(10:15 a.m. AEST) – Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed Norwegian Jewel will be homeported in Sydney for its 2017-18 Australian summer season. The news follows the line’s previous announcement of a short local season with Norwegian Star in early 2017.
Steve Odell, senior vice president and managing director Asia Pacific, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said the ship will offer Australians "a very different style of cruising" with more freedom and flexibility, a wider range of dining and entertainment options, and The Haven suites, which would appeal to extended families.
Harry Sommer, the company's executive vice president of international business development, who flew into Australia for 36 hours for the global announcement, said Norwegian Cruise Line has "far superior" food, entertainment and accommodation than its competitors, plus the new Burn the Floor dance show.
The cruise line’s plans were revealed by Cruise Critic in February after a further six months of Norwegian Star bookings appeared in the Sydney Ports shipping schedule. The switch to the newer Norwegian Jewel (launched in 2005) was because Australia's summer season better suited the Alaska-based ship's off-season, Odell explained. Thts first Australia-bound voyage to be a 40-day repositioning cruise departing 3 October 2017 from Vancouver to Sydney via Alaska.
Other itineraries include a five-day cruise to Tasmania and a series of New Zealand cruises including some one-way voyages from Auckland as well as roundtrips from Sydney. Burnie, Eden, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide and Geelong (for day trips to the Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road), Airlie Beach, Port Lincoln, Papeete (Tahiti), Bali and Komodo Island are among other ports to be visited by Norwegian Jewel on its first season in the region.
The last cruise of the season departs Sydney on 21 March 2018 and ends in Osaka, in time for Japan’s cherry blossom season, sailing via Indonesia, Vietnam and China.
The ship’s Japan season will be announced later in the year.
Read our Norwegian Jewel passenger reviews for more details about Australia’s latest ship.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor