Is Norway Leaving NCL's Fleet?

October 23, 2003

Some eagle-eyed Cruise Critic community members have noted that Norwegian Cruise Line's 2004 catalog contains nary-a-mention of Norway. The circa 1960s classic ocean liner, which experienced a tragic boiler explosion last May, has been laid up at Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany, awaiting repairs. The cruise line had first announced the ship would resume service earlier this month – then backed off that date and said that Norway would perhaps be ready sometime next year.

A report in Haarlems Dagblad, a Dutch newspaper, however, quotes an Amsterdam entrepreneur who says he is in negotiations to dock Norway in that city, where it would serve as a hotel, casino, theater and nightclub. Joop Post, the entrepreneur, previously had tried to arrange to dock Rembrandt (former Rotterdam V) in Amsterdam, alas, unsuccessfully.

In the story, Post says that city officials are enthusiastic about the possibility of landing Norway as a ship-cum-hotel-and-entertainment complex though a deal has not yet been brokered, either between the city or with Norwegian Cruise Line. If all goes well, he says, the Norway could be docked on the banks of Amsterdam's River Ij by late 2004.

The time frame depends somewhat on the repairs NCL intends to make. An NCL reservations clerk told us that the company had, indeed, ordered a new boiler and insisted that Norway would return to service at a date-to-be-determined. A spokeswoman for the company, however, declined to comment, noting that NCL does not respond to rumors. She also said that "regarding the 2004 brochure, since we don't know when the ship will be in service or what itinerary she'll be sailing at that time, we don't want to publish options and confuse customers."