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The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship

Nov. 06, 2022
11 min read
Norwegian Encore
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Thinking of booking a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line? You have a lot of choices. The Miami-based line operates vessels in almost every corner of the world, with a wide range of itineraries in many destinations.

You’ll find Norwegian ships everywhere from the Caribbean and Bahamas to Europe, Asia and Australia. The line is also a big player in Hawaii.

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In addition, Norwegian is particularly known for cruises to Bermuda out of Boston and New York City, and it offers Canada and New England cruises regularly. It also operates some Panama Canal sailings and trips from the West Coast of the U.S. to the Mexican Riviera.

In North America, Norwegian ships sail from a relatively wide range of home ports including Boston; New York City; Miami and Tampa; San Juan, Puerto Rico; New Orleans; San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco; Seattle; Honolulu; Vancouver, British Columbia; Quebec City and Quebec in Canada; and Seward, Alaska.

Here, a look at the best destinations you can visit on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Related: The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line


Norwegian's new Norwegian Prima docked in Reykjavik, Iceland. GENE SLOAN/THE POINTS GUY

Some of Norwegian’s most exciting itineraries are in Europe, where the line is a significant player. It offers a wide range of itineraries in the Mediterranean, as well as across northern Europe.

Norwegian will typically deploy around half of its 18 ships to the continent from spring to fall, making Europe its biggest focus for more than half the year. Norwegian also sometimes offers Europe cruises in the winter — albeit typically with just one ship.

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Norwegian’s Mediterranean sailings provide the chance to see such iconic destinations as Barcelona in Spain; and Florence, Rome and Naples in Italy in a single cruise. Or, you can sign up for a Mediterranean cruise that focuses on the Greek Islands.

In northern Europe, Norwegian will take you to such famed Baltic cities as Stockholm; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki in a single sailing.

In past years, such Baltic trips have also included a multiday call at St. Petersburg, Russia — traditionally the highlight of any Baltic sailings. However, like all major cruise lines, Norwegian pulled St. Petersburg from Baltic itineraries for 2022 and 2023 in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

As of the publishing of this guide, St. Petersburg remains on the schedule for Norwegian's Baltic cruises in 2024. Expect that to change if there's no resolution to the war over the coming year, though.

For those looking to explore northern Europe, Norwegian also offers itineraries that zero in on Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Norwegian’s Europe voyages range widely in length from just three nights to a whopping 19 nights.

Among the longest sailings that Norwegian offers that include calls in Europe are one-way trips between Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens), and Dubai. Typically lasting 18 or 19 nights, these will often include stops in Israel and sometimes Greece, as well as visits to Egypt, Jordan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

In Northern Europe, Norwegian ships mostly sail out of Amsterdam; Stockholm; Copenhagen; Southampton, England; and Reykjavík.

In the Mediterranean, the line’s hubs are Barcelona; Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Venice in Italy; Piraeus (the port for Athens), Greece; and Istanbul.

Related: Everything you want to know about cabins and suites on Norwegian ships

The Caribbean and Bahamas

The new Norwegian Prima will spend winters in the Caribbean and Bahamas. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

The Caribbean and Bahamas have always been a big area of operations for Norwegian. In fact, for a long time, the regions were so much the focus that the line included the word Caribbean in its name. Up until 1987, Norwegian was known as Norwegian Caribbean Line.

These days, Norwegian usually keeps just two of its 18 vessels in the Caribbean and Bahamas year-round (this year, the year-round ships are Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape, both sailing to the Caribbean from Miami). But it really ramps things up in the region in the winter, when it sends a large portion of its ships here.

Norwegian currently has 15 of its 18 ships scheduled to sail to the Caribbean and Bahamas for at least part of 2023 — including its newest and most advanced ship, the 3,100-passenger Norwegian Prima.

Related: I've sailed on nearly every Norwegian ship. Here are my first impressions of Norwegian Prima

Norwegian offers a broad range of Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries from more than half a dozen home ports. If you’re looking for something short, the line has you covered in the form of lots of quick, three- and four-night trips from Miami to the Bahamas.

It also offers an abundance of seven-night sailings to Caribbean and Bahamian ports, as well as a handful of longer trips in the region that range from nine to 14 nights.

At the core of the line’s Caribbean and Bahamas program are its seven-night sailings, which break down into three broad categories:

  • Eastern Caribbean voyages.
  • Western Caribbean voyages.
  • Southern Caribbean voyages.

A typical seven-night Norwegian sailing to the Eastern Caribbean includes stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

Norwegian’s seven Western Caribbean voyages will typically include a visit to Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico.

The line’s Southern Caribbean itineraries will often bring visits to Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. They typically begin and end in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

When sailing to the Caribbean, Norwegian ships generally sail out of Miami, Port Canaveral and Tampa in Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The line also offers Caribbean sailings out of New Orleans, New York City and, occasionally, Panama City, Panama.

Related: The ultimate guide to Norwegian’s Latitudes Reward loyalty program


Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America sails year-round in Hawaii. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

Norwegian is the undisputed leader in Hawaii cruises. Most cruise lines that offer sailings to Hawaii only offer a limited number of such trips during a few months each year. Norwegian, by contrast, offers sailings around the Hawaiian Islands out of Honolulu every week of the year — the only cruise line in the world to do so.

Norwegian’s Hawaii voyages are also more intensely focused on Hawaii than the Hawaii trips offered by most other lines. This is because Norwegian offers its Hawaii cruises on one of the only cruise ships in the world that meet the regulatory requirements allowing it to spend all its time in the destination.

Norwegian’s Hawaii trips take place on Norwegian’s 2,186-passenger Pride of America, which has the rare distinction of being both U.S.-flagged and U.S.-crewed. By law, only such a vessel can cruise full-time in Hawaii without regularly traveling long distances to foreign ports.

An iconic presence in Hawaii, Pride of America has been permanently dedicated to the archipelago since its debut in 2005. It offers a repeating seven-night itinerary that begins each Saturday in Honolulu and brings the chance to visit four different Hawaiian islands on a single seven-night trip.

Beginning and ending on the island of Oahu, the itinerary includes two days each on the islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. The two-day visit to Maui involves an overnight stay at the port of Kahului.

The two-day visit to Kauai involves an overnight stay at the port of Nawiliwili. The two-day visit to Hawaii is split between a call at Hilo and a call at Kona.

Related: The 8 classes of Norwegian ships, explained


Norwegian isn’t the biggest player in Alaska cruises. The giants of cruising to Alaska are Princess Cruises and Holland America, which are sister lines that control a large percentage of the market.

Still, Norwegian typically sends three to five vessels to Alaska every summer, and its big, activity-filled ships are a popular pick with families looking to visit the destination.

The Alaska cruise season is a short one, lasting roughly from May to early October.

For 2023, Norwegian plans to deploy five ships to the Alaska market:

  • Norwegian Encore: Norwegian’s biggest vessel will operate seven-night voyages to Alaska round trip out of Seattle. It’ll call at the Alaska towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan plus Victoria, British Columbia. It’ll also visit Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park for glacier viewing.
  • Norwegian Spirit: The 2,018-passenger vessel will operate one-way voyages to Alaska between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska. The trips typically include stops in Juneau, Ketchikan and Valdez, plus either Skagway or Icy Strait Point. It'll also visit Hubbard Glacier on all sailings.
  • Norwegian Sun: This ship will operate a mix of nine- to 11-night sailings to Alaska out of Seattle. The list of port calls varies based on the length of the trips.
  • Norwegian Bliss: The 4,002-passenger vessel will operate seven-night voyages to Alaska round trip out of Seattle. On most sailings, it’ll call at Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point in Alaska plus Victoria, British Columbia. It’ll also visit Alaska’s Endicott Arm for glacier viewing. Some sailings at the start and end of the season substitute a visit to Skagway and Glacier Bay National Park for the stops in Sitka and Icy Strait Point and also drop the visit to Endicott Arm.
  • Norwegian Jewel. The 2,376-passenger ship will operate one-way voyages to Alaska between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska. The trips typically include stops in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, plus a visit to either Glacier Bay National Park or Icy Strait Point.

The appeal of the one-way sailings on Norwegian Jewel is that they can be combined with Norwegian-organized land tours of Alaska lasting from three to six days to create 10- to 13-night “cruisetours.”

The land tour portion of such trips brings visits to such well-known interior Alaska locations as Denali National Park and the town of Fairbanks.

Related: The ultimate Alaska cruise guide


Norwegian Joy is one of two Norwegian Cruise Line ships that will sail to Bermuda in 2023. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

Norwegian usually deploys two ships on Bermuda runs every year — one out of New York City and one out of Boston.

In both cases, the sailings offered are mostly seven nights in length and include a two-night stay in Bermuda.

For 2023, Norwegian will devote one of its biggest and newest ships, the 3,802-passenger Norwegian Joy, to Bermuda. It will run out of New York. The line’s 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl will sail to Bermuda out of Boston.

In addition, the line’s 3,969-passenger Norwegian Getaway will operate a handful of sailings to Bermuda out of New York during 2023, and the new Norwegian Prima will operate a handful of Bermuda sailings out of New York during the year.

Most of Norwegian’s Bermuda sailings are seven nights in length. However, the line also occasionally offers a few shorter four- and five-night Bermuda sailings and, occasionally, a longer, nine-night Bermuda sailing.

Note that the shorter Bermuda sailings can offer very little time in the country, sometimes as few as nine hours.

Bottom line

Norwegian offers a wide range of itineraries in destinations around the world, from the Caribbean to Asia. However, you’ll find the most choices among Norwegian itineraries in the Caribbean and Europe.

The line is also well-known for voyages around Hawaii and to Bermuda. Its Hawaii sailings, in particular, are something of a rarity in the industry.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.