The Norwegian Cruise Line Approach – Freestyle Cruising
At the start of the new millennium (the year 2000) Norwegian embraced the trend of the generation fondly called the Millennials. This was a generation that embraced experiences and time with friends and family over the accumulation of things. They are a generation that loves to do things their own way and chart their own path. Norwegian Cruise Line jumped on the bandwagon and introduced what they called Freestyle Cruising. Most cruisers today now prefer that style of cruising–they want to live by their own schedule, be free to participate in what they want, and design their own vacation.
Feel Free to Do Whatever While Onboard
Norwegian Cruise Line began offering guests the flexibility and freedom to be able to vacation their own way. If you’re on a Norwegian cruise, you can dress up or dress down–whatever hits your fancy. You can feel free to watch the sun rise in the Caribbean from your private balcony or sleep in. You are free to take in activities like go carts on the top of the ship that have never been offered before–or watch never-before seen shows. You can eat what, where, when, and with whomever you want each day–some ships have up to 29 dining options. At the end of the cruise, you choose when you disembark the ship in the way that works for you (within reason, of course). Whether you are on the shore or on board, you can do as much or as little as you want…it is completely up to you. With so many great choices, you really are free to do almost whatever.
Freestyle dining is unlike anything else offered by other cruises. Ships have up to 12 complimentary dining options and up to 17 specialty dining options. You could literally have more places to eat than there are days on your cruise. As a cruiser, you are able to mix and match your dining experiences with your activities–dining when and where it fits your schedule. There are so many possibilities: Sushi after a great day of snorkeling, a steak after a long day of sightseeing, burgers and pizza to celebrate your kid’s 8th birthday, French feast before attending a Broadway-style show. But for those times when you want a little more privacy, a meal on your balcony.
But Freestyle dining isn’t just about the food; it also applies to dining attire. On many cruise lines, you sometimes feel inclined to keep up with formal, semi-formal, and casual evenings whether or not you want–it’s in your daily guide. Norwegian Cruise Line likes to keep it simple. They offer Cruise Casual. What is Cruise Casual? Well, for women this includes summer as well as casual dresses, skirts, capri or regular pants, jeans, dress shorts and a tops. For the guys in your group, khakis, jeans, casual shorts, and dress shorts are fine.
At Le Bistro (a French restaurant) and the aft main dining room, the atmosphere is just a hint more sophisticated. Men are asked to wear jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toe shoes. For women, jeans, slacks, dresses, skirts and tops are acceptable. Kids 12 and under should feel free to wear nice shorts in all the dining venues.
At the outdoor grills and the buffet, something as simple as swimwear and a shirt or a cover-up with footwear is acceptable.
Many of the dining venues take advantage of the freshest local ingredients and will showcase regional specialties. If you’re a health enthusiast, you can request something cooked-to-order, gluten free dishes, low-carb dishes, and vegetarian dishes.
Free to Choose Stateroom Type
Norwegian Cruise Line has the widest choice of accommodations at sea with 45 different categories. They also have largest suites (the Garden Villas measuring over 6,000 sq. ft. on the Dawn Class) and the largest number of interconnecting suites and staterooms. Wherever it is you want to rest your head or hang out, they have got you covered.
Cruise line industry’s first staterooms for solo travelers. When the Norwegian Epic was introduced to the fleet, they brought along a new category for solo travelers named The Studios. These cabins are up to 107 sq. ft. and located in a private area that requires keycard access–only available to Studio guests. There is a private Studio Lounge where Studio guests can enjoy complimentary snacks, coffee, and espresso all day long–it’s also a great place to relax and meet other Studio guests. The Studios can now also be found on the Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Pride of America, and soon to be coming to the Norwegian Encore.
There truly is a cabin category for every size and budget.
If luxury is what you enjoy, don’t miss out on the Haven — a private luxury world on board. These are the most luxurious Suites and Villas. The Haven can provide you with the finest amenities and the expert services of a concierge and 24-hour certified butlers. When you step outside, you’ll find yourself in a secluded courtyard with a pool where you can spend your days at sea dining, enjoying the privacy, and relaxing. Although Norwegian calls it The Haven, you can call it paradise.
Activities and Entertainment
Norwegian Cruise Lines has one of the youngest fleet at sea–and as such they offer many cutting-edge activities. You can splash down on a multi-story waterslide, go bowling, rock climbing, attend a comedy snow and a Broadway performance–all while traveling at sea to your next destination.
Norwegian also offers a lot of great shore excursions. Their operators are safe, reliable, licensed, and insured. As for myself, these are all things that are important to me when I book a shore excursion in a country I am unfamiliar with.
Happy Family and Freestyle Cruising
A cruise can be the perfect way to spend time with your family. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy half a dozen cruises with my immediate family and extended family–creating the perfect memories and stories that we’ve been able to talk about for years and years. With Freestyle Cruising it is easier to create the vacation of your dreams.
Norwegian recognizes that sometimes–even on family getaways–kids want the option of doing things on their own (and adults do, too). Splash Academy for kids and Entourage for teens are programs that Norwegian offers to keep them entertained. You can slip off to a dinner date or a show while the kids are off having their own fun. The younger ones can make pizza and go on treasure hunts while the older teens can hang out at swim parties and dance clubs. Even the tiniest kiddos (Norwegian calls them Guppies) ranging in age from 6 months to 3 years have activities available. As a bonus: the kids’ programs are completely complimentary.
Ports Aplenty for Every Bucket List
Sometimes, even with all the great bonuses of a Norwegian cruise, it’s the destination that brings a cruiser to Norwegian Cruise Lines. They offer over 100 ports of call–so many to choose from. As I write this article, I am planning a family group cruise to see Prince Edward Island–the inspiration for the Anne of Green Gables stories. Norwegian was the only cruise line that offered the itinerary at the time of year and enough activities to meet this group’s needs.
Choose a Ship That Appeals to Your Tastes and Needs
Norwegian Cruise Line has one of the youngest fleets at sea–and that’s an important distinction for Norwegian (especially if you are always wanting to try what’s new). All ships built or renovated since 2001 have been built with Freestyle Cruising in mind, with the flexibility that other cruise lines only wish they had.
Norwegian’s fleet is made up of different classes of ships, with several of their ships that are very unique in design. All ships within a specific class have very few differences. That being said, each of the ships has their own personalities–like the designs on the hull of each ship.
Different ship classes appeal to different cruisers. A good travel advisor should ask you questions to match you with the ship that has the features you enjoy–a water park, ice bar, seafood restaurant, rock climbing, escape room, electric go-carts, and the list goes on.
Freestyle Cruising Blows Out of the Water Previous Assumptions About Cruising
Many people associate cruising with crowding, herding, waiting in lines, and eating when you’re told and with people you don’t know–every single night.
And you know what? A lot of times they are right. Some cruse lines are stuck in the old profile of cruising: rigid schedules, seat assignments, set dining times, and ships designed with not a lot of diversity. Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining turns the old ways on their head.
Are You Ready for Some Freestyle Cruising?
If you are interested in learning more about Norwegian Cruise Lines and how we can help match you and/or your group with the perfect cruising experience, use the Contact Us form to let us know how we can help you.