Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian or NCL) is notable for revolutionizing the cruise experience via its “Freestyle Cruising” philosophy. Bucking the trends of traditional cruise line stuffiness, NCL encourages passengers to come as they are and enjoy one-of-a-kind entertainment, top-notch dining options, all without the rigidness of other luxury lines.
Norwegian truly offers something for every type of cruiser. If you’re a family of four, a solo traveler, or a couple looking for a romantic getaway, the diverse fleet of Norwegian ships and on-board offerings will check every box on your wish list. Here are the top 10 reasons to cruise with Norwegian:
1. The Haven – Norwegian’s luxury “ship within a ship,” The Haven is an exclusive suite enclave, complete with private sun deck and a private pool surrounded by the ship’s top accommodations. Among the variety of suites offered within The Haven are the Garden Villas, each of which can measure up to 4,891 square feet (varying by ship). Bigger than most apartments (and some houses), these extravagant digs each have three bedrooms and three full baths; a powder room; a large living room with a couch, a desk, a large flat-screen TV, a sizable dining room table, a baby grand piano and a bar; and a private two-story sun deck area with a hot tub and sauna. The Garden Villas can be found on five of Norwegian’s ships. Accessible by keycard-holders only, The Haven allows passengers to enjoy everything from a private bar and lounge to a custom restaurant, secluded sun deck and calm courtyard, without ever leaving the suite complex. The amenities of sailing in one of The Haven suites are numerous and include the unlimited beverage package, free meals at specialty dining restaurants, a shore excursion credit, an internet package and free third and fourth passengers to a cabin on select sailings. Also included are other perks like a cappuccino machine, luxury bath products, a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, and concierge and butler services among many others. The Haven can be found on newer vessels in the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus-class, ships in the Jewel-class and Norwegian Epic.
2. The Food – When Norwegian pioneered anytime dining for the dinner hour, coining it Freestyle Dining, it was a revolutionary concept for the industry. While all other cruise lines still feature an option for set seating, there are no set dining times on any of Norwegian’s ships, even in the main dining rooms. Eating delicious food can be done any time of the day, anywhere on the ship, with the exception of specialty restaurants. Reservations are necessary if looking to eat at one of the specialty restaurants and we recommend doing so before boarding the ship. All Norwegian cruise ships have multiple dining venues, including but not limited to French bistros, Italian classics, steakhouses, and sushi. Passengers can even check out Norwegian’s 24-hour Irish pub and bar concept, O’Sheehans. This fee-free venue has menu items like shepherd’s pie, fish ‘n’ chips, burgers, chicken wings and spinach artichoke dip, as well as light breakfast fare each morning.
3. The Amazing Parties – One night on each sailing aboard Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Escape passengers can experience the line’s signature Glow Party. White outfits, black lights, music and glow sticks create the aesthetic for an unforgettable evening of music, dancing, and visual stimulation. This party takes place outside and is sure to help you work off some of those calories from the buffet as you dance the night away under a star-lit sky. If you’re looking for a little more refinement to your evening, you can put on a classy black dress or suit and head over to the Bliss Ultra Lounge for a different type of party. Or you could experience all the parties offered by Norwegian on your cruise vacation. The experience is supposed to be fun, after all.
4. Dinner Theater – Norwegian is the only cruise line to offer theatrical entertainment with a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Cirque du Soleil-esque Cirque Dreams and Dinner was first introduced with the launch of Norwegian Epic and is also featured on Norwegian Breakaway. Norwegian Getaway also features a handful of new cirque-type productions. Passengers pay a fee to watch the shows while dining in purpose-built venues: the Spiegel Tent on Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway and the Illusionarium on Norwegian Getaway.
5. World-Class Entertainment – In addition to the unique Dinner Theater experience offered, Norwegian provides guests of all ages with options for so much more entertainment. From Burn the Floor, a ballroom and Latin dance performance not to be missed, to Rock of Ages, the five-time Tony® Award-nominated musical, to Legends in Concert, the longest-running tribute show in entertainment history, there is truly something for everyone aboard a Norwegian ship. Passengers can also check out live music at one of the clubs ffeaturing dueling pianos, rock and roll, jazz and blues, and more.
6. 678 Ocean Place – This three-deck (decks 6-8) central plaza on Norwegian’s newest ships features a mix of restaurants, entertainment venues, gaming, and is the place to experience the best nightlife on the ship. A space that uniquely flows, intertwines and connects three decks of daytime and nighttime amusements, 678 Ocean Place is a hub for much of the best Norwegian has to offer. Along with the great dining and entertainment options offered, 678 Ocean Place also serves as an excellent rendezvous point if you need a good meet-up place for friends or family.
7. Hawaii-Only Cruises – With its exclusively U.S.-registered ship, Pride of America, Norwegian is the only mainstream cruise ship that is legally allowed to sail Hawaii itineraries that don’t call on any foreign ports. The ship does a weekly loop round trip from Honolulu that includes Maui, Hilo, Kona and Kauai. Because it’s a U.S.-registered vessel you’ll find much larger numbers of American crew than on any other ship in the industry. If you’re looking for an excellent way to see the beauty and awe of the Hawaiian Islands, the Pride of America sailings are a great option with a weekly loop round trip from Honolulu that includes Maui, Hilo, Kona and Kauai.
8. Cabins, Suites, and Studios – We’ve already talked at length about just how amazing The Haven is, but if you’d like to sail Norwegian and don’t want to shell out the cash or simply don’t need that much space, there are plenty of other great options for your accommodations.
Norwegian has small Studios, found on Norwegian Bliss, Breakaway, Getaway, Escape, Epic and Pride of America, that work great for solo travelers. The staterooms feature funky, multicolor lighting effects and a round window that looks onto the corridor, and contain a full-size bed and lots of storage for your belongings. Even better is that residency in these cabins gives exclusive access to the Studio Lounge, a hip hangout where cruise travelers can watch TV, hang out with a coffee or beer, and socialize with other solos.
Mini-Suites, Family Balconies or Balcony Staterooms feature comfy sitting areas, convertible and/or drop-down beds and plenty of storage space. So, if you’re looking for an accommodation for two, a little more space for your family or the convenience of connecting staterooms, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for aboard Norwegian.