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Total NCL Newbie....

Cruise Junky

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Hi, we've done six cruises so far, non on NCL. We're about to book the Pride of America for April next year. I only know two people who've cruised NCL, one couple hated it (they're snobs) and one couple loved it. So, there's no Casino right? (probably a good thing). Any time dining, casual dress? did I read that right, Formal Night is optional? how do they do that? Any other NCL tips I should know about? I've heard Port cabins are better for Hawaii, but there doesn't seem to be any available for our dates :(


Any tips are welcome, thanks.

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Since you're a total NCL newbie, you may not be aware that the Pride of America is an NCLA ship, not NCL. I'm new to the crusing thing but have found several threads regarding the differences of the 2 lines. Do a search and read up. The biggest difference seems to be the service. NCLA ships are staffed by Americans and NCL ships have international staffs and are apparently more willing to go the extra mile.


Since you'll be going to Hawaii I wouldn't give a rat's arse about service. I'd be savoring each port for weeks so nothing would bother me if I had a clean bed and hot shower.

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The other big difference is the Freestyle dining;.


Here is a quick synopsis of Freestyle Dining:


I love Freestyle and that is why I only cruise on NCL.


Freestyle is all about your choice. Freestyle gives you the choice to eat WHEN you want, with WHO you want, WHERE you want, and HOW you want.


1.) You do not have assigned dining times. You can go the main restaurants anytime that they are open (5:30-9:30) and simply tell them how many of you there are and they will seat you, just like a shoreside restaurant. Unless you are a large group, you cannot make reservations in the main dining rooms. Sometimes this can cause you to wait a few minutes (usually less than 20) for a table if you dine during the peak hours of 6:30-8:00.


2.) You do have to make reservations for the Specialty Restaurants and most of them have a cover charge of $10-20 per person. (but that is only for the entree, you can have as many apetizers, salads, sides and desserts that you want.). You can make these for the entire week when you board. Not all specialty restaurants have a cover charge (LaTrattatoria for example) but all require reservations.


3.) You do not have assigned tablemates. You can dine with just your family or perhaps the friends you met that day. They have tables from 2 people to 10 people. You can also request to be seated with new people if you like. You usually do not have the same waiters each night, but you can request them!


4.) You can dress as you like. (within limits) All formal nights on all NCL ships are OPTIONAL in all dining venues. You do not have to dress up and can still eat anywhere. On formal night, only about 40% of the passengers will dress up and that will range from tuxes to shirt/tie. The other 60% will be in resort casual. (the 40% drops to about 30% dressed up on the Hawaiin cruises since Hawaiian attire is also an acceptable dress.)


With that said, you do have to dress in at least Resort Casual every night to dine in the restaurants. Resort casual simply means no shorts, jeans or t-shirts. Polo shirts, sun dresses, kahkis, and sneakers are all perfectly acceptable! I have never worn any more than a polo shirt, kahkis and sneakers to any meal on five NCL cruises! You will not feel out of place! The best part...the chance to dress as you feel comfortable.

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Since you'll be going to Hawaii I wouldn't give a rat's arse about service. I'd be savoring each port for weeks so nothing would bother me if I had a clean bed and hot shower.


Love the rats arse comment. That's basically how I feel. For this trip, we're restricted to 7 days, don't want to do the Caribbean as we're leaving in three weeks for a 14 day caribbean cruise, so it basically leaves Mexican Riviera which we've already done. Can't think of anything better than cruising the Hawaiian Islands.


Thanks everyone for your help!

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