NCL Cruise Tips

It's a vacation that takes passengers to a number of destinations on what is billed as the "youngest fleet on the planet." Welcome to the world of Norwegian Cruise Line. The company especially prides itself on its "Freestyle Cruising," which eliminates scheduled dining times to allow passengers more freedom.

  1. Do Some Planning

    • Gone are the days of needing only a birth certificate to board a cruise ship. Passengers are now required to have a passport on nearly every Norwegian cruise, so plan ahead. It typically takes up to six weeks to receive a new passport.

      Staterooms on cruise ships are not spacious. Plan to take only what is needed. Some Norwegian ships offer laundry service to minimize what is brought on board.

      If your cruise vacation involves flying to the port, do so a day in advance. Should nasty weather or unexpected delays occur with your flight, you have more time to make an alternative plan. The ship will not wait.

    Setting Sail

    • Norwegian Cruise Line passengers are not allowed to bring alcohol onboard. If you purchase alcohol at a port of call during the cruise, the crew will store the bottle until the last night of your voyage. It will then be returned to your stateroom for disembarkation.

      When first boarding the ship, each passenger receives a stateroom key. The key also serves as a type of onboard credit card, since cash is not accepted on Norwegian ships. Simply present the stateroom key for payment when shopping or paying for alcoholic beverages onboard. The final tab can be paid by credit card, travelers checks or cash. The stateroom key also serves as your boarding pass at each port of call. Do not lose it.

      While onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, passengers will find a plethora of activities. Ships feature clubs just for kids, restaurants, bars, pools and nightly shows. Crew members participate in onboard activities with passengers, which are listed in a daily newsletter found in each stateroom.

    Ports of Call

    • Shore excursions are chosen to best reflect each port's unique offerings. Norwegian suggests booking excursions online before your departure date, since some have limited capacity and sell out. Passengers can also book excursions after boarding the ship.

    Service Charge

    • All passengers age 3 or older are charged an additional $12 per person, per day. This is known as the "Onboard Service Charge" and is divided among employees as a gratuity. Passengers are allowed to increase or decrease the charge if needed, based on the quality of service.

    Be Aware

    • When paying for a cruise, nearly everything is included. But there are some surprising costs. Cocktails, gambling, shore excursions, spa treatments and tipping are additional. Despite the daily "service charge," Norwegian encourages passengers to tip extra to some crew members, including bartenders, spa professionals, butlers and the concierge, if they provide great service.

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