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What time does our ship depart and return?
The Norwegian Epic departs Port Miami at 4pm on November 2, 2013. You must plan to be at the terminal by 1:30PM and checked-in by 2:00PM. The ship returns to Port Miami on November 9th at about 8am. We have until about 10am to disembark. Return flight arrangements should be made for noon or later to allow for possible delays.
Can we use our own travel agent to book the cruise?
No. If you want to participate in our holistic events, group dining, classes, presentations, workshops and activities, you must book your cruise accommodations with our travel agent via the process outlined on this website. As you can imagine, there are a great many details and expenses involved in organizing a conference like this. Venue space and amenities are provided to us based on the number of passengers booked in our group. No other agent can book you into our group.
You may use your own travel agent to arrange airfare, transfers and hotel, if desired, but it may be advantageous to use our travel agent for these things as well, because she’ll be traveling with us for organizational support, but she cannot take responsibility for travel she did not book. She can also wrap all of your arrangements into one travel insurance policy for savings and, more importantly, simplicity should you need to file a claim.
Is airfare to the ship port something I have to arrange separately?
Yes. If driving or taking a bus is not feasible from where you live, fly in to either the Miami or Fort Lauderdale airport. We recommend booking your flight 30-60 days prior to sailing.
Our travel agent will be happy to search and book your flight for you, for a $40 service fee, since airlines no longer pay commissions to travel agencies. Or you can search online for your best fare and time schedule. Arrive by noon on November 2 and fly out after noon on November 9th.
Don’t forget to try SouthwestAir.com, which will not show up in Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Kayak.com nor any of the other airfare comparison websites. Southwest is usually very reasonable and they don’t charge extra for the first two checked bags (like most airlines do now – about $25 – 50 per bag).
Norwegian offers a package deal, but it’s about $700 more for the airfare. You can do much better on your own or with our travel agent.
What airport should I fly into to get to Port Miami?
The Miami International Airport (MIA) is the major airport closest to Port Miami; Fort Lauderdale (FLL) is about a 1-hour drive from the Port Miami cruise terminal. If flying in, you’ll also need ground transfers between the airport and cruise terminal. Our travel agent will be arranging R/T transfers for those of our group members who want it as an option.
What time should I plan my flight to arrive in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale on November 2, 2013?
Your plane should arrive in Miami by about noon on November 2, 2013. If flying in to Fort Lauderdale, aim for 11:00 AM, as it will likely take you another 90-minutes to gather your bags and get to the Ship’s Dock at Miami. There will be a check-in process that can take some time. You should be boarding the ship by 2:00pm. The ship leaves the dock at 4:00pm.
What time must I be at the cruise terminal?
Boarding begins at 11am, and as soon as you are on board, the fun begins! You should arrive at Port Miami at least two hours before sailing. Do your best to arrive at the cruise terminal by 1:00 pm.
We have arranged group hotel rooms for those who want to play it safe by staying overnight in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale on the 19th or earlier (Ft. Lauderdale is a wonderful place to play!). This will reduce stress by allowing time for possible unforeseen circumstances, such as weather delays.
Are hotel rooms available at group rates in Miami or Ft Lauderdale if we want to arrive a day or two early?
Yes. And we highly recommend flying in early for two reasons:
(1) It will give you a buffer to allow for inclement weather and other potential flight delays
(2) It will be more relaxing and you’ll really be able to unwind before the cruise begins.
We have arranged access to a number of rooms in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Take advantage of low group rates available at various hotels. Please see detailed pricing options on Reservation Detail Form after registering. Or contact Adele at 860-322-5370 for details.
How will I get from the airport or hotel to the cruise terminal where the ship is docked?
You can search online for various options, or simply opt-in to transfers being arranged by our travel agent from the Miami or Ft. Lauderdale airport. There will likely be taxis and shuttle services that you can simply grab at the airport, however you will pay a premium for last minute services.
If staying at a hotel the night before, check with the clerk to see if shuttles are available. You can also opt-in to special hotel group rates arranged by our travel agent for about $150/room per night, plus tax. Details will be available on Reservation Detail Form after you sign up.
How can I find out about excursions at the Islands we’ll be visiting?
We’ll be organizing some optional excursions for our group, but you can always go on your own or with a small group. You can book excursions through Norwegian in advance or on the ship. We recommend booking online at Shore Excursions for more reasonably priced, just-as-reliable island excursions. Reserve in advance for best choice, as they can sell out.
Or you can totally play it by ear and book with a local vendor at the dock. But beware… you don’t always get what you bargain for, as they know you have no recourse once they have your money.
How much time will we spend at each Island port location?
See the Itinerary for timing details. Even this could vary somewhat, based on weather patterns.