Going on an NCL caribbean cruise - your experiences?

My wife and I are going on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise in February. We’ll be on the Norwegian Dawn, leaving from Miami. It’s been 10 years since I went on a cruise, and I was a kid then, so I’m looking for advice both on what to do and some basic protocol as far as tipping and so forth. I’ve booked three shore excursions - a whale watching trip in Samana, a hike through Sage National Park in Tortola and a tour in St. Thomas.

Has anyone been on a Norwegian Cruise Line trip recently? Any highlights, low points, things to look out for? I remember reading a thread from someone who was going to be working on a cruise ship - anyone who’s had that experience and could offer their advice to a future customer?

NCL has an automatic tipping system of $10 per day, per passenger. What should I tip beyond that?

My sister recently worked on that ship - that’s who you’re thinking of - as an entertainer (so she was staying as a guest) and my parents took the cruise. They loved it and had no low points to report.

I was on one to Bermuda not too long ago.

You probably don’t need to tip beyond that except for anything special. I gave the guy who brought me room service a couple of bucks when he came. I tipped the bartender a couple of bucks.

I do like the freestyle dining on Norwegian since I don’t deal well with rigid schedules and forced socialization. Food can be hit or miss in the various restaurants. I found it to be better than Applebee’s but not necessarily something that I would pay good money for.

I guess one thing that struck me about a cruise was how much stuff can cost you. Booze isn’t cheap. Lots of the activities are free and lots are not. Internet service was outrageously expensive. Don’t quote me but I want to say it was $50 for 100 minutes. I ended up using an internet cafe at a couple of ports.

Do take advantage of the ‘dining ashore’ voucher. It costs five or ten bucks per person but can be used in a few restaurants on shore. Probably ended up being my favorite meal.

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