Set sail with lax dress codes and a flexible daily schedule.
Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the freestyle cruising philosophy, offering come-as-you-are, sit-down dining options that appeal to a younger generation. Eat when and where you’d like, and enjoy a multitude of entertainment options every night.
But while more traditional restaurants onboard ask cruisers to dress smart casual, vacationers who prefer the classiness of a cruise with a strict dress code may want to look elsewhere.
Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Read our Norwegian Cruise Line reviews
Case study: Chelsea's experience
Public Relations Support, Finder US
I set sail on the Norwegian Pearl for its 12th Journey Through Song Cayamo cruise unaware it’d become one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. My expectations included uncomfortable beds and mediocre food in a more-than-cramped space for the week — but I was proven wrong from the first day on.
The rooms were spacious, with a small closet, drawers and a decent bathroom for storing cosmetics and toiletries. Food was available all day, prepared in a way that I would’ve spent high dollar for on land.
The only downfall was the Wi-Fi — which you have to pay extra for. But that isn’t a problem if you don’t have to work: You’ll find many ways to occupy yourself on the ship outside of the Internet.
About Chelsea’s cruise:
Norwegian ship sailed — Norwegian Pearl
Date of cruise — Sunday, February 10, 2019
Length of cruise — 7 days
Departure port — Port of Tampa – Tampa, Florida
Destinations visited — Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Costa Maya, Mexico
Where do Norwegian Cruise Line cruises depart from?
Norwegian Cruise Line ships depart from more than 30 cities worldwide and are available on every continent except Antarctica. But Arctic explorers, never fear — you can depart from Seward, Alaska, if you please.
Begin your NCL adventure in: Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Civitavecchia, Copenhagen, Dubai, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Honolulu Oahu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Papeete, Port Canaveral, Quebec, Rome, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle/Tacoma, Seward, Singapore, Southampton, Sydney, Tampa/St.Petersburg, Tokyo, Vancouver, Venice
Norwegian Cruise Line cruises destinations
With more than 400 cruise routes to choose from, the hard part is deciding where you want to go.
Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australasia, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada and New England, Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Mexican Riviera, Mexico, Northern Europe, Pacific, Panama Canal, Repositioning, South America, Southern Caribbean, Transatlantic, Western Caribbean, Western Mediterranean
Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line
If you’re ready to unwind and relax in a casual environment, it’s hard to go wrong with Norwegian. But folks who need to keep up with work remotely may want to look elsewhere, as Wi-Fi gets pricey aboard NCL ships.
It holds prestigious industry awards.
World Travel Awards — Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line 2019
World Travel Awards — Europe’s Leading Cruise Line 2019
World Travel Awards — World’s Leading Cruise Line from 2017 to 2017
Travel Pulse Travvy Awards — Best Large Cruise Ship 2018 and Best Contemporary Cruise Ship 2017 awarded to Norwegian Escape
Seven specialty dining options.
No fixed dining times — eat where and when you’d like.
One NCL staff member for every two to three passengers on board.
You’ll pay $0.99 a minute for Wi-Fi, $29.99 a day for unlimited streaming and $34.99 a day for unlimited streaming plus VPN. That’s expensive, even when compared to the competition.
Each room service order comes with an extra $7.95 fee, unless you’re sailing in top-tier accommodations at the Haven or Norwegian Suites.
Juice and soft drinks cost extra.
Norwegian Cruise Line has a solid reputation and offers a flexible experience for vacationers in need of a blank slate — no itinerary or pressure to dress a certain way. But if you’re looking for cheaper Wi-Fi on board, or actually like the idea of dressing up for dinner, compare other cruise lines.
FAQs about Norwegian Cruise Line cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which also owns Oceana Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t require or recommend tipping on its ships for general service. However, spa and salon services incur a 20% gratuity charge. A 20% gratuity charge is also added to all beverage package purchases and specialty and entertainment dining.
You must be at least 21 to drink alcohol aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.
Latest Norwegian cruise deals
Up to $1,000 to spend on board with Norwegian Cruise Line
Just book your next cruise vacation with Priceline Cruises and get up to $1,000 to use as a liquor, dining, and spa credit, along with other purchases made on the ship! T&Cs apply.
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