The Norwegian Sun!!!

Note: This review will consist of two parts.  Part two will be posted Thursday evening.

A model of the Sun

A model of the Sun

Built in 2001, The Norwegian Sun is considered an older ship, however, once you board, you realize how beautiful and well taken care of each and every area of the ship feels and looks.  You will board on deck six, and immediately, you will feel the comfort and tranquility of the Sun.  Currently, the Sun is doing 10 and 11 day cruises from Miami to the Southern Caribbean, however, in April, she will move to Vancouver to do seven day Alaska cruises.

The Sun was an absolute joy to be on, a lot of surprises and places to relax, enjoy a drink as well as a very nice pool area with a live band.  This ship continued to provide surprise after surprise with it’s decor, atmosphere and cleanliness.  I sincerely was aghast with each new area I ventured.  The theater on the Sun is small, however, it would be a great place to see a show due to its intimacy.  There are places to sit and enjoy a drink in the back, or sit right up front and be almost on top of the talent!

A 7 foot pool!

A 7 foot pool!

This ship has a small atrium, yet it feels very spacious. Schedule a shore excursion, surf the web or enjoy the Champagne bar.  Also, on the first day of your cruise, you can purchase all your drink packages in the atrium.  One of the highlights of this ship, is the Windjammer bar.  Here, you can enjoy a cigar and some tasting whisky.  It is a private location with low traffic and a great atmosphere with light piano in the background.  Just think of your first day on the cruise, after the hectic boarding process and hauling your luggage about, sitting, relaxing with a loved one, sipping a cold drink and listening to soft, subtle piano as you sail the sky blue waters.  With just 2000 people on board, this ship will provide privacy, relaxation and a lifetime of memories. If this sounds good to you, give me a call.  We will plan your next perfect cruise.

See you Thursday for part two.

From the Aft

From the Aft

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The ideal time to book a cruise.

Aft of Norwegian Pearl

Aft of Norwegian Pearl

I had a sales call yesterday with a guest that had previously sailed with Norwegian.  Her husband and kids absolutely love cruising Norwegian.  She was looking for a July cruise from New York to the Bahamas.  She wanted her entire family in one room and she wanted it for around $3200.  Unfortunately, I could not find this price or arrangement for this, as these cruises are hugely popular and we are only a few months from her desired sail date.

This got me to thinking, why do people wait so long to start planning a family trip?  Cruise deposits are always refundable up to a certain point, (usually 75 days) and prices can be adjusted. With a deposit on a cruise, the price can never go up!  She asked me; “Tom, am I booking too late?”  My response was simple,  “Ma’am, with a cruise this popular, a year in advance is the best time to start planning.”  The best I could do for her was about $1000 more than she wanted to pay.  The availability was there, however, not in her desired price range.

In my expert opinion, if you have a family of four or more, you need to have a deposit down on a cruise at least one year in advance. Especially for cruises on newer ships or that leave out of New York city.  A two person room should be booked no later than six months in advance.  That will give you ideal selection, price and time to pay on your balance with the satisfaction of getting exactly what you need.

So, what happened with the guest that wanted the cruise in July?  She booked an interior room for her family of four, opting to pay more, rather than sail on a different line out of Baltimore.  She will have a much better time on Norwegian.  Take it from a past guest, Norwegian is the best in the business! New cruisers, you’ll never want to leave. Book early, book often and lose the stress.  Let your personal cruise consultant (Me) do the rest!

877.416.9722 Ex 4582

877.416.9722 Ex 4582

I want to be a part of it….(New York, New York!)

With the Norwegian Breakaway about to begin sailing out of New York in May, what better topic to discuss than the greatest city in the world, New York!!

Manhattan Cruise Terminal is located about five blocks east of Times Square.  Drop your bags off early, then go enjoy some of the Square’s attractions.  Lots of shopping and sights to see.  Make the most of your cruise out of Manhattan, go to NY a day early, walk around Central Park, go see a broadway show!  You will have memories to last a lifetime.

On Broadway

When you sail out of New York, you are going to have many itinerary options.  The sail away from New York provides spectacular views as you leave this majestic city.  The Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian’s newest and some would say finest ship, will sail to Bermuda or to the Bahamas in 2013.  Bermuda is an absolute amazing experience.  Pink sand beaches, historical landmarks and a wonderful climate.  Comfortable for any fair weather fan.  The Bahamas is an excellent idea for a family cruise out of NY.  Enjoy the ship, and fun in the sun.  Other itineraries include; Canada, Caribbean and even one night dinner cruises.

As you sail away.

As you sail away.

You really can’t argue with a cruise out of New York.  No matter the time of year, you will enjoy the sights, the culture and especially the cruise.  Norwegian is number one out of New York city, there is no doubt about it.  Plan the vacation of a lifetime, book a cruise and enjoy a few days in the city that has been famous for movies, culture, museums, history and art.

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

Featured Ship: Norwegian Epic

The Epic

The Norwegian Epic is a ship unlike any other in the cruising industry.  Built in 2010, this ship has been named by Travel Weekly best ship at sea for 2011 and 2012.

2013 Itineraries:
Eastern Caribbean (St. Thomas, St. Maartin and Nassau Bahamas Nov. ‘13 – April.

In the summer and fall months, the EPIC will be in Europe, sailing the  W. Mediterranean.

Whats on board?  The EPIC has so much to do, you will have a hard time finding an extra minute for time by the pool; Some highlights include:

  • A two deck sports complex Featuring a batting cage and full basketball court.
  • O’Sheehan’s Bar and Pub, play some darts!
  • Wii Wall – Movies and Epic Wii tournaments
  • A 18 degree Ice bar equipped with lots of vodka drinks!
  • 200 foot water slide called the Epic Plunge!
  • Largest casino at sea, featuring all your favorite table games and slots.
  • Fat Cats Jazz and Blues club Featuring Slam Allen, you will be up and dancing in no time.
  • Six lanes of bowling.  At $5 dollars per person, you can’t go wrong!

EpicAlley

The accommodations on the Epic are unbelievable.  From the Haven private courtyard suites to the Studio 1 person rooms, you are going to feel comfortable and pampered.  Remember, there are no Ocean View windows on this ship, only Interior rooms and Balcony rooms.  The Haven Owners suite makes the best hotel room look dull.  The views are beyond incredible.  Do yourself a favor and book an Epic cruise today.

Penthouse

Cruise Alaska: The Basics

Welcome

Alaska is a destination unlike any other.  When you decide to take a cruise to Alaska, you are in for an unbelievable trip, full of crystal cold blue waters, glaciers and wildlife.  If outdoor activities, wildlife, adventure and majestic views are on your vacation list, Alaska is the perfect cruise for you.

The most popular cruise to Alaska is a Round trip from Seattle. Norwegian has two ships sailing out of Seattle, the Pearl and the Jewel, sailing for 7 days.  With these sister ships, you just can’t go wrong.

If you can, check out Pike Place Market and the Space needle in Seattle.  Both are very popular with tourists and locals alike.  Seattle is a great town.

The three most popular ports in Alaska are; Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

In Juneau, you are going to want to go whale watching or glacier sighting.  Juneau is a microcosm of the full Alaska experience, a small town with a surrounding of glaciers and wildlife unparalleled in the world.

Majestic

In Skagway, you can experience some real adventure.  Many guests have really loved sledding with the dogs.  Yes, the same dogs that run in the Iditarod.  Point of advice, if you do go visit the dogs, make sure you dress in clothes you would be willing to dirty.  The dogs jump, bark and get very excited around people.  You can also do a sightseeing tour, including old goldmines!  Something for everyone.

Abandoned

Abandoned

Ketchikan is known for its wilderness and fishing.  You can see a lumberjack show, or you can take a small fishing boat tour and learn how to reel in crabbing traps from the same men who fish on the TV show, “the Deadliest Catch!”

Alaska has something for everyone, honestly, a symbol of adventure and beauty all from the safety of your Norwegian cruise ship.  Obviously, there is much more to see and experience, however, this is a good starting point.  DOn’t forget your binoculars!  Any questions, call me or shoot me any email!

Featured Destination – Samana, Dominican Republic

Samana, Dominican Republic

Samana, Dominican Republic

One of my favorite places in the Caribbean is Samana, Dominican Republic.  Unlike a lot of popular caribbean ports, Samana is  a taste of the old caribbean, this port offers a glimpse into the past.  Your ship will Anchor off shore and you will be tendered to the dock, or the private island of Cayo Leventado.  Cayo Leventado is known from the old Bacardi commercials of the 80’s and 90’s.  It has been built up and now has a Bahia Hotel and resort built on it.  Imagine yourself sitting on the beach in an secluded caribbean destination, the true essence of an exotic vacation.  It will be a memory that will last a lifetime. Shopping and open air markets are also options, if you choose to wander the boardwalk at the main pier.

Picture of the Norwegian Dawn from Cayo Leventado.

Picture of the Norwegian Dawn from Cayo Leventado.

Samana is famous for whale watching.  The whales come into the bay and there are tours offered both by the cruise line and private tours.  Other tours include; Swimming with Sea Lions, sport fishing and ATV riding the back country.

Norwegian’s private excursions include a Rum tasting, a cultural highlights tour and riding sand buggies on the beach, plus much more.  These options will absolutely enhance your experience at this port.

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I met up with my parents and their friends who were on a cruise and we did a Beach tour with http://www.casadoradoDR.com.  Catherine and Roberto showed us a great time.  We had ten people, and the cost was minimal.  The tour car/taxi picked us up at the pier, and took us about 30 minutes to the tip of the Peninsula, Las Galeras.  We then took a small boat over to Playa Rincon, which is rated as one of the top beaches in the world.  I strongly recommend this tour.  You will be blown away by the view, the beautiful water and the privacy.  Amazing.

A special thanks to Casa Dorado.

A special thanks to Casa Dorado.

Cruise Tips from your Norwegian Expert! Pt. 1

1. Enjoy your cruise.  As overwhelming as it seems, once you board the ship, all those worries will melt away!  Explore the ship, and do what you want.

2. Arrive at the pier early.  No matter where you are, planning on arriving at the pier around 11:00AM is the best idea.  You will be one of the first on the ship and the first in the pool!

3. Enjoy the sail away.  Some of the best views of the city you are in are from the ship.  You will be able to have a great view of the skyline from your balcony or the upper public areas!  Don’t forget your sunglasses.

4.  Eat carrots. Sounds weird, huh?  Cruising usually involves lots of sun. Carrots are a natural sunscreen, the nutrients help the skin fight burning.  Sunscreen is great, but carrots will be an extra help at fighting against sun burn. (Generally will take eating the carrots daily at least two weeks prior to cruising)

5.  Leave a copy of your drivers license and passport with someone you trust at home.  If anything happens abroad, you might need this information to request a  new passport.  Remember to bring your actual passport with you.BVI

6. Decide what you want to do in each port before you board.  Planning ahead will help you choose if you want/need a shore excursion provided by Norwegian. Our shore excursions are excellent, but sometimes doing something on your own is a more intimate experience.

7. Invite your friends!  A lot of people have never even considered a cruise as a vacation.  They are under the misnomer of “cruising is for old people” sentiment.  We can’t wait to show them the best vacation they have ever had!  From the Blue Man Group to the casino, our ships have something for everyone.  Inviting your friends will also create memories and bonds that will last a lifetime!

8. Leave it at home.  A lot of people want to bring everything they own with them on a cruise.  No need!  The ship will have it!  It really isn’t worth saving $10 dollars on a bottle of wine to lug in on the ship.  Irons are not allowed and the ship will have plenty of snacks!

9. Bring an extra credit card.  As soon as you board, leave it in your room safe (every room has one).  If anything happens where you lose your card or credentials, you will be thankful you have a card and pin number to fall back on.

10. Call your personal cruise consultant!  Have a question?  We are always here for you.  You can call me directly at 206.390.7885 or email at thollembaek@cruiseshipcenters.com  That’s the personalized service we provide for you.

Epic Ice Bar logo

Epic Ice Bar logo