Norwegian Cruise Line will pull its year-old Norwegian Joy
from the China market starting in spring 2019, sending it to Alaska to sail
with the new Norwegian Bliss.
The move was attributed to a desire "to leverage the
strong global demand environment in highly sought-after destinations."
Norwegian won't leave China entirely. It said the Norwegian
Spirit will sail seasonally there beginning in the summer of 2020.
Still, the permanent relocation of the 3,883-passenger Joy
to the U.S. West Coast is a retreat from a year-round commitment to China and a
boon to travel agents in Western states. The switch will mirror Carnival Cruise
Line's commitment to keep its new Carnival Panorama in Long Beach year-round
after it arrives in late 2019.
Norwegian said prior to its arrival in Seattle in April
2019, the Joy will get $50 million in upgrades to make its designs and
offerings virtually identical to those of its sister ship, the Bliss. The Joy was tailored to the Chinese market
with more space for shopping and its name spelled out in Chinese characters on
the bow, among other things.
Pairing the Joy and Bliss will put Norwegian's two biggest,
most modern ships, in Alaska for the 2019 summer, and the only two ships in North
America to have go-kart racing tracks. The new Joy itineraries open for sale
Following her inaugural Alaska season, the Joy will sail to
Los Angeles for a season of Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages in winter
As the Joy enters the Alaska market in summer 2019, the
2,400 passenger Norwegian Pearl will deploy to Europe.
The Norwegian Jewel, which will be refurbished this fall,
will 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 Tokyo (Yokohama), while the Norwegian Jade will offer a season of
sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in
Norwegian said those moves were "aimed to take full
advantage of the flourishing source market in Australia."