Ship History: SuperStar Libra, ex-Seaward and Norwegian Sea

SuperStar Libra

As the SuperStar Libra ends its cruising career in Aliaga, Cruise Industry News looks at the history of the former Norwegian Cruise Line vessel.

1988: As Norwegian Cruise Line’s first newbuild in over 15 years, the Seaward is delivered in May. Built at the Wartsila Marine shipyard in Turku, Finland, the 1,534-passenger vessel originally cost $120 million, or $78,226 per berth.

1988: After a christening ceremony in New York City, the Seaward enters service in June. The 42,285-ton vessel is initially dedicated to seven-day cruises to the Caribbean departing from Miami.

1994: In April, the Seaward starts to offer three- and four-day cruises from a new cruise terminal facility in Miami. While the three-day itinerary features calls at Nassau and Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas, the four-night cruise visits Key West, Cozumel and Cancun.

1995: With Norwegian Cruise Line losing money, the Seaward is repositioned once again. Representing 20 percent of the company’s capacity at the time, the vessel is repositioned in the more profitable seven-day Southern Caribbean market.

1997: As part of a company rebranding, the Seaward is renamed Norwegian Sea. The vessel also receives Norwegian’s new colors, with a dark blue funnel and a gold NCL logo.

1998: The Norwegian Sea replaces the 1973-built Norwegian Star on Caribbean cruises out of the Port of Houston, Texas.

2001: After moving around again, the vessel returns to the Miami-based short cruise market before heading to New York for a year-round deployment. The program includes seven-night cruises to Bahamas during the winter, in addition to alternating itineraries to the Canada & New England and the Bahamas during the summer.

2001: With New York’s seaport closed due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the vessel is briefly rerouted to Boston.

2003: In a first for Norwegian Cruise Line, the Norwegian Sea offers departures from Philadelphia, with week-long cruises to Bermuda between September and October.

2003: As the new Norwegian Dawn takes over its New York program, the Sea is subjected to a refit at the Lloyd’s Werft Shipyard in Germany before returning to year-round service from Houston in November.

2004: As part of a deal with Star Cruises to acquire the SuperStar Leo, Norwegian Cruise Line announces plans to transfer the Norwegian Sea to the Asian cruise line. At the time, both brands were part of the same business conglomerate.

2005: With the Norwegian Dream taking over its Houston program, the Norwegian Sea leaves the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet in July.

2005: While being prepared to serve the Asian market, the vessel undergoes a three-week drydock in Singapore and receives a new name, SuperStar Libra.

2005: In September, the SuperStar Libra enters service for Star Cruises in India. In a unique move, the company becomes the first to base a ship in the country, offering short cruises from Mumbai aiming at the local Indian market and also the international fly-cruise market.

2006: After completing its first season in India, the SuperStar Libra marks Star Cruises’ expansion to the Mediterranean, becoming the first – and the only – vessel to sail a complete season in the region for the brand. Based in Malta, the summer program included seven- to 12-day cruises calling at Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Egypt. 

2007: With its seasons in India and Mediterranean seeing lower than average occupancy and returns, the SuperStar Libra is repositioned to the Far East. At the third quarter, the vessel offers a series of cruises from Taiwan before debuting in Hong Kong and Japan.

2008: In November, the vessel kicks off a program of Southeast Asia cruises embarking in Singapore and Malaysia.

2011: After sailing from several Asian ports, the Libra launches service from the Penang Island, in Malaysia, where it remains homeported until 2013.

2013: In January, the vessel undergoes a major upgrade, with revitalization works taking place at the Sembawang shipyard in Singapore.   

2015: The SuperStar Libra debuts in the Chinese market, with a series of cruises from the port of Xiamen.

2016: Penang welcomes the vessel back in September for a series of one- to three-night cruises to Thailand.

2017: Star Cruises launches what it calls a “triple homeport strategy,” with the Libra sailing from Kuala Lampur and Penang, Malaysia, and Phuket, Thailand.

2018: After 13 years sailing for Star Cruises, the SuperStar Libra is taken out of service June. With its cruising career over, the ship sails to Germany, where it starts a new role as a hotel ship for workers at Genting’s MV Werften shipyard

2022: With the MV Werften filing for bankruptcy in January, the vessel is towed to Greece in April. After a few weeks docked in a Greek shipyard, the ship departs on its final journey to the scrapyard.  

2022: Ending a 34-year career, the former Seaward is beached for scrapping at Turkey’s Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard in May.

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