My family and I are taking our 1st cruise this April 25th. We have children ages 3-11. Wondering if anyone else w/kids are traveling that date.
Also, does anyone have any input on the parking situation down there. I heard that NCL has their own parking facility. But after reading about the terrible traffic mess getting down to the pier, is it worth it to drive or hire a car to take us and pick us up.
If the ship is leaving at 4pm, what wld be a good time to get there?
How much shld we pack, since it is cold here and warm there that time of the year. I'm also not sure how much space is available in the rooms for storage. We have 2 balcony suites rooms. I assume it wld be like a resort where you are in bathing suites and shorts most of time until dinner rolls around.
If anyone has any input / advice it wld be much appreciated.
I'm not sure on this, but i just cruised on the NCL Dawn and i noticed there werent to many cars parked in the NCL parking lot and i think maybe because its most likely very expensive.
We sailed the dawn on Sunday, October 5 at 4:00 p.m., we got there for 1:00 because our travel agent told us not to get there to early because they cant board the ship until a little after one and you just end up standing around.
As far as packing, there is not a huge amount of storage space in the room but do not underpack, because you need plenty of undergarments, socks, bathingsuits, shorts and tees for the day and some casual to dress clothes for the night.
If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
We were in one of the mini-suites in September. There is a makeup table where the hair dryer is located with two drawers (not very deep, but ok). The closet was spacious with about six shelves at one end along with two drop down shelves which we didn't use. Don't bring a robe since there will be two in the cabin. There is also storage space above the closet and the refigerator. Luggage fits under the bed easily.
You are correct about the dress. There is one formal night in one of the dining rooms, but you can go to another if you don't wish to do that. I wore Dockers and a sport shirt and my better half wore skirt/blouse or pants combinations at dinner. Actually you can eat all your meals in the buffets and never have to not wear shorts . Make sure to have a sweater or something because the air conditioning in the public areas can be cool as well as for walking out on the decks in the evenings.
GMarrocco, Thank you for your input. I gather NCL will let you onto the Dawn at 1:00pm
(3 hrs prior to departure time). Is there anything you can advise us on to make boarding easier and faster since I have little kids traveling w/us. Is it anything like boarding a plane? Do you get on line to check in bags, then you yourself get to check in later? Just trying to get an idea since I have to occupy the kids. I just hope its not like a mad shuffle.
Yvonne, they will collect your bags at the entrance to the pier and will deliver them to your cabin. Make sure you have the tags sent with your docs on each bag you are not carrying onboard with you. You then go inside the building and wait in a line. You show your ticket and id to go into another room in line, then show your passport and turn in your Bahamas immigration card (comes with docs, fill it out at home), then you go through the baggage scan and metal detector. This gets you to a line where you actually check in - turn in your ticket, make payment arrangements, get your picture taken, etc. Then you go pick up your sign and sail card and head for the ship. Stop for a souvenier picture and you are on your way! )
Oops, I forgot to mention that the time this will take will be totally dependent on how many people are arriving the same time as you. We got there about 2 and it took us half an hour from first line to ship.
Yvonne, If you are going in April there may not be that much traffic as most of the cruise lines dont start to leave NY till May. You drive up to the pier unload your luggage and drive up to the parking lot on the roof. It costs around $150 for a seven day cruise.The only take cash.
We got to the ship around 11:30 and was on board at noon. Just in time to eat lunch.
You do not have to dress up for dinner. Shirt and pants is all you need. If you want to dress up, on the Captains dinner night you can. They have one dinning room for that.
As far as getting sea sick, it depends on the person you are. If you dont get car sick you probably wont get sea sick. Most of the time you dont even know your at sea. They do have pills at the desk to take just in case.
AlinPA, Thanks for your input. I am compiling all this info and sorting through it w/my husband. I really want this trip to be as hassle free as possible, thats if its possible w/children.
You stated in your last message something about Bahamas immigration cards, whats that? Is that something my travel agent is going to tell me about when the sail date is closer? All I was told was to have valid passports or birth certificates. What else am I suppose to get? G Morracco mentioned something about guest registration forms, where do you get those papers?
Did you drive and park or did you get dropped off? Prior email from G Morracco, she said NCL lot looked pretty empty and parking may be ideal even though she was dropped off. I need to find out cost, so far I know you must pay upfront and in cash. I figure it shld work about to be about the same as hiring a car to and from. Hiring a car may be more since we are traveling w/parents. ( There goes our free ride to and from). I'm still trying to find someone who has done the parking bit down there.
However, not going to sweat it to much, plan on having a great time however we may get there.
WayneR, Thanks for your info on parking. When did you sail and at what time did your ship depart? My ship is leaving at 4pm and I was told that they will not let you on board any earlier than 1pm and no later than 3:30pm. I was surprised to see that they let you on that early. If thats the case, I'd like to get there early too, get on board, get settled and have a good look around w/the kids before the crowd rushes in. So parking is above the pier, is it NCL's lot? One bit of info that is very consistent through out is that CASH is a definate in paying the parking fee...
I think the lot is owned and operated by the Port Authority. One thing may happen, you may not dock at the same pier you left from so could have a bit of a longer walk to your car upon arrival. NCL has no control over that. I guess they are told where to dock when they reach New York. We were a couple of piers away in Sept.
You will receive your Bahamas immigration card with your docs. It's a manilla IBM sized card. Just fill it out. A tip - your address in the Bahamas is NCL-Dawn, and length of stay I just wrote 2 days.
If you have your reservation number, go to www.ncl.com and click on the "Booked Guests Register Here" link, then choose "Advanced Guest Registration". Fill in the forms for each person on your reservation form. You will need your passport numbers as well as an emergency contact person. Print out a copy when you are finished and take it with you just in case. This is a requirement since 9/11.
I think the time they let you on board is basically set by the time the ship is emptied of the previous passengers.
If you need to get off of the ship earlier, you can use the Express Disembarkation, but you must take all your luggage with you. They are the first people off the ship and it goes by deck (you leave from deck 7 and plan to walk because elevators will be jammed). Otherwise it goes in this order - air/sea packages or NCL arranged, NCL bus passengers, everyone else starting with deck 11 then 10, 4, 9, 8, 5&6. Neat thing is that you can wait right in your cabin before being called if you wish. They do serve breakfast on Sunday. Any other questions, feel free to email me.
We sailed in July and was suppose to depart at 4PM. We didnt leave till around 4:30. They told us also you can board after 1PM. We got to the pier around 11:30, dropped our bags off and went to park upstairs. They only take cash. We were on the ship before Noon. We parked right next to the Dawn. Last year we went on the Sea and parked at the next pier. Not a long walk.
I do sugguest that if you park at the pier and want to get off the pier fast, Carry your bags up to the parking lot and go to your car. Then you can go straight out to the street. If you have to go back down to the lower pier to pick up your bags, it could take some time as there is a lot of traffic from arrivals and departures.
If you have any more questions, I will answer what I can.
Thanks for the tip, finally got someone who has done the parking bit. What is the name of the lot or is it " we can't miss it when we see it " type of deal. How much and was your vehiecle ok when you came back from vacation. I think we will end up driving and parking, it just seems easier to me to do it that way. When we get there, shld we drop off the bags and other passengers at the pier before my husband parks?
I think the best thing for us to do is take a drive down there before the trip, we live in NJ, not very far away.
You cant miss the parking lot. Drive up to the pier where the Dawn is. Drop off your luggage and everyone else. Then just drive straight up the ramp, (it may have a bar across it, dont worry just wait for the guy to open it for you to go up. I forgot the exact cost, I think it was around $140 this year, it went up from last year. I do it evey year. Dont worry about your car, they lock up the lot for seven days till the dawn comes back. I have a Lexus and it was safe every time I left it there.
Wayne, Thanks for your reply, we will be driving and parking now.
Any suggestions regarding dinner times? Shld we eat earlier or later w/the kids to avoid the crowds. When is it the most crowded? Reservations needed? If you order room service, is it from a room service menu or can you order from any restaurant on the boat and if yes, is there any charge for this service?
The earlier you eat the better. If you go at 5-5:30PM you should have no trouble getting a table. It gets crowded around 7-8PM
Reservations are only need in the alternitive restruants.(The ones that charge a fee)
Room service if free, but you can only order from the menu in your room.
I dont know how old yours kids are, but in the buffet on deck 12 they have a special section for children. Its cool, they serve things that kids like. Like pizza, hot dogs, hambergers.
Yvonne, Attached you will see an older picture of the pier embarkation/disembarkation area noting that this was an early morning back in the day shot. It will give you some idea though of what area looks like.
Now first I will say that there are no norms any longer about times to arrive, waits, and so forth anymore regrading NY Pier's. I have sailed from here driving and parking my own car for over 8 years. In recent times all has changed simply because there are now more ships and bigger ships and NY piers have not handled that well at all primarily due to it's NY City and room is at a premium. Where we used to sail and 2000 people were boarding and disembarking, this summer many days 8000 people were getting on and 8000 getting off.
I'll give you the GOOD news for you! Sailing in April there should be a limited number of ships in although the schedule is not out yet that I have seen. This should negate most of the problems.
Parking is ; [http://www.nypst.com/], owned by NY City and managed under contract, no cruiseline owns parking. This years rate, although expensive by most standards can be considered almost a bargain by NY City standards at $24 a day. It is paid at parking in cash, credit cards are not accepted. Check that site I just gave for next years rate n case it changes, ( used to be $18 a day until all the ships started sailing this year and last ) So currently a 7 day cruise parking will cost you $168
Parking is easy enough, pull up at your ship area, drop luggage with porters and then proceed to end of area and up ramp. Pay at booth and proceed to long term as directed. Short walk to esxalatir down to your ships embarkation area. Reverse on way home, one person goes gets car and someone else has porter drop them and luggage at same place you arrived at ( although pier may change when you return all piers as very close to each other )
Here's the rub this summer or whenever lot's of large ships in. The West Side Hwy ends and drops to street level and the pier entrance is immediately there on your right. There is ONE lane ramp up to drop off level. People disembarking and getting there cars are also merging from next deck level into same traffic. At pier level there is but two lanes. Ships have been being cleared as late as 11:30 as we were. People are arriving as early as 11 am to try to be early and board. Limo's cars parking, visitors to watch sailings etc all trying to get up ONE lane and in front of ship to pick up or drop off. Been hell all season I assure you. Limo's and friends picking up or dropping off face same traffic problem and fair no better than long term parkers. Saw many, many limo's parking on side streets and WALKING there people and luggage to cars. The only fix that I can see for next year would be ships leaving from NJ instead ( rumors ) or ships departing late in evening therefore eliminating at least over lap of arrivals and departures.
Again hopefully you will not face too bad a time since your April date is very early in season for other ships.
George, Thanks again for all your help, everything is printed out, just waiting for the day to arrive! I see you're steadily helping everyone across this board, wish I cld be sailing within the Garden Villas! I must keep playing those lottery tickets, theres still a chance for an upgrade, !