Port Canaveral soon will be home to another giant cruise ship.
Norwegian Cruise Line this week announced that its 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape would move to Port Canaveral in late 2020 to operate five- and seven-night voyages to the Caribbean.
The ship currently sails out of New York.
At 165,157 tons, Escape is one of Norwegian’s three largest vessels and the 12th-largest cruise ship from any line.
It will be the largest Norwegian ship ever to sail out of Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said the port is looking forward to welcoming the Escape.
“We’re excited and proud to be their home port, offering new sailing opportunities for their cruise guests,” Murray said. “This announcement highlights the tremendous growth of the cruise industry, and underscores our commitment to support some of the most successful cruise ships in the industry.”
Port Canaveral already is home to the world’s fourth-largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s 225,282-ton Oasis of the Seas. Oasis soon will be replaced in Port Canaveral by an even-larger Royal Caribbean ship, Harmony of the Seas.
At 226,963 tons, Harmony is the world’s second-biggest cruise ship.
Meanwhile, Carnival plans to introduce its largest cruise ship, the Mardi Gras, at Port Canaveral in 2020. The ship, which is under construction, will be the first North American-based cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas.
Norwegian said Escape’s sailings from Port Canaveral would include itineraries in both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Ports of call will include Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Escape also will sail two four-day Bahamas cruises, with stops at Nassau, Freeport and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.
The cruise line also announced that, beginning in December 2020, the Norwegian Getaway will sail select seven- and-eight-day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida from New York, which will include calls to Port Canaveral, as well as Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
Norwegian is one of four cruise lines with ships based at Port Canaveral, the others being Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean.
Port Canaveral is the world’s second-busiest cruise port, behind the Port of Miami.
Among other, previously announced developments at Port Canaveral involving Norwegian:
• On Nov. 10, the Norwegian Epic returned to Port Canaveral.
• On April 12, 2019, the Norwegian Sun returns to Port Canaveral. The ship will be based here year-round, rather than seasonally. As was the case during 2018, some of the Norwegian Sun’s 2019 cruises will be to Cuba.
• On Nov. 23, 2019, the Norwegian Breakaway replaces the Norwegian Epic.
Norwegian said the Breakaway will be sailing out of Miami in the summer of 2020, then will return to New Orleans on Nov. 22, 2020.
The Escape will be one of six Norwegian ships to be based in Florida for at least part of the winter of 2020-21.
• The Norwegian Bliss will sail out of Miami on seven-day Eastern Caribbean voyages, as well as offer select 16-day Panama Canal cruises.
• Following its first summer season in New York City, the Norwegian Encore will return to Miami to sail seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean. The Encore also will sail 12- and 13-day cruises through the Panama Canal.
• The Norwegian Getaway also will cruise five-day Eastern Caribbean voyages, as well as seven-day Western Caribbean cruises, out of Miami.
• The Norwegian Jade be based in Tampa beginning Nov. 22, 2020, and will sail a variety of Western and Southern Caribbean cruises through April 11, 2021.
• The Norwegian Joy will be based in Miami for the first time, and will cruise a mix of five- to seven-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages, starting Oct. 24, 2020.
• The Norwegian Pearl will sail a mix of Western and Southern Caribbean cruises, as well as Panama Canal and Bahamas itineraries. from Miami, beginning Nov. 4, 2020.
Miami-based Norwegian has 16 ships in its fleet.
Dave Berman is government editor at FLORIDA TODAY.