Taking a toddler on a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation just got more expensive. The operator announced that it will now charge the same fare for children under two years of age that it does for all children. Previously, toddlers were charged only a portion of that fare plus taxes and fees. The change brings Norwegian in line with the practices of Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines, but it stills seems like a cash grab and a deterrent to parents of young children. Norwegian had a chance to differentiate itself in the cruise market, but instead chose to alienate a segment of its customers.
USA Today quoted a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson stating that "the difference in fare for children under two will average about $100." While that doesn't seem like much, it's still an increased fare for young children who do not stand to dramatically impact that cruise operator's bottom line. Two-year-olds don't eat, drink, or do much on a cruise ship. The industry standard seems to dictate that all children are charged equally, but it would have be a welcome bucking of a trend to see Norwegian continue to discount the fares of babies and toddlers.
Of course, they might just be trying to keep those babies off of their cruise ships. No one wants to hear crying infants while relaxing by the pool, enjoying a meal, or trying to sleep in a cramped stateroom. However, if you can tolerate the screams of cruisers in the wave pool, dance clubs, and rock climbing wall, you can probably just tune out the occasional small human being's tantrum.
We're disappointed in Norwegian but not surprised. If you do bring your baby with you, be sure that he gets his money's worth at the buffet.