Norwegian Prima, Cinque Terre, Italy
Norwegian Prima, Cinque Terre, Italy (Image: NCL)

Set Sail to Europe for the Holiday of a Lifetime with Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Prima, Cinque Terre, Italy
Norwegian Prima, Cinque Terre, Italy (Image: NCL)
Contributor
Sally Macmillan

Last updated
Nov 21, 2023

Read time
8 min read

Sponsored by Norwegian Cruise Line

There’s so much to see and do in Europe that even seasoned travellers can find the choices overwhelming – and we all want to make the most of our precious holiday time. Barcelona, Cannes or Rome? Santorini or Istanbul? Copenhagen or Reykjavik?

You don’t have to pick and choose! One of the joys of cruising in Europe is experiencing an amazing variety of places in a week, 10 days or a fortnight – and there’s no driving, hotel accommodation or packing and re-packing to do at every destination.

Norwegian Cruise Line Has a Ship For Every Type of Cruiser

Couple in Norwegian Prima Hot Tub
Couple in Norwegian Prima Hot Tub (Image: NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has been cruising in Europe for many years and knows every sought-after port, city and island around the Mediterranean, Greek Isles and Northern Europe. In 2024 and 2025, NCL will have more than half its 19-strong fleet in the region – 14 ultra-modern, experience-packed ships designed to appeal to couples, solo travellers, friends and multi-gen groups – in other words, just about every type of cruiser.

NCL’s two newest ships, 2022’s Norwegian Prima (pictured above) and 2023’s Norwegian Viva renowned for the spectacular go-kart speedways over three levels, in addition to their wide open spaces and, like their 12 sister ships in Europe (Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star), they have a terrific line-up of itineraries for the next two European summers.

No matter which NCL ship you’re sailing on, you can be sure there’s plenty to do onboard in between exploring ashore. A multitude of diverse complimentary and specialty restaurants offer fine-dining and casual options to suit all tastes and every night, bars, lounges, theatres and nightclubs offer entertainment galore. Live music, stand-up comedy, eye-popping dance shows and Broadway productions such as Beetlejuice on Norwegian Viva and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical on Norwegian Prima will keep you partying into the early hours of the morning. During the day, sports courts, rock-climbing walls, ropes courses, waterslides, pools and aquaparks provide hours of fun fitness activities.

The Haven is a Suites-Only, Private Access Ship-Within-a-Ship Luxury Complex

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If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury experience at sea while having access to all the activities and attractions of a contemporary ship, check out The Haven by Norwegian®. This private-access complex has gorgeous staterooms and suites, its own pool, restaurant and lounges, and guests enjoy 24/7 butler service and a raft of other priority perks.

In 2024 and 2025, NCL’s Europe-based ships will cruise to more than 170 different destinations, offering more than 250 port-immersive itineraries. Departure ports include Civitavecchia (for Rome), Trieste (for Venice), Le Havre (for Paris), Barcelona, Lisbon, Athens, Southampton (for London) and Istanbul. NCL also provides an impressive collection of shore excursions – more than 1400 across the Mediterranean, Greek Isles, and Northern Europe – that offer in-depth experiences that appeal to everyone from thrill-seekers to history buffs, foodies and nature-lovers.

Find out more about NCL’s Europe sailings.

The Magic of the Med

Sunrise over Lisbon
Sunrise over Lisbon (Image: Shutterstock/NCL)

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cruising the Med with NCL. Sailings range from four to 14 days between April and November (2024 and 2025), with 10-day itineraries hitting that sweet spot in between. Take the line’s newest ship Norwegian Viva’s 10-day cruises from Rome to Trieste, for example.

Departing in May and August 2024, this exciting new ship – which boasts outstanding dining, entertainment and of course top-deck go karting – calls at an amazing 11 ports in five countries: Italy’s classic cities of Florence, Naples, Messina and Catania; Valetta, Malta’s historic capital and one of the world’s most beautiful harbours; dreamy Corfu in Greece; atmospheric Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, of Game of Thrones fame; and delightfully under-touristed Koper in Slovenia.

If you can afford the time, it’s well worth spending at least a night and day in Rome before or after Mediterranean cruises that begin and end there. You’ll encounter a wealth of historic architecture, art and culture in every European village, town or city you visit, but the Eternal City has more must-see monuments than most.

NCL Offers a Wide Choice of Shore Excursions in Each European Port

A couple in front of Montjuic in Barcelona
A couple in Barcelona on a NCL excursion (Image: NCL)

NCL offers a vast array of shore excursions while in port on your cruise and, of course, you’re free to explore independently – or skip a port and stay on the ship while everyone else is ashore and make the most of the onboard facilities. However, why would you miss the chance to, say, visit Pompeii and sample the best wines, olives and food in Sorrento all in one brilliantly organised day trip from Naples That sort of tour would be tricky to put together on your own.

Norwegian Dawn offers a 10-day cruise to Italy, France and Spain in 2024 which calls in at a number of iconic ports including Rome, Barcelona (pictured above), Palma and St Tropez, as well as smaller ports including Cannes and Ibiza. From Genoa you can visit Cinque Terre, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful stretches of coastline in Italy; or explore Portofino and Santa Margherita. In Cannes you can visit a perfume factory in Grasse and learn about one of the world's oldest distillation processes or take a drive along the stunning coastline of the French Riviera.

And when the ship calls in at Livorno, you can choose from two stunning Italian cities – Pisa for the iconic Leaning Tower or Florence for the stunning architecture.

NCL Will Sail 50 Greek Isles Cruises in 2024 & 2025

Norwegian Getaway in Santorini Greece one of a number of stops on the Greek Isles cruise itineraries
Norwegian Getaway in Santorini Greece (Image: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Cruising around the Greek Isles is right up there on many travellers’ wish lists – and those much-photographed scenes of clear, turquoise water, whitewashed houses, sunny beaches, ancient ruins and picturesque villages are even more inviting in real life. NCL will sail some 50 Greek Isles cruises between April and November in 2024 and 2025, with an amazing selection of itineraries departing from Athens (Piraeus), Rome (Civitavecchia), Barcelona and Venice (Trieste).

Most cruises are nine days or longer, although Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Viva are sailing seven-day round trips from Athens in July and August 2024 and 2025 that include calls to Kusadasi and Istanbul in Turkey. Some itineraries offer an enticing mix of Mediterranean and Greek ports –check out the 10-day round-trip from Rome on the sophisticated new Norwegian Prima in October 2024.

The stunning volcanic island of Santorini is the first port of call, then there’s a full day in Athens. Europe’s oldest city and surrounding coastline is crammed with must-see archaeological sites and if it’s your first visit, an expert-led, small-group tour is highly recommended.

Mykonos via Shutterstock
Mykonos via Shutterstock

Instantly recognisable for its windmills and blue-domed churches, Mykonos is known as a party island, but there’s lots more to explore than cool bars – think beautiful beaches, upmarket boutiques and 365 churches – one for every day of the year. For a change of pace, a 4WD trip into Corfu’s lush, mountainous countryside takes you through charming villages and shady olive groves; you’ll stop at a distillery to sample Corfu’s local drink, kumquat liqueur.

Norwegian Prima sails back to Rome via Valetta, Messina, Naples and Livorno. Some other NCL cruises visit more Greek Isles ports and fewer Mediterranean ports; for example, Norwegian Getaway’s 10-day cruises from June to September 2024 also call at Paros, Crete and Rhodes. Deciding which Greek Isles cruise is best for you is the only tough call you’ll have to make!

Northern Europe Treasures – From Britain to Iceland

Ruins of Urquhart Castle on Lake Loch Ness, Scotland (Photo: George KUZ/Shutterstock)
Ruins of Urquhart Castle on Lake Loch Ness, Scotland (Photo: George KUZ/Shutterstock)

Which countries are in Northern Europe? Definitions vary considerably, but generally we’re talking the British Isles, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Latvia. And for cruising, add in northern Germany, northern France, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands. Ultimately, it’s an incredibly diverse region – one day you’re sailing along Amsterdam’s historic canals; another day you’re soaking in a bubbling geothermal pool in Iceland.

In 2024 and 2025, six NCL ships – Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Prima – will offer a smorgasbord of nine- to 13-day Northern Europe cruises, mostly between April and October. Whatever cruise you choose, you’ll discover rugged castles, ornate palaces, hip and happening cities, dramatic land and seascapes, and a kaleidoscope of cultures.

The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, is one of the Most Visited Attractions in Iceland (Photo: Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Shutterstock)
The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, is one of the Most Visited Attractions in Iceland (Photo: Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Shutterstock)

Iceland has become a highly desirable destination and Norwegian Prima’s 11-day cruises from England to Iceland from May to July include an overnight stay in the super-cool capital, Reykjavik, plus calls to two more unforgettable Icelandic ports, Akureyri and Isafjordur. Another option is Prima’s 13-day cruise tours in July and August 2024. You fly to Reykjavik and spend four days exploring a variety of awe-inspiring natural wonders before boarding the ship for the cruise to London via Bergen, Amsterdam and Brussels.

There’s nothing quite like seeing Norway and Iceland’s magnificent mountains, fjords and colourful villages in the light of the midnight sun. Over 11 glorious days in June 2024 and 2025, Norwegian Star sails from Tromsø to Reykjavik, a remarkable itinerary that includes overnight stays in Honningsvåg and Longyearbyen. Honningsvåg is close to North Cape, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Arctic Ocean; Longyearbyen, on the Svalbard archipelago, is the world’s northernmost city (one to tick off the bucket list). History buffs will enjoy the excellent North Pole Expedition Museum; fans of boutique beers can sample the local brew made from 2000-year-old glacier water.

Whether you choose to explore Northern Europe, the Greek Isles or the Mediterranean by sea next summer – or have a combination itinerary designed for you – NCL has every cruise option covered.

Ready to cruise? Norwegian Cruise Line is currently offering up to 50 per cent off sailings plus a free beverage package with premium spirits included*.

To book your cruise visit ncl.com, call 1300 255 200 or contact your local travel agent.

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