NCL 50+ years

From Kloster Cruises to Norwegian Caribbean Lines to Norwegian Cruise Lines. 


This is a short historical look at the history of Norwegian Caribbean Lines. The official version may be found on NCL homepage : Norwegian Cruise Line 40th Anniversary

Norwegian Caribbean Lines very first ship, the SUNWARD at Nassau, Bahamas. (Postcard)

December 1966:

The Sunward is purchased by Oslo–based shipping company Kloster, under the company name Klosters Sunward Ferries, with plans to offer a new type ferry service from Southampton, England to Vigo, Lisbon and Gibraltar. In a fateful turn of events Kloster decides to relocate MS Sunward to Miami, where she becomes the first ship to offer weekly departures from the new Port of Miami to the Caribbean.


Norwegian Caribbean Lines is born.


NCL’s new concept of regularly-scheduled cruises in a single-class atmosphere of informal luxury means that the ship is no longer simply a means of transportation. It becomes a destination unto itself, offering guests an exciting, affordable alternative to land-based resorts.

Norwegian Caribbean Lines second ship, the STARWARD launched in December 1968. (Postcard)

December 1968:

The Starward is launched. NCL embarks on building a fleet of sleek, new “white ships”.

Norwegian Caribbean Lines third ship, the SKYWARD started her service in January 1969. (Postcard)

January 1970:

Skyward makes her maiden voyage.


Their fourth ship, the SOUTHWARD started her service in November 1971. (Postcard)

November 1971:

Southward joins the NCL fleet. She should have been joined by a sister ship with the name Seaward, but the order was cancelled due to raising cost during nationalisation of the builders. The hull of the second unfinished ship was completed as a P & O vessel under the name Spirit of London.


NCL's fifth ship, the SUNWARD II joined the fleet in May 1977. (Photo/postcard: Peter C.Kohler).

May 1977:

NCL purchased the Cunard Adventurer built in 1971 from Cunard and introduced her as the new Sunward II in May 1977.


June 1977:

NCL purchases Great Stirrup Cay becoming the first cruise line to offer a private “out island” experience. Improvements to the island and existing structures are made for all guests to enjoy the white sand beaches, palm trees and colorful marine life of the surrounding coral reefs.

Norwegian Caribbean Lines purchases the laid up S|S France in August 1979. (French postcard)

August 1979:

NCL buys the SS France and spends $100 million to rebuild the ship for Caribbean cruising. The largest ship of the time when NCL rebuilds her, the company takes advantage of her extra space to create a greater than usual variety of on board entertainment options – thus paving the way for a new era of cruise ships.


S|S Norway makes her maiden call at Oslo in May 1980 - introducing a new era of large cruise ships.                                                                                                                                                                                           (Postcard by Mittet Photo)

June 1980:

Maiden voyage of SS Norway


August 1984:

Norwegian Caribbean Lines purchases Royal Viking Line.


May 1986:

America wakes up with the “Today Show” sailing on board the SS Norway.


November 1987:

Norwegian Caribbean Lines changes its name to Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to reflect its expanding route structure.

The name SEAWARD finally enters service. (Photo: Jan-Olav Storli)

May 1988:

At a christening ceremony in New York Harbor, NCL formally launches Seaward. More than 500 prominent business and social leaders join noted atheletes in a ship board gala that raises nearly $200.000 for the 1998 US Olympic Team. Marathon champion and Olympic medalist Grete Waitz serves as Godmother to the new vessel.


May 1988:

NCL adds west coast cruising to its offerings by introducing cruises from Los Angeles to Catalina, Ensenada and San Diego.


SS Norway after the 1990-conversion which again placed her back on top of the list as the world's largest, even for a short while (Private photo)

October 10th 1990: 

S|S Norway completes a conversion in Germany whereby three new decks have been on top of ship increasing her guest carrying capacity. 


December 1990:

Pat Sajak, Vanna White and the “Wheel of Fortune” crew cruise on board the SS Norway.

Westward arrives in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet.

April 1991:

NCL launches Westward.


November 19th 1992

A great illustratory image of the stately SS Norway is used in Norwegian national newspaper Dagbladet concerning the increasing use of “flag of convenience” by Norwegian ships, and the subsequent abandonment of Norwegian seafarers. It also discusses the Norwegian Governments stand in the question of whaling (whale hunting). and the Americans pressure to ban whaling. 

Dagbladet, November 19th 1992.

Norwegian Cruise Lines takes delivery of Dreamward. 

December 1992:

Dreamward debuts as NCL’s first ship to depart from Fort Lauderdale. Diana Ross serves as Godmother at the christening ceremony of the new ship.


June 1993:

First Lady Barbara Bush christens the Windward in her role as Godmother of the ship at a ceremony in Los Angeles.


July 1994:

NCL is featured on the “Phil Donahue Show” for having one of the sexiest ads on TV.


October 1995:

NCL becomes the first cruise line to establish a website. The site launches with a home page and travel agent allocator service.

LEEWARD made her way into the fleet of Norwegian Cruise Line. 

October 1995:

NCL launches Leeward


May 1997:

NCL launches the first-ever Texaribbean cruise from Houston.


September 1997:

NCL launches Norwegian Dynasty. The following month, NCL changes its names to reflect the Norwegian-prefix.

Norwegian Majesty at Maiden Call to Great Stirrup Cay, December 1998. (Photo: Jan-Olav Storli)

November 1997:

NCL purchases Royal Majesty and renames her the Norwegian Majesty. The ship, which was christened in 1992 ceremony in New York City by Liz Minelli, begins her service by offering a 7-day roundtrip Bermuda cruises from Boston.

Windward being stretched at Lloyd Werft in Germany (Lloyd Werft image).

February 1998:

Laborers work around the clock for five days straight at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany to stretch the Windward by adding 130 feet with a new 5000 ton mid-section. Transforming the ship into a band new vessel, the multi million dollar expansion includes new cabins and public rooms. The ship is renamed Norwegian Wind and sets sail for the Western Caribbean.


March 1998:

Dreamward undergoes the same stretch as Norwegian Wind and is renamed Norwegian Dream.

Norwegian Cruise Line fleet of 1998 (NCL image).

July 1998:

NCL acquires Orient Lines.


September 1998:

NCL initiates the first ever round-trip Honolulu cruising on a non-US flagged cruise ship, Norwegian Dynasty (calling at Christmas Island and Kirabati).


December 1998:

NCL heads to South America for the first time, offering cruises on board Norwegian Crown.


April 1999:

NCL is the first cruise line to offer a kid’s program at sea with the launch of Kid’s Crew® across its fleet. Junior cruisers ages 2-17 can take part in activities, games, parties and dine on special menus.


October 1999:

Exercise fanatics and gym buffs are pleased to hear that all of NCL’s on board gyms now operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Norwegian Sky enters the fleet (Photo by Jan-Olav Storli)

November 1999:

More than 1200 NCL team members participate simultaneously in the world’s first all-employee christening. The 77.104-ton $300 million Norwegian Sky is the first vessel for NCL in six years. Her christening sets a Guinness World Record as the world’s largest christening of a ship.


February 2000:

Since the popular debut of the world’s first Internet Café at sea on board Norwegian Sky, NCL announces it will install Internet Cafes fleet wide.


February 2000: Asia goes Caribbean!

NCL is acquired by Star Cruises PLC of Malaysia. Star Cruises is now the worlds third largest cruise line in the world operating a combined fleet of 22 ships either in service or under construction.


May 2000:

NCL breaks the mold with Freestyle Cruising, offering guests a more relaxed, resort–style cruise experience with complete flexibility. Hallmarks of the new program include up to 10 restaurants, resort-casual attire each night, increased crew-to-guest staffing, elimination of recommended cash tipping and a leisurely disembarkation procedure.


November 2000:

Mandara Spa, LCC enters into agreement to operate all NCL shipboard spas. An ideal match for Freestyle Cruising, Mandara Spa creates an entirely new on board experience combining the romance of shipboard travel with the pampering style of the best resort spas.


January 2001:

NCL sails to more than 200 ports of call world wide – the most in the cruise line’s history up to this point.


May 2001:

NCL initiates Alaska service from Seattle. The first cruise line to do so, this highly innovative move leads two years later to a wholesale shift of the industry from Vancouver to Seattle.

Photo of Norwegian Star from “Not Quite a Photographr” on flickr.com


October 2001:

Norwegian Star is delivered to NCL on October 31st 2001.

November 2001:

The first purpose built ship for Freestyle Cruising – the 79.000 ton Norwegian Sun and the 91.000 ton Norwegian Star are launched. Actress Brooke Burke and Miss America Angela Perez Baraguio serve as the Godmothers of the Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star respectively. The christening held on November 17th 2001 is the first ever simultaneous christening of two commercial passenger vessels on record "in the U.S." (NOTE: believed to be 'in the US' since two commercial passenger vessels were simultaneously christened in Norway, ref.: Nordkapp and Polarlys, March 23rd 1996).


November 2001:

NCL introduces a new Homeland Cruising program, offering guests regularly scheduled, seven day , round trip cruises from more ports in the US and Canada than any other cruise line. Guests sail round-trip homeland ports including Miami, Seattle, Vancouver BC, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Boston, New York, Honolulu and Kahaina, Maui.


September 2002:

NCL is the first cruise line to provide remote wireless internet (WiFi) access to its guests.


November 2002:

Adding to its Homeland Cruising program, NCL begins cruising for the first time from Baltimore and New Orleans.


December 2002:

Norwegian Dawn is delivered from her builders on December 3rd 2002 and is the company’s third ship purpose built for Freestyle Cruising. The ship is deployed in New York year round in May 2003.


Only one sexy New York icon could truly welcome the Big Apples’s only year round ship. Kim Catterall of HBO’s hit series “Sex and the City” serves as Godmother of Norwegian Dawn christening the ship in New York on December 16th 2002.


Norwegian Dawn is the first NCL ship to feature NCL’s signature ‘hull artwork’. Most cruise ships relegate their artwork to the inside, but NCL takes art one step further by featuring dynaic images on the hull of its newest Freestyle Cruising ships.


Norwegian Dawn launches with a collection of original oil paintings by 20th century masters Renoir, Matisse, Van Gogh and Monet in her signature Le Bistro Restaurant. Elsewhere on the ship, guests enjoy a collection of original Pop Art featuring works by Andy Warhol. The artwork is on loan from Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim’s personal collection.


February 2003:

President Bush approves the Omnibus Appropriations Act for the Fiscal Year 2003. The Act contains a cruise ship provision championed by Senator Daniel K. Inouye that will create thousands of US jobs and provide a significant boost to the economy. This paves the way for NCL to revive US- flagged cruise passenger shipping in Hawaii. 

S.S. United States was purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line. (Postcard)

April 2003:

NCL purchases the SS Independence and the SS United States.


May 2003:

NCL announces its new US-flagged brand NCL America under which all USS flagged, US-crewed ships will operate and sets arrival date of the first vessel, Pride of America. She is the first modern ship to sail the stars and stripes in nearly 50 years. Set to begin service in Hawaii in July 2004, Pride of America will offer seven-nights inter-island cruises round-trip from Honolulu.


May 2003:

Expanding the popular Homeland Cruising program to offer even more cruising options close to home, NCL positions two ships – Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Sky in Seattle to offer seven-day cruises to Alaska. Also cruising to Alaska, Norwegian Wind departs from Vancouver.


September 2003:

Norwegian Sea, sailing out of Boston, New York and Philadelphia, joins the Boston based Norwegian Majesty in cruising to Bermuda. NCL becomes the largest line cruising to Bermuda and the only line to offer Bermuda sailings from all of the Big Three NorthEastern cities – Boston, New York and Philadelphia.


November 2003:

Charleston, South Carolina is added as another Homeland Cruising port of departure.


Pride of America sinks in Germany (Unknown source photograph). 


January 2004:

Pride of America takes on water and sinks in her building dock, causing a reshuffling of the fleet to allow the early introduction of Pride of Aloha and the transfer to NCL of SuperStar Leo renamed Norwegian Spirit from Star Cruises.

Photo of Norwegian Spirit by “glennharper” on flickr.com


May 2004:

Star Cruises transfers SuperStar Leo to NCL, renames her Norwegian Spirit, offering Alaska cruises. In winter, she offers Southern Caribbean cruises from Miami instead of the traditional San Juan.


June 2004:

After a successful launch of Norwegian Dawn there’s a revival of cruising out of the Big Apple. NCL solidifies its position as New York’s leading cruise line by announcing the addition of a second year-round ship – Norwegian Spirit, beginning November 2005.

Pride of Hawaii (NCL Publicity image).


July 2004:

Norwegian Sky is re-flagged in the US Registry, renovated and renamed Pride of Aloha. She becomes the first ship in the NCL America fleet. The late Margaret Awamura Inouye, wife of Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Inouye, christens the ship.


July 2004:

NCL launches the new Golf Hawaii program on board Pride of Aloha. Taking full advantage of itineraries and calling on all four of Hawaii’s main islands, NCL offers golf enthusiasts a full golf pro shop and the opportunity to play at some of the world’s top golf destinations.

Pride of America. (NCL America pre-lunch computer rendering)


June 2005:

NCL America makes US maritime history by christening Pride of America – the largest ever and first newly built US flagged cruise ship in nearly half a century. The ship employs US Officers and crew and celebrates a “Best of America” theme inspired by America’s favourite places. The honorable Elaine L. Chao, secretary of Labor, serves as Godmother.


June 2005:


“Live with Regis and Kelly” hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa film a full week of shows on board Pride of America in June 2005. “Live” partnered with NCL America to cruise the historic ports of the Eastern United States on her maiden voyage.

Norwegian Jewel is delivered to NCL from the builders on June 25th 2005.


November 2005:

Norwegian Jewel joins NCL’s Freestyle Cruising fleet. Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, christens the new ship at a celebration in Miami. Trump, a former model, is synonymous with fashion and glamour – the perfect choice of Godmother for the shining new Norwegian Jewel.


February 2006:

NCL and “Good Morning America” team up for a Girls Week Out event hosted on board Norwegian Jewel.


March 2006:

NCL’s Norwegian Jewel makes an appearance on NBC’s popular “The Apprentice”- series.


April 2006:

HBO premiers “All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise”, a documentary feature film chronicling Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli’s first-ever cruise for gay families on board Norwegian Dawn.


May 2006:

The largest and most expensive US-flagged cruise ship ever built, Pride of Hawaii, is christened as the third ship in a series of cruise ships sailing under the NCL America brand. ON hand to give the keynote address and officially name the ship is the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye – the US Senator sponsoring the legislation allowing this momentous occasion to happen.


June 2006:

NCL is the first cruise line to offer cell phone service fleet wide.

F3 - The next Generation Freestyle Cruise vessels for NCL (NCL pre-launch rendering).

September 2006:

NCL signs a contract to build up to three next generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2009 and 2011. The new ships, with the project name F3, will incorporate a world of new features and will represent NCL’s third generation of Freestyle Cruising ships, a further evolution of NCL’s progressive dismantling of the structure, regimentation and constraints of the traditional cruise experience.


NCL unveils a new, all-encompassing brand identity created expressly to capture and articulate the company’s unique Freestyle Cruising.


October 2006:

NCL is the first cruise line to homeport in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Norwegian Sun returns to the city to offer 7-day Exotic Western Caribbean cruises departing weekly.

November 2006:

Norwegian Pearl is delivered from the yard to NCL.


December 2006:

NCL celebrates 40 years of cruising innovation by welcoming Norwegian Pearl, the newest ship in the NCL Freestyle Cruising fleet, and the first cruise ship to feature a bowling alley.


Emmy® Award winning actress and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell serves as Godmother of Norwegian Pearl christening the ship on December 16th in Miami. NCL donates the new ship to O’Donnell’s charity, Rosie for all Kids Foundation, for use in a one night fund raising event.

October 2007:

The Norwegian Gem is delivered from the yard to NCL on October 1st 2007 and christened in New York on December 18th 2007.

Norwegian Jade in Trondheim, Norway. 

February 2008:

Pride of Hawaii departs Honolulu, Hawaii, on February 5th bound for Los Angeles where she becomes the Norwegian Jade on February 16th 2008.


2008: 

The Norwegian Epic was planned by NCL as one of two identical ships in a new class, with a third being a possibility. As code-name F3 she was constructed by STX Europe Chantiers de l’Atlantique. During her building, the progress temporarily ceased due to rising costs, but was eventually built. 


March 2009:

The first color renderings of the new F3 class vessels are released to the public. 

Superstar Aquarius (former Windward / Norwegian Wind) in Hong Kong, April 2009. (Photo by CV Forum member ehp)

June 2009: The hull-art of the new building “Norwegian Epic” is revealed.   (NCL image).

You may read more stories from and about the Norwegian Epic in this thread at CaptainsVoyage Forum.  


June 17th 2010:

Norwegian Epic was handed over to NCL on June 17th 2010, while her planned sister and the optional third vessel was canceled a little earlier on. 


Febraury 26th 2013:

Norwegian Cruise Lines neweste ship, the Norwegian Brakeaway is floated out of the building hall at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The ship is the biggest ship ever built at the shipyard.  

Norwegian Brakeaway as seen through a live-transmission during her float-out on February 26th 2013.

Norwegian Brakeaway as seen through a live-transmission during her float-out on February 26th 2013.

Norwegian Brakeaway as seen through a live-transmission during her float-out on February 26th 2013.

March 13th 2013:

Norwegian Cruise Lines neweste ship, the Norwegian Brakeaway is observed on the river Ems, outbound and heading for open sea on AIS monitoring sites, surrounded by the tugs Bugsier 6, Geeste and Jade. She apperantlt departed her builders yard at Meyer Werft just before noon, and was an hour later observed making some 1,6 knots. 

Norwegian Brakeaway observed on marinetraffic.com on March 13th 2013.

Norwegian Brakeaway headed for open seas.

March 15th 2013:

Images of the brand new Norwegian Breakaway being assisted out the EMS appears on Norwegian Cruise Line's facebook page. During the first part of the day, the new cruiseship is seen on marinetraffic.com alongside the pier at Eemshaven port. 

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Second half of March 2013

The Norwegian Brakeaway successfully completes her sea trial with flying colours. 

Norwegian Brakeaway completes her seatrails with success (NCL publicity image). 


March 30th 2013
The building of the second ship at Meyer Werft, the ship which will be named the Norwegian Getaway is well under way in her construction process. 


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Norwegian Getaway under construction at Meyer Werft (NCL publicity image). 


April 12th 2013:

According to a report on the shipping website maritime matters ( link ), Genting, the owners of Norwegian Cruise Lines, appears to have bought the carferry Superfast VI with intentions of putting her in a service between South Florida and the Bahamas under the name Bimini Superfast. 


First week of November 2013: 

The brand new ship Norwegian Getaway, sister to Norwegian Breakaway, emerged for the first time out of the building hall at Meyer Werft. 

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Publicity image released by Norwegian Cruise Line.

In lack of a proper image, this is a publicity rendering of the Getaway showing her hull-art.

November 11th 2013:

Norwegian Cruise Line and Nintendo of America announced that they are expanding their partnership to offer Wii U™ video game systems and Wii U games fleet wide. As part of the partnership expansion, the line will feature Nintendo’s newest video game console in all ships’ atriums and youth and teen centers. In addition, the new HD Wii U systems will be featured at various competitions and events on board each ship.

Norwegian first partnered with Nintendo in March 2007, when Wii™ systems were introduced fleet wide. Now, with the introduction of Wii U, the successor to Wii, the gaming experience is being elevated to new levels. The interactive Wii U gaming system complements Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising® by offering gaming opportunities to guests of all ages.

The new consoles give guests the chance to experience a variety of new action, adventure, party, racing, strategy, puzzle and sports games. Upcoming game rollouts will include The Legend of Zelda™: The Wind Waker HD, a high-definition re-release of one of the greatest Nintendo games of all time; Super Mario™ 3D World, the first multiplayer 3D Mario game for Wii U; New Super Luigi U™, starring Mario’s green-clad brother; Pikmin™ 3, which asks players to command an army of colorful creatures; and The Wonderful 101™, which puts players in control of a band of superheroes fighting off an alien invasion.

Wii U delivers great video game experiences with exclusive Nintendo characters in HD. Wii U also features the GamePad controller, which removes the traditional barriers between players, their favorite games and the television by giving one player a second touch screen, while other players use traditional controllers. That lets different players experience the same game in different ways. It’s perfect for the kinds of multiplayer game-playing parties found on board cruise ships.

“The Wii consoles have always been extremely popular among our guests,” said Richard Ambrose, Norwegian Cruise Line’s vice president of entertainment. “The new Wii U systems are guaranteed to take gaming on board to the next level, and will surely be a hit.”

“Wii U provides one of the most social video game experiences you can have, whether you’re playing with family members or friends,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “The ships in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet give people a great opportunity to experience Wii U for themselves, have fun playing Nintendo games and make some new friends.”


November 14th 2013

Norwegian Getaway departs Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, and makes a 24-hour long journey down the Ems River towards sea. 


November 14th 2013

Sad news reaches the NCL-community that former Boatswain César Escudero has passed away. Mr. César was a very much respected and loved bosun on several of the ships in the NCL fleet, also including the SS Norway for a number of years. His memory will remain with all for years to come, as his star will shine down upon the earth. 


November 25th 2013

Norwegian Getaway is spotted undergoing sea-trials off the southern coast of Norway. Seatrials started on the 23rd of November and is sceduled to end on the 27th. Original plans stated that the sea trials would end in Bremerhaven but there are new indications that dry dock will take place in Rotterdam according to a German paper. The final inspections will take place at Keppel Verolme and ETA Maaspilot station is set for 11AM on November 27th. 

marinetraffic.com screendump showing sea trials off the Norwegian coast on November 25th 2013.


January 10th 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line officially accepts delivery of the brand new Norwegian Getaway at Meyer Werft, Germany. 

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January 2014

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Three images of Norwegian Cruise Line's brand new Norwegian Getaway as taken by CaptainsVoyage Forum’s member janihudi

January 13th 2014

Norwegian Crusie Line announces that their ship Norwegian Epic, will be home-ported year-round in Barcelona, Spain starting April 30th 2015. Norwegian Epic will be the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to ever home port in Europe year-round.


We are excited to announce that our largest ship, Norwegian Epic, will homeport in Europe year-round in 2015,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Epic’s innovative accommodations, world-class entertainment and plethora of dining options are the perfect complement to the European cruise market, one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.

Norwegian Epic’s 2015 European Itineraries are scheduled to be announced mid-March.


January 16th 2014
The Norwegian Getaway starts on her maiden transatlantic crossing from Europe to America. 


January 26th 2014

It is reported that the brand new Norwegian Getaway has finally arrived at New York for her maiden call to the United States. 


Norwegian Getaway maiden arrival at New York: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxSAqdykTJQ

31st of January 2014

This video was found on youtube, and shows the first days in the hopefully long career of NCL’s newest ships, the Norwegian Getaway. 

Norwegian Getaway by TJ Doeve on youtube.com : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlrc62WMXT8

5th of February 2014

Twin-sisters Norwegian Breakaway and the brand new Norwegian Getaway meets for the first time, at New York. Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line. 

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February 5th 2014: Breakaway and Getaway - a far cry from the classical SS Norway, but signifying a strong and healthy Norwegian Cruise Line. 


6th of February 2014

Under the command of Captain Rune Myre, and his 1700 crew, the Norwegian Getaway arrives for her maiden call to Miami, Florida. 

Norwegian Getaway maiden arrival at Miami: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgUgL0_Ns1U

Norwegian Getaway maiden arrival to Miami, Florida.



March 2014


March 12th 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Guy Harvey, widely recognized as the world’s finest marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, has been named to design the signature hull artwork of the line’s largest ship to date, Norwegian Escape, scheduled to debut in October 2015. At an event this morning at Cruise Shipping Miami, the artist revealed his custom design for Norwegian Escape’s hull, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife. Norwegian’s newest ship is Harvey’s largest canvas to date, at 1065 feet in length, with his artwork spanning from the hull to the aft featuring two undersea scenes that blend seamlessly.

“Guy Harvey is the perfect artist to design Norwegian Escape’s hull artwork because he is so passionate about the sea and his marine artwork is so life-like and well recognized,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We also appreciate how Guy is focused on ocean conservation and keeping the marine environment pristine, we plan to work with him to help support the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation as that goes hand-in-hand with our company’s strong commitment to the environment.”

Harvey combines his unique artistic talents with his background as a marine biologist, diver, photographer and angler, to create marine wildlife art with an unmatched authenticity and visual appeal.

“I am deeply honored to be asked by Norwegian to paint the hull of the newest and largest ship in their fleet,” said Harvey. “The larger than life paintings of popular but endangered marine creatures in the Caribbean will heighten public awareness about marine life. The large scale mural demonstrates the concern and respect that Norwegian and I have for the marine environment through which this ship will travel over the years.”

Though recognized most recently for his floor-to-ceiling murals at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, Harvey is best known for his dynamic gamefish T-shirt designs. His original paintings have sold for tens of thousands of dollars and today, reproductions of his art, often seen on magazine and catalog covers, are offered as limited edition prints and can be found on a wide variety of clothing and gift items.  Harvey maintains his art studio in Grand Cayman, where he lives with his wife and two children.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments. The Foundations ensures that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced marine ecosystem where fish and other wildlife flourish. Onboard Norwegian Escape, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation-produced documentaries about endangered marine wildlife will be shown on the guest stateroom televisions so that guests can be more educated on how they can help with ocean conservation.

Also at Cruise Shipping Miami today, Norwegian announced that Norwegian Escape will homeport year-round in Miami and sail a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary starting November 14, 2015; visiting Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. At approximately 163,000 gross tons and 4,200 passenger berths, Norwegian Escape will join the fleet in October 2015. The ship’s Eastern Caribbean itineraries will go on sale March 19, 2014. Norwegian Escape will boast all of exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced. 



March 21st 2014

NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan initiated the keel laying / steel cutting ceremony of the new "Norwegian Escape" at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The Norwegian Escape is the first of two new ships in the Breakaway Plus Class. The first ship, the Escape, is set for delivery in fall of 2015. Together with the second ship, Norwegian Bliss, these ships will be 163.000 get and offer space for some 4200 guests. 


July 14th 2014
Norwegian Cruise Line announcess that an order for two new Breakaway-Plus ships have been ordered, with estimated delivery by 2018 and 2019. Each of these ships will be 164.600GT and include 4200 passenger berths.



September 1st 2014

The owner of the upper-class luxury cruise line Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas, Prestige Cruises, just might accept NCL’s offer and become the latest addition to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. With the acquisition NCL should be pushed with a market value of $6.8 billion and give further competition to their rival Royal Caribbean. 

Prestige Cruises owners, Apollo Global Management LLC, also own a 20% share in NCL. In the past, NCL did not have much success in operating in the luxury segment: in the 80’s they absobred both the Royal Viking fleet and the Royal Cruise Lines ships. Soon after followed Orient Lines, which nearly ruined NCL’s operations, and was soon discarded. 


September 2nd 2014
The world’s thrid largest cruise line, Norwegian Cruise Line, pays some US$3,025 billion in cash and shares for Prestige Cruise Line, according to a press release on this day. Within this purchase and take over, they get a market leader in the upper cruise segment and the mothercompany of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. 

Prestige have some eight ships with a total berthing capacity of 6.500 beds. As known, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas operates respectively in the upper premium and luxury segment of the industry. 


According to NCL CEO Sheehan, the combination of three distinct brands, each catering to their own segment, under one umbrella, makes NCK a leading cruiseline with great potetnial for growth and with a portfolio without 
comparison. 

Despite it’s name, Norwegian Cruise Line is an American company based in Miami, Florida. The largest share holder is Malaysian Genting Group. Once upon a time however, in a time long gone, Norwegian Cruise Line was in fact a Norwegian shipping line. 

NCL’s turnover in 2013 ended at US$2,57 billion. 


September 3rd 2014

A Norwegian auction-company called Stadssalg AS located at Bodø, Norway, lists one of the statues from Club International for sale. Asking price seems to be stopping at 4500 NOK. In their listing, they state some damages such as for example loose stones have been noted on the statue and that the statue is in need for some tender loving care. 


Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 20.59.32

Screendumps from www.stadssalg.no auction site

October 16th 2014 
After an absence of seven years, Norwegian Cruise Line has returned to Houston.The line that pioneered “Texaribbean” cruises from Houston in 1997 now operates the 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel, The recently renovated ship departs Saturdays through April 11 on aWestern Caribbean itinerary to Cozumel, Belize City, and Banana Coast,the new cruise destination on the Bay of Trujillo in Honduras. (In fact, the Norwegian Jewel will officially open the new port of call on Oct. 15.) During a ceremony and traditional plaque exchange marking the ship’s return to Houston, Capt. Kenneth Harstrom donned a new cowboy hat. Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria welcomed the ship, noting that onesailing season is expected to generate an economic impact of about $50 million. Norwegian has agreed to operate out of the Houston cruise terminal for three years, with an option to extend for one or two more years. Princess Cruises also will operate from Houston this winter, starting Nov. 16, to Belize City, Cozumel and Roatan, Honduras. Houston aggressively sought the cruise ships to fill the 96,000-square-foot cruise terminal that was built in the late 1990s but then sat empty for years as ships went elsewhere, including Galveston. The Norwegian Jewel gained some new features in its recent renovation, including O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, and Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss.” Source : Travelpulse


October 22nd 2014

Website Miami.com reports that Tobacco Road finds a new home aboard Norwegian Cruise Line. The article in Miami.com states that the new location will incorporate elements of the original bar, including the iconic neon sign, memorabilia and photographs. 


In celebration of Norwegian Escape’s one year to launch milestone, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced that Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road, will find a new home aboard the line’s newest and largest vessel.


The acclaimed establishment, which was issued Miami’s very first liquor license, is closing its original location this Saturday (Oct. 25) after 102 years in business. In an effort to preserve the tradition of this iconic Miami landmark, Tobacco Road and Norwegian Cruise Line partnered to bring the Tobacco Road experience onboard Norwegian Escape, which will begin sailing from Miami in November 2015.


“We are thrilled to be able to preserve a piece of Miami’s history and provide this famous Miami institution a home at sea on board the incredible new Norwegian Escape,” said Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.


Located within 678 Ocean Place, the new location of the celebrated tavern will incorporate elements of the original Tobacco Road, including the iconic neon sign, memorabilia and photographs that will showcase the history of Miami through the lens of events and happenings at the bar over the past century.


In addition to favorite beers and spirits, Tobacco Road Bar onboard Norwegian Escape will also feature a selection of cocktails created by Tobacco Road’s resident mixologist, Leo Holtzman.  The libations from Holtzman’s Cocktail Collection will include favorites like the Chili Mule, featuring ginger puree, Cointreau and vodka topped with a sliced seranno pepper; and the Gateway, a rum-based drink that incorporates yuzu juice, elderflower syrup and Prosecco.


Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. The ship’s signature hull artwork is designed by marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation, Guy Harvey, which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife.


October 23rd 2014

One of the divers on the private island of NCL, Great Stirrup Cay, kindly permitted us to share the following images here in NCL timeline on CV. The largest pieces left from the SS Norway is perhaps her two tenders, which are still in full service on the island. Great Stirrup Cay on the other hand, has evolved and changed a lot since the days of SS Norway. 

941348 407378219370237 1601976325 n


November 26th 2014

Oceania Cruises acquires the cruise ship “Ocean Princess”. Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd. announced the purchase of "Ocean Princess" from Princess Cruise Ltd. (under ownership of Carinval Corportaion) for it’s recently aquired Oceania Cruises upscale brand. Current Regatta, Nautica and Insignia will be welcoming their new sister in March of 2016. 


"Ocean Princess" will join the brand following an immediate 35-day, $40million refurbishment in Marseille, France, to be improved to Oceania Cruises level of excellence and the recent transformation of Insignia will serve as an inspiration. The cruiseship will then welcome it’s first guests in April 2015 under the name “SIRENA”. 


December 8th 2014

The first megablock section in the construction of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ 163,000 ton Norwegian Escape has been floated out of the building dock at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg Germany.


The Norwegian Escape is the lead ship in NCL’s new Breakaway PLUS class and the company’s largest ship to date. The vessel will have accommodations for 4,200 passengers in 2,100 cabins, and will also be equipped with five exhaust emission treatment units, aka scrubbers, meaning that the new luxury liner will exceed the requirements of current and upcoming environmental standards, including the Emission Control Area fuel oil sulphur limits coming into force on January 1, 2015.


The Breakaway PLUS class is a successor to NCL’s Breakaway class, which includes the 146,600 ton Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway delivered in May 2013 and February 2014, respectively. NCL has ordered a total of four Breakaway PLUS class ships from Meyer Werft, with delivery expected in fall 2015, spring 2017, spring 2018 and fall 2019. The first two Breakaway-Plus ships were ordered with a combined contract price of approximately euro 1.4 billion, NCL said previously.


For Meyer Werft, the float out of the megablock follows the recent delivery of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, the largest ship ever built in Germany.


January 8th 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line reveals details about their new ship, Norwegian Escape. The ship will feature an ice bar and a special snow room: 

  • Winter oasis will include powdery snow and will be kept below freezing 
  • Norwegian Cruise Line said room offers 'multitude of health benefits'


The winter oasis will form a part of the ship’s thermal suite and will be kept between -6C and 0C. 


January 9th 2015

NCL announces that CEO Kevin Sheenan steps down, and passes the position over to Oceania founder, Frank Del Rio. As became known in November 2014, NCL purchased Oceania Cruises. Sheenan has led NCl since 2007. 


January 19th 2015 

Rumors are indicating that the Norwegian Getaway will be sailing to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, where she will serve as a hotel ship during the games. The report originates from Inside the Games. According to current cruise schedules, there is a sizeable gap with nothing announced starting late July 2016 and ending September 2nd 2016. In retrospect, the Norwegian Getaway was used in a promotion becoming the Bud Light Hotel during the 2014 NFL Super Bowl in New York. 


March 11th 2015
MIAMI, March 11 (Reuters) – The former chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd sued Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in federal court in Miami for $300 million on Wednesday over plans by the British billionaire to launch his own luxury cruise line. >Read the whole story here<. 


September 18th 2015
The brand new NORWEGIAN ESCAPE leaves her builders and heads down the EMS bound for sea. 


September 18th 2015: Norwegian Escape bound for sea (marine traffic.com screensave).

September 18th 2015

Genting Hong Kong is reported buying a 70% stake in the German-based Lloyd Werft’s shipbuilding business in a 17.5 million Euro deal. In a statement on Friday, the cruise operator said it will have a 50% ownership of Lloyd Werft's shipyard land under the agreement.


"Lloyd Werft has already built and lengthened six ships owned by an affiliate of Genting Hong Kong and has the expertise to build a series of world class cruise ships for the company, which will include the “Exclusive Class” vessels for Crystal Cruises,” said Genting Hong Kong chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.

He said that ownership in Lloyd Werft will enable Genting Hong Kong to leverage on the shipyard’s technical expertise as well as their long track record in the shipbuilding industry.

Genting Hong Kong had also in July signed a letter of intent with a view to building exclusive class cruise ships at Lloyd Werft. 

Genting's Crystal Cruises is also planning to order new luxury river ships from Lloyd Werft which will feature larger suites for cruising in the Danube, Rhine, Seine and other European rivers.


First week of October 2015
NCL’s newest ship, the Norwegian Escape, was seen doing sea-trials off the Norwegian coast in Skagerrak for several days. 

marinetraffic.com/ais screendump. 

October 22nd 2015

Meyer Shipyard delivered Norwegian Cruise Lines new ship, the Norwegian Escape, to their owners. She is the first vessel of the 4.200 passenger, 164.600 gross tons “Breakaway Plus” class of vessels. She will later on be followed by the Norwegian Bliss in 2017 and two further un-named sisters in 2018 and 2019. After the handover ceremony which was held at Bremerhaven, Germany, the she sailed for Hamburg to commence her innaugural cruise on October 23rd. At departure for the maiden voyage, the ship was greeted with fireworks from the famous Landungsbrucken. Christening of the ship is expected to take place on November 9th in Miami, and the christened by US entertainer Pitbull. Following the christening, the new ship will be sailing on year-round weekly cruises to the Caribbean. 


February 29th 2016

Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled the English and Chinese names for the company's China-bound newbuilding: the ship will be given the name ‘Norwegian Joy’ – translating into Chinese as 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào).


The name Norwegian Joy emphasizes the experience that the ship will offer -- 尽享喜悦  海上乐园, a promise that guests will ‘Experience Paradise on the Sea,' said Norwegian Cruise Line in a press release.

After closely studying the Chinese cruise market for several years, we wanted to be clear about what we will deliver to our guests on this spectacular vessel,” said Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Chief Executive Officer Frank Del Rio. “Norwegian Joy will provide the same sense of freedom and flexibility found on all Norwegian Cruise Line ships, but with resort-style vacation experiences and amenities designed specifically with the Chinese guest in mind.” 


March 20th 2016
Norwegian Cruise Line reports to the public that their newest ship, the Norwegian Joy, will feature ammenities such as a two-level racetrack: the first ever at sea! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Caw8APPFmzQ



April 6th 2016

The keel of Norwegian Joy was laid in a keel laying ceremony in Papenburg, at Meyer Werft, in Germany. The first block, with a weight of 680 tons, out of a total 80 blocks was lifted into the covered building hall, officially marking the construction start of the next 168.800 Grt vessel. 

Artist rendering Norwegian Joy.


Wednesday July 27th 2016

In a video posted by Norwegian Cruise Line at their youtube channel, the hull art created by renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping for Norwegian Joy is unveiled. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPDCLxy6Ip4


Publicity photo as published by Norwegian Cruise Line. 


March 15th 2017

According to Cruise Industry News, Norwegian Cruise Line releases new renderings of its next ship class, called Project Leonardo, with the first of four ships debuting in 2022. The ship presented is clearly an off-the-shelf vessel quite similar in design to the MSC Seaside project from Fincantieri Project Mille.






As Norwegian Cruise Line is a large "up-and-going" cruiseline, the story is far from over. To be continued....


NOTE: As you may see from the above story, there are many ships which we are still missing good images of. In this respect, we would kindly like to request the help of readers and members so that we can complete the story as much as possible. Even though the ship is already pictured, we are still interested in seeing more images of each ship. We most sincerely thank anyone who is willing to help us out building this story and completing it further with new images and stories.




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