PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten and the destination will be welcoming for the first time the cruise vessel Norwegian Escape, one of Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) biggest ships of the Breakaway Plus class.
The new vessel will be calling at Port St. Maarten on Tuesday, July 26, and is now the fifth largest ship at sea after the two Oasis-class and two Quantum-class ships from Royal Caribbean.
Norwegian Escape was built by the Meyer Werft shipyard and is 164,600 tons. The vessel completed sea trials in the North Sea back in August/September 2015 before making its transatlantic trip to Miami on October 29.
The cruise passenger ship carries 4,200 and becomes the NCLs 14th ship in its fleet.
“We are looking forward to welcome Norwegian Escape next Tuesday considered to be the newest and most advanced cruise vessel on the seas. NCL is a very important cruise partner, and we have been working diligently to have them return to destination Sint Maarten.
“Port St. Maarten continues to work on additional calls from NCL. NCL has interests in Tortola and made an itinerary change which moved vessels to that island, but for the coming season we will be seeing new vessels calling at the port. NCL is looking at emerging markets such as China and Australia and moved vessels to that part of the world and are also building vessels that would cater to those markets.
“In April Port St. Maarten Management met with the President of NCL Frank Del Rio Sr. and Vice President of Port & Itinerary Planning Mario Parodi Jr. where a number of issues were discussed such as including the destination in the new builds itinerary planning. NCL stated that they are pleased with the ratings as well as the total package that the destination has to offer cruise passengers. We remain cognizant of the trends and developments in the cruise industry and are happy that NCL remains committed to the destination with respect to growing our cruise sector,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.
Norwegian Escape was christened by ship godfather Pitbull on November 9th and thereafter sailed seven-night Caribbean itineraries out of Port Miami.
Two more Breakaway Plus ships are expected to be launched in 2018 and 2019.
A sister ship to the Escape, formerly Norwegian Bliss, is now awaiting a Chinese name, and is currently under construction at Meyer Werft and due in 2017. This ship is being built for the Chinese market.
Norwegian Cruise Line since January embarked upon The Norwegian Edge™, an innovative program that promises to introduce a new standard of excellence that encompasses the entire guest experience, from ship hardware to culinary enhancements and exclusive private destination developments. The Norwegian Edge™ reflects a significant two-year $400 million investment by the company through 2017 and demonstrates the line’s commitment to exceptional quality and extraordinary experiences.
The centerpiece of the program is an extensive ship refurbishment initiative that will elevate the experience on board the Norwegian fleet to this new standard.
The refurbishment program began in October 2015 with a full refresh of Norwegian Epic; Norwegian Gem followed in November, debuting significant enhancements.
Throughout the course of the refurbishment program, a total of seven additional ships will go into dry dock for both guest-facing and technical enhancements: Pride of America and Norwegian Sun in spring 2016; Norwegian Dawn in summer 2016; Norwegian Spirit , Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Pearl in winter 2017; and Norwegian Jade in spring 2017.