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dcipjr

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Posts posted by dcipjr

  1. Hi all,

     

    I'm trying to transfer a reservation that I made on NCL's website to a travel agent that will get me the American Express Platinum perks ($200 OBC + dinner in Le Bistro).

     

    I paid the initial deposit with a $250 CruiseNext certificate, which to my impression, always covered the full deposit for any stateroom that's not a suite / Haven, even if there are more than 2 people in the room. At booking time, NCL's site asked me for a $375 deposit, but I just chose to pay $250 and gave them my CruiseNext certificate, and the site accepted it.

     

    Everything seemed fine until I went to transfer the reservation. My TA is saying that NCL wants an additional $125 to cover the deposit because of the third person—but this doesn't make sense to me.

     

    I checked the T&C for CruiseNext and it still seems to be the full deposit.

     

    Has anyone else experienced this? I have a second CruiseNext that I could apply to the booking, but I honestly don't feel like I should have to.

  2. 1 minute ago, Maplemoose said:

    Thank you. Great info I have read that one needs to get to the Cavern Club an hour in advance to get a seat. Any advice based on your experience?


    We got there about 30 minutes before the show and got seats 2 out of 3 times. The other time we were able to get standing room but close to the stage.

     

    It’s not as much as a hassle as you’d think to get there early. Wear a hat or something, put it on the seat, and then go grab a drink from the bar. The 30 minutes tended to go pretty quickly.

    • Like 1
  3. 1 hour ago, Maplemoose said:

    Do you remember how many performances of Footloose and Elements there were? And the Beatles? Did they have a Beatles show in the theatre as well? Any other bands in the Cavern Club? Thanks


    We didn’t see Footloose this time around—already saw it before. There were two nights of Footloose, but can’t remember the performance times. Both were early on in the cruise.
     

    Elements was on Day 6 and Day 7, with an early show and a late show (7 PM and 9 PM). We did see Elements and enjoyed it. 
     

    The Beatles tribute band had three nights in the Cavern Club, at 7:30 and 9:30. They played early Beatles on Monday (Day 2), psychedelic Beatles on Thursday (Day 5), and late Beatles (Abbey Road / Get Back) on Saturday (Day 7). 
     

    The Beatles also were in the Joy Theater on Wednesday (Day 4), but we missed that since we went to Harbor Nights. 
     

    There was a magic show on Day 1 in the theater, so I’m thinking Day 2 and Day 3 were the Footloose showings. 
     

    I do remember a pianist covering Beatles tunes in the Cavern Club; not exactly sure when that was. There may have been other shows there, but I missed them.

    • Like 1
  4. 11 minutes ago, weisla said:

    Thank you, I enjoyed your review and will follow this thread! Sailing on the Joy, July 1-9, to Bahamas & Bermuda w/our 9yo. DH & I are seasoned cruisers & our son has cruised once on DCL when he was 5. This will be our first post-Covid cruise, first on NCL, and first trip to Bermuda. At 5 he wasn’t excited to be dropped off at DCL kids club, and we’re hoping he has some fun at Splash Academy. Do you think there are a good range of activities for multiple age groups? 

     

    There seem to be, based on reviewing the Splash schedule and dailies (which I wish I had saved, but I didn't...). There are different age groups, and three or four different activities at any given session offered for each age group, so there's plenty to do.

     

    My daughter didn't like the Jewel Splash Academy because she found it boring, but the Joy's Splash Academy is much bigger. 

     

    At first she didn't want to go, because she remembered the Jewel, and also found it a bit overwhelming to walk into a room full of kids she didn't know. It helped us to get in line early, so she could be the first kid there. After she went once, she was raring to go each time.

    • Like 3
  5. 50 minutes ago, bkrickles1 said:

    We had that happen last summer and then we got run off by the man o war (jellyfish). They actually closed off going in the water by around 1:30 because of it. Lots of people got stung that day. I've never seen that amount of jellyfish at Horseshoe in all of my years going there and, hopefully, they won't be there this summer.

     

    We didn't make it to Horseshoe this time around, but there were some Portuguese Man o' War on the beach at Tobacco Bay. The attendants were removing them from the beach and water when they were seen.

     

    Unfortunately, because of climate change, Bermuda is getting way more sargassum (seaweed) washing ashore, and with it comes the Man o' War. I was talking to some of the locals about it.

     

    The Portugese Man o' War is actually fascinating—they're made of many different organisms, living together, it's not a single species. But yeah, you don't want to see them—or worse, trod on them.

     

    As for Splash Academy, I can say that the staff we met (Purple, Ginger, and Alaska) were wonderful. My daughter seemed to gravitate towards playing Mario Kart. She's five, so I doubt she was very good at it..but she loved it all the same (we don't have a game console at home).

     

    Unlike on the Jewel, we never had an issue or a long line getting her checked in, and it didn't seem like the place was bursting at the seams with kids, even though there were a fair amount onboard. 

     

    Splash Academy is a godsend, too—head to the buffet first, get your kiddo(s) something to eat, drop-off at Splash, and then it's Date Night!

    • Like 1
    • Thanks 1
  6. In terms of tricks to avoid the crowds, I don’t have anything too earth-shattering—it’s mostly just knowing what to avoid based on past experience. 
     

    For instance:

     

    - Avoid the buffet on embarkation day, and eat lunch at Taste / Savor. 
     

    - Don’t bother with the Manhattan Room on Day 1—everyone will be there. Taste and Savor will be much less crowded, with the same menu. Head straight there ahead of the crowds that will inevitably show up once they can’t get into the Manhattan Room.

     

    - Get up early and go around the ship while most people are still asleep. 
     

    - In Bermuda, don’t go to Horseshoe Bay on the first day, since everyone and their grandma will go there once they get off the ship. Doubly so, because the Celebrity Summit is usually in port at the same time as the Joy. We usually go to St. George first, since the NCL ferry departs at 9 AM, and the Celebrity passengers have to wait for the 9:45 Orange Line ferry. 
     

    - The American Diner is open for breakfast, and nobody goes. It’s a smaller buffet but it’s plenty to get you started, and a lifesaver for port days when everyone is in a rush to get off the ship (and thus crowd the Garden Cafe). 

    • Like 6
  7. 9 hours ago, Always Cruising said:

    Were you affected by the Route 95 tanker fire that destroyed part of the highway?  Excellent review - thank you!


    We don’t have to go on that section of 95 to get home, so we weren’t affected yesterday.

     

    We’ll undoubtedly be affected over the next few months. I try to avoid that stretch of 95, since it’s pretty miserable, but now all the other roads will now get that traffic.

  8. 12 minutes ago, dbrown84 said:

    excellent review.  I'm think of doing Bermuda in August.  I've never been before nor have I ever cruised out of NY.  I had a co-worker that was on the cruise before you, and yes they got a lot of rain.  How was the temp/humidity?  And did the NCL shuttle run late enough to attend Harbor Nights?

     

    thanks


    Temperatures were comfortable…surprisingly cool. 


    We’ve been to Bermuda many times in August—it’s when we usually go! It is usually warm and humid, but not oppressively so. It never kept us from cruising there in August, that’s for sure. 

     

    The water temperatures will be super comfortable in August. Low 80s if I recall.  Great for snorkeling. 
     

    NCL’s ferry runs to St. George, not Hamilton (Front Street in Hamilton is where they hold Harbor Nights). The Bermuda Blue Line ferry does run several late ferries from the Dockyard to Hamilton for Harbor Nights, so you’ll have no issue getting back and forth. 
     

    This time around, we got back to the ship from our beach day at around 5 PM, showered and got cleaned up, went straight to the Local for a burger and a beer, then caught the 7:15 ferry to Hamilton for Harbor Nights. It worked out perfectly—we got there right in time to watch the Gombey Dancers!

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 2
  9. Hello all!

     

    We just disembarked from a 7-day cruise NYC to Bermuda aboard the Joy, so I figured I'd post a quick review.

     

    "We" constitutes me (38), my wife (38), and my daughter (5). My wife and I went to Bermuda for the first time in 2012 as a first-anniversary celebration, loved it, and went back almost every year since, up until the pandemic hit.

     

    We love Bermuda, and being from outside Philly, cruising from NY to Bermuda is as close as an effortless vacation as we can get. We hadn't been there all together as a family since 2019, so we were excited to go back again.

     

    Embarkation

    - We left the house around 9:45 AM, and got to the pier around 11:30 AM—and in a stunning turn of events, practically *nobody* was in the terminal, and we breezed through embarkation and were onboard having lunch in Taste by 12:20 PM. Talk about getting the vacation off to a great start!


    - For those of you that are accustomed to the $40/day rate to park at Pier 88, be advised that it has gone up to $45/day. It's a bummer, but honestly it's still worth it to park up there. Sometimes we take Amtrak to New York, but we decided to go the faster route this time and just drive ourselves.

     

    Onboard Experience
    - The Joy has become one of my favorite ships in the fleet. It was full to capacity for this sailing, but we've learned some tricks to avoid the crowds, and honestly it didn't feel that crowded. We had difficulty reserving restaurants and shows, but the standby lines always seemed to work for us.

     

    - Service was excellent. We didn't have long waits at restaurants, and we found the food to be good to excellent. Food Republic is an underrated gem. 

     

    - For the fans of the Indian buffet in the Garden Cafe (like me!), the Joy's offering was top-notch. Everything was delicious and there's LOTS of selections. 

     

    - The entire Garden Cafe experience, though it can get crowded, was superior to that of our Jewel trip a couple months ago -- way better selections on the Joy, notably better food quality as well.

     

    - We're Beatles fans, and the Beatlestory tribute group was excellent. They incorporated a lot more of the material from the Get Back sessions into the normally-all-Abbey-Road final show, did the "shoobie-doo-wops" during their performance of "Revolution", and even included "Don't Let Me Down" (the rooftop take, no less!). They were great, and we love the Cavern Club venue. Only the Beatles could make music that still packs the house 60 years after it was recorded.

     

    Kids
    - For years, we cruised as a couple, but now we're parents, so for us, the newer ships like the Joy are just so much better -- there's way more for kids to do. My daughter had a great time in the Kids Aqua Park, and really enjoyed the inner-tube Aqua Racer slide. We were on the Jewel a couple months ago during Spring Break, and Splash Academy was very undersized for the 600 kids onboard -- drop-off was frequently suspended, and my daughter said there wasn't much to do on the Jewel. We didn't have these issues on the Joy -- she had a blast, and we never ran into long lines at drop-off. Granted, not all schools are out yet, but our experience was very positive.

     

    - The mini golf was also a huge hit. It's nice to have a freebie like that on sea days.

     

    - It's great fun watching the giant bucket in the Kids Aqua Park upend itself all over unsuspecting adults.

     

    Stateroom
    - We cruised with a guarantee balcony, and lucked out with a cabin right off the aft lobby on Deck 12. It was a perfect location, and the balcony cabin offered plenty of space and organization for a family of three.


    - The balcony size was bigger than I expected. I guess we got used to Breakaway-class sized balconies.

     

    - The cabins being serviced only once a day honestly isn't a big deal for us -- it's the same as in hotels. However, I've never come back to a hotel room at 4 PM and it's still not been cleaned. In my opinion, the cabin attendants are stretched too thin -- they're the most visible, personal staff member for many cruisers, and from what I see, they're *tired*. I think NCL needs to hire a few more attendants and give them fewer rooms to attend.

     

    - Our attendant was super nice and told us that he would start from one end of his block of cabins one day, and the opposite end the next day, so you'd alternate between getting your room done early and late. That was fine for us, but I still think NCL needs to hire more stateroom attendants.

     

    Crew
    - The crew was wonderful. The GM (Rohinton) is running a great operation, in my opinion. 


    - Cruise Director Jake was solid. He was there for the Meet and Greet, took time to say hello, and I think he did a good job.

     

    - There was a Code Bravo issued after midnight on the day we left Bermuda; evidently a fire broke out in an AC room on Deck 14 aft. I heard the "Code Bravo" announced over the PA, and a few minutes later, Jake issued an announcement saying that there was a fire onboard, that a team had been dispatched, and that he would provide an update in five minutes' time. And he did -- and he continued to provide updates, letting us know that the fire was contained, no damage was done to the ship, there was no injuries, and no risk of re-ignition. Captain Hakan then spoke to let us know that everything was all right. Obviously you don't want a fire onboard, but the team handled it really well.

     

    - On a lighter note, I observed crew members competing with each other to snatch up the rubber ducks. One waitress told me she had 17 ducks in her collection.

     

    Bermuda

    - Bermuda is hands-down our favorite place to cruise to. It's such a wonderful island. The people are great, and there's so much to do.

     

    - We were forecasted one day of good weather (Wednesday), one day of showers (Thursday), and one washout (Friday), but it didn't really rain at all on Friday, and the showers on Thursday didn't settle in until around 3 PM, after a morning of sunshine. We lucked out; I heard the previous cruises were a bit soggy.

     

    - We had some beach time and went to Harbor Nights on Wednesday, visited the Botanical Gardens and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo (BAMZ) on Thursday, then went to the Crystal Caves on Friday.

     

    - NCL's free ferry to St. George is super helpful; it takes a load off the Bermuda Orange Line ferry to St. George, and fills in some of the gaps in timing. We used a combination of the free and paid ferries.

     

    - The island hasn't lost any of its beauty in the past few years...it's such a gem. We'll be back!

     

    Disembarkation
    - We did self-assist walkoff, and took us about an hour to get from the line on Deck 7 through the Manhattan room, through the face recognition on the pier, and up to our car. Then we were home about an hour and a half later. No complaints.

     

    Final Thoughts

    This was one of the best cruises we've had, ever. We had such a wonderful time. Yes, there have been some cutbacks, but at least on the Joy, the service is still pretty stellar. We'd gladly sail her again.

     

    My only bit of criticism is that the room stewards are stretched too thin; it's affecting service levels, and I don't like to see people overworked. The rest of the crew was great. I'll be writing in my post-cruise survey that I think NCL needs to hire more cabin stewards, to decrease the workload and improve turnaround times.

     

    NCL is still delivering a pretty compelling product, even with some cutbacks. We'll be back.

     

    If anyone has questions, etc, feel free to let me know!
     

    • Like 20
  10. I love the Indian food in the buffet. Like others, I first tried Indian food at a later age and had no idea what I had been missing.

     

    NCL's offerings are generally very good. I would also love a dedicated Indian restaurant, but the buffet is often easier since there are lots of selections, the food lends itself to being buffet-style, and I don't know what half of it is by name so I just try what looks good!

  11. I had an issue the first (and only) time I booked NCL air:

     

    We had to make a name change on the ticket, since my wife was missing her middle name. NCL's air department charged us $150 to make the name change—and then changed my ticket to be in her name for the return trip, so she had two tickets and I had none.

     

    The airline couldn't help me, so I had to book a ticket home at my own expense.

     

    Getting NCL to reimburse me took weeks of effort, emails, and calls. They tried to get me to make a travel insurance claim (even though insurance doesn't cover this type of issue), then insisted that I had a ticket for the return leg even though I didn't, and that the airline must have screwed up. 

     

    I eventually had to call the airline and get proof via ticket numbers that my wife had two tickets in her name, and NCL finally agreed to reimburse me—and they did, to their credit.

     

    But holy moly, I won't do that again.

     

    Bottom line with NCL's air department: they can get you a very enticing rate, often cheaper than what you can book yourself. If all goes well, it's a great deal. If something gets messed up, it's like pulling teeth.

     

    If you speak with them on the phone about anything out of the ordinary—deviations, name changes, etc.—get everything in writing, and confirm your reservations independently with the agent making the change.

    • Thanks 1
  12. 7 hours ago, mking8288 said:

    I do wonder, if the extended port time also has to do with the logistical challenges of provisioning - we saw quite a # of loaded trailers waiting on the pier last month ... and, we didn't actually leave Pier 88 until 8:15 p.m (scheduled was for 7:30 p.m. since it was a long TA, 15 nights) 


    This seems the most likely explanation. 
     

    I doubt that the schedule change is due to tides, because the tide times aren’t that consistent from week to week. I’ve been cruising to Bermuda from New York since 2012, over 10 years now, and departure was always 4 PM—and it’s not as though the moon is suddenly doing something differently now. 


    Tides might affect an individual voyage’s schedule, but probably not all of them.
     

    I asked myself whether it’s positive from a a revenue standpoint to keep the ship in port longer, but I’m guessing NCL wants the ship out at sea as soon as possible. Get the casino and those shops open. 
     

    It probably has to deal with pilot availability or provisioning—more likely the latter. 
     

    When we were on the Jewel out of San Diego a few months ago, we were quite late for departure, because lots of bags and provisions were still being loaded well past our scheduled departure time.
     

    It may be unrealistic given staffing challenges for NCL to make a 4 PM departure. 
     

    The additional 2 hours may also help people that are flying in same-day, since we know airlines have been an issue recently.

    • Like 1
  13. Hi folks,

     

    Wondering whether anyone has found out behind why the Joy is departing NYC at 6 PM instead of 4 PM, as they used to?

     

    For me, 4 PM was always perfect. 6 PM is sort of clashing with dinnertime and reservations, so I find the timing a bit odd. 

     

    It's a very minor thing to quibble about—and I'm not really complaining—but I'm interested if anyone has found out the rationale for the schedule change?

  14. The whole CruiseNext marketing onboard is a bit of a ploy to get you to spend more money right away.

     

    As others have mentioned, really, it's a "Spend $250, get $500 in deposits" promo, but they throw all this talk about onboard credit in there ("Buy $1000 of deposits and get $500 to spend onboard right this very minute!") to try to get you to ring up a big bill onboard. 

     

    It's a good deal, but you do have to do your homework and know what you're getting into—and the CruiseNext desk is oftentimes not all that helpful in explaining how the process really works.

    • Like 3
  15. From what I can tell, CF is currently a better deal than CN, as long as you can wait out the 120 day period from when you purchase the certificate.

     

    CN only allows you to stack 2 certificates for $500 under certain conditions (currently 4 months prior to sailing).

     

    CF always lets you get $500 off the cruise, as long as the 120 day waiting period has passed.

     

    Am I missing something? If so, please inform me! Since I am looking at buying a CF as opposed to a CN.

  16. It's absolutely still possible.

     

    On our cruise to the Bahamas and Florida last September on the Breakaway, the CruiseNext desk mentioned that the following sailing had very few passengers booked and there were some deeply-discounted rates available if we wanted to stay on (unfortunately, we couldn't!)

     

    It totally depends on how full the next sailing is, and whether there's a next sailing you can go on—if the ship is repositioning between US ports, for example, you couldn't stay on because of the Jones Act. 

     

    You probably have to book more than 48 hours before the start of the next cruise because the manifest has to be finalized.

     

    These days, the ships are pretty full, so I think you'd have much more luck with this in the off-season. But it can happen—just ask at the CruiseNext desk.

     

    If you do a back-to-back cruise, of course, you'll have to get off with all the other passengers on your sailing while they clear the ship. 

    • Like 1
  17. On 5/2/2023 at 3:16 PM, RocketMan275 said:

    Don't book third party airfare.  You will wind up in the middle between NCL pointing their finger at the airlines and the airlines pointing their finger at NCL.

     

    This happened to us.

     

    We had a ticketing issue with one of our flights booked by NCL air and I had no ticket in my name for our return flight.

     

    NCL made the error, and the airline couldn't help us because the reservation belonged to NCL. I couldn't reach NCL via the phone, and had to book my own flight home at the ticket counter.

     

    When I was trying to get reimbursed, NCL first told me to claim it with my travel insurance (even though travel insurance doesn't cover ticketing issues), then told me to get refunded from the airline.

     

    It wasn't until I called the airline and was able to prove that NCL made a mistake with the tickets that NCL saw fit to reimburse me.

     

    Involving a third party in your air arrangements is done at your own peril. The flights were cheaper, undoubtedly, but NCL's air department is kind of clueless and unreachable at the worst times.

     

    I wouldn't book airfare through them again. It wasn't worth the savings.

  18. Good news...I spoke with NCL this morning, and they are going to refund me the cost of the ticket I had to book myself.

     

    really had to hold their hand to get this to happen; I had to do all the research on what happened to the tickets, call the airline, figure it out myself, and communicate this to NCL.

     

    NCL could have done this research by speaking to the airlines, but obviously I'm the one that wants my money back, so I'm more inclined to do the work than they are.

     

    Still, at least they're reimbursing me, now that they have the picture of what happened.

    • Like 4
  19. 31 minutes ago, happy cruzer said:

    Did you get an updated email with ticket numbers and names?  You may have NCL say we did it correctly and AA implemented it wrong.  Both should be able to show the issued tickets with details.  Hope you are able to get something in writing (email are hard copy) to use to get this resolved what someone says gets instantly lost.

     

    When I called back in March to do the name change, I didn't get an updated email from NCL; I just had the original Air Confirmation with the ticket numbers on it.

     

    I called into AA and looked up all the ticket numbers, and they were able to piece together what happened, but since the reservation was made by a third party (NCL) they can't send me the receipts unless I request it through Customer Relations, which I'm prepared to do.

     

    They were able to provide me the replacement ticket number for my wife's new ticket, confirm for me that NCL was the one that exchanged my ticket instead of my wife's, confirm the residual value on my wife's original ticket, and tell me that NCL could obtain all the receipts since they were the ones that booked the ticket.

     

    I definitely wish I had more in hard-copy format right now. NCL could claim that they see things differently. But they might have a hard time ignoring my wife's original return ticket (that went unused). 

     

    We'll see what happens...

    • Like 1
  20. As an update, I contacted American Airlines and found out what happened.

     

    When I called to change the name on my wife's ticket, the NCL air representative did a ticket exchange: they swapped my ticket for my wife's replacement ticket. 

     

    What they should have done, of course, would have been to swap my wife's old ticket for her replacement ticket.

     

    My wife's original ticket is still sitting out there, unused.

     

    So, this was totally Norwegian's mistake.

     

    @em-sk, I'm doing as you suggest, and going after them for the replacement ticket cost as well as the $150 in fees they charged me.  The way I see it, I had to do all the homework to figure out what happened, so getting that fee back would be merited—plus they screwed up the name change I paid for.

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