For one set fare, a cruise vacation enables travelers to see multiple destinations while enjoying most of the onboard amenities. Although, what is included in each cruise line’s standard price can fluctuate. To help cruisers planning a vacation with Norwegian Cruise Line, we have put together this list of What’s Included on Norwegian Cruise Line. See why a cruise vacation might be the best value for your travel dollars.
What’s Included on Norwegian Cruise Line
Your cruise fare covers the cost of your stateroom for the duration of the trip. Included with your accommodations, you will have a friendly room attendant who will make up your room twice a day.
All NCL ships offer a variety of different room categories from studio cabins to suites and everything in between. Choosing your cabin type will be the main driver of your total cruise costs. Certain cabin categories provide travelers access to exclusive areas of the ship like the thermal suite and even private sun decks, lounges, and restaurants for those staying in the Haven. So, make sure to review all of the benefits for each cabin category before selecting the perfect fit for your next NCL cruise.
Food and Dining
Regardless of the ship, you can enjoy three meals a day (with some snacks in between) at the casual Garden Cafe. This buffet is part of your cruise fare and offers a variety of menu items morning, noon, and night.
Other casual fare varies from ship to ship, such as poolside grills, snacks in venues like the Observation Lounge or Spice H2O, a noodle bar, or a complimentary pub. O’ Sheehan’s or The Local is available on most ships in the NCL fleet. This sit down venue is your go-to spot for pub favorites 24 hours a day.
In addition to this casual fare, cruisers can also dine in the Main Dining Room. Norwegian Cruise Line offers the unique Freestyle approach to dining which means that you can dine wherever you want, whenever you want. There is no set dinner time or no set table arrangement.
Most of the larger NCL ships have 2-3 complimentary main dining rooms. These dining rooms are always open for dinner, serving a different menu each night, with some standard dishes that never change. All of the venues serve the same menu. One of the main dining rooms is also open on select days/hours for a sit down breakfast and lunch.
When it comes to beverages onboard the ship, you will have the option of select drinks like iced tea, some juices, lemonade, filtered water, and drip coffee/tea. While these items are complimentary, soda, bottled water, specialty coffee, and alcoholic beverages will cost you extra money.
Related Post: Guide to Norwegian Cruise Line Drink Packages
Pool Deck and Sports Deck
All Norwegian Cruise Line ships have a large pool deck for all cruisers to enjoy at no additional cost. Offering at least one main pool, hot tubs, and loungers, the pool deck is the ideal place to spend your days at sea. Many of the newer and larger ships in the fleet also offer other pool deck amenities like a kids aqua park and some of the most thrilling waterslides at sea.
Many elements of the sports deck are also included on Norwegian Cruise Line. Activities like a basketball court, mini golf, and the ropes course are all complimentary and fun for cruisers of all ages.
Your cruise ship is a hub of activity and events. You will always find something to do on the ship that will not cost you a dime.
On Norwegian Cruise Line, you can enjoy modern fitness facilities, select exercise classes, and an outdoor jogging track for a workout at almost any time of day. Various poolside activities also occur when the weather permits. From dance classes to table tennis, there are plenty of ways to stay active.
Other onboard events like trivia contests, game shows, and various demonstrations and seminars are also included in the cruise fare. There is even a complimentary escape room on some ships to challenge your wits. These events will be listed in the daily schedule left in your room each evening. So, be sure to check for the exact events occurring on your cruise. Even if you do not participate, these daily activities are equally as fun to watch.
Included in the cruise fare on Norwegian Cruise Line are youth programs for children aged 3-17 years old. Splash Academy is for kids 3-12 and includes various interactive activities. Entourage in the teen hangout for those 13-17 years old. This area includes a dance zone, game zone, and other activities taking place around the ship. Family fun activities can also include a movie night, scavenger hunts, dance parties, and more.
There is a Guppies program (a non-drop off program) for parents and children aged 6 months to 3 years old to interact on a dedicated play space. Drop off services for children 6 months to 3 years of age is available on select ships for a fee.
At night, your Norwegian Cruise Line ship comes alive with plenty of entertainment options that won’t cost you anything. The signature evening entertainment can be found in your ship’s main theater. Here, there will be featured headliner acts such as comedians, singers, and other performers showcasing their talents.
The ship’s cast of singers and dancers will also routinely perform in various productions shows. On newer ships in the NCL fleet, there are also signature shows like Jersey Boys, Choir of Man, the new musical SIX, and Burn the Floor. While still complimentary, these signature shows will require reservations that can be made online up to 120 days prior to your sailing.
Norwegian Cruise Line also features dedicated venues on select ships that host dueling pianos, comedy shows, Beatles tribute band performances, karaoke, and more. If that’s not enough, there will be plenty of other live music around the ship including a DJ that spins tunes until the wee hours of the morning.
Norwegians know how to party. So, there will certainly be themed parties that take place during the cruise as well. From outdoor deck parties to 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s themed parties, and even a “silent party”, there is always something happening for those who like to live it up.
Related Post: Norwegian Bliss Entertainment Guide
What is Not Included in Your Cruise Fare
While cruises do provide a great vacation value, not everything will be covered in the cruise fare. On Norwegian Cruise Line, there are other amenities that can be purchased if cruisers choose to do so.
Your cruise ship will transport you to several exciting ports of call. Unfortunately, shore excursions are not part of the base fare. These tours and additional experiences can be booked through the cruise line or through third part retailers at additional costs. Shore excursions can range from $25 a person for a group walking tour to several hundreds of dollars for private tours or unique experiences.
Alcoholic and Some Non-Alcoholic Beverages
As mentioned previously, alcoholic beverages are not part of the cruise fare. On NCL ships, beer, wine, cocktails, soda, specialty coffee and tea, and bottled water will all cost additional fees. Depending on your drinking habits, purchasing one of the Norwegian Cruise Line beverage packages might be a better option than paying the a la carte pricing. Or better yet, take advantage of the Free at Sea promotion to score a free premium beverage package. Of note, bottled water and specialty coffee are only included in the Premium Plus Beverage package, while Starbucks beverages are always an additional cost even if you have a drink package.
Some Entertainment and Onboard Activities
While there are several included activities and entertainment, many ships offer additional classes and activities that cost an up-charge. These can include mixology demonstrations, food and wine pairings, games like Deal or No Deal and Bingo, and more. Some ships include premium entertainment like Cirque Dreams or Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical which also require a cover charge.
Unfortunately, the new race track, laser tag, and Galaxy Pavilion virtual reality complex found on Breakaway Plus ships all cost extra money as well.
All NCL ships have a Spa providing a variety of services for additional costs. These experiences, such as massages or salon services, can be booked pre-cruise or while onboard the ship. Many ships also have a thermal suite. This area includes a selection of relaxing experiences such as saunas, therapeutic pools, heated loungers, and sometimes even a snow room. Cruisers staying in select staterooms will have access to the ship’s thermal suite included in their fare, but most cruisers will need to purchase a pass.
Of course, any shopping in the retail stores onboard the ship or gaming in the casino are all at your own expense as well.
While there are many dining venues covered in your cruise fare, Norwegian Cruise Line also offers several up-charge dining options and experiences. Specialty venues like Cagney’s steakhouse, the French-inspired Le Bistro, the new Italian restaurant Onda by Scarpetta, or Q Texas Smokehouse are all a la carte pricing. Teppanyaki is the only flat-fee specialty restaurant on NCL ships.
If you do want to dine at one or more of these restaurants, reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 120 days prior to your sailing. If you plan to dine at a few of these venues, you should consider purchasing a specialty dining package. These packages can save you quite a bit of money.
For those who want to stay in touch with family and friends online, you will need to purchase an internet package. WiFi is not part of the Norwegian Cruise Line fare. Neither is laundry services. If you would like clothing washed or pressed, it will cost you extra money.
Room service carries an additional charge on Norwegian Cruise Line as well. Morning coffee and continental breakfast are still complimentary but other hot items will incur a service charge of $7.95 for each order. Cruisers staying in the Haven are exempt from these charges.
Other add-ons like the previously mentioned beverage packages and specialty dining packages are an additional fee. Likewise, so are photo packages, special celebration packages, and transportation to and from the cruise port.
Finally, there will be a daily service charge added to your onboard cruise account. These daily gratuities are currently $15 per person per day and $18 for suites and Haven guests. These charges go towards the hardworking staff on the ship including your stateroom attendant, wait staff, bar servers, and various other crew. If you choose, the daily gratuities can be pre-paid using your online account prior to the cruise.
Have you sailed on an NCL ship? What are your thoughts about what’s included on Norwegian Cruise Line (and what’s not)? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences cruising with the brand.