Families looking for the ultimate in both relaxation and fun should look no further than a cruise with a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Epic & Getaway cruise. Known for their “Freestyle” cruising NCL has become popular amongst families looking to enjoy relaxed dress codes and dining whenever & wherever they please. Plus, with the vast array of activities available from pools and water slides to exhilarating nightly shows and sweeping ocean views there is sure to be something onboard for each member of the family.
On the Getaway, thrillseekers will enjoy plunging down the Free Fall- a drop slide that sends you screaming down at 4G’s! Or try your hand at the daring ropes course, and if you are feeling brave step out onto the plank which extends 8 feet off the ship and over the ocean. Then head into the Ice Bar to cool off, kids are allowed in with a paying adult and they will love bundling up in the giant parkas provided for you to wear inside as the temperature is kept at a chilly 17-degrees fahrenheit.
Over on the Epic families will have a blast sliding down the multi-slide Aqua Park which features the first ever at sea funnel slide! You can also go rock climbing, shoot some hoops at the two-story sports complex, or hit the bowling alley. The magnificent entertainment on board including the incredible acrobats at the Cirque Dreams & Dinner Show and the dazzling dancers performing at Burn the Floor are also not to be missed.
Regardless of which ship you choose NCL amenities like complimentary onboard youth programs, top-notch service, twice daily housekeeping, gorgeous fitness centers, and world-class spa facilities will ensure that you return home rested and relaxed. You can’t say that about every family vacations now can you?
What to Do
Norwegian’s Epic and Getaway ships are jam-packed with incredible activities, nightly entertainment, unique experiences and that is just what is on board. Of course, many families also opt to explore off the ship when they arrive into their scheduled ports as well. One of the best ways to stay in the loop about what is happening on board is to read over your Freestyle Daily. This daily schedule is placed in your room at turn down offering you ample time the night before to arrange which activities and shows you would like to check out the next day. I always recommend bringing a highlighter so that you can easily mark the activities that seem appealing to you. I would highly encourage you to take part in a variety of activities while on board as some of our fondest memories have been made playing a group game of dodgeball, trying our luck at Bingo, or attending a cupcake decorating class.
Both the NCL Epic and Getaway have fantastic room configurations for families including some cabins that can sleep up to 5 guests (6 if you stay in The Haven’s Family Villa). Larger families or multi-generational travel groups can also book adjoining cabins as well which is typically more budget friendly too. Another perk for families onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Getaway and Epic is that there are some cabins that come with a bathtub over the typical shower seen on most cruise lines.
Special Amenities for the Kids
Norwegian’s complimentary youth programs are fantastic. Kids ages 3-12 years old will enjoy creative play, interactive sports, creating arts and crafts and more with the super fun youth staff at Splash Academy. They even have Circus School where the kids learn things like juggling which they perform for the parents in a big show at the end of the cruise. It’s super cute!
Teens will love hanging out in Entourage, a teen only lounge that throws some pretty fun themed parties. And, NCL also offers the Guppies Program for parents with little ones. This drop off nursery is available for ages 6 months-3 years old however fees do apply for this service.
Kid Friendly Dining
Norwegian Cruise Line prides themselves on being a family friendly cruise line so you can expect kid-approved food at each and every restaurant, buffet, and grab & go eatery on board. Something else parents should note is while specialty dining on board does come with an added charge for the adults in the party, kids 4-12 years old still dine complimentary when they order off the kids menu and as always kids under 3 are free!
Amber Mamian is a family travel expert and mother of 5 kids through both birth and adoption (ages 3, 10, 11, 12 and 14). Her travel writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Huffington Post, Yahoo, TWIST Travel Magazine, and the TODAY Parenting Team blog. You can also follow her family’s adventures on her website, Global Munchkins.