Norwegian Cruise Line frequently runs its popular promotion called Free at Sea. Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea offer entitles guests to free perks like drink packages, specialty dining, WiFi, kids sail free, and more when booking a cruise. Effective today, Norwegian Cruise Line changes the Free at Sea perks, downgrading the value for some cabin categories.
Norwegian Cruise Line Changes Free at Sea Perks
Norwegian Cruise Line has been known for its Free at Sea program for some time now. Usually, guests receive up to 5 free perks when booking an NCL cruise. Sometimes, airfare is also part of the promotion, making it 6 free perks.
Currently, Norwegian Cruise Line is running a sale that includes free open bar, free specialty dining, free excursions, free WiFi, free extra guests, and free airfare for 2nd guest in addition to 70% off second guest. While historically only Suites and The Haven received all 5 offers, NCL has been providing the 5 perks (instead of just 2) to most stateroom categories.
This sounds like a great value, and it is. However, you do need to know the fine print. You also need to be aware that as of January 18, 2022 the value of some of the perks has been downgraded based on the type of stateroom you book.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Free at Sea Perks
Free Open BarFree Specialty Dining Free WiFiFree Shore ExcursionsFree 3rd and 4th GuestsFree Air Fare for 2nd Guest
Free Open Bar
In terms of the free open bar, guests 1-8 on the reservation will receive the Premium Beverage package (excluding Pride of America sailings). If guests 3-8 are under 21 years of age, the Premium Beverage package does not apply.
Further, a soda package will no longer be given as a substitution. If guest 1 or 2 are under 21, he/she will receive the soda package.
Free Specialty Dining
The free specialty dining is applicable to only guest 1 and 2 on the reservation. The number of meals received has always been based on the length of the cruise. However, it is now also based on the stateroom reserved.
For instance, all guests used to receive 1 free meal for 3-5 night cruises and 2 free meals for 6-8 night cruises. Now, all guests will receive 1 meal for 3-6 night cruises regardless of cabin category. However, only balcony and above will receive 2 free meals for 7-11 night cruises. Guests on 7-11 night cruises who book a studio, inside, or oceanview will only get 1 free meal.
See the below chart for the NEW specialty dining breakdown.
The Free WiFi perk has also been downgraded. Previously, guests received 100 minutes for 3-6 day cruises, 250 minutes for 7-13 day cruises, and 500 minutes for 14+ day cruises.
Now, guests only receive 75 minutes per stateroom for 3-6 day cruises, 150 minutes for 7-11 day cruises, and 300 minutes per stateroom for 12+ day cruises.
Two logins are provided for each stateroom.
Free Shore Excursions
This offer is applicable to only the first guest on the reservation.
The first guest only on the reservation will receive a shore excursion credit of $50 per port. Guests can use this credit to purchase any tour offered by the cruise line. If the tour is less than $50, no refund will be issued. If the tour is more than $50, the guest will be responsible to pay the difference.
This offer has remained the same.
Free 3rd and 4th Guests
This promotion is sometimes also referred to as Kids Sail Free. It is exactly as it sounds.
Basically, this offer is valid for guests 3-4 sharing a stateroom with guests 1-2 paying full fare. This offer is only applicable on select sailings. Further, if there are guests 5-8 in a reservation, those guests will pay prevailing fares.
Free Airfare for 2nd Guest
This offer is valid on select 4+ night sailings only. With this perk, the second guest on the reservation flies for free when buying airfare for the first guest. Offer is not applicable to guests 3-8 on the reservation.
This perk is also capacity controlled.
Key Changes to Norwegian Cruise Line Free at Sea Perks
Reduced Number of Specialty Dining MealsReduced Number of Internet MinutesGuests 3-8 No Longer Qualify for Free Soda Package if Under 21
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Are the Norwegian Cruise Line Free at Sea Perks Really Free?
Some of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free at Sea perks are truly “free” while some are not.
In terms of the Free Open Bar, guests will still need to pay 20% gratuity on this “free” perk. Further, if you enjoy specialty coffee or want bottled water, you will have to pay extra to upgrade to the Premium Plus beverage package.
Similarly, guests are responsible for paying 20% gratuity on the specialty dining package as well.
In terms of the free shore excursions, the $50 credit per stateroom will not cover much. So, you will likely need to pay extra to cover the costs of shore excursions.
When taking advantage of the Free 3rd and 4th Guest perk, you will still be responsible for paying the Government Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses for “sail free” guests. These fees vary based on the itinerary but will likely cost $200+ each guest.
What do you think of the news that Norwegian Cruise Line changes its Free at Sea perks? Do you book with NCL because of the value of this Free at Sea program? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line.
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