Complete Guide to Cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line

If you're planning your first NCL cruise, we have a complete guide to cruising on Norwegian from dining to entertainment and more.

Complete Guide to Cruising on Norwegian

Norwegian Cruise Line is an American cruise line headquartered in Miami that was founded in Norway in 1966. Norwegian — also referred to as NCL — pioneered many firsts in the industry, including an exclusive private island along with its popular brand of casual, “freestyle” cruising. This flexible cruise style replaced traditional set dining times with anytime dining and made lots of options for activities and entertainment the norm.

Norwegian Cruise Line is part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), which also operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. With its three subsidiaries, NCLH is one of the largest cruise operators in the world.

If you’re planning your first NCL cruise, we have a complete guide to cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line.

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Complete Guide to Cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line

Who Should Cruise Norwegian Cruise Line?

Norwegian Cruise Line appeals to families of all kinds as well as couples, due to its abundant offerings — from more than a dozen restaurant venues aboard any given ship to an intimate suite complex and marquee top-deck attractions like a three-story racetrack.

Norwegian ships vary in size with its older vessels accommodating just 2,000 guests. While Norwegian Encore (2019) has a capacity of double or about 4,000 guests. The ships are in the mid to large range. While most are fit for a casually cruising passenger, newer vessels have premium finishes and a larger space-to-guest ratio.

Norwegian is often noted for its first-class entertainment, whether it’s a stage production plucked straight from Broadway or a cutting-edge VR arcade. Thus, these are ships for vacationers who don’t want to be bored for a single moment.

Norwegian Encore Alaska Cruise Review

While theater shows are part of the cruise fare, many of Norwegian’s enticing extras do come with a fee. Although, guests can purchase many upcharges in advance like drink and dining packages. Thus, cruisers should budget for the appealing amenities they’ll find on an NCL cruise, from escape rooms to Starbucks.

Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line is the only major cruise line serving the Hawaiian islands year-round with roundtrip sailings from Honolulu. So, anyone interested in a sailing through Hawaii should consider Norwegian’s Pride of America.

Norwegian Cruise Line Ships

The Norwegian Cruise Line fleet consists of 19 ships as of publication. Sixteen ships are divided into six ship classes. While Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Spirit, and the Honolulu-based Pride of America stand alone.

  • Norwegian Aqua (debuting 2025)
  • Norwegian Viva (2023)
  • Norwegian Prima (2022)
  • Norwegian Encore (2019)
  • Norwegian Bliss (2018)
  • Norwegian Joy (2017)
  • Norwegian Escape (2015)
  • Norwegian Getaway (2014)
  • Norwegian Breakaway (2013)
  • Norwegian Epic (2010)
  • Norwegian Gem (2007)
  • Norwegian Jade (2006)
  • Norwegian Pearl (2006)
  • Norwegian Jewel (2005)
  • Pride of America (2005)
  • Norwegian Dawn (2002)
  • Norwegian Star (2001)
  • Norwegian Sun (2001)
  • Norwegian Sky (1999)
  • Norwegian Spirit (1998)

NCL Ship Classes

  • Sun Class: Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Sky
  • Dawn Class: Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star
  • Jewel Class: Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Jewel
  • Breakaway Class: Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway
  • Breakaway Plus: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Escape
  • Prima Class: Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Aqua (coming 2025)
Cruising on Norwegian

EXCLUSIVE RATES: Get Deals on Your Next Norwegian Cruise!

Norwegian Cruise Line Cabin Categories

Although Norwegian offers several cabin configurations to suit its cruisers, it’s probably best known for its largest and smallest offerings. The Garden Villas onboard Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn are some of the most spacious at sea. They feature three bedrooms that sleep up to seven people and about 6,694 square feet of space.

On the other end of the spectrum, NCL is often lauded for its accommodations for solo cruisers called Studios. These single staterooms, complete with their own shared lounge, are cozy but priced without steep supplements for independent cruisers.

Expect standard amenities across cabins, including a safe, TV, refrigerator, hair dryer, desk with chair, luggage storage and private bathroom with sink, toilet and shower. Included standard toiletries offer a lemongrass scent. Bed configurations depend on the cabin category but typically consist of single beds that can convert to a queen.

Norwegian’s popular “Free at Sea” promotion bundles some coveted perks into the price of your cruise. For more details of this booking offer: Everything You Need to Know about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea.


Accommodating up to four occupants with up to 142 square feet of space, interior cabins are available on every NCL ship. And they are often the cheapest stateroom that you can book.

Ocean View

With up to 161 square feet of living and a window to the sea, outside or ocean view cabins provide a vista. These cabins are available across every Norwegian ship except Norwegian Epic.

Norwegian Prima Balcony Cabin Review


One of NCL’s most popular cabin categories, balcony staterooms range in size but all offer the added benefit of some (privately enjoyed) fresh air. Beginning with standard balcony staterooms around 205 square feet in size, up to four guests can sail together or opt for connecting balcony staterooms for even more square footage. Family Balcony Staterooms run up to 216 square feet and are located near family-friendly hotspots like the pool and kids’ clubs.

Club Balcony Suites, formerly known as Mini-Suites, can still accommodate up to four passengers but have up to 285 square feet to spread out.

All balcony cabins come with a coffee maker upon request, but Club balconies also come with one complimentary valet laundry; a bottle of sparkling wine; treats delivered to your cabin twice per week; bathrobes; and the ability to pre-book entertainment and dining prior to sailing (21 and 125 days out, respectively).

NCL’s new Prima Class of ships offer some of the most spacious and elegantly appointed balcony cabins at sea.


Suites and penthouses onboard Norwegian ships come with a host of additional amenities. These include priority reservations and even a personal escort on/off the ship as well as butler service (except Norwegian Joy).

Suites typically sleep up to five or six people and range from a 409-square-foot Family Suite to the 1,382-square-foot Deluxe Owner’s Suite. As mentioned, the Garden Villas are some of the most spacious suites at sea surpassing 6,000 square feet. From complimentary Champagne and spirits to a daily fruit basket and an exclusive restaurant for breakfast and lunch, the suite life on NCL ships is an upgrade worth investing in.


Cruisers are empowered to sail solo onboard Norwegian with dedicated single staterooms called Studios as well as a variety of other accommodations. Solo staterooms are far from only interior closet-sized cabins and include a snug but thoughtful design plus the option for ocean view or balcony configurations.

The Studio Complex is where fellow independent cruisers can meet up at the private Studio Lounge, with coffee and snacks throughout the day (except aboard Pride of America). Single occupancy cabins are being expanded fleetwide, but those interested in Studio cabins can expect about 100 square feet of living space with a social window to the corridor. 

Cruising on Norwegian

Note: The Spa Balcony, Spa Club Balcony Suite, and Spa Suite within The Haven that were previously available on select ships were recategorized to traditional staterooms as of January 2024.

The Haven

One of the most coveted “ship within a ship” complexes is Norwegian Cruise Line’s Haven, which debuted onboard Norwegian Breakaway in 2013. Since then, each iteration of the Haven has only become more spacious and in-demand.

This keycard access-only area at the top of the ship features some of the most luxe cabins on the ship. A dedicated bar, lounge, restaurant, concierge service, pool and sun deck (for ages 16-plus) round out The Haven’s premium offerings. In other words, you never have to leave if you don’t want to!

You can check out The Haven on Norwegian Prima here.


Norwegian Cruise Line employs Accessibility Coordinators who are available to work with guests on their specific needs prior to cruising. This includes accommodations for the deaf and low hearing; blind and low vision; passengers with limited mobility; medical needs such as oxygen tanks; guests with service animals; special dietary requirements; and cognitive disabilities.

The cruise line requests that any guests requiring this type of assistance contact their Access Desk up to 90 days in advance for interpreters. Or, up to 45 days in advance of sailing for all other requests. Guests can rent beach wheelchairs for use on Norwegian’s private island, though there a limited number onboard.

Wheelchair-accessible staterooms are available across every ship in the fleet. Although, guests should book them well in advance due to limited availability. These rooms offer wider door frames, roll-in showers, shower benches, high-rise toilets, handrails and space to maneuver throughout the room and in the cabin hallway.

Destinations You Can Visit While Cruising With Norwegian

Norwegian Cruise Line operates on every continent, offering a wide range of destinations and repositioning opportunities. While the cruise line’s bread and butter remain warm-weather destinations, ample voyages in Europe as well as Alaska and Canada/New England provide variety for any season.

While Norwegian sails the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Mexico year-round, you’ll also find cruises to Bermuda, the South Pacific, Greek Isles/Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada/New England, the U.S. Pacific Coast, South America, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, transatlantic voyages and select sailings that stop in Antarctica.

Three- and four-day itineraries make a weekend cruise possible for anyone able to sail from Florida to the Bahamas or New York to Bermuda. While most Norwegian cruises average about a week, there are available voyages of up to 16 days. These longer sailings typically include a Panama Canal crossing.

Departure Ports When Cruising on Norwegian

There are more than 50 ports of departure for Norwegian Cruise Line itineraries, crisscrossing the globe. Some of these embarkation ports include London, Melbourne, Tokyo, Lisbon, Dubai, and Reykjavik.

However, when it comes to homeports — or dedicated turnaround ports where ships are based for contiguous sailings or a season — there are a few primary departure ports used by NCL.

At the time of publication, Norwegian’s domestic homeports include (in order of the number of ships based there): Miami; New York; Port Canaveral (Orlando); Seattle; Los Angeles; Honolulu; Tampa; Seward, Alaska; New Orleans; San Diego; Boston; Baltimore; and Galveston. Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Epic are also seasonally based in San Juan.

Abroad, Norwegian Cruise Line bases ships in Vancouver for Alaska season or Quebec City for Canada/New England season. Norwegian Spirit spends about eight months of the year splitting its time between Australia and the South Pacific. Additionally, 10 ships spend three to eight months homeported in European ports like Barcelona or Civitavecchia (Rome).

BOOK NOW: Exclusive Offers on NCL Cruises!

Norwegian Cruise Line Private Islands

Sailing an NCL ship to the Bahamas or Caribbean, cruisers can visit Norwegian’s own private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay. More than a dozen ships make calls here throughout the year.

Norwegian Cruise Line also operates a private resort in Belize, Harvest Caye. Many of the line’s Western Caribbean itineraries visit this destination.

Ways That Cruising Will Change

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Under Norwegian Cruise Line ownership since 1977, Great Stirrup Cay initiated the private cruise island craze. After $400 million in improvements, the 270-acre island has recently expanded its beaches and dining venues along with enhancing its cabanas and oceanfront bars. Guests looking for even more exclusivity (similar to the Haven onboard) can reserve space at Silver Cove. This dedicated area has its own private beach as well as upgraded amenities. For instance, there’s an upscale dedicated restaurant, an outfit of the Mandara Spa, and a Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar.

Activities awaiting cruisers who call on GSC include kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, ziplining, standup paddleboarding — or nothing at all. Excursions to nearby Treasure Island offer vacationers the unique chance to swim with the island’s wild pigs.

Dining venues like Abaco Tacos and Jumbey Beach Grill are complimentary. If you have a drink package, it applies to island watering holes such as the Bacardi Bar or Patron Bar.

Harvest Caye, Belize

Harvest Caye is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island located in southern Belize. This 75-acre retreat opened in 2016 in partnership with the country of Belize. While located only about a mile from the mainland of Belize, the only way to visit is on an NCL cruise.

Harvest Caye, Belize features a lagoon pool with swim-up bar, a 7-acre beach, restaurants and bars, and a variety of shore excursion options. You can certainly enjoy a day of fun in the sun at this private island.

However, unlike other private islands, Harvest Caye is staffed by locals and not NCL staff. Further, food and drinks are an up-charge, even if you have a drink package.

Onboard Dining Available When Cruising on Norwegian

Norwegian’s pioneering type of “freestyle cruising” largely applies to its dining. With flexible dining times and 20-plus restaurants on some ships, foodie cruisers are spoiled for choice across the NCL fleet. From pub dining and sushi to Italian, French, Brazilian, and Mexican cuisine, it’s just about impossible to be jaded by culinary options onboard.

Norwegian Encore Restaurant Menus and Dining Guide

For an overview of all the dining options on Norwegian Prima, check out the Norwegian Prima Restaurants Guide With Menus.

In terms of room service, individual items are complimentary but there’s a delivery fee of approximately $9.95 for each order. This excludes morning coffee and Continental breakfast. Guests staying in The Haven do not have to pay for room service.

INCLUDED – Norwegian Cruise Line Restaurants

Main Dining Rooms: Whether they are larger and grander single dining rooms on older ships or modernized offerings divided between three restaurants, main dining rooms are the included sit-down option for meals onboard most cruise lines, and Norwegian is no exception. Dubbed the Manhattan Room, Taste, and Savor on ships that have launched in the past few years, these “MDRs” offer a standard, multi-course menu at all meals along with a daily rotating menu at lunch and dinner. What we like best about Norwegian’s take on main dining is that the venues feel like individual restaurants even if the menus are the same across each space.

Buffet: Every NCL ship offers a buffet-style dining option —sometimes called the Garden Café — at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Peruse hot and cold plates, including a salad bar and plenty of pastries as well as soft-serve ice cream. Made-to-order omelets and a carving station can also be found among the many counters teasing your palette with included options.

O’Sheehan’s/The Local: No matter which iteration you’ll find onboard your Norwegian cruise ship, these 24-hour pubs come in handy with late-night snacks and a surprisingly comprehensive offering at breakfast (plus less crowds!) Classic pub fare like fish and chips or burgers dominate the menu here, but specials rotate daily. Ten ships still sport the original name of O’Sheehan’s, while it’s dubbed The Local on all ships following Norwegian Joy. This is also the place to catch a sports game or a round of trivia.

cruising on norwegian

Indulge Food Hall: This complimentary food hall-style dining venue tantalizes cruisers with small bites from food trucks and counters proffering noodles, Indian food, healthy salads, and more. Sit in a booth or outdoor by the pool, order from an iPad, and wait for the deliciousness to arrive. Indulge is available onboard Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Haven Restaurant: The dedicated restaurant found within The Haven complex serves contemporary plates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to a standing menu, the restaurant in the Haven is extraordinary at accommodating special requests, when possible.

SPECIALTY – Norwegian Cruise Line Restaurants

American Diner: Is there anything more kitschy-cool than dining in a booth that looks like an old Cadillac? Pair the retro atmosphere with some classic diner favorites, complete with a boozy milkshake, and you have the ultimate family vacation destination. This casual restaurant, found under cover on deck, is aboard Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships.

Cagney’s: The classic American steakhouse is a must. Norwegian Cruise Line does it right with moody, Manhattan-inspired décor; mouthwatering sides including parmesan truffle fries; and Certified Angus Beef in your choice of cut. This failsafe choice for dinner is available fleetwide.

Moderno Churrascaria: Taken straight from the authentic steakhouses of Brazil, Moderno is an all-you-can-eat, meat-lover’s delight, complete with salad bar. Enjoy this South American tradition across a dozen of Norwegian’s ships (some with outdoor dining). 

Le Bistro: For a romantic night out, it’s hard to beat Norwegian Cruise Line’s French eatery, Le Bistro. Found aboard all ships except Pride of America, Le Bistro offers equal parts sumptuous cuisine, fine wine, and intimate ambiance. Escargot, anyone?

cruising on norwegian

Teppanyaki: There are five different sushi venues across the Norwegian fleet. However, the idea of hibachi or a Japanese grill is the ultimate crowd pleaser and a spot you’ll want to reserve in advance of your sailing. Teppanyaki is a meal and a show rolled into one. It’s so well-liked it’s found on most ships, rebranded as Hasuki on Norwegian Prima and Viva.

Los Lobos: If you’re craving the perfect margarita and maybe some tableside guac, head to Mexican cantina Los Lobos. A menu drawing upon the palate-pleasing dishes of Mexico as well as an entire menu of tequila will delight diners sailing Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Viva and in a retrofitted venue onboard Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Dawn.

La Cucina: Norwegian’s hallmark Italian restaurant is La Cucina, which of course translates to “the kitchen.” Here, all the comfort foods and carbs of Italy come alive with a menu of pastas as well as traditional entrees and portions meant to be shared family style. A total of 14 ships offer the chance to dine at La Cucina. And the experience is heightened on Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships where oceanfront seating is available.

Featuring an original twist on the land-based favorite, Onda by Scarpetta is NCL’s upscale Italian restaurant on Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Spirit, and Prima-class ships.

Food Republic: If you’re indecisive about lunch or dinner, Food Republic is either the best or worst place to head. This a la carte menu features small plates from international cuisines, whether its Asian buns or Latin street food. Great for groups, this is an ideal restaurant to try something new — if you can make up your mind.

Norwegian Joy Restaurant Guide With Menus (2023)

Ocean Blue: Sailing the seas, a cruise ship is the perfect place to indulge in a seafood dinner. Ocean Blue is a fine dining experience with seating along the Waterfront onboard Norwegian Bliss, Encore, Joy, Getaway, and Breakaway. Bayamo by Ocean Blue is a similar take on seafood dishes aboard Norwegian Escape.

Passengers on Prima-class ships will find a Mediterranean twist on fresh fish plates at Palomar.

Q Texas Smokehouse: Drawing upon authentic Texas-style barbecue, this laidback venue also occasionally features live country music and some serious Southern-inspired cocktails. Slow-cooked meats and all the fixins are available on Norwegian Bliss, Encore, and Joy.

Coco’s: Fancy an ice cream sundae or over-the-top milkshake? Head to Coco’s for treats like chocolates and crepes onboard Norwegian Encore, Bliss, Prima, and Viva.

While these are many of the popular dining venues found across the NCL fleet, you should refer to NCL’s website for deck plans of your ship for the most comprehensive look at dining options.

NCL Bars & Lounges

Norwegian is known for its nightlife, which ranges from cozy cocktail lounges to brew pub-style hangouts to dance clubs and even breezy, alfresco bars along the Waterfront. These are just some of the popular bars where you might find a delicious drink on your next Norwegian cruise.

District Brew House: The District Brew House is a craft brew hall at sea, offering an impressive variety of beers on tap as well as by the bottle. It also features local ales from Miami’s own Wynwood Brewing Company. With leather furniture and a schedule of tastings on the program, it’s a comfortable place to unwind any time of day. The District Brew House first debuted onboard Norwegian Escape.

Cruising on Norwegian

Spinnaker Lounge: The place to be after hours on Norwegian’s Sun and Jewel class ships — plus Norwegian Spirit — is the Spinnaker Lounge. By day it’s a serene observation lounge perched at the top of the ship, but by night the spacious dance floor comes alive with a band or opportunity to karaoke.

Maltings Whiskey Bar: Specializing in concoctions featuring a whiskey base as well as tasting flights, Maltings is a classy bar across more than half a dozen Norwegian ships.

Sugarcane Mojito Bar: A popular venue on Norwegian ships is this Sugarcane Mojito Bar. This venue features tasty variations of this refreshing libation made with rum and muddled mint. With indoor/outdoor seating areas, revelers can dance to a Latin band or sip their fruity Cuban mojito along the waterfront with the added flavor of the salty ocean air.

The Cellars Wine Bar: This partnership with renowned Napa Valley winemakers, the Mondavi Family, translates to a sophisticated experience for wine lovers onboard Norwegian Escape, Bliss, Joy, Encore, and Dawn. Go with a favorite varietal or speak with your bartender about trying something new.

A-List Bar (also the Prime Meridian Bar on select ships): This circular bar, titled after a former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO, serves up some of the tastiest and most inventive drinks across the fleet. Handcrafted cocktails fill the pages of the A-List menu. Or you can request that your mixologist whip you up something to your taste as you sit tucked at the aft of the ship between two specialty restaurants.

Bliss Ultra Lounge: Thumping house music keeps the energy high at Bliss, the dedicated nightclub that glows across a dozen of Norwegian’s ships. This is where you might find cruisers gathering for the line’s signature White Night Party.

Spice H2O: An adult-only sun deck by day, Spice H2O becomes an outdoor dance party by night. Ushering in the fun with themed deck parties (like the totally ‘80s), revelers can dance with abandon under the night sky.

Cruising on Norwegian

Syd Norman’s Pour House: Modeled after the legendary nightclubs of LA’s Sunset Strip, Syd Norman’s debuted on Norwegian Breakaway and is featured on Getaway, Prima, and Viva as well. Spotlighting rock cover bands, this small space has been expanded on ships over the years due to its standing-room-only crowds. For a similar vibe, some other select ships in the fleet feature The Cavern Club. Modeled after the Liverpool landmark, this venue features Beatles tribute bands.

Skyy Vodka Ice Bar: One of the most exciting novelty bars on the seven seas, Norwegian offers a floating ice bar onboard Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway. Complete with parkas and mittens to grip your frozen drink vessels, this chill experience comes with a cover charge.

While these are some of the more popular bars, other bars found throughout the NCL fleet include the Atrium Bar, Mixx Bar, Skyline Bar in the casino, Waves Pool Bar, a Champagne Bar, Martini Bar, Sake Bar, a cigar lounge, and a comedy club, among others. Not to mention, the Prima Class features two brand new bars, the Metropolitan Bar and the Belvedere Bar, each serving their own signature cocktails.

Beverage Packages When Cruising on Norwegian

Considering whether it’s worth purchasing a drink package on your next cruise? Or, if you should upgrade your Free at Sea drink package to the Premium Plus? Here is everything you need to know about beverage packages on Norwegian Cruise Line. We walk you through the inclusions of each to help you decide what’s right for you.

Onboard Activities/Entertainment on Norwegian Cruise Line

Most Norwegian Cruise Line ships come outfitted with a dizzying array of attractions, both included and for fee, like the impressive top-deck attractions on newer vessels. These include an industry-leading Aqua Park with slides, splash areas for kids, and a massive ropes course; an open-air laser tag arena; and of course, the signature GoKart racetracks, which can span multiple levels.

Indoors, cruisers can lose themselves for an entire sea day at the Galaxy Pavilion, an arcade with interactive games including virtual and augmented reality as well as an escape room. Bowling is also available on Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Pearl.

Of course, traditional cruise ship amusements like mini golf and a sports court are also available, along with a rock wall on select ships.

Take in a game show like “Deal or No Deal” or “Wheel of Fortune,” where real cruising contestants play for cash, prizes, and a whole lot of fun.

The nightly production shows are a highlight across most Norwegian ships, with Broadway-inspired recreations from “Six” to “Beetlejuice” alongside creative, original productions in the theater.

Live music can be found in bars and lounges around the ship, including purpose-built venues like Syd Norman’s or the Cavern Club. Cover bands spanning blues and rock-and-roll perform here nightly. Or, if you’re sailing onboard a ship with Howl at the Moon, prepare yourself for some rowdy renditions on dueling pianos.

For laughs, the Levity Entertainment Group keeps a vibrant roster of comedians on deck at the Comedy Club onboard select ships.

Of course, you’ll also find a plethora of activities led by the cruise staff too including trivia, game shows, deck parties, and more. There’s also plenty of other live music around the ship in various bars and lounges.


Casinos at Sea is the name of Norwegian’s fleetwide casino program. Offering relatively large onboard casinos, Norwegian Cruise Line ships offer spaces with slot machines, gaming tables, a dedicated bar and more. There is a casino aboard every NCL ship with the exception of Pride of America.

The five tiers of casino rewards include Jade (for beginners); Pearl (up to 5,000 points); Sapphire (up to 15,000 points); Ruby (up to 35,000 points); and Elite (for up to 100,000 points in a tier evaluation period). The annual casino tier evaluation period runs from April 1 to March 31. Perks like complimentary drinks apply across Norwegian Cruise Line as well as its sister brands Oceania and Regent.

Cruising on Norwegian

Spa and Fitness

Mandara Spa and Salon is Norwegian’s onboard center for pampering and unwinding. In addition to a variety of body treatments and hair and nail services, Norwegian’s spas offer excellent thermal suites. Guests can access these adults-only spaces separately with a day or cruise-long pass. They include a variety of saunas, thermal pools, hot and cold rooms, therapeutic showers and heated, ceramic loungers. They also typically offer stellar views over the sea as you relax.

Adjacent to every Mandara spa is a fitness and wellness center. Here, cruisers interested in keeping active can utilize a range of machines, like treadmills and ellipticals, or opt to use free weights or TRX training equipment. While use of the gym is complimentary, a variety of classes are on offer for an additional fee, including yoga, Pilates, and spinning. NCL currently offers RYDE indoor cycling on select ships.

NCL Kids Clubs

The youth program on Norwegian Cruise Line ships is Splash Academy for kids ages 3 to 12. Then, there’s Entourage for teens 13 to 17. These complimentary clubs and services are available across the fleet except for Norwegian Spirit.

Guppies Open Play is a dedicated area for families of the littlest cruisers. This self-guided space allows the caretakers of infants and toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years to play with their kiddos utilizing toys and games suited for early childhood.

Splash Academy offers age-appropriate games and activities supervised by youth staff or offered for the entire family to participate in. Think: game shows, trivia sessions, scavenger hunts, and sports competitions.

Entourage is the hangout for teens onboard Norwegian Cruise Line. Here, teens can enjoy diversions like movie nights, dance parties, video game tournaments, arts and crafts, or a karaoke session. In addition to supervised daytime activities with counselors, these spaces are also open after hours so older kids have a place to congregate.

For parents of kids aged 3 to 12, late-night childcare between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. is available for an additional fee, allowing for a date night.

What’s Included When Cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line?

When booking a cruise, it’s important to know what is part of your standard cruise fare. Check out everything that’s included on a Norwegian cruise, from full-service main dining to bespoke nightly entertainment.

How Much Does It Cost to Live on a Cruise Ship?

While each ship has slightly different offerings, here’s a list of what you can expect as part of your cruise fare.

  • Accommodations
  • Dining (specialty dining carries an extra fee)
  • Continental breakfast ordered with room service
  • Basic beverages (water, lemonade, iced tea, juice, coffee)
  • Shows, including stage performances in the theater, comedy club, etc.
  • Live music around the ship
  • Many activities, like trivia sessions, game shows, dance classes, etc.
  • Use of the pools and the water slides/dry slides
  • Some outdoor amenities, like the ropes course and sports court
  • Kids clubs
  • Dance parties
  • Karaoke
  • Fitness center
  • Use of the NCL app (WiFi is an additional fee though)

While much is part of the cruise fare, some things will cost extra. Unfortunately, NCL does have the reputation of charging for more of its onboard offerings when compared to other cruise lines.

Wi-Fi Offerings on NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line offers two basic internet packages onboard its ships. The Unlimited Wi-Fi Package offers general browsing on the web, email, and messaging for about $29.99 per device, per day. (Guests can add a second device for $15.99 per day). The Unlimited Premium Wi-Fi Package is $39.99 per device, per day ($25.99 per diem for a second device) but includes audio and video streaming plus VPN access. Prices are subject to change depending on the vessel or itinerary.

Norwegian Cruise Line Gratuities

A daily gratuity is automatically added to each passenger’s account, aged 3 years and older. The daily gratuity for guests booked in standard cabins through Club Balcony Suites is $20 per person, per day. For guests staying in The Haven complex or other suites, the service charge is $25 per person, per day.

Tips can be prepaid or settled at the end of the voyage. If service wasn’t up to standards, guests can make an adjustment to these gratuities at Guest Services while still onboard.

A 20% gratuity is added to each beverage purchase as well as at most specialty dining venues.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Loyalty Program

Latitudes Rewards is Norwegian Cruise Line’s loyalty program. First-time cruisers with NCL are automatically enrolled in the program, earning one point for every night spent on a ship. An additional point per night is earned when booking a suite or a Haven cabin or a special Latitudes offer.

There are seven tiers in the Latitudes Rewards program:

  • Bronze (1-19 points)
  • Silver (20-44 points)
  • Gold (45-74 points)
  • Platinum (75-149 points)
  • Sapphire (150-349 points)
  • Diamond (350-699 points)
  • Ambassador (700-plus points)

Perks range from discounts in the duty-free shops onboard to exclusive cocktail parties, free laundry service, priority check-in and embarkation, in-room amenities like a complimentary dinner for two with a bottle of wine, behind-the-scenes ship tours, and more.

Additionally, the Latitudes Magazine is available as Norwegian’s members-only digital magazine with news, travel tips, and more.



Did you find our complete guide to cruising on Norwegian helpful? Do you have any other tips for cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line to add to this list? Drop us an anchor below to share what you love about this cruise line.

Brittany has covered cruising professionally for more than a decade. She embarked on a world cruise as a college student aboard Semester at Sea, and never stopped sailing. Formerly a Cruise Critic editor, Brittany now writes about ships and their many destinations for various industry and consumer outlets. She is a lifelong resident of the Jersey Shore.
Brittany Chrusciel, Contributor
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