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Everything posted by Cruzinnana47

  1. Thank you for your response. Glad you enjoyed the Sapphire.
  2. Thanks. Did think I recall reading that Santa Fe was used for reserve collection dining. That sounds fine, not having to pay $$ for the Sanctuary and able to enjoy an indoor pool area in the Conservatory, especially if the weather outside isn't the best. Glad to hear you enjoy sailing on the Sapphire. Even though it's older, we don't mind as we prefer this class of ship.
  3. We're considering booking the Sapphire Princess possibly for a May, 2025 Pacific Wine Country sailing. This would be our 7th Princess cruise, but first on this ship and are interested in booking a reserve collection mini suite. Read somewhere that this particular ship has 5 dining rooms onboard. Which dining room would be used for the reserve collection dining? Saw that the Sapphire has a Conservatory area including a covered pool. Any thoughts on this--good/bad, would be appreciated. Pictures seen on You Tube looked pretty nice. TIA.
  4. Enjoyed your pix. Especially great time of year in Beantown. I hope some of those pax had a chance to enjoy their visit while in port.
  5. Sorry for these folks on this sailing expecting to sail to the Bahamas and ending up heading North. Unfortunately, when you choose to sail out of a Northern port (e.g., Bayonne, Brooklyn, NYC) in the cold weather months, it should be understood that the weather AND the ocean temps are COLD and a major storm can pop up at any time. We took a So. Caribbean cruise out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on the fairly new NCL Breakaway in early Jan. 2014 right after the holidays & immediately following a big snowstorm, with the wind chill temps in NYC below zero. Our Amtrak ride from Boston to NYC was delayed by hours and was a long trip into the city due to icy track conditions. We stayed in a hotel 2 nights pre-cruise, and we sailed out on a Sun. with freezing rain at sail away. We were very lucky that, although it was a miserable day, we were able to embark from Manhattan close to schedule and continue on our planned itinerary. But it could have easily gone another way. Being from MA, we definitely would have been unhappy going North. At least we had winter coats, sweaters and boots with us from our trip to NYC. This is when we decided this cruise was a "one and done"...no more sailing from the Northeast in the winter!
  6. Thanks for doing this detailed review. We sailed with you on the Boston/ Canada leg of your trip. Sounds like you enjoyed yourselves, which is great. Unfortunately, we can't say that this was our favorite cruise (11th on NCL and 22nd overall). We did enjoy the Canadian ports, especially, but the ship--not so much. Agree with you the ship is pretty average. We prefer smaller ships, but there were a lot of apparent cutbacks on the Pearl that disappointed us, including the entertainment choices. Jason O., the pianist who covered Billy Joe and Elton John so well, was a standout to us. The Legends show was pretty good, but we personally did not care for the young lady who performed as Tina Turner. Just our opinion, of course. We found our balcony cabin was not laid out well--crazy place for the safe low in the closet and impossible to access with the clothing (especially slacks), covering the front of it. Our biggest complaint was the way folks were allowed to disembark the ship. It was total chaos, even for those of us who had booked NCL shore-ex. And the day of the customs inspection---a big mess, with absolutely no organization at all. But it's not all bad---we did have some good meals, especially in the specialty restaurants. And we met some great folks on the ship -- plus our cabin steward on deck 10 was fantastic. All is all, we are glad we went, but not in a hurry to book another NCL cruise anytime soon, unfortunately.
  7. Recently sailed on the NCL Pearl. We stopped counting after the 1st 4 times we received the emails for the check-in that we complied with and just deleted all the ones after that....definitely OVERKILL!
  8. No, NCL was not freestyle when we began cruising in 1993 on the NCL Seaward. We had assigned seating for dinner. If I recall correctly, our first "Freestyle" cruise may have been on the NCL Dawn in 2004. We sailed twice on the SS Norway, originally the SS France, which NCL had acquired by the time we first sailed on her in 1995, and for a second & final time in 2001. The dinners were still assigned seating and that ship was unique as it still had the feeling of a true "ocean liner". It was lucky we had those 2 sailings on the Norway as we experienced some of the "old days" of cruising...midnight buffets, ice cream socials, skeet shooting off the aft and 1st class service at dinner. No Freestyle then!
  9. Thanks, all, for your replies. To be fair, NCL is not exclusive in the pretty lousy coffee...the regular coffee on Princess is made from some kind of syrup concentrate,,,like dishwater. The good coffee on Princess ships is at the International Cafe. To us the Starbuck's coffee always tastes burnt, like @cruiserbear55 said. Not a fan. Think it's overpriced, too. Haven't sailed with NCL since before the pandemic and seem to remember while on a cruise on the NCL Gem some years ago, we were able to get brewed coffee at a station at O'Sheehan's. Also, my friend found a coffee urn at the buffet on the Gem that had fresh brewed coffee and it wasn't bad.
  10. Sailing soon on the Pearl. Looking for best places on board for brewed coffee (other than Starbuck's, which we don't care for). I know the buffet has coffee, but it is fresh brewed?
  11. Just an FYI...the Sumner Tunnel in Boston, one of the main tunnels leading in to Logan Airport has been closed from July 5 to Aug. 31 for long overdue repairs. This has been causing massive delays in traffic as well as major headaches for commuters, especially those who need to get to and from the airport. I agree with others who've suggested a later pm flight out. Booking an early departure from Logan this summer would not a good idea, IMO. We live what less than 50 mi. from Boston and departing in late Aug. on a cruise from Boston but this time going to allow at least 2-3 hours for the ride to the terminal.
  12. Nothing wrong with that, if this is your preference, go for it! IMO, any coffee combo from the IC is so much better than the weak coffee in the DR's.
  13. Dark roast coffee in the am...and sandwiches, salads and maybe some cookies in the PM...😉
  14. Yes, sailing the SS Norway had many "special" events, like tea time, ice cream socials, etc. You're right, those days are pretty much gone...at least on NCL. Princess does offer tea time on their ships. At least ones we've sailed on.
  15. Saw in your signature you were on the SS Norway several times, including your honeymoon. Sailing on that ship was a wonderful experience and so glad we did it twice (in the same stateroom--oceanview with no balcony, BUT very roomy with double closets). The midnight buffet was really something to see and experience--lining up to take pictures first, then lining up a 2nd time to actually partake. Still miss this kind of cruising....didn't worry about having internet or a cell phone then. Completely able to relax on a true ocean liner.
  16. DH served in the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Naval Reserve, so we understand the reasons for a muster drill. Of course the newer e-muster is very convenient and "easy" but doesn't take the place of a more traditional muster. I personally don't enjoy standing out on deck wearing a lifejacket, but I get it! It's only an inconvenience for a few minutes, providing everyone complies and reach their muster station promptly. Thanks to Chengkp75--always enjoy your insight and maritime knowledge.
  17. Yes, EZ Check was available for our cruise we just returned from this past week (Nov. 19-29) from FLL. It worked out great and we thought the $25 fee was well worth it. Putting our big bags outside the cabin the night before disembarking and not seeing them again until we went to baggage claim at our airport was great!
  18. DH is a veteran, so we signed him right up through ID.me yesterday after we received the email from NCL. We have a Aug.,2023 cruise booked. I had our NCL cruise consultant check and unfortunately the price for our stateroom has increased, so if we were to cancel and rebook for the same sailing in the same cabin category, the increase in fare from when we booked would be just about the same as the 10% military discount being applied. Not worth it. The consultant said she will watch the fares and let us know. Oh well, we tried!
  19. Caribe deck balconies are wonderful! Perfect spot to enjoy for coffee in the AM or cocktails in the PM (or whenever...). We enjoyed the Ultimate Balcony Dinner on our Caribe Deck Balcony in 2018 to celebrate our 50th anniversary while sailing on the Caribbean Princess. We had more than ample room...it was great!
  20. Nope--not just a Princess thing, as we experienced this also on NCL & RCI cruises back in the 90's and into the early 2000's. There were "theme nights" in the main dining room with often an Italian Night, French Night, International Night, also. And the wait staff did wear special attire for those specific themes. We remember the dining room crew standing on the stairs of the main dining room of the grand old Blue Lady, the SS Norway, singing "We are the World" (we have on an old video of that) which was really nice to see & hear. Also back then, the maitre d' or head waiter would come around to the tables and prepare chef salad, cherries jubilee, banana flambe at your table and the Baked Alaska Parade featured flaming Baked Alaskas on the waiters' heads. Quite a production. Looks like most of these traditions went the way of the Midnight Buffets...
  21. Thanks, AstroFlyer. for posting the menu from the Princess press release. Hadn't seen it yet. We'll be sailing on the Enchanted Princess on Thanksgiving--our 1st time being on a cruise during the holidays. Food choices look pretty darn good! Even better when we don't have to cook.😉
  22. Have sailed on the Gem and the Breakaway (Getaway's sister ship) and would definitely pick the Gem. Smaller, a bit older with less pax, but you don't have to make reservations for the entertainment venues. True, there aren't the "bells and whistles" like the Getaway would have, but if you are looking for a more relaxing and less crowded experience, the Gem would be a better fit. We sailed on a 12-night cruise on the Breakaway from NYC to the So. Caribbean in 2014. The ship was lovely, but TOO big for us and too chaotic. In comparison, our 10-day cruise on the Gem from NYC to Canada was a much more laid-back experience. JMHO.
  23. Forgot to mention. As far as specialty restaurants go, the Crown Gill (steakhouse) and Sabatini's (Italian) are good and very popular. Also for lounges...Explorers, Crooner's and the Wheelhouse (believe all on deck 7) have their own vibe. Sure you will enjoy your cruise. We love Princess as it's more sedate, but not boring. No bells & whistles--rock climbing walls, flowriders, water slides, etc., as they have on the newer RCI and NCL ships. If you would enjoy a fantastic dining experience, the Chef's Table is wonderful (you need to call to get on the list as soon as you board). Not cheap, but so worth it. Also, the Ultimate Balcony Breakfast or Ultimate Balcony Dinner are great as well--so much food!
  24. We found the International Cafe is a great place for specialty and regular brewed coffee, also teas. They have sandwiches, pastries, cookies, salads. When we sailed on the Emerald a few years back, we had a light lunch there on embarkation day, instead of dealing with the buffet crowds. The piazza area (decks 5, 6, and 7) is a hub of activity day and night. Next to the International Cafe is Good Spirits at Sea where you can get a good cocktail. Agree with Dar & Bob about the Sandia en Fuego at Good Spirits at Sea. We had them on our Alaska cruise on the Ruby (sister to the Emerald) in May, and it is now my DH's favorite Princess cocktail! Other favs of ours: Promenade Deck, Club Fusion, Movies Under the Stars, Skywalkers Lounge and the Horizon Terrace/Outriggers Bar area aft (deck 15).
  25. We loved the Coral when we sailed on her in 2008 for our anniversary and 1st Panama Canal cruise (full transit). The small size suited us just fine, and we enjoyed walking on the full promenade deck. One feature that we really liked immensely was the aft viewing area on our deck (Baja--11). We discovered it was a great place to observe the operation of the locks from an aft vantage point, after being outside on several much more crowded areas of the ship. We stayed out there for the later part of the transit with the added benefits of shade and lounge chairs.
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