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Posts posted by mtsnd1900

  1. Favorite area for an OV balcony - deck 6, aft, back side of the Boardwalk.  Easy walk to the coffee shop in the AM, and kids could easily run to the carousel. 


    Buy the coffee card if you are a coffee drinker - make sure they dont double punch for large coffees (they should not)


    get to shows about 30 minutes (or more) before the doors open to standby.  Make reservations for the aqua theater show on the first night it occurs - if it is cancelled you can still catch it later on.  if you wait, you may miss it.  Skating rink is small, and you want a good seat for that show.


    book shows as soon as you can


    Wonderland is a great experience.  If only doing one specialty restaurant, this should be it


    watch the hours of the flowrider and rock walls / zip lines - sometimes they closed for a few hours while the ship was in port.  if looking to stay onboard (Nassau, looking at you), you may be disappointed if they close down.



  2. - Not necessary to have a balcony, but it is nice.  If it was a deal breaker, I would be in the inside room to be on the ship.


    - Ship is less important then the itinerary.  If doing this sailing more then one time in life, its a toss up.  If it is a once in a lifetime trip - do the one way, ending in Alaska and then do the land portion.


    - Go to Seattle / Vancouver a few days early.  Time adjustments.  We go from the East coast so the 3 hours to Seattle and then 1-2 hours more on the cruise, it helps going a few days early (and Seattle is a fun town.)


    - IMO, the best inside viewing ship was the NCL Bliss - the 2 story, huge, made for Alaska lounge up front (and wrapping half way back on each side), complete with bars, buffets, etc. was amazing.  Radiance ships would be great too.


    - We had a balcony room this past May, but spent much of the time on the upper decks, helipad, etc.  while in Glacier Bay and in some of the other viewing areas.  Pulling into port, and at sea, balcony was amazing as we would pop in and out, see the wildlife (lots of it.) and chat with our family and friends (we had 7 balconies in a row).


    - Skagway - rent a car, drive to Caraboo crossing and Emerald Lake.  Cost of the car is less then one person on the train, and, IMO a much better trip.  Stop when you want, take time, see wildlife right there, stop for pictures, stop at the Alaska sign. Plus, you get as much time as you want at the Crossing..  Train people only had an hour, was way to crowded by the time they got there - we had the place to ourselves for almost an hour before the first bus showed up!


    - Juneau - rent a car, head to Mendenhaul, explore the park, then head to town and see the whale statue, buy a real Ulu at the Alaska Knife works, and eat on the docks.


    Enjoy your trip - it is amazing!

  3. Buy it.  Well worth the price if you drink specialty coffees often.  Last year on Symphony I printed out and had in my room all the terms and conditions as well as all pages on the website pertaining to it in the unlikely event that they told me they would punch more then one time for a large.  I have heard of it happening to someone on a different ship and sailing, but never met anyone it happened to.  I was prepared.  One old post on here was what made me have that info at the ready - apparently they had told someone a large was 2 punches, so they returned the card and RCI refunded them.  Me, I would argue that it is not in any fine print if it ever came up.  Bought it again for this months sailing on Brilliance (18th) will let you know how it goes.


  4. Juneau - rent a car from Avis - walking distance from port.  Drive to Mendenhaul park.  walk around on own, see the glacier, etc.  then drive to town, have a nice dinner on the docks, go see the famous whale statue if you like.


    Skagway - rent a car from Affordable Car - have them leave it at the port for you.  Drive up (need passports) to Canada / Yukon Territory (note, there is only one street to drive on - you would have to try to get lost - there are no turns).  stop along the way, beautiful.  Go up to Caraboo crossing, play with the sled dogs, go for a ride, have lunch, petting zoo, museum.  this is the same place the trains go from the cruise line - you will have hours there, they will have under an hour.  recommend making reservations here in advance, and also, note the added hour change in timezones from cruise port.  lots of wild life along the way, including bears right on the side of road.


    Ketchican - walk the town, go to the first showing of the lumberjack show (buy tickets ahead of time, line up early for better seat selection).  


    In my opinion, souvenirs in Alaska were inexpensive everywhere, but Ketchincan had the lowest prices overall.


    we have a family on 4-6 on Alaska cruises, and the rental car options keep costs WAY down, and allow us to take our time.

  5. We got it on Escape last month for $199pp via pre-cruise pricing.  It was on our planner a year out (not yet available) and then disappeared.  Others in the groups said the same thing.  Then at 90 days our or so, I called in and they had to track it down, and I was able to book it over the tele .  It did not came back as an option to buy online until just before the cruise.  


    Was not crowded except for the last day (sea day).  Staff was excellent at keeping the towels off of all the loungers people were hogging.  


  6. Did on the Escape last month while sailing to Canada.  Well worth it.  Like others said, get there early - some of the tables in the back have a pole in the way to obstruct your view.  We had the beef Wellington (was the exact same one that was being served in the buffet on that night, as we saw it when we went up for a snack after the show).  The free beer was an English Brown Ale (distinctly different from the ales the cast drink during the show).  Definitely worth the money - for the show.

  7. $249pp on my May Bliss to Alaska cruise.  Was $199 last month on the Escape to Canada (though we purchased about 3 months out, online), and $99 a year ago on the Escape to Caribbean.   This was the last time I will buy the pass - no longer a good value in my opinion.  Enjoyed my time in there, was relaxing, and thankfully the staff was active in clearing out the chair hogs stuff from the lounge chairs.

  8. Most likely the (not really) Free at Sea with some added OBC, and perhaps a $1 deposit.  take a look at the price you want today, and do yourself a favor - book it now... if the deal is better moving forward, your agent can always re-book it for you.  for the most part, there are no real good sales offered, just smoke and mirrors making people think they got a great deal (will raise price, then give OBC or another "free" perk.  Book now, can't get todays prices tomorrow, but can get todays price repriced to tomorrows prices tomorrow!


  9. I have posted this on a few of my FB groups. Pulled the old and new deck plans, here is what I see as changing. I have side by side pictures, but no idea how to post them here.


    Deck 6:

    • The Supper Club becomes Texas Smokehouse

    • Addition of Card Room

    • Say goodbye to the Karaoke Rooms

    • Addition of a Photo Studio

    • Atrium Café and Bar at the Atrium become Starbucks

    • Sakura and Hibiscus is gone to expand Teppanyaki

    • Joy VIP Casino is gone for “Entertainment Venue”

    Deck 7:

    • Joy Tea Room becomes The Local

    • Casino does NOT look enclosed, but there is a Joy Casino VIP Room


    Deck 8:

    • The Grand Tea Room becomes The District Brew House

    • Le Cave becomes The Cellars

    • Take out some jewelry stores, add in a Sugarcane Mojito Bar

    • Still retail, though products may vary

    • Neptune’s Seafood is gone, add in a Los Lobos Mexican restaurant


    Deck 13:

    • The middle now lists a MEDICAL, though this may have been here before


    Deck 15:

    • Removal of a lot of rooms and The “Concierge Lounge” becomes The “Observation Lounge”


    Deck 16:

    • Serenity Park is gone, Sun Deck and lots of open area shows

    • Aerobic and Seminar is repurposed spa; does not show the Pulse Fitness Center

    • Bumper cars still showing at Galaxy Pavilion


    Deck 17:

    • Noodle Bar becomes Fitness Center


    Deck 19:

    • Adding in Mini Golf

  10. It is hit or miss, as you are limited on the selection. They come from a chartered pool, so can be more expensive or less expensive, depending upon the flight. Priced it out for a Dawn cruise R/T San Juan - with the "discount" on the DV cruise, it was still hundreds more then booking directly with the airlines. The same with the hotel discount - that was just a sham any way you looked at it. Same hotel online or direct was a couple hundred cheaper. Have your agent price it out for you and use an online site such as Google Flight Matrix coupled w/ Southwest and JetBlue websites to see what you think you should pay. Good Luck!

  11. Military discounts:


    NCL - Have not been offered in over 2 years (that I have seen)


    Princess - extra Onboard Credit - https://www.princess.com/military_benefit_program/ and https://www.princess.com/downloads/pdf/faq_answer_legal/Military_Personnel_Benefit_US.pdf for details must fill out and send in ahead of time


    Royal Caribbean- periodic discounts for military, first responders, to include Canada - select sailings


    Carnival - special pricing on select sailings, often marred by the lower priced past guest or Early Saver, but they just started something new (first time I saw it was tonight) called the Last Minute Military Guarantee rate - and it is a pretty low rate - and these rooms are not last minute, I did a mock-booking for Oct. But the military rate is a good rate for non-past guests, as well as those who want the refundable security that the ES rate does not offer (mind you, a set of orders usually gets a full refund or credit anyway).


    MSC - 10% discount on nearly all sailings. Add this to a sailing with free kids and it makes for a good vacation price.


    Disney Cruise Line - Great prices for military folks on select sailings - must act quickly as they are limited to 50 rooms per sailing when they are available, typically on one-off cruises, repo cruises, but do offer it on many regular ones. They also have codes for military discounts at Disney for those who are out priced of Shades of Greed due to rank (cheaper to stay at Disney properties when you hit a certain rank).


    Celebrity - Savings per person based on room type. US and Canadian military. https://www.celebritycruises.com/ca/cruise-deals/military-cruise-deal


    Cunard - like Princess (both owned by Carnival), offers Onboard Credit for military - http://www.cunard.com/campaigns/military-cruise-benefit-programme/


    Airlines - call the airline directly - many require the Active Duty CAC / ID to book at the discounted rates. Not all flights with all lines, but the discount is pretty good. Here is the list of airlines that currently have http://militaryoneclick.com/military-discounts-on-airline-travel-other-travel-benefits/


    The military bank and insurance company that we do not speak the name of uses an outside travel agency to do their stuff. The rates are like going with a regular company, nothing special. If you want the best service, I recommend going with a reputable agent that is either hosted by a company, or works at a company, and can work directly with you time and time again. They will be able to find the best deal for you, with all your qualifiers, and keep you in mind on future discounts and opportunities.


    Be wary of the growing number of veteran travel, veteran support, companies that offer military discounts or exclusives to their members and you have to pay to join to get the rates. The rates offered by your trusted agent, for free, will often be the same or lower if you talk to them. Just my opinion though.


    These military offers are current as of now and change often. hope this helps.

  12. Call the toll free number listed under your logged in NCL account, 1.866.234.7350 , and just go over with them what your desired shows, times, dining, etc. is and they can help you find things that are available. one of the glitches in the NCL system is that if you make a reservation, it will hold it, but sometimes not tell you - it occurred to me on more then one occasion - and to clear it up, have to call in. On the Escape last year, it told me I didn't have any reservations, but then would not let me make dining reservations because of a conflict with entertainment - had to call in to find out a reservation that told me I didn't receive actually went thru.

  13. Lived nearly 40 years in New England. Went to college in New Hampshire. Still go up to visit family and friends in RI/MA/ME/NH.. Canada / New England cruises are still my favorite - much more relaxing then Caribbean, slower pace, beautiful scenery.. Doing another one this October and planning for next October already.

  14. Avis is easiest, opens at 8 and is walking distance.


    The tidal changes, head to the lookout point and watch it as soon as you can in the AM.. then head back in the afternoon before you go back to the ship, and see if the current is going in the opposite direction. if timed right, can see going in and out. Site we went to last year was an observatory area, near the zip lines and across the way from the power plant. don't know the address of the place.


    ST Martins is a great option - easy ride

  15. 1. Call your trusted travel agent and they can check the cost for you to upgrade without going thru a bid process. They can also select the actual room you will get. Sometimes, when going to a certain category of rooms, there are select rooms that are not desirable b/c of their location next to service areas, above nightclubs, etc. depending upon the cost difference, it may be better to have agent just book you that upgrade, pick your room and be done with it. They can also give you a number of how many rooms are available in the category you are looking to book to give you estimate of your chances. Note, people from these categories will also be bidding to upgrade to higher categories and open even more up.

    2. Bidding gives that impression of a deal - it does happen - "friends" received the 2BR Haven on the Escape for an excellent deal vs paying to upgrade

    3. If you were in a spa room, and big up to a Haven, you will not get that spa access unless you buy it or bid into a spa room. "friends" that bid on the 2BR above went from a spa mini suite up to the 2BR - then had to spend $400 more to get the spa passes they wanted

    4. This process will not work if you must be next door / attached / across from a second room (ex. we put kids in adjoining room when we sail - this upgrade process when taking kids would not work.)


    great marketing scheme on NCLs part to upsell clients. and it works..

  16. it will show up in your planner 100 days out, sometimes 90 days out. it will be $199. Well worth the investment in my opinion. Better yet, call your TA and ask how much additional it will cost you to upgrade to a Spa Balcony - getting the access included in room fee, taking away concern about being sold out. usually, it ends up being about $600 more for the spa balcony over an midship balcony. factoring in $400 for those spa passes, you pay $200 more for no worries, locality, and upgraded room amenities.

  17. Which of the excursions is this one (lighthouse point)? and is food and drink included? what was the price? Thank you


    http://www.bahamasdaypass.com/category-s/1860.htm offers the all inclusive options at 2 resorts. I would not think twice about the Lighthouse Point, even as a resort stay. See my review for a bunch of pictures (or google). went to three different resorts that the cruise line offers cruise/stay packages with - this is the best of the group, IMO.

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