Even before its $11 million renovation to accommodate larger ships is complete, Cruiseport Boston is already reaping the rewards as Norwegian Cruise Line will begin using a newer and larger ship in 2011 for its popular Boston-Bermuda cruise itinerary, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) announced today.  The 92,000 gross-ton Norwegian Dawn adds 10% more passenger capacity to Boston’s cruise market and will replace Norwegian Spirit that began sailing out of Cruiseport Boston to Bermuda and ports in Canada & New England last year.

“The arrival of Norwegian Dawn is good news for New Englanders looking to cruise from Boston and for the businesses that support our growing cruise schedule,” said Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. Massport’s CEO & Executive Director. “Norwegian has seen passenger demand for its Boston to Bermuda cruises continuously grow.  Re-positioning one of its newer and larger vessels to serve Cruiseport Boston beginning in 2011 will coincide perfectly with our multimillion dollar renovation of the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal.”

Norwegian is known for its Freestyle Cruising® which gives guests the flexibility and freedom to create their own schedules onboard. The 2,224 passenger, 15-deck Norwegian Dawn was launched in 2002 and boasts more than 1,000 ocean view staterooms - more than half with private balconies. Norwegian Dawn also offers 5,000 square-foot garden villas with spectacular panoramic views of the ocean, open-air dining, Jacuzzi and private sunning and relaxation areas. Additionally, Norwegian Dawn features 10 restaurants, 12 bars and lounges, two pools, extensive children’s and teen facilities, a sports deck, casino, fitness center and spa.

“We continue to see the demand for cruises from Boston to Bermuda grow,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Chief Executive Officer. “Therefore, we are pleased to bring one of our newer, larger and more balcony-rich ships to Boston for the 2011 cruise season.  We expect that Boston-area cruisers will love Norwegian Dawn.”

Norwegian Dawn will depart on Fridays from Cruiseport Boston and sail a series of 24 seven-day Boston to Bermuda cruises from May 6 to October 14, 2011. Prior to the start of her official season, Norwegian Dawn will sail a 2-Night Getaway Cruise from Boston on May 4, 2011. She will also sail an Overnight Dinner/Dance Cruise from Boston on October 21.  Prior to her official re-positioning in 2011, Norwegian Dawn will come to Boston four times during 2010 for one-day port visits. She currently sails from Miami to the Western and Southern Caribbean.

“Norwegian Dawn is a great ship with a strong following,” said David Crooks, Sr. Vice President for Travel World Holdings. “As one of Norwegian’s top producers, we are thrilled to have this terrific new opportunity for our customers who wish to take a cruise from Boston. The ship is a tremendous upgrade that further enhances the Boston cruise market and Norwegian’s strong commitment to the New England region.”

For a third consecutive year, Cruiseport Boston set a new passenger record in 2009 with nearly 300,000 travelers coming through the port. It was an 11% increase over 2008, and based on the upcoming cruise season’s schedule, Massport expects another passenger record in 2010.  In response, Massport has undertaken an $11 million facilities upgrade project to improve passenger comfort, increase efficiency and position Cruiseport Boston for continued growth.  The improvements are expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2011 cruise season.