Archive for the ‘Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’ Category

NCL 50th Anniversary

September 30, 2016

2016 marks 50 years since the Sunward made her first voyage from Miami to the Caribbean on December 19, 1966, which was the start of Norwegian Caribbean Lines.

Through the global initiative, Norwegian Cruise Line guests, travel partners, and current and former employees are invited to upload their photos and stories to


Malcolm says: I have cruised on, or visited a number of NCL ship (all reviews menu right). However my first experience with NCL was on-board the wonderful ‘SS Norway’, the former ‘SS France’ Ocean Liner on her final transatlantic. Review: HERE

More NCL Ships For China?

The shipping press have been reported back from for the ‘China Cruise Shipping Conference’ in Tianjin, China.

Frank del Rio, president and CEO of NCL made some interesting comments. He said “We will put our ships wherever we think we can make the most money,” “Even though the yields in China are dropping year-over-year like you’d expect them to drop given the increase in supply, China is big and China is strong.”

Del Rio said the next ship to be considered for the Chinese market will be the company’s 2019 newbuild, with the 2018 newbuild already allocated to the North American marketplace.

(Cruise Industry News)

When Will NCL Move Up To 200,000 gt?

September 29, 2016


Carnival cruise line has ordered five 180,000 gross ton mega-ships, with the German ship builder Meyer Werft for delivery between 2019-2022. These will be for their P&O, Costa and AIDA brands.

Each ship will accommodate a maximum of 6,600 passengers, which is a world record.

Costa 180,000gt Ship

Costa 180,000gt Ship (Courtesy Carnival)

MSC Cruises announced that the STX France shipyard would be building up to four new  cruise ships for them, called the “World Class”. These would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

MSC’s ‘World Class’ ships will at over 200,000 gross tons.

Genting, Hong Kong has announced plans to build two 201,000 gross ton cruise ships for ‘Star’ cruises. The 201,000 ton vessels will be known as Global-class and will include 5,000 lower berths and be delivered in 2019 and 2012.

Depending who has the bigger gross tonnage  (MSC or Genting) they will be the second biggest ‘class’ in the world, next to RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class ships, with ‘harmony of the Seas’ being  227,700gt.

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Where does the above news  leave one of the world’s other  big operators, the Norwegian cruise Line (NCL)?

Currently NCL’s  Breakaway-Plus class of ship is the world’s third biggest at 164,600gt. At present, their ships are only eclipsed in size by RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class at 168,666gt and of course the mighty ‘Oasis’ class. However if they do not build bigger, they will slip down the league table as Canival brands, MSC and Genting etc. rise-up.

Now I am reliably informed that the big players in the cruise industry always have something on the drawing-board. In fact there have been internet rumors circulating since 2014 that NCL were designing a new class of ship, around the 200,000gt range.

Now Costa, Aida, Genting and MSC have now entered the “My ships bigger than yours” game, which has been dominated by RCI in recent decades. Therefore I can almost guarantee that NCL will be announcing a new class of bigger ship in the very near future.  After all their Breakaway-plus class is only 35,000 gt short of the magic number.


Norwegian Joy, Breakaway-Plus Class  (Courtesy of NCL)

So what might we expect from a 200,000gt NCL ships? Well, NCL have just announced that there next ship, ‘Norwegian Joy’ (aimed a the Chinese market) will have a Go-Kart track and Hover-Bumper Cars.

An even bigger NCL ship will of course have EVEN more ‘Freestyle’ dining and entertainment venues – that’s a given. Since RCI have scrapped their ‘Dynamic Dining’,  NCL once again offer the widest range of cuisine and the most flexible dining at sea.

However such a big ships potentially have more room for ‘Wow’ type public spaces and  amenities, such as sports facilities.  The only constraints are the designers imagination.

I look forward to seeing my prediction realised.


Below: NCL’s biggest class of ship so far.

Foot Note: The Carnival cruise line once has a concept design called ‘Pinnacle’, which is  said to be a ship of at least 200,000 gt carrying 6,000 passengers,  but they decided not to proceed and never build it. Maybe their 180,000 newbuilds will incorporate aspects of the design.


Carnival Pinnacle? (Fincantieri)

More Info: Carnival’s biggest ship never built: HERE

Norwegian Go-Karts For China

September 25, 2016

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) revealed some of the features and amenities for Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào)  earlier in the year.

They call her their most innovative and luxurious ship ever, built and styled exclusively for Chinese guests, arriving Summer 2017. She will be home-porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing).

Norwegian Joy will be 168,000 gross tonnes and accommodate 3,900 passengers.


Entertainment & Activities

Norwegian Joy will continue Norwegian Cruise Line’s long history of innovation in providing engaging, exciting features and amenities for guests to enjoy. Sure to delight guests of all ages, the ship’s top decks will offer a wide-range of never-before-seen at sea experiences.

On of the most unique features is on the ships upper deck. Guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level competitive racetrack– the first ever at sea. Cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish.

‘Cruise Industry News’  has revealed that the Norwegian Cruise Line displayed a go kart, similar to the ones that will be featured on the Norwegian Joy, at the China Cruise Shipping conference and trade show being held in Tianjin, China.


(Courtesy Cruise Industry News)


NCL Cruise From Southampton (UK) in 2017

August 20, 2016
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade

The Norwegian Cruise line have announce  new European itineraries for summer 2017 on-board the newly-refurbished, Norwegian Jade. Once completed she’s promised to look even better than when she first left the shipyard!

The good news for European cruisers is that there will be more cruises roundtrip from Southampton and Hamburg.

Itineraries include the Norwegian Fjords, Norway, Iceland & UK, Northern Europe Cities, all from Southampton and Norway & North Cape from Hamburg.


Norwegian Jade review HERE

Malcolm says: I always welcome more choices form UK ports. I cruised on-board Jade some years back and she’s a very nice ship.  Although she is hardly small at around 93,000 gt., she is starting to look medium sized by todays mega-ship standards. However there have been three generations of NCL ships since Jade entered service in 2006 – Epic, Breakaway and BreakawayPlus classes.  It would be nice to see a ‘Breakaway’ class offering cruises from UK ports, but maybe they fear that they could not fill one.

Tan Ping To Create Norwegian Joy Hull Art

July 27, 2016
Artist Tan Ping (Courtesy of NCL)

Artist Tan Ping (Courtesy of NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has commissioned renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping to design the artwork to be featured on the hull of its soon to-be-unveiled Breakaway-Plus class vessel Norwegian Joy. Scheduled for release in Summer 2017, with home porting in Shanghai and Beijing, Norwegian Joy will be Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship that is purpose-built for the Chinese market.

A painter, printmaker, and educator, Tan Ping straddles the worlds of both art and design. His abstract paintings and copper plate etchings are in the collections of such renowned museums as The National Art Museum of China; Portland Art Museum, USA; Ludwig Museum, Germany; and The Shanghai Art Museum. Tan Ping also enjoys the distinction of having led and directed a team of designers from Central Academy of Fine Arts to complete the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Image and Landscape Design Project.

His subject for Norwegian Joy is the phoenix, an iconic mythical bird believed to reign supreme over all birds of the world. It is a ubiquitous motif in Chinese art and can be found throughout the centuries in paintings, silk brocades, architectural flourishes, and more.

The Phoenix symbolizes beauty and good luck in Chinese culture and, Norwegian Joy will bridge across the West and the East and bring Chinese people’s best wish to the world and everyone in her path,” said Tan Ping.

Norwegian Joy will see the vision of the Phoenix artwork transferred to a medium of enormous scale on the hull of this unique ship. “This design is by far my largest artwork,” says Tan. “Traveling worldwide on Norwegian Joy, I also expect that it will reach a far greater number of viewers than any of my previous works.”



Norwegian Joy Keel Laying

April 8, 2016


Papenburg, Germany: Meyer Werft laid the keel for Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy (Xǐ Yuè Hào) at its shipyard on the 5th April, 2016.

During the ceremony, the first of 80 blocks which will form the 168,800gt, 3,900 passenger vessels, was lifted into the assembly hall. This officially marks the start of building of the ship.

Norwegian Joy will feature luxury accommodation, Norwegian’s largest boutique shopping venue, various industry-firsts, including a Go-Kart tract on the upper deck and Hover Bumper Card. There will be a range of on-board entertainment and Mandarin, Cantonese and Continental dining options.


Norwegian Joy Gets Go-karts & Bumper Cars

March 30, 2016
(All images courtesy of NCL)

(All images courtesy of NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has now revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào), its most innovative and luxurious ship ever, built and styled exclusively for Chinese guests, arriving Summer 2017. Home porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing).

Norwegian Joy was designed by the team at Norwegian Cruise Line to provide First Class at Sea experiences specifically for the Chinese traveller, with on-board amenities that cater to the unique holiday desires of Chinese guests. Built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, the ship features German precision engineering to the highest possible standard, while offering superior customisation for the culture and preferences of Chinese guests along with the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Cruise Line’s most recent vessels.



With a capacity of 3,900 guests, Norwegian Joy will deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy ‘First Class at Sea’ experiences, starting with her VIP accommodation. As the World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line, an honour bestowed upon the company by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line is known in the industry for offering innovative, stylish and first class accommodations. Norwegian Joy will feature The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship suite luxury complex. Accessible only by personalised key card, The Haven offers a private respite for the most discerning travellers. It features a personal butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority access to entertainment and specialty dining, a private restaurant, enclosed courtyard and 74 spacious and meticulously decorated suites. The ultra-exclusive experience in The Haven on Norwegian Joy will also include an all-new Observation Deck featuring 180 degree views, the same as the ship’s officers experience from the Bridge, with gourmet canapés and premium beverages.

Norwegian Joy will also debut an all new accommodation category: the first at sea Concierge level. Guests who stay in the Concierge staterooms aboard Norwegian Joy will enjoy a VIP experience, featuring larger balcony staterooms with luxurious en suite amenities and the services of a dedicated concierge to make arrangements on board, from entertainment to dining. A perfect category for families and guests looking for extra personal service, the Concierge staterooms will also offer guests an exclusive Concierge lounge, with a private bar and refreshments available throughout the day.

The ship also features a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to fit every traveller’s need. Accommodation offerings also include staterooms designed specifically for families and a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families travelling together.


(All images courtesy of NCL)

Entertainment & Activities

Norwegian Joy will continue Norwegian Cruise Line’s long history of innovation in providing engaging, exciting features and amenities for guests to enjoy. Sure to delight guests of all ages, the ship’s top decks will offer a wide-range of never-before-seen at sea experiences.

At the very top of the ship, guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level competitive racetrack– the first ever at sea. Cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish. Afterwards, they can challenge one another to a game of laser tag in the open-air course, sure to be a hit with both kids and kids-at-heart.


unspecifiedbbnbnWhen guests step inside Norwegian Joy’s Galaxy Pavilion, they will find themselves in a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen at sea, complete with immersive virtual reality experiences, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls. Guests can go for a spin with friends or family on exciting hover craft bumper cars or start their engines in a professional single-seat race car that’s been converted into a state-of-the-art racing simulator. Three interactive dark ride simulators provide guests with a captivating experience featuring real-time 3D graphics, 360- degree surround sound and multi-sensory special effects, while flight and car simulators will let guests take flight or take to the road for an adrenaline-filled experience. Movie buffs will be transported to a galaxy far, far away and into an intense battle as they pilot a fighter to take on the forces of the dark side in a Star Wars® battle pods video game, and gamers can partake in a contest of skill at six Xbox® console stations. Those guests who enjoy advanced technology will be exhilarated by state-of-the-art virtual optic experiences by Oculus that include designing and then riding a personal roller coaster; soaring to new heights over mountains and oceans; or living on the edge and walking along a cliff or on top of a ten-story building.

Galaxy Pavilion - Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Galaxy Pavilion – Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Continuing the adrenaline pumping recreation activities on the ship, Norwegian Joy will also feature two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Double Aqua Loop free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet as they twist and turn to the finish line.

The top deck of Norwegian Joy will also feature a tranquil open space park, where guests can enjoy a partially covered serene setting designed for relaxation. Offering greenery, a soothing pool and chaise lounges, it’s the perfect spot to meditate in the fresh air, gaze out to the open sea or practice tai chi and yoga.


Tranquil open space park

No holiday experience is complete without shopping, and Norwegian Joy will not disappoint. The ship will feature an upscale shopping venue, the largest in Norwegian’s fleet, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to high-end international brands. The shops will offer renowned global luxury brands, in fashion, jewellery and electronics.

Of course, Norwegian Joy will also offer bow to stern Wi-Fi connectivity, the fastest in the Norwegian fleet, so that guests can share their exciting First Class at Sea cruise experiences and stay in touch with family and friends during their cruise.

Norwegian Joy fuses a western cruise holiday with the comforts and preferences that Chinese guests expect, plus the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can offer, for a fabulous combination of culture and cuisine and a true east meets west experience.


Malcolm says: NCL’s  ‘Breakaway Plus’ and RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class ships have just become even more similar.  RCI have obviously borrowed NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining concept and called it ‘Dynamic Dining’ on-board the Quantum class ships. Likewise NCL have obviously borrowed RCI’s bumper cars and the ‘Central Park’ ideas. However I doubt if the NCL version will have real plants.

Go-karts are at least an original idea. I believe the track will located in the space (or part of the space) that the rope-climbing course used to be located in. Both take away sun-bathing deck space, which these mega-ships often lack.  I am surprised that NCL have been able to add these ‘innovations’ to an existing ship design.

I can’t imagine how hover craft bumper cars would work on-board a ship. I guess they will also be electric, but a large force is normally needed to get anything to hover, so they are also likely to be very noisy. I wonder if they are similar to these in this video:  Hover Bumper Cars

The SS Norway Remembered

March 20, 2016
SS Norway in Southampton waters 2001

SS Norway in Southampton waters, 2001

In 2008 the Norwegian Cruise Line’s  SS Norway was cut up on a beach, in Alang, India, and disposed of.

She entered service in 1962 as the ‘SS France’ Ocean Liner. She was the glory of  France’s glory – a ship of state.

She was decommissioned in 1974 and left to rust in the era when the jet aeroplane replaced the ocean liner as the preferred meth of intercontinental travel.

However in 1979 she was purchased by NCL and renovated, returning back to service in 1980 as the then biggest Caribbean cruise ship. Although only medium sized by modern standards, It can be argued that she started the era of the mega-cruise-ship.

I was lucky enough to take her final Transatlantic crossing on the SS Norway, on 2nd September 2001, from Miami to Southampton.  I know that many of you have very fond memories of this special ship. Why not join me?

You can read some background information here and my ‘Final Transatlantic’ review: HERE


Norwegian Escape Review Available

November 22, 2015
The Manhattan restaurant

The Manhattan restaurant

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Escape Review Available

October 31, 2015


Well I finally threw it all together. It might have a few typos in it, but it’s largely complete.

I have concentrated on the ships design and how it differs from the ‘Breakaway’ class. Enjoy!


Norwegian Escape Review HERE