Free doesn’t always mean good. Ask anyone who’s ever spent a “free” weekend in Myrtle Beach sitting through timeshare presentations. But Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering up some seriously good free stuff this weekend in the hopes of luring you north next summer to take a cruise to Alaska.
On September 14, NCL will offer free coach airfare from over 100 US and Canadian airports if you book a seven-day voyage on the Norwegian Joy. The offer was available to previous NCL guests yesterday and to everyone else today. So basically, once you book the cruise, that’s the last money you spend until you start ordering drinks on the Lido Deck — one of the most alluring cruise ship offerings in recent memory.
Free flights sound pretty fantastic… almost too fantastic. And yes, of course, there’s a catch. You can’t just book the cheapest cabin on the ship and expect NCL to fork over your airfare. The free airfare is only included with balcony staterooms and above. Although depending on how much flights from your hometown cost, you might still spend less booking a better cabin and flying for free.
That said, if you live in, say, Sacramento, and a round-trip ticket to Seattle costs less than dinner at an upscale sports bar, you can also opt to get $1,000 off your cruise fare per stateroom. NCL will also allow guests to combine this offer with its Free at Sea program, which lets you pick stuff like free open bar, free specialty dining, or free WiFi along with up to $500 in onboard credit for select bookings.
So those drinks on the Lido deck might not cost you anything either if you play your cards right.
The offer applies for sailings on the Joy from April to September 2019. The Joy recently underwent a $50 million renovation to bring it up to par with its sister ship, the Norwegian Bliss, which debuted this year on Alaska routes out of Seattle. Its itineraries will stop in Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay, and Icy Strait Point in Alaska, as well as Victoria, British Columbia.
After summering in Alaska, the Joy will stay on the West Coast, running cruises to the Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal out of Los Angeles. No free flights being offered for those, though.
You’ve literally only got a day to jump on this offer, and bookings can be made at NCL.com or by calling 888-NCL-CRUISE. So DM this story to your spouse, your best travel buddy, or the extended family you had to visit this summer but weren’t really thrilled about. Even they’ll be tolerable while cruising past glaciers and gazing at bald eagles. And everything is better when it’s free.