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Everything posted by skittl1321

  1. I have both a bank and a credit union and both told me "use an ATM there, the exchange is way better". They can do exchange, but it is really not a thing as much as it used to be.
  2. I don't buy it there either, but I also haven't already paid for food to be included at the movie theater. The expectation of cruises, at least used to be, that food is included. Everything is an extra charge now it seems.
  3. Those restaurants have procurred a different license.
  4. If you are in a boot, highly recommend going on Amazon and getting a shoe lift/equalizer for your other foot. Those boots kill the hips.
  5. Another vote for a knee scooter. A million times better than crutches (but bring those too just in case). Personally I would NOT get an electric scooter. They can be difficult to manuever, especially in crowds. If you can get around OK, I don't think it is worth the additional hassle.
  6. Just as an FYI- antibiotics do not treat viruses. Unnecessary use of antibiotics make the problems we have with bacterial resistance to antibiotics worse, and there are fewer and fewer effective antibiotics out there due to overuse. Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections. OP- I hope your dog is better.
  7. I guess it's all relative because one or two drinks a day for a week doesn't seem like "very little alcohol". Makes perfect sense to keep the drinks package! Especially if you are also having sodas. I cancelled the FAS drinks package for my cruise, I figured I would pay out of pocket if I wanted a mocktail, but in the end, didn't get any at all, since I added the soda package, soda was enough for me. Even that gets a bit expensive per day (I think it's about $9 per day? As opposed to $22 for the FAS package) so next cruise will probably be water only and buy a soda at dinner every few days. I have never taken a cruise where I've spent $22 a day on drinks, so for me, that free package is really expensive!
  8. The payment is for the room, not per person. So one person in the room will not be refunded, as the room cost does not change. You may get some taxes and fees back.
  9. On my solo cruise I told my room attendant to just skip cleaning my room. But I did need dishes collected. If I can't eat in my room, cruise over. But I don't usually get room service because I hate all the extra charges. I've also only used Uber eats twice, both paid for by my company and nearly had a heart attack at the cost with service fees, delivery fees, convenience fees, and of course then a massive tip or it won't get delivered at all. Am I in the old or young group? I'm 41 so getting old...but for "cruise" age, I'm still young except on summer and spring break cruises ...
  10. I think Encore is probably not the right ship for my kids right now- age 4 and 6. They aren't really kids club types, and they like big shows. I did like that they had the kids waterpark, but I think my kids are too short for the easier slide still (way far away from drop slide- they are both under 40 pounds). But I might look at some of the other ships and see what they have to offer. We have RCCL booked next summer, but for the one after that NCL is going into consideration with MSC for a great family cruise. I was really pleased with NCL.
  11. Sailing Anthem next summer. Super bummed to hear I will always need to have my phone. I really hate carrying my phone on a cruise. Thanks for posting about your trip. Looking forward to reading more of your observations.
  12. Common sense can be difficult when your brain is still developing. This is so tragic. Most people, even teens, would be able to figure out that climbing on a balcony is a bad idea, but so many people think that bad things just won't happen to them. I've seen people at hotels climb from one floor to the next through balconies. Maybe this person thought because they weren't over the ocean it would turn out fine? Really terrible that it did not.
  13. Your TA is wrong. NCL does not require the entire cabin to have a spa pass. For my cruise (Encore in Alaska), the thermal spa passes sold out before the cruise and there were none offered as day passes or as an add on with treatments. I felt it was really expensive, but also excellent. I used it for at least an hour, up to 3 hours every day of the cruise.
  14. So here's the TLDR. 1) Solo cruises are amazing. The Balcony room was worth it. 2) Alaska is amazing. Rock climbing in Skagway was my #1 excursion. 3) The thermal spa was really fabulous, but also overpriced. I'm torn on if I'd get it again. 4) NCL needs more production show entertainment, but Choir of Man was amazing. 5) I enjoyed the food on the cruise, but the steaks were not good. The omelettes in the buffet were fabulous, as was the scooped ice cream. 6) Try the slide. Especially in Alaska. It's so fun. 7) Making this cruise into an Art cruise was a great choice. I had so much fun creating things. 8 ) Specialtiy dining is nice, but I don't think I'd pay extra for it. 9) Solo the soda package was worth it. With my family, we will be drinking water. 10) I really really want to go on NCL solo again, but it is so hard to justify the price. Looking at Hawaii for a black friday sale (I didn't book) it cost $100 less to book a solo room for myself as it did the same category for my family of 4. Kids sail free is just too good of a deal!
  15. And then, it was time to get kicked off the ship... Disembarkation day was pretty chill. I started with breakfast in the buffet. More crowded than any other morning, but I still found a table. I finally decided to try the pancakes to actually have something with the whipped cream. The strawberries were a mistake. They did not taste good... everything else was delicious. When I finished eating, I left my table so others could have it, and found a seat in the observation lounge. This was actually my first time in the lounge and I was SHOCKED how large it was. I don't know why I never made it up there before. The place was deserted, with only about five other groups sitting around. This was a great place to wait for your disembarkation to be called, as it was quiet and comfortable. When my group was called there was a bit of a line slinking around the casino, but it was orderly and easy to get off. The port is super crowded, I don't know how they possibly deal with multiple ships, and it was a mad house finding taxis/ubers/buses, etc. I found the Seattle Express bus that I had booked with when I came to the ship, and was disappointed that they said it only went to the airport. When I booked they said airport or hotel drop off. It was a bit of a chilly, dreary day in Seattle. More like I expected rather than the amazing weather I had pre-cruise. The weather this cruise was amazing for October. It had the chance of being really bad... Not a huge deal, as I again was staying at Coast Gateway and it was SO easy to catch their shuttle back to the hotel. I ran across these dolphins in the parking garage. They are a memorial, but I thought they were really lovely. I was too tired to make the most of Seattle, and thankfully Coast Gateway let me have early check-in at like 10:30 a.m. So I spent the day laying in bed, reading, and re-packing. My bag was a half pound overweight, so I did my best to make sure heavy stuff was in my carry-on. My flight was early the next morning, so I went to bed early (didn't sleep well...) and took the hotel shuttle (24 hour shuttle!) at 4 am the next morning. The lines for TSA were already a nightmare, so book ahead if you go through seattle, or plan plenty of time. I did have plenty of time, because I'm that kind of person, but still, at 4:30 am, it's weird to have such a crazy wait. Turns out I put too much into my carry-on and my bag was only 44 pounds! That's OK... I had another super long layover in Phoenix, but was sadly about 10 minutes late to get the breakfast burrito again. I did have a lovely burger though. And then, just like that, I was back in Iowa... and the cruise is officially over. It only took me two months to do the review 🙂 Thanks for reading along!
  16. The final day of the cruise was a mostly see day plus the obligatory PVSA stop in Victoria. I believe it was scheduled from 8:00-11:30, but early on in the day we found out we would be delayed until 8:30 and extended to 11:59 pm. The seas were starting to get rough again, but nothing like our first day. I started with breakfast at The Local. It was very good. Especially the crispy bacon. I had a super lazy sea day. I spent a lot of time in the thermal suite, going in the morning and the afternoon. Today was the eclipse, but I didn't have a collander or anything to catch shadows with. I hadn't brought the filter for the cameras, so I just did a really quick sunshine shot from my phone, not wanting to ruin the sensor. But mostly it looked cloudy: I caught Deal or No Deal from the Local, since I ate lunch there, and I really dislike the set up of game shows in the atrium. It was SO loud,and so crowded. I had just happened to get a seat at the railing for lunch, and honestly, I almost thought about just leaving because the noise was too much. I think I prefer the cruises that do things like this in the theaters. They are just designed to take the noise better. The reuben at The Local was SO good. One of my cruise regrets was that I never got wings. I can't believe it... There just wasn't enough time. I probably should have gone to The Local more for lunch and the buffet less, but I always wanted the ice cream. I also did more art- surprise! Today I worked on a racoon. You can see the set up I had in my room here. The racoon still looks like this. I haven't ahd a chance to finish him at home. Eyes are hard so I am putting them off... It will probably never be done. And I went to the mojito bar and did some more diamond art. The mojito bar was slowly building up a daytime crafting group. I had originally joined a cross stitcher who started there, and today she was there again, along with a knitter... This was the first day they gave me corn nuts. Yum. The bartender also made me a virgin pineapple mojito- muddling in some mint and lime; as I had been drinking diet cokes or pineapple juices all week and he thought I'd like it. He was right! But I think, technically, it didn't come with my soda package, since it was more than just poured soda or juice. So that was super nice of him. (And yes, I did tip the mojito bar staff, since that was my weekly hang out.) I also went to see Choir of Man again. I brought my camera to catch some of the preshow antics this time. I was super impressed by the cup tower they build. A shorter guy started it and had to hand it off when it exceeded his height while standing on the table. The show was especially impressive with the rough seas, since they jump on and off tables so much. I did a dance class on carnival once where we were on their stage, and it is insane how much movement is going on there when the rest of the ship still feels relatively still. These guys are so talented. The cast was slightly different from the day before, as the creative director was leaving the ship, so he did one of the roles. It's nice they take time preschow to take photos and talk with the audience (out of character). I spoke to a few of them about roles they played on the West End or tour, as I swear I recognized a few of them, but the guys I asked hadn't actually toured the US in the shows I recognized them from; but they DID play those characters, so really... they just had a type! After Choir of Man, they started announcing we would be delayed into Victoria and to enjoy everything the ship had to offer. I had a quick buffet dinner, as I wasn't really that hungry. The choir of man cast was up there, and it was interesting to see how different they all looked out of costume. Of course with their NCL name badges, I assume they were slightly dressed up (nearly all of them had blazers on.) Just a bit of pasta and a dessert. This brownie was a bit of a bummer 😞 Well, sadly, these announcements went on, and on, and on. At 9:15 I posted on facebook I was putting my excursion ticket outside my door if anyone wanted it (no takers), and went to bed. I THINK we docked around 9:30. Most of the people I talked to said they didn't bother getting off. It was already a late stop, but I think that being extra late really put a damper on the end of the cruise. Thankfully, I've been to BC before, and while I wanted to see Victoria, I wasn't TOO disappointed.
  17. Oh no, I saw them. I just didn't notice they were missing on the cruise because of the availability of excellent breakfast potatoes. But I am not a hockey puck hash brown fan. I like the loose ones.
  18. In my case, it's the minimum weight (120 lbs, not 130 which I thought it was, which I should be much closer to than I actually am, for my height)- so everytime I got reweighed "yep, still fat". But for the type of slide it is, both minimum and maximum weight matter. If you don't weight the minimum, I think you have no chance getting up those hills. And who knows, there may be additional safety concerns too that I am not thinking of for not meeting the minimum weight. I keep thinking of tha tragic accident at Schlitterbahn KC. So I am very appreciative they follow the procedure every single time, it's just funny when it is near freezing out and there are only a few people crazy enough to go near the slide so they weighed me so many times in a very very short span. Also, I didn't even realize there was a lack of hashbrowns because the breakfast potatoes were so good. (And I was just glad they didn't have the hash brown pattys.) But man, I do love hashbrowns.
  19. Once that was done I was FREEZING and went to the thermal spa. AGAIN I had lost my key. So went back to the deck, and thankfully it was under the chair I had set my shoes and towel on, and that was no problem at all. A bit of time in the thermal spa and I was all toasty again and headed to the buffet for lunch., Very similar to lunch the day before, I clearly have patterns. We had a half-day at sea, so I set up to do some more painting. Tonight was the main dining room for dinner, and I made the mistake of ordering beef again. The steaks were just no good. All were tough and chewy. The sauce was flavorfull, but I only ate about a quarter of this. But man, those fries were fabulous. I actually ordered dessert tonight- very lovely eclairs. And tonight was something I was waiting the entire night for! CHOIR OF MAN!!! The show did not disappoint! We could not book reservations ahead of the cruise, so I did this as soon as I got on board. Oddly, it let me book today and tomorrow, on other cruises they usually only let you book each show once. But since this was my main reason for going on NCL, I went ahead and booked both. The stand by line was long, but plenty of stand by guests also got in. I didn't bring my camera tonight, as filming isn't usually allowed in shows, but I should have, as the cast takes photos with guests (and serves beer!) before the show. I did kind of laugh as the people queueing to get a free beer, probably half of them had drinks packages! I absolutely loved the show, and the cast was so talented. This was a replacement cast in their first show. After Choir of Man, I did another painting, The weather was starting to get bad again, and I think maybe with the ship rocking I didn't sleep well. I went to The Local at about 3:30 in the morning and there were still a few people there who were still on the tail end of their night. I grabbed a Diet Coke, but felt a bit bad- the barman had been standing on the bar in his socks cleaning when I got there, so I clearly interupted his time cleaning up. He was very gracious and chatted with me for 10 minutes while I had my drink and then I went back to bed. One day left of the cruise- mostly a sea day; but a night time stop in Victoria was planned...
  20. We left Ketchikan it was pretty warm, probably low 40s, and the waterslides were OPEN!!! So, I decided to do something really brave (I am a HUGE scaredy cat), and go on the DROP SLIDE. I have never ever ever thought I would do something like this, as being dropped is terrifying. The slide on the encore has 2 uphill sections, so if you don't make it all the way up the hill, you fall back down, and then they have to let you out a trapdoor. I was truly terrified. I made sure to put on my swimsuit with no metal pieces (the one I was wearing in the thermal spa was a one-piece had a metal ring on it; but I needed that one in the spa, as the jets are so aggressive, they were pulling down my two-piece bottom! I'm glad I packed options.) To ride the slide, you first get weighed, then they make you take a shower, then you climb the stairs. Once on top, you stand in the tube, and the guy says he counts to three, but there is loud music playing so you can't hear it, and then they drop you. The first time I went up, I was terrified, but I was the only one, so the guy patiently waited for me to step in, the water in it was nice and warm, then I freaked out and stepped out. While I was hyperventilating another guy came up, I watched him do it, the lifeguard guaranteed me he'd never seen anyone get hurt, I decided to be brave and did it. OMG! I didn't scream! But you know how you are supposed to hold you arms across your chest when you go on body slides? Mine immediatly flew above my head when the floor dropped out. I made it through both hills, but stopped at the very top of the second hill and had to use my arms to push myself to get going again. It was SO MUCH FUN that I immediatly did it again. I walked over, the woman weighed me again, I showered again, got to to the top, no one there, and went again. Got stuck in the same place again. Then I did it a third time! Again, got weighed (this is all in the span of about 5 minutes, same person doing the weighing, only 3 other people using the slide, so they stick to the procedure for safety!), got to the top and again got stuck, but this time couldn't manage to get myself moving fast enough and effectively got waterboarded by the jets that spray inside the slide. That was rather uncomfortable, but thankfully that wasn't my first time through. For my 3rd ride, I asked the attendant to take a video for me, and you can tell he is a pro, as he was able to trace the track of the ride, you can see how I get stuck at the top of the 2nd hill. VID_20231013_153515256.mp4 By this point, I wanted to go try the tube slide, which had previously had a longer line (since kids can use it; the drop slide has a minimum weight I think of 130 lbs), but they actually were closing both of the slides because the temperature was too low and the wind picking up. I am so so glad I fit this in! Also glad I have video, because my husband didn't believe I did it. So if you are on the fence, I'm the biggest scaredy cat in the world, and it was amazing. (I also have a spinal cord/neck injury, so I'm fairly cautious, and for me, this was no issue at all.)
  21. Up next- a very quick port stop in Ketchikan. We were greeted by a gorgeous sunrise in Ward Cove. But first, breakfast. Today I went to the buffet for another really delicious omelet. While waiting for it, there was a little boy who came and got an entire plateful of whipped cream on top of his pancake. His Mom admonished him, but who am I to judge, again, I got whipped cream with nothing to put it on... This was so good, though the croissant was a bit dry. Disembarkation was quick, there were two ships in Ward Cove today, they were on the start of their cruise, us on the end. I didn't realize quite how big the Encore was until I saw it next to a ship I used to consider large... Lots of people complain about Ward Cove because it is outside Ketchikan, and that is kind of a pain. The tour guides we were with talked about how the locals really like this dock, because NCL is revitalizing an abadoned area. The buildings existed from former industry, and rather than clearing a new area, NCL has taken over to put it to new use. The inside of the warehouse is nice, and they have live local music and speakers, as well as shopping. I had a little while before my excursion, so I wandered around, but didn't buy anything. My excursion was the "Rainforest Island Adventure". We started with a quick van ride to a marina, got onto a rib boat with about 20ish people, and road to an island. The guides gave us a mini- tour of the area while we road, and it was a really pleasant day out. On the (unnamed) island, we had guides who told us about the ecosystem, and the way the trees grow on very thin soil, lots of interesting stuff. I really enjoyed the trip, and if you are a mushroom lover, this is the one for you- so much fabulous vareity of mushrooms. The trip wasn't rushed, but if you are someone into macro photography, you won't have as much time as you want, as you do have to keep up with others. The entire trip is boardwalked, but I lost my footing one time, and while I didn't fall, I had an impressive slide, and launched my phone about 10 feet ahead of me (thankfully it didn't break). So this excursion does require a little bit of dexterity... After about an hour walk around the island, we had some salmon dip and hot chocolate around a campfire, and got to wander around the rocky beach. The guides told us we could take rocks, and when asked if it was illegal they said no, but I'm still pretty sure based on the signs and alaska law posted around the ship, it is. But OMG, look at these gorgeous rocks. And one last photo op to hug a tree. I did not get to go into Ketchikan proper, as the port stop was very quick, and it was time to get back on the ship.
  22. Thanks for reading along! This cruise was just so great. I spent a few hours everyday in the thermal spa, so I wish I had met you too! I was reading most of the time I was in there though, so I suspect many people didn't approach me. Pro-tip, bring a waterproof kindle cover, and it is so nice to just stand and read in the pool or sit and read in the hot tub!
  23. As we were leaving the glacier, I decided to head to the thermal spa. I had been outside quite a bit, or with my door open at least, and was quite chilly. The spa wasn't very crowded at all, and although there could be views from the loungers, most people on them were either reading or asleep. I spent a bit of time in the pool, then to a stone lounger to read. So I also didn't really take advantage of the views. I had an early dinner booked at Food Republic (I usually like dinner at 5:30ish, so was thrilled to have been able to book that time.) However, after eating such a large lunch I just wasn't hungry at all. I went down at about 5:00 and cancelled my reservation. Hung out again at the mojito bar doing some diamond painting, and then back to my room to do some acrylic painting. Around 8:00, I was feeling a bit hungry, so walked down to Food Republic. I asked if they could seat one, but I would prefer a table to the sushi bar. It was no problem at all to be accomodated. This was the meal I was most looking forward to precruise, and I was not disappointed, but it was also way too much food. I'm also a picky eater (evidence: going through the entire buffet and ending up with no food...) so most of what I wanted to try had shrimp in it. Overall, the meal was TOO shrimp heavy for me, as I only sort of like shrimp... So I would 100% recommend Food Republic, but I would NOT pay out of pocket for it; and I would think it would be way better if you went as a couple and used just one dining credit between two, or as a family and the kids can eat off the plate. I ws disappointed that the Elote Mexicano was not on the menu, as I had seen it in many reviews, and the one in the mexican restaurant was so good, I wanted more. I also really wanted the Burrata, and did not see it on the menu either. My choices: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. These were very good. I enjoyed both the tamarind and peanut sauces. I ate two pieces of the chicken, and then all the various endive, sprouts, carrots. So good. Tiger Roll: Spicy Tuna, Shrimp Tempura, Crab Mix, Avocado. Absolutely delicious. Maybe not the best rice I've had in a roll, but this one was a standout. I think I ate all of it. Rock Shrimp Roll. This was absolutely delicious. But as good as the it was, just way too much shrimp for me. I ate 3 pieces of the shrimp, then ate the roll (avocado, mango, spicy tuna) without it. Funny story- the table next to me was argueing if this dish had shrimp in it, because the menu doesn't list shrimp as one of the ingredients. It is just in its name. Firecracker shrimp. These were good, but I only needed one. I love thair sweet chili sauce, and I have no shame, so I ended up taking the shrimp out of the wrappers and just ate the wrappers with sauce... If the burrata or corn had been on the menu, I think I would have skipped this one, as there is so much other shrimp I had. To wrap up the night I had, you guessed it, some ice cream from the buffet. I am also a huge baked Alaska fan, so when I saw this I wanted to try it. But uh, two things. First it was pretty gross. The mousse was pretty flavorless and the texture really unappealing. And I am pretty sure the name on its card is a slur... (Former generic name for Inuit/other indigenous people of the region Mousse). My understanding is the Inuit people are NOT OK with that name... I was kind of shocked to see it. I don't want to see this called Inuit Mousse either, as I really think it was named in a way to link it to Baked Alaska. I did a google search on the name and couldn't find any other recipes that use that name. It really took me aback to see NCL have a dessert labeled that way. There again wasn't a production show tonight, and I didn't want to fight for a comedy club seat so never checked that out. Just another lazy night of reading and painting. For all the people who say "you don't spend any time in your room", just point them to this review, since apparently I'm so boring I spend all my time there!
  24. For lunch, I headd up to the bufffet. I found some Indian food and some pasta, as well as fresh fruit. You'd be SHOCKED to know I also had some ice cream. The food was all good, but nothing was really a stand out. I brought it back down to my room, where I continued to enjoy the glacier watching, and my painting set up on my small desk area. Today, I was working with acrylic paints. We didn't see any large wildlife in Glacier Bay, but there were a few otters. The guy on the balcony next to me was SO good at spotting them. I just LOVED all the small waterfalls. VID_20231012_104311479.mp4 By this point, the sleeting rain was heavy. It was really beating the people up who were venturing out to the bow. I'm from Iowa, so OK with the cold. But I really want to know where this guy is from. Shorts, tank top. It wasn't more than 35 degrees out, and he was out for at least 5 minutes taking photos. We spent quite a bit of time at the Johns Hopkins glacier, as the ship did a full revolution so you could see it from both sides. Here's a video from my balcony and one from the bow. A balcony is very worth it on glacier bay day. Though, likely due to the weather, the bow wasn't too crowded, as no one stayed around for long, and so it wasn't hard to get to the edge to get a photo. The crew was also serving hot chocolate by the doors. VID_20231012_112225245.mp4 VID_20231012_110259207.mp4 Glaciers make a great background for artwork!
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