JanJ & KenJ's First Cruise - NCL Trip Report

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JanJ & KenJ's First Cruise - NCL Trip Report

Hi folks,

Well, I thought I'd start a thread about our upcoming Caribbrean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines ship Getaway. This is obviously not a Disney related trip but I figured some might be interested anyway.

This will be our very first time on a cruise ship. To be honest, I'm a bit apprehensive about stuff like sea-sickness and norovirus and all that. But hey, I figure we at least have to try cruising once to see if we are "cruisers" or not.

So, we'll be hitting Miami port on April 12th and getting onboard this fine ship:

The cruise will be in the Eastern Caribbean and we'll be hitting the ports of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau.

I'm also a bit concerned that we are flying to Florida the day we are to sail as most advice I've read suggests flying the day before. But flights were WAY more expensive if we were to do that. Don't you just love the crazy pricing of airline tickets?

So, our flight is scheduled to get into Fort Lauderdale at 11:30 am. and the ship sails at 4:00 pm. We've arranged for ground transfers with the cruise line so hopefully nothing will get delayed.

Anyhow, I'll post some pics in this thread eventually once we get underway. I may not be able to do much posting during the actual trip since I understand internet access on a cruise ship is both expensive and very slow.

Would be interested to hear any advice from experienced cruisers for first timers like us! awesome

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Hope you two enjoy! Will be waiting for the trip report.

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Have a great trip Ken & Jan !! a couple of words you might hear alot HAPPY HAPPY WASHY WASHY laugh

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Have a great time guys! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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That's a pretty ship. I hope you have a wonderful time. And of course we all want to hear about it.

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Thanks everyone! One thing I'm really looking forward to is signing up for a behind the scenes tour of the ship. You even get to visit the bridge! I'm hoping the engine room too but we'll see.

I'm fairly impressed so far with NCL as they seem very "online friendly". You can book pretty much everything ahead of time.

The have a cool app that allows you access to lots of stuff once on the ships wireless network.

But right now it shows this really nice countdown timer. Watching the seconds tick by. LOL.

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yay yay have fun!

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yay clapping clapping
Only 20 days to go. You will soon be sailing into the sunset!

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Really looking forward to hearing about your experience!

We have cruised to St. Martin and St. Thomas with RC and loved it.

Things to know about cruising:

Unlike DCL, you cannot take any alcohol aboard ship. Be prepared to drop some $ if you guys are big drinkers. We had a bottle of wine each night at dinner and the bottles ranged from $35 - $75. Beer is outrageously expensive!

I am sure soda isn't included either, another problem you don't encounter on a DC...lol I think you can buy those refill mugs for like $20. I don't really drink that much soda so we purchased one and if I wanted some, I'd just poor from my DH's mug into a plastic cup from the pool area.

I highly recommend a couple's massage. We've had one on RC and DCL and it is worth the money. It's relaxing and wonderful. If you do any extra activities on board, make reservations ASAP. That stuff fills up so fast!

Are you late or early dinner? Flex dinner?
We usually eat later because less kids are in the dining hall and we can stay ashore longer when in port instead of rushing back for food.

Take advantage of eating breakfast in the dining hall rather than buffet. IMO, it's better and you are actually served.

St. Martin - One side of the island is French, the other is Dutch. If you venture to the French side, be prepared to pay more for food, etc. bc of the EURO....although it may be different for Canadians...I don't know what the exchange rate is you guys, but it is more expensive for US Citizens.

We ate a 4 star restaurant literally on the beach. You eat in open air huts. I had twisted swordfish with grilled mahi-mahi. EXCELLENT. Check out the flavoring restaurants.

We booked excursions through the cruise and they were great. We went Kayaking and diving in turtle cove. Turtle Cove is awesome and we went on a real pirate ship, called Doubloon Dolphin...Their motto: "The Liver is Evil and Must be Punished"...yea free booze are included, mixed drinks, beer....Women were getting fake tats on their boobs...it was awesome. lol It was def. a party. Plus, turtle cove is awesome!!!!

That is all I remember this second, let me see if I can find pics!

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Wow, thanks for all that info and the pics Eeyore! awesome

That's interesting that Disney allows you to bring alcohol onboard. Good to know for the future as I imagine we'd like to cruise with DCL if our first trip goes well. Yeah, soda is also not included unless we purchase the "soda package" which includes all sodas for $6.50 per day. Still thinking about that one.

The dining on NCL is "freestyle". There are no fixed dining times. Like you, we prefer to eat later to avoid all the kids. I've read that the restaurants are the busiest over the traditional 6:00 dinner hour.

They have 7 "specialty" restaurants onboard where they charge a cover to get in. So far, we've only booked one of those to celebrate Jan's birthday on the 13th. It's a steakhouse called Cagney's and has excellent reviews.

Thanks for pointing out the expenses on shore too. NCL offers Canadians everything at par with the US dollar if you book it ahead of time. In fact, our actual cruise cost was the same in US or Canadian. But everything we purchase on board will be on our Canadian credit card so we'll get stung with the exchange rate. Currently about $1.12 CDN to every $1.00 US.

We haven't figured out anything yet for when we're in port. But I really want to go to Maho beach in St. Maarten to see the planes landing. LOL.

Your pics are great! Looks like you have a really nice time and great weather. cool

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I love cruising! anytime I can get info on a ship/destination I'm interested. As a kid/teen we sailed mostly west coast cruises on Princess/Carnival but as an adult I've only sailed Disney. I tried talking my DW into other lines just for comparison and she is not interested...So please keep the pics/info coming.

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Ahoy mates!

Well, it's getting really close now. 8 days until the cruise. I'll definitely take LOTS of photos and some video too. I like doing live daily reports as you know, but I'm not sure that's going to work while on a cruise ship. Regardless, there will be a report shortly afterwards.

We're both really looking forward to this new experience! Like I said, if we find that we like to cruise, we'll definitely put a DCL cruise on our trip list. In fact, I'm already seriously considering adding a Disney cruise to our January 2015 WDW trip. Two weeks of Disney pleasure, half on water and half on land. Hey, it could be a Surf'n'Turf vacation!

Stay tuned!

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Have a great trip Ken and Jan..look forward to hearing about your trip (Watch those slot machines they eat money quick )

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St Johns

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Haha! Thanks for the tip Rob! I'm not much into slots or gambling. But I do enjoy the environment of a casino. The only money they'll make from will be from drinks. laugh

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RobNLyn2 wrote:
St Johns

Beautiful! Really looking forward to the warm climate and scenic landscapes.

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So lovely! I have a book on board certificate for NCL that I have to use next year and this has really inspired me.

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VelcroPooh

Yay Ken! We are doing one in September that has St. Thomas, Grand Turk, St. Maarten and San Juan...I can not wait!

We love to cruise. Ok, go today....like right now...and grab a bottle of ginger pills. They are in the vitamin section and inexpensive. They want you to get a weeks worth in you, but 5 days might do it. Also grab a bag of ginger candy. This will help with any sea sickness. I never got sick our first cruise, but a couple of times, I got a little woozy. A seasoned cruiser told me about this and now I start taking them a week before and haven't ever even got woozy again. If you do the candy (I don't like it because it's so strong and I'm not a ginger fan), you just have to start eating it the day before and the first couple of days of your cruise, three or four times a day.

We are definitely doing Maho...something off my bucket list. We found an excursion through a local, that had excellent reviews on CC and tripadvisor. It's Bernards tours and was $45 a person. It included several sightseeing stops, Orient Beach for an hour to hour and a half, a little shopping in the French capital and then Maho for the big planes. It's a 5 1/2 hour tour and well worth the cost I think. When I checked into taxis, just going to Orient and Maho would have ran us around 70ish dollars. I'm not a prude, but I think I will spit my drink out if a nude person walks by me.

St. Thomas, we are doing a Coki Beach/Coral World tour with a group that got an excellent rate. San Juan, we are going to an enclosed beach that I am dying to see for a couple of hours then exploring the Forts and Old San Juan. Grand Turk, we are just getting off the ship and staying on the beach all day.

I can't wait to see what you think of St. Maarten and St. Thomas!

Here's the video of the enclosed beach in San Juan. We cruise a lot and I've never seen anything like this.

[url]https://[/url]

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Thanks everyone! We are very excited to try this out and see some places that are new to us.

Wow VelcroPooh, that is quite the beach! I have also read about the tour of St Maartan that you are referring to and it does get high ratings. We are still undecided if we should go on our own or just do a tour. Guess we better figure that out! Also, Ken got some ginger pills today so we'll try that too. Thanks for the advice. biggrin

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I'm sure you two are going to have a ball.

VelcroPooh

JanJ wrote:
Thanks everyone! We are very excited to try this out and see some places that are new to us.

Wow VelcroPooh, that is quite the beach! I have also read about the tour of St Maartan that you are referring to and it does get high ratings. We are still undecided if we should go on our own or just do a tour. Guess we better figure that out! Also, Ken got some ginger pills today so we'll try that too. Thanks for the advice. biggrin

If you're just interested in Maho, I definitely would just do it on my own. I think I saw where it was like $8 pp, one way? So $32 versus $90, big difference. I like to see the islands and so I enjoy the tours so I can see a little bit of a place. Plus, DH and I love to snorkel, so Orient and Coki are supposed to be really good snorkel areas.

I hope the ginger pills work for you. That's the only thing I've done differently since our first cruise and no more woozy. Have a great time!

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Less than a week away!

Oh, I also wanted to add that we flew to MCO the morning our RC cruise left. Our flight left at 6:50AM and we were picked up by RC by 9:00AM and headed to port. We did fly direct though. You shouldn't have any issues getting there on time barring any bad weather. Hopefully this winter crap is behind us now.

Have fun!!!

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Thanks guys! Well, the weather forecast looks for a change so we should be able to take off on time from Toronto. So, it should be "smooth sailing". laugh

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When we went to Maho we paid $40 roundtrip. ($10 pp each way) Picked up from the port, dropped off at the beach then we just found another ride back (well, they are waiting there for you) We stayed at the beach all day sitting at Sunset Grill drinking, eating and enjoying the planes!

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"I do not like the cone of shame."

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can tell."

"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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We love sailing and we love NCL.... I already booked a cruise with them for
New England/Canada for next year...

and NCL does allow you to bring your own wine on board
(they do charge $15 per bottle for corkage fee) and you can bring
on your own soda/pop and water......

looks like you are sailing the high seas already...
so wishing you "fair winds and following seas"

yeah yeah

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We are back and had a fabulous time on the NCL Getaway! Will fill you in over the next little while and Ken will add some pictures. biggrin

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Glad you had a great time. Looking forward to hearing about it.

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awesome Glad you guys enjoyed it! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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Hi everyone!

Yep, we're back and had an AMAZING time on our first cruise. Definitely doing another one at some point. I took a lot of photos and am still sorting through them. I'll start posting more pics soon.

Here is a shot of what I was greeted with when I opened our balcony door one morning. We were approaching the island of St. Maarten just after sunrise...

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Sweet!, Glad you had fun.