Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive Andy Stuart is to step down on December 31.

Harry Sommer, currently Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ international president, will replace Stuart as president and chief executive.

Stuart joined Norwegian in 1988 and has held several executive positions during his time at the cruise company, including president and chief operating officer; executive vice president, global sales and passenger services.

He will remain with the company as senior advisor until March 31.

In Sommer’s current role he is responsible for all sales, marketing, public relations and office operations for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in all markets outside of the United States and Canada.

He previously served as executive vice president, international business development and executive vice president and chief integration officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and held various executive positions for Prestige Cruise Holdings.

Stuart said: “I could only have dreamed about my journey at Norwegian when I joined the company in 1988 and am extremely fortunate to have witnessed firsthand the incredible evolution of this pioneering brand.

“I am honored to have played a role in the leadership position Norwegian now holds in this incredible industry and continue to be proud of the commitment, dedication and passion of our team for delivering a best-in-class vacation experience. I have worked closely with Harry and am confident he is the right person to take the helm and continue the journey for Norwegian Cruise Line.”

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said: “Andy has accomplished everything possible in the cruise industry, including leading its most storied and innovative brand. He will leave on a high note after delivering the brand’s latest ship, Norwegian Encore, the last ship in the most successful ship class in the Company’s history.

“We are extremely grateful for his leadership and contributions to Norwegian Cruise Line, our company and the cruise industry.

“Over the last several years, Norwegian’s management and board of directors have worked closely on a comprehensive succession plan that leveraged the considerable bench strength across the organization. The board and I are confident that Harry is the right person to succeed Andy as president and chief executive of the Norwegian Cruise Line brand and look forward to him leveraging his breadth of knowledge and extensive experience in the industry and our Company to take the brand to new heights.”

Sommer said: “Andy and I have worked closely together over the last several years and I am humbled and honored to follow in his footsteps and lead this renowned brand.

“I look forward to working with all of our incredible partners worldwide, building off the strong position the brand holds today and charting the strategy for the next phase of Norwegian’s journey.”