Editor's note: In April 2020, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it was extending all of its Free at Sea promotional offers to every new booking, with a slight reduction in specialty dinners. For more information, visit the news story.
Norwegian Cruise Line's Free at Sea promotion allows cruisers to book a cruise and choose from a variety of perks, onboard extras and bonuses, depending on the cabin type you choose.
Through its Free at Sea promotion, Norwegian Cruise Line offers passengers the chance to select from a slew of extras worth up to thousands of dollars per sailing. Perks can include free specialty dining, free beverage packages (essentially an open bar), free shore excursions, free Wi-Fi and even a "kids sail free" option. Depending on the length of your cruise, you may also be eligible to receive onboard credit and/or free or reduced airfare.
Most typically, passengers sailing in an inside cabin choose one perk and passengers sailing in an outside, balcony or mini-suite can choose two perks. Those sailing in The Haven suites receive all of the perks. Occasionally, Norwegian will offer passengers all of the perks no matter the sailing or cabin category selected, as an extra booking incentive.
Only sailings of three days or longer are eligible for Norwegian's Free at Sea promotion and passengers must select their choice of perks at least 24 hours before boarding. All passengers sharing a cabin must choose the same freebies.
Passengers who choose the free open bar or free specialty dining options are still responsible for paying a 20 percent gratuity on the retail value of those options. The "kids sail free" option applies to children (under 18) staying as third and fourth passengers in a cabin. Onboard credit offers apply only to the first and second passengers in a cabin.
The shore excursion option only applies to the first passenger in the cabin and is for a shore excursion valued at $50 or less in each port. If the passenger chooses a more expensive shore excursion, a $50 credit can be applied toward that excursion. Shore excursion credits are nontransferable.
The offerings and details of the program can change throughout the year, so it's always best to check directly with the cruise line or your travel agent to see exactly what's on offer when you're ready to book.
Passengers who do not wish to select any Free at Sea offers can instead choose a Sail Away rate, which might be lower than the Free at Sea rates. However, the cruise line assigns the cabin categories for passengers who choose this rate type.