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Bermuda, Baltic and the Big Easy: New NCL Cruise Options
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced itineraries for next summer (2011) and beyond, including a few firsts for the line -- such as homeporting in Copenhagen and a year-round program from New Orleans, home of Mardi Gras and Sunday's Super Bowl champs.

Here's what's new and interesting:

More Bermuda Cruises from Northeast: In summer 2011, NCL will offer more Bermuda cruise options from the Northeast by adding a second ship. Norwegian Dawn, which has sailed year-round from New York since 2004, will move up to Boston for Bermuda-bound summer cruises, and Norwegian Gem will break from summering in Europe and take Dawn's place in New York. From May through October, Boston-based cruises depart on Fridays and trips from New York depart on Sundays. All include three full days in Bermuda.

New York keeps a year-round ship, by the way -- Norwegian Jewel, which will sail Bahamas itineraries. Meanwhile, Norwegian Jade will replace Gem that summer in Venice (and Norwegian Epic will also be sailing Mediterranean cruises, from Barcelona, as previously reported).

In Europe, a New Baltic Homeport: NCL will offer cruises from Copenhagen for the first time in summer 2011. Cruises will be offered aboard Norwegian Sun. These aren't the first Baltic sailings for the line -- right now, seasonal roundtrips are offered from the U.K., so this is not the best news for Brits -- but spokeswoman Courtney Recht says Copenhagen was chosen to give guests an opportunity to extend their stay in a new, interesting city. Ports of call on the 15 nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises include: Warnemunde (for Berlin), St. Petersburg (overnight), Helsinki and Stockholm.

New Orleans Goes Year-Round: Starting in the summer of 2010 and carrying on through summer 2011, Norwegian Spirit, which has sailed from Boston for two years (and is now being replaced as described above by Norwegian Gem), will sail from New Orleans -- year-round. NCL has long had a presence in the Crescent City, but this will mark the first time the line has ever based a ship there year-round.

Also announced today are seven-day Bahamas cruises onboard Gem, departing New York on Sundays December 2011 through April 2012; the return of Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Star to Alaska in 2011 for seven-day Glacier Bay and Sawyer Glacier cruises, respectively; and the continuation of short (three- and four-day) cruises to the Bahamas year-round from Miami onboard Norwegian Sky, through April 2012.

These new cruises go on sale today to members of NCL's past-passenger program, Latitudes, and to the general public on Thursday, February 11.

--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor, Cruise Critic
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