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Everything posted by dcipjr

  1. I'm considering trying MSC, since they've expanded operations from NYC. What's really holding me back on MSC Is the reports of the MDR food being decidedly not-great. Now, granted, NCL's MDR food this cruise was hit-and-miss. How have you found non-specialty dining on MSC?
  2. I completely agree! We had a great time, but most of the highlights were in Bermuda. The Atrium is really heavily used and it’s SO LOUD. It makes it hard to eat at O’Sheehans due to the noise. We asked to be seated towards the back and the hostess brought us to as quiet a spot as she could find, and we shared a few laughs about the noise (it was getting on her nerves too!). I plan to fill out a Dear GM card on the next sailing and see if they’ll let her order the hot dog or chicken fingers. Great advice—thank you!
  3. It was basically identical to the 2023 menus, just with fewer options. Kind of another reason why we want to try a different line: we’ve had about everything off the MDR menu. They found a way! Luckily our daughter liked the pizza but for picky eaters, it’s not a great menu. At least we got two days in Bermuda. I would have been really disappointed. That’s three Getaway sailings in a row that modified their calling times in Bermuda.
  4. @mking8288, I unfortunately wasn't able to get the list of officers, but I can confirm for you that the Getaway is still using the ancient 1996-vintage navigation channel.
  5. We did. Like I said, I was glad to have our balcony cabin to read in. We missed the Observation Lounge—that was always a great reading spot.
  6. Hello CruiseCritic! We just got off the Getaway's 7-day sailing from New York to Bermuda, so I figured I'd post a brief review with my thoughts. We're a family of 3: my wife and I are both 39, and our daughter is 6. Booking We are from Philly, so we've done a ton of cruises out of New York to Bermuda. Our first was on the Star in August of 2012, celebrating our first anniversary. We had cruised aboard the Epic for our honeymoon and loved it, and wanted to do another cruise, so we booked a last-minute inside cabin to Bermuda and had an absolute blast. We've been cruising to Bermuda ever since -- and so far, only with NCL. Even though we're seasoned Bermuda veterans, we've only ever been there between May and October. Late March was a solid month before our earliest trip there, and we knew going in that it wouldn't be as warm as our normal summer trips, especially the water temperature. Our first inclination was to go to the Caribbean instead of Bermuda; we're already booked for a Bermuda cruise on the Joy later this year, and the Caribbean would be warmer. But there were no sailings to the Caribbean out of NYC in mid to late March, and prices out of Florida were sky-high. If we wanted to cruise NCL, Bermuda was our only viable option. We initially booked an inside guarantee, and put in a $200 per-person bid to a balcony, which was accepted 6 days before the cruise -- yay! Delayed Departure and Embarkation Two sailings prior to our cruise, the Getaway had some "mechanical" issues, and was late getting into New York after coming up from the Caribbean. We watched the sailing just prior to ours with great interest, to see whether the mechanical issues would continue to plague the ship. It didn't appear that they did, but the ship was late getting back into New York due to rough seas. We got messages the night before the cruise telling us that the ship wouldn't arrive until noon on Sunday, and that we shouldn't arrive at the pier until 3 or 4 PM on embarkation day. We were driving to New York anyway, so no biggie -- we simply delayed our departure for New York until 2:30 PM, and got to to the terminal at 4:30 PM, securing one of the last parking spots on the pier -- whew! It turns out that many people showed up well before 3 PM, and the parking at the pier very nearly filled up. The flip side of this is that we cruised right through embarkation. There was basically no line, and we were through embarkation and on the ship with no waiting -- it took a half-hour at most. That was great, but we did miss a solid 5 hours of our embarkation day -- that was a disappointment, since that time onboard prior to sailing is always so full of excitement. I missed that. But hey, we're still on vacation,so let's go! Delayed Arrival to Bermuda Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to continue to throw monkey wrenches our way. We got the announcement on Monday that our arrival to Bermuda would be delayed 1 day, until Wednesday. Our original itinerary had us in port from 8 AM on Tuesday until 7 AM on Friday, which is a lot of time in Bermuda -- and we were really looking forward to that. We had two rough sea days. Many people were sea-sick. We were packing Bonine, ginger candies, and sea bands. They helped stave off nausea, but they don't do anything about the ship lurching about. It made it harder to sleep and walk around. Then, when we got to Bermuda, we got word that we'd be leaving on Thursday evening instead of Friday morning -- a further reduction to our time on the island. They gave us $200 OBC ($100 for the late arrival, $100 for the early departure). This is much-appreciated, but it's a real bummer that you can only use non-refundable OBC for items that are marked up. I would have loved to have used the OBC to buy a CruiseNext certificate, but that is no longer permitted. Bermuda Bermuda itself was absolutely lovely. The weather was a balmy 72°F, and the water temperature was a chilly 68°F, but we still visited the beaches and my daughter played in the wet sand. The island is just a wonderful, wonderful place. We'd come back in March -- but honestly, I don't think we'd cruise there again in March. It's just too much of a gamble with the weather on the way down: the past couple sailings and the current sailing were also affected by weather. It does raise the question why NCL isn't offering better itineraries out of NYC for Spring Break. On the Cutbacks OK, so everyone on CruiseCritic was talking about cutbacks, to the point where I started actively avoiding the boards so that I wouldn't poison my own opinion of the cruise before we even set sail. What's the verdict? Well, there have been cutbacks for sure, mostly around food and entertainment. I'll go into both. Food We noticed a decline in MDR food quality, as well as the number of options available on the menu. The right side of the menu has been reduced from 6 or 7 entrees in 2023 to 5, and the left side lost an entree as well. There's now a big section of the menu devoted to food you can order from Cagneys. Want lobster in the MDR? Well good news for you -- you can get it! Bad news is that it's an upsell. And that big section of food you can order from Cagneys conveniently means they don't have as much space to put regular entrees there. As for the food itself, it was OK, but it wasn't great. We have always been fine with the MDR options, but this time I think I would have been really disappointed if I didn't have a couple Latitudes vouchers for specialty meals. Hard to put my finger on exactly what was wrong. The ingredients seemed lower quality. The MDR food just was bland in general. The buffet fared a little better, but certain things I enjoyed for breakfast were gone. Everyone will complain about the hashbrowns being gone, but the country potatoes were just not good this time around. They're soggy and disappointing. The old ones were crispier and just better. The specialty restaurants, on the other hand, were still as good as ever. We dined in Ocean Blue, Moderno, and Le Bistro, and enjoyed them all. I will point out, though, that the mascarpone & caramelized onion bread in Ocean Blue is gone...gone...which was cause for much sadness for both me and my wife, who absolutely loved that bread. Food quality otherwise in the specialties was every bit up to par. O'Sheehans has only ever been average food, but sometimes you just want a nonfancy burger, and it certainly still fits the bill. I don't think food quality has declined here, but there do appear to be somewhat fewer options than before. The kids menu changed. They eliminated the chicken tenders, hot dog, chicken noodle soup. They added roasted tomato soup, a veggie taco, and a chicken stir fry. My daughter is still in the Only Wants Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese stage (though she's slowly getting better), so this was a bit of a blow. Though we were sort of happy to not let her eat hot dogs all week. At least the pizza is still there. Entertainment OK, so somehow I made it through almost 20 NCL cruises without having seen Howl at the Moon, and damn have I been missing out!!! They were so good. I saw the final show, came in at the start, and wound up staying the entire time until 1 AM. Absolutely brilliant. Not to be missed if you love music. The comedians were fun; I don't think Levity overall is as good as Second City used to be, but still really solid, and I enjoyed seeing them for a couple shows. Out of morbid curiosity, I went to see Wheel of Fortune, and it was absolutely dreadful. It's sort of a travesty that it's considered prime-time entertainment on a ship of this size. It was basically the cruise director shouting into the mic, and a virtual on-screen wheel. Come on, NCL, you couldn't even come up with a real wheel to spin? The contestents had obviously never seen the show nor had they ever studied letter frequency in the English language. RLSTNE, anyone? One of them even solved the puzzle without spinning the wheel, which would have been impressive if she didn't just lock in a $0 winning. Thankfully it was over in about 30 minutes. Woof. Onboard Activities Something I learned this cruise -- the Getaway is a much better warm-weather ship than cold weather. We are so, so lucky that we upgraded to a balcony, because at least we could watch the sea on the sea days, while we read books and popped Bonine. If we had stayed in our inside cabin, I don't know what we would have done. When the weather's not good, there's not a whole lot to do on the ship during the day that doesn't involve purchasing spa treatments, art, or bingo cards. My daughter went to the kids club once, and enjoyed it, but the lines to get in were so long that we didn't really bother trying to drop her off there. Spring Break, after all. Service Service was fine. Not as good as we had in the past, but honestly, it's Spring Break and I think the crew was sort of just trying to get through it all. I get it. One MDR waiter had us cracking up laughing about all the stumbling around that the crew had been doing due to the rough seas. They were over it by the time we were onboard. Multiple crew members said to me that they couldn't wait to get back to the Caribbean, since the back and forth to Bermuda had been so brutal. Our cabin attendant was great. I miss the days where there were more cabin attendants and staterooms were usually done by 11 AM or lunchtime at the latest. 4 PM cabin makeup is a bit of a drag -- and that's on NCL, not the attendants. I said before and I'll say again that the cabin attendant is the most visible member of the crew for almost everyone onboard. If they're overworked, people will notice. I noticed. Overall Thoughts We had a good time. It wasn't the best cruise we ever took, being honest. The days in Bermuda were by far the best part -- it sort of reminded us "this is why we're here". I think we'll skip winter / very early spring sailings to Bermuda from here on out, though. The weather out of NYC is too much of a gamble. Granted, even Florida had their issues that same week, but you have to go with the best possible option. After nearly 20 cruises, I'm sort of feeling like I've been-there-done-that with NCL, and the prices have gone up significantly. In fact, the rate for the third person in the room was higher than the first and second person -- which was something I never saw before! We've got an August cruise on the Joy coming up (to Bermuda...booked last summer). I could cancel it, but I think I'll keep it. We love Bermuda, and missed snorkeling and swimming while we were there, and it felt good as we sailed away from the island to know we'd be coming back in a few short months. But I think after this, we'll take a break from NCL and try some other lines: perhaps Celebrity or HAL. Let me know if you have any questions, etc. Happy to answer.
  7. That makes sense. I always follow Bermuda's Weather Service (https://www.weather.bm)—they have the most accurate predictions. They are not forecasting anything that looks too drastic, but it's still a few days out.
  8. The weather for the trip down to Bermuda tomorrow looks fine on Windy, and the National Weather Service is also calling for 4 foot seas tomorrow. We pulled into our berth at Pier 88 at 4 AM this morning, so ahead of schedule. If Getaway can’t get to Bermuda by Tuesday, I’d suspect some sort of propulsion issue as well. Conditions are near-ideal for tomorrow.
  9. Windy is showing sea conditions tomorrow that are considerably better than anything we got (aside from the last sea day, yesterday). If Getaway is delayed getting to Bermuda again, then I’m suspecting that she’s still having mechanical issues. We had to depart Thursday evening from Bermuda, faced a really rocky Friday morning, and then had calm seas from late Friday until we arrived today. I’m really not sure why they didn’t just have us leave Bermuda on Friday afternoon—unless, of course, she is unable to make or sustain her top speed.
  10. It’s still on the Getaway. After countless cruises that had it, I finally got around to checking it out last night (I’m onboard now) and I’m kicking myself for not going sooner. It was so good.
  11. Just noticed that as well on the ferry to St. George! And another update: not only are we not staying a bit later, we are leaving early. The captain announced that we are sailing Thursday at 6 PM to avoid worsening weather conditions on the way back to New York. This seems a bit dodgy to me—Windy shows poor sea conditions on Friday that seem to get better on Saturday. I’m wondering whether they are covering for propulsion issues. They’ve issued us another $100 of OBC, but I’m less than thrilled. I’ll write up thoughts when we get home, but we have definitely seen evidence of cutbacks. The food has been decidedly lower quality than in the past, and the entertainment hasn’t been great. We’re booked for August on the Joy, and leaning towards keeping our reservation, but this trip has been somewhat disappointing. Some of that is due to weather, which is beyond the control of NCL, but the product has suffered a bit. Not as dramatically as I’ve heard on here, but enough to notice.
  12. We actually did well. We arrived at 4:30 PM and got right on the boat—minimal wait times in the Terminal. Seems that many people got there well before the 3 PM start time for embarkation. We got one of the last parking spots on the pier. Whew! As suspected, the captain hugged the coastline to minimize the rough ride, at the expense of 1 day in Bermuda—we are arriving now, as opposed to yesterday’s originally-scheduled arrival. Unfortunately, our departure time from Bermuda has not been modified from the originally-scheduled 7 AM Friday. I thought it would be moved back to 2 PM like the previous cruise, since weather on the way back should be fine. But…no. We got $100 OBC as compensation but I’d much rather have an extra half-day in Bermuda. I wonder whether Getaway is still speed-restricted. The ride down was pretty rough all the way until yesterday afternoon. Not much that could be done about that though. Looking like good weather for today and tomorrow in Bermuda, and for that I am grateful!
  13. We’re still expecting a little chaos. Did you check bags for your delayed embarkation? When did they get to your stateroom? Was there indeed a bag check in the casino? Trying to figure out whether we should carry on or not—we’re not sure if we’ll have our bags by bedtime.
  14. Thanks @mking8288! We’re going to be driving up from Philly at around 2:30 PM today, targeting an arrival between 4 and 5 PM. I figure the terminal at 3 PM will be mobbed, so better to skip the initial rush. Looks like we’ll have a nighttime sail away from New York—should be lovely! Probably a bumpy ride tomorrow, but we’re prepared with Bonine, sea bands, ginger candies, and past experience. Weather for Bermuda looks nice too! I wouldn’t be surprised to see us arrive late Tuesday or even Wednesday.
  15. We just got the notification. NCL is asking for us to arrive between 3 and 6 PM. Shouldn’t be a big deal. Safe travels.
  16. We bid fairly aggressively for a balcony—$200 per person bid from an inside, so into the Fair range. We still were quite a bit below what balconies were selling for outright, and I had been doing mock bookings to check availability so I knew there were some available. We got upgraded 3 days ago, so 6 days prior to departure. My daughter is in school now, so we're stuck on the school schedule—so forget about price drops closer to sail date. Now the prices seem to go up as we approach the sail date. Back before she was school, we'd book last-minute and get some great deals, but that's sort of a thing of the past now. This time, they actually charged more for the third person in the room than persons 1 and 2! I was floored. I feel your pain with the M&Gs—if they happen at all, they've been taken over by That Other Platform. I used to go, but haven't been bothering recently. The CC boards have gotten much quieter, as Zuckerberg & Co. coalesce so much of the online community into their own walled garden. And what remains of CC has gotten so negative that I have largely stayed away, to avoid poisoning my opinions of the cruise before we even set sail. Back to the weather—yes, I wouldn't be surprised if they held us in NY or had us hug the coastline a bit, with a later arrival in Bermuda. They might wind up just putting us on the same itinerary that's usually used for Bermuda: 8 AM arrival on Wednesday, in port Thursday, depart Friday at 3 PM. We'll see what happens. Either way, no cooking or cleaning to do for the week—so that's already a win. It would be great to catch up on another cruise one of these days.
  17. Henry, it's a little reminiscent of the cruise we were on to Bermuda—though that was in May. Wave heights were around 28 feet, and I was definitely feeling a little green around the gills. We're packing Bonine, sea bands, ginger candies—the works. And I'll definitely hit up the buffet for green apples. We hit the Upgrade Advantage lottery and got moved from an inside to a balcony—with the bad weather for the first day or two of the trip, that was probably a good move, since I'll be able to watch the horizon to settle the old inner ear. Bermuda Weather Service is saying to expect strong, gale-force winds Sunday, and continued strong winds on Monday, easing toward the end of the day. We are due to get in Tuesday, so I'm thinking we'll be in for a rough ride on Monday, but after that we should be pretty good. Once we're in Bermuda, it might be a bit breezy, but temperatures should be fairly agreeable—68-70°F. Of course, that's going by my phone's weather app; the most trustworthy source is weather.bm, but they don't predict more than 5 days out (and for good reason).
  18. We’ll be on our way to Bermuda in a few days’ time, once the Getaway comes back for us. Looking at the forecast, they’re calling for a “breezy” Sunday, so I’m thinking we might be rocking and rolling a bit too on our way down. Windy is calling for 22 foot waves on Monday, so we’ll be packing the Bonine. Hopefully Bermuda will greet us with sunny skies and temps in the high 60s!
  19. She's heading for Bermuda at 20 knots right now, so she seems to be making expected speed for a Wednesday arrival.
  20. I figured there was no way she’d make her originally-scheduled arrival. I’m curious how long she’ll remain docked in New York, and what time on Friday she’ll leave Bermuda.
  21. Hey Henry, I sort of feel the same. We are going to Bermuda next week aboard the Getaway, but probably would have preferred another itinerary option—but there aren’t really that many. We thought about Caribbean cruises from Florida, but the flights were expensive, and NCL’s offerings were a bit pricey too, and fairly limited (not much that we haven’t done before). This was our best bet for a quick and (relatively) inexpensive trip, and it might be fun to do some non-beach activities in Bermuda. Still would have preferred warmer weather, but will take a week without household responsibilities either way. I’m thinking about trying other lines. NCL’s itineraries have gotten a bit stale.
  22. Obviously, she won’t be departing New York on schedule, but I’m curious whether they will keep her at the pier longer (overnight?) to repair the mechanical issue before departing. The itinerary is a bit different for these weeks: Getaway is scheduled to be in port from Tuesday morning at 8 AM (Bermuda time) until Friday morning at 7 AM. Typically, NYC itineraries are docked from 8 AM Wednesday till 3 PM Friday.
  23. She’s at the pier now, getting some help from the tugboats while docking.
  24. We’re on the Getaway’s next sailing, March 24th-31st, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this. Hopefully, whatever the issue is, they can get it corrected without too much impact to the itineraries planned.
  25. I was on that same cruise, but because of the itinerary there wasn't really a Meet and Greet, so I didn't get to meet you two. But yeah, what a fantastic cruise that was. We had such a good time; the ports were beautiful, and the price was oh-so right. It was less than $1700 all-in for 3 people in a balcony with $200 OBC. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
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