September 21, 2001
Norwegian Cruise Lines has announced some bewildering fleet deployment changes. First, rumors of the “demise” of Norwegian’s classic Norway, which has endured farewell voyages and an official leaving-of-fleet ceremony, are premature. Norway will be returning to the NCL fleet after a dry dock and refurbishment which, presumably, will pay some attention to the ship’s egregious breach of safety standards that got it grounded last summer by the U.S. Coast Guard. In the interest of fairness, we’ll include a seemingly dubious explanation from NCL’s Colin Veitch, who is reported to have said: “Judging from my mailbag and e-mail in-box, there are a lot of people who were very sad to see Norway leaving Miami. It's my hope that a lot of people will be happy that Norway can offer what we should call a second farewell season. Just think of her as the cruise equivalent of Frank Sinatra!'' Norway will return to service on December 23, 2001, offering seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises from Miami on Sundays, calling at St. Thomas, St. John, St. Maarten, and NCL's private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay. Despite a much heralded announcement just two weeks ago about NCL sister cruise line Orient Lines’ introduction of a new ship, Ocean Voyager (aka SuperStar Aries, which was due to be transferred to Orient in May) will now stay with Star Cruises. The other significant change involves Norwegian Sun, NCL’s swanky new ship with multiple restaurants. The ship, which was recently inaugurated in Europe -- and intended to summer there next year -- will cross the Atlantic this winter for a Caribbean season...and stay through summer 2002.