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Out with the old, in with new (ships, that is)

I’ll finish the story of my Mediterranean cruise later this week because yesterday Norwegian and Princess made announcements I thought you’d want to know about. In an “out with the old, in with the new” theme, Norwegian announced the sale of Orient Line’s Marco Polo and Princess revealed details of its next new ship.

[% 12025 | | Norwegian %] and its parent company Star Cruises have been overseeing the Orient Lines brand, a one-ship cruise line specializing in land-and-sea trips. Yesterday, Norwegian announced that it would be selling the Marco Polo to an undisclosed buyer, effective March 23, 2008. The sale is part of Norwegian’s goal to get rid of its older ships and have the youngest fleet afloat by the end of the year.

The Marco Polo’s Filipino crew will stay with the ship through its March 2, 2008, final sailing, and then transfer to other NCL ships. There’s no word on whether this means the end of Orient Lines—you can’t have a cruise line with no ships—or whether there’s a new-build in the works. Fans of Orient Lines should book soon if they want to get in one last cruise.

On a brighter note, [% 14460 | | Princess %] revealed that its newest ship will be named the Ruby Princess. The ship’s maiden season will begin on November 15, 2008, and consist of seven-night western Caribbean sailings to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. The Ruby Princess will cruise this itinerary through April 2009. The new ship is a sister to the Crown Princess and Emerald Princess.

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