CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week that it will base its largest ship, the Norwegian Epic, at Port Canaveral, starting in November 2016.
The Norwegian Epic is about twice the size of and 12 years newer than the Norwegian Spirit, which was originally scheduled to be based at Port Canaveral during that time frame. The Norwegian Spirit instead will be deployed to the Mediterranean region.
The Norwegian Epic will offer seven-day cruses to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral in Orlando.
The ship, built in 2010, is Norwegian’s largest cruise ship, with a double-occupancy capacity of 4,100 passengers and a crew of 1,753. It is the world’s fifth-largest cruise ship of any brand.
In comparison, the Norwegian Spirit, built in 1998, has a double-occupancy capacity of 2,018 passengers and a crew of 962.
In commenting on the Norwegian Epic’s move to Port Canaveral, Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and chief operating officer, said: “Bringing Norwegian Epic, our largest ship and our newest ever to home-port in Port Canaveral, represents a big opportunity for the Norwegian brand. We know that there is pent-up demand from our loyal guests to cruise from Port Canaveral, and we are excited to bring this spectacular ship to the Greater Orlando area.”
Norwegian Epic’s seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary from Port Canaveral will include stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, which is Norwegian’s private island.
Its seven-day Western Caribbean itinerary will feature stops in Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
In January and March 2017, Norwegian Epic will offer three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries with stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay.
“As a regular port of call for Norwegian Cruise Line ships, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to home-port the Norwegian Epic and welcome Norwegian Cruise Line guests into our community,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Walsh said in a statement. “Our focus is to continue to provide the best customer service and facilities for our business partners and their passengers. Our efforts are being rewarded with the largest ships afloat and more itineraries from Port Canaveral.”