Need advice for first time cruise?

Old May 7th, 2020, 01:35 AM
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Need advice for first time cruise?

We have never cruised before. We want to go to Cuba in September. Can anyone advise how the month of September is, at sea? Also, we are looking into NCL as they offer open bar. Is that a benefit worth messing with vs paying for drinks on ship? Is it best to book online or speak with an agent? As we will need to purchase airfare to Florida. Open to any advice for first timers!! Thank you!
BenjaminLucas is offline  
Old May 7th, 2020, 05:58 AM
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I'll try to answer some of your questions:

1) September is the peak of the Hurricane Season in the Caribbean so that's something you should take into consideration. If you are unlucky enough encounter a major storm in the area where you will be cruising you could be in for several days of unsettled weather and very rough seas. If that happens your cruise line could alter you itinerary to avoid the brunt of the storm. This alteration could include eliminating or changing certain Ports of Call. On the other hand if there are no storms brewing in the area the weather in September can be quite nice and the seas could be calm. No one can predict now with any accuracy if or when a major stop will develop and whether or not it will affect your cruising location. Your guess is as good as anyone's. If you decide to travel at that time of year you'd be wise to consider purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance.

2) Deciding whether a cruise with an "open bar" is purely a personal decision and depends, to some extent on how much you anticipate drinking while aboard ship. Many cruise lines offer an optional drink package so you really have to compare prices and, of course, itineraries and what other amenities are available on the different cruise ships and cruise lines to determine which YOU perceive as the best way to spend your money. In my experience it usually boils down to you can either "pay the man now or pay the man later.

3) If you haven't already done so you should go to cruisecritic.com - it's a website dedicated to all aspects of cruising. You can compare cruise lines, cruise itineraries and read hundreds upon hundred of reviews of NCL and all the cruise lines. You'll find discussions about drink plans, activities, shore excursions, etc., etc. It's a great source of information for first time and well seasoned cruisers and will help you with the decision process.

4) After doing your basic research you should speak directly with the cruise line you select. They will answer any other questions you may have and assist you with the booking process. They can also assist you with air travel reservations and pre-cruise or post cruise hotel accommodations (if needed). Sometimes they offer special packages which can save you some money on airfare. If you prefer you can book the cruise directly with the cruise line and book your airfare separately on your airline of choice's website.

Hope this helps.
RoamsAround is offline  
Old May 7th, 2020, 07:33 AM
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I thought cruise ships didn't go to Cuba any longer. https://www.ncl.com/cubaupdate
gbelle1 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2020, 09:01 AM
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Cruising anywhere in September is unlikely, Princess, for example, cancelled another bunch of cruises yesterday. Whether NHL is still a going concern then is also not certain. Short cruises in the Caribbean might occur, Hurtigruten may have opened up in Norway, but otherwise... Also, people on cruisecritic are reporting a lot of trouble getting refunds for cancelled cruises, so you might not want to send NHL any money you're not willing to lose.
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