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Report 1775: Cruising to Hawaii on NCL - POSTCARD

By Debbie from Phoenix from AZ, Spring 2009

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Page 2 of 3: Dos and Don'ts For Guests

Donít eat all your meals at the buffet. So what if thereís a short wait for the dining room? Go have a drink or try to find yourself on the photo display board. You are cutting your experience short if all you eat is lukewarm food you have to carry around in your hand while scoping out an empty seat. The Cadillac diner is a great option for breakfast and the Key West Bar has a good lunch grill if you are hanging around the pool.

Do participate in some of the on-board activities. Youíll make friends. Youíll have a good time. We signed up for the pub crawl and for the rest of the week every time we saw another participant we shouted ďPUB CRAWL!Ē even when we were off the ship. Fun Stuff!

Do take a guided tour at least once. The guides are very eager to share their knowledge of the islands with you. We learned a lot as well as had a lot of fun. P.S. If you take the afternoon Captain Zodiak snorkel adventure on Kona you will get an extra treat as the spinner dolphins wake up from their naps and play with the boats.

Do your homework! Find out what companies are providing the shore excursions and check with them directly for pricing before booking through NCL. In some cases the cost difference was negligible, in others as much as a $15 per person difference for the exact same tour. They even picked us up at the dock with the other cruise guests. Some of the excursions made sense to book with NCL (pickups, transportation, etc.) some were easy to do on our own.

Donít ignore your Freestyle Daily report, particularly if you want to shave a few dollars off your bar tab. It lists when and where you can get happy hours and drink specials. Also youíll find out what specials are going on in the Internet cafť (one night it was 50% off the going rate!) and the on board shops.

Do pack more than one swimsuit, two at a minimum, three if you plan on lots of water activities. For one thing they donít dry very quickly in the cabin, for another, youíre going to be wearing them a lot. Itís nice to have a couple options.

Do bring a light shawl for indoor dining or activities. The boat is very well cooled and a bit chilly inside.

Do take Bonine if you are prone to motion sickness. The pharmacist told me Bonine had some better, more effective ingredients than before with less drowsy side effects. I took one every 12 hours like it said with no problem. This is coming from a person who gets sick on a swing.

Donít expect your motion sickness pills to erase the feeling that the boat is moving or rocking. Itís still going to be unsettling. Just go with it.

Do consider ordering a bottle of wine at dinner. What you donít finish can be stored for you in the wine cellar and brought to your table the next evening. Itís generally less expensive to order wine that way anyway and thereís a larger selection by the bottle. Just a suggestion.

Regardless of the Ďcasual styleí of the NCL literature, donít forget to pack something besides blue jeans and shorts for dining. The Liberty dining room does have a dress code and even though the menu is exactly the same as the Skyline dining room, you are limited in your dining options especially if Skyline is crowded.

Do pack your pool attire in your carry on. Boarding begins at noon, but the staterooms are not ready until several hours later. You can snag a lounge chair in the sun (or shade) and enjoy the pool immediately.

Do order room service for breakfast if your shore excursions start at an early hour.

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