Is Norwegian Cruise Line kid friendly? As serial cruisers we are often asked about the family friendliness of different cruise lines. In this guide we will take an in-depth look at the facilities and amenities onboard various Norwegian cruise ships to definitively answer the question “is Norwegian cruise line good for families”?
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So before we get onto specifics that make, or don’t make, Norwegian Cruise line kid friendly our first questions has to be are kids? allowed on Norwegian Cruise Line?
Are kids allowed on Norwegian Cruise Line?
And the answer is yes, kids are absolutely allowed on Norwegian Cruise Line. Now there is a minimum age to go on any cruise for insurance reasons which is dependent on line, and amount of sea days on your itinerary.
For this reason if you are cruising with a baby check out this post for specific guidelines.
So now you know that you can cruise with kids on Norwegian cruise line we will look at specific features that make the line family friendly.
What Makes Norwegian Cruise Line kid friendly?
When cruising with kids generally speaking the amenities and on-board ship facilities are one of the biggest factors in making a cruise good for families. So in this section we will look at the facilities on board most Norwegian ships before looking into some more itinerary specific factors.
Do Norwegian Cruise Ships Have Kids Club?
The good news is that all Norwegian Cruise ships do have a kids club which is called Splash Academy.
The Splash Academy on Norwegian is usually operating free of charge, though there may be a few additional charge activities such as the Late Night Fun Zone.
The Splash Academy is aimed at children from 3 years to 17 years old and it is split into 3 age ranges.
Children between 3 years old and 12 years old are in one section and are split into Turtles (3-5 year olds) Seals ( 6-9 years olds), and dolphins (10-12 years). Normally there will be a choice of 3 activities in each session include something creative, something physical and sometimes computer games.
While teenagers have their own space onboard. However it is worth pointing out that not all of the teenage activities are supervised as they are with the younger ages.
If you sailing Norwegian cruises with a toddler or with a baby then there are also some sessions for them too. This is not a drop off session and parents will have to accompany them for the stay and play session. This is known as the Guppies program.
The last Norwegian Cruise we did we had a 6 year old and a toddler with us and I have to say that I was very disappointed with teh Guppies program but my 6 year old loved the splash Academy.
During our sailing on the Norwegian Getaway the Guppies sessions were relocated to a meeting room and the toys and offer for little ones was very limited.
For this reason I would say the kids club facilities are good for older children however are not great for those cruising with toddlers.
Does Norwegian cruise Line have Kid Friendly Pools?
One of the things we were impressed with when traveling on Norwegian cruise line were the pools which are very kid friendly.
Norwegian Cruise Ships tend to have a variety of pool options including:
- a main pool
- a kids pool
- a splash pool and
- hot tubs
We love the fact that all Norwegian Cruise pools are heated which make them useable for kids even if you are cruising to Alaska with young kids.
However, if you are cruising with babies or children who are not potty trained then they will not be able to swim in Norwegian cruise ship pools. One thing that surprises many first time cruisers is the fact that children who aren’t potty trained can’t use the ship pools.
There are signs all around the ship that swim diapers and unpotty trained children are not permitted in the pools. From our experience onboard the Norwegian Getaway we found this rule was enforced in a hit and miss fashion but it is worth bearing in mind if you are traveling with younger children.
On top of pools there are also some great slides on Norwegian cruise ships. But it is worth pointing out that these slides also come with height and weight restrictions for instance:
On Norwegian Getaway, the ship we most recently sailed on the restrictions were:
- Free Fall – Must be 48″ (122cm) or taller and weigh at least 99lbs (45kgs).
- Whip Waterslides – Must be at least 48″ (122cm).
- Family slide – Must be at least 42″ (106cm).
For this reason we think the best age for Norwegian cruise ships to use the pools are children who are potty trained or are over 48 inches so that facilities can be used.
Luckily our toddler was potty trained however it would have been difficult occupying him if he had not been.
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Kid Friendly Facilities on Board Norwegian Cruise Line
Although all Norwegian cruise lines have splash academy and pools, the other kid friendly amenities will vary from ship to ship across the fleet.
Generally speaking ships and their sister ships will have some commonalities in their features however Norwegian offerings are quite vast. The classes of Norwegian cruise ships are:
- Sun Class – includes the Norwegian Sun and Sky
- Jewel Class – which includes the Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Pearl.
- Dawn Class – includes Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star.
- Breakaway Class – Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
- Breakaway Plus Class – Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Joy.
- Leonardo Class – Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Viva and future cruise ships.
However some of the most kid friendly amenities on board Norwegian Cruise line include:
- Rope Courses – this features on both the Breakaway Class ships – Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway . There is a junior course and an adult course which has a 48 inch minimum height requirement.
- Laser Tag – Norwegian Encore.
- Go Karts – Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Bliss.
If there is a particular feature you want it is definitely worth checking out the specific cruise ship and any associated costs before you book.
Are there Kid Friendly Food Options on Norwegian Cruise Line?
Norwegian Cruise line, like most cruise ships these days have three types of restaurants on board including:
- the buffet restaurant
- the Main Dining Room and
- speciality dining.
There may also be some other more casual eateries such as an Irish pub or burger bar. So with this in mind are the food options on Norwegian Cruise Line Kid Friendly?
My answer is yes and no.
At the buffet restaurant there is always a good variety of foods from standard American diner food such as burgers and hot dogs to sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta alongside regional specialities.
There is also usually a kids section in the buffet section too alongside deserts and soft serve ice cream which can be very convenient after a long shore excursion day.
However I must admit that the remaining children’s food offering on Norwegian was very limited.
For instance in the main dining room the options were:
- Burger and chips
- Chicken tenders and chips
- Mac and cheese
- Hot Dog or
which is great and appealing to kids if you are going out for one evening meal however on longer length cruises – our most recent cruise was 9 night long and the fact the children’s menu stayed the same throughout the cruise and offered no healthy options was definitely a draw back for us a family.
But perhaps the biggest issue we had was in the speciality restaurants as these restaurants also had the same options as the main dining room and didn’t offer some restaurant specific specials.
Are Itineraries on Norwegian cruise line good for families?
One of the things I like about Norwegian is that there are a range of itineraries including but not limited to:
- The Med
- Alaska Cruises
- South Pacific Cruise
to name but a few. All of these itineraries are family friendly and should have family friendly shore excursions too.
So far we have done a Caribbean, Baltic, Middle East and Med Cruise onboard a Norwegian ship and all of the itineraries ave been really good for families.
Is Great Stirrup Cay Family Friendly
If your family decides to head on a Caribbean Cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line then a highlight is the private island which is known as Great Stirrup Cay.
Norwegian has to tender to its private island unlike Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line, whose private islands are adjacent. This means if there are high winds on your vacation this port may be cancelled.
However if you do get on the island it is a great place to be with kids. There is very easy snorkelling just off the beach and some amazing photo opps.
We also do recommend booking a tent or umbrella as there is very little shade on the island on the regular seating.
Also you may want to rent floats on the beach to add some extra entertainment for little ones.
Another top tip if you want to visit Great Stirrup Cay is to check what ships are docking at the island on your date as sometimes Norwegian will put two ships on the private island on the same day.
Although the island is good if there is one ship docked, I think it would be too busy to enjoy if two ships were docked here.
Best Age for Norwegian cruises?
We have cruised with kids at all ages from babies to teenagers straight through and although we have enjoyed all the crusises we have found some ages better than others.
Firstly Norwegian cruises are great for babies but I have to say it is not my favorite cruise line for toddlers. The reason for this is that there are no splash pads on Norwegian cruise lines and therefore no water play ares for children who are not potty trained.
Also there are no supervised kids activities or kids clubs until children reach the age of 3.
For this reason we recommend Norwegian Cruise lines for babies and then children over 48 inches in height as at this age they can use all the facilities like water slides, go karts and rope courses for instance.
Conclusion: Is Norwegian Cruise Line good for Families
So overall did we think Norwegian cruise line was good for families? I would have to say yes and no. Older children will love the variety of activities such as rope courses and go karts however if you are cruising with younger children, especially toddlers who are not potty trained then you may find things to do onboard the ship limited.
Overall we would say it really depends on the ship, itinerary and family. However we think that Norwegian Cruise line is good for families with older children (7+) but not great for young families with toddlers.
Have you been on Norwegian Cruise line with kids? What did you think we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
FAQs about if Norwegian Cruise Line Is Kid Friendly
WE hope this guide has given you a good overview and an answer to is Norwegian cruise line kid friendly, but if you still have questions hopefully you will find an answer in our Frequently asked question sections below. And if not do feel free to drop us a comment and we will do our best to answer.
And if you want to think about other cruise lines for kids be sure to check out our other cruise family friendly guides:
- Carnival Cruises with Kids
- Disney with Kids
- Holland America with Kids
- Royal Caribbean with kids
Are Norwegian Cruises toddler friendly?
We are lucky enough to have cruised with children of lots of different ages on Norwegian cruise lines including a toddler. So is Norwegian cruise line toddler friendly?
I would have to say my honest answer is no not completely. That isn’t to say your toddler wouldn’t be safe on a Norwegian cruise or that you wouldn’t enjoy. However I say no because the things a toddler can do on a Norwegian cruise ship is limited.
If your toddler is under 3 then they won’t be able to use the kids club, and only have access to the Guppys stay and play sessions which we were not impressed by on our latest cruise, and there are no splash pads for unpotty trained toddlers. For this reason we would recommend other lines such as Disney and some royal Caribbean ships as being more toddler friendly.
And if you are cruising with a toddler be sure to check out our toddler cruise packing list.
What is the best Norwegian Cruise Ship for Kids?
There is no one best Norwegian Cruise Ship. Personally I always look at itineraries before booking a cruise vacation and then selecting the ship once an itinerary has been chosen.
However when looking at the best Norwegian cruise ship for your family I would look at
- the facilities onboard
- the water slides and
- the height restrictions on any of the facilities as there would be noting worse than telling your little one about an amazing ropes course etc and then not being able to participate.