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Posts posted by dcipjr

  1. I've seen complaints about declines in quality for some time now, dating back to when Del Rio took over. I haven't witnessed that many cutbacks, aside from turn-down service, the lack of Broadway shows (seen them all before) and the towel animals (seen them all before). These do have some significance, but aren't deal breakers at this point.


    The last cruise we had with NCL was in June of 2023 aboard the Joy, and it was one of the best cruises we ever had. Service was superb.


    have noticed difference in food quality from ship-to-ship: our cruise on the Jewel last April had a much lower-quality buffet than what I saw on the Joy a few months later. Overall, I've found that the complaints of "inedible" food are usually really exaggerated.


    We board the Getaway in 20 days, so I'll find out for myself soon how NCL is doing, at least on that ship.


    I'm not going to lie—I've been spending much less time on CruiseCritic than I normally would pre-cruise. The negativity has become a bit toxic, and it's not something I want to be carrying with me into my vacation.

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  2. I usually find it to be a bit bold to ask for credit after final payment—do they ask you for more money if the price goes up after you pay?—but I've had a lot of luck requesting a paid upgrade.


    I find a fare category that's selling for a bit higher than what I originally paid. I call to request an upgrade, then just pay the difference—usually I wind up getting a much better cabin for maybe $100 more.


    NCL isn't going to turn down more money, and I get a better cabin. Everyone wins.

  3. I sometimes bring a Yeti mug for coffee in the morning, because it has a lid and I like to take a walk while drinking my coffee.


    I've never asked any crew to make a drink in it—I wouldn't be comfortable doing so. 


    One issue is cleaning it. Unless you bring some dish soap with you, you're going to be washing it out with hand soap.

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  4. This has varied for me depending on ship: some have a bag check area, on others I’ve been told to drop my bag off at the stateroom (even if the room isn’t ready yet), on others I’ve been told I have to carry my bag with me until the rooms are ready.


    These days, I generally just bring a small drawstring backpack for embarkation day, and check my suitcase through to the room. 

  5. 16 hours ago, zqvol said:

    Very inconsistent, usually left how it was for the previous cruise. Ask your steward after boarding and it will be handled. No need to call ahead of time the message never gets to the ship. 


    I’ve heard reports of mixed success for pre-cruise requests. I just wasn’t sure whether splitting the beds for a 3 or 4 person inside cabin is standard procedure.


    I haven’t been able to find many photos of inside cabins on NCL that have the upper beds down with the lower bed combined, so I’ve been hoping that they’ll just know it’s 3 people and know to split the beds.


    I suppose once onboard, I can just ask the steward to split the bed when I see them.

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  6. Hey all,


    My wife, daughter (6) and I are booked into an inside cabin on the Getaway for March, heading to Bermuda.


    We usually do a balcony, but this time around, the inside cabin was a good deal cheaper—plus the weather sailing out of NYC probably means that we'd get limited use of the balcony anyway, so we're trying an inside.


    In looking at photos of inside cabins with the bed down, all of the pictures I can find have the lower bed split into two twins. That's honestly all right with me, because the cabin probably would feel incredibly cramped without that empty space in the middle (let's face it: it might feel incredibly cramped with the space! 🤣)


    I ask, because if NCL were to leave the lower beds together, I'd probably ask the cabin steward to separate the beds so that we can have a bit more space in the middle of the room.


    Can anyone with experience weigh in? Does NCL split the lower bed by default—or do we have to ask? Or is it inconsistent?

  7. The whole safety video thing is a bit of a mess, if I'm being honest.


    I always do the check-in for my whole family. After all, what am I supposed to do, make them sign up for NCL accounts and do their own check-ins? Come on.


    I have to watch the safety video for everyone I'm checking in, so I'm watching it multiple times, and they're watching it 0 times.


    I imagine that most of the other Designated Vacation Planners in each family is in the same boat (no pun intended), so this means that a sizable percentage of the people onboard aren't watching the video.


    Not sure what the answer is, but it's certainly not making the person doing check-in for their family watch the video for each person they're checking in.

  8. 17 hours ago, Davechipp74 said:

    I think secretly I wanted to cancel this trip simply because it's north of 10k. (I was over served when I booked on board,) I'm recently retired and it's my 50th birthday I'll probably wind up in Atlantic City for a few days. In retrospect it's a nice deposit in my account. 


    If it were me, I would re-book on the same cruise and pick a less expensive cabin. Even a regular balcony feels positively palatial when you're solo, and you can nab one of those for way less than $10k and still come out ahead.

    For me, wanting more money in your pocket is a legitimate reason to cancel a cruise, but dating someone for a few months isn't.


    After all, you're dating, not being sentenced to a penitentiary! Dating is supposed to be fun


    You know what else is fun? Cruises.


    I see no reason that you shouldn't be able to go on a cruise by yourself, have fun, and celebrate your birthday. If you're feeling like you shouldn't go, I think you need to ask yourself why. Is this coming from her, or from you? Bit of a red flag either way.


    The only thing about a solo cruise that might conflict with dating would be if you hung an upside-down pineapple on your door. Maybe don't do that?


    But do go enjoy yourself. You're turning 50, you're retired, and you've earned this.

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  9. On 8/25/2023 at 8:24 AM, MagnoliaBlossom said:

    I thought the DSC now is DAILY service charge 


    I've seen it written as "Daily Service Charge", "Discretionary Service Charge", "Onboard Service Charge", and just plain old "Service Charge". Not to mention just "Gratuities".


    There is inevitably debate about whether it goes to the crew directly, or whether it goes to a crew happiness fund, or whether it fills the swimming pools behind the houses of NCL executives.


    Many people profess to know, but probably only people who are high up at NCL know for sure, and I don't think they're talking.


    I treat it as crew tips, because that's what NCL tells me that it is. I don't have the time or energy to cancel it at Guest Services and then walk around the ship handing the equivalent amount in $1 bills to anyone who serves me.


    Why? Because I'm on vacation.


    And I'm trusting NCL with my safety so I might as well trust them about the Service Charge.


    I do tip above and beyond the service charge to our cabin steward, or anyone that goes above and beyond the required basic service level—just as I'd tip more than 18% in a restaurant if I get a high level of service.

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  10. 7 minutes ago, tgloersen said:

    What Bird does not mention is that you can set the DSC to whatever you want.  Thats why its called "Discretionary".  If you feel that $15 /day/person is enough you can set it to that.  Or $20, or $25.  If you think the service was horrible you can leave nothing.  You are in charge of how much you tip.  Just go to guest services and tell them how you want to tip it's as easy as that.


    At the risk of causing another inflammatory tipping thread, NCL has eliminated most of the "discretionary" wording from their site: see this link.


    Now it's just the "onboard service charge". A few pages still say "discretionary" but many don't.


    It can definitely be adjusted upwards or downwards, or eliminated—but NCL's expectation is that you'll be paying $20/day.

  11. Yes, the Haven dinner menu is always the same, though I've heard talk of specials recently (maybe someone can confirm).


    They will bring you dishes from the MDR and other restaurants upon request—though I've never bothered, I just go to the MDR since I like to switch things up anyway.


    Personally, I find the Haven dinner menu to be a bit luxurious for my tastes...just as I couldn't eat in a specialty restaurant every night of the cruise, I wouldn't eat off the Haven menu either—they'd have to roll me off the ship.


    I actually find it a bit baffling that some folks who are in the Haven only eat there. And sometimes the wait staff acts surprised if you don't come to the Haven restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I like the variety, so I eat elsewhere sometimes too—having options appeals to me.


    Speaking of options, keep in mind that you can also eat in your stateroom via your butler, who will bring you food from any restaurant. If you've booked a suite that has a living room with a dining area, it's a truly wonderful experience. 


    Case in point: we got back late one night from our outing in San Juan, PR, and really wanted some wings, burgers, and pub fare, but our kiddo was asleep. Our butler brought it and served it to us at our dining table, and my wife and I ate together and then walked over to view the sailaway from our balcony. A perfect evening, and that alone practically made the suite cost worth it.

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  12. I’d go with the December itinerary. We did a very similar itinerary on the Joy back in Feb 2020 and loved it. 


    One point I would raise: the Bliss and the other large ships will use the new Panama Canal locks. Smaller ships like the Jewel-class and the Sun, etc. will use the original locks. If the canal is on your bucket list, you may want a ship that uses the original locks.


    As always, I recommend reading Path Between the Seas by David McCullough before your journey. It’s a wonderful read and added so much to my canal transit experience.

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  13. 14 minutes ago, Jasonmom said:

    Did you take the cruise sponsored tour of the caves or did you go on your own? If you went on your own how did you do it?


    We never do ship-sponsored excursions in Bermuda, with the exception of the Horseshoe Bay Transfer on the final day in port (Friday), since you're guaranteed back to the ship on-time, and we can use the $50 excursion credit. With the transportation options plentiful, we almost always just do things on our own.


    For the caves, we first took the 9 AM ferry to St. George. Once we arrived in St. George, we walked up to the bus station, and caught the bus. I believe the #1, #3, #10, and #11 buses all go past the Caves, so there's a plethora of options. All go to Hamilton, and are spaced approximately 15 minutes apart.


    We caught the first bus that came (I think it was #11). Once it passes the airport, it goes over the Causeway, and the second stop after it passes the Causeway is for the caves. It's immediately across the street from the Swizzle Inn, and there's a pedestrian path right from the bus stop to the cave ticket office. We bought tickets for the first available tour, which was 10 minutes after we arrived. 


    Afterwards, we went back to the bus stop, caught the next bus to Hamilton, did some souvenir shopping, and then caught the ferry back to the Dockyard.


    Note that if we hadn't wanted to go shopping in Hamilton, we could have asked the bus driver for a free transfer upon arrival into Hamilton, and used the transfer to board a #7 or #8 bus. 


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