Norwegian Joy

The Norwegian Joy is out of the drydock in Singapore and heading for the West Coast ahead of her debut into the booming Alaska cruise market.

After a year-and-a-half in the Chinese cruise business, the ship has been Westernized and will sail from Seattle for the summer season.

Norwegian Joy

MJM Marine was appointed as the main outfitting contractor by Norwegian Cruise Line for the refurbishment of Norwegian Joy as the company played the lead role in the design, manufacture, installation and project management of the interior refit of the ship.

While work began in early March in China, the ship’s Pacific crossing will be a working event with no guests, with interior renovations set to conclude later this month as the ship reaches Seattle.

Among new shows for guests will be Footloose along with the aerial acrobatics show, Elements, and the wine-tasting comedy, Wine Lovers: The Musical.

Photos: Singapore Cruise Society

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Norwegian Changes 2019-2020 Itineraries, Pulls Joy From China

Image result for norwegian joy
Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced changes to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries. Among these, the Norwegian Joy is leaving China to join the Norwegian Bliss, sailing seasonally in Alaska in the summer 2019, and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020. The Norwegian Spirit will replace the Joy in China in 2020, leaving Norwegian out of the Chinese market for one year, and the Spirit will only sail there on a seasonal basis.

The Pearl, which is in Alaska now, will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while the Jade and Jewel will expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter the 2019-2020 winter season.

The Joy repositions to Seattle in April 2019 to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing the Pearl as Norwegian’s third ship in the region, joining the Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, the Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in work to match her sister ship, the Bliss.

When she goes to Europe in 2019, the Pearl will be sailing from Amsterdam as well as Civitavecchia, Barcelona and Venice.

With the Joy on the West Coast, the Jewel will go to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, sailing from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.

In addition, the Jade will offer sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong for the 2019-2020 season.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market. Prior to her 2020 arrival in China, the 1999-built Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program.

 

To agents’ delight, new cruise ships steaming for the West Coast

The Norwegian Bliss, shown here in a rendering, will make a June debut in Seattle.LONG BEACH, Calif. — For years, agents on the West Coast have pleaded with suppliers to put new cruise ships in ports near their clients. Now they’re getting their wish.

This year, the Norwegian Bliss will make a June debut in Seattle, the first time a new Norwegian Cruise Line ship has been stationed in the West since the Norwegian Star began sailing in Hawaii in 2001.

Next year, Carnival Cruise Line will launch its latest ship, the Carnival Panorama, in Long Beach, Calif., while Royal Caribbean International will move the Ovation of the Seas, just 2 years old, to Seattle.

Together, the three ships will add more than 12,000 new or nearly new lower berths, at least seasonally, to the West Coast market.

“It’s very exciting. There’s been a big need out here for a long time,” said Betsy Geiser, vice president at Uniglobe Travel in Irvine, Calif. “Historically, it’s been older ships and smaller ships. Carnival’s making a big improvement by bringing [the Panorama] here.”

With their proximity to the Caribbean, East Coast ports, particularly Miami and Fort Lauderdale, have long been the default homeports when a new vessel emerges from the shipyard.

In recent years, ports such as New York have also benefitted as fleets grew and lines cultivated new markets.

But in a sense, the West Coast is the cradle of the industry, said John Mast, vice president of marketing for Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Vancouver.

“It’s important to remember that Princess, with that run down to Mexico, sort of kicked off the U.S. cruise industry in many ways,” Mast said.

The California-Mexico itinerary, immortalized in “The Love Boat” television show, is still a mainstay of the market. Carnival plans to enrich Ensenada with new port activities in a bid to make Long Beach one of its biggest hubs.

“I think there’s been a renaissance going on for the West Coast, and I think that Carnival’s investment is a very strong indicator of that,” Mast said.

There are several reasons why the region is enjoying a rebirth, Mast said. One is the recent expansion of the Panama Canal. Before 2016, the cruise industry’s newest and largest ships couldn’t fit through the locks. Now that a wider channel has been opened, it is easier to move most large ships back and forth.

Also, after several years in which European cruise seasons were marred by terrorist activity, domestic ports have become more attractive long-term investments, especially in excursion-rich Alaska.

Mast said the new ships, with their go-kart tracks and Imax theatres, can help attract a younger demographic to Alaska.

“It seems kind of gimmicky to have a racetrack on the roof,” he said, “but the reality is that Alaska is a wonderful summer vacation for families. Families are a huge market. If I know kids, that will immediately get them excited, and we know that kids play a role in forming the vacation choice.”

For agents, the practical impact of having news ships on the West Coast is that they are easier and more profitable to sell.

Anita Pagliasso, president of Ticket to Travel in San Jose, Calif., said, “Cruisers are very excited about something new. It becomes lucrative because the pricing’s always higher when a brand new ship comes out, so the higher the pricing, the higher the commission. It goes hand in hand, I think.”

Pagliasso said the opportunities extended beyond West Coast agents.

“I think some of the feedback I got, even some of the agents in the Midwest, was that [clients] have gone to Florida enough, and they want something different,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for not only West Coast agents to promote these ships but other agents who have clients who have done all the cruising out of Florida and are looking for something new and exciting.”