What We Love About Norwegian Cruise Line

By Suzanne Turner

February 5, 2024

If you’ve taken the time to look at our groups, you’ll probably notice a trend: Z Travel books a lot of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) sailings. This blog is going to outline the top 3 reasons we love sailing with NCL and use them for our groups.

Free At Sea

NCL’s Free At Sea is a way to take advantage of cruise extras without taking a hit to your wallet. It is valid for all sailings of at least three nights and must be selected at least 24 hours prior to sailing. But what’s included? Great question! Guests can choose up to five free offers: Free Unlimited Open Bar Package, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions, Free Wi-Fi, or Free 3rd & 4th Guest or for $99 (select sailings). A new option is to upgrade to Free At Sea plus for some extra perks. Here is a great flyer that shows the details of both programs: Free At Sea Plus Flyer.

Your next question must be, “is it really free?”. Well…yes and no. The packages themselves are free, however, guests are responsible for 20% gratuities on the retail value of both the beverage and dining packages. This is reasonable. After all, if you are taking advantage of either of these packages, the staff assisting you deserve to be compensated for their work. The Z Travel Consultants have taken advantage of this every time they sail and can attest that it’s worth it!  Access the full terms and conditions here if you’d like to read all the specifics.


It’s rare to not see Norwegian running a deal on their cruises. Everything from 50% off to 75% off the second guest. But Z Travels’ favorite deal that NCL offers is free airfare. Yes, you read that right! When you buy airfare for the first guest, the second guest flies free. This means a $1,200 ticket to Europe is suddenly $600 per person. Now with any deal, there are some terms and conditions. This is only available on sailings of seven nights or more and it’s not available for the Sail Away Categories.

Another deal we love to offer our clients is to take advantage of their CruiseFirst program. Basically, NCL is offering a gift certificate towards a future cruise worth twice the cost a guest pays for it. Their everyday deal is $150 for a $300 CruiseFirst Credit. But every once and awhile, they will run a special offer of $250 for a $500 credit! Be sure to let your consultant know if you are interested and they can notify you when the special becomes available. We want to be sure to note that CruiseFirst Credit is applied as stateroom deposits or as payment towards new reservations only and is valid for sailings of six days or longer.

Cruises For Singles & Solo Cruising

Z Travel has a special appreciation for solo travelers as Suzanne and Sarah both frequently travel this way. It’s important for us to find affordable and safe ways for singles to travel. Beginning in 2010 with the Norwegian Epic, NCL is the first cruise line to build staterooms and common areas specifically for the single cruiser.

Studio Staterooms are made for one and come with private key card access to the Studio Lounge which is exclusively available to Studio guests. Since 2010, they have doubled the number of Solo Staterooms across their fleet by adding Solo Balcony, Oceanview, and Inside rooms in addition to Studios. I know what you’re thinking…how much extra is this going to cost? After all, for years solo travelers have basically been paying the double occupancy rate to cruise. That’s the best part of cruising solo with NCL. The traditional double occupancy rates do not apply!

In addition to the savings, NCL also offers opportunities for singles to interact and mingle. This is through meetups for solo cruisers, access to the exclusive Studio Lounge, and the option to join a shared table in the dining rooms. It’s easy for us to see why NCL won the Cruise Critic’s Editors' Picks Awards as Best for Solo Travelers 2023. Check out Zach the Traveling Man’s review of an NCL Studio Stateroom to see if this is a good fit for you!

The Z Travel Consultants have been on many Norwegian cruises and while we love to take advantage of their amazing deals, we also enjoy their staff and the overall atmosphere. The ships come in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of every guest and their sailings list is extensive: NCL Cruise Destinations.