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Posts posted by MBMGWM

  1. I love using Ziploc bags for everything.  I roll our clothes and put them in the large bags and it really helps minimize the wrinkles.  I also put smaller toiletries and other items into small Ziplocs and stuff them in my DH's size 13 shoes.  Each stuffed shoe then goes into it's own bag.


    I learned about "cross packing" from Cruise Critic many years ago.  I put some of my clothes/shoes into DH's suitcase and his into mine.  That way, if one bag is delayed, we can get by with one suitcase for a couple of days.

  2. Its refreshing to know NCL reads their email and writes back to you. She replied within 15 minutes. I had a brief question about our 14 cruise on the BA and where it might end up. I'm sure she must be inundated with questions from other pax. Her email goes a long way with me.





    Unfortunately I cannot confirm at this time what the new itinerary will be. For the 11 & 14 days sailing we were not looking to turn those into western Caribbean itineraries but we now need to wait and see what impact Maria has before we can move forward. Our hope is to keep them as Southern Caribbean but I cannot make any promises.


    We hope to have decisions made within the next week or so and will communicate.


    My wife & I are on the Dec. 18, 2017 10-day Jade cruise that had included Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Martin and Dominica. I'm guessing all four of those will now be replaced, which leaves only St. Lucia and Barbados from the original itinerary. We're rooting for some combination of the ABC's/Grand Cayman/Jamaica to replace at least some of those ports. Trinidad/Tobago would be a nice addition, too, since we've never been there. The only original port we're really going to miss seeing is Dominica, because we've also never been there before. Astonishing to see what Irma and Maria have done to these islands. Glad NCL seems to be trying their best to roll with the punches for their guests.

  3. This is a tip I got from this site many years ago - cross pack your suitcases. I put pants/tops/shoes for both me and my DH in each of our checked bags, so if one piece of our luggage is misplaced, goes to another city, etc. we each have something to wear. DH is an ex-offensive lineman and he just can't walk into any store to buy clothes! Like Maniacal Cruiser, I also put one change of clothes in our carry-on bags as well.


    I am also a Ziploc bag devotee. Everything goes into Ziplocs. This makes it easy to put smaller items into our shoes to save on suitcase space. I don't have to worry about my toiletries spilling into the shoes or suitcase.

  4. We picked Moderno for one of our dinners. Our concern is that all the meat will be rare, we only eat well done. If all the meat is "pink", we are not going even put it on our plate. Can anyone comment on this?


    Like you, I enjoy my meat well done also. I just let them know I'd like a well done piece. Sometimes, they were able to find something on the skewer to serve right away. Other times, they would go back to the kitchen and bring me a well done piece. I didn't mind the wait, as there were other things to enjoy - the wonderful salad bar, grilled pineapple, chicken, etc.

  5. Our two options for sailing to Bermuda are the Dawn and the Escape!! I think I know which one you are voting for ;p


    I have not sailed on Celebrity - it's on my wish list - but have sailed on both the Dawn and the Escape. If you do decide to cruise on NCL, I would pick the Escape over the Dawn. We actually sailed to Bermuda on the Dawn many years ago - before they took away the beautiful forward facing Spinnaker lounge.


    DH and I loved the Waterfront on the Escape and there were more entertainment and dining choices than on the Dawn. There were various places where you could party and also quiet places where you could just "be".


    Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful cruise to beautiful Bermuda!

  6. We just did the Panama Canal earlier this year on the NCL Jewel, the sister ship of the Pearl. We did the full transit and actually entered the canal directly behind the Island Princess.


    I specifically chose the Jewel for two main reasons - the wonderful forward facing lounge, the Spinnaker, and the awesome aft Great Outdoors. These locations were great for canal viewing in comfort. We sat up in the Spinnaker lounge for the transit through the Gatun locks and then were all over the ship for the trip through the lake and the Pacific locks. It was wonderful to be in cool comfort. Many of the ships that transit the canal do not have the forward facing lounges. We also loved having our lunch al fresco in the Great Outdoors and not missing any of the scenery. For these reasons, I would recommend the Jewel class ships over the Island Princess or the NCL Star. I think the Bliss will be wonderful with it's forward facing lounge as well.


    Have a wonderful time on your cruise!

  7. What is the weirdest thing you ever seen happening on an NCL ship! Just Curious.


    I went thru the replies and didn't see anything about this one. Not really weird, but unusual. We were on the Getaway last year while the ship was crossing the Caribbean, and ran across a small, makeshift raft with a bunch of Cuban refugees (including a pregnant woman) trying to make their way to America, but they had gotten lost and had been at sea for several weeks and were found in the middle of the Caribbean. It was nighttime and the ship kept a spotlight on the raft the whole time. The ship stopped (of course) and brought them all on board, but they ended up in Mexico (at the next cruise port, Cozumel, I think) instead of the States.

  8. Very interesting about the food/demographics. I'm actually shocked that there were even 50 under 18. My girls were only 2 of 4 teens on the whole ship. Now I know why at 45 I felt like a minority. I had such a great time anyway.


    It's possible that the 18 & under category was actually 30, instead of 50 - - I just remember it being very low, and a round number. And my wife & I had a discussion later wondering if the "21" number actually included the "18" number or not. In other words, if the chart said there were 30 under-18's and 75 under-21's, did that mean there were a total of 105 passengers under 21 (75 + 30), or just 75 total passengers under 21 (of whom 30 were under 18 as well). We didn't think to ask at the time.

  9. OP: thanks for your comments and review; we did the Panama Canal cruise on Jewel (the 16-night itinerary) not quite two months ago, and had a wonderful time. (Link to my own review thread, with photos, is in my signature.) On our sailing, the Restaurant Manager told us there were all of 17 passengers under age 21, and that the average age of the passengers was 64.5 As a result, they turned up the lights to full brightness in the larger MDR, destroying all ambiance. It was like an overly-lit diner. The Mgr said they got complaints that people could not read the menus if they dimmed the lights (to what they should be for dinner). Terrible atmosphere for dinner. We only at there twice. A small negative in an otherwise terrific trip!


    Yep - - we've seen your terrific review of that cruise, Turtles. Good stuff!

  10. Same cruise, first time with NCL. Cruise, food and entertainment was very good, my only complain is targeted to the music. 95% from ´50´to 60´. Tropical heat band music was cold like Iceberg...


    We took the "behind the scenes" tour on the Jewel this time, and during that tour we passed a chart in the galley area that broke down the passengers by age range. I asked about the chart, and our guide said that NCL alters its food buying for each cruise based on the age of the passengers. While the entertainment clearly doesn't shift from cruise-to-cruise on a weekly basis, it's possible the age ranges may influence the eras of music the entertainers choose to play. I can't remember the exact numbers, but the age ranges for the Panama Canal cruise we were on was something like:


    Under 18: 50

    Under 21: 75

    22-59: 350

    60+: 1700


    That could help explain all the 50s/60s music on board!

  11. We were on the cruise as well. Were you in a suite? Did you know that you could go to Virginia and she would take you off the ship in a priority line? We loved every part of our cruise. No bad food experiences. Great suites. Great entertainment. Great steward/butler/ concierge. Wonderful experience.


    We were in one of the standard aft cabins, not a suite (#9476). But we had met Virginia on a previous cruise on another NCL ship when we lucked into a Haven upgrade, and she recognized us immediately (after a year+) when she saw us on the Jewel. She's the one who called to us to pull us out of the tender line. Glad you had a great time, and overall we did too.

  12. My wife & I ended our cruise on March 5th in L.A., then spent a week in Southern California. Back home now, and rather than a lengthy review, I thought I'd do a quick "likes/dislikes" kind of thing, so this is from the husband's (61/Platinum/enjoy cruises but not crazy about them) point of view. Your mileage may vary.




    - Cabin: aft-facing cabin was great; 3rd time we've cruised in one and we love the sight & sound of the wake below us and the panoramic side-to-side views; also, the cabin was extremely quiet as far as neighbors go - - we almost never heard so much as a clunk, a clink, or a voice. And our cabin steward was great.


    - Food: I don't get the general complaints about the food on NCL; the variety, quality, taste, etc, of the buffet is very good (esp'ly the Indian selections and the fact that I could almost always find both hot and cold fish/seafood selections, including salmon and herring at breakfast. The specialty restaurants were more of a mixed bag (see "Dislikes" below), but we particularly enjoyed the teppenyaki grill food/performances, and Cagney's. The sushi bar at Chin Chins was also very good, and we hit it off with one of the chefs there. He made me non-menu sushi specialties a couple of times. The ceviche there was excellent - - spicy & flavorful; the Hawaiian poke was good too.


    - Entertainment: We went to almost every evening show in the ship's theater, and enjoyed most of them. Other ship's entertainment was fairly standard cruise ship varieties: pool band; dance band; pop duo; guy with a guitar; piano singer; etc. All were at least OK, but none of them struck me as much more than cruise ship average. The exception could have been the guitar guy, but see more in "Dislikes" below.


    - Ship: I think I've decided that the Jewel is my fave NCL ship. We've been on the mega-ships (Epic/Escape/Getaway) and I love them for the entertainment choices, but you pay with crowds and a feeling that you are in a floating Vegas hotel rather than on a ship. The Jewel seems to be a perfect size, with a wide variety of bars, restaurants, entertainment, places to socialize or get away as the mood strikes, plenty of things to do, etc, but we never felt crowded (except see "Dislikes" below).


    Misc: We enjoyed most of the trivia shows (we went to most of the music/movie-related ones, not the general ones), but see "Dislikes" below. The pool area was frequently busy, but not overwhelmingly so, and we got a hot tub whenever we wanted one. The crew, staff and other NCL reps were uniformly polite and cheerful. One remembered us from a previous cruise on another NCL ship, which turned out to be handy when she saw us waiting in a long tender line to return to the ship in one port and called out to us to join her small group of Haven folks that she was leading to the front of the tender line. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, we tagged along and saved a ton of time returning to the ship.




    Food: While I was pleased with the buffet, Cagney's, and the teppenyaki grill (and O'Sheehan's was OK, too), there were some disappointments otherwise. The salad bar in Moderno was very good, but the meats were too often overdone; you can ask for rare/medium rare, but you often have to wait...sometimes a long while. And the "shrimp stew" had been cooked so long the shrimp simply turned to mush on first bite. Sadly, overcooking fish seemed to plague Le Bistro and La Cuchina as well. After some waaaay overcooked salmon in La Cucina one night, the next night I asked the waiter in Le Bistro to ask the chef to be careful not to overcook my swordfish order. It arrived as practically swordfish sashimi - - raw just about all the way thru. When I sent it back, a new order arrived (after about a half-hour) that was overcooked. I picked what I could from it and left the rest. My one complaint about the buffet was the drill you had to go thru to get some cold sliced salmon in the morning. You have to ask for it, and apparently you have to ask at the cold selections food bar that is the farthest bar away from where the salmon is kept in the kitchen. Believe me, after I saw the trek the food server had to make to get the salmon the first time I asked about it, I asked at the closest food bar to the kitchen door the next time, but even though there were three staffers working at that bar, they directed me back to the cold bar where there was only a single staffer working, who then had to make the long trek to the kitchen door and back again. The entire set-up seems directed at discouraging folks from getting salmon at breakfast. I say either don't offer it at all, or make things much easier on the staff (and the guests) to get the salmon. By the last time I asked, near the end of the cruise, somebody finally got wise and there was a plate of sliced salmon at the cold bar, but it was kept out of sight underneath the bar, so you still had to ask for it.


    Entertainment: The guitar guy could have been a cut above because he had a good voice, but he stuck to the smooth, mellow, pop side of things (think latter-day Neil Diamond/James Taylor/John Denver /etc) way too much; one time we sat in to listen and he did three John Denver songs in a row; I mean, John Denver is OK, but three in a row? C'mon...more variety, please And no, it wasn't a "John Denver tribute" night. He badly needs to add a little edge to his song selections, or it's just snoozeville (to me).



    Ship: Cattle call shore excursions - - NCL has GOT to figure out a better way to do its shore excursions than to unleash three or four popular shore excursions at the same time into the stairwells and long hallways to the gangplanks to disembark where you shuffle along with a thousand other folks. We generally do our own thing on shore, but on most cruises we end up doing one or two thru the ship. I regret it every time, and no difference here.



    Misc: Trivia shows: enjoyed most of them; won one, came in a close second in several others. Most of the hosts were pretty decent, but we had one guy who was unbelievably inept as host. It was Beatles trivia and he botched a handful of the trivia questions by playing the title of the song in the clue itself; he also managed to include two identical songs (out of just 20 Beatles songs) in his list - - and as the kicker, both times he played the titles in the clue sample! It was head-shakingly inept, but the participants managed to keep their sense of humor about it all.



    I tried to keep this short, but it still went on longer than I intended. Overall, it was a GREAT cruise - - one of our faves. The likes thoroughly outweighed the dislikes, even though I gave them equal billing here.

  13. Congrats, so you did a bid, then called in? I got similar email and did a bid, they say they will let you know 2 days before sailing? Or should I call in?



    No - - we received an upsell email with the specific offer ("upgrade to a balcony cabin for $250/pp") in the evening, and called into the upsell number (also contained in the body of that email) the next morning. No bidding was involved at all, and the confirmation was immediate - - the upsell department told us right there on the phone that there were two cabins available for this upsell (and gave us the cabin numbers). We had the Jewel deck plans with us and saw that one of the two was an aft cabin, which we chose in a heartbeat. We confirmed that everything else with our reservation would remain the exactly the same (adult bev and specialty dining packages; OBC; no other or extra charges, fees, taxes, etc). We love the full "both sides of the ship" views, the sound and sight of the wake, the quiet & privacy of the back-of-the-ship location; etc, so the choice was an easy one for us.

  14. My wife & I cruise about once every year or two, usually but not always with NCL. We've been very lucky with upsells for our last few NCL cruises. We typically book cabins (either interior or oceanview) far in advance for the best prices,and then cross our fingers for a good upsell at the last minute. We've gone from oceanview cabins to a Haven cabin on one cruise, and to a spa balcony on another. On our upcoming cruise (Jewel/Panama Canal/Feb 19, 2017) we received an email from the upsell folks last night (2/14) that I called in on this morning (2/15). We went from an interior cabin to an Aft Balcony cabin for $250pp! We've had an aft cabin before (on the NCL Jade) and loved it. These upsell offers are always worth checking in on, in our opinion. We're not always lucky, but sometimes it pays off.

  15. DH and I took our first NCL cruise on the Jewel many years ago. I loved having dinner there with the beautiful surroundings. Even though it was a large room, it did have a "warmth" in the evenings. It sounds like that may not be the case any longer with the bright lights. I'll just know what to expect when we go there.


    We may have more of our MDR dinners in Azura, which we also enjoyed. I agree that the brightness would go better with that restaurant's decor. We also enjoy having some of our meals in the specialty restaurants. It's nice to have so many choices! It's one of the things I appreciate on NCL.

  16. >>We liked the indian dishes they had on the buffet.<<


    Glad to see these are still available. We're going on the Jewel next month, and were last on that ship many years ago. Whenever we were in the mood for "something different" at the buffet, the Indian dishes always filled the bill.

  17. I am also a member of the "what if" club. Trying to find band aids in Barcelona was quite the adventure many years ago!


    I am also the "Ziploc bag queen". I put small amounts of things we might need in Ziploc bags and stuff them into my DH's size 13 shoes. It gives me that extra piece of mind without using up extra space in the suitcase.

  18. I understand that in some cabins the pullmans may be in the ceiling, but the agent told me that these were attached to the side walls. The width of them when folded up against the wall would protrude into the cabin. I didn't want to risk DH bumping his head in the middle of the night!

  19. When I originally booked our upcoming Panama Canal cruise, I had an inside cabin (I believe it was 4549) and the NCL agent told me there were two upper beds. It was just my husband and I, so I didn't think much of it. I later found out, from some comments here on CC, that trying to get in and out of bed with those upper beds jutting out into the cabin would not be ideal, as my husband is quite tall. Luckily, he found us another cabin that didn't have those.


    You are right about not being able to tell on the deck plans if there are two upper beds. You might just try giving NCL a call and see if they can tell you. Someone here may have stayed in one of the cabins you booked and they could let you know.


    Have a great cruise! The Jewel is a wonderful ship.

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