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Four new ships on the way for Norwegian Cruise Line

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/16/2017 Gene Sloan
Norwegian Escape © Danny Lehman Norwegian Escape

It's expansion time again at Norwegian Cruise Line. 

The parent company of the Miami-based cruise operator on Thursday announced it had ordered a new series of 140,000-ton ships for the line to begin arriving in 2022. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) said it had reached an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for four vessels in the series to be delivered in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, respectively. The company said it had options for two more of the ships for delivery in 2026 and 2027.  

The vessels, notably, will be smaller than those in Norwegian's latest classes of new ships. The line is in the midst of rolling out three "Breakaway-Plus" vessels that measure around 165,000 tons. They include the recently unveiled Norwegian Escape, currently the world's seventh largest cruise ship. Three other Norwegian vessels that have debuted since 2010 range in size from around 146,000 to 156,000 tons. 

Norwegian said the new ships would hold about 3,300 passengers. That's around 1,000 fewer than Norwegian Escape.  

Norwegian didn't reveal details about the design of the newly ordered vessels but promised innovation. The company said the ships would cost about 800 million euro — $851 million at today's exchange rates.  

“This new class of ships will continue Norwegian Cruise Line brand’s legacy of introducing meaningful innovation to the cruise industry,” Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This order continues to highlight our disciplined new-build program, extends our growth trajectory well into the future, enhances our already attractive earnings profile, and drives expected long-term returns for our shareholders.”

Norwegian currently operates 14 vessels. Before Thursday's announcement, the line had just two ships on order, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss. Norwegian Joy is scheduled to debut in May and be devoted to the Chinese market. Norwegian Bliss is scheduled to arrive in 2018 and sail in the Caribbean and Alaska. Both vessels are part of the Breakaway-Plus class.  

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