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Norwegian Cruise Line Ships Ranked

Which is best for you?

Which is the best NCL Cruise Ship for you? Discover the best Norwegian Cruise Line ship for families, luxury, solo sailors, budget travel and smaller ships.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Ships Ranked

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Find The Best Norwegian Cruise Line Ship For You

Choosing the right Norwegian Cruise Line ship can make a big difference to your cruise holiday. Whether you’re traveling with family, on a budget, or looking for luxury, there’s a ship that’s perfect for you.  Norwegian Cruise Line is known for having a great variety of ships to suit everyone.  In this guide, we’ll explore the best of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 19 ships for families, solo guests, budget travellers, luxury voyagers and smaller ship lovers.

One of the best cruise ships for solo travellers - NCL Epic
One of the best cruise ships for solo travellers – NCL Epic

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A go-karting track at sea! Onboard NCL Encore
A go-karting track at sea! Onboard NCL Encore

Best Norwegian Cruise Line Ship for Families: Norwegian Encore

Norwegian Encore is an ideal cruise ship for families, with a wide range of attractions and activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re looking for thrilling waterslides, exciting go-kart tracks, or immersive gaming experiences, Norwegian Encore has it all.  It’s the biggest ship in the Norwegian fleet and one of the best ships in the world for families.  Let’s take a closer look at what makes this ship perfect for families.

Loaded with Family-Friendly Attractions

One of the main draws of Norwegian Encore for families is its array of family-friendly attractions. From waterparks to go-kart tracks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The ship boasts multiple water slides that provide endless hours of fun for both kids and adults. You can splash down on these thrilling slides and cool off on hot summer days. Not only that, but there’s also a kiddie splash zone where the little ones can have their own safe and enjoyable water play area.

Thrilling Waterslides and Kiddie Splash Zone

For those who love adventure, this NCL cruise ship offers a variety of thrilling waterslides. From steep drops to twirling tubes, these slides provide heart-pounding excitement for all ages. The splash zones are perfect for little ones, with safe and fun water activities that will keep them entertained for hours.

Parents can relax knowing that their children are having a blast in a safe and supervised environment. The Norwegian Encore takes safety seriously and ensures that all water attractions are well-maintained and lifeguards are present.

Entourage - the teen hangout on NCL Encore
Entourage – the teen hangout on NCL Encore

Massive Indoor Gaming and Virtual Reality Zone

Norwegian Encore goes above and beyond when it comes to entertainment for tweens and teens. The ship features a massive indoor gaming and virtual reality zone that is sure to impress even the most tech-savvy youngsters. Gamers can try their hand at the latest video games or immerse themselves in virtual reality experiences. It’s a haven for the gaming enthusiasts in your family, providing hours of fun and excitement.

This indoor gaming and virtual reality zone offers a wide range of games and experiences for all skill levels, ensuring that everyone in the family will find something they enjoy. From classic arcade games to cutting-edge virtual reality adventures, there’s no shortage of entertainment options aboard Norwegian Encore.  It’s the largest ship in the NCL fleet, but still much smaller than some of the giant Royal Caribbean ships.

Other great NCL ships for families: Norwegian Breakaway & Norwegian Escape

First Time Cruise Help

Are you new to cruising?

If it’s your first time cruising, it can all seem overwhelming and confusing. That’s why we offer a First Time Cruise Help Service at Rock the Boat Travel Agency.

The best place to start is by talking with one of our team members. It all starts with you – finding out what you like and just as important, what you don’t like. Coupled with our cruise know-how, we’ll suggest the perfect first time cruise for you. Request a call with one of our team.

First time cruisers enjoying being on a cruise ship as a family

A modern and fresh feel in an NCL Solo Studio
A modern and fresh feel in an NCL Solo Studio

Best Cruise Ship for Solo Sailors: Norwegian Epic

Solo traveling is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are realizing the joys and benefits of exploring the world on their own terms. However, finding the right cruise ship that caters to solo sailors can sometimes be a challenge. 

If you’re like me and you love sailing solo, Norwegian Epic is one of the best ships out there.  This incredible ship has been designed offering a range of amenities and features that cater specifically to those traveling alone. From a large private zone, cabins and a Studio Lounge, the Norwegian Epic is the ultimate choice for adventurers sailing alone.

Plus, the cruise line also won the Best for Solo Travelers (Ocean Category) from Cruise Critics.

Large private zone for solo sailors with exclusive lounge and cabins

One of the standout features of the Norwegian Epic for solo travellers is the large private zone designed specifically for them. This dedicated area ensures that you have their own space to relax and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship.   This vibrant and stylish lounge is exclusively for people sailing alone and provides a social hub where you can meet and mingle with like-minded adventurers. Whether you want to join in on a group activity, enjoy a refreshing drink at the bar, or simply relax and chat with fellow travellers, the Studio Lounge is the place to be.

Example layout of a Solo Studio onboard NCL ships
Example layout of a Solo Studio onboard NCL ships

Intimate and futuristic cabins

One of the standout features of Norwegian Epic is its intimate and futuristic cabin design. The cabins are thoughtfully designed to maximize space and create a modern and stylish ambiance. With sleek lines, contemporary furnishings, and innovative use of space, the cabins offer a truly remarkable experience.

The smart design of the cabins ensures that every inch of space is used really well. The storage solutions are cleverly integrated into the design, providing ample space for all your belongings. 

Whether you choose an inside cabin or an ocean view cabin, you can be sure to enjoy the comforts of home in a chic and contemporary setting. The well-appointed cabins offer a comfortable and relaxing environment, allowing you to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the destinations.

Perfect for meeting and mingling

Norwegian Epic is known for its vibrant and social atmosphere, making it the perfect choice for solo travellers who want to meet and mingle with like-minded individuals. With a variety of onboard activities, events, and social spaces, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect with other passengers.

Whether it’s participating in group excursions, attending meet-ups, or joining in on the onboard entertainment, there are endless ways to connect. The ship’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere fosters a sense of community, making it easy to form new friendships and create unforgettable memories together.

Read our guide or listen to the podcast all about sailing alone with NCL.

Other great ships for solo sailors: Norwegian Epic & Norwegian Getaway

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Norwegian Sun cruise ship - one of the best smaller ships
Norwegian Sun cruise ship – one of the best smaller ships

Best for people who love smaller ships: Norwegian Sun

If you’re looking for a smaller ship, look no further than the Norwegian Sun. With its smaller size and intimate atmosphere, this ship is designed to offer a more relaxed and uncrowded experience for its passengers. Say goodbye to long lines and large crowds, and hello to a peaceful and serene holiday.

Avoid the Crowds, Enjoy the Peace

One of the standout features of the Norwegian Sun is its smaller size compared to other Norwegian cruise ships. This means fewer passengers and a more intimate atmosphere. Retirees can enjoy a quieter and less crowded environment, perfect for unwinding and socializing with fellow adults.

Fewer Families and More Couples

One of the benefits of choosing Norwegian Sun as a retiree is the fact that it attracts fewer families and more couples. This creates a more relaxed and tranquil environment on board, allowing you to truly unwind and enjoy your vacation without the hustle and bustle of children running around. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or simply some peace and quiet, Norwegian Sun offers the perfect atmosphere.

Chill out by the pool on NCL Sun
Chill out by the pool on NCL Sun

Longer and Destination-Focused Itineraries

If you have the luxury of having more time to travel, and Norwegian Sun caters to this with its longer itineraries. Instead of the typical week-long cruise, you can choose from cruises that last 10, 14, or even 21 days. These longer itineraries allow you to immerse yourself in the destinations you visit, giving you a chance to truly explore and discover new cultures and experiences. Whether you’re cruising through the Caribbean, the stunning glaciers of Alaska exploring the Baltic Sea, or sailing through the Panama Canal, Norwegian Sun offers a wide range of exciting destinations to choose from.

Other great smaller ships: Norwegian Star & Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Prima & Viva
Norwegian Prima & Viva

Best NCL Ship for Luxury Lovers: Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva

If you’re a luxury lover and crave the finer things in life, then look no further than the two ships: Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva. These two are the newest ships and are designed to cater to your every desire, providing an upscale experience like no other. From the moment you step onboard either of these new Prima class ships, you’ll be surrounded by elegance and sophistication.  

Upscale design and upscale feel with a wide variety of high-end cabins

One of the standout features of the Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva (new ship) is their upscale design and feel. As soon as you step foot on these ships, you’ll be greeted by luxurious furnishings and stylish decor. The attention to detail is evident throughout every inch of the ship, from the chic lounges to the sophisticated restaurants.
One of the highlights of these cruise ships is the wide variety of high-end cabins available. Whether you prefer a cosy interior cabin or a spacious suite with a private balcony, there’s something to suit every taste and budget. The cabins are exquisitely designed and offer all the amenities you could possibly need for a comfortable and indulgent stay.

What sets Norwegian Prima and Viva, the newest ship in the fleet, apart is their commitment to providing top-notch service and attention to detail. Every cabin is carefully maintained and serviced by a dedicated team of professionals, ensuring that your every need is met with utmost care and precision.

Relax and watch the world sail on by
Relax and watch the world sail on by

Elegant dining options and spacious public areas

One of the highlights of any cruise is the dining experience, and the Norwegian Prima and Viva certainly deliver in this aspect. From elegant fine dining to casual eateries, there’s a culinary option to suit every palate. Whether you’re craving a juicy steak, fresh seafood, or international cuisine, you’ll find it all onboard these luxury cruise ships.
In addition to the dining options, the ships also offer spacious public areas. Whether you want to relax in a cosy lounge, catch a live performance in the theatre, or soak up the sun by the pool, there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy themselves. The public areas are beautifully designed and provide the perfect backdrop for socializing or simply taking in the stunning ocean views.
In conclusion, if you’re a luxury lover, the Prima and Viva are the perfect cruise ships for you. With their upscale design, exclusive luxury zone, elegant dining options, and spacious public areas, these ships provide an indulgent and unforgettable experience. So why wait? Start planning your luxury cruise getaway today and discover the opulence that awaits.

The ultimate in luxury - The Haven on NCL Prima
The ultimate in luxury – The Haven on NCL Prima

Exclusive luxury zone: The Haven with private lounges, pools, and restaurants

For the ultimate indulgence, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva offer an exclusive luxury zone called The Haven. This secluded area is reserved for guests staying in the most lavish accommodations, including the luxurious Haven Suites and Penthouses.

Within The Haven, you’ll find private lounges where you can relax and unwind in a serene environment. There are also private pools where you can take a refreshing dip away from the crowds. And when it comes to dining, The Haven has its own exclusive restaurants where you can indulge in exquisite meals prepared by world-class chefs.

Luxury ship coming soon: Norwegian Aqua

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NCL Sky - one of the best value cruise ships
NCL Sky – one of the best value cruise ships

Best Norwegian Cruise ship for Budget Travelers: Norwegian Sky

The Norwegian Sky cruise ship is a fantastic option for budget travellers looking for an unforgettable holiday.  This older cruise ship offers a range of options that make it a great choice for those who want to explore the Bahamas or embark on longer trips to the Caribbean.

 As soon as you step onto the Norwegian Sky, freshly renovated in 2022, you’ll be thrilled to find that there’s something for everyone on board. On one of the Bahamas cruises, the possibilities are endless with over 10 dining choices, a wide selection of bars and lounges, a luxurious onboard spa, and a lively cruise casino with all your favourite games and slot machines. Even though it’s an older ship, the Norwegian Sky is beloved by NCL fans.

And if you bring the kids along, they’ll make sure they stay entertained all day while you relax by the pool, have fun in the casino, or saver a delicious meal at one of our many restaurants. 

Longer Trips to the Caribbean

If you’re ready for a longer adventure, the Norwegian Sky also offers trips to the stunning Caribbean islands. Experience the vibrant colours, rich history, and diverse cultures of destinations such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the Cayman Islands.

Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying traditional cuisine, listening to live music, or exploring the beautiful landscapes. Whether you want to relax on the beach, go zip-lining through the rainforest, or swim with dolphins, the Caribbean offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

Cheaper, but with still a great top deck on NCL Sky
Cheaper, but with still a great top deck on NCL Sky

Great option for first-time cruisers and a Florida holiday

If you are new to cruising or visiting Florida, the Norwegian Sky is an excellent choice for your first cruise experience. Its shorter itineraries allow you to dip your toes into the world of cruising without committing to a longer voyage.

If you’re visiting Florida, this ship offers the convenience of departing from Miami, making it easily accessible for those who want to embark on a quick getaway without the hassle extra travel. You can simply pack your bags and set sail on a memorable journey to the Bahamas.

Other great budget ships: Norwegian Gem & Norwegian Jewel

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