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About Tatka

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Franklin, MA USA
  • Interests
    Travel/photography, books, hockey!!!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Celebrity,Princess,Royal Caribbean,NCL
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe, Caribbean

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  1. I don't have frozen drinks examples, but we fell in love with Toasted Almond 2oz Kahlua 2oz Amaretto 4oz Milk or Heavy cream Ice This drink is not usually on menu, but in all barmen on Star knew how to do it 🙂
  2. Well. Just made a search for June, which is an off season for Caribbeans https://book.applevacations.com/Availability/Default.aspx?itin=1 $1306pp minimum. Maybe it is a dirt cheap, but when comparing to cruising overall it is not. At least for us. And if you start including options of safe areas, better flights, it increases dramatically.
  3. We stayed in two quality resorts in Punta Cana and La Romana. Quality of resorts was great, however area around wasn't really safe. And we saw security with guns on the beach at nights. It is a normal thing for A/I in poorer countries were most areas are shady
  4. Before we started cruising (after moving to US) we had two A/I vacations in Dominican Republic. In Iberostar, Punta Cana (2000) and in Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, La Romana.(2002) Both were a great quality First we enjoyed as it was our very first time in exotic Caribbean so everything was very new and exiting Second time we started getting very bored. In 2003 we tried our very first cruise in North America and never looked back. To us cruises are more interesting. We love change of scenery, different ports, we enjoy ship's entertainment much more. Sailaways are very exciting even after 40 cruises. A/I includes unlimited drinks and this is the only pro, but you can have a package one way or another. Also we can cruise from nearby or little bit away ports so flying is not involved, making it cheaper.
  5. We cruised on Breakaway and Allure (sister to Symphony without water slides and Abyss). In some reason we did not become Breakaway fans even though we do like smaller NCL ships. Things that we did like: 1) MDR set up. Especially Manhattan room, but other two too. 2) 2 promenades: Waterfront and another one 3) Our balcony room. Cozy. Things were Breakaway loses to RCCL Oasis class 1) Pools setup... RCCL has amazing pool setup on most of ships 2) We like theaters on Oasis class better and water show is something you won't see anywhere else 3) Oasis class is much more spacious even though it carries more people 4) Casino is enclosed.. unlike on Breakaway where it is not sheltered from atrium so smoke gets out easily I think there is no other class of ship with any company which would match wow factor of Oasis class of RCCL
  6. Thank you for well written review. As we are sailing on her for the third time this Friday (14 dayer to South Caribbeans from Boston), I really enjoyed reading it. Seems like we have something in common. We do prefer RCCL a little bit more, but just so you know.. we cruised with them 6 times last 2 years and cold soups are gone. Only once they are served. Escargots which I LOVE are served during the first 3-4 (sometime longer) nights, but not every night. Love Great Outdoors of Jewel class, miss more "sparkling" atrium of previous class. Wish NCL would add some covered pools like Royal. Love shuffleboard (our main activity ... even more preferable than minigolf lately 🙂 ). I am so happy to sail on ships which still have it and at Promenade deck under the roof. Thank you once again!
  7. Even St Thomas can be (very rarely) a tender port if there are too many ships in port. I wonder if Tortola can be a tender port with only 2 places to dock.
  8. Not possible. I wouldn't miss October through June of cruising. Need to space up 5 cruises 🙂 and we rarely cruise during summer at all.
  9. Unfortunately B's lost yesterday, but game was interesting. Two years ago on Gem they showed B's playoff games B's. It was interesting as between the periods nothing was broadcasted, but we were glad to be able to watch games. We watched it in the bar above pool. And this is when WiFi comes to play if game is not broadcasted 🙂
  10. We cruised(and continue) with NCL, RCCL, Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland, MSC, Carnival(scratch this one) and they all have the same system. When we started in 2003 some of them still had cash system, so nothing was added automatically, but we had recommended amounts listed for Main Waiter, Assistant Waiter, Cabin Steward etc. Switch to autogratuities was explained this way: 1) While people who directly serve you get generous tips (usually), people behind the scene who still provide service get very little from the company (I actually met on very first cruise on Celebrity general areas cleaner from Former USSR who wanted to speak to me in our common language and he said that his salary was $450 per month plus his flights to and from were paid). He was not getting any more money as he did not serve people directly. At the same time waiters were getting up to $4K a month. So companies decided to use money more equally. It does make sense although I would just add more money to the fare and recommend lesser personal tip. 2) 20 years ago most of lines had only traditional dining. So you had the same person serving you whole cruise. Now... with anytime... and especially on NCL there is no traditional dining. Who would you tip? I remember in 2009 on Royal Caribbean(RCCL) if you had traditional dining you still tipped in cash and autogratuities were not collected. If you opted for My Time Dining (freestyle) then they would charge autogratuities.
  11. Frankly speaking I don’t like Carnival at all. Out of 8 lines we sailed we aren’t planning to repeat them. NCL isn’t overly sophisticated in comparison, but it feels nicer. Ships can have bright decor, but they aren’t gaudy. I also prefer NCL entertainment and ambiance. Again frankly speaking I prefer RCCL as their ships are built with more thoughts about all ages. All of them have adult solariums, many ships have indoor pools and/or indoor solariums. However we do have nice/fun time on ships of both companies so continue to sail with both. Next week we sail on Gem. We only sailed on one large NCL ship Breakaway so maybe it’s not fair to judge, she did have own strong points, but we prefer 90k tons ships of NCL due to better design. On 90k you can walk on Promenade Deck (#7) and hear live music in many places... you have more adequate pool deck space. We liked a lot Jewel, Gem, Dawn, Star . Spirit is one cute ship too. 🙂
  12. This is obvious. It feels like NCL in some cases takes pretty good chunk of money as gratuities (like 20% on alcohol), but not sure if it all goes to the staff... as staff is definitely expecting more... I hope at least from this increase deserving people get increase.
  13. I am not worried about 11 more dollars 🙂 we might pay for upcoming trip, but I have a question. Our sailing is on 03/29/2019. Does this mean that our sailing is not affected? I was thinking that it could be partially affected. For bookings made on or after April 1, 2019 or for sailings April 1, 2019 and beyond whose service charges have not been prepaid: For all ships excluding Norwegian Sky All-Inclusive and Norwegian Sun All-Inclusive $18 USD per person per day for The Haven, Concierge and Suites $15 USD per person per day for all other stateroom type
  14. Thank you! Glad to hear Celebrity cares about us commoners 🙂
  15. Thank you for photos! I am trying to understand what will change in terms of common areas vs suite areas... What about Thalasso pool? Will it still be for everybody?
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