St. Nazaire, France, Oct. 2 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The steel cutting for the first of NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s third generation of new Freestyle Cruising ships, project name Ã¢â‚¬Å“F3,Ã¢â‚¬Â took place yesterday at Aker Yards S.A. in Saint Nazaire, France. Andy Stuart, NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive vice president of marketing, sales and passenger services, was assisted by representatives from AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Vacation Center and Direct Line Cruises in pushing the button that began the historic steel cutting. In addition, nearly 50 of NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Club members, representatives from the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top travel partners, witnessed the event.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s steel cutting marks a major milestone in NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s history as we begin the construction of our first F3 ship in conjunction with Aker Yards,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Travel partners have been instrumental to our success over the past 40 years, so we invited our PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Club members to join us in this historic event. We are pleased that they could be in attendance to witness the beginnings of the first ship which will further signify NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s progressive dismantling of the structure, regimentation and constraints of the traditional cruise experience.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The F3 ships are the next phase in NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unique Freestyle Cruising, which offers vacationers a less structured, more relaxed, more resort-style experience than traditional cruising and is characterized by no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes and up to 10 different restaurants. The 150,000-ton ships will each total 4,200 passenger berths, representing the largest ships in NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fleet. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in January 2010. The new ship design will offer 60 percent more guest space than NCLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s largest ships to date, which will be used to provide guests an even wider range of on-board activities, amenities and stateroom options. The shipsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ cabin mix will be the richest of any NCL ship with 100 percent of outside staterooms featuring private balconies. In total, each ship will have 1,415 balcony staterooms. Details of the shipsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ design will be released closer to delivery.
NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2010 and 2011. NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of 2007 with the introduction of Norwegian Gem, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.