Norwegian Cruise Line
- Cruise like a Norwegian1 of 1
Why we love this cruise line
One of the longest running cruise lines in the industry, Norwegian Cruise Line has been in operation since 1966, when it was first known as Norwegian Caribbean Line and pioneered the very first Caribbean cruise. Nowadays, NCL is still known as a pioneer in the industry because it has continued to be innovative and to try things that other cruise ship companies haven’t done before. A prime example of this is the Freestyle concept, whereby passengers can dine whenever they want with whomever they want without needing to wear formal attire. All of the 11 ships in the fleet still offer traditional dining in order to keep everyone satisfied. NCL was the first cruise line to purchase its own private island, the beautiful Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and the first to offer shows from the world-renowned and critically acclaimed Blue Man Group. Two of the ships in particular are noted for being particularly innovative: Pride of America and Norwegian Epic; the former being a floating tribute to the USA, the latter being the world’s third largest cruise ship with unique attractions such as the only proper ice bar and the first tube waterslide at sea, as well as a range of staterooms for solo travelers.
We love this cruise line because it understands that, in order to remain relevant and stay at the top of its game, it needs to be innovative and creative. This is a cruise line that pushes boundaries and always thinks ahead to give its guests many on board experiences they won’t find on other cruise ships. Guests can be assured that all of the more traditional amenities on all ships are of the same high quality as the newer standout features. No other cruise line makes waves quite like NCL does.
Onboard any ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet you will find a wealth of activities to keep you occupied throughout the entirety of your cruise. If you want to spend your time outdoors, you can lounge by the pool, enjoy a soak in the hot tub or challenge some friends to a game of basketball in the sports court. You can even get the whole family together for a few games of bowling or play a life-version of chess on one of the outdoor decks. If virtual games are your fancy, compete in Wii and Xbox tournaments in the atrium on a massive two storey screen or head to the video arcade and play your favorite arcade games. If you want to unwind, you can relax with a book in the library, play many board games in the Lifestyles Room or catch up with the outside world in the Internet café. You can also play bingo and pass time browsing pieces of art in the art gallery. Fans of the hit TV show Deal or No Deal will love playing a version created especially for these ships, where you could win up to USD 5,000 in cash or a free cruise for two. Though not every activity is available on every ship, you will find plenty to keep you occupied on any Norwegian ship you sail on.
Bars & Clubs
Every ship has plenty of bars and clubs of all different types to cater to everyone’s needs. The line-up of bars and clubs varies from ship to ship but every ship does include more than enough bars and clubs for everyone. Guests can enjoy a smoke with cocktails in the cigar bar, spend their hard-earned winnings on drinks in the Casino Bar, head to the Sake bar for a round of drinks before or after dinner or enjoy a rowdy evening the Star Bar, whose resident piano player keeps things lively all night long with sing-along live music. There are also several highly immersive themed bars as well: guests can admire French Art Deco theming in Magnum’s Wine and Champagne Bar, relax in Maltings Beer and Whisky Bar, which is themed after the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London or be immersed in 1960s décor in the Shakers Martini and Cocktails Bar. Though not all bars and clubs are available on every ship, every ship still does feature a wide enough range of venues so that everyone will be able to have the evening out they want.
Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the Freestyle Dining concept in 2000. This offers a completely different approach to dining, allowing guests to dine when they want and with whoever they want – they could wish to dine by themselves or be placed with friends or fellow passengers they haven’t yet met. There is also total freedom in dress code, meaning guests can dress how they want to for evening meals, as long as it’s something they’re comfortable in. If guests want to stay casual for all their evening meals, they can do so; if they want to dress up a couple of nights, they can do so too. The emphasis is on the guests’ choice. This is something that really sets NCL’s dining experience apart from all others.
There are two types of dining onboard all ships in the fleet: Complimentary Dining and Specialty Dining. As the name suggests, Complimentary Dining comes at no extra charge and offers a wide range of dining options to suit all needs. Each ship has two main dining rooms, buffets with both indoor and outdoor seating, poolside grills, casual eateries that stay open 24 hrs a day and kids’ cafes. You can also take advantage of room service whenever you want – again, it’s totally complimentary and means you can eat a quality meal in the comfort of your stateroom. However, if ordered between midnight and 5am, a cover charge of USD 3.95 will be added, unless you’re only ordering pizza and drinks, in which case you will be charged for your order.
Each ship offers numerous Specialty Dining restaurants, which are entirely optional and have a cover charge that is usually from USD 10-30 per guest. Every ship has a gourmet French restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a Texas-style steakhouse, while other specialty restaurants such as the Brazilian Churrascaria, Asian Fusion and Teppanyaki restaurants can also be found on various ships. These Specialty Dining restaurants offer the chance for guests to try a range of different cuisines from all over the world.
The great thing about Norwegian Cruise Line’s entertainment offerings is that it is extremely varied, so that everyone onboard will find something they like. Those who prefer a quieter evening can watch an intimate cabaret show, while those who favour lavish productions can head to the theater to watch amazing high-energy shows featuring talented singers, dancers and entertainers from all over the world. There is a wide variety of shows performed on different ships in the fleet, including Monte Carlo Night, Crew Talent Show, Elements, Colors, World Beat, which are just some of many. There’s also a show featuring celebrity impersonators and an interactive show featuring duelling pianos. Norwegian Epic even has a special world-renowned Blue Man Group show that performs every night. If you’re on Pride of America, you can enjoy an exclusive Hawaiian show, the Ho’okipa Aloha Performance, where exotic dancers show off traditional Hawaiian dances.
In addition to stage shows, there are numerous other entertainment offerings, from family-friendly magic shows and raucous karaoke nights to the nighttime White Hot Party held on the ship’s upper decks and a number of comedy shows, some of which are family-friendly, whilst others are only for adults. You can also go to toga parties, 70s parties and Caribbean-styled deck parties. The overall number of entertainment offerings is vast but note that offerings do vary from ship to ship.
Health & Fitness
Each ship has an abundance of health and fitness facilities onboard to keep you in shape and feeling healthy throughout the duration of your cruise. You will find a fully-equipped fitness center, spacious sports areas, a lengthy jogging track with beautiful views and plenty of spa and salon facilities onboard each ship. While working up a sweat in the fitness center you can gaze out at the ocean or watch telly. While relaxing in the spa you can let all your cares float away. The ample facilities onboard every ship allow you to keep up with your fitness regime and reward yourself with relaxing downtime once you’re done. Or if you fancy learning something new, you can take up yoga and Pilates classes. Whether you’re a fitness zealot or want to come and go as you please, the health and fitness facilities cater to everyone’s needs.
There are two youth clubs onboard every ship in the fleet: Splash Academy for kids and Entourage for teens.
Splash Academy is split into the following age groups: Guppies (6 months to 2 years), Turtles (3-5 years), Seals (6-9 years) and Dolphins (10-12 years). For all age groups there are plenty of exciting activities on offer designed to encourage all kids to be active and creative. Kids can learn how to juggle, play on Wii games and do arts and crafts.
Entourage offers teens many exciting activities, including rounders, ultimate Frisbee, nighttime pool parties, movie nights, air hockey, video games, karaoke and so much more. There is always something going on in the club, so teens always have a place to go if they want to have fun.
If you wish to have some alone time, kids aged 3-12 can be dropped off at the kids’ center. When the ship is in port, you can drop your kids off for free, though there is an additional charge during lunch and dinner. The Late Night Fun Zone incurs a small fee and will look after your kids from 10.30pm till 1.30am. If no kids are dropped off by 11.30, the Late Night Fun Zone will close for the evening. Both sitter services must be booked in advance by 8pm the day before.
The standard rule is that all guests must be at least 21 years of age on the day of embarkation in order to be allowed to consume alcohol. Those aged 18-20 are permitted to buy and drink beer and wine if the ship is 3 miles outside of US territorial waters so long as they have permission from a parent or legal guardian, who must accompany the guest under 21 to the ship’s Reception Desk and provide proof of age and of their relationship. The guest under 21 must also complete a Young Adult Alcoholic Beverage Waiver form. All guests must be at least 21 to consume alcohol on all cruises in Hawaii and Alaska. However guests need only be 18 years of age or older to consume alcohol on roundtrip European cruises and need not complete the waiver form.
Guests are not allowed to bring any alcoholic drinks onboard, with the exception of drinks purchased at ports of call, which will be handed to the crew on getting back onboard the ship. The alcohol will then be returned to your stateroom at the end of your cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line defines those under 18 as minors and those between 18 and 20 as young adults. All passengers under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a passenger aged 21 or above in either the same stateroom or a connecting stateroom. However two guests under the age of 21 can travel and stay in the stateroom if they are a married couple and hand appropriate proof to a representative of Norwegian Cruise Line before check-in. If a guest under 18 is travelling with an adult who isn’t a parent or legal guardian, a Parent/Guardian Consent & Release Form is required to authorise the travel and emergency medical treatment of the minor. This form must be handed to a representative of Norwegian Cruise Line during check-in. This form is essential as embarkation may be refused and no refund for your cruise given should you not produced this form.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Cruising policy means that there aren’t strict dress codes. Resort Casual attire is accepted in all venues during the evening. Shorts are only accepted in the buffet and jeans are accepted in most restaurants. Those who want to dress up and wear something more formal on an evening are more than welcome to do so. Freestyle Cruising allows guests to dress how they want when they want and wants guests to dress in a way in which they feel comfortable.
All children must be at least 6 months of age at the time of embarkation. This age limit increases to 12 months for all cruises that feature 3 or more consecutive days at sea.
Pregnant women should not sail if they will enter their 24th week of pregnancy at any point during their whole journey. A doctor’s certificate confirming your health and due date is required. The cruise line will not hold itself responsible for any complications that may arise during your cruise. Contact the Guest Services Team at 1.866.625.11647 for more information.
Smoking is prohibited except in designated areas. Guests staying in a balcony stateroom may smoke only on the balcony and are only allowed to smoke cigarettes. Anyone found smoking in their stateroom will face a flat charge of $250.00.
Smoking is not allowed in all public interior areas, except for in the casino. There are enclosed cigar bars where guests may smoke cigars, pipes and cigarettes on the following ships: Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Spirit.
There are also designated outdoor areas where guests may smoke pipes, cigars and cigarettes. All designated smoking areas have clear signage.
Gratuities can be pre-paid up to 24 hours before sailing and the rate of $12.00 will be shown separately to the overall price of your holiday. This rate applies for every guest over three for every day of the cruise and is fully refundable if you choose to cancel your cruise. Should you wish to pay once onboard, simply state this intention at booking or at least two weeks before embarkation day and the gratuities can then be added to your shipboard account. In addition to this, a gratuity of 15% for drinks bills and 18& for salon and spa services will be added to you shipboard account.
The amount you pay in gratuities can be adjusted should you feel you haven’t experienced a good enough level of service. However, if you have pre-paid your gratuities and you wish for a refund, you must write to NCL’s Guest Relations department once the cruise is over.
Wi-fi is available on every ship in the Internet café and in Wi-fi hotspots. Stateroom Internet is available on the following ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun. Stateroom access is achieved by connecting to the Wi-fi system or by using complementary Ethernet cables. The pricing for Internet usage is as follows:
Pay as you go: $0.75 per minute
For cruises 5 days and shorter:
$16.50 for 30 minutes
$24 for 60 minutes
For cruises 6 days and longer:
$55 for 100 minutes
$100 for 250 minutes
Note that an activation fee of $3.50 is required to connect to the Internet.
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