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Everything posted by dcipjr

  1. Just off the Breakaway; the in-room coffeemakers were available by request, but we opted to order a carafe of coffee instead in the mornings. Stays hot longer, tastes better (still not great, but better than the in-room coffee ever did), and gets taken away once done, giving you more counter space.
  2. National Weather Service is saying 61°F and Partly Sunny for our sailaway. There's a chance of showers for Newport (50%) and Portland (30%), but all in all it looks pretty good. Highs in the low 60s mostly, which will make for great walking-around weather. We plan to layer and plan for a shower here or there. Really looking forward to it!
  3. We never do either... My wife and I are going on the Breakaway next week, and I see from the dailies that Splash Academy is open 7 PM - 11 PM each night, 5-12 years only. Our daughter just turned 5, and we're planning to do the buffet for her, then drop her off at the club. We'll have more date nights in the span of a week than we have in the past 5 years.
  4. The Phillies radio crew (Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson) is absolutely top-notch, but I'm not aware of any way of listening to them on the FM / AM airwaves outside of the tri-state (PA, NJ, DE) area. I don't have XM or Sirius. If I have Internet, I can presumably stream the Fox broadcast via their app, or pick up the Phils radio crew via the 94.1 WIP Internet feed. One way or another....there are also a fair number of folks expressing interest on the roll call, so maybe we can nudge Guest Services into showing the game.
  5. Well, I'll get to see Games 1 and 2 before we leave, since they're Friday and Saturday. But once we're onboard, my plans: Plan A: Upon embarkation, head to Guest Services and ask where the game will be shown. Plan B: Wear my Phillies hat everywhere, to support the team and meet fellow baseball fans. If #1 above fails, recruit as many baseball fans as possible to go to Guest Services and ask about the World Series. Maybe we'll get them to show it. Plan C: Use my network of baseball fans and find someone who already has the streaming package, or buy the streaming package myself. I'll pack my iPad and a USB-C to HDMI adapter, to show on my stateroom TV or even potentially on a TV in a bar? I've heard tell of people on here who have convinced the crew to let them borrow a TV in a bar for a group of fans. Plan D: I'm packing my AM / FM pocket radio, and a list of ESPN Radio affiliates up and down the coast. Bangor has a station that should be carrying the game. When I booked the cruise, it was far from certain that the Phillies would even be in the playoffs, and also, I'll take my vacations whenever I can get them. If finding a way to watch baseball is the most stressful thing I deal with all week, then that's a good week!
  6. Cheapest I’ve ever done the Haven was a 2 BR suite on Getaway at the beginning of September 2022…$5804.91 for 3 people, and that’s with prepaid service charges.
  7. This will be the first time that I’ve been on a cruise where I’ve actually given two hoots about current events back on shore. 😄
  8. I’d say we’re at peak color now here in Philly, and we’re well south of where we’re headed, so I’m not expecting much foliage. However…the Phillies are in the World Series so I’m hoping for a lot of red!
  9. Can anyone else chime in on whether they’ve been carrying the World Series and/or MLB playoffs? I’m from Philly and would hate to miss it.
  10. The Spinnaker Lounge is another selling point for the Gem: during the winter month departures from New York, the day of departure, first sea day, and last sea day can be very cold on deck. The Spinnaker Lounge is a forward-facing observation lounge, and is a great way of taking in some views but staying warm. The Breakaway-class ships without an Observation Lounge (such as the Getaway) lack these type of indoor spaces, and are generally a bit better-suited to warm-weather cruises.
  11. I'll definitely try that next time around. I just assumed the Haven Concierge would know for sure, or maybe be able to pull some strings to make it happen—me being under the impression that string-pulling is what the concierge was there for! 😆 It just didn't work out. Now, I should also mention that by the time we were looking to cash in that Le Bistro voucher, we had already put on a couple of cruise pounds, so maybe he did me a favor...
  12. We had some wonderful concierges in the past. Virginia, who we had back in 2016 during our first time in the Haven, was a standout. I asked the Concierge this most recent time around for a few minor things: First, the aforementioned restaurant voucher swap. Request denied. ❌ Second, if we could book an excursion for Miami (our cruise was re-routed there). We were going to just book it on our stateroom TV, but I went to the Concierge, thinking I could ask about our Latitudes discount, and also, because we had access to a Concierge, so why not just talk to him? He said that the excursion was sold out, but would put us on the wait-list, and to look out for the tickets in our stateroom. I figured he'd work his magic, but alas, no excursion tickets ever showed up at our stateroom—but I was charged for 1 person. Thankfully the charge was against non-refundable OBC, which I was having trouble burning anyway since the shops were closed. But still...wasn't exactly helpful, and he never followed up with us either. ❌ Third, I asked him if he had any recommendations for a family-friendly thing to do in Nassau. He didn't have any recommendations, just handed me a list of excursions that I could have just seen on my TV. ❌ To put it mildly, I wasn't impressed.
  13. I'll check too, since I'll be on the same cruise, and we have a 5 year old. But... We were on the Getaway back in September, and the area that would have been the kids' ropes course (there was a climbing area and a slide) appeared to have been deleted along with the mini golf course. I think this happened when the funnel area was re-done. Not sure if the Breakaway underwent the same refurb and lost those areas as well.
  14. We've been eyeing similar cruises for a winter vacation. We were on the Getaway to Florida & the Bahamas in September, and it's a fantastic ship. We also took the Gem to the Caribbean back in 2019, and loved it. I think if I had to pick the two, I'd pick the Gem. I have nothing against the megaships, but I do like the smaller ships: the rooms tend to be a wee bit bigger, crowds tend to be a bit smaller, and they have that wraparound promenade. So, if you like long walks, it's great—you can walk completely around the perimeter of the ship, all afternoon (and I often do!) For me, it would be down to price, but all things being equal, I'd pick the Gem, especially if peace and quiet is what you're after.
  15. Funny...I wanted to try swapping it out for Ocean Blue when I was on the Getaway back in September, but I didn't want to wait in line at the restaurant only to be denied by the Maitre'd. I asked the Haven concierge whether I could swap my Le Bistro cert for another restaurant, and he flatly answered "No." Maybe I should have tried at the restaurant.
  16. Don't forget having to watch the safety video for every person you check in.
  17. I'd ask them if they can apply the promo code AMEXCPP to your reservation. That's the code that shows up once your Amex perks have been applied. If they can't, I'd cancel and rebook elsewhere. If you book via Amex, you get the CPP perks applied automatically, and will see AMEXCPP on your cruise confirmation. You can also book via NCL and then have your reservation transferred to Amex's travel agency by filling out a form; after that processes, Amex will add the AMEXCPP promo code and reissue you a cruise confirmation. As mentioned, some travel agencies are authorized by Amex Travel to apply that promo code for you, but yours probably isn't one of them, given their response.
  18. I don't have an exact time, but our "It's time to check in!" emails come through at around 10 AM Eastern, three weeks before sailing, so it's not tied to departure time, all-aboard time, etc. I'd guess that it's a date-based check, and check-in opens at midnight—though I'm not sure if that's UTC midnight, or Miami midnight (assuming the NCL mainframes / backend systems are in Miami HQ). Airline check-in is based on 24 hours before departure, as opposed to the same-day, which makes sense, because flights depart around the clock. NCL's departures are reliably in the afternoon, and the check-in period is a much more generous 3 weeks, so it would make the most sense to design the system around a simple date-based check.
  19. We were at GSC back in September, and I don’t remember it as being particularly steep on the main beach. If you walk down a bit to where the cabanas are, the beach is a bit steeper there, but I don’t think it’ll be too bad. The bigger challenge might be getting on the tender, as I don’t think they accept scooters. Is your mom mobile enough to get onto the tender? As for water temperature, we were there in February once and found it cool but swimmable. It’ll likely be in the mid 70s when you’re there—not overly warm, but not frigid either. Maybe a “ooh! that’s cold!” when you first get in, then you get used to it.
  20. We really can argue about anything here at CruiseCritic, can't we?
  21. Looking forward to your review! I think it's awesome that your mom is going with you, and it sounds like you're going to come away with some good stories. Regarding sleeping arrangements, we were in the Haven 2 BR on Escape back in 2018, and were in a Getaway Haven 2 BR last month; that couch in the living definitely only sleeps one. The suite sleeps 6 in the following configuration: 2 in the master bed (which does not separate) 2 in the second bedroom's pull-out couch 1 in the second bedroom's Pullman bed (comes down from the ceiling) 1 in the living room bunk The lower bunk in the second bedroom is a bit cozy for two. When she sees it in real life, your mom might be more amenable to the living room couch bed, since it has the ocean view and is right next to the balcony; she could even sleep with the balcony door open. The rest of the cabin has separate A/C zones, so with the master and second bedroom doors closed, it might work...
  22. I've used similar AMEX offers twice in the past, saving myself at least a couple hundred bucks...AMEX now offers me cash off for other cruise lines, but not NCL (anymore). ...I guess they know.
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