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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

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  1. I just wanted to emphasize this. 48 hours before the port arrival time. I just booked an excursion last night for my cruise in May, and my documents stated this.
  2. zactak

    NCL $1,000 more expensive than Celebrity?

    I don't think david_sobe's intent was for the OP to look at different ships or itineraries, but rather to point out the problem with comparing the Summit and Escape by illustrating how ships around the same age and technology is a more accurate comparison.
  3. zactak

    NCL $1,000 more expensive than Celebrity?

    You're comparing a four year old ship with water parks and things with a ship that is 18 years old. A ship with a recent dry dock is rarely ever going to be on the same price level as a newer ship. What a person looks for in a ship/itinerary, the level of service, and the quality of food is pretty subjective. I was on the Celebrity Constellation years ago. I hated the environment, the service, and the food was just OK. I've almost always had great experience and food on NCL.
  4. zactak

    Differences in Roll Calls

    I don't think it's an NCL thing. I think it can be really dependent on location, time of year, and the demographic of the passengers who are going on that specific cruise. Whenever I am considering cruises, I will check the roll call to see how active it is (the roll call doesn't effect my decision). There have been RCCL, Celebrity, and NCL cruises with less active roll calls, then I've had very active roll calls too. I'm going on an Alaskan cruise on the Bliss at the end of May, and my roll call is a bit slow too.
  5. zactak

    vegetarian speciality dining

    I'm going on the Bliss with my cousin, who is a vegetarian, in May. So, I've been paying a bit more attention to food choices for this cruise. I'm rarely interested in specialty dining anyways, though. I'm not entirely sure, but I'd assume another option you might have is if there's a specialty restaurant your family is interested in that may not have as big of a selection for your daughter, you might be able to arrange for your daughter to have a dish from another restaurant, food from the MDR/buffet, or get a "special" dish with some advanced notice (like 24 hours) that wouldn't burden the kitchen too much. That way you wouldn't have to worry so much about limiting your daughter's choices while having to pay for that limitation (getting something at the specialty restaurant that she doesn't necessarily want), or limiting your own choices because of her dietary needs. What I said isn't based on any knowledge I have, but certainly something else you could look into.
  6. zactak

    Lunch at La Cuccina on Epic

    I don't think La Cucina is open for lunch, however you can generally sit down there and eat food from the Garden Cafe at lunch. It's usually quieter and isn't crowded. I enjoyed eating my lunches down there on numerous occasions.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.