Full Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet Has Officially Restarted

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Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Great Cruise Comeback” has finished and the full fleet is now underway, welcoming passengers and sailing to amazing destinations throughout the world.

This milestone is thanks to the restart of the line’s last suspended ship, Norwegian Spirit, as she set sail from Papeete, Tahiti, on Saturday, May 7.

Great Cruise Comeback Complete

Norwegian Cruise Line’s return to service – its “Great Cruise Comback” – began after a 500-day suspension when the first ship to resume operations, Norwegian Jade, set sail from Athens, Greece, on July 25, 2021.

Since then, the cruise line has gradually relaunched its ships around the world, welcoming guests and crew members aboard its vessels as different regions adapted health protocols and local guidelines to permit a safe return to cruising.

“This is an incredibly important day in our history and a defining moment for our future,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

“We are moving full speed ahead, having already welcomed more than half a million guests for an exceptional vacation at sea.”

The Breakaway Plus-class Norwegian Encore was the line’s first ship to restart operations in North America on August 7, 2021, setting sail from Seattle as the ship began its abbreviated Alaska season for that year.

Norwegian Encore Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Wayleebird / Shutterstock.com

With Norwegian Spirit‘s celebrated relaunch over the weekend, all 17 of NCL’s ships are now welcoming guests.

Norwegian Spirit‘s first voyage with guests is a 12-night sailing from Papeete, Tahiti to Honolulu, Hawaii. Along the way, the ship will visit amazing ports both in French Polynesia as well as the Hawaiian Islands.

The ship will offer four one-way itineraries between Tahiti and Hawaii. In late June, Norwegian Spirit will reposition to Seattle to join the Alaska cruise season with a variety of 5-11 night sailings visiting Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, and other popular northern ports.

In the fall, Norwegian Spirit will return to French Polynesia, and will also offer sailings from Australia and New Zealand during the popular Southern Hemisphere summer.

Norwegian Spirit Revitalized

The Leo-class Norwegian Spirit is the cruise line’s oldest ship, having been built in 1998 as SuperStar Leo for the now defunct Star Cruises. In 2004, the ship was renamed Norwegian Spirit and joined the NCL fleet. She weighs in at 75,904 gross tons, with the capacity for 2,018 guests and 912 international crew members.

The ship has been revitalized with a $100 million bow-to-stern renovation, part of the most extensive multi-ship renovation in Norwegian Cruise Line’s history.

The Local Bar & Grill - Norwegian Spirit
Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Spirit now showcases 14 new venues, additional and updated staterooms, enhanced public areas, and new hull art.  

The luxurious Mandara Spa has been doubled, the Pulse Fitness Center expanded, and new dining options added, including the 24-hour eatery, The Local Bar and Grill. The Social Comedy & Night Club and Spinnaker Lounge have been introduced, as well as the adults-only retreat Spice H2O, a daytime lounge with hot tubs and a dedicated bar, which transforms into an after-hours entertainment venue.

Challenges Overcome

The Great Cruise Comeback has not been without significant challenges. As pandemic conditions have evolved and protocols changed, Norwegian Cruise Line has had to adapt its operations to remain in compliance with local regulations and to keep guests, crew members, and local communities safe.

These adaptations have included implementing mask policies when the Omicron variant emerged in December 2021, and canceling cruises early in 2022 due to crew shortages, local protocol restrictions, and other complications.

Norwegian Prima Cruise Ship at Shipyard
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

The cruise line has also faced other challenges recently, such as Norwegian Escape running around in Puerto Plata in mid-March, which forced the cancelation of five cruises as repairs were made. The upcoming Norwegian Prima has also been delayed due to supply chain problems, which caused its inaugural voyage from Copenhagen to be canceled.

Now that all 17 of Norwegian’s ships have restarted, passengers, crew members, and cruise travelers worldwide can hope for smoother sailing as operations continue to normalize.

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