Norwegian Cruise Line this week introduced its newest ship, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway, during a wintery two-night inaugural cruise out of Manhattan's West Side Pier 88. The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders will officially name the ship during a christening ceremony in Miami on Feb. 7.
Norwegian Getaway is a virtual twin of sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, which was christened last May and now sails year-round from its New York City homeport. Getaway, in contrast, will sail year-round out of Miami when it begins revenue cruises shortly after its christening. It will feature seven-night Eastern Caribbean sailings to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; and Nassau, the Bahamas.
Both ships were built in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, which is also constructing Norwegian’s next two vessels, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, set for delivery in fall 2015, and sister ship Norwegian Bliss, which will debut in spring 2017.
This week, however, Getaway is getting a pre-christening of sorts when it is turned into the Bud Lite Hotel for Super Bowl weekend. For the next few days, the vessel's stack will now feature the Bud Lite logo instead of the more familiar NCL branding.
Norwegian Getaway has many of the same features as Breakaway, but with a Miami twist. While Breakaway is a New York-themed vessel, Getaway reflects its Miami homeport. For instance, there is now a Sunset Bar and Sugarcane Mojito bar, replacing more New York-themed bars in Breakaway. But such stalwarts as O’Sheehan’s Pub, named after Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan, remain.
Where Breakaway features a New York blues club, Fat Cats, showcasing guitarist Slam Allen, Getaway offers up the Grammy Experience, which will have performances by Grammy-award winning artists. In the club’s debut this week, Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres, a jazz and Latin flautist, delivered nightly performances.
Similarly, Spice H20, the outdoor night spot on Deck 12, now has large posters and signage reflecting Miami rather than New York. The ship’s signature ropes course on the top deck in the stern, which offers a “walk the plank” experience where guests can walk on a beam out above the ocean, now has a more pirate-like theme. That same theme also is reflected in the miniature golf course just below the ropes course. Five giant waterslides near the ropes course also duplicate what’s on Breakaway.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Getaway and Breakaway is the entertainment. Breakaway features an edgy performance of the Broadway hit "Rock of Ages." Getaway offers a 90-minute version of another Broadway hit "Legally Blonde” with highly professional singers and dancers. On some nights, the main theater is taken over by “Burn the Floor,” a troupe of top-notch dancers and percussionists.
In a first for Norwegian, Getaway also features a unique dinner and magic show called The Illusionarium. This specially constructed theater, which on Breakaway offers performances from Cirque Dreams, features five different magicians with different specialties (levitation, disappearances, hypnosis, slight of hand, etc.) as well as a sound and light show with a massive video display on a dome above the circular stage.
The Illusionarium is much more than the usual cruise ship magic show and travel agents and other industry executives who saw it over the past two days said it just might be one of the best shows ever at sea. The show was developed internally at Norwegian without any specific brand partners.
Elsewhere on Getaway, the 678 Ocean Place entertainment and dining zone on Decks 6, 7 and 8, as well as The Waterfront, which offers ocean views for dining and drinking on Deck 8, are virtual copies of what’s on Breakaway. Signature restaurants largely remain the same, although menu items have been changed to reflect the ship’s new Miami vibe. In Ocean Blue, the Geoffrey Zakarian specialty restaurant, new menu items feature Florida- sourced fish.
The Manhattan Club, one of the main restaurants on Breakaway, has been recast as the Tropicana Room, a supper club featuring Latin dancers on its large dance floor. Flamingo Bar & Grill on the Deck 16 also reflects the ship’s new South Florida vibe. Other eateries and bars, such as Le Bistro, Cucina, Shanghai Noodle, Svedka Ice Bar and Carlo’s Bakery duplicate what’s already on Breakaway.
Finally, perhaps the visible exterior change on Getaway is the playful hull art by Florida artist David LEBO Le Batard. The bow of the ship is decorated with a giant orange and yellow mermaid, while the stern features renderings of pelicans.
It all adds up to a ship that definitely reflects the homeport it will soon serve.
By Travel Pulse
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