Tag Archives: NCL

Cruising – Hidden Costs and Things That Cost Extra

25 Jul

New cruisers are often surprised by things that cost extra. I’d like to call attention to a few things that are NOT included:

  • Taxes, Port Charges, and Fuel Supplement – These are in addition to your room charge and depend on the the destination and length of your cruise.
  • Service Charge – NCL currently charges $12/day per person. It will be automatically added to your bill at the end of the cruise. If you are in a suite, your butler and concierge will also cost extra.
  • Certain Drinks – Soda, bottled water, specialty coffees, and alcohol.
  • Specialty Restaurants – There are plenty of free restaurants, but there are also some that charge a premium like Teppanyaki, Cagney’s Steakhouse, and Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse. These are optional. You will not starve if you choose not to go to them. Here is the list of the Norwegian Dawn’s Specialty Restaurants. Here is the list of free restaurants on the Dawn.
  • Shore Excursions – Anything you do while off the ship in Bermuda will cost you extra. For examples of what to do while you’re in Bermuda check out my post “Cruising to Bermuda on the NCL Dawn from Boston.” It includes an sample itinerary for your 3 days on the island.
  • Photographs – It is free to get your picture taken (in fact there will be a photographer ready to snap your photo just about every day), but if you want to buy the picture you will have to pay for it.
  • Parking – There is no free parking in Boston. There is a parking garage across from the port that is reasonably priced. Here is Massport’s parking info at Cruiseport Boston.
  • Transportation to and from the airport or hotel
  • Internet – NCL’s current internet rates are listed on their website. Bermuda also has island-wide wifi hotspots. You can get more info on TBI’s website. You can buy a TBI internet package once you get to the Dockyard at Island Outfitters which is next to my favorite restaurant The Bone Fish Bar and Grill (which is NOT related to the chain restaurant found in the USA).
  • Laundry
  • Late Night Room Service
  • Casino
  • Spa Services

Things to Bring on a Cruise You May Not Think Of

25 Jul

Cruise ships are amazing. They have everything you can think of to keep you well fed and entertained 24/7, but there are some simple things I’ve discovered that cruise ships often don’t have. Maybe the fancy suites have these things, but the rooms for the common folk do not. Also included are some other things you might find helpful to bring along. Here is the list:

  • Alarm Clock – I haven’t seen one yet on the dozen cruises I’ve been on. Don’t rely on your cell phone to tell the time. If it’s in airplane mode (which I recommend you do unless you want a whopping surprise bill with roaming charges), your clock will not update. Bermuda is one hour ahead of Boston. While we are on the subject of time, bring a watch as well and be sure it’s set to SHIP time. You will need to keep a close eye on the time while on the island if you plan to take the ferry and, most importantly, so that you’re back on the ship before it leaves on the last day. Again, you cannot count on your cell phone having the ship’s time. It doesn’t matter what the actual time is, it only matter’s what the ship’s time is.
  • Bar of Soap – NCL, for some reason, only has liquid bodywash in the bathroom. If you like that sort of thing, then great. You’re all set, but my husband and I like an old fashioned bar of soap.
  • Conditioner – They have shampoo on board, but not conditioner. So, ladies, bring it with you.
  • Electrical Outlets – These are in short supply. You’ll find one, maybe two if you’re lucky, and they are never where you want them. If you have a lot of electronic devices or use a CPAP to sleep, be sure to bring a power strip and an extension cord with you.
  • Dollar Bills – If you get room service, it’s nice to tip them. Of course, it’s optional, but the crew on the Dawn is so fantastic that most of us want to give them a little extra. There is nothing like having a nice pot of coffee delivered to your room first thing in the morning.
  • Sweater – Believe it or not, you get cold at night. The indoor venues are all air conditioned so I often find I need an extra layer in the theater or the dining room, At night, while sailing, it gets breezy out on the deck. You’ll be glad you have one along.
  • Bottled Water and Diet Coke – Most cruisers find the ship’s purified tap water to be just fine, but if you’re a bottled water fanatic, or loyal to particular type of soda, you will want to bring a case of your own stuff. NCL currently serves Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, and Gingerale, so if you can’t live without your Diet Coke, be sure to bring a case with you. Soda also isn’t free on board. You can get free water, juice, milk, coffee and tea, but soda and adult beverages cost extra. Bottled water is also expensive on board. Save yourself some money and bring your own. You can check the case with your baggage – just put a luggage tag on it and hand it to the porter.
  • Refrigerator – I think most rooms on the Dawn have a refrigerator, but if you need one to store medicine or breast milk, double check before you go.
  • Wheelchair – If you have trouble walking, bring a wheelchair. The ships is huge and things are scattered from one end to the other. The theater is at the front of the ship, the restaurants are in the middle, the spa is in the back, and your room may fall anywhere in between.
  • Motion Sickness Relief – Every so often, the sea can get rough. The North Atlantic is unpredictable. Even the most seasoned cruisers can get seasick when that happens. Don’t get stuck. Ask your doctor if you can get a prescription for the Transderm-Scop patch. There are also over-the-counter pills like Dramamine, but they can make you drowsy (even the non-drowsy ones). I like the patches best, but they are prescription only and not everyone can take them if they have certain medical problems. Some people swear by all natural things like wrist bands, green apples, and ginger. I personally have never gotten relief from these, but everyone is different. Just don’t leave it to chance. If you know gingerale always works for you then that’s perfect, but if you’ve never been on rough seas, bring some medicine just in case it isn’t enough.
  • First Aid Kit – Have some bandaids, pain reliever, cold remedies, and aloe along with you. Sure they have all these things in the gift shop, but it’s expensive.
  • Wrinkle Release Spray – Cruise ships do not allow you to bring an iron on board (it’s a fire hazard). The laundry service will press them for you for a pretty penny. Most things do just fine with the wrinkle release spray. You’ll be glad you have it along.

I think that about sums it up. Let me know if you think of anything else.

Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 13-20, 2012

23 Feb

Norwegian Dawn – Boston to Bermuda July 13-20, 2012

SUMMARY
Another perfect cruise.

Embarkation
Arrived at 10:45, but boarding did not start until 11:30. No line for security or to check in, but as time went on the waiting area became quite crowded. Even though we had to wait 45 mins I am still glad we got there early.  As soon as our zone was called we were on board right away and walked around the ship for a bit then went up to the Bimini Bar to have lunch. At 12:30 the rooms were ready and at 2:30 our luggage arrived.

Stateroom
We had a balcony room near the aft staircase on the portside #10696. This was the same room we had last year, and we reserved it again this year because we like it. It’s exactly the same as we remembered – clean, modest, comfortable, and quiet with a beautiful view of the sunrise in the morning on the way to Bermuda and a spectacular view of the sunset as we sail back home. Our room was missing some things (robes, pen, paper, ashtray on the balcony, ice in the ice bucket, an extra roll of toilet paper, and the mini bar had some things missing from it). Nothing major, but it is noteworthy. I left a note for the steward the following day and everything was taken care of.

Specialty Restaurant – Teppanyaki
Outstanding 5 out of 5. I feel this rating is particularly significant because my husband does not like Japanese hibachi, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself at Teppanyaki, and he cannot wait to go back. Everything was perfect – the service, the show the cook performed, the quality of the food, and the value. My husband is a big eater and he left stuffed. The cook offered 2nd and 3rd serving of rice for those who like to splurge.

Specialty Restaurant – Moderno Brazilian Steak House
Outstanding 5 out of 5. We went here on our last night, and what a perfect way to spend the last night of a perfect cruise. The food was delicious and the service was impeccable. It was definitely worth the cover charge.

Main Dining Room – The Venetian
Delightful 5 out of 5. We ate there on most nights. Our favorite meal was on the 2nd night. My husband had Caribbean steak and I had the thai chicken and shrimp. I also had breakfast there just about every morning. I love their french toast. My husband never wakes up in time for breakfast, but that’s fine with me.

Poolside Drinks
Less than stellar. 2 out of 5 stars. The service was wonderful, but the quality of the drinks was a disappointment. They were expensive – mixed drinks ranged from $6.50 – $9.50, but the serving size was small and they were very watered down. If you’re not careful they will sneak in a “Souvenir Cup” for an additional $2.75. Beer is $4.95-$6.95, but you can get a bucket of 5 and get the 6th one free.

Poolside Entertainment
Joy the Caribbean-style band. Very good, relaxing music. The best part is the Poolside BBQ every sea day (weather permitting). There is nothing better than the fresh sea air and the smell of a real charcoal BBQ. The DJ really got the crowd going, too.

Latitudes Party
It was held on the way back from Bermuda on Wednesday. It’s invitation only for past cruisers. It featured unlimited house chardonnay, merlot, rum punch, beer, or champagne. They had raffles for dinner for 2 at any specialty restaurant, admission to blackjack tournament, vintage coaster set, and a t-shirt..

White Hot Party
Was on Wednesday night. I always enjoy it even though it’s mostly a younger crowd. They decorate the lounge all in white, there’s ice sculptures, loud music and cups that light up.

Bermuda
There are not enough words to describe the beauty of Bermuda. It weather was perfect, the people are friendly, the beaches are breathtaking. We did our usual thing – got bus/ferry passes, went to Horseshoe Bay and Tobacco Bay, and visited with our friends at The Bone Fish and with our favorite artist, Lisa Rego. Three days just isn’t enough, but it’s nice knowing that we still have a couple days left of fun on the ship to enjoy before arriving back in Boston.

Additional Info
I have more info in my review from our cruise in 2011.

Luggage: To carry on or not to carry on?

18 Feb

I was reading through posts on the Norwegian Cruise Line Facebook Page and came across a sad story. In a nutshell, the woman was getting married on the ship and her mother’s luggage was lost. In the luggage was the mother-of-the-bride dress. The poor mother was stuck buying clothing from the gift shop and was so embarrassed she did not want to be in any of her daughter’s wedding photos. This is tragic, but completely preventable.

Never allow anything of importance out of your sight! I don’t mean to make it sound like losing luggage is a common occurrence  In fact, I think it’s fairly rare, but if you cannot live without it for the duration of your cruise, then please carry it onto the ship yourself. The same goes when traveling by plane as well. Also, keep in mind that your luggage may not be delivered to your stateroom until later in the evening. Be sure to include anything you need to get ready for dinner.

This is what I carry on with me:

  • 2 changes of clothing (including one dress)
  • Extra pair of shoes
  • Sunscreen – bring lots because it’s expensive on the ship
  • Swimsuit – so you can hit the pool as soon as you’re onboard
  • Medicine – all prescription and over-the-counter meds
  • My camera gear – various lenses, spare battery and charger
  • Electronics – cell phone, tablet, and their chargers
  • Toiletries – makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. I also always bring a bar of soap since often times there is only liquid bodywash provided by the cruise line.

Lost luggage is another reason to be sure you have good travel insurance. It won’t help you when you’re in the midst of it, but at least when you get home you can file a claim to recoup some of the money you spent rebuilding your wardrobe.

Feel free to share what you cannot live without and put in your carry on!

My NCL Dawn Review for Cruise Critic

20 Jul

Dawn Review – Bermuda July 1-8, 2011 (written for CruiseCritic.com)

OVERVIEW – Absolutely perfect vacation. As soon as we got home, we re-booked the same room for next year.

ABOUT US – My husband (mid-40’s) and I (mid-30’s) have been on 3 NCL cruises from Boston to Bermuda (2009, 2010, 2011). I have also cruised on the Epic in April 2011 and with Renaissance Cruises (now Oceania) in 1994.

EMBARKATION –  Extremely efficient (the quickest of all our trips). We arrived at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston at 11am. Porters were waiting at the curbside to collect our baggage as we drove up. My husband dropped me off and parked across the street in the garage. There were about 5 people waiting for the officer to check passports and to be ushered up the escalator to the check-in desk. At the top, we were given a number (15) and went right up to the counter. After checking in, we went to the waiting area for our number to be called, but before we could sit down, they were ready for number 15 and we were on our way up to the ship. By 11:30 we were sitting at the Java Cafe ordering drinks. I’ve heard others talk about very long lines to check in, so getting there early really paid off.

LATE SAILING – It should be noted that the Dawn was 2 hours late leaving Boston because of the remodeling being done on the ship, but it did not affect our arrival to Bermuda. Many people were complaining, but we could care less. We’re on the ship, the band was playing, drinks were being served and we were having a great time at the pool. It could’ve stayed in Boston for 7 days and we still would have had a blast.

CABIN  – We stayed in balcony room 10696 and re-booked this room for next year because we like it so much. It’s small, like most rooms on a cruise are, but it was clean and comfortable. The room was right near the aft elevators so it was very conveniently located and the views from the balcony were breathtaking. I thought the bed was great, but my husband complained it was too firm. The mini-bar was missing some items (peanuts, a water, a beer, and a wine), but we weren’t planning on using them anyway. However, I was worried we would be charged for the missing items, so I wrote on the order form what was missing and we were never charged. There were some minor things that were wrong, but not worth getting upset about – initially there was a slight odor of urine in the toilet area (it appeared spotless and went away later that night), the curtains had several small pinholes that let streams of light in, and a couple times our stewardess only left one set of clean towels. She was quick to bring more and was always smiling and helpful.

POOL AREA – The pool itself is small like the pools on the Epic and Spirit. It was crowded on sea days, but that’s what makes it fun in our opinion. The music was good and there were plenty of people to talk to. The pool-side BBQs were great the smell of charcoal while out on the open water is so wonderful. The stairs around the pool are very slippery. A boy fell and hit his head early on in the cruise. He was attended to immediately and taken away in a wheelchair. I was impressed because shortly after he was taken care of, staff came out to investigate and take pictures of the area. It’s nice to know that they take such mishaps seriously. Most of the time we hung out at the Bimini Bar because it’s shaded and we enjoyed the staff there – friendly and quick. I also think they had the best drinks on the ship. One thing to note – the ships has a deal on beer – buy five get one free – that comes in a bucket of ice, but the bucket is not free. There is a deposit added for the bucket that is refundable when you return it along with your receipt. We ran into several people that did not realize this. It’s clearly marked on the receipt, but somehow people still miss it.

CASINO –  My husband truly enjoyed the casino. I don’t care to gamble, but he likes the $5 black jack table and the 2 cent slots. He walked away with more than he spent, so all is good.

ENTERTAINMENT – We enjoyed the Caribbean-style band that played as well as DJ Patrick and DJ Impakt. We also saw the Bollywood show on the last night which was outstanding. Having just been on the Epic and seeing Cirque, the Bollywood show was just as exciting and professionally done. I also went to the Italian wine tasting and the martini tasting. They were worth the $15. The drinks were good and the lectures were very informative. Our cruise director Johnny Cash Sanchez was funny and very entertaining. There seemed to be less announcements through the intercom this year – which was nice for a change. On past cruises they’ve been excessive.

SHOPPING – The Dawn has the usual shops. The duty-free shops were open once we were in international waters. It’s always a bargain to buy liquor and cigarettes (if that is your thing – however be sure you know what the max allowed by US customs is so that you don’t violate the laws). There was a good selection of NCL-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts. The jewelery shop had a nice selection with daily specials.

FOOD – The food was the best we’ve had on any cruise – delicious, beautifully presented, nice variety. We at the both main dining rooms (Venetian and Aqua) as well as the buffet. We did intend to go to Teppanyaki, but we never got around to making reservations and it was always full when we looked. Next time we will book it on the first day. It was no big deal, the food was so good in the restaurants we did eat in that we did not feel as if we missed out on anything.

BERMUDA – Words cannot describe how amazing Bermuda is. It is truly paradise. We have friends on the island so we spent our time with them hanging out and going to the beach.

DISEMBARKATION – This is the one thing that could use some improvement. It took a long time to get off the ship (close to an hour). We did the ‘easy walk-off’ and left our room at 8:45. The line was long and wrapped around the entire deck on the 7th floor. Getting though customs was quick, so the only hold up was waiting in line for NCL to scan our cards.

Why Cruise to Bermuda?

15 Jul

Why cruise to Bermuda? Because it is the most affordable way to visit the island. You can have a week long vacation in which you will have 3 days on the island for about a thousand dollars per person (give or take a few hundred depending on the time of year and type of cabin). Bermuda is an expensive place to visit, but cruising makes possible for many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go.

Myths about cruising that are completely untrue:

  • Cruising is only for old people – Nope there people in of all ages that cruise: are young couples, families with kids, groups of women going to escape from the families, and of course retired people, too. There is a great deal of variety.
  • Seasickness is a big problem – Not if you take the right precautions. We get a prescription for TransDerm Scop patches. It completely prevents motion sickness – even when we sailed through a hurricane. There’s also other medications and some homeopathic remedies. I suggest talking to your primary care provider about which is the best option for you.
  • Cruise ships are full of germs – Let me preface this by saying I’m a public health nurse. This is my area of expertise — Cruise lines are extremely cautious about germs spreading. Of course, whenever you put thousands of people together there is the possibility of getting sick, but hand sanitizers are everywhere and every precaution is taken to prevent outbreaks of illnesses. The Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention keep track of each and every outbreak. As  you can see from the report from the Vessel Sanitation Program, out the millions of people who cruise every year only a small portion have had a problem. There’s also been sensationalized stories of bedbugs on cruise ships, but let me assure you, there’s always the chance the Ritz has them, too. Bed bugs are equal opportunity pest and not as common as the media makes it out to be. It’s silly to avoid vacations because of some exaggerated hype. If  you want some factual information about bed bugs visit IdentifyUS.
  • You are forced to dine at specific times and  have to share a table with people you don’t know – Many cruise lines have flexible dining options. NCL is famous for their freestyle cruises – eat when you want, where you want, with whomever you want, wearing what ever you want. Of course, if you want to have the traditional cruise ship dining and mandatory formal nights, there are still cruise lines that cater to those customers.

Want to find a cruise to Bermuda? For 2011, the following cruise lines are contracted to go to Bermuda:

A few others make occasional stops in Bermuda – Carnival, Crystal Cruises, Island Cruises, but they are not regulars to the island.
The summer months are the most popular time to cruise to Bermuda, but many cruise lines sail there May-September. A few also go in March, April, October, and November.

Cruising to Bermuda on the NCL Dawn from Boston

15 Jul

My husband and I have been on NCL’s Boston to Bermuda cruise several times on both the Spirit and the Dawn. We’d like to share some advice from our past experience. Remember the golden rule of cruising – you have to try very hard to have a bad cruise. It’s a given, no matter what cruiseline you’re on, occasionally there will certain be things that annoy you  – such as rude passengers, bad weather, a meal that doesn’t suit your liking, or not being able to find a chair by the pool – but you, and only you, are in control of whether or not it ruins your vacation. There is truth in the old adage that ‘a bad day at sea is better than a good day at work!’ So without further ado, here are my suggestions for a fun, trouble-free cruise to Bermuda:

  • Arrive Early – to the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston. Any later than 11:30 mean long lines to board. We usually arrive between 10:30-11.
  • Staterooms and Luggage – Rooms are usually never ready until 2pm and luggage is rarely delivered until late afternoon, so keep anything you cannot live without for a few hours with you. I’m terribly neurotic about this and bring a backpack filled with all medications, jewelery, valuable electronics, and at least one change of clothes. Of course I’m stuck lugging it around with me all afternoon, but it gives me piece of mind, lol.
  • Staying in Touch – It can be very costly to keep in touch with family back home. Cell phones work but there are hefty roaming charges while on the ship and on the island (for example, with ATT it’s $2.50/min depending on the plan you have). The ship has Internet access. You pay by the minute to use the ship’s computers or to access their wifi with your own device. The web is very slow (it’s almost like the old dial-up days, lol) because it’s using a satellite connection. If you’re going to be using it frequently, you might want to buy one of the packages they sell on board. Be careful if you have a smartphone because they are always fetching data from apps even when no messages are coming through. I keep my phone in flight-mode which means the radio signal is off so that calls, emails, and messages from Facebook, Google+ and Twitter don’t make their way through, but I can still access my music, ebooks, and camera. While on the island, if you plan to make local calls, it’s cheapest to use a pay phone (bring some quarters), and if you plan to call home frequently check with your cell phone provider about an international roaming package. Bermuda installed island-wide wifi hotspots in 2013. You can get more info on their packages on the TBI website. You can buy the internet cards once you get off the ship at Island Outfitters which is next to The Bone Fish Bar and Grill. It’s hard to miss.
  • Breakfast – We start the day off by ordering a carafe of coffee for room service (use order form and leave it on your doorknob before you go to bed the night before) and then leisurely get ready to go to The Venetian main dining room for breakfast. There can be some ridiculously long lines at the buffet for breakfast – especially later in the morning.
  • Lunch – My favorite place is to go to the Bimini Bar above the pool for a quick burger and a ‘drink of the day’ then lounge around and listen to the band play.
  • Dinner – If you want a reservation at Teppanyaki or Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse, make a reservation as soon as you embark in Boston – these restaurants fill up quickly. We usually stick to the main dining rooms and go around 5:45 so we can beat the crowd and get a table by the window. We’ll skip dessert and get something up at buffet later in the night.
  • On Board Activities – I love to go to the wine tastings and the martini tastings. They’re well worth the $15 charge. They give you decent sized samples and they are very informative. While I’m off doing that, my husband likes to go to the casino. There’s also bingo, scrapbooking workshops, quiet time in the library, Broadway-quality shows, night clubs, gem stone seminars, live music playing at various places around the ship, and many other activities to keep you busy. The ship has a decent gym. It’s got ellipticals, treadmills, one rowing machine, free weights (up to at least 60lbs if I remember correctly), benches include – incline, decline, and flat,  machines include – lat pulldown, leg curl, leg press, chest press, abs, triceps, biceps, shoulder press. There is a room for TRX, mats, and a few bands and balls. There are no barbells so forget about squats, bench press, and deadlifts for the week. I also did not see any kettlebells.
  • Portraits – Some say the portraits taken on the ship are expensive, but I think they’re worth it. Usually there is a sale where you buy x-amount of prints and get one free. For us it’s the only time we get to have our photo taken together. Keep your eye on the daily newsletter for photo sessions offered throughout the ship.
  • First Day in Bermuda (Sunday) – The ship arrives on Sunday and many things in Bermuda are closed, but the beaches are open. We usually hop on the bus to Horseshoe Bay and spend the day there then catch the bus back in the late afternoon. The buses have a different schedule on Sundays so be sure you know when the last bus leaves so you’re not suck with a $40 cab ride back to the boat. In the evening we like to go to The Bone Fish Bar and Grill to listen to Randy Lambert play Spanish guitar. He’s known as the Bermudian Jimi Hendrix and he’s an amazing musician. Our friend Livio owns The Bone Fish – so be sure to tell him Lorinda and Carlos sent you. Also say hi to our friends behind the bar – Phillip, Matteo, and Gary, and the wonderful staff including Luca and Bernard.
  • Buses and Ferries – We’ve always taken public transportation while in Bermuda. It’s safe, reliable, and inexpensive. You can buy a 1, 2, 0r 3-day pass that includes the bus and ferry. Note: There is often a long line for the bus/ferry at the Dockyard on Sunday when passengers first disembark and on Monday when the Royal Caribbean ship arrives in the morning. So plan accordingly – either be one of the first off the ship or wait until the lines thin out. The ferry schedules (including info on 1, 2, and 3-day passes) can be found on the Bermuda Department of Marine and Port Services website.
  • Taxis – They are expensive, but a good driver will also serve as a tour guide and give you information about the island that you will not hear anywhere else. My good friend, Donovan, is a taxi driver. I can give you his number if you’re interested in a private tour.
  • Scooters – I would not recommend renting one unless you’re a seasoned rider. It looks easy in the Dockyard area because the roads are wide and straight, but it is misleading. Not only do they drive on the left in Bermuda, but the roads get very narrow and windy. Buses and cars will pass dangerously close the scooters forcing nervous riders suddenly off the road. There are also rotaries and they go clockwise rather than counterclockwise in the USA.
  • Second Day in Bermuda (Monday) – We like to hop on the Ferry to St. Georges first thing in the  morning. It’s the farthest away so we head there first. In St. Georges there are cute little shops, Fort St. Catherine to explore, and Tobacco Bay to relax at. On the way back, take the bus and stop at The Swizzle Inn or Crystal Caves. You may also want to take the Ferry to Hamilton instead to shop some more (be aware that the stores close early around 5pm). Be sure to get back to the Dockyard in the evening to enjoy Salsa Night at the The Bone Fish Bar and Grill.
  • Third Day in Bermuda (Tuesday) – We like to stick close to the ship because it leaves in the afternoon. So we explore the Dockyard. Top picks are the Clocktower Mall (we love the Lisa Rego Art Gallery – we have 5 of her paintings and look forward to collecting more), The Bermuda Rum Cake Company to sample their delicious cakes (they make great souvenirs), Dockyard Glassworks to watch them make beautiful pieces of art, and the Bermuda Craft Market for some unique handmade items, cases of Barritt’s Ginger Beer (our favorite), and jars of Gombey Pepper Jam by the Bermuda Jam Factory. Some people venture off to Hamilton, but be careful to leave plenty of time to return to the ship. The ferries fill up fast soon after noontime. Worse case scenario you’ll need to take a taxi back and it could cost you $50 or more. People always gather out on their balconies to cheer ‘Go! Go! Go!’ to people that come running down the pier just in the nick of time to board the ship so don’t let yourself be one of them.
  • Back On Board – It’s time to enjoy the ship again. Take advantage of the events they have to offer – wine tastings, poolside activities, bingo, casino, workshops, duty free shopping (but don’t forget about those U.S. Customs regulations).
  • Duty-Free Limits – U.S. Customs has very strict regulations for what you are and aren’t allowed to bring back. If you’ve bought expensive art or jewelery be sure you’re aware of the limits imposed (for example $800 worth of items per person). If you’re planning on buying alcohol or cigarettes on board, be aware to the current U.S. Customs regulations regarding the maximum amount allowed. At the time I’m writing this the max is 200 cigarettes per person and one liter of alcohol per person. Check here for updates: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/.
  • White Hot Party – It’s usually one of the last nights on the ship. Everyone dresses up in white and heads down to the Spinnaker Lounge for music and drinks.
  • Disembarkation – Be sure to review the information and plan accordingly – especially if you have an early flight to catch. The lines can be really long – for both the elevators and to be scanned out. This past year it took us an hour to get off the ship.

For more tips check out:

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