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Everything posted by ajtraveler66

  1. I think I have to agree with you on "Onda". We did "Ocean Blue" too. It was fine, but "Onda" was superior. ... We always love going to "Le Bistro" French restaurant too. You certainly can't go wrong there.
  2. We were extremely impressed with "Onda" on the NCL Encore. At this point, I don't think it is any of the other ships. I'm hopeful that NCL will put "Onda" on some of the other ships as well in the near future.
  3. Just returned from NCL Encore cruise to St. Thomas/Tortola. I absolutely loved it, and I definitely want to go back again some time. Hopefully we will be cruising again next February. So now we're debating on whether to repeat the cruise we just did....or to check out the W. Caribbean. [Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel, Honduras]. We're talking beaches here. That's our main interest when we get off the ship.
  4. We did the St. John's Champagne and Snorkel. (Catamaran). It was a decent excursion, but we were only at the beach for about an hour. I went because I heard that St. John is so beautiful...and it is. I think if I went back on that cruise again, I would do something on St. Thomas...and do it with a reliable private tour. (We were at port at St. Thomas around 8. Our tour to St. John didn't go out until about 11:45. In essence, we wasted a good three hours while in St. Thomas). The USVI and British VI are relatively close together. It's a shame that a ship can't be at port at St. Thomas or Tortola and be there for two days or so. [Bermuda cruises, for instance, are at port for over 2 days. It's so nice not having to worry about the clock. ... But then, I don't make the rules].
  5. Recently went on the Encore to the Caribbean. It is an absolutely beautiful ship. If I have any complaint, it would only be that it was very loud and noisy--even in some of the specialty restaurants. This may sound like a stupid question, but are any of the NCL ships known to be less noisy than others? I've been on several of the NCL ships, but I don't think I ever noticed the specialty restaurants to be quite as noisy as they were on this one. Perhaps it's just the fact that we were in the Caribbean which--in and of itself--suggests 'party' atmosphere. Just curious.
  6. The excursion was thru NCL and it was called "Escape to Jost Van Dyke". I'm sure other ships use the same excursion. It's the "Soggy Dollar Bar", by the way....not Soggy Bottom... and it was there, right next to Hendo's. Yes....the beach was very nice. It was pretty crowded and there were a lot of boats near the beach....but that didn't seem to interfere with anything. ... Overall, it was a wonderful excursion. I just hope you don't have to waste your time at a restaurant like we did. I have no complaints other than our wasted time. Guess I'll have to go back and do it right. LOL. The video that NCL has put out on their excursion offerings gives you a pretty accurate picture of what it looks like. Hope you have great weather like we did. ENJOY!
  7. Just got back from a wonderful cruise that included St. Thomas. I took a ship excursion from St. Thomas over to St. John. I loved what I saw, but I only got to spend about an hour there instead of the two hours of beach time we had been counting on. (Long story). The excursion didn't start until about 11:45....and we had been in the port most of the morning. It seems such a shame that the ship didn't offer a longer excursion. In some ways, I wish we had arranged for a private excursion, but it's always nice to have the 'security' of being on a ship-sponsored tour. Would love to go back to the Virgin Islands. Any suggestions on how to make things better that next time? As a commentary....I enjoy the NCL Bermuda cruise because the ship is at port for over 2 days...and it makes for such a relaxed time. That said, with so much to see in the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands, it is such a shame that ships can't arrange for a multiple- night stay while at port in this magnificent part of the world. Maybe they'll read my post and do something about it. Ha, ha!
  8. You should find it by navigating through this link. Look for the restaurant and there should be some click-on menus. Not sure how up-to-date they are. But the Onda one looked current from last week. https://eatsleepcruise.com/2019/12/norwegian-encore-restaurant-menus-and-dining-guide/
  9. We just returned from a cruise to the Virgin Islands on the NCL Encore. (A wonderful cruise, by the way). While on the boat, we ate in several of the complimentary and specialty restaurants....all were good. But after all was said and done, all four of us within our group agreed that our dining at Onda (by Scarpetta) was the finest and most enjoyable. Everyone raved about their food. I ordered "Mezzelune" and it was the lightest and best-tasting ravioli dish I have ever experienced in my life. I had the "Panna Cotta" for dessert, and it was unbelievably good. If you are on the NCL Specialty Restaurants dining plan, don't pass this restaurant up just because it's not the Italian restaurant you are familiar with on most other NCL ships.
  10. What a beautiful beach we got to see on a fine sunny day. That's what we had. And we could have had three hours of it. Unfortunately we blew it because we planned very poorly. We thought it would be fun to eat at a restaurant on the beach and then actually take in the beach after we had eaten. DON'T DO LIKE WE DID. We wasted almost 2 hours of our precious time waiting to be waited on and then waiting on our food. By the time we got to our beach time, we couldn't relax because we had to start watching our watches...so we wouldn't miss our catamaran back to the ship. ADVICE: You can eat ANYWHERE, but you can only experience this tremendous beach for the three hours that you are there. Come on a full stomach. Enjoy this absolutely wonderful beach, and then eat when you get back on the boat. I am not complaining. I just wish that I would have read a post such as this prior to my going on this really wonderful excursion.
  11. We will be doing the St. John Champagne/Catamaran Sail excursion next month. We have no desire to snorkel; we are only interested in the beach. How do we get to the beach once the catamaran arrives? We will have items with us that we will want to keep dry...so if the catamaran does not go into shallow water, we are hoping that a small raft or small boat can bring us ashore. Just curious.
  12. We are to fly into Miami the day before our cruise this February. We have gone through a travel agent and they have us booked at a hotel near the airport for our overnight stay. It is the Pullman Miami Airport Hotel. Getting to the cruise terminal will not be an issue for us because we will have most of the next day to get there. However, we'd like to have a little fun time that night while we are in Miami (maybe go to a good Cuban restaurant). Knowing all of this, are we going to be fine with the airport hotel location. Or would we be better off calling our agent and arranging for one closer to the port. Also.....do most hotels provide a shuttle service to the port area?
  13. We will be taking the Jost Van Dyke excursion to White Bay Beach while we are ported at Tortola in mid-February 2020. Our party of four's average age is 65. We are wondering which restaurant/bar would be more suited for us for lunch and beverages? I'm guessing that it would be Hendo's, just from looking at the website pictures. But pictures don't always tell the whole story. If we choose to have lunch at Hendo's are reservations required? Pro's and con's of each place would be helpful. Thanks much.
  14. We have purchased the "Champagne Catamaran Sail to St. John" and are really looking forward to it. Too many have told me that St. John is a must while at port in the USVI. We do have a few questions for those of you who have done this excursion (or plan to do it soon...and know the answers). Evidently, our boat goes to Honeymoon Beach... Are there chairs/umbrellas available at the beach? What about food & beverage vendors? I know that food and beverages will be offered on our return to the cruise ship, but we need to know whether to bring our own water, etc. in the event that the beverage vendors are not nearby [We realize that this is part of the National Park....so I certainly would understand if stands are unavailable]. Our main focus, of course, is the beach and the water, but to help us better plan, the answers to these questions will be helpful. Thanks.
  15. We are going to narrow down our excursion plans in the next few days (NCL Encore--Feb 2020 -- Will be at port on Wednesday, February 12) The excursion to St John (Champagne Catamaran) looks great....and it goes to Honeymoon Beach. Then I see another excursion to St. John which will go to Trunk Bay. Both excursions look tremendous to me. There is food and drink on the way back on the Honeymoon Beach excursion. But apparently none on the excursion to Trunk Bay. Best beach wins. Food is not a factor. Your comments, please.
  16. We are trying to decide what to do while at port in Old San Juan from 5:30 to 12:00 on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. One possibility we are considering is to make reservations (if possible) at a restaurant that features the local cuisine along with other menu offerings such as lightly seasoned favorites such as steak, chicken. [Some within our party have difficulty with overly spicy foods]. If we went this way, which restaurant(s) would you suggest? Any other ideas would be appreciated. We have not ruled out just eating on the ship and then going out for a walk for an hour or so.....but it sure would be fun to sample some good local cuisine. I have heard that mofongo is a 'must'.
  17. Thanks. I didn't realize we would have that much beach time. That's pretty good. That helps a lot.
  18. There is an excellent chance that we will go to Jost Van Dyke on the Rebel Yell. However, there is one drawback--not much beach time if we take this excursion. [We will be on the NCL Encore in February... and at port in Tortola from 8am-5pm] That said, we are considering the possibility of taking a taxi or walking to one of the beaches 'on our own'. Which beach would you suggest that satisfies these criteria: 1) We would get at least 4 hours of actual beach time with food and drink available....with no fear of getting back to the boat in time. 2) We know there will be lots of people there, but the less crowded the better. 3) The obvious....a beautiful beach. Keep in mind, our biggest concern is making sure that we get back to the boat without feeling panicked or rushed. I thank you in advance for your help.
  19. We are very likely to do this excursion while at port in St. Thomas in February. The catamaran is slated to go to Honeymoon Beach. We were wondering if there were any eating/beverage facilities either on the beach or within walking distance from the beach. Thanks.
  20. We will be in Tortola in mid-February 2020 on the NCL Encore. We are starting to choose our excursions, and we are having difficulty deciding between the Gorda Baths and a trip over to Jost Van Dyke. Our only other port site (other than San Juan) will be St. Thomas. And we definitely want one good beach day either at Tortola or St. Thomas. Even though we will be on a larger cruise ship, as far as I can tell we will be the only ship at port while in Tortola. So if we choose the Baths, then hopefully it won't be that crowded. But with that said, we are still torn between the baths and Jost Van Dyke. Look forward to your input.
  21. We just booked our cruise for this February on the NCL Encore. On the main NCL page with all of the shore excursions posted, several excursions from St. Thomas to St. John are listed. However, once we registered and went to our registration, those particular excursions were not available to us for when we arrive at St. Thomas. I realize some cannot be offered because of time restraints, but that should not be the case for our day in question. I called, and I was told that they might add more excursions in the future. No disrespect to the person I talked to, but I know they don't always know everything, and I know they are constantly being flooded with other calls--and probably don't have time to dig deep into the question at hand. Does anyone have the scoop on what might be happening here?
  22. Yep......you can enjoy the cruise ship more when 3/4 of the people get off for an excursion. I'm laughing here, but it sure is the truth.
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