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On Monday, I started writing a post called “An Epic Prediction for 2011” about NCL’s newest and largest ship, Epic, that is scheduled to launch in Summer 2010. At the time, it was slated to operate year round from Miami on an alternating Eastern/Western Caribbean run. I was going to predict that Epic would be repositioned to Europe in the summer of either 2011 or 2012.

Then I read this last night. Damn — had I only posted this prediction on Monday!.

Why did I say this?

First, I believed that Caribbean would have too much capacity in the summer season given the move by RCI to base their uber mega-ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, out of Florida year round. Plus, other cruise lines have taken up the same year round Caribbean strategy for the summer of 2010 (e.g., Princess), as they’ve reduced their sailings in Alaska.

Second, I believed that NCL was tipping its hand with a nod to Europe by sailing Epic from Southampton to New York in June for her launch. This is somewhat strange as NCL no longer has much of a presence in Southampton after basing Jade in Barcelona year round in 2010 instead of moving her to Southampton for the summer as in prior years.

Why do this if you don’t plan on returning an NCL ship to Southampton on a regular basis and/or if not to promote Epic in Europe?

Unfortunately, my prediction was scooped by the marketing department at NCL!

So, I’m going to make another prediction – this time about Royal Caribbean. I’m going on the record now to say that I believe RCI will reposition either Freedom of the Seas or Liberty of the Seas to Europe for the Summer 2011 season.

There, I’ve said it.

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