GENTING group associate Star Cruises Ltd, through its wholly-owned US-based subsidiary Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), has bought two ships in the United States in the past week to reinforce its cruise operations in the North American market, said Genting Bhd deputy chairman Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar.
The purchase of the S/S United States was completed through a private transaction for an undisclosed amount, while the S/S Independence was acquired for US$4mil at a federal auction from the US Maritime Administration.
Hanif told StarBiz of the purchases on the sidelines of the Federation of the Asian Institute of Management (FAIM) Alumni Achievement Award ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
According to a statement from NCL, the company intends to convert the S/S United States into a state-of-the-art cruise ship and add it to its planned US flag fleet. The ship is expected to offer itineraries in mainland United States, where cruise products are not currently available.
Hanif said the additional vessel would allow NCL to operate from one US domestic port to another and capitalise on new niche markets.
The purchases come on the heels of NCL's recent commitment to begin a US flag operation in Hawaii.
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