Norwegian Joy is US Bound
Norwegian Cruise Line’s first ship custom-designed specifically for the Chinese cruise market will be repositioned to sail from the United States starting in 2019.
The nearly 4,000 passenger cruise ship Norwegian Joy is slated to sail seasonally from Seattle to Alaska in summer 2019 before making voyages to the Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal from Los Angeles in winter 2019/2020.
Built by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft in 2017, the 1,094-foot-long, 167,725 gt Norwegian Joy was designed with finishes and amenities tailored specifically to the tastes of Chinese guests. The ship, which features a casino, a two-level go-kart race track, a virtual reality pavilion and a quarter-mile oceanfront deck promenade, will undergo an estimated $50 million in additional enhancements before it arrives in the U.S. next year.
Norwegian Joy is the sister ship to fellow Breakaway Plus class vessel Norwegian Bliss, which Norwegian Cruise Line calls the "most successful ship in the line’s 51-year history". In April 2019, Joy will join Bliss and Norwegian Jewel to offer seven-day cruises from Seattle to Alaska. Then, for the winter 2019/20 season, Norwegian Joy will sail from Los Angeles to service the Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal markets.
“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 chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “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.”
In a recent press release, Norwegian Cruise Line reiterated the pending deployment of Norwegian Joy to the Mexican Riviera as “a turning point in the historically underserved winter cruise market from the West Coast of the United States.”
The move also marks a win for the Port of Los Angeles, who in 2017 served 109 ships and handled about 500,000 passengers through its World Cruise Center. According to the port, an estimated $1 million is added into the local economy each time a cruise ship calls Los Angeles.
“We’re extremely pleased that Norwegian Joy will be calling at the Los Angeles World Cruise Center,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director at the Port of Los Angeles. “This newly enhanced, world-class vessel will be extremely popular as the Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal reemerge as premier cruise destinations. It will also offer a great new convenient departure option for Southern California.”
While docked in Los Angeles, Norwegian Joy will be able to plug into clean shoreside electrical power using the port’s Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) system, as the World Cruise Center has the capability to plug-in multiple cruise ships concurrently. As of 2018, the Port of Los Angeles has 75 AMP stations—more than any other port in the world.
Despite Norwegian Joy’s planned shift, Norwegian Cruise Lines said it remains committed to the Chinese cruise market. The cruise line will deploy the 2,000 passenger Norwegian Spirit seasonally to the region beginning in summer 2020 after a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization.
Meanwhile, the ship that Norwegian Joy replaces in Alaska, Norwegian Pearl, will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while Norwegian Jade and Jewel will expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter 2019/2020.
Norwegian Joy was one of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News' Top 10 Ships of 2017.