Norwegian Cruise Line has an active fleet of seventeen ships with a further two ships due in 2022-23 (Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva) plus, a further four more ships due between 2024-27.
The fleet is primarily based in the United States and sails frequently from the ports of Miami and Port Canaveral. However, they do also sail from New York.
Additional sailings take place throughout Europe, including Southampton.
In this guide, we will cover all the different ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and how they compare to each other.
Introduction to Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line or NCL as it is more commonly known amongst cruisers started off back in 1966. However, it didn’t actually cruise from Norway originally!
It was founded by two men, Knut Kloster and perhaps more famously known now, Ted Arison (of Carnival Cruise Line).
Their first vessel Sunward, a modified car ferry which also provided passenger services operated between the ports of Southampton and Gibraltar. It wasn’t long after that that Ted Arison left to found Carnival Cruise Line and Knut Kloster grew Norwegian Cruise Line to what it is today.
It wasn’t until 1971 that Norwegian Cruise Line had its first custom-built cruise ship, Starward delivered into service. Like the original Sunward the two ships also had car-carrying capacity, albeit via a well-concealed stern (rear) door system.
Fast forward to 2000 and NCL was sold to Star Cruises (a subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong) – this lasted until 2007 when Star Cruises sold 50% to an investment management company (Apollo Management) and then in 2013 the company reorganized again to become Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
Since 2013, the company has acquired two further cruise brands (Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises) and continues to grow the NCL fleet with several new builds announced for the current decade.
Norwegian Cruise Line Frequently Asked Questions
Norwegian Cruise Line Ships by Size (from largest to smallest)
|Ship Name||Tonnage (GRT)||Passengers (Max)||Length||Decks|
|Norwegian Encore||169,116||3,998||1,094ft / 333m||20|
|Norwegian Bliss||168,028||4,004||1,094ft / 333m||20|
|Norwegian Joy||167,725||3,804||1,094ft / 333m||20|
|Norwegian Escape||164,998||4,266||1,069ft / 326m||20|
|Norwegian Epic||155,873||4,100||1,081ft / 329m||19|
|Norwegian Breakaway||145,655||3,959||1,068ft / 326m||18|
|Norwegian Getaway||145,655||3,963||1,068ft / 326m||18|
|Norwegian Jade||93,558||2,402||965ft / 294m||15|
|Norwegian Pearl||93,530||2,394||965ft / 294m||15|
|Norwegian Gem||93,530||2,394||965ft / 294m||15|
|Norwegian Jewel||93,502||2,376||965ft / 294m||15|
|Norwegian Dawn||92,250||2,340||965ft / 294m||15|
|Norwegian Star||91,740||2,348||965ft / 294m||15|
|Pride of America||80,439||2,186||850ft / 280m||15|
|Norwegian Sun||78,309||1,936||848ft / 258m||13|
|Norwegian Sky||77,104||2,004||832ft / 254m||12|
|Norwegian Spirit||75,904||2,018||879ft / 268m||14|
What does ‘Tonnage (GRT)’ mean?
GRT (Gross Registered Tonnage) is a term used to calculate the volume inside a ship. It is a measure of cubic capacity and is calculated by the total volume from inside the hull and decks of the ship. 1 GRT = 100 cubic feet of space. In essence, the bigger the GRT – the more ‘space’ the ship has for passengers, cargo, etc.
How are ‘Passengers (Max)’ calculated?
You’ll see multiple numbers for passengers on ships – this is because many ships include extra beds in cabins (such as the sofa/couch can convert to a pull-out bed) – but the majority of cabins usually have 2 people in them. the ‘Max’ number is if every cabin used their additional pull-out bed, etc. This number is unlikely to be reached very frequently.
Norwegian Cruise Line Ships by Age (from newest to oldest)
|Norwegian Viva||Due 2023||-|
|Norwegian Prima||Due 2022||-|
|Pride of America||2005||2016|
Are all Norwegian Cruise ships new builds?
Actually, NCL has possibly one of the most complicated fleets as a good majority of their ships are fairly old (compared to some of the other cruise lines).
Norwegian Sky for example was originally constructed as Costa Olympia, but was actually sold during construction to NCL and sailed as Pride of Aloha from 2004-2008.
Both Norwegian Star and Norwegian Dawn were both originally ordered for Star Cruises (Superstar Libra and Superstar Scorpio respectively) but ended up being transferred to NCL before they launched.
Norwegian Spirit was built as SuperStar Leo for Star Cruises and sailed with them from 1998 until 2004 when she transferred to NCL and was renamed.
Norwegian Jade was previously named Pride of Hawaii for NCL America. She entered service in 2006 and was transferred to NCL, renamed and has been sailing for them since 2008.
Norwegian Cruise Line Ships by Class (from newest to oldest)
|Norwegian Encore||Breakaway Plus-Class|
|Norwegian Bliss||Breakaway Plus-Class|
|Norwegian Joy||Breakaway Plus-Class|
|Norwegian Escape||Breakaway Plus-Class|
|Norwegian Epic||Epic Class|
|Pride of America||Project America Class|
Norwegian Cruise Line is a large cruise line in the industry, but has been overtaken by many others (Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean to name just two) – however, NCL has been groundbreaking when it comes to bringing new ideas to the cruise industry.
They were the first to offer a more casual-relaxed dining approach, with any-time dining instead of the traditional two-set timed dining system that other lines previously (and still) use.
Thanks to the SS Norway (which NCL acquired in 1979 – then named France), Norwegian rebuilt the liner as a cruise ship and added vast amounts of extra space for entertaining cruise passengers – something that set the boom in large cruise ships in the industry going.
These days, Norwegian is a very popular cruise line that still brings out a number of ‘firsts’ over other lines (such as Go-Karting at sea), and whilst their fleet is on the slightly older side, they will have some much newer and larger vessels being delivered over the next few years.