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  1. OP's question was never answered. OP asked how much gambling was expected when you're on a comped cruise. The answer: None is required. You could technically take the comped cruise and never set foot in the casino. However, it is expected that you likely will gamble, since being a gambler is what got you the "free" cruise to start with. Of course, if you don't gamble at all then you won't be eligible for another comp. There is no "expected" amount. CAS assumes that you will likely at least gamble what you did on the last cruise that earned you the comp.
  2. Yes, the luggage stays on the bus while you tour. You collect it from the bus at the airport
  3. I agree with you completely - it's one reason why for a long time, my slots play was Video Poker. You know what the payback % of the game is, and there's an element of skill in playing correctly, every hand. But of course, the casinos penalize VP players (twice the coin-in for one point vs slots) because we know the payback % of the game. They claim this makes us "advantage players" even though it's no different than knowing the correct play on every hand of Blackjack. But since it's now almost impossible to find decent pay VP - and it's never been possible in ship's casino's - I've cut way back on my VP play. Another reason the house loves slots is that there's no cost to operate them, beyond the electricity required to run them and the salary of a tech to do maintenance!!
  4. Whenever a ship is embarking or disembarking (at any port, really) there are tons of taxis around. They want the business. And yes, when we boarded the Dawn in San Juan, there were taxis dropping people off (including us), that you could easily grab to go somewhere else.
  5. We have always gotten either an internet package or unlimited internet on all our NCL cruises. We use it mostly for email, and more recently for FB messenger texting with those back on land. Service for those purposes is fine. Web browsing is slow, but doable if you're patient. Can't speak to any other uses such as Skype, Streaming, or anything else...don't do those. Keep in mind regarding any cellular company International Data packages: These will only be useful when you are in port. You can't use them on the ship.
  6. Just sailed the Dawn out of San Juan last week. Pan Am pier, not Old San Juan. Some years ago, NCL did use the Old San Juan pier. But now that pier is used by Carnival.
  7. Don't know how it works on Princess, but on NCL there are two kinds of OBC. Non-refundable OBC cannot be used for play in the casino. Refundable OBC can be used for play in the casino.
  8. Lindquist beach is absolutely the best...simply for the reason that it's a park with an entrance fee, and not much in the way of facilities, so it gets a lot less crowded than the other beaches. There are ship's excursions that go there (it's sometimes called "Secret" Beach), but it's still usually less crowded. Coki is awful..stay away. Megan's gets very crowded when there are a lot of ships in. I can't speak for doing Lindquist with a toddler and a car seat, but you can certainly hire a taxi at the cruise port, have the driver take you there, and arrange for pickup again at a certain time. When calculating the return trip, remember that the traffic can be brutal. Talk to the driver. He/She will be able to advise, but leave some wiggle room in the timing.
  9. Absolutely, assuming no unusual delays in docking and clearing the ship for disembarkation. If you're really concerned about the time, be in the first walk off disembarkation (taking your own luggage). Take your own transport to Seatac (don't use a shared ride shuttle because you'll have to wait for the others to get to the van). Uber, Lyft, Taxi or Car service.
  10. An 11:30 am flight is fine. We've cruised out of Seattle many times (and have family there) and typically would easily make flights from 11am on. Hotel suggestions: There's really nothing around your cruise pier. I'd opt for a hotel in downtown Seattle for easy access to the tourist attractions. There are many hotels, in all price ranges, but remember that June in Seattle is the tourist season and prices will go up across the board.
  11. The POA leaves later than most cruises (7pm if I remember right - but check), and most POA cruisers do exactly what you're asking about; they use the day to tour Honolulu. When we did our POA cruise, we boarded at our normal time (midday), and found the boarding areas and ship almost empty. So I suspect that with everyone using the day to tour, the boarding area only gets crowded late in the day. Best to keep that in mind when deciding what time to go to the port.
  12. No one on this board or any other can tell you what a "winning bid" is likely to be. It's a silent auction and no one except an NCL employee could tell you the rules uses to select the winning bid. Bid what you can afford, realizing that if you win, your credit card will be immediately charged for the full amount of the bid. And also realize that you have no say in what cabin you will be assigned to.
  13. If you feel you're going to need to use an ATM in another country, I suggest checking on using your credit card instead of your debit card int the ATM. While this transaction becomes a cash advance on your credit card, a lot of credit cards do not charge foreign transaction fees. Of course, you may end up paying a cash advance fee to the CC company, so if your card does also charge a foreign transaction fee, you would not want to do that. But in the end, I wouldn't even bother with getting cash in any port. Your CC is likely accepted everywhere, and provides protections for you that cash or an ATM card will not. If you use local cash (or even U.S. dollars) in any port, you may get your change back in the local currency. If that happens, be aware that most banks and exchange booths will not accept foreign coinage to convert back to U.S. dollars. Just paper bills.
  14. DW has bought jewelry on the ships - not high end product, but lower priced things she found that she likes. Typically she'll wait for the sales that always happen before the end of the cruise. She wouldn't buy if she didn't feel the price was at least realistic. In at least one case, she found out that some of the product on the ships isn't available elsewhere. She liked one piece, but elected to pass on it thinking she'd find it cheaper on land. She never could find it, not even directly from the manufacturer. So we believe that the ships do carry a certain amount of product that's only available on board. And no, the onboard shops do not bargain over pricing. (Edit: We've never found they would bargain, at least not on the items DW is interested in. But perhaps that's because those items aren't marked up as much as the higher end product).
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