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Everything posted by MadManOfBethesda

  1. Funny finding you here. 😃 I haven't sailed NCL in about 25 years (last cruise was on the Norway, lol!) and also came to this board looking for info on NCL and Jade in general, and this cruise in particular.
  2. I think I need to issue a clarification on my above posts. The drink coupons to which I was referring are the 12 coupons that my wife and I each received as part of our Fantastica booking. This is our first MSC cruise and I just realized that these drink coupons may be different from the DOU promo. What I wrote above about our coupons was correct. There are no tips/service charges added to the drink charge and there is nothing to sign when you receive your drink. I do not know if DOU is handled differently and I apologize for any confusion my posts may have caused.
  3. There is no automatic tip, 15% or otherwise, added to the cost of the drink when you use a coupon. On the occasions when I was provided a receipt, it would show for example, $6.50 for a Guinness I ordered, then a line subtracting out the $6.50, with a final balance of $0.00. However, I personally actually tip more than 15% because I usually tip using $2 bills (except when I'm just getting a bottle of water). However, I am definitely in the minority when it comes to tipping. In fact, I can't recall seeing anyone else on this cruise tip when using a DOU coupon. I even pointed that out to my wife as we were sitting at the bar by the Garden pool this morning. I mentioned to her that I had never seen such a group of uninterested, dispirited bartenders and waitstaff as we have on this cruise, and then I stated that it was probably because they don't get tipped as much as bar staff on other lines. We then made it a point to watch all the people who ordered drinks using the coupons. Not one person provided a tip.
  4. My wife and I are currently on Divina, on the 9th day of a 10-day sailing. We have the DOU coupons and have never once been asked to sign a receipt, so I don't know where you came up with that statement. In fact, on a few occasions, we weren't even handed a receipt at all, just given our room card back.
  5. I'm currently on Divina. The pizza on deck 14 is crap in my opinion; however, the pay pizza on deck 7 is wonderful. As for your comments on the main dining room vs. Eataly: our experience has been totally the opposite. We had horrible service in the main dining room and the food wasn't much better. The first night I ordered blackened grouper which wasn't blackened in the least, although admittedly, it tasted fine. My wife ordered a steamed fish from the gluten-free menu which was completely tasteless.The second night I ordered grilled snapper and was served some sort of unidentifiable lumpy, breaded mass which I'm fairly certain was some type of fish, but it definitely wasn't snapper and it certainly hadn't been grilled. We had other problems as well, but suffice it to say that that was the last dinner we've eaten in the main dining room. Since that time, we've eaten almost exclusively in Eataly. Tonight will be our sixth meal there. Again, contrasted with your review, we've found the service to be impeccable and the variety almost endless. By your description, it appears that you ordered the prix fixe three-course dinner, which does have limited choices. That was your mistake. We've been ordering a la carte each night, and each night we've eaten different items from the numerous selections of starters, pastas and other entrees'. Everything we've ordered has been delicious. My wife especially enjoys being able to eat a different gluten-free pasta dish each night. Eating dinner in Eataly has saved our cruise. Given the problems we experienced in the dining room the first two nights, as well as issues with Guest Services and Housekeeping, I was seriously considering arranging to debark from the cruise early and flying home. However, things improved greatly after those first two days to such an extent that my wife is lobbying me to book another cruise with MSC. I'm not quite there yet, but I may give them a second chance as well.
  6. We missed the meet and greet because either Guest Services never prepared an invitation for us, or our room steward never bothered to deliver it to us. I never did get a straight answer on that one and we've had other problems with both Guest Services (not following up on issues) and our room steward (either not delivering items to us or giving the wrong things to us such as another cabin's excursion tickets). We also have had quite a few problems in the dining room. Things were so bad that I was seriously thinking about debarking mid-cruise and flying home. However, after having discussions with supervisory staff in the various departments, things have improved for us and we are now actually enjoying our cruise. I'm not sure yet whether I'd sail with MSC again, but if the next 5 days proceed without incident, I'd be willing to give them a second chance.
  7. Same here. Plus I usually start the day with a free Bloody Mary or two at the Elite breakfast. Combining that with the Elite HH and now perhaps free drinks in the casino (at least on Infinity), there would be absolutely no reason for us to get a drink package. In fact, since we got free drinks in the casino last week, we used the majority of our HH vouchers for bottles of water.
  8. I sailed on Infinity last week and came across a benefit I don't ever recall seeing in 40 years of cruising: on all sea days, drinks were free for all active players in the casino. And I don't mean that you first had to accumulate X number of points by gambling X number of dollars over the course of the cruise. And I'm aware that some people are provided free drinks by their host. But this was a come one come all promotion. If you were sitting at a slot machine or a table and playing the bare minimum, your drinks were free. This also applied to people playing poker. It was advertised in the daily programs as well as with electronic signs in the casino. It reminded me of when I lived in Las Vegas. Is this something new with Celebrity or was it a one-off? I was on a 14-day cruise on Millennium in Asia earlier this year and don't recall that being the case. However, I was in a suite with the attendant premium drink package so I may not have noticed if that was true then as well. Has anyone else sailed when drinks were provided free to all players in the casino without any other restriction or prequalification?
  9. I was on Infinity last week and that was not my experience at all. I ordered drinks at the HH in the Constellation Lounge as well as at bars around the ship. While some consider the three-drink limit to be a cutback of the Elite benefit, I consider the ability to order drinks in most bars on the ship to be an enhancement of the benefit. Between having the ability to have unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Mary's or champagne for two-hours in the morning at the Elite breakfast, and then three more drinks at any bar or lounge between 5-7pm in the afternoon/early evening, I think Celebrity goes above and beyond when it comes to providing enhanced benefits to their Elite members.
  10. Well, it will definitely be different than staying in Brickell, that's for sure! And this isn't even a nice area of Little Havana. I don't know anything about the property itself, but I don't think you'll like the area. It's in a somewhat rundown residential area a little northeast of the main Little Havana commercial district, which basically runs from 27th to 12th Avenue along 8th Street (Calle Ocho). If you enjoyed stepping out of your hotel in Brickell and walking around in a vibrant neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and nightlife close by, then you won't like the location of this hotel.
  11. This last-minute, Florida residents only deal just got a little bit better. I was notified today by our travel agent that Celebrity has upgraded us from an inside guarantee to a category 5 outside cabin on Deck 6. Not bad for $199pp!
  12. That depends upon how your define "everyone." Some discounts are reserved for residents of a specific state. For example, while researching transatlantic cruises this past weekend, I happened across a last-minute sale for a 5-night Celebrity cruise departing from Ft. Lauderdale this Saturday (Nov. 24th). The sale shows up as a Celebrity "Xciting Deal" for $259pp for an inside guarantee. However, residents of Florida can book at a further discounted rate of only $199pp. I think that meets the OP's definition of local residents having access to discounted rates for last-minute sailings. (BTW, although we're already booked on a 10-day cruise over Christmas, I decided that this $199 rate was too good to pass up, so my wife I will heading up I-95 from Miami this Saturday and boarding Infinity for a little spur-of-the moment mini-vacation!)
  13. We'll be on Saturday's cruise as well. In fact, we just booked it yesterday as a spur-of-the-moment last-minute mini-getaway. We were on Millie earlier this year and had a great time so we're looking forward to sailing on her sister ship.
  14. I agree completely. I would much rather be able to get three free drinks at almost any bar or lounge on the ship than be permitted to guzzle 5, 10, or however many drinks Ballymacjim can consume in a two-hour period in the designated Captain's Club lounge.
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