Popular Norwegian (NCL) Cruise Articles
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When Royal Caribbean's gargantuan and game-changing Oasis of the Seas debuted as the then-world's largest ship in 2009, people wondered if anyone would bother to get off the ship in port, as it could take a week to try out all the onboard activities. With 24 dining options, 21 pools and hot tubs, multiple live performance venues (including an ice rink and AquaTheater for high-diving shows) and seven "neighborhoods," the ship practically guarantees that no one will have trouble finding something to do. But you don't need to sail on a 5,400-passenger ship to get the most from your days at sea. Any ship will do if you're content to spend your onboard time passed out on a sun lounger. But if you want the right mix of activity and relaxation options, it's key to pick the right ship with enough onboard attractions and programming to keep you entertained from sun-up to sun-down. Here's our selection of the best ships for days at sea, chosen based on their variety of indoor and outdoor pursuits, plus plenty of daytime dining options. And if you need more inspiration, check out our companion piece: Top 10 Things to Do on Sea Days.
With so much to plan for your wedding, the last thing you want to do is stress out about your honeymoon. Cruises make excellent honeymoons because they combine pampering with travel -- the vacation is in the destinations and onboard the ship. After all, cruise ships have spas, celebrity-chef restaurants, culinary classes, butlers and swanky bars, plus the sea as your backdrop. Cruise Critic breaks down cruise honeymoon destinations, perks and packages, so you can get from the aisle to the gangway as breezily as possible. The following 10 best cruise lines for honeymoons offer the right mix of relaxation and romance.
When ships relocate to new cruising regions, the cruise lines sell these one-way routes (usually at a discount), rather than sail the ships without passengers. These voyages, often featuring lots of sea days, are known as repositioning cruises. Read on for a few of our favorites this spring and fall.
When you're short on time or coin, but incapacitated by cruise fever, don't despair. You still have options. Behold short cruises: those two-, three-, four- and five-night itineraries that require only a will to sail and (possibly) no more than a carry-on. Not all are bargain-basement-priced -- that depends on the age and desirability of the ship and the sail date -- but some can be had for less than $90 a night. The following selections include a range of the most popular ships offering short cruises from regional homeports across the U.S., including Miami, New York, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Orlando, Charleston and Palm Beach.
It's hard not to revert to hyperbole with Alaska. Here lie more than enough towering snow-capped mountains, breathtaking calving glaciers, extraordinary wild animals and quirky (if overtrafficked) frontier towns to wow hundreds of thousands of cruisers annually. With more than two dozen mainstream ships plying Alaska's island-filled southeast region from May to September, passengers certainly have options. This chart features a representative from every major line in the mainstream and luxury markets, from the intimate and upscale Silver Shadow to new mega-ships like Norwegian Bliss. (For those who'd prefer to cruise with no more than 100 passengers, see our rundown of small-ship cruise lines in Alaska.) Each of the 12 ships, which were hand-picked based on their popularity among all cruise options in Alaska, caters to a different type of traveler. Families on a budget might find the most "bang for their buck" onboard Carnival Legend, while couples looking to splurge can pamper themselves with Crystal Symphony's lavish suites and all-inclusive fine dining. Familiarize yourself with the biggest contenders' itineraries, exclusive regional offerings and more to determine which is the best Alaska cruise option for you. Note: Click on a ship name to get more info and read hundreds of cruise reviews.
Most cruise ships limit their Japanese food offerings to premade rolls languishing on the buffet. If you want fresh sushi, sashimi and miso soup prepared on the spot, you'll need to seek out a ship with a dedicated sushi venue. When you do find them, cruise ship sushi restaurants range from casual spaces with simple "quick fix" menus to upscale venues that go beyond the limits of sushi and sashimi with lobster, steak and other fancy dishes. The majority of them are priced a la carte -- and one even offers free lunch. We've narrowed down the six best places to indulge on raw fish at sea. When the craving strikes, these sushi restaurants are bound to satisfy.
Romance and cruising would seem to go hand in hand, particularly if you've spotted any of the cruise lines' advertisements showing photos of couples snuggling at the bow at sunset, or sipping orange juice on their private veranda in bathrobes, or even -- and this one we have a hard time believing -- spending time alone on a deserted beach with their mega-ship anchored in the background. Advertisements notwithstanding, cruising can be one of the most romantic vacation options, but choosing the right cruise line and, even more specifically, the right ship within the fleet, can be a challenge. You don't want that sunset marred by crowds on deck, the romance of a dinner for two killed by the whiny kids at the next table or a cozy evening ruined by cramped cabins with minimal amenities. For our top picks, we looked at criteria that we would deem universally romantic: ships that offer cabins with private balconies, great bathrooms and extra-special amenities; options for dining a deux; cozy nooks and date-night venues; and almost-private open-deck spaces for relaxing by day and stargazing by night. Here are our favorite ships for celebrating or rekindling romance with your sweetheart.
Even with accommodations, meals and entertainment wrapped up in its fares, cruising can still be pricy if you're taking the entire family on an oceangoing getaway. Just when you thought that bringing the brood would break the bank, we've come up with a list of lines that let kids sail free. If the idea of free cruises for kids gets your heart racing with excitement, be aware of a few caveats: With most lines, free kids fares are only available as limited-time promotions, require applicable taxes and fees to be paid for each passenger and necessitate sharing a cabin with the junior travelers as the third and/or fourth passengers in the room. (Contact a travel agent or your cruise line for specific information before booking any cruise.)
How often are you able to make your our own vacation choices… to wander the world and contemplate life on your own terms? The liberation of a solo cruise -- of not having to be responsible for anyone's pleasure but your own -- allows you to appreciate the experience on an entirely different level than when you're with a friend, spouse or family member. However, in this coupled-up world, a solo traveler can find it difficult to cruise alone. Mega-ships don't make it easy to meet people and run into them again onboard, and harried crew members don't always have the time to dote on lone cruisers. Open-seating dining and reservations-only restaurants are not always friendly to singles who do not wish to dine alone. Then there's the issue of cost: A solo can expect to pay between 125 and 200 percent of the published cruise fare to cover the cost of the "missing" passenger. Some cruise lines do make an effort to cater to solos. Some will greatly reduce or even waive single supplements in an effort to fill berths, or offer meet-and-greets or group dining for single cruisers. Additionally, several lines now offer dedicated solo cabins, touting priced-for-one fares that generally run higher than the per-person cost for a double occupancy cabin, but lower than assuming the cost of the single supplement on a standard cabin. (See The Truth About Solo Cabins for more info on how fares for solo-dedicated cabins stack up.) All that said, here is a look at the seven best lines for those who like their "alone time."
Cruise ship sun decks are much more than a simple place to swim and sunbathe. Modern top-of-the-ship activity centers can feature multiple pools and hot tubs, water parks with slides and splash zones, outdoor movie screens, active pursuits (ropes courses, ziplines, rock climbing walls and surf simulators) and serene, adults-only lounge spaces. And you're never far from a place to grab a drink or bite to eat. If outdoor relaxation and entertainment are priorities when choosing a cruise, check out our favorite cruise ship pool decks.