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Norwegian Newbie (few questions)

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So I am a Norwegian Newbie and will be booking my first today for the Epic. I have only sailed Royal so I have a million questions running through my head.

 

Right now the first two that stick out are:

- can I add prepaid gratuities like on royal so I dont have to worry about them while on the cruise?

 

- are there formal nights?

 

And if you can think of any useful, need to know info for a newbie please share!

 

Thanks!

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So I am a Norwegian Newbie and will be booking my first today for the Epic. I have only sailed Royal so I have a million questions running through my head.

 

 

 

Right now the first two that stick out are:

 

- can I add prepaid gratuities like on royal so I dont have to worry about them while on the cruise?

 

 

 

- are there formal nights?

 

 

 

And if you can think of any useful, need to know info for a newbie please share!

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Yes and yes.

 

Have you researched the rooms and bathroom layouts on Epic?

 

 

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So I am a Norwegian Newbie and will be booking my first today for the Epic. I have only sailed Royal so I have a million questions running through my head.

 

 

 

Right now the first two that stick out are:

 

- can I add prepaid gratuities like on royal so I dont have to worry about them while on the cruise?

 

 

 

- are there formal nights?

 

 

 

And if you can think of any useful, need to know info for a newbie please share!

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

You can prepay the service charge. Just tell them (or your TA) when you book and it will be added to your final payment.

 

There are no formal nights. Some people mention “Norwegian night out” as being similar to a formal night, but it really is just a photo opportunity (of which there are many others during the cruise).

 

 

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- can I add prepaid gratuities like on royal so I dont have to worry about them while on the cruise?

Yes. I'm not sure if it's during booking the cruise, or right after when the cruise shows up on your login, but there is an option to pre-pay gratuities. I think the only time you can't is when you are within 30 days of sailing or something like that.

 

- are there formal nights?

Not really. There are nightly parties. One of which is "Dress Up or Not". Some people do wear suits and evening gowns as there are a lot of photographers around on this evening with various back drops. Others stick with their shorts and flip flops. Totally up to you.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

See above

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yes, you can prepay your gratuities. There are no formal nights.

 

 

 

Every NCL Cruise I’ve been on has had a designated formal night with tons of photographers set up through out the nail for photos... it’s it required or expected, just offered. But they do have formal nights.

 

 

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Every NCL Cruise I’ve been on has had a designated formal night with tons of photographers set up through out the nail for photos... it’s it required or expected, just offered. But they do have formal nights.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

 

It is very far from being a formal night, in my opinion.

 

If it wasn’t mentioned in the freestyle daily then I wouldn’t even know which night it is. The photographers are usually set up for photos on most nights.

 

 

 

 

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Dress code on NCL is very relaxed, it's pretty much wear what you want, including evenings. There are a couple of specialty restaurants that require long pants on men, but most places you can wear shorts to dinner if you choose. There is usually an optional dress up night, numbers of those who dress fancier varies from cruise to cruise but there is certainly no requirement to do so.

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Yes and yes.

 

Have you researched the rooms and bathroom layouts on Epic?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

 

I briefly looked at the room layouts in a video. It will be a change for sure going from bathrooms that have everything in one closed room like normal bathrooms :)

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Every NCL Cruise I’ve been on has had a designated formal night with tons of photographers set up through out the nail for photos... it’s it required or expected, just offered. But they do have formal nights.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

It is not a formal night. It is called dress up or not night. Yes there are photographers around. They will take your picture if you are dressed up. They will take your picture if you are wearing shorts. This is not a formal night. Formal nights on most lines require one to be dressed up to eat in the dining rooms. This is not the case on NCL.

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Dress code on NCL is very relaxed, it's pretty much wear what you want, including evenings. There are a couple of specialty restaurants that require long pants on men, but most places you can wear shorts to dinner if you choose. There is usually an optional dress up night, numbers of those who dress fancier varies from cruise to cruise but there is certainly no requirement to do so.

 

 

Wow ok, it will be much easier to pack then :)

 

thanks!

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It is not a formal night. It is called dress up or not night. Yes there are photographers around. They will take your picture if you are dressed up. They will take your picture if you are wearing shorts. This is not a formal night. Formal nights on most lines require one to be dressed up to eat in the dining rooms. This is not the case on NCL.

 

I just got off a royal cruise last week and I would say those who dress up and those who do not on formal nights now is about 50/50. Its no longer strictly enforced and you can eat in the main dinning rooms now even if you are not dressed up.

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There has only been a "dress up or not" night on a couple of the cruises that I've been on in the last few years. These tend to be on longer cruises. I haven't seen one on a 7 night cruise for years.

 

It has generally been replaced by "norwegian night out". There is sometimes not even a mention of dress in the details about norwegian night out.

Edited by KeithJenner

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So r u saying men can wear shorts every night in the dining rooms? What about shirts..must they be collared?

 

 

Shorts and non collared shirts are allowed in most places. Basically everywhere except Le Bistro and, on most ships, the aft main dining room. I can never remember whether or not they are allowed in Ocean Blue and Bayado, as I’ve never eaten there.

 

 

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Just got off the Epic about 2 weeks ago now. I've been posting a summary from each day of our adventures, so you may find some helpful info in that thread. That was our first time on NCL and I learned a ton of stuff from looking through all the posts here on CC.

 

On several nights towards the end of our trip (Rome embarkation, which would have been near the beginning of the trip for those getting on in Barcelona) there were a bunch of people dressed to the nines waiting for pictures with the captain or just general fancy photos of their family. By no means is it a requirement to do this, we certainly were not about to pack fancy schmancy clothes for just a single night of a 15 day trip, but if you like fancy photos go for it. There were also families taking photos with regular vacation clothes on too, so whatever suits your fancy works on the Epic.

 

The only restaurant we were turned away from was the Manhattan Room because hubby was in shorts. He had to run upstairs and put on pants. This dining room though offers identical food to the other complementary sit down restaurant - Taste. So the only reason we saw for going to one vs the other is if we were already wearing pants or not. The food is the same, and dress code is only enforced for men for some odd reason.

 

We only ate at one premium restaurant, and there was no dress code there at Teppanyaki.

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Just got off the Epic about 2 weeks ago now. I've been posting a summary from each day of our adventures, so you may find some helpful info in that thread. That was our first time on NCL and I learned a ton of stuff from looking through all the posts here on CC.

 

On several nights towards the end of our trip (Rome embarkation, which would have been near the beginning of the trip for those getting on in Barcelona) there were a bunch of people dressed to the nines waiting for pictures with the captain or just general fancy photos of their family. By no means is it a requirement to do this, we certainly were not about to pack fancy schmancy clothes for just a single night of a 15 day trip, but if you like fancy photos go for it. There were also families taking photos with regular vacation clothes on too, so whatever suits your fancy works on the Epic.

 

The only restaurant we were turned away from was the Manhattan Room because hubby was in shorts. He had to run upstairs and put on pants. This dining room though offers identical food to the other complementary sit down restaurant - Taste. So the only reason we saw for going to one vs the other is if we were already wearing pants or not. The food is the same, and dress code is only enforced for men for some odd reason.

 

We only ate at one premium restaurant, and there was no dress code there at Teppanyaki.

Awesome thanks

 

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To The OP: You already gotten answers to your two questions.

 

Just wanted to let you know that before you go on the cruise, to be sure to:

 

1.) Find your roll call and to join the meet and greet.

2.) Read forums/threads on here about Epic/read other people review/ask any questions you have

3.) On the cruise - if you like trivia questions - NCL have these and would give out activity cards. Toward the end of the cruise, NCL will list the time/place on the NCL Daily Newsletter to let cruisers know where to redeem for prizes (NCL pen/shirt).

4.) To book ahead with dining if you selected the dining specialty promotion.

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So I am a Norwegian Newbie and will be booking my first today for the Epic. I have only sailed Royal so I have a million questions running through my head.

 

Right now the first two that stick out are:

- can I add prepaid gratuities like on royal so I dont have to worry about them while on the cruise?

 

- are there formal nights?

 

And if you can think of any useful, need to know info for a newbie please share!

 

Thanks!

you can add the gratuities prior to sailing. No, there are no actual formal nights, but the second night is formal, optional. Yo will see almost no tuxes. I don't think I have seen one in yeas: very few long dresses dresses but there will be a lot of people in after 5 type of dress. Most who are dressed up want to have a formal picture taken. that is part of the reason for dressing up a little more.

 

What else would you like to know? Of course you already know I am guessing, one of the big sellers for NCL is the total open dining in the main dining rooms. Of course dining in the specialty dining rooms do require a reservation. Another difference between RCI and NCL, the dining choices. Otherwise, most mass marketed lines are going to be similar. The Epic, I will add is a bit different in the design of the cabins. We haven't sailed RCI in a few years, but when we did we found the service better on NCL. This is strictly a matter of opinion and probably the luck of the draw.

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OP...thanks for opening this dialogue. We are also relatively new to NCL (having only sailed on POA some 8 years ago). I had similar questions as you and the folks answering cleared up a few unknowns. Our upcoming cruises (2) are both on NCL...Jewel out of Seward and Bliss out of NYC, so I have been scouring the CC NCL boards for info. I am still a bit confused on a couple of items...We have the UBP and am I understanding that water and soda are not included? Is there anything else we may order that might surprise us as not covered by the UBP? I see alot of people talking about "bidding" for upgrades. How does this work? Are some or all of the specialty restaurants open for lunch on sea days...how about port days? Does NCL still do the White Hot Party? Thanks in advance...I will probably have more questions as time passes. Julie

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OP...thanks for opening this dialogue. We are also relatively new to NCL (having only sailed on POA some 8 years ago). I had similar questions as you and the folks answering cleared up a few unknowns. Our upcoming cruises (2) are both on NCL...Jewel out of Seward and Bliss out of NYC, so I have been scouring the CC NCL boards for info. I am still a bit confused on a couple of items...We have the UBP and am I understanding that water and soda are not included? Is there anything else we may order that might surprise us as not covered by the UBP? I see alot of people talking about "bidding" for upgrades. How does this work? Are some or all of the specialty restaurants open for lunch on sea days...how about port days? Does NCL still do the White Hot Party? Thanks in advance...I will probably have more questions as time passes. Julie

Fountain soda is included with the beverage plan. Bottled water and bottled or canned soda is not. White hot party is now the glow party and still held on most sailings.

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White hot party is now the glow party and still held on most sailings.

 

 

It is still called white hot on some (I think most) ships. As a rough guide, it is usually white hot on older ships and glow on newer ones.

 

I have a feeling (but can’t remember for sure) that it is called something else on the Bliss.

 

 

 

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OP...thanks for opening this dialogue. We are also relatively new to NCL (having only sailed on POA some 8 years ago). I had similar questions as you and the folks answering cleared up a few unknowns. Our upcoming cruises (2) are both on NCL...Jewel out of Seward and Bliss out of NYC, so I have been scouring the CC NCL boards for info. I am still a bit confused on a couple of items...

I see alot of people talking about "bidding" for upgrades. How does this work? You will receive an invitation by email to bid for an upgrade. Also, check in your "mail" on MyNCL (your booking). We attempted to bid but did not win. It may have been that we booked the sailaway rate and got upgraded to a very nice room that costs twice what we could have received. No one can really tell you the details or the success rate of bidding because it varies so much on each sailing and the category. You may find out rather early that your bid is accepted or perhaps just two days before your sailing date. You can modify or drop your bid entirely.

 

Are some or all of the specialty restaurants open for lunch on sea days...how about port days? Once again, this varies with the sailing. The large, main dining room is usually open on sea and port days. Few specialty restaurants are open for lunch. Some specialty restaurants are used as breakfast and lunch restaurants for the suites and Haven people. Once again, this varies somewhat with the ship.

 

Does NCL still do the White Hot Party? IMHO, the White Hot Parties used to be more spectacular. Now they are sometimes called Glow parties, but it was back to the White Hot Party on our April 2018 sailing. They are sometimes held outside (like on the Getaway) or inside in the Spinnaker Lounge. Rain forced the party to the Manhattan room on the Getaway, but it had to be delayed because the staff was still cleaning up from dinner. A few years back, the White Hot Party started in the Atrium and paraded to the lounges.

You will find that the quality or features of these parties vary with the individual ships and the quality of the Cruise Director and his/her staff.

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Is there anything else we may order that might surprise us as not covered by the UBP? I see alot of people talking about "bidding" for upgrades. How does this work?

In O'sheehans, we had to pay extra for an egg cream that my MIL wanted at lunch one day. Also the UBP covers drinks up to $15 - so one night we had a glass of dessert ice wine that was $17.50. Our bill charged to the cabin was just the difference, so $2.50. Specialty coffee is also excluded, as are milkshakes and various other little things.

 

But generally speaking, a glass of anything alcoholic is covered up to the $15 with you paying anything beyond that, as is all cups of water & soda & juice.

 

Bidding is a whole different beast. There are tons of posts about the topic which may be more helpful than me. I believe when you get to within 80 days of your sailing you will receive the email inviting you to bid. You can bid on rooms up to 2 tiers higher than what you are currently booked in. So if you're in an inside cabin, you can bid on window & balcony. If you're in a balcony room, you can bid on mini-suite & Haven. This is a way to possibly upgrade you cabin, but at a discount from if you had booked it outright.

 

They tell you the minimum bid required to even be considered (which will vary based on where you are and where you're trying to go), and they show you a sliding scale which tells you how strong of a bid you are putting in. There are a ton of factors that go into whether your bid is accepting, the biggest I think is what cruise you are on. If you're on a sold out ship during a popular travel time to a popular destination, even with a maxed out bid your chances may be low. If you're traveling in a non-peak time to a non-peak location with a ship that isn't sold out, you can snag some good bargains from what I've read on these boards.

 

For comparison, I was on the Epic Mediterranean May 9th sailing. Ship looked like it was mostly sold out and this sailing is unique because it has a split embarkation between Rome & Barcelona. Needless to say, my "very strong" bid of over $2500/pp didn't win me any upgrades. That same bid on a different sailing may have easily gotten me the owners suite. So it really all depends on your sailing.

 

The other downside to bidding that people need to be aware of is that you have zero control in which cabin number you are assigned. So if you want a particular room or a particular side of the ship, or a particular floor... don't bid. You get what they have left over in the category you bid for. So that one bad balcony room with a partial obstruction.... yup, you're probably getting that one. You are only guaranteed a room in the specific class/category, but you get no say as to which room that is if you win your bid. At the same time, being able to move from an inside to a balcony for just $50/pp is a no brainer, even with a partial obstructed view.

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