Prestigious Merger For NCL

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Recent rumblings about the acquisition by mass market Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, ltd. of upscale sector Prestige Cruises International have come to fruition in today’s official announcement that the transaction in now in process.  The definitive agreement will total $3.025 billion in cash and 20.3 million shares of NCL’s common stock, is subject to NASDAQ Rule 5635 regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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The 4,000-guest MV NORWEGIAN GETAWAY, NCL’s latest cruise ship, which debuted earlier this year. Photo and copyright Peter Newall 2014.

Norwegian currently operates thirteen vessels and has four on order at Papenburg’s Meyer Werft shipyard for delivery in fall 2015, spring 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2019.

“The acquisition of Prestige represents an extraordinary opportunity for Norwegian Cruise Line to expand our market presence by adding two established, award-winning brands in the upscale cruise segment with loyal followings,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. He added, “We are fully committed to retaining the brand propositions, guest experiences and cultures of the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands that have allowed each to realize such success.”

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Oceania Cruises’ MV RIVIERA, the second of Oceania’s two recently built Marina Class vessels, at Sorrento. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2013.

Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two segment-leading brands: Oceania Cruises with five upper-premium market ships (RIVIERA, MARINA, INSIGNIA, REGATTA and NAUTICA) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises with three all-suite luxury ships (SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR, SEVEN SEAS MARINER and SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER), with an additional ship (SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER) on order for delivery in the summer of 2016.

SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER at Civitavecchia. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2007.

Regent Cruises deluxe MV SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER at Civitavecchia. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2007.

“We are excited to become part of the Norwegian family and start a new chapter for our company,” said Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. “With Oceania and Regent, we have built iconic brands with distinctive product offerings and strong customer loyalty. The combination is very compelling and will allow us to further enhance our renowned guest experience. We are looking forward to joining the Norwegian team and building upon the success that our three brands have already achieved.”

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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