I'm going to disagree with you hopefully in a nice way that doesn't start a small web war.
NCL holdings in 2000 had just one new ship, the Norwegian Sky, one new ship being built, the Norwegian Sun, with an option for a third ship which would have been a very close sister of the Sun. NCL Holdings initiated the bidding war as they had made their intent to sell well known.
Amost immediately after buying NCL for $1 billion, Star turned over the Star and Dawn which they had previously order for themselves to NCL to buy, an additional 1 billion of debt. Since then, NCL has ordered another 4 ships based upon the Star class hull. Star helped NCL buy and finish buillding the Pride of America. Star also leased, then sold the Superstar Leo to NCL, which is now the Norwegian Spirit.
So, in the last 8 full years, Star's financial dealings have sent 8 new ships to NCL, NCL holdings responsible for just 2 new ships. Without Star's deep pockets, most of today's NCL fleet would not have been built.
Assuming NCL Holdings was still in charge of NCL, NCL would have the Sky, Sun, and "Star" (Sun's sister), Dream, Wind, Majesty, Crown, Sea, and Norway comprising their fleet.
What Carnival Corporation would have done with NCL is anyone's guess. I doubt they would have kept the SS Norway around long, because its boilers were already in bad shape by 2000. They may have found the boilers cracks during inspections, assuming they would have performed better inspections, but they still would have found out just like NCL did in 2003 that there were no vendors building parts for the SS Norway's boliers. Buillding spare parts and maintaining one of a kind boilers isn't cheap.
Carnival may have retired the SS Norway sooner.
But that's all just speculation on my and your opinions. It should be noted that the QE2 is retiring later this year, and it didn't have any boliers to maintain. I believe Carnival would have retired the SS Norway sooner than they will retire the QE2.
If Carnival had bought NCL, would they have had the financial resources to buy Cunard and
Princess afterwards? Who knows for sure?