A dispute between Norwegian Cruise Line and the shipyard building its new mega-ship may signal a bump, at least, in the shipbuilding frenzy that has gripped the industry for years now.
Aker Yards has publicly acknowledged “a dispute” with NCL over the unnamed vessel the shipyard calls C33 and the cruise line calls F3. Industry Web sites are suggesting it’s all about money, and that Aker may be trying to sell the ship, which is 25 percent completed, to another cruise line.
Norwegian has been promoting F3 for its radical design, which eliminates large public spaces in favor of smaller, exclusive nightclubs, pool decks and other amenities. It also introduces a jetsons look, with mod curved walls and all kinds of hip accoutrements.
Behind all this is the dreaded “disegalitarianism,” which means that cruise ships are becoming more stratified and less communal, more a la carte and less buffet. It’s a fundamental change for mass-market cruising, and I’m as yet unconvinced that it will succeed.