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Trans Atlantic Cruise April 2023
Le Havre, France
South Hampton, England
Norwegian Cruise Ship Dawn 2,000 guests ~ 1,000 service personnel April 20th ~ May 4th ( 14 days )
This is a webpage and blog regarding the recent cruise I took with a friend. I hope you find it insightful, entertaining and inspirational.
I will attempt to answer questions you may have regarding cruising in general and this cruise in specific.
The actual expense of the cruise for 14 days was very affordable at around $1,200.00 per person ( minimum of 2 per room ) Given the entire expense in a conservative manner, the cruise ended up costing me approximately $4,500 when all is said and done to include all expenses. The flight home approaches $1,000 as Alaska is a far destination from Europe.
To sum it up, for the experience I had, I felt it was well worth the cost. I would recommend the experience. Be aware, there are people who are going to take advantage of your naive nature and get you for more money than you expect, but this is just a small portion of the overall experience and you shouldn't let a few bad apples ruin the entire crate.
Anywhere you go they accept your major credit cards. You should always check your local bank ahead of time, let them record where you are going so they don't cut off your card based on suspension and make sure they are not charging you more for international purchases.
Phone and Internet services:
Most major phone carriers offer you an unlimited phone and internet service for an additional charge. You can use your phone and access your internet anywhere on land. In my case, I have AT&T which cost me an additional $10.00 per day any day I used the service. This was well worth the additional costs. Your internet service is accessed through your hotspot account on your phone. This does not work on the ship, only when you hit land. To have internet access on ship it will cost and additional fee. It was approximately $350.00 for unlimited intenet onboard for 14 days. My room mate paid for this service but I could access his account as well.
Unless you select an age specific cruise, generally speaking, you will be going on a cruise with an older generation ( 50~85+) Be prepared to have patience and understanding to this groups specific needs such as many are wheelchair bound or have limited motion. Generally, they are delightful as they are filled with personal life stories and are willing to share their journey in life with you. You can make many contacts you will keep for years to come.
Three major events while cruising.
Eating: The Dawn Cruise ship had multiple options for dining. The main dining facility was on the 12th floor where they had 6 full service buffets open the vast majority of the day. Be aware, experience tells us that the average person will gain 1 to 1.5 lbs. per day on the cruise. In my case, I was cruising for 14 days so this could result in a substantial weight gain! There are ample facilities to "burn" calories not to mention the ship itself is the length of 2 football fields so being active to some degree, you will burn substantial calories just exploring the ship each day. But. be aware....The food is exceptionally good with a multitude of food selections and an entire section devoted to desserts and ice cream!
Additionally the Ship had 4 formal dining areas if you wished to have dinner in a more formal setting. There are lounges where the food selection is less formal, which brings me to the second option of importance, which is drinking.
You have multiple options. One should be careful not to indulge too much but understand the drink industry is one serious method of the cruise ship paying for their expenses. This is even more important as the cruise industry is still recovering from the Covid 19 epidemic so their fares are very reasonable and competitive. They have to make up their loss in income in other ways and the alcohol industry is alive and well on the ship.
The 3rd option of priority is major shows generally at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. The Norwegian Cruise ship Dawn had an entire agenda of acts which were of the caliber you would experience in Las Vegas. From singers, storytellers, stand up comedians, jugglers, acrobatics, and dancing troupes, there was a substantial experience each day of top shelf presenters.
You should not board a cruise ship thinking that all will be perfect as this is not the case. It is a ship which is attempting to serve the needs of 2,000+ guests and issues are bound to come up. If the ice cream machine bleaks down, this is no cause to demand a personal appointment with the captain. Look for and focus on the good things associated with cruising not focusing on something which has very little consequence to your overall mental disposition.
Things to be aware:
Although the cruise cost a specific amount, be prepared to pay an additional $20.00 per day for room service. They do not advertise this expense, it just appears on your ledger sheet. In the case of a 14 day cruise this is an additional $280.00 you will pay for the cruise. Although this is a service you may not have been informed of, it is actually a very good service. The service personnel assigned to your cabin are very friendly and thorough and are there at your service.
It is common to purchase excursion packages on each shore destination and a multitude are provided. Be aware, these excursion packages are not set up for your optimum time on shore and you may only have time to do the excursion and nothing more. Many times there will be no time to explore the destination city you have landed in due to time constraints. If you are somewhat a free soul, you may find the excursion packages substantially controlling of your time. Although some excursions are very high experience episodes they still capture your time with very little flexibility.
Given this, if you really wish to explore the host city, I highly recommend two things. First, the Hop on Hop off busses you will find everywhere are top notch for getting a real flavor of the high priority sites for a city or town, They offer you an ability to capture excellent photographs given the weather is kind as the seccond deck is open air. Second, in most cities and tour destinations, there are electric transportation options such as scooters and eBikes. These are easy to find at most any destination but you have to be prepared to be able to activate them which, in most cases, is done with an app. You must be prepared to download the app to your phone where you have internet access unless you have international hotspot service on your phone. In any event, this gives you immediate access to transportation into the community you are visiting without waiting for an expensive taxi or a shuttle which has it's own schedule. Again, if you time is limited onshore, this gives you options to use "all" your time to your benefit and not waste time waiting for ground transportation, which is slow to respond. This has the potential to save you substantial time and increase the shore experience substantially.
Following, I have provided links to each destination and the experience I had at each destination. It is my pleasure to share my experience with you.
If you have further questions you would like personally asked, feel free to either contact me via email ~ chambones@hotmail or by phone (907) 268-1345 It is my sense to give you the opportunity to learn from the experience I had.
If you would like to write and share your own personal experience and recommendations with me, I will add your advice to my blog for the benefit of others.
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