Fountain Pen Review (and Giveaway): Narwhal Voyage Shanghai

The Narwhal Voyage Shanghai fountain pen ($150 available in Fine, Medium, Broad and Stub nibs) is one of three city themed models release din March of 2022 with a limited edition quantity of 500 of each. The other two models in this release are the New York and New Orleans editions.

The body of the Shanghai is a shimmery, blue-black swirl Diamond Cast resin by McKenzie Pen Works and features a clear ink window. The hardware is silver tone and the nib is a stainless steel. According to various comments on the internet the nib is a standard #6 Bock nib with a narwhal engraved on the nib. Its a screw-in nib so if you plan on swapping it out, the whole unit will have to be replaced, not just the nib.

The pen is described as an oversized piston filler. Having handled it and placed it next to some of my other daily-use pens, I completely agree.

The Narwhal Voyage, has been described as part of the “Nautilus” pen model but I think the Nautilus is distinct with its round “ship’s portal” ink window. The Voyage looks more streamline where the Nautilus looks a little more steampunk.

From left to right: Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Opus 88 Coloro, Narwhal, TWSBI Eco and Pelikan M205
Uncapped and posted when possible, from left to right: Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Opus 88 Coloro, Narwhal, TWSBI Eco and Pelikan M205

The Voyage cannot be posted but the weight and size of the pen means most larger hands should be able to use it comfortably. The grip section on the Narwhal Voyage is also wider than the other pens shown above.

Product Specifications (from vendor):

  • Capped Length: 5.9 in.(149.9mm)
  • Uncapped Length: 5.24 in.(133.1mm)
  • Diameter of Body: 0.54 in.(13.7mm)
  • Diameter of Cap: 0.6 in.(15.2mm)
  • Diameter of Grip: 0.48 in.(12.2mm)
  • Weight: 33g

Comparison weights:

Pen Weights

When compared with other pens, the 33gms weight is definitely on the heavy end. A good deal of the weight is the cap and since the pen cannot be posted when writing, in use, the pen does not feel inordinately heavy nor is it off-balance but it is definitely a bit “too much pen” for me.

The nib is smooth and wet and seems a little wider than what I’d normally consider a Medium. I am not sure if Narwhal is tuning the nibs before shipping out the pens or if I just tested a particularly wet nib.

The Voyage is a large pen with great details and construction so far. I find it too big and too heavy for my little pixie-sized hands but I know that there is a reader out there who would love to take this pen on a voyage. So, we are going to give it away to a lucky reader!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell us what sea adventures you’d most like to experience. (Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay?) One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Wednesday. ONE winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules, one for each color (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.

Giveaway is for pen only. There is no original packaging but the pen will be cleaned and protectively wrapped for shipping.


DISCLAIMER: The pen included in this post was generously provided by Narwhal Pens for the purposes of this review and giveaway.

Written by


  1. I’ve always wanted to scuba dive, just never had the time to get licensed. One of these days…..

  2. I would like to experience a Jules Verne’s nautilus style adventure. Completely fictional, and away from the wind 😉
    Having grown in a sailing centered city, I suffered through sailing lessons at school for way too long.
    That Narwhal pen is looking good though!

  3. I am always on the lookout for a pen that might match the quality of my Pelican fountain pen, which I have had for decades. The cap is broken and it is prone to leaking, but the gold nib (medium, I believe) has worn to my hand and makes my handwriting look special. It has a fairly large ink well so I only need to refill about once a week, depending on how thirsty the paper is in my journal. I do enjoy this blog.

  4. I love ships and the ocean, but I can’t swim and I get seasick so winning this pen is probably the closest I could get to a sea adventure

  5. I think it would be cool to have a pirate adventure. Where there are multiple mini pirate ships that shoot paintballs at the other ships and you can board each other and have nerf battles. Then take over that ship to attack others.

  6. Great review of an outstanding pen by Narwhal. They are really putting out some awesome pens recently. For someone that lives surrounded by the ocean in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I am sad to say that I am a land lover, so no sea adventures on my “to do” list! Mahalo!

  7. The sea adventure I’d like to take would actually be a lake adventure. My Dad did a lot of diving in Lake Winnipesauke in New Hampshire and specifically liked going to the many wrecks in the lake. He passed away suddenly last fall from an unknown to anyone heart condition. If I could I’d like to renew my scuba certification and go dive on his favorite wreck. After he passed several of his dive buddies swam a set of his dive weights to that wreck and I’d like to go see them and take a picture.

  8. I would love to go whale watching! It would be so cool to see some whales up close, or have dolphins swim along by the boat while we’re out there

  9. My sea adventure would begin with the search of a very old sea turtle. One that is older than any living human here on earth. I would love to write their life’s story with a gorgeous new fountain pen (granted they can speak English which I’m assuming they can based on their age).
    Ok, so I would love to watch over and protect all of the baby sea turtles out there to make sure they survive. That would be turtley awesome!

  10. I would love to see Leafy seadragons in the wild — that would be my very top pick for a sea adventure!

  11. This one has been on my “bucket list” for a long time – sailing to the Galapagos Islands. A David Attenborough documentary years ago sparked the interest.

  12. The only ocean I haven’t sailed in is the Artic so I would need to go there. Would be a chance to visit Shackleton’s location

  13. I’d love to spend a year following humpback whales along their migration routes.

  14. I’d love to work as a physician on a cruise ship sometime, a friend of mine started doing that recently and I love her regular instagram updates 🙂

  15. Wow, that is a GORGEOUS pen! I don’t do well on boats, so I’ll stick to walking on the beach and dipping my toes in the water.

  16. Next month I am going on a boat trip into Gwaii Haanas, a Canadian National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Very excited!

  17. “When I was a young lad, I wanted to sail round the world, that’s the life for me, living on the sea…” Split Enz Six Months in Leaky Boat. Indeed that was my dream as a younger man, but the stars did not align, and I ended up with my second passion – photography. But that’s OK, i’ve had a great life and I’m not sure that had I become a sailor, I’d have found fountain pens, which are a huge part of that life.

  18. Hmmm, sea adventures! I’m not the most adventurous so my preference would be for something very calm and relaxing. I’ve seen hotels in Thailand where you have your own little cabin at the end of a little boardwalk into the crystal turquoise waters, and that sounds lovely right about now. Or for something on the other end of the climate spectrum, one of those Alaskan wildlife viewing cruises.

  19. Oh this one is my fav from the new series!!
    I’d love to have a little sailing ship and sail down the coast or something. Something I have ZERO expertise for at this point lol

  20. So I’m actually in the Navy, so I’m trying to get away from sea adventures. Haha. It’s got to be just a regular cruise for me.

  21. I will completely enjoy taking my two boys to the Atlantic Ocean. Thats my sea adventure.

  22. The Pirates of the Caribean ride at Disney World. I get very seasick and would be miserable on the high seas. 🙂

  23. I would love to kayak with whales. It would be absolutely terrifying, but I can’t even imagine the magic of staring into their enormous, beautiful eyes.

  24. I am very much a homebody, so I only do ocean exploration through roleplaying games. Currently, I’m in the middle of a seafaring Ironsworn campaign that I record using my fountain pen collection, all about imaginary adventures on the ocean. In the current adventure, the ship has just encountered a selkie village and I’m hoping the seal-king is friendly.

  25. Thanks for the giveaway.
    I am craving a simple sea outing: floating in the surf for hours, then having a meal of fresh seafood. Mmm. Then back in the water!

  26. A river cruise through the European canal system, ending in Holland at tulip time !!

  27. There was this Netflix documentary called “My Octopus Teacher”. It was amazing and I have wanted to swim with octopus ever since.

    But a Narwhal pen sounds amazing too!

  28. I think reading Moby Dick from the comfort of my home would be a great sea adventure as I have never read it.

  29. Hardly a sea voyage, but I’d love to take a ride on a gondola in Venice one day.

  30. I have always wanted to sail on a Tall Ship, like the ones in the books I read about pirates. ARR!

  31. I would like to sail around the Caribbean visiting small inlets and bays. And eating local food. Lots of local food. I would like a pet companion, but I don’t know if a cat, dog, or chicken would be best.

  32. I think I’d try to get on the Pequod in Moby Dick. See if I could keep Queequeg alive for the whole book and maybe save a few whales at the same time. And maybe loosen Captain Ahab up a bit — not be so mono-focused.

  33. I’d like to sail around the world on one of those $Billion Russian oligarch yachts with a Narwhal Voyage Shanghai fountain pen in hand to record the adventure.

  34. Many years ago, Rainy Day Books had author Susan Casey in Kansas City to talk about her book “The Devil’s Teeth”. Ever since then I have wanted to take a day trip to the Farallon Islands.

  35. I think scuba diving would be a blast! I have never done it, but would like to one day.

  36. I think I’d want to be a pirate for a couple of days! A trip where you go out on a pirate ship, dress up in character and get to “attack” another ship and take all the treasure would be AMAZING. Failing that, an underwater cruise on a replica of Captain Nemo’s submarine please!

  37. I’d love to go on an Alaskan cruise and go whale watching in the wild!

  38. I’d love to go snorkeling in the Galapagos and swim alongside sea turtles! The water is beautiful there.

  39. I’d love to stay in an underwater hotel and spend the day drawing the fish!

  40. I’ll play. I’d like to sail out to the center of the Atlantic Ocean to be able to look at the night sky without light pollution. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Milky Way directly.

  41. I’m so torn! I’d love to go on some kind of Assassin’s Creed pirate adventure through the Caribbean, a la Black Flag, but jetting under the seas in the Nautilus with Captain Nemo also has its appeal.

  42. I want to take a weeks-long cruise over the ocean when a ship repositions.

  43. I can’t be on a boat because i get mega gnarly sea sickness! But i like being on a cliff and watching/listening to the sea! It’s so nice.

  44. I have a terrible fear of water, so something that would provide lots of distance from the sea!

  45. I would love to swim with whale sharks one day. But that would require money and time! Sigh.

    Thank you for the giveaway, the Narwhal looks like a lovely pen.

  46. I dream of taking a cruise to Alaska, and being able to stand out on deck, in the middle of the night, under the Aurora Borealis.

  47. Okay so it’s not technically a sea adventure, but I would like to travel to Scotland and sail/paddle Loch Ness…and if I just happen to see Nessie…

  48. I would love to sail along the eastern coast of the U.S., from Maine to Florida.

  49. I would love to finally sail to Great Blasket Island off the coast of Dunquin, County Kerry!! I’ve tried 3 times before, but rough seas prevented the trip each time!

  50. I lived in Shanghai for more than a decade and watched the city change tremendously. I chronicled it with my trusty Pelikan m800, a nice juxtaposition of the breakneck speed of the city with the timelessness of ink in a fountain pen. But that pen was stolen when I moved to Seattle. It would be a treat to chronicle life here with a pen named after another city i love. And the blue is just amazing. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention.

  51. Oh boy I love chunky pens. I would very much like to meet a whale and ask them a lot of questions about life.

  52. The lovely depth of color makes me want to go whale watching… many thanks for the opportunity!

  53. I’d love to get on a ship and have a sketch of each person working on it, with a little anecdote from them on it! Like a lsightly more involved urban-sketch-but-whilst-at-sea. 😀

  54. I would like a sea adventure wild enough to test the waterproof nature of an arsenal of “waterproof” inks. And the steadfastness of Rite in the Rain paper for those pencil/ballpoint moments.

  55. Time to write, perhaps a few days on a deserted island in the Caribbean.
    With enough provisions – including ink and paper – so I wouldn’t be roughing it too badly. Of course, with my luck, I would run out of one or the other well before being rescued!
    So perhaps a 3-hour cruise would be better…wait a minute…

  56. And if I had a boat
    I’d go out on the ocean
    And if I had a pony
    I’d ride him on my boat
    And we could all together
    Go out on the ocean
    I said me upon my pony on my boat.
    Lyle Lovett

  57. This is my favorite from this series. Sadly not in my budget currently. As for underwater adventures, I have been watching some of the old classics lately and forgot how much I liked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Would that there were a real Nautilus in all it’s Victorian era grandeur. Who wouldn’t want to take a trip on such a splendid vessel, complete with the viewing window, even if not quite realistic. What an amazing vision considering the date this was originally written.

  58. I’d love to sail a Caledonia Yawl from Maine to Florida, exporing the coast all along the way.

  59. I’d like to experience a great white encounter (thru a shark cage of course!)

  60. I haven’t been to sea in quite a while, but would really like to do one of the Star Trek themed cruises one day. Full Trekkie immersion is what I understand them to be.

  61. I want to witness baby sea turtles heading down the beach to the ocean for the first time in their life journey.

  62. I have always wanted to do a classic cruise on a smaller ship, or a big yacht!

  63. I want to go and rent a dragon boat with my friends. They look very cool, and I wanted to try it last time I saw one but I suspect you have to put in a reservation if you don’t want to wait in line for over an hour.

  64. Because I don’t swim very well, the idea of sea adventures kind of gives me the creeps! I did have one “sea adventure” already that was on my bucket list, ten years ago my daughter and I stayed overnight on a little cruise ship on Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam, which is one of the most unearthly beautiful places there is.

  65. I’d love to go on one of those cruises that travels the world for like a year. You go to sleep each night and wake up somewhere new, and you put in 0 effort. Or during the sea days you can sit out on the water and write and read and enjoy just being on the ocean and the calm that it brings.

  66. The QE cruise to England would be interesting and provide a nice opportunity to write 🙂

  67. I’ve always wanted to do a multi-day sailboat adventure. Probably not a great idea as I do get seasick occasionally! Thanks for the giveaway.

  68. Thank you for the review! I have been interested in this pen for some time and I’m glad to see those details.

    I would like to go snorkeling and see the beautiful tropical coral reefs while swim with friendly marine animals!

  69. I could go for a sanity-melting encounter with an ancient elder sea god. (And if not, at least with the pen I could write a story about it!)

  70. I would love to see the Southern Lights while on the ocean south of Tasmania, at the bottom of the world!

  71. I am presently afraid of water but would love to try sailing, as my sea experience.

  72. Sticking to the theme, I would love to see a pod of Narwhals!

    edit: a pod of baby narwhals.

  73. I would like to sail across the ocean navigating by the stars to understand all the knowledge that people used to use before more recent technologies and gps changed how we do things.

  74. I would like to sail wooden sailboat from Seattle to Hawaii with a minimal crew of Lyle Lovett,
    his pony, and Ringo Starr.

  75. This would be the prefect pen to record my daily log while sailing in the San Juan Islands in the pacific northwest.

  76. This pen with Robert Oster Great Southern Ocean while at the Women’s World Cup in Australia in next summer

  77. I would love to sail around the world, with stops at various ports where I can eat well and explore different cultures.

  78. I don’t know how to swim, so the most I’ve done thus far is whale watching – though if I could, I would sail! The 2013 documentary “Maidentrip” was inspiring!

  79. An Arctic journey sounded so romantic (and treacherous!) to the younger me, so that’s my vote still.

  80. I have been on several cruises, and I have been on many John boats and trawlers. But I have never been on a sailboat. My dream would be to sail from New Orleans (best shrimp and grits of my life at Muriels) follow the coast South by East and then keep sailing past Florida to Bermuda.

    I went to Bermuda once but it was for a single day and it happened to be the Queens birthday, so everything was closed. That is the sea adventure that I crave, close to shore and near at hand to world class seafood restaurants.

  81. I would like to explore the western national parks i.e. Yellowstone, Glacier etc.

  82. Well I love this pen because of that deep blue shimmer, I have been scuba diving for 10 years to date and it’s been a part of my leisure, my work, and just a huge part of why I love nature so much. If you dive at night, you often get to experience at least some forms of bioluminescence, the glitter in the water at night is what this pen reminds me of. I have so many bucket list dives I want to make, I want to dive in a blue hole, with sharks (specifically whale sharks and hammerheads), to swim with a marine iguana and even do a deep dive in a submersible!

  83. I’d want to be like Sir David Attenborough and go deep see diving in a submersible. Hey if the cameras happened to catch it, even better

  84. My only sea adventure dream is to sail to the Island of Guadalupe off the coast of Mexico and live there helping to resurrect the original flora of the island, especially the trees that used to grow there before goats ate almost all of them.

  85. I love to stand on the shore and wade in the water. Seasickness prevents me from enjoying voyages.

  86. I’d love to take a cruise to Antarctica. I’ve never been there and the experience would be awesome. Wild, cold, and inspiring.

  87. I daydream about learning to sail and crossing the ocean solo. I know it probably wouldn’t be as fun as I imagine it, and I’ve got a family and all, but it makes for a nice diversion.

  88. An Alaskan Cruise for sure! I would love to experience some of the wilderness up there, I live in Washington so it’s like where I live already, but on steroids!

  89. I’d like to see the ocean. I’ve never been closer than a 1/2 mile. After that, I’ll decide if I want to do more…

  90. I would love to experience an Inside Passage tour, to take a year to float up, down and around the country. And then, once I got my sea legs, a trip to visit the penguins of Antarctica would be in order.

  91. I’d love to return to the Caribbean and scuba dive again. There is something tranquil being with brightly colored fish and corals. So peaceful and destressing.

Comments are closed.