Published at Monday, May 14th 2018. by noah seihan in Cruise Ship Cabins.
Cost is typically the primary concern of most travelers. The more amenities a cabin offers the more it will cost. For example cabins with a balcony typically cost 25% more than cabins with just a window. Windowless cabins cost far less but guests are left with no view. It is important to know what you are willing to live without on your trip. If a balcony is not that important then forego it to save money for entertainment or a future trip. Cabin sizes will differ on different cruise lines. The smallest rooms on larger cruise ships will be bigger than some of the larger rooms on smaller cruise ships. Many people prefer to get a smaller room and extend their vacation. After all the cabin is just a place to sleep. All of the fun and entertainment is above deck.
Cruise ship vacations are a great way to travel relax and visit exotic lands. Every cruise I take I learn something new that makes my next trip more enjoyable. Here are 10 secrets that will make all your cruise ship vacations memorable. 1. Most cruise lines offer special discounts for past guests police officers and firefighters military personnel (active duty retired and sometimes even veterans with as little as 2 years service) senior citizens airline employees and more. I had already been on several cruises before I found out I was eligible for a military discount. Don`t rely on your travel agent to point it out. In fact it was a fellow passenger who gave me this hot tip. You can find this information on the cruiseline`s website but it might take a little digging. (Hint: start at FAQ or search for `special cruise pricing.`) It`s worth the effort -- the military discount I received applied to both me and my wife and was very generous. 2. When you`re booking your cruise you may be able to choose where you want your cabin -- toward the front of the ship the rear or the middle; upper decks or lower. Generally the higher the deck the more expensive the cabin. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your location: ~ being close to the elevators might be convenient but it can also be noisy. This is especially true of service elevators. ~ avoid being under the disco or gym because you`ll hear people partying late into the night or working out early in the morning. ~ the front and rear of the ship can be noisy from anchors and propellers. 3. The elevators get crowded especially at mealtimes and when getting off the ship in port. I always push both call buttons and get on whichever elevator gets there first. Even if I have to go the opposite direction I found it`s still faster than waiting in the lobby for the right elevator. 4. To save closet space in your cabin slide your suitcases under the bed after unpacking. You won`t need them until it`s time to disembark. 5. If you attend any of the shopping and excursion orientations sit up front. They frequently throw free stuff out into the audience to build excitement. 6. Some cruise ships have a cruise director`s TV show to keep guests informed about the ship`s activities. Call or write in with comments or questions and you`ll likely win a free bottle of champagne or other gift. Cruise directors love guests who participate. 7. Bring a small flashlight or plug in night light. The cabins get very dark especially inside cabins. 8. There`s always plenty of food on a cruise ship but try not to overdo it. Set food goals. If you have a big breakfast have a light lunch. Maybe the next day do the opposite. Try to balance what you eat in terms of carbs proteins sweets etc. 9. Instead of waiting in the buffet line for breakfast and hoping you`ll find a table eat breakfast in the dining room. It`s hardly ever crowded and you`ll get some great choices for breakfast that you probably won`t see on the buffet line. 10. Pack a travellers first aid kit with sun block aspirin bandaids ointment and be sure to include insect repellent. On a recent cruise we toured a zoo in the jungles of Belize and the insects were overwhelming! My wife came back covered in bug bites. While cruise ships have a medical doctor on board there`s a charge to see the doc... it can be pretty expensive for treatment of minor mishaps.
There are actually some savings resulting from living aboard a ship. The ship`s executive chef buys food and kitchen supplies in bulk for the ship and can get better prices than the average shopper. Other savings result from the large freezers and the mobility of the ship giving the food service management the ability to stock up on supplies in countries where prices are low. Some crew and owners may choose to fish for leisure. This can supply some fresh food at even lower costs to the owners. Labor savings are realized when the crew is hired based upon the best global labor rates. The laws of supply and demand drive prices down in some places in the world. Proper ship management can capitalize on these disparities. All the savings would be passed on to the cabin owners resulting in an economical cost of living similar to what you could expect to spend with a conventional home. Ship management should have accounting transparency will all books (financial records) open and available for any owner to inspect. Also ship management should submit all financial records quarterly to an outside auditor for the peace of mind of the owners. Anybody in the chain who spends any of the ship`s operational funds should also be periodically audited. For example a good way to audit the executive chef would be for one or more of the live-aboard co-owners of the ship to go to the food market district of each port of call and they should try to haggle and get a better price for the same food than the price the executive chef was able to acquire. If the executive chef cannot find better deals than the ship`s co-owners then the executive chef should be given his walking papers. The executive chef position is a vital position on a cruise ship. This is a position of trust because he will bill the food he buys to the ship. He must never be tempted to accept bribes from vendors or suppliers. Therefore he should know that he will be routinely audited and any substandard performance will result in termination of his employment.
One of the hallmarks of NCL`s acclaimed Freestyle Cruising is the choice of dining options and not surprisingly the Epic takes this feature to a new level. In addition to the two main dining areas the Epic offers 17 other dining venues each with its own cuisine and ambiance. This includes the spacious main buffet area (the Garden Cafe) in which the food was consistently fresh and of high-quality (albeit with somewhat less variety than we`ve experienced on some other ships). It also includes the poolside grill (Spice H2O) O`Sheehan`s (a huge sprawling pub that became the meeting place and social nucleus for many of the ship`s guests) and several specialty restaurants such as La Cucina Italian restaurant (which was even more attractively decorated on the Epic than on other NCL ships) Tepanyaki Japanese grill (much larger than on other NCL ships) and Le Bistro French restaurant just to name a few. Each of the specialty restaurants has a cover charge (which ranges from $10 to $35 per person) but in my opinion they are all well worth the money.
My wife and I were in a standard stateroom with a balcony (one of the Category B staterooms on the ship). Upon entering the stateroom we had two initial impressions. First of all the curved walls gave the room a very unique look (unlike typical cruise ship staterooms which are almost always rectangular with straight walls). The second thing we noticed is that the stateroom didn`t have a bathroom... well at least not in the traditional sense. You entered the stateroom through a door between a shower stall and a toilet stall (each with a heavily frosted enclosure). A curtain separated these areas from the main part of the stateroom which among other things included the bed a couch storage closets / cabinets and a sink. The advantage of having the sink outside of the toilet and shower area is that one occupant can use the sink while another is using the shower or toilet (a convenience that you don`t often find in traditional cruise ship staterooms). In addition the unique design of the stateroom provided much more storage space than is typically found in a conventional stateroom of similar dimensions. However despite that I found the stateroom to be very tight (particularly in the cabins that have the bed nearer to the entrance door than to the balcony door) and overall I must admit that I would have preferred a more conventionally designed stateroom configuration or one of the larger deluxe balcony (Category D) staterooms on the Epic).
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