I understand your sentimental and nostalgic attachment to the ship; but the cruise industry is so highly competitive, with new hardware being added to fleets (including NCL's) in record numbers. From an objective (or slighty skewed) perspective, the Norway was by far the least cost-effective ship in the water. Its technology was over 40 years old, maintenance was outrageously expensive, and (perhaps the clincher) it wasn't attracting many new passengers. It often sailed well under capacity, despite offering 7-day cruises at $299. There is no question but that it was operating at a loss. Of course, the explosion was a PR nightmare, and NCL must have surmised that returning the Norway to service (even at a prohibitive cost) would certainly bring back those images. Pleasant memories notwithstanding, it's simply a ship that outlived its usefulness to Star/NCL. As with other older ships, it will be reincarnated, most likely as a floating hotel, rather than sitting in some maritime graveyard rusting away, or being scrapped and sold by the piece. It's the best that can be expected for the Norway.
I keep hearing references to "$299 cruises" but keep in mind that these were for teeny cabins (70 square feet) and did not include port charges or taxes. Most people paid considerably more than that and had much larger cabins.
I agree that she was not cost-effective. It's expensive to run a steamship. NCL (or Star) could have done better by her by marketing the ship for her history and changing the itinerary from time to time. (For example, alternating Eastern & Western Caribbean cruises.)
SS Norway fans have been down this road before. In early 2001, it was announced that she would be transferred to Star later in the year to become a gambling ship in Asia. During our 2001 cruise, nearly all crew members were wearing "Asia 2001" pins. Quite disconcerting. In any case, I hope that she is turned into a hotel ship -- or perhaps a museum of some sort. Unfortunately, nothing's been announced yet.
I do wonder what NCL plans to do with the Big U and Independence. It would be great to see the Big U docked next to the Intrepid. Maybe turn her into a museum of American passenger ship history. Maybe do something similar for Indy, only bring her back up here to Quincy, MA where she was built. Of course, I'd rather see them cruising.
I'm also sad about the impending loss of Norwegian Majesty, Dream, and Wind by 2010. These are all fine ships. But, as you know, SS Norway is in a class of her own.
My stomach is turning over right now thinking about the BIG U. Ya know? The majority of the people don't have the interest that we do. The majority will opt for the wedding cake ships with the balconies. Not that there's anything wrong. Their a mess of fun. Right now, I'm just thinking of the BIG U with some rediculous looking upper deck such as on the Norway.
Well, whatever they do with her, I hope they restore her back to her glory days with the addtions of modern navigational and safety features.
Very sad news for me. I cruised the Norway eight times, last time being the last week of March, 2003. Guess I could see it coming after the May 25, 2003 disaster, but still very sad news. I think I stayed in every cabin from a Cat. P upper/lower to a Suite, and loved every cruise on the Norway. If I weren't so sentimental, I'd try to sell my original SS Norway T-shirt from 1985 and my "Last Cruise of the Norway" T-shirt from May of 2001on e-bay. But, I won't. I saw the changes in carpeting and staff over the years (among other things), saw the beach erosion on Great Stirrup Cay, saw the deletion of Fendi and Gucci onboard and the addition of "gold" by the inch, and saw the change in attire from the first cruise in 1985 to the last cruise in 2003. Remember the "theme" nights and nightly midnight buffets. Learned that tendering isn't such a bad thing. Paid more for my first cruise on her than my last cruise on her. Loved every minute of it. Here's to great cruises and memories of the SS Norway.
Although I wasn't a fan of the ship (sailed her twice, both before and after the '96 refurbishing) I appreciate all of your nostalgic attachments (reminds me of how I felt when the Dodgers left Brooklyn). On the upside, it's not going to be scrapped or gutted. Hey; we're still cruising, right? To quote the lifestyle-guru-turned-convicted-felon, it's "a good thing."
Where else could you find a 325 sq.ft. (or larger) cabin (with 2 bathrooms) for the price of a superior outside? Nowhere, that's where! SS Norway, and Cabin #N-131, we'll miss you and your lighted dressing table (and your bidet). Tears are falling as I write! Kim
My first cruise was on the Norway ( 1999 ) and I loved the ship, and also got hooked on cruising. I loved the Champs Elysee promenades, and our cabin with "portholes" was wonderful, spacious and comfortable. Had the best sleep of my life with the gentle rocking at night. I loved the Club Internationale, our waiter Ricardo, and our tablemates from Arizona...I could go on and on and on....Sad that she will not be returning to service, but understand the business decision. I only hope she wont be scrapped.
No Helen, she won't be scraped, just probably be used as a floating hotel such as Queen Mary in Long Beach, or worse, stripped of her appointments and used as a floating casino somewhere in the anals of Asia.
As you know, they have bought the SS United States. As said above by our Ocean Liner expert Lisa, market her differently. Alternate eastern from western carribean. Bring her into NYC and cruise from there.
I'm sure she's right. They'l;l get more people who have a love affair for true ocean liners as opposed to your modern Cruise ships.
I was on her with the 6:30 am wake-up explosion. It was a pretty horrible morning. We sent condolence notes to the crew members' families--we had sailed her 12 times--I'm sure we saw at least one of those workers--they made everything happen for all of us. We were forward upper suites and it shook our bed!!! i MISS HER SO MUCH--there is NO OTHER ship that affords such nostalgia and character --the cabins I had were all so different and all so wonderful. Captain Otteson was the finest I had ever met and he took pride in the beautiful ship that was his charge. I can only hope that I will have a chance to go back on her someday. If my guy and I decide to get married (second for each of us) it would be on the Grand Old Girl. This is the best ship I've ever been on, but she was not for everyone!! Anyone hhave any updates?
My family and I sailed on her in March 2003. Everyone loved the ship and had the time of their lives. All three of my children ages 18, 14, 9 cried when they heard the news about her retirement. At one point during the cruise. My mom misplaced her purse in one of the public areas. It was later turned in to the information desk by one of the crew. Everything was inside including over $500.00 in cash. Truly a remarkable ship and crew. We all have great memories of the trip, we will carry the rest of our lives.
What a bummer! I was booked on her for my birthday last September but had to cancel due to the accident last May. In doing my research for my trip, I just fell in love with her and her history. For the last year, I have hoped that they will put her back into service so I could have the chance to sail on the Grand Ol' Lady. I guess I'll just have to do it vicariously through all of you....thanks for sharing all of your experiences!
Norweigen bought the venerable SS Big U as she is so affectionatly refered to as. << <<VENERABLE--------->Commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character, or position. OOOhh that sends chills down my spine! :lol >>
Worthy of reverence, especially by religious or historical association: And according to the technical team they sent over to her, they say she is in remarkably good condition. (Another tribute to the way she was built.) So there are still chances to sail Classic Ocean Liners)
It might be a little while becuase of the "project America" set backs.. I don t know if you recall, one of their new builds got slammed real bad into the pier as they were working on her during a bad storm, and sank partially with the bottom three decks submerged.
Again, it might be a while before they take on the Mighty Bug U.