travel42 Professional Cruise Line Review
Originally Norwegian Caribbean Line, Norwegian Cruise Line dates to 1966, when the first of the White Fleet of brand-new ships—Sunward, Skyward, Starward and Southward—began sailing out of Miami. After the initial burst of success, expansion continued sporadically until 1980 when NCL rehabilitated the former French trans-Atlantic liner France into the Norway, instantly handing NCL the largest, longest and most spectacular cruise vessel afloat. In the early 1990s, the Dreamward and Windward entered service boasting four intimate reserved-seat restaurants, but overall the fleet was not equal in atmosphere, and the cabin assignment generally determined the dining locale. To attempt to unify the increasingly mismatched fleet, the NCL fleet received Norwegian prefixes but it was not until Star Cruises, a Malaysian company, took over that the line began investing heavily in new tonnage. Its ships now rival those of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. The present fleet dates from the 21st century, and the line's two trademarks are varied and high-end entertainment venues and Freestyle cruising, where passengers dine when and where they wish in two score of locations. NCL's ownership is split between the Genting Group (Malaysia) and Apollo Management (USA).
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