If you’re like many cruisers, you love the idea of getting a perk or two included in your cruise fare! Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea promotion is just that!
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea Promotion
Are you planning a cruise on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship? Then you’ve probably heard about Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion.
NCL’s Free at Sea perks promotion is very popular with cruisers. However, whether you’re planning your first cruiseor a seasoned cruiser, you’ll want to know the details and see if it’s the best option for you.
Recently, Norwegian Cruise Line has updated their free offers and promotions. In this post I share what perks are included with Norwegian Free at Sea, if some of the perks are actually “free” and if they are worth it. I’ll also answer some common questions many people have about NCL’s popular free perks.
Since Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotions change periodically, always check with Norwegian Cruise Line‘s website or with your travel agent for the most current information.
What is Norwegian’s Free at Sea?
Norwegian Cruise Line runs a very popular Free at Sea promotion consistently throughout the year. The Free at Sea offer includes a choice of free perks, which guests can use to enhance their cruise experience and save money.
The most popular free perks on NCL include a free beverage package, a specialty dining package, a shore excursion credit, free internet, and free or reduced pricing on 3rd and 4th passengers. Occasionally free or reduced airfare is offered.
There are times when you may see more offers that combine with the Free at Sea offers. These include reduced 2nd passenger fares, additional onboard credit, and on rare occasions, free gratuities on certain cabin categories.
Since the Free at Sea offers can change and be withdrawn, when you see a great deal on a future cruise, it’s a good idea to act quickly and book your cruise.
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What to Expect on a Norwegian Cruise
Norwegian Cruise Lineis a cruise line in the Contemporary category, along with Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Norwegianmarkets the cruise as Freestyle, so a relaxed cruise ship experience where you can NOT dress up if you don’t want to, although many still do in the evening. Think very casual during the day and resort casual at night, but it really is up to you!
What they do well is offer a casual fun ship for families and individuals who generally prefer having a lot to do, including water-slides and other on board activities such as a ropes course. The entertainment is generally very good quality and high energy.
There are no set dining times, so you can eat at a different time if you like each evening. Just keep in mind that sometimes it may be busy and there can be a wait time. You may choose one of the dining rooms with the menu of the evening, or a more casual venue for pub style food or maybe the buffet.
You can also choose to book a specialty restaurant which will offer generally more upscale dining such as the French Bistro or the Japanese Teppanyaki.
Norwegian’s Free at Sea Perks 2022
At this time, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a choice of 5 free perks as part of the Free at Sea promotion for all sailings of 3 nights and longer. The actual value of some of the perks will depend on the length of your cruise and cabin type.
The Free at Sea offers are applicable for single passenger studio cabins, inside cabins, ocean-view, balcony cabins, club balcony cabins, suites and Haven staterooms. For those book Sailaway cabin categories, often guarantee cabins that are priced lower but not eligible for the Free at Sea perks, a $50 US onboard credit is being offered.
Please note that Free at Sea offers and prices can change. Always check the the terms and conditions on the cruise line website and on your booking.
5 Free at Sea Offers (detailed)
Free Open Bar Beverage Package
If you like to have a few drinks a day on a cruise,Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free Open Bar perk (free premium beverage package) is one of the best parts of NCL’s Free at Sea.
Norwegian’s free beverage package perk includes a variety of spirits and cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $15 US per drink. It also includes fountain soda, juice, and non-alcoholic beer. Specialty coffees and water bottles are not included.
It has a retail value of $99 US a day. All guests under 21 will receive the soda package, which has a value of $7.95 US a day.
For guests sailing to Hawaii on Pride of America, you’ll receive the Hawaii Beverage Package.
Something important to be aware of, is that the “free” beverage perk does have an additional gratuity charge on the value of the package. If you opt for the free premium beverage package offer, you’ll be charged a %20 gratuity at the time of your booking.
Read more:Norwegian Cruise Line Beverage Packages (what’s included)
Free Specialty Dining Package
Norwegian’s free specialty dining package option is available to passengers 1 and 2 on your cruise reservation. If you’ve had the free specialty dining package in the past, you’ll notice that Norwegian Cruise Line has made some significant changes.
As noted with the free beverage package perk, be prepared to be charged a 20% gratuity on the free meal package.
Cruises 3-6 nights
If your cruise is 3-6 nights, you’ll receive one meal in a specialty restaurant for all cabin types (studio cabins, inside cabins, ocean-view, balcony cabins, club balcony cabins, suites and the haven).
Cruises 7-11 nights
If your cruise is 7-11 nights, you’ll receive one meal in a specialty restaurant for all cabin types. Balcony cabins and above receive 2 specialty dining meals.
Cruises 12 nights & Longer
If your cruise is 12 nights and longer, studio, inside and ocean view cabins receive 2 meals at specialty restaurants. Balcony and above cabins receive 3 free specialty dining meals.
Free Internet Package
Guests 1 and 2 will receive free internet minutes on their cruise, for use with 1 device at a time. The amount of minutes depends on the length of your cruise. There is no additional gratuity or other charge for this free perk.
Cruises 3 – 6 nights receive 75 minutes
Cruises 7 – 11 nights receive 150 minutes
Cruises 12 nights and longer receive 300 minutes
$50 US Shore Excursion Credit
If you’re planning a cruise, it’s likely that you’ll book some shore excursions, so the free shore excursion credit is a nice perk. With Norwegian’s free shore excursion credit, a $50 credit will be applied to the first guest on the reservation.
If you’re planning excursions before your cruise, you can pre-reserve shore excursions online before your cruise and the credit will be applied. As well, excursions can be booked onboard.
Something to note is that there won’t be a refund given if you don’t book excursions in certain ports, and there is no additional monetary value.
Free 3rd & 4th Guest (or $99 US on select sailings)
This free perk is an amazing value for families in particular. If you’re cruising with a 3rd and 4th passenger, you can opt to have them cruise for free or at only $99 US (on select sailings) as long as they are staying in the same cabin as you.
While the free 3rd and 4th passenger offer isn’t available on every sailing, it’s worth checking different sail dates and ships and even checking back occasionally. Unfortunately, the Christmas and New Year’s holidays often aren’t applicable, and summer sail dates may be scarce. However, we’ve found cruises in March or “Spring Break” dates in the past where the free or discounted rate applied.
Is Norwegian’s Free at Sea Really Free?
It may surprise you to know that although NCL’s Free at Sea offers are free, there will still be some extra costs to pay on certain free perk options. If you choose the free beverage package perk or the free specialty dining offer, you’ll be charged a 20% gratuity on the value of the package. The gratuity charge is added to the price of your reservation and payable before your cruise, and will not be charged on board.
How much is the gratuity charge on Norwegian’s free beverage package perk?
Currently the value of Norwegian Cruise Line’s premium beverage package is $99 US per person, per day. A 20% gratuity ($19.80 US per day) will be added to the total charge for your cabin on your reservation.
The gratuities for the free premium beverage package perk for 2 people is 7 day cruise for 2 people is $277.20 US (138.60 US p/p). Those under 21 years of age will get the soda package, and will be charged a gratuity $1.59 US per day at the time of booking.
How much is the gratuity charge on Norwegian’s free specialty dining perk?
The gratuity on the free specialty dining package perk is 20% of the total cost of the meal package.
1 night of specialty dining is $50 US and a 20% gratuity charge will be added to your reservation when booking your cruise. Therefore 1 free specialty restaurant will cost $10 US per person, or $20 US per cabin (double occupancy).
2 nights of specialty dining is $89 US. A 20% gratuity will be added to your reservation at a cost of $17.80 US per person, or $35.80 US per cabin.
The 3 night specialty dining package is $119 US per person. The additional gratuity added to your booking will be $23.80 per person, or $47.60 per cabin.
Is Norwegian’s Free at Sea Worth it?
People often ask if Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea is worth it, especially since the some of the most popular “free” perks do have an additional gratuity charge. It’s true, additional charges on the free open bar, can add up to almost $300 US per couple on a 7 day cruise and the free dining package another $20-40 for the cabin.
However, the value and worth of the free perk depends on how much you realistically save by getting these perks. At about $20 US per day, per person in gratuity fees on the Free Open Bar perk, you get unlimited alcoholic drinks up to $15, soda or pop, and several types of juice. If you would otherwise spend more, daily, then likely this is worth it for you.
You can also opt out of certain Free at Sea offers. For instance, since my brother rarely drinks alcohol, he’d rather pay for a beer or an occasional cocktail during his cruise. As well, since my sister in law really enjoys her specialty coffees, and this isn’t included in the Open Bar perk, it’s even less worth it for them.
However he’s a big fan of Norwegian’s specialty restaurants and doesn’t mind paying the gratuity fee of about $10 a person for this.
The value of Free at Sea is there, but you do need to calculate the costs and see what is worth it to you.
In some cases, Norwegian will have a much lower rate on certain cabins that don’t include access to any free perks. If you aren’t going to be taking advantage of the free 3rd and 4th passenger offer or the free drinks and specialty dining package, this may be worth looking at and comparing.
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Final Thoughts: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea Perks
In this post we went over Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea perks in detail, including some changes that came into effect in 2022. NCL’s popular Free at Sea promotion has been popular for years, and offers some good inclusive options that can save money and make your cruise more enjoyable.
Have you cruised with Norwegian or are you planning to, and booked any Free at Sea offers? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.
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Norwegian Cruise Line's free at sea offer gives cruise passengers the chance to enjoy a free specialty dining package, free premium beverage package, Wifi minutes, and shore excursions credit, depending on which package they choose. Sometimes it includes free gratuities and free flights.How many meals are included in NCL free at Sea? ›
On 5-6 day cruises guests will receive two meals. On 7-8 day cruises guests will receive three meals. On 9-10 day cruises guests will receive four meals. On 11+ day cruises guests will receive five meals.What drinks are included in free at Sea? ›
The Free Unlimited Bar includes fountain soda, juice and non-alcoholic beers.What beverages are free on Norwegian? ›
On a Norwegian cruise, you'll find unsweetened iced tea, lemonade, select juice, water, drip coffee and tea, and filtered water (no bottled) included with your cruise. Most of these drinks are available free of charge in the buffet and in the dining rooms and restaurants.Does Norwegian have free ice cream? ›
I'm impressed that Norwegian offers hard ice cream here for free. That isn't always the case at ice cream stands on big-ship lines, some of which only offer soft serve ice cream for free and charge for hard ice cream. Best dish: Chocolate ice cream.Is all the food free on a cruise explain? ›
Your cruise fare always includes food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a cruise ship. However, not all venues that offer food will be free. The main dining room and cruise ship buffet will always be included in your cruise fare, though a few specialty items might cost extra.Is continental breakfast free on NCL? ›
Norwegian Cruise Line offers room service 24/7. Their continental breakfast items listed in the PDF are free. For other meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees, Norwegian charges a delivery fee of $9.95 per order. Passengers booked in The Haven or Suites level staterooms receive complimentary room service.Can you eat as much as you want on NCL? ›
You can dine as many times as you would like, on some cruises have eaten lunch in a venue and then come back for an afternoon snack. One of the best things about cruising is that there is no limit how much you can eat.Is Starbucks free on NCL? ›
Yes! Starbucks and specialty coffees are included. You can read the terms and conditions for the Norwegian Cruise Line's Premium Plus Beverage Package: here.How much does open bar cost on Norwegian cruise? ›
The second-tier beverage package, the Unlimited Open Bar Beverage Package, currently costs $99 per person. From January 1, 2023, the price will go up to $109 per person per day. The package includes all beverages up to $15 per serving.
The concept of all inclusive may vary from hotel to hotel, but generally all inclusive includes the room, food and drink. Some resorts may include alcoholic beverages as well as non alcoholic. Whilst others might only provide you with non alcoholic drinks.Is Free at Sea plus worth it? ›
Did you get the Free at Sea on your booking? It is so worth it for anyone who enjoys having a couple of cocktails and would like to do some of the specialty dines. Drinks are so expensive without it, you break even on what they charge per day by having just a couple drinks a day.What are some of the perks of going on a cruise? ›
- Visit off the beaten path destinations without long layovers. ...
- Cruising can convert transit time to fun. ...
- Learn something new. ...
- Someone else does the planning and destination research. ...
- Only unpack once. ...
- Shop till you drop.
The good news is that yes, you can bring food and snacks on a cruise — including on major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.Can I bring bottled water on NCL? ›
Effective for sailings July 15, 2016 and beyond, guests are prohibited from bringing any beverages -- including liquor, beer and non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda and juices -- on board either as carry-on or checked luggage, with the exception of purified or distilled water in factory-sealed containers for use ...How much is a cup of coffee in Norway? ›
In Norway, a cup of coffee costs $4.50. The cost of this is higher than in most other countries, but it is not as high as in some. Coffee is taxed at a rate of 25%, resulting in an additional cost. In Norway, soft drinks are typically sold for 35 to 50% NOK/4-5 EUR.Can you bring a reusable water bottle on a Norwegian cruise? ›
Bring a reusable water bottle to fill it up on the ship and carry it around with you while exploring the port. There's no “open container” rule on board the ship. You can walk around the vessel with drinks or bring drinks from your cabin to anywhere on the ship.How much is the ice bar on ncl? ›
Entrance to the SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar Ice Bar can be reserved from 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. nightly. The cost is $20 per person and includes two signature cocktails that will be served in specially-created glasses made entirely of ice.Does Norwegian provide shampoo and conditioner? ›
Norwegian Cruise Line provides certain items in your stateroom, so you can leave the following at home: Shampoo and conditioner, soap, hairdryer, clothes hangers, bathroom cups, and beach towels.Do Norwegian cabins have refrigerators? ›
regular ships, ncl, carnival, celebrity etc DO NOT have mini fridges available in the cabins. they should have been more specific with you and honest about this from the start, do not let this shy you away from cruises in the future. i am SURE you can find a ship to fit your families needs.
The buffet and main dining rooms are free of charge
Your daily planner that arrives in your stateroom each evening will show the hours that each restaurant will be open for the next day. If you prefer to eat your meal away from the crowds, you can bring food from the buffet back to your room.
- Be Brave and Get Onstage for Free Prizes. ...
- A Spa Tour Just Might Come With Free Perks. ...
- Proving Your Cruise Line Loyalty for Free Stuff. ...
- Score Freebies Shopping on Your Cruise. ...
- Win Prizes at Onboard Trivia and Other Games. ...
- Attend an Art Auction for Free Bubbles.
Many first time cruisers don't even realize you can order anything you want in any quantity you want (within reason of course). You already paid for this food so you might as well enjoy it and eat what you want. A cruise is a perfect time to try some new food that you have never had before.Is coffee included in NCL drink package? ›
Norwegian Cruise Line does not include specialty coffee in their drink package because they feel that it is a luxury item that should be purchased separately. They believe that those who want to enjoy specialty coffee should be willing to pay the additional cost.How much is a glass of wine on NCL? ›
|Other Non-Alcoholic Drinks||$5.00||$0.00|
Most cruise lines add a daily gratuity or service charge to your fare, either prepaid in advance of your sailing or once you are on board. They add auto-gratuities to many onboard purchases. Independently, you're also expected to tip tour guides, porters and the room service delivery person.What is the best time to eat dinner on a cruise? ›
If you like to have dinner on the table the minute you get home from work, stick to your regular routine. Choose the early dinner seating—it usually starts around 6 p.m. But if you like to lounge around a while or hit the gym after work, you might prefer a later setting, which typically starts at 8:30 p.m.How much money should you bring on a 7 day cruise? ›
As a general rule, plan to have $50 to $100 each day in the local currency. Also, you may want to bring an extra $20 a day for tipping crew members. Make sure to include smaller bills for tips. Fifty to a hundred dollars a day should be enough to cover small purchases, tips and snacks at each port.How do you not overeat on a cruise? ›
- Minimize courses. Don't order an appetizer, soup, salad, entree _and _dessert every night. ...
- Order "spa" dishes. Select the spa dinner menu -- especially if you ate a pancake breakfast and lunchtime burger. ...
- Go easy on the bread. Tell the server no bread basket.
What does Norwegian's Unlimited Starbucks Package cost? Norwegian's Unlimited Starbucks Package costs $12.95 per person per day plus 20% gratuity.
Norwegian Cruise Line
You may bring a bottle of wine of champagne onboard, including magnum size, and there is no limit on the number of bottles. Corkage fees are based on size, and range from $15 to $30, and apply only when your bottles are consumed outside of your stateroom.
On the Other Hand: Norwegian is the only cruise line that serves different coffee on different ships: The line's U.S.-flagged Pride of America brews up Sara Lee Kona Coffee, whereas the remainder of the fleet uses Folgers Columbian Blend in the dining room, on the lido deck and for room service.Do Norwegian cruises get cheaper closer to the date? ›
Cruise prices do not get cheaper closer to the sailing date in all cases. Cruise prices are usually the cheapest furthest from the sailing date when first launched or 60-90 days before the cruise sets sail.Can cruise cash be used at the bar? ›
Cruise Cash ($25, $50, $75 and $100) – Can be used for any expenses on the guest's Sail and Sign account. This includes staff gratuities. Cruise Cash Bar ($25, $50, $75 and $100) - Can be used on all bar purchases (alcoholic, non-alcoholic and specialty coffee shops).How much does a soda cost on Norwegian Cruise Line? ›
In this case, the dollar amount is small, but it still means more money from your wallet. We noticed a change in pricing on Norwegian Cruise Line's website. The cruise line's soda package, which gives you “endless fountain soda” during the cruise, has increased in price from $7.95 per day to $9.95 per day.How many drinks are you allowed on all-inclusive? ›
Six alcoholic drinks are only allowed if you're on an all inclusive holiday. This means you can have up to three at lunch, and three at dinner.Is there a 6 drink limit on all-inclusive? ›
“There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these drinks will be provided only during lunch and dinner (three each).”What kind of alcohol is included in all-inclusive? ›
What's Included at an All-Inclusive Resort? Though it varies from hotel to hotel, typically rates at all-inclusive resorts include the room, all meals and snacks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, juice, soda, and water), and non-motorized water sports if it's along the beach.What does the Free at Sea package include? ›
Norwegian Cruise Line's free at sea offer gives cruise passengers the chance to enjoy a free specialty dining package, free premium beverage package, Wifi minutes, and shore excursions credit, depending on which package they choose. Sometimes it includes free gratuities and free flights.What are the 5 perks on NCL? ›
- Free Open Bar.
- Free Specialty Dining.
- Free WiFi.
- Free Shore Excursions.
- Free 3rd and 4th Guests.
- Free Air Fare for 2nd Guest.
With “Free at Sea,” you book a cruise and get any number of free perks included with your cruise. While what's offered to passengers does change slightly from time to time, the traditional deal offers a lineup of perks for you to select from: Free open bar. Free specialty dining. Free shore excursions.Is it better to be higher or lower on cruise? ›
The higher the deck, the better and, often, more panoramic the view. Cabins on top decks aren't always the best on the ship, but many suites and specialty cabin categories are typically located on upper decks.Do you need to bring toothpaste on a cruise? ›
For everyone's sanity, this rule does not apply to cruise ships. Bring shampoo from home or a bottle of hairspray or a full-sized tube of toothpaste. Just keep in mind that if you have to fly to the port, then you'll still have to meet the guidelines on liquids for air travel.What items Cannot bring to cruise? ›
- Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas.
- Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. ...
- Illegal Drugs & Substances.
- CBD Oil / CBD Products.
- Candles, Incense, Coffee Makers, Clothes Irons, Travel Steamers & Hot Plates. ...
There are no size limits for liquid toiletries on cruise ships, but if you're flying to your embarkation port, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows bottles of 3 ounces or less. They must all fit into one clear quart-sized zip-top bag per person if you're taking a carry-on.What things are free on a cruise ship? ›
Activities on Cruise Ships
Free Activities on Cruises: Trivia, pool games, big-screen movies, dance classes and sports deck activities (basketball, rock climbing, mini-golf, shuffleboard and more) are all normally free on a cruise ship.
Norwegian Cruise Line provides certain items in your stateroom, so you can leave the following at home: Shampoo and conditioner, soap, hairdryer, clothes hangers, bathroom cups, and beach towels.How do you get free water on a cruise? ›
Upscale, luxury cruise lines and river cruise lines include bottled water in your stateroom, in eating facilities, at the gangway in port and often on excursions at no additional charge. In some of those cases, water in your stateroom is provided in refillable glass carafes or bottles.What kind of food is free on a cruise? ›
Most food is free or included on a cruise. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main dining room, buffet and some casual restaurants on the cruise ship. Alternative dining in specialty restaurants often has an additional charge and is not included in the cost of a cruise.Can I bring snacks on Norwegian cruise? ›
The good news is that yes, you can bring food and snacks on a cruise — including on major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.
|Other Non-Alcoholic Drinks||$5.00||$0.00|
Most cruise lines offer wash and press services onboard their cruise ships for a fee. Exceptions include smaller lines, such as Island Windjammers. There is typically a laundry bag located inside your stateroom that you can leave for your room steward to pick up.Do I need to pack shampoo and conditioner for a cruise? ›
This is a somewhat debated one, but you don't actually need to bring shampoo and soap. The cruise line will have shampoo and shower gel dispensers on the wall of the shower, and some go a step further with conditioner and bar soap. If you want to bring a specific brand or are sensitive to fragranced products, etc.Can I bring bottled water on Norwegian? ›
Guests will not be permitted to bring any beverages onboard the ship in ports of call and any locally-purchased beverages will be disposed of prior to embarkation.Can I bring instant coffee on cruise? ›
You are certainly welcome to bring your own instant or ground coffee, tea and teapot (or tea ball), French press or any other non-electric gadget that will make you your drink of choice using only hot water. However, you may not bring any small appliances, such as coffeemakers or electric kettles, as these are banned.