Norwegian Breakaway Debuts, UK Travel Pros Approve

Norwegian BreakawayNorwegian Cruise Lines new Norwegian Breakaway is due to arrive in New York City to be christened in the city by Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes on May 8. This week, the 146,600-ton ship was previewed by UK travel professionals and members of the press in Southampton on a two-night preview sailing prior to its inaugural transatlantic sailing. Sailing year-round from New York, Norwegian is betting heavy on the success of the ship’s New York City theme with everything from the city skyline painted on the ship’s hull to Sabrett hot dog carts positioned around the ship. But how did the ship play out in real life? Gadling asked travel professionals on the UK sailing for their opinion.

Norwegian promotes the ship as “ground breaking” and “innovative,” something Norwegian Cruise Lines knows a thing or two about. They introduced the concept of Freestyle Cruising that broke away from rigid ship schedules for dining and activities.

Scott Anderson, General Manager of The Luxury Cruise Company told Gadling he thinks Norwegian hit their goal, saying Norwegian Breakaway is a “much needed departure away from the clashing colours and gaudiness of the Jewel class and (Norwegian) Epic. The Norwegian Breakaway cabins and suites are all decorated in soft, natural, muted tones; the ships public rooms, whilst being ‘themed’ are not over the top and the carpets throughout are not migraine inducing.”Norwegian BreakawayTop-end staterooms include The Haven by Norwegian, a luxury ship within a ship area full of suites. Guests booked in the luxury accommodations enjoy an array of amenities, including private 24-hour butlers, concierge service, in-suite dining, priority embarkation and disembarkation, a distinctive platinum keycard, priority boarding of tenders to shore, in-suite espresso/cappuccino machines and more.

“What really distinguishes it for me is the Haven area – beautifully decorated, with guests occupying Haven suites given access to their own bar, lounge and restaurant,” said Anderson.

Built to handle 4,500 passengers, Norwegian Breakaway continues the line’s innovative spirit with two signature areas. An oceanfront boardwalk called the Waterfront combines dining and drinking venues with entertainment and gaming. 678 Ocean Place will be a hub of activity spanning three decks that feature seven more dining venues, 12 bars and lounges coupled with shops and other entertainment options.

“A very innovative design and great for a bar crawl!” said Anderson. “Shakers cocktail bar was great, and I would love to sit outside at La Cucina in the evening for a nice Italian meal.”

Norwegian BreakawayBut whom will this ship appeal to? New Yorkers? Non-New Yorkers wanting a New York experience? Cruise travelers in general? What age group would like Norwegian Breakaway? The ship has plenty of bars, restaurants, entertainment options and top-deck features like an Aqua Park and Sports Complex. It sounds like Norwegian Breakaway has all the bases covered.

“If I was sailing with a multi-generational family group – who all wanted different things out of their vacation, then I would definitely sail on this ship,” concludes Anderson. “The kids clubs facilities are very good, the number of bars and clubs are perfect for 20-somethings and young parents, and there are enough areas for those who like quieter times to sit and relax. Evening entertainment and the choice of restaurants should keep everyone happy.”

Norwegian Breakaway will sail year-round from New York to Bermuda in the summer then do a seven-day Bahamas and Florida itinerary in the winter.

Want to know more about Norwegian Breakaway? Norwegian has a dedicated website for the ship and this video highlights other features:

[Photo Credit – Scott Anderson]

Cruise Line Brings Heat To New York City

cruise lineNorwegian Cruise Line is bringing new 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway to New York City later this year to sail year-round to Florida, the Bahamas and Bermuda. Getting ready to be New York’s home town cruise line, Norwegian has engaged in partnerships with the New York City Rockettes, pop artist Peter Max and others. Norwegian Breakaway will even have Sabrett New York hot dog carts positioned around the ship in convenient places, much like on the streets of New York City.

Now, Norwegian is back on the streets of New York offering what they call “Warming Stations” around the city.

As part of their sponsorship with NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership of the City of New York, Norwegian Cruise Line is setting up three warming station events in New York City through the end of January.

The warming stations feature a large backdrop of Norwegian Breakaway along with heat lamps, sand and palm trees to give passers-by a warm, tropical feeling. Commuters passing through can visit, have their pictures taken with the backdrop like they might while boarding a cruise ship and enjoy a hot beverage.cruise lineUpcoming dates and locations are:

January 14 – Flatiron Plaza
January 22 – 14th St. & 9th Ave.
January 28 – Times Square

And what would be a cruise-oriented event without something free given away?

The Warming Stations will feature instant-wins every hour where visitors can win tickets to either see “Rock of Ages” or eat at Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant, The National.

Featuring an oceanfront boardwalk called the Waterfront, Norwegian Breakaway will have shops, restaurants and bars combined with entertainment and gaming. A hub of activity spanning three decks is called 678 Ocean Place, featuring seven dining venues, 12 bars and lounges coupled with shops and other entertainment options.

Can’t wait for Norwegian Breakaway to arrive in May? Norwegian Cruise Lines has a micro-site set up all about the new ship and its features. Check this video for more:




[Photo Credit- Norwegian Cruise Lines]

Stunning Cruise Line Art, Both In And On Ships

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Cruise lines traditionally devote a great amount of resources collecting art that will adorn the walls of individual staterooms and public spaces. Thoughtful collections help ship designers tie in a central theme that often runs throughout the interior of ships and sometimes on the exterior as well. It’s a high-stakes game of procurement and placement that can transform a ship into a floating display.

Not Your Mother’s Art
Travelers who have done a cruise vacation on any number of mainstream cruise lines know about art auctions on board. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

Art auctions are a profitable revenue stream for cruise lines that entice participants away from the pool deck or casino with free champagne during the event. Called into question on numerous occasions, the value of art bought at sea is difficult to nail down and commonly appraised much lower on land.

Put that thought out of your mind. The cruise line art we’re talking about today is the real deal, featuring creations by top tier artists like Romero Britto, Thomas Kincade and Peter Max.

Bringing Big Names Along For The Ride
Partnering with obscure and well-known artists, works take the form of paintings, lithographs and sculptures ranging from the traditional to over-the-top custom pieces designed specifically for a certain ship.

Royal Caribbean brought Peter Max along for the ride on inaugural sailings of giant Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, and an on-board Britto store where works from Romero Britto are featured.

Thank cruise line art programs for sparking the idea of branding that has brought partnerships with celebrity chefs, big-name entertainment and normally land-based service providers to sea.

Not Just Inside The Ship Either
Norwegian Cruise Line announced recently that David Le Batard (AKA “LEBO” ) was chosen to create the hull art (pictured above) for the new 4000-passenger Norwegian Getaway to be based in Miami.

“Norwegian Getaway will be Miami’s ship and, therefore, we wanted to ensure that her hull was designed by an artist with strong ties to Miami and the Latin community,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer in a press release. “Having begun his career in South Florida, Dave is an artist that is entrenched here. His work adorns the city and I’ve learned that he is also a genuinely nice guy. He is a shining star in Miami, as well as the global art community.”

Similar to the close pairing of sister-ship Norwegian Breakaway to New York City, the cruise line is going down the same road with Norwegian Getaway hosting a South Florida theme. On Norwegian Breakaway, it was Peter Max designing hull art that features images of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.

On Norwegian Getway, set to debut in February 2014, Batard will add images of a mermaid, sun, swirling waves, palm trees and pelicans to support the ship’s South Florida theme.

Art, The Experience
Also on the exterior of a ship, the imagineers at Disney Cruise Line took the ship’s satellite transmitters, normally an eyesore, and made them into something unique. On the top forward deck of the Disney Fantasy, Satellite Falls is a new Disney Cruise Line feature that adds “a gentle water curtain to one of the ship’s satellite transmitters,” says Inside The Magic of this video. “The surrounding area features a relaxing open deck with views of the front of the ship”




Celebrity Cruises takes art to unique places as well. When last year’s Celebrity Silhouette, sister-ship to Celebrity Reflection debuted, Gadling reported that Celebrity had commissioned Kurt Werner, the inventor of 3-D street art, to create an innovative art installation at the New York Stock Exchange. Stock Exchange employees had fun “relaxing” on the hammock and “grilling” on what was then the industry’s first outdoor, interactive grill restaurant, called The Lawn Club Grill.

Spare No Expense On Art
Setting sail this week for the first time, new Celebrity Reflection features a $4.1 million collection of art that in one way or another supports the “reflection” theme on the ship. Over 6,000 works make up the ship’s collection, part of the Royal Caribbean International company inventory that spans over 40 ships.

What goes into creating an at-sea art collection? Purchasing art works or commissioning specific works by international emerging, mid-career and established artists is key as we see in this video:




Engaging Passengers
Art runs through ships as an element of the cruise experience we don’t hear a lot about. Its there and those who take the time to look are often surprised by the captivating quality of works at sea. Also at sea, some lines engage passengers, teaching and challenging them to try something new, creating art of their own.

Celebrity Cruises has a hands-on program on their Solstice-class ships and others that have been “solsticized” adding popular features to older ships. The Art Studio, a new venue on The Lawn Club has along for the ride two artists-in-residence who offer hands-on classes in many creative arts. Master Artists from The ArtCenter South Florida also host art classes, lectures and demonstrations on topics ranging from jewelry making to sketching and painting.

Passengers on Princess Cruises can choose from about 20 courses per voyage from four core subject areas – Culinary Arts, Visual/Creative Arts, Photography and Computer Technology. Ceramics or pottery are popular with passengers who fire their creations on board to take home later. Digital travel photography and watercolor techniques are also offered.

Just about every major cruise line has an onboard art collection they are proud of and they want passengers to know all about it. Hosting tours, both with an art expert along and self-guided, cruise lines take passengers on a voyage within a voyage. Enabling those who appreciate fine art an additional at-sea experience, the art we find at sea adds an extra dimension worthy of our consideration.

[Photo Credit- Norwegian Cruise Line]

Cruise Line Taps Rockettes For New York Ship

Cruise LineNorwegian Cruise Line‘s new 4000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway, set to debut in April 2013, will be based year-round in New York City. Not long ago, Norwegian announced that the hull of the ship would feature a 40,000-square-foot, New York City-themed design with images of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, painted by Peter Max. Now, Norwegian has announced the Godmothers of the new ship, The New York City Rockettes.

Two dancers from the Rockettes will also be on board for the first six sailings then one sailing a month after that, joining in for special events.

“This signature partnership will provide Norwegian Cruise Line with unprecedented access to the Rockettes, Radio City and the Christmas Spectacular,” said Melissa Ormand, president of Madison Square Garden Entertainment in Travel Weekly.

Featuring an oceanfront boardwalk called The Waterfront, Norwegian Breakaway will have shops, restaurants and bars combined with entertainment and gaming. A hub of activity spanning three decks is called 678 Ocean Place, featuring seven dining venues, 12 bars and lounges coupled with shops and other entertainment options.

Among the dining options will be the first all-seafood restaurant aboard an NCL ship, Ocean Blu, which will include a premium raw bar and sushi bar.

An 11-foot model of Norwegian Breakaway will be on display year-round in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall and patrons of the Rockettes 2012 Christmas show can enter a sweepstakes to win a cruise for four aboard Breakaway.


[Photo: 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