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Things to know about Norwegian

Children's Diabetes Foundation Logo

Proudly Supporting the 
Children’s Diabetes Foundation

Every reservation includes a donation to the CDF!

What's Included with your base cruise fare?

Before we go into specifics, here is what is included with your base cruise fare on Norwegian.  

  • Your room, including daily housekeeping service
  • A selection of complimentary restaurants
    • American Diner – 50’s style diner – was recently converted from a paid venue to complimentary.
    • Garden Cafe Buffet – classic cruise buffet
    • Horizon Observation Lounge – light eats
    • Manhattan Room Main Dining Room – one of three main dining room options
    • Savor Main Dining Room – one of three main dining room options
    • Taste Main Dining Room – one of three main dining room options
    • The Local Bar and Grill – 24 hour eatery offering classic pub fare
    • * We will have group seating at one of the main dining rooms nightly, as it is a good place to socialize and get to know one another.
  • A selection of complimentary beverages
    • Coffee (24/7)
    • Tea (24/7)
    • Iced Tea (24/7)
    • Milk (24/7)
      • Lactaid, almond milk and soy milk offered upon request
    • Tap water (24/7)
    • Chocolate Milk (breakfast)
    • Juice (breakfast)
    • Flavored waters (buffet during lunch & dinner)
  • A selection of included entertainment and activities
    • Choir of Man Broadway style show
    • Social Comedy and Night Club
    • The Cavern Club – Beatles cover band
    • Aqua Parks
    • Kids clubs for kids 3-17
    • Fitness center
    • plus more
  • Your choice of one group amenity (more details below)
    • Option 1 – gratuities apply to the drink and dining portions
      • Unlimited open bar beverage package (soda package for minors)
      • 1 or 2 speciality dining meals (guests 1 & 2)
      • $50 excursion credit (guest 1)
      • 300 minutes wi-fi
    • Option 2 – no additional gratuities
      • 10 Photo package
      • $50 shore excursion credit (guest 1)
      • 300 minutes wi-fi
      • $100 onboard credit

Other things we believe are important to be aware of to help budget and avoid potential surprises onboard

Every cruise line has unique nuances and differences on how they operate.  After working with Royal Caribbean for several years, we’re excited to sail with a second cruise line.  Following are some things we think are important to be aware of and be prepared for when sailing with Norwegian. Our first family cruise was on Norwegian, as was our first Alaskan cruise. Additionally, we have toured Encore’s sister ship, Bliss, and sailed on the inaugural cruise of Joy out of Los Angeles after she moved to the US from Asia. All referenced pricing is subject to change, but believed to be accurate as of 1/24.
  • Onboard Expenses. Norwegian charges for many onboard experiences, including go-karts, laser tag and virtual reality.  Norwegian has more of an ala carte pricing model than some other cruise lines (but several are following suit, including Royal Caribbean, which started charging for many of their activities on Quantum Class ships, two of which sail to Alaska). We want to make sure you are aware of these onboard expenses, and can budget accordingly to minimize unexpected surprises once onboard.
    • Speedway Go-Karts: $15 per person per session
      • Double carts (adult and small child are also $15)
      • Unlimited weekly pass: $199 per guest (with use of the express line)
    • Laser Tag: $9.95 per person per session
      • Two games, approx. 5 minutes each (which may vary)
    • Galaxy Pavillion Virtual Reality: $8 per game
      • Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing and SR3 Radical are $20 per play
      • Escape Room: $15 per play
      • Unlimited weekly pass: $199 per guest
    • Package Pricing
      • $20 Galaxy Pavillion “4 plays for $20” package
      • $29 Ultimate Galaxy one-hour package
      • $49 Ultimate Galaxy full-day package
      • $399 Ultimate Trio package (Galaxy Pavillion, Speedway, Laser Tag)
    • Soda, bottled water and alcohol will cost extra – they are available ala carte, in a drink package, or as one of our group amenities (however you will still be responsible for gratuities).  Norwegian has a policy that no outside beverages of any kind can be brought onboard.  If you use juice boxes to treat lows, you will need to submit NCL’s accessibility form here to have that request added to your reservation.
    • There are several specialty restaurants onboard, and cost extra.  Most have ala carte pricing, a couple have cover charges, in a dining package or as one of our group amenities (you will be responsible for gratuities).  We typically stick with complimentary restaurants on most of our cruises and generally find those options sufficient, however we are not foodies.
    • There will be plenty of opportunities to spend money onboard, including shore excursions (you can purchase through Norwegian, or through a third party, such as our shore excursion partner, SEG), retail stores, casino, spa.
  • Gratuities. Like nearly all cruise lines, there is a daily per person gratuity which is not included in your cruise fare. Most items and services purchased onboard will have a 20% gratuity added.  Current daily gratuities are $20/pp per day and $25/pp per day for suites.  This is the one effectively mandatory charge in addition to your base cruise fare.  These can be prepaid with your reservation (which will lock pricing, should there be an increase between booking and sailing) otherwise they will be added to your onboard account and charged at the end of your cruise.
  • Cashless. With the possible exception of the casino, cruise ships are effectively cashless.  All purchases onboard are charged to your onboard account, which is charged to the credit card on file on the final day of your cruise. You can set up limits for each guest to control spending.
  • Suites.  Norwegian’s Haven suites are like a luxury ship-within-a-ship.  If you’re going to splurge, we really like Norwegian’s Haven for Alaska sailings.  They offer a private observation lounge and sun deck reserved exclusively for The Haven guests, along with amazing amenities such as butler service, private pool, lounge and restaurant.
  • CGM Cloud Access. Norwegian has finally agreed to provide unlimited access to CGM cloud servers!  The CGM wearer and one follower will be provided unlimited access to CGM cloud data.  This is intended to be utilized for CGM data, and may not include full internet access.  We are also working on fleet-wide support of CGM’s! *Note that access is satellite based, which is less reliable than land based service, but significantly better than nothing. Alaska has historically seen unreliable internet due to terrain and being in the middle of nowhere.  We’re hoping the recent addition of Starlink will help eliminate some of those issues.
  • Group Amenities. Every cruise line provides some sort of group amenities. With Royal, we used the entire group amenity as a donation to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Norwegian not only offers a donation to the CDF as part of our group, but provides two additional amenity packages that can be selected on each reservation!  You can choose your amenity option once booked. Ocean view and above categories receive all four amenities from either option and inside staterooms can choose two amenities from either option 1 or option 2.  You can find terms and conditions of amenities here.
    • Amenities apply to guests 1 & 2 only unless otherwise specified. 
    • Option 1 You will be charged 20% gratuities on the retail value of the beverage package and dining package – $21.80 per day per person gratuities on the beverage package ($1.59/pp per day for minors / soda package) and $19.80/pp total for the dining package.
      • Unlimited Open Bar – Norwegian requires all adults on the reservation to take the beverage package (and pay associated gratuities), regardless if they drink alcohol or not, with very few exceptions. If your reservation is for two guests, and guest two is a minor, they will be assigned the soda package (and charged associated gratuities based on the soda package retail price). If guests 3+ are minors, they will not receive a beverage package.  Includes a variety of spirits and cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $15 retail price.  Includes fountain soda, juice and non-alcoholic beer. (full details in terms & conditions linked above)
      • Specialty Dining – guests 1 and 2 only. 1 specialty dining meal with inside / ocean view staterooms & 2 specialty dining meals with balcony and suite staterooms.
      • $50 shore excursion credit per excursion, but only for guest 1
      • 300 minutes wi-fi
    • Option 2 has no additional gratuities
      • 10 photo package
      • $50 shore excursion credit per excursion, but only for guest 1
      • 300 minutes wi-fi
      • $100 onboard credit
  • Refundable Deposits. The non-refundable deposits with Royal were always a challenge for us with the unpredictability of chronic illnesses and planning farther in advance.  Norwegian offers fully refundable deposits for reservations, which we feel is a huge benefit for our group.  Based on the past two years, we’ve seen cruise prices increase steadily over time, unlike prior years, where pricing would frequently drop closer to sailing.  Booking early will provide a not-to-exceed price (with the added benefit that we monitor for price drops and will request lower prices be matched all the way up to final payment), the best selection of staterooms and access to categories which tend to sell out rapidly, including suites, solo and connecting rooms.
    • Non-Haven suite rooms: $250/pp. deposit
    • Haven suites: 10% of voyage fare deposit
    • Final payment date: March 15th, 2025
  • Itinerary.  Only a handful of cruise lines are permitted into Glacier Bay National Park, which is frequently considered a “bucket list” destination, as is Alaska itself.  Norwegian is the only cruise line that caters to a family demographic with access to Glacier Bay.  Beyond Glacier Bay, the remainder of the itinerary visits the classic ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, plus a short stop in Victoria, BC.  Note that stopping in Canada is more of a technicality of the Jones Act that ships must stop at a foreign port, rather than a full blown port of call, therefore the stop is only four hours and late at night, after many businesses have closed (8pm – midnight)
    • 7/13/25 Depart Seattle @ 5pm
    • 7/14/25 Cruising
    • 7/15/25 Juneau, AK 2:30pm – 11pm
    • 7/16/25 Skagway, AK 7am – 8:15pm
    • 7/17/25 Cruising Glacier Bay
    • 7/18/25 Ketchikan, AK 7am – 1:15pm
    • 7/19/25 Victoria, BC 8pm – 11:59pm
    • 7/20/25 Arrive in Seattle 6am
  • Medical Needs.  If you have specific medical needs, including bringing juice boxes or other beverages onboard to treat lows, please complete this Accessibility Questionnaire ASAP after making your reservation.  We can flag reservations for gluten free diets, so please let us know if and who requires gluten free.
  • NCL Direct Sales Reps.  A small percentage of Norwegian inside sales reps. have had a history of aggressively soliciting customers working with travel advisors, despite being against corporate policy.  If you receive a solicitation from the NCL inside sales team, particularly if they claim that they can offer better pricing (they can’t!) or don’t respect that you’re working with a travel advisor,  please report any such solicitation to us!  Please note their name and/or forward e-mail solicitations to us.
  • Military Appreciation Program.  NCL has a very generous Military Appreciation Program open to members of the military, veterans and their spouses.  They provide an additional 10% off all cruise fares, including our discounted group rates!  You will need to register for this benefit at https://www.ncl.com/military, which will confirm eligiblity through ID.ME, and then attach the benefit to your Latitudes loyalty program number.  If you don’t have a Latitudes number, one will be created for you.  Please make sure you provide this number to us (we should be able to associate it even after booking).  NCL is the only cruise line we’ve seen offer military benefits to every itinerary and every type of cruise fare.

The Griffin’s
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