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Norwegian Cruises aboard the Norwegian Sea
Above: Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Sea Cruise Ship.

PasseNorwegian Sea

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Ship Details
Began service: 1988
Guest capacity: 1,518
Total staff: 630
Length: 700 feet
Passenger decks: 9
CDC inspection score: 92

Norwegian Sea Overview

The Norwegian Sea cruise ship departs from Houston (Galveston), TX. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Western Caribbean.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Western Caribbean.

Norwegian Sea was built in 1988 and made its debut with Norwegian Cruise Lines under the name Seaward. Renamed and newly refurbished, the 42,000-ton, 1,518-passenger Norwegian Sea has undergone a multimillion dollar renovation. Improvements include the addition of the Pasta Cafe, brand-new fabrics and carpeting, granite floors and countertops, and new upholstery in selected public rooms.

Norwegian Sea is the third ship in NCL's line to embrace Freestyle Cruising; passengers can eat whenever they want with whomever - at the eatery of their choice. Dining attire is resort casual and flexibility also extends to nonexistent disembarkation times.

Norwegian Sea has a new year-round home: since November it has been sailing seven-night "Texaribbean" itineraries, with stops in Cozumel, Roatan, Belize City, and Cancun -- out of Houston.


Staterooms are small and could use a renovation. However, you'll find plenty of storage space and you can move about comfortably -- with one exception: the bathroom. At 5'9", I was feeling claustrophobic with the low ceilings in my deluxe oceanview stateroom. Anyone approaching the 6'4" mark will probably have problems standing up straight inside. The ventilation system also had a constant hum that was slightly irritating at first, but blended into the background noise after a few hours.

Norwegian Sea features 243 inside cabins (114 square feet), four of which are wheelchair accessible and equipped for hearing impaired (248 square feet). There's 216 outside cabins including oceanview cabins with portholes (116 square feet); deluxe/superior cabins with picture windows (125 square feet); and suites (285 square feet). No connecting cabins exist. All staterooms, except six, have twin beds that may be combined to form a queen-sized bed. All have TVs, radios, telephones, and hair dryers.

Norwegian Sea has very few suites; be sure to book early if you'd like one. They have been completely redecorated with new carpet, new draperies, and new chairs. You'll find marble tiling and a full bath (along with a goody basket full of shower gels and other toiletries) and a spacious sitting area featuring several large windows.


The Seven Seas Dining Room, located on the Main Deck, serves as the ship's main dining room. In keeping with NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept, passengers are neither assigned tablemates nor a specific dining time. Seven Seas was recently redone and dress is always casual.

The Big Apple Cafe, the ship's buffet restaurant located on the Pool Deck, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's the best option if you want to grab a quick bite before heading into port, but you're sacrificing quality for speed in a big way. The food here was institutional and didn't offer many options.

For a genuine gourmet experience, head to Le Bistro. Reservations are necessary and a $12.50 per person cover charge applies, but it's worth it for an unforgettable meal at least once onboard. Small, dark, and intimate, the restaurant has many tables for two, low lighting, a great wine list, and features the most attentive dining staff onboard. Menus change daily, though we always recommend filet mignon -- also don't miss the striped sea bass.

Other dining options include the brand-new Pasta Cafe, which seats 40 and serves basic Italian cuisine. Also arrive early for a popular sushi sampling in Oscar's. The sushi is great and lines tend to form quickly. Lickety Splits sells Haagen Daz.


The main show venue, the newly refurbished Stardust Lounge, has the newest feel and the refurbishment is quite evident. The Stardust Lounge hosts Big Band music, karaoke, and comedy.

The Cabaret Lounge is the ship's swanky theater. Here you'll find the ship's production numbers (shows are produced by longtime cruise entertainment company Jean Ann Ryan Productions), along with the typical entertainment options: karaoke, comedy, etc.

Boomer's is the ship's disco. The dance floor is in the center of a circular room, with rows of seating all around. Arrive early as it became difficult to move across the room by about 11:30pm.

Fitness & Recreation

A moderate-sized fitness center is hidden away on Sun Deck (look for the white doors past Coconut Willy's) and is open 24 hours a day. Athletic activities begin with a Sports Afloat orientation the first evening. Besides stretching and aerobics classes (there's a $5 charge for some classes), other options include cardio kickboxing, basketball tournaments, Wacky Olympics, and more. You'll find the unobstructed jogging track on Deck Six, the ship's promenade deck. A golf driving area is nearby; there is also a basketball/volleyball court and ping pong tables.

The ship's pool area consists of two pools, two hot tubs, and a platform for sometimes-too-loud live music. The deck in this area has been refinished, adding teak-like flooring around the pool.

The Mandara Spa facilities are a bit on the clinical side; treatments are given in tiny rooms in the respective locker rooms in the gym facilities. Think less Balinese relaxation, more doctor's office exam room with a few throws and piped-in New Age music. Treatment prices are fairly standard (50-minute massages range from $99 to $180), and include everything from basics like manicures to more exotic hot stone massages.

Public Areas

The ship's atrium, Crystal Court, spans two decks and features a large crystal sculpture in the center. Embarkation and disembarkation are the only reasons to go to the atrium.

The "Internet Cafe" is comprised of ten computer stations placed in the hallway outside the duty free stores on International Deck. As this is a major traffic area, don't expect to conduct many confidential or personal affairs here. Instead, if you can, take advantage of Norwegian Sea's Wi Fi wireless access. You can check email, send messages, and get work done at your leisure without having to be wired to your cabin. Stop by the Purser's Desk for more information upon check-in. A Wi Fi network card costs $10 per day for rental. Usage charges are by the minute, but packages are available in 33, 100, and 250-minute increments. Same prices apply for regular Internet usage.

The Monte Carlo Casino features seven blackjack tables, one craps table and roulette wheel, and over 100 slot machines.

The best public areas onboard are Gatsby's Wine Bar and Oscar's Piano Bar. Gatsby's is perfect for pre or post dinner cocktails. Oscar's i is a perfect place to unwind with a glass of champagne. Note: expect pricey drinks in both establishments - upwards of $8.50 for martinis or other top-shelf libations.

Other areas include the Butterfly Room, the ship's library/card room; All Around the Town, the ship's sports bar; and Coconut Willy's Pool Bar, a great place for sipping a frozen drink and people-watching.


NCL's Kids Crew program is organized by age group: Junior Sailors (ages 2-5); First Mates (ages 6-8); Navigators (ages 9-12); and Teens (ages 13-17). Activities include arts and crafts and treasure hunts for the younger set, pool parties and trivia competitions for older kids. There's also a video arcade that will make any kid happy.

While the vessel doesn't have extensive, family-oriented, state-of-the-art facilities found on huge megaships, the size and number of passengers permits personalized attention. The Porthole, the children's facility, is the only public room on Atlantic Deck. It's small, has no windows, but is decorated cheerfully.

Expert Norwegian Sea reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Caribbean.


Discount Code

Norwegian Sea cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Norwegian Sea Score: 92

Cruise Critic: Norwegian Sea
The Cruise Critic gives NCL's Norwegian Sea a 3-ribbon rating.

Web links

NCL Cruises
Request a brochure, or find a travel agent who represents Norwegian Cruise Line at the company's official Web site.

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