Two more iconic cruise ships from the 1990s head to the scrappers
Two vessels that helped transform the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet into a major travel brand have made their final journeys.
The 1,750-passenger SuperStar Gemini and 1,750-passenger SuperStar Aquarius, which Norwegian fans will remember as Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Wind, have arrived in Alang, India, the site of a major ship scrapping operation.
On Monday, ship tracking sites showed the two vessels located at Alang after short voyages without passengers from Sri Lanka, where they had been for several months.
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Originally unveiled in 1992 and 1993 as the Dreamward and Windward, respectively, the two ships joined the Norwegian fleet at a time when the line was a much smaller company than it is today. In the early 1990s, Norwegian operated just a half dozen vessels — a third of the number in the line's current fleet.
The arrival of the two ships and half a dozen others in the 1990s transformed the brand into a major player in North America tourism.
The vessels sailed with Norwegian for 15 and 14 years, respectively — first as Dreamward and Windward, and then, after name changes in 1998, as Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Wind.
The name changes came after both ships were lengthened by more than 100 feet in 1998 to add more cabins and other amenities.
Related: The 8 types of Norwegian Cruise Line ships, explained
Norwegian Wind left the Norwegian fleet in 2007, and Norwegian Dream departed the brand in 2008. In both cases, they were transferred to Star Cruises, an Asia-based line that marketed to Asian travelers.
At the time of the transfer, Norwegian and Star Cruises were intertwined financially.
Star Cruises collapsed earlier this year after a liquidity crunch at its parent company brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vessels haven't sailed with paying passengers since January.
Star Cruises was part of Genting Hong Kong, which also owned the luxury line Crystal Cruises and Asia-based Dream Cruises. Both of those lines shut down earlier this year, too, as part of a wider collapse of Genting Hong Kong. Crystal now is in the midst of restarting operations under a new owner.
The former Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Wind are just the latest iconic vessels from the 1990s to head to the scrappers. Just last month, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, a Carnival Cruise Line ship, made its final voyage to a scrapyard in Turkey.
Dating to 1991, Carnival Ecstasy was the sixth of eight 1990s-built ships at Carnival to head to the scrappers since early 2020.
While still much-beloved by some cruisers for their small sizes, cruise vessels from the 1990s lack many of the amenities of newer cruise ships, such as a wide array of restaurants, bars and deck-top amusements. They also were often built without large numbers of cabins with balconies — the type of cabin that everyone wants today.
Both Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Wind measured about 50,000 tons. While relatively big for their time, they were less than one-quarter the size of today's biggest cruise ships. The biggest cruise ship currently at sea, Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas, measures 236,800 tons.
In heading to the scrapyards of Alang, India, Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Wind are joining a long list of iconic cruise ships from the early decades of the industry, including Carnival's first-ever vessel, Mardi Gras, and Celebrity Cruises' Zenith.
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