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About luckybecky

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    San Antonio TX

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  1. We are booked on our first NCL cruise, sailing to Norway on the Spirit in June 2019. I've been doing some reading about the restaurants. We have the 4 specialty restaurant package. If I'm reading things correctly, there is an Italian restaurant on most NCL ships called La Cucina, but on the Spirit it is La Trattoria. What is the difference? I found one very old post that said La Trattoria only has a pasta bar. Has this changed? Does anyone have a current menu? And as long as we are talking about the Spirit, I'd love to hear any other comments you may have about the ship. What are your favorite restaurants and activities? Anything you don't like about the ship? Any other thoughts? Thanks!
  2. luckybecky

    NCL excursions in Norway

    We are booked on a NCL cruise to Norway June 2019. There are no shore excursions listed yet, and when I called NCL they were not able to tell me when excursions would be posted. Some of us on my roll call are looking at booking our own private excursions but it would be nice to know how prices and activities compare to what NCL may offer. Has anyone been on an NCL cruise to Norway this past summer? Do you have any info on the shore excursions they might offer, with prices? (I know prices may change, but at least recent info would give us a ballpark figure to start from.) My own personal preference has usually been to book my excursions privately, not through the cruise line. However, on this particular sailing we have a $100 per port excursion credit so that might make NCL more competitive. Any info wold be appreciated.
  3. luckybecky

    New to NCL, what differences from other lines?

    Thanks for the information. I have a lot to learn. Yes, we are on the Spirit so it's good to know we don't need show reservations. We actually like the freestyle dining. However after our last cruise, when we had long waits and slow service, we thought that we might try set time dining on our next cruise. But I guess not this time. :) Also thanks Travelling2some for the tip about the train in Flam. We have not yet started researching our ports at all, and there are no shore excursions on the NCL website so I have no idea what will be available and at what price. We rarely do ship excursions. We almost always book our own outside of the cruise ship. However this time we have a $100 per port shore excursion credit so that might make the ship prices more competitive. Anyway, thanks again for all the information. I'm sure I'll be back with many more questions lots of times between now and next June!
  4. luckybecky

    New to NCL, what differences from other lines?

    Thanks everyone for the good information. I appreciate your insights. I called NCL this morning to ask about shore excursions. The lady said to just look at excursions for this year, saying they should be roughly the same next year. I kept telling here, there are NO excursions shown for any of our ports, anywhere I can find on the website. Maybe because they do this itinerary less often? I mean, it is not like Cozumel where there are ships every single day all year round. We are going to Stavanger, Hammerfest, Trondheim, Haugesund, Flam, and other ports in Norway. Perhaps because these are less commonly visited, they have nothing offered at all on NCL website that I can find. I am keen to see what is available and prices, so I can decide whether to go with NCL excursions or book on our own outside of the cruise line. Guess I will just have to wait and see. It's weird about the shows. I have never had to book in advance for any cruise line, and almost never have to wait in line. Obviously if you want prime seats you will have to arrive early, but in general we just show up and walk right in when we want to see a show. Never had this concern about lines for people with reservations, and standby lines. It is true that the comedy clubs have always been popular on our cruises and we had to go early to get a seat. But it's good to know that things work a little differently on NCL. I'm sure I will have many more questions as we continue our planning for this cruise. We are very excited to see Norway. My MIL went years ago and said it was the most beautiful place on earth. And we are looking forward to cruising NCL as we like to try different things. Thanks again for the tips!
  5. Hello Cruisers! We have just booked our first NCL cruise -- 12 day Summer Solstice cruise to Norway in June 2019. I'm just beginning to research this cruise. This is our first time on Norwegian and I've already started to notice some differences from other lines. Correct me if I am wrong, but these are some things I have noticed. No formal nights. I know you can still dress up if you choose, but what do most people do? Keep it casual, or plan for some dress up evenings? No set time dining. Do most of you think this is a good thing? Or do you miss the opportunity to have the same servers who learn your preferences? What is this "bidding" thing I see when it comes to upgrade offers? On other cruise lines, I just get an offer, with a price. I can take it or leave it. Does it work differently with NCL? You have to BID? I saw someone make a reference to reserving seats at a show. How does this work? I've been on a few cruises now and never had to reserve any shows in advance. Do you get specific seat assignments? How do you reserve shows, and how far in advance can you do this? Laundry: there is no guest laundry? We will be travelling for a minimum of 14-15 days, so lots of dirty laundry. Is there any option to the very expensive "per piece" laundry charge that is common in hotels and cruise ships? Lastly, our cruise is not showing any shore excursions available this far out. When are these usually made available for booking? Thanks for any advice. I'm sure I will have more questions as we are new to this cruise line and the itinerary. We appreciate any help! Becky
  6. Thanks everyone for your kind words. I'm glad the review was helpful to you. I enjoy writing reviews and reliving my trip, and I'm glad if it helps someone else with their planning. Happy cruising!
  7. I'm sorry we missed the demo! It sounds marvelous. We arrived 20 minutes early and we were too late - it was already full. So heads up to anyone who wants to attend this event. Allow lots of time and show up very early.
  8. I agree with you about the fear of missing the ship! However, we almost always book our excursions on our own -- not using the cruise line excursions. I think we get much better value. Lower cost, smaller groups, and often very personalized experiences. The key, I think, is to very carefully research your tour provider. I rely heavily on trip advisor and also check the recommendations here on Cruise Critic. Only go with providers who have top notch ratings. When it came to Wet Money, I went against my own advice. They had a few negative reviews which did concern me a little. But I figured, if things don't work out we could just go the beach right there at the Grand Turk pier. As it turned out, I should have listened to those little nagging thoughts regarding the reviews of Wet Money. They weren't a good, reliable company. But we had a backup plan and everything worked out in the long run. So again I would just say make sure you read reviews and choose a reliable tour provider. Their business absolutely depends on you! If they are in the habit of getting people back to the ship late, they will be out of business very quickly. It will just take one online review from someone who missed the ship to put a company out of business. They depend on tourists.
  9. I think it was about a 20 minute drive to Pillory Beach, tops. Not too far. Our taxi driver was great and gave us a nice narrative as we drove -- telling us interesting facts about the island. The bathrooms were clean and were stocked with toilet paper. We enjoyed our stop here. It was MUCH less crowded than the massively crowded beach at the cruise ship terminal. In our opinion, it was well worth the cost of the taxi ride -- which was $8 per person. I think you could probably negotiate a better price, but at this point, after our golf cart fiasco, we were just willing to accept a nice air conditioned ride to the beach and we did not try to bargain the price down. I have also heard that Governor's Beach is nice. We did not go there so I can't say. But I really do NOT like the crowded beach scene at the cruise ship terminal. That's just personal preference. It was literally wall to wall beach umbrellas and people there. This is not my idea of an idyllic beach. To each his own.
  10. Doug, maybe you missed this in my VERY FIRST POST, so here it is again: "In spite of small lapses here and there, I never let such things ruin my vacation. Stuff happens. No vacation is perfect. It's OK. We had a wonderful time and I hope that will also come through in my review." We actually have paid four times what Carnival charges and have written a review about that. Feel free to check my signature for more info. What I wrote here is my honest opinion, good and bad. You may take it or leave it, as you wish. Happy sailing!
  11. Oh how funny! Glad you enjoyed the review. :D
  12. luckybecky

    Jail time for collecting conchs in Fl.

    Von & John, my apologies. I saw an article and it piqued my interest too. I meant to post it on another forum. How I ended up on the Celestyal Cruises forum, I have no idea. :o It was just an article about a woman collecting conchs in Florida. Apparently that is a no-no. Who knew? ;p https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article215027715.html
  13. Sunday July 15 Debarkation We woke at 7:00. Were out of our room by maybe 7:20 and went up to deck 9 for breakfast. It was so crowded, we just got a plate of food and went back to our cabin to eat. We finished up last minute packing and were pretty much ready to go by 8 or 8:15. Around this time they started debarkation by deck number. They called the lower decks first. We eventually made our way to the elevator and headed down to deck 3. It didn't take long to get off. The terminal was huge and packed with people but they had a pretty efficient process for getting everyone through. Customs was a very brief check of our passports. Sad to end our vacation!
  14. Surprisingly, the restaurant was nearly empty. When I had tried to make a reservation, they acted as if openings were limited. I think they offered us either 5:30 or 6:00. We took the 6:00 time and there were maybe 3 other tables there. By the time we left I think only one other table was occupied. Considering how good the food is, and amazing value at $15 per person, I am surprised they weren't packed. Don't miss it if you have a chance to try it. We spent the rest of the evening in the casino before hitting the sack.
  15. Some more food porn from JiJi's The egg rolls were sumptuous Pot stickers This is the fried wonton dessert: Crème brulee Caramelized crepes: They presented the fortune cookies in a very unique way, with some sort of fruit roll-up type things. I'm sorry we waited til the last night to try JiJi's because I would definitely have gone more than once.