Thursday, April 7, 2022

Cruise Tips from a first timer (Norwegian)



As we are getting into spring break and summer vacation plans. I thought I would compile a list of tips specifically for Norwegian. I've only cruised with Norwegian but these can probably be for any cruise line. If you are planning on flying to a destination then jumping on the cruise you are already spending a ton of money. You want to save most of your money for shopping, eating local food (they don't have that on the ship)

1. NO on buying an internet package. You have wifi to at least text, pictures don't really go through on the ship (iMessage only). But you’re so busy doing activities, eating and exploring at ports it’s not necessary. Some ports have WIFI and you can do all your internet or social media posts there.  If you absolutely can’t live without just do the social media package. Then you can at least DM, Facebook message those who you can’t text.


2.  Stateroom with a balcony is the way to go! Plenty of room for two people. If you were going as a family I would get adjoining rooms or a suite. It would feel too crowded. Unless you don’t plan on staying in your room at all. I'm claustrophobic and the idea of a small enclosed room with no windows or small window gave me anxiety. 



3. Packages: Specialty dining. Not worth it. you get plenty of complimentary food and it’s decent and different atmosphere in those places. Buffet style, casual pub restaurant, fancy evening. You can save your money for the local fare etc. 



4.  Alcohol package. I’m not a drinker and the hubby is on occasion. But you have to get the package for everyone in your room,  if they are under 21 they have to get a soda package. While the idea sounds awesome. It doesn’t really pay for itself. $99 a day per person. So that's 11 beers in a day or Speciality drinks for a 7 day cruise? $700 per person if I’m not mistaken. Not enough time. Especially if you are on a tour most of the day. And soda is cheaper then that. Best idea if you are going to drink is make yourself an alcohol budget and pay for for an occasional drink on board. 

5. Shore excursions. There are pros and cons to these tours. It can be hard if you like the freedom to do your own thing. Majority of the time is spent driving on the bus. Which can be nice but when you only have so much time on a port it can be constricting. However, with the tours the tour guide always has stories and local tips and information. Also you can skip some lines for tickets because they get them for you and leads your group away from the crowds. We didn’t buy tours separately which you can do there just wasn’t time and with Covid we stuck with the cruise line. If there was a problem or we were late the ship would wait for us. It’s not guaranteed otherwise. Some ports have shuttle busses that will take you close to town or into town every ten minutes. Some places are close enough to walk into. With the shopping and restaurants close by. Just be back in enough time to board the ship. 

6. This tip was from our amazing travel agent. Wherever you are going especially an overseas cruise. Get there a day before and leave a day after the cruise ends. It felt like everyone came straight the airport to board and then rushed to get the airport after the cruise was done. We didn't skip too many lines at the airport, but we definitely had a great time having those extra relaxing hours to see the sites some more and have some amazing Greek food that we wouldn't have been able to.

7.  Covid might be lessening up now but check your specific cruise line, and airline about mask mandates. In the summer the disposable ones were a lifesaver. I have a cotton one but in that heat it was just too much. The cruise required us to wear the masks in every populated area unless you were eating and drinking. Plus if you lose one its no big deal. Just stock up on those. 

8. They play a lot of the same stuff on the stateroom TV's. But I always travel with my ipad and download movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon that we can watch and not worry about getting wifi. 8b. Don't forget to get a travel pass for your cell phone. Keep it on airplane mode until you need it. Iphone users stay connected to wifi so you can just send messages and call when you need to.

9. My favorite things I bought before the cruise. I did so much research since it was my first time. Some were good suggestions some I could've done without. 

  1.  A combination fan/power bank/ flashlight. It was so hot everywhere, especially in the crowds. This one was very lightweight and compact that it can easily fit in a backpack or pocket.
  2. Anti-theft backpack! I got a large that fit my Ipa. It has lots of hidden compartments and comes in different colors. 
  3. Lanyards. just picked these up at the dollar tree. Perfect for carrying around your ID cards they give you for the cruise. You have to use these for everything, food, entrance to ship, etc. A lanyard is a great way to keep from losing it. 
  4. Luggage tags. These long ones are meant for your cruise ship tags. They don't really tell you that beforehand. I wouldn't have known if I didn't see a youtube video about it. 
  5. Packing cubes. I LOVE These I have used these for every trip now and I need to get more. They have handles that make it easier to grab if you have one specific thing like pajamas. It was able to fit so much stuff in them.
  6. Jewelry organizer. This was a trip I wanted to accessorize. Especially at some of the ports like Mykonos everyone is so fashionable. This cute little bag was so cute and fit so much. I even got a matching charger bag (later) that fits all my phone chargers and headphones.  


   10. Take all the pictures and all the videos. But also take time to be present, and just enjoy the places you are at. EAT ALL THE FOOD! Sometimes more than one desserts! Go see the shows because they are free! Play the games! We had such a blast and would probably do a cruise again!




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