(9:55 a.m EDT) –Norwegian Cruise Line today announced its entry into China with a purpose-built ship customised for the booming Asian cruise market.
The 4,200-passenger vessel — the line’s second Breakaway Plus-class ship — is under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in spring 2017. It will feature accommodation, cuisine and onboard experiences specifically geared to the holiday preferences of Chinese passengers.
Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio unveiled the news during the CruiseWorld China summit in Shanghai.
“Our new purpose-built ship for China will have characteristics that are authentic to Norwegian Cruise Line and yet distinctively Chinese in all of its sensibility,” he said. “With this new ship, Norwegian will unquestionably offer our Chinese guests a superior product and introduce a new standard of innovation and excellence into the marketplace, with an unrivaled touch of customization for the Chinese consumer. It will perfectly suit what modern Chinese travelers value from an upscale cruise experience.”
He said that in addition to the physical design of the ship, the company was working with partners and local experts on the subtleties of Chinese culture to ensure it met passengers’ expectations.
To date, the ship under construction was named Norwegian Bliss after Facebook fans of the cruise line were given a list of names to choose from for both Breakaway Plus sister ships. However, the company said today that additional details including the ship’s name, homeport, accommodation, dining and entertainment would be released in the coming months.
To support its international expansion Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has opened offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. They will serve all three brands in the company’s portfolio — Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Sea Cruises.
“Our China offices house a dedicated leadership team uniquely focused on ensuring the success of our local travel agent partners, which is crucial to the success of our expansion in what will soon be the world’s second largest cruise market,” added Del Rio.
Norwegian will take delivery of its first Breakaway Plus ship, Norwegian Escape, next week on October 22. Two additional ships in this class are on order for delivery in 2018 and 2019.