The most intriguing news coming out of Norwegian Cruise Line's announcement of its 2004/2005 Caribbean deployment is that it plans to continue basing Norwegian Dawn in the "Big Apple" on a year-round basis.
Norwegian Dawn, the only ship to sail from Manhattan in all seasons, is in its first year there, and Andy Stuart, the company's senior vice president, says the ship has been very well received. Norwegian Dawn primarily offers seven day unique-in-the-industry roundtrips that call at the Bahamas (Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay), Port Canaveral (Orlando) and Miami. But one particular itinerary addition - offered in the darkest days of winter - is of tremendous appeal. The 10- and 11-day voyages feature deepest Southern Caribbean ports-of-call - not generally available on cruises out of Miami much less America's northeast. These voyages feature stops at Barbados, Antigua, Dominica, and Grenada as well as closer-in Eastern Caribbean islands like St. Thomas, Tortola and St. Maarten.
Regardless of weather, Stuart says NCL is unfazed by worries that winter cruises will be plagued with freezing weather. "You leave New York on Sunday afternoon and by Monday lunchtime you'll generally be in shorts-and-T-shirt weather outside of Cape Hatteras."
In other deployment highlights, Norwegian Majesty, which is sailing from Charleston, South Carolina as a seasonal homeport this winter, will return in 2004-2005. Norwegian Majesty will sail a seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West.