No sooner had Norwegian Cruise Line’s new 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic left the shipyard at St Nazaire, where she had become the largest ship ever built by that yard, than rumours started to circulate that Bernard Meyer of the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg was on board discussing with NCL executives what the design of future NCL ships might be. Simultaneously, NCL chief executive Kevin Sheehan announced that no more F3 class ships such as Norwegian Epic would be built. She will thus become a once-only ship with no sister ships.
The acrimony that resulted from the dispute between NCL and the French shipyard now known as STX (earlier Akers) will probably also mean that STX is unlikely to build any more NCL ships and that Meyer Werft, who have built the majority of the NCL “Freestyle Cruising” fleet may well see NCL’s next order.
This would follow Regent Seven Seas, who left the French yard after difficulties with Seven Seas Mariner to order Seven Seas Voyager from the Mariotti yard in Italy. One of the things Regent got from this was single corridors on the Voyager compared to double corridors on the Mariner, which Regent did not really want because of its large stateroom and particularly bathroom sizes.
Meanwhile, as Norwegian Epic crosses from Southampton to New York, initial reports from journalists and travel agents who have seen the ship report on her many entertainment venues and their quality. We shall wait to hear the full story when she arrives in New York, where she is due to be christened.