Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

What Is Norwegian Cruise Line Known For


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Celka Kurth



Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world, known for its exceptional service, innovative ships, and diverse range of itineraries. With a history dating back to 1966, NCL has grown to become a leader in the cruising industry, offering unforgettable experiences to travelers of all ages and interests.


If you’re looking for a cruise vacation that combines luxury, entertainment, and flexibility, NCL should be at the top of your list. From thrilling onboard activities to exciting land excursions, there’s something for everyone on a Norwegian Cruise Line voyage.


NCL is renowned for its Freestyle Cruising concept, which allows passengers to customize their experience to suit their preferences. Whether you want a gourmet dining experience, a relaxing day at the spa, or an action-packed adventure, NCL offers a wide range of options to cater to your desires.


With a fleet of modern ships, each designed to offer the utmost comfort and amenities, NCL ensures that passengers have an unforgettable journey from start to finish. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, Norwegian Cruise Line will leave you craving for more.


History of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has a rich history that began in 1966 when Knut Kloster and Ted Arison founded the company as Norwegian Caribbean Line. The first ship in the fleet, the M/S Sunward, set sail from Miami to the Caribbean, marking the beginning of a new era in cruising. This revolutionary concept of combining a vacation at sea with tropical destinations quickly gained popularity.


Over the years, Norwegian Cruise Line has grown and evolved, introducing innovative concepts and expanding its fleet. In the early 1990s, the company launched its “Freestyle Cruising” concept, which broke away from traditional dining schedules and offered passengers the freedom to dine whenever and wherever they wanted. This concept revolutionized the cruise industry and set NCL apart from its competitors.


In 2000, Norwegian Cruise Line began a new chapter when it merged with Orient Lines, expanding its reach to the Mediterranean and other exotic destinations. This acquisition allowed NCL to offer a wider range of itineraries and cater to the diverse interests of its passengers.


In recent years, Norwegian Cruise Line has continued to innovate and push boundaries. The launch of the Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships introduced exciting features like the largest ropes course at sea and thrilling water parks. These state-of-the-art vessels also feature a wide range of dining options, from upscale specialty restaurants to casual eateries, making sure there’s something for every palate.


Today, Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the most well-known and respected cruise lines worldwide, offering an extensive range of itineraries that span the globe. The company’s commitment to innovation, exceptional service, and memorable experiences has earned it numerous awards and accolades, solidifying its position as a leader in the cruising industry.


Fleet and Ship Features

Norwegian Cruise Line boasts a modern and impressive fleet of ships, each providing a unique and luxurious experience for passengers. With a commitment to innovation and state-of-the-art amenities, NCL continuously raises the bar for cruise ship design and features.


One of the standout features of Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet is the sheer variety of ship sizes and styles, allowing passengers to choose the vessel that best suits their preferences and travel needs. From intimate and luxurious ships like the Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Encore to larger and family-friendly options like the Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Escape, there’s a ship for everyone.


A highlight of NCL’s ships is the extensive selection of accommodations. Passengers can choose from a range of staterooms, from comfortable interiors to spacious suites with private balconies and luxurious amenities. The Haven by Norwegian, available on select ships, offers a secluded and ultra-luxurious experience with exclusive access to a private sundeck, pool, and 24-hour butler service.


When it comes to dining options, Norwegian Cruise Line truly excels. The fleet offers a wide variety of restaurants, from casual buffet-style eateries to specialty dining venues showcasing international cuisine. Passengers can indulge in dishes prepared by world-class chefs, with options like teppanyaki, French cuisine, and traditional steakhouse fare. The flexible Freestyle Dining concept allows guests to dine whenever and wherever they choose, offering ultimate convenience and freedom.


Entertainment on NCL ships is second to none, with an array of options to keep passengers entertained throughout their voyage. From Broadway-style productions and live music performances to comedy shows and thrilling aerial acrobatics, there’s never a dull moment on board. The fleet also features lively bars and nightclubs, where guests can dance the night away or relax with a refreshing drink and enjoy live entertainment.


In terms of onboard activities, Norwegian Cruise Line offers something for everyone. From exhilarating waterslides and water parks to sports courts, fitness centers, and spa facilities, there’s no shortage of ways to stay active and pampered during your trip. The fleet also includes exciting features like go-kart tracks, laser tag arenas, and virtual reality experiences, ensuring that passengers of all ages have a memorable and enjoyable time on board.


Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet and ship features are designed to provide passengers with the ultimate cruise experience. With a wide range of accommodations, dining options, entertainment, and onboard activities, NCL ensures that travelers can tailor their cruise vacation to their unique tastes and preferences.



Norwegian Cruise Line takes great pride in providing comfortable and stylish accommodations for its passengers. From cozy interiors to luxurious suites, there are options to suit every budget and preference.


The fleet offers a range of stateroom categories, including Interior, Oceanview, Balcony, Mini-Suite, and Suite. Interior staterooms provide a cozy retreat and are ideal for those looking for a budget-friendly option. Oceanview staterooms feature a window or porthole, allowing guests to enjoy views of the sea from the comfort of their room.


For those who desire a private outdoor space, Balcony staterooms are a popular choice. With a private balcony, guests can relax and take in the breathtaking ocean views. Mini-Suites offer a spacious layout with a sitting area and larger balcony, while Suites provide the utmost luxury with separate living areas, oversized balconies, and exclusive amenities.


For a truly exclusive experience, Norwegian Cruise Line offers The Haven by Norwegian. This luxurious and secluded area is available on select ships and provides a private enclave with its own pool, sundeck, and dedicated 24-hour butler service. The Haven offers a range of accommodations, including spacious suites and penthouses, ensuring an elevated level of comfort and personalized service.


Regardless of the stateroom category, all accommodations on NCL ships are designed with passenger comfort and convenience in mind. Each room features modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, minibars, ample storage space, and comfortable beds with luxurious linens. Additionally, most staterooms include a private bathroom with a shower, and suites often feature a bathtub for added relaxation.


Norwegian Cruise Line also offers accessible staterooms designed to meet the specific needs of guests with disabilities. These accommodations provide wider doorways, grab bars in the bathrooms, and other accessibility features to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay for all passengers.


No matter which accommodation you choose, Norwegian Cruise Line strives to provide a comfortable home away from home during your voyage. The well-appointed cabins, combined with exceptional service, ensure that you can relax and unwind in your own personal oasis at sea.


Dining Options

One of the highlights of cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line is the exceptional dining options available onboard. From casual eateries to upscale specialty restaurants, there is a wide range of culinary experiences to satisfy every palate.


One of the standout features of Norwegian Cruise Line’s dining concept is Freestyle Dining. This innovative approach allows passengers to dine whenever and wherever they choose, providing a flexible and relaxed dining experience. Whether you prefer an intimate dinner for two or a casual family meal, NCL ensures that you have the freedom to tailor your dining experience to your preferences.


The fleet features a variety of complimentary dining options, including main dining rooms that offer a rotating menu of delicious and diverse cuisine. These venues provide a range of menu choices, from classic dishes to innovative creations, ensuring that there is something to please even the most discerning tastes.


Norwegian Cruise Line also offers an array of specialty restaurants for those looking for a more refined dining experience. From steak and seafood to Italian, French, and Asian-inspired cuisines, these specialty venues present an opportunity to indulge in gourmet meals prepared by world-class chefs. Each restaurant boasts its own unique atmosphere and ambiance, ensuring a memorable dining experience.


For casual dining and quick bites, NCL offers a variety of options, including buffets, grill stations, and cafes. Passengers can enjoy a wide selection of international dishes, comfort foods, and delicious desserts. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, or a late-night snack, there are plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.


In addition to the diverse range of dining venues, Norwegian Cruise Line offers various dining packages to enhance your dining experience. These packages provide the opportunity to sample multiple specialty restaurants at a discounted rate, allowing you to indulge in a variety of culinary delights throughout your cruise.


Special dietary needs and preferences are also catered to onboard NCL ships. The cruise line offers a range of options for guests with allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets, and other specific dietary requirements. If you have any dietary restrictions, be sure to inform the cruise line in advance, and they will make every effort to accommodate your needs.


Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line sets the bar high when it comes to dining options. With a wide range of complimentary and specialty restaurants, as well as a flexible approach to dining times, NCL ensures that every meal is a delicious experience that satisfies all tastes and preferences.


Onboard Activities and Entertainment

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a plethora of onboard activities and entertainment options, ensuring that passengers have a fun-filled and memorable experience throughout their voyage. From thrilling water parks and exciting sports activities to world-class shows and live performances, there’s never a dull moment onboard an NCL ship.


For those seeking adventure and adrenaline, NCL’s ships feature exhilarating water parks, complete with winding water slides, splash zones, and even racing slides. The Aqua Park is a favorite among both kids and adults, offering hours of fun and excitement. The fleet also includes multi-level ropes courses, where guests can test their agility and bravery high above the deck.


Sports enthusiasts can take advantage of various activities on board, including basketball courts, rock climbing walls, and mini-golf courses. There are also fitness centers equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for those looking to stay active during their vacation. For a more leisurely activity, passengers can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pool or relax in one of the hot tubs.


When it comes to entertainment, Norwegian Cruise Line raises the bar with its world-class shows and live performances. Broadway-level productions, featuring talented singers, dancers, and performers, are a must-see on NCL ships. From musicals to acrobatics and comedy shows, these performances are designed to captivate and entertain audiences of all ages.


Live music is a staple onboard NCL ships, with a variety of venues showcasing talented musicians performing different genres of music. From jazz to rock, there’s something to suit every musical taste. Guests can also enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of onboard bars and lounges, where they can socialize, dance, and enjoy live music or DJ performances.


For those seeking a more immersive experience, NCL offers interactive game shows, trivia contests, and themed parties. Passengers can test their knowledge, participate in friendly competitions, or simply enjoy the energetic ambiance of these events. The ships also feature casinos for those who want to try their luck with slots, blackjack, or poker.


If relaxation and pampering are on your agenda, Norwegian Cruise Line has you covered. The fleet’s spas offer a range of treatments, from rejuvenating massages to facials and beauty services. Guests can relax in the saunas, steam rooms, or whirlpools, and indulge in ultimate relaxation with ocean views as a backdrop.


Children and teens are also well-catered to onboard NCL ships. Dedicated kids clubs offer age-appropriate activities and entertainment, keeping young travelers engaged and entertained. From arts and crafts to video games and movie nights, there’s no shortage of fun for the youngest passengers. Teens can enjoy their own exclusive spaces, complete with lounges, DJ booths, and even a dedicated teen-only sundeck.


Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line ensures that passengers of all ages and interests are entertained and engaged throughout their voyage. With a wide range of onboard activities, entertainment options, and dedicated spaces for relaxation or adventure, NCL creates a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere that will make your cruise experience truly unforgettable.


Itineraries and Destinations

Norwegian Cruise Line offers an extensive range of itineraries, allowing passengers to explore some of the most beautiful and intriguing destinations around the world. Whether you’re dreaming of turquoise waters in the Caribbean, stunning fjords in Alaska, or historical sites in Europe, NCL has an itinerary to suit your wanderlust.


Caribbean cruises are among the most popular offerings from Norwegian Cruise Line. With itineraries that cover the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean, passengers can soak up the sun on pristine beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and explore vibrant local culture and cuisine. From the Bahamas to the Virgin Islands, each island visited offers a unique and memorable experience.


Alaska cruises with NCL provide an opportunity to witness breathtaking scenery and wildlife in one of the world’s most majestic regions. Passengers can cruise through stunning fjords, marvel at towering glaciers, and spot majestic whales and other wildlife. Shore excursions offer the chance to embark on thrilling adventures, such as dog sledding or helicopter tours, ensuring an unforgettable Alaskan experience.


For those looking to explore Europe, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a variety of itineraries that take passengers to iconic cities and breathtaking coastal regions. From the picturesque Norwegian fjords to the historic ruins of Rome and the stunning landscapes of the Greek Isles, these cruises provide a rich cultural experience combined with breathtaking scenery.


The fleet also ventures to other exciting destinations, including the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii, Canada and New England, and the Panama Canal. Each itinerary offers a unique blend of cultural immersion, natural wonders, and historical sites, ensuring that there is always something new to discover.


Norwegian Cruise Line also prides itself on offering a range of shore excursions in each destination visited. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural exploration, or relaxation, these excursions allow you to delve deeper into the local culture, history, and natural beauty of each port of call. From guided city tours to outdoor adventures like hiking or snorkeling, there’s an excursion to suit every interest and activity level.


It’s important to note that itineraries and destinations may vary depending on the season and the specific ship you choose. NCL releases its itineraries well in advance, allowing passengers to plan their dream cruise and explore new and exciting destinations.


No matter which itinerary you choose, Norwegian Cruise Line ensures that your voyage is filled with exciting destinations, enriching experiences, and the opportunity to create lifelong memories.


Freestyle Cruising

One of the standout features of Norwegian Cruise Line is its innovative concept of Freestyle Cruising. This unique approach to cruising provides passengers with unparalleled flexibility and freedom to create their ideal vacation experience.


Traditional cruise lines often adhere to rigid dining schedules and dress codes, but NCL breaks away from this traditional model to offer a more relaxed and customizable approach. With Freestyle Cruising, guests have the freedom to dine whenever and wherever they choose, without being restricted by set meal times or assigned seating. This flexibility allows passengers to plan their activities and dining experiences at their own pace, making for a truly personalized vacation.


When it comes to dining, Freestyle Cruising offers an extensive range of options to suit every taste and preference. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual buffet, a specialty restaurant, or a quick bite at a café, you’re free to choose from a variety of dining venues on board NCL ships. No formal attire is required, giving passengers the freedom to dress comfortably and enjoy their meals in a relaxed atmosphere.


In addition to dining, Freestyle Cruising extends to onboard activities and entertainment. Passengers can tailor their experiences to their interests and preferences, choosing from a wide range of activities and entertainment options. Whether you want to relax by the pool, participate in sports and fitness activities, or attend Broadway-style shows and live performances, it’s all up to you. The ships offer a multitude of options, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


Another benefit of Freestyle Cruising is the ability to explore a variety of destinations without the constraints of a fixed itinerary. Norwegian Cruise Line offers a diverse selection of itineraries that allow passengers to visit multiple ports of call and experience different cultures, sights, and attractions. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the vibrant Caribbean, witness the beauty of Alaska, or explore the historical treasures of Europe, the choice is yours.


Freestyle Cruising also caters to families, with a wide range of activities and facilities designed to keep children entertained. From dedicated kids clubs and teen areas to water parks and age-appropriate entertainment, NCL ensures that every member of the family can enjoy their vacation to the fullest.


Overall, Freestyle Cruising provides a unique and enjoyable experience that sets Norwegian Cruise Line apart from other cruise lines. The freedom and flexibility to customize your dining, activities, and entertainment make for a truly stress-free and memorable vacation.


Awards and Recognition

Norwegian Cruise Line has received numerous awards and accolades, solidifying its position as one of the top cruise lines in the industry. These honors recognize the company’s commitment to excellence in service, innovation, and overall cruise experience.


One of the most prestigious awards that Norwegian Cruise Line has received is the “Best Large Ship Cruise Line” award from Travel Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards. This recognition is given based on votes from travel industry professionals and signifies NCL’s stellar reputation among industry experts.


NCL has also been recognized for its outstanding dining options. It has received the title of “Best Specialty Restaurants” from Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Awards multiple times, highlighting the range and quality of culinary experiences available onboard.


In addition to its dining offerings, Norwegian Cruise Line has been lauded for its entertainment options. The company has received the “Best Entertainment” award from both Travel Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards and Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Awards, emphasizing the high caliber of performances and shows provided on its ships.


NCL’s commitment to environmental sustainability has been recognized as well. The company has received the “Green Ship Technology of the Year” award from Seatrade Maritime Awards for its commitment to implementing eco-friendly practices and technologies on its state-of-the-art ships.


Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to providing a memorable family vacation has also been recognized. The company has received the “Best Family Cruise Line” award from Travel Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards, recognizing its dedication to offering exceptional activities and amenities for passengers of all ages.


Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships have been recognized as some of the best in the industry. Its Norwegian Joy ship was named “Ship of the Year” by Ocean & Cruise News, highlighting the vessel’s exceptional design, amenities, and overall guest experience.


These are just a few examples of the many awards and recognitions that Norwegian Cruise Line has received over the years. These accolades reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional service, innovative experiences, and unforgettable voyages for its passengers.



Norwegian Cruise Line is a renowned and highly respected cruise line that offers an exceptional vacation experience for travelers around the world. With its rich history, innovative ships, and wide range of itineraries, NCL caters to a diverse range of interests and preferences.


From the moment you step onboard an NCL ship, you are welcomed into a world of luxury, comfort, and freedom. The fleet’s modern and stylish accommodations provide a home away from home, while the multitude of dining options cater to every palate. Whether you’re seeking a casual buffet, an upscale specialty restaurant, or a quick bite on the go, NCL ensures that your dining experience is a highlight of your vacation.


Freestyle Cruising sets Norwegian Cruise Line apart from other cruise lines, offering flexibility and customization at every turn. The ability to dine whenever and wherever you choose, combined with a wide range of onboard activities and entertainment options, allows you to create a personalized vacation experience that suits your interests and preferences.


NCL’s commitment to excellence is evident in the numerous awards and recognition it has received. From being celebrated as the best large ship cruise line to receiving accolades for its dining options and entertainment offerings, NCL continues to set the bar high in the industry.


Whether you’re dreaming of exploring the stunning fjords of Alaska, basking in the sun on the beaches of the Caribbean, or immersing yourself in the rich history of Europe, Norwegian Cruise Line offers itineraries that will take you there. With a dedication to providing unforgettable experiences, NCL goes above and beyond to ensure that your cruise vacation is truly extraordinary.


In conclusion, Norwegian Cruise Line offers an exceptional cruising experience that combines luxury, innovation, and flexibility. With its outstanding fleet, diverse itineraries, and commitment to customer satisfaction, NCL continues to be a top choice for travelers seeking a memorable and enjoyable cruise vacation.