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mellohappy

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About mellohappy

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  1. mellohappy

    Wii on NCL Dream?

    Well, I was only 18 at the time of my cruise so I wouldn't know about the martinis and cosmos. :o There is a nice lounge with lots of windows at the front of the ship, though...my parents had a few drinks there. There are also lounges along the sides of the ship on two different levels. Since our cruise was in the Baltics, I was one of the few English-speaking people under the age of 50 onboard. There were very few young people and therefore the disco wasn't really active. I did enjoy sitting with a different elderly British couple every night at dinner though! :D There was trivia every day which was fun and there was also a basketball shooting contest (much harder on the slanted ship's court than on land!). The shuffleboard courts were open most of the time too. The shows were alright...I don't really enjoy the cheesy song and dance shows on ships but the Jean Ann Ryan Company was better than most. There was also an excellent flautist who I got to know when we sat with her for lunch one day. The captain of the ship was wonderful but I hear that he has unfortunately been replaced...hopefully the new captain is as kind and personable (Not to mention HANDSOME!) as the old one! The food was great even though sometimes it took forever for it to be served. La Trattoria (FREE alternate Italian restaurant) was fun to try one night but service there seemed even slower than in the main restaurants. We never ate in the Bistro since the food in the main dining rooms was so good. People seemed to enjoy it, but escargot and such are not luxuries that appeal to my family when there is steak in the main dining rooms!
  2. mellohappy

    Wii on NCL Dream?

    Yes, they do have Wii on the Dream. I never played it, but it was in the activities schedule. I'm not sure if it is available all the time or only during scheduled activities. The activities were for all ages, though...usually Wii Bowling or Wii Tennis. I was on the Dream last August...feel free to ask me any questions. :)
  3. mellohappy

    Europe and Tuxedos

    On my NCL Baltic cruise last summer, I would say there were just as many dark suits as tuxes...maybe more. Women mostly wore cocktail dresses, though some went with evening gowns.
  4. We rented a car to get to Rostock and Schwerin. Train would probably work just as well, though. Schwerin Castle was very interesting with nice grounds, though there was some construction going on when we were there last summer. Note that half of the Castle is some kind of local Parliament...we didn't know that and got chastized in German by a security guard when we tried to go in that entrance. Since Schwerin is mostly a place that local tourists visit, don't expect anyone to speak English. The town is very cute with lots of restaurants and bakeries. One bakery in particular on the main square had wonderful apple streudel and coconut pastries...it had a sign shaped like a pretzel though it seems like most bakeries have this. We were definitely glad we went to Schwerin/Rostock instead of trying to make it to Berlin.
  5. mellohappy

    NAME THE SHIPS Genisis

    Congrats alphakitty! Hope you have an amazing trip! :) Since it looks like all the winners have been notified, I guess I can reveal my choices...I chose Transcendance of the Seas and Ascendance of the Seas....going for the "rising above/beyond" theme since the Genesis class will offer more attractions than any ships built before. I thought these were good names, but I guess they weren't "Allure"-ing enough. :p
  6. Thanks for the link...wish I was between the ages of 6 and 15 though! (Or that I had a little sister or brother to enter for me!) :rolleyes:
  7. mellohappy

    Utopia of the Seas?

    I'm not a fan of the name Utopia...as others have said, it sounds like one of those crazy societies that Ayn Rand, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and others describe, though I guess those are technically DYStopias. Plus it just doesn't flow well..."Utopia of the Seas"...ugh. The only name announced so far that I like is Allure. Coronation isn't too bad, either, but I think it is too long when "of the Seas" is added. I'm surprised at the simplicity of the names that have been announced so far. I was expecting more elegant and unusual choices, names that would evoke a sense of luxury and sound like instant classics. Instead everything is sort of flat...Allure and Coronation at least sound a little elegant, but Mosaic?? I guess RCCL is a mass market cruise line so their ships have to have names that aren't so elegant that they dissuade people with kids from sailing, but with the luxury features that the Genesis class will surely have, you would think they would choose a name that is a bit more powerful sounding. (Like mine, hehe! :p )
  8. mellohappy

    NAME THE SHIPS Genisis

    I like those names too, but I think they are a bit too long when "of the Seas" is attached...3 syllables might work, but 4 or more syllables + "of the Seas" just takes too long to say! I cannot picture someone saying "I would like to sail on the Cornucopia of the Seas"...what a mouthful! Maybe that's why the judges didn't like Coronation (4 syllables) as well as Mosaic (3 syllables)...
  9. mellohappy

    Eating in Paris with kids

    The Latin Quarter has lots of inexpensive, casual restaurants that have great daily specials like 3-5 courses for 10-15 euros, sometimes including wine (for the adults). We found these restaurants to have excellent quality food for very low prices, and kids would be perfectly welcome. :)
  10. mellohappy

    Paris Questions

    Glad I could be helpful. :) I don't think the Opera was on the museum pass but the entry fee was not very large...maybe 5 euros? Notre Dame was free...note that it is a working church so you should probably wear long pants and a shirt with sleeves when you are visiting. We were lucky enough to walk in during the beginning of mass and got to hear the chanting as we walked around admiring the stained glass. I'm not sure if the Museum Pass would be the best deal for your family as I think only the Louvre and d'Orsay are covered out of the sights I suggested. Versailles is covered but there is already too much to see in Central Paris in two days so I wouldn't recommend taking a half day trip out there. I would suggest still looking into the museum pass, but it may not be worth the money for only two sites. The line at the d'Orsay was almost nonexistant and the line entering from the underground mall entrance at the Louvre was also very short, so the pass isn't really necessary to avoid the lines at those places. We did use the pass to duck into museums that normally we wouldn't have visited, such as the Roman ruins next to Notre Dame (good for 15 minutes but not worth an entry fee on their own) and an ancient artifacts museum somewhere else that was interesting but again not one of the "must see" attractions. Since you are only going to have two days, you will probably want to skip anything that isn't a "must see," so the Museum Pass wouldn't be as useful.
  11. mellohappy

    Alla guides

    We had Elena and I would definitely recommend her. She was very knowledgable about all sights, navigated us past the crowds very quickly, and shared some personal stories of life in Russia that were very interesting.
  12. mellohappy

    Paris Questions

    I was in Paris for 5 days. I visited both the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay and those were definitely can't-miss sights, even though I am not a huge art fan. Don't miss the Napolean apartments in the Louvre- very elaborate! We took a nighttime bus tour the first night we were there that was an interesting and beautiful introduction to the city. Of course the Eiffel Tower was great...the line wasn't too bad in the late afternoon either, only about 20 minutes. We took a walk around the Montmartre neighborhood that was interesting, stopping by Sacre Couer, observing all the artists at work, eating some crepes, and of course stopping for a photo OUTSIDE the Moulin Rouge. The Notre Dame area was also interesting. Not far from that is the Latin Quarter, which is by far the best place to find a reasonably priced, very tasty meal. There were many restaurants advertising 10-15 euro specials for a 3-5 course meal, sometimes including wine. Personally, my favorite place we went was the Opera Garnier. It's the opera house where Phantom of the Opera takes place and it is stunning inside. Even if you aren't Phantom fans you will love the elaborate staircases and giant chandelier. We did the Batoboat hop-on hop-off...we ended up staying on it for a full loop as a tour of the the city by river but didn't use it as transportation more than once or twice because the boats only came every 20-30 minutes. The Metro was much easier to get around the city. For shopping, we went to some of the department stores and boutiques near the Opera (they are very impressive inside...stained glass domes and such). Also browsed some stores around the Champs Elysees..not all the shops are $$$. It's a fun people watching activity to eat dinner at one of the many cafes while you are there.
  13. mellohappy

    13 Year Olds - Need help with limits

    I think it really depends on the maturity of the 13 year olds. When I was around that age, my parents knew that I had sense enough to avoid dangerous situations and not get into trouble. I therefore had the freedom to do what I wanted during the day as long as I checked in every few hours. The teen club activities should be fine for teens of that age...I was usually either at the teen club or at the pool when I was 13. At night my parents were a little stricter and I had to be either at the teen club or with them...I guess this makes sense as people tend to consume more alcohol at night and dangerous things might happen more often.
  14. mellohappy

    St. Petersburg Metro

    I was in the Metro on an Alla tour. We were told that we could be arrested if we took pictures, but it might be possible if we were very discreet (NO flash). The station had very pretty glass columns and interesting communist propaganda but it wasn't the end of the world if we didn't have a picture of it. The subway ride itself was nothing special...the cars were very old and rickety but kind of interesting in a retro way- hanging lights and such. It was very crowded though...certainly not a leisurely ride. I believe it is a security concern for people to take pictures in the subway. There was a case in the NYC subway a while ago where a train enthusiast was arrested for taking pictures in a subway station because of security concerns- so it's not just the Russians being ultra strict! I definitely understand why it is a threat to public safety if people are allowed to document the exact layout of a subway station.
  15. mellohappy

    Paris Questions

    In regards to the Courtyard Paris Neuilly... I stayed there with my parents 2 years ago when I was 17. We used Marriot points and stayed there since the other Paris Marriot does not allow 3 people in a room. The hotel itself is quite nice with a friendly, English-speaking concierge staff. It is a little bit of a walk (10-15 minutes) to the Metro station but the walk is through an upper-class neighborhood and it is actually quite fun to see normal Parisians on their way to work, school, etc. There are also some nice fountains and parks on the way. There are some shops and restaurants nearby but they are ALL closed on Sunday. We went dinner-less one night because my mom refused to go to McDonalds, thinking that there would be better options on the way back to the hotel, but they were all closed. There is a restaurant in the hotel but it is more of a bar and is very slow. On other nights of the week you should have plenty of choices for dinner though. One restaurant in particular (sorry I can't remember the name) was very charming...we were struggling to interpret a French menu and our waiter only spoke French, but he must have noticed our discomfort and sent a young woman from the bar over with English language menus...she said in perfect English "I think these might be a little more helpful to you." This kindness was very much appreciated, especially since we had heard that French waiters can be rude to Americans. We had only good experiences! In regards to sightseeing, my parents bought a "museum pass" that was well worth it. It got us ahead of the lines and into all museums very quickly. Note that everyone under 18 is considered a child and is FREE at almost all museums...I just walked in with my parents and said "dies-sept ans" (17 years). If you are going to Versailles, the museum pass is a MUST. Versailles had some of the longest lines I have ever seen outside of it...a few hours at least waiting on a sunny, hot brick plaza. However, with the museum pass we were inside within 10 minutes. Note that it was about 100 degrees that day, and they had ONE window open inside and people packed in....very very uncomfortable and definitely not as enjoyable as it would have been on a cooler day. If you have any more questions about seeing Paris with your teenager, let me know and I will give you any advice I can!
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