30 Days – 30 Cruise Lines: Day 16, Norwegian Cruise Line

30 Days – 30 Cruise Lines: Day 16, Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL_rkDay 16: Norwegian Cruise Line

We’re starting the 2nd half of our 30 days feature with Norwegian Cruise Line! Thank you again for following along. We hope you are learning, being inspired to cruise more and try new lines.

norwegian-getaway_NEW-2It’s time to “cruise like a Norwegian” as they say.  You can always spot a Norwegian ship. They are the ones with the fun and colorful painted hulls.  Norwegian Cruise Line was founded in 1966.  They offer mass market ships that can be found in Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawai’i, Mediterranean, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal and Transatlantic.

Norwegian is best know for its Freestyle Cruising concept.  If you’ve never been on a Norwegian ship, let us explain.  Basically, the freestyle option is built to give you more freedom and flexibility when it comes to dining and activities (from food to what you wear).  You decide when and where you want to eat as opposed to being assigned an early or late dining time.  And their vast number of food options ensures you will have many choices, especially on their newest ships.  They have 12 ships in their fleet with another new build on the horizon.

In addition to the being the first in the US to break the mold and offer the Freestyle Cruising concept, they have also been innovators and brought many firsts to the cruise industry.  Here are just a few (and we can be sure they will bring more firsts in the future):

  • the first caribbean cruise
  • the first to offer big-name entertainers and full Brodway productions (i.e Blue Man Group which was amazing!)blue man
  • the first private island (they even have a new one in the works down by Belize)
  • the first nation wide air/sea program
  • the first bowling alley at sea
  • the first ice bar at sea
  • the first accommodations for solo travelers
  • the first alternative restaurant
  • the first internet café at sea and cell phone and WiFi service fleetwide
  • the first to offer children’s programs

norwegian-getaway-haven-courtyard-770Quite the list! And many of these have become a part of other cruise lines.  Let’s also not forget The Haven. The Haven is available on select ships in the fleet and is an exclusive, key card access only area with its own pool, restaurant, bar and overall place to be away from the masses on the ship.

In the last year, Norwegian has added some pretty impressive ships to its fleet.  We had the opportunity to sail on the Breakaway out of New York last May. We were very impressed with the food, the ship’s flow and the huge variety of things to do on board.  It was great to experience the Broadway show Rock of Ages, enjoy some treats from “Buddy’s Bakery” (you know the star of Cake Boss on TLC), and most of all enjoy food from (nearly all) the amazing restaurants.  With over 20 dining options it’s kinda hard to hit them all.

19-ropes-course-norwegian-getawayWe also sailed on the Epic within the last year.  Again, we were impressed. This was the first ship in their new larger class of ships. And like Breakaway, the food, entertainment and activities on board were great.  A personal favorite — the noodle bar and the ice bar.  We look forward to sailing on the Getaway and seeing first hand the differences (you should come join us!).  Like its sister ship, Getaway offers fun activities including a ropes course and some super cool water slides.  And if big ships aren’t your thing or you are looking for a short cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line offers several mid size and smaller ships.

When you sail on Norwegian, definitely take some time in advance to understand all your options for food and entertainment and then plan accordingly.  And no, you don’t pay extra for all the restaurant options. There will be an up charge for some. But if it isn’t in your budget, don’t worry, you will have plenty of choices. And if you are traveling with your family, you will find Norwegian is a great alternative for making sure people of all ages have an enjoyable time.

What are your experience and impressions of Norwegian?  Share in the comments below.