Back in the mid- to late '90s, NCL operated a mixed-bag fleet of older ships whose onboard vibe was only a couple of steps above budget. Fast-forward a dozen years and presto-chango: NCL is now one of the top players in the industry, with innovative itineraries, a fleet of new megaships, a casual onboard atmosphere, top-drawer entertainment, and a staggering number of dining choices. The line was the first to dump the old system of formal/informal/casual nights, going totally casual and starting a trend across the industry. The new program also did away with fixed dining times and seating assignments, leaving passengers free to choose when and where they want to dine among a variety of venues. Traditional tipping also went away, replaced by a system where gratuities are added directly to passenger accounts. Busy, busy, busy they've been, and it shows.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) may be the most mainstream of the mainstream lines these days -- and we mean that in a good way. At a time when every cruise line seems to be pushing the quote/unquote "luxury" elements of their onboard programs, NCL hews to the upper center, with always-casual dining (and lots of it), cheerful and creative decor, and hip innovations like onboard bowling alleys, outdoor nightclubs, gourmet beer bars, and inside cabins with adjustable mood lighting. Its newest vessels are the most fun megaships at sea, and it's the go-to line for inter-island Hawaii cruises. Nutshell? NCL's the kind of cruise line you want to sit down and have a beer with. Sails to: Caribbean, The Bahamas, Panama Canal, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Bermuda, Hawaii, Canada/New England, Pacific Coast (plus South America, Europe).
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.