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Everything posted by kitkat343

  1. I had kids in a stroller, and was very impressed with how accessible everything was, especially in the popular ports. There are a lot of travelers with disabilities on cruises so when they designed recent tourist attractions they did so with accessibility as a goal. At the Loen Skylift, I was really impressed that not only was it possible to use a stroller to access the skylift, but they had a stair chair in the restaurant so a person with a disability could go all the way down to the bottom of the restaurant, where the beautiful floor to ceiling windows were and could fully appreciate the view. A lot of places in the US would have just designed their spaces so people with disabilities could reach some tables in the restaurant and not worried about getting everyone to the best view. Please note that if someone disagrees with me to listen to them because pushing a stroller is different since my kids can walk short distances and I might miss something someone else experienced.
  2. NCL confiscated our leftover lunch when we returned to the ship from one of the ports. I was quite sad because on our first NCL sailing 12 years ago the mdr food was not very good but the specialty dining was amazing. On my last cruise, the specially food had declined significantly in quality (we were served perfectly cooked but ice cold steaks in Cagney's, which also ran out of all the sides I'd wanted) so I was very sad to lose my food because it was hard to find good food on the ship. If you really need the trail mix, bring a sealed container to be sure. If you can risk having it confiscated (if you get caught they'll just throw it out) you can bring a ziplock baggie.
  3. We had small children, so we did the train first and then visited a goat farm and had a lovely local lunch after exploring a beautiful nearby small town. I don't know if the goat farm tour is still offered, but the company that ran the excursion was great and has a lot of other options, including lots of ones for active tourists: https://www.fjordtours.com/places-to-visit-in-norway/flam/ There's also the Stegastein viewpoint (also more likely to be enjoyable in clear weather but I don't think that would be as likely to fill up as the train). It was rainy/cold/foggy on the day we were in Flam, and we still really enjoyed the train (would have gone irregardless because our small kids like trains). But it absolutely would be better with clearer weather. As noted above, it will sell out so waiting is a risk.
  4. Here are the current reviews: https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=712448 If you scroll backwards by time (keep clicking the next review button), you will eventually get to last May's reviews. This forum discusses the current Star situation: . There is debate on that forum because some people are claiming the sail by in Antartica was cut from 2 days to four hours because of local environmental regulations, and others are stating that the problem might have be caused by the propulsion issues the star has suffered for in the past. I obviously have no idea, but hopefully if you keep an eye on the forums you will get a sense of what is happening. If you are thinking of switching, do be careful with the Prima in Iceland - the government is deepening the harbor in Isafjodur, and that construction was delayed and not finished before last season. The Prima's lifeboats apparently cannot be used for tender and all stops were cancelled last year. Some were changed to overnights in other ports, but other sailings just had extra sea days. The Star can tender with its lifeboats and didn't have those issues last season. Hopefully, the construction will be finished before this season.
  5. In Tallinn, you'd need at least a cab to get you to the top of Tompea Hill. The beauty of Tallin is walking through the beautiful historic Old Town. I don't know if she can walk downhill, but definitely don't walk to the top of the hill (its manageable if you are physically fit but the walk up from the terminal isn't beautiful so anyone who has limited physical stamina should skip the walk up). There are pedicabs that can take her around the Old Town, and at least when I went 10 years ago there was a silly train that we took for our 3 year old but I actually wound up enjoying since it was a nice little ride through the beautiful streets. There were no pedicabs in the port the day we arrived, just cabs (which can't access all of the Old Town) but we were there on a holiday and you might have better luck finding a pedicab that can take you all over the old town from the port. I travelled with a 3 year old and the only place we booked a tour was St. Petersburg. There are excellent public transportation systems elsewhere (not sure about Gdynia or Visby) but in the other places if she has enough stamina for that. The HOHO ferry in Stockholm is quite a lovely and pleasant way to get around if she can access it (its a short walk from one of the docks in Stockholm, and then there's getting on and off the ferry). The ferry ride through Copenhagen was also quite lovely just to see and experience if she can access it. We travel with small children, so we usually get private tours for just ourselves but you can contact the private tour guides you can find on tripadvisor and ask them if they have small group tours that would move at a slower pace (private tours for just your group will be expensive in Europe but you can at least price it out and see). Good luck - this is a beautiful cruise and I hope she enjoys it!
  6. Maybe they just don't want to guarantee that you won't have to wait in case the ship is delayed or embarkation is a real mess (I've never seen that yet but have read about extremely rare times when there are long ship inspections or weather delays in the ship returning and there are hours and hours of delays upon embarking)? Under normal boarding conditions, I've seen cruise lines help people with disabilities through the lines. But I usually travel with small children so it's easier for us not to wait. We choose late arrival times and get there late and have never had to wait late. That's probably your best bet if you are trying to minimize waiting times. And to the OP, as soon as you can access the ships wifi, make the last reservation you need. We boarded late, needed only one dining reservation and got it immediately upon boarding. The only people who had trouble didn't know they had to make reservations and they were stuck using their dining packages at lunch because they didn't realize until day 2 they needed reservations for dinner (standby might also work but no guarantee).
  7. There is a kids menu available for children 12 and under. We were told that all kids meals were cooked in one restaurant and transported to the specialty dining rooms, so it takes awhile to arrive. One server (out of 6 restaurants we went to) suggested substituting an appetizer instead of the kids menu. It is possible they may allow that but you cannot depend upon it. Please note that the specialty restaurants on my first NCL cruise 13 years ago were amazing and well worth the upcharge, but on my last cruise we regretted purchasing an extra 2 meal package above what was included in the room. The steaks were perfectly cooked but served ice cold in Cagney's, and they ran out of a bunch of sides. Only Ocean Blue was worth the upcharge. You can try whatever you are attempting here, but there's no guarantee you won't be charged full price for the extra meals. The only guarantee would be to purchase more dining packages, but they were definitely not worth it on my cruise, although other people on different ships report different experiences. I'd recommend feeding people who don't eat very much in the buffet (if you look really hard you will find some good food there - usually the carving stations or ethnic food) and then sending the kids to the kids club while you eat whatever meals came with your room.
  8. I really don't want my kids going into the toddler pool because so many parents ignore the rules either. On my last NCL cruise, there were lots of kids too young to be in the splash pad, including actual babies, one of whom fell over and started choking on the water he inhaled. What makes it hard is that if you have a potty trained child who wants to go in the splash pad, you either have to tell your kid no and deal with your child melting down or allow them to be exposed to a health hazard or ask some worker making very little money to have a potentially uncomfortable confrontation with parents who are unlikely to react well to being asked to get their kids out of the splash zone. As a parent who skipped vacations until my kids were potty trained and old enough to go in the kids club, it really sucks.
  9. Olden, Geiranger and Flam were my three favorite ports. Alesund is much beloved on these forums (not on my cruise so I have no personal experience). The road to the highest views in Geiranger is seasonal and opens between mid may and early June. We sailed on May 18th and missed the opening by three days. There are several other lovely viewpoints in Geiranger, plus a beautiful lake you visit if you can't get to the highest points. The only thing I'd want to note is that we had three ports in which we could potentially have really amazing views (Olden, Flam and Geiranger). The weather was beautiful in Geiranger and we could really appreciate the view. But it was rainier and foggier in Olden and Flam, so we were really grateful we'd had three days so we had a better shot at one really good weather day. For Norway we generally recommend sailing for itinerary, so perhaps you'd want to research alternatives if these aren't meeting your needs? I've sailed HAL, and found them to be very similar to Cunard and Princess.
  10. It's been reported rarely on the forums, especially over holidays. I'd like to note that on Cunard, you sign up for kids club hours and once you've signed up those hours are yours. Your child can leave and return without a problem. Its a much better system than having to stand on line for a 2 or 3 hour session.
  11. I've found the call reps on all the cruise lines to occasionally give out misinformation. It has been my experience that only the initial embarkation requires you to board 2 hours before departure, and as others have noted above you only need to return a half hour before sailing in. a port. The information will be printed in the daily schedule left in your room, and you should take a picture of the return time and the contact info for the port agent in case you have an emergency. If you run behind on an independent excursion, please contact the port agent immediately. The ship may not be able to wait for you, but if they know you are on your way it would be helpful as opposed to their not having any idea where you are and when you might return. I also book independent excursions. Please carefully check their cancellation policies before booking. If you look at the recent cruise critic reviews of your itinerary/ship, you can see if there have recently been issues with the port time being shortened after final payment or ports being cancelled after final payment on similar sailings. On all lines there could be weather related cancellations or emergencies that require adjustments to the ports. Tours in the Caribbean tend to have generous refund policies (on my last NCL cruise the first sign that one port was going to be cancelled after final payment was the fact that when I contacted the tour providers started their initial email telling me I could book without worrying because I'd get a full refund if the ship didn't dock. They'd been dealing with cancellations for nearly a year at this point, so they were very familiar with NCL's issues).
  12. Do you know if that's the regular children's menu? On other lines it's free for kids to eat from the children's menu, but they have to pay if they order off the main menu. I have to say I don't really see why they'd charge more if the kids aren't eating special food.
  13. Great! But now we're all invested, so please let us know how it works out!
  14. You might also want to keep an eye on this forum: . There's some speculation about the cause of NCL changing the sail by ports in Antartica, and dropping the sail by time from 2 days to 4 hours. I truly. have no idea why this happened (some people are speculating it was to comply with local regulations, others are saying it is caused by the propulsion issues). But something to keep an eye on if you are considering the Star. For the Prima, you'd need to keep an eye on the construction in Isafjordur. It has been reported that the Prima's lifeboats cannot be used to tender, and. until that harbor is deepened the Prima cannot stop there. Construction was scheduled to be completed prior to last year's season, so hopefully it will be completed by this year's season. Last year all Prima stops in Isafjordur were cancelled. Some were replace by overnights in the capital, but some were converted to sea days.
  15. You pick a boarding time from what is available at the time you check in. I tend to check in late and the preferred boarding time is early, so I've never seen a cruise line enforce boarding times (people who show up early may have seen this). Your boarding time is listed on your embarkation documents you bring to the port. On my last sailing, there was one 1 pm-1:30 boarding slot and the other 4 people in my family had 1:30- 2:00 pm boarding slots, which was weird because the sailaway was scheduled for 3 pm and the boarding documents say you are supposed to be there 2 hours early. I don't know what happens if you show up at the time they told you to board and are told it is too late and didn't want to risk finding out. We all showed up at 12:45 and got on the ship with no problem. Hopefully the OP will be able to make the cruise, but if not it seems like they are willing to accept the consequences of their choices, which is all anyone can hope for.
  16. Then your plan and your backup plan are all set. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you. I would only note that if you think you can make it by 3, I'd at least try to go to the port and see if they can board you then irregardless of what time the phone operator tells you. On my last NCL cruise, I was given a 1:30 -2:00 pm boarding time for a sail away time of 3 pm. I called NCL because that sounded late and. it also said in my documents I was supposed to be there 2 hours earlier than sail away time of 3 pm (which meant I should have been given a time slot no later than 1 pm) , and the phone rep told me they weren't sure if the assigned boarding time on my documents was too late was but to try to get there a little early. We arrived by 12:45 and were fine. I've been given incorrect info by the phone reps before, and you don't know if a kind worker at the port will help you aboard if they can or if the ship is delayed on that day. I absolutely agree with your plan of not boarding the flight if it is significantly delayed, but if you've already flown and are almost there I'd say it's worth trying your luck at the terminal. Absolutely no one else should ever attempt to arrive by 3, but if the cruise was nearly free and you want to visit your family then you can try.
  17. RCCL absolutely had to cancel the original itinerary for safety. They absolutely should have notified all of their customers of this necessary change. Have you checked your spam filter? Did they notify your travel agent instead of you? If they didn't attempt to notify you that is a significant issue, but if you booked through a travel agent they might have notified them instead of you directly.
  18. If you left Feb 16th, this is your rolll call and you might be able to find your fellow passengers here:
  19. glad it all worked out for your cousin. Bermuda is not the easiest port to dock at, especially in the winter, so weather related delays/cancellations are not unusual.
  20. Could you please let us know if NCL offers the current passengers or the passengers on your sailing any compensation? Or if you. hear anything about how this is resolved? I'm sorry this happened and I hope you enjoy the parts of Antartica you are still able to see.
  21. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You can try to claim your medical expenses through your regular health insurance and you might get something back (at least I’ve read some people have sometimes had success with this). Rc normally packs up your stuff if they don’t expect you to return - that’s what they do when people miss the ship and return home on their own. It was your first cruise so you didn’t know that if you wanted to go back to the ship to pack up yourself you needed to contact the port agent who would have relayed your wishes to the ship. Otherwise the ship assumes they are helping you during a stressful time by packing do you don’t need to worry about that.
  22. One more thing - you might want to go to the front desk and ask them to put a daily limit on your child’s sea pass if you are worried about them spending too much. Sometimes kids decide to be very generous with their seapass for their new friends in the arcade.
  23. I don't know what time you are boarding but since you are staying near the terminal these are two rally good, fast, easy places to eat: https://dimsumpalace.com or https://gothamwestmarket.com
  24. Snorkling is great in Roatan. If anyone likes animals, you can visit the monkeys, sloth's and iguanas and zip line in Roatan and still snorkel there if you get a private tour. We really liked Chaccoben with Costa Maya. They're minor ruins, but we couldn't attempt anything more significant with a 2 year old. The lunch the grandmothers made through Native Choice was also excellent.
  25. According to their contract, they do have the right to drop ports for any reason. But if they don't have a very good reason to do drop ports after final payment, especially once in a lifetime ones, they will lose the trust of their passengers. On my sailing, they dropped one port and the morning of another after final payment to help the environment. They left the original itinerary on their website and continued to sell the cruise for the following month with the original itinerary advertised including the dropped ports. People who booked directly with NCL after the cancellations were not informed of the changes at the time of booking and they were not allowed to cancel. I called and wasn't allowed to switch to an identical sailing a few weeks later, despite the fact that we chose this cruise for my daughter to visit the monkeys in the DR. On my cruise, there was a significant percentage of passengers who were just happy to be out of the cold and have the drinking package. NCL either needs to prioritize making ports whenever it is safe for them to do so (and I have no idea if there was a legitimate emergency this time) or sail just to the Caribbean, where people will be less likely to be upset about cancelled ports after final payment. This has been an issue raised before
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