We are still catching up about our spring break trips and this time Kim shares the ups and downs from a Norwegian Cruise Lines voyage from New York City to the Bahamas with stops in “Orlando” and Norwegian’s private island. Listen in and see if you are ready to set sail.
- In NYC, Kim stayed in the Hyatt Centric in Times Square for 2 nights before her cruise. The hotel was part of the American Express Fine Hotels Collection and she was able to get a $200 statement credits on her Amex Platinum Card. The hotel has a good location, but slow elevators and the rooftop bar is not open to minors.
- They flew into Newark and took the Airtrain to NJ Transit to Penn Station
- Kim was able to visit the Museum of Natural History, rent bikes and ride through Central Park, see a Broadway show, and explore NYC before the cruise.
- The cruise port terminal in NYC is very busy and it is hard to find the right spot to check in with very long lines. It took over three hours to complete check in for the cruise so if you are cruising out of NYC soon, be sure to pick an early check in time and expect to wait.
- Passengers has to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test, as well as a passport, in order to board.
- The ship seemed to be understaffed because there was a lot of waiting in line to disembark and wait for tenders for excursions.
- The ship didn’t seem to be at capacity but that may be because there wasn’t enough staff to fully open.
- Kim and her family cruised on the Getaway from Norwegian Cruise Lines. Her girls like the ropes course but they have recently changed the ropes course and moved things around.
- If you book a package that includes specialty dining, it is usually just for the first 2 people in a cabin and if you want to add the kids you need to pay extra.
- In the bathrooms they provide a pump of shampoo and body wash but not lotion or conditioner.
- The kids club was not open during her cruise and they instead offered a voucher towards the arcade.
- When docked at Port Canaveral, Kim and her family went to the Kennedy Space Center but they didn’t have a lot of time to explore because the boat didn’t dock until 1pm and they didn’t get off the boat until 2:30 and the KSC closes at 6pm.
- At the Norwegian private island in the Caribbean you need to take a tender boat over to the island so getting on and off takes a long time.
[00:00:00.130] – Kim Tate
Tune in. Today we’re cruising from New York City to the Bahamas.
[00:00:15.870] – Announcer
Welcome to Vacation Mavens, a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim From from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara From. We three Travel.
[00:00:30.470] – Tamara Gruber
So, Kim, on our last episode, we talked about my spring break in that experience, and I wanted to talk this week about your spring break. I know it’s been a little while since you guys went, but it was something that you were looking forward to for a long time. So for our listeners, remember, you were flying to New York City and then taking a cruise from there. So I’m very curious to hear what the girls thought of New York since it was their first time. But first, maybe you can talk through like, how did you get into the city and where did you stay?
[00:00:58.530] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. So we flew in on this one. We actually flew into Newark and I fly in and out of JFK a lot. We flew Alaska and they don’t go to LaGuardia, so it’s only JFK or Newark. And we decided to do the train system, which always kind of worked for me. So we took the AirTrain then to New Jersey Transit and then took that into the city. And we actually then just walked with our bags on the streets up to the Hyatt centric Times Square, which is just kind of off. I can’t even remember now. I think it’s 45th, so it’s pretty close to Times Square. And I chose that because it was convenient. I knew we were going to be seeing a Broadway show and then just thought for overall central location, that kind of would work, although typically Times Square is not always the best place. And I did use my Amex Platinum to get the I booked that and it was one of the hotel collections. So I got the $200 statement credit and then $100 to spend when we were on site, which was a nice little perk.
[00:02:02.690] – Tamara Gruber
Nice. I’ve always been so nervous to use those where you get the $200 credit for Amex Platinum because it’s the non refundable rate that you have to book, right?
[00:02:11.810] – Kim Tate
Correct. You have to pay. Actually, I think it’s refundable still, but you have to go ahead and pay in advance. You won’t get it if you don’t choose to pay. But definitely read the cancellations because it’s kind of interesting. I feel like you could still cancel and then you would have to wait for the refund, if I remember correctly. But I’m not positive on that. So, of course, always make sure you read, but it’s definitely you have to be willing to pay in advance. If you choose to pay at the hotel, then you don’t get the credit. But I thought that was a nice little perk. So we did that and we just went to dinner next door, some pub it was not great, not fabulous. Nothing to mention there. And then the next day was our big day where we kind of had so we flew in on Friday. We didn’t do a red eye, but we did an early flight out of Seattle, and then we got in around I think it was around four or five into Newark and then got to our room and checked in. No upgrades available. That was a tricky thing.
[00:03:07.200] – Kim Tate
You get a free upgrade with that hotel collection. Fine collection. But when you’re a family, especially in New York City, upgrades typically are King bed rooms, and they only hold three people with a rolling cot. And since there’s four of us, we needed two Queens. So we didn’t get an upgrade, which was a little bit of a disappointment because the upgrade rooms have kind of time score views and better views. But it was still perfectly fine. The Hyatt Centric. It was nice. The customer service was fabulous. They don’t have an open restaurant. They have a really cool rooftop bar, but miners can’t go. And so we didn’t go check it out. And the only complaint I have is that they just have really slow elevators. They only have, like three elevators. One of it is held for floors. I don’t know what it is, 25 and 42. And the other two elevators are for the lower floors, I think, or something. So even with that, it still was just really slow service and stuff. But overall, we were happy with the room, and the location was really nice because it was just right there by Times Square, which was convenient for most of the stuff we wanted to do the day that we had the full day there.
[00:04:13.100] – Kim Tate
Both my girls really loved gems and special stones and stuff. So the Natural History Museum or Museum has a really awesome gemstone collection. You and I were there together, I remember. And so I knew they would love that whole exhibit that they have. So we got to check out that. And they thought it was kind of cool that it was like night at the Museum, movies and stuff. So they thought that was really fun. And so we actually spent a lot longer there than we thought. And we’re kind of hustling at the end, like, we’ve got to get going. I know there’s a lot to see, but we only counted for a couple of hours. That Museum, if you have kids who are interested in stuff, it takes time to check out everything. There’s some really cool exhibits. So we did that, and then we left from there and grabbed pizza at a local pizza joint, which was actually a nicer sit down type of pizza joint, which we didn’t count on because I just kind of looked at pictures nearby and thought, that looks good. And then we went there and we’re like, okay, this isn’t total, like, cheap New York pizza, but it was still delicious.
[00:05:12.810] – Kim Tate
And we had a great time enjoying that. And then we went and got on some city bikes. Those that are you can kind of rent the hour.
[00:05:20.880] – Kim Tate
And so we just grabbed those right there at Central Park. And we rode through Central Park a little bit and kind of went from the south down and around and then exited out the other side and then walked down. And by that time, it was kind of time to get back for we had reservations early, kind of early dinner reservations at a restaurant that I just booked on OpenTable. And then Lizzy and I went to go see Harry Potter and the First Child, which was on Broadway right there at the Lyric Theater. And then Paul and Mia both didn’t really want to go to Broadway. And Broadway tickets are so expensive that I said, if you’re not really into it and really wanting to do it, then let’s not spend the money on it. And they agreed. So they ended up going down to the financial District and trying to check out the girl and the Bull. And they said the Bull was kind of crazy because there was two lines because there are people lined up to take pictures at the Bull’s head. And there was a line of people lined up to take pictures at the back end of the bullet.
[00:06:19.270] – Kim Tate
Everyone use their imagination there, which was an interesting thing. So it was kind of funny, but they had a great time. They saw the Statue of Liberty off at the end and then took the subway and everything and then came back and walked through Times Square and saw the Peter that Lizzie and I were at while we were in the show and then went back and relaxed in the room. So it turned out to be a really good day. It was busy, but not too busy and definitely packed in a few highlights, which was nice. And then the next day we had breakfast. And the nice thing about that Hyatt Centric, there’s a Starbucks, like, right across the road. So it’s kind of easy to do a mobile order and then hop over and pick it up and got a few yummy things and drinks, which was convenient. And then we got an Uber XL. And that’s a little trickier because of when you’re a family of four with suitcases, they’re not always friendly about having four suitcases and four people, they can kind of get grumpy. So it’s an interesting concept issue we had.
[00:07:18.310] – Kim Tate
But thankfully the guy decided to try and get our four suitcases in his car, and it worked. And so he took us to the Port there in New York that’s kind of near Hudson Yards, a little bit up by the intrepid air and space actually is where it’s at. And yeah, we kind of started our adventure, which was pretty dramatic. It’s very different. So if you’re a normal cruiser. And you’re used to going out of some of the ports that are in Florida where there’s a lot of land and space. It’s very different in New York because of course it’s crowded, there’s a lot of traffic and the Port itself, there’s like multiple levels. And so we got dropped off and we thought what are all these lines of people? And sure enough it was like all the way down to another, I don’t know, slip or whatever you call it, peer number. And people were just waiting in line to go get checked in. And we thought oh my goodness. And so it moved. But we were just like this is kind of crazy. But we thought no problem, we’re here, it’s fine. And we showed up at our because they gave us a check in time to select.
[00:08:25.700] – Kim Tate
And so the boat was departing at four and we chose the twelve to 1230 check in time, which is probably like most people who know cruising. It’s not great, you want to try and go for the 10:00 a.m. Spot but we thought we want to have a lazy morning after having a busy travel day. And so we’ll just pick the 12:00 spot and that gives us plenty of time to check out of the hotel room and get over to the Port. And so we waited in that long line and by the time we got indoors and then once you got indoors we were in another Serpentine snake line to get through. I guess it’s like security TSA or something. I don’t know what they have at ports. If it’s still TSA, I’m not sure. But we waited in that line then and then finally we were able to have our documents checked which was a covid test which we did in the hotel room the previous morning before we did our day of adventuring. We did those eye health tests, monitored things and thank goodness all of us were negative because that was a worry that I was going to have to deal with.
[00:09:29.040] – Kim Tate
And then we also had to show so we had to show our native tests and then we also had to show our proof of proof of vaccination which was really funny because they were looked at so quickly. They were like I don’t even think they checked. They didn’t check anyone’s. Like I don’t know, it just was funny. It felt like it was pretty, pretty flippantly done. And then we had to show our passports of course. And then we went and went through the scanners, the body scanners. So that whole process took us about 2 hours just for that. Then they put us in another line to go get our key cards to get checked in. And that line was another huge snake back and forth line. And the worst thing is they split people into two sections of lines. And so you randomly were like oh go to this one, I’ll go to that one. And they fed into, like, four people, and the other one fed into four people. And they put us in the longer line. And so eventually we’re still in this long line. The girls and Paul, go sit down. I’m still standing there.
[00:10:26.440] – Kim Tate
One guy passed out because he’d been standing in line so long, they had to get good. And then nobody came and helped him. They couldn’t get anyone. And people were trying to help him and get chairs and all these normal guests, we’re all helping him. And the Port, nobody’s there. Norwegian Cruise Line is not doing anything. It was crazy. It was kind of problematic. But then the first set of line completely empties, and so all these people leave our line, all of a sudden go over there. And Meanwhile, Paul and I still stood and didn’t think about it. So we’re still in the line. Finally, that line is completely empty. And so I hop over there and get us checked in. And we finally got on the boat at 345, and we were departing at 04:00. And we were one of the last people on well.
[00:11:08.400] – Tamara Gruber
What about people that chose a later check in time? Yeah.
[00:11:11.480] – Kim Tate
So because of how they sent us to our line, they then sent the other people to that other line. Like we were one of the last ones there was about, I don’t know, like another set of 20 behind us, but all those people got moved over to the other line when it emptied. And so we were left still on the other line. So somehow we had a million people behind us when we were checking in to go through security. But yet by the time we got our key cards, there were only three other people still checking in. So it’s just bad line management and check in procedures. And I’m sure they were under staff, but it was quite ridiculous that it took us three and a half hours to get checked in for our cruise.
[00:11:50.380] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, that’s crazy. The last cruise that I did was out of Miami, I believe, and I couldn’t believe how easy that whole process was.
[00:11:58.080] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it’s just 100% super.
[00:12:00.990] – Tamara Gruber
I don’t know, just a few minutes at each stop. Really.
[00:12:03.940] – Kim Tate
Yeah. That’s every experience we’ve had recently is like that. But I’ve never had this. So it was terrible. So I don’t know if it was New York City or if it was Norwegian being really understaffed and just really bad performance. And I talked to them about it, and they were like, well, we can’t do anything about the first 2 hours because that’s in control of the Port or whatever because of the security. And I’m like, I don’t know. I feel like the Port then is understaffed. So maybe that’s part of it, but it still shouldn’t take you an hour and a half after you do that section to go get your key cards. So anyways, it was just dramatic. And then we just called it we called it a cruise of waiting in lines, because then we got our tenders to get off the boat at one point and another Port was just okay, we’re going to get off because they’d call they were letting people off, and we just were always waiting lines. It was just never smooth. It was just completely like you would get off on deck four, but they would wrap everyone up to deck seven.
[00:12:56.810] – Kim Tate
And then you’d have to stand in the casino where people smoke at the end of the line.
[00:13:03.450] – Tamara Gruber
What do you think was the capacity? Would you think it was a full cruise?
[00:13:08.730] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I think it was under because the interesting thing is the dining room. So normally, you know this with Norwegian, the general dining that is included for everyone, there are three. There’s like a ballroom one like Tropicana or something like that. And then there’s Savor and Taste, which are the two main midship dining rooms? Well, I think it was taste. I don’t remember. The taste wasn’t even open. And I think it’s because they didn’t have enough staff to even run it. So everybody was eating in either the Buffet or Tropicana or Saver or one of the specialty restaurants. And so I think that there’s no way if it was a full ship, they wouldn’t have been able to because we were always able to get in for dining. We never had to really wait for a table or anything. So if it was a full ship, they wouldn’t have been able to do that because they wouldn’t need that third dining room open.
[00:13:56.790] – Tamara Gruber
[00:13:57.410] – Kim Tate
Yeah. And there was always seating, like when we’d go up for the buffet, sometimes there would be tight spots where you kind of walk around a little bit, but we almost always were able to you could always get a seat, but if you wanted a window seat, you might be able to search a little longer. So it definitely was not at capacity.
[00:14:13.020] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Now I know you’ve cruised Norwegian before your loyalty members. It’s been a favorite for you in the past. Which ship was this, and is it a new one for you? And I guess maybe you can talk about any changes that you have seen between your different experiences.
[00:14:29.610] – Kim Tate
Yeah, definitely. Well, I think part of it also is I’ve just been exposed to a few more cruise lines now, so it makes me rethink things. And then Norwegian recently changed their loyalty program. So we lost our part of our loyalty that we had earned, which was kind of weird, like what we used to qualify for is gold now or is just silver. And so it doesn’t really get you any perks. So our loyalty is definitely dwindling just because of that. And the one thing we cruised on the getaway before, and that was the ship we wanted to choose because we really wanted to go in and out of New York City because our girls have never been to New York, and we wanted to give them a unique take on first spring break. That’s not just a cruise. And then we also love the ropes course on this getaway ship. And I think the Breakaway is a sister ship that used to cruise out of New York. So we kind of thought we would be on that one, but that one is not the one that was there. And so we were on the getaway, which we’ve been on before.
[00:15:22.640] – Kim Tate
However, they completely changed the ropes course and moved some stuff around that we were really shocked by it. We weren’t expecting. And then there was one cool. They used to have a kind of like pizza and burger joint on the pool deck that was always open kind of situation where you could always grab food if you were in the middle of the day and you didn’t want to go to the buffet or it was really convenient. Well, they’ve changed that into like a paid American cafe. Now that’s an Ala carte restaurant, which is so funny because it was always empty. We never saw anyone there. It felt like it was never open. And I just thought, how many people are willing to pay extra for pizza and hamburgers? I don’t know. I just think that that’s a really interesting their Ala carte services have just become really interesting. So that was one thing that we were able to enjoy. The food was fine. I mean, it was okay. We were able to enjoy two specialty dinners with our package for Paul and I, and the girls just did buffet and whatever they wanted. And so that was convenient.
[00:16:24.400] – Kim Tate
But otherwise it is just something to consider as they go. As more and more cruise lines go to kind of this Ala cart pricing model, it’s just something to really be mindful of with dining on what you expect and what you actually enjoy when you’re traveling and what each offers. So that was kind of interesting change that those are the changes we noticed. I also noticed the weirdest thing in the room. I didn’t have conditioner or body lotion wasn’t provided. The only thing they provided was shampoo and body wash, like in a pump in the shower. So that was kind of an interesting I was like, okay, why would they not? Norwegian is not cheap. So I was like, why wouldn’t they do conditioner and body lotion? It seems pretty basic.
[00:17:06.250] – Tamara Gruber
It’s like a little difficult if you haven’t packed those things because you think it’s going to be there and there’s not as many places to go buy it.
[00:17:12.480] – Kim Tate
[00:17:13.400] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. Well, it’s interesting that you said that the package was for you and Paul. So even though there’s like four. So you shared one room for this, right?
[00:17:22.320] – Kim Tate
Correct. Yeah. Which was.
[00:17:26.010] – Tamara Gruber
About that. But I’m just curious. But it only includes the specialty dining for two, correct?
[00:17:33.080] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So Norwegian is popular with doing these free offers. I think you took advantage of it.
[00:17:39.970] – Tamara Gruber
This is ringing a Bell for me.
[00:17:42.090] – Kim Tate
Yeah. It’s a pricing model structure that they do. And with those free offers, it’s really you have to read the fine print because the free specialty dining is for the first two guests only. And so if you’re a guest of four, it doesn’t apply to that. The specialty dining also will have if you choose that as an option. They’ll also have gratuities wrapped in as an additional line item, which is not too bad. It’s something like I want to say for the two of us, it was maybe $80 extra in gratuities, but just something to be mindful of. And sure enough, they say the gratuities taken care of. So unless you want to extra tip your serving staff when you leave that restaurant, they bring you a little thing, but it’s a $0 bill. But if you don’t read some of your stuff, you might not know that your gratuity was already paid in advance when you bought the cruise and selected that as your free perk. So that is something to keep in mind. And then the free perk for the beverage package is the same thing. It’s for the first two adults. And so if you want to add dining or beverages on for either person three or person four, that’s an added fee that you have to pay for landing a Bell.
[00:18:49.840] – Tamara Gruber
Now, I’m pretty sure you think about it. With a family like your kids are older, they weren’t as interested, so they went off and did their own thing. I’m pretty sure I’m sure, Peter, for Hannah to have the specialty dining in addition. But you think of a family with younger kids. Well, they have to either not go to specialty dining or pay extra for the kids.
[00:19:11.940] – Kim Tate
It just seems like a little bit of or they can put them in the kids club, which get this here’s the thing that we found out from a nice couple of people that were waiting in line with us. They found out the day two days before the cruise was supposed to leave that they were not going to have kids club open on the cruise.
[00:19:29.200] – Tamara Gruber
[00:19:29.900] – Kim Tate
100%. And they gave them a $100 credit for the arcade or something as a Sauron.
[00:19:37.830] – Tamara Gruber
[00:19:38.180] – Kim Tate
100%. And they would occasionally open the kids club so you could go in with your child and play with them in there if you wanted to. Yeah. Two days before the cruise. Can you imagine? I would have been livid. Yeah.
[00:19:50.840] – Tamara Gruber
I mean, I think many people book that type of vacation for those kind of events.
[00:19:55.410] – Kim Tate
100%. That’s the reason we book cruises. And the reason we still do it is because it’s a no brainer, easy trip to book. You book and you pay one thing and you don’t have to make decisions as much as you and I, we kind of enjoy travel planning. You don’t have to figure out where are we going to eat tonight, where are we going to stay every night? How are we going to get between point A and point B? And you don’t have to do any of that logistics. It’s just kind of a go and relax and kind of have fun and see what you see. So that’s the reason we kind of like it. But when the kids were younger, 100%, the kids club was a huge part of it. And for a lot of families, that specialty dining would be a time where they go feed their kids in the buffet, get the kids into a kids club, and then go have a nicer dinner as a couple. And it works like a date night type thing. It would make a huge impact, I think, on people. And I found that. And again, I think they blamed it on COVID, but I think it’s just staffing.
[00:20:50.620] – Kim Tate
I do not think I did hear somebody mentioning whether this is true or not, but there was a backup on visas because of COVID. And I think that since a lot of their workers, a lot of the staff are from the Philippines and from overseas, they had trouble. All of those workers had to go home during COVID when the ships weren’t working. And now trying to get them back into US waters, US work status is a backlog.
[00:21:21.150] – Tamara Gruber
This is the frustrating thing with travel right now is that as much as things are still going on, the pandemic feels over in many ways. Right.
[00:21:30.340] – Kim Tate
In terms of like.
[00:21:31.220] – Tamara Gruber
People want to travel, they want to do everything that they were doing. And if you know you’re not going to be having the staff, then you can’t offer as many sailings. You have to condense. It’s frustrating to me that the businesses are being run the way they are trying to take all the money from everyone coming in, and then they’re trying to just be like, oh, well, we can’t offer this. We can’t offer you a housekeeping, we can’t offer this or that, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. And it’s like, no, you need to scale back your product to something that you can deliver what you’re promising 100%, especially for the pricing that’s going on right now.
[00:22:11.220] – Kim Tate
Yeah, I mean, that’s the other thing. And I know that they were still selling rooms and we looked because we kicked ourselves because our cruise I looked and, oh, let’s just pretend I’m going to book it. I think it was like three weeks before we were supposed to leave because I got an email that was like, oh, look at the specials. And I was like, that’s our cruise, they’re still looking for it. And it was like $1,100 cheaper. Of course, it’s not a guaranteed. It wasn’t like we got to pick our cabin. And this is kind of just a but it’s the same cabin type, but you just don’t get to pick the exact I didn’t pick the exact location and stuff like that, but $1100. So they were still selling it. So they were still willing to take people’s money for a lesser product. And yeah, we were kicking ourselves because we paid full price what we would expect to pay precovette. And the experience was 100% less than what we have experienced in the past. Yeah, like I said.
[00:23:06.460] – Tamara Gruber
It just frustrates me because the excuses that they’re using and I understand some of these businesses were really hurt during COVID, but you can’t overcharge and under deliver.
[00:23:17.610] – Kim Tate
[00:23:21.730] – Tamara Gruber
It’S going on too long now.
[00:23:23.480] – Kim Tate
I agree. Everyone was saying, like everything’s opening back. But anyways, in the grand scheme of things, our family still enjoyed hanging out together. It was a lot of fun kind of going in and out of New York City and having days at sea. It was definitely interesting for packing because it was cold, cold, cold. I would go get coffee in the morning. I’d bundle up and walk. And then finally we started getting towards we actually had one of our ports was in Orlando. And that morning when I went to go get my coffee.
[00:23:51.500] – Tamara Gruber
I was like, oh.
[00:23:52.070] – Kim Tate
I don’t need my hoodie. I’m in a T shirt and I feel comfortable. So it’s really interesting to go from cold and rainy New York to all of a sudden being going down to.
[00:24:02.910] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah, I remember when they told me.
[00:24:04.230] – Kim Tate
You booked that cruise.
[00:24:05.080] – Tamara Gruber
I was like, really like in April from New York, because I think of cruise generally, if you’re heading to the Caribbean, that you’re wanting to take advantage of days at sea to swim, lie on the deck, all that. So it’s good that you guys, you enjoy just lounging around where it’s not about the Sunshine.
[00:24:24.850] – Kim Tate
Yeah. Actually, none of us enjoy the pool deck on cruise ships. We consider it just the chaos of the ship and we kind of avoid it. But we really enjoy all the leather little spots and just finding like I sat they have this promenade deck that has these cozy chairs. And a few of the days I just sat there and read on my iPad and had a Bellini and it was nice. So it was kind of a fun. It’s nice to kick back and relax that way. We didn’t book a lot of stuff for shore excursions, and I enjoyed my beverage package a lot and taking advantage of that, as we heard. So that was kind of nice. And then. Yeah, the kids enjoyed fruit on the watermelon and Pineapple Unlimited all day, every day. So that was kind of nice.
[00:25:11.100] – Tamara Gruber
Well, nice for them. I expect to hear that they enjoyed the free ice cream all day.
[00:25:16.990] – Kim Tate
Well, pretty healthy. They did enjoy the ice cream until they ran out of vanilla ice cream. Yeah. Anyways, we won’t go there.
[00:25:27.470] – Tamara Gruber
Sounds like you definitely had some bumps. No wonder you were enjoying that beverage package.
[00:25:31.750] – Kim Tate
[00:25:33.350] – Tamara Gruber
So it cracks me up that you said one of your ports is in Orlando because Orlando is obviously in the middle of Florida. So where did you dock and what did you do for your different excursions? Well, you said you didn’t book, like, excursions, but did you get off the boat?
[00:25:48.030] – Kim Tate
What did you do? Yeah, it’s kind of funny that they call it Orlando because it’s actually Port Canaveral, which to go to Orlando. They actually sell. I’m not even joking. One of their excursions they sell is to Disney Springs, which you know, and anyone who knows Florida. I mean, I think it’s like an hour drive from Port Canaveral and I’ve seen like 45 minutes now. I think it’s like 45 minutes to an hour. Yeah. And so I just think that’s hilarious. But anyways, they booked that we chose to go to the Kennedy Space Center, which was really interesting. We didn’t totally think about the timing correctly. And so we got in late. And then by the time again, this was our first experience with waiting in line. We docked at one. We were not off that ship until 2030. And so then we’re hustling over to Kennedy Space Center, which closes at six, and then Kennedy Space Center closes. We leave. Our ship doesn’t depart until, I think, eight or nine. And so we decided that we’re going to depart and we will get a stop in at the Target and get some waters and stuff because that’s the other thing on the beverage package.
[00:26:48.780] – Kim Tate
Bottled waters were not included on the package, which on Celebrity, you can get bottled waters with your beverage package, which is interesting. So I wasn’t quite sure how that worked, but we decided we’d go to the Target that was near the Port Canaveral Port, and I would just Uber. Well, so we took an Uber X over to Port Canaveral. Well, then Port Canaveral closed and we were trying to get an UberX home. And if you know anything about where the Kennedy Space Center Tourist Visitor Center is, it’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere. There’s not a lot around it. And we could not get an UberX. And it was like, really? I was freaking out. I’m like, what the hell do we do? I was freaking out. And so I started looking up taxis and Paul called a taxi and asked them what they charge and everything. And then pretty soon I’m like, wait, what are we doing? Okay, let’s have one of us take Uber a normal or I’m saying Uber X, but I mean, Uber XL. Sorry. One of us will take one kid and go back to the ship and the other one will take the other kid and go to Target and get the water.
[00:27:41.420] – Kim Tate
And we need a couple of other things. And we’re like, yeah, let’s do that. And so we both like, Paul took his phone and I took my phone. We’re like, request an Uber, no problem. Right away. We both cover.
[00:27:50.770] – Kim Tate
So just finding the big one, L is the problem. So I was like, thank goodness. And so we were able to get that. And that worked out well. But there’s a tip for people. If you’re traveling with a family, just remember, you can always request too. It’s more money, but it is something to consider. So that worked out well, and we did that. So that was kind of a funny Port of call. And then we set sail the next day. And I think they do it because you need to stop from New York City before you get to the Bahamas. I don’t think they want to be on the I’m guessing they just want to get people off. And it seemed like they probably are more used to having stuff in Florida. And so I’m sure they probably did some product stuff, like bringing on stuff on board or I don’t know. So that was kind of an interesting stop that they called it Orlando, but it was actually Port Canaveral. And then we left from there, and our next stop was at their I’m blinking on the name. It’s not Castaway Cay. It’s whatever their private island is, which is really funny because it’s right next door to CocoCay, which is the Royal Caribbean one.
[00:28:53.250] – Kim Tate
And so when we pull in, I’m sitting there and I see these two gigantic Royal Caribbean ships at their island, and they’re pulled right alongside a dock. However, our island at their private island that they own, we have to tender boats because it’s too shallow and they don’t have a proper docking procedure.
[00:29:11.280] – Tamara Gruber
I do remember when I would did the Royal Caribbean to CocoCay or CocoCay. It was part of them redeveloping that island was adding that dock. It was definitely, like, pitched as an advantage, which it was really nice because you could just, like, whatever you wanted, just walk on, walk back on.
[00:29:28.900] – Kim Tate
So it was huge, really nice. I was envious of that when I was looking over there at those Roke relationships already docked, already enjoyed. And Meanwhile, we’re waiting in yet another line for even though we picked our so here’s the tip I read in advance. I was smart, and I saw to request your tender tickets early. And so on the first day of the cruise, I was like, oh, I’m going to get our tender tickets now. Otherwise we’ll be stuck in the last group of the tenders. And so I’m going to get our Tinder tickets now. But I know that we like to have breakfast on board, and we’re supposed to get in, I think, at eight or 09:00 a.m. And I knew our family with teenagers would not be getting off the boat at eight or nine. So I was like, okay, we’ll go like, Tinder D. I think that feels good because we’re not being rude by taking one that’s early. And, you know, we just take one that I feel like by D, that’s probably good. Right around ten Amish. So we finally get called and we’re standing in line again in the casino for probably 30 minutes to 45 minutes before we even move.
[00:30:27.210] – Kim Tate
And then slowly they start pulling. They’re saying, oh, we’re behind on Tinder because there’s another Norwegian crypt ship that’s also in. So the Tinder boats have to go between both of our ships to take people off because heaven forbid we do some advanced planning and maybe make the ships arrive. Two hour differences. But anyways, yeah, so that was just another long time. But we did get off. And somehow, luckily, we found four lounge chairs together, which is just unheard of because it was completely packed with people. And that was our day relaxing in the sun and the water and everything. And Unfortunately, Lizzie got a little sunburnt. Even though she put on a lot, she’s definitely sensitive to sun and she got a little sunburnt. So then we had to go pay $18 for Aloe on the cruise ship.
[00:31:17.930] – Tamara Gruber
This is why I would never cruise, like, carry on only. Well, I guess I did once, but it was like the three day cruise.
[00:31:23.900] – Kim Tate
Yeah. But there’s so many.
[00:31:25.220] – Tamara Gruber
I’m even thinking, like, I’m traveling soon. Well, can I bring enough sunscreen in one of those little tube things? It’s just so hard to find, like a travel size sunscreen that’s like, enough.
[00:31:35.480] – Kim Tate
I know that’s a good one lasts very long. Someone told me recently that sunscreen can. And I don’t know if this is just if you get a lucky TS agent. Some people say they claimed sunscreen as a medical necessity and they can clear it through security a full size one because it’s a medical you know how you medical needs are not subject to the liquids thing.
[00:31:58.460] – Tamara Gruber
So some of my prescription creams I can keep out separately.
[00:32:02.160] – Kim Tate
[00:32:03.410] – Tamara Gruber
[00:32:04.340] – Kim Tate
You might want to double check it. But anyways, so that’s that. And then we had our last stop was at NASA, which I didn’t book anything we’ve done, like the Atlantis excursion before. And this time we kind of just wanted to take it easy. And we got off the ship and paid way too much for dollar store bracelet and a dollar store necklace that we paid $5 each for and we didn’t even care. We’re like, here you guys have running your little shops out of any tourists for a long time. We don’t even care that we’re way over pacing. We’re not going to negotiate at all. And then we walked around and there’s some pretty little there’s some cute buildings and stuff in Nassau, but there’s not really anything to do around there. And then we got back on the ship and just relaxed, and that was it. Then we went back home and then flew out of JFK. I did the train again. So from the Port, it was a complete chaos. Just absolute. Oh, by the way, Norwegian was the one time they were really on time on getting everyone off the ship.
[00:33:01.410] – Kim Tate
When we came back in to Port to disembort actually 15 minutes early, they were saying, everyone needs to be off now. Everyone needs to be off.
[00:33:11.400] – Kim Tate
Wow, that really was hilarious. That worked. So took us three and a half hours to get on the ship, and it only took us 15 minutes to get off the ship. And yeah, it was kind of interesting, but that was the weirdest thing at New York was just the chaos of where the heck do we get the Uber? Because there are multiple levels. You don’t know where to request it from. Finally, we’re talking to this guy and he tries to pull over, and then he gets yelled at by a lady for pulling over in her space. And it was just very New York.
[00:33:41.330] – Tamara Gruber
It was just chaos.
[00:33:42.380] – Kim Tate
And then he drops us off at the I think it’s Moyahan train hall that’s there by Penn Station. And we took the trains back to JFK, where we had a very long wait because we couldn’t check our luggage until 4 hours before your flight. And then I ended up then we couldn’t get into the lounge until 2 hours before our flight. And at this point, me, I had had a food reaction and was not doing well. And so I pulled out my Alaska Airlines credit card and slammed it down and said, Get me four tickets to get into this lounge right now. I do not want to wait another hour and a half. And so we paid $120, $30 each to get into the lounge. And then it was terribly staffed. And anyway, was there even any food? I know it was horrible, but whatever. So that’s our story. I feel like highs and lows. Yeah, highs and lows. But you know what? That’s in some ways, family trail. We had some fun times. I mean, the fact that the girls got experienced in New York for the first time, they got to see the Statue of Liberty and kind of be surprised, like, oh, it’s that small.
[00:34:47.340] – Kim Tate
And then they got to see Broadway show. We got to go through Central Park, and they got to get a feel for what New York City looks like. What actually it is because it’s in so many I mean, they thought it was so cool. It’s just like the movies. They had so many movies they see. And so it’s so cool for them to get a feel of that. And then Kennedy Space Center was cool. Mia wished there was more about Mars Rovers because she’s really all about the Rovers and stuff like that. And so she would have liked to have had more of that kind of aspect of it, but it was still a fun stop. And then we had one day at the beach with beautiful blue waters and we had some fun. So it was good luck.
[00:35:28.650] – Tamara Gruber
Family travel is always ups and downs, and I think we’ve been very honest with our last couple of episodes, a lot of those ups and downs. The reality is travel this summer is going to be crowded. It’s going to be expensive and it’s going to be bumpy. There’s not going to be everything exactly perfect the way you would hope.
[00:35:51.670] – Kim Tate
And I think understaffing is still an issue. So you’re going to be paying more for probably poorer service like restaurants are going to be overrun. It’s going to be slower service to get your food. All these things I think are still affecting things.
[00:36:06.280] – Tamara Gruber
I just want to be happy about it. Right.
[00:36:08.160] – Kim Tate
I know. I was just glad we have some trips coming. And I think the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is I would like the US at this point to stop the 24 hours testing requirement because it’s not going to prevent anything. We all know that it’s rampant around here. So that I think would be a huge thing for traveling that I would like to do well.
[00:36:30.040] – Tamara Gruber
The reality is with the new variants, testing is even less reliable in terms of when it shows up.
[00:36:37.970] – Kim Tate
You can be symptomatic and test negative and then two days later you finally test positive.
[00:36:42.890] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So it sounds good in theory, but it’s just not working the way it should anyway. Well, I think both of us do have a very busy summer. I know I have a busy summer and fall planned, so I think you’re probably not going to hear us as often as you had in the past just because we are going to have a lot of conflict in our schedules. But we have a lot of exciting travel to look forward to. So do you think we should share some of what those are 100%.
[00:37:10.990] – Kim Tate
Because I think everyone wants to know and then we’re going to tell them how they can follow along. If we don’t have episodes coming out because we’re so busy, where can they see what we’re up to?
[00:37:19.520] – Tamara Gruber
[00:37:19.820] – Kim Tate
So you start. What are your plans? I know you’ve got the longer list.
[00:37:24.170] – Tamara Gruber
No, I have the longer list this year, to be honest. I have some exciting things. But you have super exciting things.
[00:37:29.560] – Kim Tate
Well, the next three months are good for me. I know you’re getting busier in the fall.
[00:37:32.770] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. So let’s see. June is pretty open, actually. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be traveling a bunch, but I’ll probably bring Hannah up to camp in Maine. And then over 4 July weekend Glenn and I are going to go to Nantucket, which is an island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and they do a big 4 July celebration there. It’s just a place that I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’ve never had a chance to. And so, yeah, we’re going to do like a three or four day weekend there. And then basically a couple of days after that, I’m going to take off on my own to a road trip up to New Brunswick in Canada. And I’m going to spend about a week in New Brunswick. And we’re setting up some really fun I’m working with the tourism Department up there and some really fun and unique activities, like a fossil Hunt and sea kayaking at night along, like, cliffs and different lobster boat tour or there’s, like food and cultural experience types of activities, it’s going to be really fun. And I think that for those that are looking for destinations that are maybe not as crowded or not as crazy expensive from what I’ve been looking into.
[00:38:42.010] – Tamara Gruber
Like, first of all, New Brunswick is huge. There’s a lot of open air outdoor things to do, like biking and hiking and beaches and all of that. And apparently there’s oh, gosh, I can’t remember. I have to look at my notes right now. But there’s this one not a Bay, but maybe like the Bay of Fundy is where the giant driver?
[00:39:02.890] – Kim Tate
That’s the only thing I’ve done in New Brunswick that’s super cool.
[00:39:06.790] – Tamara Gruber
Where you can walk on the ocean floor and then a few hours later it’s covered with water. But there’s also this area where the water is actually warmer, like, it’s as warm as it is down in Virginia. So you wouldn’t expect you’d think, like, you’re never going in the water up there. And I’m still not sure I will because I like my water warm, but it has a lot to offer. And from what I’ve been looking at so far, the pricing isn’t too crazy.
[00:39:31.990] – Kim Tate
It isn’t too expensive.
[00:39:33.590] – Tamara Gruber
So something to keep in mind, Canada is no longer requiring tests to go in, so all that is easier for sure. Vaccination and stuff is still needed. And so, yeah, so I’m doing that. And then let me ask you your opinion on this. I’m considering adding a few days in Prince Edward Island. Do you think I should do it?
[00:39:53.740] – Kim Tate
I love Pei. That was the one time. So we spent one day at the Bay of Fundy and stayed in an Airbnb. And then we went over to Pei because I was really into Anna Green Gables at the moment. Yeah, but Pei is just charming. It’s amazing. I think we were in there in September. There are definitely mosquitoes sometimes, so just mindful of little ponds or more stagnant water or something. But we loved it on P. Ei. It was beautiful. And we went to Charlotte Town and saw an Acadian music concert. So you’ll have to look it up. But it’s very close ties to New Orleans and the Acadian people and stuff. So it’s kind of cool.
[00:40:37.310] – Tamara Gruber
It’s so interesting. I really love how New Brunswick. I’m sorry, how Canada in general also really focuses on these experiences that you can do. But when I was looking through different websites about Pi, there was so many interesting things that you could do, whether it was like doing something on an oyster farm and then eating the oysters or there’s one where you go and you’re like making butter and then baking bread nice. And just very like you said, a lot of the Kadian culture and all of that. And also not far off of Newfoundland, actually still a part of France. They decided they never didn’t want to join Canada, so they’re still French. Yeah. It’s really interesting regions up there, so much to see and do.
[00:41:23.250] – Kim Tate
Part of me is like.
[00:41:23.940] – Tamara Gruber
Oh, well, then I’ll be right next to Nova Scotia. But I’m like Nova Scotia is huge. I don’t want to try to do that in just a few days.
[00:41:29.840] – Kim Tate
[00:41:30.140] – Tamara Gruber
But I’m kind of thinking, like if I did three days in Pi that hopefully I’d get a good taste.
[00:41:35.410] – Kim Tate
Yeah. You can drive around. I mean, it’s small enough that you can really kind of go out and explore. It works.
[00:41:40.780] – Tamara Gruber
Well, I decided I’m going to drive instead of flying just because I have to connect anyway. And it’s going to save me a whole lot of time in this way. I’ll come back, like through Maine. So maybe I’ll stop at some of my favorite places there. And then later in August, I’m going to do a main Windjammer cruise off of the coast of Maine out of Rockland, which is in the mid coast area. And it’s just one of these old schooners that is they do these cruises, like basically two to five day Cruises, I think, along the coast. And you just kind of go in and out of little coves and little tiny Islands, and you do a lobster Bay on the beach and you can help sail or you can just enjoy your time. And so it’s kind of rustic. It’s not like luxury cabins. And here’s your little bed with a little light over it and a tiny little sink, and then you have a shared bathroom. So part of that I’m like, oh, how’s that going to be? But I look at it as like a neat experience, like a neat group kind of experience, too.
[00:42:39.450] – Tamara Gruber
And that year, it’s kind of community dining, but they make all the food fresh. So it’s like they have really great food on board. And I think it will just be a really neat experience to do as a solo traveler. Or I may bring a friend, but just in a way that you’re interacting with other people because you’re kind of working together on some of these things. Like you don’t have to help sale, but you can. It’s just a small group camaraderie trip.
[00:43:07.740] – Kim Tate
[00:43:08.170] – Tamara Gruber
Really different. And then, of course, we’re bringing Hannah off to College in Arizona. And then when I get back, I’m going to do do I talk about this already?
[00:43:17.260] – Kim Tate
I think you mentioned the walk, but I can’t remember if I just know because I know you and I’ve seen it. Or.
[00:43:23.810] – Tamara Gruber
Just in case, maybe I’m repeating myself, but I’m going to fly over to England, take a train to the Northern part of England, and I’m going to walk along Hadrian’s Wall Path, which is 84 miles from one side of England to the other. And I’m working with a company called Celtic Trails. Probably Celtic Celtics. I’m used to like Celtics basketball team. Yeah. And they will arrange like, lodging, B and BS along the way. And they’ll arrange luggage transfer. And so I’m going to walk for eight days, and then I’m going to take a train up to Edinburgh and spend like three days there. And I’m still figuring out what to do. So please email me, message me, give me your recommendations. But this is something that I’m going to do is my journey as a new empty Nester and burrowing, I don’t know, somehow overcoming my feelings of dropping my only off at a College. But that’s my plan.
[00:44:22.320] – Kim Tate
[00:44:23.130] – Tamara Gruber
Yeah. And then we have other plans in the fall, too. But stay tuned. I’m going to go to Italy, like lots coming. But this is why we’re going to be so busy. But tell us about some of your plans, because I’m very excited about a lot of yours.
[00:44:36.390] – Kim Tate
Yeah. So mainly my fall is still up in the air. I have nothing planned beyond we are about a month behind you. So we’ll be sending Lizzie off to Oregon State in September. But before then, in June, I have a fun trip. I’m headed over to Europe for a cruise with Costa Cruise Lines, which I’ve never cruised. And we will be going in and out of Rome on that one. So I’m really excited and looking forward to checking out a new cruise line that I don’t know about. And it’s more of a European cruise line. So checking out what that experience is like.
[00:45:05.970] – Tamara Gruber
I can’t wait to hear what your ports are, how it goes.
[00:45:09.070] – Kim Tate
Yeah, it’s going to be fun. I know. I think Ibiza is one of ours and the Naples is one. I’m looking forward to that. That will be a lot of fun. And Meanwhile, right after I leave for that, Lizzie is actually leaving on a Mediterranean cruise with her cousins for a little grad trip. And kind of they’re going on doing their own thing. But none of our trip overlaps at all. It was like it would be funny if we were able to connect while we were over there. But anyway, so that’s that. And then in July, I have a pretty crazy intrepid trip coming up. And I’m going to Uganda with three of our friends that you I think you know, all of them. And the four of us are going over for gorilla tracking in Uganda. So that’s one day. And then we have a few other things on the other day. And it’s going to be about I think it’s about an eight day trip for me with travel times or so, but it might be nine days, but basically I think it’s a five or six day Safari trip and then travel days.
[00:46:03.930] – Kim Tate
So that is going to be pretty fun and epic. And I wasn’t originally going to go, but then friends talked to me into it and I was like.
[00:46:11.740] – Tamara Gruber
Okay, yeah, let’s do it.
[00:46:12.820] – Kim Tate
So I’m looking forward to that one. I loved Africa and I’m really excited to go back and hopefully see as many awesome animals in the wild like I did before, because it’s pretty spectacular. And then in August I have another cruise, and that one’s going to be with Holland America in Alaska. So I’ll be going out of either Seattle or Vancouver. I can’t remember which one in August and heading up there for that, which it’s been a while since we’ve been on an Alaskan cruise. So I’m looking forward to it and hoping for good weather because the last cruise I was on, we had amazing, clear, beautiful day when we’ve cruised into Glacier Bay. I think it’s Glacier Bay.
[00:46:48.710] – Tamara Gruber
[00:46:48.880] – Kim Tate
When they turn the ship around and come back out. Yeah.
[00:46:51.300] – Tamara Gruber
I do not have such good luck.
[00:46:52.470] – Kim Tate
Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I know that that’s not the case all the time. So I’m like really hoping that it’s a beautiful experience again, but that’s kind of my plans.
[00:47:03.370] – Tamara Gruber
I’m curious about how it will be in Alaska just because obviously last year they could have cruises from Canada but not from the US. Right. So it still hurt economically for sure. At least last year was also open for land travel. But we’ll see how things bounce back. Will you get to do any new ports or it will be revisiting some of you on the Alaska one? Yeah.
[00:47:27.950] – Kim Tate
I think it’s going to be two new ones, but I think it might have been Paul and I did a cruise when we first moved out to Seattle. We did an Alaskan cruise, but I don’t remember much of it because I was newly pregnant and couldn’t take any Dramamine. And I had horrible either. It was morning sickness with motion sickness. I don’t know. And so when I got off the boat, I was just so happy to not want to Puke that I don’t even remember where we were. Yeah.
[00:47:54.970] – Tamara Gruber
That’s not the best choice for newly pregnant.
[00:47:58.210] – Kim Tate
No, it didn’t work out well. Anyway, so that’s all I know about the Alaska ports and then the other ones, we kind of didn’t do a lot of excursions. We just did. And I know we didn’t do I can’t remember where it is that we were men in hall glaciers just because the timing and stuff. So I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be awesome.
[00:48:19.150] – Tamara Gruber
Well, you know what? There’s going to be a lot to share about the travel experiences and certainly some exciting new destinations for people to hear about. So we will like we said, we were going to try to catch up when we can and fill you in on those. But in the meantime, it really would be best if you follow us on Instagram and we three travel so we the number three travel and Kim is stuffed suitcase and of course, follow along on our stories and our posts and maybe even some reels. But feel free to shoot us questions as we go and we would love to hear feedback from you. If you do miss us, you can let us know or just to find time to get together.
[00:49:04.860] – Kim Tate
Yes, exactly. And if you have any questions about places we’re going or when you see us on trips, feel free to comment or ask us. We’re always happy to help you guys or if you guys are planning a trip and you’re wondering something. Tamara and I both have quite a few years experience on planning so we’re happy to reply to you and let you know our thoughts are intake take on it if it’s a simple question. So you can always shoot us a DM on Instagram because a lot of times when we’re traveling we’ll be on that platform the most. So we will hopefully stay in touch with you guys and you’ll get a tune in to us when we’re next able to put out another episode.
[00:49:37.190] – Tamara Gruber
I have a feeling by then we’ll know even more trips that we’re squeezing in between or adding to the fall. Thanks, travels.
[00:49:46.490] – Kim Tate
Take care, bye.