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Norwegian Cruise Line: The Complete Guide

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Table of Contents

About Norwegian Cruise Line sailings

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Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is one of the top players in large-ship cruising, and its fleet is seeing one of its biggest refits in decades with its new Prima fleet of ships. Norwegian Cruise Line ships are also known for their colorful hull art that makes them stand out in ports around the world.

The company dates back to 1966 when it got its start as a Norwegian shipping company. Today, it has become one of the more popular mainstream cruise brands and is part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which also includes the Regent Seven Seas and Oceania brands.

If you’re scrolling through endless Norwegian Cruise Line reviews, let this complete guide to the cruise company give you the larger overview of what sets this brand apart from the rest. There are some interesting innovations from Norwegian that other cruise lines have since adopted, but they started here.

» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now

NCL sails around the world with numerous routes from the U.S. to Caribbean destinations as well as around the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.

Its loyalty program, onboard amenities and variety of cabin types offer something for every type of traveler.

Cabin types: You can expect a range of different cabin sizes and layouts ranging from solo-traveler interior studios and inside cabins for as many as four people to ocean view and balcony cabins. A wide range of suites are also available. The Prima class of ships feature the largest suites, some of which have private whirlpools on the balcony and as many as three bedrooms. 

Main U.S. routes: NCL has plenty of North America sailings from U.S. ports to Alaska, Bermuda, Canada and New England. There are also sailings to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico and the Panama Canal, among others. 

Loyalty program: NCL's Latitudes Rewards loyalty program, which issues one point for every night sailed as well as bonus points for booking suites or participating in certain promotions. At each elite tier, members earn onboard benefits like discounts, laundry service and special event access. The more you travel with NCL, the more benefits you can earn. 

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NCL spans the globe with sailings to every continent (even Antarctica) on a wide range of ships. They leave from both U.S. coasts as well as from Hawaii — where NCL has operated inter-island Hawaiian sailing for almost two decades.

Antarctica.

New Zealand.

Pacific Islands.

Panama Canal.

South America.

Depending on how long you want to sail and where you're going, you can find cruises as brief as two nights and as long as 21 days or more.

» Learn more: The pros and cons of cruises

You'll find lots of good deals on Norwegian, but cruise fares will fluctuate based on the destination, time of year and other variables. You’ll want to keep these factors in mind when booking a cruise, as they'll affect the price of the trip:

Time of year.

Trip duration.

Destination.

Ship class.

Cabin type.

You can find cruise bargains for as low as $350 on four-night cruises, but if you want to splurge and do a longer cruise, expect to pay as much as $4,600 or more (especially if you book a suite or a Haven category room).

Of course, the fare will always vary depending on which cabin type you book.

» Learn more: The best ways to book a cruise

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(Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

When it comes to which NCL ship is best, that depends on what you're looking for in a cruise. If you're traveling with a family, for example, water slides, amusement park-style games and multi-bedroom suites may be important. This means you may prefer one of the line’s newest Prima Class ships: Norwegian Prima or Norwegian Viva.

If you're looking for a romantic vacation, perhaps you'll want a smaller ship or a cabin in The Haven, which is a hotel-within-a-hotel concept with more personalized service. The Haven is only available on select Norwegian ships, including Encore, Viva and Prima.

What is the newest NCL ship?

Norwegian Viva launched in the summer of 2023, making it the newest ship for NCL. It has special features like a three-tier race track, the fastest slides at sea, a food hall with 11 complimentary eateries and a sustainable cocktail bar.

» Learn more: Do you need a passport for a Caribbean cruise?

On any NCL cruise, these benefits are always included:

Accommodations in the category you select at booking.

All meals in snack and buffet restaurants, main dining rooms and, when available, the food hall. 

Free non-bottled water, juice, hot chocolate, and some coffees and teas.

Fitness center access.

Shows and entertainment.

Pools and kids pool play area.

Onboard activities.

Government fees and port taxes.

If you want to partake in specialty dining reservations, Wi-Fi, Norwegian cruise excursions or upgraded beverage packages, you'll have to pay fees (sometimes bundled for greater savings).

» Learn more: Are cruises all-inclusive?

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered many features aboard its ships, some of which other cruise lines have imitated. These are some of the special features you'll find aboard some or all of the ships in NCL’s fleet.

Freestyle dining: open-seating in restaurants with extended hours and no reservations. 

Private island: Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas is a private island for cruise passengers. NCL was the first cruise company to offer access to a private island, and it spurred a growing trend in the industry.

Full Broadway theater productions.

Onboard internet cafe.

Bowling alley at sea.

Ice bar at sea.

Studio accommodations for solo travelers, with a private lounge.

Sustainability-focused onboard bar with zero waste.

Collection of NFTs from a cruise company, available for sale.

Race track at sea.

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Latitude Rewards awards members with points based on each night they sail, and they can earn bonus nights when booking certain categories of suites.

Occasional promotions also offer double-night credit. You will only earn cruise points on eligible sailings where you are paying a traditional fare; promotional sailings with a heavy discount might not be eligible, although you would still receive the benefits at your tier. Also, sailings on sister lines do not qualify for Latitude Rewards cruise points.

As you accrue nights, you earn elite status that delivers onboard benefits that grow with each status tier.

Latitude Rewards levels

The loyalty program has seven levels, from Bronze to Ambassador. The full roster of onboard amenities can be found on the Norwegian Cruise Line website . There are some extra perks that come with certain tiers.

How to earn Latitudes Rewards points

Earn one point for every night you spend on a sailing and double points in suites or The Haven category accommodations.

How to redeem points

This program does not offer any points to redeem. Instead, you would earn benefits on future cruises related to your particular elite tier. Ambassador members (700+ points) earn a free 7-night cruise.

Spending on the Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® won’t earn you Latitude Rewards points (the only way to do that is by sailing with NCL), but it will earn you WorldPoints. This currency can be redeemed for onboard credits on future sailings, Norwegian Cruise Line shore excursions and other travel experiences. The card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making it ideal for world travelers.

With the Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard, you earn WorldPoints as follows:

3x points on NCL sailings.

2x points on eligible airfare and hotel purchases.

1x point on everything else.

Earn 20,000 WorldPoints, which is good for a $200 onboard credit or discount toward a future cruise, if you spend $1,000 or more in the first 90 days the account is open.

How to redeem WorldPoints

Each WorldPoints point is equivalent to one cent, which you can then redeem for things such as:

Stateroom upgrades.

Travel discounts.

Last-minute cruises.

Onboard credits.

Car rentals.

Hotel stays.

Gift cards.

» Learn more: The best cruise lines

No, but you can pay for a Wi-Fi package, which starts at $29.99 per day per device.

No, but all sailings do include accommodations, activities, food and beverages, and entertainment. There is the ability to purchase extra benefits on each ship.

There are several drink package options on NCL sailings:

Non-alcoholic

The Unlimited Soda package includes all fountain soda drinks for $9.95 per person per day.

The Unlimited Starbucks package includes all Starbucks drinks for $12.95 per person per day.

An adult over the age of 21 could opt for a non-alcoholic drink package, but that means everyone else on their reservation must also get non-alcoholic drink packages.

Premium offers most drinks that cost $15 and under. You can pay the difference if you choose a more expensive drink. This unlimited package costs $109 per person per day.

Premium Plus offers even more drink options, mostly premium and top-shelf category labels, bottled water, Starbucks drinks and energy drinks for a flat price of $138 per person per day.

Keep in mind that alcoholic drink packages must be purchased for all people above the age of 21 in the same reservation, and those under 21 must pay for the soda package. The policy is intended to prevent people over the age of 21 from getting alcoholic drinks for other members of their party that did not pay for the alcoholic drink package.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers sailings at different price points to a global range of destinations. It is also known for its beautiful hull art, pioneering Freestyle Dining and adding buzzworthy amenities like ice bars and race tracks to its ships. NCL cruises are fun for all types of travelers, and its loyalty program can provide added perks along the way.

(Top photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024 :

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

75,000 Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card

on Bank of America's website

1.5x-2x Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

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The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line ships and itineraries

Gene Sloan

Looking for a cruise where you can do what you want, whenever you want, without a lot of structure and rules? Norwegian Cruise Line could be your brand.

The Miami-based cruise line pioneered the idea of "freestyle cruising" — cruising without rigid dining schedules, dress codes and formal nights — and it's still the go-to line for vacationers who want a floating resort experience with a casual, laissez-faire vibe.

Instead of a few big main restaurants with fixed seating times, Norwegian ships offer a wide range of eateries and no assigned seating times — just make a reservation. When it's time for dinner, if you want to dress up, fine. There's no rule saying you must, though.

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Norwegian vessels also offer lots of options for daytime fun but are particularly well known for evening entertainment. You'll find everything from music halls with Beatles cover bands and dueling piano bars to theaters with some of the most elaborate shows at sea — including some big-name Broadway productions.

Norwegian ships are also loaded with bars, lounges and nightclubs, including always-busy casinos. Put it all together, and you have vessels with a very lively atmosphere — particularly at night. If you had to compare Norwegian ships to something on land, you'd probably say they were like floating versions of the casino resorts you find in Las Vegas.

Just to be clear, Norwegian is a big-ship line . Its largest vessels are among the biggest cruise ships at sea (they must be, to accommodate everything mentioned above). If you want an intimate cruise experience, Norwegian probably isn't a good choice.

That said, the line does offer some smaller ships that aren't quite as big and bustling as its giants.

Norwegian is also a mass-market brand, not a luxury cruise operator. Still, as we'll explain below, it offers a wide range of accommodations, some of which fall squarely in the luxury segment. In some cases, its ships have an exclusive area full of high-end cabins and suites called The Haven that comes with its own private pools, lounge areas and even restaurants.

In short, if you want to turn a Norwegian cruise into a luxury experience , you can do that, too. Norwegian really is the line where you make the trip what you want it to be.

Related: Which cruise brand is right for you?

3 things TPG loves about Norwegian Cruise Line

  • The do-what-you-want freestyle vibe
  • The wide range of restaurants, bars and nightspots
  • The stellar entertainment

What we could do without

  • The sky-high extra charges

The Norwegian Cruise Line fleet

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Norwegian is the world's fourth-largest cruise line by passenger capacity, with 19 ships that together offer 56,780 berths.

Smaller only than Royal Caribbean , Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises , the brand has become increasingly known for having some of the biggest, most amenity-filled vessels at sea. The line doesn't just operate giant ships, though. More than half of its fleet is comprised of vessels that, by today's standards, are considered almost midsize.

Indeed, Norwegian is essentially two cruise lines in one. The line's nine newest ships are big, bustling floating megaresorts that can carry upwards of 3,000 to 4,000 passengers at double occupancy (and even more with every berth filled). At around 143,000 to nearly 170,000 tons, all eight currently rank among the 50 biggest cruise ships in the world (although their rankings will shift downward as more big ships debut).

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

However, Norwegian's 10 older ships are much more modest in size, measuring around 75,000 to 94,000 tons and carrying closer to 2,000 passengers at double occupancy.

Norwegian thus appeals both to cruisers who like a giant resort vibe and those who prefer something more modest. The key, depending on your tastes, is getting on the right ship in the fleet.

On the big-ship end of the spectrum, Norwegian's four relatively new Breakaway Plus-class vessels — Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Escape — are the line's premier offerings. While not quite as big as Royal Caribbean's giant, Oasis-class ships , they are firmly in the pantheon of the world's cruising giants. They are the Norwegian vessels most packed with restaurants, bars, entertainment and over-the-top attractions.

Unveiled in 2019, Norwegian Encore is, notably, the 23rd biggest cruise ship in the world as of this story's publishing (it will drop in the rankings over the coming years as additional megaships debut). At 169,116 tons, it's bigger than all but three Carnival ships. Only Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have significantly more bigger vessels.

One step down in size from the Breakaway Plus ships are the still-quite-large Breakaway-class ships — Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway — as well as the one-of-a-kind Norwegian Epic and the recently unveiled Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva .

Around 17% smaller than Norwegian's biggest vessels, Prima and Viva are the first tow of six sister ships that the line will roll out between now and 2027 that will significantly change the composition of its fleet. While not the biggest vessels in the Norwegian fleet, these ships will be notably packed with restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and decktop attractions. They also mark a more upscale turn for the line, with more space per passenger than earlier Norwegian ships and lots of suites.

Related: I've been on nearly every Norwegian ship. Here are my first impressions of Norwegian Prima

Norwegian's 10 smaller vessels break down among five classes, but many are roughly the same size and offer similar amenities.

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One notable outlier among the smaller ships is the 2,186-passenger Pride of America. Sporting a patriotic U.S. theme (you'll find venues named after Thomas Jefferson and John Adams), and a distinct array of lounges and entertainment, it's the only big cruise vessel based year-round in Hawaii.

Pride of America notably operates with a mostly U.S. crew, in keeping with regulations governing cruise itineraries that only include U.S. ports.

Related: Our take on the new Norwegian Encore

Destinations and itineraries

Norwegian sails almost everywhere in the world, but its heaviest presence is in the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska.

In a typical summer, the line will deploy nearly half its ships to Europe while sending several more to the West Coast to sail to Alaska from Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Seward, Alaska. It'll also operate trips to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, usually with two ships, and trips to the Bahamas and the Caribbean out of Miami.

During the winter, the line will move many of its vessels to North America to operate sailings to the Caribbean and Bahamas. It also sends a few ships to Asia, Australia and South America, and it'll typically keep a single vessel in Europe, too.

As mentioned above, the line also operates one ship (Pride of America) in Hawaii year-round. It's the only cruise line to offer year-round voyages in Hawaii.

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In North America, Norwegian ships sail out of Baltimore; Boston; Galveston, Texas; New York City; Miami; Tampa; San Juan, Puerto Rico; New Orleans; San Diego; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Honolulu; Vancouver, British Columbia; Quebec City; and Seward, Alaska.

In Europe, Norwegian ships sail out of Amsterdam; Stockholm; Copenhagen; Oslo and Tromso, Norway; Southampton and Portsmouth, England; Le Havre, France; Reykjavik; Lisbon, Portugal; Barcelona; Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Trieste, Italy (near Venice); Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens); and Istanbul.

Related: The best Caribbean cruise for every type of traveler

Who sails Norwegian Cruise Line?

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Norwegian appeals to vacationers who want a big-resort experience at sea with lots of options for dining and entertainment. In that, it's similar to Royal Caribbean — perhaps its closest competitor.

However, unlike Royal Caribbean, Norwegian hasn't retained any of the trappings of old-style cruising. There are no formal nights, as you'll still find on Royal Caribbean ships, or dress codes. Norwegian has also thoroughly done away with the concept of big main restaurants with fixed seating.

Because of that, Norwegian is popular with people who are seeking flexibility — freedom to eat when they want, with whom they want and to dress however they want, for sure, but also more freedom in general to just set their own schedule day and night.

Norwegian cruises are very unstructured vacations, and that's by design.

Like Royal Caribbean ships, Norwegian vessels have an inordinate amount of teen- and tween-friendly attractions — everything from some of the largest waterslides at sea to the only go-kart tracks on the ocean . That makes them particularly appealing to families, including multigenerational groups. Families are a big part of Norwegian's business.

It's not just families that flock to Norwegian, though. The line's ships are designed to offer a little something for everyone, and thus they appeal to a wide demographic, including couples of all ages and even solo travelers (the line has been a leader in adding solo cabins to ships in recent years). They also draw customers with a wide range of incomes.

At their core, Norwegian ships are mass-market ships, with entry-level cabins that are affordable to middle-class travelers. However, overlaid across most vessels are high-end suites and services that are at a luxury level, and the line draws a good number of luxury-seeking travelers.

The exclusive, keycard-accessed suite complex called The Haven (found on 13 of Norwegian's 19 ships) comes with private lounges, pools and other tony features. It's essentially a small, luxury vessel that has been planted atop otherwise middle-class, mass-market megaships. These complexes appeal to well-heeled travelers who want a luxury cruising experience while also getting all the fun attractions, entertainment and dining venues only a mass-market megaship can offer.

Cabins and suites

Norwegian is known for offering a wide range of accommodations on its ships. You'll find everything from relatively low-cost, windowless inside cabins that measure as little as 135 square feet (perfect for the budget traveler) to massive, multi-room suites that are more than 50 times that size.

At the high end, the accommodations are aimed at affluent travelers who, for whatever reason, prefer the megaship experience to that of a luxury ship, and they truly are among the most spectacular accommodations at sea.

Some, such as the giant Garden Villas found on six Norwegian ships — Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star — sprawl over thousands of square feet and have as many as three bedrooms plus separate living rooms and dining rooms.

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The Garden Villas also have private outdoor sun decks and courtyards with hot tubs. Additionally, the Garden Villas on Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star include private outdoor dining areas and steam rooms.

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Depending on the ship, top suites can come with perks such as private butlers and concierges who attend to your every need, access to a private restaurant, a private suite lounge and sun deck, reserved seating in entertainment venues and priority boarding and disembarkation.

On more than half of Norwegian's ships, many of the top suites are part of The Haven. Billed as an upscale "ship within a ship" and aimed at luxury travelers, The Haven is located at the very top of vessels and often comes with private lounges, pools, sunning areas and even restaurants.

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Norwegian is also heralded for kicking off the trend of more solo cabins on cruise ships . In 2010, it debuted an entire zone of small studio cabins for one — 128 in all — on its then-new, 4,070-passenger Norwegian Epic, and it has since added them to seven more new ships.

The studio cabins are tiny at just 100 square feet. However, they're superbly designed to maximize storage space. On the ships that have them, they are clustered around an exclusive Studio Lounge where solo travelers can mingle at daily happy hour gatherings.

Related: What it takes to get concierge lounge access on a cruise ship

Restaurants and dining

Norwegian was an early pioneer of the idea of giving cruisers lots of choices when it comes to restaurants on ships, and even its smallest vessels offer a wide range of options.

On Norwegian's recently built Breakaway Plus-class ships, there are up to 20 places to grab a bite, ranging from high-end French restaurants and steakhouses to casual pubs.

Every vessel has two or three main restaurants and a casual buffet where meals are included in the fare — the latter is usually called the Garden Cafe.

Other included-in-the-fare venues found on some ships include O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar and Grill, a casual pub; an outdoor bar and grill called Topsiders; and casual Asian restaurants that go by many names including Shanghai's Noodle Bar, Ginza and Bamboo.

Also, every ship has a least four and often many more extra-charge eateries. Two found across the entire fleet are Cagney's, the line's signature steakhouse, and Le Bistro, a fine French restaurant. Every ship also has an Italian restaurant, called Onda by Scarpetta or La Cucina. There also are churrascaria restaurants called Moderno on most Norwegian vessels.

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On some ships, you'll also find Ocean Blue, a seafood restaurant; The District Brew House, a gastropub serving craft beers; and a Mexican spot called either Los Lobos or Los Lobos Cantina. Every vessel has some sort of sushi restaurant, often called Sushi or Wasabi, and there are hibachi-style teppanyaki restaurants on nearly every Norwegian vessel.

You might even find Starbucks stores on some ships (the one-year-old Norwegian Prima has two!) and there are Starbucks products on every Norwegian vessel. Also, some ships have private restaurants just for passengers staying in The Haven.

Some of the extra-charge restaurants come with a flat fee (the teppanyaki outlets are $59 per person, not including the cost of drinks). However, most are a la carte, with sometimes hefty pricing. One thing you need to know upfront about going on a Norwegian cruise is that there are a lot of extra charges — and sometimes quite high extra charges — on the line's ships, particularly for things like restaurants.

A surf-and-turf dish at Ocean Blue that combines an 8-ounce filet mignon with a lobster tail costs $55, for example. If you just order a whole lobster, you'll be out $49. The least expensive entree on the menu, a roasted cauliflower steak, is $22.

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If you know you want to eat at several extra-charge restaurants during a single voyage, you can buy one of several dining packages that offer meals at a discount.

Related: The 7 best meals you can have at sea

Entertainment and activities

Few lines offer as broad a range of entertainment and activities on their ships as Norwegian. The line's biggest vessels offer multiple entertainment venues, from theaters to comedy clubs; a wide range of deck-top attractions; large casinos; full-service spas; and even virtual reality attractions. You'll also find a seemingly endless array of bars, lounges and nightspots.

Theaters and shows

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Entertainment is one of the core areas where Norwegian excels, and if you're the kind of person who loves nights out with live music and lively performances on your vacations, you're going to love the line.

Many of Norwegian's biggest ships have state-of-the-art theaters as big as those you'd find on Broadway, with big-name productions to match. Norwegian Bliss, for instance, has the Tony Award-winning "Jersey Boys."

In some cases, the Broadway shows are cut down slightly from the original versions, and the casts aren't quite as seasoned as what you'll find on Broadway. However, these are quality productions. The best part is they are entirely free. Compare that with the hundreds of dollars you'd spend to take your family to a show in New York City.

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Norwegian ships also are jam-packed with music venues. Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Epic, for instance, have the Cavern Club, a reproduction of the British club that gave rise to the Beatles. It comes complete with a cover band that plays the group's greatest hits.

There are also Howl at the Moon dueling piano bars on some Norwegian ships, and there's the lively Q Texas Smokehouse found on Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy (a music-and-food concept that pairs live music with barbecue).

In addition, several Norwegian ships offer dinner theater venues with circus-type productions, and one vessel, Norwegian Getaway, features a magic-infused dinner theater show in a steampunk-inspired space called The Illusionarium.

Several ships also offer comedy club entertainment.

Other interior attractions and activities

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In addition to entertainment spaces, the interiors of Norwegian ships are loaded with other venues where passengers can kick back and let loose day and night.

All but one Norwegian ship (Pride of America) has a casino, and on the line's bigger vessels, they are huge operations. The casino on Norwegian Encore has more than 300 slot machines and 26 table games (including blackjack, roulette, poker and craps), plus its own bar.

On the line's big Breakaway-class and Breakaway Plus-class ships, the casino — along with a large proportion of all onboard restaurants, bars and clubs — sprawls across three central decks connected by an atrium-like space known as 678 Ocean Place (the name derives from the location of the decks, which on each ship are decks 6, 7 and 8). At night, these three-deck complexes become bustling places.

The Breakaway- and Breakaway Plus-class ships have innovative outdoor promenades called The Waterfront lined with seating for many restaurants and bars. The Waterfront is located on Deck 8 of each of the ships, which is one of the main decks for restaurants on them all.

Like the ships of the Breakaway and Breakaway-plus classes, the Prima Class ships have a lively zone that mixes casino space, bars, eateries and entertainment that sprawls across decks 6, 7 and 8. These vessels also have outdoor eating space in an area called Ocean Boulevard.

In addition, Norwegian two new Prima Class ships (Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva), as well as another relatively new Norwegian vessels — Norwegian Encore — have innovative gaming and virtual reality zones called Galaxy Pavilion (a fourth Galaxy Pavilion area on Norwegian Joy is being removed during an overhaul in dry dock scheduled for early 2024).

There's nothing quite like Galaxy Pavilion in the cruise world. The venue has an amazing array of high-tech virtual reality experiences, including incredibly realistic race car simulators (on Norwegian Encore, there are eight in a row along one wall), hang gliding simulators, virtual mazes and a virtual reality "Jurassic Park" ride.

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The Galaxy Pavilion on Norwegian Encore is the biggest of them all. Among added features, it includes a 45-minute escape room experience laced with special effects. Themed around a Spanish galleon, it's designed to be played by up to six people at a time.

Just be warned that you'll pay a hefty fee to play in the Galaxy Pavilion. A weeklong pass to the venue will set you back $199 per person. There also are hourlong passes available for $29 per person, or you can sample a single ride for $8 (except for the escape room, which is priced separately at $15 per person).

There's also a bowling alley on Norwegian Epic and duck pin bowling lanes on Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian ships also all have Mandara Spas, which can be quite big on the bigger vessels, and there are fitness centers on every ship.

Deck-top attractions

What you'll find on the top decks of Norwegian ships will vary quite a bit depending on the vessel. The line's smaller ships will have at least one or two pools, sunning areas and usually a sports court area — but not all that much else.

The big ships are a different story.

On the line's Breakaway-, Breakaway Plus- and Epic-class ships, you'll find giant waterslides and kiddie splash zones and, in some cases, even more over-the-top attractions such as go-kart tracks and laser tag arenas.

The go-kart tracks (now on Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy) are quickly becoming Norwegian's signature can-you-believe-this-is-on-a-ship attraction, and they truly are impressive. The biggest two of them, on Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima, are nearly 1,400 feet long and sprawl over three decks.

Note that this is some serious go-karting. The cars that Norwegian uses can hit speeds up to 32 miles per hour. Three of the speedways, on Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Encore, also feature middle-of-the-track observation areas where your family and friends can cheer you on to victory — and even shoot you with "lasers" that'll give you a boost of power.

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The open-air laser tag arenas also are significant venues that are unlike anything you'll find atop the ships of other lines. The one on Norwegian Encore, which is the largest laser tag arena ever put on a ship, is themed around the lost city of Atlantis and spans the back of the vessel.

As is the case with the Galaxy Pavilion attractions mentioned above, the go-kart and laser tag experiences on Norwegian ships don't come cheap. You'll pay $15 per person for an eight-lap romp on the go-karts. Joining a five-minute laser shootout costs $10 per person. In both cases, you can buy a weeklong pass for $199.

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The top decks of a few Norwegian ships — mostly the bigger ones — also have a ropes course, a climbing wall or both. Some vessels also have miniature golf courses.

You'll find an exclusive, extra-charge, adults-only VIP sunning area on seven Norwegian ships called Vibe Beach Club. The biggest of these areas is on Norwegian Encore, where Vibe Beach Club is an expansive private lounge with a full-service bar, cabanas and two hot tubs designed to hold up to 270 people — far more than on other ships.

For those with money to burn (pricing on Norwegian Encore recently was $99 per person for a day pass), the Vibe Beach Clubs are lovely, secluded deck-top hideaways. However, there's a downside for everyone else on board the ships that have them, which is that they take away from the deck-top lounge space available to everybody else.

Related: The 12 cruise ships with the most spectacular attractions at sea

Children's programs

As is typical for big-ship cruise lines, Norwegian has an extensive children's program, with programs and activities for children as young as 6 months through the age of 17.

The heart of the program, called Splash Academy, brings free, supervised activities daily for children ages 3 to 12. The line splits children here up into three age groups: Turtles (ages 3 to 5), Seals (ages 6 to 9) and Dolphins (ages 10 to 12), and they each have their own age-appropriate activities ranging from treasure hunts to video game competitions. On many ships, there are extensive dedicated spaces for the different groups.

While the free programming ends at 10:30 p.m., you can pay extra to leave your kids at Splash Academy past 10:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m., when it's billed as the Late Night Fun Zone.

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Norwegian also has rooms on its ships for babies and toddlers ages 6 months to 3 years. Called Guppies, the program offers parents a place to play with their youngest children, with occasional youth staff-led activities and games.

Norwegian also offers dedicated teen zones and programming on ships for children ages 13 to 17. Called Entourage, the teen zone is a place for teens to hang out, dance and play games, and it's supervised by counselors who plan activities and challenges.

What to know before you go

Required documents.

A passport is required for all cruises leaving from a non-U.S. port and all Panama Canal sailings (regardless of departure port). If you're a U.S. citizen, you don't need a passport for most sailings from U.S. ports (including sailings to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Mexican Riviera and Alaska).

Instead, you can travel with a state-certified birth certificate or other proof of citizenship and a driver's license or other government-issued photo identification. That said, Norwegian strongly recommends that all travelers bring a passport.

Passports must be valid for at least six months after your trip, and the name on your reservation must be exactly as it's printed on your passport or other official proof of nationality.

Norwegian adds an automatic service charge of $20 to $25 per person, per day, to final bills, depending on your cabin category. Depending on the service you receive, you can adjust the amount up or down at the guest services desk before disembarking. In addition, a 20% gratuity is added to the bill at bars, extra-charge specialty restaurants and ship spas.

Related: Everything you need to know about tipping on a cruise ship

Norwegian has been rolling out faster Wi-Fi systems across its fleet in recent years, so you can now stream video on ships.

Pricing changes over time, but the fastest "premium" service on Norwegian vessels recently was priced at $39.99 per person per day, if you bought it in advance. Norwegian also offers a less expensive plan that doesn't allow video streaming for $29.99 per person per day if purchased in advance.

This pricing is quite a bit higher than what some other lines, such as Carnival or Princess, charge for Wi-Fi. Princess recently was charging just $14.99 per person per day for a WiFi package.

Related: Wi-Fi on ships really is getting better

Carry-on drinks policy

Norwegian allows you to bring bottles of your own wine or Champagne on board, but it will charge you a hefty corkage fee of $15 per bottle for the privilege — even if you plan to drink the bottle in your room. This is a more draconian policy than you'll find at most lines. Most lines allow passengers to bring at least a bottle or two of their own wine on board at no charge.

Smoking policy

On all ships, smoking (including e-cigarette smoking) is only allowed in designated outdoor areas, cigar lounges (for cigar smoking only) and casinos. It's forbidden in cabins and on cabin balconies. Passengers caught smoking in their cabins will be fined $250 per occurrence.

Unlike many cruise vessels, Norwegian ships do not have self-serve launderettes on cabin decks for passenger use. Instead, the line offers extra-charge laundry and dry cleaning services.

Related: Everything you need to know about cruise ship laundry services

Electrical outlets

All cabins on Norwegian vessels have standard North American-style, 110-volt outlets and European-style, 220-volt outlets. Some cabins also have USB ports.

The currency used on all Norwegian itineraries is U.S. dollars. All vessels operate on a cashless system with any onboard purchases you make posting automatically to your onboard account. You'll receive a cruise card you can use to make charges. This same card also lets you into your cabin.

Drinking age

The official drinking age on Norwegian ships is 21. That said, passengers who are 18 to 20 can purchase and consume beer or wine on ships in international waters with permission from parents or legal guardians. The parent or legal guardian must be on board and sign a waiver at guest services. The lower drinking age in international waters does not apply during sailings in Alaska and Hawaii.

Norwegian Cruise Line may be the most laid-back line out there when it comes to dress codes. You can basically wear whatever you want, whenever you want.

The line specifically says that casual wear (think: khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts for men; casual dresses, skirts, shorts, jeans and tops for women) is just fine anytime during the day, at the buffet and in most specialty restaurants.

The line just recommends a step up to "smart casual" outfits in its more formal dining rooms and upscale specialty restaurants. In keeping with Norwegian's laid-backness, this might still mean nothing more than a crisper pair of jeans, or maybe slacks with a collared shirt, for men. Definitely no need for a jacket. For women, slacks, jeans, dresses, skirts and tops will do fine.

Related: What to pack for your first cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line loyalty program

Norwegian has a point-based frequent cruiser program, Latitudes Rewards, that has seven tiers, ranging from Bronze (requiring 1 point) to Ambassador (700 points).

Members earn points for every night they sail on one of the line's ships. They get an additional point for every night they stay in a concierge room, a suite (not including stays in minisuites, or stays in suites resulting from an upgrade) or a room in The Haven. They also get an additional point for every night booked through a Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer.

Hitting the first tier, Bronze, takes one cruise. Reaching the second tier, Silver (20 points), would take at the most three cruises if you're doing seven-night trips.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Norwegian loyalty program

Lower tiers don't bring all that much in terms of truly valuable benefits. You'll get things like priority check-in and discounted spa treatments performed while ships are in port. However, higher levels of the program start to be enticing.

Platinum (75 points) brings free dinners at two extra-charge restaurants, a discount on an internet package, behind-the-scenes ship tours and concierge service.

The top Ambassador level brings a truly wonderful perk: a one-time complimentary seven-night cruise in a balcony cabin. You can pick almost any sailing except trips around Christmas and the new year.

In contrast to airline frequent-flyer programs, cruise line loyalty programs do not require you to requalify for status every year. So, yes, the perks with lower tiers aren't great. But it's not as difficult as it might at first seem to hit the more rewarding higher tiers in just a few years if you're cruising a lot.

A passenger staying in suites and booking through Latitudes Rewards Insider Offers could get to the Platinum level with just four seven-night cruises.

Related: The TPG guide to cruise line loyalty programs

How much does a Norwegian cruise cost?

norwegian cruise line tickets

Norwegian designs its ships to appeal to a broad mix of people, in part by offering a wide range of cabin types at varying price points. On a typical sailing, you might find an entry-level cabin for around $100 a night while a high-end suite is five to 15 times that amount.

At the time of this story's posting, A The Haven two-bedroom family villa on Norwegian Jewel for a seven-night Alaska cruise in August 2024, for example, was going for $13,978 per person, based on double occupancy. That's more than 13 times the cost of the least expensive inside cabin (which was starting at $1,058 per person, based on double occupancy). Oceanview cabins on the same sailing started at $1,698 per person, based on double occupancy.

Note the "based on double occupancy" caveat in the above paragraph. As is typical for cruise lines, Norwegian charges on a per-person basis, not per room, and it prices most cabins based on two people occupying a room. It does offer some cabins for solo travelers on some ships that are priced based on single occupancy.

In general, Norwegian's newer ships including Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima and the Breakaway-class and Breakaway Plus-class vessels will be more expensive than the line's older, smaller ships. However, there are many factors that go into pricing for any given cruise, including the popularity of the specific itinerary, the time of year when the cruise is taking place and changing demand trends.

As you might expect, pricing for all ships will generally be lower during offseason periods such as September and October.

The timing of when you book can also matter. Cruises book up much further in advance than airplanes or hotels, and many cruisers will tell you the best pricing for any given sailing often is available when cruises first go on sale (which can be a good two years before a departure). Booking far in advance will also give you the best chance of getting your preferred cabin type and location on a ship.

Once on board a Norwegian ship, you'll pay extra for most drinks, extra-charge restaurants, spa services, shore excursions, internet service and a few other things — unless you've bought a package for some of these items in advance. Some onboard activities such as go-karting also come with an extra charge. What's included in the fare is your lodging, meals (in non-extra-charge restaurants) and most entertainment.

Related: 15 ways that first-time cruisers waste money on a cruise

How to book

If you're sure you know what sort of cabin you want, on which ship, on which itinerary — and about a dozen other things — you can head over to ncl.com to make a booking directly.

That said, given the complexity of booking a cruise (there are a lot of decisions to make during the booking process — trust us) we recommend you use a seasoned travel agent who specializes in cruises.

A good travel agent will quiz you about your particular interests, travel style and preferences, and steer you to the perfect cruise line, ship, itinerary and cabin for you. They can also help you if something goes wrong just before, during or after your voyage.

If you're sure Norwegian is your line, look for a travel agent who specializes in trips with the brand. You want someone who understands all the little quirks that are unique to Norwegian's cabin categories and, preferably, has done ship inspections to see the cabins firsthand.

Whether you use a travel agent or not, make sure to maximize your purchase when paying for the cruise by using a card that offers extra points for travel purchases . This could be the Chase Sapphire Reserve , which offers 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining (excluding the annual $300 travel credit), or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card , which brings 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining.

Bottom line

For big-ship lovers, Norwegian pretty much has it all. There's tons of great entertainment on Norwegian's vessels, plenty of venues for eating and drinking, and all sorts of deck-top diversions — at least on the line's newest ships. Throw in the brand's low starting prices, and it's an even more compelling package.

If we have a gripe with the line, it's about the "extra-charge creep" we've been seeing for attractions on Norwegian ships such as go-karts and laser tag in recent years, and the higher a la carte prices spreading across the line's onboard restaurants.

Then again, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. If you're on a tight budget, there are plenty of included-in-the-fare choices for dining and entertainment. If money is no object, you can follow a different "journey" through the ship, as Norwegian executives like to say, to a far more high-end vacation.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
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  • What to pack for your first cruise

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Norwegian Cruise Line

Ideal for first-time cruisers, freestyle cruising.

Digital Costco Shop Card with Every Sailing

The ships of Norwegian Cruise Line offer a casual yet contemporary and upbeat environment.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a fun, lively experience, and the Freestyle format offers a less-traditional approach to dining with a more casual dress code. Combined, the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line are a favorite choice for families. Itineraries span the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and more. Plus, receive a Digital Costco Shop Card with every sailing.

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Santorini, Rhodes & Mykonos Cruise

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7 Nights from $1,028*

Morocco, Canary Islands & Namibia Cruise

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7 Nights from $1,528*

Barbados, Antigua & St. Lucia Cruise

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Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize Cruise

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Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia Cruise

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Harvest Caye, Cozumel and Roatan Cruise

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Ireland and Scotland Cruise

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*Price shown is per person based on double occupancy and is valid for select stateroom categories only. Click on the Terms & Conditions link below for details.

Explore Norwegian Cruise Line Ships

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Norwegian Aqua

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Introducing the all-new Norwegian Aqua, the next stunning ship in a brand-new Prima Class, designed to live life to the fullest. Guests will stay connected to the ocean with extraordinary experiences that bring them closer to the horizon, unwind in our most spacious accommodations to date and experience first-rate service so they can live it up every second.

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Norwegian Bliss

4.2 of 5 stars

Imagine exhilaration while exploring the wilds of Alaska. Imagine relaxation upon finding your slice of paradise in The Caribbean. Imagine Bliss. That’s what you’ll experience when you vacation on board Norwegian Bliss. Custom-built for the spectacular, Norwegian Bliss features a revolutionary Observation Lounge for you to soak in every stunning moment, from bald eagles soaring over glaciers to dolphins splashing through warm turquoise waters. Come aboard and experience the best dining, entertainment, and amenities at sea against a backdrop of unrivaled natural beauty. Whether you choose to go tropical or a little wild, there’s one word to describe the experiences awaiting you on one of Norwegian’s newest ships: Bliss.

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Norwegian Breakaway

4.1 of 5 stars

Norwegian Breakaway is ready to whisk you away to the tropics. Take a Bermuda cruise and build a pink sand castle in the spring and summer. Warm up your fall and winter on a Southern Caribbean cruise. Or swim with dolphins in the Bahamas and Florida. Breathe in the fresh ocean air and connect with the sea like never before along The Waterfront, a quarter-mile oceanfront promenade lined with restaurants, bars and spectacular views. Indulge in 29 dining experiences, including three new, dedicated seafood venues. And enjoy dazzling Broadway performances - Rock of Ages, Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams & Dinner Jungle Fantasy.

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Norwegian Dawn

4.0 of 5 stars

Norwegian Dawn is built for Freestyle Cruising with 14 dining options, nine bars and lounges, fitness center and spa, Broadway Theater, casino, three pools and more - making sure you never run out of things to see and do on your trip.

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Norwegian Encore

Whip around the Norwegian Encore Speedway, the largest race track at sea. Experience an otherworldly virtual reality wonderland at Galaxy Pavilion. Raise the roof every night at our spectacular shows: winner of six Tony Awards®, Kinky Boots is a must-see Broadway hit, or sing along to classic rock hits at The Choir Of Man. Give your taste buds a double dose of delicious at the many dining options, including the brand-new Onda by Scarpetta. Do all this and so much more on Norwegian Encore. Because once is never enough.

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Norwegian Epic

Explore the history of the Mediterranean, feel the balmy breezes of the Caribbean, or just sit back and relax while you cruise across the Atlantic. Whatever you choose to do, Norwegian Epic is sure to dazzle. Awarded Best Cruise Ship Entertainment by Frommer’s, Norwegian Epic keeps the bar high with two dazzling shows: Burn the Floor and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Not only is Norwegian Epic offering world-class performers but a new wave of accommodations as well - from Studios, designed and priced for the solo traveler, to privacy in The Haven. Add a wide variety of dining options and you'll understand why this is Freestyle Cruising on a truly grand scale.

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Norwegian Escape

Get ready to sail on one of the most exciting ships on the seas! Norwegian Escape is ready to whisk you away to The Caribbean from Miami and Orlando, Canada & New England and Bermuda from New York, and the Mediterranean and Northern Europe from London, Rome or Berlin. Indulging in every whim is what unforgettable vacations are made of. Get ready to chase sunsets on The Waterfront. Sip on some of Napa's best blends at The cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Or try our unique specialty hand-crafted cocktails. Be dazzled by Broadway hits like After Midnight. Discover a new world of freedom and flexibility on Norwegian Escape.

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Norwegian Gem

On board, you'll find 16 dining options and 13 exciting bars and lounges where you can just hang out. There's even a bowling alley (a cruise industry first!) and rock climbing wall.

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Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway combines the wonderful amenities Norwegian has to offer with unforgettable destinations. Stroll The Waterfront, an innovative, industry-first open-air promenade designed to connect guests with the ocean like no other cruise line. Indulge in more than 28 dining options, experience the thrill of five water slides, and three levels of action-packed activities in the sports complex. The excitement and entertainment continues with the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet. Get ready to explore the white sand beaches and deep-blue waters on a Bahamas or Caribbean cruise, explore the history of the Baltic on a Europe Cruise, or just relax at sea on a Transatlantic cruise.

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Norwegian Jade

Your dream vacation is waiting on the Norwegian Jade. Sail on a Mediterranean cruise and explore castles, cathedrals, romantic islands and sophisticated cities of Europe. Or toss your schedule to the breeze on a Caribbean Cruise and bask on pristine beaches while enjoying island cocktails. As you cruise from port to port along stunning coastlines, you'll be entertained day and night with exciting nightclubs, award-winning restaurants, a grand casino, swimming pools, a pampering spa and so much more. There's tons of fun for kids too, so bring the whole family and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.

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Norwegian Jewel

Norwegian Jewel is like a giant, floating luxury resort with swimming pools, hot tubs, a health spa, casino, plus much more to customize your vacation. Sixteen dining options, including 24-hour room service, and 13 bars and lounges.

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Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Joy is the ultimate Breakaway Plus Class vessel, joining Norwegian Bliss as a sister ship. It offers guests the superior service, world-class entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. This ship pairs innovative design and modern luxurious décor with an array of options that allows guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their vacation at their own unique pace and style. Norwegian Joy features many of the same great amenities plus some new, exciting features.

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Norwegian Pearl

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Norwegian Prima

3.8 of 5 stars

To the trailblazers and the tastemakers. To the first-time seekers and explorers of the extraordinary. This one was made for you. Welcome aboard Norwegian Prima, the first in a new class of ships designed to elevate every expectation. Explore the greater wide open with the most outdoor deck space of any new cruise ship. Unwind in the most spacious accommodations and enjoy first-rate service so you won’t wait a second for that second round. Be the First to discover a new experience at sea. Images of ship are an artist rendering.

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Norwegian Sky

When you cruise to the Bahamas from Miami for 3- or 4- days aboard Norwegian Sky, you'll get to experience all the freedom and flexibility of our exclusive Freestyle Cruising.

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Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Spirit's accommodations give you whatever you need to vacation your way. There's something for everyone including spacious suites, over 300 family friendly connecting staterooms and nearly 600 ocean view staterooms - most with private balconies.

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Norwegian Star

3.9 of 5 stars

Norwegian Star is built for Freestyle Cruising with 13 dining options, nine bars and lounges, fitness center and spa, Broadway Theater, casino, three pools and more - making sure you never run out of things to see and do on your trip.

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Norwegian Sun

Norwegian Sun was built specifically for Freestyle Cruising, so whether you want to rejuvenate at the Body Waves Spa, hang with friends at the Sun Club Casino or simply do nothing at all - they've got you covered.

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Norwegian Viva

Introducing the all-new Norwegian Viva, the next stunning ship in a brand-new Prima Class, designed to live life to the fullest. Guests will stay connected to the ocean with extraordinary experiences that bring them closer to the horizon, unwind in our most spacious accommodations to date and experience first-rate service so they can live it up every second. Images are an artist rendering.

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Pride of America

Aloha! Come aboard Pride of America, the only cruise ship that sails round trip from Honolulu year-round so you can vacation on your schedule. As you journey from one exotic island to the next, learn about the Hawaiian culture through the eyes of native ambassadors on board the ship. Island hop Hawaii in style, with a wide variety of restaurants and bars and lounges, excellent family accommodations, spacious suites and balconies – perfect for whale watching, witnessing Kilauea Volcano or taking in the dramatic views of the Napali Coast.

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Ship Rating

5 of 5 stars

An outstanding luxury cruise experience with an exceptional level of attention to detail. Expect superb service from all levels of officers and staff.

4.0 of 5 stars

A very good quality all-around cruise experience aboard a ship that offers a range of facilities and services.

3.0 of 5 stars

A decent, unpretentious cruise experience, with a moderate amount of space and quality in furnishing and fittings.

2.0 of 5 stars

A modest quality cruise experience with less attention to detail and service.

1.0 of 5 stars

Expect a very basic cruise experience with minimal attention to service, hospitality and finesse.

0.5 of 5 stars

Offers some, but not all, of the amenities and services associated with the next highest star rating.

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Air Reservations

If you plan to fly to your embarkation port, you must decide whether to arrange airline tickets on your own or use the AIR/SEA program offered by the cruise line. Here are the main considerations to help you with your decision.

Advantages of Arranging Your Own Airline Tickets The main advantages of securing your own airline tickets are that you will be able to select the airline you fly and you will have control over the timing and routing of your flights. You may wish to fly a particular airline to use or earn frequent flyer miles, or because that carrier has nonstop service to your port city. If you arrange your own airline tickets you will have more control over these variables. If you utilize the cruise line's AIR/SEA program, you may be given an air schedule with an overnight flight, multiple connections or in some cases, a forced overnight stay at your expense. For these reasons, we recommend that you arrange your own airline tickets. Advantage of Using the AIR/SEA Program The main reason to book flights through the cruise line is the added protection you receive with your purchase. Unexpected events can affect travel plans. Flight delays or cancellations, changes in cruise ship arrival or departure times and cancellation of sailings altogether can force you to rebook for a later time or date or seek a refund for your air tickets. If you secure your air tickets through the cruise line, some lines will assist you in working with the airline to make alternate flight plans or apply for a refund.

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Join the Pre-Sale

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Summer of '99 And Beyond Lives On

And we want to see you there.

Experience

Relive The Memories

Reminisce at the epic moments captured while on board the inaugural sailings. Photos are available to download for free! Summer of '99 and Beyond photos will be posted within 7 - 10 days of disembarkation.

4-night round trip cruise to the Bahamas

Experience a 4-night round trip cruise from Miami, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas aboard the magnificent Norwegian Gem, featuring first class amenities including 10 Restaurants, 8 Bars, Casino, Basketball Court, Spa, Gym, Outdoor Track and much more.

4-night round trip cruise to the Bahamas

Explore Nassau

Spend time exploring Nassau's gorgeous beaches and charming pastel-colored architecture. Swim with the dolphins, snorkel with colorful fish, or find some of the best duty-free shopping on Bay Street.

Hurtigruten Expeditions is now HX!

  • Norway Attractions

Live the Legend of Norway: Book Now and Save!

Get 25% off the regular price of signature voyages or 30% off hurtigruten’s coastal express sailings., our voyages.

There are two main ways to sail with us and experience the many wonders of the Norwegian coast.

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All-inclusive food and drink to our top-handpicked destinations

Award-winning Norway’s Coastal Kitchen cuisine

Up to 14 ports, with several hours to fully experience each

Wide choice of inclusive drinks in the ship's restaurants and bar

Large Coastal Experience Team on board for more guiding

Choose from The Svalbard Line and The North Cape Line 

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Our famous route connecting local communities since 1893

The original Coastal Express we founded over 130 years ago

Up to 34 diverse ports, with ten minutes to four hours in each

Regional Norwegian ingredients sourced as we sail

Travel like a local alongside Norwegians

Sail the roundtrip route or tailor your voyage

For those seeking a different ​kind of Arctic adventure

Go beyond Norway’s coast on sailings along the edges of remote Arctic and Atlantic islands.

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Voyages along Greenland and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard

Regions characterized by glaciers, fjords, and majestic wildlife

Unique ways of life at the top of the world

A sense of adventure entwined with utter tranquility

Journey into the Arctic wilderness on The Spitsbergen Adventurer

Sail with Greenlanders and a local guide on Arctic Umiaq Line

Explore the Northern Lights with us

Embark on a celestial journey during the anticipated Solar Maximum of 2024-25 , promising the most spectacular Northern Lights display in over a decade. Seize the opportunity to witness, learn , and photograph this extraordinary phenomenon now.

Book confidently with our Northern Lights Promise – get a free trip if the lights don't appear on select voyages ( Ts&Cs apply ).

Don't miss this celestial spectacle – book your journey and embrace the magic of the Northern Lights with us!

Northern lights on deck Norway HGR 122388 Photo Agurtxane Concellon-crop

Featured Voyages

Choose how you want to discover the Norwegian coast.

The Coastal Express

The Coastal Express

Bergen – Kirkenes – Bergen (Roundtrip)

Departure Dates

Regular departures

Price from $1,853

The Coastal Express – North

The Coastal Express – North

Bergen – Kirkenes (Northbound)

Price from $3,419

The Coastal Express – South

The Coastal Express – South

Kirkenes – Bergen (Southbound)

Price from $1,075

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Scandinavian Tour Packages

Discover your perfect Nordic adventures featuring handpicked immersive experiences:

-Escorted groups with expert guides

-Cruise-inclusive journeys with included activities

-Immersion into Nordic culture & scenery

-Chance to see Northern Lights

-Ocean to plate dining

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Everything you need to know about traveling on a Hurtigruten voyage, including:

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Travel to Norway

  • Norwegian Cruise Line

Priority Tender Tickets - How does this work?

By BostonGal35 , August 3, 2018 in Norwegian Cruise Line

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Cool Cruiser

BostonGal35

So we are Plat and Plat Plus and therefore get Priority Tender Tickets.

Some questions.

Does this mean we are on the first boat out and dont have to wait in line? Or do we go down for tender tickets at any time?

Can i get tickets for my whole group (4 others) or will they only give us tickets for the 2 of us?

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PelicanBill

PelicanBill

Procedures can vary by port, but what I recall is that the first couple of tenders were for priority guests and you did not need to do anything but show up. In some ports the people with ship excursions also had prioirty before general tendering began.

For general tendering, in some ports you needed to sign up for tender times, in others you did not.

10,000+ Club

KeithJenner

Generally latitudes priority tendering just means that you can join the queue at any time. You don’t need to get a ticket in advance, but you don’t jump the queue.

As stated above, tendering procedures can vary from place to place, but this has been our experience at all of the tender ports since we qualified for this.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

30,000+ Club

BirdTravels

So we are Plat and Plat Plus and therefore get Priority Tender Tickets.   Some questions.   Does this mean we are on the first boat out and dont have to wait in line? Or do we go down for tender tickets at any time?   Can i get tickets for my whole group (4 others) or will they only give us tickets for the 2 of us?

Your status will allow you to join the line without a reservation. You still need to wait in line. Along with all of the non-escorted shore ex people. And other priority disembarkers.

When we “joined the line” on the Epic, there were three full tender groups in front of us. Took 45 to get on a tender. Then wait for them to pack the tender full before we left.

The only ones that moves to the front of the line are suite guests.

How do you know if your itinerary will do tenders to port?

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

so its probably better to stand in line then at 530 am and get the first tender? im concerned about our port stop in Santorini as ive read some horror stories online about tendering there.

FredZiffle

The only times we've tendered since becoming Platinum, the Concierge escorted us to the front of the tender line each time. No waiting in line at all.

casofilia

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/about/accessible-cruising and then scroll down till you come to the list towards the end

so its probably better to stand in line then at 530 am and get the first tender?

Remember that Suites+ guests and also NCL Shorex guests will get priority.

50,000+ Club

Budget Queen

I've been in a LOT of tenders as plat/+ and it's a rare single event if you get a concierge escort. Most of the time, it's like stated above, you join the line anytime,, where others will be given numbers, and called. You are allowed to take a few guests.

Especially for Santorini get in line EARLY. I'd suggest an hour prior to the posted time, if you have to get to something scheduled. This is a priority port that everyone wants off the ship. .

I've been in a LOT of tenders as plat/+ and it's a rare single event if you get a concierge escort. Most of the time, it's like stated above, you join the line anytime,, where others will be given numbers, and called. You are allowed to take a few guests.   Especially for Santorini get in line EARLY. I'd suggest an hour prior to the posted time, if you have to get to something scheduled. This is a priority port that everyone wants off the ship. .
Do they leave priority tickets in you cabin so that, when you join the tender line, you have something to show if asked? Our next cruise has 2 tender ports, Grand Cayman and GSC. We probably won't be in a hurry to get off the ship anyway but I'd just like to know what to expect.

Medtech2

Your key card has your status so that is what you would show, although we’ve never been asked.

How, pray tell, did you get the concierge to escort you as a platinum?

You ask and if agreeable a meeting time & place will be arranged!!!

90,000+ Club

Unless you must be 1st off, there's little need for priority anything. After the first couple tenders, it's simply walk up, get on and go!

After the first couple tenders, it's simply walk up, get on and go!

You must have been very lucky, on half empty ships or in a suite. I have been on ships where the tender tickets up to 25+ have been issued

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Norwegian Cruise Line expands its presence across Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand with over 30 new itineraries

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Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel with a 57-year history of breaking boundaries, launches over 30 new port-intensive cruises across Asia Pacific,  Australia and New Zealand, for a total of 85 voyages from September 2024 through March 2026 on new-to-the-region ships – Norwegian Spirit, Sun and Sky.

For the first time in its history, NCL will deploy the most ships in this part of the world for an extended season of bucket-list worthy voyages from 15 departure ports, including Auckland, New Zealand; Bali (Benoa) Indonesia; Bangkok (Laem Chabang); Manila, Phillippines; Papeete (Tahiti), French Polynesia; Seoul (Incheon), South Korea; Singapore; Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan; Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan; Vancouver, Canada; Sydney, Melbourne and for the first time, Cairns, Australia, and Lautoka, Fiji.  This will also mark the Brand’s first summer cruises in Asia, offering guests more choices to discover the diverse scenery, culture and culinary delights of the region.

Asia is of growing interest among travelers, with the Asia-Pacific region set to be the primary driver of travel growth, up 20% over 2023 1 . With top destinations in Asia like Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Taipei City, Taiwan and Hong Kongin, NCL is living up to its commitment to deliver  immersive port-rich itineraries to these cities and more.  These new nine-to-19-day voyages offer guests an average of 10 hours in port to over 60 dream locations, including Brand-first calls to Albany, Busselton, Fremantle, Port Douglas and Townsville, Australia; Matsuyama and Niigata, Japan; Aitutaki in the Cook Islands; and Suva, Fiji.  Spanning 18 months, this season will also feature 36 overnight port stays in Asia Pacific to 11 unique places.  Some of the highlights include Osaka, Japan, where guests can explore over 1,600 temples and fascinating heritage; Himeji, Japan, home to Himeji Castle, the iconic UNESCO World Heritage site; and Tokushima, Japan, where guests can savor a wide variety of culinary specialties, as well learn about the town’s deep history and culture, and even visit the Tatsue-ji Temple.  Other overnight calls include Hong Kong, where ancient traditions blend with modern marvels, making it Asia’s culinary capital; Bangkok (Laem Chabang), home to splendid golden temples and palaces, including the revered Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the opulent Royal Palace; and Melbourne, Australia, where guests can spend extra time exploring striking architecture, chic galleries and even encounter native wildlife at nearby parks.  Additionally, for the first time, NCL will overnight in Bali and the idyllic island of Lembar (Lombok), Indonesia.

“Our Company is committed to delivering more opportunities for our guests to explore the world with remarkable vacation experiences…and having lived in Asia with my family, I can attest to it being one of those unforgettable places,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “With the increased interest in more immersive and exotic itineraries, we are excited to expand our season and offer additional ships to cater to travelers looking to uncover the most sought-out cities in the region, but also those less discovered.  Countries in Asia Pacific provide unmatched diversity, from so many captivating cultures across Asia to island-hopping in the South Pacific and the rugged natural beauty of Australia and New Zealand. Now, with more voyages, choice of ships and departure ports to choose from, guests can curate their vacation to this region their way.”

Norwegian Spirit will debut in Asia on 26 th  May, 2024 for a 10-day Japan cruise departing from Tokyo. Then, in the fall, she will return for a season of nine-to-15-day voyages to Japan and Southeast Asia, from 22 nd  September 2024 through 17 th  November, 2025, exploring both well-known and off-the-beaten-path cities that invite a deeper exploration, and truly come alive after dark, such as Himeji, Osaka, Tokyo and Tokushima, Japan; Hong Kong; Incheon, South Korea; Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan; and Bangkok (Laem Chabang).  From December 2025 to March 2026, she will return to offer a series of 11-to14-day journeys to-and-beween Australia and New Zealand.

This December, Norwegian Sun will make her Australian debut, arriving in Brisbane and Melbourne on 18 th  and 21 st  of December, 2024, following a leisurely 18-day French Polynesia and South Pacific sailing, which departs Papeete on 3 rd  December and visits eight ports. She will sail a section of 12-to-15-day voyages between Australia and New Zealand, including a new collection of Brand first itineraries to the Great Barrier Reef and South Pacific between Cairns and Lautoka, Australia, which is also NCL’s first turnaround in both ports.  She will also sail six island-hopping French Polynesia cruises between Fiji and Tahiti and two Asia cruises through 21 st  May, 2025. From November 2025 to March 2026, Norwegian Sun will sail a selection of 11-to-15-day itineraries exploring Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and other highly sought out destinations in Southeast Asia. In addition, Norwegian Sky will debut in Asia in January 2025, offering select Japan and Southeast Asia cruises ranging from 10-to-17 days through March 2025.

Guests looking to maximise their Asia Pacific cruise adventure can take advantage of NCL’s Free at Sea program, which delivers more value with holiday enhancing benefits including specialty dining credits, unlimited beverage package, shore excursion credits, Wi-Fi minutes and more; as well as extend their holiday with one of NCL’s Cruisetours in Auckland, New Zealand; Taipei, Taiwan; as well as Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney.

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Norwegian Cruise Investor Day: More Ships, More Premium – And Cost Cuts

Sean O'Neill , Skift

May 22nd, 2024 at 2:55 PM EDT

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is setting its sights on the premium market, enticing well-heeled travelers with the promise of more balcony cabins and a "ship-within-a-ship" concept that caters to multigenerational cruisers.

Sean O'Neill

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings unveiled adjustments to the company’s strategy as part of its investor day for analysts.

The company, whose brands span Norwegian Cruise Line , Oceania Cruises , and Regent Seven Seas Cruises , had a culture established by its founder, Frank Del Rio, who retired last year. Executives said the company now needs a culture more focused on efficiency. “We believe our team can collectively deliver better, and we will,” said CEO Harry Sommer .

Here are key takeaways:

“A Ship Within a Ship”

  • Adding capacity : Norwegian ordered eight new cruise ships, which will add almost 25,000 more berths after they all come online by 2036.
  • Balcony Bump: The core customer base includes travelers in the middle- and upper-income tiers. Thus, many of its new ship designs are tilting premium. They’ll include a higher mix of balcony cabins, which bring in twice the revenue of interior cabins and are more profitable.
  • Changing the cabin mix : When families have multi-generational trips, not everyone can afford the same level of service. In response, Norwegian aims for what’s metaphorically a ship-within-a-ship concept.
  • Something for everyone : “Maybe the rich grandparents want to be in pure luxury, where they have all the amenities, concierge, butler, private dining, but still have the amenities of a big ship, with lots of entertainment, other dining venues, lots of activities to do at night,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian, in a CNBC interview .

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Streamlining operations

  • Cutting costs : Norwegian wants to cut $300 million in recurring costs over the next three years. It has created a team looking for surgical cuts. Two-thirds of the planned savings will likely come from ship operating costs, followed by marketing and other functions. “It 100% starts with changing the culture,” said Mark Kempa, chief financial officer.
  • Port power play : One way to save money is to use port facilities more efficiently. Today 65% of the group’s itineraries involve the same top-10 ports for departure. By 2026, the goal is to have 80% of routes depart from those ports. Florida ports are broadly cheaper than sailing out of Europe and Alaska, and the company plans more itineraries from the Sunshine State to the Caribbean.
  • AI to attract guests : Norwegian said it’s investing in AI to streamline operations, from revenue management to customer service. Execs said the company did a better job of monitoring data quality and increased its marketable database by 77% between 2019 and last year. They added that tests of quasi-personalized campaigns were promising.
  • AI to make more efficient route maps . The company uses AI-driven predictive models to optimize itinerary planning by integrating revenue and cost data. These models can also help trim the company’s carbon footprint.
  • AI to enhance pricing . Norwegian taps revenue management systems to predict guest purchasing behavior and discover how to maximize revenue from cabin upgrades and other onboard sales.

New financial targets

  • Margin call : Norwegian aims to increase its adjusted EBITDA margin by 800 basis points to 39% by 2026, a record percentage of revenue.
  • Stemming the tide of debt : The company intends to slash its leverage to the mid-4-times-earnings range by 2026. Its net leverage ratio, calculated as net debt divided by adjusted EBITDA, stood at 7.3-times-earnings at the end of 2023. Last year, Norwegian returned to a profit for the first time since 2019 .

Cruise and Tours Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at?  The performance of cruise and tours sector stocks within the ST200 . The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including both cruise lines and tour operators.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200)  combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more cruise and tours sector financial performance .

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Tags: cruise , cruise earnings , cruise industry , cruise lines , cruise ships , earnings , family travel , norwegian , norwegian cruise line , norwegian cruise line holdings

Photo credit: A racetrack on a balcony of the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship, the Bliss. Source: © 2024 NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., d/b/a Norwegian Cruise Line. All rights reserved. Norwegian

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Norwegian Cruise Line Is S&P 500’s Top Performer. It Lifted Guidance Twice This Month.

S hares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings were rising after the company increased its financial outlook for the second time in less than a month, and announced a new strategic plan.

Norwegian stock was up 8.5% to $17.08 in afternoon trading Monday, making it the leading performer in the S&P 500. Other cruise stocks were higher too, with Carnival and Royal Caribbean gaining 8.1% and 6.2%, respectively.

The cruise line says it will discuss a new strategy at an investor day at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. That strategy, titled “Charting the Course,” focuses on four pillars “encompassing people, product, growth platform and performance; and three-year financial and sustainability targets geared at enhancing shareholder returns,” according to a news release.

Norwegian now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share of $1.42, up from a prior call for $1.32. The consensus call among analysts tracked by FactSet was for $1.36. “We have continued to see very strong demand and record bookings,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Kempa said in the release.

This isn’t the first time Norwegian has increased its forecast. When the company reported earnings at the start of this month, it lifted its full-year earnings forecast to $1.32 from $1.23.

By the end of 2026, the company expects adjusted earnings per share to reach about $2.45. It foresees a margin of about 39% on adjusted operational earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization.

Write to Emily Dattilo at [email protected]

Norwegian Cruise Line Is S&P 500’s Top Performer. It Lifted Guidance Twice This Month.

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  21. Priority Tender Tickets

    May 17, 2003. UK. #3. Posted August 3, 2018. Generally latitudes priority tendering just means that you can join the queue at any time. You don't need to get a ticket in advance, but you don't jump the queue. As stated above, tendering procedures can vary from place to place, but this has been our experience at all of the tender ports since ...

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