When people hear the name Norwegian Cruise Lines, many think of breathtaking, icy voyages around the fjords of Scandinavia. And those people wouldn't be wrong; NCL does offer incredibly scenic voyages around the more chilly parts of the globe - but that's far from all that Norwegian Cruise Line delivers.
For a start, they range much further abroad than their name might suggest. From the Mexican Riviera to the frozen vistas of Alaska to the sun-drenched islands and hills of the Mediterranean, Norwegian Cruise Line introduces holidaymakers to some of the most beautiful corners of the world. And don't worry - if your heart is set on the fjords, they cruise there too.
NCL isn't just any old cruise line either - here are just a few of the features that set them apart from the crowd:
- Studio Staterooms for the solo traveller. It can be hard to find good cruise options for those striking out on their own but NCL makes it both easy and economical.
- They keep the whole family in mind. If you've got little ones with you, not only will they have the time of their lives enjoying creative play, sports, parties and more with their complimentary youth programs, but you'll have the chance to relax on your own or take time for a little family bonding at the bowling alley, mini-golf course or waterslide.
- Freestyle dining. Say goodbye to set mealtimes and assigned seating; it's your vacation, no one should be able to tell you how to enjoy it! NCL is the only cruise line that features a fleet of ships with restaurants from bow to stern, so you can enjoy more dining options than days of your cruise. Dress up for a gourmet feast or pick up a burger on your way to meet new friends - the choice is all yours.
Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet is one of the most innovative in the world. Designed with their signature Freestyle philosophy in mind, these ships facilitate flexibility and freedom, ensuring that each traveller gets exactly what they want out of their cruise. From the luxurious "Jewel Class" to the beautiful, wide-ranging "Sun Class", these are vessels specially crafted to give each passenger the dream cruise that they envisioned. Plus, NCL has one of the most distinctive looking fleets in the world - make your friends jealous with holiday snaps that not only showcase the beautiful places you visit, but the striking ship you're cruising on.
The activities and entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, Norwegian Cruise Line doesn't do anything by halves. Always wanted to experience a Broadway musical? Cruise with Norwegian Breakaway and you can rock out to Rock of Ages, or take a voyage with Norwegian Getaway and you could be singing along to Legally Blonde. But that's just scratching the surface of the entertainment experiences on offer.
Exclusive to Norwegian Cruise Line voyages is the GRAMMY® Experience - sit back and enjoy live jazz and R&B hits from past GRAMMY® winners and nominees. NCL is also the only cruise line to team up with Nickelodeon to bring your kids fun and activities with some of their favourite cartoon characters!
What else? Acrobatic dinner theatre, the dazzling illusions of world class magicians, live music - even fireworks! It pays to check which shows are on offer for the specific voyage you're interested in, but the fact remains that no matter which ship you choose, the live entertainment on offer will be absolutely spectacular. That's not even taking into account the pools, day spas, gyms and dance floors that ensure you'll never be bored onboard.
Bits and pieces
Dog sledding in Alaska, exploring ancient medieval cities, scuba diving in Belize, special shore excursions are not included in your cruise fare - you can book them up to two days prior to sailing, but it pays to secure them earlier as the popular ones can sell out quick. A couple of great plusses to NCL shore excursions: dedicated pre-cruise and onboard Specialists to aid you with tour arrangements, insured tour operators and no sneaky hidden costs for transfers and entrance fees.
If you have special dietary requirements, NCL can accommodate you but you need to let them know at the time of booking so they have enough time to prepare whatever you need.
The standard currency onboard is the US dollar - passengers can cash travellers cheques at the Guest Services Desk, and on some cruises currency exchange is available at the prevailing rates. Tipping is not required or recommended for services that are normally rendered to all guests - however, NCL staff are encouraged to go above and beyond the call of duty and if you feel that a gratuity is appropriate in light of exceptional service, then you're most free to offer it.
If you prefer an easy-going, freeform style of holiday then Norwegian Cruises is probably right up your alley. There aren't many requirements to be at any place at any certain time, and many will love the freedom that this offers. However, if a structured format is more to your liking, with set meal plans and lots of predetermined activities, you may find yourself at a bit of a loose end.
As alluded to above, the dining philosophy aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships is very much one of offering passengers ultimate freedom. Eat where you like, when you like with a luxuriously large range of eatery options. Enjoy a classy, romantic night for two at the French gourmet restaurant Le Bistro, savour the flavours of Asia at a Noodle Bar or chow down on a good ole American style steak at Cagney's Steakhouse. The food at many of the onboard buffets and cafes is complimentary, included in your cruise fare, but there's a few specialty restaurants for which you'll pay a little extra. The restaurants will vary a bit according to which particular ship you're on; for the lowdown on what exactly you can expect for your dining options, have a look at NCL's Dining Guide. One thing's for certain: whatever your culinary inclinations, you're sure to discover a dining experience that suits your every mood.
In keeping with their ethos of freedom and choice, Norwegian Cruise Lines offer a massive range of top quality experiences around the world. Whether you're dying to experience the rugged majesty of the North in Alaska or Norway, or you plan to work on your tan as you glide amidst Caribbean isles or down the Mexican Riviera, you'll find that NCL has a voyage that's perfectly suited to your idea of a perfect cruise. Panama, Hawaii, Argentina, San Francisco, Bermuda, Greece, Venice, the sheer variety of experiences on offer is a little staggering. But far from being intimidating, it's simple to search for the cruise that best suits you - the only difficulty you'll have is deciding what you want to do first.
Discover NCL itineraries and specials on Cruise Sale Finder - and to hear from those who've been there and done that, check out a couple reviews by past passengers. Embrace the freedom to holiday the way you choose with Norwegian Cruise Lines.