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Everything posted by rmurray847

  1. THIS. They are really nice and can make great arrangements for you...but the sooner the better.
  2. Well, as others have said, it looks like you CAN do it once onboard. Again, I had tried to in advance and was told "no." And, of course, they didn't know enough to tell me I could do it onboard. It wasn't a big deal for us in the end.
  3. I cannot give you definitive answers, but I am not sure you can upgrade the free minutes to an unlimited package. We had the usual free minutes perk on our May Alaska cruise and I called to upgrade to unlimited. NO DICE. So I bought one unlimited package and my wife mostly stayed logged on with that, while I just used my free minutes occasionally on my device in the evening. Can't speak to the app. We had the ncl app which let us check the daily schedule (that was occasionally handy) and I don't remember seeing any communication options, but I wasn't looking either. I do not think "iconcierge" exists anymore. We "used" it on a Norwegian Jewel cruise 2.5 years ago, and it was terrible. Half the messages didn't go through.
  4. Those desserts were what we were offered at Ocean Blue April, 2018. I wish I could say I knew if they had changed, but that looks accurate.
  5. This will be very similar to your experiences with Royal. My wife and I have done 9 cruises (she's done 10) and they were all either NCL or RCC. More similarities than differences, IMO. The same kinds of things are included: buffet and main dining rooms (the Joy has 3 MDRs...each serves same menu, but slightly different ambiance). Shows and game shows. The drink package will "cost" you about $25 per day because even though you don't pay for the package, you still must pay the daily gratuity that you would have paid. So be ready for that. The package includes A LOT...don't worry about not having stuff to choose from. The wine choice is a bit limited...but if you're not a big wine afficionado and are okay with average wine, you'll find enough to choose from. Cocktails are plentiful. The drink package, sadly, does not include stuff like bottled water or real orange juice or specialty coffee. But you say "how can access drinking water." There is plenty of water available to dispense. Ask a bartender. In the buffet, pour your own. Not to worry...it is super filtered and very palatable. I wish I could same the same about their ice tea! The "Free" internet is only 100 minutes. So if you get that, be sure you sign off after using it, or you'll run out after a couple of hours. It's good to check email, and perhaps to do some quick browsing...but if you're addicted to the phone and need it all the time, you'll want to pay for a package. You should have a BLAST. I haven't done the Joy, but have done Breakaway and Bliss. Lots of nice things about these ships. Game shows being in the Atrium is a drag, and the theater is too small...so if you like shows, get there EARLY. Even if you reserve online, get their 20 minutes before showtime before they start letting standby in.
  6. Again, my apologies for the late (and now, certainly unhelpful) response. We bought our package in advance. I don't think I really saw any onboard sales. They sure promoted it plenty...but other than the small discounts available for Latitude status, I didn't see anything I'd call "lower pricing." I have to admit, I didn't make it a mission to look though...we already had our package, so didn't need to.
  7. Wow, I am sorry I missed your question (and I'm sure it's too late now). Yes, the days are long. True darkness didn't last long at all, maybe 11:30 pm until 4:30 am or so. A sort of dusky feeling for a couple of hours before and after. Like the longest sunset and sunrise ever. It was unusual, but it didn't truly "impact" us, in my opinion. It was kind of cool. Later in the summer, that will only be more the case. Victoria was a late arrival, for sure. It was dark by the time we got off the ship. But that isn't much higher than Seattle. Not really fair to compare to the rest of the ports.
  8. I'm late to the game with my response, and I haven't ready what others have said. My wife and I did our first Alaska cruise May 19-26 this year...and we used the balcony every day. In fact, we've never used it more on any of our previous 8 cruises. The beauty of the surroundings is spectacular. A virtual balcony does show you nice pictures, but it doesn't let you feel the brisk air, hear the sounds of whales spouting or even enjoy the excitement of fellow passengers also caught up in the spectacle. We got to know our neighbors very well because we were all outside a lot and were constantly pointing things out to each other. If it's chilly, that's why you bring a coat. Yes, with 4 folks on the balcony, it's going to be tight...but not so tight as to prevent enjoyment.
  9. The ships are VERY similar. I would pick the cruise that include Glacier Bay. If they both did, then just to switch things up a bit, I guess I'd try a new ship. But other than a different show (FOOTLOOSE on the Joy) and a SLIGHTLY different layout (Maltings on deck 6 instead of 8, for example), the Joy is really no different. If there was a price difference, and both included Glacier Bay, I'd go on price, I think.
  10. I don't remember all the specifics, and we never had dinner in the buffet, but they DID have themes like: prime rib night, Alaska food night, seafood night, "foods of the world", etc. Nothing called "lobster night". We did NOT have lobster as an option in the MDR, so it seems unlikely they had lobster in the buffet. If you like seafood, though, I think your options will be fairly plentiful in the buffet. Sorry I can't be more specific.
  11. We had a little different scenario than you have last year on the Breakaway. We sailed from NYC to Southampton. I won't go into all the details, but we stayed one night at the Hilton London Gatwick Airport. The hotel LITERALLY connects by a walkway to the airport. It's crazy. It was very reasonably priced, and it was so nice to take the train to the airport and walk to hotel.
  12. I am going totally from memory here...I think 10:30. Others will correct me, but at least my answer bumps your post back to the top!
  13. Depends. On our Alaska cruise, we were greeted with hot beverages in little cups. On previous warm weather cruises, they sometimes had stations with ice tea and lemonade, as well as water. But yes, for your to dispense into a small cup.
  14. On our May 19 Bliss Alaska cruise, we booked online in advance. The system required a 2 hour gap. Which is a good time. You can comfortably finish your meal in 90 minutes and have time to get to the theater. If you have theater reservations, don't show up at 1 minute before showtime, though. At about 10 minutes til, they will start letting the standby line in. So for a 7:30 show, I'd do dinner at 5:30. You'll be done by 7 (on our last cruise, the wait staff always asked when we sat if we had something scheduled. They adjusted the speed if they needed to. That was very nice.). Time to grab a drink for the show and get a decent seat. If you want to sit front and center, you'll need to arrive more like 7 pm...so that WOULD require an adjustment to your dining timing.
  15. The double meaning of "carry on." Carry on bags / carry on as in "continue as you were". Seemed straightforward. Pretty important for you to criticize a joke you didn't get though, I guess. Certainly will help all of us plan better cruises in the future.
  16. If you are willing to be VERY flexible, you should be able to get in to specialty restaurants. But by flexible, I mean 5pm or 9pm. If there is one you REALLY want to go to, book in advance. You can always cancel and get a refund. Wifi has always been hit or miss for us, but it seems to be better for us these days. 5 years ago, we got "knocked off line" randomly all the time and had to log in again and again. On our recent Alaska cruise on the Bliss, my wife logged in the first evening, and was online thereafter. When we left the ship and came back on, she reconnected with no fuss. It was very easy. Speeds are fine for checking email and doing some browsing. But, your mileage may vary, for sure.
  17. Or just like you would at 99% of restaurants in the US.
  18. True, but there will likely still only be two power outlets. In fact, on our recent Bliss cruise, we had the bedside USBs, as you indicate. One didn't work well (if the cable moved even slightly, it lost its connection). For me, bringing a power strip is essential. They're pretty small now, so it's worth the backpack space for me.
  19. Correct you are. I should have equivocated. To the OP, I guess I'd say "double check" the pricing to confirm it really is the deal you think it is. Might be...might not.
  20. The "guarantee" cabins don't come with any of the freebies. So if you were planning using the promotional "free at sea" items, you won't get any of those with a guarantee. This might be okay with you, but if not, calculate the difference of adding, for example, a drink package. You might find the price isn't so great after all. We had our first mini-suite on our recent Alaska cruise, on the a sister to the Breakaway...the Bliss. We loved it because of the two sinks in the bathroom. I can sure understand being tempted. Our first two cruises (7+ years ago) were guarantee balconies, and we made out okay with our final locations. But to be honest, even though we never regretted the choice, now that I have cruised a few times, I have areas of the ship I prefer, and I am willing to pay extra to pick myself. I always want to be on a floor that's between floors that also have cabins. And I don't want to be right by the stairwell/elevator because of the foot-traffic. But I don't want to be TOO far away from stairs either, because...well, because I'm lazy.
  21. Just got back from Alaska. It was our 9th cruise and first time to Alaska. It was great. Things I wish I had done on this specific cruise? Brought more powerful binoculars. The things you can see from the ship are stunning. We had little binoculars with us, and they were helpful. But more would have been better! For overall "first cruise", much of the advice below is great. I only disagree with the idea of NOT bring a power strip. You cabin will have two outlets, by the Desk/dresser in the main room. (No outlets in the bathroom.) From this, you must run everything. I have a powerstrip which also has some USB slots built in. That's where we charge our multiple devices. Because my wife's phone is our primary camera, we always throw it on the charger when we're in the cabin, even for a few minutes. You just never know. And we plug in our e-readers in the morning, so that evening for bed, they're good to go. My wife travels with her own hair dryer because the one the ship provides is VERY underpowered. If you're not worried about that, you might be okay not having a power strip.
  22. Pretty much THIS. If it has a tag, and you want the porters to take it, they will. Nonetheless, my wife always has a purse, and I usually have a backpack. Documents, passports, a portable phone charger, and MAYBE a few toiletries. Although it's never been a real problem, we just assume that our luggage won't arrive until 5pm. So, what MIGHT you want when you have access to your cabin but no access to your luggage? Aspirin? Toothpaste & toothbrush? Bathing suit? Extra batteries? I've found that for first timers, they haven't always really understood that they might not see their luggage for awhile. "But won't we have our cabins by 1pm????" "Yes," I reply, "but that's a completely separate event from when your bags arrive. We've had them already be there when we first get to our cabin. We've (usually) had them just before muster drill. And they also don't always all arrive at the same time.
  23. Unless you feel you MUST arrive at the terminal particularly early (like before 10)...you won't have much time to even worry about any of this. We've sailed 9 times now. A couple of times (NYC and Barcelona), we had do stand in some long lines waiting to check in. But they were were standing and shuffling along...no time to charge phones or such. One time (Ft. Lauderdale), we were seated in the terminal for about 20 minutes before being allowed to board. Not enough time to get very bored or restless. 6 times (out of 9), we arrived, turned our bags over to porters, went through security, went to the desk to get checked in, and then walked onto the ship with minimal fuss. This is why the amenities are so lacking...not many folks need them!
  24. There are boards here specific to Rome/Italy. MANY very experienced travelers there...I'd say post your question there. We had a Civitevecchia to Fiumicino scenario on our very first cruise. I'd be a bit scared about the timing you mention, but I think it's doable I'd consider hiring a driver (yes, pricier. I assume your early flight saves you some money, though). Waiting for the ship's bus to get all loaded up with passengers would make me crazy that early. We left on a 2pm flight ourselves, so using ship transport was not an issue.
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