My husband Steve and I picked Norwegian Cruise Line‘s New Zealand itinerary for our honeymoon to avoid driving on the left side of the road through mountainous terrain (after a stressful situation in South Africa), and because cruises are great. We have cruised several times on Disney Cruise Line, but this was only our second Norwegian Cruise, but the first one was 4 day open bar cruise, so this is the first one I remember all of. This is also the longest cruise I’ve ever been on (10 days!), though I still have my eye on a transatlantic (if I can stock up enough Dramamine). So how does Norwegian stack up?
We sailed on the Norwegian Jewel, a smaller ship with tons of amenities for it’s size; 15 bars, 14 restaurants, a spa, 4 hot tubs, and an outdoor sports complex (which I avoided because sports are dumb, but other people might like it). The Jewel is over 10 years old now, but shes still looks great. Everything was clean and up to date.
The Norwegian boasts some of the largest suites at sea. I didn’t get a suite, but the balcony rooms were very impressive as well. There was plenty of room for the two of us and even a sofa and “sitting area”. Best of all, the view.
A balcony is definitely worth the extra cost on such a scenic cruise. Seeing the Milford Sound in a bathrobe without getting weird looks from other passengers is totally worth it, and the oh so British domestic squabbles I got to over hear between Imagene and her husband next door were the icing on the cake. Hearing an elderly British woman scream “what do you mean the money’s gone?!” seriously ticked some boxes I didn’t even know I had. Long story short, if you have the option, go for the balcony.
Why wait any longer, this is what everyone cares about on a cruise right? The best part about the Norwegian Jewel is the amount of options. We were on this cruise for 10 days and didn’t eat dinner in the same place twice. We did buy the 5 meal specialty dining plan, which was totally worth it. There are 8 different restaurants included with your cruise fare; Azura and Tsars Palace (the two main dining rooms), Chin Chin (Asian fusion), Garden Cafe (the buffet), O’Sheehans (24 hour pub), Sky High Bar & Grill, The Great Outdoors, and Topsider (for outside/poolside eats). So there’s plenty of variety even if you don’t spring for the specialty restaurants, but I highly recommend that you do. If you choose to dine at the specialty restaurants, this can be done a la cart or with a dining package. Specialty dining opens up at least 5 more options; Teppanyaki/Sushi (Japanese hibachi and sushi), Moderno (Brazilian steakhouse), Cagneys (American steakhouse), Le Bistro (French restaurant), and La Cucina (Italian).
The dining scene on Norwegian is very different than my experience with other cruise lines. They have what they call “freestyle dining”, meaning there are no assigned tables or times to eat. You eat when you get hungry and it’s only as formal as you want it, which is great for someone packing for a long trip with out heels!
Having eaten at all of the restaurants, I can say that the food is pretty good. The only disappointment was Chin Chin. Steve and I both love Asian food, so we were very excited to try Chin Chin, but after our food came, we left and went to the buffet (which had way better Asian food). That’s the beauty of a cruise though, if you don’t like it you can get second dinner! On the flip side, Teppanyaki was great and a lot of fun, all of the specialty dining was.
I have been on several Caribbean cruises and one Alaskan cruise, but I’ve never experienced this much “open ocean”. We also sailed through a tropical storm which didn’t help, but the result was missing a lot of the night time entertainment while trying not to puke. Not Norwegian’s fault of course, but I can’t speak to all of there many entertainment offerings, only the ones I participated in. I hear Burn the Floor is great, but that was a room service in bed night for us. Pretty impressive that those dancers could still dance in those seas!
The activities guides were full of fun things to do all day, for every crowd (and I mean EVERY crowd, there were some obscure trivias). Not to blow my own horn, but I dominated ABBA trivia, which was extra impressive since we were the youngest people there by a good 30 years, and they were mostly from countries that appreciate ABBA more than mine. Just saying.
While I’m not blowing my own horn, I also dominated the martini tasting, which was the best $20 I ever spent.
Overall the experience was fantastic. We will certainly cruise Norwegian again (I’ve got my eye on the Cuba cruise out of Miami!), but after the rough seas, I may stick to the Caribbean for a while. Rough seas are still preferable to rolling off the side of a hill in New Zealand into the ocean, so I’ll call it a win all around. Stay tuned for a more in depth look at this itinerary and some of the incredible ports we visited.
*We sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line on a discounted media rate, but as always, all opinions are my own.
21 thoughts on “The Norwegian Cruise Line Experience”
Thanks for sharing this post this is really very nice and amazing. I would like to go to this place where I can experience the cruise trip.
I love taking a cruise holiday occasionally too and this looks so perfect! I love how spacious the room is and the balcony view is omg! Glad you had fun!
10 days is long! But those views look amazing! We cruised on NCL and loved the freestyle dinning too, and the selection was amazing. Also, totally agree with a balcony room being worth it, I loved sitting on our balcony!
The Norwegian cruise sounds like a great experience in spite of rough seas. The tip about the balcony is really useful. As you have said it is a great way to enjoy the spectacular views in privacy. And maybe get to hear a juicy bit of gossip in the bonus 🙂
But on a serious note, it looks like a great experience with luxurious amenities and entertainment to boot.
Seems like a great trip to do with family, with something in it for everyone. We did a road trip in NZ, the driving is the same direction as in India, so not stressful for us. Loved Milford Sound and almost all of the picturesque country.
I get motion sick super easy, and that is one of the main reasons I haven’t been on a cruise. I would not fare well in a storm or open seas, and sorry to hear you were sick through some of your cruise I’ve heard such great things about cruises tho, and you’ve outlined so many great perks about taking one. I’d love all the food choices, and I would totally opt for the balcony too.
We don’t normally take cruises since my husband can’t sit still in one place. But your photos definitely tempted me to try one out. Those rooms look spacious for a cruise. And I sooo love the variety of restaurants onboard! The Brazilian steakhouse and Japanese restaurant look so fun!
That view on the balcony seems so worth it, too! You say you saw Milford Sound in a bathrobe? I’m sure that was memorable — glad you went for it, because how many people can say they did that, right?!
I just read the whole article about Cruise, nicely written by you. It feels good, One more thing I want to say that all the photographs are equally good. Thanks for sharing your travel experience with us.
Such an amazing trip by a cruise. The views are so perfect, very relaxing. For sure you will be definetely pampered. The food looks really delicious perfect to savor everything in this Cruise trip.Thanks for sharing!
Great post! That almost looks like an entire waterpark on top of that cruiseship! How was the motion sickness? No problem? I get it pretty quick, so always wondered how it would be if you stay for several days. But then again – I am always thinking about the perfect storm or something, but when I see your pictures it looks like you had crystal clear skies. 🙂
This sounds fab, the balcony room is definitely worth the extra cost for that view! I would totally be up for that martini tasting – although I get sea sick so I wouldn’t want to encourage any spinning sensation in my head! I love the variety of the restaurants too, this sounds like an impressive ship!
Just another cruise liner post to get me thinking…should we go on a cruise? Everything sounds gopod…they food, the room and the service. So what am I debating about? Do they ply during October too?
i like your way to explained the Crusie Line, it seems so imaginable that how Crusie Lines are beautiful, i would also like to go there.
Thanks for sharing the pictures are so good and the food you are talking it seems so different. Thankyou.
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I’ve never been on a cruise before and I am intrigued – and Norwegian Cruises looks really good! I have to say my biggest concern about cruising is sickness and it was interesting to hear how you got on in this respect, but the food and the rooms looked top notch and the opportunity to travel in a different way is unrivalled! I’m really torn as to whether I’d book on one!
Thanks for sharing! It will really help users to figure out best for them. Keep Sharing and helping the community.
A very amazing experience with a Norwegian Cruise trip. The room you had on your cruise is looking so comfy and relaxing. I really love the facilities and the service that they render for the passengers during the whole tour. I really love all of the photos, thanks for sharing!
Well, Very informative travel tips & you capture amazing photos.
I’ve always heard amazing things about cruises but have never been on one. Seems like a great way to travel and have an adventure on a budget.
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Norwegian Cruise is the perfect way to spend time wjile you on business or vacational trip! You reinspired me!
I agree with you. This blog is so many beautiful and frantastic imagination and picture . The Norwegian Crusise is so many facilities and all the frantastic . Thanking you. I appreciated for you helpful advice . Great Post keep sharing more such Posts . !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey Maggie! The Norwegian cruise looks fantastic! I’d probably not regret spending a few dollars for that balcony view. I’m already imagining having a sumptuous breakfast with the ocean view 🙂 Cheers!