What I Wish I’d Known Before I Sailed Norwegian Cruise Line



When it comes to the major cruise lines, there’s what I consider the big three — Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. There are a lot of similarities between those three, but if I’m being honest, NCL stands out as an outlier from the other two.

The cruise line has a lot of things going on that I didn’t realize until I sailed multiple times across different ships.

I’m talking about things like how the atmosphere on the ship is different than other rivals… how your day in port isn’t a guarantee… and how one of the most popular sales in cruising has some fine print to know.

#ncl #norwegian #cruise

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28 thoughts on “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Sailed Norwegian Cruise Line”

  1. Unless you are a non drinker, the free at sea is drink package is awesome! You pay about $150 pp for a 7 Day Cruise for gratuities, a great deal if you know even a can of Beer is around $10. If you bring a insulated bottle, you can fill it on the buffet line. We would never consider doing the sail away rate. That's where they get you. It's Vacation, why worry about penny pinching on Drinks, get the package. I do agree the Stateroom gratuities are high. I used to tip our room steward extra separately, but no longer do that.

  2. We've sailed with NCL six times (Breakaway, Getaway, Joy, Bliss, Encore) and are very pleased with them overall. BUT — to add onto Cruzely's (non)experience with Great Stirrup Cay — tendering into GSC even with perfect weather is a *NIGHTMARE*. You sign up ahead of time for a departure NUMBER, without being able to get any information as to that departure's TIME. So you spend the morning wondering, "How soon to I need to be ready to leave the ship?" and "Do I have time to get breakfast from the buffet before it closes?" "Why is there such a variable time between the numbers they're calling?" The whole process of tendering the ship's passengers to the island takes over two-and-a-half hours. *ADVICE*: Get your tender "number" as early as they're made available (a couple days prior to the stop, maybe?). And, even if you get a low number, be prepared to wait around that morning — and don't go anywhere that you can't clearly hear the overhead speakers.

  3. Don't think that NCL is going to be a good cruise. The food is bad, the service is worse! The drink package was very expensive and not worth the money. We were on the fence on which cruise line to use. and the fact is Royal Caribbean is far superior in all but one thing. NCL's bathrooms are bigger than even some of the suites in RC. That being said the rest of the check boxes go to RC hands down. Even NCL's Cagney's premier steak house falls flat on its face in both serve and food quality and understanding how to cook a fillet Mignon . The fillet was bland had no taste and it was served overcooked. When we requested to get a replacement, they could not do it. They were so slammed with tables, we had to leave without eating. our main course. They only make up the rooms once a day now, and with that they could take the whole day, We waited till 4 :30 pm most days. one of the pillows we got smelled like perfume!. Come on! get it together NCL. !!. Goes from boarding! till the end with disappointments about food and service. The ship was overcrowded and all the venues were ridiculous!!The shows are dated and low budget. Stay AWAY!!!

  4. Yes, I learned something from your video; I won't be going on any cruise under those T&Cs!
    I was seriously considering a cruise, but after watching several videos, it's not for me.
    Too crowded, too many queues and too many charges.
    I don't like hidden or unclear charging.

  5. The drink package might be more the carnival but carnival limit is 15 a day and only order 1 drink at a time and wait 5 minutes between drinks. Ncl is unlimited drinks a day and can get two drinks at a time. Also we have sailed on many ncl cruises and never had to wait to board. Checked in and walked right on now royal was a different story. As far as coco cay wait till you see how much it is. Its not free at all compared to great stir up cay. Also your drink package is included on great stir up cay. Yes the newer ships are real nice but most adults dont use the go carts and slides. We felt the food is also better. Now the bad for us. The prima has its issues. Buffet is way to small for 3000 passengers. Not enough seating in the buffet either. Also on the prima you had to register to get on tender for great stir up cay. Horrible any other ship we jumped right on. The set up on the prima is way different the pool is small and the area around pool is small. The bar at the pool is small and takes forever to get your drinks. Never had an issue on encore, bliss, breakaway or getaway. Also the jewel wasnt like this either. The prima is beautiful but just not for us. Alot of other people didnt care for it either. Hopefully the changes on the aqua make it more enjoyable.

  6. NCL and Royal Caribbean are the only lines that have truly unlimited drinks with their packages. Carnival, etc have a 15 drink per day limit. On our 7 day RC cruise in 2022 we drank more than 15 drinks most days. I guess I will stick with RC, even though they don’t sail to my top 2 ports I want to visit. Disappointing. Thanks for the information.

  7. I just returened from Europe with the NCL, the last night when I completed the account in the credit service counter, I was told the exchange rate for the Euro is lower than the Us dollars!Do you believe it?The Ncl just steal money from my pocket!Will never take this curise ship again!

  8. We've cruised with NCL since 2104. We just finished our most disappointing cruise with them last week. They're customer focus has been lost. They have cut way back on entertainment. There used to be singers in most lounges but no more. There are 1 or 2 singers that rotate to a couple lounges. Pool deck entertainment has been scaled back to where it's almost non-existent. But, most importantly, the food has taken a turn for the worse. In all the specialty restaurants the filet mignon has been replaced with a cheaper cut of meat. It's no longer melt in your mouth juicy. I found mine on 3 occasions to be tougher and disappointing. The filet medallions in Moderno are also of lesser quality. I left my filet half eaten the last night I had it. I complained, and a staff member quietly agreed the quality of steak has been downgraded. The Japanese restaurant used to offer filet but it's been replaced with new York Strip of fair quality. The buffet now closes at 9:30 which is a terrible decision. One restaurant, O'Sheehans is open 24 hours. We ate there once and it wasn't very good. NCL is no longer a good value. They are pinching pennies at the expense of their guests. One last penny pinching move they pull. As we've cruised many times with them, we have chocolate covered strawberries waiting in our cabin. They used to be LARGE and delicious! No more. They are about the size of nickels and are mushy and terrible. We'll be re-assessing our future plans with NCL. Buyer beware!!!

  9. I've cruised with NCL several times as well as a couple other ships. I have to say NCL is and (so far) will always be my favorite Cruise Line. I've always had the BEST times on these ships ☺️❤️

  10. Was on NCL Joy in Sept 2023. The cons (negative observations) you noted in video are honestly no biggie. It is their business model. Extra costs like drink packages, go cart and extra curricular activities can add up, but only if you use it. Know in advance and prepare for it. Only pay for things you feel is a deal and something you use. Part of any vacation trip, anywhere.

  11. Ultimately you are packed on a ship with thousands of others. Going to the same boring ports as all other liners. I took a few cruises and have no desire to do it again , no matter the line or how big the ship is.

  12. NO PASSENGER SHOULD EVER PAY AUTOMATIC CRUISE GRATUITIES! CRUISE GRATUITIES ARE NOT, NOT, NOT TIPS. THEY ARE SALARY PAID TO EVERY CREW MEMBER BY THE PASSENGER INSTEAD OF THE CRUISE LINE WHICH MAKES GRATUITIES NOT, NOT, NOT A TIP. TIPS ARE GIVEN TO INDIVIDUAL CREW MEMBERS WHO GIVE AN INDIVIDUAL PASSENGER EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE! I ALWAYS TELL THE SHIP, "DO NOT CHARGE ME GRATUITIES". I GIVE TIPS TO SPECIFIC MEMBERS OF THE CREW WHO MAKE MY TRIP SPECIAL, USUALLY TO THE 2 WAITERS AND THE CABIN STEWARD AS I DO NOT DRINK, BUT I REFUSE TO PAY SALARIES WHICH ARE THE RESPONSABILITY OF THE RELEVANT CRUISE LINE!

  13. Wow. the no soft-drinks does not excite me. I often bring a 12-pack (or two) of Diet Dr Pepper with me on DCL, and have no problems. It's my favorite drink, even though Disney offers Coke products FOR FREE . . . and they are ok with my choice.

    I couldn't imagine having to drink Pepsi or their off-brand "cola" instead for a full week.

  14. Ive cruised with everyone except ncl, everytime ive tried, the final price was double+ the advertised price, and i refuse to do business with bait and switch or fake prices to get you “in the door”

  15. Pros-
    1-I like the food on NCL.
    2-Overall its a decent cruise
    Cons-
    1-Poor customer service when it comes to the BOGO flights. Not uncommon to have difficulty with connections if the flight is delayed. Don't do the bogo if you aren't flying 2 days prior.
    2-you will get nickled and dimed. Even with their sales. They are not cheaper than the other lines.

  16. Agreed!, just came back from NCL BLISS one more drawback I would add particularly Alaska route on NCL is the dock far away then all other crushes, than they haul to the main port in shuttle when can consume your time when there is only 4 hours stop. IMO.

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