Norwegian Cruise Line Article

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Traded as
Headquarters Bermuda (domicile)
Miami, Florida, United States
Key people
  • Frank del Rio
    ( CEO NCLH)
  • Andrew Stewart (CEO NCL)
Products Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is a cruise line founded in 1966 and based in the United States. It is the third-largest cruise line in the world, controlling approximately 8.7% of the total worldwide share of the cruise market by passengers as of 2018. [1]

Its parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd is a holding company domiciled in Bermuda and headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, [2] [3] and also owns sister cruise lines Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. It is a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with major shareholders including Apollo Global Management (15.8%), Genting Group (11.1%), and TPG Capital (2.3%) as of 20 March 2017. [2] [4]


The cruise line was founded as Norwegian Caribbean Line in 1966 by Knut Kloster and Ted Arison, with the 8,666-ton, 140m cruise ship/car ferry, Sunward, [5] which in 1966 operated as a car-ferry between Southampton UK and Gibraltar, for that one, short season only. Arison soon left to form Carnival Cruise Lines, while Kloster acquired additional ships for Caribbean service. Norwegian pioneered many firsts in the cruise industry like: the first Out Island Cruise, the first combined air-sea program (marketed as "Cloud 9 Cruises") which combined low cost air fares with the cruise, first shipline to develop new ports in the Caribbean, like Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Like the original Sunward of 1966, Norwegians's second ship, the Starward had the capability to carry automobiles through a well concealed stern door. Later, this area was turned into cabins and a two deck movie theater, which is now a casino. Norwegian was responsible for many of the cruise innovations that have now become standard throughout the industry.

SS Norway arriving at Southampton

Norwegian made headlines with the acquisition of the France in 1979, rebuilding the liner as a cruise ship and renaming her Norway. The conversion cost more than $100 million USD. The Norway was at the time significantly larger than any existing cruise ship, and exploited the extra space available by adding a greater than usual variety of onboard entertainment. Her success paved the way for a new era of giant cruise ships. A boiler explosion in May 2003 forced Norwegian to withdraw the Norway from service, later being laid up in Bremerhaven, Germany until 2005 when she was towed to Port Klang Malaysia with the claimed intent to use her as an anchored casino or slow overnight casino cruises on her remaining boilers. Instead, she was sold for scrap and renamed the SS Blue Lady [6] and later beached at Alang, Gujarat, India in August 2006 with claims that she had not been cleaned of toxic materials. [7] On September 11, 2007, the India Supreme Court issued an order permitting her to be broken-up at Alang, despite the presence of large amounts of hazardous asbestos remaining on board. [8] [9]

Norwegian has expanded to other parts of the world, including Alaska, Europe, Bermuda, and Hawaii. Between 1997 and 2001 the company also operated cruises out of Australia under the name Norwegian Capricorn Line.

Its subsidiary Orient Lines, founded in 1991 to run the Marco Polo, was acquired in 1998. Norwegian itself was acquired by Star Cruises, a subsidiary of the Malaysia-based Genting Group, in 2000. In 2007 Star Cruises sold the Marco Polo to Transocean Tours. Orient Lines ceased trading when the ship was delivered to its new owners in early 2008.

In 2002, Norwegian purchased the half-complete hull of the first Project America ship, at the time under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, US, which was towed to Germany to be completed at the Lloyd Werft shipyard. Subsequently Norwegian acquired the rights to move two ships built entirely outside the United States under the US flag, making it possible to start a US-flagged operation under the brand name NCL America. [10] [11] In 2003 the company announced the purchase of the American-flagged liners SS United States and SS Independence. In their July 2007 fiscal report, Norwegian noted the sale of the Independence, renamed SS Oceanic some time before. On July 1, 2010, the SS United States Conservancy struck a deal to buy the SS United States for $3 million. [12] On February 1, 2011, the ownership was officially transferred to the SS United States Conservancy.

In August 2007, Star Cruises sold 50% of Norwegian for $1 billion to US-based Apollo Management (owners of Oceania Cruises) in order to strengthen Norwegian's financial position. [13] Subsequently Norwegian reported in February 2008 that the Pride of Aloha, one of the two remaining NCL America ships, would be withdrawn from service in May of the same year. Initial reports suggested she would be transferred to the fleet of Star Cruises, [14] but it was later announced that she would return to the Norwegian international fleet as the Norwegian Sky, [15] while the Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Dream would be sold to Louis Cruise Lines. [16] The sale of the Norwegian Dream was subsequently canceled. [17] It was announced in September 2012 that the Norwegian Dream would become the Superstar Gemini for Star Cruises, from January 2013.

On June 1, 2012, Norwegian announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement to exercise its option to purchase Norwegian Sky. The purchase price was approximately $260 million, financing being provided by the seller. [18]

In January 2013, Norwegian Cruise Lines filed for an IPO. [19] As of 30 June 2014, Apollo Management only has a 20% stake and the Genting-Group-owned Star Cruises only had a 28% stake in the cruise line. [2] [20] In [21]September 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it had purchased Prestige Cruise Holdings, the parent company of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt. [22]

On 11 March 2014, Norwegian announced that it was canceling all future port calls at Tunisia following an incident where the country forbade Israeli nationals from disembarking. [23]

On 9 January 2015, it was announced that Kevin Sheehan, President and CEO, had been succeeded by Frank Del Rio, co-founder of Oceania Cruises. [24]

On October 17, 2012, Meyer Werft and Norwegian reached a second agreement for the construction of two new vessels. Slated for delivery in October 2015 and 2017, respectively. The project was under the code name "Breakaway Plus Class" and it is expected for the vessels to be 163,000 tons and hold 4,200 passengers. The Norwegian Escape entered service in November 2015 and weighs 164,600 tons. Norwegian is expected to confirm its option for the 2017 vessel soon. [25] Two more vessels were ordered on July 14, 2014, they will enter service in 2018 and 2019 and will be slightly bigger at 164,000 GT. [26]

In December 2016, it was announced that Norwegian Cruise Line has reached an agreement with the Cuban government. [27] In May 2017, the Norwegian Sky was the first Norwegian vessel to ever visit Cuba. The Norwegian Sky makes weekly trips from Miami to Havana, Cuba, making Norwegian the only line sailing that route weekly. [28]

On May 2, 2017, Norwegian Cruise Line announced a new PortMiami Terminal. [29] The construction began on May 1, 2018 and is scheduled for completion by fall 2019. [30]

In 2018, the Norwegian Bliss built by Meyer Werft will be sailing for Alaska while in 2019, the fourth ship in the class, Norwegian Encore will sail the Caribbean from her original homeport of Miami. [31]

In June 2018, Miami Beach developer Russell Galbut was named chairman of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, replacing previous Chairman Walter Revell. [32]

Between 2022 and 2025 Fincantieri will deliver four ships. [33]

In July 2018, the company announced an order for two more ships of Leonardo Class. They are expected to enter service in 2026 and 2027. [34]

Norwegian Cruise Line ships

Current ships

Sun Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Sky 1999 1999-2004, 2008 2013 77,104 tons   Bahamas Miami, Florida Sailed as NCL America Pride of Aloha from 2004 to 2008, originally constructed as Costa Olympia, but sold to NCL during construction. Sister to the Costa Victoria and the Norwegian Sun
Norwegian Sky Great Stirrup Cay 75.jpg
Norwegian Sun 2001 2001 2018 [35] 78,309 tons   Bahamas Seward, Alaska; Vancouver, British Columbia; San Francisco, California; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Seattle, Washington; Port Canaveral, Florida
Norwegian Sun departing Port of Tallinn 25 May 2012 (cropped).JPG

Spirit Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Spirit 1998 2004 2014 [35] 75,338 tons   Bahamas Previously SuperStar Leo (Leo Class)
Sister to the SuperStar Virgo
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Spirit 07 IMO 9141065 @chesi.JPG

Dawn Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Star 2001 2001 2018 91,740 tons   Bahamas Originally ordered as Superstar Libra (Libra Class)
Norwegian Star arriving Tallinn 12 July 2013.JPG
Norwegian Dawn 2002 2002 June 2016 [36] 92,250 tons   Bahamas Originally ordered as SuperStar Scorpio (Libra Class)
Norwegian Dawn - Great Stirrup Cay.jpg

Jewel Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Jewel 2005 2005 May 2014 [37] 93,502 tons   Bahamas
Norwegian Jewel Newport September 2010.jpg
Norwegian Jade 2006 2006 March 2017 [35] 93,558 tons   Bahamas ex Pride Of Hawaii, reconstructed in 2008 as the Norwegian Jade
Norwegian jade in Venice.JPG
Norwegian Pearl 2006 2006 February 2017 [38] 93,530 tons   Bahamas
Norwegian Pearl.jpg
Norwegian Gem 2007 2007 November 2015 93,530 tons   Bahamas
Norwegian gem in Sicily 2008.jpg

Epic Class [39]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Epic 2010 2010 October 2015 [36] 155,873 tons   Bahamas Port Canaveral, Florida; Rome, Italy; Barcelona, Spain;
Rotterdam cruiseschip Norwegian Epic.jpg

Breakaway Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Breakaway 2013 2013 April 2018 146,600
  Bahamas New York City, New York; Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin Germany This ship was delivered on April 25, 2013.
Norwegian Breakaway 10.JPG
Norwegian Getaway [41] 2014 2014 N/A (Scheduled for June 2019) 145,655
  Bahamas Miami, Florida; Copenhagen, Denmark; New York City, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana This ship was delivered on January 10, 2014.
Norwegian Getaway 18.JPG

Breakaway Plus Class

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Escape 2015 2015 N/A 164,600 tons   Bahamas Miami, Florida until April 20, 2018
New York City, New York Beginning April 22, 2018
Norwegian escape.jpg
Norwegian Joy 2017 2017 N/A 167,725 tons   Bahamas Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing)
Norwegian Joy nach dem Ausdocken.jpg
Norwegian Bliss 2018 2018 N/A 167,800 tons   Bahamas Seattle, Washington, Miami, Florida & New York City, New York 9th largest cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean International's Quantum Class
Norwegian Bliss.jpg

Norwegian America Line

Ship Built Entered service
for NCL America
Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Pride of America 2005 2005 March 2016 80,439  GRT   United States First large, newly built US-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years; the only ship in her class.
Pride of America seen from Aloha Tower (4677840953).jpg

Future ships

Ship Class Inaugural Voyage Tonnage Flag Home Port Notes
Norwegian Encore Breakaway Plus Class 2019 167,800  GT   Bahamas Miami, Florida
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2022 140,000  GT   Bahamas
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2023 140,000  GT   Bahamas
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2024 140,000  GT   Bahamas
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2025 140,000  GT   Bahamas
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2026 140,000  GT   Bahamas
Unnamed Project Leonardo 2027 140,000  GT   Bahamas

Previous ships

Ship Built In service for NCL Tonnage Status as of 2018 Image
Sunward 1966 1966–1976 8,666  GRT Scrapped in 2004 at Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Sunward at Pier A (7562495404) (cropped).jpg
Starward 1968 1968–1995 12,948  GRT Scrapped in 2018 at Alang, India.
MV Orient Queen in Beirut.jpg
Skyward 1969 1969–1991 16,254  GRT Since 2000 Leisure World for New Century Cruise Lines.
"Skyward" - Miami, 1980.JPG
Seaward 1972 Never entered service 17,042  GT Sunk in 2016 near the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand.
Southward 1971 1971–1994 16,607  GRT Scrapped in 2013 at Aliaga, Turkey.
"Southward" - Miami, 1986.JPG
Sunward II 1971 1977–1991 14,151  GRT Scrapped in 2014 at Aliaga, Turkey.
"Sunward II" - Miami, 1980.JPG
Norway 1961 1979–2003 76,049  GRT Scrapped in 2008 at Alang, India.
Norway La Rochelle-a.jpg
Seaward / Norwegian Sea 1988 1988–2005 42,276  GRT Since 2005 SuperStar Libra for Star Cruises.
NorwegianSea3-23-04 (cropped).jpg
Westward 1972 1991–1993 28,221  GRT Since 1996 Black Watch for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Black Watch cruise ship, Liverpool Cruise Terminal (geograph 4545674).jpg
Sunward 1973 1991–1992, 1992–1993 28,078  GRT Since 2005 Boudicca for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Boudicca departing Tallinn 7th September 2013.JPG
Norwegian Star 1973 1997–1998 28,518  GRT Since 2004 MS Albatros for Phoenix Reisen.
MS Norwegian Star (4163364643) (cropped).jpg
Dreamward / Norwegian Dream 1992 1992–2008 50,764  GT Since 2012 SuperStar Gemini for Star Cruises.
Norwegian Dream1.jpg
Windward / Norwegian Wind 1993 1993–2007 50,760  GT Since 2007 SuperStar Aquarius for Star Cruises.
Leeward 1980 1995–1999 25,611  GT Since 2007 Cristal for Louis Cruise Lines.
MS Leeward NCL (4172632324) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Crown 1988 1996–2000, 2003–2007 34,242  GRT Since 2008 Balmoral for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Norwegian Crown (876515432) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Dynasty 1993 1997–1999 19,089  GRT Since 2001 Braemar for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Norweigiandynasty cordovaalaska (4305472551) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Majesty 1992 1997–2009 40,876  GT Since 2018 Princess Iris for Mano Maritime.
Norwegian Majesty-5.jpg
Independence 1951 Never entered service 20,221  GRT Wrecked and scrapped in 2010 off Alang, India.
Oceanic Leaving SF (cropped).jpg
SS United States 1952 Never entered service 53,330  GT Remains laid up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
SS United States Philly 2012-2.JPG

Private islands

Norwegian owns two private islands in the Caribbean: Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. [43]


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External links