Advice

Norwegian Cruise Line Review

norwegian cruise line review pearl ship
Norwegian Pearl in Alaska - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Best for

Families and couples who appreciate innovative dining, entertainment, and activities. Plus, singles will be wowed by Norwegian's studio cabins.

Not for

Introverts and cruise purists who may prefer traditional ships over these resorts-at-sea.

We love

Rockwall on Norwegian Gem

A rock-climbing wall with a view
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the flexible dining trend more than a decade ago, and the line continues to offer creative dining outlets, including a Chinese noodle bar and a lobster roll stand.
  • The studio cabins on newer ships are a boon for singles, though they’re tiny.
  • Haven suites, which share a private sundeck, feel like a mini-luxury ship within a mass-market one.
  • Doesn’t get any better than unexpected entertainment like the excellent Blue Man Group on Norwegian Epic. While other lines have comedy acts, Second City offers improv on these ships, and Breakaway’s edgy Broadway show, “Rock of Ages,” pushes boundaries. (Picture bra dancing, potty-mouth language, and adult themes.)
  • Original activities for grown-ups include onboard pub crawls that will make you feel like an undergrad again.
  • On Breakaway and Epic, the water park and sports decks — which include a bungee trampoline, a spider web climbing frame, and multiple corkscrew water slides, as well as a ropes course on Breakaway — are outstanding.
  • Kid pleasers include a family breakfast with Nickelodeon® characters (from Dora to Sponge Bob); learning Cirque du Soleil®-inspired circus tricks, such as juggling and plate spinning; and (on Breakaway) dance classes created and taught by the Rockettes.
  • Bars and eateries on Breakaway’s Waterfront deck have the best setting at sea.

We could live without

  • Compared to those on Carnival and Holland America, The standard cabins on Norwegian cruise ships are tight, especially the bathrooms.
  • Nickel and diming for food: Other than the main dining room and buffet, there is a charge (from $15 to $75) for almost everything else.

Nickelodeon is a registered trademark of Viacom International Inc.
Cirque du Soleil is a registered trademark of the Dream Merchant Co.




Heidi Sarna

Heidi Sarna   Google+

Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributing writer for Cruiseline.com. She has also written for the International Herald Tribune, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Weekly, and Parenting.



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