Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sometimes All Of the Stars In The Universe Just Happen To Line Up

Last night I was laying in bed watching a tv show that I really wasn't interested in.
I decided to grab Veronica's IPad and cruise the web.
I ended up going to the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) web site. I was clicking through their site and noticed that they had a section that was for last minute cruise deals and savings.
For "shits and grins" I decided to click on that particular section.
I was scrolling through while looking at the numerous cruises that were being offered at substantially discounted prices because these cruises were within a reasonably short period of time from this date.
As I scrolled down the page, I noticed that the cruise that Veronica and I were taking, in about 2 weeks, was listed.
I clicked on that cruise and noticed that the prices were fairly low...actually about the same price as what we had paid for ours when we originally booked this cruise, which was back in December of 2010.
After noticing the similarity in the price listed and the price that we paid for our trip, I decided to call NCL and see if they had any upgrades available for a reasonable price.
There is a rumor floating around NCL cruisers that there is such a person that they affectionately call the "upgrade fairy".
The story is told that people booked on any particular cruise might receive a telephone call from this "upgrade fairy", especially as the date of embarkation draws closer and that if there are any cabin openings left, these people would get the magic call and be offered a cabin upgrade at a discounted price.
Now we have never been lucky enough to receive one of these magic calls from the "upgrade fairy" nor any NCL rep.
So instead of waiting around for a call that might never come our way, I decided to be proactive and do my own version of the "upgrade fairy" but I would call it my "reverse upgrade fairy" telephone call.
So I strapped on my lucky cruise fairy wings and made the call.
I spoke with a very nice NCL rep by the name of Megan.
After explaining to Megan that we already have paid off reservations for our cruise, that I was wondering if they had any upgrades available .
After pulling up our reservations on her computer, Megan told me that she was going to put me on hold while she spoke to her supervisor. Now when I heard those words, I had a good feeling that something good was going to be happening for us.
After a period on hold, Megan came back on the line and had a few options available for us. One option would be a free upgrade to a Ocean View cabin on I think it was deck 5. We correctly had an Inside category IA cabin. The Ocean View...a port hole or possible a window was kind of appealing but I did not want to drop from the 9th deck down to the 5th deck.
Another option was to get a guaranteed BX category Balcony cabin. The "guarantee means that the BX category would be the absolute lowest category that we would get but that we might get something much higher, either within that category or it could possibly even be some type of suite depending on who else upgrades and other factors that could take place.   If we took this option, we would have to pay a small price difference between the IA category that we had and the BX category of cabin. There was also a possibility that we would not find out what category room nor what location it was at, until we actually boarded the ship.
The 3rd and last option was an 11 category upgrade to a BB category...a balcony on the 8th deck, which is a good deck and that we might be able to get our cabin assigned to us within 24 hours.
After Veronica and talked it over, we decided to go for the BB category balcony on the 8th deck.
Megan put me on hold again and spoke to her supervisor about our decision.
Because there were only 2 of us in the cabin and because we had no preference of location...we already knew that this cabin would be on the 8th deck and were happy with that...Megan came back on line and told us that there was good news...we would be getting cabin 8232 assigned to us at this time and that the 11 category upgrade...from an inside cabin with no windows, portholes nor any view at all,  to a much larger balcony cabin on the 8th deck , would only cost us $181.00 for our 2 weeks on this cruise. That $181.00 included all taxes and everything. That comes to $90.50 a piece or $45.25 a piece for each week. That was one deal that we could not pass up and we promptly booked it. Veronica and I were both giddy over the great luck that we fell into.
Sometimes it pays to reverse things or change things up a bit and not wait around for someone else to contact you or act.
I am now a big believer in the "reverse upgrade fairy" practice and I will be trying it out again when we get real close to our departure date for our cruise next year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Almost Time To Start Packing

Our 2012 vacation cruise is getting closer and closer.
We have a full time house sitter all set up and we will start packing probably around next Thursday.
The temperatures for the locations that we will be visiting should be pleasant.
By the looks of things, it will between 50-65 in all of those locations during the day time.
Of course a lot can change between now and then but it looks like we will have to take a nice mix of clothes to cover a wide variance in temperatures.
We will try to get everything into 3 large suitcases but not sure if we will be able to do that due to those temperatures.
It will be creative packing that is for sure.
Both Veronica and I are starting to really get excited about the trip. Hopefully the next 3 weeks will pass quickly.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Storms Last Night

Last night we had more storms pass through our area. It really was looking rather dark and nasty outside but we did not get nearly as much rain as I thought we would...at least based on how dark and ominous it was.
Below are some photos and videos of what we saw last night:









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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Almost Time To Start Packing

We are finally getting closer to our upcoming 14 day NCL cruise on the NCL Sun.
We are 35 days away and the big count down has started.
I just recently got ourselves Soda Passes for the entire cruise and we even made online reservations for a couple of surcharge restaurants on the Sun. One is East Meets West Steakhouse and the other is an Italian restaurant called Il Adagio.
Here are the write ups on each restaurant as shown on the NCL web site:

East Meets West Steakhouse
The finest cuts of meat, including delicious steaks, chops and seafood, served with traditional side dishes, in our classic American Steakhouse.
Where the exotic meets the familiar in a fusion of Pan Asian Cuisine. A "Pick Your own Lobster" tank is a good example of just how fresh the ingredients are here. Rumor has it the Tempura Chocolate Cake is delish.

Il Adagio
Floor-to-ceiling windows warmed by the sun make this a favorite casual dining spot where you can enjoy pasta, salads, desserts and espresso. Naturally, the view is spectacular.

We went through our rather large travel bin which is where all kinds of travel related items and gear are stored. Currently everything is in a pile on the floor right next to me, here in our computer room.
As we get closer, we will go through the gear and items a little further and figure out exactly what we should or should not take.  We will most likely be taking 2 suitcases a piece and I am sure we will be pushing the maximum limit that is allowed by the airlines...50 lbs.
The first bag for each of us is free but the 2nd piece of luggage will cost us $70 one way or a total of $280 for both of us round trip.
We will be flying on both United and SAS airlines.
I also had to get additional camera batteries, chargers and photo memory stick for all of the photos and videos that I plan on taking.
We are currently in a holding pattern right now, waiting for a couple of weeks to pass, at which time we will start actually packing.

Cruise Ship - Ticker

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Storms Are Brewing

We have been getting quite a number of lightning and thunder storms lately.
Today was supposed to be basically storm free but it didn't turn out that way. We stated getting a few pop up storms starting around 9:30-10:00AM. The storms would drop some rain and move on, followed by some clearing  and  blue skies.
This afternoon I could hear that familiar rumbling of thunder again. I looked outside and it was starting to get rather dark out. The lightning and thunder lasted for about 340-45 minutes. It rained again and followed the same pattern as earlier.
Here are some photos of this building and then passing storm:










Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Birthday My Love

Today is your Birthday! I hope that you have a fantastic love filled birthday today.
Tonight we plan on having a candle lit dinner.
Last night I gave Veronica a special hand made piece of art for her birthday.
Here is what I made for her:









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