Norwegian Cruise Line are known for introducing all sorts of new concepts that became iconic staples in the cruising industry: from the fastest racetracks at sea to the only ice bar on the waters, from Alaska-themed hull art to the introduction of freestyle dining.
When they introduced freestyle dining, it arguably changed the face of cruising. It gave cruisers the ultimate dining freedom that allowed them to choose between sushi, Italian, buffet-style, dining alfresco and more (at any time of the day that suits them!)
And in April this year, NCL went all-inclusive on every cruise, for the first time in the whole of the brand’s history. So let’s get the entire lowdown on dining with Norwegian Cruise Line: here is your ultimate guide…
Main Dining Room (MDR)
The main dining rooms onboard NCL ships are there to surprise and delight you. On each ship, there are two (and sometimes even three) dining rooms to savour the Norwegian way of onboard dining.
With diverse options that range over a host of different culinary influences, you might spend dinner feasting on a steak in The Manhattan Room or pork tenderloin at the Grand Pacific (depending on your cruise ship).
Freestyle Dining means no set mealtimes, so you’re welcome to visit the main dining rooms at any time you please!
Buffet (Garden Cafe/Kids’ Cafe)
When you choose to dine at one of Norwegian’s buffets, you’ll be able to fill up plate after plate of your favourite foods (and things you’ve never even tried before).
From French toast for breakfast to create-your-own burgers for dinner, there’ll be something for every mood and mealtime; some ships even offer a kids’ version featuring menus and options for younger cruisers only!
These complimentary options are located indoors in different areas (depending on the ship) so you can hide for any bad weather conditions, still with a perfect view of the surrounding areas.
Outdoor Buffet (The Great Outdoors/Raffles Terrace/Lenai)
Another complimentary option that may be available during your NCL cruise is the outdoor buffet where you can enjoy a fantastic meal with a perfect view of the sea.
Choose from ready-to-cook omelettes, waffles, fresh fruits, pasta and more in a buffet-style service where you can enjoy the cuisine and delightful weather.
Main Pool Bar & Grill
Located just next to the pool, hot tubs and sun deck area you’ll find a Pool Bar & Grill to deliver that poolside meal or beverage that is exactly what you needed after a refreshing dip.
It’s the perfect way to enjoy a quick bite to eat, and then get back to exploring the wonderful entertainment and activity options on your ship without having to return to your cabin to get changed for the buffet. Another complimentary dining option to please you on your cruise!
In honour of CEO Kevin O’Sheehan, some NCL ships offer the alternative 24-hour eatery O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill.
The Irish-themed pub-style venue offers a limited menu but not to worry, it’s filled with delicious foods like Chicken Pot Pie and English Style Fish N’ Chips.
Perfect for any time that you’re peckish as it’s open all day and night: not to mention it’s complimentary with cruise fare so give it a go anyway.
Blue Lagoon is a food court created ‘in honour of the midnight snack’ so whether it’s a reward for getting up on the karaoke or to settle your peckish stomach after watching a movie in your cabin, this is the one for you.
It’s complimentary and is available around the clock: the perfect place to grab a burger, a stir-fry delight or a myriad of other options to fill you up in between your hours of fun on your cruise.
While sailing on the Pride of America, cruisers can head over to the Cadillac Diner for a spot of lunch or dinner: a retro-style, 50s diner!
Immerse yourself in all the rock ‘n roll, high-speed lookin’ seats and delicious cuisine you’re looking for. Even better: it’s complimentary and is available 22 hours a day (for every second you could potentially be desiring this).
While cruising on Norwegian Sun, you can taste the worldly flavours of a tapas Bar and restaurant, Las Ramblas .
The bold atmosphere is one that is bound to excite guests as everyone has the opportunity to try a wide selection of hot and cold tapas, along with the chance to expand your culinary palate.
If you’re cruising on the Norwegian Spirit, there’s a place for those that love a traditional pub experience with all the features you’re used to at home.
Grab a fish ‘n’ chips and one of Henry’s feature beers for a meal sure to fill you up for the rest of your night onboard.
There are even large screen TVs to catch a live sporting event or two, and some dart boards for a competition, if you think you’re ready. You’ll feel right at home!
Cost: $20 per person
If French-inspired masterpieces are your thing then step into Le Bistro. You can feel fancy in the upscale, beautifully-designed, yet contemporary atmosphere whilst enjoying service that instantly transports you to an authentic restaurant in Paris.
The menu features wine and classic French dishes; NCL wish you bon appétit when you sit down for a succulent French dinner at Le Bistro. An experience worth the extra pennies.
Cost: $20 per person
A Brazilian-style steakhouse with bold and zesty flavours definitely worth a visit! Norwegian was the first to bring this incredible experience to sea.
Green means go, or turn your place card to red when you can’t take any more of the slow-roasted meats. Skewer after skewer is sure to make your mouth water, and you can even enjoy Moderno Signature Salad for a fully stocked salad and cheese bar you can’t turn down.
Cost: $30 per person
Choose here if you feel strongly about hearty cuts of lamb chops, perfectly grilled steaks, and other luscious choice meats with luxurious and tasty sides.
Expect a five-star standard at this steakhouse with a warm, inviting atmosphere. Guests are urged to dedicate a night of your cruise to Cagney’s Steakhouse experience!
East Meets West
Cost: $30 per person
This dinery was previously an Asian-fusion steakhouse and is now Norwegian Sun’s speciality steakhouse. If you’re a fan of Cagney’s Steakhouse, this delicious speciality dining option is a match for you.
It offers you top-notch meats, sides and service, all for a reasonable price considering the high level of quality: one you’ll remember.
Cost: $15 per person
While onboard a NCL ship, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a comprehensive Asian speciality dining experience at one of these excellent venues. If you’re a fan of sushi a la carte, this is the one to splash a little cash on.
You can really get into the mix of Pan Asian with this five-star Japanese, Thai and Chinese-fusion restaurant, which includes a sushi/sashimi bar, a Teppanyaki room and other classic and modern Asian dishes.
Ocean Blue & Ocean Blue on the Waterfront
Cost: $49 per person
Famous TV personality, chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian brings NCL guests Ocean Blue—Norwegian’s first-ever seafood restaurant!
The Iron Chef offers his 25+ years of experience and demand for perfection and gives you top seafood dishes, a refined wine list and Zakarian’s signature cocktails.
You’ll even have the option to dine Oceanside during the day, or in the upscale, incredible indoor dining area for dinner (whatever you’re in the mood for!)
There’s even a Raw Bar right next to the venue for those looking for a quick seafood fix or lighter dish without the pressure of sitting down for waiting service.
La Cucina/Papa’s/Mama’s/il Adagio/ La Trattoria
Cost: $15 per person
This one has a piazza-style environment: casual with family-style service. The Tuscan cuisine all comes with Norwegian’s take on Italian, too.
You can surround yourself with a cosy atmosphere that features lanterns, woodwork and stone pillars as you enjoy an Italian dish that is reminiscent of a Tuscan countryside, or even a brick-oven pizza! Communal seating is available for big groups so is a real family affair.
Cost: $89 per person
Those guests looking for a five-star, intimate, one-of-a-kind gourmet speciality experience can try Norwegian’s Chef’s Table, available on every one of NCL’s ships!
From the reception to the grand finale, each guest will savour a nine-course culinary adventure where you’ll experience unique and modern creations.
Every is created using incredible technique and composition, with lively and energetic service for you to rely on. And there’s more: you’ll be able to tour the galley and get a group photo with the executive chef. Note that it’s a real exclusive as it’s only available to 12 guests, once per cruise.
Cafe at the Atrium/Dolce Gelato
Cost: Both charged a la carte
This is the place to re-charge with a delightful coffee stop, or you can even unwind with a glass of wine by visiting the Café at the Atrium.
It’s the perfection location to view everything from the centre of the ship: you can meet incredible people whilst sipping on a nice beverage. Or you could check out the Dolce Gelato nearby for some slow-churned, sweet Italian ice cream.
It’s guaranteed to soothe and delight your palette with its rich flavour that is a staple of Norwegian’s Waterfront. The perfect gem to spend a little money on!
Cost: $15 per person
If you’re paying extra to dine onboard then you want it to be unique so be sure to check out Shabu Shabu during your cruise with NCL.
You’ll get to taste the perfect ingredients that are created right in front of your eyes. This Asian-style culinary experience is known as “hot pot”: vegetables, spices and meats are placed into a pot of boiling water to create a warming meal for you and your group!
Cost: A la carte
NCL feel strogle that sushi and sashimi are more than just a meal onboard this eatery. You’ll be able to feast your eyes upon the art of this culinary technique before you treat your palate to a delicious and delicate dish.
Immerse yourself in Wasabi’s contemporary décor, unique aquarium visuals and delightful service that is a-given here at this sushi venue!
Cost: $25 per person
This incredible contemporary Japanese cuisine isn’t the only exciting thing about the Teppanyaki restaurant: you’ll be able to enjoy modern Asian décor and an engaging and unique dining set-up.
The innovative, lively chefs will cook your meal right in front of your eyes and whether it’s your first or fiftieth Hibachi, you won’t regret this choice.
Guests should note that this is private dining for those staying in The Haven Suites! It’s upscale, sophisticated and chic.
The best part is that you’ll be able to enjoy the company of those also cruising in The Haven as you dine upon the finest cuisine and raise your glass with an impressive selection from the wine offerings.
You’ll feel every so exclusive and well-looked after in this venue included in the price of your Haven Suite…
NCL is a cruise line that always keeps solo cruisers in mind so if you’re cruising in a Studio Cabin then rest assured there’s a place for you to interact with others staying in studio cabins in the Studio Lounge.
This smaller lounge offers a delightful atmosphere in which you can enjoy breakfast, as well as an afternoon or evening drink with other people like you. This venue is complimentary for Studio Cabin guests so don’t worry about any added costs.
What are your thoughts on NCL’s dining? Have you sailed with the Norwegian line before? Which eatery is your favourite? Leave us your comments!