Norwegian Cruise Line

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
Traded as
Industry Transportation
Founded 1966
Headquarters Bermuda (domicile)
Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States (HQ)
Key people
Frank Del Rio, CEO
Products Cruises
Owner Genting Group (28%)
Apollo Global Management (20%)
TPG Capital (8%)

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (Norwegian) is a Bermudian[1] company operating cruise ships, headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.[2] It began operations in 1966 under the name Norwegian Caribbean Line. The company is best known for its Freestyle Cruising concept, which means that there are no set times or seating arrangements for meals, nor is formal attire required. Norwegian is a publicly traded company with 44% publicly listed on NASDAQ, with major shareholders including Genting Group (28%), Apollo Global Management (20%), and TPG Capital (8%) as of 30 June 2014.[1] Norwegian Cruise Line controls approximately 8% of the total worldwide share of the cruise market.[3]


The cruise line was founded as Norwegian Caribbean Line in 1966 by Knut Kloster and Ted Arison, with the 8,666-ton, 140m cruise ship/car ferry, Sunward,[4] which in 1966 operated as a car-ferry between Southampton UK and Gibraltar, for that one, short season only. Arison soon left to form Carnival Cruise Lines, while Kloster acquired additional ships for Caribbean service. Norwegian pioneered many firsts in the cruise industry like: the first Out Island Cruise, the first combined air-sea program (marketed as "Cloud 9 Cruises") which combined low cost air fares with the cruise, first shipline to develop new ports in the Caribbean, like Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Like the original Sunward of 1966, Norwegians's second ship, the Starward had the capability to carry automobiles through a well concealed stern door. Later, this area was turned into cabins and a two deck movie theater, which is now a casino. Norwegian was responsible for many of the cruise innovations that have now become standard throughout the industry.

Norwegian made headlines with the acquisition of the France in 1979, rebuilding the liner as a cruise ship and renaming her Norway. The conversion cost more than $100 million USD. The Norway was at the time significantly larger than any existing cruise ship, and exploited the extra space available by adding a greater than usual variety of onboard entertainment. Her success paved the way for a new era of giant cruise ships. A boiler explosion in May 2003 forced Norwegian to withdraw the Norway from service, later being laid up in Bremerhaven, Germany until 2005 when she was towed to Port Klang Malaysia with the claimed intent to use her as an anchored casino or slow overnight casino cruises on her remaining boilers. Instead, she was sold for scrap and renamed the SS Blue Lady[5] and later beached at Alang, Gujarat, India in August 2006 with claims that she had not been cleaned of toxic materials.[6] On September 11, 2007, the India Supreme Court issued an order permitting her to be broken-up at Alang, despite the presence of large amounts of hazardous asbestos remaining on board.[7][8]

Norwegian has expanded to other parts of the world, including Alaska, Europe, Bermuda, and Hawaii. Between 1997 and 2001 the company also operated cruises out of Australia under the name Norwegian Capricorn Line.

Its subsidiary Orient Lines, founded in 1991 to run the Marco Polo, was acquired in 1998. Norwegian itself was acquired by the Star Cruises, subsidiary of Malaysia-based Genting Group, in 2000. In 2007 Star Cruises sold the Marco Polo to Transocean Tours, to be delivered in early 2008. Orient Lines will cease trading when the ship is delivered to its new owners.

In 2002, Norwegian purchased the half-complete hull of the first Project America ship, at the time under construction at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, USA, which was towed to Germany to be completed at the Lloyd Werft shipyard. Subsequently Norwegian acquired the rights to move two ships built entirely outside the United States under the US flag, making it possible to start a US-flagged operation under the brand name NCL America.[9][10] In 2003 the company announced the purchase of the famed American-flagged liners SS United States and SS Independence. Although it has promised to restore the United States to service, the future of the ship remains uncertain to this day. In their July 2007 fiscal report, Norwegian noted the sale of the Independence, renamed SS Oceanic some time before. On July 1, 2010, the SS United States Conservancy struck a deal to buy the SS United States for $3 million.[11] On February 1, 2011, the ownership was officially transferred to the SS United States Conservancy.

In August 2007, Star Cruises sold 50% of Norwegian for $1 billion to US-based Apollo Management (owners of Oceania Cruises) in order to strengthen Norwegian's financial position.[12] Subsequently Norwegian reported in February 2008 that the Pride of Aloha, one of the two remaining NCL America ships, would be withdrawn from service in May of the same year. Initial reports suggested she would be transferred to the fleet of Star Cruises,[13] but it was later announced that she would return to the Norwegian international fleet as the Norwegian Sky,[14] while the Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Dream would be sold to Louis Cruise Lines.[15] The sale of the Norwegian Dream was subsequently cancelled.[16] It was announced in September 2012 that the Norwegian Dream will become the Superstar Gemini for Star Cruises, she will start service in January 2013.

On June 1, 2012 Norwegian announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement to exercise its option to purchase Norwegian Sky. The purchase price is approximately $260 million, financing is being provided by the seller.[17]

In January 2013, Norwegian Cruise Lines filed for an IPO.[18] As of 30 June 2014, Apollo Management only has a 20% stake and the Genting-Group-owned Star Cruises only had a 28% stake in the cruise line.[1][19] In September 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it had purchased Prestige Cruise Holdings, the parent company of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt.[20]

On 11 March 2014, Norwegian announced that it was cancelling all future port calls at Tunisia following an incident where the country forbade Israeli nationals from disembarking.[21]

On 9 January 2015, it was announced that Kevin Sheehan, President and CEO, had been succeeded by Frank Del Rio, co-founder of Oceania Cruises.[22]

On October 17, 2012, Meyer Werft and Norwegian reached a second agreement for the construction of two new vessels. Slated for delivery in October 2015 and 2017, respectively. The project was under the code name "Breakaway Plus Class" and it is expected for the vessels to be 163,000 tons and hold 4,200 passengers. The Norwegian Escape entered service in November 2015 and weighs 164,600 tons. Norwegian is expected to confirm its option for the 2017 vessel soon.[23] Two more vessels were ordered on July 14, 2014, they will enter service in 2018 and 2019 and will be slightly bigger at 164,000 GT.[24]

On February 29, 2016, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the name of the vessel that would start service in 2017. The name will be Norwegian Joy and it will be designed for the Chinese market.[25]

In 2018, the Norwegian Bliss built by Meyer Werft will be sailing for Alaska while in 2019, the fourth ship in the class will be designed like the Norwegian Joy, specifically for the Chinese market and it is to be built by also Meyer Werft.[26]

Between 2022 and 2025 Fincantieri will deliver four ships. Two optional ships could get delivered until 2027.[27]

Norwegian Cruise Line ships[edit]

Sun Class[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Sky 1999 1999-2004/2008 2013 77,104 tons Sun Class  Bahamas Miami, Florida Previously Sailed as NCL America Pride of Aloha 2004-2008, constructed as Costa Olympia, but sold to NCL during construction. Sister to the Costa Victoria
Norwegian Sky Great Stirrup Cay 75.jpg
Norwegian Sun 2001 2001 2016[28] 78,309 tons Sun Class  Bahamas
Norwegian Sun departing Port of Tallinn 25 May 2012 (cropped).JPG

Spirit Class[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Spirit 1998 2004 2014[28] 75,338 tons Spirit Class  Bahamas Previously SuperStar Leo (Leo Class)
Sister to the SuperStar Virgo
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Spirit 07 IMO 9141065 @chesi.JPG

Dawn Class (Libra' Class)[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Star 2001 2001 2015 91,740 tons Dawn Class  Bahamas Originally ordered as Superstar Libra(Libra Class)
Norwegian Star arriving Tallinn 12 July 2013.JPG
Norwegian Dawn 2002 2002 June 2016[29] 92,250 tons Dawn Class  Bahamas Originally ordered as SuperStar Scorpio(Libra Class)
Norwegian Dawn - Great Stirrup Cay.jpg

Jewel Class[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Jewel 2005 2005 May 2014[30] 93,502 tons Jewel Class  Bahamas Will sail from Sydney, Australia in 2017.[31]
Norwegian Jewel Newport September 2010.jpg
Norwegian Jade 2006 2006 2011[28] 93,558 tons Jewel Class  Bahamas In 2006-2008, the Norwegian Jade was the Pride Of Hawaii, then got reconstructed in 2008 as the Norwegian Jade
Norwegian jade in Venice.JPG
Norwegian Pearl 2006 2006 April 2013 93,530 tons Jewel Class  Bahamas
Norwegian Pearl.jpg
Norwegian Gem 2007 2007 November 2015 93,530 tons Jewel Class  Bahamas
Norwegian gem in Sicily 2008.jpg

Epic Class (Epic[32] Class)[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Notes Image
Norwegian Epic 2010 2010 October 2015[29] 155,873 tons Epic Class  Bahamas 10th largest cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas.[33]
Rotterdam cruiseschip Norwegian Epic.jpg

Breakaway Class[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Breakaway 2013 2013 N/A 146,600
Breakaway Class  Bahamas New York City, New York This ship was delivered on April 25, 2013 and is home-ported in New York City.[35] Largest ship to be based year-round out of New York City.
Norwegian Breakaway (ship, 2013) 001.jpg
Norwegian Getaway[36] 2014 2014 N/A 145,655
Breakaway Class  Bahamas Miami, Florida This ship was delivered on January 10, 2014 and will be home-ported in Miami, FL year-round[38]
Norwegian Getaway in Rotterdam. (11888228504).jpg

Breakaway Plus Class[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for Norwegian
Tonnage Class Flag Homeport Notes Image
Norwegian Escape 2015 2015 N/A 164,600 tons Breakaway Plus  Bahamas Miami, Florida until April 20, 2018
New York City, New York Beginning April 22, 2018
8th largest cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.
Cruise ship Norwegian Escape (2).jpg
Norwegian Joy 2017 2017 N/A 168,800 tons Breakaway Plus  Bahamas Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing) 4th largest cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.
Norwegian Joy.jpg

Norwegian America Line[edit]

Ship Built Entered service
for NCL America
Tonnage Flag Notes Image
Pride of America 2005 2005 March 2016 80,439 GRT  United States First large, newly built US-flagged cruise ship in nearly 50 years; the only ship in its class.
Pride of America seen from Aloha Tower (4677840953).jpg

Future ships[edit]

Ship Class Inaugural Run Tonnage Flag Home Port Notes Image
Norwegian Bliss Breakaway Plus Class 2018 167,800 GT[39]  Bahamas Seattle, Washington & Miami, Florida
Norwegian Paradise Breakaway Plus Class 2019 167,800 GT  Bahamas China
Project Leonardo 2022 140,000 GT  Bahamas
Project Leonardo 2023 140,000 GT  Bahamas
Project Leonardo 2024 140,000 GT  Bahamas
Project Leonardo 2025 140,000 GT  Bahamas

Previous ships[edit]

Ship Built In service for NCL Tonnage Status as of 2017. Image
Sunward (1966) 1966 1966–1976 8,666 GRT Scrapped in 2004 at Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Sunward at Pier A (7562495404) (cropped).jpg
Starward 1968 1968–1995 12,948 GRT "Louis Aura for Louis Cruise Lines.
MV Orient Queen in Beirut.jpg
Skyward 1969 1969–1991 16,254 GRT Since 2000 Leisure World for New Century Cruise Lines.
"Skyward" - Miami, 1980.JPG
Seaward 1970 Never entered service
owned 1970 – 1972
17,042 GT Hull sold to P&O Cruises in 1972. Capsized and partially sunk on February 27, 2016 near the port of Laem Chabang,Sri Racha, Thailand.
Launching 1972.jpg
Southward 1971 1971–1994 16,607 GRT Since 2008 Aegean Pearl for Golden Star Cruises. Scrapped in 2013 at Aliaga, Turkey.
"Southward" - Miami, 1986.JPG
Sunward II 1971 1977–1991 14,151 GRT Since 2005 Coral for Louis Cruise Lines. Scrapped in 2014 at Aliaga, Turkey.
"Sunward II" - Miami, 1980.JPG
Norway 1961 1979–2003 70,702 GRT
76,049 GRT
Sold after 2003 boiler explosion, scrapped in 2008 at Alang, India.
Norway La Rochelle-a.jpg
Norwegian Sea
1988 1988–1997
42,276 GRT Since 2005 SuperStar Libra for Star Cruises.
Superstar Libra (ship, 1988) 001 (cropped).jpg
Westward 1972 1991–1993 28,221 GRT Since 1996 Black Watch for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Black Watch cruise ship, Liverpool Cruise Terminal (geograph 4545674).jpg
Sunward (1991) 1973 1991–1992, 1992–1993 28,078 GRT Since 2005 Boudicca for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Boudicca departing Tallinn 7th September 2013.JPG
Norwegian Star 1973 1997–1998 28,518 GRT Since 2004 MS Albatros for Phoenix Reisen.
MS Norwegian Star (4163364643) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Dream
1992 1992–1998
39,172 GT
50,764 GT
Since 28 Dec 2012 SuperStar Gemini for Star Cruises.
Norwegian Dream1.jpg
Norwegian Wind
1993 1993–1996
39,127 GT
50,760 GT
Since 2007 SuperStar Aquarius for Star Cruises.
Leeward 1980 1995–1999 25,611 GT Since 2007 Cristal for Louis Cruise Lines.
MS Leeward NCL (4172632324) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Crown 1988 1996–2000, 2003–2007 34,242 GRT Since 2008 Balmoral for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Norwegian Crown (876515432) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Dynasty 1993 1997–1999 19,089 GRT Since 2001 Braemar for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
Norweigiandynasty cordovaalaska (4305472551) (cropped).jpg
Norwegian Majesty 1992 1997–2009 40,876 GT Originally 32,396 GT, lengthened 1999. Is now known as the Thompson Majesty and owned by Louis Cruise Lines.[40]
Norwegian Majesty-5.jpg
Independence 1951 Never entered service
owned 2003–2006
20,221 GRT Wrecked while being towed to Alang for scrapping.
Oceanic Leaving SF (cropped).jpg
SS United States 1952 Never entered service
owned 2003 – 2011
53,330 GT Sold to SS United States Conservancy on 7/1/10, Ownership transferred on 2/1/11
SS United States Philly 2012-2.JPG


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  21. ^
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  26. ^
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External links[edit]