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NCL’s Leonardo class to sail out of Southampton

Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Leonardo ship class will sail out of Southampton after the vessels begin to launch in 2022.

Frank Del Rio, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), said at least one of the six Leonardo ships, which will carry around 3,300 passengers and are 140,000 gross tonnes, will operate from Southampton.

But he would not reveal which Leonardo vessel will sail ex-Southampton sailings.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, he said: “There are a handful of iconic ports of around the world – Port Miami and Barcelona, which caters Europe.

“Southampton is the one for northern Europe. We do seasonal departures from Southampton, but it is not enough.

“Southampton is a port in which we will put our Leonardo Class ships in.”

Del Rio called Southampton a “sophisticated” port that demanded new hardware.

He later said there were always times that a line had to “stimulate” a marketplace by “adding more value to the product” and that there were “dozens” of under-served markets around the world.

Del Rio suggested that older vessels, such as Norwegian Dawn, would operate out of new ports, such as Baltimore, Charleston and Texas, where NCL ships are expected to sail out of from 2022.

Leonardo vessels would then be free to sail itineraries from ports where NCL’s older vessels operated from.

“It is about controlling risk,” he said. “It gives me the flexibility to get into any port that I need to.”

He dismissed overcapacity fears in the premium market, saying: “Every single one of our ships is packed. We are constrained by capacity.”

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