With 18 ships in the fleet, Norwegian Cruise Line is one of the biggest cruise lines in the world – behind only Carnival and Royal Caribbean in terms of ship count.
And like those cruise lines, the company has helped to reinvent the idea of what cruising can be. Long gone are the days of formal cruising with limited entertainment. Over the years NCL has helped to debut exciting features such as bowling alleys, 4D cinemas and more recently even go-karts at sea!
With every new ship, there is always something to be excited about with NCL, and the ships just keep on coming.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the newest ships in the NCL fleet – including those that only recently joined the line-up, and some that are yet to make their debut…
What Are The Newest NCL Cruise Ships?
The newest NCL ship is the Norwegian Prima, which was also the first Prima-class ship for the fleet when she debuted in 2022. Prior to that, the Norwegian Encore launched as the fourth Breakaway Plus ship and the largest in the fleet. Five more Prima-class ships have been ordered.
The Newest Norwegian Cruise Ships Being Built
1. Norwegian Viva – 2023
Launching in the summer of 2023, Norwegian Viva will be the second Prima-class ship to arrive for Norwegian Cruise Line as part of a rapid expansion of the fleet.
And in true NCL style, she is packing some incredible entertainment options, with the three-storey go-karting track returning from Norwegian Prima along with plenty of other exciting options.
Most thrilling is The Drop – the first free-fall dry slide at sea that travels 10 decks down the side of the ship. Or race a friend in the twin dry slides, The Rush.
The ship has a Game Gallery, where guests can try high-tech mini golf or play a round of pub darts. And then there’s the Galaxy Pavilion, which hosts virtual reality games, golf simulators, flight simulators and a whole lot more.
Everything is high-tech, and everything is super-exciting. I know that guests are going to love just how much fun they can have on this ship.
The Norwegian Viva is on sale now for cruises in her debut seasons – she will sail the Mediterranean in the summer months, before crossing the Atlantic and calling Miami her homeport for winter cruises around the Caribbean.
In terms of size, Norwegian Viva will be a similar volume to sister ship Norwegian Prima, but she is expected to hold an increased number of passengers – around 3,200, compared to 3,100 on the earlier ship.
2. Four More Prima-Class Ships – 2025-27
Norwegian Cruise Line is not messing around. The cruise line has announced that, as well as the impending launch of Norwegian Viva, there will be four more Prima-class ships joining the fleet.
This is one of the fastest expansions of a cruise line that I’ve ever seen, with a ship due to launch every year until 2027.
No information has been released on the other Prima-class ships yet, but we do know from interviews with the bigwigs at NCL that they are looking at basing the ships in different locations around the world, so don’t expect them all to move back and forth between Europe and the Caribbean.
We also know that, as of writing, the four new ships may hold slightly more guests again than the Norwegian Viva – potentially up to 3,500. As soon as any more information is released on the remaining ships in the Prima Class, I will let you know and update this guide.
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Norwegian Cruise Line’s Newest Ships Currently Sailing
1. Norwegian Prima – 2022
Norwegian Prima is the most recent addition to the NCL fleet, having been first laid down in 2019 and then launched in 2022.
Often when mainstream cruise lines announce a new ship, they aim for something bigger and better than they’ve had before. With Norwegian Prima, the focus was very much on ‘better’ and less on ‘bigger’.
In terms of volume, the Norwegian Prima was the smallest ship the cruise line had built since 2007’s Norwegian Gem.
And yet that is with purpose – the idea of the Prima-class ships is to provide more open spaces, more room for guests to relax, and a less ‘busy’ feel overall whilst still keeping that exciting and vibrant atmosphere that makes an NCL cruise special.
They’ve achieved that by reducing the guest capacity to just 3,099 but refining and introducing the amazing dining and leisure facilities onboard. There are plenty of excellent speciality dining restaurants to sample (and enough complimentary venues too), while during the day you can enjoy dry slides, various interactive games, a tidal wave waterslide and of course the three-storey go-kart course.
Norwegian Prima is of particular interest to UK cruisers, as during the summer months she offers some itineraries around Northern Europe from Southampton.
She also has departures from Barcelona, Rome and Reykjavik, before crossing the Atlantic to offer sailings from New York, Galveston, Miami and Port Canaveral.
2. Norwegian Encore – 2019
The biggest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, Norwegian Encore is the pinnacle of the Breakaway Plus class.
First announced in 2014 at the same time as her sister ship Norwegian Bliss, she was originally intended to be designed for the Chinese market, although the decision was later reversed and she was fitted for a western market.
Since her maiden voyage in late 2019, Norwegian Encore has demonstrated the very best of the Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class of ships. She is packed with exciting things to see and do, including her own version of the Galaxy Pavilion and the Encore Speedway.
Evening entertainment is also outstanding, with epic live theatre shows and cool bars, including a replica of the Cavern Club from Liverpool. Norwegian Encore also has the widest selection of bars and restaurants of any of the ships in the NCL fleet, so you always have somewhere new to try.
During the winter months, the Norwegian Encore is based in the Caribbean but then in summer, she crosses the Panama Canal and offers some thrilling Alaska itineraries, with the chance to soak up the view from the expansive decks as you sail past impressive glaciers and wildlife.
3. Norwegian Bliss – 2018
The Norwegian Bliss was the fifth Breakaway-class ship to launch for the cruise line, and the third in the larger Breakaway Plus subclass.
Announced alongside her sister ship the Norwegian Encore, she is only marginally smaller – around 1,000 gross tonnes less. Despite that, she has a very slightly higher guest capacity of 4,002 – four more than her sister.
The ship was handed over to NCL in April 2018 and took her maiden voyage at the start of June that year. She actually took her name from her earlier sister – the Norwegian Joy was originally intended to be the Bliss, but was renamed when it was decided she was headed to a base in China.
She has a very similar layout to the other ships in the Breakaway Plus subclass, with an incredible range of dining options, evening entertainment venues and daytime activities. She also has fantastic accommodation choices. The Haven is a stunning area on any NCL ship but on the Breakaway Plus class it really is something special, and worthy of the upgrade cost if you have the budget.
In reviews, Norwegian Bliss is the most popular ship in the fleet, just ahead of Norwegian Encore and, surprisingly, the older ship Norwegian Jewel. The newest ship in the fleet, Norwegian Prima, is fourth in the list.
Norwegian Bliss mirrors the typical season of her newer sister Norwegian Encore – during the winter months she sails the Caribbean, and then as summer arrives she traverses the Panama Canal, sets up a base in Seattle and offers breathtaking cruises to Alaska.
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It’s interesting to note that Norwegian has stepped away from the supersize of the Breakaway Plus ships with their next class. Not that they’ve been ditched at all – the Norwegian Encore remains, for now, one of the flagships of the fleet and is an amazing cruise ship, as are her sisters.
Anyone booking a cruise on those ships could hardly complain of boredom during their voyage, but then the Prima-class ships take the innovations even further and also add in the space for guests to relax and not feel overcrowded.
The early success of Norwegian Prima shows just how well they have done, and no doubt the upcoming Norwegian Viva and the rest of the class to follow will be just as exciting.
Plus, that’ll put the NCL fleet at 23 ships – could it potentially become the biggest fleet of cruise ships in the world?
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