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brownz

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About brownz

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    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    North Carolina
  1. Anyone ever do the UBP promo with only one person who drinks? Hubby and I did it in 2015 and definitely got our money's worth, but he's not able to drink alcohol right now (and doesn't drink soda) -- I'd have to drink enough to cover the $200 fee + about $100 to make it worth picking the UBP over other promos. I'm wondering if anyone's ever tried it...
  2. We used the thermal spa 6 of the 7 days. We were there as the ship was heading into Nassau, and the view was amazing. It was a little crowded a couple of times (meaning it was hard to get a thermal lounger), but most times we went it was great (usually mid to late afternoon). We did head to Le Bistro once we got onboard, but the person taking the reservation was actually across the hall in Headliner's. We had to ask a few people to get steered in the right direction. If it's not already fully booked, you can book it from your television. A couple of people in our group apparently did that.
  3. We went by Cagney's most nights to see if we could get a walk-on reservation because there seemed to be plenty of open tables. The answer was always "only if there's a cancellation." I guess the moral for future cruisers is that if you want Cagney's, be sure to schedule it as soon as you are on board (or online beforehand, if that's available).
  4. My husband likes steaks medium rare and realized that if he ordered them all rare and they would at least come out medium. We figured that the little domes they put over the plates probably keep cooking the meat. The beef at Moderno's was all pretty much medium rare. We'd go to the running track around 8:00 a.m. and pass by the main pool. Even at that hour most of the prime chairs were claimed. Crazy.
  5. Yes, we were deck 14 forward. Here's what we did at each port: St. Thomas: Got off the ship, took a taxi downtown, and walked around. The NCL Port Shopping woman said you can't really walk to downtown because it takes 45 minutes. Not true. On the way back we noticed a lovely shortcut that goes along the shore. It has a few shops there, and my theory is that since none of them are part of NCL's recommended shops, the shopping people don't want to steer you that way. To walk downtown that way, get off the ship, turn left, and walk to the end of the dock. Turn left again and you'll see where to go. Tortola: They are in the process of building shops and stuff there, but right now there's absolutely nothing worth walking to. We did the Tortola by Land and Sea tour. It was interesting and scenic, although the roads were crazy. People seemed to really like the Norman Island snorkel tour as well. Nassau: A bunch of folks from our Roll Call group booked a private tour through Islandz tours. We did the Rum Runners Tour. It's a historical walking tour with stops that include plenty of rum consumption (rum tasting, rum drinks, rum cake, etc.). We really enjoyed it.
  6. This is not a comprehensive review, but I did want to hit a few points. Overall my husband and I enjoyed the cruise quite a bit. Ship Movement Various times on these boards people debated whether you could feel more ocean-related movement on the Getaway than on other ships. For the first four days or so, there was definitely a lot of movement even though the sea was pretty calm. I heard several people comment on it, so it wasn't just me. I asked a waiter about it, and he said it was pretty normal. The last three days there was very little movement. Also, on some parts of the ship (such as in the Tropicana Room), you can feel a lot of vibration from the engines. We don't get seasick and didn't find the movement to be a huge issue, but I thought I'd mention it since it may be an issue for some people. Food We had a couple of odd/not great waiters in the MDR and O'Sheehan's, but the service in the other food venues was very good, although often slow. We enjoyed the Tropicana Room the most for dinner. For specialty restaurants, we tried La Cucina (I found the food underwhelming although our server was great) and Moderno (meat was tender and flavorful). We tried to get into Cagney's, but it was solidly booked the whole week. The buffet was comparable to other buffets on other ships. Some of the MDR food was really terrific, but a few things were not great (my husband thought the French onion soup was gross). Drinks The water was good. This is actually the first cruise where I didn't have to buy bottled water. The tea and coffee were the standard premixed swill, but my husband happily drank both. We had the UBP. Drink service was actually rarely slow, and I liked almost all the drinks I tried. The North and South wines made for NCL are also quite good (there's a Sauvignon Blanc and a red blend, both tasty). Chef's Table We heard great things about the Chef's Table, and it lived up to the hype. We went right to restaurant reservations as soon as we got onboard to book it. (If you're not familiar with it, it's a special 12-person max evening where the head chef cooks a special 9-course menu with wine pairings. It's held in the Haven restaurant.) The food was amazing, and most of us were pretty tipsy at the end. The meal includes a behind-the-scenes tour (a couple of days later) of the ship's food service setup (prep, cooking, storage, etc.). The operation is very impressive. Room We had a spa balcony room. The room had plenty of storage, there was good water pressure, and the bed was comfy. Yes, the balcony was small, but it was large enough for our use, which was standing around to watch stuff or sitting and reading. Our room attendant (Marta) was excellent. My husband likes extra towels, and she always made sure we had more than enough. The room comes with access to the thermal spa, which was wonderfully relaxing. Entertainment We saw Burn the Floor, a magician, two comedians, Howl at the Moon, and various music acts around the ship. They were all good. I know some folks think that NCL's entertainment is better than on other lines, but I find it to be pretty equivalent. Running Track It should be called "Running and Obstacle Track." It's in a ridiculous location, and people would just randomly wander onto it, so dodging small children and clueless adults became part of the workout. It feels like they designed the whole ship and then were like, "crap, we forgot a running track; let's just stick it in this really dumb location." Questions? Comments? Let me know!
  7. A number of reviewers mention that there are some tight squeezes between rocks at the Virgin Gorda Baths. My husband is large (300 lbs), and our concern is his being able to maneuver the Baths. Basically, if you went with a group, were there any very large people, and did they get through ok? (Fitness-wise he won't have problems with the terrain, paths, etc.; the only concern is tight squeezes being too tight.)
  8. For an international flight, I'd say definitely come the night before just to be safe. When we cruised out of Barcelona a few years ago, we booked our flights to arrive the night before. Good thing since our flight was cancelled due to bad weather. It was rebooked the next day and we had just enough time to arrive in Barcelona and get on the ship in time! We sometimes do fly in the day of a cruise, but only if it's a direct flight and it's a time of year where weather is unlikely to be a problem. (For our cruise in a couple of weeks we have a direct flight from NC, arriving before noon.)
  9. Wonderful spa pictures! We enjoyed the Thermal Suite on the Epic and booked the Getaway partly because it has one as well. Until now I haven't found very good pictures of it. I am thoroughly enjoying the whole review. Thanks so much for your hard work!
  10. We sailed on Epic a few years ago for a Mediterranean cruise. For us, the best part was that after a long day of walking, we'd come back and unwind in the Thermal Suite. The Allure doesn't really have an equivalent offering. The nighttime entertainment and restaurants were also good on the Epic. We took the Allure to the Caribbean. Some of my family loved it, but I liked it less than some smaller RCCL ships. On paper the Allure beats the Epic, but for personal preference, the Epic wins for me.
  11. You need a pass to use the Thermal Suite section of the spa. The Thermal Suite includes a sauna, steam room, Vitality pool (pool with jets of water to relax back, legs, etc), hot tubs, and the heated tile loungers (which are awesome). There may be a few items I'm forgetting. We loved it so much on the Epic that we got a spa balcony room for our next cruise on the Getaway!
  12. A friend of mine is considering NCL (and other lines) for an Alaskan cruise and is wondering how the kids' program (for a 10 y.o. boy) stacks up compared to other lines (they aren't interested in Disney). (We've cruised NCL before but never with our kids, so we never really paid attention to their kids' program.)
  13. I'm really enjoying your review and am grateful for the time and care that has gone into it. Beautiful pictures and very useful comments. (My husband and I are taking the Getaway in May.)
  14. I like the sound of the nap option. However, our flight arrives in Barcelona at 8:30 a.m., but we can't check into our hotel until 1:30. Will that be too late for getting a nap in? (I guess we'll wander around zombie-like for the time between arrival and check-in.) Thanks, Karen
  15. I have used Hotwire in the past with great results and plan on using it for our Barcelona stay. You can choose a hotel star-level and an area (you'll want the Downtown - Marina - Les Ramblas one), but you won't know the hotel name. It will give you enough details about the property (amenities and TripAdvisor ratings, for example) to help you choose wisely, though.
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