Whether you are a first-time cruiser with Norwegian Cruise Line or a loyal fan. There are some insider secrets that make your cruise a whole lot smoother and that’s what I will let you in on today. So here are 30 NCL tips and tricks to help you get the best experience on your next Norwegian cruise.
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Embarkation and Debarkation Tips
1. Take advantage of discounted shows on embarkation day
Start enjoying your vacation immediately you board by taking advantage of some of the discounted offers on that day. Enjoy NCL’s famous illusion shows on your first day on board and enjoy up to 20% discounts. Also, keep your eyes peeled for discounted offers on spa deals and specialty dining.
2. Figure out where everything is on the first day
Some of NCL’s newer ships like the Norwegian Breakaway-Plus class of ships are very large vessels. Some have over 4,000 passenger capacities. You don’t want to get lost in these ships, every time you try to find a venue or a new place. So get aboard the ship early and find out where everything is. Or use a map to find venues easily.
Related: Make Your First Day Count!
3. Trace your Path, don’t get lost
When on the Breakaway class of ships, follow the fishes on the carpet to find your way. The fish are always moving forward (the ship’s forward). And this feature is only available in the cabin alleys. Or access a map of the ship, from the TV screens available everywhere on the ship, to find a location.
Food, Drinks and Dining Tips
4. Freestyle cruising
Take advantage of NCL’s freestyle cruising feature. Unlike other cruise lines, NCL doesn’t have appointed dining times, allowing you a flexible dining experience. Dine whenever and wherever you please. All you have to do is find out, what you want to eat and where from. From the screens found all over the ship. These screens show venues with their wait times and menus.
Make specialty dining reservations early in advance to avoid missing tables at your favorite venues, as they fill up fast. This will also help you better plan, your dining schedule. Visit guest services or check menus on the screens in your cabin on the first day and find out the week’s menu.
5. Breakfast options
While the buffet area is a common breakfast venue. Avoid the masses by taking your breakfast in the dining room or at some specialty restaurants. Try a healthy breakfast at Garden Cafe or a tasty treat at Margaritaville. Alternatively, enjoy a quiet breakfast in your cabin after a long night. It might be all you need, to start the day at great spirits. The breakfast is even more enjoyable if taken on the balcony of your cabin.
6. Carry a reusable water bottle
NCL has a strict “no beverage on board” policy, with the exception of two 750ml bottles of wine per cabin and distilled water for babies or for medical purposes. As such you should consider bringing on board a reusable water bottle, to access water.
This little tip is a lifesaver that keeps you affordably and conveniently hydrated at all times. The ship’s water is perfectly safe for drinking as per NCL. Refill your bottles in the dining room or buffet areas and use the mini fridge in your cabin to keep it cool.
7. Store your wine for later
Ask your waiter to store any leftover wine from your evening for another night. Norwegian cruises charge you $15 corkage fee for every 750ml bottle of wine or $30 for the 1500ml bottle as soon as you board. So, enjoy free corkage and storage services for the rest of your cruise.
Check these travel wine accessories right here.
And if you can’t have enough wine on your cruise. Then try the wine package, which offers unlimited glasses of wine, other beers or soft drinks for only $59 per day, per person.
8. Try Sheehan’s for late night snacks
Try Sheehan’s Irish Pub which is open 24/7 for late night snacks and a cool hangout all day long. Visit this pub, for early morning breakfast, late night snacks and a good time hanging out.
You will rarely be in your cabin, but when you are, you will definitely want the best experience in it. Here are some helpful tips we have picked up. That will ensure you rest well and get the full value of the cabin you paid for:
9. Book a Balcony Cabin
Don’t deny yourself a beautiful experience for a few extra bucks. Book a balcony cabin and enjoy the quiet privacy with beautiful views. Given the expansive cruising itineraries on NCL from Pacific Atlantic, Hawaii, Greece to the Caribbean. A balcony cabin is guaranteed to give you great views of scenic places, in a relaxed atmosphere.
Note, however, that if you get seasick a lot, then balcony cabins might not be a good option for you. The sea gets rough at times, and unpredictable bad weather causes to much sway. That may cause you not to enjoy your cruise in these luxury cabins.
10. Book cabins that are near elevators
Cabin decks are massive and moving from point A to B can be quite a workout at times. So, if for some reason, you don’t like walking a lot. Book cabins that are near elevators. In some of NCL’s ships, the elevators closest to the bow, have are known to be less crowded, use those to escape the crowds
11. Your cabin location determines whether you will have a peaceful night or not
Avoid booking cabins under loud venues, like eating places, bars or near smoking areas like the Casino. In fact, have the ship’s map with you while you book your cabin to be sure of the cabin you are selecting.
12. Laundry Promotions
NCL offers laundry promotions to its latitude members, twice weekly. Where they provide you with a plastic bag to fit in as much laundry as you can for $24.95. Be on the lookout for this promotion, to have your clothes laundered at the discounted price. This is especially a great offer for those of you who pack light and might need to repeat some clothing.
13. No reason to wear wrinkled clothes on NCL
While on laundry matters, get an iron and iron board from guest services, to iron your clothes. Avoid wearing cramped clothing, call guest services on your first or second day and order an iron. They will give you an iron and ironing board for an hour. Iron all your clothes and have them ready for your whole cruise.
If you aren’t up for paying a few extra bucks for this service carry a wrinkle release to straighten your clothes. Or use the steam from the bathroom, when you shower.
14. Keep your cabin organized
We often forget where we placed things, and only rush to look for them last minute when leaving the cabin. Avoid the frustrations of not finding your things. By taking advantage of Norwegian ship’s metallic doors, to place magnetic hooks on them, to hang clothing or important accessories. Another popular tip is to carry an over-the door-shoe-organizer. Use its pockets to store all your cruise essential items, so that you have an easy access to them at all times.
Amazon has a wide selection of organizers for the door and closet right here.
Though NCL’s cabins are noticeably smaller than those found on other cruise lines. They still have ample storage space, under the beds and in storage spaces under the couch. Enjoy this extra room to store away your items.
15. Pack a night light and a power strip
Cabins tend to be very dark at night. To get around at night, especially when visiting the bathroom. Pack a night light and save your shins some trouble. Another nifty trick is to pack is a power strip. It provides additional power outlets to charge all your electronic devices at a go.
Your cabin both US and European- style power outlets, carry a European adapter to take advantage of maximum power abilities.
Cost Cutting Tips
NCL is a pretty expensive cruise line but here are some tips on how you can cut on costs:
16. Be on the know
Sign up for newsletters, and find out when there are offers, promotions, and discounts. To take full advantage of them and cut costs while at it.
17. Free at Sea Offer
This special package features 5 offers. Free beverage, shore excursion credit, specialty dining package, free Wi-Fi and reduced friends and family sailing rate. To access this offers you must choose either one or more items for your cruise and enjoy the free offer with additional onboard credit.
18. Latitude Rewards
Take advantage of the special discounts offered in the latitude member’s program. It’s fairly easy to become a member of this program, as you earn 1 point per night for cruising with NCL. Accumulate latitude points with extended trips and enjoy up to 50% discounts on prices of some packages including fares on future NCL cruises.
19. Buy the specialty dining packages
Get NCL’s dining package to save on cost. Avoid paying a la carte prices at specialty restaurants using this package. And also get to sample different meals without the worry of cost.
You can purchase a dining package for your entire cruise period, or just for a few number of meals. The specialty package covers meals from steakhouses, French, Japanese, Mexican, Italian and churrascarias venues.
Enjoy this cost-cutting deal with flexible terms and prices starting from $69 for 3meals to $199 for 14 meals.
Shore Excursion Tips
20. Book shore excursions with tour operators
This tip is both a cost-cutting endeavor and a great tip for shore excursions. Use local reputable tour guides who know the area well. And enjoy private authentic trips that sometimes take you to unique places. That you would otherwise not visit with a cruise excursion. And best of all save on costs.
However, if you are new to a port call and don’t know much about it. It is better to stick to the cruise excursions offered by the cruise ship.
Find all the cruise accessories you need for your excursion.
Don’t forget to find out if your tour operator offers a full refund, in case you miss the excursion due to rough seas or a change in cruise itinerary, before you book the excursion.
Additional Cruise Tips
21. Book shows and specialty dining in advance
Some of NCL’s ships have a huge capacity of up to 4000 or more passengers. Don’t miss out on your favorite shows and specialty venues by booking late. Since most of these venues fill out pretty fast, book them pre-cruise with the exception of comedy shows, which are booked on board.
22. Don’t miss NCL’s entertainments
NCL is very popular for its shows and competitive fun games. From world-class comedy companies like Levity Entertainment Group to Fat Cat Jazz band and Howl at The Moon piano masters to Cirque de Dream performances and the exhilarating fiery dance from Burn the Floor dance company. You won’t want to miss any of this shows. Enjoy great music, laughs, acrobatic performances that will make your jaws drop to the ground and world-class illusionist tricks. Just make sure you don’t take your kids to adult’s comedy and arrive early for the best seats in the house.
23. Enjoy popular rides during off-peak hours
Beat the crowds and try the host of fun activities offered on NCL like the rope course, and water slides at off-peak times. You might even have the place to yourself. Try evenings, because families tend to have early dinners and retire early.
24. Don’t lose your room card
Get lanyards for your room card, especially for the kids, so that no one loses their key card. Your room card is what you use to pay for almost everything, therefore ensure you have it at all times.
Take a look at these cruise lanyards to keep cards around you.
25. Spend some private time without the kids
Enjoy a private time together without the kids. Book your kids in the Splash Academy Kid’s Club where kids from ages 3 to 12 can enjoy dedicated attention from professional babysitters. Later on, they will be dropped off at your stateroom, or you can pick them up. Use the phones provided to stay in touch with your child.
26. Switch your phone to airplane mode
It’s very important to remember this tip, to keep yourself from paying hundreds of dollars on roaming charges once back home. If you are engaging in a DIY excursion, also make sure to adjust your phone’s time to correspond to the ship’s time, to ensure, you won’t be left by the ship.
27. Skip the long queues on NCL
Since NCL offers a relatively free and flexible cruising experience. Including your time dining, where you can dine anytime you want within normal dining times. And offers a great many shows as mentioned earlier. Long queues are to be expected.
One thing you need to do is ensure you always arrive early to get the best seats in all these venues. Even at the swimming pools, you need to get there early enough to get a poolside chair. Also, don’t hog those chairs, trying to save seats for your group, yet you don’t know when they will make it. Allow others to enjoy the seats as well, it’s proper cruise etiquette.
28. Enjoy discounted spa deals and happy hour deals on port days
If you are not feeling up to the usual buzz of a port and the extra spending. It’s no shame to remain behind on a port day. You will also get to enjoy the ship almost to yourself. And get discounted spa and happy hour deals while aboard the ship.
29. Limit your kid’s spending
Limit your kid’s spending on their room cards by setting a maximum limit. Save yourself unnecessary costs from their trips to the arcade.
30. Avoid the long queues on debarkation days
Don’t even try disembarking early using self-assist, everyone on NCL tries to do this. Spare yourself the madness of it all and just disembark when the queues have declined.
If you have priority disembarkation, use it and get out as early as possible, otherwise don’t be in a rush. If you have a flight, to take on that day, make sure it’s well-timed at least in the afternoon, to ensure you are there in time.
To Sum Up on Norwegian Cruise Line Tips
There are a lot of things that you can do in order to enjoy your NCL cruise. This article lists only 30 of them.
There are other simple things you can do, like packing manageably, (don’t carry your whole closet). Carrying your most frequently used medications. Charging your batteries when you are present in your cabin like overnight. As the power in your room is controlled by your key card and goes off the minute you leave. Even using a wedge to block your balcony door from closing all the way, to avoid the AC from going off.
All these and more are surely guaranteed to make your trip a memorable one. So, relax and enjoy your next cruise and apply these Norwegian Cruise Line tips for the best experiences. Happy cruising!!