn't: laxative (when you need it, you need it) and more/higher SPF/waterproof sunscreen. Stuff I did bring and used all the time: battery packs for my phone, small crossbody purse, small coin purses for meds/money/jewelry/etc. No regrets on bringing absolutely every kind of medication & first aid supply & useful household item (rubber bands, paper clips, pens, paper etc). I used most of them and was very grateful to have it all. I made a small emergency kit and packed it absolutely full of useful little things, and it was so helpful. One last tip - if you want to buy souvenirs for kids/grandkids/etc, find out BEFORE you go what sorts of things they might like. It's hard to try to guess at the last minute, especially when you're in the Bahamas without phone or internet.
  13. I'll do that if I see her again!! We haven't met but I've seen her do karaoke a couple nights, she's really good! One more funny story from last night - we went to the singer Anthony Nunziatto's show in the Stardust. It was cheesy but fun - some opera, some love songs, some Disney songs. Anyway he did a bit where he asked three audience members to come up and sing a response line in an opera song. The first two were passable ... the third sounded like a professional singer & he asked what she did for a living. "I'm an opera singer" she says. So they did the song and she sang her parts in full operatic soprano style & the audience went nuts. After the show I heard him invite her to do a guest appearance with him if she's ever in New Jersey. (Her mom responded, "she should ask you to be HER guest!") Overall a great evening & a fun time. Tonight the entertainment is Swing! so we'll have gotten all three promised shows.
  14. Day 9 - last sea day. I was too tired to post yesterday, still recovering from EPCOT. I don't know why I thought I'd have mobile internet access between Florida and New York, but I don't, so I still can't post the dailies, sorry. Sea was very rough yesterday & they put out seasick bags on all the stairway landings, although I didn't see anyone using them. Cold and windy outside so they moved the Glow Party indoors to Spinnaker. The Glow Party itself was fun but I wish theyd had more glow stuff/blacklights outside the small Spinnaker dancefloor as it got so crowded it was hard to get into the "glow" area. Also a bit difficult to dance with the movement of the ship - you could see the whole crowd moving to the side at times as the ship tilted. Tried a Dark and Stormy last night at Spinnaker and I just did not care for it - oh well. Got a mudslide instead which was perfect. Tried to order a chocolate martini but apparently those are only available in the martini bar, fyi. We met a nice couple from New York (hi Mike and Mary!) who told us that the previous cruise had 3000 people including 1200 children, which I absolutely cannot imagine. A passing crew member agreed this cruise is much nicer & quieter and people are in a better mood. We're back in NYC at 7 am - anyone have any last minute questions about the ship?
  15. I'm currently on the last full day of a 9-day cruise with three ports and I've been tracking every drink I order (including non-alcoholic) to see how worth it the drink package is. On average I've had maybe 1 soda and 3-4 alcoholic drinks a day, which is honestly a lot less than I expected. I don't think I'd miss it too much if I didn't have the drink package - I'd just have a few drinks I really wanted instead of ordering one every time I get bored and I'm sitting in the Atrium. Re: cards, the waiters are way less strict than expected. We're with three friends who don't have drink packages, and I haven't tried to sneak them drinks at all, but if we're all having dinner together and our friends get sodas, the server will take a single card from me or my husband and flat out refuse cards from our friends trying to pay for their own sodas. They seem to prefer taking one card for all the drinks - they never let me or my husband each offer our own card either. I'm guessing it's just easier to ring everything up at once? And yeah they definitely give us soda without checking the card, although not every time.
  16. We aren't, this is our very first cruise! Maybe it was just a happy accident but I don't want to drink them just in case. We had a great day at EPCOT and were only 2 minutes late back to the shuttle but were still the last people on, oops! Heading back to the port now extremely tired - I got 20k steps on my Fitbit, a personal record. Not sure if we'll be up for events on the ship tonight. Iirc there's some kind of 70s themed dance party.
  17. On the bus to Disney now. We'll be at the park from 10 am to 6 pm so hopefully enough time to do something fun! The shuttle employees took everyone's name & cabin number & cell phone number so they can make sure no one is left behind - seems like a well run operation.
  18. I've tried a bunch of things and everything was good except the Aperol Spritz, but I think the Bloody Mary at Topsiders was my favorite so far I have two more sea days on the Gem before we get back to NYC - anything else I should try?
  19. One more thing I should mention - we had the free 6 liters of Flow water package. But there were about 14 liters in the room when we arrived. It would be extremely easy to go over the free 6 without noticing and I assume we'd get charged for that.
  20. Just noticed I missed this post. I have all the dailies sitting on my desk and will try to post them Monday when we have a sea day. I have limited internet right now and tomorrow we're going to EPCOT. Shows so far: Blazing Boots, comedy show, Divos and Divas, Get Down Tonight (that's tonight). Our itinerary mentions Swing! but it hadn't happened yet.
  21. Sorry the photo dump didn't work - internet too slow at the moment. I'll post it when we get in range of Florida.
  22. Btw here's an odd thing - I had no internet connectivity on the Gem, but got connected on the island. Still connected all the way back on the tender. Now I don't have it again. I suspect maybe there's a tower on the island or on Coco Cay. (I use Google Fi). Going to do a quick photo dump here with my internet minutes.
  23. PPS if you go over to the area with the swing in the water, it's rockier and there's more seaweed but you'll also see more fish and the water is very clear. Nice for watching for sea creatures if you don't rent snorkel equipment.
  24. PS if you're on the ship I'm the fat white lady with braided hair - I got my hair done in Nassau and i guess it's distinctive because everyone comments. 🙂
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