This cruise line is betting big on luxury with over-the-top suites and amenities on its new ships
Norwegian Cruise Line is about to up the ante when it comes to the suite life on megaships.
The world's fourth-largest cruise brand on Wednesday announced that its next series of vessels would have the largest variety of suite categories available at sea, including three-bedroom suites that are larger than anything that has emerged from other lines in recent years.
The six-ship series also will boast a higher staff-to-passenger ratio and a higher space-to-passenger ratio than other recently built big cruise ships, allowing for a higher-end experience across the board.
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"This really gave us an unprecedented opportunity to take the brand up a notch," Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Harry Sommer said of the development of the series, which has been in the works for several years.
Speaking with TPG in advance of Wednesday's announcement, Sommer said the new ships would rival anything found at any other big-ship line when it comes to high-end offerings.
"That absolutely is our message," Sommer said when asked if the story was that Norwegian was going more upscale.
The first of the six ships in the series, Norwegian Prima, is scheduled to debut in August of 2022, with the rest of the vessels arriving at a rate of about one per year through 2027. Norwegian Prima currently is under construction at a shipyard near Venice, Italy.
Until Wednesday, Norwegian had revealed few details of the new vessels, other than to say they would be about 15% smaller than the line's last series of new ships.
But Wednesday's announcement greatly fleshes out the details of what passengers can expect from the six new vessels, which will significantly expand the size of the Norwegian fleet. Norwegian currently operates 17 vessels.
In addition to a wide variety of suites, Norwegian said Norwegian Prima would have:
- Norwegian's largest-ever windowless "inside" cabins, ocean-view cabins and balcony cabins. The line didn't reveal specific measurements for the cabin categories.
- The most outdoor deck space of any new cruise ship.
- More total pool deck space than any other Norwegian ship.
At the heart of the ship's suite offerings will be an expanded version of The Haven By Norwegian, the exclusive "ship-within-a-ship" suite area found on many of the line's newer vessels.
The Haven on Norwegian Prima will span an unprecedented seven decks across the back of the ship. Many of The Haven complexes on current Norwegian vessels are just two decks high.
"It's truly -- I mean truly -- huge," Sommer said of The Haven complex planned for Norwegian Prima. He noted that it included a private spa for residents separate from the ship's main spa as well as a private lounge, restaurant and pool deck area.
The pool deck area has its own infinity pool overlooking the ship's wake.
There will be 107 suites in The Haven on Norwegian Prima in all -- far more than found in The Haven complexes on other Norwegian ships. The area will have its own private elevators to take passengers between its many levels.
The entire complex was designed by noted Italian designer Piero Lissoni.
An expanded 'waterfront'
Norwegian on Wednesday also announced that Norwegian Prima would have an expanded version of The Waterfront, the outdoor promenade area with bars and restaurants found on some of Norwegian's latest vessels.
Now called Ocean Boulevard, the promenade will wrap around all of Deck 8 and offer access to a wide range of eateries and bars including a new-for-Norwegian upscale open-air food marketplace. Dubbed Indulge Food Hall, the new marketplace will offer 11 venues including a Texas barbecue restaurant, a rotisserie, a noodle outlet and a venue specializing in Indian cuisine.
Indulge Food Hall also will have a Starbucks, a food truck serving Latin-inspired street food, a salad venue and an ice cream shop.
Ocean Boulevard also will be home to a version of Onda by Scarpetta, the high-end Italian restaurant that debuted in 2019 on Norwegian Encore; a version of Norwegian's premium Mexican restaurant called Los Lobos; and one of the Local Bar & Grill eatery and music venues found on Norwegian ships.
In addition, Ocean Boulevard will have an outdoor sculpture garden called The Concourse; a pool area with infinity pools on both sides of the vessel; and two "glass bridges" where passengers can walk above the water.
One other venue announced for Norwegian Prima was La Terraza, an open-air lounge.
Norwegian on Monday announced that Norwegian Prima initially would sail in Northern Europe in 2022 before moving to North America for voyages out of New York City; Galveston, Texas; and Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida.
The ship has been designed to carry 3,215 passengers at double occupancy, and it'll measure 142,500 tons. Norwegian hasn't unveiled a new class of ship in nearly 10 years.
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