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NCL, Nickelodeon and…it's Slime Time!

Where else but in the cruise world would a 44-year-old and a 31-year-old propose that you and your family go and get slimed, just for the fun of it?

It’s happened.

The 44-year-old is Norwegian Cruise Lines. The 31-year-old is Nickelodeon, and shame on you (us) if we didn’t know Nickelodeon has been around for more than three decades! What they have made available are two “Nickelodeon All Access Cruises” next year, one for people in the New World (New York) and the other for people in the Old World (Barcelona).

The title of the promotion means the whole ship (Jewel in New York, Epic in Barcelona) will be Nickelodeon-ized. Live-action characters like (but not necessarily)  iCarly, True Jackson VP and the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants, will be there. So will cartoon characters Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob and Aang the Last Airbender, whoever he is.

There will be special viewings and premieres of the TV shows, breakfasts with the characters, messy game shows like Slime Time Live! around the pool. You know…the family that gets slimed together sticks together.

If you’re in our demographic, only the most demonstrative exhibitionists among us will be turned on by this, but most of us have grandchildren to convince us to be like them. There’s plenty of time for them to do that — the Jewel departs New York on February 20, the Epic leaves Barcelona on July 24 — but the early birds get the bonus: up to $250 onboard credit and only half the deposit if booked before September 14 (depending on stateroom).

We’re kind of hoping our grandchildren don’t hear about this. It’s the whole slime thing — we’re the grandparents who like egg whites and oysters fully cooked, and silly string hanging from somebody else’s eyebrows!

NCL and Kids, Partners in Fun

So, do you cruise to be with kids or to escape kids? Norwegian is aggressively pursuing the with-kids people. Now, in addition to its Nickelodeon-at-Sea promotion, NCL is offering kids’ fares for $99 and throwing in free soda. We probably know kids who could consume their fare in soda alone, even if it is a 3-day cruise!

The reduced-fare offer is for bookings made by the end of the month. The fine print is that kids have to be the third through eighth guests and it’s only on 3-and-4-day Bahamas sailings from Miami, starting in September, when most kids are in school, soda drinkers or not.

The complimentary soda package, however, is for reservations made by the end of next week, for any Norwegian cruise that departs before October 1.

On its website, NCL maintains a family of four can sail for $144 each, but a quick phone call told us the best price is now $164 each, presumably because Norwegian’s most economical packages are being scooped up. That means it’s best suited for families that include pre-schoolers or have parents who don’t mind taking their kids out of school for a few days (guilty as charged!).

The ship for the Bahamas deal is the Norwegian Sky, and there are seven sailings in September and five from November 29th through December 13th.

On other itineraries, Norwegian offers a reduced fare for kids, one that’s at least twice the Bahamas offer. To take the kids to Alaska, the price is $199 per child, and there are 10 trips on either the Star or the Pearl, sailing out of Seattle. The same price applies to go from Boston to Bermuda and back, on one of the Spirit’s eight trips.

And for $199, there’s even a chance (but just one) to introduce the kids to Norwegian’s newest ship, the Epic, which makes its maiden voyage across the Atlantic on June 24, from London to New York. The one chance is a 4-day round-trip cruise from Barcelona next spring, May 18, 2011.

Norwegian sees itself as the cruise line with a “43-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising.” You would have to say it’s not traditional to try filling staterooms with kids…whether they drink soda or not.

That’s it…we’re done.

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