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 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

Cruise lines focus on the arts

cruise line artsIt’s often a little-noticed detail on board today’s cruise liners: the artwork that adorns everything from stateroom walls to stairways. While passengers do everything from climb a rock wall to just enjoy a day at sea with a good book, all around them is art that has been carefully selected to create a theme or set the mood of a ship.

New Allure of the Seas stirs up quite the buzz on everything from the ship’s sheer size to the tiny details that go into much of what they do. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a classic ocean liner with an elegant air, boasts the work of top-shelf artists from around the world. Carnival Cruise Line pays diligent attention to a theme for each ship that separates one from another in their fleet.

What was once simply a way to make a ship look less like a ship and more like a hotel has become a central focus of cruise lines that invest heavily in the arts.

Royal Caribbean’s new Allure of the Seas is one of those ships that has a central theme carried throughout. On Allure its all about “Wonders of our World Cultures” with artwork depicting scenes from all over the planet.

The artwork onboard Allure of the Seas, over 9800 pieces in all, has been created by artists from over twenty different countries such as Norway, Korea, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands, Iceland, Spain, Colombia, Thailand and the United States. The diversity in artist nationalities in itself adds to the colorful and sophisticated aspect of the curatorial vision of Wonder of our World Cultures.

With pop-artist icon Peter Max along for the ride on inaugural sailings and an on-board Britto store with works from Romero Britto, Royal Caribbean is serious about what they do with art at sea. Sister line Celebrity Cruises has a similar focus on the arts, announcing recently some new additions to onboard programming on new additions to their Solstice-class ships. On those new-builds, the line will offer hands-on instruction from experts in drawing, painting and beading, as well as the art of food with culinary-themed classes.%Gallery-109473%