Norwegian Cruise Line Goes Public

NORWEGIAN STAR leaving Los Angeles on October 3, 2009.  Photo © Shawn J. Dake.
NORWEGIAN STAR leaving Los Angeles on October 3, 2009. Photo © Shawn J. Dake.

After years of aborted attempts, Norwegian Cruise Line has at last become a publicly traded company, at least in part. Company president Kevin Sheehan opened the NASDAQ stock market on January 18th from aboard the NORWEGIAN EPIC. Officially listed under the stock ticker symbol NCLH, shares opened at $19.00. The IPO generated $477.6 million on the sale of slightly over 27 million shares. Only 12% of the line has gone public with the remainder still controlled by existing owners Genting Hong Kong, Ltd. with 44%, Apollo Global Management at 33% and Texas investment group TPG Capital owning 11%. In January 2008, Apollo paid $1 billion to acquire 50% interest in Norwegian Cruise Line, from Genting Hong Kong. Apollo also controls Prestige Cruise Holdings, which owns Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

NORWEGIAN SKY off Cozumel, Wikimedia Commons.jpg

Among other things the newly raised funds will be used toward making a $79.7 million payment to Genting Hong Kong for Norwegian’s reacquiring of the 77,104 gross ton NORWEGIAN SKY (ex COSTA OLYMPIA, PRIDE OF ALOHA) and repaying debts on additional vessels in the fleet. Last year NCL made a deal to purchase that ship for $260 million.  In a related development, the NORWEGIAN DREAM (ex DREAMWARD), unused since 2008, has been renamed SUPERSTAR GEMINI (ii) by Star Cruises.  Like many Asian-based cruise ships it will spend the winter months cruising from Singapore, before moving north to  homeport in Shanghai, China from April through October. The 50,764 gross ton ship is nearly identical to the SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS (ex WINDWARD, NORWEGIAN WIND), so the two, twenty-year-old sisters are fleetmates once again.

SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS has been rejoined with her sister SUPERSTAR GEMINI in the Star Cruises fleet.                      Photo © Shawn J. Dake 2008.
SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS has been rejoined with her sister SUPERSTAR GEMINI in the Star Cruises fleet.                      Photo © Shawn J. Dake 2008.
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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