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About fshagan

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  1. fshagan

    NCL Gratuities

    Thanks for your insights. I quit joining in with the "direct to bottom line" folks a long time ago because it's too hard for me to explain the principles that I know from only a few years of tax work and bookkeeping, and managing budgets in corporate jobs. I've worked for plenty of companies with shared bonus structures for team efforts, and most of the employees don't really understand how it works (my main complaint with them as a manager, in fact). But they did pool the incentives and they were paid out according to the metrics of the program.
  2. fshagan

    Water Rides—Use at Your Risk

    Most water parks will have an employee stationed at the top of the slide controlling access, and one at the bottom that signals the rider has come through. Or a video system, or signaling lights, etc. that serve the same purpose. There is no excuse for a rider to enter the slide and be hit by another rider; the second rider should not be able to enter the slide until the first rider is completely clear of it. If you are truly a "legal layperson" (which I guess means "not a lawyer" but you feel you have some special knowledge) then you would know that almost every theme park has a similar contract. It doesn't mean much if you can show negligence on the part of the operator. In some states the binding arbitration clauses are enforceable, though, so you often get an unsympathetic hearing.
  3. fshagan

    New latitude promo

    You can try cruise lines like Crystal, Azamara, SilverSea and Seabourne. Like Nordstrom, they are more expensive than the mass market brands like NCL, RCL and Carnival.
  4. fshagan

    First time NCL cruise

    For a college aged child it is probably OK. It depends on how shy she is about what amounts to showering in the room behind a curtain. I think the people who have had the most trouble with it are non-related people or families with shy, new teens who are very body conscious. The one advantage of it is that the toilet is available even when someone is using the sink to brush their teeth, and someone else is doing their makeup at the little counter / desk provided for that. So it might work out well for your family. I think you'll have a blast once you figure out the bathroom thing because the Epic is a really fun ship. Don't miss the dueling pianos show (Howl at the Moon) or any of the big shows.
  5. Proved my point. They don't work to improve service levels.
  6. The PCCs in Florida earn about $10.46 an hour, about $2 above Florida minimum wage of $8.25:
  7. fshagan

    NCL "sales" ???

    We had a similar experience and found a Disney 7 night British Isles and Ireland cruise on DCL for about $2,400 per person in a Navigator's Verandah (which we like; they are a "hull cabin" type of thing). DCL has a pretty straight forward pricing system; the cheapest fares are on the day the cruise is released for sale, and continually seems to rise in price as you get closer to the sail date. They also quote the full price for two people in a cabin, with taxes, instead of doing the per person / double occupancy dodge, then plus taxes like the other lines do.
  8. fshagan

    Am I the only one???

    Look up how to REALLY clear all cache and cookies for a site on Chrome and Safari.These kinds of problems are usually a cache issue. For Safari my clients have told me this article helped them: http://osxdaily.com/2016/01/17/empty-cache-safari-mac-os-x/ For Chrome, the usual, documented menu way to clear cache and cookies is fine ("More tools" >> "Clear browsing data"). If the problem persists, verify if NCL.com has appcache in the browser. In a new tab, type in "chrome://appcache-internals/" in the URL bar. It will show you the websites that have appcache on your system. If NCL is there, delete it. This image shows the screen.
  9. You can Google "Why mystery shoppers don't work" to find the current thinking on them. The problem with mystery shoppers is they aren't consumers, and tend to find the things they are trained to find. We consumers, however, find all sorts of problems with customer service they never measure. I believe NCL does care about customer service, and to be honest, I think it has only improved in recent years on our cruises. That's why I don't discourage people from complaining after the cruise; while you are unlikely to get any compensation after the fact, it does register as a complaint, and companies do look at those. It's common today to ascribe nefarious intentions to anyone who falls short. I think it's rare that a person wakes up, stretches, and decides to fail at their job that day. The feedback loop from customers is the most important way to improve customer service.
  10. fshagan

    What is NCL known for?

    We've only taken one cruise on X, on the Infinity, and it compares in size to the Jewel class ships on NCL. Overall, we prefer NCL for entertainment and dining convenience, but that one cruise was better than some of the cruises we've had on NCL. If price and itinerary are right we would take another X cruise. NCL has the anytime / freestyle dining down pat, and does the best at it of any line we have been on. It was a mess on the Infinity, with at least 15 minute waits each time (and often 30 - 45 minutes). The dining room was crowded, with tables laid out in a cramped manner (waiters had to swing trays of food over your head to serve people in the table next to us). Breakfast was atrocious in the dining room on X, where it's always been acceptable on NCL, and we quit going after the second morning. For our one cruise, I would definitely give NCL the edge on the main dining room food and service. But that will vary from cruise to cruise. On embarkation day, you have a choice of a main dining room, a pub-style restaurant called O'Sheehans, the buffet or the pool grill for lunch. X had the buffet and very poorly equipped pool grill (no water or coffee available; you had to get it from the buffet). I really missed having a sit down lunch to start our cruise, but as far as I know, NCL is one of the only lines to offer that much variety for the embarkation day lunch. NCL has a sail away party that is a lot of fun. Music and dancing on the pool deck. We find the night life much more active and with many more young people ("young" being the under 40's).
  11. fshagan

    Making Trip Insurance Decision

    You may be wasting your money. If the policy goes up if you put $5,000 in the trip cost box, then you are almost certainly violating their policy and they can refuse to pay out. The insurance that changes price based on the value of the trip is usually valid ONLY if you insure the full, non-refundable cost of the trip (and they can refuse to pay out if you insure for MORE than the trip cost). True medical only policies do not change the price based on the cost of the trip. From what I'm reading, they charge based on trip length, your age, and the amount of coverage.
  12. Yeah. Even if others here think it's not a big deal, it is a customer service failure to leave a guest unhappy when something happens. That's not an opinion, that's the cold hard fact of being in a business where service is prized. Even if the problem had transpired the exact same way (stuff happens), you would have been less upset if you felt they were "hearing you" and reacting to your concerns.
  13. fshagan

    Making Trip Insurance Decision

    So, I just did a comparison for a fictitious trip that I may actually take, a 6 day Pacific Coastal cruise that would cost us about $800 each with flights home. At tripinsurancestore.com I can get a GeoBlue Medical Only plan for $100k of medical for about $40 each. Trip insurance for the same amount of coverage, plus the other coverages including trip interruption, medical evacuation at $1,000,000 and lost baggage, etc., is $57 each. At those prices I'm inclined to go with the full array of benefits as saving $17 isn't that important to me.
  14. fshagan

    Making Trip Insurance Decision

    You peaked my interest in finding medical-only travel insurance, so I searched for "ExactCare" and come up with the Berkshire Hathaway site with only comprehensive travel insurance plans that included medical, plus all the extras I'm paying for that I would rather "self insure" and save the 5 to 8% of the trip cost that those plans charge. I did find some other sites that were medical only, such as PatriotCare by IMG, but I was wondering what you are getting for $21 for 20 days.
  15. Which is why reducing speed saves a lot more fuel than a linear equation would give you.