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patty.sciarrino June 30th, 2013 10:26 AM

first time cruiser questions
Hi, I am a first time cruiser and i am so excited and nervous at the same time. I will be sailing on the Norwegian Sky on August 26, 2013 with my husband and we will be celebrating our 35 wedding anniversary. i have lots of questions to start. What is the best way to get to the Miami airport from the Port of Miami when we return? Several different people has mentioned a taxi, is there a shuttle that could take us to the airport on our return? Also concerned pre-paying our $12 a day ahead of time. Have been told not to pay before cruise due to not being able to be conpensated for bad service.
I have alot more of questions but i will stop at these two for now. any advice will greatly be appreciated. June 30th, 2013 04:38 PM

I'm surprised your travel agent wasn't able to answer these questions for you.

As for going from the Miami airport to the pier and back, best, easiest, and cheapest way is by taxi. They have a set fare, which I believe is $16 each way if my memory serves me right. May have gone up a buck or two since the last time we were there. And taxis will be in abundance, so there's no need to worry.

As for the 'gratuities', if you don't pre-pay them, then they'll be automatically charged to your onboard account, which in my opinion is the better way to go. If you don't like the service, they'll give you a hard time about reducing the amount, but it can be done with some persistence.


Donna June 30th, 2013 06:02 PM

I have to say, I have grown to love pre-paying the tips, one less thing to have to worry about and in almost all cases, the amount paid is almost not enough for the superb service you should get.

As for the taxi's, yes from Miami it is the easiest and cost effective way to get to the port. There will also be plenty of taxi's waiting there at the end of your cruise....Happy Anniv.

patty.sciarrino July 1st, 2013 08:05 PM

I was told that pre-paying would make it more difficult to be compensated for any type of bad service. Paying it and getting it out of the way would probably be better than have to have it added to the total at the end. just don't know what to do. thanks for the advice concerning the taxis. Looks like that is the best way to go July 1st, 2013 11:16 PM

Gratuities have nothing to do with any compensation IF anything should happen that would demand such payment. Don't know who told you that, but it's obvious they have no idea what they're talking about.

Besides, first of all, problems don't happen all that often where any compensation is justified. And if major problems do arise, while sometimes they may offer a small amount while onboard, it's usually not that much. If the problem is major enough to warrant some type of compensation, it's usually not going to be decided until well after the cruise is over. And that's why it's always best to have a good agent working for you - they have contact information not available to you. Plus, they represent you, whereas if you book directly through the cruise line, who do you think they represent?

The good thing about pre-paying the gratuities is that it's out of the way and you don't have to worry about them later.

However, should you encounter service that is not up to your expectations, then it makes it more difficult to provide a refund. Whereas if you pay for them while onboard, you can request they not be charged to your onboard account and you don't have to pay for them.

With all that said, the majority of the time the service will meet your expectations and you'll have a wonderful cruise. Very seldom do people encounter any problems and even more seldom is the chance any of those problems become a big deal.


Surfguyxxx1 July 2nd, 2013 05:46 PM

Why are you worrying about what "might" happen and focus on the good of what "could" happen, like, you might have a good time. Maybe even a "great" time. Pay the gratuities and enjoy. If things are that bad (doubtly) then they can be removed but to start off your first cruise like that is just bad karma for you! Focus on watching the ocean go by while you read that novel you've been putting off or while you watch an ice sculpting on the pool deck. Smell the roses!!!

Truck Cruiser July 3rd, 2013 09:24 AM

If I am not mistaken, most cruise lines offer a shuttle service from the airport and to the airport for a set per person fee.

I always try to prepay everything I can that way my on-board account is never too high, just makes things easier that way. Actually, with Norwegian I do not think you can get out of paying them. July 3rd, 2013 01:24 PM

Yes, the cruise lines do offer transfers for a fee. But most of the time they are considerably higher than doing your own thing. Plus, you have to wait until the bus fills up before you can leave. And you have to hassle with putting your suitcases in the luggage area under the bus, boarding with 45 people, getting off with 45 people, then trying to get your luggage from under the bus. Or you can hire a taxi for less money and do your own thing - quick and easy.

And as for NCL, you do have a choice with the gratuities. You can either pre-pay them before the cruise, or have them charged to your onboard account. While you don't have a choice as to how much, you can add or subtract as you feel the need. They will always hassle you if you want to subtract some of the amount, but persistence can pay off if you feel it's warranted.

But I agree with Surfguy - why go into this with a defeatist attitude? Almost always, you'll have a wonderful time. So go into it with that attitude and you won't worry about it.


Trip July 3rd, 2013 07:48 PM

Cruiseline transfers are not the way to go imho...just waiting for that bus to fill and being hit by everyones carryons as they walk down the aisle, to me was a one time only have to.:(

Prepaying gratuities, just makes sense. If by chance you do want to reduce them at all, as I found out once, it was easy to do. The blatent disregard of a room steward, years back, warranted, in my mind, a reminder to him of his bad service.

I agree, focus on the great time you will have, not what "may" happen..with every cruise, you will gleen information to use for your next cruise...have a ball!

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