It’s no secret that winter is a popular time of year for families to travel. School recess and a lightened workload thanks to the holidays make it easier for everyone to get away.

This year, it seems like a lot of families had the same idea of rounding out 2023 with a Caribbean cruise. Norwegian Escape is preparing for a Christmas voyage that will be so busy the cruise line is warning guests in advance.

Norwegian Cruise Line is warning guests sailing on the Norwegian Escape that their Christmas voyage may be extra crowded. 

The cruise line reached out to its guests and travel agents in advance to let them know that their cruise will be busier than usual, with a high number of families expected to be onboard.

Norwegian Escape is scheduled to embark from Port Canaveral, Florida on a seven-night Caribbean Cruise on December 23, 2023, right in the middle of the prime winter break travel season for families. The ship will sail to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Puerto Plata/Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, before returning to Florida on New Year’s Eve. 

Norwegian Escape can hold up to 4,266 guests and 1,733 crew members, and is expected to be at or near capacity for this voyage. According to the NCL website, all cabins are sold out for this sailing except for some inside cabins.

But even at maximum capacity, Norwegian Cruise Line assured guests that “there’s plenty of excitement to go around” in its letter.

The cruise line wrote: “At NCL, we are proud to offer a wide range of activities for a variety of travelers including families. Dedicated youth programs, including Splash Academy for those ages three to 12 and Entourage for teens between the ages of 13 to 17, provides age-appropriate activities to keep young guests entertained throughout the voyage.”

Photo Credit: M .F. R / Shutterstock

Although this letter was sent specifically to cruisers on the Norwegian Escape, it is highly likely that other NCL ships may also be more crowded during their holiday sailings. 

In addition to the Caribbean, NCL is also offering itineraries throughout the end of December 2023 and the beginning of January 2024 that include sailings to Hawaii, Asia, Mexico, and Australia. 

The 14-day cruise to Asia on Norwegian Jewel that sets sail on December 22 is already sold out of all cabin types except for inside cabins. At the same time, the 12-day cruise to Australia and New Zealand that is scheduled to embark on December 23, 2023, is sold out of all balconies and suites, according to the cruise line’s website. 

NCL offers the Cruise Norwegian mobile app to help guests better plan and navigate its ships once onboard. The cruise line’s best advice for navigating Norwegian Escape’s busy holiday cruise is to download the app in advance, largely because of its family-friendly options.

Photo Credit: MartinLueke / Shutterstock

Prior to setting sail, cruisers can pre-book onboard activities, dining reservations, shore excursions, and entertainment. Once the cruise begins, all pre-made reservations and bookings are seamlessly transferred to the onboard view and new features are added, such as a chat feature to stay in touch with your travel party, daily timetables of what’s happening on the ship, virtual lines for some activities, and an onboard purchase log.

Read Also: What is the Average Capacity of a Cruise Ship?

Specifically for families, the NCL app offers information about the ship’s dedicated youth programs and hangouts, notably Splash Academy for kids 3-12 years old and Entourage for teenagers.

The app contains a virtual queue to notify parents of availability and drop-off times for Splash Academy and has information about when and where to find family-friendly events onboard, such as movie nights, game shows, and Feel Free Play Sessions. 

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