Norwegian’s “Leonardo” Class Ships – Other Cruise News: Emerald Expands Into Coastal Cruising – APL Expands Transpacific Passenger Business

by Kevin Griffin

Last week Norwegian Cruise Line chief Andy Stuart spoke to Cruise Critic about the new Italian-built “Leonardo” class project of four 3,300-berth ships on which the line also has further options. On coastal and inland waterways, meanwhile, Emerald Waterways is adding a 36-berth yacht, the Adriatic Princess II, on the Dalmatian coast in 2019. And APL has now built up its passenger-carrying container ship fleet to fourteen ships.


Norwegian’s “Leonardo” Class Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line president and ceo Andy Stuart released a few more details of these mid-sized ships to Cruise Critic last week.

The Leonardo Project (Artist impression courtesy NCL - Fincantieri)

The Leonardo Project (Artist impression courtesy NCL – Fincantieri)

The new class will build upon the highly successful offering of flexibility found on the brand’s most recent “Breakaway Plus” Class ships with a new design from Italy.

Four “Leonardo” class ships will be delivered by Fincantieri in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, and Norwegian has options for two more. The 3,300-berth ships fall between Norwegian’s two current size ships — the 2,000 and 4,000-berth ships.

Stuart told Cruise Critic that the “Leonardo” class will have a slightly smaller footprint than the “Breakaway” and “Breakaway Plus” class ships, giving Norwegian more opportunities in terms of ports.

Norwegian Bliss (Courtesy Meyer Werft)

Norwegian Bliss (Courtesy Meyer Werft)

“There are some ports which can’t take a big ship like [Norwegian] Bliss,” he said. “And there are some ports that from a capacity standpoint we wouldn’t want to go in with a brand-new ship that has 4,200 beds, we’d prefer to start with one with 3,300 beds.
There are some where we’d prefer to start with 2,000, but 3,300 gives us something in the middle with a lot more flexibility to enter a destination a bit earlier than with a big ship.”

Three different ship sizes give Norwegian more flexibility in terms of itinerary planning. The jump from 2,000 beds to 4,000 berths is quite steep, meaning having to double the business, whereas 2,000 to 3,000 needs only 50% more business. That would allow Norwegian to enter new markets more easily as well.

Norwegian Dawn at Meyer Werft

Norwegian Dawn at Meyer Werft

The “Leonardo” class ships will have a much wider Boardwalk area at the stern of the ship. And a series of aft cabins that look like Miami condos are not unlike the “MSC Seaside” class ships, also being built by Fincantieri. Most of Norwegian’s ships have come from Germany’s Meyer Werft in the past.

“The connection to the sea is definitely going to be to the next level in this next class of ship,” Stuart told Cruise Critic. “We are bringing the connection to the ocean that’s typically on the top deck more effectively down to lower decks.”
The ships will have a futuristic-looking inverted bow, which will help improve the ships’ flow through the water.


Emerald Expands Into Coastal Cruising

Australian-owned river cruise line Emerald Waterways will operate a programme of twenty-two Dalmatian coats departures in 2019 using a new 36-berth yacht, the Adriatic Princess II.

Adriatic Princess II (Emerald Waterways)

Adriatic Princess II (Emerald Waterways)

The vessel, designed to navigate the Dalmatian coast and access its small ports, will offer 7-night Islands of Dalmatia cruises featuring among its calls Trogir and Dubrovnik between April and October.

The Adriatic Princess II will join Emerald’s seven-strong European river cruise fleet consiting of five 182-berth sister ships, the Emerald Dawn and Destiny and the Emerald Sky, Star and Sun on the Rhine, Main, Danube and Mosel Rivers, as well as the 138-berth Emerald Liberté on the Rhone and Saone and the 112-berth Emerald Radiance on the Douro.

The Emerald Sky

The Emerald Sky

Having found its passengers in search of new destinations Emerald has decided that Croatia would make an ideal destination in which to offer another small ship itinerary.

APL Expands Transpacific Passenger Business

Last September we reported that APL was reviving its cargo-passenger business after several decades absence. The CMA CGM subsidiary has now added six more 2012-built 10,600 TEU container vessels to the Columbus PNW Service, with Transpacific passenger sailings being offered weekly.

APL Phoenix (© Jan Svendsen)

APL Phoenix (© Jan Svendsen)

The APL Barcelona, APL Dublin, APL Paris, APL Qingdao, APL Southampton and APL Yangshan now sail between Seattle and Vancouver in North America and the Chinese ports of Yantian (near Hong Kong), Xiamen, Ningbo and Shanghai, plus Pusan in South Korea.

Sample fares are: full round voyage, 42 days, €5,995 per person double occupancy or €6,835 for sole use of a cabin. Vancouver to Yantian, 21 days at €3,055 per person double or €3,475 single, and Vancouver to Shanghai, 26 days at €3,755 per person double or €4,275 single. The shorter voyage from Shanghai to Vancouver is 16 days at €2,355 per person double or €2,675 single.

The APL New York already offers service between Los Angeles, Oakland, Tokyo and three Chinese ports, Qingdao, Shanghai and Ningbo, on a full round voyage of 42 days.

These two routes hark back to the days of American President Lines, when the round trip was the same 42 days. Liners like the President Wilson sailed from San Francisco to Honolulu, Yokohama, Hong Kong and Manila, with the return voyage calling at the same ports plus Kobe.

President Wilson was one of four Transpacific ocean liners operated by APL

President Wilson was one of four Transpacific ocean liners operated by APL

Meanwhile, two more APL ships, the 4-passenger APL Columbus and APL Phoenix, now offer two Owners cabins each on the Columbus Jax route between New York, via Suez, to Southeast Asia and on to Los Angeles and Oakland. A third ship on this route, the 10-passenger APL Danube, is the former CMA CGM Danube.

Two more APL ships, the APL Charleston and APL Miami, offer a 15-night one-way voyage from Gioia Tauro in southern Italy to Tangier, Southampton, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe, Dunkirk and Le Havre. Fares for this 15-night trip are €1,615 per person double and €1,765 single. These ships trade to India and Pakistan but only accept passengers between European ports.

APL Officers Mess

APL Officers Mess

Another APL ship, the APL Gwangyang, runs in the Mediterranean Club Express service between Asia and Europe. Like the other passenger-carrying APL ships apart from the APL Danube and APL Holland, APL Gwangyang has two Owners cabins for passengers.

Finally, bringing the revived APL passenger-carrying fleet to fourteen ships, the APL Holland offers the opportunity to have a 68,000-ton container ship to yourself, with one single cabin, on the 42-day Victory Bridge round voyage between North Europe and Gulf of Mexico ports.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

(See the last columns)