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Nomad Cruise - Recap, Review, and Recommendations.

I have to be honest, when I first heard about the Nomad Cruise a few years ago, I thought it was the worst idea in history. Having a bunch of online entrepreneurs and digital nomads in the middle of the ocean with limited to zero wifi sounded just plain stupid. Then when I went on a cruise with my family and realized how boring it was to be stuck with hundreds of 70 year old retirees, I vowed to never go on another cruise again. But then meeting everyone last year in Gran Canaria before their departure and hearing about how amazing it was afterwards through friends who went made me change my mind and give it a shot and I'm glad I did. It's not for everyone and in this post I'll explain who it's for, who will love it, who will hate it, and how you can best prepare yourself before you go.

I originally thought I would use it as an excuse to just hang out with friends from Chiang Mai who were also going but ended up meeting a ton of new friends and spending time sitting at different tables each night to get to know new people over dinner each night. We saw some amazing places on the stopovers, did a few amazing excursions, and I learned good things from some of the talks. Also this year's Nomad Cruise was super well organized and the WIFI was useable the entire trip! So if you've thought about it in the past but was hesitant for any reason, keep reading as I'll explain the pros and cons, as well as the how to get the most from the cruise if you end up going. Here's my guide to the Nomad Cruise, a review, recap and my recommendations for entrepreneurs, digital nomads, freelancers, remote workers, and even to those just starting out. 


nomad cruise review


The Trip Details



I attended Nomad Cruise 6 which left from Malaga, Spain and landed in Athens, Greece. It was their first ever European/Mediterranean only cruise which was still similar to a repositioning cruise with all of its benefits including lower costs and free alcohol, but without any of the downsides of being multiple days at sea in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. This more relaxed itinerary which was both shorter and had more excursion days made me more comfortable to give it a shot even knowing that I previously hated cruising after going on a 12 day cruise with my family on Celebrity Cruises last year. It was then that I vowed never to go on another cruise ever again but I had a feeling that if any cruise could change my mind, it would be this one.

The normal Nomad Cruises are even better deals as they are transatlantic repositioning cruises which are longer, and bring you all the way from Europe to South America or vice versa if you were wanting to travel that way anyways. But this cruise was just from Malaga, Spain to Athens, Greece. For me it was perfect as I wanted to spend the summer in Europe anyways so it was a perfect excuse to fly into Spain and check out a few new countries including Malta on the stop over as well as Greece at the end. Nomad Cruise 6 was the first European trip that Johannes and the team put together as the previous ones have all been transatlantic. From my experience and from what I've heard from cruisers who have been more than once, the benefit of the transatlantic one besides being slightly cheaper and longer is that there are more days at sea for workshops and events. With only 3 days at sea on this trip, we had to squeeze in four talks a day before lunch, then a bunch of workshops in the afternoons. I actually would have loved a slightly more relaxed schedule either with another day or two at sea to spread it out a bit and have either later start or a more relaxed schedule.  Here's a map of our trip schedule where we cruised from and the stopovers. 


nomad cruise schedule
Itinerary from Nomad Cruise 6


The Daily Schedule



For those wondering what it's like day to day on the Nomad Cruise, basically the days and nights merge into one and really feel like they fly by. Waking up around 9am I'd rush to grab a quick breakfast or more often than not, I'd just take a coffee to the seminar room where the morning welcome and talks would begin at 9:30. It was super helpful to bring a small thermos or spill proof mug to bring coffee from the cafeteria into the seminar room. Also bring a refillable water bottle as even though the cafeteria water dispensers have signs saying not to refill your own bottles, no one ever said anything and it was better than paying $3 per bottle and more eco friendly every time you needed a refill. The morning talks went from 9:30am - 1:00pm with a short coffee break in between which was often just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before the next talk. Just make sure you don't get stuck chatting on the sun deck and having a long breakfast as it's easy to stay out there for hours and miss the rest of the talks. At 1pm we'd have lunch and it was nice as it was normal to sit randomly with other nomad cruisers which led to getting to know different people each day. Just like anywhere groups and cliques do start to form but I felt like they were always welcoming of new people which was nice as the whole point of the cruise is to meet new people.


Afternoons was a choice of optional workshops, acroyoga, gym time, nap time, or hanging out by the pool time. It was really cool that anyone was allowed to post and host a workshop which meant there was always something to do and everyone could feel like they were contributing. The hardest part for me was trying to adjust to the super late, 9:45pm dinner time. At first I thought it was ridiculous but the team explained it was to be able to have more time during the day for workshops and activities which I understand. It ended up being good timing as by the time we were done with dinner, it was usually around 11:30pm which is when the disco opened. I'd just have a pre-dinner-dinner at the buffet every night at 7pm as I was usually starving by then and knew I couldn't wait until after 10pm for the dinner meals to come. On paper it all sounds easy and the first few days I did great attending all of the talks, workshops and even the gym, and I had a great routine for the first couple of days but a few days in, the nightly drinks after dinner caught up to me and I was exhausted by the afternoon which caused me to miss most of the workshops that I wanted to attend and either laying by the pool or napping instead. I wasn't alone in this new routine as the all you can drink free alcohol and late nights catch up to you after a few days.


Nomad Cruise 6 Overview Schedule

nomad cruise schedule
Nomad Cruise 6 Detailed Schedule


Was is Worth it?



The short answer is yes, it was a fantastic value and I had an amazing time. A normal conference would cost you $300-$1,000 on its own, then factoring food, alcohol, and hotel room for 10 nights you'd easily spend another $2,000, which means it's a great value especially if you book during the normal ticket prices and not last minute. However, what you don't want to do is compare the price of the Nomad Cruise versus a normal repositioning cruise you'd book on your own. If you look at it just based on the price it's more expensive, but honestly, it's worth paying the difference. As you might have read in my previous cruising experience I hated it and thought I'd never go on another one ever again. Having the organizers get everyone together, rent out a space for us to have talks, organize private excursions, and put it all together is worth the price markup. I'm also really glad that no one tried to sneak into the group this year by booking the cruise directly as it would have been super awkward for everyone. They might have been able to meet and hang out with some nomads in the public areas, but most of the day they'd be excluded including during dinner as we had reserved tables just for the group. That being said, don't even think about crashing the event as it's honestly not worth it and you'll feel left out and you'll seriously miss out. The Nomad Cruise is like a big family event and even days after, whenever you see someone with a blue wristband, they're instantly your new friend even if you didn't meet on the boat. 

As for pricing, the good news is if you book the early bird tickets, you're pretty much paying the normal direct price for the cruise and neither Nomad Cruise or Johannas makes much from those tickets. These are the tickets to get the hype going for the next cruise and get a guaranteed minimum people on board so they can start planning. The money is made from normal ticket sales and is a fair fare markup for what they provide. The last minute price is there to deter people from waiting until the last second as it makes the event harder to plan. We do the exact same pricing strategy with the Nomad Summit Conference and if you knew what goes into planning out these events and trying to organize hundreds of people you'll know why it's important for people to book ahead of time for the event to run smoothly. The last minute prices really aren't what we want to charge but are required to get people to allow us time to plan everything out, put down deposits, and guarantee head counts. As for which room to book, I'd highly recomend paying a bit extra and getting an outside or balcony room. The inside rooms without windows or natural sunlight are terrible for your sleep patterns and will really mess up your schedule. I opted for the balcony cabin and really liked being able to step out and get some sun and fresh air as soon as I woke up. It was also nice being able to hang up some laundry that I did in the sink. But as far as value is concerned any of the outside rooms are fine, you can always just walk out to the deck to get fresh air and laundry although super overpriced on cruise ships, still isn't as much as the balcony upgrade. Also if you don't have a roommate and don't want to pay extra for a single room you can just check a box and you'll be assigned one.  



Pricing from the 2018 Nomad Cruise 6


My Biggest Takeaways



Aside from just having a great time meeting new friends, seeing awesome places, and partying it up. I also met a bunch of people I plan on doing business with in the future, hiring, or hanging out with. The informal networking itself was worth the trip and price tag as the fact that someone is willing to pay money to come to an event like this shows that they have an abundance mentality. The people you meet at paid conferences, seminars, and events are always higher calibre than the people you meet online or at free events. I know a lot of people don't want to hear this, but the most successful people I've met in the digital nomad world have all spent significant money taking paid courses, or attending seminars, conferences or on self-improvement. The people who I meet that are the most negative and continue to stay broke, unhappy, and unsuccessful are the ones that expect everything for free or cheap, or the ones that hang out in facebook groups, reddit and online forums all day and complain about things or find reasons why something wouldn't work or isn't worth the price. 

I'm definitely not saying that going to a conference or even taking a paid course guarantees success, as nothing will, but from the thousands of digital nomads I've met these past 5 years, I can see a direct correlation between the paid mentality vs. the free mentality. It's not a coincidence that without me asking them beforehand, almost all of the guests who have been successful enough with their lives and businesses to be featured on the Travel Like a Boss Podcast have all spent money developing themselves, taking paid courses, or going to paid events, seminars or conferences. From meeting and hanging out with guys like Tobias Rauscher who gave a great talk about marketing, the inspiration I got from David Vu's or Natalia Cohen's talk, or simply meeting guys like Tom Schmidt who I later interviewed on the ship for Episode 196 of the podcast or Jannis in Episode 197 it was already worth it in future ROI. It'll still require me actually doing the work as no one will do it for you, but surrounding yourself with successful people and people with positive mindsets is worth it's weight in gold. Here's a quick video I made as a tour of the ship, the rooms, food, attendees, and what it's like being on the Nomad Cruise for 10+ days with 250+ digital nomads.





digital nomad cruise
Putting in my 1 hour of work every other day on 4G


How to Plan



Aside from booking early, the best thing you can do before coming on the ship is to free yourself from physically needing to work on your business while you're on board. For me I spend months before the cruise mentally preparing to be offline for 12 days even though I knew this ship would have wifi and we'd be in port every other day. I knew that I wanted my businesses to be completely automated and hands off by then, or have staff running it so I wouldn't have to. About 1/3 of people on the ship were actively working on wifi whenever they could and would often have to skip events, outings, or even group dinners to be able to communicate with their bosses, employers, coworkers or team during their business hours. Another 1/3 took vacation time as they either couldn't or chose not to work while aboard the ship, and the final 1/3 were the ones I'd encourage everyone reading this to strive to be by the time you get on the ship. These are the people who have passive or at least semi-passive income streams that were able to continue making money and having their businesses run even while they were on the cruise.

Even though it was 100% possible to work on the ship this trip as the internet was decently usable since we were relatively close to land in Europe combined with port days every other day, most people didn't, and the ones that did wish they didn't have to. For me I went into maintenance mode and just used the prepaid SIM card I bought in Spain for an hour or so every other day as we were either pulling into ports in the morning or in the afternoons after we got back to the ship before we sailed away. As of 2018 even prepaid SIM cards bought in the EU work in all EU countries, making it super easy to travel and stay connected. For around $15 I got 2.5gb in Spain, used it at the first few ports, then again in Malga, and seamlessly used it when I got to Greece. Here I bought a 10gb card for $11 to top up which I'll continue to use in my travels across Europe. Having the location independence, freedom and flexibility to travel through Europe in the summers and earn money online mostly through passive income streams has really made this trip easy and stress free. That's why I tailored my talk aboard the Nomad Cruise this year to give everyone the tools and mindset needed to automate their businesses and create passive income by this time next year. The full talks on Nomad Cruise aren't recorded but here's my presentation that I did in full uploaded to my youtube channel. Enjoy the talk, I hope it helps you better prepare your business and life responsibilities before the next Nomad Cruise, vacation or travel especially if you plan on doing the Transatlantic cruise. With multiple sea days before getting anywhere near land and being in the middle of the ocean, you'll often go days without internet.







Overall Thoughts on Nomad Cruise



My friends who went last year were right, it really is an awesome experience and a great way to meet other digital nomads, travel, and live it up for 10 days at a time. The best thing is that even after the cruise ended, the party and meetups continue as even though some people go home or need to go back to work, the majority of us came on one way tickets and have been hanging out together in Athens this entire week. Now I'm on the island of Santorini where we're having a reunion meetup. I've made a bunch of new friends who I plan on keeping in touch with, had a ton of fun, and even learned a few things. Sure the last minute tickets are a bit expensive if you wait to the last minute but if you plan ahead, but it's absolutely worth it and as long as you plan ahead for the ones ahead, it's a great event that gets better and better each year as they learn and grow to make it better and better. From what I've heard from cruisers who have been previously, this was the most organized, best Nomad Cruise yet, and I have a feeling it's just going to get better and better.

Their next trip, Nomad Cruise 7 isn't officially announced yet, but will most likely be at the end of November going from Barcelona, Spain to somewhere in Brazil. You can get tickets and updates on NomadCruise.com, you can even use coupon code "Nomad Summit" when buying your tickets for an special discount. As much as I loved the trip, I won't be able to attend NC7 as I plan to be in Chiang Mai during that time to prepare for the next Nomad Summit coming up the week of January 19th, 2019. I've taken away a lot of great ideas from the Nomad Cruise that we'll be implementing at the next conference including having more meetups and excursions the week before and after the summit. Ideally everyone can do both. Take a trip from Europe to Brazil aboard NC7 for Nov/Dec, then head to Chiang Mai, Thailand for Jan/Feb for the Nomad Summit and enjoy the rest of South East Asia from there. Either way, whether you can make it to one or both events, I really think the Nomad Cruise is an awesome event and I already plan on going to the next one they have in 2019 wherever that might be. It's not a place to get work done as you can't count on the internet being stable at sea, but it is a place to meet new friends, have an amazing time, and hopefully learn a few things while you're at it, or at the very least, expand your world view and have some experiences you might not have otherwise had...like me doing stand up comedy about my "German Experience" on board the ship.





I hope you enjoyed this blog post, leave a comment below. And share this post wherever you hang out online if you got a lot out of it and think others would benefit from my review and recap of the Nomad Cruise. Hope to see some of you on future ships!


Warm Regards,

Johnny FD



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  1. ALready signed up for NC7! Cant wait when they announce tickets! Thanks for the dope review, confirms alot of what ive read already :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey awesome Al, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Glad you liked the review. I'm curious what you've read so far that I've confirmed and what your plan is during the trip as well as what major factors have made you want to go? I think it's a great trip that has something different for everyone.

      Delete
    2. I actually found out about Nomad Cruise when Chris the Freelancer announced it a while back last year September as one of his year plans, so i always wanted to make it a target for myself as a break and a way to start networking and meeting like minded ppl, Ive basically been looking for more actual review content and peoples perspectives on it to keep me motivated and pumped while i grind online!

      Was glad to finally find out that you've now given it a try got alot more info, Unfortunately there just isnt that much video content on Youtube about Nomad Cruise other than a handful:) So ive basically been thirsty for more info haha.

      The one im interested in is the trans Atlantic cruise that goes to South America, after that i'd like to travel around Brazil, Colombia and finally Mexico then make it to Nomad Summit for my first time in Chiang Mai, let alone Thailand :)

      Delete
    3. Hey Al, i'm happy to have been able to help with my review! Your plan sounds amazing! Nomad Cruise Europe -> South America -> Nomad Summit Thailand.

      Delete
  2. Read every word of this, I LOVE your honesty and was soooooooooo thrilled and happy you went to experience this my man! I love you so much! Best part of the cruise was the stand up comedy show for me!!! I see a new career for you in the future, you are hilarious!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks buddy, and thanks for being the reason for me checking out the cruise in the first place, if it wasn't for you, I don't think I would have given it a shot!

      Delete
  3. Really interesting, thanks a lot.
    I am a bit surprised by the content of the talks and the workshop - for the cruise and even at the DN Summit. I think there is a lack of 2 major subjects : Estonia and the e-residency and Instagram marketing.
    What do you think, Johnny?
    Thanks again for all your sharings.
    Cheers,
    JN

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the “unknown” :)

      Delete
    2. Hey JN, happy to help. I think there was a workshop about taxes that mentioned e-residency. We'll be having a tax specific talk for the next Nomad Summit, but it's hard when people are from different countries. Also iG marketing is a good workshop but is too specific for a full talk imo.

      Delete
  4. If I had to choose one, Nomad Cruise or Nomad Summit what would you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They've vastly different events and when it comes down to it, a lot of it depends on if you want to check out Chiang Mai or Brazil. But in the past, the Nomad Summit focused more on high level presentations which the Nomad Cruise focused more on community building and adventure. However as both events mature, the Nomad Cruise is starting to have higher and higher level speakers and presentations, and the Nomad Summit is starting to have more activities during the weeks before and after. So the real question is, #BoatLife to Brazil, or Nomad Mecca Chiang Mai. But honestly, just make them both happen. =)

      Delete
  5. Summer vacation destination is fantastic, I really like it. Thank you for sharing the article

    ReplyDelete

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