The 9 lessons of Norwegian Cruise Line ships, defined

Some cruise strains — Viking, as an illustration — have fleets the place lots of the ships have the identical primary design. Norwegian Cruise Line isn’t considered one of them.

If you happen to’re considering of reserving a Norwegian cruise, an vital factor to know is that there’s a vast variation within the dimension and elegance of the vessels within the line’s fleet.


4 of Norwegian’s 19 ships — Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Pleasure and Norwegian Encore — are among the many 30 greatest ships on the earth. As such, they’re loaded with enormous numbers of cabins, eating places, bars, showrooms and deck-top amusements.

They’re, in a nutshell, floating megaresorts.

The road additionally operates smaller vessels that hardly crack the highest 100 checklist of greatest cruise ships. These ships typically have fewer venues and sights than the larger ships. Nonetheless, they nonetheless supply lots for cruisers. Norwegian is a line recognized for packing oodles of eating places, bars and leisure on its vessels — even its smaller ones.

The excellent news for these of you making an attempt to get a deal with on all of the choices inside the Norwegian fleet is that the road’s 19 ships could be bunched into simply eight teams of vessels with related facilities. If you already know one member of the group, you already know all of them.

Every of those teams — referred to as “lessons” in cruise trade lingo — is made up of ships that had been constructed across the identical time in the identical primary design.

An introduction to Norwegian Cruise Line ships

Smaller solely than Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises, Norwegian has turn out to be more and more recognized for a number of the greatest, most amenity-filled vessels at sea. As talked about above, although, the road would not simply function large ships. Greater than half its fleet contains vessels that, by at the moment’s requirements, are thought-about virtually midsize.

Certainly, Norwegian is actually two cruise strains in a single. The road’s 9 latest ships are massive, bustling floating megaresorts that may carry upward of three,000 to 4,000 passengers at double occupancy (much more with each berth crammed). At round 144,000 to almost 170,000 tons, all 9 presently rank among the many 50 greatest cruise ships on the earth (though their rankings will shift downward as extra massive ships debut).

Norwegian’s 10 older ships, in contrast, are way more modest in dimension, measuring round 75,000 to 94,000 tons and carrying nearer to 2,000 passengers at double occupancy.

Norwegian thus appeals each to cruisers who like a large resort vibe and those that favor a resort expertise that’s extra modest. The important thing, relying in your tastes, is getting on the fitting ship within the fleet for you.

On the big-ship finish of the spectrum, Norwegian’s 4 new Breakaway Plus vessels — Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Pleasure and Norwegian Escape — are the road’s premier choices.

One step down in dimension from the Breakaway Plus ships are the still-quite-large Breakaway-class ships — Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway — and the one-of-a-kind Norwegian Epic.

The smallest of the road’s massive ships are the not too long ago unveiled Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima. They’re the primary two of a brand new sequence of six vessels that may rework the model. Measuring about 143,500 tons a chunk, these two new ships are about 17% smaller than Norwegian’s greatest vessels.

Norwegian’s 10 smaller vessels break down into 5 lessons, although many are roughly the identical dimension and supply related facilities.

Prima class

Ships at school: Norwegian Prima (2022), Norwegian Viva (2023).

Measurement: 143,535 tons.

The Prima class of ships is the most recent and biggest at Norwegian Cruise Line — the vessels that each NCL fan desires to ebook.

Solely two ships within the sequence (Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima) are presently in operation. 4 extra sister vessels are on order for supply by 2027.

Beneath growth since 2017, these ships mark Norwegian’s first new class of vessel in additional than a decade. At 143,535 tons, they’re notably smaller than the ships the road has been including in recent times — an element that may give them entry to smaller ports all over the world.

That stated, Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Prima and their coming sisters nonetheless are comparatively massive ships that pack lots of over-the-top facilities. Each Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima have ridiculously massive go-kart tracks unfold over three decks (a cruise trade first). The ships additionally boast The Drop, a 10-story dry slide that the road says offers extra G-force than an accelerating Formulation One race automotive.

Moreover, the vessels every are house to a three-deck theater that converts right into a Las Vegas-style nightclub, together with a listing of interactive, real-life sport reveals, together with at-sea variations of “The Worth Is Proper,” “Grocery store Sweep,” “Press Your Luck” and “Beat the Clock.”

Nonetheless, the brand new Prima class is about greater than flashy leisure and actions. It marks a extra upscale flip for the road. Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima supply the biggest number of suite classes (13) for a big ocean ship, the biggest three-bedroom suites of any new cruise vessel and the model’s largest-ever inside, ocean-view and balcony cabins.

The whole again of every of the ships is devoted to an upscale, “ship-within-a-ship” personal suite space known as The Haven that rises eight decks excessive and consists of 107 suites, a sprawling personal indoor lounge space, personal out of doors lounge and pool areas, and a personal restaurant. Different vessels function The Haven areas, however none as massive as this one.

As well as, the general public areas of Norwegian Viva and Norwegian Prima really feel extra spacious than lots of the different 17 ships within the Norwegian fleet. And, certainly, they’re. The Prima-class ships are being constructed with the next ratio of house to passengers, which itself is an upscale contact.

Norwegian Cruise Line additionally says the Prima-class vessels supply essentially the most out of doors deck house of any new cruise ship — together with extra complete pool deck house than some other ships within the model’s fleet.

Observe that the final 4 ships within the Prima-class sequence, attributable to debut between 2025 and 2027, are being redesigned to be larger than the primary two ships within the sequence.

Breakaway Plus class

Ships at school: Norwegian Encore (2019), Norwegian Bliss (2018), Norwegian Pleasure (2017), Norwegian Escape (2015).

Measurement: 164,600 to 169,145 tons.

These are the Norwegian ships you go on should you’re a fan of megaresorts.

Whereas not fairly as massive as Royal Caribbean’s large Oasis-class ships, Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus-class vessels are firmly within the pantheon of the world’s cruising giants. They’re the Norwegian ships most full of eating places, bars, leisure and over-the-top sights. There are such a lot of of this stuff that you simply will not have the ability to do all of it in a single, weeklong cruise.

The Breakaway Plus ships are so massive, in reality, that they’ve room for big go-kart tracks and laser tag areas on their high decks (on the entire vessels within the sequence besides Norwegian Escape). There’s additionally loads of room to spare for a number of swimming pools, waterslides and a kiddie splash zone.

Every of the vessels additionally presents actual Broadway reveals in massive, state-of-the-art theaters, sprawling spas, casinos that fill half a deck, devoted kids’s play zones, and greater than 2,000 rooms.

As well as, the 2 latest ships on this sequence, Norwegian Encore and Norwegian Pleasure, have giant gaming and digital actuality zones known as the Galaxy Pavilion.

For meals, you may discover a minimum of 20 venues on every of those ships, together with a number of foremost eating rooms and a buffet that include no further cost and such extra-charge eateries as a teppanyaki restaurant, a steakhouse, a high-end French restaurant and a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea.

With a number of family-friendly sights such because the go-kart tracks and laser tag programs, these ships enchantment closely to households with kids, notably teenagers, however they draw lots of {couples}, too. They’re additionally widespread with solo vacationers, due to their unusually giant complexes of cabins for one (one thing you may discover on the Breakaway and Epic lessons of ships, too).

All 4 of the Breakaway Plus ships have giant, personal, two-deck-high suite enclaves known as The Haven that include their very own pool areas, eating places and lounges. They’re a number of the most spectacular suite complexes wherever at sea.

The most important of those ships, Norwegian Encore, measures 169,116 tons, making it the 18th-biggest cruise ship on the earth as of this story’s publishing (it’s going to drop within the rankings over the approaching years as further megaships debut). That is larger than all however one Carnival ship and each Princess Cruises ship. Solely Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have a big variety of larger vessels.

Norwegian Encore can maintain greater than 5,000 passengers with all berths crammed.

Breakaway class

Ships at school: Norwegian Getaway (2014), Norwegian Breakaway (2013).

Measurement: 145,655 tons.

These vessels are much like the Breakaway Plus-class ships however barely smaller. Or, put one other means, the Breakaway Plus-class ships are a stretched model of the Breakaway-class ships.

You may discover lots of the identical eateries, bars, lounges and leisure venues on the Breakaway-class ships that you will discover on the Breakaway Plus-class vessels. The marginally smaller dimension of those vessels means there’s only a tad much less “stuff” on board.

The highest decks of the Breakaway-class ships have two pool areas and water parks with waterslides, as an illustration — identical to the Breakaway Plus-class ships. Nonetheless, they do not have go-kart tracks or laser tag programs. As an alternative of the latter sights, you may discover an adults-only pool space known as Spice H2O in the back of the vessels. At night time, it transforms right into a dance membership.

The Breakaway-class ships additionally boast full-size ropes programs on their high decks. Certainly, they had been the primary cruise ships ever to have such a function. Different deck-top options embody miniature golf programs on each vessels and basketball courts that double as volleyball courts.

On the leisure entrance, each ships supply Broadway reveals of their foremost theaters and have a circuslike present in a secondary theater known as “Cirque Desires.” The latter is a dinner present that comes with an additional cost. They’re additionally house to “Howl on the Moon” dueling piano reveals and a model of the Latin-themed dance present “Burn the Ground.”

Just like the Breakaway Plus vessels, the Breakaway ships have giant complexes for solo vacationers, in addition to giant, personal The Haven suite complexes.

Typically, as with the Breakaway Plus ships, these vessels are greatest for vacationers who like a megaresort-type expertise, they usually enchantment closely to households with kids who love all their deck-top sights. Every of the 2 ships on this sequence — Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway — holds about 4,000 passengers at double occupancy.

Epic class

Ships at school: Norwegian Epic (2010).

Measurement: 155,873 tons.

Norwegian Epic is an outlier within the Norwegian fleet. Unveiled in 2010, it was initially speculated to be the primary of a sequence of as much as three related vessels. Nonetheless, after disagreements with the shipyard that constructed it, Norwegian finally canceled an order for a second ship within the sequence and an possibility for a 3rd ship within the sequence, leaving Norwegian Epic in a category of 1.

Whereas roughly comparable in dimension to the Breakaway Plus- and Breakaway-class ships (it’s kind of smaller than the previous vessels and a bit larger than the latter vessels), Norwegian Epic has a notably completely different design that features some distinctive options.

Maybe most notably, balcony cabins on the ship have an uncommon design that features curved partitions, rounded mattress corners, and a sink and self-importance space that’s in the principle dwelling house (for all to see), separate from a closed-off bathroom space. The bathroom space is behind a translucent door that some cruisers discover much less personal than that they had hoped.

Norwegian Epic can also be house to the one tube-and-bowl waterslide at sea and has such rare-for-cruise-ships sights as a rappelling wall and a three-lane bowling alley. It additionally options an ice bar the place prospects put on parkas whereas sipping drinks.

Nonetheless, Norwegian Epic additionally presents lots that will likely be acquainted to Norwegian followers, together with lots of the line’s signature eating places, bars and leisure.

Standout options on Norwegian Epic embody a water park with a number of the most over-the-top waterslides at sea (together with the aforementioned tube-and-bowl slide). It additionally presents a model of the Burn the Ground dance present that performed on Broadway and on the West Finish in London, in addition to a Howl on the Moon piano bar and a recreation of the Cavern Membership nightspot in Liverpool, England, the place The Beatles obtained their begin (full with a The Beatles cowl band).

As well as, Norwegian Epic has the road’s greatest solo cabin advanced (with 128 rooms for one) and a large The Haven personal suite advanced.

At 155,873 tons, Norwegian Epic presently ranks because the thirty fourth greatest cruise vessel on the earth. Notably, it was the world’s third-largest ship when it debuted in 2010. That tells you simply how a lot the cruise trade has grown in recent times.

Norwegian Epic carries 4,100 passengers at double occupancy.

Jewel class

Ships at school: Norwegian Gem (2007), Norwegian Jade (2006), Norwegian Pearl (2006), Norwegian Jewel (2005).

Measurement: About 93,500 tons.

Are you not sure if you wish to sail on a megaship with 4,000 or extra folks however nonetheless need a vessel with quantity of options and actions? The Jewel-class ships will be the excellent answer.

At 93,500 tons, the 4 vessels within the sequence are practically 50% smaller than the road’s Breakaway Plus-class ships however nonetheless sufficiently big that they’ve lots to supply.

Every of the vessels has greater than a dozen meals venues, together with three foremost eating places, an informal buffet, a steakhouse, a French restaurant and a teppanyaki eatery.

You may additionally discover a number of swimming pools on every of the ships, together with whirlpools, basketball courts and golf driving nets. Every of the ships additionally has a theater, spa, on line casino, and a number of bars and lounges.

What you will not discover on the ships, due to their smaller dimension, are all of the gee-whiz sights corresponding to go-kart tracks, laser tag programs and enormous water-park areas that Norwegian has placed on its larger vessels. If you cannot reside with out these types of options on a cruise ship, then the Jewel class in all probability is not for you.

Observe that Norwegian Gem does have a climbing wall and a single waterslide. Norwegian Pearl has a climbing wall however no waterslide. Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Jade have neither of the sights.

Every of the Jewel-class ships holds round 2,400 passengers at double occupancy (plus just a few hundred extra with each berth crammed). That is about 40% fewer passengers than you may discover on the largest Norwegian ships.

That makes them excellent for cruisers who need to get away from the type of crowds which might be on the largest megaships with out giving up lots of the facilities that massive ships have to supply.

Delight of America class

Ships at school: Delight of America (2005).

Measurement: 80,439 tons.

Like Norwegian Epic, Delight of America is an outlier within the Norwegian fleet. The truth is, it is maybe an excellent larger outlier than the previous vessel.

Sporting a patriotic U.S. theme (you may discover venues named after Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) and a definite array of lounges and leisure, it is a ship particularly designed to sail year-round in Hawaii — the one considered one of its sort at any line.

Delight of America notably flies a U.S. flag and operates with a principally U.S. crew, in line with laws governing cruise itineraries that solely embody U.S. ports. That is an enormous distinction from some other massive cruise vessel on the earth.

It is also the one Norwegian vessel and not using a on line casino, in line with native Hawaii laws.

If you happen to sail on Delight of America, you may discover such one-of-a-kind eateries because the basic American car-themed Cadillac Diner. You may additionally discover a few of Norwegian’s signature choices, together with a Cagney’s steak home and Italian eatery La Cucina. The ship’s different onboard sights embody a showroom, lounges, bars and a high deck with intensive open-air pool and solar lounging areas.

Due to its possession of Delight of America, Norwegian is the undisputed chief in Hawaii cruises. Most cruise strains that supply sailings to Hawaii solely supply a restricted variety of such journeys throughout just a few months every year. Norwegian, in contrast, presents sailings across the Hawaiian Islands each week of the yr — the one cruise line on the earth to take action.

An iconic presence in Hawaii, Delight of America has been completely devoted to the archipelago since its debut in 2005. It presents a repeating seven-night itinerary that begins every Saturday in Honolulu and brings the possibility to go to 4 completely different Hawaiian islands on a single, seven-night journey.

Starting and ending on the island of Oahu, the itinerary consists of two days every on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. The 2-day go to to Maui entails an in a single day keep on the port of Kahului. The 2-day go to to Kauai entails an in a single day keep on the port of Nawiliwili. The 2-day go to to Hawaii is break up between a name at Hilo and a name at Kona.

Daybreak class

Ships at school: Norwegian Daybreak (2002), Norwegian Star (2001).

Measurement: 92,250 and 91,740 tons.

The Daybreak-class ships are much like the Jewel-class ships in dimension and facilities, with just a few variations.

Like the previous vessels, the Daybreak-class ships have round a dozen food-serving venues, together with three foremost eating places, an informal buffet, a Brazilian churrascaria (barbecue) restaurant, a French restaurant and a teppanyaki eatery.

You may additionally discover a number of swimming pools on every of the ships, whirlpools, basketball courts and golf driving nets. Every of the ships additionally has a theater, spa, on line casino, and a number of bars and lounges.

Just like the Jewel-class ships, the Daybreak-class vessels lack the type of massive sights corresponding to go-kart tracks and enormous water parks discovered on larger Norwegian vessels. As well as, there are not any Broadway musicals on Daybreak-class ships, they usually do not have a personal The Haven suite space (although they do have a number of large suites known as Backyard Villas that measure greater than 6,000 sq. ft).

If you cannot reside with out these types of options on a cruise ship, then the Daybreak class in all probability is not for you.

Solar class

Ships at school: Norwegian Solar (2001), Norwegian Sky (1999).

Measurement: 78,309 and 77,104 tons.

Relationship to 2001 and 1999, respectively, Norwegian Solar and Norwegian Sky are among the many smallest ships at Norwegian. They provide fewer onboard sights and facilities than is typical for the road’s vessels.

Typically, they enchantment to cruisers in search of a extra intimate expertise on a cruise ship than what you may discover on the massive Norwegian ships. Additionally they draw cruisers who care extra concerning the locations that they go to on a cruise than onboard sights.

On every of the vessels, you may discover greater than half a dozen eateries, together with a number of foremost eating rooms, an informal buffet, a diner-style pub, a steakhouse, an Italian trattoria and a French bistro.

On their high decks, the ships have swimming pools (one on Solar, two on Sky), whirlpools, a basketball courtroom that doubles as a volleyball courtroom, golf driving nets and a jogging monitor. The ships even have casinos and theaters with nightly reveals.

Not like most larger Norwegian ships, neither of the vessels has a personal The Haven suite advanced or solo cabins.

Leo class


Ships at school: Norwegian Spirit (1998).

Measurement: 75,904 tons.

Relationship to 1998, Norwegian Spirit is Norwegian’s smallest and oldest ship, and — like the road’s Solar-class ships — it typically appeals to cruisers in search of a extra intimate expertise than you may discover on the massive Norwegian ships.

At 75,904 tons, Norwegian Spirit is lower than half the scale of Norwegian’s greatest ships, and it carries simply 1,966 passengers — greater than 2,000 fewer than the Norwegian biggies.

It additionally presents fewer (however nonetheless fairly just a few) venues and sights. In all, you may discover 13 meals retailers on board, together with two foremost eating places, an informal buffet eatery, and variations of the road’s signature Cagney’s steakhouse and French eatery Le Bistro. There are greater than half a dozen bars and cafes.

Deck-top sights embody a number of swimming pools, whirlpools, waterslides, a basketball courtroom and a jogging monitor. The ship additionally has a on line casino, spa, nightclub and theater.

Of be aware, Norwegian Spirit initially was constructed for Asia-based Star Cruises (the place it was known as SuperStar Leo).


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