Third Mate

Hometown: Austin, TX
Joined: 01/31/2013
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About 855GR8TRIP

Owner of CruiseOne - Lainey Melnick & Associates, http://www.855GR8TRIP.com, 855-GR8-TRIP, lmelnick@cruiseone.com. In 1962, Lainey Melnick took her first international flight from France to Wisconsin at 6 weeks old, and was hooked. Travel is more than a hobby or an interest to the Melnick family. It is woven into family memories, experiences and creates ageless bonds. From the earliest memories of road trips across America, explorations of the Hawaiin Islands, zip-lining with the monkeys in Costa Rica, and swimming in the crystal clear Caribbean ocean, to the most heartwarming destination celebrations of weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions, and even business meetings and conventions, one thing stands out among it all - Travel, surrounded by family, friends, colleagues and some of the friendliest strangers you could meet. We are honored to help you build your most cherished memories.



855GR8TRIP's Past Cruises

Norwegian Epic

October 2012 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean

An Epic Cruise

The best thing about this cruise is the itinerary. I loved all of the ports: Barcelona, Rome, French Riviera, and Naples. They were all wonderful. There are tips for enjoying each that are important and definitely protect your valuables, theft is high in all the ports. The thing I liked best about the Epic is the Norwegian service is always top notch, they really care about pleasing their customers and get to know you and your needs. The entertainment was fantastic. I loved Blue Man Group especially and the Cirque Dreams dinner is well worth the cost, get the seating in the upper level for the best experience. All of the shows in the Epic Theater are free but you do need reservations. There was confusion about this and some people missed out on these wonderful shows because they thought there was a cost. My biggest disappointment was the food choice. They have absolutely wonderful specialty restaurants which cost extra, but for the included meals, although the quality is good, there is not much variety for a long cruise. I am a chocolate lover and didn't find anything the whole week to satisfy that craving. Norwegian has great entry prices, but they do charge extra for a lot of things. If you want to go to the ice bar, there's a cover, to bowl, and other activities, plus the great specialty restaurants. Plus at some ports, you are not allowed to walk off of the ship and you need to either have an excursion booked or use their shuttle which they charge for. Still the overall value is very good, just be ready to pay a little extra on board to make the most of the experience. I am a travel agent and took my mother who uses a walker, we booked a balcony cabin and we were disappointed with the size of the cabin. We needed to walk sideways around the bed to get to the couch near the balcony and the walker was seriously in the way most of the time. If you have any mobility issues, you should get the accessible cabins for more space. Having the balcony was wonderful. I spent many serene moments sitting on the balcony watching the ocean and scenery. I can't imagine cruising any other way. I would be happy to answer any questions about any cruises you may be interested in taking.

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Norwegian Sky

August 2011 - Norwegian Sky to Caribbean - Bahamas

Quick Bahamas Getaway without the Crowds

The thing to remember about cruising is that when you hit a port, thousands of passengers disembark together and flood the port area with customers. The smaller the ship, the fewer the crowds. The Norwegian Sky holds about 2000 passengers. This is a good medium size ship that doesn't overwhelm the ports that it stops in. Although at the port, you are there with all the other larger ships also. There was definitely a young, party atmosphere on board culminating with the white hot party which was shoulder to shoulder dancing. I am a travel agent, and was cruising alone with friends. I had an inside cabin which was extremely small but I didn't need much. I was happy to have a couch and desk in the cabin, but without a window, I became very disoriented at night and when waking up. I didn't bring a clock and kept the TV in the room off which made it more difficult to adjust. I strongly recommend getting a cabin with a window even if it's obstructed. It felt like I was sleeping in a closet. The ship had lots of lounges and options for entertainment. I don't drink or gamble so I felt a little out of place especially without my family, so I didn't really take part in much. The food was wonderful, especially in the specialty restaurants. They cost more but they were worth it. I especially loved Le Bistro, the French restaurant, and the steakhouse. The food in the free restaurants was very high quality though, so you didn't need to do the specialty restaurants unless you want a little more variety. We ended up losing a port day due to a hurricane but had one nice day in Nassau. I spent it at the Atlantis which was really a great choice. There is lots to do there and I really missed having my kids with me for this port. It is a great ship for a young couple or for a family who wants a quick Bahamas getaway. It took a few days for me to start to relax and enjoy it, and then it was over. If it's your first cruise and you're not sure how you'll feel about it, a 3-4 day cruise is a good test, but the 7 day cruises are packed with more options for entertainment, dining, ports, so I would actually recommend going for the 7 day instead as a better way to get your feet wet with cruising, but if you are looking for a fun option for a quick get away, this is a great option.

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855GR8TRIP's Tips

Norwegian Sky Norwegian Sky - For a great experience try the owner's suite or penthouse with butler service.
Norwegian Epic Norwegian Epic - Get an aft-facing balcony B1 for the best views and to cut the wind.

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - An Epic Cruise

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