Celebrate your independence! Leave the country!

It’s July 4, 2013. Otherwise known as Independence Day here in the United States. We tend to celebrate in many ways, much of it involving food, booze, and amateur pyrotechnics. How about doing something more meaningful?

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The Karaoke Conundrum For Crooning Cruisers

Back in December, I posted something in an industry-focused Facebook group regarding my sailing on Norwegian Epic and my problems with the karaoke there (you can read about it here). At the time, I was invited by an executive with NCL to message him directly regarding those issues. I did so, and proposed solutions as well, up to and including actually going to work on the ship myself. Even if it meant missing out on bookings, I was willing to make that sacrifice. My message received no response. When I stepped aboard the beautiful Norwegian Breakaway on May 12 of this year, however, I got my answer. Boy, did I.

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Breakaway Rocks NYC!

Norwegian Breakaway made her inaugural sailing to Bermuda on May 12, 2013 and I was fortunate enough to be on board. This brand new ship is lovely, and while there were a few missteps, there are also a lot of improvements over their next-youngest ship, Norwegian Epic.

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Epic Dreams (and a few harsh realities)

In July of 2010, I was fortunate enough to go on the pre-inaugural sailing of Norwegian Epic (review here). She was a brand new ship then, still a bit rough around the edges, but it was a delight to be one of the first to explore and experience all she had to offer. This past November, I had the opportunity to sail on her again, this time for a full week.

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“With A Pretty Purse, Let’s Go”

There are some services that cruise lines offer begrudgingly. As though they know it’s expected, and they know that it’s likely an easy way to make money, but it’s not something they really enjoy offering. The biggest one I’ve found so far is karaoke. Let me sing you the song of my people.

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Norwegian Pearl, October 30 2011

Last month, I was able to sail with Norwegian Cruise Line for a full seven days on their Norwegian Pearl. Let me tell you all about it.

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Don’t come crying to me.

I’m going to be blunt here from the very beginning, because honestly, if you can’t handle straight talk, you shouldn’t be reading this in the first place. So, are you ready? Here goes: If you take a cruise and you don’t purchase travel insurance to go with it, you’re a fool.

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Educated Consumer vs. Ignorant Cheapskate

I love educated consumers. I try to be one as well. And when one is spending a couple thousand dollars on a vacation, I do believe in getting the best possible deal out there. Thing is, I don’t believe in screwing anyone over to get it. Service is valuable, and sometimes people won’t realise that until it’s far too late.

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There’s Only One Guarantee With A Guarantee Cabin

One of the confusing aspects of booking cruise travel is all of the various cabin categories on offer. Each line has different category codes, and telling an E1 from a BB can be challenging when all you know is that you want a balcony cabin. However, the most confusing one of all seems to be the “guarantee” category.

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Tipping – Not a city in China

If there’s one topic that’s sure to spark a firestorm of chatter among cruisers, it’s the topic of tipping. All of the mass market cruise lines and some of the luxury lines as well charge some sort of daily fee for the services provided to you as you’re being pampered on the ship. Some call it a service charge, some call it a gratuity, but no matter what it’s called, it’s being automatically added to your shipboard account. Here’s a few things you need to know about tipping on a ship.

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