NCL Cruise Experience with Don’s Family Vacations

THINGS I’VE NOTICED ON THIS NCL CRUISE. First off, there seem to be a lot of extra service charges that you don’t encounter on other cruise lines. For example, there’s a 3% convenience charge for putting money on your stateroom card for gambling, and you even get charged extra for a can of pop, even if you have a drink package. It’s unfortunate because NCL has a great product – the food has been good, and the shows were some of the best I’ve ever seen. Despite these additional charges, Don still mentions that NCL is worth sailing with, but suggests bringing cash for gambling, stocking up on your own soda, and reluctantly participating in the in-person muster drill.

NCL Cruise Experience with Don’s Family Vacations


Welcome to Don’s Family Vacations! In this article, we will be discussing our recent NCL cruise experience. As a travel agent working with clients from Canada and the United States, I want to share my insights and observations about the changes I noticed since my last Norwegian Cruise in 2019. Despite some extra service charges and changes in the company, NCL still offers a great product with good food, impressive shows, and friendly staff. So, let’s dive into the details and learn more about my recent NCL cruise experience!

Changes Since 2019

Since my last Norwegian Cruise in 2019, I have noticed several changes in the company. Firstly, they have taken a different direction, which includes increasing prices, laying off staff, and reducing services. This shift in company direction may impact the overall experience for cruisers. Additionally, there has been a notable increase in gratuities, which might come as a surprise for frequent NCL cruisers. Moreover, some entertainment options have been cut back, such as the absence of shows like Kinky Boots. These changes may disappoint some loyal NCL cruisers who enjoyed specific offerings in the past. Another change that has stirred some criticism is the decision to go back to in-person muster drills. This decision has raised concerns about safety during the ongoing pandemic.

NCL Cruise Experience with Dons Family Vacations

Extra Service Charges

One aspect of the NCL cruise experience that I found disappointing was the presence of extra service charges. For example, NCL charges a 3% convenience fee for those who want to put money on their stateroom card for gambling purposes. This additional charge can feel unfair to cruisers who simply want to enjoy the onboard casino without incurring extra expenses. Additionally, it came as a surprise to me that even with a drink package, I was charged extra for a can of pop. This lack of transparency regarding the inclusion of canned soda in drink packages was frustrating. These extra service charges can make cruisers feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed, and it is important for NCL to address these concerns to enhance customer satisfaction.

Positive Experiences

Despite the additional charges and changes in the company, there were still several positive experiences during my NCL cruise. One aspect that stood out was the excellent dining options. I had the opportunity to try specialty restaurants, and they did not disappoint. The food quality and service were top-notch, making for enjoyable dining experiences. Additionally, the main dining venues and buffet were also impressive, offering a variety of delicious options. Even the room service, despite some initial delays in answering the phone, provided tasty meals and efficient service. These positive dining experiences added value to the overall cruise journey.


One area where NCL truly excelled was in providing top-notch entertainment options. The shows onboard were impressive, with Burn the Floor being a standout performance. The talented cast and captivating choreography made for an enjoyable and memorable show. NCL also offers a variety of other entertainment options, including game shows, live performances by singers and magicians, and more. The entertainment on NCL cruises is diverse and caters to different tastes, ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy.


Throughout my cruise, the staff on NCL was generally friendly and provided good service. However, I did notice a difference in the level of enthusiasm and smiles compared to other cruise lines. While there were still polite interactions and helpfulness, the absence of big, friendly smiles was noticeable. This comparison with other cruise lines highlights the importance of maintaining a high standard of customer service and ensuring that staff members project a warm and welcoming demeanor. Overall, the staff on NCL was accommodating and contributed positively to the cruise experience.


In conclusion, my recent NCL cruise experience with Don’s Family Vacations had its ups and downs. While there were certain changes in the company since 2019, such as increased prices and reduced services, NCL still offers a great product with good food and impressive shows. However, the presence of extra service charges, like the 3% convenience fee for gambling and additional charges for canned soda, can dampen the overall experience. Despite these drawbacks, the specialty restaurants, main dining, buffet, and room service provided positive dining experiences. The entertainment shows, especially Burn the Floor, were excellent and added excitement to the cruise journey. The staff, although lacking some big smiles compared to other cruise lines, was generally friendly and accommodating. While there are areas for improvement, I would still recommend sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line. For future considerations, it would be beneficial for NCL to address the extra service charges and ensure transparency regarding what is included in packages. Recommended tips for cruisers would be to bring cash for gambling, carry your own soda, and reluctantly participate in the in-person muster drills. Overall, I had a satisfactory cruise experience with NCL and hope that they continue to provide great vacations for cruisers in the future.

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