10 Things To Do Before You Board Your Norwegian Cruise

A family vacation is always a time to bond, enjoy each others company, and have fun. When that family vacation takes place on a cruise ship, the fun factor shoots through the roof.

Of course, a successful family vacation also includes a healthy dose of planning. Said planning is even more important when your vacation location is also your hotel and activity center.

After all, you can’t just walk off the ship to buy something you forgot when you are in the middle of the ocean, right? While most ship stores carry the essentials like toothpaste (yeah, we forgot to pack ours), there are always items you didn’t know you would need but wish you had with you.

Hense our list:

10 Things To Do Before You Board Your Norwegian Cruise


1.Buy a lanyard for each family member. This is used to carry their cruise ID/ key card around their neck instead of your pocket. I spent our cruise walking around with my hands in my pockets, afraid that I would drop our key cards.


2. Invest in your own mask and snorkel set. You will want to use them if you go to any of the islands and will end up renting them at a higher long term cost. Instead, buy your own before your cruise and pack them when you head to the beach or an excursion. Trust me. This is the best investment we have made and it has paid for itself several times over. Besides, do you really want to put something in your mouth (and feet) that a stranger used before you?

This mask has been to three continents! It’s been a great gear investment.


3. Download the cruise App: iConcierge. You can use the app to stay in touch with family members (make sure to download to everyone’s devices). This also lets you look up the daily event schedule on the ship and your onboard accrued expenses.

The easy to use Norwegian Cruise Line App allows the user to keep track of daily expenses and stay up to date on daily events and activities throughout the cruise ship.


4. Make reservations for dinner. The further ahead you make these reservations the more likely that you will get the location and time that your family prefers.


5. Make reservations for your cruise excursions as soon as possible. This is incredibly important if you only have a few hours or days in your port of call. Remember, spaces are limited and the best shore excursions sell out fast. The same can be said for the best times and days for shore excursions.


6. Pack a carry-on bag with swimsuits, cameras, charging chords, and anything you will need from arrival until dinner time.


7. Plan to walk and climb stairs. Make peace with the fact that you’ll walk at least 10,000 steps a day on your cruise vacation. Let it sink in and it will go smoothly. As a bonus: think of it as a built-in exercise to burn those buffet calories.

There is definitely lots of walking on a cruise ship- but you’re rewarded with lots of great little discoveries along the way.


8. Plan to spend embarkation day enjoying the sports complex and aqua park. As soon as you can, head up to enjoy the ropes course, mini-golf, and other amenities that are nearly empty on Day 1- but full and with lines every other day! The pool will still be there on day 2. But, this might be your only chance to enjoy the ping pong tables and other game areas without waiting in line.

The fun ropes course on the Norwegian Breakaway is definitely worth a try and something every member of the family can enjoy!


9. Talk to your kids about the Splash Academy Kids Club and agree to sign up as soon as you can to avoid the crowds. No, they do not have to stay or even participate once they are signed up. But, if they do choose to (and it’s a lot of fun), then no one will have to wait in long lines on day 2 to sign up.

Splash Academy daily activity details are always posted outside the door. I had to pry my kid away more than once!


10. Select the best possible suitcase by packing a rolling duffle bag. The rolling wheels will make it easy to transport while the duffle bag means that you can easily store it under your bed the whole time you are on your cruise. This is particularly useful if you have several suitcases with you. You want to maximize your cabin space as much as possible.


Note: This post is the fourth of five that we are writing about our family Norwegian Cruise to Bermuda. If you would like to follow along for the whole adventure, follow the links below to the other entries and enjoy.

I. Let’s Go Somewhere: How We Chose Our Norwegian Cruise and Bermuda

II. 10 Things To Do Before You Board Your Norwegian Cruise

III. The Norwegian Breakaway: Our Family Cruise Review

IV. Our Top 7 Experiences On Our 7 Day Norwegian Cruise

V. Bermuda With kids: A 3 Day Itinerary


If you would like to follow along on our family adventures, “like” us on our Facebook page: Border Free Adventures. You will enjoy tips and tricks for family travel, stories and pictures of our adventures, and fun information as we worldschool our daughter.


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