With no more ships in its immediate future after the Norwegian Pearl is the delivered late this year and the Gem next year, Norwegian Cruises Line (NCL) President Colin Veitch said that the company is in discussions with yards, but that there are no delivery slots before 2010. The next generation of NCL ships, however, will be significantly bigger - post-Panamax, Veitch said, who added that NCL at one point thought of challenging ROYAL Caribbean International for the biggest-ship title.
The intent is still that the older ships will all be transferred to the parent company Star Cruises by 2010.
Meanwhile, 2007 will be NCL's first full year of stable operations in Hawaii, where it will be able to carry some 450,000 to 500,000 passengers a year, depending on how many three- and four-day cruises are sold, with one ship offering dual embarkation ports.
The Pearl will be delivered early - at the end of November - and will sail from Miami on a nine- and five-day rotation before going to Alaska next summer. When the Gem comes in October 2007, she will replace the Dawn out of New York. The Dawn will reposition to Miami.
For 2007, NCL will have three ships in Alaska, with the Pearl and Star in Seattle and the Sun in Vancouver; two ships in Europe, with the Dream in the Baltic and the Jewel in the Mediterranean; and four ships sailing to Bermuda, including new cruises out of Charleston and Philadelphia.
Veitch promised that brochures with itineraries through spring 2008 will be out much sooner than before.
In addition, this fall, NCL is launching a new brand campaign, including television commercials.