Beyondships Cruising Weblog

Persevering with on with Norwegian Pearl, this week I’ve posted interviews with the captain of the Pearl and her hotel director. The concept right here is to let the people who run the ship discuss what they try to do with the ship and get their inside view about what the ship is like.

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Not surprisingly, when one asks Captain Lars Bengtsson and Resort Director Denis Prguda in regards to the experience on Norwegian Pearl, the very first thing they talk about is Freestyle Cruising. It’s not surprising as a result of Freestyle is the idea that Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) makes use of to distinguish itself from the opposite major cruise lines.

Freestyle is all about letting the visitor resolve what to do and when. As Captain Bengtsson noted there are limits, one cannot do something one needs however the NCL ships are designed and operated to provide the passengers quite a lot of choices in deciding what to do.

Although the idea will not be limited to dining, that is the context wherein Freestyle is most frequently talked about. Underneath the traditional cruise ship system, a visitor is assigned a particular time and desk in the main dining room for dinner. On Norwegian Pearl and her fleetmates, there are no assigned occasions and the guest is free to dine in any of the dozen or so totally different dining venues.

The idea does give the guests better freedom of choice. There may be issues, however. If everyone arrives at the identical dining venue at the same time, there goes to be a watch for tables. Nonetheless, this appears to work itself out after the primary day or so because the passengers get used to the idea that there are a number of places to go and get used to the reservation system.

The Freestyle idea has proven so widespread that the other main lines have been incorporating elements of it on their ships. Practically all now have a versatile dining possibility underneath which a visitor can determine when to dine in the versatile dining section of the primary dining room. Also, the newer ships popping out of the shipyards have an increasing number of different specialty eating places.

Oddly sufficient, the trend towards incorporating parts of the Freestyle concept at different strains has undermined the normal dining system. One of the prime virtues of that system is that one sits down at a table full of strangers the first evening and within a day or so, it becomes a desk full of friends as everyone will get to know one another over the course of several meals. Nonetheless, with the entire options out there now, individuals don’t come to the assigned desk every evening.

That isn’t NCL’s problem, nonetheless. In reality, below the Freestyle system, one can ask to share a table in the primary dining rooms and thus be assured of meeting people every night.

Freestyle is across the board on all NCL ships. Thus, it is not the one thing that makes Norwegian Pearl work so well. Thus Captain Bengtsson and Mr. Prguda additionally spoke about different points of the Norwegian Pearl expertise.

My interview with Captain Bengtsson is at and my interview with Mr. Prguda is at The photo tour and commentary on Norwegian Pearl begins at (My apologies for posting the link to the photograph tour of Norwegian Jewel last week).

Commenting on some items within the information . . .

Carnival Corp CEO Micky Arison has indicated that the agency will probably not place any extra orders for brand new ships this 12 months past the two it lately placed for its Princess Cruises subsidiary. (The two Princess ships will probably be 139,000 gross tons and carry 3,600 passengers). This indication just isn’t fully unexpected, the tempo with which the major strains had been constructing new ships couldn’t proceed without end. There’s a number of capacity on the market.

Nevertheless, ships are built to final forty years or so.

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One thing that has resulted from the entire newbuilds over the past decade is the public has come to view cruise ships like new cars. If a ship is just a few years old, it begins to lose its attractiveness. Folks begin to consider it as an old ship and are less likely to sail on it. Nevertheless, ships are built to final forty years or so. Whereas they might not have that new automobile scent, a 5 or ten yr old ship is not an previous ship. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see if the public adjusts its notion or whether the industry wants a torrent of new ships so as to keep up the excitement about cruising.

What does one do with ships which are nonetheless perfectly good however which the general public now not considers new? The industry’s reply is usually to ship them to new and rising markets, away from the normal cruise market. It was recently announced that Sea Princess, which is a very good mid-sized ship, will probably be joining fleetmates Daybreak Princess and Solar Princess cruising out of Australia subsequent winter. Holland America and Royal Caribbean have also announced not too long ago that they are going to be sending ships to this market.

The business also sends older ships in for major overhauls in order that they can have extra of the options which are found on the ships simply coming out of the shipyards. HAL’s Ryndam, for instance, just accomplished a $17 million overhaul by which additions have been made to her public areas and the accommodations re-executed.