NCL’s Big Announcement

The line expands its number of cruises in the coming years

By: Marissa Tinloy

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has announced that it will be adding a total of 32 cruises between 2007 and 2009, increasing calls to the Bahamas and returning to Grand Bahama Island beginning next month. Of these 32 new cruises, 28 will be made by the company’s new “it” girl, the Norwegian Gem.

The Norwegian Gem, which entered service Oct. 1, carries approximately 2,400 passengers and will sail seven-day Bahamas and Florida itineraries. The ship will make roundtrip voyages departing from New York beginning in December and continuing in Feb., March, April and Dec. 2008. The ship will make stops in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay (NCL’s private island) and Port Canaveral, Fla. In 2009, the Norwegian Gem will sail the same itinerary from January through April.

The first stop in Grand Bahama will be made by Norwegian Jewel. The ship, which will also stop in Nassau, will depart from Miami on Nov. 15 on a three-day Bahamas Getaway cruise.

In addition, NCL offers Bahamas itineraries on the Norwegian Jade, a Jewel-class ship built specifically for Freestyle Cruising. With three scheduled seven-day Bahamas and Florida sailings, departing roundtrip from New York on Dec. 14, 21 and 28, 2008, the ship is again set to stop in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay and Port Canaveral.

“This deployment reaffirms NCL’s long-standing commitment to its relationship with the Bahamas, which began some 40 years ago & We also have a long history of pioneering the development of new cruise destinations and we are pleased to be part of establishing Grand Bahama Island as a major cruise destination,” said Andy Stuart, NCL’s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services.

This return to the Grand Bahama Island was made after revisiting Grand Bahama Island at the invitation of the Ministry of Tourism and experiencing the new cruise port facility, dolphins at UNEXSO, a Safari Jeep Tour and an air boat through the mangroves. The Bahamas’ minister of tourism and aviation, Neko Grant, welcomes NCL and supports their decision. The company projects that these new cruise calls will contribute approximately $9 million directly to the economy of the Bahamas and $4 million of that going directly to Grand Bahama Island.

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