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17 Cruise Lies Everyone Believes



We’ve heard it time and time again, a friend, a neighbor, or relative, talking bad about cruises. Giving excuse after excuse of why they’ll never understand why you waste your money on a cruise vacation.

Here are the top 17 cruise lies I’ve heard:

1. Only For Old People

I personally have been cruising since I was a kid; more and more college students and young families are discovering spring break cruises. Get the Titanic mindset out of your mind, it’s not 1912 anymore and everyone on board is not super rich and 90.

2. Drinking Costs Too Much 

Not sure where you’ve been drinking, but a beer in NYC cost me $7 a bottle. Depending on the brand, you can expect to pay around $5-$6 for beer and around $7 for a cocktail on a cruise ship. Frozen drinks – a little more. If you have a set budget, you could look into a pre-paid drink package. When all else fails, bring two bottles of wine (you’re allowed).

3. Too Confining 

When someone says this about cruising, I immediately wonder if they’ve only seen cruise ships in the movies. There isn’t one area on ships these days that make you feel claustrophobic. Now days ships are moving away from building venues like a tight jigsaw puzzle and focusing more on space and the connection to the sea.

4. Too Formal 

As tradition would have it, most cruise lines are still doing formal or elegant nights, but by no means do you have to participate. It is only suggested attire. Long as you stick to the right dress, you won’t get turned away.

5. Boring

For some reason, a lot of people still associate cruising with smoking cigars in a stuffy lounge, or laying out on a deck chair all day.  While those things can be nice, they are by no means the end to a cruise vacation.  Nowadays more than ever, cruise ships are absolutely filled with activities and adrenaline-filled fun.  There’s water parks, movies, skydiving simulators, workshops and games, clubs for people of every age, and countless more opportunities for fun. Just check out our live blogs from Carnival Vista.

6. Too Expensive

Cruising is actually one of the cheapest kinds of vacations you can have if you love to see different parts of the world.  Do your research, and you’re sure to find a cruise that will blow a land-based vacation out of the water.  Think about it – accommodations, food, and most activities on the ship are covered in one cost.  How much would you spend for all of that separately on land? Plus, you only have to unpack once! Check cruise price drops here.

7. I’ll Gain Weight

Yes, you definitely might, but there are ways to combat that.  Some of our favorite and easiest tips are: take the stairs whenever possible, limit frozen/syrupy drinks, and avoid overly sweet/greasy foods for most of your meals except a FEW indulgences.

8. Too Regimented

Only if you let it. While you could have a day packed full of scheduled activities, they are optional.  Some people lay by the pool all day, some pack everything in, but the best idea for most days is to probably have a good balance of both fun and relaxation.  Don’t feel like eating dinner at your designated seating time? Skip it that night and hit the buffet when you’re ready. It’s vacation – do it how you want! Norwegian Cruise Line is the kind of Freestyle Cruising.

9. Can’t Be Connected

In the past few years, most cruise lines have been moving toward better internet access for their guests.  For almost all cruises, wifi will cost you – but it’s much cheaper and speedier than five years ago.  If internet isn’t a necessity for you, though, we strongly recommend you put away your phone, and enjoy a disconnected vacation. You’ll be surprised what fun you’ll have!

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10. I’ll Get Sick

Cruise lines are required to report norovirus once it affects a certain percent of passengers aboard a ship, and then the media makes a heyday out of it.  But you know what?  Norovirus is actually much more prevalent on land, and probably happens in your area a lot more than you ever know about or realize.  Yes, sickness happens, but the best defense aboard a cruise is to load up on vitamin C, wash your hands often, and use common sense.  If illness does take over, every ship has a clinic if you need it.

11. Food is Bad

I don’t know where this stereotype came from, but 99 percent of the time, it’s just not true.  There is such a variety of venues and dishes to try aboard most cruise ships, and some of it is the best you’ll find – even compared to restaurants on land.

12. It’s a Booze Cruise

Shorter sailings are probably more “party cruise” type atmospheres than others, but this is the exception, not the rule.  Truth is, there will always be people partying it up, and there will always be people there to purely relax and enjoy the activities and ports.  Find your people, and have a blast.  The ships are big enough for everyone.

13. Cruises Are Dangerous

Cruise ship emergencies are extensively talked about in the media and across the internet, for the pure fact that they’re a rarity and surprising.  That right there should tell you that they’re an extremely safe method of travel. Hundreds of thousands of people are on a cruise as we speak, and chances are, they’ll return home safe and sound.

14. Too Many Kids

For every ship absolutely brimming with kids, there are adults-only lounges, decks, and bars.  But if you still can’t stand the thought of kids running around and shouting to each other no matter where you are on the ship, try one of the cruise lines that specifically caters more to adults.  Chances are, you’ll find less kids on those sailings.

15. Too Long

People saying this don’t know much about cruising.  Cruises can range from short three and four-night getaway sailings to voyages that last for months on end.  Pick your poison, and have a wonderful trip.

16. Travel Insurance is a Rip Off 

Don’t believe in travel insurance. Just ask the 20-something year old couple that were flying from CT to FL for a cruise this past Janurary. They didn’t want to waste money on travel insurance (it was $33 per person!). Long story short, their flights got snowed in, they were stuck driving 15 hours to Miami to catch their ship. Spend the few dollars to protect yourself!

17. Cruises are for Lazy People

Take that back! Some of the most action-packed, fun-filled days can be spent aboard a cruise ship…even on a sea day.  As mentioned above, there are tons of activities for those who don’t want to sit in a lounger or eat at the buffet all day.  Cruising is neat because there is truly something for everyone, you just have to be willing to try new things, and remember the most important thing: you’re on vacation – do whatever your heart desires.

What’s the best cruise lie you’ve heard? Leave a comment below!

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11 Reasons To Book Norwegian Bliss



There are so many new ships coming down the pike it’s tough to figure out which one we’re most excited about. But if you’re thinking about booking the Norwegian Bliss — which will make her maiden voyage from London to New York City on April 21 — you’ll want to do so sooner rather than later. Why? Aside from the fact that that Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines, recently declared the ship to be the “best-booked new build in [the company’s] history,” which could make availability scarce, here’s why we think you’re going to want to give this exciting ship a try!

1. The Observation Lounges

Although designed specifically to give breathtaking views of Alaska (whose waters the ship will begin sailing in June of 2018), the observation lounges (yes, plural) on this ship will prove popular no matter where Bliss sails. A throwback to another era, the lounges — one of which will be available to all guests, while the other will be available exclusively to those staying in The Haven — promise to make watching the world go by your new favorite pastime.

Located at the very front of deck 15, the Observation Lounge is the place to see (the sights) and be seen (enjoying a drink). Rendering by NCL 

2.The Smokehouse

Country music and barbecue go together like peanut butter and jelly (or chocolate, depending on your flavor palate), so it’s kind of surprising that it took this long for anyone to combine the two and stick them on a cruise ship. But with the introduction of Q, Norwegian will serve up a Texas-style BBQ joint featuring chicken, ribs and brisket, all perfectly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan wood. Stick around after dinner for the kind of foot-stomping, foot-tapping, drink-swilling good time rarely found outside a honky-tonk.

Welcome to Q Smokehouse. Come for the ribs, stay for the tunes. (Rendering courtesy of NCL)

3. The Broadway Show

Big Girls Don’t Cry… unless they miss Jersey Boys, the jukebox musical chronicling the true story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The original production won four Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, and ran on the Great White Way from 2006 until 2017. This is the latest Broadway show to be mounted by NCL, which has also hosted Rock Of Ages (aboard the Norwegian Breakaway) After Midnight (aboard the Norwegian Escape) and more.

Trust us: You know a lot more of the songs these guys did than you think you do. (Artwork courtesy of NCL)

4.The Coolest Happy Hour At Sea

Being big fans of drink packages and specialty cocktails, we don’t tend to associate our time on a cruise ship with prohibition. But the Norwegian Bliss is set to change that with the interactive show Happy Hour, The Musical: Prohibition Edition. Set in a New Orleans speakeasy on the 1916 night before prohibition kicked in, the show serves up tunes from the era as well as a slew of specialty cocktails, promising a good time for all.

Happy Hour: The Musical takes passengers back in time to the even of prohibition. (Photo courtesy of NCL)

5. The Chocolate

In another first for the cruise line, Norwegian Bliss will feature Coco’s, a diet-busting spot sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Where else are you going to find a personal chocolate fountain in which to dip things like cake or pieces of fruit? With many of the gorgeously artful menu items specifically designed to be shared by up to four people (or not…), this will be a great after-dinner spot.

Wonder if Coco’s Cookies ‘n Cream Milkshake comes in a calorie-free version? (Photo courtesy of NCL)

6. The Beatles

Step into a recreation of Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club and catch a cover band doing all your favorite Beatles tunes. Which means that if you play your musical cards right, you can hear country at Q, classics at the Cavern Club and then head on over to Social (formerly known as Alibi), the the ship’s comedy/nightclub… which sounds like an evening that is as full as it is exhausting!

First introduced on the Norwegian Epic, the Cavern Club — and their lead act, The Beatles — are coming to Bliss. (Art courtesy of NCL)

7. The Perfect Pre-Dinner Drink Spots

Whether you’re looking to kick the evening off with a glass of wine or a cocktail, Norwegian Bliss will have you covered. For the vino lovers, there’s The Cellars — A Michael Mondavi Wine Bar. Conveniently, it happens to be located right next to La Cucina (the ship’s Italian eatery), and you can order up a few nibbly bits to go with your wine. The venue will also feature events such as wine tastings. More interested in cocktails? The A-List Bar (named after NCL’s president and CEO, Andy Stuart) is an uber chic setting in which to sip the hand-crafted cocktails whipped up by your mixologists. This one’s ideal for folks grabbing dinner at either Los Lobos or Cagney’s Steakhouse, as it’s located right between them.

There’s no such thing as a B celeb at the A-List Bar. (Rendering courtesy of NCL)

8. The Haven

Yes, many other Norwegian vessels feature this ship-within-a-ship area which allows its inhabitants to live it up, luxe life style. And like those versions, Bliss‘ Haven will offer a variety of cabin configurations, all of which include the services of a butler and concierge. But no other ship in the fleet offers what this version of The Haven does: exclusive access to a two-story, forward-facing observation lounge featuring killer views. It’s the perfect space in which to take it all in while also feeling like you’ve gotten away from it all.

The two story Haven observation lounge is definitely a room with a view. (Rendering courtesy of NCL)

9. The Faux Windows

Think all the bells-and-whistles aboard this ship are reserved for folks paying top dollar for high-end suites? Then you haven’t seen Norwegian Bliss‘ version of inside studio cabins. Designed for solo travelers who want to avoid paying the supplement that usually comes with rooms meant for two or more people, these rooms are smaller, but offer way more than meets the eye. Not only do guests have access to the solo lounge (a great way to meet fellow travelers), but in yet another Norwegian first, these inside cabins are actually rooms with a view. Sure, it’s a fake view, but the “virtual windows” instantly turn the studios into oceanviews!

For the first time on an NCL ship, the solo studio rooms will have a “virtual window.” (Rendering courtesy of NCL)

10. The Chance To Save The World

Take time from your busy schedule of bar-hopping, port-visiting and sun-worshipping to save humanity… or at least pretend to. First introduced on the Norwegian Joy, the top-deck laser tag arena sets up a story in which a rag-tag team of cruisers — including you — visits an apparently abandoned space colony to find out what went wrong and prevent an alien invasion. Space suits not required.

Who knew that when aliens invaded, the final battles would be waged aboard a cruise ship? (Photo courtesy of NCL)

11. The Go Karts

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Did you really think we’d put together this list and not even mention the largest race track at sea? It’s like you don’t even know what we’re most excited about! Yes, we have every intention of jumping in one of these electric-powered vehicles to prove that we have what it takes to beat the competition!

On your marks! Get set! Go… straight to the race track. (Picture courtesy of NCL)

Of course, perhaps the biggest reason to book your stateroom now is that you’ll want to knock the Norwegian Bliss off your bucket list before it’s time to start getting excited about the line’s next ship, the already-under-construction Norwegian Encore!

What has you most excited about Norwegian Bliss? 


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Why I Always Buy The Beverage Package When Cruising



“Should I buy the drink package? Is it worth it?” Those have to be among the questions most often asked when people are planning their cruise. Whether it’s Carnival’s Cheers! program, Norwegian’s Ultimate Beverage Package or Royal Caribbean’s Deluxe Beverage package — each of which comes with its own distinct pricing, restrictions and allowances — almost every cruiser wrestles with whether or not the packages offered is right for them.

Cost Vs. Convenience

Search message boards or Facebook pages, and you’ll find people who have spent a whole lot of time doing the necessary math to figure out exactly what the “break even” point is on each cruise line’s drink package. Using that information, people can ask themselves some basic questions (How many drinks per day do I think I’m going to have? Are the types of alcohol I prefer included in the price? Will I drink fewer drinks on the days we’re in port?) in order to make an informed decision.

For me, however, it comes down to something far simpler: peace of mind.

Nothing beats bellying up to the Carnival Sunshine with a drink package.

During the one and only cruise on which I didn’t purchase a beverage package, I found myself running a mental tab each time I ordered a cocktail. Drink Of The Day? $10.95. My usual bourbon and diet? $9.95. Wine with dinner? Well, you get the picture. Each night, I’d use the interactive television in my stateroom to obsessively check my onboard spending, the vast majority of which went toward drinks. One day, I found myself skipping my usual morning Bloody Mary (and, in case my folks are reading this, let’s just pretend that I only have one each morning, shall we?) in order to save a little money.

One Less Thing To Stress About

I don’t remember what the final bill was at the end of the week, let alone whether it proved to be more or less than it would have cost to purchase the beverage package. (It was something of a moot point to begin with, given that the package was not actually offered on this particular sailing.) I do remember hating the fact that on that final morning, my credit card was going to take a hit.

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I’m the type of cruiser who likes to pay everything in advance. I always have the gratuity charges added to the final payment, sign up for the internet before getting on the ship (especially if it means I get a little bit of a discount)… heck, I even give myself a daily “casino allowance.” So the ability to pay for my drinks in advance, thereby allowing me to turn off the “ka-ching” sound effect that echoed in my head each time I ordered a cocktail, is darn near priceless.

More than a few cruisers get their money’s worth out of drink packages downing nothing but mudslides!

Clearly, this approach isn’t for everyone. Drink packages can be pricey, with Carnival’s currently running $51.95 per person per day (plus an additional 15% gratuity) and Norwegian’s running a whopping $89 per person, per day (plus a 20% gratuity). Of course, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of Norwegian passengers get the Ultimate Beverage Package “free” as one of the perks offered nearly year-round by the cruise line, paying only the gratuity charge.

As I said earlier, you can easily search out drink menus, find out how much your beverage of choice will run, guestimate how many you think you’ll have over the course of your cruise and see if the package is worth it for you. It’s also worth noting that on most cruise lines, if one adult in a room wants the beverage package, all the adults in the room have to purchase it as well… something I, as a solo traveler, don’t have to factor in.

Personally, I avoid math whenever possible — especially where planning a vacation is concerned — and take the path of least resistance. Just thinking about doing all those calculations gives me a headache. (Is there such a thing as a math hangover?) All I know is that I’m always happy when, on that final day of the cruise, the only charges I see on my bill are for Bingo cards.

Do you usually buy a drink package when cruising? What do you base your decision to buy — or not purchase — the package on? 

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New Study Proves Cruising Is Good For You



We all have that friend who says, “I don’t get it… why do you like cruising so much?” Now, rather than list the litany of reasons you love setting sail, you can simply say, “It’s good for me.” And when they give you side-eye, you can hand them a printout of this article and say, “See! It’s not just me saying so… science agrees!” Because a study from the University Of China found a definitive link between cruising and well-being in both the short and long term.

What The Study Found

As part of the study, the scientists questioned 317 people as they were returning from a cruise, and another 295 who’d been on a similar voyage six months earlier. According to a report in the Daily Mail, “the questions were specifically designed to test the participant’s own perceptions of well being, such as life satisfaction and emotional state of mind.”

While the very experience of cruising and socially interacting while doing so contributed to the short-term well being of the participants, the longer-term effects seemed to come from experiences such as shore excursions in general, and particularly those which offered an opportunity to learn  something new or see things in a way never before seen. “The results indicated that cruise holidays offer more value than simply short-term [pleasurable] experiences,” the report read, “but can contribute to broader aspects of life satisfaction and positive functioning in a long-term fashion.”

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It went on to suggest that “travel… affirms self-worth and pride, facilitates self-growth and self-motivation, and searches for inspiration and creation.” While the study was conducted on cruisers within the Chinese market, it’s conclusions have much further-reaching implications, including to how cruise lines market their product. “Cruise marketing should recognize the fact that cruise vacations are not only for fun,” it reads, “but also beneficial for individuals’ happiness and well being.” And certainly cruise campaigns in the American market have played up that angle. One of the taglines used by Princess Cruise line is “Come Back New,” while Royal Caribbean’s “Come Seek” campaign has made a point of focusing not only on the fun that can be had on their ships, but the worlds ready to be explored upon arriving at your destination.

READ MORE: 11 Ways to Stay Healthy on Your Cruise

What It All Means

While the study involved much talk of concepts such as “thinking experience” and “utilitarian views of the objects,” it all boils down to, as we said at the beginning, cruising being good for the well being or, as we like to think of it, your soul. And while we’re big believers that you should never have to explain why you love cruising — hey, if people don’t understand the joy of a floating hotel/casino/restaurant/entertainment complex which takes you to a new place every day, that’s their loss! — should you ever feel compelled to prove it has mental health benefits at well, you’ll have the proof to back you up.

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