Freestyle Family Fun (Part 2)

| September 12, 2008

NCL Freestyle Cruising is not just for adults. Family members of all ages can share in the fun to be had on the amazing ships of NCL Cruises.

Family Activities for All Ages (Continued) A "must" for families is dinner at Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant. This is a small, much-sought-after venue so make your reservations early. The kids loved the "show" that the chefs put on as they flipped their utensils in the air and caught eggs and salt shakers on the top of their high chefs' hat.

click on picture below for larger images:

Alex and Ethan next to Norwegian Dawn

Freestyle 2.0 additions that we really enjoyed as a family were some of the NCL U courses. My teenage daughter Alex and I sat in on some digital photography courses which held her interest. Also, Second City comedy club now has a presence on most of the line's fleet. We really laughed a lot at their shows and skits. They also offer an informal workshop each cruise.

Most of the evening shows were family friendly as were the time they were held. On most cruise lines, my big criticism is that for first seating families, there isn't any entertainment after dinner until much later. With Freestyle Cruising, whereby everyone dines when they wish, there was noticeably much more entertainment available earlier in the evening, which I welcomed. In addition to the comedy shows, we attended a magic show and stage show. Alex and I also got a lot out of a memory workshop presented by the ship's magician -- his techniques worked like "magic" in sharpening our memory skills!

Another great kid friendly amenity on NCL Dawn is the children's buffet area. (The Norwegian Gem, Jade, Pearl, Spirit, Star and Pride of America also feature a similar kids' buffet area.) This area is located in the main buffet but features a smaller-sized buffet area with kid favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and fruit salad. There are also kid-sized chairs and tables in this sectioned-off area. What I liked is that it saved me from having to wait in the separate pool grill line for kid-friendly food after having already waited in the main buffet line for my own lunch.

NCL Kids' Crew Youth Program Details The roomy 1,033 sq. feet youth room, called the T-Rex Centre, was divided into a small room for the 2 to 5 year olds; very large space for the 6 to 9 year olds; and a separate area for viewing movies. On our cruise there were a ton of 6 to 9 year olds participating in programming and only a handful of 10 to 12 year olds, hence the 10 to 12 year olds were grouped with the younger ones. There is a separate teen room which is spacious and has a mock-tail bar, foosball table and Wii dedicated to the teens.

While NCL kids' crew takes children as young as two, its youth counselors do not change diapers. Thus, parents with little ones in diapers get a beeper so that they can come and change diapers when necessary. Because of this, those with diapered children cannot get off the ship in port while their youngster is in the youth program.

Although most of Freestyle 2.0's new amenities are adult oriented, its most far reaching one in regards to parents and children is the new extended hours in youth programming. In the past, NCL -- like most other cruise lines -- closed for two hour lunch and dinner breaks when parents had to pick up their children. Now, though, programming is continuous from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for free. After 10:30, there is programming until 1:30 for an hourly fee, similar to many other cruise lines.

Continue Article >> NCL Kids' Crew Youth Program Details (Continued) (Part 3)

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