Tag-Archive for » Norwegian Star «

Norwegian On The Move Worldwide

We could be wrong about this but we detect the heavy hand of Frank Del Rio in Norwegian’s latest news bulletin.

And that’s good.

For the first time in 13 years, Norwegian is sending a ship to Asia and Australia. For the first time ever, Norwegian is sending a ship to the Persian Gulf and India. For the first time since any of us can remember, Norwegian is going to base a ship in South America for two consecutive winters (having taken the Norwegian Sun to South America a few years ago — on what will always be near the top of our favorite cruises — this item really got our attention).

And finally, for the first time since…April, the Norwegian Epic is returning to North America.

All of this is going to start happening next year, and it smacks of the ambitious and gregarious CEO of Norwegian Holdings, Frank Del Rio, who has been on the job just seven months, and his Norwegian lieutenant, Andy Stuart.

That Norwegian would find its way to Asia was inevitable, because there isn’t going to be a major cruise line without a presence there. That its new itineraries would spread to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India demonstrates the intent the cruise line has to be a player in those markets.

By ships, here is how it shakes down for the fall and winter of 2016-17…

Norwegian Star will launch its program from Istanbul on October 31, 2016 on a 20-day cruise through the Mediterranean to the Suez Canal and eventually Dubai. After that, its ports on a variety of cruises will include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bali, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.

Norwegian Epic will summer in Europe and winter in the Caribbean, from Miami, an about-face for a ship that was going to sail year-round from Barcelona. The first of its 3-4-and-7-day cruises will be in the fall of 2016.

Norwegian Spirit will replace the Epic in Europe for year-round Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Venice and Istanbul.

Norwegian Sun (ah, memories) will continue to be the workhorse in South America, where in the winter of 2015-16 it will be on cruises of two weeks or longer.

Norwegian Jewel will make two trips each way through the Panama Canal in October 2016 and April 2017.

Norwegian Jade will be home-ported in Tampa, for Caribbean winter cruises, likely returning to Europe in the summer.

By the time all this falls into place, the Norwegian Escape will be here (it hits the water October 25 and crosses the ocean four days later. With the return of the Epic, that means Norwegian’s four biggest ships of its 14-member fleet — Epic, Escape, Breakaway and Getaway — will all be spending their winters in Caribbean waters.

So for as much talk as there is about cruise lines and their expansion to Asia and Australia, the core of this business is still Caribbean cruises.

In the news…

• Carnival, Dr. Seuss host two celebrity book-reading events
• America Cruise Lines doubles capacity on Snake, Columbia Rivers

Today at portsandbows.com: Chef Curtis Stone on Princess fleet

Ruby Princess
3 nights
September 14, 2015
Vancouver, Los Angeles
Inside: $99
Cost per day: $33

Cruising to Cuba: It’s Personal

The day we met Frank Del Rio, he was the founder of Oceania Cruises. Three years later, he is the head of the Norwegian cruise conglomerate. And any day or week or month now, he is poised to take a cruise ship to Cuba.

It’s inevitable that mainstream cruise ships will be taking passengers to the one remaining Caribbean island none of them is allowed to visit. It’s just a matter of when.

Nobody is more anxious than Frank Del Rio.

Frank Del RioWe knew he lived in Miami and his surname should have been a giveaway, but it didn’t occur to us that the Del Rios were Cubans. Not only that, Frank Del Rio escaped to Miami with his parents — as so many Cuban expatriates did — and has lived in South Florida ever since.

It goes without saying that cruising to Cuba, once the embargoes are lifted, is important to Del Rio. Judging from that desire plus his personality, it’s safe to assume that he also wants to be FIRST.

“My unfulfilled dream is to be on the bridge of one of my ships coming into Havana harbor,” he told CBS station WFOR-TV.

First, of course.

Despite all his preparation — proposed itineraries, multiple ports to visit, making it possible to change a ship’s schedule  on short notice — there are still some issues. From all reports, Cuba is not ready for big cruise ships. The infrastructure probably isn’t there yet for the volume of ships and passengers, from port facilities to the ability to process and protect passengers to the on-island transportation needs.

One legal mind is already cautioning the cruise industry to take it slow and easy. Those two characteristics would never apply to Frank Del Rio, who says he’ll be ready “at the drop of a hat.” He has more reason to be passionate about it than his competition.

The race is soon to be on.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Norwegian Star
11 nights
April 27, 2015
Miami, Ponta Delgada, London
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $36

Cruise Question: To Surf Or To Drink?

An online travel agency called Cruise Holidays conducted a quickie survey on its Facebook page recently, asking readers to choose between two options for “something free” if going on a cruise:

• Free Internet

• Free drinks

The creators could’ve called it De-vices vs Vices but they didn’t. They also resisted the Burrowing Owl wineiPhoneurge to call it a “straw poll” although that’s what it was. What they did call it was “shocking” because when the results were compiled, nearly one-third of the respondents said “free Internet.”

Think about that. Drinks on cruise ships are expensive — all drinks, including soda pop. One estimate is that a couple could save more than $1,000 on a 10-day cruise with a free drinks package. Plus people go on cruise ships to get away from the office, so to speak, right? Plus holidaying and partying and socializing usually comes with a generous number of drinks (alcoholic or not), and that’s a big part of being on a cruise.

Yet 32 per cent of the people who responded to the question chose free Internet. Maybe it shouldn’t be such a shock. After all, people are infatuated with — dare we say addicted to? — “devices.”

What would you choose?

Today at portsandbows.com: More flights to ports from Canada

Norwegian Star
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Los Angeles (return): Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $42

Time To Check Re-positioning Cruises


September is typically a good time of year to explore re-positioning cruises…either last-minute cruises this fall or the reverse trips that depart next spring.

Doesn’t everybody like the price-point that comes with ships that have to get from one part of the world to another? We do. Better bang for your buck…always.

However, there’s a few things you need to know — if you don’t already — about re-positioning cruises;

One, remember to factor into your budget the cost of traveling to or from the ship. These are not return cruises.

Two, you need time for a re-positioning cruise. They are longer than most cruises and there’s additional travel time required to get there, or back.

Three, most have an abundance of sea days. While we’ve never been bored, it’s always a possibility. If you’re worried about running out of things to do, or books to read, consider going on a larger ship that has more amenities.

From three cruise lines, here are three re-positioning cruises on which you might get the double benefit of being “last-minute” because they all leave this fall, and they’re in different parts of the globe:


Copenhagen to Miami, 14 days on the Norwegian Star, on October 6 and starting at $419 — that’s an incredible $29 per night.

Holland America

Vancouver to Sydney, 24 nights on the Veendam, on September 24 and starting at $1,499 — that’s $62 a night.

Royal Caribbean

Boston to Tampa (extended trip through the Caribbean), 13 nights on Brilliance of the Seas, on October 26 and starting at $1,237 — $95 a night.

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America’s new ship

Holland America Prinsendam
16 nights
October 5, 2014
Athens (return): Volos, Thessaloniki, Kavala, The Dardanelles, Istanbul, Batuma, Trabzon, Sinop, Constanta, Bourgas, The Dardanelles, Cesme, Ephesus
Oceanview: $1,599
Cost per day: $99

Freestyle Flashback: What's Up?

Here's an item that strikes at the very heart of our love of cruising.

Dinner reservations on Norwegian.

As you may have read here before, we came back to cruising because Norwegian was the first cruise line NOT to insist on fixed dining. No traditional times. No identical Norwegian Stardining partners, night after night. All of these things appealed to us so…Norwegian Star, here we came. It was the introduction of Freestyle Cruising.

Now, reservations are creeping back into Norwegian.

It started on Pride of America, the Hawaii ship. Norwegian told its customers it could reserve space in the dining room up to 90 days in advance. As people who don't know what time dinner is tonight, or any night, this is foreign territory. The offer has now been extended to all Norwegian ships and, no, you don't have to make reservations…you can still do the Freestyle thing.

But here's the real catch: Reservations are offered at 5:30, 6:30 and 8:30. Fixed times.

The more things change, the more they remain the same?

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Crystal…way up north

Ruby Princess
14 nights
September 8, 2014
LondonBergenLerwickAkureyriIsafjordurReykjavikSt. John’sNew York
Inside: $1,299
Cost per day: $92

  • Categories

  • Archives