Norwegian Viva is the latest entry in the NCL Prima Class line-up. Credit: NCL

Flexibility and freedom: Things to look forward to on Norwegian Cruise Line

Author: Daniel Edward

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The leading cruise line has introduced a number of firsts to the industry and continues to impress guests with its unique flair for freestyle cruising

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has been setting the path with a series of cruising firsts since it launched back in the 1960s. Emerging onto the scene in the same year as England’s world cup winning Lions, NCL has gone on to achieve considerably more in the following decades.

Now sailing with a fleet of 19 modern ships, the newest of which (Norwegian Viva) launches this summer, NCL has grown into a favourite brand for fascinating itineraries, long stays in port, thrilling entertainment onboard, and its signature spirit of freedom and flexibility throughout.

Let’s take a whistle-stop tour
Step onboard your NCL ship and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to views of the ocean. These ships are all about ocean views and the spacious lounges draw the outside in. Check out The Waterfront at sunset or take a seat in the Observation Lounge for a panoramic sail away from port.

You’ll also find a massive range of stateroom options, from studios for solo-travellers to magnificent three-bedroom Haven Suites, which come complete with their own neighbourhood in what’s been dubbed a ‘ship-within-a-ship’.

The theatre will definitely be a part of your daily bucket list, with award-winning entertainment on tap, including full-scale Broadway shows like Beetlejuice: The Musical or Burn The Floor.

You can also check out the new Mandara Spa onboard Norwegian Viva overlooking the ocean and with water a central theme. The spa showcases a breath-taking two-storey waterfall, healing pools and an experiential muti-sensory shower. Expect the world’s first charcoal sauna at sea, experiential showers, a flotation salt pool, 22 hot stone loungers, two welnamis vibracoustic therapy beds and 28 executive spa balcony staterooms.

And if you’re eyeing up a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise, then your sailing may include a visit to one of NCL’s private island destinations. Harvest Caye and Great Stirrup Cay combine the fun of the ship with the wonder of the destination, with zip-lines, water sports, complimentary dining and more.

Enjoy some me-time at the Mandara Spa. Credit: NCL

Free at Sea upgrade packages
OK, so we’ve all heard of drinks packages by now, but NCL raises the bar with this one. Free at Sea isn’t just a drinks package – though it will give you a wide selection of premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in all the bars, lounges and restaurants onboard. It’s more.

With this upgrade package for £149 per person (on a six to eight-day cruise), you’ll gain access to the extensive range of speciality restaurants onboard. Think Teppanyaki, contemporary French at Le Bistro, and a true American steak at Cagney’s Steakhouse. And now stop thinking about food, because there’s more.

The Free at Sea package also gives complimentary WiFi, discounts on shore excursions and – and this is the clincher for families – adding a third and fourth guest to the room booking for just the cost of the applicable tax on select sailings.

Find your ideal cruise

Find your ideal cruise


1. Indulge in a week of European bliss onboard Norwegian Epic. Sailing from Provence (for Marseille), you’ll visit Cannes, Livorno and Salerno, with overnight stays in Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Provence to round out a great week.

2. Check out Norwegian Dawn’s fascinating foray into the ancient world, with her 10-day cruise to the Greek Isles, from Trieste (for Venice), Italy. You’ll explore the gems of the Adriatic coast before island hopping in Greece and disembarking in Istanbul, Turkey.

3. For a no-fly experience, Norwegian Getaway explores northern Europe round-trip from Southampton. Over 10 days, witness the beauty of coastal France, taste the best chocolate in Belgium and soak up maritime history in Hamburg and Amsterdam.

4. Push the boat out (literally) and head to South Africa with Norwegian Dawn. This 12-day cruise visits six ports in South Africa and a further two in Namibia, balancing breathtaking natural beauty, powerful wildlife and lively societies all into one voyage. Three days at sea offer plenty of time to relax onboard.

5. OK, you want to go further? Pick up Norwegian Spirit in Auckland, New Zealand, for a 12-day adventure down under. Departing New Zealand’s largest city, you’ll also visit the capital, ‘windy Welly’, and New Zealand’s magnificent Fiordland National Park. On the other side of the Tasman Sea, get ready for three Ozzy states: Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales.

Navigate the Eternal City with NCL. Credit: NCL
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