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Cruiser1862

New to Norwegian, have some booking questions

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Hi fellow cruisers!  We’ve cruised about half dozen times to Caribbean. Almost always on Princess but also with RC.  We started to give thought to going to Hawaii in 2020 to celebrate our 60th birthdays. I see that Norwegian is the only ship to do a 7 day around the islands and port intensive. Exactly what we want. We were surprised by the prices though. Double for a 7 day Caribbean. And almost double from a 15 day from LA to HI. So here’s our questions and we’d really appreciate your responses

 

First, we are not big drinkers at all so the free alcohol package doesn’t interest us. We’d take the 3 free specialty restaurants.  Curious to what the gratuity is for that. The $50 a port toward the excursions also doesn’t appeal to us since we were planning on going on our own or other tours not affiliated with ship. We’re not sure if this is a good price to “get in” and we can always change it if rates decrease. We want an ocean view. We feel this cruise is port intensive and we won’t be on the ship but to eat and sleep mostly. 

 

I usually take our time doing some research, but our TA that we use is away and the person filling in for her has advised the special ends Fri. In your experience, are there better packages coming?  We are used to Princess (we wait for free gratuities and onboard money).  Not sure what Norwegian has  

 

I’d appreciate any info you have. Trying to read on this forum all day yesterday trying to familiarize myself but just don’t know what to do. BTW, we picked next May 23-30, 2020 for our trip, but are very flexible.  Ocean view room before taxes is $2049pp.  Thank you very much. 

 

 

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NCL generally does not have deals or packages that you don't pay for elsewhere (in 'gratuities' or higher fares). It's possible to book a no-frills or 'sail away' rate that is lower priced with no perks. (Sometimes Travel Agents can get the 'no frills' pricing more easily.)

 

The dining perk gratuity charge is pretty low--you can go through a mock booking, pick the perk, and it will add it at the end so you can see the 'real' price for the free package.

 

 

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NCL has been running sales and specials uninterrupted for several years now. I wouldn't have any urgency in booking based on the "free" offers they have.

 

As for the pricing, NCL Pride of America is a US flagged ship and does not have to spend a couple of days sailing to a foreign port to comply with the PVSA, an 1886 law that has some protectionist provisions. Because of that, it has to comply with Hawai'i labor laws including minimum wage and hours worked per day, etc. That makes it much more expensive to operate.

 

The Hawai'i cruise is very port intensive, so it doesn't really make sense to spend money on a suite (like my wife and her sisters did). I think it's a perfect cruise to use an ocean view or inside and book closer to the sail date and pay from $1,000 to $1,500 per person, double occupancy. You really aren't in your cabin very much on that cruise. The risk with waiting is that the ship does sell out and you always have to balance the cost of air tickets vs the cost of the cruise.

 

Pick any of the freebies except the dining and drink package if you want to  save the mandatory gratuity on those. If the drink package gratuity is the same as on non-Hawai'ian sailings your break even is two to three drinks per day. Just remember you are in port every day, and even Hawai'i has cheaper drinks than on board. Liquor up on shore.

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Only US registered ships can make cruises without stops outside of the US.  That makes them subject to US laws and US labor laws.  The ship also does not have a casino.  Because of these, the ship has a significantly higher cost structure that is reflected in the price.

 

Since it is the only ship that can make a 7 day port intensive Hawaii cruise, it also benefits from the economic factors of supply and demand, allowing them to charge higher prices, something that NCL does at every opportunity.

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Thank You for responses. Our travel agent gave us $75 OBC along with the NCL freebies they’re offering now. The gratuities for the specialty meals is about $31. The room was less than advertised on NCL site as her company bought a block of rooms.  We decided on an ocean view room.  The inside cabin makes me a little nervous that it’ll be too dark and claustrophobic.  Anyone stay in them before?  What’s your opinion?  I feel we’ll be out most of the time from the room. It’s a big savings...$600

 

 

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I always book either an Inside cabin or a Studio (when available).  I am only in my cabin as a rule to sleep, shower and change clothes.

 

Enjoy your cruise

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We are also thinking of Hawaii in 2020. I don't care for sea days so NCL has the best itinerary for us. Since it is so port intensive we are not planning on any extras - there are 3 of us so for our freebie we would get the 3rd person free. As far as an inside cabin, this is what I am budgeting for since I don't see us using it for anything other than to sleep and shower. We have not done an inside on NCL but we did on RCCL and it was not bad at all.  It was very dark at night - I brought a small flashlight so we would not trip when getting up in the middle of the night 😉 But not bad during the day - and we were rarely in our cabin during the day anyway.

 

I was just checking prices and when we want to go (early May) the prices have not changed in months - I check all the time.  The May sailings for this year are not sold out so I was thinking of getting our flights first and then booking the cruise in case prices drop after final payment.  We fly Southwest and if we don't go on the cruise we can still change our flight to someplace/time else with no penalty. 

 

We are going on a W Caribbean next month and when prices dropped we got an upgrade from OV to BA. So our other option is to book an inside and if prices drop later we might get an upgrade or OBC. I am planning on getting a CruiseNext certificate when we go next month so that helps a little.

 

NCL has been running the same promo for months! They keep saying "limited time" but I don't think they know what that means.

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I always book an inside cabin.  I also never want any perks so book the sail away rate.    

 

I just sailed this itinerary again again last July.     Over 10 times.  It is superb.    

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When you have the only ship doing 7 night Hawaii cruises , you can ask  ridiculous rates, and get them .

 

Edited by MCC retired

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13 hours ago, MCC retired said:

When you have the only ship doing 7 night Hawaii cruises , you can ask  ridiculous rates, and get them .

 

For me it is not that it is 7 nights, it is that there are no sea days and 2 stops are overnights.  Other lines don't seem to spend as much time on the islands as the NCL itinerary. Are there other lines that spend as much time there? 

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3 hours ago, sirenitas said:

For me it is not that it is 7 nights, it is that there are no sea days and 2 stops are overnights.  Other lines don't seem to spend as much time on the islands as the NCL itinerary. Are there other lines that spend as much time there? 

The answer is no.

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On 3/13/2019 at 8:09 AM, Cruiser1862 said:

Hi fellow cruisers!  We’ve cruised about half dozen times to Caribbean. Almost always on Princess but also with RC.  We started to give thought to going to Hawaii in 2020 to celebrate our 60th birthdays. I see that Norwegian is the only ship to do a 7 day around the islands and port intensive. Exactly what we want. We were surprised by the prices though. Double for a 7 day Caribbean. And almost double from a 15 day from LA to HI. So here’s our questions and we’d really appreciate your responses

 

First, we are not big drinkers at all so the free alcohol package doesn’t interest us. We’d take the 3 free specialty restaurants.  Curious to what the gratuity is for that. The $50 a port toward the excursions also doesn’t appeal to us since we were planning on going on our own or other tours not affiliated with ship. We’re not sure if this is a good price to “get in” and we can always change it if rates decrease. We want an ocean view. We feel this cruise is port intensive and we won’t be on the ship but to eat and sleep mostly. 

 

I usually take our time doing some research, but our TA that we use is away and the person filling in for her has advised the special ends Fri. In your experience, are there better packages coming?  We are used to Princess (we wait for free gratuities and onboard money).  Not sure what Norwegian has  

 

I’d appreciate any info you have. Trying to read on this forum all day yesterday trying to familiarize myself but just don’t know what to do. BTW, we picked next May 23-30, 2020 for our trip, but are very flexible.  Ocean view room before taxes is $2049pp.  Thank you very much. 

 

 

NCL usually runs the same specials more or less all the time. Occasionally a new item will show

up like OBC or pre paid service charges. If you are worried about an inside feeling too closed in(I

read that in one of your replies) I felt just as closed in with an ocean view so I always book something

with a balcony. However being able to look out the window might help you but it didn't me. Plus if feeling

seasick a window where you can see the horizon definitely helps. Have a great cruise. Hawaii is beautiful. 

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Decided to go with the ocean view!  We are very excited and now have plenty of time to look into excursions, planes and arriving few days prior. Thank you for your help. This board is a plethora of info

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re inside cabin being dark.  Just go to the dollar store and buy 3 tea lights that come with batteries, one for the bathroom, and two for the room you will have plenty of light at night in the room.

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On 3/13/2019 at 4:31 PM, Cruiser1862 said:

Thank You for responses. Our travel agent gave us $75 OBC along with the NCL freebies they’re offering now. The gratuities for the specialty meals is about $31. The room was less than advertised on NCL site as her company bought a block of rooms.  We decided on an ocean view room.  The inside cabin makes me a little nervous that it’ll be too dark and claustrophobic.  Anyone stay in them before?  What’s your opinion?  I feel we’ll be out most of the time from the room. It’s a big savings...$600

 

 

I have stayed in an inside cabin before and on this exact cruise.  I didnt spend much time in the cabin as there was so much to do on the islands and you were able to be out at night.  You should be fine.  

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On 3/13/2019 at 1:31 PM, Cruiser1862 said:

Thank You for responses. Our travel agent gave us $75 OBC along with the NCL freebies they’re offering now. The gratuities for the specialty meals is about $31. The room was less than advertised on NCL site as her company bought a block of rooms.  We decided on an ocean view room.  The inside cabin makes me a little nervous that it’ll be too dark and claustrophobic.  Anyone stay in them before?  What’s your opinion?  I feel we’ll be out most of the time from the room. It’s a big savings...$600

 

We have sailed in ocean view cabins before and they do have a great advantage over the inside cabins - the natural light you can get by leaving the curtains open. I think it's a great choice to save money, especially if you like to have sunlight wake you up instead of the alarm clock.

 

Being in port every day means you aren't really going to hang out in your cabin much. Being in Hawai'i means you will (probably) have good enough weather to easily catch all the sights from deck as you cruise past.

 

I think this will be a great cruise for you guys! Happy 60th!

 

 

 

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