Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Oceania Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line

MARINA departing from Los Angeles on February 24, 2011. Photo © Shawn J. Dake 2011

Oceania Cruises celebrated the arrival of their first newly built ship, MARINA, with a christening ceremony held in Miami, February 5th.  Television personality Mary Hart served as the godmother, releasing a 15-liter bottle of champagne that crashed against the hull.  The 66,000 gross ton ship carries 1,258 passengers, doubling the size of their previous vessels.  A sister ship, RIVIERA, was first floated out of the building dock at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente yard on July 16th for final outfitting.  The RIVIERA is likely to be the last passenger ship built at what was once the famous Ansaldo shipyard, which is slated for closure.  When that vessel makes its debut in April, 2012, the 30,277 gross ton INSIGNIA (ex R ONE) will be chartered to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises as the COLUMBUS 2.

Stern view of the new m/s MARINA February 24, 2011. Photo © Shawn J. Dake 2011

Norwegian Cruise Line is making another attempt to take the company public.  If successful, it will be called NCL Holdings and trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol NCLH.  It is hoped the initial public offering will raise $250 million and plans had called for trading to begin in the fourth quarter of 2011.  Norwegian Cruise Line has placed an order with Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany for two new 144,017 gross ton ships which it has already named the NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY and the NORWEGIAN GETAWAY.  The first steel was cut for the 4,000 passenger ships on September 22nd with the first delivery expected in April, 2013.

Rendering of the future NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY, NORWEGIAN GETAWAY newbuilds

NCL continued their rebuilding program on existing ships by adding 28 new suites and 30 inside cabins to the NORWEGIAN DAWN in the space that once housed the lovely Spinnaker Observation Lounge.  Also lost were the library, card room, cinema, chapel and several meeting rooms.  The renovations created the same problems with overcrowding  and lack of exterior viewing areas encountered last year following the same changes to sister NORWEGIAN STAR.

NORWEGIAN-STAR, the first NCL ship to be rebuilt replacing the forward observation lounge with suites. Photo © Shawn J, Dake 2009.

The ship will now carry 2,360 passengers based on double occupancy, with the new rooms expected to generate at least $5.8 million in additional annual revenue.  The work took place in May at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.  Both the NORWEGIAN SPIRIT (ex SUPERSTAR LEO) and the NORWEGIAN JADE (ex PRIDE OF HAWAII) were dry docked in the autumn for less extensive multi-million dollar physical and technical enhancements.  The company successfully raised their fares across the board by 10% which helped increase earnings in the 2nd quarter by 29%.  The unwanted NORWEGIAN DREAM (ex DREAMWARD) was on the move again.  Since 2009, the vessel has been laid up, first in Freeport, Bahamas, then Greece and now the ship is in Asia, riding at anchor off Singapore.  Owners Genting Hong Kong would not confirm if the ship has been sold, chartered or might be used within their Star Cruises fleet, only that it underwent a technical dry-dock at the Sembawang Shipyard during May.  Litigation with Louise Cruise Line over their failure to complete a purchase of the vessel has now been settled for $13.3 million.  Norwegian Cruise Line leads the pack for onboard revenue.  An additional 45% of revenue above the basic cruise fare is generated onboard, as opposed to 30.5% on ships of rival Carnival Corporation.  Newly-introduced charges include late-night room service and a $5.00 fee for pizza.

 


Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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