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taraavo

Expected Norwegian costs - what am I forgetting?

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My husband and I have our first cruise (ever) coming up in March. As every bit of this is new to me, I am trying to make sure I understand the scope of charges, credit holds, and additional onboard expenses that we might incur so that we budget sufficiently.

1) we have UBP with gratuities

2) We have 3 nights specialty dining with gratuities

3) I have prepaid our services charges ( I think that's what it's called? It breaks down to something like $13.99 per day pp)

 

I have read that under no circumstances should we use our debit / bank card for the "hold" or authorization required when we check in (for reasons I well understand). Is a major credit card our only option? What amount can I expect them to hold for my husband and myself? I've read differing explanations of this. Some have said $300 pp and some have said $300 total for both of us. We're ultimately one "account", right? Also, is a cash deposit an option for this? and, when do we actually take care of setting this up? 

Finally, given the prepaid items I've listed above, what things would we do on the ship to cause additional charges to be incurred? Obviously eating an additional night specialty, or going to the ice bar, or ordering drinks beyond $15? Is there anything else I need to be aware of that might add up? I just want to make sure I have a grasp on all of this before we cruise so I'm not worried about it during, and so that we don't end with some unexpected or unpleasant surprise charges. Thank you all in advance.

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How exciting!   I think you've done your homework and it's a good question. 
 
Other than things that you opt into such as the casino, excursions or shopping onboard the only other thing I can think of that I ended up spending money on that I wasn't expecting was good coffee.   The coffee bar was not included in the UBP and this Seattle girl NEEDED a latte.  It was a minor expense but well worth it.  

You might consider having a stash of cash to be able to tip individuals who provide great service - i.e a favorite bartender or your cabin steward, but it isn't required (just nice).  There are some staff members that aren't included in the tip share - i.e. kid club staff and suite/haven butlers/concierge.  

You can pre-arrange your port to airport transportation and pre-pay that if you like.  

Have a great trip!

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We sailed NCL for the first time last year. We put up a $300 cash deposit total for both of us, but from what I understand we could put up whatever we wanted. We had a little bit left at the end of the cruise that I went down and picked up on the last night. We will be doing the same when we board the Epic this Saturday. We have 1 credit card for emergency use only so whenever we can use cash that is what we do.

 

It sounds like you have a good plan for having most everything paid before going. Things you don't have listed: photos-casino-shore excursions-bingo-deal or no deal-art classes-spa-wine tastings-on board shops-cruise next certificates. I'm sure I've left something off, but if any of those things interest you you will need to be prepared for that. Of course they are ALL optional.

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8 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Is a major credit card our only option?

 

No.

 

8 minutes ago, taraavo said:

What amount can I expect them to hold for my husband and myself?

 

Whatever amount that you want.

 

9 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Some have said $300 pp and some have said $300 total for both of us.

 

Those are recommendations, not mandatory at all.

 

9 minutes ago, taraavo said:

We're ultimately one "account", right?

 

You can do one account for 2 or separate accounts...your choice.

 

10 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Also, is a cash deposit an option for this?

 

Yes.

 

10 minutes ago, taraavo said:

and, when do we actually take care of setting this up? 

 

When you check-in. You can add more funds during the cruise.

 

11 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Finally, given the prepaid items I've listed above, what things would we do on the ship to cause additional charges to be incurred?

 

If you buy anything that isn't already covered such a spa treatments, souvenirs, excursions, etc.

 

You have control over what you spend. If you don't spend, you will get back whatever you put towards your account.

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Thanks for the quick replies!  Yes, good lists of reminders on the "optional" things. And we plan to have a cash-stash for tips as well. We, too, have one major credit card and I'd prefer to keep it open for emergencies. I think the cash deposit will work best for us.

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3 minutes ago, TPgal said:

 
You might consider having a stash of cash to be able to tip individuals who provide great service - i.e a favorite bartender or your cabin steward, but it isn't required (just nice).   

Include some singles in the cash stash, in case you want room service (also a minor fee.) It's nice to give the delivery person a dollar or two.

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Posted (edited)

You have everything prepaid. Avoid the temptation to spend money on other things onboard. Like going to any touristy area, everyone will be offering you “good deals” that you don’t need. 

 

Have a wonderful cruise. 

 

WARNING: Crusing can be habit forming. 

Edited by BirdTravels

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What about taxes on drinks while in port? Do they add those on ncl with ubp?

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5 minutes ago, Jachred said:

What about taxes on drinks while in port? Do they add those on ncl with ubp?

yes whilst in port you will gat taxed but its a negligible amount

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10 minutes ago, Jachred said:

What about taxes on drinks while in port? Do they add those on ncl with ubp?

 

It is only the embarkation port, when in the US, and it is whatever that state has for a tax rate.  I think FLA is 8 or 9 percent.

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Another possible expense is if any of the drinks you purchase are over the $15 limit. You will be charged the difference plus 20% of that difference.

 

If they are available, we sometimes like to do the different tastings (wine, martini, etc.). Those have an extra cost associated with them.

 

If you are on one of the larger ships, some of the shows might include an extra cost (dinner shows).

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You might want to consider medical insurance.  If you buy the travel insurance through the ship there will be coverage for medical expenses both on and off the ship.  If you don't need the travel coverage, more economical plan is to purchase short term medical trip insurance offered by dozens of companies in the U.S.  Many of these policies start at under $75 per couple.  Remember, Medicare and most medical policies do not offer any coverage if you in a foreign country or at sea more than 6 hours from a U.S. port.  If you have a medical emergency and have to be admitted to a hospital in a foreign port you will be responsible not only for the medical bills but for the trip home, as well, if you miss the ship.

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Thanks for that reminder re: insurance. I looked at some quick quotes a while back but need to finalize something!

 

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Just now, taraavo said:

Thanks for that reminder re: insurance. I looked at some quick quotes a while back but need to finalize something!

 

 

It's better to get insurance with an independent company and NOT the cruise line.  And using an independent, there is a time frame that buying insurance is allowed.  Typically it's 10 - 14 days after making the deposit on the cruise. 

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2 hours ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

 

It is only the embarkation port, when in the US, and it is whatever that state has for a tax rate.  I think FLA is 8 or 9 percent.

It's any port that requires taxes to be collected. We sailed out of NYC and stopped in Port Canaveral. Paid tax on value of drinks in both ports. It's not a huge part of the bill.

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Posted (edited)

Bottled water is not included with UBP. Room service is also an additional charge although continental breakfast is still included. 

Edited by Pauser
misspelling

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Something a lot of people don’t consider is cell phone roaming charges.  not sure about cruise ship data, but I think it is $$ and certainly using your cell to text & call/receive is.  If you are out of the US, depending on your cell phone provider, you could come home to a huge bill for international data.  I put my phone on airplane mode when I cruise, but turn on wifi and that’s all until I get back in the US.

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Thanks, all. I drink a LOT of water so we're bringing a couple of Brita filtered bottles we have to use throughout the trip. I cannot in good conscience spend what they're asking for Aquafina....which I would never choose when buying bottled water, anyway.

Re: the room service / continental breakfast, are you still charged the 7.95 delivery fee for the continental stuff or is straight up included without additional fees? I think having something to get started in the morning on the balcony sounds nice. I've also heard the coffee in the restaurants / room service is better than the in room coffee? Is there anything to that or just BS?

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14 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Re: the room service / continental breakfast, are you still charged the 7.95 delivery fee for the continental stuff or is straight up included without additional fees? I think having something to get started in the morning on the balcony sounds nice. I've also heard the coffee in the restaurants / room service is better than the in room coffee? Is there anything to that or just BS?

 

Continental breakfast is free, but limited to basic pastries, cereal, fruit, coffee. If you want Belgian waffles, eggs, etc., that’s when the delivery fee kicks in. 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, taraavo said:

Thanks, all. I drink a LOT of water so we're bringing a couple of Brita filtered bottles we have to use throughout the trip. I cannot in good conscience spend what they're asking for Aquafina....which I would never choose when buying bottled water, anyway.

Re: the room service / continental breakfast, are you still charged the 7.95 delivery fee for the continental stuff or is straight up included without additional fees? I think having something to get started in the morning on the balcony sounds nice. I've also heard the coffee in the restaurants / room service is better than the in room coffee? Is there anything to that or just BS?

 

 

No real need for Brita filters. All of the water on the ship goes through reverse osmosis and is already pure and clean.


Edit: Continental breakfast is still free through room service. In your stateroom, you should be given a few door hanger cards with little forms on them that you fill out with what you want delivered. You hang them on your door before bed and whatever you order will be delivered within the time window you specified on the card. Free items include things like cereal, yogurt, and pastries as well as beverages such as coffee, tea, and milk.

Edited by JamieLogical

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, taraavo said:

My husband and I have our first cruise (ever) coming up in March. As every bit of this is new to me, I am trying to make sure I understand the scope of charges, credit holds, and additional onboard expenses that we might incur so that we budget sufficiently.

1) we have UBP with gratuities

2) We have 3 nights specialty dining with gratuities

3) I have prepaid our services charges ( I think that's what it's called? It breaks down to something like $13.99 per day pp)

 

I have read that under no circumstances should we use our debit / bank card for the "hold" or authorization required when we check in (for reasons I well understand). Is a major credit card our only option? What amount can I expect them to hold for my husband and myself? I've read differing explanations of this. Some have said $300 pp and some have said $300 total for both of us. We're ultimately one "account", right? Also, is a cash deposit an option for this? and, when do we actually take care of setting this up? 

Finally, given the prepaid items I've listed above, what things would we do on the ship to cause additional charges to be incurred? Obviously eating an additional night specialty, or going to the ice bar, or ordering drinks beyond $15? Is there anything else I need to be aware of that might add up? I just want to make sure I have a grasp on all of this before we cruise so I'm not worried about it during, and so that we don't end with some unexpected or unpleasant surprise charges. Thank you all in advance.

 

The things that might cause you to spend additional fees are shore excursions or the spa. If you don't book any NCL shore excursions or use the spa then of course that amount is zero. You can easily leave the ship with a zero balance. I would make a total deposits of $200 and add to it if necessary.

 

As someone mentioned if you are a coffee snob you might want to pay for that. One thing you do not need is a stack of ones for use on the ship. The crew has all received their gratuities, there is no need to give them any more.

Edited by zqvol

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Here's a photo of one of the room service breakfast door hangers from the Escape in October:

 

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Thanks for the photo! I'm bringing the brita bottles because that's what we own already in terms of refillable bottles. I'm sure the water is fine, I just need a vessel ;).

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I-concierge service cost was $9.95 a device if you want that convenience.  Not required but is handy for some. 

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21 hours ago, TPgal said:

You can pre-arrange your port to airport transportation and pre-pay that if you like.  
 

Do some research on the port transportation, it's usually cheaper to use a 3rd party and not the cruise line's transfers.  (I understand TPgal wasn't saying to book transfers with NCL, I just want to make sure it's clear to OP)

 

 

57 minutes ago, zqvol said:

One thing you do not need is a stack of ones for use on the ship. The crew has all received their gratuities, there is no need to give them any more.

I agree.  I cringe when I read of people doing this.  To start handing out singles to the person who delivers you a drink, knowing that person is just doing their job and has already been paid and given a gratuity is setting us all up for the DSC becoming a true "service charge" and an expectation that we will tip all our servers and waiters and cabin attendants. 

 

That being said, if you interact with someone who truly goes above and beyond, I'm all for giving that person a gratuity, but those should be the rare exception and probably a lot more than "singles".  I'm referring to, for example,  the bartender at the bar you ended up hanging out at all week who made you that special drink you liked, to perfection - that person you might want to give something (and it will be more than just singles).  Or possibly your cabin steward if you had them doing something truly way above and beyond their expected duties.

As for other expenses, you didn't mention excursions or activities in port.  Hopefully you understand what those expenses will be.  Depending on your itinerary, you can easily spend nearly as much in the ports as you do on the cruise fare itself.

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