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About zactak

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New York City
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Norwegian Cruise Lines
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Sint Maarten
  1. zactak

    Why travel solo?

    I'm in my 30s and have taken two cruises as a solo traveler. I have a few reasons why I like to travel solo. For starters, I am really independent. I like to do the things I want to do, and cruising or traveling solo allow me to choose where I want to go and what I want to do without having to consider someone else. On the same token, I can be pretty stubborn, so if I travel with someone and they want to do something that I don't want to do, I won't do it. For instance, a few years ago, my partner at the time, and I took a cruise. He wanted to snorkel, which is something I really hate to do. When we were in port, he'd go snorkeling, and I'd visit the places I wanted to. Also, a lot of my friends have families, or they couldn't afford to take a vacation. There have been times in my past where friends and I have decided to go on a trip together only for them to cancel at the last minute. I'm usually the one to plan and book everything, so I've had situations where people cancel and don't pay, or they go and promise to pay, but never do. Traveling alone, I don't have to worry about that happening.
  2. zactak

    Halloween Cruising

    I was on the Epic TA in 2016. They put up a few Halloween decorations during the night on October 30, and they were down by the morning on November 1. The only Halloween festivities they had was on Halloween Day.
  3. zactak

    TA on Epic - Port Canaveral / Barcelona

    I took the TA from Barcelona to Port Canaveral in 2016. I was 33 when I went. The demographic was slightly older, but there were still a ton of people around my age. I actually was solo on the cruise, and had no trouble meeting people around my age. I don't think you guys will have any trouble with meeting people around your age, or you feeling out of place at all. I would go on another TA in a second. I love all the sea days!
  4. zactak

    Birthday question

    You shouldn't have any problems, and I doubt they will verify if it's really their birthday. I was on the Epic in 2016, and my friends told the waiter it was my birthday.. my birthday was like two weeks before I got on the cruise... I'm pretty sure I even told the waiter that. They didn't care. They sang and gave me a piece of cake.
  5. zactak

    Do you do something at every stop?

    I personally typically look to see what NCL has to offer for shore excursions, do independent research on attractions that might be at the port, and decide what I want to do based on that. I've booked excursions through the cruise line, booked through third parties, and I have just wandered around the port on my own. I typically chose to wander around the port, because either the shore excursions through the cruise line were more than what I wanted to pay, or I couldn't find an excursion that went to the attractions I wanted to go to, so I went out on my own. I love finding things to do on my own in ports. I don't have to worry about others, and I get to do what I want. For me, finding things to do in a port makes the time to get on the cruise to go by a little quicker, and it feels like an extension of my cruise. I think doing research and figuring out what works best for you and your family is the best thing to do, and what method is most cost effective for you. If you choose to wander around on your own, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship before they leave.
  6. I was in a studio on the Epic a few years ago. I had a connecting room and never heard anything from the next room. I stayed relatively close to the studio lounge and couldn't hear anything when I was in my room.
  7. Congratulations on your early retirement! I agree with a lot of people here in regards to your passport. If you want to be able to use your passport for the cruise, you'll have to get it renewed beforehand. If you're OK using your state ID/license and birth certificate, then you can use those and not renew your passport. It's totally up to you. There's a daily service charge that you can prepay before the cruise, or have it added to your account everyday of the cruise. Once on board, you can cancel the daily service charge and tip as you go. I personally pay the daily service charge, and then tip crew members who I feel did an exceptional job more, or if I order room service. You can choose what works best for you. Since you'll be on the Norwegian Escape, there is a studio lounge on the ship. The studios are for solo travelers, and they have a nightly solo gathering. A lot of them are in the studio lounge, but I have heard that they hold them in other locations on the ships sometimes, so you can check your daily for the time and place. I have taken two solo cruises on the Norwegian Epic. The gatherings were always well attended, and a good place to meet people. I've made great friends who I'm still in touch with to this day through them. I'd also definitely recommend joining your roll call on here. You might find other solos, or even a group of people who don't mind you joining them sometimes, and be able to chat a bit before you board. I hope you have a great time! I love cruising solo.
  8. zactak

    Epic - MDR (Taste) for lunch

    I was on the Epic almost two years ago, and they were open for lunch on embarkation day and on sea days. I ate lunch in there one day and breakfast one day. It was all right. It wasn't overly crowded, and enjoyable.
  9. I just want to reiterate this. If by chance the cruise has to alter your itinerary, such as skipping a port, or changing the time you'll be in port, you may not be able to get a refund from a third party. Also, weigh the risk of potentially missing your cruise because the third party excursion is running late. I'm very supportive of taking third party excursions (or doing a DIY excursion) when I can, but I definitely weigh those things too.
  10. zactak

    Halloween on board

    I was on the Epic for Halloween in 2016. They had a costume party and a costume contest for the guests. A lot of people dressed up. They also had some minor decorations, and a "haunted house." The haunted house wasn't that great, but it was the effort that counted... it was nice of them to at least try! I think they had trick or treating at the stores for kids. They also had a themed Halloween party in Spice H2O that night, which is where the Halloween contest was.
  11. No. That's not the case at all. If this was the case, then many criminals would just apply for a passport with a made up middle name to evade law enforcement. When you apply to renew a passport, you provide additional information including your social security number, new photo, and other identifying information. That information refers back to your previous passport information and current background. Your new passport has a new number, but also indicates you had a previous passport with the previous passport number. Border Patrol would have all the necessary information to confirm your real identity without any issues in this situation. Nothing the OP posted would rise to the level of criminality.
  12. I'm not totally sure if you will have any issues regarding your passport, but I have seen situations where people have problems with the name on their passport not matching their reservation. I personally wouldn't want to take the chance of being turned away. I would probably get my passport updated if I were you, just to avoid any potential problems. I wouldn't pay much attention to those saying you or your wife committed fraud or perjury. First and foremost, intent has to be there, and the burden to prove intent would be up to a prosecutor. By adding a middle name when you don't have one isn't defrauding anyone, using a totally fake name is. Perjury would only come into play if you lied about something in order to get approved for the passport. You'd likely be approved with or without the middle name. So, don't worry about any crime being committed.
  13. zactak

    Celebrity Air Complaint

    I just wanted to note that the original agent you spoke with who indicated they could not make outbound calls was likely telling the truth, and not just wanting to make it more complicated for you in regards to getting AA on the phone. I used to work at a call center for a bank, and I could only make internal calls. If I clicked to open a new external line, I would have started receiving more inbound calls on that line too. I'm not saying it's not frustrating for the customer, or that your frustrations aren't valid. I just wanted to provide a little insight that the agent likely wasn't lying.
  14. zactak

    Dressing up on Norwegian

    Many people dress up on the cruise, so you wouldn't be seen as the oddball family. I personally like NCL because there's no formal night, but I actually enjoy dressing up. I often wear a sports coat and a button down shirt during my cruises. So, if you want to dress you and your family up, go for it!
  15. zactak

    Man overboard on Norwegian Star

    I'm pretty sure TheGinBoy was pointing out to the people that were quick to "ban" the passenger, including you, that there are often more details to a situation, and people should pause before making unfounded assumptions. He made no assumptions that she was pushed overboard, or that there was any foul play, or even that he knew the specifics of this particular case. His statements were general, yours, and others weren't. The "ban" statements, and the statements about the woman being billed for the rescue effort were the irresponsible statements. We don't know how or why she fell overboard, we can only infer, but those statements imply that she was negligent in falling over board, and no one else was. Once the facts of the cases are known to the proper authorities, and if it's determined this woman was responsible, then that's the point at which a banning and/or bill to them should be considered, not before then.