Norwegian cruise ship 2016 | Norway Trip 2016 | Norwegian Coastal & Hurtigruten Cruises
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Norwegian Cruise Line offers a hybrid cruising experience, mixing traditional elements with innovative features, amenities and ambience. Decor is colorful, fun and occasionally loud, especially on newer ships. The dress code is flexible and very casual. It’s not unusual to see T-shirt-clad passengers dining among their more dressed up shipmates. (Tuxedos are rare.)
All NCL ships have multiple dining venues, ranging from French bistros to steakhouses and sushi bars. Room service is available around the clock. Specialty dining generally comes with a to cover charge and/or a la carte menus ranging from to . All specialty dining venues require reservations. Another don’t-miss is NCL’s signature Chocoholic’s Buffet, held once per cruise on each ship. It’s a magnificent sight to behold.
In addition to eateries, the ships also have multiple bars and lounges. Norwegian is serious about entertainment, and offers exuberant musical productions (including Broadway and off-Broadway shows), comedy from Second City, live bands, lounge singers, piano bars and D.J.’s in the discos. The casinos are a good size and offer the expected games. The requisite libraries, game rooms, shuffleboard, Ping-Pong, art auctions, perfume seminars, gaming lessons and port talks are available every day. Steiner-run Mandara Spas offer luxe treatments at luxe prices, with recent additions of teeth whitening and acupuncture sessions, as well as Botox by visiting onboard doctors. All have fitness centers.
Well-trained counselors staff the children’s programs; age-appropriate offerings range from parties and video arcades to kid-friendly learning sessions. The Guppies program offers sensory-based interaction for parents with children six months to three years. There are teen centers, discos and kids’ pools, too. The newer ships in the NCL fleet are particularly welcoming to children, and although standard cabins run substantially smaller — at an average of 160 square feet — than those on other new vessels, Norwegian does boast a large number of adjoining cabins and family-centric suites.
About Norwegian Cruise Line
Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian or NCL) is notable for revolutionizing the cruise experience via its “Freestyle Cruising” philosophy. Eschewing traditional cruise line stuffiness — in dress codes, dining options and even entertainment offerings — Norwegian has inspired other lines to copy its more successful “freestyle” concepts. Norwegian has also carved itself a niche in the homeland cruising specialty, featuring departures from a number of continental U.S. homeports that include New York, Seattle, New Orleans, Boston and Tampa, among others.
Aiming to operate the cruise industry’s youngest fleet, the line is currently focused on ridding itself of pre-Freestyle-designed ships. As such, Norwegian Dream sailed its last cruise with Norwegian on October 26, 2008, and Norwegian Majesty left the fleet for Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines in 2009. The line did reverse its plans in one instance: Pride of Aloha, which finished its Hawaiian itineraries in spring 2008, has stayed on with the cruise line and now sails under its original name, Norwegian Sky.
On its newest ships, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a number of amenities — like luxury villas, martini and Champagne bars, interconnecting cabins, onboard bowling alleys and electronic restaurant reservation systems — that are reminiscent of land-based resorts. Another distinction is NCL’s revolutionary (for mass-market cruising) disembarkation policy, which is so relaxed that it is more resort-like than cruise-like. Norwegian Epic, part of the embattled F3 project, debuted in June 2010, and took freestyle cruising to the next level.
The first of its Breakaway Class vessels — Norwegian Breakaway — launched in April 2013; a sister ship Norwegian Getaway will launch in January 2014. Norwegian has two more new-builds on the docket as part of the “Project Breakaway” initiative. The 163,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ships will debut in October 2015 and spring 2017.
In addition, NCL is the only cruise line to offer year-round Hawaiian itineraries. At present, the NCL America fleet, which formerly consisted of three ships, has been significantly downsized; only Pride of America remains in Hawaii.
Norwegian Cruise Line is also known as an aggressive discounter, and past initiatives have included kids’ fares, cruises for a night before taxes, and complimentary onboard credit.