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Posts posted by xitappers2bx

  1. I also work remotely and often while on vacation.  On the Epic two summers ago I had wifi, but not the premium (that was just for the addition of streaming which I did not need).  The best answer I can give you is... sometimes it was great, and sometimes I wanted to throw my mac off the balcony while trying to work.  It was better at sea than in port, and in port it was really hard to connect via my phone's hot spot, because of the ships' wifi.  I ended up jumping off and just walking towards the port a little with my phone and mac so I could get what I needed done quickly and then go back to vacation. 

  2. 3 hours ago, Firepath said:

    I originally booked a guaranteed inside on POA. Price dropped and my TA call NCL and good me moved to an obstructed OV.

    Now less than 30 days as expected, the price has dropped again. Now I could get unobstructed OV plus two adds for what I paid. Should I bug my TA again,

    or will NCLs answer be no. I'm happy with that cabin we've been assigned to, but if I can get free stuff too, why not? 



    Your TA works for you... ask them to call and see what NCL will do; they won't give you a refund, but they should absolutely move you.

  3. If you google "NCL EPIC" and then the stateroom category you'll find photos.  


    In the med we were two doors down, it's an MC, and it has the bathtub and the bed that is closer to the balcony.  That has been by far my favorite cruise ship stateroom.  I was able to put away an entire summers' worth of luggage and goods (we spend several weeks in Paris first), and there was room to spare.  

  4. I fly out of Philly and Newark (but live massively closer to Philly).  Unless you're flying in and out of different airports I don't think the NCL airfare is worth the stress... 


    I also just booked cheaper air on Delta to Tokyo than what NCL was offering (several hundred dollars cheaper).  


    What I tell everyone to do is to set a Google Flights alert and then see what Hopper says when trying to determine what's the best to buy.  The other issue with the NCL air (outside of not getting your flights closer to departure) is you can only go two days early, and I believe there is an additional charge.  


    I would also REALLLLLLLY suggest checking out Newark... it's super easy to get to.  I try and get a ride to Trenton and then hop on NJ Transit, and it's a fairly painless experience (I do it as a single mom with a kiddo, we've been doing that jaunt since she was a little bit, now she's a teenager and actually helpful).  If you can't get to Trenton, then you can just hop on SEPTA and get out to Trenton that way or hop on NJTransit at Jefferson Station (can take SEPTA to any of the CC stations and then get to Jefferson).  Slightly time consuming, but flights have been half as much through EWR than PHL.  

  5. I'm not usually a big drinker, mostly just all the wine... what I do, since the cheers package is silly for me, is for several weeks before the cruise i buy cruise cash and just use that and then I feel like i'm not really spending money because it's already bought and paid for.  

  6. On 8/5/2019 at 4:03 PM, boobear1 said:

    So I have a situation where early today I did a mock booking for our cruise and it went down $145 per cabin.  I did a screen shot so I have the proof, but my Carnival rep is saying that it was a typo error so they can't honor it.  My comment was most places honor typos such as this so they are checking further.  Thoughts?  Am I wrong to expect them to honor the price I have a printout for?

    This is why you should use a TA... I've never had a price change disputed, even if the price went up during that same 24-hour period.


    If it's a type error that's entirely in their control, and they should honor it.  That's just called good business.

  7. 4 hours ago, Marauder40 said:

    We are going on the Magic this weekend.  First cruise ever for the entire family.  I am the type that wants to book the excursion in advance but my wife is real nervous about that.  

    YAY!  I'm excited for you!

    4 hours ago, Marauder40 said:


    She doesn't want to book an excursion and then get locked into it.  She is afraid that maybe her seasickness or the weather or some other reason will cause her not to want to do it and not be able to get a refund.  We know that if the weather is horrible they will cancel the excursion but she is worried that the weather could be bad but not bad enough for the excursion to get cancelled or that her seasickness will cause her not to want to do anything else or something like that.

    Swing by your doc and get the patch for motion sickness. It's amazing stuff.

    4 hours ago, Marauder40 said:


    How bad is it to wait until say a day before to book the excursion?

    Not bad at all... I've only once ever booked an excursion before boarding.  The risk is that what you want to do will be sold out.  But, there are always so many options.

    4 hours ago, Marauder40 said:


    I don't think the ones we are looking at will fill up (Amber Cove, either dolphin experience or bigger zip-lines.)  It is also the last stop on our trip so will have time to book the excursion while on the cruise. More worried about huge cost increase or something like that.  Since this is our first cruise and this is Amber Cove where some of the excursions can be an hour away from the port we are looking to stay with the Carnival excursions.

    We typically stick with the cruiseline too.  It's more pricey, BUT I have terrible anxiety and would stress and worry that we wouldn't make it back in time, and then well, that just sucks.

    4 hours ago, Marauder40 said:

    Any tips?

    Don't stress.  Have fun.  Relax.  Wear sunscreen.  And if you don't get your first choice excursion, your second, third, or fourth choice should all be there.

  8. 14 hours ago, lottiegreen56 said:

    Can pregnant people get massages in the spa? Neither my husband nor I am expecting but wanted to purchase as a gift for the "sober" one in our group. 


    I have a good friend who owns and runs a spa and massage school... I asked him a few months ago about pregnancy massage for one of my sisters to surprise her with and he was basically horrified I would even entertain the idea and then I got some lecture about the whole "they have to be specially trained."  Someone not trained in pregnancy massage could accidentally induce labor.  I would probably skip the massage and go for a mani/pedi.  That was something I LOVED doing when I was the *sober* one of the group.


    Also, make sure they aren't going to be too far along, there's a pretty strict limit on pregnancy and cruising.

  9. On 8/6/2019 at 12:21 PM, Last Salmon Man said:

    Morning all!


    We have narrowed down our next cruise, will be March 2020 Mexican Riviera.  We have done 4 carnival cruises (Splendor, Miracle, Vista and Magic)  and we have loved everyone of them.  We have our eye on the Panorama, but also noticed the Norwegian Joy has the same cruise, same dates, and today they have a sale for 5 free upgrades including beverage package, 3,4 guest free, excursion credit...etc


    For the four of us on the panorama, balcony we want is $3,200.  On the joy, $3,000.  On paper, seems like Norwegian is a no brainer, but I have heard mixed things about food on Norwegian, and everything costs extra once your on board.  


    Would really appreciate any info or advice from any of you cruise veterans that have sailed both lines, or possibly on the Joy.  It's hard to stray from Carnival when we have always had our expectations met or exceeded.


    Thanks in advance!


    I haven't sailed on the Joy, but I can give you some insight into the differences between Carnival and NCL....


    Freestyle Dining. 


    That's it.  And you can now do that with my time dining.


    We did our first NCL in the Med, there were no Carnival ships, and it felt like cheating.  And my kiddo (then 13) and I loved it.  It was the NCL Epic, and it's a great wonderful ship.  The staff were great, the rooms were awesome, the food was outstanding, not a single complaint from either one of us.


    Then we decided we wanted to do Bermuda, and CCL didn't have anything that worked with my birthday, so we did the NCL Escape.  And I brought along my parents--loyal RCCL-ers who also do enjoy Carnival (they've been on the Sensation, Splendor, and the Magic--they're a little jealous we're going back on the Magic for Hanukkah/Christmas and they weren't invited).  My parents LOVED the Escape.  We all loved the staterooms.  The service was PHENOMENAL.  We found quiet places around the pool deck that were perfect for napping and reading.  They also LOVED the boardwalk area; every morning while they waited for me and the kiddo to wake up they would stick a note on our door and let us know where to find them--happy and relaxing with a light breakfast on the boardwalk.  They loved the experience so much they're going to do a transatlantic for their anniversary next year.  We also really do enjoy the specialty dining on NCL.


    For full disclosure. The ONLY thing that I found annoying on NCL was the daily ask by the dining room team to fill out a comment card about their service.  I did it, but it just felt like a lot.  I guess it's no different than the pushy drinks on the lido on CCL though.

  10. 10 hours ago, Miaminice said:

    Your post is so long I can’t comment on everything. Personally I would always prefer RCCL over NCL.

    But do you prefer Voyager of the Seas over NCL Spirit... because Voyager is getting terrible reviews consistently and it seems like the common statement for Spirit is, "the rooms are super outdated but the ship is fantastic" (VOS is going in for their royal amped thing this fall and Spirit is getting refitted this winter).  


    Celebrity would be even better, but also in another price range.  X isn't in Japan when we would be there.  My kiddo's 16th is July 5th.  So either will be on board that day, or leaving within a few days of that.  Everyone I know that has done Celebrity would pick Celebrity.  I really wish I could too.


    After falling in love with Japan on two previous trips we booked a cruise on Ovation of the Seas from Singapore to Tokyo - which is a good mix. The cruise has a bargain price compared to the ones we usually do. So maybe you want to take a closer look at that one.  Ovation deploys to Asia in April 2021... they have Spectrum and Quantum there now; mostly doing 4 and 5 nights with limited ports, which is a bummer.  It seems like those cruises are more like long weekend sojourns for the Asian market. Which I think is totally awesome, I just don't think it works for what I am really wanting to do--get my kid to see as much of Japan as possible).  SOS and QOS were my first choice, but it seemed silly to do a b2b2b2b(and maybe 2b).


  11. 1 hour ago, Miaminice said:


    We also prefer Celebrity. Celebrity is a better brand I think in general... they and HAL do everything better.  They are just that bit more relaxed and classy... however, the prices for some cruises (especially Asia) are unreasonable in comparison. So pricey, we also only have three choices for July, RCCL, NCL, or Princess.  We never looked for the lowest price and did all our Celebrity cruises (>10) in Aqua Class or even suites.  This was my struggle too, I'm used to traveling in suites, but the cost of Japan was higher just for a balcony; I could have probably done the NCL or Princess in an inside, but I did that once, and will never do it again.  After a great Japan cruise on Millennium in 2018 we did another cruise on HAL this year because of a better itinerary and much better price. And the Celebrity cruise we where looking at for 2021 comes with a price tag I am not willing to pay. Which is why I looked at the Royal Craibbean cruise.  That's why I booked the RCCL one--and I was hoping the reviews of the ship would be better.  They are getting progressively worse.  Also, quite limited on ports, only 4, and then with 4 sea days.   I could have booked the Grand Suite for the price of a regular veranda stateroom on Celebrity. Since we where never unhappy with Royal, we decided to booked that one and spend the difference for another cruise.  My parents are hardcore loyal Royal (diamond or diamond plus) Loyalists and even my mom seemed a little taken aback by the poor quality of the reviews on the ship.  It sounds like they've done a good job in the past of taking care of their older ships, but they have really failed to care for the Voyager. 



    Between the two we clearly prefer Royal due to the ship design. 
    Royal´s ships IMHO feel less crowded. Not only but also because of the ship-within-ship concept with NCL´s Haven, where significant areas on already crowded ships are off-limits to "regular" passengers, That´s why I am not tempted to cruise with NCL (again).  This cruise would be on NCL's smallest ship, 2000-ish people slightly smaller than Grandeur (at least, that's what my mom said).  So it doesn't have the same pitfalls as the bigger NCL ships, and no Haven at all.

    The other option would be to move to Quantum or Spectrum, but they offer even fewer port options if I don't want to stay on the same ship for a full month. 

  12. 2 hours ago, dabear said:

    IMHO NCL & RCCL are comparable. We've moved on to Celebrity or on small ships. Take the ship with the best itinerary for you & don't give nonrefundable deposits (unless you buy trip insurance cancellable for any reason $$). While I don't like loosing money, I have forfeited some deposits when I found a better choice.


    Yeah, ultimately, that's the thorn in my side is this deposit, I hate to waste the dollars, but I didn't think NCL or Princess would drop enough to actually be doable. 

  13. This is a story all about how I turned my summer vacation upside down.  And then I wrote a book about it.  Feel free to scroll to the end.


    So, let's start with, everyone on this part of CC has been beyond helpful, and ya'll have all given me a lot of great info to this point.  I did something I shouldn't have done, and now I need someone's help to make the "right" decision.  We are avid travelers but this will be the furthest we've gone, and it's a special trip so I want it to be perfect.  


    Originally, when I got this cockamamie idea to surprise the kiddo with a trip to Japan for her sweet 16 I really wanted to book with either Princess or NCL.  I loved the itineraries, and thought they were more what we would want to see and do than RCCL.  Needless to say, I'm a single mom who works for government, and there was no way right now that I could swing Princess or NCL.  Then RCCL had a great "deal" (I feel like this is highly subjective for RCCL as everyday they have the same "deal") and I booked the 9 night RT Hong Kong (Hiroshima, Kobe, Kyoto, Kochi) and then a 5 night Vietnam (Chan May and Nha Trang).  I figured we'd fly out a week early and hang out in Tokyo for 5 days before jetting to Hong Kong for two nights.  This was 100% settling.  So yeah, the great fare has a catch (of course).  Non-refundable deposit.  I read the fine print, and thought that since there's no way I can drop 8-10k on a cruise that this was a great second best.  I'm also concerned by the lack of apparent shore excursions in Asia with RCCL.  Not that I am tied to the cruise line, but I do like having the option to book through them.


    Turns out, the Voyager's reviews are pretty much terrible, and while I follow the cruise director on social media, it's not like she's telling me about the food and cabins.  I know that she's going into dry dock this fall.  But still.  The majority of the reviews are just terrible.  But, was totally accepting of them (and we're pretty laid back people).  Did I mention this is a total surprise for the kiddo?  (How laid back are we you ask?  At the end of our summer spend living in Paris, we took a Med cruise... and got off the ship exactly one time, to eat pizza in Naples and see Pompeii.  And it was the perfect vacation.).  


    Well... to go on a brief but important tangent, my mom booked a transatlantic on NCL and mentioned that they're having a 20% off sale.  Then I totally forgot about it.


    A friend is joining us, and bringing along one of her friends on this trip as well.  She shoots me a message about the NCL itinerary that I REALLLLLLY wanted to do and the price has dropped significantly; (Hakodate, Sapporo, Kanazawa, Busan SK, Sasebo, Beppu, Kochi, Kyoto--overnight, and Mount Fuji) and it's RT Tokyo... so we'd get out there still several days early, but we'd be able to spend two days at Tokyo Disneyland.  With all four perks added (it helps that the kid isn't 21, so I only get charged the gratuity for the soda package...) and a random $100 OBC that appeared after I put the kiddo's information into NCLs portal it works out to like, 650ish more dollars.  That's a lot.... except we love specialty dining, wifi is always necessary (I do freelance work to supplement my government salary so this is nonnegotiable, and it's pricey on RCCL), I don't drink a lot, but it does add up quickly, and while $50 credit for shore excursions isn't a lot, it's something.  So I feel like price wise it all evens out?  In the post I made earlier today, a big box TA told my friend that she's going to spend 2000 on excursions, I would never be able to spend that much, but those are also things that I book in advance so I don't have to worry about a huge bill at the end.  


    The fine print.  Royal will take $100 pp of the deposit paid and keep it, and then give the rest in a future cruise credit (or whatever the RCCL equivalent is).  I don't typically cruise Royal so I don't even know if I'd use the future cruise credit.  


    I obviously know what I want to do.  I just feel like i need someone who has done Japan to be like "Harmony, chill out, you know the better vacation is the one that actually circles Japan, and not the one that goes to a few southern ports." I hate losing the money, but I also know this is an adventure and I want it to be special for the kid.   I feel a ton of pressure to get it right, this kid of mine has been wanting to go to Japan since she was knee high, I've been telling her for years when she turns 16 I would take her, and then the Olympics and I told her I can't afford it, she was so sad, and she totally thinks we're going to on a cruise to the Baltics for her Sweet 16.  She also hasn't stopped talking about how it's exciting she's going to go to Japan for her 18th birthday.  I guess i should mention, the websites she's pinned of things to do in Japan... the NCL cruise goes to many of them or is close enough to them that it wouldn't be impossible to make all her actual dreams come true.


    Basically, now that I've laid out all my cards, I need someone to just affirm that I am not a total idiot for essentially throwing $700 away.  

  14. Question for those that have taken NCL to Japan.  We just cancelled our RCL cruise to Japan for a much better and now more affordable NCL Japan cruise (13 nights to all the places my kiddo really wants to see).  A big box travel agent told my friend who is also going with one of her friends) that NCL doesn't let you off the ship until 2 hours after arrival and then you have to be back on the ship 2 hours before departure from ports.  I've never heard that before, but granted, I've *only* cruised Bermuda, Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, and the Med--the more "mainstream" places to go.  They didn't say you always lose those four hours, but then they suggested a land tour instead (which I won't do--my kid, as much as I love her, even though she is turning 16 during the cruise will definitely not survive a land tour, too much doing everyday, she would hate it).  They also said we'd be spending about 2k in excursions per person, which is insane.  Is this all true, or is this a big box travel agency's ploy to get a better commission on a land tour?  (I would ask my TA... but she has had a death in the family, and I refuse to bother her right now).

  15. Question for those that have taken NCL to Japan.  We just cancelled our RCL cruise to Japan for a much better and now more affordable NCL Japan cruise (13 nights to all the places my kiddo really wants to see).  A big box travel agent told my friend who is also going with one of her friends) that NCL doesn't let you off the ship until 2 hours after arrival and then you have to be back on the ship 2 hours before departure from ports.  I've never heard that before, but granted, I've *only* cruised Bermuda, Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska, and the Med--the more "mainstream" places to go.  They didn't say you always lose those four hours, but then they suggested a land tour instead (which I won't do--my kid, as much as I love her, even though she is turning 16 during the cruise will definitely not survive a land tour, too much doing everyday, she would hate it).  They also said we'd be spending about 2k in excursions per person, which is insane.  Is this all true, or is this a big box travel agency's ploy to get a better commission on a land tour?  (I would ask my TA... but she has had a death in the family, and I refuse to bother her right now).

  16. The 8D's are the same as any other 8D... I feel like the staterooms are all the same across the fleet.  Same storage, nothing remarkable that I can think of.  


    I think the food on Carnival has stayed pretty good, we've been on other lines and I think CCL's are consistently on par or better than the other major lines.  I feel like this is subjective though, so there will be people who tell me I'm totally wrong and have no clue.  


    I do believe that they rotate more menus out on longer cruises.  And I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't assume juice is free at dinner.  I feel like after breakfast nothing is free.  

  17. We only book with a TA... and every single time we have cruised during my our birthdays she has sent a cake, berries, and other goodies, and then usually the ship will send the same.  With another line it almost got comical the sheer volume of cake they sent me for my birthday over the course of the week.  It was unreal.  And quite hilarious.  

  18. On 8/1/2019 at 1:23 PM, beshears said:

    I have never used a PVP, but decided to call Carnival, and I have one at this point.  I'm really scared to use a PVP, as my TA is close to home and I have always used them up to this point, even though I get most of the info ready for them before I have them look for prices.

    If you have a TA close to home, why not use them if they've always been good to you?

    On 8/1/2019 at 1:23 PM, beshears said:


    My question, if the quote is only about $10 or 15 difference, should I go with the one that has the discount?

    If you only care about that 10 or 15, then follow the dollars, but remember the TA works for you whereas the PVP works for Carnival.  So if you end up with a problem, then you won't really have someone with the incentive to go out of their way to help (nothing may happen, but the one time I've had an utter disaster occur my TA moved mountains to fix it, I highly doubt a Carnival employee would have been so inclined to do so.  

    On 8/1/2019 at 1:23 PM, beshears said:


    Also, at this point, they have no said anything about me getting an OBC, although I normally get a small one.  How do I know if I will get one, or do they normally tell you that once you have booked with them?

    If you're not set on your date, your TA should be part of a consortium... this has allowed me to get hundreds of OBC for cruises (as much as $400 for a single week cruise).  I don't always get OBC, but I always get a bottle of wine, and a thank you card from my TA.  

    On 8/1/2019 at 1:23 PM, beshears said:

    I don't know if anyone can explain what the letters and numbers stand for.  For example, I was given 4A for inner room, and 6L for window.  I have no clue what that represents.

    The letters and numbers are just the categories, 4's are insides, 6's are ocean views, 8s are balcony and then OS JS and GS for the suites (and I guess CS?).  

  19. I think you'll have more trouble consuming the wine on the beach than getting it off the ship.  Before you do that, first and foremost I would check the local laws because that is a truly terrible time to find out that you can't drink on a public beach (and if you're going to a private one, they probably sell liquor, and wouldn't want you to bring your own).  I'd really just be care about that, or if you want to be like my mom friends, pour the wine into either a hydroflask/yeti or kids cups work really well at keeping it cold (just make sure you don't let a kid actually drink it.  that would be terrible). 

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