Meet the Cruise Expert: Natalie Mead

by Emma Hackwood

Have you ever considered seeing the world from the comfort of a world-class ocean liner? Our Cruise Groups Expert Natalie Mead shares why balcony staterooms are worth the upgrade, as well as her top three pro cruise tips:

 

1. How many times have you been on a cruise?

11.

 

Natalie - NCL Getaway 2

2. How many countries have you visited just while cruising?

21.

 

3. What is your favourite cruise line and why?

I have two favourites: Celebrity Cruises for a more upscale experience – AquaClass is a must for me, and for a more fun experience – Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian’s newer bigger ships, like the Escape and the Getaway, are amazing with lots of activities and great food.

 

4. What is your favourite thing about cruising?

Waking up each morning in a new place without having to pack or unpack!

 

Natalie - NCL Getaway

 

5. What was your most memorable cruising experience or trip, and why?

Cruising the Baltic on the Celebrity Silhouette. Russia and Scandinavia were breathtaking, absolutely gorgeous, and so rich in history. The Celebrity Silhouette was a new, state of the art vessel, and served top-notch food. I stayed in an AquaClass balcony stateroom, so I received exclusive perks and bonuses, like exclusive access to specialty restaurant Blu for daily complimentary breakfast and dinner, upgraded room service menu, access to the spa outside of regular hours, and more. The spa perk was a great service to take advantage of after a long day of exploring port cities. The itinerary I travelled on visited eight countries and had a few days at sea to relax – it was perfect.

 

Natalie Mead - NCL Escape 2

 

6. What’s your favourite port and why?

This one is tough! It’s hard to compare a sun destination like the Caribbean or Hawaii to Europe. I would have to narrow it down to either Nawiliwili in Kauai for the scenic cruising along the Na Pali Coast, or Helsinki, Finland, for its unmatched beauty and interesting mix of old and new.

 

7. What are your top 3 cruise tips?

  1. The walls and doors of your stateroom are magnetic, so use them to help you stay organized (put up the daily program to help plan your day), or just decorate your door for celebrations!
  2. Go the spa on port days. There are better deals and less people. You can really take advantage of this if your ship ports at a later time, like 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. Hit up the spa for a massage at 8 a.m. and you won’t miss a thing.
  3. Always get a balcony stateroom if you can! Having your own private outdoor space really makes the vacation better. Take advantage of room service and have your breakfast and morning coffee on the balcony. Do some private sun tanning, or book reading, or just enjoy some quiet time staring out at the ocean.

 

Natalie Mead - NCL Escape 3

 

8. What cruise destinations would you recommend for 2016 and why?

Hawaii! It’s a great year-round destination which must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

 

9. Big ship vs small ship – how do you help a client decide?

There are a lot of pros and cons on each. I like to start by asking clients what kind of experience they’re looking for and what is important to them in terms of entertainment, restaurants, and activities onboard.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for more information on cruising from a Cruise Expert? The only one of her kind, Natalie is a force majeure, joining her expertises in not one, but two fields – Cruise and Groups travel. You can connect with Natalie online, visit her in-store, or call 1-866-249-7838.