Layoffs at NCL Blamed on Fuel

NCL Corporation has eliminated 145 positions in the company’s Miami headquarters

NCL’s Norwegian Pearl // (c) NCL

NCL's Norwegian Pearl

NCL Corporation has eliminated 145 positions in the company’s Miami headquarters, its Arizona call center and its U.K. and European offices, some at the senior executive level, due in large part to rising fuel costs.

Huge increases in fuel costs, widely estimated at 60-70 percent higher than last year’s, have impacted everything from the price of food and other commodities to ship itinerary planning.

NCL’s announcement followed Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ’s announcement that it eliminated 400 shoreside positions a month earlier. Carnival Cruise Lines is now the only one of the “Big Three” that has stated it has no plans to cut personnel to reduce costs.

While cruise lines are generally tackling the fuel issue as a continuing problem rather than a momentary one, controllable costs are being examined across the board in the
industry — with a microscope.

NCL said, however, that its external business development salesforce remains intact and the reduction will not impact agent support.

The company is preparing for the largest growth surge in its history with the arrival of its two F3 ships in 2010. However, NCL will likely see a drop in capacity until then with the sale of the Marco Polo earlier this year and the upcoming retirement of the Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty.