Saturday, September 8, 2012

19 Cruise Tips

royal carribean cruise ship
Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas
My 19 cruise tips for packing and saving money on the cruise ship. Hopefully some of this advice will make your cruise trip a more enjoyable experience. Have fun, take lots of pictures and don't forget your sunscreen. 
  1. Once the ship departs, don't even think about turning that phone back on. Roaming and data fees can run in the thousands of dollars. In S.t Martin I made four calls, got an answering machine then hung up, $200. My friend’s daughter was trying to reach her boyfriend; she never got hold of him. But he got a $600+ bill. 
  2. Buy a pair of cheap 2-way radios (walkie talkies). Once you leave port your cell phones won't work.   We spent $20 and bought a pair of Cobra CX150's and they worked very well for us. 
  3. The IPX8 waterproof bag for iPhones is inexpensive and works well for protecting your phone, cash, or   documents.
  4. An inexpensive shoe hanging bag that hangs from a door works great for extra storage. Cruise cabins are tight.
  5. If available buy a soda package for kids or any big soda drinkers in your group to save money
  6. Many cruise lines allow you to bring on a case of bottled water as checked baggage (much cheaper)
  7. Take a camera and ask people to take pictures for you. The pictures sold on board are incredibly    expensive
  8. Take an electrical plug that converts to 2 or 3 plugs or a power strip. Today we have all sorts of things that need recharging. You only have one plug in the bathroom and one in the cabin.
  9. Always travel in pairs.
  10. Know where your life vest is, how to use it, and where your muster station is.
  11. Green apples help with motion sickness.
  12. Avoid buying toiletries or everyday items on the ship. They’re much less expensive on shore.
  13. Pack post it notes and a felt marker to leave notes in the cabin for your cruise mates and the cabin stewards.
  14. If you're in an interior cabin pack a small led flashlight. It' s handy if you need to get up in the middle of the night and don't want to wake anyone.
  15. When you board the cruise ship bring a small carry on bag with essentials and a bathing suit. It may be hours before your bags catch up with you
  16. Make copies of your important documents
  17. Research shore excursions. Cruise excursions are expensive, consider booking your own. 
  18. Pack a small back pack for shore excursions. Add a few waterproof ziplock bags to put small items in.
  19. The number one money saver is to book your cruise early. If you plan to take a cruise don't wait, prices rise the closer you are to your departure date.
carnival cruise line carnival imagination cruise ship
Cruise Ship Carnival Imagination

Traveling by cruise Ship is fun, relaxing, and an enjoyable experience for all ages. Hopefully some of these tips will be of benefit to you and your cruise companions. If you have any tips of your own please leave a comment. Our first cruise was on the NCL Norwegian Sky for our 25th anniversary. it was a great experience but, one which we should have done much earlier. Don’t just say you’ll take a cruise one day and put it off till you retire. A cruise is a fantastic experience at any age.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Last Morning on the Norwegian Sky Port of Miami

We end our Norwegian Sky Bahamas cruise in Port of Miami Florida. A nice way to bring it to an end is to have a hearty Breakfast while enjoying the Miami Skyline. Mmiami sky line from the norvegian sky.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Norwegian Sky Leaving Port of Miami

Boarding the cruise ship Norwegian Sky at Port of Miami for a five day four night Bahamas cruise. Everyone we encountered on the NCL  cruise was friendly and helpful. The first day it was a thrill just boarding the boat and experiencing the excitement of the cruise ship leaving port.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Norwegian Sky Shore Excursion, Great Stirrup Cay

Day three on the Norwegian sky we did a shore excursion onto their private island Great Stirrup Cay. This was another great day. The excursion begins with a ride on one of the tenders to the island. The beaches are beautiful white sand and there are some permanent facilities on the beach. We started with a short swim then went to one of the pavilions to meet our guide for the Eco Boat Tour. The tour was around the island with stops to see the wildlife. We saw several Bahamas seastars which are large redish-orange starfish, a sea cucumber, stingrays, and a land crab. After that we went back for a buffet lunch that was provided by Norwegian. Once we were done with lunch we went back to the beach to do some snorkeling. I saw lots of fish which I videoed with my iPhone. The phone was in a waterproof pouch bought off amazon for $10. I was a bit dubious but, it had lots of good reviews and as evidenced by the video it worked really well. The only problem was that I had to take off my glasses to wear the mask. Without glasses I couldn't see the iPhone screen so couldn't tell if it was on, off, or switched to the face mode.

Noewgian Sky Shore Excursion, Nassau and Snorkeling

A fun day in Nassau Bahamas. After getting off the boat we hopped a water taxi to Paradise Island. It's $4 per person one way and drops you off at the base of the Atlantis Bridge. Along the way one of the crew points out interesting sights. We walked across the bridge to take in the view of Nassau and paradise Island. The weather was perfect so we were rewarded with a wonderful view. On the other side we waved down a taxi and returned to the Norwegian sky for lunch. After lunch we departed for a snorkeling excursion on the reef.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Norwegian Sky Shore Excursion in Freeport

Day two of or Norwegian Sky cruise started with an early morning arrival in Freeport Bahamas. We had booked a shore excursion with Kayak Nature Tours that was called a biking adventure. After breakfast we disembarked from the sky and were direct to the waiting van by guides on the dock. Fifteen minutes later we were introduced to our adventure guides and selecting our bikes. Mario and Alex, our guides for the day led us on a 12 mile tour that included frequent rest stops where we learned about island History, fauna, and culture. I learned what an out of pocket house was, it was an answer to something I had noticed earlier(you'll have to ask them). The tour included stops at Taino beach and Garden of the Groves where we were provided lunch. As we ate lunch our bikes were loaded on a trailer and when we were finished we were transported back to Taino Beach for a swim. Mario and Alex were a lot of fun and all in all we really enjoyed our day in Freeport.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Norwegian Sky, Cabin and Ship Tour

On the cruise ship Norwegian Sky during an April of 2012 Bahamas cruise I give a tour of our ocean view porthole window stateroom on deck 4 and all of the restaurants and bars on the ship. We had a fantastic cruise and loved the Norwegian Sky. All of the staff we encountered were friendly and the service was great.  The free style dinning is what attracted us to Norwegian cruise lines and we were not disappointed. Unfortunately my wife suffers from gluten intolerance and we booked this cruise at the last minute. Norwegian normally requires 60 days notice to book a gluten free cruise. Fortunately one of the maître d personally took it upon himself to prepare her meals. I’m an early riser so most of the video shows very few passengers due to the fact I was walking around the ship in the early morning hours. The following is a list of the areas I walk through.

Cagney’s Steakhouse            Champs bar                   Sky club casino
Plantation Club                        Outrigger lounge            Galleria shops
Il Adagio Restaurant               Breakers bar                  Internet café
Garden café                            Longboard bar               Stardust lounge
Great outdoor café                 Atrium bar                      Mark twain library
Palace main dining room        Captain cooks bar           Pool area
Le bistro Restaurant               Dazzles night club            
Crossings main dining room    The coffee bar

Bahamas Celebration in Freeport Harbor

The cruise ship Norwegian Sky passes the Bahamas Celebration in Freeport Harbor. I've never been on the celebration but I have got to admit the water slide looks like a lot of fun.

Cruise Ship Tenders at Great Stirrup Cay

Transferring from the Norwegian Sky to Great Stirrup Cay on cruise ship tenders.

Three Simple Tips for Your Cruise

Three tips for your cruise.

Preparing for Disaster, Norwegian Sky Lifeboat Drill

The crew of the cruise ship Norwegian Sky practice lifeboat drills while docked in Port of Nassau in the Bahamas. The life boat is a motorized Schat Harding PPC 36 SV partially enclosed lifeboat capable of holding 150 passengers. The mechanism used to lower and raise the lifeboat is a life boat davit.

Norwegian Encounter, The Jewel and Sky Dock in Nassau

Morning in Nassau, Bahamas. The Norwegian Sky docks next to the Norwegian Jewel.

Balcony Cabin on the Cruise Ship Norwegian Sky

A balcony cabin on the cruise ship Norwegian Sky. Compared to the standard stateroom with a window, the Balcony is worth the extra money.

Cruise Ship Balcony Room

A short tour of our balcony room on the cruise ship Norwegian Sky and a walk up to the pool deck. We've stayed in rooms with a large window and a balcony cabin. Without a doubt the balcony rooms are so much better. It's worth the extra money just to be able to sit outside your room and watch the ocean slide by. We loved watching the sun come up while having our morning coffee.

Pilot Leaps from Cruise Ship

The harbor pilot who guided the cruise ship Norwegian Sky from Prince George Wharf in Nassau leaps back to the pilot boat. The pilot boat meets the cruise ship before it enters the harbor and the pilot jumps through a door in the side of the ship that is a few feet above the sea level. From there he makes his way up to the bridge where he will guide the massive ship into the harbor. Once it's time for the ship to leave he guides it back out to sea, jumps on the pilot boat, and returns to port. The cruise ship then makes it's way to it's next port of call.
The Norwegian Sky passes a ferry leaving Port of Miami.