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About brookie848

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    Albany, NY
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  1. brookie848

    Calm Beach

    The restrooms were fine. They are a restaurant first and a beach club second. It was one of our better cruise restrooms. When we were there last year, there were only seven other people there. Rather than set up a buffet, they just asked if we wanted ribs, chicken or fish or what combination we wanted. We were served a huge platter of food that included salad, vegetables, potatoes, rice, and meat. We thought the food was very good. We had the all-inclusive package. We've already booked the same for our upcoming cruise.
  2. brookie848

    Calm Beach

    I think the water calmness has more to do with luck/weather. We were at BeachlimerZ last year and the water was flat and warm. It was great. However, others have posted having rough water while they were there. We're going again in March and we're hoping for the best. Even if the water doesn't cooperate, the facilities will be enough for us.
  3. brookie848

    New Program called "The Key"

    Norwegian tried something like this a few years ago. People freaked out and the program was pulled. I can't remember the exact details, but the main issue was that it was going to affect the suite customers. Enough complained and the program never happened. I'll be curious to see how all this plays out.
  4. brookie848

    Dawn Dining Reservations 130 days out

    The same exact things happened to me when I booked a few weeks ago (130 days out, three of us, staying in a suite). We booked everything for four people. Check later in the day -- Wednesday should open up. I was able to make reservations over the phone, but they opened up later in the day online. I made the same observations about Wednesday -- they really don't expect you to eat then. If you check on available dining, the Garden Cafe wasn't even coming up! I talked to the pre-cruise concierge to make reservations for Wednesday, but that didn't go well. We got our reservations, but not without a fight. It was my worst experience with this department. The woman didn't know the rules, kept giving me false information and was not nice at all. I really wish I had gotten her name. I finally got my Wednesday reservations, but only after fighting her for them. We also found it strange that there were no reservations available for any number of people for certain times (maybe 6:30?). We may end up changing a few of our reservations on board. Enjoy relaxing until your cruise! We've booked everything we can, so it is a waiting game for us as well.
  5. brookie848

    Taste and Savor on Epic - 2 Questions

    We've asked to see the menus for the week at the beginning of the trip and we're going to ask to the do the same on our next cruise. On one of our cruises last year, the menu for the first and last night was the same. But I think that had to do with provisioning -- it was the first cruise out of Puerto Rico after the hurricanes and I know they were struggling to get some supplies to the ship.
  6. brookie848

    Not the cruise line you want to cruise with

    We use insuremytrip to search for coverage and our current policy is through Travel Guard.. It will offer a lot of options. Some pre-existing condition insurances need to be bought within 15 days of the purchase of the trip, but that can vary. It also varies by state. Research carefully before you purchase to make sure what you might need to be covered will be. I wish you the best!
  7. brookie848

    St.Thomas and Tortola excursions

    For Tortola, either do the Baths or do the Escape to Jost Van Dyke excursion (we will doing this for the second time on our next cruise). If you are staying on St. Thomas proper, don't bother with a ship excursion. Spend some time on the St. Thomas boards and get your bearings. There is really no reason for you to do a land-based ship excursion on St. Thomas. Taxis are plentiful and regulated, English is the native language and there is a lot of information about the different beaches.
  8. brookie848

    NCL Haven vs. RCL suite class

    The best thing about the Haven suites on these ships is that all the perks are the same for each cabin with a couple of minor exceptions. The exceptions are that the Owners and Deluxe Owners Suites get three free bottles of alcohol and unlimited water and mixers. Besides that, all the suites get the same benefits. If you've had a Genie on Royal, your service from your butler isn't going to be as personalized. You are still going to want to make some reservations before you get on the ship -- the concierge can help you out, but they aren't always able to work miracles. You can, however, dine in your suite if you can't get reservations at a restaurant. The major difference between the Breakaway and the Getaway is that the Breakaway has a roof over the Haven pool -- you might want to take that into consideration. We've sailed on the Getaway and it was my least favorite Haven (I've also been on the Escape and the Epic), but it was still great. If you can sail on the Escape, I would choose that ship over the -aways in a heartbeat. Another difference between Royal and NCL is that the Haven is just for suite customers, minus a few times it is opened up for parties. The lounge will not normally be open to high-level loyalty members like it can be on some Royal ships. I've not sailed on Royal, but I've considered it. For now, we prefer the suite program on NCL. We like the flexibility, the fact we don't have to dress up, that all suites get the same perks, and the afternoon snacks! If you have any specific questions, ask.
  9. brookie848

    Not the cruise line you want to cruise with

    No. Most of our flights are on Southwest, and since they are actually the nice airline when it comes to changing your plans, they must not offer it. When I last booked with another airline, this wasn't offered to me.
  10. brookie848

    Not the cruise line you want to cruise with

    We always book direct, so we don't see that. We've never been offered insurance on a hotel or flight. If that's the case, then there is truly no excuse for complaining about not being covered if something goes wrong.
  11. brookie848

    Not the cruise line you want to cruise with

    Most of the other carriers (not all) don't offer insurance when you purchase their services. I've never been offered it on a hotel or airline ticket. The only places we've been offered insurance by the vendor is a cruise and when we rent a condo at the beach. So if they don't offer insurance, it is less likely that they will stick to their policies since the consumer was offered nothing to fall back upon. NCL does offer this service. If you choose not to take it, you are self-insuring and indicating that you are willing to take that risk. It is really quite simple.
  12. brookie848

    Not the cruise line you want to cruise with

    I am sending good thoughts to everyone who needs them health-wise, but insurance -- there's a reason for it! If you can't afford to eat the costs of something, get the insurance. If you don't just NCL insurance (which has worked for us in the past when we had to cancel the DAY BEFORE the cruise), there are plenty of other options. This is a company, they have policies, and those policies are very clearly stated. There are reasons for policies. And as NLH Arizona mentioned, where should they draw the line? By having strict policies and offering insurance as protection, it keeps things simple for everyone. And as an FYI, this is coming from a person who has no idea if we are going to be able to go on our cruise at the end of February because of health reasons. However, we have insurance (bought through a third-party because it is a pre-existing condition) and we are hoping for the best. If the worst happens (or the best and my husband gets called for a transplant), then we know our costs are covered because we did the smart thing and protected our investment.
  13. brookie848

    Haven area on Escape

    I would choose 17 (we've stayed on this deck twice). I think your chance for great service increases if you walk through the concierge area. Just saying hello helps them remember you. It's also nice to walk by the bar and grab a drink as you are heading to the cabin.
  14. brookie848

    NCL cruise consultant & how do you book ncl cruises?

    You don't negotiate -- you just ask. Every time you talk to your PCC. "Is there any OBC available that you can give me?" It doesn't usually work, but if you ask enough and are nice and friendly, it can work. It also helps if you have a "relationship" with your PCC and if you ask when you are calling to book another cruise. Out of our seven cruises, we've gotten extra OBC three times. Once without asking (prices dropped and we were given a nominal amount). The other two my husband asked and we received OBC ($300 and $600). My husband is still hoping for more OBC for our upcoming cruise, but I'm not counting on it.
  15. brookie848

    NCL cruise consultant & how do you book ncl cruises?

    We use our PCC because it has been a pretty effective way for us to get additional OBC. My husband is friendly, persistent, and just asks. When we booked our upcoming Dawn cruise, we ended up with $1,100 OBC -- which was $600 more than advertised. Thankfully we were able to move the $600 to our Escape cruise. It would have been tough to spend $1,100 on the Dawn with only one sea day.