Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, has released a series of immersive, destination-rich itineraries for its 2024/25 season in the region – including 14 voyages on board the spectacularly refurbished Norwegian Spirit, and twelve sailings for Norwegian Sun’s first foray into the region. The collection also features a range of unique voyages being offered for the first time including two departures from Melbourne, a French Polynesia voyage from Papeete to Melbourne via Queensland, NCL’s first sailing to Bali from New Zealand, and extended country-rich itineraries exploring Japan and Korea.
“Having more ships and an expanded selection of itineraries in Asia Pacific underlines NCL’s firm commitment to this region, both as a source market and destination. Cruising is the ideal way to explore the range of fascinating destinations and immersive shore excursions on offer without having to constantly pack, unpack” said Ben Angell, VP and MD NCL APAC. “We know Asia is a popular choice for local travellers – Japan is one of my personal favourites – and we are excited to expand our options in this market, and to continue to offer Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific voyages for those who prefer to cruise close to home.”
Norwegian Spirit’s eight-month 2024/25 Asia season will offer 14 itineraries sailing from five departure ports, including Manila, Singapore, Taipei , Tokyo , and Seoul from September 2024 through to April 2025.
Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics[i] indicates Japan is now the fourth most visited overseas destination for Australians, up from seventh position pre-pandemic, and Norwegian Spirit’s new port-rich itineraries with minimal sea days and engaging Go Local shore excursions ensure guests can enjoy the country’s delectable cuisine, ancient history, dramatic scenery, and vibrant culture in multiple destinations during each captivating cruise.
Highlight voyages on Norwegian Spirit, hand-picked by Ben Angell:
12-day Japan round-trip from Tokyo: Osaka, Sapporo, Busan & Mt Fuji
Departing 23 October 2024, this enthralling voyage captures the true essence of Japan and its unique blend of ancient and contemporary cultures. Highlights include overnight stays in the culinary and cultural capitals – Osaka and Kyoto – as well as the perfectly preserved Edo period architecture and teahouses of Kanazawa, exploring the natural beauty and ancient Samurai district of the new port of Akita, bathing in healing hot springs and mud baths in Beppu, or the contrast of tranquil Buddhist temples and cosmopolitan city life in Busan, South Korea.
10-day Asia from Seoul to Tokyo: Osaka, Kohi, Jeju & Mt Fuji
Departing the lively Korean capital of Seoul on 13 March 2025, this inspiring itinerary visits nine ports in 10 days and includes an overnight stay for a more in-depth discovery of Osaka, Japan. Highlights include the magnificent natural attractions of Jeju, Korea, including the Hallasan UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the world’s longest lava tube; the intricate arts and crafts and Chinese-influenced cuisine of Naha (Okinawa), one of Japan’s most popular holiday islands, or a tranquil bay cruise in the shadow of majestic Mt Fuji in Shimizu.
12-day Asia from Seoul to Tokyo: Jeju, Nagoya & Sapporo
Departing Seoul (Incheon) on 2 April 2025, this is the ultimate cruise for guests keen to tick Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms off their travel bucket list, whether at Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle Park during a day in Kanazawa, on a visit to Himeji Castle in Himeji, or throughout the famous parks of Tokyo.
A smaller ship at just over 2,000 guests, Norwegian Spirit is packed full of features that appeal to Australian and New Zealand cruisers, including the adults-only Spice H20 pool retreat, enthralling entertainment, as well as the doubled-in-size Mandara Spa™, featuring a Thermal Suite with steam room, sauna, shower experience and heated-tile loungers. And with 14 dining options to choose from including French flavours at Le Bistro and contemporary Italian at Onda by Scarpetta, guests can holiday their way, with no set dining times, tables or dress codes.
Australian and New Zealand cruise fans were able to witness Norwegian Spirit’s extensive USD$100m bow-to-stern renovation – the most expensive in NCL history – for the first time during her inaugural local season in 2022/2023. Those who enjoy sailing close to home and can’t wait to set sail again can still book limited cabins for Norwegian Spirit’s second local season between December 2023 and March 2024, during which she will visit destinations along the Australian east coast, as well as Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Tahiti.
Norwegian Sun’s six-month Asia Pacific season will include twelve itineraries between October 2024 and April 2025 – four of which have never been offered before including departures from Melbourne for the first time. Departure ports include Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Honolulu and Papeete with itineraries showcasing the sublime scenery of French Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Highlight voyages on Norwegian Sun, hand-picked by Ben Angell:
18-day French Polynesia & Australia: from Papeete (Tahiti) to Melbourne
My top pick would have to be this incredible itinerary offering the perfect tropical paradise experience and the opportunity to sail home to Australia prior to Christmas in 2024 on Norwegian Sun. This unique itinerary – also a first for our brand – includes 10 ports and visits seven South Pacific countries and combines stunning ports with days at sea. Departing Papeete on 3 December 2024 highlights include lengthy port visits to Papeete and Bora Bora (Tahiti) Rarotonga (Cook Islands) Pago Pago (American Samoa), Apia (Samoa), Vava’u (Tonga), Lautoka (Fiji) and Nouméa (New Caledonia).
14-day Australia and New Zealand Christmas cruise from Melbourne to Auckland
Setting sail from Melbourne for the first time on 21 December 2024, this enchanting festive season cruise combines spectacular ports in Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania with the best of New Zealand in an unforgettable itinerary that includes joyful Christmas Day celebrations at sea, as well as a New Year’s Eve to remember in beautiful Doubtful Sound. Highlights include Portland on the famed Great Ocean Road – a new port for NCL – as well as the wildlife wonderland of Kangaroo Island, New Zealand’s Marlborough wine region and the geothermal pools and glow worm caves of Tauranga.
A second 14-day sailing to Auckland departs Melbourne on 15 February 2025, and includes a second port in Tasmania, charming Burnie, where guests can admire Art Deco architecture, stroll the beautiful Emu Bay beachfront on the lookout for little penguins, or sample local whisky at Hellyers Road Distillery.
16-day Australia: Brisbane, Komodo & Cairns from Auckland to Bali
Departing Auckland on 1 March 2025, this is NCL’s first extended sailing from New Zealand to Bali and marks the brands first cruise back to the North Coast of Australia since 2019. Highlights include kayaking or day-tripping to the glorious Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach; an overnight stay in Cairns to discover the delights of the Daintree Rainforest and visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef; fishing, birdwatching, and learning about local indigenous culture in Cooktown; tracking down the prehistoric Komodo Dragon in Indonesia and enjoying a taste of laidback island life in Lombok.
With a guest capacity of just 1,936, Norwegian Sun offers an intimate ambience on board combined with a choice of 15 dining options including the popular Cagney’s Steakhouse alongside French, Italian, Brazilian, Asian, and Japanese options. After dinner the Stardust Theatre plays host to signature show Rock you Tonight, a high-energy tribute to rock icons such as Queen and The Who or relax in one of the numerous bars on board. Families are well catered for, whether it’s Splash Academy for the little kids, the Video Arcade for older kids and for the parents, the relaxing Mandara Spa™.