Statue Of Liberty To Reopen October 28

Last week, the National Park Service announced that after being closed for renovations for nearly a year, the interior of the Statue of Liberty is set to reopen on October 28. The reopening will allow a limited number of visitors inside for the first time since the renovation project began and it’s timed to coincide with the celebration of the statue’s 126th anniversary.

Changes to the interior include new elevators to whisk visitors to the top of the statue, remodeled restrooms, improved water coolers and safer stairways. A wheelchair lift has been installed for the first time as well, granting better access to the pedestal for those who need a boost. Each of these changes and additions were made to ensure visitors have a safer and more enjoyable experience while in and around the statue.

The renovation project isn’t completely wrapped up just yet and is expected to continue through the end of the year. Because of the ongoing work, access to the interior of the statue will remain limited for the time being. Specific information on availability of tickets will be announced on Lady Liberty’s Facebook page and Twitter feed in the days ahead.

It’s great to see the Statue of Liberty reopening for visitors. One of the most iconic travel experiences when visiting New York City is to drop by to see the statue. It may sound like an overly touristy thing to do, but sometimes when you travel you just have to be a tourist. Definitely worth it in my opinion.

Cruise Line Taps Rockettes For New York Ship

Norwegian 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

Norwegian 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

Statue of Liberty getting five webcams for 125th anniversary

This Friday, the Statue of Liberty turns 125 years old, and to celebrate she’s getting some new high-tech gear in the form of five webcams located inside her torch. Four of the cameras will point towards Ellis Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island and the Freedom Tower respectively, while the fifth will give viewers a unique look at the torch itself.

The new cameras will go live during a ceremony that will cap a week filled with special events commemorating the original dedication of Lady Liberty, which took place on October 29, 1886. The 151-foot tall statue was a gift to the United States from France in honor of the ten year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. During the Revolutionary War, the two nations became close allies, and the U.S. revolution would later inspire many in France to follow suit.

The new webcams will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and offer a full panorama of the New York City harbor. They have been installed in the torch, well above the crown, and will provide views that haven’t been seen from the statue since 1916.

Friday’s ceremony is open to the public and will also include 125 candidates from 40 different countries, taking the oath of citizenship. Actress Sigourney Weaver will be on hand to read the “Mother of Exiles” poem, written by Emma Lazarus, which helped to make the statue so famous. It was Lazarus who penned the phrase “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Those hoping to attend the ceremony are encouraged to arrive early. Ferry service will be available between Manhattan and Liberty Island. For the rest of us, we’ll have to just wait until the webcams are switched on to take in the new view.

Photo of the day – Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is beyond iconic. It’s the sort of place that most visitors to New York seek to visit, even if they’re not sure why, the sort of place with a symbolic and cultural reach that goes well beyond your average top tourist attraction. Today’s beautifully realist Photo of the Day, by Flickr user jwannie, depicts the Statue of Liberty as many visitors might encounter it, framed by a boat window.

Have an image that you’d like to see as a future Photo of the Day? Submit it to the Gadling Group pool on Flickr. If we like it we might just select it to be a future Photo of the Day.