Cruising the Seven Seas
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) was established in 1966 and offers the most conventional and casual experience of the major lines. There are no dress codes aboard NCL and the relaxed atmosphere is perfect for the first-time cruiser who doesn’t want the overt luxury of Cunard or overwhelming innovations of Royal Caribbean.
It is well renowned for its inter-island cruise in Hawaii but also sails to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Bermuda, Canada and New England.
Are Norwegian Cruise lines for me?
The crowd on board NCL tends to be younger and more active than those onboard Celebrity, HAL and Princess cruises. The informal atmosphere of the cruise encourages people from 25-65, mainly couples although during the holidays there are families and honeymooners onboard. NCL were the first major liner to do away with formal/informal/casual nights and instead go completely casual.
They also removed traditional tipping from their ships and replaced it with an automatic gratuity that is added to your account to create a more seamless on ship experience. Dining is open seating with no reservations and there is more a party scene with a variety of bars and clubs with some ships even including their own brewery.
NCL has a modern fleet and their ships carry the trademark colourful underside that sets them apart from their competition. They have 14 ships ranging from 1900 to 4100 occupancies but regardless of size, all ships adopt the ‘freestyle cruising’ NCL model which places far less emphasis on the class structure and adds to the overall casual atmosphere.
NCL’s largest ship is the Norwegian Epic built in 2010 and refurbished in 2015, it has 20 bars and 20 dining options on board, including their popular Ice Bar. The ship has also introduced a new studio concept which caters to single travellers and includes a common bar and living areas for passengers in this class to get to know each other.
Activities and Attractions
Aside from the standard attractions of broadway style shows, waterslides and cinemas, NCL offers some unique entertainment options. They have a range of workshops including improv comedy, bartending and organic cooking.
- Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil on board shows (NCL Epic)
- Talent shows
- Golf driving cages
Get Insured Before you Cruise
It’s important to get travel insurance, as soon as you put down deposits or pay for your cruise, up to 12 months in advance. Travel insurance doesn’t cost any more if you purchase it earlier, but it does cover you for any cancellations or if you injure yourself prior to your holiday and it inhibits you from going (e.g. breaking your leg prior to a big family cruise).