I recently spoke to some clients that took their first ocean cruise in over 30 years. Their comments may change your mind about ocean cruising. They had just returned from an Alaska cruise on the Norwegian Bliss out of Seattle. Let’s call them Jim and Kim.
Jim was amazed that embarkation and disembarkation were so easy. With 4000 people to move, he just assumed it would take forever. Can you imagine how happy they were that it took no more than 20 minutes from the time they arrived at the dock to the time they started unpacking their luggage in the suite! And similarly only 20 minutes from the time they left their cabin to the time they picked up their Uber enroute to the airport.
Both Jim and Kim assumed that with these massive ships, there’s a lot of waiting around. Not any more there isn’t! NCL and others have really gotten the logistics down pat. Throw out those old assumptions of the huge ships.
Jim and Kim didn’t eat at many speciality restaurants. But they found the food to be absolutely excellent at the included venues. In fact, they ordered steak a second night because it was so good the night before. They found the variety to be excellent, the service to be just fine and the food very tasty.
Gone are the days of endless buffets with food sitting out for hours. The cruise lines and certainly NCL have a much better appreciation for food quality than ever. For some people, knowing the food is so good is all it takes to change their mind about ocean cruising.
Never a dull moment
When I asked if they enjoyed the entertainment, Kim said absolutely. But they were so tired from the day’s activity that they hardly made too many late night shows. The old days of sitting around with nothing to do are gone – these ships are packed with entertainment, activities and of course excursions. Alaska is certainly destination centric, but both Jim and Kim were pleasantly surprised by just how active the cruise can be. They figured they averaged 15,000 steps a day. Of course, you can always relax if you want….there is plenty of space on board.
People were really nice
When you think about mega ships like the Bliss, some people might think about rude passengers and crew. Yet the level of service and the hospitality of the crew really surprised both Jim and Kim. They expected to be treated like a number; instead they felt welcomed and attended to.
And Kim was concerned that being around “4000 of her closest friends” would end up being a negative. Instead, they both met tons of nice people. Even on excursions, where there was a particular photograph to get, people nicely took turns and yielded their prime spot so others could experience it. Kim was pleasantly surprised.
Given they were happy with the food, activities and service, I asked them about the price. Jim said he was surprised that it really is a great value. For around $5000, they spent 7 days in Alaska, including…well, everything. That’s less than many would spend for a week at the beach, especially when you consider unlimited food, entertainment and stunning views. And how do you put a value on hiking beautiful trails, watching eagles and being up close and personal to glaciers?
Are you ready to change your mind about Ocean cruising?
Easy logistics, great food and drink, never a dull moment (unless you want it), being around great service and nice people and all at price that represents a great value. If any of this surprises you about mass market cruise ships like the NCL Bliss, you too should change your mind about ocean cruising.
Jim and Kim’s last words were the most telling: “we don’t know where we want to go next, but there’s no question, we want to do this again. What a great experience.”
Warning: not all cruise ships, cruise lines, cruise ports or cabins are created equal. Consult a great travel agent to make sure you get a great experience.
Here’s some links you might find interesting:
- Norwegian bliss inaugural voyage
- The new Ocean cruise ships – a billion dollar bet
- Budget cruise – is this the ocean cruise for you?