NCL May Sell Older Ships

April 18, 2008

According to a Lloyd's List news report, Norwegian Cruise Line could be negotiating to sell three of its older ships. The maritime and transport news publication stated that NCL may sell Pride of Aloha to Pullmantur (a Spanish line owned by Royal Caribbean) and Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty to Louis Cruise Lines (the Cyprus-based line whose ship sank off Santorini last year).

NCL announced in February that it would transfer the Pride of Aloha to parent company Star Cruises on May 11, 2008 (Star and Apollo Management are each 50 percent owners of NCL). But until now, we'd heard nothing about selling that ship or any other to European lines. However, the sales would be in keeping with Norwegian's goal to have the youngest fleet in the industry -- and might help offset some of the financial troubles brought on by NCL America's lackluster performance.

Currently, you can book cruises on Norwegian Dream through October 2008 and Majesty through October 2009. But as we've seen this year with Pride of Aloha and Norwegian Jade, NCL isn't afraid to cancel bookings in order to move a ship.

NCL refused to comment on the potential sales. A statement from a company spokesperson says: "Norwegian Dream and Majesty are both owned by Star Cruises, and Pride of Aloha, under our agreement with Star, is supposed to become owned by Star after we withdraw her from Hawaii. Therefore, we are not in a position to talk about the disposition of any of these ships as they are not ours."

Star Cruises is similarly tight-lipped. A spokesperson tells us via e-mail that "we are unable to provide any comments on the said issues. As a global cruise operator, we do have continuous plans on selling old ships and building new ones to rejuvenate our fleet."

We'll keep you posted if anything new comes to light regarding the potential ship sales.

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor