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About brookie848

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    Albany, NY
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  1. We were upgraded to one of these for free. It was nice, but definitely not fancy.
  2. Not always. We've had issues at the end of the week getting $5s and $1s at the casino (both in bill breakers and at the cage). This was either on the Getaway or the Escape. After that, I always make sure I have an excess of small bills on a cruise. It is much easier just to bring it with you.
  3. Okay...I'm only on page 11 of posts and there are 14 right now, so this may already be answered and I apologize if it was. On our last cruise, we spoke at length with a staff member who was in the Mediterranean last summer/fall. He said the weather he experienced in September/October in the Med made the weather on the NY to Bahamas runs in the winter look like nothing. He told us it was the worst seas he's ever encountered. So we will now take that into consideration if/when we do a Med cruise.
  4. We stayed here and February and booked again for next year. It is a basic hotel, but very clean. The location is excellent. Definitely call the manager for the best rate. We got $25+ off the AAA rate. We were also on the north tower when we stayed and spent time on the balcony. It was nice to be able to hear the ocean after escaping from the cold northeast.
  5. On the Escape there is reserved theater seating, but as others have mentioned, the seats aren't great. We've haven't used the Haven seats for several years. We prefer our seats higher up in the theater and just get there in time to get the seats we want.
  6. This is only my opinion...and as an FYI, we don't have kids and are in our 40s/50s. Also pertinent, we've been on the Dawn twice and have also sailed the Epic (x2), Getaway, and the Escape (x2). We sail in suites. There is much less to do on the Dawn than on a megaship. With kids that age, if you are going to have a lot of sea days and they love the water slides/ropes course/rock wall, this might not be the best ship for you. There is a pool, sports deck, a decent-sized library with games, and the teen club and arcade. We've enjoyed our cruises on the Dawn, but we cruised for the itinerary (out of Puerto Rico with five ports and one sea day). If I was going on a "typical" itinerary, I would choose a megaship simply because there are more options of things to do. We do love that the shows change each night and there are no reservations for shows. We also love that the shows are only about an hour long. This was a nice change from the mega ships. We're in the minority here, but we greatly disliked Great Stirrup Cay. If you have mobility issues, this is not a great place for you. In order to get to the cabana area, it is a decent walk, some of it through the sand (no boards/cement to walk on). There are walkways in front of the cabanas, but in order to get to that area, it is a walk through sand that goes up a bit of a hill. The large cabanas are up on a hill and are no accessible (there might be one on ground level that is accessible). I would consider the small cabanas accessible. However, to get to the beach from the small cabanas, it is a long walk downhill and the entryway to the water is extremely rocky. We booked a small cabana when we were there (on the Escape last year) and the cost was $500 or more. The cost of cabanas varies depending on the ship you are on and the number of ships in port with you (there were two the day we were there). The tenders we used had two levels. When we entered from the ship, we entered the top level. In order to disembark on the island, we had to go down stairs to get off the tender. So, the ability to do stairs is needed, unless NCL is able to make alternate arrangements for you (call if you want to try -- they are pretty good about these things). The other problem we had with the tender is that we sat in the hot sun for 30+ minutes in before it left to get back to the ship. People on the tender with us had been there an hour. People were miserably hot and there was no shade. I talked to others on the ship that had waited over an hour on a tender in order to get back to the ship. Maybe we just had an off day, but the tendering along would make me not visit GSC again. If the itinerary is right, I would sail on the Dawn again. It has been newly updated, the crew is great and we love the bar Gatsby's. However, if you are used to taking advantage of all that a megaship offers, you might find the Dawn a bit lacking, especially if you have a lot of sea days. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
  7. We were on the Escape at the end of February of 2018 and it was one of the first weeks with the new Bayamo menu (maybe the second or third). I had read about it right before we left that they had changed to the Ocean Blue menu.
  8. We always tip our steward extra -- the amount depends on the service we received and asked of him. I think this year we tipped our steward $80 -- but we were in a suite, so he had two bathrooms/bedrooms to clean. He also did a great job of reading our notes and not throwing away any snacks we wanted saved! We've tipped as little as $20 and as much as $100 -- it all depends on the service -- not just how they clean our cabin, but how friendly they are in the hallways. We've had several (including this year's) who would see us and then walk with us to our cabin and unlock our door for us. We think that is above and beyond and they should get something extra for it.
  9. This will actually be our third time in the same cabin. The first time it was just my husband and I. On our second cruise, we invited a friend to use the second bedroom. She's been cruising with us ever since. We really like the southern itineraries and we love the Epic Haven, so we are looking forward to next year's cruise.
  10. If you are looking for a basic hotel at a decent price, try the Best Western Palm Condado. We stayed there a few weeks ago and booked last night for next year's Epic cruise. It is NOT fancy. I consider it a beach hotel -- a little older, but very clean. The location is great. It is a very short block to the beach (they supply chairs there if you'd like). They offer a basic continental breakfast. There are two restaurants on-site (one full-service restaurant and a Nestle Toll House Cafe) and a CVS across one street and a Walgreens across the other. There are tons of restaurants within a short walking distance. Rates start around $200/night for late February, and if you call the hotel directly, you can get a better rate.
  11. Aqua is the more casual dining room on the Dawn.
  12. Our muster was at 4:30 a few weeks ago and at the same time when we sailed out of San Juan in 2017.
  13. Ship - Dawn Deck - 12 Stateroom # - 12500 Stateroom Category – SA -- Deluxe Owner's Suite Starboard or Port Side - Forward facing, but port side of center Quiet Stateroom? (With comments on problems) – We only heard noise from adjoining cabins once, but we heard a lot of shaking and shuddering of the ship. Was stateroom a connecting stateroom? - No Balcony View - Give comments on view, noting if location of any obstructions was an issue. – We didn't have a balcony, but we had awesome forward-facing views. We honestly found that we did not miss the balcony at all. Balcony Size? Normal or oversized for class? - N/A Was wind a problem? - N/A If an aft cabin, was soot a problem? - N/A Any specific problems with this cabin? - We really heard the creaking of the ship in this cabin. Any other comments? - A few things about this cabin -- the above-mentioned noise of ship movement was a bit annoying. In addition, we could really, really feel the movement of the ship because of the high deck/forward location. We booked this particular cabin because we needed a second bedroom. Although the DOS on the outside have huge living rooms, we didn't mind the smaller living area in this cabin -- it was larger than the living area in the 2-bedroom cabins one the mega ships. The fridge is the standard small fridge, which got a bit crowded with the included mixers that were constantly replenished. Our only major complaints were the lack of storage in the master bathroom (we ran into the same problem in SD cabin on the Dawn) and how dark the master bedroom/bath were. I really wanted a few more lights. There also weren't any outlets by the beds, which made charging things a little more difficult. Overall, we were happy with this cabin and would book it again, especially on a port-heavy itinerary.
  14. We have three in our cabin for our upcoming cruise, with $600 OBC from Norwegian. It is separated into $250 for person #1, $250 for person #2 and $100 for person #3. This is fine with us, since we all share an account on the ship. Ask for an amenity report if who the OBC is designated to is not obvious on your reservation. You may be able to have the OBC moved around, but we've never tried to do that. In our experience, the OBC has rarely gone only to person #1 on the account. Again, though, I think it depends where the OBC is coming from.
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