Shalaine's Top 10 what to bring on a NCL cruise (or any cruise) when you have kids (we have 10 & 3 y.o. girls):
1. Lanyards - the purser can punch a hole in your sail & sign card. Especially great for kids so they don't lose their card. Go to the purser and request that your kids do not have any signing privileges. Also if you can find those small flat watertight containers, that helps for shore excursions so you don't have to bring a purse/wallet.
2. Those plastic travel bags that you can squeeze the air out of them mostly the large size (maybe 14 by 12). I organized everyones clothes separately (tops, bottoms, underwear, swimsuits, dressy items) so everyone got 5 bags (well maybe I had a few extra). This way when you get those weird awkward small shelves, you can shove 2 or 3 bags in each (the lowest ones went to the 3 year old) and you can save your drawer space for other junk items like hairbrushes, itineraries/those daily sheets, sunscreen, etc that needs to be contained. This made packing a snap, keeps your clothes clean in case of spills & most of all, helps you find where your clothes are without digging!
3. Pop up laundry basket you might think Im a freak, but it is great. Everyones dirty laundry goes in it and it makes keeping your clothes together a snap. Later on in the week, when they offer the laundry special (I have mixed feelings on this), you can easily sort the kids clothes back into the different bags which makes unpacking a breeze.
4. Extension cord/power strip - we had tons of things to plug in-cell phones, gameboy charger, portable DVD player, etc., and a nightlight, esp. if you have an interior cabinet. It gets pitch black in the interior rooms and you cannot see a thing! Also makes the kids feel better in case they wake up during the night.
5. Wide mouth polycarbonate water bottles. We filled these in the buffet restaurant and I made my own iced tea and drank it all day. Also you can fill it with ice and it stays cold during those shore excursions.
6. Alarm clock you might be into freestyle cruising with no time constraints, but I like making it to shows, dinner, and classes!
7. Spray sunscreen from Neutrogena (we bought 2 pack at Costco), a SPF 45 face cream, bug spray (depending on where you go) a little thing of hand sanitizer, & if you are really crazy like me, a small bottle of anti-bacterial dish soap (for the water bottles) which doubles as hand soap in the bathroom. With current airline restrictions, they might have to go in your checked luggage. Keep them in zip lock bags and you can use those bags on the trip.
8. Portable DVD player keeps the kids busy while traveling & while we dressed for dinner. You can also use it as a CD player.
9. Set of walkie-talkies if you use them, they are great and help you communicate. Note this only works if both people actually turn them on (batteries help too!). If you forget, some cruise ships have them for rent$50 for a week. Yikes! You can buy them for at Walmart for a lot less than that!
10. A good attitude and your camera!!!! Things will happen, some servers will stink, people will hog loungers go in with some positive thinking, you are on vacation ... make good memories!
Overall a very nice trip; I felt we got what we paid for. What I did not plan on (even with my top 10 list) was a boat full of New Yorkers and their New Yorker attitude!!!!
If you are going to Disney, get the NCL shuttle to Disney from the shore excursion desk and buy tickets at Disney World. Do not let them pressure you into anything else. NCL also offered a transfer + ticket but I it was an extra $37/adult & $13/child$100 for no reason! The amenities, entertainment, and facilities at NCL were better but in the end we liked Carnival better for the service, food value, and organization.