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

NCL Announces Enhancements to 2019 & 2020 Itineraries

July 18, 2018

Bliss (Courtesy NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line has announced enhancements to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries to leverage the strong global demand environment in highly sought after destinations.

Norwegian Joy will join sister ship Norwegian Bliss sailing seasonally in Alaska in summer 2019 and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020. Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020. Maintaining Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to serving the Chinese cruise market, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally in China beginning summer 2020.

Norwegian Joy to Sail Year-Round on the West Coast of the United States

In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as Norwegian Cruise Line’s third ship in the region, joining Norwegian Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in upgrades to enhance her already popular features and bring her designs and offerings to be virtually identical to those of her sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, the newest and most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history. To complement Norwegian Bliss’ itineraries and provide guests with more places to explore and experience the natural beauty of Alaska, Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point, long recognized for its untouched wilderness, rich culture and fresh seafood. She will also call into Victoria, British Columbia.

Following her inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/2020.This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the United States with the arrival of a premier, state-of-the-art cruise ship.

Norwegian Pearl to Offer New Itineraries in Europe

As Norwegian Joy enters the Alaska market in summer 2019, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Pearl will deploy to Europe, further strengthening the line’s seasonal European deployment to six ships. She will offer new and varied itineraries from Amsterdam, a strategic pre-and-post cruise port where guests will have easy access to the heart of the city as well as Europe’s third largest and fastest growing airport. Norwegian Pearl will also embark on a variety of Mediterranean sailings from Rome (Civitavecchia), Barcelona, and Venice.

Norwegian Jewel and Jade to Deploy to Australia and Asia

Norwegian Joy’s seasonal sailings in Los Angeles in winter 2019/2020 allows for Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall, to return to Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific for a third year of seasonal cruises from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo (Yokohama).

Building even further on the line’s presence in the region, the 2,400 passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/2020. Port of call highlights include high demand locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Ha Long Bay. In addition, Norwegian Jade will offer several unique itineraries through the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean featuring calls in Greece, Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The deployment of Norwegian Jewel and Jade to the region is aimed to take full advantage of the flourishing source market in Australia, which remains the world’s highest-penetrated cruise market and one of its most desirable destinations.

Revitalized Norwegian Spirit to Serve China Market Seasonally Beginning Summer 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market and will deploy the 2,000 passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020. Prior to her arrival, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program. In February 2020 her journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for Norwegian Cruise Line including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: About a year ago, Norwegian Cruise Line was celebrating its first China-based ship, Norwegian Joy. The ships facilities were designed for the Chinese market. However it looks like NCL are not happy with Chinese demand for cruising.  The Joy (the original Bliss) is on its way to Alaska in early 2019 with $50m refit, to convert her back into an American ship. That sounds like an expensive mistake to me!

I’m no expert, but all the major cruise lines have sent ships to China in recent years. Although I don’t doubt it will be a growing market, it has obviously not grown as fast as they expected.

NCL have lowered their China capacity. The Norwegian spirit will serve the Chinese market seasonally, but she is a smaller ship than ‘Joy’.

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NCL Confirms Fifth & Sixth ‘Project Leonardo’ ships

July 13, 2018

Even more big ship news:

July 12, 2018 – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced it confirmed its previously announced options for the fifth and sixth Project Leonardo Class ships with the Fincantieri  shipyard, Italy, for Norwegian Cruise Line for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

“These orders extend our disciplined and measured newbuild program and strong growth trajectory well into the future and will further drive long-term returns for our shareholders,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Our six ship Leonardo Class fleet will allow us to broaden our deployment into strong performing and mature unserved and underserved markets and offer new experiences to our guests.”

At 140,000 gross tons and accommodating approximately 3,300 guests, this next generation class of ships will build upon the highly successful offering of freedom and flexibility found across Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, including the most recent Breakaway Plus Class ships, and feature a host of inventive designs that will further elevate its already award-winning guest experience. A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment. The smaller footprint will also broaden deployment opportunities around the world. Details on the many innovative guest-facing and first at sea features will be announced at a later date.

“Following the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful class in our Company’s history, the highly anticipated Leonardo Class will fuel future growth with exciting and innovative offerings that will meaningfully drive demand from new and loyal returning guests alike,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

With today’s announcement, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has seven ships on order for Norwegian Cruise Line and one for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for a total of eight vessels for delivery through 2027. The Company will take delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, in fall 2019.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: This new ships are based on the Fincantieri MSC Seaside design.  NCL Leonardo compared to MSC Seaside: HERE

Norwegian Bliss Sets Panama Canal Record

May 15, 2018

 

(Courtesy NCL)

The Panama Canal today welcomed the new Norwegian Bliss, the largest passenger vessel to ever transit the waterway, according to a statement.

“The Panama Canal is proud to welcome the Norwegian Bliss and recognizes that this distinct milestone is made possible by the Canal Expansion, as well as the experience and efforts gained in the two years since its inauguration,” said Deputy Canal Administrator Manuel Benítez.

(NCL)

Silversea Orders Silver Dawn

(Courtesy Silversea Cruises)

Silversea Cruises announced it has awarded Fincantieri with an order for another ultra-luxury cruise ship, with delivery scheduled for Q4 2021.

The contract is valued at over €320 million, according to a statement. The ship will be a sister to the 2017-built Silver Muse and 2020-built Silver Moon.

The ship will be 40,700 tons with capacity for up to 596 guests at double occupancy.

(Silversea)

NCL: New PortMiami Terminal

April 27, 2018

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today celebrated the ‘groundbreaking’ of the new and dedicated Norwegian Cruise Line terminal at PortMiami.

The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners approved the project on April 10, 2018, with construction beginning May 1.

At nearly 166,500 square feet, the Norwegian terminal will accommodate ships of up to 5,000 passengers and will feature state-of-the-art technology to support faster and more efficient embarkation and disembarkation, the company said, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. 

(NCL)

Bliss Go-Karts

April 21, 2018

Norwegian have made quite a big thing about their Go-karts on-board Norwegian Bliss (and Joy). For example: “Guests will be able to put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a North American-based cruise ship”. and “The competitive track, the longest at sea at nearly 1,000 feet, will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns, reaching up to 30 miles per hour”.

Now I’ve not seen the facility on-board myself, but videos are beginning to appear on YouTube.

I must say it all looks to be a rather “sedate” experience. It hardly looks like a “pedal to metal” experience. Mind you maybe the peddles were on the metal, but the-horse power was missing. I have not seen anything that looks like 30 mph in the videos. As for “competitive” – overtaking looks very difficult without much acceleration and speed.

However these are electric cars, they are not Formula 1 cars. They have to be pollution free and relatively quiet, after all the track is on the sun deck. (I bet the sunbathers do not appreciate the lost space!)

However I’m still surprised how slow they appear to be. I don’t think they will be needing that high fence – I can’t see the cars leaving the track!

Malcolm

NCL Celebrates Encore Steel Cutting

February 6, 2018

(Courtesy NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line has marked the start of construction for its newest ship – Norwegian Encore.

The latest addition to Norwegian’s fleet, will sail the Caribbean from Miami, seasonally beginning in the autumn of 2019.

She follows Norwegian Bliss, which will launch in April this year.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will sail weekly seven-day Caribbean cruises.

Encore will be the seventeenth ship in the NCL fleet and the line’s fourth and final ship in the Breakaway Plus Class, the most successful Class in the brand’s history.

Encore is, however, currently the last vessel NCL plans to build at Meyer Weft, with construction of the new generation of ships, the Leonardo class, moving to Italy.

(NCL)

Rise Of The Clones

January 5, 2018

SS United states (Top) and SS America, United States Line (Source unknown)

Ships Of State

In the era of the great Ocean Liners, each country that had the resources and know-how designed and built themselves unique ships. These were ‘ships of state’, each representing their country.

For example the UK had the likes of the Titanic and later the Cunard Queen’s ‘Mary’ and ‘Elizabeth’. France had their wonderful ‘Normadie’ and ‘France’. American had their ‘America’ and ‘United states’. Each ship represented their respective countries engineering achievements, excellent design and the finest decor and artwork.

Today cruise ship are much more generic and the design can actually be shared across different cruise brands. In fact the only differences in some cases, may be the funnels, livery and internal decor.

We are going to see even more ‘clones’ over the next few years.

‘Made to measure’ or  ‘off the peg’?

Carnival have shared ship designs between their brands for many years now: P&O have several Princess designs. Cunard have two generic Carnival ‘Vista’ class ships and P&O has one. P&O’s next mega ship (184,000 gt) is a design shared with Costa, AIDA and Carnival cruises. Cunard will be getting a new ship in 2022, a design shared with ‘Holland America’.

Surprisingly the Norwegian Cruise lines next class of cruise ship, called ‘Project Leonardo’, is not a new a class of ship designed by themselves either. It has been designed by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri.

I guess the advantage of this approach is that it must save development costs and time as the shipyard has already done the hard work.   However the disadvantage is that the shipyard can share this design with other buyers and it appears that they already have!

On closer inspection NCL’s ‘Project Leonardo’ looks remarkably similar to MSC’s ‘Seasisde’ also designed by Fincantieri.

However I believe Leonardo is shorter than Seaside, so will have a smaller gross tonnage and carry less passengers. Seaside is 154,000 gross tonnes and carry  4,140 (lower berth) passengers. Leonardo will be 140, 00 gross tonnes and carry around 3,300 passengers.

Seaside has a glass covered pool in front of her funnel, Leonardo appears to have a non-covered one in this location (for the Haven?) This may leaves just one sun-deck pool aft?

The big attraction of this ship design is the very large promenade deck, which is probably more expansive than NCL’s excellent ‘Waterfront’ feature found on-board their Breakaway and Breakaway+ classes.

I do find it a little sad when different cruise brands share a ship design. It just lacks originality.

I was going to say that Leanardo will be quite different internally to Seaside, as she will be designed to accommodate NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system with multiple dining rooms.  However looking at Seaside’s deck plans (HERE) there are three full decks and two half decks of restaurants and other public rooms. I guess little will need changing apart from the décor and branding. I guess that was part of the appeal of using Fincantieri’s existing design.

Malcolm

*(Why is the project called ‘Leonardo’, anybody?)

NCL’s Project Leonardo “Optimal Size”.

March 21, 2017

 

nclproject_2

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line has ordered at least four 140,000 tonne, 3,300-passenger Project ‘Leonardo’ ships from Fincantieri. These will be delivered from 2022 through to 2025.

This news represents a downsizing  from the recent Breakaway+ class ships at 163,000 gross tonnes, carrying 4,300 passengers.

Speaking on the company’s year-end earnings conference, President and CEO Frank del Rio called it an “optimal size”.

“The size of these vessels provides an optimal balance between deployment flexibility and earnings potential, allowing us to add new ports of call worldwide while maintaining a strong return profile with a payback of roughly five years, in line with our most recent newbuild,” said del Rio.

The ships will also allow Norwegian to redeploy existing vessels to other domestic and international homeports, where the company does not yet have a presence, according to del Rio.

(Cruise Industry News)

nclproject_3.jpg

(Courtesy NCL)

Malcolm says: Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess the advantage of this approach truly guarantees a new design of ship. However the disadvantage is that the ship can share this design with other lines. ‘Project Leanoaro’ is clearly a slightly smaller version of MSC ‘Seaside’,  also designed by Fincantieri.

It’s curious  how one management team must have thought that 163,000 gt (Breakaway-Plus) is an ‘optimal size’, yet the next team think 140,000 gt is better. However many experienced cruise passengers have expressed their opinion that modern cruise ships are getting too big, although the new NCL ships are hardly small.

It depends what sort of experience that you are seeking. I personally think that mass-market ships can benefit from being very big – there is simply more room for for public rooms, facilities and innovations. The ‘Oasis’ class (the world’s biggest) is an amazing design.   However a ship of say 30,000 gt can provide you with a more intimate experience that a mega-ships cannot compete with.

I was expecting to see an 200,000 gt NCL design to be delivered within the next decade. It looks as if I’m wrong.

Project Leonardo slide show: HERE

The Worlds biggest class of cruise ship review: HERE

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

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