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Old 01-08-2014, 09:37 PM   #16
NancyIL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cigarboo View Post
NancyIL, thank you very much. I didn't know I have til end of 2015. There has been so many changes, it's hard to keep track. I will keep that in mind and not cancel the reservation until I'm sure I can't use it for another cruise.
I wish DCL gave those with onboard bookings until the very end of 2015 to sail. However, you have to sail by Nov. 30, 2015.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:22 PM   #17
skylynx


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Something to think about...we did the NCL Pearl to Alaska with two teens who love disney cruises. They raved about the social life on the Pearl, but what we didn't love was the layout of our balcony cabin. When the pullout bed and overhead bunk were out for sleeping you cannot go on or off the balcony without climbing across the lower bunk and ducking to avoid the upper one. The kids beds were parallel to the balcony doors and flush up against them, not parallel with the "long" side of the room as they are on the verandah cabins in cat 5&6 on disney ships. There was no privacy curtain and the top bunk had to be raised and lowered by a steward. Because my teens were enjoying the nightlife they got in late and slept late, meaning by the time they cleared out in the morning and the steward could make up the room there were only a couple hours of unblocked balcony access before the steward put the bunks out again. It was a standard family verandah stateroom for four but felt much smaller than the nearest equivalent on DCL. Because it was Alaska we practically lived on our balcony, and when I looked at pictures of our stateroom beforehand, it wasn't obvious to me the bunks prevented balcony access without climbing and ducking.

We wanted to take the kids to Alaska and we went the year before disney announced Alaskan itineraries. I think if we hadn't already cruised on disney so many times we would have been less critical of NCL. The stateroom size and blocked access to our balcony for most of the day and night was a disappointment. I guess I should have done my homework better!
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:22 PM   #18
cigarboo
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skylynx, That's a good point about the ncl balcony cabin for 4. I can see how that would be a drag. It just so happens right now Ncl is offering a free upgrade to what they call a mini suite, which is more like the size and set up of the Disney veranda cabins, so I will make sure I do that.

It's great to hear your teens had a good time. We'll have 14, 13, 13 & 11, so they are pretty early tweens. I know it won't be Disney, but I think I'm mentally prepared. Will always love Disney though.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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Cigarboo, that's great about the upgrade...would have made a big difference for us!

My kids were 14 and 17 when we went on our Alaska cruise and really enjoyed the teen scene on the Pearl. As on Disney cruises, I'd recommend your kids don't miss the first meet and greet at the clubs for their age group...that's where the immediate groupings were formed and I think it would be a little harder to join in after that initial bonding went on. We jokingly called the various groups of teens "pods" for the whole cruise, because you'd see them schooling around the ship together like a pod of whales. My kids' pod particularly liked hanging around playing grown-ups in the adult nightclubs by day doing karaoke and stuff, and then taking the whole pod to order late night food at a sit down place-teen dream date--no bill, no tip!

Because this is a cold weather trip, there wasn't the lie around the pool thing going on, but my kids were never bored, still swam in the pool, went in the hot tubs, etc. In fact, we hardly saw them, and only occasionally glimpsed their pod cruising along a deck, hurtling up a stairwell, or sprawled around the bowling alley.

The one big paradigm shift for us was the dining situation. We liked the freestyle dining because there was so much amazing stuff floating by the ship to look at, we would have hated to stop eagle spotting or whale watching to appear at our designated meal time. We did miss the "occasion" of dining on Disney ships, where it is looked forward to event rather than a necessary meal you fit in between other stuff you are doing. The meals were very okay, and very impersonal because you never saw the same server twice. We ate a LOT off the food court with one big caveat...on at-sea days, people who did not have balcony cabins would literally camp out in the food court seating area taking two or three tables by the windows with books and board games and spend the bulk of the day there. This meant it was very likely you would come out of the food court with your tray and have absolutley no where to sit. We love to sit and eat outside, but in Alaska on a moving ship it was often really cold and windy in the outdoor eating area. No one on the NCL crew said anything to the people taking up all the tables but not eating even during peak lunch time, so I guess it's allowed. It was just a very different experience from Disney but we quickly adjusted our expectations and it did not in any way keep us from having a great cruise...and oh, the scenery!
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