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Posts posted by cafetao

  1. A few final thoughts about our experience.  Our room steward was pretty mediocre.  There were several afternoons that our room wasn't cleaned.  He seemed pretty overwhelmed, I don't know if he was just new or what, but he was not very good.


    Overall our food was quite good throughout the ship as long as you have reasonable expectations.   The best by far were our specialty dining venues. But all the food was acceptable or better, my biggest complaint would be the slow service.   Having the two little ones a faster service would definitely have been nice. However even if it was just my wife and I 2 hrs or more for some of the meals was a bit much.


    I found the crew to be very friendly and accommodating.   Not perfect certainly,  but always friendly. As mentioned above our server was sub par and we got some bad info from the shore excursion desk, but we also had some standout crew members who would talk to my girls and make them feel special. 


    Finally I will say that I've read a fair amount of complaining about this cruise.  Was this cruise perfect? Certainly not.  Were there several hiccups?  Absolutely.  But we had a wonderful time. Saw places we had never been before.  Experienced new things and made some great memories. 


    I'll happily answer questions if anyone has any, at least to the best of my ability.

  2. It was now time to get off the ship.  We had a Super Shuttle booked at 9:30.  The previous night I had gotten our luggage tags for an 8:45 exit of the ship.  They actually called us about 8:15 and we collected our luggage and were on street level about 8:45.  I called Super Shuttle and they sent a van out a bit early.  We went and rented a car for the day and drove to our hotel in Manhattan Beach.  We played at the beach, had a nice seafood dinner, and then went back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep for our flight the next day. 


    We arrived home the next day tired but having had a good time and already starting to plan our next trip.

  3. 1 hour ago, coastcat said:

    Fellow watch enthusiast here. The selection onboard puzzled me: fashion  and inexpensive brands (Anne Klein, Invicta, Citizen), high-end watches (Montblanc, Hublot), and nothing in between except a small selection of Longines.  

    But what the heck, I added another Citizen Eco-Drive to my collection. 

    They did have some Frederique Constant in the middle range. But the prices were pretty meh. I might have jumped at a moon phase if the prices were better. 

  4. Our final full day was a sea day.  This ended up being the favorite day for my oldest.  It was warm and we were able to really enjoy the pool deck.


    I went to the spa and did one of the shave packages.  I really enjoyed it and would do it again, a very relaxing experience. There was the normal upsell at the end but not pushy.


    For lunch we went to Taste and had an enjoyable lunch.  The mahi mahi sandwich was very good as was the pho even if it was a bit bland.

    After lunch we changed and went up to the pool deck. The pool was busy, as it was the first really warm day.  However it was still cool enough to keep the area from being super crowded. You could get a seat without too much issue.  I swam with my daughter and we did the tube slide. She had a blast.  I was the only one to go on the drop slide, which was a lot of fun.  I will say there were a lot of people who got stuck. But from my observation this is mostly from not following instructions. Cross your arms and legs, take off any clothing you can without it being an issue and your good to go.  I noticed a few people who insisted on keeping a shirt on.  I understand the self consciousness, but it really makes it difficult to get through the slide.  


    After the pool we showered and got ready for dinner.  We had Le Bistro that night. The meal was very good. All of us enjoyed our food. My filet was cooked well, the scallop app was very small but tasty, and my mushroom soup tasted great.  I had the chocolate fondue for dessert, my wife had the apple tart.  Both were very good.



  5. The next morning was San Francisco.  We got up at about 6:15 to get some pictures.  It was a little after 6:30 when we went under the bridge.  We had a hop on hop off booked through the ship, out meeting time was 9am.  The previous night I went to the shore excursion desk to ask about the process. They told us to wait for our floor to be called for customs.  Unfortunately this was not correct information.  We were lucky to run into someone with the correct info after breakfast. We needed to meet in the theater at our normal time and we would be told when to go. We arrived a bit after 9 and were told to go get in line for customs.  Getting off the ship was a breeze. Customs in port looked a bit more daunting, but it was actually going pretty quickly.  There was someone going up the line looking for US and Canadian citizens.  They pulled us to a different line and we walked right up to an agent and were done in a few minutes.  We were on our bus at about 9:45.


    We got off the bus at Chinatown.  We explored a bit took in the sights and bought some souvenirs.  We had someone approach us with coupons for a local restaurant. I'm usually leery of that type of thing, but decided to go with the flow and followed her to the restaurant.  It turned out great. We got a dim sum sampler if various common types.  It was very tasty and we got some noodles for my oldest, which she enjoyed.


    After Chinatown we walked down to union square to grab the bus there.  We toured around the rest of the city seeing the main sights of San Francisco.  We ended up at Fisherman's Wharf where we had an early dinner and then walked the short distance to the ship.


    We were all pretty full so we grabbed a small meal in the buffet later that night.  Overall it was a fun day in San Francisco.  Though I wish we would have had another day to explore a bit more, places like the Presidio, Sausalito, or Muir Woods. 




  6. The next day was a sea day and we were looking forward to a more relaxing day.  The first night was a bit of a mess so I forgot to reserve times for the racetrack.  Oh well, by the time i remembered there wasn't anything left.  We explored some more, got some ship souvenirs in the shops and I took the opportunity to look at the watches. I'm a bit of a horologist and like to see if they had anything interesting.  I was surprised to see a couple Tag Heuer tourbillions, but frankly for the price Tag was asking you can get a much better watch elsewhere.  


    We had lunch at the buffet.  The food was pretty standard buffet food.  I do like the station with the Indian food.


    The buffet always seemed to be pretty crowded, but we usually were able to find a spot without to much hassle.  I was a bit disappointed that the observation lounge was almost always packed with people as well.  It is a lovely area, but you could rarely find anywhere to sit.  It seems everyone who normally was at the pool deck was in the observation lounge.  


    That night we went to teppanyaki. We again got there a bit early as the grandparents were going to Six that night.  They seated us about fifteen minutes early, but we didn't need to worry.  The service was fast and the food was very tasty.  Both my daughters loved the show. Overall dinner took an hour and a half. 


    Later that night we revisited Cocos, this time with my wife.  My daughter wanted the celebration platter.  They warned me when I ordered it that it was huge. They were not kidding.  It was very good but maybe bring 8 people with you as it is massive.


    They announced we would be going under the Golden Gate Bridge about 6:30am. No problem as we're up at that time anyway.  

  7. The next morning we went to the local for breakfast as we had a good experience the night before.  Again the service was quick and the food was good.  


    We had a tour booked through Ncl as we had the excursion free at sea benefit.  The tour was good.  Gave us a good feel for the island, but wasn't super long, so the kids behaved pretty well.  They dropped us off at downtown, and we shopped a bit more and then took a water taxi to fisherman's wharf.  It's a small area but we had some very tasty salmon chowder and some good pizza for the 6 yr old.  We walked back to the ship, as we were leaving earlier that day and explored the ship a bit before heading to dinner at Los Lobos.


    We had reservations at 6 and reservations for Six (the musical) that night.  We arrived at 5:30 and asked if we could be seated early as we were worried about making the show.  They were very accommodating and got us seated a few minutes later.  Los Lobos did not disappoint.  The food was very good.  I highly recommend it.  My favorite meal of the cruise. 


    It was however not very quick.  We skipped dessert and hurried off to the show. We got there about 7:15 just in time. I believe I forgot to mention previously that my wife's parents were also on the cruise with us.  Our kids stayed with them and my wife and I saw the show.


    What to say about Six. First off the performers were very talented, and the show was very high energy. However I can't say I really enjoyed the show.  I studied history as my field of study in college and continue to read and study the subject.  Don't look to learn anything as the story is only very loosely based on actual events.  However I'm ok with the artistic license, to try and pump up the story. I guess what I didn't like was that though the show seemed to want to say something about the importance of woman in history.  The characters were very one dimensional and each seemed to be a different stereotype.  The "femme fatale", the "slut" the devoted wife.  Instead of fleshing out these characters, all of them by the way very intelligent women, they made them into cardboard cut outs of modern perceptions of women.  Not personally my cup of tea, but to each their own.  I think it wasn't quite what many expected, as many people were walking out of the theater during the show, which I thought was quite rude to the performers.

  8. 7 minutes ago, Outerdog said:

    Minor point, I realize, but just so you know SOLAS now requires that the muster drill be held before the ship departs or immediately upon departure. This was a change after the Costa Concordia incident. Previously, the requirement was for the muster of passengers to take place within 24 hours of their embarkation.  Moral of the story is that this will always be an issue and an inconvenience for late departures, scheduled or otherwise.

    Interesting I thought I had read that it had to be within 24hrs.  Well if that has changed I guess there wasn't much they could do.  Still sucked though.

  9. We had found out we were missing Seattle only after we had boarded. This was disappointing, my daughter really wanted to see Pikes Place, the fish being tossed, and the kids science museum.  NCL did give everyone $100 in stateroom credit which was some compensation. I was less annoyed after speaking to an officer.  He told us that seattle had informed them the afternoon of departure that it would take 6-8 hours to clear the ship for customs.  So Ncl spent the extra day in Victoria.


    We of course had plans for the next day in Victoria, but not that first day. We decided to walk to downtown as it didn't seem very far and the walk was estimated at about 25 mins.  In hindsite I would get a cab to go downtown.  It was a bit far for my 6yr old.  The 9 month old rode or was carried, so she was ok 😉.  Victoria is beautiful.  I would visit again in  heart beat.  We shopped a bit and took a tour of the harbor on a small boat.  Again, not what we planned. But a good day.  


    We returned to the ship and grabbed a quick bite at the Local.  In contrast to the night before, the food arrived quickly and was good. Nothing fancy.  The food was basic but good.  That night my wife had a massage booked.  So I took the kiddos to Cocos for an enormous milkshake.  It was very good and was quite the attention grabber.  After my wife had finished we bathed the kids and all went to bed.  We were very tired from the previous days traveling and we had an early start in the morning.

  10. I noticed another review of this cruise, but did not want to hijack that thread.  I also had planned to give a review after we got home so here it goes.  I'll speak briefly about each day, what went well, what didn't.  


    To give some perspective, on this cruise was myself, my wife, and two daughters, ages 6 and 9 months. 


    We were aware of the boarding time as I had read about it on the roll call.  I was a bit annoyed, but instead of canceling the cruise, we decided to spend more time in Vancouver.  


    We arrived the afternoon of the 29th a day before the cruise.  We checked into a hotel in Richmond, a suburb south of Vancouver, with transfers to canada place the next morning.  


    That night we went to the Richmond Night Market.  This is a street fair with many food vendors mostly focused on foods from Asia. We loved it.  So much good food.  I especially recommend the pho fries, so good.  Bring canadian cash as many people don't take cards.


    The next morning we got our transfer to the port at about 9:30am we had booked a hop on hop off bus for the day.  We had a great day at Granville island Gas Town and the various areas of Vancouver.  It wasn't the original plan but we had a good day.


    We arrived back at Canada Place about 5pm and watched the Bliss dock at the port.  I thought we should probably get in line at this point. We were late to the game. There was already a very large line that stretched through the port.  We dutifully got in line and proceeded to wait.  I'm not sure who's fault it was, NCL or the port authorities, but they were not prepared for everyone to show up at once.  They tried setting up more chairs, but it just wasn't enough.  Many people were standing for a long time.  We were on the boat a bit after 9pm which was better than many.


    Embarkation was long, and a mess.  But the Ncl staff I encountered were making due with a bad situation and overall seemed in good spirits. We decided to eat in Savor after dropping off our luggage.  A mistake on our part.  The kids weren't having it and the service was slow.


    My biggest complaint of the day was the muster drill at 11pm.  Hauling my sleeping kids out of bed to sleep through a presentation that no one was paying attention to.  Should have done it in the morning maybe just before allowing us to get off in Victoria. After the drill we all went straight to bed.

  11. Yes it is the Bliss.  Thank you for the detail, and the suggestion of mount pleasant. I'm not particularly concerned about safety just looking at maybe an opinion on if you recomend a taxi or if we can take a stroll for a half hour, maybe stopping along the way at anything that interests us and not have it be too taxing.  

  12. We have a cruise boarding late in the day on Sept 30th.  We are allowed to drop off luggage much earlier in the day so we won't be bothered with those.  We are thinking of going to the chinese gardens and grabbing some food in the area and just explore.  Can we reasonably walk to that area or am I better off planning on a cab ride.

  13. We are arriving in Vancouver on Sept 29th and leaving on our cruise on the 30th.  We are staying in Richmond near the airport. We were looking for some easy things to do as we have two little ones.  I saw the Richmond night market and wondered if someone could tell me their thoughts on it, or maybe some alternate suggestions.

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