Quirky, funky, alternative…now No. 3


When we first sailed on a Norwegian ship (the Star), it was a cruise line that was considered a little quirky (have you seen the hull paintings?), a little funky (you could eat at whatever time you wanted) and a little alternative (it was a misfit in Gemthe world of Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess).

How things have changed.

According to the Cruise Industry News Annual Report, Norwegian ranks third in total capacity, behind Carnival and Royal Caribbean. The fact that Norwegian added the Breakaway and Getaway in the last 14 months would account for the latest jump, and for the bulk of its 19 per cent increase in capacity.

Princess is No. 4, also with a huge jump (18.5)…can you say Royal Princess, the line's first new ship in five years? Costa, of all cruise lines, ranks fifth, thanks to two months of 2013 with its new ship (neoRiviera). MSC, with no new ship, slipped from third to sixth place, which made room for Norwegian to leap-frog the others.

With two more new ships on the horizon — the Escape next year and the Bliss in 2017 — it's a status that Norwegian figures to maintain. Barring attrition of its older vessels, those will be the 14th and 15th ships for a line that had only 10 when we boarded the Star six years ago. Carnival currently has 23, Royal Caribbean 21 with two Quantum Class ships in the works and Princess 17 with the Regal Princess coming.

The CIN annual report estimates that with double occupancy Norwegian can carry 1,722,400 passengers. Princess has a capacity of 1.6 million, about 200,000 more than Costa.

Not bad for what was a quirky, funky, alternative cruise line.

Celebrity Constellation
9 nights
November 29, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): LabadeeSan JuanSt. CroixSt. BartsSt. Maarten
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $77

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