Cruise line sells Norwegian Majesty

Image by Flickr user john.d.longImage by 20080808majesty.jpg Best friends, the Ravenel Bridge and the Norwegian Majesty will have to part ways next years, it looks like. So sad ...

Charleston's cruise economy, although small, could get even smaller after the ship that accounts for the vast majority of cruise traffic here belongs to another company. Norwegian Cruise Lines has finished up a deal that would hand over the Norwegian Majesty to Louis Cruise Lines for about $160 million. LCL specializes in Mediterranean cruises, a long way away from the Caribbean and Atlantic waters that the Majesty has known recently.

From a Louis Cruise Lines press release:

Louis plc announces that following its previous announcement regarding the same subject, dated 23 April 2008, it has today 29 July, 2008 completed the purchase of cruise ship m/v Norwegian Majesty (731 cabins, 1937 passengers) from Star Cruises for the amount of USD162 million (Euro 103 million). The Cruise ship has been chartered back to Star Cruise Lines until the 1st of December, 2009.

The purchase of the second cruise ship m/v Norwegian Dream, as per the terms of the relevant agreement, is expected to be completed during the month of September, 2008.

To translate that out of PR-ese, the sale is final, but Star Cruises — of which NCL is a subsidiary, though they both fall under the somewhat massive Genting Group — will still maintain possession of the Majesty until December 2009.

The Post and Courier offers a local perspective on the Majesty sale, discussing the effects of the Majesty's departure. To sum up, some officials say not a lot, because cruise traffic is such a small segment of tourism here. But, then again, those who do come via cruise ship are often big spenders and tend to visit the local attractions that are suffering right now ...

The P&C also writes about Norwegian's plans for the Majesty during the next several months.