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The Biggest Downside Of Cruising With Norwegian

Pier Arrival and Check-In with Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line may be our cruise line of choice for now, but we are not blind to nickel and diming. They charge you for many extras throughout the ship, certain foods, specialty coffee , and room service when other cruise lines may just include it in the cost of the cruise fares.

Even the service fees on their free-at-sea promotions are a controversial topic. Is it really free. In reality, they should probably just roll it into the price of the cruise. But they do give cruisers the chance to save that money.

That said, it doesnt deter us or others from booking a Norwegian Cruise. Most of it is stuff that is not something that breaks or makes our cruise experience.

Choosing a cruise line to cruise with is just as important as the itinerary. Hopefully, this post answers why Norwegian Cruise Line makes for a great cruise vacation. And it has given you some reasons to book a Norwegian Cruise the next time you research cruises.

After reading this list, you may decide that NCL is not your cruise line. Thats okay, too. There are plenty of cruise lines out there that will fit what youre looking for.

Have you cruised with NCL? Is Norwegian a good cruise Line? What do you love about cruising Norwegian? Let us know in the comments!

Wondering if its difficult to plan the cruise? Dont worry, we have you covered there as well. You can check out: 9 Steps to Planning a Cruise& How to Prepare for a Cruise.

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Can A Cruise Line Force You To Get Vaccinated

But wait, can a cruise line or any travel business force you to get vaccinated? Can it keep your money if you dont comply with a new rule?

A look at NCLs latest ticket contract suggests the answer is yes:

Agreement to Abide by Current COVID-19 Policies and Procedures.

Carriers COVID-19 Policies and Procedures are subject to guidance and directives of established health authorities in the U.S. and other destinations where the Vessel visits, including the CDC and other international, national and local health agencies when the Vessel is within those agencies jurisdiction.

Guest acknowledges that these directives may change from time to time and that Carriers COVID-19 Policies and Procedures may therefore change. Guest expressly agrees to comply not only with the COVID-19 Policies and Procedures as they are described herein, but also as they are set forth on Carriers website at, at all times including pre-embarkation, while onboard, during port calls and shore excursions and/or final disembarkation. In case of any conflict between the COVID-19 Policies and Procedures described herein or on Carriers website, the website governs.

Guests agreement to abide by Carriers COVID-19 Policies and Procedures constitutes an integral part of this Ticket Contract.

But that wasnt the ticket contract he agreed to in 2019 when he originally booked the cruise. In fact, there was no mention of COVID-19.

How To Get Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and up and booster shots for eligible recipients are being administered at doctors offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and public vaccination sites. Many allow appointments to be booked online. Heres how to find a site near you:

Find a site: Visit to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.

More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.

Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.

TTY: 888-720-7489

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What Is The Right Thing To Do

Sublabans case opens a Pandoras box for future cruises and tours. If a business can retroactively apply a requirement on its customers and refuse a refund if they dont comply, what does that mean for you?

It isnt a question of if, but when the next pandemic will happen. Were bound to see more cases like this, where someone couldnt or wouldnt get vaccinated and then lost a vacation.

Should businesses be allowed to force their customers to comply with health restrictions? If not, should businesses be forced to refund a cruise or tour, even if the vacation is nonrefundable?

As a consumer advocate, I would answer those questions one way. A Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. shareholder would probably answer differently.

But whats the right answer?

Save Time At Embarkationcomplete Your Online Check

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New health and safety steps added to Online Check-In will significantly cut down processing time at the pier. Experience a much faster, more seamless boarding process when you complete all required steps listed below. Online Check-In for all guests is required to download your eDocs . Port security requires each guest to present their eDocs to enter the pier. PLEASE NOTE: You will lose the opportunity to Check-in online 3 days prior to sailing.

Complete these steps in Online Check-In:

  • Travel Documentation: Provide passport number or travel documentation information
  • Flight Information: Provide airline details and purchase transfers to the pier and back to the airport.
  • Onboard Payment Preferences: Select either credit card, debit card or cash
  • Acknowledge that you and each guest age twelve and over in your stateroom will be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to departure .
  • Take a Selfie Photo: Use your computer webcam or mobile phone camera to capture your pre-cruise security photo. You can come back to this step on the Mobile app if you don’t have a web cam.

These steps will be available 21 days prior to your sail date:

  • Reserve an arrival time to check-in at the pier. You will only be allowed to enter the terminal during this time.
  • Watch the Required Safety Video in advance to avoid large crowd gathering onboard. Learn important muster drill, life jacket and onboard safety procedures.

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Not Perfect But Very Useful

Overall, this app worked well and was a tremendous help to my group…being able to search through the restaurants was the biggest advantage to this app . Again, overall, extremely useful. One thing I used frequently while on my cruise was the whats happening feature…this shows all of the things happening in the next 24 hours . The one thing I didnt like about this feature is that you cant tap an item and get more information…that would have been EXTREMELY useful because some titles didnt lend themselves well to what that event actually was. Another change Id like to see are menus for all restaurants…most have sample menus , but some dont have anything so you dont really know what they serve.

Great Value For The Money

Norwegian Cruise Line is your best bet if you want a budget-friendly cruise without sacrificing quality. While they arent the cheapest cruise line out there, they offer a lot of value for the price.

They are one of the mid-pricing cruise lines that offer a lot of inclusions without being too expensive yet giving you that resort-style feel.

Some other cruise lines may be cheaper, but you sacrifice quality. So, if youre looking for an affordable cruise without sacrificing quality, Norwegian is a great option.

Plus, they often have sales and promotions making their cruises even more affordable.

Before you set sail, pack these essentials that will help make your cruise even more enjoyable. These items include everything from sun protection essentials to must-have medications. We also cover what not to pack for a cruise on our site.

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Health And Safety Faqs For All Guests

What Vaccines will be accepted?

Any U.S. Food and Drug Administration , European Medicines Agency , and/or World Health Organization authorized single brand vaccination protocol 2 weeks after receipt of the final dose.

  • Including, J& J Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, etc.
  • Note: Individuals receiving a Janssen COVID-19 vaccine before or after another COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.
  • Current Unauthorized Vaccines: Sputnik V, COVAXIN, Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine , Novavax, Covovax.
  • Vaccines received via clinical trials will not be accepted as they do not specify vaccine received.

To be fully vaccinated means to complete the full brand vaccination protocol of one brand of vaccine OR two doses of a mixed vaccination combination, and therefore a single shot of AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sinopharm or Sinovac after COVID-19 recovery is NOT considered being fully vaccinated.

What documents will be required to show proof of vaccination?

Preferred proof form is the original vaccination record document issued by either the countrys health authority that administered the vaccination or the guest’s medical provider that completed the vaccine administration, however, a photo of the vaccination record document will also be accepted.

Are masks required onboard?

Can I explore on my own while in port?

Cruise Covid Testing Changes:

How to Check In on the Norwegian (NCL) App
  • Vaccinated guests aged 12 and older will no longer have any pre-cruise COVID-19-related protocols
  • Guests who are unvaccinated aged 12 and older or those who decline to provide proof of vaccination will need to present a negative administered PCR or Antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding.
  • Guests ages 11 and under will not require any vaccination protocols
  • Vaccinated guests must be fully vaccinated at the destination they are embarking and/or traveling to and must provide proof of vaccination.

The relaxation of protocols coupled with continued easing of travel restrictions and the reopening to cruise in more ports around the globe are meaningfully positive for our business as it reduces friction, expands the addressable cruise market, brings variety to itineraries and provides additional catalysts on the road to recovery, Del Rio continuted.

Does this make your next cruise easier? Let us know in the comments!

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How To Get Tested

Tampa Bay: The Times can help you find the free, public COVID-19 testing sites in the bay area.

Florida: The Department of Health has a website that lists testing sites in the state. Some information may be out of date.

The U.S.: The Department of Health and Human Services has a website that can help you find a testing site.

When You Cruise You Have Almost No Rights

If anything, Sublabans case underscores the fact that you have almost no rights when you take a cruise. Your ticket contract gives the cruise line a broad license to add and delete any new rules it wants to. You have practically no remedies.

The cruise industry doesnt want anyone to know about your lack of rights. For example, earlier this year it managed to downplay the most significant revisions of the Passenger Vessel Act in a century. The update forced cruise lines to refund a cruise if delayed by more than three days.

I reviewed the comments on the federal rulemaking, and its clear that someone went to great lengths to bury this rule. Had more people known about it, then the cruise lines wouldnt have gotten such a sweetheart deal a refund after only a three-day delay. Imagine if your airline did that!

What kind of rights do passengers deserve? Well, thats easy.

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Norwegian Cruise Line To Drop Requirement For Covid

MIAMI Norwegian Cruise Line is dropping a requirement that passengers test negative for COVID-19 before sailing unless it is required by local rules.

The company said Wednesday that it will drop the testing requirement Aug. 1 except on ships sailing from places with local testing rules, including in the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Greece.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires pre-trip testing for passengers on 94 ships taking part in CDCs voluntary COVID-19 program, including Norwegian ships that sail in the U.S.

Norwegian requires vaccinated passengers in the U.S. to show a negative antigen test for COVID-19 within two days of their trip or a negative PCR test within three days of sailing. Unvaccinated children under 12 are subject to more testing when they board and leave the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said it will relax its testing policy in other countries to be in line with other sectors of the travel industry as society continues to adapt and return to a state of normalcy.

The cruise industry complains that when the pandemic hit, it was singled out for a shutdown by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while airlines were not.

Norwegian, which has its headquarters in Miami, operates the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas lines.

Can A Cruise Line Keep Your Money If You Refuse To Get Vaccinated

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Is NCL within its rights to keep Sublabans money? Again, the answer appears to be yes.

He booked a new cruise under NCLs revised ticket contract. The standard cancellation policies apply, according to the cruise line.

NCL can require a passenger to be vaccinated against COVID, monkeypox, or any other infectious disease. If the passenger refuses or is unable to comply, NCL can keep the passengers money.

As I note in my ultimate cruise guide, the government allows cruise lines to set their own policies and lightly regulates refunds. NCL seems to be well within its rights even though passengers may not like it.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Announces Revisions To Vaccination And Testing Protocols

MIAMI, Aug. 08, 2022 — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced revisions to its SailSAFE health and safety protocols which further align the Company to the broader travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide. Vaccinated guests aged 12 and over will no longer have any pre-cruise COVID-19 related protocols and unvaccinated guests may embark with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, subject to local regulations. This policy will go into effect across Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises for all sailings that commence on or after September 3, 2022. Requirements may differ for guests traveling on voyages departing from or visiting destinations with specific local regulations, including but not limited to Canada, Greece and Bermuda. The Company continues to strongly recommend all guests be up to date on vaccination protocols and test at their convenience prior to travel.

Key fleetwide protocols changes, subject to local regulations, effective September 3, 2022 include:

About Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Investor Relations & Media Contact

What Do I Need To Know About Cruise Vaccination Requirements

If youre taking a cruise this fall, you might find all of these new vaccination rules a little confusing. Do you still need a COVID test? What about the kids? And, could the rules change again at the last minute?

Generally, the new rules allow unvaccinated passengers to cruise. But as of now, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

The requirements vary between cruise lines. For example, I spent the last week cruising between Kirkenes and Bergen, Norway, on the Hurtigruten. There were no testing or vaccination requirements for the vessel.

Here are a few things you should look for:

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Why Norwegian Cruise Line: 10 Convincing Reasons

Posted on Last updated: September 8, 2022

Are you thinking of booking a Norwegian cruise? Is Norwegian a good cruise line? Why Norwegian Cruise Line? Here are 10 reasons to book a Norwegian Cruise for your next cruise vacation.

If you have been following our blog for some time, its no surprise that we are fans of the Norwegian Cruise Line. We have sailed with NCL multiple times and almost always have had a great experience.

From staying in the Haven on the Norwegian Getaway to our latest Bermuda cruiseon the Norwegian Joy, they have all been fun and fabulous sailings with NCL. While we didnt love our sail with Norwegian Epic, we didnt let that stop us from booking another Norwegian cruise down the line.

From their Freestyle Cruising concept to their great entertainment options, Norwegian has a lot to offer cruisers. Plus, they make it affordable to cruise without breaking the bank.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from one of those links, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support.

Why Norwegian Cruise Line?

Yes! Norwegian Cruise Line is a great option for cruisers looking for a relaxed and comfortable cruise vacation. Norwegians Freestyle Cruising concept allows guests to dine when they want, dress how they want, and enjoy their cruise vacation on their terms.

Is Norwegian a good cruise line?

What is the Norwegian Cruise Line famous for?

Variety Of Dining Options

My Norwegian Epic Embarkation Experience: Covid Testing and Check-In

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a variety of dining options.

One thing we love about cruising with NCL is that there are so many different types dining available, including buffets or specialty restaurants- all at your leisure!

The only downside? You have to pay an extra charge for specialty restaurants. However, their specialties can be worth it if you enjoy trying new things while on vacation.

Eating at their specialty restaurant Le Bistro is one of the many reasons we book a Norwegian Cruise sometimes. You may think were crazy, but we dream of their dessert île Flottante.

Weve gathered 122 of our top cruise tips and hacks to help make your planning process smoother and your cruising experience even more fabulous. We have everything you need to know to ensure your cruise is unforgettable.

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I Finally Got My Money Back

I didnt ask Sublaban why he wouldnt get vaccinated. It shouldnt matter. Maybe he is immunocompromised and thinks he cant handle the vaccination. Then again, maybe hes a vaccine skeptic and refuses to get the jab.

What does matter is that NCL was threatening to keep his money if he didnt get a vaccination. That seems unfair to this consumer advocate. If it had already promised him a refund, then it should do what it said.

I contacted NCL on his behalf. A few days later, I received an email from him:

I checked my account and noticed this morning I finally got my money back, he wrote. I appreciate your help. Im happy with the outcome.

Me too. Im happy that this is a theoretical discussion, now that NCL has changed its vaccination requirements. Happy, too, that NCL did what it said it would.

But Im not happy about the lack of legal protections for cruise passengers.

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