Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) is one of the newest cruise lines to call Australia home. The Norwegian Jewel is on her way across the North Pacific as I type this, on a slow journey to Singapore (via Japan). She then arrives in Sydney on the 1st December for her second Aussie season, and will be looking fresh & fabulous!
I was lucky enough to inspect the Jewel at the end of her first season, and was very happy to know that everything I’d been selling about NCL throughout the years to be true. I am super-keen to the Norwegian Jewel again soon though, so that I can check out the refurbishment that she will be undergoing in Singapore next month. She is due to go through a “multi-million dollar Norwegian Edge™ revitalization program”, and although specific details haven’t been released, I am confident that all expectations will be exceeded.
Most Australians aren’t quite sure who Norwegian Cruise Lines are yet, despite sailing in North America & Europe for more than 50 years. NCL has committed to the Australian market & the rest of our region, by confirming a third season in 2019/20, as well as sending the Norwegian Jade to cruise from Singapore & Hong Kong at the same time.
Despite having sold this great cruiseline for years, my first NCL cruise experience was in August this year, on the Pride of America. This unique ship, sails every Saturday from Honolulu around the Hawaiian Islands. While my own experience was affected by Hurricane Lane, this great ship usually has 2 days in Maui, Hawaii & Kauai, including some amazing scenic cruising along the Na Pali Coast. Despite not making it to the Big Island on our cruise, we can’t tell anyone that we sailed through Hurricane Lane, as the Captain kept us more than 200 miles out to sea – well out of harm’s way.
The NCL fleet is one of the youngest at sea, with all but two ships built after 2001. Norwegian Bliss (2018), Norwegian Joy (2017), Norwegian Escape (2015), Norwegian Getaway (2014), Norwegian Breakaway (2013), Norwegian Epic (2010), Norwegian Gem (2007), Norwegian Jade (2006), Norwegian Pearl (2006), Norwegian Jewel (2005), Pride of America (2005), Norwegian Dawn (2002), Norwegian Star (2001), Norwegian Sun (2001), Norwegian Sky (1999) & Norwegian Spirit (1998). The next ship to join the fleet is the Norwegian Encore, cruising from Miami in November 2019.
So what makes Norwegian Cruise Lines among the wide range of cruise lines? In one word, Freestyle. This concept was pioneered by NCL & basically puts you in control of how you cruise! This applies to every aspect of your cruise – dining, accommodation & entertainment. They even offer Freestyle disembarkation, where you can disembark at a time to suit you, as long as you can handle your own luggage.
Freestyle dining allow you to dine where you want when you want, without having to dress up or stick to a schedule. Each ship has a range of complimentary dining options (with one venue open 24 hours), as well as a fabulous selection of specialty restaurants. The Teppanyaki experience is always popular, so make sure to book this as soon as you can! Another exclusive NCL innovation is The Waterfront. Just imagine alfresco dining at sea, while actually enjoying uninterrupted oceanviews! Find the Waterfront onboard Bliss, Escape, Getaway, Breakaway & Joy.
NCL’s ships have a wide range of cabins & suites to suit every traveller. Along with all sorts of “traditional” twin, triple & quad share cabins, six ships have Studios for solo travellers, avoiding an excessive single supplement. These interior cabins are located around the Studio Lounge, which gives travellers space to relax & socialise with fellow solo travellers. Every ship also offers options for larger families, with interconnecting cabins found in most categories. There are also suites that fit up to eight passengers! For those who want a small ship experience with big ship facilities, The Haven is an exclusive, card-access only upper section of most NCL ships. Haven guests have 24 hour butler service, a private pool & sundeck, exclusive restaurant & lounge, and many “delicious extras”.
You’ll never run out of things to do on an NCL ship! Depending on your chosen ship, you’ll have to make time to enjoy Broadway shows, have some fun on a waterslide or in the Aqua Park, tackle the High Ropes course or score at ten pin bowling. Norwegian Bliss & Joy even have a go-cart track!
Norwegian Cruise Lines currently offers a range of cruises from Sydney over our summer cruise season, and also offers extensive programs in Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean, to Cuba, South America, Hawaii and more! Whether you choose Norwegian’s Free at Sea promotion (with up to 5 amazing bonuses) or a great Sail Away deal, you’re guaranteed to get amazing value from an NCL cruise.
If you’d like to find out more about Norwegian Cruise Lines, give me a call. I’d love to be able to find the perfect ship & itinerary to suit you! ? Christie
Check out more of my photos from the two NCL ships that I have seen this year: