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View Full Version : Kids free on Norwegian...worth it?


randomiam79
05-01-2011, 02:48 PM
Any loyal DCL cruisers taken their families on Norwegian? We're being tempted by a kids sail free offer but just can't imagine 'cheating' on DCL, I just dont think any other line could measure up.

kjd469
05-01-2011, 05:26 PM
We cruised their newest ship, Norwegian Epic, in January...my kids were 21, 17 and 16 at the time, but they all agree it was their favourite cruise ever..and believe me, we are die-hard Disney fans. That was our 3rd NCL cruise, and we like the casual feel to their cruises...some people prefer a more formal atmosphere and thus don't like NCL.

disneypoor
05-01-2011, 05:28 PM
I can only speak from our experience, but we took our children on a Hawaii cruise with Norwegian, and although Hawaii was absolutely amazing, the cruise line wasn't even close to Disney. Even my husband, who isn't the Disney addict I am, was disappointed in the actual cruise. Hawaii was awesome though, and it was the only cruise line that we could take a 7 night cruise on and still get to see five islands, so when we look at it like that, it was worth it. I'm not much help, huh? :rotfl:

kjd469
05-01-2011, 06:22 PM
I can only speak from our experience, but we took our children on a Hawaii cruise with Norwegian, and although Hawaii was absolutely amazing, the cruise line wasn't even close to Disney. Even my husband, who isn't the Disney addict I am, was disappointed in the actual cruise. Hawaii was awesome though, and it was the only cruise line that we could take a 7 night cruise on and still get to see five islands, so when we look at it like that, it was worth it. I'm not much help, huh? :rotfl:

The Hawaii NCL cruise is not a good one to judge NCL by...we've done it, and while the itinerary is fabulous, you are right the ship itself is lacking - it was not built for Freestyle Cruising and has none of the amenities that the newer NCL shps have.

You haven't said how old yours kids are or what ship/itinerary you are considering...I think that would be a factor. My kids loved the kids clubs on DCL when they were younger, but really don't care for their programs for older kids. However, the teen programs and available activities on the NCL Epic were far superior to DCL.

kcashner
05-01-2011, 06:30 PM
I can only speak from our experience, but we took our children on a Hawaii cruise with Norwegian, and although Hawaii was absolutely amazing, the cruise line wasn't even close to Disney. Even my husband, who isn't the Disney addict I am, was disappointed in the actual cruise. Hawaii was awesome though, and it was the only cruise line that we could take a 7 night cruise on and still get to see five islands, so when we look at it like that, it was worth it. I'm not much help, huh? :rotfl:

This very much reflects the report from my friend Judy who did Hawaii this winter. In addition, there were MANY restaurants that required an upcharge--of course these were the ones they liked.

Keira1387
05-01-2011, 07:04 PM
Any loyal DCL cruisers taken their families on Norwegian? We're being tempted by a kids sail free offer but just can't imagine 'cheating' on DCL, I just dont think any other line could measure up.

I have heard that there is a lot of nickel and dime-ing. For example the bowling alley has a charge, as well as dinner shows with an up charge.

edk35
05-01-2011, 07:09 PM
popcorn::

ESN
05-01-2011, 07:48 PM
We have done several DCL cruises - but after hearing rave reviews of the NCL Epic - we are signed on for Nov 2012 Epic 7 night trip


Though I cannot offer first hand experience - I can say this - I booked a 2 BR Courtyard villa on Epic - which sounds similar to the concierge experience on DCL --- It came to less than half of what a 5 day trip on Dream cost us- (concierge 1 BR on Dream)

Not sure how we will like it - but I really like the price! -- They may "nickel and dime" you -- but that will take A LOT of nickel and dimes to offset the cost differential

indimini
05-01-2011, 07:57 PM
ESN, you will likely love the courtyard villa complex and room on the EPIC. We sailed Jan 1 in the 2 BR villa and found all the perks to be well worth the cost. That was our 2nd time on NCL, both having been in suites. We've done DCL twice (going on Dream in June for trip #3) and love each line for different reasons. The elegance of the Disney ships and Castaway Cay are our main draw to DCL. The freestyle and casual atmosphere + suite life draw us to NCL.

For those considering NCL, don't sweat the "nickel and dime-ing". It's really more of an ala carte experience -- much lower base fares and then you build into your budget things important to you. If fine dining is a priority, add some specialty restaurants. If you want to do something like bowling, pay the $5 pp charge. At the end of the day, you'll have had a very affordable, fun vacation.

awatt
05-01-2011, 11:17 PM
ESN, you will likely love the courtyard villa complex and room on the EPIC. We sailed Jan 1 in the 2 BR villa and found all the perks to be well worth the cost. That was our 2nd time on NCL, both having been in suites. We've done DCL twice (going on Dream in June for trip #3) and love each line for different reasons. The elegance of the Disney ships and Castaway Cay are our main draw to DCL. The freestyle and casual atmosphere + suite life draw us to NCL.

For those considering NCL, don't sweat the "nickel and dime-ing". It's really more of an ala carte experience -- much lower base fares and then you build into your budget things important to you. If fine dining is a priority, add some specialty restaurants. If you want to do something like bowling, pay the $5 pp charge. At the end of the day, you'll have had a very affordable, fun vacation.

Very well said and I agree. We've done a number NCL cruises and enjoyed every one very much. My girls really liked teh kids clubs, more so than Disney because of teh variety of activities appealed to them and the clubs were not as crowded. DH and I like freestyle, it's more relaxed. NCL offers an excellent suite experience. We liked the upcharge restaurants, thought the food was better, and the fees were low. Didn't mind paying the fee because the cruise was significantly less than others. That said, you don't have to go to the pay restaurants at all if that's not your thing.

However, if you go expecting DCL you will be disappointed purely because it is different (not worse).

Kids sail free sounds like a very good deal.

TeeVeeTD
05-02-2011, 12:54 AM
This is a duplicate post to my post on Cruise Critic.

My daughter (13) and I recently cruised on NCL. In our opinion there is no comparison to Disney.

We really did not like the Freestyle Dining. Because you have no assigned table you have to wait to be seated. On our cruise it seemed to take forever to be seated. A number of times we had completed our meals and the dining room still had open tables and there was still a line out the door. Also because you are at different tables each night you do not establish a relationship with your servers. It was something that we definitely missed.

She also did not like the Teen Club on board. She complained that nothing happens in the club until the evenings.

I noticed when the Wonder came into Cabo San Lucas, we were on the tendering pier watching the excursions come into town from the other ships. The groups from Disney had Cast Members with each group. The groups from NCL and HAL both were met by local tour guides. It is a small thing, but on our previous DCL excursions we always had CMs with us through out the excursion along with a local tour guide. It is just one of the small details that Disney does so well.

The difference in prices between the two cruise lines narrows when you factor in some of the restaurants on board charge between $10 and $35 per person, plus the free sodas on board DCL. The free dining room's menus were somewhat boring but the food was not bad. I noticed that most of the dining rooms had 3 course meals where DCL had 4 course meals.

We will not cruise NCL again and I probably will not get my daughter on any other cruise line.

I definitely think that Disney's value makes it worthwhile to spend the extra money. The service and the smiles that the Cast Members exhibit made DCL, I hate to say, Magical.

JennLK
05-02-2011, 09:16 AM
I am being tempted too ... subbing !

stargazertechie
05-02-2011, 09:32 AM
I've sailed 3 times on NCL, my first Disney cruise is coming up this fall. That being said, I LOVE NCL, and it took a leap of faith to "cheat" on them with another cruise line.

I LOVE freestyle dining. Honestly, the idea of sitting with strangers eating for a week skeeves me out, and it's the one thing I'm going to miss while sailing with Disney. If we wanted to stay out in a port later than normal, we didn't have to worry about "missing our seating" and being relegated to the buffet. The dinner hours were pretty long too- some nights dinner seatings were between 5P-11P. Most hours of the day (7AM-10PM) there's a sit-down restaurant serving a sit-down meal, somewhere on the ship.

We're not big soda or alcohol drinkers, so the fact that soda cost extra on NCL doesn't bother me.

The service really is fantastic. I've gotten to know all of our room stewards very well, and they always go the extra mile to keep guests happy.

The food is good, and excellent in some cases. I'm an incredibly picky eater, so it takes a lot for me to say that a meal is good.

The entertainment is on par with most other cruise lines. It's definitely not Disney entertainment, but it's always a good time. The crew talent show is something to not be missed!

The thing I love about NCL, is there is ALWAYS something going on for free. Games on deck, a few freebie games of bingo here and there. It's a great time.

ginkybiloba
05-02-2011, 09:52 AM
Can anyone comment on the smoking policy onboard NCL ships? We are non-smokers, and would be very disturbed if there was smoking allowed in or near the staterooms and/or dining areas. We loved our Disney cruise this past January and would love to go again, but the NCL kids sail free option is very tempting!

Brenda

Viva Pataca
05-02-2011, 09:56 AM
However, if you go expecting DCL you will be disappointed purely because it is different (not worse).

Like :thumbsup2

Same thing applies when experienced cruisers trying DCL for the first time (especially the Dream 3 or 4 nights) expecting and comparing to everything they had previously on a HAL's 30-nighter. They are just different products. Period.

stargazertechie
05-02-2011, 10:11 AM
Can anyone comment on the smoking policy onboard NCL ships? We are non-smokers, and would be very disturbed if there was smoking allowed in or near the staterooms and/or dining areas. We loved our Disney cruise this past January and would love to go again, but the NCL kids sail free option is very tempting!

Brenda

There is smoking allowed in the staterooms, but I've never had issue with getting a room that was smoky. I have severe allergies and asthma, and even with balcony rooms, I've never had an issue with smoke in/near/around my room.

The dining rooms and most public areas (save for the casino and part of the promenade) are non-smoking, and the only place my allergies are at all aggravated was when I was IN the casino for an extended period of time.

JennLK
05-02-2011, 10:32 AM
There is smoking allowed in the staterooms, but I've never had issue with getting a room that was smoky. I have severe allergies and asthma, and even with balcony rooms, I've never had an issue with smoke in/near/around my room.

The dining rooms and most public areas (save for the casino and part of the promenade) are non-smoking, and the only place my allergies are at all aggravated was when I was IN the casino for an extended period of time.

I think this would be a deal breaker for me. The chemicals are still left behind ... and the fact that you can smoke on the promenade...

stargazertechie
05-02-2011, 10:40 AM
I think this would be a deal breaker for me. The chemicals are still left behind ... and the fact that you can smoke on the promenade...

FWIW, if my mom goes to a bar or casino in our town, when she comes home, I immediately can tell she was at a smoking venue the moment she steps in the door, from 30-45 feet away.

I've never had the "ZOMG, it was a smoker's room" realization when I entered a stateroom on NCL.

And only 1/2 the promenade is smoking. They have DSA's (at least on the ships I've sailed, I do believe it is fleetwide though).