NCL BOGO Air, part of Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion, is an ongoing, capacity controlled offer means the 2nd person flies free. Seems like a great offer, right? It may be, but there are a lot of details you need to consider before planning a cruise based on that value or taking advantage of it when booking their next cruise.
Related: Find the best deal on your next NCL cruise at JJTravelAssociates.com (or call Joel: 844-486-6669)
At first glance, especially right now (2022) with the cost of airfare skyrocketing, the NCL BOGO air promo might provide the nudge you need to book your next cruise. After all, 2nd person flies free is a pretty big deal when tickets can cost upward of $1,000 per ticket. Savings that big could be used to pay for part of the cruise or even upgrade categories — you’ll love The Haven.
2nd Person flies free? What could possibly go wrong?
While the promotion is a good one, before you get too excited about NCL BOGO air take a deep breath and consider the offer with an ounce of skepticism.
- Airfare prices are high now but may be less by the time you travel
- Say it with me, “Basic economy”
- How do you feel about connections?
- What is the likelihood of getting ideal flight times?
- Are you comfortable with “value” airlines?
- Assuming you get along with your travel companion are you OK with being separated on the flight(s)?
Don’t get me wrong, the NCL BOGO air promotion is a good value, but you have to realize what you’re signing up for. If you think you’re going to be in great seats, on the ideal flight, and it’s going to be non-stop, you may be disappointed. Like all travel in 2022 (and probably beyond), you may need to manage your expectations and be flexible.
What do you need to know about the NCL BOGO air promotion where the 2nd person flies free?
The promotion only applies on select 4+ night sailings from certain airports and not on “guarantee” or “Sail Away” categories. In other words, not the bargain basement prices (although it does apply to inside, ocean view, balcony, and Haven staterooms). And it’s for economy, round-trip airfare. If you choose to stay in the last port for more than a day or two (which is called an “air deviation”), you’ll need to arrange your own flights back. And there’s a fee.
Like all the other Free at Sea promotions, BOGO air applies to guests 1 and 2 in a stateroom, if you’re playing the “how many people can we fit in a room” game extra people in the room have to pay full promotional airfare rate. Oh, and I’ll need to see a picture of any clown costumes you may own. If you’re traveling alone, watch out for that pesky “single supplement” (unless you’re traveling in a studio) but you’ll get a discount on your round trip airfare.
Cancellation fees apply based on the booking/sailing date; so, I strongly suggest you get travel insurance. It’s not expensive in the grand scheme of things and you’ll be sorry if you need it and don’t have it.
In case you’re thinking, “Gee, if I don’t take the NCL BOGO air offer and save myself $1,000 on the cruise,” that isn’t possible. There is no cash value to the promotion so if you decide to pass, you don’t get a discount on the cost of the cruise or any other purchases you may make from NCL.
Generally speaking, BOGO air isn’t available on what I call “close in” sailings. That means, with some exceptions, you need to book your cruise more than 75 days before sailing to qualify. Since we’re thinking about limitations, the NCL BOGO air promo doesn’t have an end date (despite what they say in all the emails they send!) but it is “capacity controlled” — in other words, NCL has a set number of seats available on specific flights and once they’re gone they’re gone.
Unlike the Specialty Dining and Open Bar promos associated with Free at Sea, BOGO air includes air taxes, fees, and surcharges. It does not include a ride from or to the airport once you get off the flight or ship. Also not included? Luggage fees.
If you remember, one of the things I asked you to consider was how much you want to sit next to your travel companion on your flights. I’ve heard through the grapevine that people on the same reservation (in the same stateroom) do sometimes get separated on the plane. Maybe if you smile and ask nicely someone will switch seats so you can sit together. You’ll be happy to know that Norwegian does guarantee everyone on the same reservation will be on the same flight.
It’s worth noting that a lot of people are traveling with family and friends in multiple staterooms. Norwegian has what they call “Travel With Guarantee” which, in theory, means up to four reservations will be on the same flights. There’s a fee, of course, and everyone involved needs to have the same schedule including deviations (arriving a day or two before sailing and leaving a day or two after), and although it seems silly to mention, for this to work everyone needs to be flying from the same airport to the same airport (and back home to the same airport). Oh, and buried in the fine print is a little clause that gives NCL the right to switch your airport to one within 60 miles if they need to.
Finally, no good deal would be complete without blackout dates and other excuses to raise the price for guests 3 and beyond in the same stateroom. Those include secretive blackout dates that only Norwegian and the agents in IMF (who I don’t care what anyone says, are not only in the Mission: Impossible movies) are aware of and select holiday sailings which would be more expensive than usual.
Is the NCL BOGO air where the 2nd person flies free worth it? Understanding all the things that can happen, I have taken advantage of the promo twice. Whether or not you choose to take advantage of it, you have the information to make an educated choice.