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Norwegian (NCL) Cruises

41,987 Reviews
Norwegian Encore (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

About Norwegian (NCL) Cruises

Known for its "freestyle" cruising, the laid-back Norwegian experience is all about choice, offering one of the largest selections of dining and entertainment venues per ship. Plus, with Norwegian's Free At Sea offer, every cruise fare includes a choice of things like free Wi-Fi, specialty dining, drinks or excursions.

  • More about Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Who goes on Norwegian (NCL) cruise ships?

  • Do I have to dress up on a Norwegian (NCL) cruise?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Norwegian Spirit

9 Night
Asia - Japan

2,124 Reviews
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Norwegian Gem

7 Night
Bermuda - Boston

2,593 Reviews
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Norwegian Sky

10 Night
Asia - Japan

2,159 Reviews
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Norwegian Spirit

11 Night
Asia - Japan

2,124 Reviews
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Nachi Cocom Beach Club

11 Night
Greek Isles & Italy

4,418 Reviews
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12 Night
Asia - South East

2,159 Reviews
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7 Night
Hawaii Cruise

2,367 Reviews
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7 Night
Hawaii Hnl Inter Island

2,367 Reviews
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9 Night
Repo - Pacific Coastal

2,358 Reviews
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12 Night
Asia - Japan

2,124 Reviews
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7 Night
Europe Cruise

3,282 Reviews
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21 Night
Africa-south Africa

2,159 Reviews
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14 Night
South Pacific

2,171 Reviews
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12 Night
Alaska - Vancouver

2,046 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Asia - Japan

2,124 Reviews
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Norwegian (NCL) Cruises Tips, Activities, and Overview

Who goes on Norwegian (NCL) cruise ships?

Norwegian cruise ships draw a diverse crowd, though the majority of passengers on ships sailing to the Caribbean and in Alaska and Hawaii hail from North America. You'll find a decent number of people from other English-speaking countries, and smaller numbers from South America and Europe. On European cruises, North Americans still dominate but you'll find more people from the United Kingdom and other European countries. One ship, Norwegian Joy, was designed specifically for the Asian market, and the vast majority of passengers on this ship will be from China.

You'll find plenty of young families onboard Norwegian ships, especially during holidays and school breaks. However, the line's newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, is less family-friendly than the line's other ships, with all the kids clubs on the lowest levels of the ship and onboard entertainment that is decidedly adult.

Generally speaking, Norwegian Cruise Line attracts mostly middle-aged and older couples, as well as groups of friends of all ages.

Do I have to dress up on a Norwegian (NCL) cruise?

Norwegian Cruise Line maintains a casual atmosphere onboard; during the day, casual wear is the norm.

There's no formal dress code at night either, though most people do change into something slightly less casual for dinner. Additionally, some of the specialty extra-fee restaurants do require long pants, collared shirts and closed-toe shoes. Most evenings you'll see men in dark jeans or khakis and collared shirts, and women in blouses with slacks or skirts, or sundresses. Don't be surprised if you see people in shorts in the main dining rooms.

Norwegian doesn't have any formal nights, but there is an optional Norwegian's Night Out at least once per sailing, for which passengers are encouraged to dress up. You'll rarely see a tux or gown, but suits and cocktail dresses are not unheard of.

Norwegian ships also typically hold several themed nights (glow party, '70s or '80s, etc.) during a typical sailing. You might want to bring a few appropriate items, such as white clothing for the glow and white parties or bell bottoms for '70s night.

Is everything free on Norwegian (NCL) cruises?

No. Unless you have an all-inclusive dining or beverage package (which you can buy), you'll have to pay extra for most gratuities, specialty dining, room service, all drinks (alcoholic and non, except water, select juices at breakfast, and coffee and tea), shore excursions, visits to the spa and any retail purchases, including photos.

On the newest ships, you'll also have to pay for some of the entertainment options and even some of the top-deck fun: On Norwegian Bliss, for example, the laser tag and go-karts cost extra.

What are Norwegian (NCL)’s most popular activities?

On warm-weather cruises, the main pool is the line's most popular spot onboard. On ships with water slides, ropes courses, go-kart tracks and laser tag, these are also popular and often require a wait of up to 30 minutes or more.

Inside, you'll find activities that range from trivia, bingo and Deal or No Deal during the day to song-and-dance revues or Broadway shows in the theater and live music or cabaret shows in the evening. Norwegian ships also have a lively bar nightlife. There's also an always-busy casino, which opens when the ship is out to sea.

Why go with Norwegian (NCL)?

  • Extensive choice of restaurants, bars and activities -- especially on the newest ships
  • Newest ships have excellent Broadway and West End theater shows
  • Be Aware: Many dining and entertainment options incur surcharges

Best for: Active families, picky eaters, and couples/groups who love to bar hop

Not for: People who can't stand crowds, or those seeking a relaxed onboard environment

Norwegian Cruise Line Cruiser Reviews

Nightmare

Dinner at La Cucina was extremely long between courses, and we had early reservations, no explanations.Hardly any dance bands, no band at the Bliss Lounge only BPM or techno music geared to the much younger crowd.Read More
billymichael

many10+ Cruises

Age 68s

Disappointing for the most part.

Our friend had to cancel because of illness but was not given any credit or reimbursement even though her room was used.Our room attendant was super.Read More
Sailingaway2024

oneFirst Time Cruiser

Age 70s

Good cruise, bad luck with weather

The unfortunate part of the cruise was that weather not only impacted cruise due to winds and swells (tons of people sea sick) but also made on board stuff difficult as Joy and itinerary was not built for 4 full days at sea, and especially not 4 full days at sea without access to a pool deck.Now for the bad weather- this was a 5 day Bermuda cruise with 2 full days in Bermuda.Read More
shaferr1

oneFirst Time Cruiser

Age 27s

NCL has fallen a long way!!!!!!!

Things have changed with this cruise line.Was on an 11 day and the ports where great but It looks like we will be exploring a different cruise line.Read More
Andahart

oneFirst Time Cruiser

Age 62s

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