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NCL pulls Joy from China, adds Europe, Australia ships

Norwegian Joy will undergo a $50m renovation and operate year-round from the US West Coast
Among key changes to 2019 and 2020 itineraries, Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy China ship Norwegian Joy in Alaska next summer, joining sister Norwegian Bliss, and Joy will remain year-round on the US West Coast.

Norwegian Pearl will sail to Europe as NCL's sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will significantly expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia and Asia in 2019/20.

Norwegian Spirit heading to China seasonally

Maintaining an NCL presence in China, Norwegian Spirit will sail seasonally there beginning summer 2020.

Following its Alaska program, Norwegian Joy will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/20.

'The booming demand environment in our core markets around the world, coupled with Norwegian Bliss’ record-breaking performance, continue to exceed our expectations,' said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. 'As a result, we are leveraging the strategic benefits of our growing fleet to quickly seize sizable opportunities in over-performing, unserved and underserved markets to meet the demands of our global customer base and drive higher returns for our shareholders.'

Joy set for $50m upgrade

In April 2019, Norwegian Joy will reposition to Seattle to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing Norwegian Pearl as the line's third ship in the region, along with Norwegian Bliss and Jewel. Prior to arriving in Seattle, the 2017-built Norwegian Joy will undergo approximately $50m in upgrades to enhance features and bring designs and offerings to become virtually identical to those of newer sister Norwegian Bliss. Changes include the addition of a Starbucks store and enhanced restaurant, bar and entertainment options.

Norwegian Joy will cruise a variety of itineraries featuring Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Holkham Bay and Icy Strait Point. The ship will also call at Victoria, BC.

'Norwegian Cruise Line expanded the Alaska cruise experience as the first line to sail to the state from Seattle over 24 years ago,' president and CEO Andy Stuart said. 'I am extremely excited to further strengthen our presence in the region with the addition of Norwegian Joy, sister ship to Norwegian Bliss, the most successful ship in our 51-year history.'

Both ships have stunning observation lounges, ideal for Alaska, plus racetracks and laser tag arenas, while Norwegian Joy offers the line's only Galaxy Pavilion, which features simulator rides and interactive video walls.

Following its inaugural Alaska season, Norwegian Joy will sail to Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter 2019/20. This move will mark a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market on the West Coast of the US with the arrival of a premier cruise ship.

Norwegian Pearl's new Europe routes

As Norwegian Joy enters Alaska in summer 2019, the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Pearl will redeploy to Europe, further strengthening the line’s seasonal European deployment to six ships. Pearl will operate new and varied itineraries from Amsterdam, plus a variety of Mediterranean sailings from Civitavecchia (Rome), Barcelona and Venice.

Norwegian Jewel and Jade to Australia and Asia

Norwegian Joy’s seasonal sailings in Los Angeles in winter 2019/20 allow for Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall, to return to Australia/New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific for a third year of seasonal cruises from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.

The 2,400-passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/20. Ports include high demand locations such as Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Ha Long Bay. In addition, Jade will offer several unique itineraries through the Suez Canal and Indian Ocean featuring calls in Greece, Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Norwegian Spirit to receive 'Edge' enhancements

NCL said it remains committed to serving the Chinese market and will deploy the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020. Prior to that, the ship will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final vessel to undergo 'Norwegian Edge' enhancements. In February 2020, Norwegian Spirit's journey from Europe to Asia will feature several exclusive sailings with new calls for the line including South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.

See also 'NCLH signals higher 2018 profit, deployment moves boost 2020 outlook' and 'Andy Stuart tells what drove NCL deployment changes'