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luckybecky

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Everything posted by luckybecky

  1. Leaving Hammerfest This picture was taken in the late evening. Still broad daylight.
  2. Hi Kat, Yes, I did read the post you referenced. Thanks for the information. I appreciate it. I hope my posts here are not being interpreted as "questioning the inner workings of Cruise Critic." I was just responding to broberts question and wondering how long it normally takes to have a post approved. It still has not been approved at this time so I will try emailing as you suggested.
  3. Back on board, we had supper in Windows dining room. Here is the wine list. And the menu for tonight Baked brie salad. I couldn't find any brie in there. 😏 Braised lamb shank Pecan Crusted Turkey medallions
  4. We hiked up to the top of Mt. Salen which offers beautiful panoramic views of the town. We saw some reindeer grazing on the hillside and saw some traditional Sami buildings. Here are the excursions offered by NCL. There were only 4 excursions offered.
  5. Later, the mystery was solved. This is the beluga that was in the news back in May, when he suddenly showed up in the Hammerfest harbor, eager to interact with humans and wearing a harness which had the words "St. Petersburg" written on it and which had fittings for a camera. The speculation was that the Russian Navy was training the whale and he escaped. He is completely domesticated. Later in the afternoon, a small boat pulled out and began interacting with the whale. We were up on the mountain and didn't hear the whole talk as the people on the boat explained his story, but apparently some people in Hammerfest have assumed responsibility for the care and feeding of the whale. We got back down to the dock in time to take a few photos before the boat led the whale out into open water for his afternoon exercise.
  6. We got off the ship around lunchtime. It was a good 20 - 30 minute walk from the ship to the town center. NCL was offering a shuttle bus to take you to the center of town, I think they were charging $15 each way for this. We got off the ship and got in line for the shuttle. After half an hour of waiting, with no movement whatsoever, I asked an NCL rep what was the bus schedule. She couldn't say. We finally gave up on waiting for the shuttle and just started walking to town. Later, we heard from John our roll call leader that the town shuttle was considered an excursion, and therefore would have been covered by our $50 per port excursion credit. We never used this credit but good to know. The shuttle was taking so long in the morning that we just gave up and walked. Here we are with the ship in the background. We went into the Polar Bear Society which honestly seemed to just be a nice gift shop, with a very small museum attached. Then as we were walking by the port we noticed a lot of people craning their necks and taking photos in the harbor. I asked someone what was going on and they said there was a beluga whale hanging out. Sure enough, there he was, just hovering around the boats. We thought maybe something was wrong with him, because it just seemed odd that he was staying there and not swimming at all.
  7. Day 6 Hammerfest! This claims to be the northernmost city in the world. We did not plan any formal excursion here. Our plan was just to get off the ship and explore the town. From our pre trip planning, we knew that it was possible to hike up Mount Salen for scenic views of the town. Here is today's schedule. Remember I mentioned that we had $600 onboard credit? We are very frugal on board and spend very little on board, aside from small amounts in the casino, which we budget for and consider part of our entertainment expense. The prices are just ridiculous in the shops and it pains me to spend double or triple regular price for items we can get at home. So we decided to get our first ever massage. I've never been willing to spend the money for a massage but we had the credit so we might as well use it. We weren't set to dock in Hammerfest until noon so we scheduled a couple's massage in the morning and it was great! This used up just over half of our credit. The ship was also running a charm bracelet special with new charms each day so I bought that, I think it was a total of $25. So we still have quite a bit of money to spend. (Unfortunately our credit could not be used in the casino or for gratuities) Here is the spa brochure with prices.
  8. Thanks to those of you who have commented. I'm glad you are enjoying the review. Hmm, several hours ago I posted about our evening at La Trattoria with menus and food pics, but for some reason the post is awaiting moderation. I'll continue with what we did after that and come back to repost about La Trattoria if it doesn't show up eventually. After supper, we saw the nightly show with the NCL show band and singers/dancers. They did an incredible job as always. OK, so on my scorecard so far, Carnival wins on the specialty restuarant question, but NCL is blowing Carnival away on the live music and production shows. We did not do any specialty dining on Celebrity so I can't comment on how they compare, but they also had exceptional live music and entertainment options. However, I did miss the comedy club which we always love on Carnival and haven't found on other cruise lines. It is hard to compare these large cruise lines to our experience on the small luxury line Paul Gauguin so I haven't talked about them. They are a totally different kind of experience. I guess it is a draw for me so far. Each cruise line has things it does really well. We have had an amazing time on every cruise we have ever taken. We love them all! It was another beautiful night.
  9. I don't think that is the problem. Like I said, it was just showing the menus and food pics from one of the NCL specialty restaurants. I've had multiple other posts with exactly the same type of content and never had a problem with it. So I don't think anything inappropriate, nothing about other travel sites, or advertising, or profanity, nothing at all. I would be be shocked if that were the problem. However it still has not been approved several hours later. Maybe they don't have moderators available for this on weekends?
  10. OK, thanks for the info. It's been a couple of hours. I was hoping to get more of my review up tonight so I'll just have to be patient. I didn't know if they have mods available at all times to take care of things like this. Thanks again.
  11. Hello all. I'm working on a trip report over on the NCL forum, and my latest post is "hidden." A brief message popped up when I tried to submit the post that says it needs approval from a moderator. I don't think I've ever had that happen before. There shouldn't be anything in the post that is a problem, it's just food pics and menus. I'm trying to review our trip in chronological order, so I don't want to continue until this post is approved. Does anyone know what causes this to happen, and how long it takes to be approved? Thanks
  12. Today we received a notice in our stateroom regarding laundry service. A paper bag was placed in our room with a notice that any amount of clothes that fit in the bag would be washed and folded for $19.95. The bag is a pretty good size, but it is very fragile paper that tears easily if you try to overstuff the bag. If you fold your clothes very neatly, you will be able to fit more than if you just wad them up and try to stuff them in there. I hand washed all of my blouses and lingere, doing one or two pieces every day to keep up. I always pack some powdered laundy detergent for this purpose, but you can even use the liquid soap from the shower, it will work fine. There is a clothesline in the shower where you can hang items up to dry. Tonight, we had our second specialty dining experience, this time at La Trattoria. La Trattoria is located at the rear of the Raffles buffet and is sectioned off with partition screens. It was very good and we enjoyed it. But I have to say that Carnival has NCL beat by far. Carnival's Italian dining venue is a flat price of $15 for multiple courses, anything you want. And they had more choices than La Trattoria. Here on NCL the cost would be much higher than $15 if you ordered a la carte. And we thought the food was really exceptional at the Carnival restaurant. Not trying to bash NCL, just sharing my opinion. We still enjoyed it. The food was very good and the service was excellent. Burrata caprese Spaghetti Carbonara Spaghetti alla Turiddu Salmone Grigliato Filetto di manzo I forgot to take a picture of the dessert menu. We had some kind of chocolate tart, and cannoli.
  13. As we continued cruising the weather and the scenery got better and better. It was really lovely. We arrived at the glacier sometime after lunch if I remember correctly. It was beautiful. The captain turned the ship slowly around so you could have a nice vantage point from wherever you were on board. We just enjoyed a lazy afternoon soaking in the scenery and relaxing.
  14. On with our adventure! Day 5 This was a sea day, but not just any sea day! Today, we crossed into the Arctic Circle and we had some beautiful scenic cruising to the Svartisen Glacier. Here is the schedule for today. Note that the schedule shows "no sunrise" and "no sunset." We had several days of continuous sunlight, and even when there was a sunset we only had twilight, before the sun came back up again, never true darkness for the duration of this cruise. The room curtains were pretty good at keeping out the light. We enjoyed a late breakfast. I loved the made to order omelet station. Breakfast at Raffles was always good with many choices, pretty much anything you could possibly want for an American or English breakfast. The day began very gray and misty, but cleared up just in time for our arrival at the glacier. We actually had marvelous weather for almost the entire cruise. We really got lucky because it can be so cold in Norway. There was supposed to be a "line crossing celebration" at the pool when we crossed the line to the arctic circle. Unfortunately the weather had not cleared up yet and it was chilly with a light rain. So nothing was happening at the pool at the appointed time. We walked over to the Galaxy lounge and did not see anything happening there either. Later, a fellow cruiser told us that they did have some activity for the line crossing in the Galaxy lounge. I don't know how we missed it because we walked through there at the scheduled time. Oh well. As you pass into the arctic circle there is this tiny island with a globe shaped monument to mark the spot. As you can see the morning was still very gray so my pictures didn't turn out well but it was still cool to mark the moment. How many people can say they have done this?
  15. Back on board, we went to dinner. I think this might have been the night we tried the Garden Dining room. My understanding is that it offers the same menu as the larger Windows dining room. We were initially seated at a table near the center of the room and I didn't care for it. It seemed crowded, with low ceilings, and dark. We asked if we could move nearer to a window, and that was better. But we never went back to the Garden room. I thought I got pictures of the menu and food most every night, but now I can't seem to find any for this night. Later, we went to the evening show which featured a hypnotist. He put on an entertaining show, but I'm a skeptic. I'm not at all convinced the people were truly hypnotized. Still, the show was a fun diversion. Finally we finished the night with a turn in the casino, as we did most every night. We did OK. I roughly broke even. Paul lost, but not badly. By the way, I forgot to post about yesterday's maintenance. This notice was placed in our room. We noticed they were replacing the toilets on our deck. In the morning there were new toilets placed outside the door of many rooms on our floor. Ours was replaced on day 4 or 5. We also returned from an excursion one day to find a caution sign on our door! It turned out there was some painting happening on our balcony. The maintenance was done at times when we were off the ship and was never a bother to us. I'll be back tomorrow to continue our tour of Norway.
  16. Our walking tour cost 100 NOK per person, about $12. This was the cheapest and most unbeatable deal of all our excursions. John, our fearless roll call leader, arranged it for us with a local guide. A similar tour offered by NCL cost $69 per person. However, our privately booked tour did require us to walk a fair distance (or spring for a taxi) to get to the meeting point with our guide, and back to the ship again. If we had done an NCL tour, I'm sure they would have arranged transportation. Here is the NCL excursion information for Trondheim.
  17. We continued our walking tour to the Old Town Bridge. We also saw the royal palace, where we were able to mount the steps (no security shooing us away as might be expected at just about any official building in the US!) and we practiced our royal wave.
  18. Unfortunately we were delayed in docking due to another ship being in our berth. We weren't able to disembark until about an hour later than planned. So we had to hurry to meet our guide, and the time we would have had to tour the inside of the cathedral was lost. Here is the cathedral. I hope on our next trip we will get to tour the inside. Our guide did an excellent job. She talked to us about the history of the cathedral. Then we walked past the Archbishop's Palace, and into a park. Here, we sampled the water at St Olav's Well, which is said to restore youth to all who partake. We drank the cool, clear water but we are still waiting for our gray hair and wrinkles to disappear. Continuing our walk....
  19. Day 4 Today we arrived in the charming city of Trondheim. Here is the schedule for today: Along with several of our roll call members, we had arranged a walking tour with a local guide. It was a brisk 20 minute or so walk to the Trondheim cathedral where we were to meet our guide. Here we are getting off the ship. We really enjoyed the street art we found in many of our ports in Norway. I posted some from Stavanger yesterday. Here is some from Trondheim that we saw as we walked to meet our guide. Paul is an artist and we love seeing public art.
  20. All aboard time was 3:30pm. Right after all aboard time, we heard a page for Mr. and Mrs. _________ to please contact Guest Services. Or something like that. Later, we heard that this couple had been left behind in Stavanger. We heard that the husband had been ready to board, but the wife failed to appear because she was shopping. Supposedly NCL retrieved an overnight bag from the couple's room with passports and maybe some other essentials, and left this with the husband stranded on the dock as he waited for his wife. I have no idea if this story is true but it was the rumor we heard from a trusted source. We went to Shogun for supper. It was disappointing. We had heard that it is great -- specialty dining but without the cost. Well, the food was not that great. We ordered steamed dumplings which arrived at our table about 90 seconds later. They were obviously not cooked fresh to order. A little dry. These were the same dumplings that are served on the buffet and in the casino in a large warming dish for late night snacks. Definitely did not show the kitchen at its best. We ordered hot and sour soup which we love and order every single time we go out for Asian food. The soup we got had a really weird, unappetizing pink color. The taste was just OK. I ordered orange beef. I've had this many times at many different restaurants. It is usually served with a rich, thick orange flavored glaze on the beef. Here, it was soupy. The flavor was just OK. We were really disappointed. Service was fast. We were in and out quickly. But the food just wasn't that good. It was the same thing you could get upstairs at the buffet. Not made fresh to order but basically served up from a warming dish. We did not bother to go back again. This was the only meal that we really found disappointing, so overall NCL is doing a great job with the food. Hot and sour soup, and dumplings Spring rolls and calamari Combination fried rice. (I wanted vegetarian fried rice as a side, but there was miscommunication and this is what I got) Orange beef We went to the show "World Beat." The performers did a fantastic job and we loved the show band. This was a major improvement over our most recent Carnival cruise, where they used recorded music and sets were nonexistent. As I already mentioned, the shows on this ship were superb. We also went up to Galaxy for the Battle of the Sexes show. Paul joined the men's team. I'm sorry to say that the men did not perform very well. LOL It was fun to watch. The Galaxy of the Stars is a beautiful lounge and we loved sitting up there enjoying the views from the big wraparound windows. It was another beautiful night.
  21. Here is the full price list for all the NCL excursions offered during this cruise. And here are the detailed descriptions of the tours offered in Stavanger.
  22. Stavanger may be best known for the amazing Pulpit Rock. We wanted to hike up to the top, but our port time did not allow. I had contacted a local guide to see if it could be done. They could not assure us that we would be able to get back to the ship on time. Disappointed to miss this amazing sight, but we did the next best thing. We took a scenic cruise through Lysefjord which was beautiful. And we saw Pulpit Rock from below. We did not do any excursions through NCL. Their prices were just crazy. I am a true believer in booking your own excursions outside of the cruise ship. This has worked very well for us and saved us tons of money. But there is always that caveat: if something goes wrong, you are on your own. If you are on an independent excursion, the ship won't wait for you. Some people just don't feel comfortable taking that chance, and I can certainly understand that. But for us, with very carefully researched providers, we have had good luck with outside tours (but we did have one hiccup later in our cruise). I'm going to post comparisons of our tours with those offered by NCL. I'm not doing this to denigrate NCL, but just as a point of comparison. So today, we had a 3 hour boat tour through the fjord with Rodne Fjord Cruise company. The cost was 550 NOK, or about $64 per person. A very similar tour is offered by NCL, and includes coffee and waffles. It cost $129 per person. I did not want to pay double the price just for a waffle. Everything else about the tour sounded exactly the same. It was a very short walk from the ship to the excursion boat. Very easy to do this tour. The scenery was just stunning. It's hard to see from below, but that's Pulpit Rock up there in the next photo. It is the little square part jutting out in the top center of the photo, 1,982 feet above us. Here is the Spirit docked in Stavanger
  23. Day 3 Today we awoke to a beautiful view in Stavanger, Norway! Here is the view from our balcony: Here is the schedule for today and a few pics from around town:
  24. We had a 6:30 pm reservation for Cagney's. It was excellent! We had a 4 dining package included with our cruise. I have to say that we really enjoyed the dining package, but I don't think it would be worth it to spend a lot of money dining a la carte at the specialty venues. By way of comparison, when we cruised Carnival, the steakhouse cost a flat rate of $35 (all other specialty restaurants were a flat rate of $15, if I remember correctly). Here on NCL, it is not a flat rate and a multicourse meal will cost considerably more than $35 per person if you don't have the dining perk. But in our case it was included (of course you have to pay the gratuity). The Captain and another officer showed up and were seated at a table next to us. Everything was delicious. The 7 layer chocolate cake was incredible. Very rich. There was no way we could finish it. Sorry, my menu photos are hard to read. Oysters Rockefeller Pork belly. It looked good but I'm sorry to say we both thought it wasn't very good. Everything else we had was delicious. Beefsteak tomato salad Iceberg wedge salad Filet mignon NY Strip Caramel Butterscotch Cheesecake Later we spent some time in the casino before bed. We are not big spenders, but we enjoyed playing a little pretty much every night. I think we skipped the show tonight, one of the only times we missed the evening show. It was singer Nicola Ward. She performed twice on this cruise and I only recall seeing her once, later on. It was another beautiful evening and we enjoyed spending some time in the Galaxy lounge.
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