Plan Your Norwegian Cruise Line Vacation
Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as
a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.
Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.
From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.
Key Norwegian Cruise Line Tips
Are you a first-time cruiser? View our helpful hints and tips on Your Shipmates, Dress Code, Junior Cruisers, and much more! See Tips
Top Reasons To Cruise
- Casual Atmosphere With no dress code, Norwegian’s ships have shed the "stuffy" reputation of cruises in the past.
- Dining Options Norwegian Cruise Line is an industry innovator in onboard dining, from open seating dining rooms to specialty restaurants.
- Entertainment Their partnership with widely recognized acts and shows has made Norwegian a leader in entertainment at sea.
- Family-Friendliness Numerous connecting staterooms and suites on Norwegian’s ships can be combined to create multicabin accommodations ideal for families.
- Itineraries With some exceptions, Norwegian’s sailings don’t stray far from the tried-and-true one-week length.
Is This Line Right For You?
Choose This Line If
- Doing your own thing is your idea of a real vacation. You could almost remove your watch and just go with the flow.
- You want to leave your formal dress-up wardrobe at home.
- You're competitive. There's always a pickup game in progress on the sports courts.
Don't Choose This Line If
- You don't like to pay extra for food on a ship. All the best specialty restaurants have extra charges.
- You don't want to stand in line. There are lines for nearly everything.
- You don't want to hear announcements. They're frequent on these ships—and loud.
What To Expect On Board
Main dining rooms serve what is traditionally deemed Continental fare, although it's about what you would expect at a really good hotel banquet. Health-conscious menu selections are nicely prepared, and vegetarian choices are always available. Where Norwegian really shines
is the specialty restaurants, especially the French-Mediterranean Le Bistro (on all ships), the pan-Asian restaurants, and steak houses (on the newer ships). As a rule of thumb, the newer the ship, the wider the variety, because new ships were purpose-built with as many as 10 or more places to eat. You may find Spanish tapas, an Italian trattoria, a steak house, a pub, and a pan-Asian restaurant complete with a sushi and sashimi bar and teppanyaki room. Most carry a cover charge or are priced à la carte and require reservations. A Norwegian staple, the late-night Chocoholic Buffet continues to be a favorite event.
More high jinks than highbrow, entertainment after dark features extravagant Las Vegas–style revues presented in main show lounges by lavishly costumed singers and dancers. Other performers might include comedians, magicians, jugglers, and acrobats. Passengers can get into
the act by taking part in talent shows or step up to the karaoke microphone. Live bands play for dancing and listening in smaller lounges, and each ship has a lively dance club. Some ships include shows by Chicago's world-famous Second City improvisational comedy company. With the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010, the Blue Man Group and Cirque Productions (a U.S.-based company somewhat similar in style to Cirque du Soleil) joined Norwegian's talent lineup.
Casinos, bingo sessions, and art auctions are well attended. Adult games, particularly the competitive ones, are fun to participate in and provide laughs for audience members. Goofy pool games are a Norwegian staple, and the ships' bands crank up the volume during afternoon and evening deck parties.
Fitness and Recreation
Mandara Spa offers exotic spa treatments fleet-wide on Norwegian, although facilities vary widely. Spa treatments include a long menu of massages, body wraps, and facials, and current trends in hair and nail services are offered in the salons. The latest addition on board
is a Medi-Spa physician, who can create individualized treatment plans using nonsurgical treatments such as Botox Cosmetic. State-of-the-art exercise equipment, jogging tracks, and basic fitness classes are available at no charge. There's a fee for personal training, body composition analysis, and specialized classes such as yoga and Pilates.