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About FitchburgWIFamily

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Fitchburg, WI
  • Interests
    Cruising, Traveling, Reading and herding my children
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  1. We looked at free air for our party of 5 and it was not worth it. If my math for 5 didn't work, I can't think yours for 7 would be better. One: we have to take NCLs transport to the port...which is more expensive for one person than Uber for all of us. So that was $240 that I wouldn't have paid except for taking the free flights. Two: The free air is for pax one and two and what they wanted for pax 3-5 was more than what I could book air on my own. Three: without knowing airline, I don't know what the baggage charges are so that increased cost was one I didn't know how to budget for. And you are probably flying non stop, but if you aren't, you might end up with a layover that is not optimal (too short, too long, too far away in the wrong direction). You can leave the air on for now, but make sure you use flights.google.com and check Southwest when they release their spring flights to see if you can do it cheaper on your own before final payment.
  2. You are not obligated or even expected to tip, the tip was included either in the price of the package or the price of the drink. The bartenders do get a cut of the tip that is included in the drink package according to the bartender at the Mojito bar on the Escape. That being said, I always bring 100 $1.00 bills and tip one per drink no matter where I am. I don't know if it gets me better service, but it does help me keep track of how many drinks we had and helps us justify the cost of adding on the unlimited drink package.
  3. All three do have the exact same menu each night. Savor and Taste are the same layout with slightly different color schemes. SavOR is on the pORt side and TaSTe is on the STarboard. Manhattan is much larger, and has a place for live music and dancing in the middle of the venue. Different music acts perform different nights. If you like the music act, you will love getting a table closer to the dance floor so you can watch them perform. They do take breaks, so it is not constant noise. If you don't like the group, you are better off to be in one of the rooms that branches off from the dance floor and is well away from the band. Just let the hostess know your preference when you ask for a table. Some music acts inspire people (patrons) to dance. On my first voyage on the Escape there was a large party of young women from Spain who spent their whole time on the dance floor dancing and singing along with the musical duo who performed what I can only presume to be popular Spanish songs (since the girls from Spain knew all the words). I have never been lucky enough to see any cast shows perform. My mom who is darn near 90 and hard of hearing prefers the quietness of Savor and Taste. I like the more vibrant Manhattan. We compromise. As I have stated on multiple threads, I have never made a reservation for a main dining room, and have never had a long wait for a table even though we have been a party of 8, 7, 6, 5 and of 4 depending on the cruise.
  4. I have seldom had a long wait for a table at a complimentary dining room. We show up when we are hungry, ask for a table for 4 or 6 or 8 and most of the time, they either seat us right away or ask us to wait while they put a table together. On the away class ships, if there is a queue at the podium by Savor you go to the podium by Taste and there usually isn't a line. On the smaller ships, if there is a wait, they give you a pager and you can go enjoy a cocktail while you wait. For me, picking when I am going to want to dine on some night in November is killing my freestyle vibe. In addition, there are some definite disadvantages to having a particular time booked every night. I may decide today that on Tuesday 11/26/19 I want to dress up and have an early meal in the Manhattan, but when I get back on board after an all day shore excursion, I may decide to grab a quick bite at the buffet or the 24-hour pub and skip dinner entirely. Or maybe I want to shower, nap and eat later that evening. Maybe we stop for a pre-dinner drink, get a great seat and a great bartender and don't want to give that up to run off for dinner at 6:15 on the dot. Trying to time my reservations around my shows is tricky because everytime I have pre-booked a show it changed once I got on board. Lastly, I don't think Norwegian does a very good job of helping you keep track of all your reservations. It's not like it would be that hard to produce a printout at check in with all you have pre-booked (dinners, shows, etc) instead of making me check multiple systems. So, no, I would not recommend pre-booking your complimentary restaurants.
  5. Another thing to worry about is Orlando traffic and the drive to port. Are they taking a shuttle to the port? There will be some delay between landing, getting luggage, finding shuttle, waiting for shuttle departure that all need to be added to the 45+ drive to the port. Their flight better be coming in well before noon.
  6. We have often sailed with three adults in the same state room. My almost 90 mom doesn't drink (much). When ever we go to a bar, we order for all three of us, and offer our two cards with the drink package and my mom's card for them to charge her drink to. Sometimes they take her card and charge her. Many times they do not. We are honest and up front and let them decide how to handle it. I don't know if it would be different if she were not almost 90.
  7. I had read so many negative opinions of Nassau I was surprised how much we loved it. We got off the boat and hired a couple of taxis to take us to Cabbage beach (we were a party of 7). When you get to the drop off, you have to walk through a gauntlet of vendors: jet ski-chair-umbrella-coconut drink pushing vendors. But we pushed through them and started to head down the beach. Pretty soon we all by ourselves on a gorgeous beach. We set up our towels in the shade of the shrubs on the dunes and played in the surf. No one bothered us, no one was any where near us. The beautiful sea, the waves, the sun, the white sand…it was zen just sitting there, even if you didn’t take the opportunity to bounce around in the waves. If what you don’t like about the beach is being surrounded by other people … maybe this would be a compromise for you and your family. Snorkeling is not ideal (see references to playing the surf). After a few hours of peace and sun, we trudged back to the place we were dropped off and picked up a taxi to head back to port. There we split up, and my husband and I hired a driver to take us the other way out of town to a house on the beach featured prominently in some James Bond movie. Largo’s Villa Palmyra from Thunderball still stands perched above the beach. Our driver was so wonderful, telling us information about the island and explaining the sights along the way. We almost stopped for a drink at a local pub where Sean Connery stops for drinks. It was a great afternoon and well worth the flat we had negotiated with the driver before we left port. If I ever go back, I will head this way out of town, our driver assured us there were better snorkeling beaches this way.
  8. Things I have to pay extra for when I cruise: We get the beverage package. Sometimes in a US port (like on sail away day) there is a less than a dollar sales tax added to my onboard account when I get drinks. Once we sail, that never happens again. I convert my free minutes of internet to an unlimited internet package and pay the difference. All of us share the same log in, but only one person can be logged in at a time. It is slow internet, but it lets me do what I need to do and my kids can keep their streaks going. I sometimes add an additional tip to the specialty dining bill. I don't do this all the time because I have already paid an additional service charge for the plan, but if the server was outstanding (like the waiter in Cagneys who proposed to my octogenarian mother with a long steam rose) I add a little something something to the bill. I don't get bottled water, but if you are used to getting free bottles of water with RCI's beverage package, you will need to pay for them on NCL. Many people bring a reusable water bottle and fill it on board to avoid this. I guess I just drink ice water in a glass or drink other beverages (cause I have the beverage package for a reason 😉 ) so I never pay for a bottle of water. I don't do a lot of NCL excursions, but if I do, I prepay them when I book them so they don't show up as a charge on my shipboard account. The free shore-excursion credit does show up after the excursion, so that reduces my account balance. If I did book an excursion on board that will show up on my account. I prepay my daily service charges, so those don't show up on my account. If you don't you see a line item per person per day for the service charge. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same between RCI and NCL. There are some activities (Martini tasting) that have a fee, but anything with a fee is noted in the daily schedule. There are lots of activities that don't have fees, just like on RCI. There are specialty bakery items that aren't included...I just don't get those because there is sssssssoooooooo much food on a cruise I don't need a fancy cupcake. If I put charging privileges on my kids cards, they could break me playing arcade games for a fee, getting sodas at bars and restaurants for a fee, etc. I avoid that by not putting charging privileges on their cards. I have never felt "nickel and dimed" and always felt like I got a ton of value for my money. Hope this helps.
  9. The pullman bed drops down from the ceiling above the sofa/bed...making it look like bunk beds with two identically sized beds one right on top of each other, with the long side against the wall. There is not enough floor space to put the mattress on the floor, there would be no room to get to bathroom from the other bed and you would not be able to get out of the sofa bed without stepping on that mattress. I don't know what the weight limit is. I put my full grown teens in the pullman and they never reported a problem with hitting their head. Hope this helps.
  10. We haven't ever booked the haven because we have never seen it priced at a rate we considered equivalent to the value. We do book NCL suites pretty consistently. I like the extra level of service for my mother, and she really enjoys the quiet elegance of the suite breakfast over the buffet. But when I compare the price of a non-haven suite to a haven accomodation, I just don't see the value. On our upcoming November cruise on the Joy, I can put 5 of us in a CF concierge suite: a 2-bed 2-bath inside (with virtual balcony = big tv screen). It's our first time without a balcony at all...but I am hoping it works out. According to NCL: the concierge category features spacious, luxury accommodations, concierge service, and private breakfast. I notice we don't get private lunch, which we would in another NCL ship's suite. I think we get priority boarding and disembarkation, but between our platinum status and my mom needing a wheelchair that doesn't really matter. I see we don't get a butler, which means no butler snacks which does disappoint me. In any event, for the five of us all in, (beverage package, specialty dining, no pre-paid gratuities and no NCL insurance) we are at $6,131.65 (US). The room we would fit in in the Haven is a H4. That would cost us $7800 more for same options. More than twice our current fare. Will I make a bid for one of those rooms? You bet. Will I bid anywhere near to the asking price right now? Nope. I don't think the Haven restaurant and access to the Haven sundeck is going to be worth the additional 1114.29 a day to us. Especially since only my girls are sun worshipers. Maybe that much more for the whole week. Maybe. So, no, I don't pay (haven't paid) full price for Haven, but I will either bid or watch the fares and someday maybe be lucky enough to try the Haven kool-aid to see if I change my tune. If I get in, I'll try not to dilute the pool too much with my non-full price paying presence.
  11. I always have to wait, but never that long. I just looked through my call logs and I see a 14 minute call (which was part hold music, part help..calling to rebook (rerate) on this past Monday at 10:30am) a 25 minute call (again, part hold, part help, calling to cancel one room, and switch passengers on another) on a Saturday the 13th at 10:30 in the morning, an 18 minute call just before that (which was all wait until my phone died [argh!!!!]). I think I have grown to expect a maybe 10 to 15 minute wait as pretty routine. Which isn't great...but it is better than an hour for sure. It must either be the options you are choosing ( I did not book through a TA so chose different IVR options than those who did book through a TA) or the time of day you are calling.
  12. I am kind of glad they keep them on the same ship...I think it would feel like worse luck if you booked a new ship to have a whole new cruise experience and the old shows followed you to that ship. Not exactly a show, but the Escape the Big Top activity didn't change between my two sailings on the Escape. Even having done it before, we still couldn't do it the second time.
  13. We booked a suite on the Dawn once and had the overflow booked to an inside. As long as we didn't send more to the suite dining room than we booked in the suite we were OK. And, you don't have to dine in the suite dining room. Breakfast is good because they have a wonderful buffet, but lunch gets a little old because the menu doesn't change. So when I am in a suite, I usually only eat in the suite dining room for about 5 breakfasts and 2 lunches. Other breakfasts are quick ones at buffet or in our room before a shore excursion. Other lunches are skipped (because do I really need a 3 course lunch between my very large breakfast and my butler snacks before dinner?) or quick ones in the 24 hour pub style restaurant. Hope this helps.
  14. Everyone is different, everyone's opinion is valuable. We always take the free at sea 3 meal package and enjoy a few specialty restaurants on board. But the 4 nights we don't dine in specialty restaurants are by no means a bust. Savor and Taste (or the Aqua or whatever smaller main dining room) offers the same menu as the main dining room in a smaller venue that is sometimes more appealing than the large dining hall. There are also dining venues that the meal package doesn't cover that are worth trying (The Escape's Food Republic is wonderful). And, on any given cruise, there is going to be at least one day when I just don't feel like dressing up and dining: maybe it is the day I came back from a long hot all-day excursion hangry and thirsty and hit the 24 hour pub style restaurant for a few drinks and some food before I even went to my cabin. I don't need to dress up and go eat second dinner that night (although I can and I have). The thought of having a plan for every night of my 7 day cruise just gets in the way of my whole freestyle vibe. If I were the OP, I would take the 3 free, buy the 3 meal packages for his daughters on board the ship, and just wing the other 4 days. Maybe one of them you will end up in a specialty restaurant paying a la carte, but maybe you won't.
  15. Always remember: we choose our attitude. We choose how to react. Yes, things can go "wrong" on a cruise: but you can choose how you react, and that will dictate the kind of vacation you have. a cruise can be rerouted and you don't make the stop you were most looking forward to: you can choose to let that ruin the whole trip, or you can say to yourself "Guess I'll have to get to __ another day" and enjoy the fact you are on a ship at sea. you can hit rough weather or choppy seas so you can't lay out on the sundeck and get a tan: you can choose to let that ruin your whole trip, or you can try some new activity you never tried before like napkin folding (or, let's face it, you are on your honeymoon, you can find something to do) you can not get a table at a certain restaurant on a certain night, or get a tough steak, or they can run out of nutella on the second day of your cruise: you can choose to let that ruin your trip or you can choose to try a different restaurant or leave your steak on your plate and eat 3 desserts If you go with the right attitude, if you don't have a preconceived notion of perfection, and if you choose to have fun, you will. You're on a boat. At sea. With a 24 hour restaurant that will make you french fries and nachos all night long. Congratulations and good luck!
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