Tag: Norwegian Gem
It is quite possible that I enjoy planning a trip as much as the trip itself. Planning and research makes the anticipation of a trip so exciting! Alright, you used my tips from last week to book your cruise. Now, what?
1. Buy trip insurance. Trip insurance is something I never really thought about before, but for a cruise it is incredibly important. If you get sick and have to be evacuated off of the ship, your health insurance will not usually cover it. You don’t want to end up with thousands of dollars of medical bills that could’ve been prevented with a $100 insurance policy. I really like the options on insuremytrip.com.
2. Find out what travel documents you need. Are visas required for any of your ports? Do you need to renew your passport? It can take weeks to get a new passport so you don’t want to put that off.
3. Set a flight alert on Hopper. I love that Hopper searches for flight deals for me and lets me know when is the best time to book. It frees me up to think about other parts of the trip that are much more fun!
4. Research the ship. Read about it on the Cruise Line’s website. Cruise Critic also has lots of ship reviews to help give you an idea about what your cruise is going to be like. Figure out what needs to be booked in advance. Can you book dining or shows before boarding? Is it necessary to book it in advance?
5. Research the ports. Cruise Critic has great port guides that tell you everything you need to know about your ports. What are the most popular things to do in each port? What currency do they use? What language do they speak? How safe are they? This will give you an idea about if you want to explore the port on your own or if you should take an organized excursion.
6. Start looking for a hotel or pre-cruise stay. I think by now, you know I’m a huge fan of AirBNB. If you are driving to the cruise port, look for a hotel that offers free parking for cruise passengers. That could save you a lot of money!
7. Book your excursions. Finding the perfect excursion can be a little overwhelming. Do you want to book through the cruise line or do you want to use an outside company and save some money? For our upcoming cruise, we got a $50 shore excursion credit through NCL, but even with that, they were significantly more expensive than Shore Excursioneer on the cave tubing in Belize City. For our Costa Maya day, we booked through NCL because we have a limited time in port and I was worried that an outside company won’t get us back to the ship in time. If you book a shore excursion through an outside company, make sure you let them know what time you have to be back on the ship. Most of them have a guarantee that they will get you back to the ship in time, just like the cruise lines. This is how they make money so they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss the ship.
8. Book onboard activities. NCL opens up their dining reservations 60 days before sailing. If you are not planning on doing any specialty dining you probably don’t have to book anything in advance. They do reserve some times to be booked onboard, but to get a table at the busy times, it doesn’t hurt to book in advance. For the larger ships, you can even book your shows online ahead of time. This is my first time on a mega ship, so I will let you know how that goes!
9. Pack. Ok, you don’t want to do this too far in advance, but you can start planning what you want to bring before you actually start to pack. Maybe you have to go shopping. That’s always fun! Space is limited in cruise ship cabins, so you do not want to overpack. Think about how many formal nights there will be. How many swim suits will you need? What will you wear on sea days or in port? I’ve been trying to find a good Caribbean Cruise packing list and I haven’t been able to find one I like. I may have to post mine after this cruise!
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Its been a few years since our last cruise and finally we’ve got a cruise on the calendar! Its still over 450 days away, but it feels good to have it booked! I’ve never booked trip this far in advance and I don’t know what to do with myself. I want to work on planning, but its really too early for that.
We are sailing the Norwegian Getaway which is one of their newest ships and it will be our first cruise on a megaship. The cruise is sailing from Miami to Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize (Norwegian’s new private island); and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. This will be my first time in Central America and Chris’ first time in Mexico. I am excited to go back to Miami and to explore some new and exotic locations! If you have any advice for any of the ports or cruising on a megaship, please leave me a comment!
About the Photo:
This shot was taken on the Paradise Island ferry from Nassau, Bahamas. One of the funniest things about our last cruise was boarding in New York, the ship looked tiny when compared to the surrounding skyscrapers (and the megaship docked next to it). But, when we pulled in to the small Bahamian Islands, the ship looked massive! It was very cool to get to float by and get some detail shots of the ship!
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, handheld
June 18, 2015