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Tips for a new cruiser (please dont yell at me :0)


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Ok so I am freshly divorced and me and my daughter are finally going to achieve one of my bucket list items. After 21 years of marriage I'm ready to enjoy life :0) 

 

I understand this topic is probably everywhere but wanted to chat with yall and see what kind of ticks or hacks you all use :0) 

We are doing a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise. Balcony room on the Bliss. I am a diet coke junky so am I allowed soda? Can you buy it? Any savings tips yall know. Excursions etc. I do have the 5 free thingy majigs if that matters. 

 

Cant wait to see what yall have to say and what interesting tips you will share. Have a good eve :0)

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The Bliss is a beautiful ship with lots to do at night. Keep moving. See it all. Enjoy life. 
 

As pointed out, NCL has a contract with Pepsi. So it’s going to be Diet Pepsi for you. 
 

While do it your self shire excursions are cheaper, use NCL excursions for your first time cruise. A lot less stressful letting someone else worry about touring a foreign country. 
 

Show and dining reservations open 120 prior to departure. Try to make reservation as soon as it opens. Good times will sell out fast. 
 

To give you an example of NCL life, the link below is to our recent trip on the Encore, the Bliss’ sister. 

 

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46 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

The Bliss is a beautiful ship with lots to do at night. Keep moving. See it all. Enjoy life. 
 

As pointed out, NCL has a contract with Pepsi. So it’s going to be Diet Pepsi for you. 
 

While do it your self shire excursions are cheaper, use NCL excursions for your first time cruise. A lot less stressful letting someone else worry about touring a foreign country. 
 

Show and dining reservations open 120 prior to departure. Try to make reservation as soon as it opens. Good times will sell out fast. 
 

To give you an example of NCL life, the link below is to our recent trip on the Encore, the Bliss’ sister. 

 

Thank you for the link I'm already reading and enjoying your posts. The first set of pics with the ship ready to go are awesome. 

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8 minutes ago, waterjock said:

The soda package is great value if your a soda junky. What ever you can not book on line before the cruise. You can book the first day on board at the social club on deck six 

So you have to get it on board? Do you know off hand the cost? 

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2 hours ago, Kclovesken said:

Ok so I am freshly divorced and me and my daughter are finally going to achieve one of my bucket list items. After 21 years of marriage I'm ready to enjoy life :0) 

 

I understand this topic is probably everywhere but wanted to chat with yall and see what kind of ticks or hacks you all use :0) 

We are doing a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise. Balcony room on the Bliss. I am a diet coke junky so am I allowed soda? Can you buy it? Any savings tips yall know. Excursions etc. I do have the 5 free thingy majigs if that matters. 

 

Cant wait to see what yall have to say and what interesting tips you will share. Have a good eve :0)

Since you didn't mention your child's age..... I'm not 100% sure of NCL's policy concerning single parent travel so it may be worth calling.... 

 

Most cruise lines do not require a child travel consent form if a child is traveling with only one parent. However, if parent and child do not share a last name, many lines do require you to bring your child's passport and birth certificate as legal proof that you're related. Some cruise lines, such as Princess and Holland America, require children cruising with only one parent to provide a passport, even on closed-loop, round trip U.S. sailings where a birth certificate is otherwise acceptable travel documentation. (This is for emergency situations in which families might need to be debarked in a foreign country.) It's always a good idea for adoptive parents, legal guardians and separated or divorced parents to bring copies of legal documents showing their status, as a precaution.

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Embarkation day lunch - The Local or Taste/Savor.  The Observation Lounge also has some light fare if you don't want a full meal.

Regarding the OL - DON'T MISS IT!  Deck 15, forward 1/3 of the ship.

The Waterfront is a great place to lounge outside but somewhat away from crowds.

Six was really good

 

Lots of other threads on this ship, skim the forum, read them, lots of info already out there.

 

It wasn't really explicitly covered - you are not allowed to carry on ANY beverages, soda or water.  The only exception is wine, for which you pay a $15 per bottle corkage fee.  I bring my own refillable water bottles and fill up in my cabin.

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A couple of things to make your room a bit more comfortable. Depending on your cabin type, there may not be any drawers. I highly recommend bringing some collapsible cubes to place on the shelves in the closet to use as drawers for small items like socks and underwear. I was able to buy these at our local dollar store and have used them on 7 cruises. They fit perfectly on the shelves in the balcony/mini-suite closets on the Bliss:

 

WHxhamWG-P-APahrFOkjYXN15iqnZvGgtIdfZyUp

 

They fit perfectly on the shelves in the balcony/mini-suite closets on the Bliss.

 

More recently I bought a collapsible laundry basket from Amazon to keep on the floor in the closet. It also fits perfectly in a balcony/mini-suite closet on the Bliss. It has two compartments, which is great for keeping your laundry separate if you have a travel companion, but the divider can be removed if you just want all your laundry to end up in the same place:

 

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N2380FY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

813Vx1yM1AL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

Since this stuff is all collapsible, it fits easily into my suitcase.

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Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • Meals in three main dining rooms, as well as at The Local pub and the Garden Cafe buffet; also Continental room service breakfast
  • Main theater entertainment
  • Most daily activities, unless otherwise noted
  • Onboard fitness center (excluding most scheduled fitness classes)
  • Use of water slides, the sports court and mini-golf
  • Splash Academy Kids programming, except for late-night and mealtime supervision

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Daily gratuities ($15 per person, per day for anyone staying in a standard stateroom; $18 per person, per day for those staying in The Haven, or any suite or Concierge cabin)
  • All drinks except water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices from the buffet
  • Most specialty dining
  • An auto-gratuity of 20 percent on beverage, spa and salon purchases, as well as all specialty dining reservations
  • A $9.95 room service fee (waived for suite guests and continental breakfast orders)
  • Spa and salon treatments and services
  • Most fitness classes
  • Entry to the spa's thermal suite
  • Use of the ship's go-kart race track and laser tag arena
  • Activities including alcohol tastings, select arts and crafts classes, bingo and the Deal or No Deal gameshow
  • Shore excursions
  • Late-night programming and mealtime supervision at the Splash Academy kids club
  • Wi-Fi access and packages
  • Photos and artwork
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After being on 32 cruises I have learned  to NOT overpack!!! 

I don't use any cubes, hanging racks. There are shelves and cabinets in the cabin besides a closet. 

Toss your socks and underwear on a shelf. 

 

 

PUT SUITCASES UNDER THE BED, after you have unpacked EVERYTHING> 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, drumming cruisers said:

After being on 32 cruises I have learned  to NOT overpack!!! 

I don't use any cubes, hanging racks. There are shelves and cabinets in the cabin besides a closet. 

Toss your socks and underwear on a shelf. 

 

 

PUT SUITCASES UNDER THE BED, after you have unpacked EVERYTHING> 

 

 

 

I disagree about the cubes (I like to keep things tidy), but definitely agree about the not overpacking! I fit all of my belongings (including the cubes and hamper) in one carry-on sized wheelie bag and one backpack for a 7-day sailing. OP, you can cut down on space a lot by not bringing a ton of shoes... not sure what some people bring so many shoes! At the most, I will bring:

 

  • One pair of walking/running shoes (only if I am doing walking-intensive ports and I wear these shoes on my feet for embarkation/debarkation since they tend to be the bulkiest).
  • One pair of sneakers as my general wearing around the ship and light walking shoes.
  • One pair of sandals that I can wear with dresses when I want to "dress up" and wear with my swimwear for the hot tub or spa.

For clothing, try to bring light items that don't wrinkle easily.

 

Also, you can "check" your bags with the porter at the cruise terminal entrance. No need to lug them around with you until rooms are ready. Just keep in mind that they may not be delivered to your room until the evening. I always keep my backpack with me for embarkation instead of checking it and I keep my medications and electronics, as well as my cruise documents, passport, cash, etc. I'll usually put one change of clothes in there as well as swimwear, just in case my main suitcase does get lost or misplaced.

 

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16 hours ago, waterjock said:

The soda package is great value if your a soda junky. What ever you can not book on line before the cruise. You can book the first day on board at the social club on deck six 

 

Actually, I've always been able to book this in advance.  I just checked and it appears as an option for my Feb 2021 cruise too.  It's on My NCL, under the Beverage Packages and Venues. 

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I will double down on the just book everything through NCL.  Once you get the lay of the land and get the ports and off/on the ship it is worth the peace of mind to have NCL and their contract to make sure you are where you need to be when you need to be.  🙂

 

You can always skip the free bonuses, the dinners and drink package are free but will add on gratuity.  Many people whine that these are not truly free, but most people get the cost and have no problem with it.  But to eliminate a few hundred on the cost, just get Free wifi (250 minutes) and $50 excursion credit.   If you don't think you will eat or drink the extras.

 

The buffet is always open, the drinks that are included is tea, some fruit drinks and water (non-bottled)  There are also some restaurants that are included, O' Sheehan's and just found out breakfast at Margaritaville.

 

Otherwise, try everything they have to offer to include the restaurants and drinks.  Didn't mention your daughters age, but assuming if over 18, she could drink and gamble as well.  Although passport is really recommended, just need a state ID and birth certificate to actually cruise.  If major injury you will have issues flying home from foreign airport, but an injury like that and that might be the least of your worries.  Some of these are cost savings, all are personal recommendations. 

 

I will say, once you get Balcony you will never go lower....LOL...

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You might laugh, but I what I tell first-time cruisers is something I learned on my first cruse 20-some years ago - pack enough underwear!   In a hot climate, after sightseeing or sunbathing on deck, you will want to get cleaned up for dinner, even though you don't need to get dressed up on NCL.   Gotta have clean underwear after a shower.  

 

Also, while you don't need to carry a purse around the ship, you might like to have a tote bag of some for sunscreen, reading glasses, room key, phone or camera, sunglasses, book or e-reader, comb, whatever you want handy so as not to have to return to your cabin for something.  If you don't need to have a lot with you, a small wristlet may work.   If you plan beach excursions, a tote bag big enough for a beach towel comes in handy.   

 

Have a wonderful cruise.  

 

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16 hours ago, AtlantaAlly said:

If you have the 5 free offers, soda is included and you don’t need to buy an additional package.

 

how old is your daughter? That will help us guide you a bit. Bliss is awesome and you’re bound to have fun!

She is 21 so we are kinda celebrating both milestones:0) 

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24 minutes ago, Megalyn said:

 

Actually, I've always been able to book this in advance.  I just checked and it appears as an option for my Feb 2021 cruise too.  It's on My NCL, under the Beverage Packages and Venues. 

Ok wow I will download that and get started planning. 

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1 hour ago, drumming cruisers said:

After being on 32 cruises I have learned  to NOT overpack!!! 

I don't use any cubes, hanging racks. There are shelves and cabinets in the cabin besides a closet. 

Toss your socks and underwear on a shelf. 

 

 

PUT SUITCASES UNDER THE BED, after you have unpacked EVERYTHING> 

 

 

 

I agree with you. OP with two people in the cabin.  You really don't need to have all the organizational doo dads.  There is plenty of storage room on the Bliss for everything you bring.  Oh...unless you bring three suitcases each.  haha...…

 

The only extra organizational thingy that I bring (even on land vaca's) is a bathroom organizer.  It hangs in you bathroom and holds everything.  Mine is LL Bean and has served me well. But there are other brands out there.

Edited by AmyJA
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36 minutes ago, Mikiejag said:

The buffet is always open, the drinks that are included is tea, some fruit drinks and water (non-bottled)  There are also some restaurants that are included, O' Sheehan's and just found out breakfast at Margaritaville.

 

The buffet is not always open, but it is always open at meal times. The OP is going on the Bliss, so it has The Local, instead of O'sheehan's. It is open 24/7, though there is a bit of downtime when they switch over from breakfast to lunch. Also, Margaritaville on the Bliss is NOT open at breakfast anymore.

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A few other cruise hacks I've picked up on -  a universal adapter with USB slots is a great help.  Limited outlets are available, so with the adapter you can use the European outlet to charge phone/watch/tablet without interfering with the need for curling iron, etc.

 

Magnets - and particularly magnet hooks.  I haven't been on the Bliss yet, but I've found the closets on other ships too short for maxi dresses.  A strong magnet hook lets me hang them on a wall up near the ceiling so it isn't an issue.

 

Yoga mat strap!  It can be used to essentially give your beach towel a handle.  Frees up a ton of space in your tote bag.

 

Water bottle.  There are plenty of places to get beverages on the ship, but they can all seem far away when you are relaxed and don't want to get up.  With a 24 oz bottle I could stay tucked in a nook with my book much longer.

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35 minutes ago, Megalyn said:

a universal adapter with USB slots is a great help

As a hint - I use one of these I picked this one since it's most similar to what I have since I have devices that charge with USB-C, but there are other versions with just regular USB.  Ignore the "surge protected", the resident chief engineer on the boards says they're fine if they don't have a 3-prong plug (they don't).

 

Also look into these - https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cruise+luggage+tag&ref=nb_sb_noss_2  They'll milk you for all you have by selling them cruise-line specific (making you think you need one for each cruise line), but get the biggest ones and they should fit all lines and get one for each bag (including carry-on, just in case).  I had to collect my bag at guest services on my first cruise because it had lost both the RCI tag AND the regular luggage tag between the curb and the ship.  The ones I have fit the RCI tags correctly but the NCL ones are a tight fit.  That makes it MUCH easier to put your tags on your luggage since you don't have to deal with tape or staples and it's more secure on the bag.  Also, while discussing luggage tags, do NOT put them on until you get to the embarkation city if you're flying in!!

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