At an official ceremony at the Port of Miami today, popular talk show host and Emmy(R) Award-winner Rosie O'Donnell served as Godmother and christened Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) newest ship, Norwegian Pearl. The new 93,530-ton Freestyle Cruising vessel boasts an industry first -- a four-lane ten-pin bowling alley; and two NCL firsts -- a rock-climbing wall and two top-of-the-ship Deluxe Owner's Suites.
The 5 p.m. christening ceremony took place alongside the striking Norwegian Pearl and included remarks from Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim, NCL Corporation President and CEO Colin Veitch and O'Donnell. Approximately 2,400 guests were in attendance for the ceremony that also commemorated the company's 40th birthday and kicked off a year-long birthday celebration.
"We are pleased to have such a talented performer as Rosie O'Donnell serve as the ship's Godmother and help us welcome our newest Freestyle Cruising vessel, Norwegian Pearl, to the rapidly expanding NCL fleet," said Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim. "With all of her striking features, Norwegian Pearl illustrates how far NCL has come over the last 40 years as the industry's most innovative cruise line."
"The first on-board bowling alley, coupled with the rest of the ship's irresistible amenities, make Norwegian Pearl one of the most exciting ships at sea," NCL Corporation's President and CEO Colin Veitch said. "Since initiating the first Caribbean cruise 40 years ago, NCL has blazed a trail of innovation in the cruise industry. Today, we continue that tradition by introducing our latest treasure, Norwegian Pearl."
"I am proud to christen Norwegian Pearl and help NCL celebrate 40 successful years," O'Donnell said. "With their family-friendly accommodations and endless on-board activities and amenities, NCL has been an excellent partner for our R Family Vacations chartered cruises. I look forward to introducing my own family to Norwegian Pearl!"
Norwegian Pearl accommodates 2,394 guests and includes a world of innovative features and amenities, including 10 restaurants, 13 bars and lounges, two swimming pools and a casino, among others. The ship is the seventh vessel purpose-built for NCL's signature Freestyle Cruising -- an approach to cruising unlike any other offered in the industry. Freestyle Cruising leaves regimented schedules behind, and is characterized by having no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes, relaxed disembarkation, up to 10 different restaurants and even more lounges, bars, theatres and other entertainment and activity options.
NCL's industry first -- a four-lane, ten-pin bowling alley at sea -- is part of an all-new, all-day entertainment, sports bar and nightclub complex called Bliss Ultra Lounge and Night Club. During the day, Bliss is a sports bar with a bowling alley, multiple flat-screen televisions and arcade games. In the evening, Bliss transforms into a hip, high-energy ultra-lounge, with plasma screens playing video tracks to the non-stop music spun by Norwegian Pearl's own DJ. A spacious dance floor, full bar and mood-lit bowling all add to the atmosphere of a completely unique seagoing experience.
Norwegian Pearl also features a rock climbing wall, another first for NCL. Constructed at the back of the ship's funnel on deck 14, the wall stands at an impressive 30 feet in height and 19 feet in width and has been designed with five different climbing routes, each with varying degrees of difficulty.
Beginning in January, Norwegian Pearl will sail a five- and nine-day Western and Southern Caribbean schedule. Ports of call on the five-day Western Caribbean itinerary include stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Belize City, Belize. The nine-day Southern Caribbean route includes calls in Roseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John's, Antigua; and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
The ship will then spend summer 2007 in Seattle, where she will sail a seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary with calls in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, Alaska; Glacier Bay; and Victoria, British Columbia. In fall 2007 through spring 2008, Norwegian Pearl returns to Miami and resumes her alternating five- and nine-day Western and
Southern Caribbean sailings with a change in itineraries: on the five-day, Georgetown, Grand Cayman replaces Belize City, Belize; and on the nine-day, Samana, Dominican Republic replaces Roseau, Dominica.
NCL Corporation Ltd. is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. The company is currently building Norwegian Gem for delivery in October of 2007.
In addition, NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2009 and 2011. NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by 2010, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.