CHARLOTTE – Norwegian Cruise Line
Here is the competitor to Carnival and Royal Caribbean everyone talks about. Over the years, Norwegian has changed its marketing strategy many times as it decides who it really is. For years Norwegian was a popular choice for singles as they offered special single accommodations that did not have a single surcharge. That is the practice by cruise lines of charging the same fare, minus taxes, and fees, for a single person in a cabin, as they do for 2 in a cabin. For the singles of the world, that practice alone has discouraged many single clients from considering a cruise.
Many years ago they came out with the first of the mega ships. It resembled a container ship in design, with square boxes stacked at different heights across the ship (writers observation, not any factual reference implied). Some of us thought it would never sell, but they placed it in Miami and advertised the single experience heavily. Well, this writer was wrong again (not unusual). The ship was a hit and began a competition of bigger and better ships until we are where we are today. Always referred to as NCL, this company has 19 ships. Bookmarked by the Pride of America. That is the only ship based in the Hawaiian Islands, that sails every week between the islands. Other ships sail all of America’s ports including Alaska and all of the Caribbean. Today NCL has become known for the “All In” concept of offering up to 5 “free” amenities from Wifi to alcohol. Initially “Unlimited Free Drinks” was tried by several cruise lines. A few had a lot of trouble with heavy drinkers who became disorderly, fell overboard, or got alcohol poisoning. That brought about some limitations on free drinks by most, including Norwegian. Please read the fine print carefully as the cruise lines try to protect you, and others, from the effects of excessive alcohol abuse. NCL has a dine-around option, and probably has as many, or more dining venues, as any ship at sea. They also offer a full lineup of entertainment venues sure to please most folks. With so many ships and itineraries, it is hard to pick just one, but they still offer a limited number of single-occupancy cabins, so if you are single and want to mix, go for it.
Phil and Barbara own Leisure Travel Experts here in Mint Hill and are proud members of the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce.