MITSUGIRLY BREAKAWAY's 1 last time for the year-review/pictorial
DAY 9: Coming home
I do need to step back and say that I believe I missed something from "last night". Remember I had sent my laundry off in the morning with the room steward to get my free bag of laundry done with my new platinum perks? I waited all day for them to come back and I have to admit, I was starting to worry. But, by the time we returned for the night, they were sitting on my bed and ready for me to put them into my luggage.
I thought it was really nice that they come back in a pretty little wicker basket with handles and they were all nice and neatly pressed, as if done by a robot. Pretty cool! It definitely made it nice to know that I would have less laundry to do when I returned home AND this flatter than pancakes pressing they had done made more space in my luggage as well.
Now...I do have to say this. They didn't come back the "cleanest". Honestly, not too clean at all. I don't recall exactly what was on certain clothes at this point (I'm thinking there was a day that Sakari dripped ice cream on her shirt and maybe another ketchup drop or something...then also a day of removing a shirt and her painted face got on it...things like that) but the stains were still on them when they were returned. I can remember another post on here somewhere with someone stating that paying to have their clothes washed while on a cruise was a waste of money...for this exact reason. Now I know what they were talking about. No biggie, I would just re-wash them when I get home (the clothes that still had stains). Still a nice added perk I guess.
Everyone knows that I did not get to see the Statue of Libery on the sail out due to us not leaving until the middle of the night. By the time I woke up that night, we were already out to sea.
The last night of the cruise, I had ask an employee about coming back to port and when we would be passing by the Statue of Liberty. I was told that we pass it some time around 4am. Um...ok. I guess I will not be seeing it on the way in. I was very disappointed. Everyone talks about how neat it is to go by her and get pictures and it's part of the "cruising out of New York" experience. This would be an experience I would not get a chance to partake in. So sad.
I had my alarm set for 6am, since the ship was supposed to dock at 7am. At 6am I jumped up and ran to the balcony to see if I could see anything. We were definitely getting close since I could see all the buildings lit up. However, the more I thought about this "missing of the Statue of Liberty" the more I started to get upset. Does it really take 3 hours to get from the port to her? No way right? Isn't she just kinda around the corner after you pull out? I'm confused. I started thinking about this more and more. Aren't there ferries that you can take over to her from either NY or NJ? How in the world could it be 3 hours? Did these employees mislead me? I was sure that we should be passing by it right before pulling in now...and I still missed it! This is a fail in research on my part I guess. It never occurred to me that I should probably know how long it takes to reach her from the port.
I would only get to see the lights along the way...no Miss Liberty.
Now that I'm thinking about it even more...maybe we were going by it and I missed it again because I was on the wrong side???
We pulled in at 6:30am and I continued to take pictures from the balcony as it started to get lighter out.
I believe I remember being in port with this ship in Freeport once.
I went inside to pack a few final things in our luggage and then headed back out for a few more pictures as the family was getting ready for breakfast.
The sun was coming up and the sky was a beautiful pinkish-blue color now.
I tried my best to get the pretty color of the sky and then the bright orange-red color of the sun coming between the buildings, but the lighting was just not on my side this morning.
Zooming in gave me some interesting pictures though:
I went back inside and we headed to the buffet for our last meal.
They started calling for walk-off's at 7:15am. We scarfed down our breakfast like it was the last meal we would get for the day and headed back to our room to grab our luggage and head out.
We ran into the family along the way who had also just finished eating.
We decided we would all walk out together and I found out that they had also decided to keep their luggage and get a head start on getting off the ship and driving home.
We were able to walk right off the ship and it was a steady walk with no stopping or waiting. This was nice. They obviously had things working nicely at this point. Of course since we got to get off first, there was probably no time for a line to back up.
We made it out of the building and noticed that Kolin & Courtney got pulled for inspection. No biggie, they just ask them a couple of questions and they were on their way as well.
Using our phones, we scheduled for our pick up service with Carmel. I had never used a pick up service where you can't actually schedule them until you get out of the terminal because they can't sit around waiting on you. I mean, I could schedule, but if you are not there, you pay!
So I quickly got out my cell phone and scheduled our ride. The awesome thing I do love about this service is they have a map and you can see exactly where you car is at any time and how far away they are.
When we got outside, we were directed to head across the street. WAIT...THAT STREET? Oh my goodness. That was one scary looking street with a lot of traffic going at a fast rate of speed and not stopping for anything. Here we are with a young child we needed to watch and pull all of our luggage with us while she also tried to maneuver hers around too. This was going to be an adventure for sure.
It took us a few lights to make it all the way across, but we finally made it. Whew. Now what? I had no idea where to actually stand and wait for the car. Kendra was having issues trying to schedule her car to come and by this time somehow Kenny/Michelle & Kolin/Courtney were already in a car and pulling away by the time we made it across the street.
I ended up scheduling a 2nd car (for Kendra) and our car pulled up after several phone calls from the driver letting us know that he was on his way, stuck in traffic, and behind a bus...but he's coming. We stood on the corner of 12th & 48th and he finally arrived. We said our goodbyes to Kendra and family and we pulled away with her having a very worried look on her face about what to do. I screamed out the window "Just stay there" and she screamed back "How will I know it's our ride?"...and off we went.
Her driver ended up calling me asking where "we were at" (meaning Kendra) and I told him and he said he was almost there. I hurried to call Kendra to let her know and to give her the drivers phone number and she informed me that he was already there. Whew all was good. The funny part about it was that since I made the reservation for her, I could see where she was at on the "map". LOL
Now the first time we used this service (on the way to the port), I was unable to use the app to pay for our ride (and tried 3 times according to my cc). This time it would be a success and it actually processed.
It was kinda neat that we only used this service for the ride to the port in the beginning, but each one of us had earned "Car Cash" that we were able to apply to our ride this time $aving more money. I like to $ave money.
Well you know the story...we zoomed into the tunnel and our driver drove pretty decent. The toll was only $8.00 this time for some reason.
We made it to the airport and we got in line outside to check our luggage in. We made it in time for our 11 something flight with some time to spare.
When we made it up to the counter, the guy proceeded to tell us that we would have to go inside to check our luggage in because his system was down. Ugh. Ok, so in we went. :eek: ARE YOU SERIOUS?? This place was a mad house. The line was forever long. The hubby and I looked at each other and said "Oh my!" So we headed to the back of the line...............................
WAIT.....WHERE'S THE END OF THE LINE??? A lady in the line pointed down around the corner and down the hall. GULP! Definitely another "Oh my" moment. We got to the end...or did we? Nope, that was just a gap in the line that an employee had made for people to get by. "Keep going, down the hall, around the corner and down that hall" !!!!!!!!! This line wrapped around the building to places I didn't even know existed.
Now I was going to start worrying about us making our trip. I felt bad when several people were coming up to talk to the employees about the line and begging to be able to not have to wait in it because their flight was leaving in 20 minutes...or whatever the case was. I know exactly what they were feeling and mixture of emotions trying to process what you do once you miss the plane. Been there~done that...with Kendra of course.
I do have to say that the line moved at a decent rate of "speed" (using that term lightly of course) and we made it up to the counter to check us and the luggage in. It was confirmed that the system for Southwest was down. Once we were done...whew! Ok, let's head to the security line..."No wait, you need to take your luggage with you" the lady at the counter screamed. Um what? She proceeded to tell us that we would need to take the tagged luggage with us and drop it off where the put the luggage in the carts to go to the plane. Oh wow. So down the hall we headed, turn left, then turn right and then to the employees in a different room. Ok, that was over with, let's go!
We headed out of the room and toward....I have no idea where we were going. I couldn't find any identifiable signs that told us where to go. We stopped to ask someone and OF COURSE we were headed the wrong way. About face and head back to the next VERY long line for security.
We would find that they had 1 (ONE!!! UNO) person working this security desk. Seriously? After standing in line for awhile, they finally decided to open up a total of 4 lines, which moved things along somewhat quicker.
I feel like this is a very strange airport. It reminded me of an old Greyhound bus station from back in the day when I use to travel with my mom places. I just pictured it being much nicer for some reason.
There were no seats in the area that you line up to get on the plane. It was actually along a hall getting there and I found this extremely weird as well. When they would come over the loud speaker, sometimes it was hard to hear and understand them. I would get up around the time I thought it was for us and walk over to listen.
We always do the early bird check in when cruising, since we usually don't have internet service the night before to check in 24 hours in advance. We seem to have pretty good luck with this in the past and this time we were assigned boarding position A48-50. Not bad.
We finally boarded the plane, but we did leave much later than scheduled. I think with the system being down, it was throwing everyone for a loop today. But we survived. It was a full flight, so things were tight.
Up up and away we finally went.
I had no idea what we were looking at here and once again, I did not spot the Statue of Liberty.
The hubby wasn't ready for his vacation to be over and since he seems to have a tradition of starting out his day with a bloody Mary...this would continue on our trip home as well.
Southwest always sends both of us coupons for free drinks. They obviously don't carry a Toasted Almond or a Dirty Monkey, so I give all of mine to the hubby.
Wow, is the water really that blue here? I thought it was only like that in the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Before taking off, Sakari had a million questions about this "system being down". I think she over heard the hubby and I joking around about how would they fly the plane with the system being down and the hubby was pretending to be a pilot in this scenario, "Um yea Roger, we are at...um real high in the sky altitude, cruising along at...um really super fast speeds, which I'm not sure about since my gauges aren't working at the moment with the system being down, and we are requesting to land on that little strip of blacktop we see coming up to my left. That's my left Roger, not yours. I'm not quite sure if we are in the right state, but I'm sure you will have plenty of places for our passengers to go site-seeing at. Do we have permission to land Roger? Roger? Hello, is this thing working?" tap tap tap
Yea, that might have scared her a little. So the first thing she did when we got on the plane and got situated...she decided we were stick people.
I ask her if mommy got left in the plane because I did nothing but gain weight during the cruise and none of those stick people looked like they could be mommy. She laughed and I handed her my phone and put on a show for her to watch on t.v. to get her mind off of it.
It didn't take very long before this was her new position and I would be able to take back possession of my phone to watch some shows myself.
We had 1 plane change along the route home. I would check in with the kids to make sure they were ok in their journey home. Kendra & family stopped after leaving the hotel to pick up some supplies to do a quick oil change on the SUV they had brought (if you remember, when us girls had adventured out to the store, it started making a loud sound) and Kenny was stuck doing the oil change in a parking lot to assure that they would "hopefully" make it back home in this truck. Things were going well with them and they reported back to me that they were a few hours away from home.
Again, problems with the Southwest system led to delays, which gave us time to get a snack, and everyone had to give them a paper copy of their boarding pass. That meant that anyone that had downloaded their boarding pass to their phone to check in was forced to stand in huge lines at a desk to obtain some type of paper copy. There was no scanning your boarding pass as you walked onto the plane. They had to write certain things down on paper. It kinda reminded me of working in the ER when the system goes down and you have to revert to the dreaded "paper system" from back in the day.
We made it back to our home airport and I have to say that I was quite glad that we had decided to drive to the port with our car because that meant no waiting for someone to come pick us up.
We hopped on the shuttle bus and away we went to the parking lot. I would definitely use this system again in the future. Much easier than relying on someone to drop you off and pick you up.
We were hungry once again (at the airport we only had a snack) and decided to stop for fast food right at the airport location to get our bellies full prior to arriving at home and having to unpack everything and settle in.
We made it back home safely and the kids arrived a few hours later. Whew, glad to be home and relaxing...now where's the buffet and towel animals for the night?
I would like to do a "final thoughts" review/section of this trip like I always do. But by gosh, it feels like this cruise was so long ago that I might have to go back and re-read my review to trigger my memory. :o
MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE HOTEL:
EMBASSY SUITES NEWARK:
95 Glimcher Realty Way
If you have the opportunity to stay here, I highly suggest it. It's a very nice hotel (as it should be since it's fairly new) from the decor to the rooms.
I thought it came with an excellent price, considering all the other hotels we had checked on, and the best part is that if you are a "bigger" family, this is the perfect place to accommodate you.
The rooms are HUGE and have a bedroom that is completely in a different room, which makes it nice when traveling with family, friends or children. It sleep 6 comfortably.
If you are driving in and need to park...IT'S FREE for the week. Yes, FREE! Unlike the other hotels in the area that are charging close to $100 for leaving your vehicle there for a week.
Added amenities such as the pool, hot tub, exercise room are all great if you require them. There's also a touch screen in the lobby that you can look up any information.
Having a restaurant on the premises is a nice added feature if you don't want to adventure out.
If you do want to go out, you can walk to several different restaurants right there at the lot. Also a mall is there for shopping.
The FREE breakfast in the morning was GREAT! From the hot foods to the cold and even "Made to Order" (the name of the breakfast). Definitely an added plus!
The nightly gathering party...well, the only downfall (for us) and wasn't exactly what we expected. The drinks were limited to only the house drinks (and you only got 1 for free) and the "food" was just a snack (when we had hoped it would be a light meal like we've had at other places in the past).
Another downfall (to some) might be they charge for the internet service (which is normally free at most places). It didn't bother us since we just used or phone service for free.
**Tip** If you plan to buy some pop to drink while there, do it from the vending machine because it is cheaper than at the front desk "snack" area. ;)
Only other downfall is that there doesn't seem to be a gas station or store within walking distance if you plan on buying pop to take with you on the cruise.
Everything else was perfect and the staff was friendly and helpful.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. :)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON USING CARMEL TRANSPORTATION:
I would definitely use this service again when in town. Although they didn't have a vehicle to accommodate our large 10 person crowd, it still worked out fine.
The drivers were prompt picking us up at the hotel (before expected).
They were fairly prompted picking us up after scheduling once we returned from the cruise.
The app they have for the service rocks!...if it works. On our trip there, it wouldn't allow me to pay using my cc on the app (but I had brought cash anyhow). On the ride back, it did allow me to pay using the app and my cc. I'm not sure if it was the cc or the app.
The app has the feature that allows you to "see where your driver is" which is just awesome.
You can also add in the tolls and the tip on the app to pay.
The drivers were...um, quiet. VERY quiet. As a matter of fact they didn't talk. So if you like those local drivers that talk up a storm, carry on a conversation with you giving you history and stuff along the way, this is not your company. ;)
Now I had absolutely NO problems with our service. Kendra did on the way home. I'm not sure if these drivers are using their vehicles or not, but Kendra's pick up ride came and the driver had a bunch of his "crap" in the trunk of the car. He had one of those big 24 packs of water and a box and I can't remember what all she said. He could not fit all of their luggage into the trunk (they had 4 between the 3 of them). She ended up having to put one of them up front with her...AND SHE WAS CHARGED FOR THAT!!! I personally would have fought that, but for some reason she didn't, which is unlike her. Carmel has a policy that all luggage must fit in the back and if any goes up front, you are charged an extra $10. :eek: I'm sorry, if you pull up with YOUR crap in the back where MY luggage goes, YOU are moving YOUR crap out to fit mine in and I'm not paying you an extra $10. Plain and simple. That or consider the extra $10 your "tip" since you won't move your crap. :rolleyes:
Other than this issue, everything was fine...except the driving, which I'll chalk it up to the "New Yorker" coming out in them and everyone does it. :D
FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PORT AND NEW YORK CRUISING...
I found the cruise port here very confusing from start to finish getting on. It's really weird how they have certain sections to check in and it seemed pretty unorganized to me. People telling you to go different directions for different "floors" your room is on BUT YET still handing you a ticket with a number for boarding FROM A DIFFERENT AREA! Like why would they do that?
Obviously from my review I found the people working there to be very rude from start to finish. The way they spoke to me and my family, the way they shuffled us around and especially the way the lady flat out told me I was a liar is unacceptable in my book. I was very put off by the behaviors of the employees here and it set my tone for the rest of the time we were in the building. Obviously no reflection of NCL because I believe these people don't work for the ships. :(
This place was CROWDED! No place to sit, over packed and flowing with anxious people to get on the ship and just plain uncomfortable. This is a reflection of NCL and I'm not so sure this staggered arrival time has any benefits at all. Does it really make a difference what time you sign up to arrive at the port when they aren't going to allow anyone on before a certain time anyhow...so it's just a multitude of people arriving at various times and you all end up together in a crowded building. Isn't that the same as just coming whenever you want? You're still all in the building together anyhow and forced to wait. :mad: :rolleyes:
Getting off the ship was a breeze and we constantly walked during the entire process. It was great. But then again, like I said in my review, it might have just been because we were the first "batch" off the ship and it hadn't got backed up by then. Plus this was the first time we had ever carried our own luggage off the ship so there was no waiting or having to find our luggage.
All-in-all: I can honestly say that I really didn't care for cruising out of New York. I'm always up for a different experience and new places, but it was just not my cup-of-tea. I'm not sure I care to ever cruise out of there again. I really prefer cruising from the south like Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa or NOLA. I just feel more comfortable and at ease in those ports.
The other factor is cruising from a Northern state (NY, Boston, Baltimore) is the weather and the time of year. I DO NOT care to cruise during the cold months from a cold state. No if and's or buts about it. I'm done. I have had cold and crappy weather from all of my sailaways from these ports this year and unless it would be during the summer and hot outside, it's just not for me. When I think of cruising, I think of hot weather and having a sailaway party on the deck with a drink in my hand and HEAT! Not cold. The same goes for coming back. You may be going to a warmer climate, but when you have to bundle up on the way home, it's just not worth it to me. I feel like I didn't get to do half of the things I would have if it would have been nice HOT weather...like the water slides and pool. :( No more for me.
FINAL THOUGHTS OF OUR BALCONY ROOM:
At a spur of the moment, after prices dropped, I decided to upgrade us to a balcony. I remembered how nice the room was on the Getaway and figured "why not". However, it was not the same of course (and I knew it wouldn't be) because the last time we had a mini-suite, which has a bigger and better bathroom and shower.
It was nice though. (A newer ship better be nice). There's plenty of space for your things and storage is always one thing I find that NCL has done right with the design. Everything was clean and stain free and we had a wonderful room steward, which has been the norm for just about every cruise we have had with NCL. They definitely go out of their way to please you and this was no exception.
The safe on this ship is laughable. Seriously! Did they downgrade from the other ships? I know on all of their older fleet, they were bigger than this and I can measure that from the folders I take with me. They always fit perfectly in there, this time they would not. It was useless to us and we just left everything out this time around. Such a disappointment that they did this. :(
Now everyone knows I'm "normally" an interior cruisers. I HONESTLY do NOT spend that much time in the room. I'm a go-go-go type of person. I go to my room to change, shower and sleep. That's about it. Everyone always says that once you get a balcony, you'll never go back to an interior. Soooo not true for me. I have went back and forth and have absolutely no problem with it...at all. For me, it's very hard for me to justify spending so much more for a balcony that is barely used. When I have a balcony, I feel like I'm "obligated" to use it...and I do, but I just can't sit long before I'm ready to head out and do something! We don't eat in the room, we don't get up and drink coffee in the morning from the balcony. It really serves no purpose for us other than a way to look out every so often. The only time I do use it is when in port and we come back and sit outside watching the pier runners IF we happen to be in the room at that time.
In the future, I will be booking another interior unless I get one heck of a deal on a balcony. The only other way I'll book a balcony would be depending on where we are going...like if it was Alaska or some place I really felt it would be beneficial to have one.
That's just my take on it. I mean really, they are SO SMALL that it's hard for just 2 people to be out there on them. You are crawling over each other to sit or get up and go back in. Not my idea of fun. Maybe I'll need to try an extended balcony or aft instead some day. That "might" work for a new experience. We'll see. :p
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PLATINUM:
Woo Hoo. I finally turned platinum. I swear I feel like I cruise so much I should have reached this status a long time ago. But, I'm finally there.
So let's review:
*Monthly Latitudes Rewards Insider Offers on Select Sailings-Well everyone gets this so...no biggie and very rarely does it ever apply to my booking.
*Complimentary Latitudes Rewards Online Magazine-Um, I have no clue what this is and have never seen it. Everyone gets it=no biggie.
*Priority Check-in-Everyone gets it all levels=no biggie and sometimes these lines are longer.
*Onboard Latitudes Rewards Representative-Yep, you got it, everyone gets it...of course, they want you to buy more rewardsand cruise more.
10% discount at Duty-Free Shop on all Norwegian Logo merchandise, good for one purchase only. They changed this a while ago to only being 10% on NCL LOGO stuff. It use to be on your entire purchase! This also includes some "free minutes" with their internet service. I use the 10%.
*Members Only Cocktail Party-Yep, everyone gets this party. (Of course nothing if you are on the "new" ships) :rolleyes:
(Available upon request from your Cruise Consultant Manager)-They use to have these waiting for you in your room when you boarded. Not anymore. They want you to go ask for them. Everyone gets it.
*Discount on Photos
15% Silver members, 20% Gold members, 25% Platinum members-Well looky there...I climbed up the ladder to 25%...go me!
*Discount on Spa Signature Services during port days
15% Silver members, 20% Gold members, 25% Platinum members-I don't use the spa-nothing there for me.
*Nightly Chocolate to enjoy in your room-for all latitudes except Bronze. A nice touch and Sakari eats them.
*Exclusive Onboard Gathering with Ship Officers-Um...is this the same as the latitudes party they are at? Because I'm really not sure. For everyone but Bronze.
*Priority Tender Tickets-For Platinum and Gold only. I already had this.
*Priority Disembarkation-Only for Platinum and Gold but I swear I have had this on every cruise but my first cruise for some reason. It's nothing I have ever used really. I still pick my time to get off depending on my flight schedule. So nothing good for me.
*Welcome Gift-Only for Platinum and Gold. What is this gift??? Is it the box of chocolates with 4 of them in it? Once again, I don't eat chocolate so nothing for me and I've had them before.
*Laundry Service-25% on one bag of laundry Gold members, complimentary one bag of laundry Platinum members. Ok, finally something new for me. Yep, I used it and I will use it again just because it's free. Would I ever pay for this? Never! The laundry didn't seem "clean" to me with stains still in it.
*Chocolate-Covered Strawberries-Platinum only. Another newbie for me, but I have received this many times in the past too for some reason. Once again, I don't eat chocolate so...sometimes Sakari eats the strawberries, but something I could care less about getting.
*Concierge Service-platinum only.Hmm, interesting. I didn't receive anything about this nor did I ever see anyone. I have had concierge service a few times before when I was VIP, so I have experienced it and can say that "I don't need it". I'm perfectly happy with picking up a phone or going someplace to make a reservation for myself....or whatever is needed. I guess I have been happy with the times we were taken down the "secret hallway" off of the ship before everyone else a few times. But other than that, not a biggie for me and a service I probably wouldn't use.
*Complimentary Dinner for Two at Le Bistro with a Bottle of Wine-platinum-Now this I was a little worried about since I don't really care to eat there with that type of food. However, it was nice to find out that it could be substituted for a different venue. We chose La Cucina and it worked out nicely.
Complimentary "Behind the Scenes" Ship Tour-I knew that we got this tour and really wanted to go. However, I didn't realize you had to sign up for it the first day so I missed out. Hopefully I'll be able to catch it next time.
Complimentary Sparkling Wine in your stateroom-platinum-Everyone on here knows my dilemma with the wine. So...I received the wine and I still have it. LOL
So my recap. Turning platinum has it's benefits if you use them. Most of them, I don't use. The main thing would be getting to eat at the specialty restaurant for free. Everything else isn't much to me. I don't like most meat. I don't like chocolate. I really wish they gave a choice or something...like fruit or anything other than something involving chocolate. I guess I'm probably in the minority with this though. I would much rather have some OBC instead for each milestone. Now that would ROCK! :)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE SHIP:
She's a beauty. She's clean. They keep her in good shape. Of course she's new. The crew is constantly cleaning and making everything look beautiful.
Here's my personal list of the good (my personal opinion of course).
I find the buffet to be good with plenty of selections. I like buffets at home, so I like buffets on the ship. I like to "see" my food and if I like it, I can go back for more. It gives me the opportunity to try different things out. I find that a lot of the meals in the MDR, you can find here as well. If you can't find anything to eat here, well I feel bad for you. I never understood those that say there's nothing there. I like the fact that there's 2 sides and plenty of seating inside and out. It only seems to get busy during breakfast.
O'Sheehans-love this place. Open 24/7 and a nice variety of things to pick from. It's also a good choice for breakfast if you want to sit down and eat and we found the service to be great and friendly.
Photo shop-I really wish they would convert the other ships to this system. It makes it so nice to be able to find your pictures all in a nice little folder.
Bar service and UBP-We only did the UBP because it was a freebie. I would never pay for it. We are not big drinkers. I was worried about the service and planned that it would be slow like the last cruise. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The service was excellent every place we went to. The bar tenders were friendly and they even made the kids non-alcoholic drinks to match ours. That was an added plus.
iConceirge-Highly recommend this service if you are traveling with others or split up from your party. It's a great way to be able to text or call and it's only $7.95 for the entire week. Money well spent. There were a few times (maybe 3) that it wouldn't connect in our room, but after waiting about 5 minutes it did. So, I would still purchase it if available on any cruise.
Love the waterpark, slides, kids waterpark. Lots of things to keep you occupied. I really hate they lost the contract with Nickelodeon and will be tearing out the Nick characters by next year. I don't even begin to understand how they'll make it a "water golf" area. It sounds like the kids won't have a place to play in the water with this...or there will be people trying to play golf and little kids running in the way.
Rock climbing, basketball, golf, zip line and ropes course-all excellent and a lot of fun. There's something for everyone. The only bad thing is the gawd awful pictures they take of you on the plank. There has to be a better way.
UPTOWN Bar & Grill-EXCELLENT. This is such a great place for either breakfast or lunch. Fabulous food and never crowded.
Love the Nick things they have for the kids-Dora's dance party and the picture time where the kids get to meet the characters. Of course this will all go away next year too.
Cirque show was amazing as always. Very entertaining and money well spent. Most don't care for the dinner and I really wish they would improve it.
Love that NCL has the forward facing camera and also the "map" of where we are going and have been on the t.v.
It was awesome to watch the Medevac and I praise the hard working medical team that did a safe evacuation and I hope the person is ok. Bravo to them.
I love that the captain had our safety in mind and left later to avoid the hurricane and then arrived in Bermuda much sooner than expected. Then of course leaving late from Bermuda to give us some extra time. Bravo NCL for giving that to us.
Cruise Next-good deal just like before. Save money by buying a cruise certificate.
Now the "eh" things:
Glow party-everyone loves and a huge crowd. But no music that I can personally dance to and it was mostly fist pumping and appeared to be a rave type of party. I'm not sure I'll go back to another after trying this twice now.
Same for the 80's party. It doesn't seem to be as popular with as many people here. I love the 80's music, but they mostly play all rock, so no dancing for me. The "show" they put on impersonating singers, eh, kinda boring to me now. I've seen it twice and have no desire to see it again. I miss the fireworks show now. I'm not sure if I would return. People don't get into it like we have in the past and dressing up. :(
I really don't care for the casino layout on these ships. They go off in several different directions and it's just "weird". They have the smoking section up to "this slot machine" then right next to it is non-smoking. :eek: Um...ok.
Bowling...$5 per person? Seriously. So we have a party of 10 in our group and we are supposed to pay $50 for all of us and this isn't even a real full length bowling alley? A little ridiculous to me. It should be 1 price for the game. I didn't see anyone playing it the times we were around it.
Kids Club-I always love the kids club and the counselors. They are amazing people. I just don't like the set up for these new ships. They don't allow the parents in of course, but a lot of the ships you can at least see the kids off in another room or from a window. I like to be able to spy on my kid darnit. Also, Sakari use to bring back so many "crafts" and projects that she does while on the ship. She hasn't for the last several cruises for some reason. Are they just not doing things like this anymore? She obviously loves to draw and doesn't seem to get the chance to do much of that in the kids club anymore. It's ashame.
Kids pool area-the set up is just horrendous. It's hard to see the kids, no place to sit beside the pool unless you are on a hard wooden bench around only 1 edge. I wish they would improve this somehow. It's just in an odd place.
Market Place??-I never seen them use this area at all the entire cruise. Have they stopped selling things there now? Wasted space.
Playing the games and getting tickets...what to do with them??
Kids bounce trampoline was down the entire cruise. I'm not sure what was going on with that but Sakari was disappointed because she enjoys this.
Pictures/photographers-I've said it before, I'll say it again: If they just took a little more time when taking the pictures, they would probably have more sales. Hair blowing in face, eyes squinty or closed, looking in a different direction...they just suck! I can do better with my point and shoot!
Gameroom-I say this all the time, but I never see anyone in these. Such a waste of space IMO. Gamerooms were popular back in the 80's. I just don't see it now. Hey, at least there's a pop machine in there...just in case.
We received a notification in our room about a latitudes party or maybe that was the officers party. I can't remember. It was in Spice and it was rainy outside. It was either canceled or moved. But we weren't informed.
Nick on the deck...we arrived, they did not. Nothing ever happened on the pool deck. No notification of cancellation or announcement.
Burn the floor & Rock of Ages. I seriously HATE that you have to book these. It takes away from the "freestyle" cruising atmosphere. Same for things like the comedy club. I don't like having to plan when I "might" feel like going to a show. Ugh! The shows are a matter of preference, so I won't comment on them since I went over my feelings on them in my review.
The room steward putting dishes and food out in the hallway...um, I just don't even know what to say here. We get slapped on the hand if we do, they take away allowing us to bring food back, they give it back to us...then the room stewards are the ones doing it. I'm so confused.
Cheesecake-WHAT.THE.HECK.HAPPENED.HERE? It's not the same. It taste fake. I don't care for it like the "old" kind. Bring it back.
Now...one thing I didn't mention before was this: You know how your key card opens the door from the outside? Well you know how you lock the door from the inside (the deadbolt) and it keeps anyone from coming in from the outside...for privacy and sleeping and stuff. Well, any key card still opens it even when it's locked!!!!!!!! We tried this on all of our doors and we could still get in! What's going on here.
So all in all, I think I have come to the conclusion that I'm really not a "big ship" kinda girl, at least on the NCL fleet with the new ships. I love the way they look. I love the updated decor. I LOVE the things they have on them to do (pool/slide/ropes/golf and so on). But the amount of people and the business of the ship is just so different from the relaxing atmosphere of the smaller ships.
I also HATE having to schedule everything. Shows are the worse. If the moment hits me, I want to just go do it, not schedule it or get shut out of a show. Yuck.
I really enjoy the smaller ships on NCL's fleet. (However, I enjoy the bigger ships on Carnival...no "scheduling" of things make all the difference).
I know people have asked me about sailing on the Escape...and I probably will, but I'm in no hurry really. Just an even bigger version of these ships and well, I'd rather focus on the others I haven't sailed on like the Gem or Jade. Even though the Epic is bigger than the BA & GA, I would sail her again and she's still my favorite. Once I sail on her again, that may change, but we'll see. :D Go figure...I like the biggest ship in the fleet and the 3 smallest ships. LOL I'm odd.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BERMUDA!!!
Absolutely gorgeous place and I feel lucky to be able to visit her twice in 1 year. I highly recommend going here if you get the chance. Being able to stay docked here for 3 days, coming and going as you please, is just simply amazing!!
WALKING FROM WARWICK TO HORSESHOE:
If you can do this and are up for the walk, do so. It's a great way to see the beaches and get some fabulous pictures!
WARWICK: Absolutely stunning beautiful beach. We loved it here. Beautiful soft sand just since it's more open, the waves are bigger. It makes for a fun time in the water if you like jumping and playing in the waves. Highly recommended.
JOBSONS: Definitely a nice small cove area that's good for families with children. The water in gentle here and there is some snorkeling with some fish and coral. There's also places to climb on the rocks and explore.
STONEHOLE: A very nice soft sand beach that's similar to Warwick. Also a good option to hang out at.
CHAPLIN BAY-Rough open water with rocks along the beach and some areas to sit at up against the rocks for some shade depending on the location of the sun.
HORSESHOE-very big and pretty with soft sand. There plenty of place to spread out. Everyone loves this place and everyone goes here, so it's crowded. Honestly, not my favorite beach like everyone else's. I "probably" won't go back here when I return. I've been here twice now and there's other places to explore and places I like better.
BABY BAY-small cove area beside Horseshoe. Gentle calm waves and a good place for families and smaller children. Just beware, there are certain areas that dip down deep and then come back up along the rocks. You can follow trails and climb on the rocks on either side. Excellent place for great pictures. There's also the sandy hills and the kids love to play on them.
This is, by far, my favorite place in Bermuda so far. The little town is cute and things to see when walking around. But I'll discuss just the places we went this time.
HOHO Beach Bus-this can be an excellent deal if you plan on going to various places and save your feet some walking. It circles around the St George area or you can take it to the St David area. $6 per adult. They have amended it some to include taking you all the way down to the building at Tobacco Bay and also picking you up there. No need to walk now.
COOPER ISLAND RESERVE:
LONG BAY: Absolutely the most beautiful beach ever. It's almost like St Catherines and is probably one of my favorites so far. The water is so beautiful and the sand baby fine and perfect. You can walk down to the end and there's shells and there's few rocks to climb on. Very deserted and hardly ever anyone here. We spotted several sea turtles. I will definitely come back to this place!!!
Walk directly across the street a few feet and you're at another beach on the other side: (below)
FT HILL BAY: A very neat and interesting place with smaller beaches and huge rocks sticking up everywhere. There's neat little coves to walk in, neat trees for shade and just overall a place to visit that's different from the rest. I hope to do it again next time and this time walk up the hill to the old NASA tracking station and look around.
TURTLE BEACH: Very pretty beach with powdery sand, picnic tables, a grassy area and it's a pretty nice sized beach. Not a lot of people there. There's some obvious sea grass in the area, which is why there's probably turtles here.
CLEARWATER BEACH: Eh, not the prettiest place I've seen. It didn't impress me at all. But then again they had the entire beach torn up. This could have been due to the hurricane earlier that week. I'm not sure. The building itself didn't impress me either. It looked like a huge run down shack to me. The people weren't friendly and the prices were expensive. The plus is that it's a HUGE beach and plenty of room to spread out. There's food and drinks there. There's a bathroom. I hear there's a shower maybe? (If you are a buying customer). They have a playground and grassy area.
THE WALK FROM CLEARWATER TO THE BUS STOP: Well, now that I actually know where I'm going, I guess I would do it again or just plan my day a little better to make sure we are coming and going when the HOHO bus runs. It is a long walk, but doable depending on your mobility. We had a fun and good time despite being lost. LOL
Great little beach to hang out at mostly known for the awesome snorkeling (even though it just wasn't meant to be this time around for us). The beach is small, but they always seem to have enough room. The staff is super friendly, good food (and good portions for the money), several areas to snorkel around and swim in. Rocks and paths to explore, restrooms (and usually a shower), a deck with tables to eat at with umbrellas.
Great place to hang out and lots to see. There's plenty of picture opportunities around this area from the landscaping to canon's to old phone booths and so on. There's lots of shopping and various types of stores. The Clocktower is a cute little store/flea market type building and neat to look around. Makes for a neat place to hang out for awhile.
Interestingly enough, it was a nice experience. The snorkeling was pretty good with plenty of soft and hard corals, several fish and the best part is that it's easy for anyone to do. You can go really far out and still be able to stand in most areas. Obviously there's a octopus that has taken up residence there and he's so cute.
The beach isn't the greatest. You won't find that soft beautiful sand there, but it's a beach. You can rent chairs and they come with the umbrella. The drinks are expensive and you don't get much and I can't comment on the food since we didn't buy any. You have to pay $5 to get in for adults and kids 12 and under are free.
While it's not the best and prettiest beach to go to, it made for a nice day to spend as our last day and sticking close to the ship. I would do it again if we needed to stay around close.