The all important Air! The headcount was 20 persons…you read this correctly…airfare for 20. Four coming from Denver and everyone else in the Chicago area. I busily added up my accumulated miles on United, called them and got four free tickets! TA-DA!!! That helped a bit.
Hotel? Yes, we needed a hotel/motel for one night. I would never take a chance on flying to the embarkation point on the same day of the cruise. You may be gutsier than I but this is Chicago. Snow, rain, delays…many, many delays in good weather let alone winter. No, it was to California the day before to minimize the chances of a major snafu and missing the ship. Selected the Travelodge by LAX (Los Angeles) Airport with complimentary service to and from the airport and a continental breakfast included. Fresh fruit, cereal, milk, coffee, tea, juice, muffins, bagels, cream cheese, and pastries should hold the family until embarkation time. There are tons of hotels/motels close to LAX Airport but I was just looking for the least expensive possible with free transport from the airport to the hotel. After all, it was just for one night. There are also fast food places and restaurants up and down the Century Boulevard stretch for an inexpensive dinner.
Passports? Every member of the family had to have a passport. Those who didn’t got on it quickly and all have passports. U.S. Customs keeps changing the rules and children under 18 can get by (as of today) with a birth certificate but Sheila’s rule was…get a passport in case the law is changed again.
Clothes? We bring the minimum. One suitcase per person is more than enough, dress is casual on NCL with no black tie or formals required and the only dress rule in the Versailles Main Dining Room was no shorts or tank tops. Other than that, anything goes. The airlines also charge per suitcase and for overweight.
Insurance? Don’t even think of planning a family trip without insurance to guard against death in the family, medical emergency, lost luggage and more. This is a major outlay and couldn’t possibly be neglected. Can you imagine what a catastrophe it could be without insurance? (More on this subject later…)
Transportation to and from the ship? NCL offers transfers to and from LAX Airport to the Los Angeles World Cruise Center where the Norwegian Star is berthed for $25 U.S. per person each way. For two persons or less, use them. A taxi runs a $59 U.S. (flat rate) and hold up to seven. With 20 of us, travel agent Vivian contacted Roadrunner Shuttle and Limousine Service, got a decent rate and hired two vans.
Other Cruise Suggestions?
– Bring along pills for motion sickness (the ship also usually supplies free motion sickness pills) and take one before you leave the dock, adults and children. You never know who is going to be more susceptible and once you’re sick, it’s too late. Our motion sickness medication of choice is Meclizine.
– Check to see what your ship offers in the way of “Honeymoon/Anniversary/Bon Voyage, etc.” packages before sailing. Oldest son, Michael ordered the $79 Special that included: sparkling wine and strawberries in his stateroom upon embarkation, canapes delivered to his stateroom one evening, honeymooners’ champagne and cake party, honeymoon photograph, and dinner for two in Le Bistro with a complimentary bottle of wine. A really worthwhile package. The supplement for dinner in Le Bistro is $15 U.S. per person, the least expensive bottle of wine runs $26 U.S., then throw in the other gimme’s and it’s “such a deal.”