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Cruising countdown: six months until Norwegian Spirit debuts Down Under

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, is celebrating the six-month countdown to the Australasian debut of the all-new Norwegian Spirit for her inaugural local sailing season.


A completely reimagined ship following her extensive bow-to-stern USD$100m renovation – the most expensive refurbishment in NCL’s 55-year history – Norwegian Spirit’s arrival on 22 December 2022 also marks NCL’s long-awaited return to Australian waters.


“Australia, it’s time to get into the spirit!” said Ben Angell, VP and MD NCL APAC. 


“Our final preparations are underway and we’re counting down to the moment we celebrate an NCL ship sailing into Sydney Harbour for the very first time in three years. Following her extensive renovations, Norwegian Spirit now offers a whole host of new features that appeal to the adult Australian cruiser.”



Harry Sommer, CEO and President, Norwegian Cruise Line, added: “We can’t wait to resume our Australasian operations and support local communities once more. Forward bookings for Norwegian Spirit are incredibly robust as our guests from all over the world vote with their feet – Australia-New Zealand cruising is back and it’s more popular than ever. My advice to local travellers thinking about a cruise is to book early to avoid disappointment.”


Norwegian Spirit will sail 10 local itineraries between December 2022 and March 2023, including a selection of eight 12-day open-jaw sailings between her dual home-ports of Sydney and Auckland, visiting a variety of regional and metropolitan destinations such as Hobart, Burnie, Melbourne and Eden in Australia, as well as Napier, Tauranga, Wellington and Akaroa in New Zealand. Plus, she will offer two Extraordinary Journeys through the South Pacific, from Papeete to Sydney in December and Sydney to Papeete in March 2023. Norwegian Spirit then returns in December 2023 for her second season home ported in Australian waters.


From pristine beaches to magnificent fjords, cosmopolitan cities and charming seaside villages, guests on board Norwegian Spirit can choose from an extensive range of immersive shore excursions to explore the spectacular scenery, wildlife, and rugged beauty ready to discover in our own backyard.


A smaller ship at just over 2,000 guests, Norwegian Spirit is packed full of features that appeal to the adult cruiser, including the adults-only Spice H20 pool retreat, which transforms into an open-air cocktail lounge and nightclub after dark, as well as the newly 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 – such as the rich French flavours of Le Bistro and contemporary Italian at Onda by Scarpetta – guests can look forward to holidaying their way, with no set dining times, tables or dress codes. Enthralling entertainment options include ‘Elements’, a visual feast of flying, dance and magic; as well as upbeat pop-country music and stage extravaganza, ‘Blazing Boots’. 


At night, guests will relish the chance to retreat to their elegantly reimagined stateroom – from spacious suites to balcony staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows for the ultimate ocean vistas.


Top three destinations to explore

Hand-picked by Ben Angell, MD and VP of Norwegian Cruise Line, APAC: 

• Burnie: Tucked away on the northwest coast of Tasmania, Burnie is a quaint seaside enclave renowned for its eclectic shopping, local maker’s workshops, boutique chocolate shops, cafes and galleries – the ideal spots to pick up unique souvenirs to treasure back home. Other highlights include strolling along the Emu Bay waterfront, learning about local wildlife at the Little Penguin Observation Centre or whisky tasting at the internationally acclaimed Hellyers Road Distillery.


• Tauranga: The largest city in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is a hub for fishing, sailing, kayaking and adventure sports. Those who prefer their action on the ground will enjoy the city’s shopping and gallery scene, or a seaside meal at the buzzing Strand Waterfront precinct. The nearby Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is popular with travellers keen to hike, spot native birds or learn more about the area’s gold mining history.


• Doubtful Sound: A genuine wilderness wonderland, Doubtful Sound is less a port of call and more a scenic sailing experience, characterised by dramatic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, sheer cliff faces and captivating wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins. Larger yet less visited than Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound’s majestic beauty will captivate travellers who enjoy areas of untamed natural beauty, and there is no better way to take it all in than from the deck of a cruise ship.


Click here to learn more about Norwegian Spirit’s Australia/New Zealand cruises in 2022, 2023 and 2024.



For more information or to book a cruise with NCL, please contact a travel professional; call NCL in Australia on 1300 255 200 or in New Zealand on 0800 969 283; or visit


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Published: 22 June 2022

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