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About spiralqueen

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    Philly suburbs

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  1. I know you can definitely use OBC to pay for spa services and I don’t see why it would be any different for tipping there. Just as a heads up though, I am almost positive that they automatically add 18% gratuity to the service, so make sure to double check on that to ensure you don’t end up double tipping. And yes, the “from” price typically refers to prices for slots either at very inconvenient times or for times during port days.
  2. No headliner or comedian reservations? Thank you for this list by the way!
  3. I used the Downy Wrinkle Release spray on my mom's very wrinkly shirt on this last cruise. Since I knew that she treasures her iron and perfection and that there's only so much the Downy can do, I made sure to take before and after pictures for her. She begrudgingly admitted it was better but you could tell she still wanted her iron. 😂
  4. Oh man that sounds super annoying at the port! I assumed because of all the signage that they would know what they were talking about. I’m realizing now that our seamless security and checkin process was likely due more to the JS than the Key. But I’m so happy that once you got on board everything considerably smoothed out!
  5. Yaaaay! I’m so happy you are live-blogging this! Hopefully this will help soften my post cruise withdrawal symptoms.
  6. It was my pleasure! I really enjoyed using the liveblog to reflect on my day and it encouraged me to take more photos that I normally would. By the way, were you ever able to join that FB group? Omfg omfg ummmmm @Matt I would like to formally petition for a new drooling post reaction option.
  7. Again, not sure about Nassau, but to give an example that isn’t a US territory, I saw a sign in St Kitt’s that specifically named US (and I would assume other countries’) licenses and state IDs as valid forms of photo ID to get through security and back onto the ship.
  8. Lol thank you! And I’ve heard that is a very serious medical condition and the only prescription is more cowbell to YOLO book it!
  9. Thank you so much! I’m glad my obsessive picture taking paid off. My parents were poking fun at me but humored me lol Yes, the end of the cruise was very bittersweet. Of course I was bummed the cruise was ending because that also means back to work soon, but I was also very excited for my own bed and also to see my cats again. Yay! I’m glad that it did as it served its purpose! You will have a great time. Thank you! And yes, the debarkation was a dream. We got some weird looks cutting the line getting off the ship but having her there to accompany us made it look more legitimate and less like we were jerks. I was very happy to see that it was immediate because I had heard reports about some ships making you wait until a designated time (which seems to defeat part of the purpose of the perk if you ask me) Oh my goodness, thank you so much!! This is so genuinely flattering and I’m glad that people enjoyed this and found it helpful. I can definitely see me doing this in the future as it wasn’t as hard to keep up with as I feared. Especially if I was able to do 2 posts a day to break it up a bit. Well thank YOU because I definitely took your and other’s feedback on CK and kept it in mind when ordering. My parents were especially happy that I said “I heard the tomato soup is very good” and my dad declared it the best soup he has ever had on a ship. Also, you definitely need to try that rib eye the next time you are on a sailing! I was going to say “the next time you are in a suite” but then I realized that, knowing you, the statements are the same 😂
  10. I distinctly remember that this past year (could have been the case in prior years too but I wasn’t looking), the Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving the same way most big box stores have it. I remember bc I was super happy since I had a cruise starting Black Friday where I didn’t have the internet package, but I was able to get all the cruise planner sales on our travel day.
  11. Out of curiosity....do you mean the bar staff as a whole pools their tips? Or more like all the Solarium bartenders share and all the pool bartenders share and all the boleros bartenders share, etc? And are the roaming drink people included in that pool?
  12. Allure had Seattle’s Best at Cafe Promenade & Vitality Cafe. Didn’t pay attention to the WJ. The nicer tea was Tazos.
  13. If you are talking about the porters you hand your checked luggage off to when you arrive at the terminal, it is not required but highly suggested that you tip them $1-2 per bag when they take your luggage. I don’t believe they work for the cruise line (pretty sure it’s the port) and they definitely don’t get any of the prepaid gratuities. The same would apply if you use the porter service when you are debarking. Using them at debarkation isn’t as required as on embarking, but I highly recommend it since they whisk you past long customs lines and IMO it’s the best $8 I spent the whole vacation.
  14. This is only true if it’s additional OBC from something like a Wow Sale. The OBC that comes from booking a non-refundable sailing at Next Cruise will survive repricing. If it happens to drop, it is a mistake and something you should make sure your TA corrects. This is from an email with Michelle at MEI when she was repricing a sailing I had booked through Next Cruise “The price is lower so I adjusted it down for you but the $100 onboard credit fell off - I am going to call them because it should remain with the onboard bookings. -if not remind me - and I'll cover it myself” (NB: She was able to get them to reinstate it since it was their mistake) This is also a sailing that I completely changed the sail date and ship within the 30 day window (now 60) and the NextCruise OBC survived that change.
  15. Ok I am now officially home and unpacked and unwound and ready to blog about this morning and the debarkation process, especially with the Key. We woke up around 7ish and were out of the room by like...7:30. We brought our bags down to the Key breakfast because we wanted to free up the room ASAP for our room attendant since I know that it’s a tight day for them to flip. Our Key letter said that breakfast would be held on deck 4 which was The Grande. When we approached it I knew we were in the right spot because we were greeted with this sign. At first we were planning on just piling our carry on bags by the table, but we noticed that others had just left them in the waiting area outside the dining room so we followed suit. As you have probably seen, Key breakfast is basically the normal MDR breakfast menu with 2 added dishes. I got the steak and eggs even though I knew I would only be able to sample it since it’s so heavy for that early. But I was on a steak mission! My dad got the crab Benedict so I got a shot of that too. But only after he attacked it first. Since it wasn’t my food I can’t complain that he actually....you know, ate it. My steak was very very good, but I was honestly so burnt out on steak that I can’t even begin to rank it in the various steaks I tried. I will say, it looks thin but that’s a good thing for such an early morning steak. And it wasn’t over cooked despite how thin it was compared to a normal filet. My mom got the French toast and was swearing it was a slightly elevated version over what she had had earlier in the cruise when we have breakfast in the MDR. I’m not sure if that’s because they used better ingredients or if it was just because the kitchen had to serve fewer people and was able to focus more on each dish. After we finished with breakfast, we made our way up the stairs to deck 5 near the Champagne bar as instructed. Again, ample signage. This time in the form of a nice woman holding up a key paddle. When we approached her and told her we had the Key, the blonde woman above asked if we were ready to leave then. We told her that we were and she immediately whisked us away. No waiting for a group to form or waiting until a certain time happened. She personally escorted us down the gangway and through a special line in the port toward the baggage claim. She led us past all the other luggage claim areas and over to the same area that suite and pinnacle (I think I saw them on the sign) luggage is. That line that you see behind the luggage is the customs line so that tells you how close it is to the exit. She then said goodbye to us and wished us safe travels. She was very nice and very efficient. Once we found our stuff we decided to take full advantage of the porter there which ended up being a wise decision as he shamelessly cut the customs line and we were outside before I even had a chance to think about ordering the Uber to the airport. I then did that after customs as we were walking outside. They must have been circling the area because a Suburban was greeting us in less than 3 minutes. Overall, we approached the Key paddle woman at 8:25 and were in the Uber on the way to the airport by 8:43. And that is including delays due to being stuck behind slower moving people with walking assistive devices going down the gangway and it taking some time to hunt down our various bags among the Key section. Looking at the lines that had formed I could have seen it taking close to an hour otherwise. This includes getting off the ship and also through customs. I could definitely see us getting the Key in the future depending on the ship and price. I don’t think it’s worth it for a smaller ship like Grandeur so definitely not for that sailing. I will keep an eye out on pricing for our Harmony sailing. At the new full price I think it wouldn’t be worth it. But at $20-25 I can see the value. But that’s coming from a place where we would be getting the Internet anyway and we place real value on saving time and skipping lines. And I really, REALLY liked the reserved seats because it let us have a bit more freedom with our schedule and timing. The only other feature I can think that would be nice to add (and is pragmatic as a wish list item) would be a special line at guest services like AMC has for their Alist and Premier members. It wouldn’t cost them anything extra and it would make sense to also open that special line up to suites/pinnacles to avoid a revolt.
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