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TheDougOut

Encore - Live 11/2

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33 minutes ago, Carderman said:

Who won the Ryder Hiccup in the end?

 

Those that didn’t participate.

 

Dumbest idea ever.  

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18 minutes ago, TheDougOut said:

That first thread nearly killed me.  I was well-beyond exhausted as I obsessed over the dialogue that was developing with those reading along.  Sue HATED that I was doing it, as I’m OCD and allowed it to completely take over our trip.  This became an escalating argument, to the point where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone visible, forcing me to sneak around in order to post.


I totally get it. Doing Live reviews is extremely time consuming. I can’t imagine the time, money and effort it took you to do all the event planning for these reviews! You ARE supposed to be on vacation you know! 😂

 

It is true that your reviews turned many of us onto NCL and doing Live reviews. It’s a great way to allow friends and family to “join in” on our cruises while they are happening. Thanks for that. Shoot, NCL should thank you! 
 

Safe travels. Oh, and river cruising is AWESOME IMO! You and Sue would enjoy it I think. 

Thanks again for another great Live. 

 

Edited by HBCcruiser

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14 minutes ago, TheDougOut said:

 

Those that didn’t participate.

 

Dumbest idea ever.  

I take it the Europeans whipped you in to shape🤣

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22 minutes ago, TheDougOut said:

My “one last time”...

 

Orchestrating the Bliss & Encore transatlantic groups has been exhausting. I’ve been at this for nearly 3 years now, and I can’t even begin to estimate how much time was involved.  I’m really looking forward to taking a long (forever?) break from all of this.

 

My first “live” thread was intentional, and it served a purpose.  

 

The prior summer my parents wanted to go on a big family cruise in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.  We narrowed our ship possibilities down to the Celebrity Summit & the Norwegian Breakaway, eventually deciding on the Breakaway.  

 

For the months leading up to our cruise, we all second-guessed our decision based on all the negative posts & reviews found on CruiseCritic & elsewhere.  Impossible to get a drink at the bar, an hour-wait for a trip down a water slide, rude staff, etc. - we read it all.  

 

We then boarded a fully-booked ship and were blown away by every aspect of the experience.  It was absolutely perfect, and all week we just kept shaking our heads, trying to figure out how someone could experience anything other than a great time on that ship.

 

Fast forward to the Escape launch later that year - and all the same negativity began to surface.  The ship’s rating on CruiseCritic hung well-below 50% for months, with all the same arguments & critiques being made.  

 

The endless discussions debating the ship went in circles, with comments shifting between those that had nothing good to say and those, much like myself, that were dismissed as “cheerleaders”.  It irked me to no end.

 

Then it was our turn to have a go at it, and I knew I had an opportunity to dismiss the baseless negativity once and for all.  So I went “live”, with the intent to be big, loud, fun, and honest.  I wanted to demonstrate what it was REALLY like to go on this class of ship, so all the people planning their first cruise could comfortably dismiss the negativity and allow the fun & anticipation to take over.  And it worked - much better than I ever imagined.

 

That first thread nearly killed me.  I was well-beyond exhausted as I obsessed over the dialogue that was developing with those reading along.  Sue HATED that I was doing it, as I’m OCD and allowed it to completely take over our trip.  This became an escalating argument, to the point where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone visible, forcing me to sneak around in order to post.

 

Her frustration continued right up through the morning that we disembarked.  That morning we needed to figure out how to spend the day in Miami before flying out that night, and my brain was useless.  As we stood in the median outside the port, I knew she was completely pissed off, scowling at me as I could do little more than lean up against our luggage.

 

The next part continues to make me laugh, as right in the middle of all this tension, a young couple run up to meet me.  And then seconds later, a taxi screeches to a halt as JimTheLizard jumps out to shake my hand.  It wasn’t until that moment that Sue realized just how big it had become, and I spent the rest of the day either smiling or snoring away in some public place.

 

I’d like to think I played some small role in the subsequent shift of the public’s view of the Escape, at least on CruiseCritic.  Ratings began to rise, as many more people began to celebrate the ship than ever before.  Many subsequent reviewers went “live”, keeping the momentum alive.  

 

The thread served its purpose.  

Been following you for a long time. We appreciate all the time and effort it has taken you over the years. I have been sailing NCL since first ship Skyward 1972. Then 9 times on the S S Norway. Others over the years now we do the NCL "big" ones. The Escape to Canada last Sept. was wonderful. Great crew, food, everything. Even the Epic in 2010 was fine. We are happy to be cruising and complaining bit...ing serves no purpose.

 

We did the Symphony of the Seas last week. Big whoopie 50th anniv of the company cruise. RCL has a caste system and very apparent all the time. Lots of very spoiled entitled cruisers.

 

We will be on the Encore 12/15 and are looking forward to it very much. Thank you for all your posts and pictures.

Edited by vettprincess
more info

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Doug, I can't tell you how valuable this and your "Everything" threads have been to a somewhat new cruiser like me. I tend to "over-research" things like this so when I get on board or at a particular spot I can make my fiancee' feel a bit more comfortable since she is not when she's out of her element. We are sailing February 9th on Encore and with all the information, photos, and videos you and your friends have provided I feel confident that I will already know my way around the ship. Thanks again for taking us along throughout this journey, we certainly appreciate all your hard work. Now go get some needed rest!! Maybe someday we will meet, until then, happy cruising!

Perry

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2 minutes ago, Carderman said:

I take it the Europeans whipped you in to shape🤣

 

We ran into a group of them in the Observation lounge, where the bartender was pouring them some B.S. mixed-tequila shot, as we’re throwing back our straight-up shots (out of glasses at more than one stop).   

 

“You didn’t say that in the rules!”  

 

Oh, ok. 🙄

 

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37 minutes ago, TheDougOut said:

My “one last time”...

 

Orchestrating the Bliss & Encore transatlantic groups has been exhausting. I’ve been at this for nearly 3 years now, and I can’t even begin to estimate how much time was involved.  I’m really looking forward to taking a long (forever?) break from all of this.

 

My first “live” thread was intentional, and it served a purpose.  

 

The prior summer my parents wanted to go on a big family cruise in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.  We narrowed our ship possibilities down to the Celebrity Summit & the Norwegian Breakaway, eventually deciding on the Breakaway.  

 

For the months leading up to our cruise, we all second-guessed our decision based on all the negative posts & reviews found on CruiseCritic & elsewhere.  Impossible to get a drink at the bar, an hour-wait for a trip down a water slide, rude staff, etc. - we read it all.  

 

We then boarded a fully-booked ship and were blown away by every aspect of the experience.  It was absolutely perfect, and all week we just kept shaking our heads, trying to figure out how someone could experience anything other than a great time on that ship.

 

Fast forward to the Escape launch later that year - and all the same negativity began to surface.  The ship’s rating on CruiseCritic hung well-below 50% for months, with all the same arguments & critiques being made.  

 

The endless discussions debating the ship went in circles, with comments shifting between those that had nothing good to say and those, much like myself, that were dismissed as “cheerleaders”.  It irked me to no end.

 

Then it was our turn to have a go at it, and I knew I had an opportunity to dismiss the baseless negativity once and for all.  So I went “live”, with the intent to be big, loud, fun, and honest.  I wanted to demonstrate what it was REALLY like to go on this class of ship, so all the people planning their first cruise could comfortably dismiss the negativity and allow the fun & anticipation to take over.  And it worked - much better than I ever imagined.

 

That first thread nearly killed me.  I was well-beyond exhausted as I obsessed over the dialogue that was developing with those reading along.  Sue HATED that I was doing it, as I’m OCD and allowed it to completely take over our trip.  This became an escalating argument, to the point where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone visible, forcing me to sneak around in order to post.

 

Her frustration continued right up through the morning that we disembarked.  That morning we needed to figure out how to spend the day in Miami before flying out that night, and my brain was useless.  As we stood in the median outside the port, I knew she was completely pissed off, scowling at me as I could do little more than lean up against our luggage.

 

The next part continues to make me laugh, as right in the middle of all this tension, a young couple run up to meet me.  And then seconds later, a taxi screeches to a halt as JimTheLizard jumps out to shake my hand.  It wasn’t until that moment that Sue realized just how big it had become, and I spent the rest of the day either smiling or snoring away in some public place.

 

I’d like to think I played some small role in the subsequent shift of the public’s view of the Escape, at least on CruiseCritic.  Ratings began to rise, as many more people began to celebrate the ship than ever before.  Many subsequent reviewers went “live”, keeping the momentum alive.  

 

The thread served its purpose.  

It did serve its purpose!.  My wife thought I was crazy the way I read your thread to her daily!. Then, our Uber pulls up, and there's the guy that took me along on his trip.   Tell Sue that I enjoy your posts, but truly have seen a difference with your reviews; hopefully, there's more "balance" for your reporting vs family time (I think I sent you a message about this right before you boarded!).   I speak for many when I say thanks for the insight, but mostly for the enormous amount of time you invest in these reviews!. Safe trip home!. Tell Sue thanks too!

1CDB19DC-DD0F-47BD-9D80-F433AC3332A5.jpeg

Edited by Jim The Lizard

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15 minutes ago, TheDougOut said:

 

We ran into a group of them in the Observation lounge, where the bartender was pouring them some B.S. mixed-tequila shot, as we’re throwing back our straight-up shots (out of glasses at more than one stop).   

 

“You didn’t say that in the rules!”  

 

Oh, ok. 🙄

 

Haha🤣 The built in booby trap...!!

Sounds like you got pretty bunkered!

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2 hours ago, TheDougOut said:

I’m sitting here debating if I have any closing thoughts on the ship, but if I’m to be honest, I don’t think we really took much of it in.  

 

Those that were on the sailing know - the cruise was all about the people.   No ports, no promise of decent weather, and certainly no fanfare.  It’s why this thread never fully developed, as we chose to spend every possible moment with the people that mean so much to us.  It was one big family reunion from the moment we touched down in Southampton right through to our party in NYC last night.

 

These inaugural transatlantics have accumulated a wealth of life-long friendships, long before we ever got involved.  I have little doubt that this tradition will continue with whatever Project Leonardo delivers. 

 

The ship itself is beautiful.  It feels slightly-less polished and with less continuity than what is felt on the Bliss.  Compare the DBH theming between the two -  The Bliss has the fantastic bear & wilderness pieces that align with the Alaska & Wyland theming, with tons of detail to discover in every nook.  The Encore’s version feels a bit Applebee’s-ish, with generic & cheap-looking motorcycle art thrown around.  I wouldn’t be shocked to find a TJ Maxx price-tag left behind.  Some of this can be felt in several other public spaces. 

 

Those that have followed the “everything” thread already know... I’m not a fan of NCL’s decisions regarding the Encore’s upper decks.  I’ll leave it at that, and we can all watch how their new approach plays out in the Caribbean.

 

The crew continues to be the best at sea.  While we’ve flirted with other mainstream lines, we’ve always returned to NCL, and the friendliness of the crew has been a big part of that.  Those that will be sailing the Encore in the coming months will be treated to the best of the best. 

I have so enjoyed this thread as I do with all your “live” threads!  You really make us think we are there with you.  I look forward to hearing from those doing the Caribbean how the Encore is in warm weather.  We switched our Thanksgiving Cruise from the Encore to our favorite ship the Escape because none of us thought the go karts, laser tag or GP was something that was important to us.

 

Cant wait to see what the Leonardo class will bring!

 

Safe travels home!

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Doug,

Thanks to you and Sue for the Live reviews you have entertained and educated us with over the last several years.  They are very enjoyable!  

It does look like a lot of work and very time consuming when you should be enjoying your vacay!  I hope we run into you and Sue (and all of the other fun people that you have cruised with!) on a cruise one of these days.

 

Again,

Thank you for all of your time and sharing!

 

Nance

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1 hour ago, TheDougOut said:

One last time...

 

Until the Leonardo's start up! lol

 

Thanks for all your time and effort!

 

Can't wait to sail her Jan 19, 2020!!

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Thanks, Doug and Sue for all the time you invest in these reviews. It's clear how many people, myself included, truly appreciate your efforts. Hope you get a chance to rest now.

Heather

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Doug and Sue,

 

Thank you for taking the time on this and all the other live reviews.  I don't post much, but I have thoroughly enjoyed your live reviews...I may not have followed them live, but have gone back and read ones I missed.  You are most entertaining, and very fair.  I can't imagine the time and effort it took, especially this Encore trip!  Enjoy the River Cruise...and perhaps a well deserved "ceremony"!

 

Tracy

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2 hours ago, TheDougOut said:

The prior summer my parents wanted to go on a big family cruise in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.  We narrowed our ship possibilities down to the Celebrity Summit & the Norwegian Breakaway, eventually deciding on the Breakaway.  

 

For the months leading up to our cruise, we all second-guessed our decision based on all the negative posts & reviews found on CruiseCritic & elsewhere.  Impossible to get a drink at the bar, an hour-wait for a trip down a water slide, rude staff, etc. - we read it all.  

 

We then boarded a fully-booked ship and were blown away by every aspect of the experience.  It was absolutely perfect, and all week we just kept shaking our heads, trying to figure out how someone could experience anything other than a great time on that ship.

 

First, thank you for your review! I loved seeing the new ship and following along.  Also, this commentary on the Breakaway was refreshing to see.  My SO and I will be on her for the first time in three weeks (and his first time on a large ship) and with all the negative reviews, I was a little worried that we may not have made the right choice.  It is nice to hear you and your whole family loved it so much! 

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Another thank you (Doug and Sue) for taking us along on your adventure!!    I truly enjoyed it.   

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2 hours ago, TheDougOut said:

My “one last time”...

 

Sue HATED that I was doing it, as I’m OCD and allowed it to completely take over our trip.  This became an escalating argument, to the point where I wasn’t allowed to have my phone visible, forcing me to sneak around in order to post.

 

Her frustration continued right up through the morning that we disembarked....   I knew she was completely pissed off, scowling at me...

 

And then seconds later, a taxi screeches to a halt as JimTheLizard jumps out to shake my hand.  It wasn’t until that moment that Sue realized just how big it had become, and I spent the rest of the day either smiling or snoring away in some public place.


Doug, I have seen this look before from my Lisa. Sue and Lisa both get the big picture, but patience sometimes is thin. I too have learned to put down the device (at times😉) while doing my live reviews. I have seen the change in your review style as you have adapted over time, and they have gotten better.
 

I remember your first review, when Yorkvillain sent me a link. We all here have proverbially shadowed you along your late night adventures; with many runs from the Brewhouse back to your cabin, to get your back-up battery as the adventures continued. I remember your port day at St Kitts when you were trying to find your taxi driver; to see that he got paid. It shows us who you truly are.
 

Doug, if this is the last one you ended perfectly. If it isn’t, we will be here to begin again where you last left off. If this truly is the last chapter, thank you for taking the time to bring us along. You have invited us into your lives to travel virtually through your eyes. Thank Sue for her patience as well. I will have a tub of gummies and green apples for her and cold beer waiting for you if we ever are on the same ship. 

 

Many thanks.  
Andrew

 

Edited by A&L_Ont

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Greetings from Scotland to you & your ever patient and very beautiful Sue.. 

Thank you so much for taking us along with you 

Our daughter & Son in law were on board, as they were on the Bliss 18- and for us, who live 6000 miles away from "our weans" , your "live froms" have allowed us to share a little of their adventures. (I'm sure they call it MIL stalking!)🤣

We have also met Alad along the NCL Epic Road (s)- 🍻

Been cruising NCL since 2000 - we have tested the waters with the others - but its back to NCL in 2020 and and finally looking forward to meeting "Escape" on the 2020 TA ..

Thank you again.. and hey.. keep us all posted on that river cruise ;) 

Wherever, whenever...bon voyage!

 

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I hate to admit this because I love your reviews, but... I am with Sue.  I would want you “present” on vacations.  That being said, thank you both for the great reviews.  Dh and I read them and identify with many of your experiences.  The two of you seem like wonderful people and a great match.  Happy cruising!🚢

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I remember following the original Escape review "Live" as it was happening... It was truly a "lighting in a bottle" event... I remember sailing the Escape for the first time, soon after, and I was right there in "Doug's world" where it all took place... I have subsequently sailed her four times, and even started doing my own  "Live Reviews" inspired by the original...  As they've grown in scope and length, I fully understand the time commitment involved in doing it right, while your valuable vacation time ticks away... Thanks for taking us along, Doug...  One last time.........

Edited by sid_9169

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Doug, it was fun meeting you and Sue on the Joy. 
I love your reviews but you gotta enjoy the cruise too! I am with Sue in that! 
Hopefully Chad and I will meet up with you two again sometime on another cruise! 
Kerry and Chad Wilson 

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Your Escape Live review really did mean a lot to me. I had just booked my first solo cruise. It was a big thing for me since it was always what I did with my family, but more significantly my Nana who had just passed away. I had always planned to do my post bar trip with her so this was my attempt to salvage the occasion. 

I remember reading your thread and just feeling so excited and happy about my decision to go on Escape. 

What's even great is you and Sue are event better in person. It was SO incredible spending the last 10 days with all of you. It really reminded me of when I used to cruise with my big family and you could always go to any event on there would be a friendly face making a spot for you to participate. It really was something special. I wish my Nana could have met you all ❤️ 

While I was a solo traveler I never once felt alone. 

Anyways I am welling up some tears at JFK so I should probably stop. 

Thanks again ❤️ 

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8 minutes ago, Victorious8 said:

Your Escape Live review really did mean a lot to me. I had just booked my first solo cruise. It was a big thing for me since it was always what I did with my family, but more significantly my Nana who had just passed away. I had always planned to do my post bar trip with her so this was my attempt to salvage the occasion. 

I remember reading your thread and just feeling so excited and happy about my decision to go on Escape. 

What's even great is you and Sue are event better in person. It was SO incredible spending the last 10 days with all of you. It really reminded me of when I used to cruise with my big family and you could always go to any event on there would be a friendly face making a spot for you to participate. It really was something special. I wish my Nana could have met you all ❤️ 

While I was a solo traveler I never once felt alone. 

Anyways I am welling up some tears at JFK so I should probably stop. 

Thanks again ❤️ 

 

#sfb

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24 minutes ago, sid_9169 said:

Thanks for taking us along, Doug...  One last time.........

 

Burn ‘em up in the Caribbean, Sid! 

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