Cruise Planning & Information from Cruise Diva
Discover the world of cruise travel

Norwegian Cruise Line - Freestyle Cruising
Make the most of your cruise vacation with information from

Cruise Bon Voyage Gifts from Well Wishers -- CLICK HERE!!!

Bon Voyage Gifts & More Well Wishers

Get ready to cruise with cruise gear & more from
The Cruise Shop

 Cruising by the Book ~ Top Picks in 
Cruise Guidebooks

The favorite of serious cruise travelers:

 Cruise Travel
Cruise Travel

Have a question or a review to submit?

Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

What's New at Norwegian Cruise Line?

by Linda Coffman

Coffee with Colin Veitch

Colin Veitch - President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line

Colin Veitch
President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line

There's a lot to smile about at Norwegian Cruise Line and who better to share the news than Colin Veitch, the personable CEO and President?

Over coffee and breakfast fare at Seatrade 2002, Veitch disclosed that NCL faces a bright future, with bookings running 65% ahead of last year. Even with an increase in capacity of a whopping 29%, their load factors are up.

While not as good as it would have been due to world events, demand for European cruises is stronger than expected, particularly in the Baltic. Three NCL and Orients Line ships deployed in Europe are sailing full.

NCL will homeport two ships in Seattle next year with both Saturday and Sunday departures to serve the demand for Alaska cruises and US-based homeland cruising.

The Brightest Star in Hawaii

Initial reports from Norwegian Star passengers related some glitches and misunderstandings. One of the main criticisms of "Freestyle" cruising was that it "didn't work" as expected. Ah... expectations. It seems that initially a large majority of passengers opted to dine at once and the result was quite a crunch at the entrances when the restaurant doors were opened. To alleviate the congestion caused by the "five o'clock stampede," NCL dropped the surcharge for the Hawaiian style Endless Summer Restaurant and instituted "happy hour" in various lounges. Surprise! No more mad rush to the dining room. Incidentally, an upright piano and finger food is a particularly popular addition to the Red Lion Pub.

Recently returned from a Norwegian Star cruise, Jim Lonneville said, "The Norwegian Star is a gorgeous ship and like most has its pluses and minuses. It's a great way to get a glimpse of what Hawaii has to offer but by NO means does it allow you enough time to see half of what you want to see. As has been mentioned by many, the only way to truly see Hawaii is to do a land based vacation. That being said, we both felt that the cruise was worth every penny and while we most likely would opt for a land based vacation back to this great state, the cruise definitely gave us a preliminary for what to do when we return. We felt the Versailles Dining Room was one of the most beautiful either of us have ever seen on a cruise ship. As for Freestyle Dining... well we knew before we left that this would not be our first option in dining but we made the most of it. I think NCL handles the dining well with the many options and we never saw or heard of anyone waiting more than 10 minutes any time."

Veitch related that after initial tendering hiccups, it's been smooth sailing, with Norwegian Star "booking like a train." Even the Villas have been booked solidly and have only gone out empty a few times. Passenger feedback to docking in Hilo has been positive: berthing is much faster and Hilo is closer to the Volcanoes National Park.

Automatic charges for gratuities is also working well and service levels have not deteriorated. There is a team spirit onboard and crewmembers exert peer pressure to keep the tip pool high by insisting that everyone delivers the expected service level. NCL has received better "tip feedback" than in the past. Passengers appreciate the convenience, servers earn more, and less than 5% of passengers refuse the automatic gratuity system. It's a win-win situation.

A Norwegian Dawn on the Horizon

A new Dawn is closer than you think. In December, NCL will introduce the Norwegian Dawn. Similar in design to Norwegian Star, they will not be twins. Small differences on Norwegian Dawn will include:

  • No water slides
  • A larger area devoted to children
  • An expanded spa facility
  • A Steak House in place of the Tapas Bar
  • A Southwestern themed restaurant replaces the Hawaiian theme

Look for Norwegian Dawn to have two Garden Villas and spend her cruising time in the Caribbean.

What of the Norway?

Veitch calls her the "Frank Sinatra" of cruise ships. Rumors of her demise are ill founded... she's fully booked and doing well.

More Articles

Norwegian Cruise Line Profile

Latitudes Club for NCL repeat passengers