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Everything posted by DCGuy64

  1. Ah, I got it, then. Well if it's booze you want, then absolutely stay on the ship. Or consider a land-based holiday in Spain and drink all the vermouth and sherry you can muster. 😁
  2. Yeah, that's how it has to be for now. However, I'm surprised that you think "been there before" somehow exhausts the possibilities. I've been to Rome at least a dozen times and I can assure you I've far from exhausted the possibilities. Perhaps the Epic has an excursion you haven't thought of before. Heck, I'd take an excursion to all of the places you mentioned (even if I'd been there before) just to "set foot off the ship." We had a lovely time in two Italian ports last month on MSC. Given all that's happened over the past 18 months, there's no way I'd go all the way to Italy and stay on the ship. However, I do sympathize with you because it feels limiting to have to be on an excursion just to see the country. Blame the Italian government, it's their silly rule...
  3. Thanks, all good points. We're about to set sail on the Gem this Sunday, and are in a Club Balcony suite. The Haven appeared to be available at one point (based on the upgrade program we were offered), but we couldn't justify the price (and according to the NCL site, The Haven is now fully booked). So we're happy with our choice of cabin and chose to pony up the $139 to use the spa. We also have reservations at the specialty restaurants for 3 nights. Can't wait to get onboard!
  4. I'd love to hear from some current sailors to GSC what their experience was, both in terms of ship capacity and tender capacity.
  5. All of the questions you ask are good ones, and all of them are impossible to answer with any reliability since they're based on the future and no one knows. If you're just looking for wild-a** guesses, I'd say prices will fluctuate based on demand; they might rise and they might fall. NCL's current cancellation policy only runs until the end of next month and you have 15 days to cancel without a penalty. However, the refund you're entitled to is in the form of a Future Cruise Credit (FCC), not cash/credit card refund. When is your cruise? And what category is the $3,000 for? That seems high, I don't know long your cruise is but our 7-day Caribbean cruise is only $1,000 pp for a Club Balcony Suite, including the FAS offers.
  6. Aren't the ships sailing below capacity right now, or has that changed? I wouldn't think it'd take too long if the tenders hold 450 people at a time.
  7. True, but I see a difference between saying "worst" vs "least liked." Maybe that's just me. If I asked someone what his least favorite restaurant in town was and he responded "restaurant X is the worst in town," that would sound very different than "least favorite." Again, perhaps that's just me. 🤔
  8. A rink? Wait, there's ice skating now, too. LOL 😂 @HuliHuli another fun typo, keeps me entertained.... 😅
  9. That one got a chuckle outta me... 😂
  10. It's been a pleasure reading your review, Ashley! Truly, you write so well and so vividly. It also sounds like you and Alex made the most of your time both onboard and off, which is how it should be! 😄 We're just 5 days away from our own Gem adventure. I'm anxious to try some new drinks and also see the Champagne Bar. I love champagne. 🍾 We're also looking forward to the spa. Our cruise last month in Italy was wonderful but the spa was disappointing, due to Covid they only had the saunas available, you had to book in advance and could only go for 1 hour/day max. I hope things are better on the Gem! I also want to try out Sheehan's, the menus look really good. Oh and we've booked at Cagney's, La Cucina and Moderna. I am a big meat lover but my wife is a vegetarian going on 30 years so I feel kinda bad taking her to 2 steakhouses, LOL! But there's always stuff for her to order. Anyway, thanks again for your amazing review. 😀
  11. Thank you, that's sort of what I remember from reading the fine print in the offer, thanks for refreshing my memory!
  12. Everything you said is true, but I'm sure you know not every traveler's lifestyle and background are the same. When we went to Italy last month for our MSC cruise, we DID fly an extra day early (we always lose a day, anyway, flying transatlantic), just in case there was a delay in our flight. Flying early also helped with the time change. But this NCL cruise is a different story. We're flying in the day of embarkation because that's how the BOGO deal worked out. Ideally, we would have flown in a day early, but that would have required asking NCL for a deviation, which you have to do something like 45 or 75 days from sail date. We didn't even know this cruise was going to happen at that point, given that NCL had cancelled on us twice already. And also, my wife and I still work full time, so we needed to finish work-related projects and leaving a day early would've jeopardized that. Finally, I sing professionally at a Catholic church and I have to be there this Saturday to sing, so we are flying Sunday morning. Oh yeah, and the BOGO airfare was only $199 roundtrip for the two of us. I have never seen a fare that low from DC to Miami, and certainly not one we'd have wanted. (sometimes Spirit has cheap fares but we DESPISE flying out of BWI and Spirit's reputation is abysmal) NCL has us on American Airlines out of Reagan National and our status with AA gives us nice perks like free checked bags. However, all that being said, flying in early is nice and we often do that.
  13. From what I recall, the system will not allow you to upgrade more than once, so if they're all accepted, I guess we'll take the category we liked the best. But with only 5 days to go, I doubt we'll be getting upgraded. We literally bid the lowest amount ($400) which shows "Poor" on their little results-meter in terms of the likelihood of getting it.
  14. Good point, although like the OP, we put in the minimum bid possible, and are happy with our current selection. We bid on about 4 different categories, but based on NCL's availability right now, I can narrow down our options to about 4 cabins. We'd be fine with being assigned a cabin, since I pretty much know which ones they'd be. 😁 (we only bid on forward and aft penthouse suites, and most of them have already been snapped up)
  15. Thanks, I think we'll just do it that way. As long as we're on the ship, that's really all that matters, whether it's at our appointed time or later. Thanks!
  16. We used the NCL BOGO airfare for our upcoming cruise (we sail this Sunday), and are supposed to arrive in Miami at roughly 8:30 am. During the online check-in process, I selected an arrival time at the port of between 10:30-11 am, thinking we'd have plenty of time to get there from the airport. What I didn't know until after I'd done that is that the first transfer from the airport to the port is at 10:30 (transfers are part of the BOGO airfare). Now it's too late to change the arrival time at the port (the last available time slot is the same as ours, 10:30-11.) I couldn't have known about the transfer time until after I'd selected the port arrival time. Now I'm not sure what to do, the transfers are already paid for and non-refundable. Frankly, I can't believe NCL would make people wait 2 hours from the time their flight arrives until the first transfer shuttle leaves, but I'm more irritated that because of COVID, you HAVE to arrive at the port at your scheduled time slot or will be delayed in boarding. I chatted online with an NCL rep and he said just to check back later this week to see if any later port check-in times become available. At this point I'm considering just getting my own cab and eating the cost of the transfer, in order to make sure we arrive for embarkation at our selected time. Our TA is going to see if we can get a later check-in time. Still, this is slightly irritating.
  17. Thanks for the clarification, I’ll have to re-read the text, but my larger point is twofold: 1, it’s HIPAA not HIPPA, 2, it doesn’t apply to cruise lines which is the topic at hand. 😊
  18. Yes, I initially wrote that your doctor's office can share your protected health information (PHI), but that non health care companies can. But I don't believe your grocery store, for instance, could ask you about your vaccination status and then post it online for all to see. Since I didn't want to give that impression, I proofread my comment before posting it and changed it to say that doctor's offices, etc. can ask about your PHI. A lot of times I post things on here, there are multiple revisions no one but me sees, because I try to be clear and correct when I post. 😉
  19. I finally had to sign out of Firefox and use Edge instead. I was, and am, using a desktop, not a mobile device, but there's clearly something going on with CC. Every time I tried to respond to you or post a general reply to the thread, CC would quote 5-10 other posts and then at the bottom of the page it would ask me to create a CC account or sign in, EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY WAS. I shouldn't complain since this forum is free, but it's still frustrating.
  20. Exactly right. Almost from its inception, HIPAA as been misunderstood by the general public as a blanket immunity from being asked about one's health status. It ONLY applies to health care providers, NOT the general public. So your doctor's office can't ask about your health information without your consent, but department stores, cruise lines, employers, basically everybody outside the health care field, CAN. The fact that so many people misspell the acronym as 'HIPPA' tells me they likely have no clue what it is in the first place.
  21. Thanks, OK the Venetian one definitely looks like a good deal (except for the fact that we've already got a Japan cruise booked for the same time period, and that the cheapest cabins on Oceania are already on a waitlist, and that 3 of the ports were on the same itinerary we just sailed two weeks ago). Nonetheless, I see your point, and I appreciate that there are some Oceania cruises that would fit our budget. What we've seen in the past is that cruises on Oceania that we've shown an interest in, have been vastly more expensive than the mainstream cruise lines. It's true that, as in the example you gave (and I also looked at some Caribbean itineraries for 2022), there are good deals to be had with them, but the challenge is finding something that isn't just a repeat of cruises we've already done. That being said, we will certainly consider Oceania in the future. They send us at least 2-3 brochures a WEEK, and I often joke to my wife that they could reduce their prices if they stopped printing and sending full-color brochures all the time! We have a stack of them that's about 1 foot high, and I'm not exaggerating. My dad did a British Isles cruise with Oceania a few years ago and really liked it, however unlike me, he's retired and well-off, so it's not a fair comparison. My wife started a new job a few months ago after an extended period of unemployment, and she gets no benefits, and we have lots of expenses so we have to be careful not to overextend ourselves. We tend to budget and plan our vacations pretty carefully. One year we might decide to splurge and do just 1 pricey cruise, and Oceania may well be it. However, that won't be in 2022, our vacation schedule is already full. But one day! PS this message was in reply to @Flatbush Flyer, it took me more than an hour to post it because CC kept crashing on me, then my computer crashed on me and I had to restart, then I had a doctor's appointment, and then CC still was acting up. I hope my reply gets posted THIS TIME. FFS....
  22. Free at Sea is a promotion that NCL runs basically all of the time, where you get several included items with your cruise fare. They typically include the premium beverage package, a $50 excursion credit, Internet, and specialty dining. You can also get the third and fourth people in your cabin for free. And they often have a buy one get one airfare deal.
  23. That’s your problem, right there. You’re assuming we stay in the Haven, that is outrageously priced as far as we are concerned, I think given that you assumed we were Haven customers, you would be correct in saying that Oceania is comparable. But we only stay in balcony cabins or lower (no suites, Havens, penthouses, etc.), so our total cost for the two of us for a week is below $5000. And that’s including airfare. I’ve never seen any deals on Oceania that low. Our upcoming cruise on the Gem is costing us about $2600 including airfare (for 2, mind you), but even if we added on some nice excursions, there’s no way we’re gonna get anywhere close to $5000 even for the two of us. I think you and I are just in different price brackets, and that’s fine. Like I said before, one day we will be able to do something like Oceania, but not at this point. Also, we both work full-time so doing three- and four-week cruises is impossible. I think you seem to have pegged me for rich and retired, and I am neither. 😉
  24. I think you mean “many folks with fat wallets.“ We’ve looked at doing Oceania Cruises and it’s easily 2 to 3 times more expensive than NCL for even the cheapest cabins, and they’re always sold out before we could get them. One day, when I’m rich and famous, LOL. Right now, it’s just out of our league.
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