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COMPARISON: NCL Studio Cabins & Studio Lounges


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A question for those who have cruised solo on NCL on multiple NCL ships with the studio cabins & studio lounges. Which NCL ship had the best studio cabin and studio lounge and why for each (cabin & lounge)?

 

Thanks in advance.

Edited by farmersfight
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello again Farmersfight, I am going to try an answer to the best of my recollection:

 

Epic- this was 2011 and had a bartender although I don't know if they kept it after.

Breakaway- & Escape- I was in both lounges 2x- so on the five total cruises I think the lounges themselves were all similar- but I will say the following.

Epic has 128 studios, Breakaway around 58 and Escape around 85. I always found participation to be around 20% but lower on my second Escape to Canada.  My Encore was cancelled but that studio lounge looked more modern, I heard the bed was smaller.

 

I had a Studio on the Epic- I think the lighting changed more, but it wasn't that much different than my Studio on one of the Escape trips.

Note that 3 of the 5 times I upgraded to a Balcony the week before. I would recommend that route and then going in the lounge itself. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have been on CC forever but just now discovered this Solo board. While I travel solo, I meet so many people on my cruises, some who have become forever friends. 

I have been in Studios on the Getaway (3 times) and Bliss.  I usually am a late booker (6 weeks or less) and can get an Inside, Oceanview or Balcony for less than a Studio at that time.

As far as the Studio Cabins go, they are very similar with just a few small changes. I really like the virtual window in the Bliss/Encore Studios.  It gives you an actual view of what is outside the ship, either port side or starboard side, depending on which side of the Studios you are on.  And while some say the bed on the Bliss (and Encore) are smaller, I have found that if you pull it out a bit from the wall (where it is tucked under the virtual window), it is the same or almost size (a double bed). Some don't like to pull it out because it takes up floor space but I just push it back in once I get up.

As far as Lounges, the Bliss lounge is heads and tails above the Away lounges (IMO). The Away lounges are 2 stories and small, while the Bliss lounge is one very large lounge on deck 11, with inside access via stairs from decks 10 and 12. We had a huge group of solos on my Bliss cruise (probably 75 or so) and everyone fit very comfortably (and showed up at 5pm for the meeting). It was by far the best group of solos I have every sailed with.

One other thing about the Studios...my adult son and I wanted to go on a cruise but didn't want to share a cabin (and bathroom). So we got connecting Studio cabins and it was perfect. We could leave the door open to have conversations during the day, but had our privacy whenever one of us wanted it. I know some non-married couples that also used that option. 

Let me know if you have any other questions.  

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46 minutes ago, HowardK said:

Is  the Encore lounge (was supposed to go in May) similar to the Bliss lounge? 

I upgraded to a forward facing oceanview cabin 3 days before the cruise began and don't recall going to the lounge on the Encore but I am 95% sure it is identical to the Bliss.  BTW, while I loved the size of the O/V cabin, it was by far the noisiest cabin I have ever had.  The first 2 nights there was a loud banging noise which shook the whole cabin. Someone said it was the waves hitting the bow but I didn't believe it...I have been in forward cabins before and never experienced that. But I did see the Captain on the 2nd night and he confirmed the rough seas were indeed making the waves hit the bow with that much force and that would be the last night of noise.  Believe it or not, he was right!  Smooth sailing after arriving in San Juan.

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On 11/22/2020 at 9:36 PM, debenson0723 said:

I have been on CC forever but just now discovered this Solo board. While I travel solo, I meet so many people on my cruises, some who have become forever friends. 

I have been in Studios on the Getaway (3 times) and Bliss.  I usually am a late booker (6 weeks or less) and can get an Inside, Oceanview or Balcony for less than a Studio at that time.

As far as the Studio Cabins go, they are very similar with just a few small changes. I really like the virtual window in the Bliss/Encore Studios.  It gives you an actual view of what is outside the ship, either port side or starboard side, depending on which side of the Studios you are on.  And while some say the bed on the Bliss (and Encore) are smaller, I have found that if you pull it out a bit from the wall (where it is tucked under the virtual window), it is the same or almost size (a double bed). Some don't like to pull it out because it takes up floor space but I just push it back in once I get up.

As far as Lounges, the Bliss lounge is heads and tails above the Away lounges (IMO). The Away lounges are 2 stories and small, while the Bliss lounge is one very large lounge on deck 11, with inside access via stairs from decks 10 and 12. We had a huge group of solos on my Bliss cruise (probably 75 or so) and everyone fit very comfortably (and showed up at 5pm for the meeting). It was by far the best group of solos I have every sailed with.

One other thing about the Studios...my adult son and I wanted to go on a cruise but didn't want to share a cabin (and bathroom). So we got connecting Studio cabins and it was perfect. We could leave the door open to have conversations during the day, but had our privacy whenever one of us wanted it. I know some non-married couples that also used that option. 

Let me know if you have any other questions.  

 

Thank you for the very thoughtful & informative reply! Believe it or not, I have not yet cruised solo but plan on doing so when cruising resumes (now that I am retired and divorced).

 

I am glad you found this solo forum as it sounds like you're an experienced solo cruiser. Your knowledgeable & insightful solo cruising experience will be highly valuable in this forum. Thanks for joining!

 

I'm really glad what you said about meeting other solos on your past cruises and becoming forever friends. I hope to do the same. Also glad to see what you said about booking late for those last-minute deals (I understand NCL is known for doing this) and being able to book standard cabins (inside, OV or balcony) for less than a studio. I plan on using the same strategy. I got to have me a balcony, if possible, even as a solo. That's why I am intrigued with RCL's studio balcony cabins on their Quantum-class ships. As a matter of fact, I am booked on 2 of RCL's Quantum class ships in studio balcony cabins, the Anthem OTS & the Odyssey OTS (new ship).

 

I agree, I think that the virtual windows on the Bliss & Encore was a great idea by NCL and a great use of modern technology. Since the studio cabins are small and interiors (with no window or balcony), to have that real-time "outside view" (even virtually) would make a big difference. I noticed these virtual windows are on the Bliss & Encore, the newest Breakaway + class ships. Maybe NCL plans on installing these virtual windows on their other Breakaway/Breakaway + class ships as well, in the studio cabins.

 

Wrt the solo lounges, it seems like NCL improved upon these with their newer, larger Breakaway + class ships. I like the idea of a large studio lounge and imo, NCL did a great job locating the studio lounge on deck 11, in between decks 10 & 12 on their Breakaway + class ships (i.e. Bliss, as you mentioned). Also a great job by NCL of designing access to the studio lounge via inside stairs from decks 10 & 12. I like the fact that you must have a special key-card (indicating that you are booked in a studio cabin) to access the studio cabins areas of the ship and also to access the studio lounge. Very exclusive...almost "Haven-like" (o.k., just kidding).

 

That's very encouraging what you said about the number (75 or so) of solos that showed up at 5 pm for the solo meetings. When I start solo cruising, I hope to cruise on an NCL Breakaway or Breakaway + class ship and that there are that many solo cruisers on board and that they are actively engaged & fun to be around, just as you have experienced.

 

I bet you are right about the solo lounge on the Encore being like the Bliss. I'm guessing that the solo lounges on all the other newer, larger Breakaway + class ships (Escape & Joy) are probably the same design as the Bliss. Oh, a question just popped into my mind; in the studio lounge(s), does NCL provide a bar and a bar tender? That may be a big reason all those 75 or so solo cruisers showed up at all the 5 pm meetings, lol. It would be for me, lol.

 

Again, thanks for your great reply and I look forward to corresponding with you again in the solo cruiser's forum. Take care...

 

 

 

 

Edited by farmersfight
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7 minutes ago, farmersfight said:

I bet you are right about the solo lounge on the Encore being like the Bliss. I'm guessing that the solo lounges on all the other newer, larger Breakaway + class ships (Escape & Joy) are probably the same design as the Bliss. Oh, a question just popped into my mind; in the studio lounge(s), does NCL provide a bar and a bar tender? That may be a big reason all those 75 or so solo cruisers showed up at all the 5 pm meetings, lol. It would be for me, lol.

 

Again, thanks for your great reply and I look forward to corresponding with you again in the solo cruiser's forum. Take care...

 

Glad you asked this question about the bar/bartender...in my experience, I have only seen a bartender once in the lounge and that was on my first Getaway cruise (about 3 months after the ship launched in 2014). It was during the 5 o'clock meeting and he was only there for that 1/2 hour.  The Bliss lounge does not have a bar and I think the space is utilized better without one.  But one thing about the lounges...they have the best coffeemaker on the ship. 

If you'd like, I would be happy to share more experiences/answer questions, especially about solo cruising.  I've been on NCL 12 times, all basically solo and once with my son.  Every experience is different and there are definitely good and not so good times. Take care.

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23 minutes ago, debenson0723 said:

Glad you asked this question about the bar/bartender...in my experience, I have only seen a bartender once in the lounge and that was on my first Getaway cruise (about 3 months after the ship launched in 2014). It was during the 5 o'clock meeting and he was only there for that 1/2 hour.  The Bliss lounge does not have a bar and I think the space is utilized better without one.  But one thing about the lounges...they have the best coffeemaker on the ship. 

If you'd like, I would be happy to share more experiences/answer questions, especially about solo cruising.  I've been on NCL 12 times, all basically solo and once with my son.  Every experience is different and there are definitely good and not so good times. Take care.

 

Again, thank you so much for your reply (& quick!). Actually, I was hoping that NCL did provide a bar & bar tender in their newer, larger solo lounges (on the Breakaway + class ships). Seems like it is very do-able since you saw it on your Getaway cruise (and that's with the smaller, 2 story solo lounge since the Getaway is just a Breakaway class ship?). I was surprised that you said Bliss did not have a bar. Who knows, NCL might start doing it (providing a bar & bar tender in the solo lounge) if there is a demand and it is popular. I'm sure NCL wouldn't mind the extra alcoholic drink revenue ($) that an additional solo lounge bar would generate. Good to know about how good the coffee makers are in the solo lounges and being the best on the ship. You definitely would need good coffee especially if NCL starts putting in bars & bar tenders in the solo lounges, lol.

 

I'm glad you have much experience cruising solo on NCL and are willing to share it here on this forum/thread. I haven't yet but will be cruising solo (when cruising resumes) and I'm closely looking at NCL because of them being "solo friendly" (with the studio cabin arrays on multiple decks & the studio lounges plus the exclusive key-card access for only studio cabin booked solos). But, as I mentioned, I love me a balcony, so I will also look for the last-minute deals on balcony cabins. And, as I understand it, NCL does discount their standard cabins last-minute & close to departure date. Another reason I'm looking at NCL.

Edited by farmersfight
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19 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

I upgraded to a forward facing oceanview cabin 3 days before the cruise began and don't recall going to the lounge on the Encore but I am 95% sure it is identical to the Bliss.  BTW, while I loved the size of the O/V cabin, it was by far the noisiest cabin I have ever had.  The first 2 nights there was a loud banging noise which shook the whole cabin. Someone said it was the waves hitting the bow but I didn't believe it...I have been in forward cabins before and never experienced that. But I did see the Captain on the 2nd night and he confirmed the rough seas were indeed making the waves hit the bow with that much force and that would be the last night of noise.  Believe it or not, he was right!  Smooth sailing after arriving in San Juan.

interesting because I at times upgraded my studio to a balcony a week before- and had an aft which had the sun hitting it and someone 1 door or 2 down smoking. I preferred a mid balcony instead but it was still nice having the space. 

In answer to other quesitons- the Epic had a bartender in the lounge in 2011. I didn't drink on that cruise.

On my last Escape I would go the mojito bar at 4 and grab a few or four and bring them to the gathering at 5.

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1 hour ago, HowardK said:

On my last Escape I would go the mojito bar at 4 and grab a few or four and bring them to the gathering at 5.

 

So that would be "4 at 4". So I see, you can BYOB to the 5 o'clock solo meetings. I'd be o.k. with that...

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10 hours ago, farmersfight said:

 

Again, thank you so much for your reply (& quick!). Actually, I was hoping that NCL did provide a bar & bar tender in their newer, larger solo lounges (on the Breakaway + class ships). Seems like it is very do-able since you saw it on your Getaway cruise (and that's with the smaller, 2 story solo lounge since the Getaway is just a Breakaway class ship?). I was surprised that you said Bliss did not have a bar. Who knows, NCL might start doing it (providing a bar & bar tender in the solo lounge) if there is a demand and it is popular. I'm sure NCL wouldn't mind the extra alcoholic drink revenue ($) that an additional solo lounge bar would generate. Good to know about how good the coffee makers are in the solo lounges and being the best on the ship. You definitely would need good coffee especially if NCL starts putting in bars & bar tenders in the solo lounges, lol.abins last-minute & close to departure date. Another reason I'm looking at NCL.

The design of the Studio Lounges in Bliss and Encore, which are identical except the artwork, doesn't include the bar setup seen in the older lounges. The only alcohol available is the wine dispenser (pay per glass, not included in either of the booze packages) and any bottles of that awful sparkling wine that cruisers have brought from their cabins.

 

It's not like the BA+ ships are bereft of bars! From deck 10/11/12 forward it's a swift run down the stairs to deck 8 forward, home of the District Brewhouse and Maltings Whiskey Bar. If you'd rather run upstairs, 15 forward is the Observation Lounge and its bar.

 

I'm looking forward to comparing the new-style Studio area with the original style. At this point I'm not booked into one of the latter until January 2023 but we'll see.

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Honestly, in my experience, the Studio Lounge is not a 'hang-out' place and it wouldn't make sense to have a bartender in there.  As @Coastcat said, it's not too hard to find a bar anywhere on the NCL ships. Usually when I went to the lounge to grab some water or a pastry/cookie, it was empty. You might see one or two people in there reading or having a quiet chat, but there are so many other amazing places on the ship, that the lounge is not used much, except for the 30 minute meet-up. I spent way more time on the Waterfront or in the Observation Lounge.

 

Another thing about the solo meet-ups is how good the Solo Director is.  I was lucky to have Jose on both my Baltic and Panama Canal cruises...he is totally into his solo groups, escorting everyone to dinner and the shows, making sure you can get a reservation for the Go-Karts, Laser Tag or Silent Disco, and putting together a group for Specialty Dining, if it is requested.  I swear he was the hardest working man on the ship, next to the CD.  And then other Solo Directors just 'call it in', show up for 5 minutes and just don't have the personality for the job.  It can really make or break a solo group.

 

But...that being said...it is up to YOU to make your solo cruise as much or as little as you want.  The best way I have found, from my very first cruise, is to join the Roll Call here on CC and participate. There is usually someone on the RC who will offer to set up a Meet and Greet (for all cruisers) and that is a great way to meet people.  I have done this twice and while it is hard work, I have had the best times doing it.  On my Bliss cruise, which was 15 days, we had so many activities planned, starting with a Happy Hour in Miami the night before the cruise even started.  Then we had lunch in the MDR at 1pm (60 people) on Embarkation Day, the actual Meet and Greet (set up with NCL and Cruise Critic) which was attended by 300 people...the largest ever at that time (I think the Encore beat us the following year).  We also had Cabin Crawls, Pub Crawls, a Poker Tournament, Slot Pull...there was never a dull moment on that cruise!  I knew no one on that cruise prior to the Happy Hour but made so many friends and have cruised with some of them several times since or visited them in their hometowns.

 

Sorry so lengthy...you got me started on my favorite subject...cruising!  I had to cancel 3 cruises this year and am anxious to get on a ship again but not planning on anything right now until the first Leonardo class ship in 2022 (and I am not even sure if this ship will have solo cabins but I am hoping for solo balconies...fingers crossed!). BUT if this vaccine turns out to be successful, I might find myself on the Encore in October, headed to Bermuda.  You just never know...

 

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19 hours ago, coastcat said:

The only alcohol available is the wine dispenser

 

Guess I'll be switching from beer to wine. Just kidding, I like both!

 

19 hours ago, coastcat said:

It's not like the BA+ ships are bereft of bars! From deck 10/11/12 forward it's a swift run down the stairs to deck 8 forward, home of the District Brewhouse and Maltings Whiskey Bar. If you'd rather run upstairs, 15 forward is the Observation Lounge and its bar.

 

I may use the stairs on the first run (when I'm still sober) but on the follow up runs, I better take the elevator(s) so as not to trip and fall down (or even up) those stairs 😉...

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18 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

Sorry so lengthy...you got me started on my favorite subject...cruising!  I had to cancel 3 cruises this year and am anxious to get on a ship again but not planning on anything right now until the first Leonardo class ship in 2022 (and I am not even sure if this ship will have solo cabins but I am hoping for solo balconies...fingers crossed!). BUT if this vaccine turns out to be successful, I might find myself on the Encore in October, headed to Bermuda.  You just never know...

 

 

Leonardo-class ships, if I recall correctly, will be geared to adult cruisers. Please, let the design include a Studio area and, even better, some single-occupancy balcony cabins...

 

Come on NCL, don't let Royal Caribbean upstage you!

 

If my September 15-day Celebrity cruise gets cancelled or shifted to 2022, maybe I'll join you on Encore to Bermuda. I really want to see that chandelier in person. It HAS to look better in person.

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19 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

Another thing about the solo meet-ups is how good the Solo Director is. 

 

19 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

And then other Solo Directors just 'call it in', show up for 5 minutes and just don't have the personality for the job.  It can really make or break a solo group.

 

Yeah, I can really see how important it is to have great solo director. On a larger scale, I guess the same can be said for the cruise director.

 

19 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

The best way I have found, from my very first cruise, is to join the Roll Call here on CC and participate. There is usually someone on the RC who will offer to set up a Meet and Greet (for all cruisers) and that is a great way to meet people.

 

I agree. I have joined Roll Calls here on CC previously and it worked out great. However, these were "non-solo" cruises. I have seen solo cruisers on these roll calls, as well. So, this may be a good way to meet other solos as well.

 

19 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

not planning on anything right now until the first Leonardo class ship in 2022 (and I am not even sure if this ship will have solo cabins but I am hoping for solo balconies...fingers crossed!). BUT if this vaccine turns out to be successful, I might find myself on the Encore in October, headed to Bermuda.  You just never know...

 

With the Leonardo class ships, I agree, NCL needs to follow the example of RCL's Quantum class ships and put on some solo balconies. RCL was definitely on the right path with these solo balcony cabins, I just wish they would have put on more of them on their Quantum class ships (I think there a 12 total on each ship, 6 on 2 different decks). I found out that these solo balcony cabins are very popular and sell out fast. You really have to book these way in advance.

 

I'm counting on the vaccine(s) to be highly successful! So much so that I just recently booked 3 solo cruises. 1st one Dec 2021(x-mas cruise), 2nd one Jan 2022 and the 3rd one Feb 2022. 1st cruise is on the brand new Mardi Gras (Carnival), the 2nd is on the Anthem OTS (in one of those coveted studio balcony cabins, no less) and the 3rd one is on the new Odyssey OTS again, in a studio balcony cabin.

 

I'm pretty confident that by late 2021, early 2022, we'll all be cruising again albeit all be vaccinated against covid, as well. I'm guessing that the cruise lines will require passengers to be vaccinated to cruise.

 

Btw - I see that you are in Paradise Valley, AZ. My younger son attends the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Edited by farmersfight
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14 minutes ago, coastcat said:

Please, let the design include a Studio area and, even better, some single-occupancy balcony cabins...

 

Come on NCL, don't let Royal Caribbean upstage you!

 

I agree wholeheartedly!! As I said in my previous post, I managed to book a couple of RCL's studio balcony cabins (on Anthem OTS & Odyssey OTS) in early 2022.

 

16 minutes ago, coastcat said:

maybe I'll join you on Encore to Bermuda. I really want to see that chandelier in person. It HAS to look better in person.

 

Sorry, but I don't think there's a chance with that monstrosity;

 

Norwegian Encore Cruise

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I was supposed to go on the Encore to Bermuda in May- i looked just now and it seems the ship is headed to other departure ports in the future. 

I would likely do Bermuda on the Bliss in '23 then. the Joy goes to Bermuda in '22 but doesn't have studios. I am potentially going to do canada/new england on the escape in '23 if I don't do the Bliss.

 

Had I gone on the Encore, I would have paid for Vibe as Spice H20 was replaced with that laser tag. I would have done the race track- but won't people be sharing the same helmets and head coverings? I am wondering how that will work.

 

Most of the solo directors were really good and put up boards, took suggestions, etc.. and then went to the activities themselves.

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5 hours ago, coastcat said:

 

If my September 15-day Celebrity cruise gets cancelled or shifted to 2022, maybe I'll join you on Encore to Bermuda. I really want to see that chandelier in person. It HAS to look better in person.

It doesn't, LOL.  I really love the chandeliers on the Away class ships but sorry, whoever picked this one for the Encore must have needed their glasses adjusted.

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4 hours ago, HowardK said:

Had I gone on the Encore, I would have paid for Vibe as Spice H20 was replaced with that laser tag. I would have done the race track- but won't people be sharing the same helmets and head coverings? I am wondering how that will work.

 

I kicked around the idea of getting Vibe passes but I am not really a pool/sunbathing person and opted instead to do the Thermal Spa.  I didn't do the whole week though...they sold Day Passes for $59 on this cruise so I opted for 2 port days.

On the karts, the head coverings are replaced after every driver (rewashed) but the helmets...I am sure they are sanitized.  I enjoyed the karts but they were sort of a one and done for me.

 

Now a don't miss on the Encore is the new specialty restaurant, Onda.  It was so, so good...I wish I would have gone there twice.  One restaurant I did go to twice was Food Republic.  I did not care for it on the Bliss but the menu was different on Encore and it was excellent.

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5 hours ago, farmersfight said:

 

 

Yeah, I can really see how important it is to have great solo director. On a larger scale, I guess the same can be said for the cruise director.

 

 

I agree. I have joined Roll Calls here on CC previously and it worked out great. However, these were "non-solo" cruises. I have seen solo cruisers on these roll calls, as well. So, this may be a good way to meet other solos as well.

 

 

With the Leonardo class ships, I agree, NCL needs to follow the example of RCL's Quantum class ships and put on some solo balconies. RCL was definitely on the right path with these solo balcony cabins, I just wish they would have put on more of them on their Quantum class ships (I think there a 12 total on each ship, 6 on 2 different decks). I found out that these solo balcony cabins are very popular and sell out fast. You really have to book these way in advance.

 

I'm counting on the vaccine(s) to be highly successful! So much so that I just recently booked 3 solo cruises. 1st one Dec 2021(x-mas cruise), 2nd one Jan 2022 and the 3rd one Feb 2022. 1st cruise is on the brand new Mardi Gras (Carnival), the 2nd is on the Anthem OTS (in one of those coveted studio balcony cabins, no less) and the 3rd one is on the new Odyssey OTS again, in a studio balcony cabin.

 

I'm pretty confident that by late 2021, early 2022, we'll all be cruising again albeit all be vaccinated against covid, as well. I'm guessing that the cruise lines will require passengers to be vaccinated to cruise.

 

Btw - I see that you are in Paradise Valley, AZ. My younger son attends the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Does the Mardi Gras have solo cabins?  I know a lot of people that were booked on that ship for this year but I am not a big fan of Carnival.

 

I am really going to have to check out those studio balcony cabins on RCL. I have been wanting to try the newer ships and this might be the incentive I need.  I know you have mentioned that you want to only do cruses that are more than 7 days...do either of the ones you booked qualify?  I have gotten to the point where I sail for the ship vs. the destination if it is a Caribbean cruise.

 

I had a coworker invite me to go on a HAL cruise in April 2021 (but I don't think it will sail).  It is a Pacific Coastal, which I have done twice, once on the Pearl and once on the Bliss.  I enjoy this cruise because I can fly to LA the morning of and flights from Vancouver to Phx are relatively cheap, even last minute.  I have never been on HAL and really didn't have a urge to do so but this one leaves from San Diego, stops at Catalina Island, Santa Barbara and does an overnight in San Francisco (where I lived for 15 years).  It's one of their newer ships and not very expensive but like I said, I don't think it will sail.

 

I spoke to a client today who is an Internist and he is very hopeful for the vaccine.  He suggested waiting until maybe April or May before getting it, which is fine with me.  I have tentative plans to go to London for a few days at the end of May so that timing will be perfect.

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59 minutes ago, debenson0723 said:

Does the Mardi Gras have solo cabins?  I know a lot of people that were booked on that ship for this year but I am not a big fan of Carnival.

 

I am really going to have to check out those studio balcony cabins on RCL. I have been wanting to try the newer ships and this might be the incentive I need.  I know you have mentioned that you want to only do cruses that are more than 7 days...do either of the ones you booked qualify?  I have gotten to the point where I sail for the ship vs. the destination if it is a Caribbean cruise.

 

I had a coworker invite me to go on a HAL cruise in April 2021 (but I don't think it will sail).  It is a Pacific Coastal, which I have done twice, once on the Pearl and once on the Bliss.  I enjoy this cruise because I can fly to LA the morning of and flights from Vancouver to Phx are relatively cheap, even last minute.  I have never been on HAL and really didn't have a urge to do so but this one leaves from San Diego, stops at Catalina Island, Santa Barbara and does an overnight in San Francisco (where I lived for 15 years).  It's one of their newer ships and not very expensive but like I said, I don't think it will sail.

 

After my June Quantum OTS cruise in a Studio balcony, I will post photos & a review here. It's a balcony in Alaska, how can it be anything but fabulous, right?

 

Carnival doesn't have official solo cabins but... some of the ships have small interior cabins (160sf, compared to an NCL Studio that's 100sf) with a single bed plus an upper pulldown bunk or convertible sofa. A few of these "inside" cabins have windows but are still classified and priced as interiors. I'm booked on a short Carnival Radiance cruise next December in a 1A (small interior) cabin with twin porthole windows.

 

I'm scheduled to be on Bliss next April's Pacific Coastal repositioning cruise. Will it sail, we shall see...

Edited by coastcat
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1 hour ago, coastcat said:

 

After my June Quantum OTS cruise in a Studio balcony, I will post photos & a review here. It's a balcony in Alaska, how can it be anything but fabulous, right?

 

Carnival doesn't have official solo cabins but... some of the ships have small interior cabins (160sf, compared to an NCL Studio that's 100sf) with a single bed plus an upper pulldown bunk or convertible sofa. A few of these "inside" cabins have windows but are still classified and priced as interiors. I'm booked on a short Carnival Radiance cruise next December in a 1A (small interior) cabin with twin porthole windows.

 

I'm scheduled to be on Bliss next April's Pacific Coastal repositioning cruise. Will it sail, we shall see...

Would love to see your photos and review of Quantum's studio balcony.  Thanks!

I really enjoyed my Bliss Pacific Coastal cruise last year (gosh, seems like at least 2 or 3 years ago). A woman and her mom that I met on my Getaway Baltic cruise in 2017 where going on the Bliss and they invited me to come along.  I think I booked 2 weeks out and got a balcony for dirt cheap.  Best part was that most of the cruise staff from my Bliss PC cruise were still on the ship so it was a great reunion. It also had an overnight in Vancouver, which was nice to have time to explore the city but not have to pay for a hotel and not worry about getting on an early flight the next morning since the ship had been docked from the prior day. As far as April next year, it's going to be close...

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14 hours ago, HowardK said:

Had I gone on the Encore, I would have paid for Vibe as Spice H20 was replaced with that laser tag.

 

I have yet to sail with NCL but I have been following all the reports here on CC about the new amenities on the BA/BA + ships and the replacement of the free Spice H20 with the for-charge Vibe.

 

Imo, bad move on NCL's part to replace the free Spice H20 with the for-charge Vibe. Seems to be a $$ grab on NCL's part. As for laser tag, imo, NCL took up and wasted a lot of valuable top-side deck space (where another pool could've been) with an attraction (game) that is probably only appealing to a select group (i.e. teenagers who are into laser tag, lol). I think a majority of adults would "pass" on laser tag. RCL did laser tag the right way by having a moveable laser tag set-up that is used at specific, regular times (not permanently set up, like NCL's) in their interior sports complex (I can't remember the name). The laser tag is taken down/removed and the space is used for indoor basketball, volleyball & even bumper cars (which again, are not permanently set up). I think this is a much better arrangement avoiding wasting valuable top side deck space and efficiently utilizing the interior sports complex venue for multiple activities.

 

10 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

I enjoyed the karts but they were sort of a one and done for me.

 

Same here, they would be a "one and done" for me also. Now Carnival's roller coaster at sea (on the new Mardi Gras), now that's a different story, lol.

 

Again, like laser tag, imo the go karts are a big waste of valuable open deck space on the stern. I will concede however, that the go karts I'm sure are very popular with kids & teens, so NCL did "hit the mark" with those demographics. But for us adults, unless you are always a big kid/teen at heart and love go karts, it's "one and done".

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11 hours ago, debenson0723 said:

Does the Mardi Gras have solo cabins?  I know a lot of people that were booked on that ship for this year but I am not a big fan of Carnival.

 

I am really going to have to check out those studio balcony cabins on RCL. I have been wanting to try the newer ships and this might be the incentive I need.  I know you have mentioned that you want to only do cruses that are more than 7 days...do either of the ones you booked qualify?  I have gotten to the point where I sail for the ship vs. the destination if it is a Caribbean cruise.

 

I had a coworker invite me to go on a HAL cruise in April 2021 (but I don't think it will sail).  It is a Pacific Coastal, which I have done twice, once on the Pearl and once on the Bliss.  I enjoy this cruise because I can fly to LA the morning of and flights from Vancouver to Phx are relatively cheap, even last minute.  I have never been on HAL and really didn't have a urge to do so but this one leaves from San Diego, stops at Catalina Island, Santa Barbara and does an overnight in San Francisco (where I lived for 15 years).  It's one of their newer ships and not very expensive but like I said, I don't think it will sail.

 

I spoke to a client today who is an Internist and he is very hopeful for the vaccine.  He suggested waiting until maybe April or May before getting it, which is fine with me.  I have tentative plans to go to London for a few days at the end of May so that timing will be perfect.

 

Unfortunately, the Mardi Gras does not have studio (solo) cabins. However, when I was reviewing the Mardi Gras, I found that she does have "junior balcony staterooms" which have the same sized balconies as the regular balcony staterooms, just that the junior balcony staterooms have a little less interior space (a little less transverse width). The junior balcony staterooms don't have the sofa (like the regular balcony staterooms do) which allows for less interior space.

 

I'm still a fan of Carnival and sailed with them primarily when I was married and my 2 sons were younger. I was actually trying to take my sons on another Carnival cruise in August 2021 on the Panorama out of Long Beach, CA on a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise but they can't go because they will be in summer school at college. However, now that I am divorced, I will be looking to cruise solo and I'm therefore interested in NCL because they are so "solo-friendly". With that said however, I think RCL has NCL beat with their studio balcony cabins. Just wish RCL would have committed more to the solo market and put more of those studio balcony cabins on more of their ships (not just their Quantum class).

 

Yeah, all 3 of my booked cruises are > 7 days. Mardi Gras in Dec 2021 (Eastern Carib) is 8 days, Anthem OTS in Jan 2022 (Southern Carib) is 11 days and Odyssey OTS in Feb 2022 (also Southern Carib) is 8 days. I sail for both ship & destination. With the 3 cruises I have booked, I think I got the best of both worlds (especially with the Mardi Gras & the Odyssey OTS, both brand new ships).

 

Wrt to your HAL cruise in April 2021, initially I thought cruising might be back up and running by April 2021 but I have since readjusted my thinking (thinking about all the cruise destination countries and whether they will reopen to cruise ships by April 2021) and now I'm thinking second half of 2021 (July - Dec). So, April 2021 may be too soon and indeed may not sail. Jmho.

 

I think your internist client may be right and I'm glad he's very hopeful for the vaccine (me 2!). I'm thinking they will be vaccinating the 1st line responders, health care workers and elderly (especially with underlying health conditions) by the end of Dec this year. Then, by spring of next year (2021), they should be vaccinating the rest of us (U.S. population). So his recommendation of getting the vaccine in May, seems to be appropriate timing. I even saw a report from one expert (can't remember who) who's opinion it was that we herein the U.S. will even achieve herd immunity by May 2021. This may be a bit overly optimistic but, fingers crossed 🤞!!

 

Edited by farmersfight
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29 minutes ago, farmersfight said:

The junior balcony staterooms don't have the sofa (like the regular balcony staterooms do) which allows for less interior space.

 

Correction: apparently, the junior balcony staterooms still do have sofas. Also from the below video, it really looks like there is also less space between the end of the bed and the wall in the junior balcony (very narrow). In the below video; junior balcony stateroom is at 1:57 and the regular balcony stateroom is at 2:14.

 

 

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