For 2023, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) continues to offer numerous Alaskan itineraries, with 5 ships in the fleet sailing to this popular northern destination. Sailing spring, summer, and even into fall, there are plenty of unique voyages, that extend to Hawaii or Japan, as well as add-on land-based options.
Adding to this, NCL is currently running some incredible promotional discounts that feature a number of high value inclusions such as wi-fi, drinks, and specialty dining, which all help to make a cruise to Alaska even more affordable and enjoyable.
Since there are a few different options for an Alaska cruise with Norwegian, here is a breakdown of what to expect from each ship.
Overview of NCL ships
Norwegian prides itself on having one of the newest fleets in the industry, with 18 ships currently sailing and more on the way. With all the bells and whistles of new and refurbished ships, there are plenty of dining, entertainment and activities onboard for every type of cruiser.
The cruise line’s “free-style" approach to cruising, with no set dining times and a more casual dress code, appeals to many passengers, allowing them to create their own schedules for a more relaxed cruising experience. Their colorfully designed hulls reflect their differentiated approach to cruising.
NCL ships offer plenty of amenities and activities for all ages, including families. What to expect on a Norwegian cruise:
Norwegian offers many different ways to experience Alaska. A week-long cruise to popular ports filled with glaciers and marine life. Or, longer itineraries that allow cruisers to become more immersed in all that the “Last Fortier" offers.
Ships like the Norwegian Bliss were built to sail to Alaska, with 180 degree observation venues to take in the region's native species, such as killer whales and eagles, or scenic cruising of glaciers such as Dawes Glacier and Glacier Bay. Lucky cruisers may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in the evening.
There is a wide range of excursions for Alaskan cruises at all levels of activity and interest such as wilderness adventures, hiking on glaciers and inland tours. Explore the rugged landscape ofDenali National Park, which covers 6 million acres of wilderness. Enjoy a ride on an Alaskan railway, go sightseeing, enjoy some locally caught fish, or even have the opportunity to hug a husky puppy—something for everyone.
Once again, Norwegian Bliss will be sailing out of Seattle on 7 day itineraries from April through to September. There is also a 12 day itinerary, which includes a pre-cruise land tour of Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage.
There are three different itineraries that have ports of call in Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Skagway, Ketchikan, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia, as well as scenic cruising of Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier.
The cruise line continues to offer a number of promotions, and currently, there are options to sail for as little as $530 per person in the month of October, which is shoulder season, one of the best times of the year to get deals.
Built in 2018, the Norwegian Bliss is part of the Breakaway Plus class of ships. The ship has a gross tonnage of 168 028, meaning it has ample size, with plenty of activities and venues onboard. It has a capacity of 4,004 guests and 1,716 crew.
The ship was custom built with Alaskan cruises in mind and has several great features:
- 20,000 square foot revolutionary Observation Lounge
- Complimentary main dining, buffet and local bar/ grill
- 12 specialty dining venues, including seafood, Mexican, teppanyaki, steakhouse and more
- 20 bars and lounges, a comedy club, a casino and spa
- Live musical productions including Jersey Boys Show
- Thrilling Racetrack Speedway
- Aqua park, laser tag and mini golf
- Numerous stateroom categories - inside cabins through to the top end Haven suites.
Why pick Norwegian Bliss?
This ship was designed for Alaskan cruises, with great observation points. It was built in 2018 and has many of the mega- ship amenities and activities that many cruisers love. It is also a good option for those who want to splurge on a Haven suite, which is not offered on some of the other ships sailing to Alaska.
Between tons to do onboard, and visiting 4+ ports, passengers won’t have time to get bored on a week-long cruise.
For cruisers wanting to try an Alaskan itinerary, there are several seven day options. Sailing from Seattle gives cruisers more convenient and less expensive flight options as compared to other departure ports.
Also sailing out of Seattle, Norwegian Encore is back for another season in Alaska.
With weekly sailings between May and October, the ship will visit Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia, as well as scenic cruising of Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, there is an option to add-on 6 land tours for Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage.
This is a great cruise itinerary for those wanting a week-long cruise with 4 great ports and scenic cruising. Sailings start at as low as $610 per person, with numerous perks such as free wi-fi, excursions, drinks and specialty dining.
Built in 2019, the Norwegian Encore is also part of the Breakaway Plus class and shares many of the same characteristics as the Norwegian Bliss. It received the 2020 Best New Ship award from Porthole Cruise Magazine.
The Encore has 3,998 passengers and 1,735 crew, and it is well known for providing great activities for adults and kids.
- Complimentary main dining, buffet and local bar and grill
- 12 specialty dining venues, including Italian and steakhouse
- 41 bars, lounges and cafes, including 70 beer options at the District Brew House
- Shows such as Choir of Men
- Speedway and aquapark
- Laser tag with augmented reality
- Adult-only Vibe Beach Club
- Great views from the 180-degree observation lounge
Why pick Norwegian Encore?
This ship provides valuable amenities of a newer ship, which has been recognized for its outstanding design. There are numerous activities for multigenerational cruisers, along with a number of great ports of call.
Norwegian Encore is quite similar to Norwegian Bliss, sailing out of Seattle with weekly sailings throughout the season. Seattle sailings provide one of the least expensive options for departing.
The biggest difference will come down to availability and price on specific sailings, as well as preferences for ports. Norwegian Bliss visits Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier, whereas Norwegian Encore sails to Glacier Bay National Park.
Sailing mainly out of Vancouver, British Columbia, this ship provides 16 different itineraries ranging from 7-14 days. Additionally, there are cruises out of Seward, Alaska, and one from Seattle.
Norwegian Jewel sails to numerous ports, including Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Seward, Icy Strait Point, and Sitka, Alaska, and Vancouver, British Columbia. It also includes scenic cruising of Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier, and add-on land based extensions in Seward, Denali, Fairbanks and Anchorage.
The ship also has some unique itineraries that continue to voyage after Alaska, sailing across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, with stops in Hakodate, Sendai, and finishing in Tokyo. `
The ship set sail in 2005 but was refurbished in 2018 and had a capacity of 2,376 guests and 1,069 crew. Smaller than the Breakaway class of ships, it still provides a variety of great features:
- Several complimentary dining venues – buffet, main dining, pub, and an outdoor venue
- Extensive refurbishments that modernized the ship
- 7 Specialty dining including a Brazilian steakhouse, sushi and Italian
- 13 bars, lounges and cafes, including whisky and sake bars
- Live productions - Rock You Tonight! Show
- Sports court and arcade
- Casino and spa
- A variety of stateroom options
Why pick Norwegian Jewel?
For those wanting to truly experience Alaska, its offers up to 14 day sailings with plenty of port visits and scenic cruising. This ship has a variety of sailings, from a couple of different departure points, in addition to land-based tours for those wanting a more in-depth Alaskan experience. The option to travel to Japan, is also a bonus.
It runs at almost half the capacity of the Norwegian Bliss and Encore, which is great for those who like a smaller, more intimate ship atmosphere. Being a slightly older ship offers great value who want a budget-friendly option. With fares as low as $400 per person and with numerous inclusions, the Norwegian Jewel has a lot of appeal.
Hawaii and Alaska in one trip is an unusual pairing, but a reality on the Norwegian Spirit. The ship is quite the international traveler, sailing from departure ports such as Seward, Honolulu, Oahu, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
There is the opportunity to visit an incredible selection of ports: Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Seward, Vancouver, British Columbia, Nāwiliwili, Kaua`I, Hilo, Hawaii, and Kahului, Maui. New this year, the ship will also visit Valdez, Alaska. Scenic cruising includes the Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, and extended time in Alaska with add-on tours in Seward, Denali and Fairbanks.
This ship has some of the most exciting itineraries, and offers 7, 11 12 14, and 16 day sailings.
The ship first sailed in 1998 but was refurbished in 2022 and can hold up to 2,032 passengers and 912 crew.
Despite its smaller size and age, NCL has done a good job keeping it new, as it has a number of great features:
- Complimentary main dining, buffet, Asia, pub food and Bier Garden
- 6 Specialty dining venues - steakhouse, Italian, Japanese and French
- 10 bars and lounges
- Live productions, comedy, casino and spa
- Adult focused
- Good selection of cabin options
Why pick Norwegian Spirit?
The ship has some of the most unique itineraries, including a visit to Hawaii, providing for a once in a lifetime vacation. With add-on land tours, there is lots of opportunity to explore Alaska, with a number of fantastic itinerary options.
As an older ship, there are some excellent cruise fares, starting as low as $400 per person for week-long sailings.
Extensive refurbishments to modernize the ship has given it fresh appeal, which adults will love. The cruise ship is known for its great good, atmosphere and helpful staff.
Sailing out of Seattle, Norwegian Sun ventures to a number of classic Alaskan ports such as Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and Skagway, Alaska, Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic cruising of Glacier Bay National Park and Hubbard Glacier.
It offers a wide variety of cruising options, including 9, 10 and 11 day sailings. For 2023, Haines, Alaska has been added to some itineraries.
The Norwegian Sun, part of the Sun class of ships, set sail in 2001 but was refurbished in 2018. It welcomes 1,936 guests and 906 crew.
- Refreshed staterooms, including the Sun Owner’s Suite
- Complimentary main dining, buffet, pub and BBQ food
- 8 Specialty dining options, including the new Los Lobos Cantina
- 9 lounges and bars including the new Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge
- Updated decor at guest favorites Cagney's Steakhouse, La Cucina, and Le Bistro and Sports Bar
- Live productions such as Rock You Tonight Show
- Casino, spa and fitness center
Why pick Norwegian Sun?
Great for those who like a smaller ship experience with modern enhancements. The ship provides good value for under $700 for a 9 day cruise.
There are six different itineraries for those who want to explore Alaska for longer than a week. Departing from Seattle provides more flight options than those out of Alaska or Vancouver, Canada.
Cruisers can enjoy a small, more intimate environment while enjoying refreshed amenities and cabins, at a price as low as $65 per day, in addition to numerous inclusions with current promotions.