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momofkhm

Last minute cruise - Norwegian Freestyle, Bahamas

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DH did taxes this weekend and we decided we could take the kids on a cruise for the girls' spring break.  Everything is booked - cruise and flights down there, transfers.

 

We are doing the big no-no on flying on the day of.  Don't tell me what a horrible idea it is.  It saves $250 a night going each way since we are booking so late, all the cheap rooms are gone.

 

So anyway - we cruised 6 years ago so we aren't brand new, but we don't have a lot of experience.  I do know about the shoe rack on the door, extra plugs and stuff.

 

But Freestyle - what does that mean in practice?  I would love not to take a skirt and nice shoes!  We won't spend extra money for the nice restaurants.  Somewhere on the web site it says "reservations recommended".  How important are they?

 

OK, ports - Freeport, Nassau, their island.  Free and cheap ideas that aren't all go shopping or go to the beach.

 

How cold will it be on board in early March?  I get cold btw.  

 

Oh and 2 rooms for the 5 of us.  me, dh and ds in one.  DD 21 and DD 18 in the other.  Anything I need to know/do without being helicopter-ish?  They are right next door to us.

 

 

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I think the room setup sounds perfect. We all stayed in one cabin, but we did give the kids (then 9 and 12) a good amount of freedom (we were traveling with a group). For us, Freestyle, really did mean Freestyle, as long as you want it that way. If we hadn't had to go to to a fancy dinner, the nicest clothes I would have needed would have been khakis. I spent most of the cruise in dark denim or khaki capris and nice t-shirts. We were on the Gem to the Bahamas, and the dress code description on their site was pretty accurate:

 

https://www.ncl.com/freestyle-cruise/prepare-for-your-cruise/what-to-pack

 

We ate in the Chinese restaurant and the buffets. The buffets were super casual--there were often people in there in towels and swim stuff. The Chinese restaurant was not that casual but was basic sit-down-restaurant casual. We also ate in the steakhouse and one of the nicer free restaurants, and that was more dressy, but again, nice slacks or capris and a nice top were fine.

 

Yes to reservations. Our cruise was PACKED, and we needed reservations for any meal outside the buffet or Chinese. If you want to eat anywhere outside the buffet, make your reservations early to get decent times. 

 

I don't know about temps, we cruised at the end of July and I nearly ended up with heat stroke on the island (literally, it was awful). I think traveling there in March would be perfect, but I tend toward being heat intolerant myself. 

 

On Great Stirrup Cay, we just went to the beach, but DH and DD did a jet ski tour that they really enjoyed. There are also island tours and snorkeling, but mostly we just floated in the water and looked at the cool fish and walked around and looked at the lizards (which is good because it turned out I wouldn't have been able to enjoy anything else). 

 

We went to Nassau, so I can't give you any info about Freeport. 

 

Yes to a power strip, yes to the shoe rack on the door! Anything you can hang, hang. If you think you'll swim a lot, bring an extra suit. Bring insulated, re-usable water bottles for everyone. You can't fill them at the drink machines, so you'll have to fill up cups and then fill your bottles, but you'll be glad to have them. 

 

We were perfectly fine drinking the on-ship water, so I don't recommend lugging on cases of water or whatever. I was very glad we didn't bother with that. Others insist on it, so YMMV. 

 

I did wish we'd brought some lanyards to hang around our necks for our key cards--you really do need them for everything, and it would have been nice to not have to worry about them falling out of our pockets. I never needed a purse for anything else, so a lanyard would have been perfect. They're pricy on board, so bring your own if you can. They'll hole-punch them for you on the ship. 

 

Have you visited the boards at CruiseCritic.com? They were immensely helpful to me in mentally prepping and deciding what to bring. If I think of anything else, I'll post again.

 

Which ship will you be on? 

 

ETA: Oh, I just saw that you will be in Nassau too. We went down to the restaurant area and ate lots of conch-based foods--chowder, fritters, "burger," etc. That was delish and fun! It was a long walk from the port, so plan to take a cab over there. The main part of Nassau is crazy super tourist-y, which we hate, but we did come across the little Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, which is not far from the port and was educational and enjoyable. There's also an art museum that we couldn't find (again, cab might have been helpful), but I would have liked to see that. We didn't end up seeing much because we thought everything was more walkable than it was and we spent a lot of time walking in BLAZING heat, and that left us extremely wilted and tired and mostly just wanting to go back to the ship. So take the cabs! They may make your Nassau visit easier to navigate and more enjoyable :D

 

Oh, and we didn't have the money for it, but a few family members did one of the Atlantis tours through Norwegian, and they said it was overpriced and highly overrated, so be very cautious with those! They were very disappointed that they'd spent so much and gotten so little out of it. Apparently the lines for the water rides were incredibly long, and in the several hours they spent there, they got on two rides. 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops

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We just did a Free Style cruise in early January.  

 

Free Style means you don't need fancy clothes if you don't want to wear them.  If you want to eat in the free-but-nicer restaurants, you need something to wear that is not flip flops and swimsuits.  We were fine with skirts or longer shorts (bermuda style) for DD14 and I and a pair of jeans and a collared shirt for DH.  You can eat in the buffet-style restaurant wearing pretty much whatever you want.

 

Reservations were not really a big deal for the free-but-nicer restaurants on our cruise since we mostly ate at strange hours - early or late.  If you absolutely want to eat at 7pm on an at-sea day, then make the reservation - you can do it online before you leave.

 

Definitely bring lanyards for everyone as that's the key to the room.  Go see the free shows in the evening and the dance parties are fun to watch even if you aren't a party person.  

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We went on a Bahamas cruise with Royal Caribbean last March (last week in March).  You will probably need a light jacket/sweater for evenings outside.  It gets cool and breezy out on the water.  If you are going to be partaking in midnight dance parties or sailaways or movies around the pool, you probably want to bring a pair of long pants too.  It was hot during the day, just cool at night.

 

I would highly recommend dinner reservations.  Your ship will probably be at capacity since it is during spring break.  When we were on our capacity cruise people were waiting over an hour to sit down to dinner.  At least reservations give you an option.  If you can't make it one or more nights, just cancel them.  That is probably easiest.

 

On our ship, wifi and cell usage was expensive and didn't work half the time.  It was kind of a pain to get in touch with the kids when we were split up and wanting to let them know we'd be changing locations.  My husband brought little walkie talkie things but I kept "forgetting" mine in the room because I hated carrying it all over the ship.  But they were helpful.

 

I second the recommendation to look at Cruise Critic. You can find out a lot of tips for your particular ship, trip, etc.

 

Have a wonderful trip!

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