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NCL NEWS - Company announces several updates for the NCL brand including the transfer of Norwegian Sea to Star Cruises

MIAMI, March 17 – Today during a press conference at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention, Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and Chief Executive Office Colin Veitch made several announcements for the NCL brand.

1) SuperStar Leo will be permanently deployed in the NCL fleet after her initial Alaska season and be renamed Norwegian Spirit. The ship will spend the winter in Miami sailing five- and nine-day cruises. Norwegian Spirit’s innovative nine-day itinerary leaves Miami on Friday nights and travels to the Deep Southern Caribbean calling on Bridgetown, Barbados; St. George’s, Grenada; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John’s, Antigua; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands returning on Sundays. According to Veitch, “This unique itinerary will be the only way to cruise the Deep Southern Caribbean and only take a week off work, all with the convenience of a Miami departure, which is just a drive away for the large South Florida market or a short and affordable flight for many markets around the U.S.” Norwegian Spirit’s five-day itinerary will leave Miami on Sundays and call in George Town, Grand Cayman and Roatan, Honduras.

2) Norwegian Sea will be transferred to the Star Cruises fleet in Spring of 2005 enabling NCL’s parent company to go forward with its plans to modify its fleet profile in Asia with relatively modern vessels of medium capacity rather than mega ships. Medium sized ships offer greater deployment flexibility and more diversification of capacity in a developing market where demand patterns have yet to be established. “This move once again demonstrates the advantage of having a diverse fleet in two divergent markets that can be strategically redeployed as part of an ever changing global marketplace,” Veitch said. “The redeployment of a mid-size vessel such as Norwegian Sea to Star Cruises is optimal for the Asian market and utilizing a state-of-the-art mega ship such as SuperStar Leo is ideal in the extremely competitive North American market.”

3) In October 2005, Norwegian Dream will take over Norwegian Sea’s year round cruises out of Houston sailing Exotic Western Caribbean seven-day cruises calling in Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Cancun, Mexico. The company will announce a replacement ship for New Orleans shortly;

4) As NCL continues its fleet renewal program of adding bigger and newer ships, Veitch announced that regretfully the S/S Norway would not return to the North American cruise market. The company continues to evaluate appropriate options for the vessel;

5) NCL will be increasing its deployment in Alaska in 2005 with an additional ship bringing its total to four ships cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage. Further details will be announced in the next few weeks.

A full deployment schedule for the NCL and Orient Lines brands will also be announced in the next few weeks.

More details on Norwegian Spirit
On May 15, 2004, Norwegian Spirit assumes Norwegian Sky’s Alaska program through September 18, 2004.

After the Alaska season, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a significant remodeling and refurbishment to further modify her for North American service. Details on Norwegian Spirit’s refurbishment will be announced soon.

“We have been extremely pleased with the welcome SuperStar Leo has received since we first announced she would enter the NCL fleet for the Alaska season,” Veitch said. “As the slightly smaller sister of Norwegian Star, the ship will be right at home with our family of modern Freestyle Cruising vessels.

“She is the perfect addition to the NCL fleet.”
Norwegian Spirit was built by Meyer Werft in Germany in 1999 and was Star Cruises first newbuild and largest vessel. The ship is 879 feet long and 106 feet wide, slightly smaller than her big sister, Norwegian Star. Norwegian Spirit cruises at a maximum speed of 25 knots.

Like Norwegian Star, which begins her first Alaska season in May, Norwegian Spirit offers a wide choice of interconnecting cabins perfect for multi-generational families of all sizes. Staterooms feature rich cherry wood finishing and the 391 balcony staterooms offer a much larger bathroom unit than other ships, containing separate WC, shower, and washstand compartments separated by sliding doors. Sixty percent of cabins are outside staterooms and 66 percent of these have balconies.

Most cabins include a sofa bed or pop-up trundle bed, giving a third lower bed, and many have a fourth, pull-down berth. The ship also offers a large number of cabins (including suites and junior-suites) that can be combined to create two-, three- or four-bedroom areas suitable for small and large families.

In keeping with Freestyle Cruising where guests can dine wherever, whenever, and with whomever they wish, Norwegian Spirit features the flexibility of eight restaurants including two main restaurants; NCL’s signature restaurant Le Bistro; a traditional steakhouse; La Trattoria, an Italian café; a buffet restaurant featuring action stations; and a Japanese/Thai/Chinese Asian complex featuring an a la carte section, a sushi bar, and a teppanyaki room.

Norwegian Spirit features world-class amenities including the Moulin Rouge, a 900-seat, two level theatre; the Roman Spa and Fitness Center; Buccaneer’s Wet n’ Wild kids center and a 78-seat cinema. Norwegian Spirit features nine bars and lounges, including a Bier Garten that offers a selection of beers from around the world; a champagne bar called Champagne Charlie’s; Henry’s Pub, a traditional English pub; a karaoke lounge with private karaoke rooms; the Celebrity Disco offering cocktails, entertainment and dancing; and the Observatory, with sweeping ocean views, a dance floor and live entertainment.