Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced today that it will return to Grand Bahama Island beginning next month and is increasing calls to The Bahamas, adding a total of 32 cruises between 2007 and 2009. Twenty-eight of these calls will be made by NCL’s new “It” Girl, Norwegian Gem, which entered service on October 1, 2007. Norwegian Jewel will make the first stop in Grand Bahama, along with a stop in Nassau, during a three-day Bahamas Getaway cruise on November 15, 2007, sailing roundtrip from Miami.
“This deployment reaffirms NCL’s long standing commitment to its relationship with The Bahamas which began some forty years ago. NCL was the first of the major cruise lines to call at The Bahamas and was the first in the industry to own and include a private island experience in our itineraries, at Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services. “We also have a long history of pioneering the development of new cruise destinations and we are pleased to be a part of establishing Grand Bahama Island as a major cruise destination.”
NCL estimates that these calls will contribute approximately $9 million directly to the economy of the Bahamas, with $4 million going directly to Grand Bahama Island. Norwegian Gem, carrying approximately 2,400 passengers, will sail seven-day Bahamas and Florida itineraries roundtrip from New York in December 2007, February, March, April and December 2008, with stops in both Grand Bahama Island and Nassau, along with NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay and Port Canaveral, Florida. In 2009, the ship will sail the same itinerary from January through April.
Norwegian Jade, a Jewel-class ship built specifically for Freestyle Cruising, has three scheduled seven-day Bahamas and Florida sailings roundtrip from New York on December 14, 21 and 28, 2008 with stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, along with Port Canaveral.
NCL decided to return to Grand Bahama Island after being invited by the Ministry of Tourism to experience all the island had to offer. NCL’s development team toured the area for the new cruise port facility, visited with the dolphins at UNEXSO, enjoyed a rugged Safari Jeep Tour exploring the nature trails of Grand Bahama and took an air boat tour through the mangroves.
“The decision by Norwegian Cruise Line to return to Grand Bahama is welcome news,” said Minister Neko Grant, The Bahamas’ Minister of Tourism and Aviation. “It reaffirms NCL’s commitment to servicing the Islands of The Bahamas.”
NCL Corporation Ltd. is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America and Orient Lines. NCL is the Official Cruise Line of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.
NCL plans to build two new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery in 2010. NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of 2007 with the introduction of Norwegian Gem, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.