Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings lays off staff

The Norwegian Epic at the Port of Miami in 2011.
The Norwegian Epic at the Port of Miami in 2011. Miami Herald Staff

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings laid off an unspecified number of employees Thursday, confirming rumors that circulated widely during the industry’s annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference this week.

Several sources estimated the number at 200 or more affected workers and said the layoffs would take place over time, although it was not clear how long that period would be. It was also unclear how many workers were immediately laid off Thursday.

No notice of layoffs had been posted on the state of Florida’s website as of Thursday evening. State regulations require companies to submit a WARN notice if they are laying off 500 employees or 33 percent of the company workforce.

Prior to the purchase of Prestige, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings had a workforce of 1,049, according to the website of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development agency. The smaller Prestige had 465 Miami employees in late 2012.

In response to a query from the Miami Herald, the company issued this statement:

“The recent acquisition of Prestige Cruise Holdings has provided the opportunity to review our organizational structure. The company has implemented an organization designed to take advantage of synergies between the three brands and position the company for future growth.

“The new structure maintains dedicated leadership and support for each of the individual brands, ensuring brand distinction and the highest quality guest experience, while finding efficiencies and leveraging best practices across the company.”

Larry Williams, CEO of the Beacon Council, said he thought any workers laid off would soon find other jobs.

“Miami is the cruise capital of the world,” Williams said. “The local economy remains strong and unemployment is down. We’re confident that people will find opportunities very quickly here.”

Norwegian has seen a wave of change in recent months, beginning with the acquisition of Prestige Cruise Holdings last autumn, the appointment of Prestige CEO Frank Del Rio as chief of the Norwegian parent company in January following the abrupt departure of former CEO Kevin Sheehan, and the appointment of Andy Stuart as Norwegian Cruise Line president earlier this month following the brief tenure of Drew Madsen, former president and COO at Darden Restaurants.

Staff writers Hannah Sampson and Nicholas Nehamas contributed to this report.