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Semi-Live Norwegian Joy to Bermuda - Norfolk, VA - May 8, 2022


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I have been happily following along gleaning little tidbits here and there for my next cruise (Getaway/September/MCT).  I am simply stunned at the level of detail provided and I think I just figured out why.  It never occurred to me that a "seasoned cruiser" would be able to look at each stage of the cruise and break it out piece by piece in such a clear and concise manner.  I'm not even what I would call an experienced cruiser, but I no longer really think about documents (C-19 testing excluded) or which line I stood in for what.  The fact that you were able to look at this with both the eyes of a newbie and seasoned perspective has really provided a unique look at the entire experience.

 

I had forgotten how much research I did before my first cruise in 2016 and how much that informed my choices on my subsequent cruises.  And while cruising is basically the same I think we all are yearning to know for sure what has changed and what has stayed the same as we venture out again. 

 

I find myself inspired to pay it forward.  I can't guarantee a "Live From" or even a  "Semi-Live From", but I will do my best to keep detailed notes so I can provide as much intel as possible and perhaps help someone else.

 

Thanks for doing this!

 

p.s.  Glad you and your family seem to be on the mend. (Hopefully no one else tests positive!)    

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Last but not least, to summarize some of the key elements - did we enjoyed ourselves and our week onboard the Norwegian Joy ?  Short answer, yes and it met our tailored expectations as a whole and for the most parts.  Nothing is perfect in this imperfect and challenging global world that we live in, especially directly under the shadows and shades of Covid-19.  Did it exceed and/or above and beyond, no - it did not.  Score this Bermuda cruise by NCL on the Joy, somewhat between "A" and A minus (4.25 out of a possible/maximum perfect score of 5.0)

 

From the time we booked, waited for online check-in to open at 21 days, to the morning of our embarkation - NCL has provided a steady stream of information, important details and especially about its health & safety protocols, and vaccination/testing requirements, some of which are unique & specific to Bermuda, which has previously conflicted with guidelines issued by government entities on the islands - leading to confusing among some guests.  Generally, it was concise, timely, useful and important - including the virtual but mandatory muster station/emergency evacuation drills with the customized videos on YouTube. NCL, however, needs to do a better job of posting, updating and alert booked guests on what, when, and how, etc. - especially, when to submit the initial Bermuda TA application & paid the $40 p/p fees (answer: ASAP starting at 30 days out from sailing, we did ours about 2 weeks away as we book the cruise late - last minute)  Timing of the submissions, what not to do and how to deal with, not getting the TA approval just 24 hours before sailing - guidance can be improved.  Score: B+ to A- 

 

  Nerve-wrecking to arrange to get tested at Day 3 (morning of being best) - 2 days prior - & immediately upload negative results to BDA, and then wait for approval (prayers won't hurt, LOL).  If things hit potholes and bumps, it's 1 to 2 hours on hold in the toll-free queues, avoid calling the non-toll-free long distance number or your phone bill is going to implode.  Our B-TA approvals starting coming in about 24 hours after we uploaded them on Saturday morning, and by late afternoon - all 6 were granted permission to travel & disembark in Bermuda from the cruise.  Otherwise, there is that provisional approval, allowing on to embark ... and, go ashore once approval issued while en route.

The B-TA is expected to remain in place thru early 2023, almost everyone hates it except the local government, generating millions in revenue, not exactly tourism & visitors friendly, but ... 

For all these & related communications - Score: B rating overall.

 

  Maybe, just an idea, a handy checklist from NCL to follow might help - anyone not comfortable with modern smartphone or iPhone usage, text messaging, mobile email and online access are going to find all these, very much a pain.  Good news, kind of, MCT now has free WiFi to use, unsecured & somewhat poor in signal & coverage, depending on your whereabouts vs. the nearest router(s) - does help if you have trouble retrieving your test results or PDF docs, etc. (woohoo !!) as it's a known fact that regardless of being on VZW, AT&T or T-Mobile, cellular coverage inside the vast terminal building was & remain poor to just usable at best, 5G signal - hahaha, forgetabout it.  Wasn't there in March, 2022 - unless I wasn't looking hard enough before.  

 

  Embarkation/pier arrival:  Screening, Check-in and the Boarding process - Joy's Guest Services team now knows & heard from me directly last week, it's not working seamlessly.  Promises not kept for priority embarkations for some of the suite guests that are supposed to be entitled to them.  NCL is accountable & should put forth immediate changes to better manage the steps, process and take immediate corrective measures to troubleshoot, fix & resolve issues inside the terminal that's important and they can mitigate, correct and change - shifting the burden and deflecting is not acceptance.  If not, this mess will stay for the entire Bermuda cruise season into 2023, oh lord. My plea - do something about it, anything but must try harder, not acceptable as is.  Score is a C plus.

 

  For our Bermuda sailing, we selected 10 - 10:30 am arrival to check-in ... assuming that we can and will invoke some sort of priority check-in at the cruise terminal, MCT / Pier 88, which we are very familiar with ( ~ 25 years) - after all, we're sailed out of there on the NCL Getaway a month ago & returned (our 1st. post-pandemic cruise in over 2 years) - and expected a bit of chaos & confusion once inside.  Sure enough, things been changed, for the worst - no thanks to the partnering innovation among NCL, pier operations and the outsourced shore-side contractor (and, their assigned employees on the job) in how things go, the flow for arriving passengers eager to be onboard ASAP - nearly caught us off-guard entirely.  Plus, masking inside the busy building was no longer required, unlike March, optional only and freestyle for all passengers, do as you pleased and social distancing nearly impossible, no matter how you try & look at the roped setup for the screening/security lines & even as you approach the sectioned check-in areas for different clusters of passengers (i.e. Haven, Platinum & all others). 

 

  First or Step 1.2 - Go Inside, after you checked any luggage or bags with the (Step 1.1) porters curbside, is to figure out where to start.  Haven and accessible passengers generally found someone to greet & help them, get pointed in the direction and sometimes escorted to move ahead.  All others - "go straight head" is the generalized instructions, follow the herd - didn't matter if you are Diamonds, Sapphire, Platinum, VIP or CAS - if you push & ask, maybe - the answer is different.  But, not really - fortunately, it wasn't too terrible at 10:10 am, the line moved at a steady pace and before we know it, our passports & eDocs were checked or inspected quickly. 

 

  Maybe next time, tell our older sister-in-law if we cruise together again, to request wheelchair assistance for boarding, she has a little mobility issues but generally, out of pride, try to manage on her own - and, walk slowly, very slowly without a cane or anything ... sometimes, carry a long umbrella.  

 

  Next, Step 2 - Security & x-ray checkpoints - hey, at least - we no longer have to do serious TSA style screening, drop the belts (pants - hold on to them if it's loose, darn those suspender clips - they go "bing bing" if you walk straight thru the machine. )   Just toss everything, wallets, keys, coins, smartphones, gold dentures, etc. into the carry-on bags or the little trays,  Actually, water bottles get thru here - regardless, they really weren't worried about soda-runners ... and, those vending machines are still selling over-priced bottled water & Pepsi products, from what I could tell at a distance, near the restrooms.  No priorities here for just about anyone - lines were short, no backup - got thru in less than 3 or 4 minutes top.  Easy for being there "early" but not too early - actually, by now - there's probably more than a few hundreds already thru the whole arrival, hanging out in different parts of the building, standing-sitting-waiting-chatting and wondering, are we going to be boarding soon.  Not a bad idea to mask up until you are onboard, IMHO.  

 

  Step 3 - Bermuda extras - Documents checking - if you aren't cruising to Bermuda or stopping there somehow on your cruise, not a problem.  Otherwise, this is done by about a dozen or less pier workers with NCL logo badges, spread out across & behind those long counter stations - carefully looking at your negative test results, B-TA approvals, and passports or travel documents - everything matched & satisfactory, then - a sticker for your passports & here's where we're just handed Group/Zone 15 boarding card, I asked & told the agent we are in a suite & also Platinum (Sapphire) - she couldn't care less about it.  Pointed three of us to keep walking to complete check-in ahead.  Getting grumpy and annoyed, WTH.  I suppose, one can protest here, stand our grounds & demanded to see a supervisor or senior rep from NCL - and, possibly risk being reported to security.   Score: D minus here. 

 

  Memo to myself - this isn't going to be easily forgotten, and mentally, documenting it all, stealth photos of the surroundings here & what's going on, someone is going to hear & read about this later on, not if I cannot help make a difference - imagine passengers with a little language barrier or easily intimidated.  Calm down, relax, breath & keep going - don't allow this to ruin our cruise week, just a bad start inside.  

 

  Step 4 - finally, we are approaching the usual Check-In area, usually on a fast track once we "flashed" our status, whether it's Platinum/Sapphire, VIP (CAS) or whatever.  Apparently, the word "suite" passengers does not ring a bell, nor triggered anything at all (maybe, "Faster to the Fun" as in Carnival might help do a bling bling) - she looked at her clipboard, flip the sheets & started to point us to the longest line ... that is, all others ahead.  Sapphire, what's that, huh - finally, Platinum set off the sparks - after I spotted signage.  Amen, she finally said, go there & not here as one of her co-worker walked by - just 2 other "parties" in front of us in the short line ... going to be okay soon.  No less than 3 or 4 minutes later, the next available agent waived her cardboard "paddle" to step over - and, proceeded to repeat the passport & eDocs checking, again ... didn't have to re-take our mugshot pictures again.  Asked the few health screening Q's and went to the back area to find & came back with our Guest Key Cards - sending us on our way, to walk straight ahead, again. 

 

  No, she did not check to see if we are Group/Zone 1 to 3 or 4 - being Sapphire & suite passengers, either of which - entitled or should've given us a little bit of priority boarding.  Nope - wasn't the case (and, I checked with my BIL in the other suite ... they're told in find a place to sit in the general waiting area nearby - also did not received or given a Boarding Group or Zone # with lower number either ... and, they got there a little earlier than us.  Luckily, I visually scanned around while walking thru the vast terminal, spotted the very much packed, nearly already full Haven "lounge" & exclusive "check-in" area & staffed with NCL concierge teams ... fairly easy to spot them at a distance; and, also saw the usual lounge/roped off area near the security podium setup by the ship inside the building near the doors leading outside to the walkways, and also the usual Platinum seating area, roped off - just like late March for the Getaway cruise. 

 

  Rounded up all of them, 6 of us matched back after going around & told the pier greeters "guarding" that seating area that we are Platinum & went in and took up empty seats to wait & relax.  That's when we heard the overhead P.A. announcement that due to an USCG inspection, unplanned ?? this morning, that early/boarding will be delayed indefinitely - they do not have an ETA and not going to give one, since ... folks are asked to do whatever, and listen for the announcement once they are ready.  It helped explained that at 11:30 am, Haven guests are still hanging out inside the building like everyone else. It's going to be a "late" lunch for us but the MDR should be open by the time we get on the ship.  

 

  Most aren't wearing masks at all - older passengers & especially those in wheelchairs or otherwise, near the accessible waiting area, are fairly good & most, if not all, masked up.  Not required, not encouraged or recommended, strictly optional and completely, "freestyle".  

 

  After a while, but not long - closer to/around noon, we saw that the uniform USCG folks were starting to leave the ship via the gangway, apparently done or finishing up the inspection.  Some of the crew were still in their life jackets out on the lifeboat deck in groups - more crew members in assorted work clothes from different departments began coming into the building, that's signaling that early boarding & Haven will be first and next to be on the ship first.  Good ... and, we follow shortly thereafter once the accessible passengers are escorted with assistance to proceed.  

 

  Getting hungry already as we ate a light breakfast before leaving our home at 9:20 am, only took us about 30 minutes - with a quick & direct detour via historic Harlem, going crosstown via the RFK Bridge & then back on the Henry Hudson Parkway, direct to get drop off at Pier 88 by our car service, Carmel - again, this trip, a free upgrade to a comfortable & roomy minivan for the three of us.  Overall, not too bad - 45 to 55 minutes from curbside to getting the key cards, could've been a lot slower & much worst, had we didn't get our TA issued in time.  

 

  Not without another hiccup for a smoother embarkation on an easy Sunday morning - someone didn't properly communicate and coordinate, began calling Zone/Group 1 thru 5 to start & proceed to the boarding area.  Of course, that started the canine race with about 300 people, more or less, all eager to beat everyone else inside - to head for the double doors.  The greeter responsible for the priority area stationed at the Platinum waiting area began yelling to stop & hold up everyone else, as "the group" hasn't even moved out from the roped-off area.  Very poorly managed, I think, luckily - perhaps, between the gentleman and security, they open up the side next to the podium and moved everyone in our section as best as they could, on a faster path or track to head outside to the walkpath for the Fwd gangway to reach the Joy.  Score: B, maybe B minus - definitely, not A minus for sure ... not this time for NCL.  Sorry, they need to do a better job & NCL is responsible.  

 

  In short - embarkation day was a little extraordinary b/c of the extra elements for Bermuda, and, supposingly, the extra/en route stop on Day 2 at Norfolk, Virginia - kind of a "detour" to sail south before heading east (which, didn't happen on this cruise as we ran straight into & thru a fairly big stormy weather system at sea ... more on that & already discussed).   

 

  Onboard the Norwegian Joy: it's not a brand name ship, the character & personality of the this mega-ship is a little different than the Breakaway, Getaway and the Escape - 3 other ships that we are pretty familiar with.  Some of the difference are "physical" in terms of public venue locations and yet identical in many, most ways - if you been on other NCL ships, it's pretty easy to know and find your ways around ... besides, look at the carpet fishes along with public hallways or corridors, simple to tell bow from stern, then figure out starboard from port side.  As a whole, the crew and the officers are warm, cheerful, helpful, friendly, smiling and often go out of their ways to help.  

 

  In the next sub-chapter, going to give a quick snapshot of dining and services onboard, shopping and shows, writing all these up is taking more time than I've imagined.  Hang on and will come back to this shortly.

 

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Dining onboard the Joy

 

Compared to the Getaway, Breakaway and the Escape, the comparable Manhattan MDR - Deck 7 AFT is the equivalent and the largest one.  We're a little surprised that it does not have a dance floor which is also used for mini-shows by the production casts on other similar ships - simply more tables, large & small to seat different group sizes.  Six of us did a walk-in for 6:30 pm dinner without a reservation and we're promptly & quickly seated - very good services from the wait staff, maybe a notch on the slower side but they did ask if we're going to catch a show - pacing as necessary.  MDR for the first / embarkation evening usually associated with good food & choices, didn't disappoint - I'm 95% sure it is the same menu within the rotation as the Getaway in late March ... I ordered the Grilled Salmon as the entree, excellent.  About 90 minutes later, we finished our dessert to head back to our suite - closing in about half an hour, wasn't busy at all and hardly anyone had to wait to be seated. 

 

  As we come out into the elevator lobby next to the stairs, I spotted the barf bags on the railings - ooookay, this is going to get interesting and likely not a calm night to be sound asleep - recommended that everyone take a Bonine, just in case we begin to rock-n-roll by morning.  In hintsight, should've order continental breakfast - complimentary, no charge room service delivery for Monday morning  - a rough 18 to 20 hours ahead to greet us for a wild ride in the Atlantic - Bermuda crossing, skipping Norfolk, VA.  Always planned to order hot breakfast delivered and here's our chance, whether we get delivery twice at no charge or pay for it vs. getting it waived, not a deal breaker ... just charge the account, as we shall find out.

 

  By 2 or 3 am, early Monday morning in the overnight hours, we're surely pitching, swaying, rolling & folding, twisting and the closet doors and bathroom were squeaking loudly, metals against metals, odd noises coming from behind the wall & ceilings - structural frames being pushed, stretched and flexing.  Sea state has become very rough, waves gone from 8 to 12 ft. to 15' to 21' and 30' and higher with strong gale & diagonal cross wind.  As much as everyone was tired and had a long, busy day - it was difficult to be sound asleep with the loud awakening - we could faintly see waves hitting the virtual balcony "outside" and smashing high & low.  Could not access, let alone, see anything at all from ship's livecam.  By mid-morning, it was clear that nobody was prepared to go downstairs to Savor or Taste for breakfast, hot breakfast ordering time ... bling, bling, bling - there is going to be a $10 delivery charge for hot meals, not complimentary and no waivers, etc. 

 

  Whatever, just put it on the room charge account, after the room service desk informed me of the fees ... and, apparently, they are very busy & backed up - not too many brave enough to eat in the MDR, sea state still very rough and waves over 30 ft.   Room service delivered about 45 minutes later, but, no butter or margarine for the toast, only little packets of jams - missed ordering salt & pepper for the eggs ... six tiny half-n-half for 2 big pot of coffee, forgotten the orange juice ??  I sworn that we did ordered OJ.  No sides on the big plate either, unless you specifically ordered or asked for the item(s) - it is not automatically added, regardless of how common or popular, i.e. ketchup for home fries.  Room services to the suites - Score: B or B minus only. 

 

Taste and Savor, the "smaller" everyday MDR - this is where we ate most of our meals together, breakfast, lunch when it was open (just once, I believe) and for dinner when not doing SD or off - away from the ship.  Never had to wait for more than a minute or two before the host/ess come up with a table, whether it's just 3 of us or all 6 together, just about anytime we show up and without any reservations whatsoever.  The evening menus for dinner basically the same as before on the Getaway, good thing we are doing Specialty on 2 nights.  Instead of just offering classic chicken noodles soup daily and making it boring, we also had the chicken pho soup (Vietnamese) and that's pretty good, not too heavy on MSG - didn't that got dropped earlier & discontinue.  Not ... I guess. 

 

  On our final evening onboard the Joy, the prime rib served as the MDR entree was huge, big as in nearly jumbo - a big portion in size, easily over 20 oz, maybe 2 lbs.  Score for the 3 MDR, A- or B+

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On 5/14/2022 at 6:37 PM, mking8288 said:

It's seafood for the final night in the Garden Cafe - pretty empty (where's everyone - specialty dining ??? ) stopping there for dessert first before, as it is almost showtime.  Elements at 7 pm and 9:30 pm - a one hour show.  Do book these onboard with the app or via iTV's remote control.  Going to dinner afterward.

 

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Again - thanks so much for the very detailed and informative review!!!!   Quick question about reserving the shows.  On the other NCL ships I have cruised on, there were touch screens by the stairs where you could make dinner and show reservatioins.  Are these no longer available?  If so, looks like the in-room TV may be the only other option if you do not download the NCL app?

Thanks!

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Dining onboard the Joy recently - continuation - impressions, observations and comments

 

NCL ships, each and most of them, seem to have their own personalities and reputations, and the Joy isn't different, at least to us.  It has a modern, sleek feel to it and refreshing to walk onboard and noticed the changes, some of it subtle.  The Local (known in the "older" ships as O'Sheehan's for nearly a decade) is very much looking new & not the same old, that includes the bar area and numerous "high top" tables & chairs that extend from starboard side (used less often) to port side (with the long benches and traditional height tables & chairs ... which we, mature & older folks tend to prefer).  Compared to our recent Getaway meal experience in OSH, The Local's food menu seemed slightly different & have fewer choices (not the late night limited menu)  But, you can still get a hot soup (served in a large & deep bowl - nice), salad as starter, the (fat & juicy) burger or hotdog, fries, and choice 1 of 3 or 4 items as dessert ... essentially, a full meal there.  I'm pretty sure the Irish stew (it's really just a soup) isn't offered there (unless they offer that as the soup of the day) and we do missed the chicken (turkey) pot pie, oh well - times are changing.  The meaty chicken wings are very good, forgot to ask for the sauce on the side & they almost "drown" them - tasty & great, go for it. 

 

Plenty of crew working TL on embarkation day and they shouldn't mixed up our orders with someone else's using the touchpad to directly "send" the order digitally to the gallery, and, for another server on their team to bring it out.  Well, they did & we sat there for 20 to 30 minutes, half-eaten part of ours and waited, kind of annoying and had to flag down one of the asst. manager after our server claimed it's coming & he's checking, going to bring it out ASAP, 2 or 3 times - finally fixed & had it rushed out the rest of our lunch shortly thereafter ... and apologize, accepted.  A little disorganized and maybe, better managerial oversight & training - I worked in the food industry in my college days and co-owned 2 eatery,  once upon a time so I understood how things worked then.  Then, the issues with seating elderly folks (2 frail ones among us) at high tops, and other indirect observations that I've noticed - could be new crew members joining the ship recently & still with trainee status ...  Patience, I guess, we're short after a less than near perfect embarkation pier experience, didn't dampen my usual calm & coolness, being a little annoyed & agitated.  Not worth calling the manager to throw a big temper or write / tell the F&B manager, but the devil is in the details.  It's our favorite hangout on a quick bite with comfort food on the old (2003) Dawn days.  Next time on her, we'll check & grade her away since we didn't get to eat breakfast there this month - stay tune for next edition.  Score for The Local - B only. 

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, bjtravelnews said:

... other NCL ships I have cruised on, there were touch screens by the stairs where you could make dinner and show reservations ... looks like the in-room TV may be the only other option if you do not download the NCL app?  Thanks!

NP for the details, just hoped it wasn't too much facts to read for others & you. If it's helpful & informative, good - skim over parts that aren't ... 

 

Yes, the touch screens TV by the elevators & stairs are there, they work but apparently most folks aren't aware AND not using them. For a quick lookup outside the stateroom, that's easy to go to & use, or, use the App or iTV in the privacy of the stateroom, whichever is convenient. 

 

While waiting inside the cruise terminal, I connected to Joy's WiFi and tried to check on dining availabilities as I usually book it there, with slots opening up, for a headstart ... didn't work then.  IT and/or server issues, maybe they're resetting their systems and even the upgrade to unlimited WiFi option was crashing, gave it & waited.   Make use of all the available options and share with your roll call.  (BTW, CCC has been active on the Royal forum lately - my feeling is that she's not going to be on the Joy next month as originally booked anymore, thus didn't return to close out the loops, I stand corrected ... just go ahead & convene the M&G with group events)

 

And, just spotted a change, important one, on a different NCL Roll Call to Bermuda, health authorities modifying and simplifying the TA requirements for uploading the negative test results, etc. - it's a good move to ease virtual ulcers for just about everyone cruising to the islands this year.  Check out 5/29 and even 5/22 to see today's news flash - folks on yours (and, our friends sailing early & mid June are going to be happier)

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1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

And, just spotted a change, important one, on a different NCL Roll Call to Bermuda, health authorities modifying and simplifying the TA requirements for uploading the negative test results, etc. - it's a good move to ease virtual ulcers for just about everyone cruising to the islands this year.  Check out 5/29 and even 5/22 to see today's news flash - folks on yours (and, our friends sailing early & mid June are going to be happier)

 

44 minutes ago, MsTabbyKats said:

@mking8288Hot off the press and good news for future "Bermuda Bound" people....no more negative test results uploading.  Just bring the test, the Bermuda TA authorization...and you're good to go.

https://www.gov.bm/cruise-travel-authorisation

 Bermuda has also eliminated the need for a second test if you make a port call prior to arriving in Bermuda. Now a second test is required only if the ship arrives in Bermuda more than 4 days after embarkation.

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1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

NP for the details, just hoped it wasn't too much facts to read for others & you. If it's helpful & informative, good - skim over parts that aren't ... 

 

Yes, the touch screens TV by the elevators & stairs are there, they work but apparently most folks aren't aware AND not using them. For a quick lookup outside the stateroom, that's easy to go to & use, or, use the App or iTV in the privacy of the stateroom, whichever is convenient. 

 

While waiting inside the cruise terminal, I connected to Joy's WiFi and tried to check on dining availabilities as I usually book it there, with slots opening up, for a headstart ... didn't work then.  IT and/or server issues, maybe they're resetting their systems and even the upgrade to unlimited WiFi option was crashing, gave it & waited.   Make use of all the available options and share with your roll call.  (BTW, CCC has been active on the Royal forum lately - my feeling is that she's not going to be on the Joy next month as originally booked anymore, thus didn't return to close out the loops, I stand corrected ... just go ahead & convene the M&G with group events)

 

And, just spotted a change, important one, on a different NCL Roll Call to Bermuda, health authorities modifying and simplifying the TA requirements for uploading the negative test results, etc. - it's a good move to ease virtual ulcers for just about everyone cruising to the islands this year.  Check out 5/29 and even 5/22 to see today's news flash - folks on yours (and, our friends sailing early & mid June are going to be happier)

Thanks for the updated information!   I am incredibly greatful for all the information and prompt response to my questions.  I am the ultimate planner (can you tell?!)

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Had they made this change before now (we embark tomorrow) we would have probably done a B2B but decided not to because of all the hoops we have to jump through. Glad BDA is making this easier! My stress level is still through the roof and I already called and got ours approved for tomorrow.

 

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46 minutes ago, MsTabbyKats said:

@mking8288Hot off the press and good news for future "Bermuda Bound" people....no more negative test results uploading.  bring the test, the Bermuda TA authorization... good to go. https://www.gov.bm/cruise-travel-authorisation

Yay for you in about 2 weeks, aren't you excited - remember Stacie & her hubbie from CT from our Getaway M&G/Roll Call, in case you didn't catch it - she's going to be solo the same week with you - this is the little, micro "inner circles" hahaha.  Another, tomorrow morning, Sharon The "P" is going to disembark the Joy - perhaps, we'll all get a fresh look of what's changed and/or onboard.  

 

@njhorseman Thanks, excellent addition & sourcing the info, other roll calls can share & past it along, help ease folk's anxiety.  I'm sure many can toast to that now.  I'll raise my coffee mug just fine.

 

@bjtravelnews Really, LOL - now, I hereby "demand" an executive summary afterall, in brief will do.  DW has been watching the 2022 Alaska cruise season videos on YT (Hollands) for the last 2 days ... I'm in trouble for 2023, told her we aren't going to do this year.  Yeah, the revised Bermuda TA protocol to not upload the negative test results is newly issued, bring it and good to embark - so long as NCL operations get it and communicate to their teams for peg013 and others tomorrow.  But, always someone dumping bucket of cold water on it, oh well.  

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3 hours ago, njhorseman said:

 

 Bermuda has also eliminated the need for a second test if you make a port call prior to arriving in Bermuda. Now a second test is required only if the ship arrives in Bermuda more than 4 days after embarkation.

Great....now we should be able to walk around Norfolk.  I was afraid of getting off....and OMG...having a positive second test!

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OK, back to finishing up my wrap-up ... on Dining to try to closeout this Semi-Live, at least inform-wise. 

Dining onboard the Joy recently - continuation - impressions, observations and comments

 

Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 8 AFT) - Specialty Dining, using both Platinum/Sapphire & SD "coupons" under Free At Seas: photos uploaded much earlier last week speak for itself, portion sizes were large, if not "huge"  8 oz. Filet Mignon were cooked perfectly to medium, served as order & did not disappoint.  Mrs. M had her Grilled Seafood Platter & couldn't finish it, shared a little with me ("disposal" into my tummy)   My 16 oz. Ribeye wasn't as good, too much fat, more than I expected - next time, either go back to mignon or if hungry, 20 oz. porterhouse.  Black tiger shrimp trio (sweet tasting & nice) were good but the upcharged "jumbo" lump crab cake ($5 extra, posted against NR OBC) wasn't - the same one served in the seafood platter, skip it or get the Oyster Rockie.  We had plenty of sides & shared almost all of them, passing around the table, onion rings disappeared first, go figure ... 

 

  I should note we had a very late dinner reservations made via the (pre)cruise reservation-only concierge desk, against our preferred 6:30 meal time at Cagney, which we cancelled & changed ourselves, revised again to mid-week at 6:15 pm.  Dining room wasn't busy, half of the tables filled at most, nobody else hanging out at the bar - and were promptly seated, took us 2 hours to leisurely finished our meal (no rush to catch a show or performance)

 

  How to /what - we used 1 set of Platinum voucher (for 2 with the complimentary bottle of wine, list is much shorter than before, very limited selections - explained due to supply chains shortage) and used 2 of the FAS dining coupons (that covered 4 persons).  In the beginning, the server set the "tone" that the rules said, we are only entitled to 1-1-1 each for the free Platinum meal, and 1 side for the entree ordered.  The vouchers are more generous, 1-1-1-1 and 2 sides ... upcharge items noted and will be added.  Okay, whatever - I said, here's "my" Sapphire key cards, put whatever extras on it, fine (I'm pretty sure we'll have plenty to eat, share & pass around)  If not, the bread is always fresh & good as filler ... nothing complimentary from the chef to start us off ... something that was (once upon a time) dining in Le Bistro.  If nothing is waived, the POS should automatically adjust & charge us - servers are known to be confused & not well informed.  

 

  Sides, portions served on the Joy seemed a little bigger than the Getaway last month & given the rack rate/regular pricing, just about right - good but nothing exceptional about it.  Couldn't possibly finish everything on the table.  We ordered 6 desserts, they're huge as in OMG so shared just a little bit and had our server put a cover on each of the 4 plates to bring upstairs to finish later on, gave us forks & knives with napkins to go.  Without our vouchers and coupons, this would be our most expensive dinner onboard, billed a la carte over $600, ... which most passengers don't do these days.  Only upcharge posted, the crab cake for $5 + 20% or $6 in total, other items resulted in no extra charge (put thru under the 4 FAS coupons ...) 

 

  Ship's photographers roam specialty dining rooms mainly, didn't see them at all in the MDR.  Came by & stopped at our table, took several group pictures and long before we finished on entrees, back with 4 photos to show us, identical ones that he considered best looking for everyone to look us.  Asked if we wanted 1, 2, 3 or ... - I said, all 4 if our 30% discount is honored.  Yes, done deal & he nearly jumped as we helped him made the quota for the evening - each 8 x 10 photo came to about $18 each, not bad.  That's how we use some of our NR OBC.  The asst manager/hostess had already informally help us taken a # of group photos at our table, we are ready to do a little walking exercise, too full to go to bed soon,  They took good care of our dining, and we showed appreciations with bonus recognitions, discretely, a win-win.  Score: A

 

Food Republic - (Deck 8 Fwd, Starboard ... open nightly for dinner & lunch on full sea days, last week - reservations taken, recommended but not needed at all - not busy) originally, we're going to checkout Q - Texas Steakhouse, but ... been eating our share of red meat for the entire week already, switched to FR instead, wise or smart choice.  Again, way too much food using 2 sets of vouchers for 6, at 4 items (regardless of costs, no upcharge on any of the listed items) per person - equal 16 items to share among 6.  They're happy to see us walking in and we could've sat there all night & stretch our dinner into 2 and a half hour or more.  It's the first time we ate here onboard NCL and suffice to say, a pleasant surprise and a hidden treasure, mix of good Fusion food in generous portions with variety in choices, and priced reasonably even if paying individually.  We had more than enough to share and it's easy to eat light in FR. Shout out to the friendly & helpful hostesses, offering to take group photos for us and explaining the rules set forth by corporate, and suggestions.  We recommend dining here and will see our "friends" working there soon.  Score: A

 

Other dining revenues on the Joy - that's all the time we had during on week on the Joy.  We will cruise her again soon and continue this casual & informal, subjective review to share our thoughts and feedback.  

 

I will note that, in recent years, instances of dirty food trays with finished meals, plates & cups have mostly disappeared in the hallways, corridors and sometimes, narrow passage ways onboard Norwegian ships.   Apparently, it hasn't completely disappeared and bad practices are hard to get rid of - try harder, maybe a firm & recurring message should be added, somehow, each & every time room service delivery is done.  Should guests leave, or not leave them outside the door so that someone unsuspecting and looking can be tripped vs. leaving them somewhere inside the stateroom (perhaps in a corner of the bathroom ... inside the shower stall until the morning ??) - or, maybe have housekeeping/food service called to come pick it up.  I don't have the answer for it, just watch out - those trays are not accessible friendly, be considerate and we are know better to not be the person doing it.  

 

 

 

 

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Odds & Loose Ends and Misc. - these will be short & concise, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Norfolk, Virginia - scheduled port stop on Day 2, missed it (due to inclement maritime weather, etc.) Mother nature always win and I / we knew the odds changed by end of the pre-cruise weekend, that wasn't looking good.  Rough sea conditions & large waves forecasted in the Atlantic plus urban flooding, etc. - less than 50:50 odds.  Won the call and everyone lost - but, also meant that anyone that would've gone ashore must then get C-19 tested (free by NCL) once back onboard, starting the afternoon of Day 2 ... not fun.  Plan for us, to stay onboard - will go to Virginia Beach some other time & not worth the hassle to walk around the cruise terminal and waterfront, etc. 

 

  Sure enough, as soon as the gangways were up & doors shut, it was announced onboard that we aren't going & will be sailing direct to Bermuda, partially to avoid and evade the worsening weather - per the Captain's words over ship's PA system.  However, not exactly "warned" about very rough sea state and 30+ ft. waves overnight well into the next day.  From maritime forecast data, charts & external data - know this isn't an easy walk thru the park ... rock-n-roll time, get those motion-sickness remedies ready, Bonine time for the group.  Let's eat dinner (MDR) early and prepare ourselves - call an early night & see if we can sleep thru it. 

 

  Well, you know the rest of the story - following along since the beginning of this "Semi-Live" (if not go back)  Going to add a few screenshots from one of my favorite global travel apps, not it is not Google Map, Waze or Translate ... it's the "Windy" App on iOS and Android.  Looks nasty & it was a huge weather system that the ship might need to run from, blast thru at full speed or otherwise, go around & divert ??   We "should" be in good hands, trust the bridge to do the right things - safety first. 

Things started shaking by late evening, just as we're getting ready to sleep before midnight and progressively worsen - continued overnight into the morning, metals against metals, lots of noises behind thin walls & overhead ceiling panels, bathroom's soft-touch sliding doors began dancing on its own, slamming closed & opening.  By late morning, things began to ease up from 30 ft. waves down to 20' to 25' - by the night we finished room service hot breakfast.  By 2 pm, only 10' to 15' sea state, time to do a late lunch at The Local, folks are slowly emerging & coming out again.  Coming dinner time ... seas even calmerm at 8' to 11' - it's all good, but plenty of stories & memories.  

 

  Calculated difference in port taxes, fees, charges & misc. expenses collected by NCL, for stopping at and not stopping at Norfolk - about $17 for 2 passengers, $26 for our suite with 3, that might be adjusted and refunded as NR OBC. Not - apparently, previous sailings that recently missed going their (Getaway and the Joy ??) also did NOT receive any credits.  NCL just kept it, didn't say a word about it.  Bummer - Score: F for transparency.  It's not about small sum involved, rather a matter of principles & being open and honest or simply a goodwill gesture. What if, folks had independent tours and car rentals booked, lunch planned or purchased advance tickets to see Colonial Williamsburg, etc.   That's why, we're going to just "wing it" or wait-n-see, paid NCL tours were automatically refunded ... everyone & everything else, bite your nails.  

 

Garden Cafe (Buffet) - Designed, configured and setup different and being in the Forward/Mid section on Deck 16, above the Observation Lounge - it is refreshing to have open into more than 15 "food stations" across the middle, starboard to port side.  Crew members stationed at the entrance near the elevators & stairs, singing "washy washy" and coaching guests to stop at the wash sinks with soap & paper towels for optimal / best hand hygiene, and not just a quick spray out of the bottle or the standalone Purell hand sanitizer dispeners nearby.  But, as the week go by ... more and more guests simply blew past this area, ignored the crew and went straight to grab beverages, coffee/tea, ice and refill water bottles, and to start filling their plates with food.  No disposable gloves and masking not required or requested, strictly optional at one's own discretion - serving spoons & forks conveniently placed ... in other words, nearly the same old, same old or "business as usual."  Not exactly what we've imagined.  However, I don't recall details from our March Getaway recently either, as we only went there twice, briefly for coffee & afternoon snacks and a quick breakfast.  

 

  Other observations - crew members are clearing dirty cups, dishes & napkins off quickly as guests leave.  Giving the table surface a quick wipe and spray, that's about it - stricter measures would've been preferred, IMHO, measures adopted & taken during suspected or confirmed norovirus outbreak - not the standardized practice last week (that, despite the published reminder on the front page of the Freestyle Dailies)   Bathroom doors were popped & left open, as I noted while onboard - apparently, not for anything specific but a matter of the routine these days (half-hearted ??)  

Overall - Buffet & related operations, B grade is my Score

 

  Coffee - strong coffee served just about everywhere.  Joy probably gets the top honor for the strongest brew within the NCL fleet, if you like yours regular & not black - make sure you get extra milk or Half & Half, or go decaffinated instead, seriously.  I'm fine with that, super easy to make ice coffee without weakening it.  

 

  MDR Menus & choices - NCL is known to have MDR menu rotations, 14 or more of them and using 7 for the week.  Apparently, dinner-wise, it was nearly the same exact sequence and choices as our Getaway in March, kind of familiar - nice and know what to get, what's good and which one we didn't like, enough variety to choose from.  We liked the availability & choices for fish dishes, mostly grilled & served in reasonable portion sizes - especially when we had steaks the night before and/or going to one the following day.  Variety is good.  Same is true for sit-down breakfast, smoke salmon is available daily and even upstairs in the buffet (it's been known to be hidden & under the refrigerated counter, need to ask the crew for it)  Cooked to order stations in the buffet, also good in itself, freshly prepared & able to pick-n-choose, especially when the lines and wait are short (almost forgot to mention this.)  

 

  Lunch choices with the everyday MDR Menu, however, we dislike and just cannot imagine looking at the same options for 5 to 8 plus sea days - although, in the past, there is often a daily chef's special as extra options.  Going to "The Local" would be one way to mix things up and not repeat the same choices day after day - more variations would be good.  Shorter 5 to 7 days cruise with multiple port days aren't as problematic ... but, we can be very picky & selective too.  

 

  Sodium use and food being too salty - oh, yes and my face / taste is sour on this one, my pet peeve when cruising and NCL is no exception to this ... buffet food, including soup stock sitting heated & under the lamp for hours, also tend to make this worst.  Subjectively speaking, we find just about everything in most of the restaurants to be on the rich in sodium or salty side, including the sauce - could be our taste buds and preference too.  But, you've been cautioned, decide for yourself and if you agree, find a way to share feedback with the managerial team, leave them comments or drop a note for the executive chef team in Guest Service's lobby mail drop slot. 

 

  Waterfront/Outdoors & Smoking area, etc. -  There are plenty of under-utilized open air space to sit outside, relax and enjoy, no chair hogs with Deck 8 (port side last week) my favorite location to spot pier runners returning late.  Goes all the way around to the back (stern) of the ship (AFT) over to the other side - didn't see anyone doing their daily walks there. 

 

  Indoors, the Joy Casino is non-smoking - except for a fully glass-enclosed & partitioned area port side, mainly for slot machine players.  Casino has a variety of slots and table games, and private rooms (high limits) and pretty busy - tournaments being held.  Unlike the Getaway or Breakaway, there isn't a complimentary Shanghai Noodles Bar nearby - another bar in its place.  

 

  With only a small number of children and teens onboard, the Galaxy Pavilion was not busy, games are typically $8 per game, per player - that's $32 for some of the virtual ride games with 4 persons - did not look like reservations are needed last week, just go when it is open.  Water slides and Speedway were open while we're docked in Bermuda - did not looked like there're lines for the looping slides.  Fitness Center nearby looked very nice, plenty of popular equipment and nearing dinner time, just a handful of guests inside burning calories on the treadmill. 

 

  Glow Party - it's an event typically held outdoors, on the pool deck and/or Spice H20 - not on the Joy last week.  Downstairs & indoors, place being too small from what I heard - didn't go in, just past by - got overcrowded, I learned and some passengers didn't feel comfortable staying for too long ... and left.  What was the CD thinking, planned and had in mind - because there're fewer guests onboard ... hello, Bruce & team responsible for onboard entertainment.  Apparently, impressions are that while it's nice to have numerous lounges and dedicated clubs for mini-shows, singers & entertainers to perform, it's sometimes difficult to get in when the function is popular and in high demand, and the space being too small and/or too crowded - oops.  Otherwise, Footloose and Elements in the main Joy Theater were a smashing success, must go see it and book it ahead if you can.  

 

  Spice H2O - it's adults only with hot tubs, during designated hours, a good "hideaway" for many, sometimes used for VIP / Latitudes receptions to meet the senior officers, etc.  Finding your best way to these places are a challenge in itself, especially if you are on a different deck and the other end of the ship - it's a long walk, good exercise itself just getting there.  

 

Coming to an end, just a few quick items to close up my remaining scribbled notes, some just from random memory recalls while browsing thru the photos & videos.  

 

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Port of Call - Bermuda, the islands: since we are reasonable familiar and know our ways of getting around, we just took advantage of NCL's free ferry service as scheduled, across the dock from the ship to get to St. George on the East End (and, back)  Took the Bermuda Fast Ferry service ($5 each way, paid cash - less when buying the token (inside Clocktower Mall & in the city's ferry terminal) to get into town.  The local public bus service is also an excellent way to get around, easy to learn and use - drivers and residents alike on ferry & buses are friendly and helpful, need help - just ask and don't forget, say "thank you."  Masks when using on the transit system and select indoor locations, per posted signs, are required and/or recommended - respect their home rules. 

 

  NCL's once somewhat reasonable prices for popular shore excursions are no longer true, worst - grossly overpriced these days for captive audiences - we, the cruise ship passengers often have limited choices & time to fuzz about it.  CruiseNext/Shorex Desk onboard will happily assist and offer theirs ... there was no long lines stretching to the elevators on the last day signing for more certificates, good sales pitch, however.  Do your homework and research, check the destination forum for Bermuda here on CC first, and plan ahead - don't forget the time zone difference to avoid being inducted into the Dockyard Pier Runner's Club ... become infamous stars on social media & Youtube, going to be an expensive & hard lessons.  

 

  Standards of living are high, very high in Bermuda, perhaps more than San Francisco and New York City - thus, not really a place to shop & buy things, except for souvenirs and essentials.  Along Front Street in Hamilton, about 1/3 of the shops & places remained closed, some out-of-business permanently (surely, partially b/c of the global pandemic hitting the economy hard) sad to walk on the waterfront & see gates down & windows boarded up, some are being remodeled & opening soon.  St. George's too affected by fewer visitors till recently - there (used to) should be a free walking tour of the area, done by locals when we're there 4 or 5 years ago - stopping at the Old Church & a few other places, some up on the hill, very interesting & informative, with 2 stores for shopping along the way.  NCL has port stops planned during the winter months of 2022-23, going to be interesting, around the holidays (as I recall.)  

 

  Cellular services in Bermuda - 4G / LTE coverage is very good to excellent on the island, reachable from most decks & open spaces onboard the ship (higher deck, perhaps signal strength is marginal) - planning for 5G addition, but not there yet.  Our Google Fi and T-Mobile roaming coverage was great, as usual, via BTC, the local partner - much, much faster & better, stronger than ship's satellite coverage for sure.  It might drop to 3G coverage, depending on your mobile device's radio bands but still usable, just slower but still, edge over ship's WiFi signals.  Disadvantage, if you have an inside cabin (that included our Family - Inside - Suite, no cellular signal at all - back to WiFi).  

 

Disembarkation in N.Y. - even if our family suites do not provide or discontinue "Priority Disembarkation" - our Sapphire/Platinum status will (should) give us the same, with specially colored luggage tags (ours were delivered & placed in our stateroom, probably by our steward - 2 nights before reaching NY) and a letter with written info & instructions on how, when & where ... choice of being in the Express & Self Walk-Off group or the slower, Luggage checked & wait until they are taken off the ship & readily lined in downstairs in the ship terminal, before taking the shortcut to the gangway for a faster exit, sort of "cutting" the lines.

 

  We waited, after our traditional morning disembarkation breakfast in Savor first, then, when ready & announced, took a quicker route to the AFT elevators & Up first, then down to Deck 7 by the MDR, for an almost no line, no crowd, no wait exit thru security to the nearby gangway, closest to the escalators & elevator (used by escorted, accessible passengers and those with heavy, bulky luggage) down to the "street level".  Once inside, easy to collect our luggage together & find a porter with a cart, and help us "pushed" toward the exclusive lane for an easier CBP passport check, worth the extra tipping to head out to/crossing 12th Avenue at W. 48th Street, where our booked Carmel car services were soon pulling up to get us home. 

 

  That's next to the official yellow Taxi Stand (wasn't sure if a dispatcher was on duty) - beware, there are no Uber "dispatchers" whatsoever - in or out of uniform, with a clipboard and/or wearing an orange safety vest - scam artists loitering there, ignore the hustlers & keep walking, use the Uber app to book ground transportation.  

 

These, should, cover just about everything the typical NCL cruisers sailing in NY and going to/from Bermuda in 2022 should know of and find helpful to know ahead, to minimize surprises - things are changing, do change and might not be ever be the same again - use the details & info as a general guide & reference for a smoother experience.  Thanks for following and reading - questions, comments, suggestions, ideas on what else to include or add, and requests are welcome & appreciated.   

 

P.S.  We are doing better each & every day, healthwise - thanks to our boosted vaccine protections - remain self-isolating at home & still taking precautions, will take a new round at Antigen Rapid test soon to see - plenty of quality masks to use.  

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Graphics & charts - from Windy App & ship's live webcam and navigation channel data - predictive forecasts & what it was like last week.

 

This weekend's return ( 5 to 6 days from now ) might be another bumpy ride at sea. Path from Monday thru Tuesday, Norfolk to Dockyard is likely a close one too. Might 🫣

 

The Atlantic hurricane season hasn't officially started yet 😳

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for all your great info, we are sailing on September 1 to Bermuda in a Have Suite.  We are traveling from Ireland so this trip report was a great help and know what to expect.

 

We had covid-19 in January and still have fatigue from it, hope your feeling much better

 

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Hi, Henry. Sharon, The P, here. Taking a break from unpacking to check in with you and Bonnie and any other curious cruisers. First off, I'm sorry to read Covid got you and Susan; I'll take a home test as soon as I catch my breath and let you know the results. There was lots of cleaning going on but I didn't hear any rumors on board. We'll see what the next few days bring on CC and FB.

 

I was in a Club Balcony on Deck 12; I'm Sapphire. I have no idea how things worked for Haven. I had all my Bermuda final results with me. I got to the pier at 9AM; boarded around 11:20. Debark started  around 7:20. They called Yellow tags around 7:40. I was in my (Manhattan) apt. by 8:15.

 

Bonnie, you have to go to 3 different places to check in. First, with your passport and boarding rezzie info and test result. Then you go to a second line where they check your Bermuda info. If you don't have the final OK from Bermuda, you can go to another line and some people didn't get the final OK till they were on board and were called to Guest Services. Third, you go to another line to get your cabin card. Crazy!

 

We had 2330 people on board and I never felt crowded and could change dining and entertainment rezzies with ease. Today's cruise has over 3000 and the Cruise Next desk told me NCL will accept whomever wants to cruise now. No behind the scenes or officer's dinner, etc. so I got $50 non-refundable OBC for being Sapphire.

 

The weather was great. No barf bags needed.  It feels more humid today in Manhattan than it did in Bermuda! Enjoyed both Footloose and Elements. New Footloose cast boarding today.

 

I thought the food was very good. Ate in Q and Cagney's and all the different "included" dining rooms. The buffet will not disappoint you!

 

Any questions, just ask. I'm returning to unpacking and making some tea; I need the caffeine!

 

 

 

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@The P

Hi Sharon....as of yesterday, no more uploading covid test results and no more 2nd covid test if you get off in Norfolk!

 

Did you get off in Norfolk?  Was it "worth it" if you did?

 

What does "the Cruise Next desk told me NCL will accept whomever wants to cruise now" mean?  Unvaccinated people?   With 3000 on board today and relaxation of Bermuda Rules...I may be in for a full capacity cruise.  I think the Joy full capacity is 3900 passengers (I could be wrong).

 

Glad you had good weather and enjoyed it all!

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1 hour ago, MsTabbyKats said:

@The P

Hi Sharon....as of yesterday, no more uploading covid test results and no more 2nd covid test if you get off in Norfolk!

 

Did you get off in Norfolk?  Was it "worth it" if you did?

 

What does "the Cruise Next desk told me NCL will accept whomever wants to cruise now" mean?  Unvaccinated people?   With 3000 on board today and relaxation of Bermuda Rules...I may be in for a full capacity cruise.  I think the Joy full capacity is 3900 passengers (I could be wrong).

 

Glad you had good weather and enjoyed it all!

Just took a covid test; negative. Will try again in a few days and hope for the same result.....Didn't get off in Norfolk......remember how NCL was putting caps on the number of people on each ship? Not anymore according to what I was told. People still need to be vaccinated. The JOY can hold 3800 passengers. You'll have a great time! It's a BIG ship with lots of spaces to hang out. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, The P said:

... Taking a break from unpacking to check in with you and Bonnie and any other curious cruisers ... in a Club Balcony on Deck 12 ... Today's cruise has over 3000 and the Cruise Next desk told me NCL will accept whomever wants to cruise now. No behind the scenes or officer's dinner, etc. so I got $50 non-refundable OBC for being Sapphire. I need the caffeine!

Welcome home, Sharon - that's a great report, short & concise, to the point.  Did you find the coffee on the Joy being strong, which isn't to everyone's liking - loved it.  

 

Here she goes - sailing down the Hudson again, took a peek again - destination Norfork, tomorrow. Oh, yes, we got $50 OBC being Sapphire too.  Those that are Platinum were issued $25 only by stopping at the CruiseNext desk - did you fetch (another) Latitudes Sapphire pin ?  Purchased more CruiseNext - they're taking advantage of it, seeing us there.   Did you go to the CN/Latitudes cocktail reception ?  

 

Good on testing negative, on social media - some didn't report testing positive until days later after coming home ... just be a little careful for next 2 to 3 days to be sure.  But, it's no big deal since we are boosted, etc.  Still easily tired, doing more afternoon naps.  

 

Speaking of Haven, it was full last week and sold up (upgraded) for today - definitely going to be packed again in the weeks ahead.  False sense, IMHO, of health & safety, security that one is better "protected" or better odds of being exposed to the latest subvariant.  Just for fun, attaching our offer to (upgrade advantage) bid up to Haven ... sales offer, reduced bidding (LOL) but not going to happen hereon.  

 

Bonnie, next up - yeah, Bermuda-bound ships are going get more crowded now that the final submission & approval for TA is being modified - uptick in prices for June, definitely noticed - colleges are out.  Joy's double occupany max is around 3,900 but when sailing full with extra berths, somewhere around 4,200 to 4.400 isn't unheard of ...  Even last week, people were jamming into elevators, especially at the end of the shows from the Joy Theater.  Knowing you aren't crazy about masking up, please be careful ... 

 

Our good CC friends from Bayside following, Hi, M & A - we had a weekend brunch with them not long ago, and they are trying to be as prepared as they can, and careful in going about it. 

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Edited by mking8288
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Henry.......I'm a tea drinker so can't review the coffee....... Bought two Cruise Next certs and did go to the Lat. party which they had in the Observation Lounge as they did for your cruise...... I forgot to tell you I had to pick up my yellow luggage tags at Guest Services myself.  Your being in a suite gave you more perks than being Sapphire, as it should........ I didn't get another Sapphire pin but asked for the others ( I already had the Bronze, too) which they gave me. I think the ship pins were so much more distinctive and pretty!.....I'm unpacked and the laundry is done. The sad part is having to cook dinner myself! I got my second booster 2 weeks before I boarded but knowing what happened to you has me crossing my fingers. And now, there's monkeypox!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mking8288, thank you for your detailed briefing of your experience on JOY.  I was particularly interested in your account of the embarkation.  As you know, we will be embarking out of New York for the 16 September voyage to Canada/New England.  The embarkation is my biggest concern.  On our only previous cruise, to Alaska on a Holland America ship, one of the reasons---probably, the major one---we opted for a Neptune suite was because Neptune suite passengers got priority boarding.

 

But, it didn't work out that way.

 

We were to be escorted to the terminal by a Holland America rep.  He was late, so we didn't get the early jump I wanted.  Still, as suite pax, we were swiftly moved through the check-in, security, and customs.  After that, though, it became a zoo.

 

There was no organisation to the staging room where passengers awaited boarding.  Just hundreds of people sitting in a massive cattle call.  The boarding process was underway, but there was no apparent rhyme or reason to whom the port officials were summoning to board next.  Certainly no attention toward priority boarding for suite passengers.  They just called rows of seated folks at random.

 

It went against my grain as a military man who understands the need to follow procedures, but after ten minutes of that Chinese fire drill, I'd had enough.  I took my wife and positioned ourselves as close to the door leading to the boarding path as we could get.  Then, when another row of seated people got called to board, I told my wife, "Let's go," and we merged with them.

 

If one of the handlers had protested, I had planned to flash our gold suite-pax ship's cards.  But, it was so disorganised that no-one in authority noticed.  A five-minute walk and we were on board.

 

I want to avoid the same sort of debacle this time, so I've been studying every scrap of information about boarding at the Manhattan Pier Terminal.  You provided me with the most direct information I've received so far.  Thank you!

 

My only real concern is making sure my wife and I take the proper pre-boarding COVID test.  I'm still vague on what NCL will accept.  But I presume, if we mess it up, testing is provided at the pier, for a cost.

 

Otherwise, we'll muddle through just fine. I expect.  Especially with the helpful info provided by seasoned NCL pax like you.

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8 minutes ago, CDR Benson said:

... I've been studying every scrap of information about boarding at the Manhattan Pier Terminal.  You provided me with the most direct information I've received so far ... My only real concern is making sure my wife and I take the proper pre-boarding COVID test.  I'm still vague on what NCL will accept.  But I presume, if we mess it up, testing is provided at the pier, for a cost ... Otherwise, we'll muddle through just fine. I expect.  Especially with the helpful info provided by seasoned NCL pax like you.

NP and thank you, sir, for your uniform service as Memorial Day is coming up next.  Suffice to say, we got time to address the mess at MCT - I believe we are going to, with the help of at least a handful of seasoned NCL cruisers embarking & disembarking in the coming weeks, that we'll get a better sense of how things are.  Norwegian Joy is the only NCL ship sailing from/to NY in the next 2 months - all eyes on her (there is also the East Coast destination forum) until additional NCL ships come to the city, starting up the busy Canada/New England itineraries - which, should have more simplified & smoother protocols for boarding or embarkation.  Bermuda's TA requirement is (was) the extra obstacles that, IMHO, presented challenges for unsuspecting cruisers - "command and control" was not there on the ground (pier) as it happened.  

 

Pre-board Covid testing is another one, but depending on ... many of which beyond NCL and "our" control - isn't a major obstacles and NYC has many free resources to get tested, for all travelers & visitors alike ... Antigen Rapid results will do. 

 

Good news, we'll chat and continue on this September's Roll Call, as it get closer - our best friends are onboard too, it's their first post-pandemic cruise and very nervous, short of holding their hands to follow ... together, we'll get thru it.  I am reasonably confident that we, here on CC, isn't going to let things go, not if we can help shape things.  There are plenty of expertise, not just us ... we will see to it that NCL hear our concerns, one way or another - I just finish my post-cruise eSurvey and gave them more than an earful, whether the "bots" pass it up the chains of command to customer care, remains to be seen.  

 

It's less than 120 days now and if you have Specialty Dining as part of the cruise package, you can book it now, ahead ... online. Let's move some of the chat over to the Roll Call.  

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1 hour ago, CDR Benson said:

Mking8288, thank you for your detailed briefing of your experience on JOY.  I was particularly interested in your account of the embarkation.  As you know, we will be embarking out of New York for the 16 September voyage to Canada/New England.  The embarkation is my biggest concern.  On our only previous cruise, to Alaska on a Holland America ship, one of the reasons---probably, the major one---we opted for a Neptune suite was because Neptune suite passengers got priority boarding.

 

But, it didn't work out that way.

 

We were to be escorted to the terminal by a Holland America rep.  He was late, so we didn't get the early jump I wanted.  Still, as suite pax, we were swiftly moved through the check-in, security, and customs.  After that, though, it became a zoo.

 

There was no organisation to the staging room where passengers awaited boarding.  Just hundreds of people sitting in a massive cattle call.  The boarding process was underway, but there was no apparent rhyme or reason to whom the port officials were summoning to board next.  Certainly no attention toward priority boarding for suite passengers.  They just called rows of seated folks at random.

 

It went against my grain as a military man who understands the need to follow procedures, but after ten minutes of that Chinese fire drill, I'd had enough.  I took my wife and positioned ourselves as close to the door leading to the boarding path as we could get.  Then, when another row of seated people got called to board, I told my wife, "Let's go," and we merged with them.

 

If one of the handlers had protested, I had planned to flash our gold suite-pax ship's cards.  But, it was so disorganised that no-one in authority noticed.  A five-minute walk and we were on board.

 

I want to avoid the same sort of debacle this time, so I've been studying every scrap of information about boarding at the Manhattan Pier Terminal.  You provided me with the most direct information I've received so far.  Thank you!

 

My only real concern is making sure my wife and I take the proper pre-boarding COVID test.  I'm still vague on what NCL will accept.  But I presume, if we mess it up, testing is provided at the pier, for a cost.

 

Otherwise, we'll muddle through just fine. I expect.  Especially with the helpful info provided by seasoned NCL pax like you.

We are going to use the Inspire video proctored home rapid antigen Covid-19 test for our upcoming Joy Bermuda cruise in July. Chose this since there is a link from the NCL page to the Inspire site to order test and make appointment for your video chat test call. This would be within 2 days of embarkation.  inspirediagnostics.com/ncl/ 

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