Just days ago, Carnival Cruise Line was the first large cruise line to officially mark the return of its entire fleet to sailing after the pause that went into place more than two years ago.
Now you can add Norwegian Cruise Line to that list.
The cruise line said today that Norwegian Spirit marked its 17th ship to return to cruising, meaning its entire fleet of ships is now back on the water.
NCL’s return started with Norwegian Jade back in July 2021, when that ship set sail from Athens, Greece. Roughly 10 months later, Norwegian Spirit is sailing an extended trip featuring eight ports in 12 days across the South Pacific. The ship departed from Papeete in Tahiti, on its way to Honolulu.
“This is an incredibly important day in our history and a defining moment for our future,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We are moving full speed ahead, having already welcomed more than half a million guests for an exceptional vacation at sea.”
Full Fleet Returns… With Prima on the Way
So what’s next for NCL? The cruise line has the eagerly anticipated Norwegian Prima set to debut beginning in August 2022.
The new ship — the first of the new Prima class of vessels — will be one of six ships slated to be added to the fleet. Prima and its sister ships will mark a somewhat different direction for the cruise line. While ships like Norwegian Encore (which is the current newest vessel in the NCL fleet) have pushed the envelope toward bigger vessels with more to do, Prima is actually slightly smaller.
As well, the ship seems to be focused more on luxury, in both design and amenities. For example, NCL just revealed the first charcoal sauna at sea in its Mandara Spa. The spa also comes with an ice room, flotation salt pools, an infrared sauna, and even a two-story indoor waterfall.
Still, favorites like the go-kart track (including the longest track on an NCL ship) make an appearance on the vessel. There are also thrill rides like a new plunging slide that will drop riders 10 stories. There will also be a transforming theater that goes from a three-story theater venue to a club with dance floor and LED screens. (For more on what we know about Prima, see our article here.)
Katy Perry has been announced as the godmother of the new Prima ship and is set to perform during a naming ceremony in Iceland when the ship is launched in August.
On top of that fanfare, the cruise line also announced that Kelly Clarkson (godmother of Norwegian Encore) will perform an exclusive concert aboard Prima when the ship visits Galveston, Texas in October 2022 to sail an inaugural five-day trip from the island.
That concert is set as part of the award ceremony for NCL’s annual Giving Joy program. The program will awards 100 teachers from the U.S. and Canada with free cruises, and the three grand-prize winners will earn up to $25,000 for their school. (Nominations are open now.)
Health Still an Issue, But Plenty to Look Forward to for Cruising
As mentioned, the return of Norwegian Spirit and the entire NCL fleet marks another major line to make a full comeback. Royal Caribbean Group — parent of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity — has also said that 95% of its company capacity is back sailing and it has plans to return the entire fleet just weeks from now.
In other words, while the comeback of cruising has had some hurdles to overcome, the cruise lines have persevered the largest challenge they’ve ever faced to return to sailing with passengers.
And while Covid continues to be a battle for cruise lines, the return of NCL’s full fleet — and the exciting launch of its newest ship — means plenty to look forward to for the cruise line and its fans.