I'm planning my first cruise (on the Pride of Aloha) this year. I've heard some things from friends about a mandatory $300 charge, up front, to cover anything you want to buy on the ship. Is this the case on NCL? (I believe they did this on Carnival.) I know NCL does the mandatory $10 gratuity charges, but is there anything else that will be sprung on me at the last minute before I board?
How does it work, for example, when you want to go to a restaurant that requires an extra charge - do you pay for that charge right away, or do they bill it to the room and you settle at the end of your trip?
You may do this a few different ways. You can give them you credit card to apply charges against when you charge things to your room. They will likely put a hold on it for a few hundred dollars to cover your charges. Or you may use cash or traveller's check to fund your onboard account. If you have money remaining in that account at the end of your cruise they'll refund it to you. You do not have the option of waiting topay until the end of your trip. The cruiseline will require you to furnish some form of secured payment.
If you are using a credit card you will not have to put anything up front, you will have the option at the end of the cruise to pay in cash or just keep everyhing on the account. If you are not paying with a cc then, yes, a deposit is required and the purser will keep track of all your expenditures. If you start to use up too much of the $300 or whatever it turns out to be you will be asked to put up more cash. BTW, gratuities are $10 per person per day, not 10% as I think your post mentioned. There will be an additional 15% added to any drinks you purchase, alcohol or other.