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CarolinaMamma

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Posts posted by CarolinaMamma


  1. We have a spring break cruise coming up next week, which wasn’t too full until the crane fell on Oasis, and while I am happy that many of those passengers were able to rebook on Breakaway, we are now preparing to be on a more crowded ship. I hear that if the kids’ club and Entourage get full, they turn people away. We only have one kid who is young enough to be in the kids’ club. She is 12, and I would bet the 10-12 group is the least popular, as many of those kids feel too old for the kids’ club.

     

    So here is my question. Is the limit on capacity for each age group, or for the whole Splash Academy overall? If there is a limit per age group, I am not too worried, as I would imagine the younger groups would fill up, but not the 10-12 group. If it’s for Splash Academy as a whole, I will try to make sure she gets there early if she wants to go, and change our dinner reservations accordingly.

     

    I’m also wondering if Entourage fills up on spring break cruises. My teen will probably not go every night, but the first night is important to meet people, and I don’t want him to get turned away. 

     

     


  2. We did it on Breakaway in 2015. The show was a little cheesy, and if you are much of a wine drinker at all, be warned that the wine is crap. I think it’s geared toward people who have never been to a wine tasting and know nothing about wine. We knew we were on a cruise, so expected this and weren’t too disappointed. 


  3. This may or may not be helpful, but here are some pics of the ocean view on Spirit that our 3 kids slept in. There was one bed that folded down from the wall. Insides may be different. Not sure if your 4th will be another pull-down or a cot. The Spirit was not originally an NCL ship, so it is different from all their other ships and I would not use other NCL ships as a guide. 

     

    We LOVED their Spirit, by the way. The back amphitheater style pool deck was my favorite place to hang out. Hope you have a great cruise!

     

    CC91B88B-9164-4DE1-AD1F-30351690EF32.jpeg

    38AEE27E-1F7C-4FD3-A759-8BAFECDD9C20.jpeg


  4. Hi! We are on the same cruise. Glad you were able to re-book your trip.

     

    I have sailed on Breakaway once before and my main tip is to book shows and restaurants early. The thing about “freestyle” cruising is that if there are things you really want to do, you need to book them before cruising or the first day you are on the ship, unless you want to eat at 9:30 p.m. This has become even more of a problem since they started giving the 3-night dinner package to everyone as a free perk. 

     

    Come on over to our roll call. A meet and greet and some other activities are being organized. 


  5. I have cruised on smaller Celebrity ships (Millennium and Infinity) and on Breakaway. I think if you are used to Celebrity quality, you should plan to upgrade your NCL experience to match it, and then figure that into the price comparison. We only eat in specialty restaurants for dinner on NCL. On our Bermuda cruise, which was very rough, as we were chasing a hurricane, a lot of outside venues were closed due to wind, which meant that the inside public areas felt crowded, so we were glad to have a large aft balcony. I imagine this would not have been such an issue in fairer weather. On the other hand, we liked that there were more entertainment choices and things to do on Breakaway. The How at the Moon dueling pianos was one of our favorites. Also, keep in mind that on a ship that offers UBP as a “free” perk, you are going to see a lot more of your fellow passengers trying to “get their money’s worth” and walking around drunk at all hours. We enjoy NCL, but know that it is a different experience than Celebrity.


  6. 10 minutes ago, Blitzburggirl said:

    We are going on Breakaway in a couple weeks and it was sad to waste the UBP "credits." A little irritating actually.

     

    How does one find out how much spa passes are? We will be on Breakaway April 13... with every other kid in the North East US 😞

    I think we are on the same cruise. Are you on the roll call and going to the meet and greet?

     

    Spa passes are $200 per person for the week. You can buy them in advance on the NCL website or when you embark. 

     

    To clarify, In my original post, I was asking if we could change the cabin assignments once onboard so that both adults are in one room and teens are in the other. I have heard on this forum that some people have done this, but I don’t know if they are actually changing the cabin assignments officially, which would be needed to get spa access for both adults, or just “unofficially” changing who is in which cabin, which we have done in the past. 

     

    The other balcony that we have is on the same deck as the spa balconie, so I’m not worried about the cabins being far apart if we upgrade. 


  7. 1 hour ago, Two Wheels Only said:

    Why not just buy Spa access for the adults and skip the risk of bidding?

    In this case, the minimum bids are quite low and there are 10 unsold spa mini suites and at least 15 unsold spa balconies 15 days before the cruise, so the odds of getting an upgrade are quite good. If we got one room upgraded, it could cost less than one spa pass for the week. 


  8. For Breakaway, you can pre-book Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor, and Cirque Dreams (show and dinner) though I heard they are replacing that one. 

     

    Now that so many people get specialty dining as a free perk, those really fill up. If you kind of already know your plan, it’s best to make reservations so that you can start relaxing as soon as you board and not wait in a line scrambling to make reservations. 

     

    There are a few other things that you can only book once on board, like Canvas by U and the escape room and I’m not sure what else.

     

    If you are going to a show and eating dinner first, allow at least an hour and a half for dinner, preferably two hours. 


  9. We have two balconies booked for our family of 4. When we book, we have to put one adult and one kid in each room, then when we get onboard we get extra keys so that all of us can get in both rooms, and we put my husband and me in one room and the two teens in the other room. This is how we do it, the staff knows, and we’ve never had a problem with this before. 

     

    Considering an upgrade bid for one of the rooms for a spa balcony or a spa mini suite. If one of our rooms is upgraded, let’s say, the room for me and my daughter, can we switch the room assignments once on board so that my husband and I are assigned to the spa cabin and the kids to the non-spa balcony?  I know we can’t do it in advance be3cause they need an adult booked in each room.

     

    I have read conflicting information on this board when it comes to switching teens’ and adults’ rooms. In the past, we have just gotten extra keys and not officially changed who is in which room. If it’s not possible to actually change the cabin assignments once on board, maybe I should bid for the upgrade for both rooms, but I still don’t know what we’ll do if one room gets upgraded and the other doesn’t. 


  10. We have two balconies booked for our family of 4. When we book, we have to put one adult and one kid in each room, then when we get onboard we get extra keys so that all of us can get in both rooms, and we put my husband and me in one room and the two teens in the other room. This is how we do it, the staff knows, and we’ve never had a problem with this before. 

     

    Considering an upgrade bid for one of the rooms for a spa balcony or a spa mini suite. If one of our rooms is upgraded, let’s say, the room for me and my daughter, can we switch the room assignments once on board so that my husband and I are assigned to the spa cabin and the kids to the non-spa balcony?  I know we can’t do it in advance be3cause they need an adult booked in each room.

     

    I have read conflicting information on this board when it comes to switching teens’ and adults’ rooms. In the past, we have just gotten extra keys and not officially changed who is in which room. If it’s not possible to actually change the cabin assignments once on board, maybe I should bid for the upgrade for both rooms, but I still don’t know what we’ll do if one room gets upgraded and the other doesn’t. 


  11. Diet Pepsi is nasty and a waste of good vodka. Better to get a vodka and club soda with lemon or lime. The mojito without simple syrup is also a good idea. A dirty martini is potent. And a glass of red wine could have as little as 4 grams of carbs. 

     

    If you are picky about your sugar substitutes, bring your own. I only use stevia or monk fruit, and they don’t have those. 


  12. Taxis are readily available at the port, and public trans is also easy to use. The Rick Steves Mediterranean cruise ports book has some great info to help you get around Barcelona. Highly recommend. 

     

    I cant help too much with the disembarkation times. I don’t remember how long it took us. We usually booked a private tour where the guide would meet us at the dock, so we didn’t lose time figuring out where we were going. We didn’t do this for Barcelona though, because it was so easy to get around on our own.


  13. We’ll be in Breakaway April 14th, abs I hope it’s as good as the last time. Honestly, I’ve never had a bad cruise, and crew are always pleasant if you respect them and treat them well. I’ve seen more rude passengers than rude crew members. I wonder what impact so many people having and wanting to get their money’s worth out of the beverage package will have on bar demand and passenger behavior.

     

    Personally, I’m buying a sh’load of bottled water from NCL before the cruise, and bringing a lot of my own (good) wine and paying the corkage fee. That should alleviate some of the frustration waiting for water or a drink.


  14. Thanks for the info. Next question. Do you ha e to buy the internet package for people to communicate with one another via the NCL app? I am kind of looking forward to my kids NOT having internet for a week, but if they do meet friends, I want them to have a way to coordinate meetups. 


  15. 15 hours ago, Ella2 said:

     

    You pay the corkage fee at embarkation.  Just past the x-ray machines there is a table where you take the wine (be SURE you bring it as a carry-on) and they will charge you the $15 per bottle (assuming it is still that cost) and will tag the bottles with stickers that will allow you to take it anywhere on the ship, including dining rooms.  You can get glasses from any bar.  You may want to pack a travel corkscrew in your CHECKED bag (for airline purposes) for convenience, although you could probably get one one the ship. EDITED: I see you are DRIVING to the port so no worries about bringing a corkscrew with you in a carry on bag.

    Thank you, Ella2. Very helpful information. 2 more questions:

    1. Is there a limit to the number of bottles you can bring on board?

    2. After they are tagged at embarkation, is there a way to have them delivered to our cabin or store them for a few hours, or will we have to schlepp them around the ship while we wait for cabins to be ready?


  16. So, it’s been about three and a half years since I’ve eaten in NCL specialty restaurants, and based what I have been reading here, it seems the quality may have gone down now that specialty dining is a perk that is included for many bookings. It’s certainly harder to get reservations! I’m also reading about upcharges for shrimp cocktail, two tiny spears of broccoli served as a side at Cagney’s, and limits on what you can order. So, questions:

     

    1. What are you allowed to order that’s “included” in the dining package? Can you order more than one app or side? I’m not looking to be a pig and take advantage of the system, but I don’t eat desserts, bread, potatoes, rice, etc. and I generally stick to vegetables and protein. (I’m a recovering diabetic and have to eat very low-carb to keep my blood sugar under control without medications) Could I get two veggie sides at Cagney’s? Could I get 3 appetizers and no entree? Just wondering how much flexibility there is when using the dining package and whether they spell that out for you. I’d prefer to avoid any awkwardness when we order, and to tell my kids beforehand if there are any restrictions. I don’t really want to pay $5 for 3 shrimp when we eat shrimp all the time at home. 

     

    2. Have any of the restaurants gone severely downhill in the last few years? We booked the following, and I’m wondering if I should change any reservations:

    Ocean Blue 1 night

    Teppanyaki 1 night (it was all that was available that night, and at 5:00!)

    Le Bistro 1 night

    Moderno 2 nights

    Cagney’s 1 night

    Cirque Dreams 1 night

    We didn’t book La Cucina because I was not impressed with it on our last cruise, plus my whole not eating carbs thing rules out a lot of the choices. 

    Wondering if I should change Cagney’s to another night in Le Bistro or Ocean Blue, based on what I have been reading here on cruise critic. 

     

    3. What is the deal with Wasabi and the raw bar? I seem to remember last time we had the unlimited dining package, which I don’t think exists anymore, and we just had to pay a small up charge to eat at Wasabi. If we have the 7-meal dining package, would eating there count as using one of our 7 meals? How are the prices there if you just eat a la carte? Anyone have menus? I love me some good sashimi.

     


  17. 6 hours ago, Surfsup2017 said:

    I never get the beverage package option which is not "free" once they add the charges.  Since I only drink wine, I bring my wine aboard and pay the $15 per bottle corkage fee.  The math works in my favor. A bottle of wine that retails, sometimes on sale, for $40 a bottle costs around $100 on board plus 18% service charge.  So simply $118 minus $55 equals $63 in savings for a bottle that you probably couldn't buy on board anyway!  By the way, this really only works out well for those of us who travel to the ship from home without getting on an airplane (e.g. New York area). 

    But I totally agree with you about the quality and availability of wines by the glass on board.  They used to have different wines available by the glass in the premium restaurants including Le Bistro and Cagney's but appear to have done away with that. 

    This has me thinking that maybe we should bring our own wine for our upcoming cruise (we are driving to the port) and pay the corkage fee. Can you tell me how it works? Do we pay the corkage fee at embarkation, or at the restaurants as we consume the wine? Will they provide a corkscrew and glasses if we want to drink it on our balcony?

     

    We do not have the beverage package for our upcoming cruise. Got a great deal on a balcony guarantee, the the beverage package does not include the three main things we drink, espresso drinks, bottled water and good, full-bodied red wine. 


  18. Sailing on Breakaway in a couple of weeks, and my 15 year old son is skeptical. This cruise will be the week before Easter, which is our spring break and spring break for a lot of the Northeast as well, so there should be a decent number of kids on board. Would love ot hear from others what their kids thought of the teen activities onboard and what some of their favorite spots were. 


  19. I’ve read the dress code on NCL’s website, and it says long pants are required for the more upscale specialty restaurants, but it doesn’t say which ones. I’ve searched other threads here, and it looks like they are required in Le Bistro. I am specifically wondering whether long pants are required for Ocean Blue, as we have an early reservation the first night, and, as luggage can be delayed sometimes, I’m wondering if I should just have my husband and teenage son wear long pants on board that first day. Miami is hot, so I don’t want to make them wear long pants if they don’t need to. If nice shorts and a polo would be ok, they might rather wear those. 


  20. CarolinaMamma - last year our cruise was on Royal, and they did email us - I believe- the day before to let us know the itinerary had been changed to Canada. We were already on the road and didn't have a smartphone so found out when we got there. Most everyone we spoke to took it in stride - even the folks we had lunch with who drove to NJ from Halifax! (I love Canada, so we had a great cruise!)

     

    So tell me, where did you go in Canada and what did you do?

     

    I ask this mostly to figure out what to pack and maybe what ports to research. We leave for NY Friday morning, so I have to pack tomorrow, and we probably won't know anything for sure by then.

     

    I'm assuming NCL will refund money for shore excursions if they have to divert. And we have trip insurance, which will help in case anything really bad happens.

     

    We will have a blast no matter what. I am just focused on what to pack right now, planning for all contingencies, while trying to stay under the baggage weight limit for the airline!

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