6 Best Norwegian Cruises for Families in 2023- Complete Guide

Best Norwegian Cruises for Families

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Norwegian Cruise Line has some of the best cruise ships for families. In fact, NCL is known for its family friendly cruises and advantageous “Kids Sail Free” promotions.

As somebody who has cruised with Norwegian as a kid with my own family, I have a unique perspective on what are the best Norwegian cruises for families.

With that being said, here are the 6 best Norwegian cruise ships for families, as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions.

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6 Best Norwegian Cruise Ships For Families

1. Norwegian Joy

The Norwegian Joy is a large cruise ship which launched in 2017. This cruise ship can hold over 3,800 passengers and is known for having great activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Whether you’re cruising with older kids or younger kids, there will never be a dull moment on the Norwegian Joy. This cruise ship has plenty of onboard activities and some of the best entertainment at sea!

If you’re cruising with family members between the ages of 5-17, there is a youth program that is free of charge. Splash Academy is for kids between that ages of 5-12 and the teen club Entourage, is for teenagers ages 13-17.

Activities Onboard the Norwegian Joy:

  • Go-Karts
  • Video Games and Virtual Reality Arcade
  • Basketball Court
  • Laser Tag
  • Water Slides
  • Aqua Park
  • Miniature Golf Course

The cool thing about Norwegian cruise ships is that they have plenty of places to eat, from casual dining to excellent specialty restaurants.

One of the ways Norwegian Cruise Line is different than other cruise lines is that although they have one main dining room, there are so many other great dining options. In fact, the main dining room menu is offered in the Manhattan Room, the large dining room, as well as the Savor and Taste restaurants.

Please note that some are included in the price of your cruise, and others (specialty restaurants) have an additional charge.

Here’s a list of the dining options onboard the Norwegian Joy.

Dining Options Onboard the Norwegian Joy:

  • Savor & Taste
  • Manhattan Room
  • The Garden Cafe Buffet
  • The Local Pub
  • Ocean Blue (specialty dining)
  • The Teppanyaki (specialty dining)
  • The American Diner (specialty dining)
  • Cagney’s Steakhouse (specialty dining)
  • Food Republic (specialty dining)
  • La Cucina (specialty dining)
  • Le Bistro (specialty dining)
  • Q Texas Smokehouse (specialty dining)

Overall, the Norwegian Joy is one of the best cruise ships for families. With the large selection of dining options and endless activities, this cruise is a fun vacation that the entire family will enjoy.

Tip: Room service is free on Norwegian Cruise Line before 10:00 AM.

2. Norwegian Encore

The Norwegian Encore is a popular cruise ship which launched in 2019. This is the sister ship to the Norwegian Joy, Bliss and Escape.

This ship has two pools, multiple hot tubs and two water parks which kids love. If you’re looking to relax, there is the observation deck, an area where you can sit, watch the ocean and get some great pictures.

When it comes to the entertainment on a cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line is known for having some of the best shows. On the Norwegian Encore you’ll find the Broadway hit, Kinky Boots, which is about following your dreams and acceptance.

When it comes to dining and activities onboard the Norwegian Encore, it is very similar to the Norwegian Joy as they’re both newer ships.

Tip: Cruising during school holidays tends to attract other families with younger children.

Related: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea Perks Explained

3. Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic Cruise ship

When the Norwegian Epic debuted in 2009, it was one of the biggest ships in the world. As a kid, I remember seeing this ship in port and wishing I was on it! Those waterslides looked so cool.

However the Norwegian Epic remains popular and has a fan following of cruisers who love this ship, and some of it’s more unique features.

In 2020, Norwegian refurbished the Haven on the Epic, making it one of the biggest Haven complexes in Norwegian’s fleet.

Activities Onboard the Norwegian Epic:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Water Slides
  • Aqua Park
  • Bowling Alley
  • Sports Complex
  • Video Arcade

When it comes to dining, the Norwegian Epic has plenty of choices. Whether you want to eat the complimentary food or try some specialty dining restaurants, there is something for everyone.

Dining Options on the Norwegian Epic:

  • Atrium Cafe & Bar
  • O’Sheehans Neighbourhood Bar & Grill
  • Spice H2O Pool Grill
  • Taste
  • The Manhattan Room
  • Shanghai Noodle Bar (specialty Dining)
  • Le Bistro (specialty dining)
  • Cagney’s (specialty dining)
  • Moderno Churrascaria (specialty dining)
  • Teppanyaki (specialty dining)
  • Yakitori & Sushi (specialty dining)
  • La Cucina (specialty dining)

Overall, the Norwegian Epic has a lot to offer for families. Since it is an older ship, keep an eye out for great deals!

Related: 20 Ways to Save on Your Family Cruise

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4. Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Escape

The Norwegian Escape launched in 2015 and is the first ship from the Breakaway Plus-Class. This ship has over 4,200 passengers and over 1,500 crew members onboard.

The Norwegian Escape is known for its water slides, ropes course and awesome parties. This ship is extremely fun for older teenagers and young adults.

Activities Onboard The Norwegian Escape:

  • Ropes Course with Zip Line
  • Large Pool & Hot Tubs
  • Water Slides
  • Water Park
  • Video Arcade
  • Bowling Alley
  • Sports Course

The Norwegian Escape has over 25 dining options and 14 bars, so there are endless options when it comes to eating. Many of the restaurants are the same as those on the Norwegian Epic and the Norwegian Joy as well.

Related: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea Perks Explained

5. Norwegian Breakaway

The Norwegian Breakaway is one of the best cruises for families, and one of my personal favorite ships at sea. This cruise ship is full of life and has so many activities to do.

If you’re looking for a family friendly cruise, the Norwegian Breakaway is an amazing choice. This ship can fit nearly 4,000 passengers and it was recently refurbished in 2018.

Activities Onboard The Norwegian Breakaway:

  • Bungee Trampoline
  • Water Slides
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Ropes Course
  • Video Arcade

When it comes to food choices, the Norwegian Breakaway offers similar options to the Norwegian Joy and the Norwegian Epic. Some of my favorites include O’Sheehans Bar & Grill, The Manhattan Room and Garden Cafe.

Related: Norwegian Cruise Line Dress Code: What to Wear on a Freestyle Cruise

6. Norwegian Bliss

The Norwegian Bliss is a large ship that fits over 4,000 guests. Since it first launched back in 2018, the Norwegian Bliss is known for being a great cruise for the whole family.

If you have an adventurous family, then this cruise is perfect for you. With so many fun activities and different dining options onboard, the Norwegian Bliss makes for an awesome family vacation.

Activities Onboard the Norwegian Bliss:

  • Aqua Racer Water Slide
  • Mini Golf
  • Golf Simulator
  • Ice Skating Rink
  • Laser Tag
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Basketball Court

When it comes to onboard restaurants, the Norwegian Bliss has some great options. Here are the dining options onboard the Norwegian Bliss:

Dining Options Onboard the Norwegian Bliss:

  • Taste And Savor
  • The Local Bar & Grill
  • Garden Cafe
  • The Manhattan Room
  • The Haven Restaurant (exclusive for Haven guests)
  • Q Texas Smokehouse (specialty dining)
  • Coco’s (specialty dining)
  • Teppanyaki (specialty dining)
  • Los Lobos (specialty dining)
  • La Cucina (specialty dining)
  • Ocean Blue (specialty dining)
  • Food Republic (specialty dining)
  • Cagney’s Steakhouse (specialty dining)
  • Le Bistro (specialty Dining)
  • American Diner (specialty Dining)
  • Starbucks (additional cost)

The Norwegian Bliss is a fun and beautiful cruise ship, which will provide you with great family getaway.

Related: Norwegian Cruise Line Beverage Packages: What’s Included and is it Worth it?

Best Norwegian Cruises for Families
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a few frequently asked questions about Norwegian Cruise Line:

Which Norwegian Ship Has Go-Karts?

The Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Encore and the Norwegian Prima (coming soon) have a race track onboard the ship. Races last for approximately 8 minutes and the cars can go up to 30 MPH. Each Go-Kart race costs $15 per person or $200 for unlimited races throughout the cruise.

Is Norwegian Kid Friendly?

Norwegian is one of the most kid friendly cruise lines in the world. Onboard a Norwegian cruise ship, there are plenty of activities that are well suited for younger kids. Additionally, NCL has Splash Academy for kids between the ages of 5 to 17, which is the kid’s club onboard all Norwegian cruise ships.

Are Kids Free on Norwegian Cruise Line?

Norwegian Cruise Line has a promotion called “free at sea”, where one of the frequent offers is a kids sail free promo (or at reduced rates). Rates can be as low as $99 when sailing in the same cabin as adults. This is a great way to cruise as a family at an affordable price.

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

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Final Thoughts on Best Norwegian Cruises for Families

Well there it is, the best Norwegian cruises for families!

Norwegian Cruise Line is known as a family friendly cruise line with endless activities and high quality entertainment. Cruising with Norwegian makes for the ultimate family vacation that everyone will enjoy!

In this post, I shared the best Norwegian cruises for families and answered some frequently asked questions.

Are you planning your first family cruise? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!


P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer writes about fashion, travel and college advice on the website WhatToWearMen.com. As a frequent cruiser, Ethan shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like for teens and young adults.

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