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Norwegian Cruise Line has signed an agreement with Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany to build two new ships in the Breakaway-Plus class, scheduled for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019.
Each ship will weigh 164,600 gross tons and have a capacity of 4,200 passengers. The two newest ships, which are part of an aggressive ship building program that started with launches in 2013 and will extend through to 2019, will bring Norwegian’s fleet to 17 vessels.
Analysts expressed surprise that the orders were placed so far in advance, especially since Norwegian already has two ships under construction in the Breakaway-Plus class. The Escape will launch in 2015 and the Bliss is scheduled to launch in 2017. All the Breakaway-Plus ships are somewhat larger than Breakaway and Getaway, which were introduced by Norwegian in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Norwegian Escape will sail the Caribbean from Miami when it debuts next year. There has been some speculation that Getaway, which is also homeported in Miami, may eventually be homeported elsewhere. Norwegian hasn’t indicated deployment plans for its other newbuilds.
“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”
Norwegian’s aggressive building ship building program could have an impact on cruising patterns from the western U.S. Crane Gladding, senior vice president of itinerary planning, revenue management and passenger services for Norwegian, has indicated that the new ships coming in will enable Norwegian to place more vessels in the West.