Cruise Evolution
Sign up for our FREE e-Newsletter
Enter Your E-Mail:
Sign up to gain access to the hottest cruise deals around!
Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line

Home > Reviews > Norwegian Cruise Line

General Information
NCL
President & COO: Drew Madsen
Ships in Fleet: 14
Year Established: 1966
Corporate Location: Miami, FL
 
Overview
The Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet
Destinations & Itineraries
Onboard Experience
Past Passenger Program
Links to NCL Ships:

Norwegian Cruise Line Overview
NCL, which originally stood for Norwegian Caribbean Lines, was founded in 1966. They changed the cruising world forever by introducing mainstream Caribbean cruises (onboard M/S Sunward), departing from the then obscure Port of Miami. After many years of expansion, NCL appropriately renamed itself Norwegian Cruise Line in 1987. Today, NCL is one of the premier cruise lines in the world. In February 2000, Norwegian Cruise Line was acquired by Star Cruises Ltd, a company that is a part of Malaysia's Genting Group. Years later, in August of 2007, Apollo Management, LP, made a $1 billion investment in NCL, becoming a 50% (now 37.5%) owner of Norwegian Cruise Line. Currently, NCL is operated by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., who also operates deluxe cruise line Oceania Cruises and ultra-luxury brand Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Aside from offering the first mass-marketed Caribbean cruises, NCL has been, and continues to be, quite the innovator in the cruising world. Among their other industry "firsts" have been: an "out island" (Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas), an internet café at sea, WiFi and cell phone service at sea, a bowling alley at sea, and BOTOX® treatments.

Since May of 2000 NCL's signature style has been their "Freestyle Cruising" concept, featuring no fixed dining times and no formal dress codes. This was an unconventional, yet very successful, move. Aside from their main dining rooms, the 11 NCL ships offer 24-hour room service, a buffet, and a multitude of specialty dining options. The specialty restaurants typically have a per person cover charge, but are quite good! In late 2007 Norwegian Cruise Line announced its Freestyle 2.0 program, which was a major enhancement to their onboard product fleetwide. This initiative included upgraded stateroom bedding and amenities, as well as an investment in the food served onboard their ships.

NCL offers one of the widest ranges of accommodations in the cruising industry, from standard interior, oceanview and balcony staterooms to their huge and luxurious Courtyard and Garden Villa mega-suites (that feature a private courtyard for their guests).

To go along with Freestyle Cruising, NCL does their best to make all aspects of their cruises as leisurely as possible. For example, rather than having strict and formal dress codes for dinner (which is quite the norm onboard many of their competitors' ships), NCL has a "resort-casual" evening dress code. Disembarkation is quite relaxed as well, allowing most passengers to get off of the ship when they want (rather than at an exact time dictated by the cruise line).

Norwegian Cruise Line owns daughter company NCL America, created in 2003 for NCL's US flagged, US crewed ships to operate under. NCL America used to consist of three ships, Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Pride of Hawaii. In 2008, Pride of Aloha was going to be transferred to Star Cruises. However, a few months later it was decided that the ship would stay in the NCL fleet, taking it's previous name (Norwegian Sky), and relocate to Miami to do 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises. Meanwhile, Pride of Hawaii was taken out of the Hawaii market and re-christened as Norwegian Jade (which is now NCL's year-round Europe ship). This leaves Pride of America as the sole ship in the once crowded NCL America fleet. Pride of America continues to cruise exclusively in Hawaii, doing week-long inter-island cruises. Due to US laws, NCL America ships do not feature a casino onboard.

In 2010, NCL took a step into the modern day with the release of Norwegian Epic. This vessel was the first of NCL's third-generation Freestyle Cruising ships. On April 24, 2008 the keel was laid at Aker Yards in France for this massive vessel, which was delivered to NCL in May 2010 (and launched to the public in June of 2010). At 153,000-tons (accommodating 4,200 passengers), Norwegian Epic is the largest cruise ship to ever be in the NCL fleet. Exciting new features that are available on board this "mega-ship" include multiple nightlife venues (such as the first-ever true ice bar in the cruising industry and the adults-only POSH Beach Club, the first of its kind at sea), as well as New Wave deluxe staterooms (which feature a very fresh and contemporary design).

The future of NCL can be summarized in one word: "Breakaway." Two new 144,017-ton ships (Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway) make up the Breakaway class, and recently launched (in 2013 and 2014, respectively). Two 164,000-ton ships (Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss) are coming soon (fall 2015 and spring 2017, respectively).

Of these new ships already sailing, Norwegian Breakaway, became be the largest ship to be based out of New York City year-round, and has highlights that include the hit Broadway show Rock of Ages, seafood venues by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, and a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade lined with restaurants and bars. Norwegian Getaway, homeports year-round from Miami, FL, with features like the seven-time Tony Award-nominated musical Legally Blonde, five water slides, and much more.

Besides the Breakaway plus ships, there are currently two other vessels on order at Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, with planned deliveries to occur in spring 2018 and fall 2019.
top

NCL Destinations
NCL ships are deployed throughout the world, visiting all of the major cruise destinations (Alaska, Bermuda, Bahamas, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, New England, Panama Canal, South America, and Transatlantic). Their ships depart from many popular cruise departure ports (including Boston, Charleston, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Seattle, and Vancouver).

NCL is the only major cruise line to sail year round in Hawaii, with Pride of America.
top

Onboard Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line's Freestyle Cruising concept can be noticed throughout an NCL cruise. From the anytime dining to the casual dress code, while onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship you will certainly feel that you're more in control of your vacation than you would on many other, more formal and structured, cruise lines. Norwegian is very family-friendly, especially on their newer ships. There is a great kids program, with tons of daily activities scheduled for everyone.

Most of the NCL cruise ships feature a ton of specialty restaurants, including a gourmet French restaurant, steakhouse, Asian fusion, Italian, Mexican and an exciting Teppanyaki (Hibachi) room. Of course, they also have main dining rooms, buffets and 24-hour room service. If you're interested in dining in one of the specialty restaurants be sure to make a reservation as soon as you know that you want to, as they can book up. You can make a reservation for a specialty restaurant within 24 hours of the day you want to book (unless you're in a balcony or higher, where they allow you to make a reservation within 48 hours).

The newer ships in the NCL fleet feature innovative onboard features such as full-sized bowling allies in their Bliss Ultra Lounges and huge rock-climbing walls.

Norwegian Cruise Line attracts a very diverse range of guests to its ships. This includes families, honeymooners, seniors, couples, singles, and more.
top

NCL Past Passengers
NCL's past passenger program is called Latitudes. This program offers rewards and incentives for those clients that return to cruise onboard NCL's ships. After taking your first NCL cruise you are automatically enrolled in the Latitudes club. View our NCL Latitudes page for more details.
top

Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet
The Norwegian Cruise Line fleet is one of the most modern and young fleets in the world. There are currently 13 ships in the fleet, each featuring top of the line staterooms and amenities. This youth movement was helped further by the recent debuts of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, as mentioned above.

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss
Expected Debut: Spring 2017
More Info Coming Soon!
Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway - NEW SHIP!
Inaugural Year: 2013
More Info Coming Soon!
Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Dawn
Inaugural Year: 2002
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
More Info on Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Escape
Expected Debut: October 2015
More Info Coming Soon!
Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic
Inaugural Year: 2010
More Info on Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Gem

Norwegian Gem
Inaugural Year: 2007
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2010
More Info on Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway - NEW SHIP!
Inaugural Year: 2014
More Info Coming Soon!
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade
Inaugural Year: 2006
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
More Info on Norwegian Jade
Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Jewel
Inaugural Year: 2005
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2014
More Info on Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Pearl
Inaugural Year: 2007
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2013
More Info on Norwegian Pearl
Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Sky
Inaugural Year: 1999
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2009
More Info on Norwegian Sky
Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Spirit
Inaugural Year: 1999
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
More Info on Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star
Inaugural Year: 2001
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2010
More Info on Norwegian Star
Norwegian Sun

Norwegian Sun
Inaugural Year: 2001
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2011
More Info on Norwegian Sun
Pride of America

Pride of America
Inaugural Year: 2005
Most Recent Refurbished Year: 2013
More Info on Pride of America


top

Custom Search

Cruise Forum
Cruise Evolution's Popular Links


 

Cruise Message Boards
© , CruisEvolution LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Cruise Evolution