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Live Review during NCL Getaway from Nola February 23


WankersAwayCarib
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My cousin received a cruise voucher. We ended up getting an upgraded cabin; prepurchasing spa/pool access; took advantage of free at sea with dining, excursions, unlimited beverages, and upgraded the free WiFi.
Pre cruise we also purchased bottled water for the stateroom.
Check in was an easy process online. Edocs makes it more convenient to not have to print a boarding pass. We are a little concerned one back might be a couple of pounds over the 50lb bag limit. 

Going into the cruise (writing this a few hours before we board), we are pretty happy. It does seem as though NCL nickels and dimes you for everything. We are not planning to purchase Vibe beach club passes for the adults only pool area. 
We need to try to get one more specialty dining booked when we get on board or lose the credit we have from free at sea. 

We joined a Facebook group a few months back and have plans for a Cruise Critic meet up on day 2. 
 

I plan to post Freestyle Dailies and food menus as part of the review. I noticed there are none from recent NCL or Getaway sailings.

 

Now we drive to port. We stayed in Biloxi last night as New Orleans hotels were pricy being the weekend before Fat Tuesday and the busiest of Mardi Gras season. We are familiar with the drive and have planned around possible street closures in Nola for parades this morning. Tip, download the New a Orleans Parade tracker and the Waze app. Together, you can figure out if you need to make alternate route plans.

 

One personal note, last night I realized I forgot my glasses. I have contacts but I haven’t worn those everyday for a week in about two years. Should be interesting. I may be seen stumbling around half blind at some point (or maybe it will be the beverage package 🙂

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First ... I hope that you have a most fabulous vacation !   Am looking forward to your review. Really looking forward to the menus in the main dining each night and the freestyle dailies for this itinerary.  It is so helpful to plan specialty dining reservations. So thank you !    Safe travels! 

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We did the same Dawn Cruise exactly 3 years ago. The Sunday before Fat Tuesday is not the best time to cruise out of New Orleans. Stayed at Harrah's Biloxi for the 2 nights before our cruise. We left Biloxi around 7:30 am and the traffic was bad. Finally found our way to the cruise port several hours later, with all the detours set up around the city. Very crowded at the port with cruisers disembarking & embarking, active train tracks next to ship, and the Mardi Gras Crowd Partying. Good Luck on getting there!  

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Embarkation 

It went smoothly. Traffic was a bit backed up due to parades but we had a shuttle driver from the rental car company take us. We shared the ride with a nice couple who was leaving on Carnival Glory today. 
Traffic, honestly, was worst at the port. Most of the back up due to drivers who were unloading not following police and sheriff’s directions. 
New experience with NCL, they had the driver pull into a parking space (precious Carnival and Disney cruises it was curbside in a line or shuttle bus parking area). It was easy to unload. The porter was friendly and provided reminders for things we needed as we were going into the terminal.

The area outside of security is very small. We entered at door 4 and had a short walk to the start of security. Security was smooth with only two notes, they had people take off fitbits which in general have no problems at airport security. Secondly, another thing new to me, REAL ID passports (issued in the last ten years with the chip inside) set off the metal detector. 
 

The process for check in with NCL was mostly painless.  Be prepared with a pen to fill out the public health questionnaire and coronavirus addendum. People were picking them up from a table but NCL had staff handing them out. When I cruised with Carnival during the Ebola outbreak, they sent the questionnaire with the check in documents with a reminder when the addendum was added. I personally would have preferred to have these printed and filled out ahead of time instead of trying to fill them out while the line was moving.

Check in seemed to go much more smoothly than my experience with Carnival. Completing the pre departure check in and adding a card for my onboard account ahead of time saved time at the check in desk. 
We headed to O’sheehans for lunch to avoid the buffet crowds. When I find a spot to hang, I will post food and service review along with menu and a copy of the welcome aboard info from the check in desk.
 

Until then, it is lunch and Exploring.

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Popped down to drop things in our balcony stateroom. The room is spacious. I really like the fact that the door is recessed from the hallway and it opens out. The door isn’t too heavy and I didn’t feel I had to fight with it to get into the room. More on Stateroom on Cozumel day.
 

I ordered Spinach dip; my cousin had fajitas. I also ordered my first drink on the drink package, a caipirinha. 
Portion size is great; other pubs might be too much food. Fajitas were the perfect size (2 tortillas) and the dip was good for a bar dip. It was more like a bechamel sauce (creamier) than spinach dip you might get at a place like Applebee’s. 
The cocktail was strong. I had my reusable cup so I took it with us when we went to explore.

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muster.

It was pretty disorganized and staff in other areas on the same floor told people one thing and the Muster crew provided accurate information on where to meet for our specific muster group. Part of the confusion was that the staff running muster only showed 5 minutes before the start time. Announcements were great starting about 15 minutes before and people seemed to listen and show to the muster location ahead of time. 
I'm not sure but it seemed like the longest muster I have experienced. Additional details were given on safety topics. 
 

After muster, we went to look for a drink. The bars on 7 and 8 that were open were slammed. The Mojito bar had a line (orderly) of about 25 people ordering from one spot on the bar. 
the Casino bar, Bar 21, was not yet open. Neither was Shanghai; this didn’t bother me but there were people trying to find something that wasn’t the buffet. Lots of people tried to order at Bar 21 but were turned away. 
 

The app was not helpful in the search for food and drink.

The new NCL app is pretty and has some cool features like, reviewing your room charges in real time.

BUT (notice the big but) there are no hours of operation for any bar or restaurant. For activities, I cannot see anything that starts more than a couple of hours later than the current time. 


uploading freestyle daily for day one, Feb 23.

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Tip for next cruise if the certificate is a casino perk the casio drink card allows you to ordrer bottled water in the casino, so you won't need to buy from NCL. 

 

We are sailing in two weeks, thanks for sharing!

Edited by Nola26
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19 hours ago, Nola26 said:

Tip for next cruise if the certificate is a casino perk the casio drink card allows you to ordrer bottled water in the casino, so you won't need to buy from NCL. 

 

We are sailing in two weeks, thanks for sharing!

That's a great tip! I think I got one as part of a Costco deal - anything else I can spend it on?

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muster.

It was pretty disorganized and staff in other areas on the same floor told people one thing and the Muster crew provided accurate information on where to meet for our specific muster group. Part of the confusion was that the staff running muster only showed 5 minutes before the start time. Announcements were great starting about 15 minutes before and people seemed to listen and show to the muster location ahead of time. 
I'm not sure but it seemed like the longest muster I have experienced. Additional details were given on safety topics. 
 

After muster, we went to look for a drink. The bars on 7 and 8 that were open were slammed. The Mojito bar had a line (orderly) of about 25 people ordering from one spot on the bar. 
the Casino bar, Bar 21, was not yet open. Neither was Shanghai; this didn’t bother me but there were people trying to find something that wasn’t the buffet. Lots of people tried to order at Bar 21 but were turned away. 
 

The app was not helpful in the search for food and drink.

The new NCL app is pretty and has some cool features like, reviewing your room charges in real time.

BUT (notice the big but) there are no hours of operation for any bar or restaurant. For activities, I cannot see anything that starts more than a couple of hours later than the current time. 


uploading freestyle daily for day one, Feb 23.

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