The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, Andy Stuart, is stepping down at the end of the year.
Stuart, who has been with the Miami-based cruise line for 31 years, will be succeeded by the president of the line’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., Harry Sommer. Stuart will stay on as an advisor through March of next year, the company 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,” said Stuart in a statement. “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.”
Stuart is credited with pioneering Norwegian’s “freestyle cruising” program, which allows passengers to eat their meals when they want at an on-board restaurant of their choice, breaking with the then-industry norm of set dining schedules.
In a statement, Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian’s parent company, said the succession plan has been in the works for several years.
Sommer, who will take over Jan. 1, 2020, has been with the company for more than 30 years. He currently oversees business operations for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. international markets.
“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,” said Sommer in a statement.
The leadership announcement comes just before Norwegian’s newest ship, Norwegian Encore, makes its debut in Miami in November. The cruise company with headquarters in Miami has 26 ships across its three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.