Norwegian Cruise Line

Travel

Top 10 Cruise Deals With Norwegian Cruise Line

cruise-ship-3808988_1280-compressor

From the Med to Mexico, Croatia to the Cayman Islands, I’ve got 10 great cruise deals with Norwegian Cruise Line to tempt you. Almost all deals include flights and a choice of any two packages from premium drinks, speciality dining, Wifi package or shore excursion credit! 

 

 
I was lucky to be invited on Norwegian Encore’s inaugural cruise from Germany to Southhampton recently. It was only a two-night cruise but I managed to fit a lot in! I raced a go-kart around the largest race-track at sea, got chased by dinosaurs in the massive virtual reality room, watched Kinky Boots and A Choir of Man in the theatre, and enjoyed a wonderful array of food in various dining outlets. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 
Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means you can leave your dinner jackets and cocktail dresses at home. Everything on board is relaxed and you can dine whenever and wherever you like. If you want to dress up and enjoy a four-course meal in the main dining room – you can. If you fancy casual dress with pizza and beer, that’s cool too. You don’t have to sit with strangers or dine at 8pm, there are dining options available 24/7.
 

 

 
We ate in the complimentary restaurants the whole time, and I was really impressed with the quality of the food and variety available – I can only imagine how good the speciality restaurants are! With the choice to opt for the premium drinks package and three speciality dining restaurants for just €99, Norwegian Cruise Line offer some of the best value cruise deals from Ireland.

top cruise deals

Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion allows you to choose any two of the following packages, over a seven-night cruise, for just €99 per adult:

  • Premium drinks
  • WiFi
  • 3 speciality dining meals
  • Shore excursion credit 

I will be writing a full review of Norwegian Encore in due course, but I had some many requests for prices that I thought I would publish my top 10 cruise deals with Norwegian Cruise Line first.
 

 

 

1. Los Angeles Stay & Mexico Cruise: Norwegian Joy, 10th January, 7 Nights €1275!

This amazing cruise deal is perfect for anyone who wants to try a cruise for the first time, or wants to incorporate this into a holiday to California. Like Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Joy is a Breakaway Plus class ship, so the facilities and size are similar in both. If you want to add on extra nights in California, talk to Sunway’s dedicated cruise team and they will arrange this for you.

top cruise deals

Price includes flights, a two-night stay in Los Angeles and a five-night cruise to Cabo San Lucas & Ensenada in Mexico, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion. 

View offer here

 

 

 

 

2. Northern Europe Cruise: Norwegian Escape, 5th September, 9 Nights, €1735!

Not only to you get to overnight in the magical city of St. Petersburg, but this wonderful nine-night cruise also brings you to Berlin, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. You will be cruising on Norwegian Escape, which has similar facilities to Norwegian Encore – without the race track or laser tag.

st petersburg cruise deal

Price includes flights to Copenhagen and nine-night cruise, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion

View offer here
 

 

 

3. Seattle Stay & Alaska Cruise: Norwegian Bliss, 8th May, 9 Nights, €1780!

An Alaska cruise has been on my bucket list for years, but with prices like this I might just get there! This amazing deal on Norwegian Bliss, another Breakaway Plus class ship, includes a two-night stay in Seattle before your seven-night Alaska cruise. Visit the famous Glacier Bay, Skagway and the city of Victoria, and marvel at the sights from Bliss’s stunning Observation Lounge. This ship was custom built for Alaska cruises so must be one of the best ships to see The Last Frontier.

norwegian bliss cruise deals

Price includes return flights from Dublin, 2 night stay in Seattle, plus 7 night cruise, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion.
 
View offer here
 

 

 

4. Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Norwegian Encore, 14th March, 8 Nights, €1795!

I loved Norwegian Encore, even though I cruised from Bremerhaven to Southampton in November! I admired all the outdoor dining areas and imaged how wonderful it would be to cruise on Encore in the Caribbean. This Caribbean cruise visits San Juan, St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands. Enjoy unlimited complimentary cocktails as you watch the sun go down over the Caribbean Sea. You will also enjoy a pre-cruise stay in Miami too.

caribbean cruise on norwegian encore

Price includes flights, Miami hotel and seven-night Caribbean cruise with two options from the Free at Sea promotion.  

View offer here
 

 

 

5.  New York & Bermuda Cruise: Norwegian Encore, 5th July, 8 Nights €2345!

Bermuda is one of those places that is perfect to visit on a cruise, and you will have plenty of time to explore this beautiful island as you will be docked there for two nights! This cruise deal includes an overnight stay in New York and and a seven night cruise on the brand new Norwegian Encore. 

norwegian encore cruise deals

Price includes flights, New York hotel and seven-night Bermuda cruise with two options from the Free at Sea promotion.  

View offer here
 

 

 

6. Med Cruise to Spain, Italy & France: Norwegian Epic, 31st May, 7 Nights, €1165!

Norwegian Epic has been a firm favourite with Irish cruisers for many years.  You will be visiting Europe’s top cities including Barcelona, Rome and Palma and enjoy two packages from the Free at Sea promotion for an amazing price of €1165!

mediterranean cruise deals

Price includes flights and seven-night cruise with two options Free at Sea promotion. 

View offer here

 

 

 

 

Family Cruise deals:   

 

7. Spain, Italy & France Cruise: Norwegian Epic, 7 Nights, 10th May, 2 adults & 2 children, €3280; 14th June €4550

Norwegian Epic has recently won Best Cruise Ship for Families and Best Cruise Ship for Entertainment from Cruise Critic, (the cruise industry’s TripAdvisor), so it a great choice for a family cruise. With non stop activities including a waterpark, mini-golf and a host of kids clubs – you can rest assured the kids will love it. You can even choose to leave the kids onboard when you are in port, and Norwegian also allow for ‘Date Nights’, with late night supervision available until 1am (extra charge).

family cruise deals from ireland

Price includes return flights from Dublin, Family Plus with baggage and priority seating, 7 night cruise based on 2 Adults and 2 Children under 12, with two options from the Free At Sea promotion for adults.

View offer here
 

 

 

8. New York Stay & Canada: Norwegian Encore, 5th September, 10 Nights, 2 adults & 2 children, €4865

Enjoy an overnight stay in New York, before setting off on a nine-night cruise through Maine and Canada on the brand new Norwegian Encore. Teens will love the go-kart race track, the outdoor laser tag and the amazing virtual reality room, Galaxy Pavillion. Don’t worry if they kids don’t want to see all the sights in Canada, you can leave them supervised on board while you take a shore excursion! 

family cruise deals on norwegian encore

Price includes return flights from Dublin, airline baggage, 1 night pre cruise stay in New York , plus 9 night cruise based on 2 Adults and 2 Children under 12, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion for adults.

View offer here
 

 

 

9. Venice, Greece & Croatia Cruise: Norwegian Dawn, 7 Nights, 14th May, 2 adults & 2 children, €4550; 20th Sept €3725

Although  Dawn is one of Norwegian’s older ships, you can still enjoy great food, terrific entertainment and a variety of kids clubs. It’s smaller size may suit some families too, especially first time cruisers. You will also have the pleasure of visiting some of Europe’s best ports. Leaving from Venice ( is there anywhere better? ), you will be visiting the medieval cities of Kotor and Dubrovnik, as well as the Greek islands of  Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu and Kefalonia.

santorini cruise deals from ireland

Price includes return flights from Dublin, airline baggage, 7 night cruise based on 2 adults & 2 children under 12, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion for adults.

View offer here
 

 

 

10. Cayman Islands & Bahamas Cruise: Norwegian Escape, 7 nights, 2nd January 2021, Cruise Only, 2 adults & 2 children, €2296!

Plan ahead and spend New Year in Florida next year. Add on this amazing cruise and you have a trip of a lifetime. This is the only one of my cruise deals that doesn’t include flights, but the price is so good, I had to include it in this post! Flights and accommodation can be added on a later stage if you wish. You will sail from Port Canaveral and visit Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Bahamas over seven nights. Norwegian Escape is a Breakaway Class cruise ship and has superb facilities for children, including an aqua park, mini golf and ropes course. I’m very tempted to book this one myself!

family cruises in the caribbean

 

Price is based on 2 Adults & 2 Children under 12 sharing, with two options from the Free at Sea promotion for adults.

View offer here

 

 

Like cruise holidays? See more cruise reviews and cruise deals here. 

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 

Travel

Does Norwegian Cruise Line Offer The Best All Inclusive At Sea?

ncl_Esc_Mondavi_Wtrfrnt_3504_lo

From Barcelona to the Bahamas, with premium drinks, tips and gratuities included, Norwegian Cruise Line offers some of the best all inclusive cruises on the market.

 

I am a big fan of cruises and I have been fortunate to be on board many cruise ships. The question I am asked the most is ‘what is the best cruise ship? A question that is impossible to answer! Some cruises are more suited to adults, others for families, and with itineraries varying greatly from Alaska to South East Asia, it is important to match the right cruise with each person. However, when it comes to all-inclusive cruises, there is one that springs to mind above all others, Norwegian Cruise Line.

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years, have 16 ships and have been voted Europe’s leading cruise line eleven years in a row! They have also won North America’s Leading Cruise Line and Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line for the third and sixth consecutive year respectively, making them the most awarded cruise line at the 2018 World Travel Awards. When they decided to change to all inclusive cruises, it was a real game changer in the cruise industry.

I have teamed up with Travelnet.ie who are agents for Norwegian Cruise Line and who have been selling holidays and cruises for over 150 years in Ireland. Suffice to say they know their stuff and will know how to choose the right cruise for you. Find out below why I think Norwegian Cruise Line offer some of the best all inclusive cruises on the market.

all inclusive cruises

ALL of Norwegian’s cruises are premium all-inclusive.

No matter which cruise ship or itinerary you choose, all meals and premium drinks are included in the price of your cruise. Imagine not having to think about money at all. Ordering branded spirits, cocktails, even speciality coffees without having to pay anything extra – even tips are included! So you can order drinks as many times as you like, any time of day, in all bars, all lounges and dining areas! You don’t have to wear a wrist band showing what drinks package you have paid for. The bar staff don’t have to check if you have the basic or premium drinks package – all cruises are sold on a premium all-inclusive basis. They even throw in 60 minutes of free WiFi per person, so you can instagram your pina colada to your hearts content!

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian offers ‘Free Style’ cruising:

It is not only the premium drinks that separate Norwegian Cruise Line from it’s competitors. Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means you can leave your dinner jackets and cocktail dresses at home! Everything on board is relaxed and you can dine whenever and wherever you like. If you want to dress up and enjoy a four-course meal in the main dining room – you can. If you fancy casual dress with pizza and beer, that’s cool too! You don’t have to sit with strangers or dine at 8pm, there are dining options available 24/7. Norwegian Cruise Line also offer speciality restaurants including steakhouses, Italian restaurants and Asian offerings, featuring Teppanyaki and sushi cuisine. Note à la carte pricing applies.

all inclusive cruises

The facilities on board are superb.

Norwegian Cruises are famous for their superb facilities on board including thrilling aquaparks and Mandara spas. However their new innovative experiences are unprecedented. Norwegian Bliss has a multi-level go-kart track and open-air laser tag arena on board. Its 200,000-square-foot observation lounge offers the most expansive views at sea – perfect for seaviews and cocktails🍸. Complete with a full-service bar, (and remember all drinks are included in the price of your cruise), you may not want to leave! As well as a host of children’s clubs and activities available, parents will be happy to hear they can have a a ‘Date Night’ where kids are supervised and dropped back to their cabin before 1am.

all inclusive cruises

Enjoy award winning entertainment

From Broadway musicals to acrobatic shows, live music to comedy shows – Norwegian Cruise line know how to entertain. Favourites such as the acrobatic Cirque Dreams and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, as well as five-time Tony® Award-nominated musical, Rock of Ages, ensure memorable nights on board. Music lovers will enjoy ‘Legends in Concert’, the longest-running tribute show in entertainment history, with performances from tribute artists such as Adele, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. If you don’t fancy taking in a show there are plenty of other bars to choose from. Enjoy a cocktail at the Ice Bar or play a game of pool at the pub – the choice is yours!

all inclusive cruises

Travelnet.ie have lots of special offers on all inclusive cruises with Norwegian which you can see here. If the dates on their website don’t suit, or you have particular requirements, call their dedicated sales team on 01 5310402 or 021 4851700. Alternatively fill out the enquiry form online and they will get back with the best options to suit you.

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Note not all facilities and activities mentioned are on all 16 ships. Ask your Travelnet cruise consultant for more details on specific offerings. This post was sponsored by Travelnet.ie but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

 

 

 

Travel

Save €700 Per Person – Flights & Premium All Inclusive Med Cruise, 23rd September, €1435!

Norwegian Star

With flights, meals, drinks and gratuities included, as well as a whopping saving of €700 per person, this All Inclusive Med cruise is unbeatable!

 

Did you know that Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years? They now have 17 cruise ships and have been voted Europe’s leading cruise line for the tenth year in a row! The big game changer is that all of Norwegian’s cruises are all-inclusive. And I don’t just mean local beers and cheap spirits. I mean branded drinks, as many as you like, any time of day, in all bars, lounges and dining areas – with tips included! Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means everything on board is relaxed, with flexible dining and casual dress – you can leave your cocktail dresses and dinner jackets at home! The award-winning entertainment on board includes Broadway musicals, live music and comedy, as well as plenty of leisure facilities including aqua parks, kids clubs and a selection of sports activities. Have I convinced you yet?

I have teamed up with Sunway Holidays who are agents for Norwegian Cruise Line and have many exclusive offers, unavailable elsewhere. Their cruise experts have experienced Norwegian cruise ships first hand. They will be able to answer any queries you have, and recommend the right ship and cabin choice, to suit your requirements. Whether you seek a family cruise in the Mediterranean, a romantic cruise around the Caribbean, or a cruise and stay holiday in Alaska, Sunway have a cruise to suit everyone.  I have chosen this All Inclusive Med cruise because, not only will you will be stopping at some of the Mediterranean’s most stunning locations, but Sunway have an exclusive saving of €700 per person!

all inclusive med cruise

You will set sail from Venice and cruise to the medieval city of Dubrovnik. Climb the city walls and take in the views, meander through the cobbled-stone streets or chill out in one of the cool cliff-top bars. Your next stop is the bay of Kotor in Montenegro, where the southernmost fjords meet soaring mountain peaks. I visited Kotor a few years ago and feel in love with it. From there you will visit Katakolon in Greece, famous for it’s proximity to the ancient city of Olympia. You will also have the pleasure of stopping in Athens where you will marvel at the Acropolis and the modern city below. The final stop is the Croatian city of Split. Renowned for its beautiful old town, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters, you can choose to stay in Split or venture further afield to Plitvice Lakes or one of the nearby islands. After this seven day Eastern Mediterranean cruise you will sail back to Venice for your return flight home.

all inclusive med cruise

The Norwegian Star is one of Norwegian’s older ships but it has been fully refurbished and now offers fifteen different dining options and eleven bars!  You can sip champagne in Gatsby’s Champagne bar or drink a wide selection of international beers in the outdoor Bier Garten. There are two main dining rooms (menus are changed daily) as well as a variety of cafés and fast food outlets, all included in the price of your cruise. They also have a selection of speciality dining options, which incur a separate charge. I had lunch in the Teppanyaki restaurant when the Norwegian Star was docked in Dublin port – it was superb.

all inclusive med cruise

The pool deck has two waterslides and six hot tubs, although if you fancy a quiet place to swim, you can visit the indoor lap pool in the Spa. There is also a fitness centre with a jogging track, a golf driving net and a volleyball/basketball court. The Norwegian Star has a massive theatre showing the latest West-End style shows and there are plenty of bars with live music, if you fancy a more casual night.

Fly from Dublin to Venice on the 23rd of September and enjoy a seven-night Mediterranean cruise for only €1435. This includes a massive saving of €700 per person, which is exclusive to Sunway. Remember the price includes flights, all meals, drinks and gratuities!

 

Click here for more details:

 

Note this is just one of the many cruises that Sunway offer with all cruise lines. If the above date or itinerary doesn’t suit you, contact one of their expert cruise staff and they will find a suitable cruise for you. This post was sponsored by Sunway, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

 

travel deals

 

Travel

Premium All Inclusive Fly Cruises to the Med & Caribbean, With Prices from €1340!

cruise drinks

From Barcelona to the Bahamas, Venice to the Virgin Islands,  All Inclusive cruise holidays with Norwegian Cruise Line offer some of the best value cruises on the market. The only decision is which one will you choose?

 

Did you know that Norwegian Cruise Line have been cruising for over 50 years? They now have a whopping 17 ships and they been voted Europe’s leading cruise line for the tenth year in a row! The big game changer is that all of Norwegian’s cruises are all-inclusive. And I don’t just mean local beers and cheap spirits. I mean branded drinks, as many as you like, any time of day, in all bars, lounges and dining areas – with tips included! Norwegian’s ‘free style cruising’ means everything on board is relaxed, with flexible dining and casual dress – you can leave your cocktail dresses and dinner jackets at home! The award-winning entertainment on board includes Broadway musicals, live music and comedy, as well as plenty of leisure facilities including aqua parks, kids clubs and a selection of sports activities. Have I convinced you yet?

I have teamed up with Sunway Holidays who are agents for Norwegian Cruise Line and have many exclusive offers, unavailable elsewhere. Their cruise experts have experienced Norwegian cruise ships first hand. They will be able to answer any queries you have, and recommend the right ship and cabin choice, to suit your requirements. Whether you seek a family cruise in the Mediterranean, a romantic cruise around the Caribbean, or a cruise and stay holiday in Alaska, Sunway have a cruise to suit everyone.  I have hand picked some of my favourite all inclusive cruise holidays from Norwegian Cruise Line to tempt you.

All prices include flights, and remember with Norwegian Cruise Line, all meals, drinks and gratuities are included too!

 

Norwegian Epic: 28th October, 7 Night Cruise,  Spain, Italy & France, €1340!

This amazing offer is available over the October bank holiday weekend! Take advantage of less time off work or avail of the kids mid term break. This classic Western Mediterranean itinerary cruises from Barcelona and visits Naples, Rome, Pisa, Cannes and Palma. See many of the Italian highlights by touring the Amalfi Coast, visiting the ancient city of Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Chill out on one of the stylish beach resorts on the Cotes d’Azur and shop till you drop in Palma.

all inclusive cruises

Norwegian Epic is one of Norwegian’s largest cruise ships and carries over 4,000 passengers. This innovative cruise ship has twenty-four different dining options, mind-blowing entertainment and one of the largest spas at sea. The top deck spans the entire length of the ship and has lots of bars, restaurants and swimming pools, as well as water park with huge water slides.  There are numerous clubs for kids as well as a dedicated kid’s centre and a teen disco. Sports enthusiasts will love the climbing walls, bowling alleys and state of the art fitness centre on board. If you fancy a quieter place, the adults-only bar and pool area has two hot tubs and a bar serving drinks, to cool you down! At night time movies are shown here too.

all inclusive cruises

There are lots of delicious dining options included in the cost of your cruise but if you fancy trying something special, the Cirque Dreams & Dinner should not be missed. This unique theatrical dining experience presents world class acrobatics with mouthwatering food. Cagney’s Steakhouse is another favourite, offering choice cuts of Black Angus steak, as well as their, made-from-scratch jumbo crab cakes and truffle fries!

Click here for more details:

 

Brand New Norwegian Bliss: 18th January 2019, Miami, Bahamas & Virgin Islands, €1898!

Be one of the first to cruise Norwegian’s newest and most incredible ship, Norwegian Bliss. This ship has been custom-built to give jaw-dropping views from it’s revolutionary Observation Lounge. Located at the front of the ship, this offers the same views seen from the bridge and has the most expansive views at sea. Complete with a full service bar, you may not want to leave! This state-of-the-art cruise ship features the same freestyle dining and premium all-inclusive drinks available on all Norwegian cruises. There are eighteen different dining options including exclusive speciality dining restaurants. The Waterfront is the place to go with thirteen restaurants and bars to choose from, many offering alfresco seating. Texas Smokehouse – Q is new to Bliss and the first full-service Starbucks at sea, is here too.


Bliss has the largest competitive race track at sea where you can ride up to 30 miles per hour! There is also an open-air laser tag course and an aqua park with multi-story slides (one of which extends over the edge of the ship). The Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical, Jersey Boys is shown nightly and at The Cavern Club, guests can enjoy their favourite songs from The Beatles. The talented cover band will play Beatles tunes in a setting inspired by the Liverpool Club where The Beatles famously performed countless times.

all inclusive cruises

This amazing offer includes direct flights with Aer Lingus to Miami, an over-night stay in a four star hotel in Miami and a seven night Caribbean cruise, visiting the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands of St Thomas and Tortola.

Click here for more details:

 

Note all of the above cruises are just a sample of the many cruises that Sunway offer with Norwegian Cruise Line and other cruise lines. If the above dates or itineraries don’t suit you, contact one of their expert cruise staff and they will find a suitable cruise for you. This post was sponsored by Sunway, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

 

travel deals

 

 

CruisesFeatured

My Review Of Norwegian Star

Norwegian Star

I had the pleasure of stepping on board the Norwegian Star while it was docked in Dublin recently. This was my first time to see a Norwegian cruise ship, check out my review 🙂

 

The first thing that needs to be said is that despite the name, Norwegian Cruise Line is actually American! It also cruises all over the world and not just to Norway and the Baltics… Avid cruisers may well know both of these important facts but it is amazing how many people are mislead by their name! They have been cruising for 50 years, have 14 ships and they have received the World Travel Award as Europe’s leading cruise line for the ninth year in a row! Norwegian’s slogan is free style cruising and they provide just that. Everything on board is relaxed, with flexible dining and casual dress – you can leave your cocktail dresses and dinner jackets at home!

Norwegian Star

The Star is one of Norwegian’s older ships. Built in 2001, it was refurbished in 2015 as part of Norwegian’s ongoing $400 million extensive upgrade of it’s fleet. (They claim that their ships will look better than the day they were launched!) Although relatively small in today’s cruising terms ( carries 2348 passengers), it still has 15 dining options and 11 bars! You can sip Champagne in Gatsby’s Champagne bar or drink a wide selection of international beers in the outdoor Bier Garten. There are two main dining rooms (menus are changed daily) as well as a variety of cafés and fast food outlets, all included in the price of your cruise. They also have many speciality dining options, which incur a separate charge. We had lunch in the Teppanyaki restaurant and it was excellent. We had wasabi cocktails with mouthwatering prawns and fillet steak, all cooked in front of us. The chefs even showed us their tricks and got the whole group involved. It was a fantastic experience and one I would highly recommend. This room only seats 12 at a time so make sure you make a reservation at the start of your cruise, or even before hand.

We had great fun dining #teppanyaki style on #norwegianstar @norwegiancruiseline #cruise #foodie #freestylecruising

A video posted by The Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

The pool deck comes complete with two waterslides and six hot tubs. This is great for families although if you fancy a quiet place to swim, you should visit the indoor lap pool in the Spa. There is a charge to use the indoor pool, jacuzzi and hydropool however, I was a little surprised at this. There is also a fitness centre with a jogging track, a golf driving net and a volleyball/basketball court – so plenty of ways to expend some energy on board.

Norwegian Star

The kids facilities on board are excellent. There are slides in the main pool but also in the kids pool. This is equipped with two rocket-shaped slides and a kid’s hot tub. Their kids clubs offer activities for kids from 3 -12 including a cinema and a jungle gym. They also have crèche facilities for babies from 6 months old. For teenagers the ‘Entourage’ program offers activities from age 13-17. They have their own exclusive teen-only area, with a jukebox, dance floor and a communal area to ‘hang out’. This area comes equipped with computers, an air hockey table and a video gaming zone. And this is where is gets really interesting….. Parents can have a ‘Date Night’ where kids are supervised and dropped back to your cabin before 1am!

Norwegian Star

Speaking of  ‘date night’, Norwegian has a massive theatre showing the latest West-End style shows. The theatre holds 1000 people so you don’t need to make a reservation. If shows are not your thing, there are plenty of bars with live music as well as their own in house entertainment shows. Norwegian are renowned for their top class entertainment both in their theatres and throughout their ships.

Norwegian Star

Norwegian’s newer and larger ships, Breakaway, Escape, Getaway and Epic have even more features. You will find that ten pin bowling, rock climbing and state of the art aqua parks are the norm (see image below). They are also famous for their rope courses which have zip lines and planks that hang over the side of the ship – definitely not for the faint hearted! Sadly they are too big to fit into Dublin Port so I’ll have to actually go on one of their cruise holidays to see them properly 😉 Fortunately, Epic will be cruising from Barcelona for Summer 2017 and there are some excellent early booking offers, including free drinks packages, free speciality dining packages, free wifi and even free spending money – so watch this space!

Norwegian Star

Norwegian’s freestyle cruising brings more than just flexible dining. Their action packed cruises will ensure you have a fun filled holiday with top class entertainment and activities on board. So leave the cocktail dresses at home, pre book the all-inclusive drinks package and simply enjoy 🍹

For more details visit their website or see your local ITAA travel agent.

 

Interested in cruising, for cruise news, reviews and the best cruise deals, click here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

CruisesDestinationsFeatured

How To Choose The Right Cruise

cruise-ships-228923_1280_opt

From surf simulators to sky diving, race tracks to exclusive retreats, cruise companies are frantically trying to out do each other. So if you haven’t tried it yet, how do you know which cruise to choose?

I have seen many cruise ships over the years and I can honestly say there is a cruise for everyone out there. However, knowing how to choose the right cruise to suit your style, requires a lot of planning. The quote ‘the journey is the destination’ springs to mind. It is not only the destination that you need to consider, the cruise line, cruise ship and time of year are equally as important. 

You may have noticed I said that both the cruise line and the cruise ship are important. Just because you liked cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas in the Caribbean in February, this does not necessarily mean you will like cruising on Wonder of the Seas in the Mediterranean in July.

Jewel of the Seas can hold 3, 500 passengers and crew, while Wonder of the Seas can hold almost 9,300 passengers and crew.  Mediterranean cruises tend to attract a lot of families during the summer months, while Caribbean cruises in the winter attract lots of couples. 

Cruise ships are often referred to as floating hotels, but just as there can be boutique hotels and massive resorts, cruise ships vary in size and style even within the same cruise line. I was on some of MSC older cruise ships and didn’t like their dark interiors and old fashioned decor. However, when I cruised on MSC Seaview I had a completely different experience. MSC Seaview is s bright, airy, elegant and sophisticated – she completely changed my view on MSC Cruises and now I consider it one of my favourite cruise ships! 

There are cruises to suit families and thrill seekers as well as more intimate cruises with exclusive spas and adult-only pools. One thing for sure is there is a cruise out there for everyone, and hopefully my handy cruise guide will help you choose the right cruise for you.

 

Best cruises for first timers:

A seven night Mediterranean Cruise is always a firm favourite for first time cruisers. Flights are plentiful and inexpensive making Med cruises great value. If it is your first cruise you won’t want to spend a fortune, for fear that you won’t like cruising. This rarely happens however. as statistics show that over 90% of cruisers cruise again.

There are a variety of itineraries to choose from, with Western Mediterranean cruises taking in Spain, France and Italy, and Eastern Mediterranean cruising the Greek Isles, Croatia and Italy.

Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC’s newer ships are the most popular, but bear in mind there will be lots of families cruising during July and August. For couples or friends looking for a more luxurious option Celebrity Cruises have their three 5-star Edge class ships cruising the Med this summer. 

 

Best cruises for young couples:

Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises are the most popular with young people. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or MSC Cruises newer ships are just some of the favourites and have great entertainment, night clubs, and lively pool areas. If you don’t want lots of children at the pool, make sure you avoid school holidays.  

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships have seven different neighbourhoods, including Central Park which is lined with trees and speciality dining options. You can fly across the ship on a zip line, enjoy surfing in the Flowrider, try your had at ice skating or rock climbing, and slide down the Ultimate Abyss.

With robots serving you drinks from the bar, and a superb outdoor Aqua Theatre, they are a great choice for a young couple looking for some adventure, modern style. However, drinks packages are expensive with Royal Caribbean, so make sure to book these in advance to secure the best value.

Norwegian are also very popular with young couples as they offer great value all-inclusive rates. Norwegian Cruise Line is similar in style to Royal Caribbean with lots of activities on board. Norwegian Encore has a race track on the top deck!

I loved the expansive outdoor space on MSC Seaview. She has 20 different bars and lounges but my favourite was the Sunset Bar which played music until the small hours.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising
Norwegian Epic.

Best cruises for older couples:

Older couples have the pick of the crop as they can usually travel at any time. Princess Cruises are a popular choice for four-star ocean cruises while Celebrity Cruises are arguably the best choice for those looking for a more luxurious option.

Scandinavian and Baltic cruises are popular for couples who don’t want to travel long distance, however if flight times are not an issue, then you can’t beat Alaska for the dream cruise destination for older couples.

More intimate cruises on smaller ships and the ability to dock in the heart of cities, has made river cruising one of the fastest growing sectors within the cruise industry. They tend to attract an older age group than ocean cruises and are a great way to find out if cruising is right for you.

For the ultimate bucket list adventure, take a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary 2. It is a very different feel and experience on board to other cruise ships, where dressing for dinner is still the norm.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising
Uniworld’s River cruise ship – SS River Royale

Best cruises for families :

Despite what you might think, cruises are a great choice for families and offer excellent value for money when you consider all your food and entertainment is included in the cost, and most of the children’s activities are included in the cost.
 
I love the freedom that cruising brings with children, particularly with older children. I love to see them using their independence enjoying various activities on board, while I relax by the pool. I never worry that they will get lost, and you choose the right cruise will never hear the children say ‘I’m Bored!’
 
MSC Cruises are fantastic value for families kids travel free up to the age of 18, once sharing a cabin with their parents. MSC Meraviglia and Seaside-Class ships have aqua parks and virtual reality games rooms on board, and many of their cruise ships have Lego play areas.
 
Royal Caribbean are renowned for their family friendly cruise ships. With everything from water parks, surf simulators, zip lines and even sky diving simulators, these ships are a teenagers dream. Royal Caribbean have a private island in the Bahamas with a water park on site making a Bahamas cruise an ideal extension to a family holiday in Orlando.
 

Best cruises for adventure:

Hurtigruten will let you search for the Northern Lights or Polar Bears  They are not a luxury cruise line and may not offer the same facilities on board but they are truly made for adventurers. The stunning scenery and the true local experiences have made them extremely popular in recent years.

Expedition cruising is growing more and more popular with many choosing to cruise to places that are not easily reached by land or air – Antartica and the Galapagos Islands being two of the favourites. Cruise lines such as Ponant and

Celebrity Cruises Xpedition ship is the luxury ship for adventurers but you will need to plan way in advance, this ship is booked up as soon as it goes on sale.

 

Best cruises for food:

It is difficult to choose one cruise line over another as the quality of food on board most cruise ships is excellent. However, some of the cruise companies are offering unique experiences, beyond the typical main dining restaurants and buffets. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises offer many speciality restaurants on board, but I love that Celebrity Cruises have four different main dining rooms on their Edge Class ships, which gives the impression of speciality dining, without having to pay any additional costs.

However, food lovers such not miss the opportunity to dine on the Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge Class ships. This takes al-fresco dining to the next level. Favourite seafood dishes from RAW on 5 are served here which is one of Celebrity Cruises top speciality dining options. 

Wonderland restaurant on the Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas offer an innovative take on the Alice in Wonderland movie, with unusual statues and odd chairs, you almost feel you are in the movie – they call it imaginative cuisine! You are given a blank menu and a paintbrush, the waiter will then instruct you to dip the paintbrush in the water and paint the canvas and as if my magic your menu appears.

 

Best cruise for entertainment:

Generally speaking entertainment is of a very high standard on most cruise ships. The Two70 venue on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and the Aqua Theatre on Oasis Class ships are superb.

Norwegian Epic is renowned for its lively atmosphere. There are 12 bars including an Ice Bar and an outdoor night club as well as top performances by bands such as the Blue Man Group.

However, you may want a more relaxed ship without night clubs or west end style shows. Engage with a cruise expert, they will advise which cruise ship suits your needs and tastes.
 

Best value for money cruise:

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert reviews cruising
MSC Preziosa.

MSC Cruises are the market leaders here. They offer modern service with a Mediterranean / Italian flare without breaking the bank.

If you don’t need a huge choice of eating venues or rock climbing walls then they are ideal. Their staterooms and furnishings are beautiful. Sophia Loren is the godmother to their ships, so the sense of style and class flows through!

 

Best cruise for luxury:

ingSilversea, Regent, Seabourn and Crystal cruises are the market leaders in luxury cruising.  If you seek the luxury yacht feel then the smaller Silversea ships with butler service and luxury surroundings are one of the best in luxury cruising. Alternatively if you want to try something different, Uniworld is the ultimate in river cruising.

Uniworld offer a 5-star all inclusive river cruises with fine dining and outstanding service. Celebrity Cruises offer luxury with a modern style and are not as expensive as Silversea or Uniworld. Their food and service is excellent and the overall feeling is more relaxed.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on which cruise to choose
A suite on board Celebrity Reflection.

 

Best Cruise if you don’t want to fly:

Fred Olsen’s MS Boudicca will operates a nine night spectacular trip to the Norwegian Fjords in July and a 14 night Rugged & Rural Canada cruise in September.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on which cruise to choose
Norwegian Fjords

 

 

Any other advice?

Select your stateroom wisely.

Look at the deck plans before you choose your cabin / stateroom. You may wish to be close to the swimming pool or away from the nightclub. If you don’t want to be awoken at 7 am with the sound of people going to breakfast, don’t select a stateroom beside the lift or stairs. Some ocean-view staterooms may have a view of life boats, they are usually called obstructed view rooms. Perhaps it is better to select a full sea view room or even a balcony cabin and watch the sunset beneath the horizon.

 

Check the dress code.

Some cruises have one formal night, others have two or three. If you don’t want to dress up, you can avoid these in most cases, by going to the buffet restaurant for dinner. Norwegian Cruise Line offer a freestyle cruise concept where it is casual and relaxed throughout. There are no set times for dinner and no dress code, so for clients that do not want to dress up this is ideal! Cunard and P&O Cruises are more strict on their formal nights and really encourage it for their guests. Cunard even offer masquerade balls, and the Royal Ascot Ball.

You can see from the list above how varied cruise ships are. Some offer dress codes, speciality dining options, some have non stop entertainment, others are quieter and more low key. This for me is why speaking to a dedicated specialist is so important before booking your cruise.

Pin It on Pinterest