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Noodle77

Members
  • Content Count

    118
  • Joined

About Noodle77

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    California
  • Interests
    Travel, reading, photography, cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Panama Canal
  1. I took a tour with Dora two weeks ago -- she was outstanding! We had a very short time in port, which was further compounded by the fact that later in the day there would be parades for an independence festival, and streets were already closed. We visited La Popa (the larger tour buses can't go up there), the old town, a couple other monasteries/churches, and did some shopping. Dora is very knowledgeable and engaging. We loved her and I was so glad to have a nice small group.
  2. I used Rony's two weeks ago in Roatan for a private tour -- unfortunately I cannot remember our driver's name. He was good, but not great. We did not visit an orphanage or school, as both my mom and I have spent significant time working with an organization that helps orphans and incarcerated youth in El Salvador and Honduras. We visited the Daniel Johnson Monkey and Sloth Hangout, the Iguana Farm, West End beach where we did a glass bottom boat, the chocolate factory/store and then a large souvenir shop. We didn't have any desire to snorkel or sit on a beach, so it was kind of a challenge to figure out how to fill the day. Overall, I'm glad we used Rony's and would choose them again. Our driver made several suggestions (i.e., the boat) that worked out well!
  3. I couldn't find any information about this excursion when planning our Partial Transit cruise on the NCL Jade, so I wanted to provide a review if others are considering it. This excursion was a clear choice for my mom and I, as she and my dad lived in the Canal Zone when I was born. She was excited about seeing areas of the Canal Zone that she remembered and since I have no memories of living there, I wanted to see it for the first time. Here's the description: You’ll visit the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center which offers exhibits about the canal operations with interactive modules, video presentations and models of the Panama Canal. Hopefully you’ll also have an opportunity to see a vessel transit the Miraflores Locks’ chambers. This historical excursion will take you past the former, old Panama Canal Zone where the military installations of the American administration are a gentle reminder of the strategic importance of the area. Your specially trained guide will provide a narration, during your scenic drive of the City of Knowledge, Clayton, Albrook Airport, a former US Air Force Base. A photo stop will be made at the Panama Canal Administration offices. Enjoy a scenic drive over the palm-lined Amador Causeway with fantastic views of the downtown skyline. This causeway was built with excavated material during the construction of the Panama Canal, it took 18 million yards of solid rock. Originally part of a military base, this is now a popular recreational area with shops, restaurants and a marina attracting locals and visitors alike. A short stop will be made at Fort Amador, before your return to the ship. Most of the sightseeing was from the bus -- my one disappointment was that the stop at the Canal Administration Offices wasn't a stop at all. We spent some time driving around the town of Balboa, where the Admin offices were, and got a general sense of where some of the former military installations were. The stop at Fort Amador was kind of a waste -- it's a lovely location right on the water, and there are some restaurants there, but the shopping was one large duty-free store and one very small souvenir stand. The visit to Miraflores Locks was great -- it was nice to see Canal operations from the land side, since we had been on the boat that morning. The guide was able to plan the timing so that we could see a couple ships passing through. In case you're wondering about logistics -- after the ship entered Gatun Lake and anchored, they released the excursion groups one by one from the theater. We tendered over to a small dock and loaded up on buses. We had a chance to see the "new" locks and learn about the expanded Canal a little bit on the bus. Then we drove to the Pacific side, around 45 minutes, for the sightseeing and visit to the other set of locks. At the end we were transported to Colon, where the ship was docked after having gone back through the locks. This was a great excursion if you have a connection to the Canal Zone. We only saw Panama City from a distance, so if that's your interest, I would look into one of the other tours. I'll try to post a couple photos shortly!
  4. The Jade had straws on the last cruise (5-16 November). I think I was given one every time I ordered a frozen drink, and requested one a time or two for other drinks.
  5. I lived in New Orleans for a few years. You're right, Parkway Tavern & Bakery are the best po-boys in the city. I would make one addition to your list, especially if the OP is staying in the Garden District. Jacques-Imo's Cafe on Maple St. It is an experience. You can take the St. Charles Ave. streetcar line all the way uptown, until where it curves onto Carrollton, and get off at Maple. Order the shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake.
  6. Thanks everyone -- that's one less thing I'll have to worry about! They already pushed our M&G back 15 minutes a few weeks ago. I have emailed them my final-ish headcount and haven't gotten a confirmation yet.
  7. I'm arranging the M&G for our upcoming sailing on the Jade. I've collected the RSVPs and been in contact with the Special Events Coordinator, who has confirmed the date, time and location. Here's the question -- do they automatically invite the Senior Officers to come to the CC Meet and Greets, or is that something I need to request or follow-up on?
  8. How do you know if you're going through the old locks or the new locks? I am on a partial transit on the NCL Jade in November.
  9. I sailed on the Jewel out of NYC on Thanksgiving week a few years ago and yes, it was fairly crowded with a LOT of kids on board.
  10. Thanks for the review -- I am thinking about this itinerary solo in '19. Were there a lot of solos on board? Did you take all ship-sponsored excursions?
  11. I would like to visit the Veragua Rainforest on our upcoming day in Puerto Limon during a Panama Canal Cruise. I don't see this included in a lot of combo tours, so it looks like I have two options -- arranging private transportation to get to the park and then paying the entrance fee, or taking the NCL Shore Excursion "Rainforest Extravaganza." The excursion also includes a pontoon boat ride through the canals first, and a meal. Has anyone done this excursion?? Or is there anyone who has made their own way out to the park?
  12. This happened to me -- I was trying to book meals for my Jade cruise in November and there were certain dates that weren't available at ANY of the restaurants. Like, they weren't even listed on the drop down menu. I tried it a few times and no dice. Then magically, I went onto NCL.com one time and the missing dates had reappeared. Great, I booked them no problem. One of my fellow Roll Call members said they had the same problem. I think the website has some kind of glitch. Maybe try clearing your cache if you're like me and hate making phone calls.
  13. Finally made it to double digits -- 98 days till I board the Jade!
  14. As it happens, I've been on both. The spa on the Jewel is much smaller than the Breakaway, and more of the areas are segregated by sex, i.e., there is a men's side and a ladies' side, each with a hot tub, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, etc., and then the coed section is a lot smaller than the BA with just one big hot tub. So it kind of depends who you're traveling with and if you want to enjoy the spa facilities together. They do have the heated loungers and other loungers in the Jewel spa in the coed section but again, it's smaller. They don't have the different rooms (salt, steam, etc) that the Breakaway does. However, I think a Jewel spa pass is less expensive than the Breakaway is. The Jewel also doesn't have Margaritaville or Ocean Blu and the Raw Bar that the Breakaway has on the Waterfront, nor does it have the gelato and bakeshop. I believe the other restaurants are the same. One feature the Jewel does have that I love is the Great Outdoors, which is a smaller buffet on the aft of the ship. The Jewel has not been refurbished since 2014, it looks like, so that's something to consider. Honestly, I enjoyed both. The Breakway definitely has more bells and whistles, but the Jewel felt more manageable and not nearly as crowded.
  15. Jennie, my profile picture is one that was taken with the sea lions that day! It was late November (I think it was actually Thanksgiving day) and sooo cold and windy. I was surprised we didn't get wetsuits and the water was kind of icky. BUT it was still awesome.
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