Archive for the ‘Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’ Category

NCL – Upto Six New Ships

February 16, 2017
Bliss (Courtesy of NCL)

Norwegian Bliss (Courtesy of NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri to construct the next generation of ships for the brand.

Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests.

The new class of ships will build upon NCL’s most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its guest experience.

A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimising fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment.

The contract price for each of the four vessels is approximately €800 million per ship.

Details on the ships’ many innovative guest-facing and first-at-sea features will be announced at a later date.

(NCL)

Innovation! (Norwegian Joy)

Innovation! (Norwegian Joy)

Malcolm says: So a change of shipyard from Meyer Werft, Germany, to Fincantieri, Italy.  Meyer werft  must be disappointed, they have built most of NCL ‘s current fleet including their ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway-Plus’ ships.

This change of shipyard is not so surprising. In the past, new NCL CEO, Frank Del Rio, ordered some of the  Regent and Oceania ships from Fincantieri. (Del Rio was previously chairman and CEO for Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., the parent company operating both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.)  He obviously has a good relationship with the Fincantieri shipyard.

Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess this truly approach guarantees a new design of ship.

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NCL CEO Frank Del Rio (Courtesy NCL)

If accurate, the new ships size is slightly smaller (6,000 gt) than NCL’s existing ‘Breakaway’ class and almost 25,000gt smaller that their ‘Breakaway-Plus’ class. They have effectively down-sized their design a little, when most other major cruise lines are up-scaling.

I would not surprise me if the new NCL ships resembled MSC SEASIDE, also a Fincantieri design.

I was expecting NCL to move to 200,000 gross tonne vessels in the next five years, like their competitors are: Carnival/Costa/P&O, MSC and Genting.  Obviously NCL have decided that bigger is NOT better.

It’s hard to imagine what “….a host of innovative designs “ might be.  I assume the vessels will still be packed with multiple dining rooms, due to the nature of NCL’s ‘Freestyle Dining’ system.  I believe the ships will NOT be LNG powered, like some other lines future newbuilds will be.

However, I think it will be a very long time  before more details will be made available.

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(Courtesy Fincantieri)

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

st of NCL’s current fleet, including

NCL Adds Cuba Sailings

February 8, 2017
(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it will extend its offering of weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba.

Together with the five previously announced cruises, 25 additional cruises have been added.

Norwegian Sky will sail four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami each Monday, commencing in May, until December 2017.

Each cruise features an overnight stay in Havana as well as a day-call to Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in the Bahamas.

(NCL)

Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback

February 3, 2017
Bliss (Courtesy of NCL)

Two Observation Lounges (Courtesy of NCL) Click to enlarge.

Norwegian Cruise Line has released some details about its next ship ‘Norwegian Bliss’ (a Breakaway-Plus class ships), which will enter service in June 2018.

Bliss will accommodate 4,000 passengers and will be based in Seattle during the summer and cruise the coastline of Alaska.

Her itineraries will include stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. In the winter she will be deployed in Caribbean waters.

The most notable feature will be two forward-facing observation lounges, designed to offer the best views.

The Haven Observation Lounge

Built for the spectacular vistas of Alaska and The Caribbean, Norwegian Bliss will offer guests staying in The Haven exclusive access to a 2-story observation lounge, spanning decks 17 and 18 with expansive, panoramic ocean views, overlooking the front of the ship.

Haven Observation Lounge (Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

Deck 18 (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge

Imagine sheer amazement from our revolutionary observation lounge offering the most expansive views at sea.

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

 

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Deck 15, above the Bridge (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge is also located at the front of the ship, deck 15 and provides the same stunning views directly above the bridge and features a full service bar for guests to sit back, relax and take in the views.

(NCL)

Malcolm says:  An observation lounge is such a simple concept: sit, relax and watch the sea and land pass by. However many megaships, including some NCL ships, had dropped the facility from their designs some years ago. It’s almost as if looking at the sea had gone out of fashion.

It’s very nice to see ‘observation’ making a comeback. When coupled with NCL’s ‘Waterfront’ feature, the opportunities for views and fresh-air are excellent for such a large ship design.

NCL’s Waterfront, see: HERE

Norwegian, Oceania and Regent to Sail to Cuba in 2017

December 8, 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced that it has received approval from the government of the Republic of Cuba to operate cruises to Cuba, beginning March 2017.

All three of the company’s brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, will sail to Cuba in 2017, according to a statement.

See ‘Cruise Industry News’ article: HERE

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XXL – Is The New Standard

October 30, 2016
(Genting's Global Class)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Have you ever noticed how cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will be building a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember some 20 years ago (mid to late nineties), when many mega-ships were being built at around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

In about 2005, many megaships built for NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard etc. we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We now see a new wave of ships in the order book for 2019 onwards, which are 180-200,000 gt in size. These new mega-ships, or maybe they should be called ultra-ships, will each carry up to 6,600 passengers.

  • Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting Hong Kong announced they have ordered two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises announced that they would be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These would be around 200,000 gt and would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class.

However this constant race for size, is not without its issues.

Older/smaller tonnage will be retired. Cruise ships rarely have a life longer than 30 years. This means that most of the cruise lines fleets, have ships growing in size. What was once a megaship (say 70,000gt) look like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaship are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms and multiple entertainment venues, even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Bumper cars. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board mega-ships.

Megaships are also limited to what ports they can visit as they need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passenger arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) has on the local environment.

Irrespective of  any negative aspects, the big ships are still coming and the masses love them. They almost generate their own publicity. A new “Giant Ship” makes a great headline.  A new “Small Ship” does not.

As a result the existing smaller/older ships will be facing extinction. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm

(There are reviews of some of the world’s biggest ships, menu right)

Norwegian Bliss to Homeport in Seattle

October 14, 2016
(All images courtesy NCL)

(All images courtesy NCL)

The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the Norwegian Bliss will homeport in Seattle beginning in 2018 when the ship is delivered.

The ship is a‘Breakaway Plus’ class at approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests. She will be constructed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.

The Port of Seattle also said it will have its biggest cruise year ever in 2017, expecting over one million revenue passengers through its cruise terminals.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick.

seattle-bliss

“Norwegian was the first line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination on a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship from Seattle.”

The Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaskan cruises from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juno, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

photo

Norwegian has also announced that marine wildlife artist Wyland has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss.

(NCL)

Genting Dream Delivered

(Courtesy Genting)

(Courtesy Genting)

October 12, 2016: In Bremerhaven, Meyer Werft handed over the new Genting Dream to Genting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises.

It is the first new ship to be built specifically for the Asian market in over 15 years.

Dream is based on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ‘Breakaway’ design.

(Genting)

(Reviews of NCL ships, menu right)

A Question Of Decor

October 9, 2016

Cruise ships often have more impressive décor than most shore-side buildings.  In fact it is often braver décor than most buildings have.

Many ships also have impressive art collections on board. Some ship even have art work on deck and sport impressive hull-art.

(Quantum's Bear - RCI Image)

(Quantum’s Bear – RCI Image)

How important is a ships décor really is to the passenger experience?

Cruise lines obviously think that the décor is VERY important, given the fact they spend millions of pounds/dollars on it and regularly undertake refurbishments, re-styling the decor.

I’ve certainly been on board ships where I  have loved the décor . I’ve also been on board ships where the décor has not generally been to my liking. However sometimes different public rooms are created by different designers, so it is very possible to love some rooms, think some are mediocre and dislike others – all on the same ship.

There certainly used to be a different between UK and US style  décor on-board ships.

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtsey Ian Boyle)

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtesy Ian Boyle)

For example P&O ships décor was regarded as rather tasteful to the reserved and often very traditional Brits, when compared to the Las Vegas ‘glitz’ of many American ships. However by American tastes it was understated’ or even bland.

Since Carnival acquired P&O and provided new mega-ships, we have seen more vibrant décor for British passengers. There have also been frequent visits of big US ships to UK ports offering cruises for Brits. I believe the British cruising masses are getting acclimatised to a more bold colour schemes and more glitz.

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Joe Farcus, the American Navel Architect, has designed some mind-blowing interiors for Carnival and Costa ships. He calls it ‘Entertainment Architecture’. It’s very original, very colourful and often very loud.  It’s Las Vegas ‘Glitz’ in style with maybe a hint of psychedelia. His work is definitely not to every-bodies taste.

Décor and ‘taste’ changes over time, of course. I think the pure-glitz has gone out of fashion and in some cases is being replaced with a more sophisticated cappuccino-café style, as I call it.

For example the ‘Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) ships built between 2001-2007 (Star, Jade, Gem etc.) all have very colourful décor in places, not unlike Farcus’s work.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

However NCL’s ‘Norwegian Edge’ which is a $400 million revitalization program of their fleet, will see the décor updated.  For example, the image above is Norwegian Gem’s original Atrium décor. Below is the refurbishment which less over-the-top, being more sophisticated.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

So how important is the décor to you? Have you been on board a  ship where the décor was not to you liking? Do you love some ships décor?  Please tell me.

Malcolm

When Will NCL Move Up To 200,000 gt?

September 29, 2016

norwegian-cruise-lines-funnel

Carnival cruise line has ordered five 180,000 gross ton mega-ships, with the German ship builder Meyer Werft for delivery between 2019-2022. These will be for their P&O, Costa and AIDA brands.

Each ship will accommodate a maximum of 6,600 passengers, which is a world record.

Costa 180,000gt Ship

Costa 180,000gt Ship (Courtesy Carnival)

MSC Cruises announced that the STX France shipyard would be building up to four new  cruise ships for them, called the “World Class”. These would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

MSC’s ‘World Class’ ships will at over 200,000 gross tons.

Genting, Hong Kong has announced plans to build two 201,000 gross ton cruise ships for ‘Star’ cruises. The 201,000 ton vessels will be known as Global-class and will include 5,000 lower berths and be delivered in 2019 and 2012.

Depending who has the bigger gross tonnage  (MSC or Genting) they will be the second biggest ‘class’ in the world, next to RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class ships, with ‘harmony of the Seas’ being  227,700gt.

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Global Class (Courtesy of Genting)

Where does the above news  leave one of the world’s other  big operators, the Norwegian cruise Line (NCL)?

Currently NCL’s  Breakaway-Plus class of ship is the world’s third biggest at 164,600gt. At present, their ships are only eclipsed in size by RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class at 168,666gt and of course the mighty ‘Oasis’ class. However if they do not build bigger, they will slip down the league table as Canival brands, MSC and Genting etc. rise-up.

Now I am reliably informed that the big players in the cruise industry always have something on the drawing-board. In fact there have been internet rumors circulating since 2014 that NCL were designing a new class of ship, around the 200,000gt range.

Now Costa, Aida, Genting and MSC have now entered the “My ships bigger than yours” game, which has been dominated by RCI in recent decades. Therefore I can almost guarantee that NCL will be announcing a new class of bigger ship in the very near future.  After all their Breakaway-plus class is only 35,000 gt short of the magic number.

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Norwegian Joy, Breakaway-Plus Class  (Courtesy of NCL)

So what might we expect from a 200,000gt NCL ships? Well, NCL have just announced that there next ship, ‘Norwegian Joy’ (aimed a the Chinese market) will have a Go-Kart track and Hover-Bumper Cars.

An even bigger NCL ship will of course have EVEN more ‘Freestyle’ dining and entertainment venues – that’s a given. Since RCI have scrapped their ‘Dynamic Dining’,  NCL once again offer the widest range of cuisine and the most flexible dining at sea.

However such a big ships potentially have more room for ‘Wow’ type public spaces and  amenities, such as sports facilities.  The only constraints are the designers imagination.

I look forward to seeing my prediction realised.

Malcolm

Below: NCL’s biggest class of ship so far.

Foot Note: The Carnival cruise line once has a concept design called ‘Pinnacle’, which is  said to be a ship of at least 200,000 gt carrying 6,000 passengers,  but they decided not to proceed and never build it. Maybe their 180,000 newbuilds will incorporate aspects of the design.

fotoflexer_photo11

Carnival Pinnacle? (Fincantieri)

More Info: Carnival’s biggest ship never built: HERE

Norwegian Go-Karts For China

September 25, 2016

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) revealed some of the features and amenities for Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào)  earlier in the year.

They call her their most innovative and luxurious ship ever, built and styled exclusively for Chinese guests, arriving Summer 2017. She will be home-porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing).

Norwegian Joy will be 168,000 gross tonnes and accommodate 3,900 passengers.

karting-1-fill-600x208

Entertainment & Activities

Norwegian Joy will continue Norwegian Cruise Line’s long history of innovation in providing engaging, exciting features and amenities for guests to enjoy. Sure to delight guests of all ages, the ship’s top decks will offer a wide-range of never-before-seen at sea experiences.

On of the most unique features is on the ships upper deck. Guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level competitive racetrack– the first ever at sea. Cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish.

‘Cruise Industry News’  has revealed that the Norwegian Cruise Line displayed a go kart, similar to the ones that will be featured on the Norwegian Joy, at the China Cruise Shipping conference and trade show being held in Tianjin, China.

nclkart-fill-600x450

(Courtesy Cruise Industry News)

(NCL/CIN)

NCL Cruise From Southampton (UK) in 2017

August 20, 2016
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade

The Norwegian Cruise line have announce  new European itineraries for summer 2017 on-board the newly-refurbished, Norwegian Jade. Once completed she’s promised to look even better than when she first left the shipyard!

The good news for European cruisers is that there will be more cruises roundtrip from Southampton and Hamburg.

Itineraries include the Norwegian Fjords, Norway, Iceland & UK, Northern Europe Cities, all from Southampton and Norway & North Cape from Hamburg.

(NCL)

Norwegian Jade review HERE

Malcolm says: I always welcome more choices form UK ports. I cruised on-board Jade some years back and she’s a very nice ship.  Although she is hardly small at around 93,000 gt., she is starting to look medium sized by todays mega-ship standards. However there have been three generations of NCL ships since Jade entered service in 2006 – Epic, Breakaway and BreakawayPlus classes.  It would be nice to see a ‘Breakaway’ class offering cruises from UK ports, but maybe they fear that they could not fill one.