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First thing to do once onboard?


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On 3/25/2021 at 5:06 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

Don't forget to eat! 

Eating is definitely on the cards. I don't like to eat giant meals. I prefer to snack all day. I don't expect us in the MDR except once or twice. We will have 1 or 2 specialty restaurants on our cruises, but that is all. The rest of the time, I want to be able to lounge at a bar or somewhere with a small snack.

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9 hours ago, BoozinCroozin said:

Eating is definitely on the cards. I don't like to eat giant meals. I prefer to snack all day. I don't expect us in the MDR except once or twice. We will have 1 or 2 specialty restaurants on our cruises, but that is all. The rest of the time, I want to be able to lounge at a bar or somewhere with a small snack.

 

A good plan and be sure to remember when you are at a bar, ask about snacks that they may have available.  Most of the time, these ought to be free.  Some have an extra cost snack menu, I have been told, but have not seen these.  

 

One of the "joys" of sailing on ships of HAL has been their service of hors d'oeuvres at the Ocean Bar and Crow's Nest Bars (maybe others as well).  Some of these "goodies" are warm; some cold; some rather creative.  Peanuts should always be available; sometimes mixed nuts; sometimes Goldfish crackers; sometimes pretzels.  

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CCL allows you to take 2 bottles of wine on board on embarking. Take an opener and enjoy on balcony. Corkage fee is charged if you take it to dining room. If you purchase alcohol at other ports it will be held until night before disembark. We purchase special shipping bags for items so we can pack them in luggage

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The first things I did on my NCL cruise-

Lunch in MDR

enquire about behind the scenes tour

Take free orientation tour.

After that I got a drink and seat at Great Outdoors and waited for sailing

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I book all my dining and spa reservations ahead of time on the website so when I get on board I can start enjoying right away.  That being said, I only carry on a small bag(s) with me (filled with necessities....Passport, $, sunblock, bathing suit, Kindle, etc.) and leave the big bags with the porters so I don't have to lug them around while waiting until the rooms to be ready.  They will get delivered to the room later.

 

I usually try to find a somewhat quiet spot for lunch and then walk around and see the ship.  Also, I take as many pics as I can without people in them (theaters, dining rooms, etc.).  

 

Once the rooms are ready I head down and freshen up, unpack, read the Fun Times (Carnival) program with all the activities and goings on that day.  Then get ready for the Muster Drill.  After Muster, head up to the upper decks for the sail away party. You can partake in the fun or enjoy watching from the other decks.  The views are beautiful as the ship is heading out of port.  After sail away many folks start getting ready for dinner.

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Thanks @JerseyGirlJen. I see there is a difference between cruise lines. I am finding that my booking on NCL with the "free" specialty dining does not allow pre-booking for those meals. They have to be done once onboard. I have heard that it can be done through the phone app on embarkation day. I will have to research that. On CCL, specialty dining can be scheduled when you pay for it which is nice. 

 

From all the information I have gathered here, it is just board, explore, grab a bite and drink, and enjoy.

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59 minutes ago, BoozinCroozin said:

 

From all the information I have gathered here, it is just board, explore, grab a bite and drink, and enjoy.

That is a very good summary. 

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3 hours ago, BoozinCroozin said:

Thanks @JerseyGirlJen. I see there is a difference between cruise lines. I am finding that my booking on NCL with the "free" specialty dining does not allow pre-booking for those meals. They have to be done once onboard. I have heard that it can be done through the phone app on embarkation day. I will have to research that. On CCL, specialty dining can be scheduled when you pay for it which is nice. 

 

From all the information I have gathered here, it is just board, explore, grab a bite and drink, and enjoy.

Is this new, because folks were always able to book specialty restaurants ahead of time with the package?

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On 3/18/2021 at 3:02 PM, BoozinCroozin said:

This may get a little long winded so I will try to limit it. For those of us that have never cruised, some of the things that need to be done onboard are unknown or with only the information we gather from sites like these. I am going to ask by cruise line because we have two different booked.

 

NCL: We got the "free" things which include 2 specialty dining options. So those can't be reserved before boarding to my knowledge.

  1. Can entertainment/shows be reserve ahead of time in the app or online pre-cruise? If not, where can this be done on the ship?
  2. The free specialty dining has to be booked once onboard. Where do you go to make those reservations (preferably where 1,000 other passengers aren't doing the same thing)?

CCL: No addon specialty dining, but if you buy it before the cruise you can reserve your spot.

  1. Can you make entertainment reservations before boarding through the app or site?
  2. If not, where can this be done onboard where there are not tons of people doing the same thing?

 

I know once I get onboard I will want to start with a cocktail. That will make waiting in a small line a bit more enjoyable. After that, it is taking in all the information overload, trying to learn how to navigate the ship, and take everything in that we can.

 

If you can book your specialty dining and any entertainment that needs booked in advance. I can't speak to NCL myself but I'd check whether it can be done by phone, online, or via an app.

 

If these can't be done in advance divide and conquer. Talk over option before you board with your spouse or whomever you cruise with beforehand so that each of you can handle one of these. There is no reason you cannot grab a cocktail first and sip while you are waiting, and you may be surprised. Sometimes I've walked on and to my surprise found there wasn't even a line to book. Remember you'll likely have the ability to text or call each other while the boat is at the dock using land resources, too, so coordinating shouldn't be too hard.

 

Mind you, this is just how I'd handle things. I like to get everything booked then head to the top deck to grab a cocktail and meet up with folks from my CC Roll Call. I've never been on a cruise I wasn't able to do all that plus have a snack and a look around the ship before Muster Drill, but maybe I've just been lucky.

 

The best part is even if you don't get your dream reservations, you'll still get to do something awesome on a wonderful cruise ship, so just enjoy!

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On 3/18/2021 at 4:02 PM, BoozinCroozin said:

This may get a little long winded so I will try to limit it. For those of us that have never cruised, some of the things that need to be done onboard are unknown or with only the information we gather from sites like these. I am going to ask by cruise line because we have two different booked.

 

NCL: We got the "free" things which include 2 specialty dining options. So those can't be reserved before boarding to my knowledge.

  1. Can entertainment/shows be reserve ahead of time in the app or online pre-cruise? If not, where can this be done on the ship?
  2. The free specialty dining has to be booked once onboard. Where do you go to make those reservations (preferably where 1,000 other passengers aren't doing the same thing)?

CCL: No addon specialty dining, but if you buy it before the cruise you can reserve your spot.

  1. Can you make entertainment reservations before boarding through the app or site?
  2. If not, where can this be done onboard where there are not tons of people doing the same thing?

 

I know once I get onboard I will want to start with a cocktail. That will make waiting in a small line a bit more enjoyable. After that, it is taking in all the information overload, trying to learn how to navigate the ship, and take everything in that we can.

 

On NLC, you can reserve the shows 90 days out from your sail date, and the shows (for the most part) are complimentary.  As for the restaurant reservations, you can make those by calling Customer Service once onboard or through the Smart TV in your cabin.

 

On some of the larger CCL ships, you can make your reservations ahead of time, probably very similar to the method used for making the reservations you want on NCL.  The smaller ships, from my understanding, do not offer this service.

 

What I do know for CCL, is that you can make your dinner reservations ahead of time through your TA or the CCL website once you get closer to your sail date

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  • 1 month later...

Some cruise lines like Cunard let you go directly to your cabin so first stop is always to drop off carry on luggage. 

 

Otherwise we hit the buffet for lunch and then grab a cocktail and hang out in one of the lounges till the cabins are available. 

 

If it's our first time aboard a new ship, nothing better than grabbing a quick lunch and exploring. 

 

Jonathan

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  • 4 weeks later...

On NCL, almost all dinner reservations are taken by the end of the first day with just a few at weird times left at best,  so it is best to book everything online before your cruise and if there is somewhere you want to go that you couldn't book online call them from your stateroom when you board to get a reservation as there should be a few left.  NCL is all about going to a different restaurant every night, although there are some people who go to the MDR, buffet, The Manhattan Room (newer ships) and O'Sheehans and maybe the Chinese place (some ships) if it is included only.  However, Le Bistro and Cagney's are the best restaurants onboard and Moderna and Ocean Blue are also great.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

NCL:  The shows are generally listed in a category similar to the restaurants.  They will feature both the big-theater shows, where reservations are not required and seating is first-come, first-seated, *and* smaller venue shows.  Read through the descriptions to choose the ones you want to see.

 

Trivia and game shows are all free, but other small-venue activities are mixed.  Escape rooms, paint-alongs, some fitness classes, etc. sometimes have a fee.  For example, the Cirque-themed dinner show is in a smaller venue.  Reservations are required, and the ticket charge includes dinner from a limited menu (so that they can serve it quickly).  They'll be marked in the daily schedule with a $ or other symbol.

 

If you don't pre-book, head for the 'ticket desk', usually near those venues.  Your tickets will be charged to your room (no cash/credit cards).  They often have a stand-by line, and replace no-shows, scanning room keys so that the no-shows don't get charged.

 

Specialty dinner reservations open 90 or 120 days before the cruise, but can fill up quickly.  In part, because each member of your party can book each of their dining credits, and reserve a table for 2/4/6/8.  Experienced travelers over-book, knowing that no-shows are not punished.  Unused reservations are released 15 minutes after the hour, so even if you can't book ahead, you may be able to wait on stand-by for an opening.  Obviously, the smaller your group, the easier that is.  Also, toward the end of the cruise, when most people have used up their dining credits, more tables open up.

 

We were once scammed by an NCL employee who collected cash for stand-by tickets for the Cirque show.  He claimed that he had to charge the tix to his own account and pay it back... which was a total lie.  Another couple agreed that it seemed strange, and reported it to customer service.  The guy had actually followed the other woman back to her cabin hassling her for the cash.   Security reviewed camera and his comp'd ticket volume.  Turns out, he'd been selling 12+ tickets a night at $30 a pop, and splitting it with his team.  NCL took it seriously, returned our cash, and escorted at least 3 of them off the ship at the next port.   Bottom line, EVERYTHING is charged to your room key.  If you drop a cash tip to a bartender and waiter, fine, but anything you *buy* goes on the card.

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All too often, the first thing I do after boarding is to look for a restroom.

 

After that: if it's a cruise line where the (or a) MDR is open for lunch for ordinary passengers (that is, not in suites, and not Titanium/Platinum/Plutonium/Diamond or whatever) and it's the appropriate time, I head to the dining room for a quiet lunch. IME, the crew will always direct you to the buffet; you have to look in the daily planner, if they've given you one, or just go to the MDR(s) and see. And some cruise lines don't open a dining room for lunch.

 

I usually haven't needed to book any entertainment or dinners, but my next cruise, in October, doesn't have entertainment open for booking yet, although it should be. The speculation is that the cruise line hasn't made any contracts with entertainers.

 

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18 hours ago, Sue Do-Over said:

the Cirque-themed dinner show

 

I was unaware that NCL offered this type of show.  I attended one on MSC Meraviglia and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had a choice of a dinner with show or just the show.  Because the dinner was with a limited menu, I chose just the show.  Do you remember the name of the show?  

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/8/2021 at 3:59 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

I was unaware that NCL offered this type of show.  I attended one on MSC Meraviglia and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had a choice of a dinner with show or just the show.  Because the dinner was with a limited menu, I chose just the show.  Do you remember the name of the show?  

 

I think the show was Relevate, or something similar.  It wasn't a theme/story, but more of a collection of individual performances.  Note that that the show will be different on each ship, and may change sailing to sailing. 

Our family makes equipment used in circus, Cirque and Vegas shows, so we have spoken with a lot of the performers and production teams on NCL, Disney, Princess and Carnival ships (while we distributed our catalogue, of course!)  Along with building the stage shows, entertainment departments audition many acts -- straps, silks, lyra, trapeze, etc. - and build a show for each ship using a similar template, but featuring different performers based on availability, contract length, etc.  Plus, they can swap acts within a show or ship-to-ship if a performer is injured or ill, if there is an equipment issue, or any other disruption.  Some individual performers are in both the stage productions and the smaller-venue Cirque-style shows, depending on their dance and vocal skills.

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6 hours ago, Sue Do-Over said:

I think the show was Relevate, or something similar.

 

The MSC show that I attended was called Viaggio.  There was another show available, whose name I don't recall.  The showroom on Meraviglia was specifically designed for such a performance.  It was a perfect venue from this guest's perspective.  

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