Actors’ Equity Association announced today that it reached an agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line to cover members on the cruise line's new ship, the Norwegian Bliss. From May 3 – May 5 while in New York, the Norwegian Bliss was under Equity Agreement, marking the first time that a full Equity cast has been used on a cruise ship.
The agreement added $575 per day for actors and $750 per day for stage managers to the cast's NCL salaries. Members earned a one-week credit towards their health care and pension benefits. (Equity members who work at least 11 weeks on contract are eligible for six months of health care coverage).
"I'm thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Lines hired members of Actors' Equity while the Bliss was docked in New York," said Mary McColl, Executive Director of Actors’ Equity. "This is a first step, but one that underscores the big changes we are making to go out and organize new work for Equity members, wherever live theatre might be happening."
"NCL is pleased to team with Actors' Equity Association on the New York inaugural of the Norwegian Bliss, featuring Jersey Boys and our newest production, ¡Havana!, created by Broadway’s own Warren Carlyle," said Richard Ambrose, VP of Entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Lines.
The Norwegian Bliss has two venues, a cabaret space and the 950-seat Bliss Theatre. In the Bliss Theatre, there were four presentations of ¡Havana! and two presentations of Jersey Boys on Saturday. Happy Hour-Prohibition was presented as a late-night event Saturday in the cabaret venue.
The new agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line marks the latest in a series of new and better-paying work opportunities organized by Equity as part of Equity 2020. In March, Equity reached an agreement with the producers of Rocktopia to ensure the show used wall-to-wall Equity contracts – a show that otherwise would have gone non-Union. In December, Equity announced a new three-year agreement with BroadwayCon, a contract that more than doubled the weekly salaries for stage managers and created a 95 percent increase in the weekly minimum for actors.