NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE
7665 Corporate Center Drive
Miami, FL 33126
OVERVIEW: Norwegian Cruise Line has pioneered the concept of "Freestyle Cruising," a dining program that allows guests the flexibility to choose from a wide variety of dining options and dine at any time they like. This program is particularly well-suited to the needs of families and independent travelers who enjoy vacations that fit their lifestyle and meet their constantly changing scheduling demands. On Norwegian cruises, families do not have to rush to accommodate fixed meal seatings or bring a lot of formal clothes unless they feel like doing so. Families will also appreciate the excellent Kid's Crew and Teen's Crew children's programs and facilities on NCL ships, as well as the affordable fares. Norwegian Cruise Line is also known for its excellent cruise itineraries in Hawaii.
DESTINATIONS: Alaska, Florida & Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the Mediterranean, the Panama Canal, Scandinavia, and South America. Repositioning cruises are also offered.
KIDS/FAMILY PROGRAMS OFFERED: Kid's Crew, a year-round youth program, is available on all ships. Children are divided into four age groups: 2 to 5; 6 to 9; and 10 to 12 years. The Teen's Crew program is designed for kids ages 13 to 17. The complimentary Kid's & Teen's Crew program includes activities, a t-shirt for painting, a Mom's & Dad's night out, a daily copy of Kid's Crew news, a chef's hat for cooking classes, a birthday party for kids celebrating a birthday, and activities in the center. Activities include sports competitions, talent shows, dances, parties, pizza making, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, games, face painting and scavenger hunts.
The Kids Crew program accepts children in diapers, but parents are given beepers and must come to the Kids' Crew facilities to change their child's diapers when necessary. Kids ages 12 and younger wear ID bracelets with the child's name, stateroom number, allergies, medications and lifeboat station noted on the back. Teens can sign themselves out of the Kids Crew program at 13 years of age, however, younger children are not allowed to leave the program unless picked up by a parent.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS: The Kid's Crew Backpack with unlimited soda program is $39.50, and includes a Kid's Crew backpack with luggage tag, a t-shirt, baseball cap, and a souvenir cup with free soda fountain fill-ups throughout the entire cruise. On Hawaii sailings, a wide variety of family and children's activities focusing on Hawaiian culture and crafts are offered.
CHILDREN'S FACILITIES: All ships in the Norwegian fleet have dedicated children's facilities. Some of them are larger and more extensive than others. For instance, on the Norwegian Star, the Kids Center consists of a movie theater, computer area, playroom, arts & crafts area, jungle gym and nursery. Right behind it is the Splash Down kids pool and play area, consisting of a playground, two waterslides, a good-sized wading pool, a kids-only whirlpool, and a small slide for the little ones to enjoy. The nearby indoor Video Zone with its 25 video games is particularly popular with the pre-teen and teen set.
YOUTH COUNSELORS ONBOARD: There are 3-7 youth counselors on board Norwegian ships in the off season and 6-9 counselors on the ships during the high season, school vacations, and holidays. Counselors have degrees in recreational management and early childhood education they must be certified in CPR and First Aid.
HOURS OF OPERATION: On sea days, the Kid's Crew program operates from 9 a.m. to noon, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. On port days, the Kid's Crew program operates from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Group babysitting is the only childcare available when the ships are in port. The hours for group babysitting on in-port days are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (sign up by 5 p.m. on the previous day). The fee is $5 per child per hour and $3 per child per hour for additional children in the same family.
TEEN PROGRAMS: The Teen's Crew teen program operates for kids ages 13 to 17. Teen activities include movies, basketball tournaments, pool/Jacuzzi parties, trivia contests and teen dances which are offered most nights in the disco an hour before the disco opens to adults. If the ship has a teen disco, the dances are offered there. NCL's Teen Passport program includes a Passport booklet with 20 non-alcoholic drink tickets (including non-alcoholic smoothies) for $34.50. It also includes an afternoon dance party for the teen and a guest with a D.J., pizza, and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, as well as a "Farewell Frat Party" on the last evening of the cruise. This program is available only for 13-17 year olds.
DEDICATED TEEN FACILITIES: Dedicated teen rooms are available on all ships in the NCL fleet. Not all ships have a teen disco, however. Currently, the ships that offer teen discos are the Pride of Aloha, Pride of America, Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Crown, and the Norwegian Sun. In addition to dedicated teen rooms, many of the ships have large video arcades and Sony PlayStations available.
TEEN PROGRAM HOURS OF OPERATION: On sea days, teen program activities are offered from 10 a.m. to noon, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and again from 8:30 p.m. until midnight. The last activity starts at midnight.
On days in port, the early afternoon hour activities will vary depending on the departure time from port. Evening activities are from 8:30 p.m. until 12 a.m., with the last activity starting at midnight.
FAMILY PROGRAMS: On Hawaii itineraries, family oriented activities covering Hawaiian culture and craft making are offered.
BABYSITTING OFFERED: Group sitting is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on sea days (sign up by noon on the same day) and on in-port days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (sign up by 5 p.m. on the previous day) and from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. (sign up by noon on the same day. The cost for group babysitting is $5 per child per hour, and $3 per child per hour for additional children in the same family. No private babysitting is available.
KIDS SHORE EXCURSIONS OFFERED: Special rates are offered for children under 12 on many shore excursions. Special kids and teens shore excursions are not offered.
KIDS/TEENS SPA SERVICES: No.
SPECIAL KIDS RATES: Special 3rd and 4th rates for children sharing a cabin with their parents are available. Children under two sail free, but parents must pay for the little one's port charges.
SINGLE PARENT RATES: No.
SPECIAL PRICING FOR FAMILIES IN MULTIPLE CABINS: No.
CRIBS AVAILABLE: Cribs are available upon request. Make sure to confirm at time of booking.
STROLLERS AVAILABLE: No.
SPECIAL FAMILY FEATURES: On many of Norwegian's newer ships, bathrooms have sliding door separating the toilet and sink areas which definitely comes in handy for families getting ready for dinner. Suites are particularly well suited for families, with a curtain separating the pull-out sleep sofa from the parents' sleeping area. Norwegian has designated flexible spaces specifically with families in mind. For instance, families can book two connecting balcony staterooms, offering a roomy amount of space for families of four or five. Connecting staterooms are available in numerous categories, such as oceanview staterooms that can connect to suites and/or penthouses. Penthouses feature separate rooms for parents and children. Some offer the option of a connecting mini-suite for added space. Families planning family reunions or multigenerational trips may wish to consider Norwegian's Owner's Suites. Owner's suites and connecting penthouses share a small corridor, which can be closed to create four private, shared spaces. These owners suites are also connected to an oceanview stateroom with balcony via connecting doors.
DINING OPTIONS: Freestyle Cruising on NCL offers families a wide variety of dining options, and 24-hour food service. Restaurants and dining choices vary by ship. All of the newer Norwegian ships feature a special children's buffet with small kids-sized tables and chairs located nearby so that kids can eat together. Children's menus are offered in the main dining rooms as well as in some of the other restaurants. Norwegian is known for its "chocoholic" buffet available on each of the cruise ships, and kids enjoy sampling the wide variety of desserts offered. Youth counselors take their groups to dinner at least once during the cruise, and booster seats and high chairs are available in the dining rooms. In addition, Norwegian offers an "Unlimited Beverage Program" for $16 for week-long cruises, providing kids with unlimited soda fountain drinks.
MINIMUM AGE TO SAIL: Children under six months old must have a pediatrician's letter to come aboard.
COMMENTS: Norwegian's Hawaii itineraries are particularly excellent, and its Freestyle Cruising program can't be beat for families who enjoy flexibility and a relaxed vacation style. Parents of little ones will appreciate the fact that children do not have to be potty trained to participate in the Kid's Crew program. In addition, it is important to note that Norwegian's Teen's Crew program stretches to include teens up to 17 years of age -- two years longer than programs on some other cruise lines.
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