Returning to the Asia market for the first time in three years, Norwegian Cruise Line marked the October 19, 2023, departure of Norwegian Jewel on an 11-day voyage from Tokyo.

The ship will sail a series of 16 unique itineraries with a choice of nine embarkation ports.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,376-guest Norwegian Jewel has departed on the first of a series of cruises in Asia, offering 10- to 14-day itineraries on her six-month deployment to the region. It’s the first sailing in the continent for NCL in three years.

Her current 11-day sailing from Tokyo to Taipei, Taiwan, will call at such ports as Kyoto, Hiroshima City, Nagasaki, and Okinawa Island, Japan; and Hualien, Taiwan.

Besides Tokyo, Norwegian Jewel’s voyages offer eight additional departure ports: Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Singapore; Taipei, Taiwan; Bali, Indonesia; Yokohama, Japan; and Seoul, South Korea. The Seoul embarkation port is a first for the cruise line.

Depending on departure, the series of cruises features port calls in 11 countries and is heavily focused on lengthy calls, such as 13.5 hours in Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Overnight stays are scheduled in Phuket, Thailand; Osaka, Japan; and Bali (Benoa), Indonesia, and the voyages feature fewer than two full days at sea, on average. 

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Some of the port calls in the series will mark inaugural visits for Norwegian Cruise Line, including to Manila, Boracay, Palawan, and Salomague, all in the Philippines; Bintan Island, Indonesia; and Hualien, Taiwan.

Norwegian Jewel Cruise Ship in Asia (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

Today is a milestone moment, as we return to Asia with Norwegian Jewel’s arrival to Tokyo.  We pride ourselves in delivering the best vacation experience and providing endless opportunities for our guests to explore the world…including Asia!said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line.

This region delivers some of the most intriguing history, cuisine, and culture for travelers to discover, and we are thrilled to deliver a diverse selection of port-rich voyages.  This market is important to us, and we are committed to servicing it in the long term,Herrera added.

Looking ahead into 2024 and 2025, Norwegian Cruise Line will expand its presence in Asia and in the Australia/New Zealand market, with the deployment of three additional ships —Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sun, and Norwegian Sky.

Norwegian Spirit, with a capacity for 2,002 guests, will sail Down Under from December 2023 through March 2024 on open-jaw cruises between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.

Following some repositioning cruises in the South Pacific, the ship will offer 14 Asia sailings from September 2024 to April 2025. Departures will be offered from Manila, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul.

Norwegian Spirit Cruise Ship

The 2,400-guest Norwegian Sun will make its debut in the Asia Pacific region with a six-month deployment beginning in October 2024. The ship will operate 13 unique itineraries — four of them brand new. The new routings include three sailings from Melbourne, Australia, and the fourth is a voyage from Auckland, New Zealand, to Bali, Indonesia.

Embarkation ports for Norwegian Sun’s series are Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Honolulu; and Papeete, French Polynesia.

The 2,000-guest Norwegian Sky will deploy to Asia from December 2024 to March 2025, and sail a series of seven voyages with embarkation offered in Manila, Philippines; Singapore; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo; and Port Louis, Mauritius. Guests can choose sailings from 10 to 17 days.

Norwegian Cruise Line is not alone in seeking opportunities in Asia. MSC Cruises announced in May 2023 that it would deploy the mega-ship MSC Bellissima to Japan for the winter 2023-24 season.

Starting in November 2023, the 4,500-guest ship will sail  6-, 9-, and 11-night sailings from Yokohama. From January through March 2024, MSC Bellissima will reposition to a new homeport, Naha/Okinawa, and operate a series of 4- and 5-night itineraries.

Princess Cruises has also reaffirmed its commitment to the Japanese market with the current deployment of the 2,670-guest Diamond Princess to Tokyo. In 2024, the ship will sail 36 departures of 7- to 23-day voyages from Tokyo between March and August.

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