A Tale Of Two Cruise Ships Under Construction

cruise ships

Coming up this spring, Princess Cruises and Norwegian cruise lines – two of the most popular cruise lines with mainstream cruise travelers – have new cruise ships coming out. Considering that both are under construction right now and both offer sister ships being built for later delivery, choosing one might be difficult for cruise travelers. Before we get too far down the road, let’s take a look at the two new ships, what they have to offer and how construction is coming along.

cruise shipsNorwegian Cruise Line has a whole lot of New Yorkers talking about new Norwegian Breakaway, and for good reason. To be based in New York City year-round, the 4,000-passenger ship has been customized for the New York market with everything from shops, restaurants and bars to Sabrett New York hot dog carts positioned around the ship.

Partnering with the New York City Rockettes (Godmothers of the ship), pop artist Peter Max (custom city skyline hull design) and others, Norwegian is making every attempt to pierce the New York market; it even set up “warming stations” around the city this winter.

That’s all in addition to some over-the-top features on the ship set to blow away other new builds that has everyone talking about this new Norwegian ship that will be sailing to Florida, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

%Gallery-179356%An oceanfront boardwalk called the Waterfront on Norwegian Breakaway will combine dining and drinking venues with entertainment and gaming. 678 Ocean Place will be a hub of activity spanning three decks that features seven more dining venues, 12 bars and lounges coupled with shops and other entertainment options.

Continuing what looks to be a pre-sold success story with Norwegian Breakaway, sister ship Norwegian Getaway will debut in 2014, claiming Miami, Florida, as its hometown. Embedding a South Florida theme in the new ship, Norwegian tapped David Le Batard (AKA the artist known as “LEBO”) to create art for the new ship’s hull. Set to debut in February 2014, we’ll have more on that one later.

First, here’s a gallery of photos featuring first-up Norwegian Breakaway, under construction:

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Royal Princess marks the first new build for the cruise line since 2008’s Ruby Princess, the last of Princess Cruises popular grand class ships. They built nine of those and already have a sister ship to Royal Princess in the works too.

Royal Princess
will be a careful evolution of the Princess product with a ship laid out in typical Princess patterns. Focusing on their mantra to let passengers “escape completely” Princess Cruises has designed a ship totally around that concept. It’s a success formula that has made Princess popular over the years and keeps travelers coming back for more.

But Princess goes a bit over the top themselves too, adding an over-the-water “SeaWalk” that will extend 28 feet over the side of the ship, offering views of the ocean 128 feet below off the ship’s starboard side. On the port side, a SeaView bar will be positioned to offer cocktails and some great views. Here is what that venue and others should look like when complete:

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Top-deck features are a focus of cruise ships industry-wide lately and Royal Princess is no exception. This Princess ship starts with a new adults-only pool surrounded by plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two more pools will flank a “tropical island” that will have pool seating by day then become a dance club with a dancing water and light show by night.

Next year’s Regal Princess will be a twin sister to 141,000 ton Royal Princess, complete with a central atrium Piazza area that is 50% larger area than previous versions and casual dining options that include an Italian gelateria, a seafood bar and expanded seating in the passenger-favorite International Cafe.

Under construction right now in Venice, Princess Cruises sent along these photos from the shipyard:

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We will be heading to Venice, Italy, at the end of March for a first-hand look at construction of Royal Princess in-progress. Stay tuned for updates.

So which ship to choose? Here are some points to consider:

  • The value is there for either ship. Both will stack up nicely compared to land vacations to the same places these ships sail, allowing passengers to unpack once but visit multiple destinations.
  • Norwegian Breakaway adds an additional choice, year-round for cruise travelers departing from the upper East coast, eliminating the need for airfare and sailing to Bermuda, the Bahamas and Florida.
  • Royal Princess will sail seven-night itineraries from Florida’s Port Everglades to the Eastern Caribbean from November 2013 through April 2014 after a Mediterranean season that begins June 9, 2013.
  • Traditional cruisers will find their dreams fulfilled on Royal Princess with standard features the line has become famous for – amped up for today’s traveler. Think: turbo Love Boat.
  • Norwegian Breakaway promises an entertainment experience as good if not better than the bar-raising elements added on their last new build, Norwegian Epic. Think: epic flavor, easy to swallow.

[Photo Credits- Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises]

Cruise Line Can’t Build New Ships Fast Enough

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Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week a plan to build one, maybe two more new ships, their biggest yet, on the heels of their two Project Breakaway ships that are still under construction. Citing the buzz among cruise travelers and travel professionals in Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway as reason enough to build the 163,000 ton ships, the cruise line is as confident as ever.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have garnered significant attention in the marketplace with their innovative design, rich stateroom mix and world-class amenities,” said Norwegian President and CEO Kevin Sheehan in a Seatrade Insider report.

Indeed, Norwegian has had a laser focus on the deployment of their next ships. Dedicating Norwegian Breakaway to year-round service from New York City, the cruise line brought on board pop artist Peter Max to paint the ships hull with the New York skyline. About a month ago, Norwegian announced the Godmothers of Norwegian Breakaway, the New York City Rockettes. Sister ship Norwegian Getaway will sail year-round from Miami in 2014 and a close tie to Miami and South Florida is expected there as well.

Norwegian’s new Breakaway Plus ships to be delivered in 2015 and 2017 if an option for a second ship is triggered put two more giant ships in service, these weighing in at 163,000 tons, carrying about 4,200 passengers. The ships will be built at Meyer Werft’s Papenburg, Germany shipyard and financed by a German bank.

“Building on that momentum, along with Meyer Werft’s expertise and efficiency in the design and construction process, we are extending the excitement and anticipation with a new, larger edition Breakaway Plus-class ship to further distinguish the Norwegian brand,’ said Sheehan.
At a price tag of €700m (getting close to $1billion each), Breakaway Plus will host a continuation of the signature Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Cruising guest experience and focus on technical and sustainable environmental advances as well.



[Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Lines]

Cruise Line Taps Top Artist For Hull Design

cruise lineNorwegian Cruise Line today released the first image of the hull art planned for its next ship, 144,000 ton Norwegian Breakaway, designed by pop-artist icon Peter Max.

Covering 40,000 square feet of the ship’s exterior, the New York City-themed design features images of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.

“The Big Apple is known for its love of art and its many galleries — and now, Norwegian Breakaway becomes a floating piece of that art that will cruise in and dock every Saturday on New York’s West Side,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian president and CEO in a statement.

Artists and art at sea is nothing new, Peter Max was along for the ride on inaugural sailings of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and an on-board Britto store with works from Romero Britto, is featured on the ship.

Sister line Celebrity Cruises has a similar focus on the arts, offering hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food with culinary-themed classes on their Solstice-class ships.
Currently under construction in Germany, Norwegian Breakaway will debut in April 2013. The ship is scheduled to sail year-round from New York to Bermuda and the Bahamas and will be the largest ship ever to be based year-round in the city. That adds one more drive-to-the-port option for cruise passengers in the often under-served New York market.

Embarking on seven- to twelve day cruises to the Bahamas and Florida from October 2013 to April 2014, ports include Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay, Orlando and Port Canaveral. Two 12-day Southern Caribbean voyages and two “Weekend Escape” cruises in January 2014 are also scheduled with the 12-day itinerary incorporating visits to San Juan, St Thomas, Philipsburg, Castries, Bridgetown and Basseterre.




Photo courtesy Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Epic cruise ship – Blue man Group, 21 restaurants and Nickelodeon at sea

The battle for domination in the cruise ship world just heated up a bit more – as Norwegian revealed some more details of their newest ship – the Norwegian Epic.

The amenities on this ship are quite simply mind boggling – 21 restaurants, a Blue Man group show, Nickelodeon at Sea, bowling, a sports club, an under-21 nightclub, the world’s largest at-sea spa, a water park with multiple slides and the world’s first tube slide, an ice bar, The Second City comedy club, the Cirque dreams and dinner show, a rock and roll piano bar and 15 different bars and lounges.

The lineup of restaurants is equally impressive with highlights like the first Brazilian Churrascaria at sea and whole-ship pizza delivery (yes – you can order a pizza for the pool, or in your room).

Other dining options include a noodle bar, bistro, tapas bar, adults only supper-club, Irish pub and a Latin-Asian fusion poolside eatery.

The Norwegian Epic sets sail in 90 days, on itineraries out of Miami. Her maiden voyage starts in London heading to Miami. In the summer, the Epic will also make trips from Barcelona through the western Mediterranean with stops in Italy and France.

To learn more about this amazing ship, check out the Norwegian Epic web site or the excellent resources at Cruise Critic.

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Incontinent and impotent after fall in cruise ship spa is worth $9.5 million

In 2006, British Fitness instructor Danny Simpson slipped on the wet floor of the spa on board the Norwegian Cruise line’s “Norwegian Crown”. Mr. Simpson was employed by Steiner Transocean, responsible for operating the spa facilities on the cruise line.

When he fell, he suffered a back injury that made him impotent and incontinent. And apparently, that kind of suffering is worth $9.5 million. The defendant is obviously not content with the ruling, and has already filed papers seeking a new trial, or a reduction of the award.

Sadly, not much is known about the incident itself – whether the floor was not supposed to be wet, or whether the spa operator failed to ensure wet floors were made slip free. But if a court is willing to award just under ten million Dollars, I suspect someone screwed up enough to warrant that kind of cash.

The damages were awarded to cover his economic losses, medical expenses and future pain and suffering. Nine and a half million Dollars gets you heck of a lot of Viagra and adult diapers.