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annmarz

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About annmarz

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Wayne, IL USA
  1. Going to Havana (hopefully) in Sept on NCL. We would like to experience some traditional Cuban music and dancing. My partner is not comfortable with taking a cab on our own, so we are trying to decide on ship's evening excursion. Anyone have any experience with the Tropicana vs. the Parisien or the Riviera?
  2. I was on the Bliss in early February and I thought it was far superior to the Getaway, which was my only other NCL cruise. Note I enjoyed the Getaway very much and have traveled on 12 cruise lines, over 35 cruises. The Observation Lounge was a wonderful venue, day and night. I agree that a huge amount of space was used for the go-karts, etc. and another or larger adult-only pool would have been nice. But I understand that these mass-market cruise lines have to have something new and different to set them apart. The Beatles act was impossible to get into but they did perform in the theater the last night. And it was great! The Paul guy had the head movements down pat! There were plenty of empty seats for Jersey Boys and Havana. (Both were outstanding). We were able to get into an early show of the Comedy venue - also very fun. I will say that this was one of the cleanest ships I have been on and for the most part the crew seemed happy. It was also the most efficient embarkation I have had and very easy disembarkation as well. I do think improved technology is making this better among all cruise lines. As far as food goes - some was surprisingly excellent (prime rib in Local), most was very good, and some was average. The Seafood Extravaganza in the buffet was disappointing, although the shrimp was great. The only specialty restaurant we ate in was Le Bistro and we loved it. With so many options, if you didn't like something it was easy to find something else to eat. (I don't waste calories on substandard food.) This is one of the reasons I love cruising. The ship didn't feel like it had 4000 pax (except by the pool, the muster chaos, and the Beatles). The only negative was the dull itinerary and ports. At least we had good docking space in St. Thomas and didn't have to tender in anywhere. Overall it was a great week, well worth the price and I think if you couldn't have fun on this trip there is something wrong with you.
  3. I enjoyed your postings tremendously especially since I will be sailing on my first Silversea cruise on Spirit next week. I am one of those people who enjoy the shows and I have adjusted my expectations accordingly. Do they have any enrichment lectures or educational type activities onboard?
  4. It seemed wider than a twin, but I don't know.
  5. I am sick of St. Thomas and have had very creepy and scary experiences in Jamaica. Ensenada was terrible. Tortola has nothing to offer. Unlike many other of my fellow cruisers, I always seem to find something fun to do in Cozumel and I like Nassau. I am not a huge beach person, but I enjoy all the "private island" days because I know what to expect and that is usually my one beach day of the trip. I mourn the loss of authenticity over the years - places are starting to turn into shopping malls of the same old stores and a lot of the local flavor seems to be turning generic. As for overseas, If you've seen the Acropolis, there is no reason to revisit Athens or its port, Piraeus.
  6. It's been a week since I disembarked the Bliss and I have so many wonderful things to say about this gorgeous, well-designed, and immaculately clean ship that I really don't know where to begin. I was on the Getaway a year ago so I thought I would begin with a comparison of the studio cabin experience on these ships. On both trips I traveled with a friend who was also in a Studio Cabin. In fact, the availability of these accommodations is what attracted me to NCL in the first place.(I have traveled on over 30 cruises on 12 different lines but these are my only NCL voyages.) So we weren't really travelling solo and I can't comment on the solo cruiser activities which we did not partake of. The cabins were very similar. The bed on the Getaway was wider. At first I was a bit disappointed when I entered the Bliss Studio cabin and noticed this but I soon saw the advantage of having more floor space between the bed and the closets. I relocated the stool from under the shelf/tv area to use as a nightstand next to the bed. It was a different shape than on the Getaway and it did not open for storage space like on the Getaway which would have been nice. I also noticed the addition of a wastebasket in the toilet room. The biggest difference was the much-touted "virtual porthole" in the wall of the Bliss which would give a view of the outside of the ship as if you were actually looking out a real window. Unfortunately, mine did not work. After a day of inquiries with no results, I finally got a manager who investigated and said it was broken (duh!). There was no way to fix it. After I expressed my unhappiness, they offered me chocolate covered strawberries and wine. This was a nice gesture but had no value to me (I don't drink wine and there is free food everywhere on the ship.) Long story short, I requested and received a complimentary specialty dining meal. I was very happy with this! Le Bistro was a superb experience and I was pleased they handled this so well!! I found that I could put on the tv, tune it to the Bridge Cam, cover a lot of the screen with the sliding closet door, and thus be awakened by daylight in the morning. There is a Studio Lounge on both ships exclusively for the use of those in the studio cabins. I much preferred the one on the Getaway, It had a serviced bar in the evenings and real regular coffee available. On the Bliss, no bar, and a latte/espresso/etc machine which my friend loved but I just wanted regular coffee! Still it was convenient for ice water and snacks and a lovely space. Comments that apply to both ships: The Studio Cabins are extremely well-designed for such a small space. Lots of room under the bed for suitcases, padded walls make for a "daybed" like feel when watching tv, excellent reading light, USB port, many shelves and cubby holes and hanging knobs. The shower is nice but I wish they had conditioner along with the shampoo and a footrest for perching a leg while shaving. Good mirrors and lighting. Sink is tiny but functional. I was actually surprised that I felt so comfortable for a week in such a small space. I brought some magnets for hanging notes and papers on the metal toilet room door and used packing cubes to stack on the shelves. Things I wasn't using like the hairdryer I placed under the bed. Tip: When retiring for the night, make sure the closet door on the far right is slid all the way to the right or else it bangs and knocks. My friends and I all found this to be the case. I will continue with comments on the Bliss soon!
  7. Has anyone done the NCL tour of Miami and airport drop-off on disembarkation day? Did you see enough of the city to feel it was worthwhile?
  8. I was looking forward to the go-karts on my Bliss cruise next February but now I think I will skip it. Unless something is done to improve the problems cited by many people, if they even can.
  9. annmarz

    Tabyana beach?

    Re the lockers on Tabyana Beach: Are they still $5.00? Do they take US dollars? What is their approximate size? Thanks so much!
  10. Are there lockers available for ones valuables? If so, what size are they and how do you pay for them?
  11. Bliss Cruisers - can you give me some info about the shops onboard? I am not interested in high-end, luxury goods. I just want some fun logo-type merchandise, souvenirs, clothes, books, items specific to the itinerary, etc. On the Getaway, the selection was pretty meager. They had the predictable $10 blowouts of purses, watches, etc. And lots of expensive things. Do people really buy these items on a cruise? Are they really a better deal than buying online at home? I don't go on a cruise to shop, either onboard or ashore really, but it can be a fun diversion. I guess all the ships, not just on NCL, would not devote so much space to these types of goods if it wasn't profitable, but it boggles my mind.
  12. Agreed! The outside Mojito Bar MAY possibly be quicker. It depends. I was amazed (January 2018) how well the Atrium bartenders did with millions of customers at busy times. Yes, there was a wait, but c'mon - they were busting ther a##es off!
  13. Thank you! I will miss the mood lighting but I think the virtual window will be great!
  14. Can you give more details about the Studio Cabin? How big was the bed? Ample storage space? Was the shower head a rain shower? Any tips or advice? I was in a Studio on the Getaway and loved it.
  15. This makes sense. In my experience, both direct and anecdotal, it is almost always the water - or in this case ice. Sorry this happened to you.
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