Today marks six months till the arrival of the new Norwegian Spirit, fresh from a $144 million refurbishment making it the most expensive in the line’s history.

Norwegian Spirit arrives in Australia on December 22, 2022, and also marks NCL’s return to Australian waters.

NCL APAC managing director Ben Angell said: “Australia, it’s time to get into the spirit.

“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.”

Norwegian Spirit is smaller than other NCL ships, with capacity for just over 2,000 guests. It is targeted toward the adult cruiser with an adults-only Spice 820 pool retreat which also functions as an open-air cocktail lounge and nightclub late in the evening. The Mandara Spa, which features a thermal suite with a steam room, sauna, shower experience and heated tile loungers has doubled in size.

Foodies will rejoice with 14 dining options to choose from such as the French Le Bistro and contemporary Italian delights at Onda by Scarpetta. Guests can dine when they want with no fixed dining times, tables or dress codes.

There is plenty of entertainment on board including Elements, which is a visual assortment of flying, dancing and magic. Blazing Boots is pop-country music and visual extravaganza.

Staterooms have been reimagined to be more spacious with balcony staterooms including floor-to-ceiling windows for the ultimate ocean views.

Norwegian Spirit will sail ten itineraries between December 2022 and March 2022 including eight 12-day sailings between her home ports of Sydney and Auckland where she will visit smaller regional ports including Hobart, Burnie, Melbourne and Eden in Australia; and Napier, Tauranga, Wellington and Akaroa in New Zealand.

Two South Pacific journeys from Papeete to Sydney in December and Sydney to Papeete in March 2023 will be available before the ship returns in December 2023 for her second season homeported in Australian waters.

Plenty of immersive shore excursions will be offered, giving guests the chance to explore the scenery, wildlife and rugged beauty in their own backyard.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO and president Harry Sommer said: “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.”

The top three destinations handpicked by Ben Angell are:

  • Burnie, which is on the northwest coast of Tasmania. Burnie is a small seaside town that’s home to electric shopping, boutique chocolate shops, cafes and galleries. Other highlights are Emu Bay’s waterfront, the Little Penguin Observation Centre or whiskey tasting at Hellyers Road Distillery.
  • Tauranga is the largest city in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty and is a great sport for fishing, sailing, kayaking and adventure sports. Tauranga also has a great shopping and gallery scene or guests can grab a seaside meal at the Strand Waterfront district. The Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park is also popular with travellers.
  • Doubtful Sound is only accessible by water and offers a scenic sailing experience that’s defined by its dramatic landscapes, cascading waterfalls, sheer cliff faces and captivating wildlife including bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and penguins.