Second Mate

Joined: 12/09/2012
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About BTolkin


BTolkin's Past Cruises

Seabourn Sojourn

March 2017 - Seabourn Sojourn to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)


Stayed in cabin 912. Magnificent cabin. Great bathroom, great closet. Housekeeping was amazing. My only constructive comment about cabin is the deck chairs should recline more. 


What was truly outstanding on this ship was the service. It was extraordinary in both delivery and attitude. Happy

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Crystal Serenity

May 2016 - Crystal Serenity to U.S. - Pacific, Northwest

Crystal is GREAT but a step below the small luxury lines

Crystal is a great experience but it is not quite the level of Seabourn, Regent or Silversea.  All my comments are relative.  The staff is extremely professional, responsive and accommodating.  The difference is that they are "reactive" versus "proactive".  Physically, the ship is bigger than the smaller ships of the luxury lines, but not too big where it is intimidating and its size allows for more.  My one poor experience is that the food in the main dining room was not great.  The specialty restaurants are a completely different experience. 

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Norwegian Escape

November 2015 - Norwegian Escape to Caribbean - Eastern

As Big Ships Go - this one is magnificent

Let me start with my only negative "constructive" comment.  The Internet is BAD.  Do not take free internet if offered as part of a choice of amenities.  Take any other choice.


OK - Food is best of BIG ships.  Go to the Food Republic - simply outstanding.  Far better than a similar concept on Celebrity ships called "Qzine".  Food in the "included" restaurants is very good for this class and size of ship.  Public spaces are great - brand new ship and water slides are amazing.  Norwegian continues with theme of having both inside and outside seating in their specialty restaurants.  And - if you can afford to stay in "The Haven" - GO FOR IT" - best suite service for big ships.

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Regal Princess

November 2014 - Regal Princess to Caribbean - Eastern

Regal Princess is worth the experience

Food was solid for a big ship.  Loved the specialty restaurant Crown Grill.  This was far superior than the Italian restaurant - Sabatini's.  Given that the surcharge is the same, I would not spend it again at Sabatinin's.  The food here was OK - I think the menu is weak.  Completely the opposite experience at the Crown Grill.  Princess also does some little things very nice in the buffet restaurant.  After you order your omelet,  you can go enjoy the rest of your breakfast and they deliver the omelet to you.  This is different from other cruise lines where you stand on line forever.  Their pizza specialty restaurant (included) was very good pizza.  The bars on this ship are wonderful - comfortable, etc..

I felt my housekeeping was weaker than expected.  The floors were not vacuumed thoroughly.  Additionally, the staff never asked if I wanted something more.  Always got more attentive housekeeping - so I was surprised.  Standard outside cabin felt a little small - but was adequate.  I cannot believe on a new ship they still use shower curtains that magically have a way to stick to your body.  I can't imagine that they are cleaned thoroughly between cruises, but I hope so.

Public space on the ship is great.  This ship takes a little getting used to logistically but there is good reason for this - it enables them to expand their great public space.

We docked in St. Maarten and St. Thomas - which is great.  Shockingly, we have to tender to their own private island which makes the allure of getting off the ship a little less desirable

Overall - a solid experience -

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Norwegian Epic

September 2014 - Norwegian Epic to Europe - Western Mediterranean

The Haven on NCL is a real winner

BIG ships can deliver luxury.  I stayed in the Haven.  The butler and concierge service received rivals the smaller ships associated with luxury cruising.  In certain respects, The Haven on Norwegian is better.  While on smaller ships, everyone wants to be treated special, and they are, but just not different from anyone else.  So - when you disembark in a port or on your last day, you are just another "special" guest.  On Norwegian, in the Haven, a dedicated elevator whisks you down to the disembarkation deck. The concierge personally escorts you to any show you want to go to and reserves a seat for you so you can get to the show right before it starts - not 30 minutes or more prior.  The private restaurant, private bar, private pool and private fitness center are just a huge plus.  And - different from other big ships where the suites are scattered about the ship, on the EPIC they are located "behind the door" where only an access key allows one into this exclusive and luxury experience.  One could stay in "The Haven" the entire cruise and feel like they are on a 200 person ship.  But the beauty of the Haven is like staying in the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.  When you want what a big ship has to offer, you can venture out.  When you want the seclusion and service of a top notch resort, you have everything you need in "THE HAVEN".  The bathroom in cabin 16025 is amazing.  I have attached a picture of the bathroom.  The shower has the same view - the door to the shower is on the right in the picture.  What you are looking at is another ship docked.


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Norwegian Breakaway

September 2013 - Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda

Sailing now on Norwegian Breakaway

What a great ship. Staying in The Haven - this is simply the best all suite area on any of the larger ships. Dined last night at Ocean Blue - food is excellent. Service was great. Surcharge a little pricey - but certainly a great experience. Had lunch today at Shanghai's Noodle Bar - food was really, really good and surcharge was only charged by what you ordered. Portions are really big - so surcharge was very modest. Fitness Center on the Breakaway is large, opens early and equipment is the best

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Celebrity Reflection

December 2012 - Celebrity Reflection to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Seabourn Odyssey

September 2012 - Seabourn Odyssey to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Seven Seas Mariner

September 2010 - Seven Seas Mariner to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Celebrity Equinox

August 2010 - Celebrity Equinox to Europe - Western Mediterranean

BTolkin's Tips

Seabourn Sojourn Seabourn Sojourn - Dine late - 8:30 or 9 for better service. Patio lunch is very good.
Victoria, British Columbia - Go to lunch on a nice day to RED FISH BLUE FISH. It is on the water. You eat outside. Very casual. They do take credit cards. This is a seaside shack but the food is FRESH and VERY GOOD
Nassau, Bahamas - Go to the Atlantis Waterpark - best one in world. I booked it on
Tortola, British Virgin Islands - Internet is terrible on the ship. A local police officer recommended "The Watering Hole" - yes, its a bar, but they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Owned by a British woman. Very nice atmosphere, GREAT internet service and the food was better than expected.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - Try Resort For A Day ( for a full guest experience at Marriotts Frenchmans Reef Hotel a very short cab ride from hotel
Regal Princess Regal Princess - Go for larger balcony stateroom (I think they call it a mini-suite) - but it is really just a larger stateroom
Norwegian Epic Norwegian Epic - Stay in The Haven. Have dinner at 9 PM and you can enjoy any specialty restaurant without a wait. Go the Howl AT The Moon - dueling piano players that take requests from the audience. It is very enjoyable.

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received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - The Haven on NCL is a real winner

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - The Haven on NCL is a real winner

received a helpful vote on their Seabourn Sojourn cruise review - Oustanding

received a helpful vote on their Seabourn Sojourn cruise review - Oustanding

added Mar 4, 2017 cruise on Seabourn Sojourn to their profile.

reviewed their Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East) cruise on Seabourn Sojourn and gave it 5 stars!

shared a quick tip for Seabourn Sojourn"Dine late - 8:30 or 9 for better service. Patio lunch is very good. "

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - The Haven on NCL is a real winner

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - The Haven on NCL is a real winner

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Epic cruise review - The Haven on NCL is a real winner