Doing this same cruise again in APR on GETAWAY again. Then BREAKAWAY next NOV, same cabin(s)...then switching to CCL for 3 already booked. If you are willing to learn, and work at it, you can almost guarantee a good experience, and a decent bang for your buck. Even if you use a TA (we dont) it doesn't hurt to learn as much as you can when you're buying a big ticket item. What you don't know, or could have learned, might just turn a good experienceinto a poor one. EXCURSIONS: read read read what folks who have actually taken them have to say. else you'll be doing it onboard with a few hundred of your newest friends helping you. Theres something called "the cruise within the cruise". didnt know what it meant until, by experience, we started doing it. Crowd (and line) avoidance is an art form. We now cruise for "the ship" and the cruising experience itself. Unless we go someplace really spectacular. THEN, all bets are off...but especially then, planning ahead is key.
1 out of 5
Just when I thought NOLA couldn't be worse, they managed it. Thge building was old and decrepit wgen it was new. The agents were ALL brand new, with ZERO days on the job. Impossible you say? If it wasn't for a handful of supervisory personnel, the ship would've sailed empty. We manged to board with the handicapped group, my wife walks with a cane. That at least,stayed the same. We stay the nite b4 at the HI SUPERDOME, which includes indoor parking. Been doing it for years. Its about $270 for the nite. Expensive you say? not when you consider it would cost $180 for the privilege of parking outdoors in the 1/2 of the shopping center "whale lot" that NCL has, after CCL outbid them for the use of the "building" a few years back. Cant wait for the improvements to Galveston.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Buffet (other wise known as "Jurassic Park" was surprisingly well run, and orderly. I say surprisingly because we've beenb on other ships and other lines when it wasn't. This was our 3rd on BREAKAWAY CLASS and the buffet is fine. The MDR was average, but fortunately, I can remove my hearing aids and not have to listen to the din, mainly people showing off I think. Its a cavernous space with no attention paid to noise. It has a dance floor in the middle. More on that later. Ate in all the specialties except Le Bistro, French food doesn't do it for me. Cagneys is, well, Cagneys, ate there couple of times. Service was average to slow. La Cuccina REFUSES to serve the kind of Italian food us peons are probably used to, but, no harm no foul. I happen to like Modernos, and the servers with slices of meat, and a great buffet. I think its kind of fun. OSHEEHANS is the savior of ever cruise on every ship that has it...breakfast (after the free continental one on the balcony that is) sets us up for the day...its only crowded for the noon rush, and even then, on port days, its a treat...mustve had 5-6 servings of wings overall. Order as much as you like, they don't care...unlike the dining rooms, where the beancounters have fixed the menus with upcharges for a few rare, hard to find items, like clams. And don't dare order extra appetizers, at least in LaCucchina, with having to pay for them. Yes we had the package..and enough was enough..MGR arrived, explained their "new policy" since Feb, (says nothing on the menu) but he would waive the charges "this time"...For some things there are no words, especially since the boss actually kicked me under the table...her signal to me to shut up. was going to take a picture of the wound but...We spent out days up on the VIBE...a private "club" up on deck 17..paid about $450 extra for the privilege, after the latest price increase. used to be around $250. Kept us and about 50 other folks sane for a week. Same bartenders all week, (you introduce yourself the first day, (with an appropriate sweetener)icewater containers and munchies delivered, no hassles over loungers, and they were the padded sexy kind. Separate key card to enter. This is the 3rd time on BREAKAWAY CLASS, and you just make darn sure to get onboard early..very early, and snag passes. Drink packages are a ripoff, and ALL persons in a cabin must buy one if ONE person does. But Im past caring about it, ASA the bartender puts "my" bottle of STOLY in the frig for me. 3 fifths in 8+ days does wonders for the attitude.
5 out of 5
Two private hot tubs in "the VIBE" are part of the attraction up there. Drinking at that bar with other like minded cruisers, many of whom don't bother wandering thru the jungle or playing with turtles either, can make for an incredibly enjoyable day. The fitness center (the SPA) looks absolutely gorgeous. HEDO personified. Took a tour of it after another couple recommended joining. We have a booking for our "usual" balcony in FEB, but we intend to add that package for the week. Don't know if we want to give up our location for a SPA SUITE, with access included.
5 out of 5
Saw "BURN THE FLOOR" for the 3rd time, and I could watch those girls 5-6 more times..AND they do an abbreviated show in the MDR once, and sometimes twice per cruise. The daily will show it, but being cage, we figured it would be in the middle of the cruise, so we reserved a spot in the MDR for tues, and wed. Nailed it on WED. the show is 6pm, our reservations were for 5, got there are 445, when they opened I asked for a table as near to the dance floor as possible. This is the 3rd time we've done it. better than ringside at a fight. when the dancers sweat, you get wet. Saw "million $ Quartet"...not bad, that one happens to be 1 1/2 hrs long. plan accordingly...The Eagles Tribute was absolutely SMASHING. HENLEY LIVES!!! Standing O, came back for an encore. A real one, because the show ran over. We, along with hundreds of other folks, didn't leave. Stayed right in our seats and waited for the next one. (THEN off to OSHEEHANS)… Comedians...yeh, sorta funny...even gave it a second shot late for the "adult version"..so so...didn't bother with Cirque this time, seen it. be prepared for a room that looks like an Army mess hall, uncomfortable chairs, at least 1/2 of which face the wrong way, and virtually no choice(s) for dinner. The costuming and the show itself were great on a prior cruise, I have no reason to believe its any different.
No kids. Other people had brought a few. Hardly any children, or even teenagers. We noticed, by their abscence.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
No real issues, other than a waiter in the MDR who completely screwed the pooch, and it just so happened to be in the presence of one of the poohbahs (with an ear bud no less). Next thing I knew, a completely different server took our table, went out of her way to insure everything was correct and timely..I think the first guy was reassigned to the laundry..
5 out of 5
Can't complain..lots of restrooms all over.. I think she used every one of them. would be nice for an elevator to get up to the VIBE, those stairs keep getting steeper and steeper. The cabin we snagged, had a bump out balcony.. book em early enough and they can be had. no additional charge..until the beancounters figure it out.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Sorry, not putting in a cabin #...wouldn't be in our best interest...but it was a balcony on a high deck. I don't expecvt heroics out of the steward, just to do his job, every day. He did, including insuring our laundry didnt get lost in the shuffle. And tipped accordingly. He has to do 16 cabins. Nuff said.
This was #22, our first on GETAWAY, two previous on BREAKAWAY, her sister and a virtual twin. You may be sailing with 4k+ of your newestr friends, competing, shall we say, for whatever entertainment and resorces are available. Do your homework, and book as early as you can manage..make reservations wherever you can.
No, the "downtown" area is seedy, complete with homeless living under the highway. N o one I know goes wandering anywhere, unless its from bar to bar, and the only place to do that is the FRENCH QUARTER itself. Been there, done that. Its like St Paddy's Day every day.mostly amateur hour, and expensive.
Any island that has 11,217 banks on it must have something going for it. excellent place for a vackay especially NOT on a cruise. Might spend a week there, still negotiating. Touk a tour just to see as much of the island as possible.
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