20+ Norwegian Cruise Ideas, Tips, and Issues to Know



Crusing aboard a Norwegian cruise? You’re little question excited, however might need some questions on what precisely to count on and perhaps some ideas to assist your journey go extra easily. 

NCL sign
Norwegian Cruise Line — or ‘NCL’ — is without doubt one of the hottest cruise traces round and sometimes does issues somewhat in another way than rivals.

Above all, you need to know that you simply’re about to have a good time. Norwegian is a well-liked cruise line, and considered one of our private favorites.

However should you’ve by no means been on the cruise line, there issues to know that may make your journey higher. 

Table of Contents

Overview: What It’s Wish to Sail Aboard Norwegian

Earlier than we get into the issues to know, you is perhaps questioning what it’s wish to sail aboard Norwegian Cruise Line… and the way it’s completely different from different cruise traces. For that, we have an entire guide to sailing NCL here.

Normally all these issues that you simply love about taking a cruise on any line apply to Norwegian. Should you’ve sailed different traces, you’ll probably discover the expertise to be related general.

As an example, the ships are nearly artworks (particularly newer ones) and an engineering marvel. There’s an enormous deal with issues to do on the ship, and it begins together with your time across the pool, typically with giant pool decks, loads of chairs, in addition to issues like putt-putt, sport courts, and extra to maintain everybody occupied. There’s additionally an enormous deal with foods and drinks; there’s no approach that you’ll go hungry or thirsty in your cruise.

However whereas Norwegian Cruise Line would possibly supply an expertise that cruisers know and love, there are some touches that set the cruise line other than others.

A Give attention to Open air: Whereas any cruise ship could have outside area, Norwegian appears to be on a development towards opening up the outside to the indoors. As an example, some newer ships have remark lounges with tall multi-story home windows with 180-degree views. Ships additionally focus lots on outside eating, and promenades that supply seaviews across the complete ship. NCL additionally likes to place open promenades down nearer to the ocean, placing you nearer to the ocean.

The Haven: Should you’re a cruise passenger with the next finances, then Norwegian provides The Haven, which is exclusive to their ships. As an alternative of simply providing a collection, The Haven is basically a “resort inside a resort.” Along with luxurious (and huge) rooms, the realm has non-public entry, its personal pool, restaurant, and bar. It provides the small ship expertise with bigger ship facilities.

Cruise Line Dimension: We like to consider Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian because the “Huge Three” cruise traces. They dominate the market. However in terms of dimension, Norwegian is the smallest of those three. What does that imply for you? As soon as on the ship, it means little or no. However when planning, Norwegian sails from fewer ports and has fewer complete sailings than its larger rivals, so that you don’t have as many choices.

Onboard Bills: Each cruise line goals to get passengers spending on the ship, however Norwegian appears to have costs which might be greater than rivals like Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Web and drink packages — two main areas of onboard spending — are good examples. Particularly the basic drink package is $109 per person, per day. Evaluate that to Carnival, which fees round $60. 

Ideas & Issues to Know About Crusing Norwegian Cruise Traces

Now that you’ve an concept of what you may count on on board, beneath we’ve pulled collectively a few of our favourite ideas and issues to know for crusing on a Norwegian cruise. Use these concepts to make your journey as a lot enjoyable as attainable, but in addition probably lower your expenses, time, and have a greater trip.

Sail on the Newer Ships When Potential (There’s a Huge Distinction!)

Over the previous couple of years Norwegian has made massive headlines by introducing among the most extravagant ships at sea. Ships just like the Norwegian Joy, Bliss, Encore, Prima, and Viva take cruising to a different degree with the general public areas, eating places, and issues to do on the ship. As an example, you may even experience go-karts or dabble in digital actuality — all on a ship that’s constructed with a luxurious really feel (particularly the brand new Prima-class vessels).

Whereas older ships are sometimes cheaper to sail, we’ve discovered them smaller and with fewer issues to do on board. Except you solely wish to sit by the pool and chill out, newer ships supply a lot extra to passengers, and the design and ambiance is second-to-none.

So you probably have the means, we suggest crusing on the newer ships.

Obtain the Cruise Norwegian App (It’s Free)

The NCL app is a must have. It provides all the pieces from ship maps to the day by day planner to onboard account data and tons extra.

Everybody has an app nowadays, together with cruise traces. The massive distinction? As an alternative of doing one thing foolish like exhibiting how you’ll look if you’re older, the cruise line apps — together with the Cruise Norwegian app — are extraordinarily helpful.

Obtain it totally free and you need to use it for tons of issues on the ship. It consists of deck plans (so that you don’t get misplaced), an outline of your onboard spending, the day by day schedules, and you’ll even guide reservations and excursions. Better of all, you don’t should buy wi-fi on the ship to make use of the app. It might prevent a ton of time and headache.

Make Reservations Early (As Early As You Can)

A full reservation board on a Norwegian ship.

As of late there’s a lot to do on new ships from specialty eating places to actions onboard. Some Norwegian ships even have go-kart tracks at sea! The factor is that with hundreds of individuals on the ship and solely a specific amount of open spots, the eating places and issues to do can refill rapidly. That’s why Norwegian has carried out a reservation system.

One piece of recommendation — enroll as early as you understand you wish to do one thing. House is at a premium. You are able to do so by way of the app, by way of your on-line account, through cellphone, or as soon as you’re on the ship. Regardless of the way you do it, simply be sure to attempt to reserve a spot early so that you simply don’t miss out.

The “Free at Sea” Supply Could Nonetheless Price Gratuities

One of many massive attracts to Norwegian has been their “Free at Sea” offer. You guide a cabin and you will get the common bare-bones fare, or you will get quite a few perks included for a barely fare. The perks embrace all the pieces from shore tour credit score to alcohol packages to wi-fi.

You may select whether or not or to not make the most of the deal and even which perks you desire to.

One factor to be careful for is gratuity. If you choose an choice that sometimes has gratuity — just like the alcoholic drink package deal — then you definately nonetheless should pay this quantity. As an example, the drink package deal is generally $109 per individual, per day. Nevertheless it additionally has a 20% gratuity on high of that. So even with the free drinks supply, you’re paying round $20 per day. A pair on a weeklong cruise would pay a complete of about $300 in gratuities on the free drink supply.

Hold this in thoughts. You’re nonetheless getting a superb deal so far as a drink package deal for $20, but it surely is perhaps an added expense you didn’t notice you’d should pay.

Know That Costs for “Free at Sea” Are Usually Increased (However Often Not By A lot)

We talked about the “Free at Sea” supply above that’s been common for Norwegian. Relying on which cabin you cruise, you will get quite a few freebies included together with your cruise like free drinks or free wi-fi.

One factor to look at, nonetheless, is that you simply truly find yourself paying extra for the ‘free’ perk. As an example, we did a latest seek for a balcony cabin on an upcoming 7-night cruise. The headline worth proven was $1,599 per individual, for a “sail away” balcony. It is a cabin the place Norwegian picks your room, and it isn’t eligible for any of the perks within the “Free at Sea” supply.

Need to get perks included? The most cost effective balcony cabin in our instance search with the free perks was $1,649 — $50 extra per individual. This $50 per individual improve appears to be constant in our examine.

That’s not precisely “free,” but it surely’s a small worth to pay for a drink package deal, wi-fi, shore tour credit score, and specialty eating.

Norwegian Casinos Are a Nice Place to Be taught Video games

Table games and slot machines on a cruise
Ships could have a on line casino and supply courses within the mornings for passengers to be taught the video games.

Plenty of people who go on cruises love the on line casino. It’s a enjoyable option to spend a while at sea whether or not you’re a critical gambler or identical to to wager a couple of dollars.

At all times wished to strive a brand new on line casino recreation however been too intimidated? That’s comprehensible. It’s scary to saddle up subsequent to a bunch of execs at a blackjack desk or when rolling cube in a craps recreation.

On Norwegian, the on line casino provides day by day courses on video games. Right here, newbies can take their flip studying the foundations and taking part in follow rounds with out risking money.

Even with out the courses, cruise ship casinos are an amazing place to get your ft moist with new video games. Limits are low, making it much less intimidating for newbies.

Need to Cruise Hawaii? Norwegian Is Your Greatest Guess (Right here’s Why)

Is Hawaii in your bucket record? Then take a look at cruises aboard NCL’s Pleasure of America. By U.S. legislation, foreign-flagged vessels can’t decide up passengers from an American port and take to to a different American port with out having a cease out of the country. The overwhelming majority of cruise ships are flagged underneath a overseas nation. Which means to go to Hawaii, they should put in a go to to a different nation alongside the way in which. 

That’s why most cruise traces go away a port like Los Angeles, sail to Hawaii, after which return for a fast go to to Mexico earlier than heading residence. Given the gap, it ends as much as be plenty of time at sea.

NCL, nonetheless, operates Pride of America — the one main cruise ship we all know of that’s flagged underneath the USA. Which means it might probably sail throughout the Hawaiian Islands, as an alternative of spending days touring to a different nation to adjust to the legislation. So as an alternative of spending days at sea, you spend extra time exploring Hawaii and easily fly forwards and backwards from the mainland.

Dine Outdoors for Implausible Views

NCL places plenty of emphasis on the outside, together with loads of spots to dine exterior. We positively counsel taking benefit.

For some cause cruise ships appear to maintain getting larger and higher however proceed to carry you extra inside to the retailers and the eating places. One factor that Norwegian does rather well is give passengers locations to attach with the ocean. One instance is their exterior eating.

Now, you would possibly assume that sitting exterior to eat throughout a cruise is fairly easy. Reality is, there’s lots to consider, together with the solar, rain, and the fixed wind because the ship is underway.

Norwegian, nonetheless, takes all this under consideration with coated spots to eat which might be additionally out of the wind. The consequence? A variety of nice locations the place you may sit exterior, sip a drink, and revel in a meal with out having to fret a couple of sunburn or the wind carrying your serviette away.

The Fish (Or Different Designs) Face Ahead to Inform You The place You’re Headed

Typically it’s fish, different instances it’s one other type of design, however the carpets often level the path to the entrance of the ship.

A fast and straightforward tip that will help you get your bearings on the ship — the fish face ahead. Allow us to clarify…

Within the halls of the ship the place there aren’t any home windows, it’s simple to get circled. All of the cabin doorways look the identical and the hallways are lengthy. You may stroll for tons of of ft earlier than realizing you’re going within the unsuitable path. On this case, simply look down.

Many Norwegian ships have carpets with a design with numerous small fish. Different ships it’s a design with random triangles. As an support to passengers, all of the of those face ahead. So you’re strolling within the path of the fish or the triangles on the carpet, you’re going ahead. Strolling the other way? Then you definitely’re headed aft.

This could prevent plenty of time, frustration, and wasted steps as you permit the cabin and head to go have enjoyable. Look down, and the fish will let you know the place to go.

Get Your Spot on the Pool Early on Harvest Caye

Pool on Harvest Caye island
The big pool on the non-public island is the preferred spot to be. Get there early (or go later within the day) in order for you a lounger.

One of many favourite stops by Norwegian ships is Harvest Caye. The non-public island within the southwest Caribbean is a beach-lover’s paradise. There’s ample area to put out by the seaside, an enormous freshwater pool, eating places, bars, retailers, ziplines and extra. And since it’s just for Norwegian cruise ships, it’s like your individual private paradise.

One tip is to go to the pool very first thing on the island and stake out a spot. Even visiting on a smaller ship, we’ve discovered that the chairs across the pool refill rapidly. It’s by far the preferred spot on the island.

Should you head over within the late morning or early afternoon, there may not be a single open chair. Throughout our go to we didn’t hit the pool till the height time and needed to simply set our stuff on the bottom. Crowds are a lot thinner within the early morning or late afternoon when many have headed again to the ship already.

Now, we’re not saying to be a chair hog. So don’t simply set your stuff down and go away. But when you understand you need some pool time, attempt to do it early.

Head to the 24-Hour Restaurant for More energizing Meals

Whereas cruise ship buffets are on each ship, not everyone seems to be a fan of them. Need one thing more energizing that’s made particular for you? Head to the 24-hour restaurant on the ship.

Every Norwegian ship could have a restaurant (O’Sheehans on some, The Native on others) that serves across the clock. Have a seat, get no matter you need on the menu, and also you don’t should pay something. The great half is that there’s a number of issues to eat, and it’s ready for you rather than being supposed to feed the plenty.

Are You an Investor? You May Get As much as $250 Onboard Credit score

A lot of the main cruise traces are literally a part of bigger public firms, together with Norwegian. Which means you may truly personal a stake within the ship that you simply sail. Shares of the corporate commerce underneath the ticker “NCLH”. And for these proudly owning at the least 100 shares on the time of crusing, then you’re eligible for a shareholder profit.

The quantity of the profit will depend on the size of your cruise, and is presently set as follows:

  • $250 onboard credit score per stateroom on sailings of 15 days or extra
  • $100 onboard credit score per stateroom on sailings of seven to 14 days
  • $50 onboard credit score per stateroom on sailings of 6 days or fewer

You’ll have to submit some documentation earlier than you sail. If you wish to take benefit, then you can read more about the benefit here.

No Reservation? There Would possibly Nonetheless Be House Out there

Miss out on making a reservation earlier than a specialty restaurant was booked up? Head down anyway. Reservations are vital, however there’s nonetheless an opportunity you will get a seat.

Usually instances individuals make reservations after which don’t present. Or different instances there’s nonetheless an area, even when the reservation record is full.

The perfect wager is to indicate up early or late within the eating time — not in the course of the peak when most individuals wish to eat. In actual fact, we’ve personally confirmed as much as a restaurant that had a full reservation record and located it largely empty when it first opened, permitting us to seize dinner with no drawback.

NCL Has the Youngest (Main) Fleet within the Trade

Aside from just a few ships constructed within the Nineties, most ships within the fleet are comparatively new.

There’s no arguing that the salt and solar take a toll on something close to the coast — particularly ships. On the similar time, the tempo of growth on cruise ships is breathtaking. A ship constructed 20 years in the past barely even compares to a ship constructed at the moment.

That’s why it’s noteworthy that NCL options the youngest fleet of any of the foremost cruise traces. In actual fact, its oldest ship was constructed simply over 20 years in the past, however many extra ships have been constructed lately. And with the addition of its Prima class — the place one new ship is slated to affix the fleet every year by way of 2027 — that fleet ought to proceed to remain contemporary.

Desire a Deal? Search for the Drink of the Day

On some cruise traces, the Drink of the Day isn’t something particular. The cruise line actually simply calls a drink the “Drink of the Day” to make it appear particular and fees the identical quantity.

Norwegian is completely different. On their cruises the Drink of the Day is definitely discounted a few bucks. So if a cocktail is generally $11, will probably be priced at solely $9. It’s a small distinction, but it surely’s good to get somewhat low cost. So not solely are you able to strive one thing new every day, however you may as well lower your expenses doing so.

Be Ready For Increased Costs

As talked about above, Norwegian’s “Free at Sea” providing is common… and for good cause. For just a bit extra, you will get plenty of extras included together with your cruise. This may be all the pieces from wi-fi minutes to drink packages to shore tour credit score. 

One factor to notice, nonetheless, is that should you don’t go for this — and even should you do — you have to be ready for greater costs than what you see on many different traces. 

We talked about that the drink package deal begins at $109 per individual, per day plus a 20% gratuity. That’s significantly greater than most traces. Limitless wi-fi runs as a lot as $40 per day. Gratuities value $20 per individual, per day for many cabins (and $25 for higher-end rooms). Then there are fees for issues just like the go-karts and the Galaxy Pavilion (a high-end video gaming expertise) on newer ships.

Backside line, evidently NCL costs many issues at a premium. Don’t have sticker shock.

Climate at Nice Stirrup Cay Can Trigger Cancellations

You get up, the solar is shining, the ocean is blue, and your day at Great Stirrup Cay (NCL’s non-public island) is… cancelled?

Nice Stirrup Cay in The Bahamas is a must-see. It options stunning seashores, actions, meals, and extra, and it’s all for the unique use of NCL passengers. However the ship anchors offshore after which a smaller boat (a young) brings you in.

Sadly, we’ve been on a cruise the place the cease was cancelled as a result of, whereas the climate was stunning, it was too windy for the tenders to function. As an alternative, we spent the day at sea. To make sure, it’s disappointing. Simply know that since there isn’t a dock, climate is an even bigger concern on should you’ll truly be capable to go to.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar Can’t Miss

Each cruise line has their very own distinctive bars like Carnival’s Alchemy Bar or Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar. One of many particular ones on NCL is the Sugarcane Mojito Bar.

This spot options an intimate setting that’s full of cozy leather-based seats and darkish wooden panels that offer you a Cuban vibe. However what’s particular is the menu. It’s all targeted on mojitos.

You may strive a jalapeno cucumber mojito, or a pineapple coconut type. One which we thought sounded most attention-grabbing is the Floridita, made with Bacardi, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur, and lime.

Even should you’re not an enormous mojito fan, the vibe and ambiance is one thing you’ll wish to cease and revel in.

Convey White (or Neon) Clothes for the Get together

One tip is if you’re crusing the Caribbean, you’ll wish to carry some white or neon clothes with you. On journeys to this space, the cruise line typically places on white — or now transferring to “glow” — events on the pool deck. So that you’ll head out to poolside at evening, hearken to some music, dance, and usually have a good time whereas all glammed up in both white or neon.

And after the principle occasion, there’s probably an afterparty situated within the ship’s nightclub.

Wi-Fi Package deal Costs Fall By the Journey

There’s no arguing that NCL likes to push costs greater. In actual fact, cruise line executives have mentioned as a lot. That may result in some dear objects on the ship. For instance, the highest-tier of wi-fi service runs a staggering $40 per day if purchased onboard, and you purchase service for a complete cruise.

However there’s a approach it can save you some cash. We’ve seen with crusing NCL that after every day you may nonetheless purchase the Web package deal, however the complete value reduces day-to-day. So should you purchase the $40 service on the primary day of a 7-day cruise, you’ll pay about $280 for the journey. Wait till the subsequent day, and the worth drops to round $240, and so forth.

So should you can go with out for a few days at first of the cruise, you need to be capable to avoid wasting appreciable cash.

Boarding Early Means Ready on a Cabin

Should you attempt to board early, it could possibly be that you must hand around in the terminal or on the ship till your room is prepared.

All of us wish to get on the ship early and begin our trip. What we’ve seen, nonetheless, is that boarding early (earlier than 1-2 p.m.) often means having to attend to your cabin to be prepared. So that you’ll board the ship and discover that the doorways to the cabin hallways will likely be closed off.

You may nonetheless benefit from the ship, however you’ll both should drop off your baggage as you board and are available again later to choose it up (there’s a location the place they may maintain luggage till rooms are prepared), or discover the ship together with your bag in tow.

Or you may simply wait to board later and be capable to go proper to your room as you get on the ship.

Memento Glasses Make Cool Keepsakes

Memento glasses for drinks aren’t something new in cruising. However typically they’re actually fairly cheesy or gaudy. They could be enjoyable on the cruise ship, however they’re nothing you’d actually use at residence.

On Norwegian Cruise Line, it’s a bit completely different. They provide memento glasses you may take residence, however they provide cool types. As an example, there’s a porcelain tiki glass that may be good for sipping one thing in the summertime again residence. Or perhaps you’d moderately a porcelain pineapple mug?

The purpose is, as an alternative of being junky plastic cups that get tossed after just a few months, these glasses are issues that you simply’ll truly wish to use again residence. 

Norwegian Doesn’t Permit Drinks Onboard

One thing to know for these soda drinkers who might need a favourite model — NCL as a complete serves Coca-Cola merchandise. You gained’t discover Pepsi or different merchandise from that firm on the ship.

As nicely, Norwegian also doesn’t let you bring on beverages (apart from a bottle of wine/champagne) if you board, not like different cruise traces. So you may’t simply carry in your most popular beverage to your journey.

So you probably have a drink that you simply simply can’t stay with out, then you definately’re going to have to attend till you attain a port of name.

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