Norwegian Cruise Line and the Bermuda Government reached a long-term agreement that calls for two of NCL's newest and largest ships to be deployed to Bermuda for the next 10 years, from 2009 through 2018. These ships will predominantly depart from New York and Boston and will each sail at least 22 cruises per season, making extended calls in Bermuda. Currently, NCL offers 26 cruises from Boston to Bermuda on a smaller ship. The line will "move away from Boston for a few weeks when weather is not so good," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO.
The combined itineraries of the two vessels will provide for overnights in Bermuda from Sunday through Friday. The agreement also calls for NCL to continue its tradition of being the exclusive line to sail from Boston to Bermuda through the 10-year term. In 2009, the Norwegian Spirit, with a double occupancy capacity of 2,000, will sail from Boston to Bermuda, departing on Fridays and calling at Bermuda from Sunday through Wednesday. The Norwegian Dawn, with a capacity of more than 2,200 guests, will sail from New York on Sundays, calling at Bermuda from Wednesday through Friday. Also in 2009, the Norwegian Majesty (which has served NCL's Boston-Bermuda business for 15 years) will sail to St. George's, Bermuda, from Charleston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
As part of the agreement, NCL will partner with Bermuda's Department of Tourism and Chamber of Commerce to be a sponsor for the annual Bermuda Music Festival, supporting the St. George's Foundation and the Bermudian Heritage Association with a contribution of $275,000, according to Bermuda's Premier, Dr. Ewart Brown. NCL also will develop a new program to encourage passengers to dine in restaurants ashore. According to Veitch, the 2009 fleet commitment to Bermuda will represent one fifth of NCL's summer deployment. The new Bermuda deployments will offer a capacity of 139,000 per season, compared with 116,000 in 2007, according to NCL.