Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: Norwegian Cruise Line / Star Cruises

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review

Postcard of PRIDE OF AMERICA
Postcard of PRIDE OF AMERICA

Norwegian Cruise Line was ordered to pay $526,602 in back wages to employees on the Hawaii-based PRIDE OF AMERICA. The U.S. Department of Labor found that the company had violated minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions for 2,059 employees between July, 2009 and November, 2011. Among the violations, some employees were paid less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. As a U.S.-flagged ship sailing exclusively in U.S. waters, the PRIDE OF AMERICA is required to comply with U.S. labor laws. NCL has agreed to bring its pay practices into compliance with the law in the future.

The NORWEGIAN SKY (ex COSTA OLYMPIA, NORWEGIAN SKY, PRIDE OF ALOHA) has been operated until this year under a bareboat charter from Ample Avenue, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong Limited, a 50% partner, along with Apollo Management, as owners of Norwegian Cruise Line. NCL has agreed to purchase the ship for $260 million with financing supplied by the seller, making this truly an in-house deal.

NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY art work, courtesy of NCL
NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY art work, courtesy of NCL

The keel-laying ceremony for the NORWEGIAN GETAWAY took place at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on October 30th. The 146,600 gross ton vessel is the sister ship of the NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY which is due to arrive in April, 2013. Both ships will have a new feature called The Waterfront, a quarter-mile-long deck facing the ocean that will be lined with restaurants, shops and of course bars. This boardwalk on Deck 8 will span both sides of the ship and link to the three-deck high interior 678 Ocean Place which offers even more dining and entertainment options spanning Decks 6, 7 and 8.

The NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY will make a Transatlantic voyage from Southampton to New York before entering regular service on the 7-day New York to Bermuda run. In October, NCL ordered an even larger 163,000 gross ton version of the new class of ship from the same yard. This will be the largest vessel ever in the company’s history and is scheduled for arrival in October, 2015, with an option for a second two years later.

Star Cruises seems to again be the preferred name of the cruise division of the company that had revised the title to Genting Hong Kong for the last couple of years. Their largest ship, the 75,338 gross ton SUPERSTAR VIRGO began the year in dry dock as the recipient of a US $25 million refurbishment lasting from January 2-22, 2012. In this Year Of The Dragon, the ship remained based in Singapore operating short cruises to popular local ports in the region.

NORWEGIAN DREAM 2006, photo courtesy Creative Commons license
NORWEGIAN DREAM 2006, photo courtesy Creative Commons license

The NORWEGIAN DREAM (ex DREAMWARD), idle since 2008, was finally reactivated by Star. Renamed SUPERSTAR GEMINI (ii) the maiden voyage commenced on December 28, 2012 with a New Years cruise departing from Singapore. The vessel will normally homeport in Shanghai, China from April through October. The 50,764 gross ton ship is the sister of SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS (ex WINDWARD, NORWEGIAN WIND) which spent the year cruising from Hainan with Chinese passengers. Nearly all of the other major lines are expanding their base in China, and this appears to be Star Cruises best effort in utilizing the former NCL ships.


Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters.com. For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.

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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