A smattering of new details have diffused the mystery surrounding Norwegian Cruise Line's 150,000-ton, 4,200-passenger F3 project.
The largest, most innovative cruise ship ever built by NCL will be named Norwegian Epic. The line also revealed today the first season of itineraries -- alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami -- during a online event for travel agents.
You may recall that F3 was originally the project name for a pair of ships that were supposed to introduce industry firsts, such as the futuristic curved-walled "New Wave" staterooms and for-fee, red carpet-style nighttime venues, including an ice bar. But all that was put on hold after a dispute erupted between the shipyard, STX Europe France, and the line, which ultimately resulted in the cancelation of the originally scheduled second F3 vessel.
Now, the ship is back on track for its May 2010 debut -- in the U.K. we're told -- and the staterooms and nighttime venues already revealed remain in place.
The ship will debut in May 2010 with a series of pre-inaugural cruises, open only to specially invited passengers (details on these early cruises, as well as the inaugural events, will be revealed at a later date). The first "official" sailing out of Miami will follow sometime in the summer of 2010, with alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises offered through April 2011. The Western Caribbean cruise includes stops in Costa Maya, Roatan and Cozumel. Norwegian Epic's Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes calls in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau. Bookings will open to the public sometime in March; cabin prices have not yet been revealed.
Stay tuned for new information -- we expect to hear much more about this ship in the coming months.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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January 27, 2009