Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has unveiled a new all-encompassing brand identity designed to capture the free-spirited characteristics of the NCL cruise experience.

"We launched freestyle cruising in 2000," said Andy Stuart, executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. "We introduced the first purpose-built ship in 2001, the first U.S.-flag ship in 2004, and we are now ready to launch our first national media campaign, starting Oct. 2, 2006, differentiating our brand to consumers, trade and internally to our crew and staff.

While spending $100 million on advertising in 2007 - on television, radio, the internet, national magazines, trade magazines and newspapers, the new identity will also be reflected in brochures, stationary, business cards, holiday cards, pier-side signage and staff attire, in-cabin signage, the key card, and more - at every touch-point, Stuart said.

A recurring symbol is a white fish swimming against a school of differently colored fish that all swim in the same direction. (A little booklet is titled "Go Against the Current," and refers to the NCL craiser as the beatnik of the seas. The booklet also offers words that the passenger can scratch off, such as schedule, regimen and assigned. There are also little patches for covering up the face of a watch. (Get the idea?)

A new television campaign pokes fun at the regimentation of traditional cruises and introduces NCL cruises "where passengers do what they what when they want," according to Scott Rogers, senior vice president of marketing and sales. "The commercials are expected to break down the barriers to cruise travel," he said. NCL is also providing the tools - whether brochures, its
website or travel agent support - to help consumers book cruises.

Project F3
Following NCL's recent order for three new 150,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ships from Aker YARDS SA, for deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2009, the second quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, the line will have the youngest fleet in the industry by 2010, Stuart added, noting that the only things left from the company that Star Cruises bought in 2000, is the name and the people.

The first two ships are firm orders, while the third is an option. The total contract value is estimated at $2.8 billion, which, according to NCL, translates to approximately $224,000 per passenger lower berth.

The new ships, with the project name F3, will be a further evolution of the line's Freestyle Cruising concept, according to NCL.

The cruise line also stated that the "use of space on these new ships is designed for optimal cost efficiency per capacity day, as well as being highly attractive in terms of cabin revenue mix and onboard revenue generation."

The F3 ships will be approximately 1,073 feet long with a beam of 132 feet.

While NCL is adding three big ships to its fleet, its older ships have already been sold to sister company Star Cruises and will be transferred to that line. The Norwegian Wind will leave NCL in 2007 and her Hawaii program will be taken over by the Norwegian Sun. In addition, the Norwegian Crown has been sold and will leave the fleet this fall.

Thus, the added capacity of NCL's new ships will be somewhat offset by older ships leaving.

By 2011, Cruise Industry News estimates that NCL will have a fleet of 13 ships with an annual passenger capacity of 1.6 million. The previous estimate was for 14 ships and 1.3 million passengers.