NCL Announces Deployment Changes As Joy To Leave China For Alaska

Open Jaw, Kerry Sharpe

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a variety of enhancements to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries to “leverage the strong global demand environment in highly sought after destinations,” according to a statement from the cruise line.

Norwegian Joy will join sister ship Norwegian Bliss sailing seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.  Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020.  Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020. 

“The booming demand environment in our core markets around the world, coupled with Norwegian Bliss’ record-breaking performance, continue to exceed our expectations,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.  “As a result, we are leveraging the strategic benefits of our growing fleet to quickly seize sizable opportunities in over performing, unserved and underserved markets to meet the demands of our global customer base and drive higher returns for our shareholders.”

In addition to Norwegian Joy’s repositioning to Seattle in APR 2019 to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl and joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel, the ship will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to Norwegian Bliss. Norwegian Joy will complement Bliss’ Alaska program and will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point. She will also call into Victoria, B.C.

“Norwegian Cruise Line expanded the Alaska cruise experience as the first line to sail to the state from Seattle over 24 years ago,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “I am extremely excited to further strengthen our presence in the region with the addition of Norwegian Joy, sister ship to Norwegian Bliss, the most successful ship in our 51-year history.  With $50 million in enhancements including the addition of a Starbucks store, as well as enhanced restaurant, bar and entertainment options, Norwegian Joy will be a welcome addition for guests looking to cruise on a world-class ship in one of the world’s most sought after destinations.”


Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. According to the company, this move will “mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.”

Also in the summer 2019, the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Pearl will deploy to Europe, further strengthening the line’s seasonal European deployment to six ships. She will offer new itineraries from Amsterdam, and will also embark on a variety of Mediterranean sailings from Rome (Civitavecchia), Barcelona, and Venice.

With the Joy’s seasonal sailings in Los Angeles in winter 2019/2020, the Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall, will return to Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific for a third year of seasonal cruises from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo (Yokohama). While the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/2020. 

According to the company, the deployment of Norwegian Jewel and Jade to the region is aimed to take full advantage of the flourishing source market in Australia, which remains the world’s highest-penetrated cruise market and one of its most desirable destinations.

As previously mentioned, Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to China beginning in summer 2020.  Prior to her arrival, the ship will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as part of the Norwegian Edge fleet refurbishment program.  In February 2020 her journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for the cruise line, including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.

Norwegian Joy’s new itineraries will be open for sale on 24JUL; Pearl and Jewel’s new itineraries will be on sale 31JUL; while Norwegian Jade and Spirit’s new itineraries will be on sale 6AUG.

Kerry Sharpe

Kerry Sharpe Columnist

Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.

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