Why is Norwegian Cruise Line the best choice for families?


Should you take your family on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship?

Within the cruise industry, NCL is known for having some of the best cruise ships for families. When you combine that with the line’s frequent “kids sail free” offers, it really can be a compelling choice.

If you’re considering cruising with Norwegian, here’s why NCL is the perfect choice for kids, grandparents, aunts, cousins ​​and everyone in between!

Children’s club

Almost all Norwegian Cruise Line ships offer onboard kids’ clubs.

These areas are designed just for children and are free for young passengers. Children’s areas are supervised by members of the NCL Children’s Programs team, all of whom have received formal training in the management of children’s programs.

Currently, the only NCL ship that does not offer youth and children’s programming is the Norwegian Spirit.

Guppies Program

For the youngest passengers on board, this space is reserved for toddlers from 6 months to 3 years old.

The Guppy program is offered fleet-wide and is aimed at parents and young children. This area is designed as an open play space where parents and their children can play and participate in activities together. Visiting the Guppies Activity Zone is free for young children and parents.

Most NCL ships have some form of supervised Guppies program for young children, which provides childcare while parents enjoy and participate in other onboard activities. However, this equipment costs extra.

Splash Academy

The Splash Academy is for customers aged 5-12. This program is free and offers young passengers the opportunity to participate in fun activities alongside passengers their own age. “Enroll them in our free youth program where they can enjoy creative games, sports and more. From themed nighttime activities to fun parties, our youth staff has a knack for it all,” says Norwegian Cruise Line about his Splash Academy program.

The Splash Academy is divided into different groups depending on the age of the children. “Turtles” is intended for children aged 3 to 5, “Seals” for children aged 6 to 9 and “Dolphins” for children aged 10 to 12.

Teen club

NCL’s fleet-wide teen club is called “Entourage”, this youth program is designed for guests ages 13-17. Teen clubs are free and supervised by NCL crew members.

“Run and play while your teens hang out in a place full of video games, movies, arts, music, sports, and people their own age.” From the coolest lounge at sea to the hottest dance clubs at night, there’s always something going on at our teen centers,” says NCL.

Late Night and Port Play

NCL will occasionally offer what they call “Late Night Play” or “Port Play”, this is a supervised kids’ club run by certified NCL youth program staff. This is offered late at night or while the ship is docked at a port of call. These extra hours provide parents with time to explore on their own.

This additional kids’ club time and supervision comes at an additional cost, unlike normal kids’ club hours of operation which are free.

Adults only areas

Norwegian Cruise Line has created great spaces for children to play and explore! They have also designed places reserved for adults looking for calm, peace and fun on board.

NCL has over 10 different bars and lounges on board each ship. This means adult guests will have plenty to explore, including unique offerings such as the Skyy Ice Bar.

There are even special adult-only dance and pool areas with NCL, a popular venue is Spice H2O. This area is described as “inspired by the famous summer beach parties on the island of Ibiza, Spice H2O is an adults-only getaway with contemporary influences. Calming waters; at night it’s a whole different beat. Let loose and dance under the stars as vibrant images play on the huge video screen.

Adults will also have the option of accessing the exclusive ‘Vibe Beach Club’, this area on board requires the purchase of a pass from Guest Services, which will allow guests to use this area during all the duration of their navigation. This area is described as a “private retreat” and is restricted to passengers 18 and older. “The Vibe Beach Club is resplendent with ocean views, an oversized hot tub, lounge chairs, and a relaxing water feature – perfect for relaxation. A full-service bar, water sprays, chilled towels and fruit skewers make you feel even more serene,” NCL says of this special adult-only area aboard some of their ships.

Activities for the whole family

Many NCL ships have large and sturdy pool decks to include a large pool for all guests, a splash area for toddlers to explore, and multiple water slides for thrill level. These pools can be a great place for families to spend the afternoon alternating between relaxation and fun.

Most NCL ships feature an arcade center for guest enjoyment. The arcade can be a fun family activity during a day at sea. Arcades are usually located near kids’ and teens’ clubs. Some of NCL’s newest ships, such as Norwegian Prima, offer exhilarating forms of entertainment for families such as; laser tag, kart racing, rock climbing, ropes course, miniature gold courses, bowling and sports fields.

When it comes to family-friendly nighttime entertainment, most, if not all, of NCL’s live theater shows can be enjoyed by the whole family. NCL usually offers at least two different live theater shows during each sail, and these can be a great activity for everyone to attend. Guests can stop by the onboard box office to view show times.

Family cabins

“Read a bedtime story on your private balcony. Whether your crew is small or large, choose from multi-room suites or interconnecting staterooms. All our ships have family mini-suites, balconies, ocean views and inside staterooms and most of our ships have 2-bedroom family suites conveniently located close to the kids’ areas.Your little ones don’t have to go far to play,” says NCL of some of their staterooms and family cabins.

NCL offers many categories of cabins in different sizes. Many of these family cabins can accommodate up to 5 or more passengers. These types of cabins mean there is plenty of space for the whole family to stretch out.

To eat

All NCL ships are equipped with numerous restaurants and dining venues to cater for all tastes, needs and dietary preferences! Families will find an abundance of options to choose from, from exotic to classic dishes. NCL offers many casual and more refined dining options, giving families options when planning their meals. Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Line has the mindset and motto of “Freestyle Cruising”, which means guests have no pre-scheduled meal times and can choose to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner anytime.

This is a great feature for families, as a flexible schedule can be important, and NCL offers just that for its customers.

For many specialty restaurants onboard NCL ships, adults must pay an additional fee, but children under 12 may be free or at a lower price. This gives parents and children the opportunity to try some of the unique culinary specialties offered on board.

NCL’s onboard food is sure to satisfy even the most reserved eaters in the family. On my last trip with NCL aboard Norwegian Getaway, I noticed that many young children were enjoying the main buffet dishes with their parents. The buffet can be a fun dining spot for families, as kids can have some freedom in choosing their food. NCL buffets offer plenty of tables and room for families.


Norwegian Cruise Line offers a number of cruise itineraries, including popular and fun itineraries offered during times of the year when children are out of school.

NCL’s website has a specific page, called “Family Cruises”, dedicated specifically to families traveling with children, and on this page they note that many of their itineraries board during times such as Spring Break, summer vacation and winter vacation.


Stereotypically, when people think of cruising, they may think cruise vacations are for adults only, but the cruise industry is fighting to change that. With entertainment, activities, venues and more designed specifically for kids, Norwegian Cruise Line stands out as a cruise line meant to be experienced by the whole family.

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