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Our top 10 tips for getting the most from your Norwegian Cruise Line cruise

NCL Breakaway
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NCL Breakaway sailing into the sunset, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Cruises are one of the best values in travel. Here are some ways to enhance your cruise experience and to get more for less.

ncl_Brkwy_Haven_Service
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NCL Breakaway Haven Service, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

1-Luxury option—Want to enjoy the multitude of activities and amenities of a megaship AND experience an intimate and luxurious smaller ship ambience away from the excitement?

NCL Breakaway
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NCL Breakaway’s three-level sports complex complete with a rock climbing wall, the fastest waterslides at sea, a ropes course, a basketball court, and, for those who dare, a harnessed plank walk extending 8 feet over the side of the ship.

The Haven is NCL’s premium-priced private enclave with its own restaurant, private pool, two-level beach club, and 24-hour butler and concierge service.

NCL Breakaway Haven Pool, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line
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NCL Breakaway Haven Pool, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Dining Room, The Haven, NCL Breakaway
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Dining Room, The Haven, NCL Breakaway

2-Luxury for less—If you do not want to pay the premium pricing for The Haven but want access to a soothing and private area, book a Spa Balcony stateroom or Spa Mini-Suite. These are located near the spa and include access to the Thermal Spa. Alternatively, buy a Thermal Spa pass for the week. A limited number of passes are issued so it is best to book in advance online, where you can also get a better price.

Willing to take a chance? A few days before sailing we received an offer to bid on a higher stateroom.

view from a balcony, NCL Breakaway
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view from our balcony, NCL Breakaway

3-Budget friendly—Like to save money? Book a Sail Away stateroom in any category for the best value. It guarantees your category or better but your stateroom can be on any deck and assigned as late as the day before departure.

However, Sail Away staterooms are not eligible for promotions that can include onboard credits and up to 5 free options, including a free 3rd or 4th passenger in the stateroom, dinner in specialty restaurants, unlimited bar drinks, a port shore excursion credit per stateroom, and free minutes of wifi per stateroom. Check the promotions first and see what makes the most sense for you.

4-Attend spa presentations for helpful information, access to additional spa specials and raffles for complimentary spa services. Spa specials tend to be best on port days when the spa is not as busy.

NCL Breakaway Splash Academy, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line
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NCL Breakaway Splash Academy, photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

5-Sign in as early as possible for the children’s program, Splash Academy so your child can get the most from the experience. Also sign in early for popular activities like parade nights, when the number of participants is more limited. Places fill up on a first-come, first-served basis. Note the Splash Academy schedule since it it is closed during for certain hours.

6-Book the shows and specialty restaurants online in advance of the cruise for the best selection of times and dates. Specialty restaurants like the  Brazilian churrascaria, French bistro, Japanese Teppanyaki, steakhouse and more assess a surcharge plus an 18% gratuity.

dessert at Le Bistro, NCL Breakaway
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dessert at Le Bistro, NCL Breakaway

Oysters Rockefeller, Cagney's Steakhouse
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Oysters Rockefeller, Cagney’s Steakhouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zakarian’s Ocean Blue assesses a higher premium. Package pricing is available for experiencing multiple restaurants.

The Manhattan Room, NCL Breakaway
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The Manhattan Room, NCL Breakaway

Don’t want to pay extra for specialty restaurants? Make reservations for Manhattan, modeled after the NY-style entertainment-focused supper clubs popular in the 1930s and 1940s. Check the daily program for scheduled live entertainment. Don’t miss the evening when the dancers from the Burn the Floor show perform.

On disembarkation day the NCL Breakaway cruises to New York City before dawn.
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New York City before dawn.

7-It is a good idea to book a hotel near the cruise port for the night before the cruise, especially when winter weather is a concern. Have a leisurely breakfast on the morning of departure and be among the first to board the ship.

8-Download the Norwegian iConcierge app to have access to the daily schedule, features, and activities onboard. Onboard Internet access is expensive but is not needed for this app.

9-Love your vacation and want to cruise again? Take advantage of the prepaid deposits on a future cruise, which doubles your money toward a future cruise. The funds must be used in 4 years.

10-Begin having family photos taken early in the cruise. There is no obligation to purchase. The more you take the greater the chance of getting that special family photo.

Unless you feel you must have a photo with the captain go to the shorter lines with basic backgrounds. Those photographers have more time to interact with children and get the right shot.

 

photography, except as noted, by Roger Fasteson

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