Norwegian Cruise Line has announced Norwegian Epic’s 2015/2016 winter itineraries from her new year-round homeport of Barcelona, Spain. From 29 November 2015 through 7 April 2016, Norwegian Epic will set sail from Barcelona on 10-day Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries, and 10, 11- or 12-dayWestern Mediterranean itineraries. Norwegian Epic’s new Europe itineraries will open for sale in the UK in early April 2014.
Epic at Southampton, June 2010.
“Norwegian Epic is the perfect ship to bring to Europe year-round and the ship’s new Europe itineraries are sure to be a hit among cruisers looking to explore this spectacular part of the world,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “These new itineraries provide exciting experiences and sights for our guests, while giving them a chance to spend more time exploring more of the beautiful cities that Europe is known for.”
Canary Islands & Morocco
Norwegian Epic will offer 10-day Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries from Barcelona starting 29 November 2015. Norwegian Epic’s Canary Islands & Morocco itineraries will encompass some of the most sought after ports of call along the North Western Coast of Africa and will visit: Tangier, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Spain; Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; and Málaga (Granada), Spain. Sail dates are 29 November 2015; 3, 24 January; 14 February; 6 and 28 March 2016.
Guests looking to celebrate Christmas 2015 on board Norwegian Epic can do so on a nine-day Canary Islands & Morocco itinerary which will be offered on 19 December 2015. Guests cruising for Christmas will visit Tangier, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Spain; and Málaga (Granada), Spain.
Guests looking to cruise to the Western Mediterranean in the winter on Norwegian Epic can cruise on their choice of six-, 10-, 11-, and 12-day itineraries.
The 11-day itinerary features ports of call including Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Palma, Majorca, Spain; and Barcelona, Spain, and will be offered on 13 January, 3 and 24 February 2016.
On 9 December 2015 and 7 April 2016, Norwegian Epic will sail two 10-day Western Mediterranean itineraries that visit Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy.
Guests looking to cruise through the New Year can set sail on 28 December 2015, from Barcelona on a six-day cruise. Ports of call include Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy and Palma, Majorca, Spain.
On March 16, 2016, Norwegian Epic will depart for its longest Western Mediterranean winter season cruise, a 12-night itinerary that visits Valencia, Spain; Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy; Carthage, Tunisia; Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Naples (Pompeii), Italy; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy; Palma, Majorca, Spain; and Valencia, Spain.
Malcolm Says: Epic is a remarkable floating resort and is ideal for the young, young at heart and families looking for plenty of action and entertainment. It nice to see her season extended and operating European itineraries that are a little more adventurous, in 2015/16.
There can be little doubt that ‘Norwegian’ are now committed to the mega-ship race, after their newbuilds: Epic, Breakaway and Getaway. However’ ‘Escape’ (2015) and ‘Bliss’ (2017) will be their biggest yet at around 163,000 gt.
The first issue of Escape’s deck plans reveal some interesting differences between Escape and the two Breakaway class ships.
As well as having an expanded ‘Haven’ (private suites complex), ‘Escape’ will have more studio (single) cabins. Although not ‘officially’ revealed, It also looks that she will have a longer ‘Waterfront’ promenade with some (2?) new/extended public rooms on deck 8.
In addition it looks as if there will definitely be new public space/s on deck 5.
26th February 2014: Royall Caribbean’s ‘Anthem of the Sea’s will be sailing from Southampton in April-October 2015. The cabins go on sale tomorrow. Even though we still do not know all of Anthem and her sister Quantum’s facilities/layout, I bet the cabins will sell pretty fast!
Norwegian Cruise Line’s next ship ‘Norwegian Escape’ due to enter service later in 2015, will boast an expanded Haven suite complex with more premium accommodation.
‘Norwegian Escape’ to be followed by ‘Bliss’ in 2017 are called the “Breakaway Plus” class and will be NCL’s biggest ships. They will be 163,000 gt and carry 4,200 passengers (lower berths) when compared to the “Breakaway class” at 144,000 gt and 4,000 passengers. (‘Norwegian Epic’ at 156,000 gt and 4,1000 passengers will become their second biggest ship.)
(NCL Image – click to enlarge)
The Norwegian Escape will have all of the features of Norwegian Breakaway/Getaway, in addition to new spaces and experiences.
The 4,200-passenger vessel’s expanded Haven is their “ship within a ship” concept. This has been done by adding a second deck (17 & 18) to the Haven, of luxury accommodation. The space, accessible by keycard, will have an outdoor terrace with its private restaurant as well as the same kind of private courtyard area with retractable roof, pool, two whirlpools, sauna, spa treatment rooms and sundeck.
The number of suites within the Haven more than doubles, from 42 on Getaway to 95 on Escape. These include four 1,300-square-foot deluxe owner’s suites (that’s nearly 100 feet larger than the one found on Getaway), four 572-square-foot owner’s suites, 25 two-bedroom family villas that sleep up to six, and 22 penthouses. Another 26 Haven-style penthouses are located in other areas of the ship, facing forward and aft, as well as 14 Haven spa suites that are close to the ship’s fitness center and Thermal Suite.
Norwegian Escape will also expand its Studio area, which consists of rooms for solo travellers, from the 59 on Getaway to 82 cabins. The Studio, which is also accessible only by keycard, will have its own lounge, as Breakaway, Getaway and Epic have.
(Escape Studio Lounge – NCL)
Families will continue to have options across the categories, with 40 mini-suites located near Splash Academy, 172 family balconies near the children’s facilities, 48 oceanview staterooms that can accommodate up to five and an unspecified number of inside staterooms with additional Pullman beds.
(Meyer Werft image Breakaway+ click for full-screen)
According to Norwegian, details including the ship’s home port and its first-year itinerary will be announced next month, when the first sailings will be available to book.
(Text/Image Source: NCL)
Malcolm Says: I assume Norwegian Bliss will also have an expanded Haven too. It’s funny people used to criticize Cunard on having a ‘class’ system (different dining rooms liked to different grades of suite) but a “ship-within-a -ship” is becoming a standard feature, even on mass-market ships.
Extra Public Rooms? It was clear from the outset that the Breakaway+ ships would have more accommodation but I was particularly interested to know if they had more public rooms than ‘Breakaway’ class. NCL titillated us by saying: “…all of the features of Norwegian Getaway, in addition to new spaces and experiences”.
However some basic ‘Escape’ deck plans are already available:
When compared to Breakaway, Escape has an extra deck of cabins (20 decks in total). Generally the other decks (labelled “More To Come”) appear to be configured in a similar way, in terms of accommodation and public spaces, with a few exceptions. However it does appears that the ‘studio’ (single) cabins are spread over three decks (10, 11, 12) not just two, with the lounge being on 11 between all three decks. This change accommodates the 32 extra studio cabins (82 in total).
The most significant difference is that Escape’s deck 5 has about 100 less cabins, which releases some extra space (in red below) for public rooms, which Breakaway does not have. Taking into account the stair towers/elevators, I guess this extra space represents about 25% of that deck. (I’m assuming the space at the very stern of Breakaway’s deck 5 is a technical area and may NOT be available on Escape either).
I guess that there will be room in this ‘red’ area for a fair-sized single-height lounge/entertainment space or a further dining option/s. The galley for the main dining rooms is just one deck above which maybe could be utilised. The rendering shows windows on the port and starboard sides of this area, although they look no bigger than cabin windows. (Mind you renderings can change).
Getaway Deck 5
Escape Deck 5
In addition 18 cabins have been lost from deck 8 (the Waterfront deck) and it appears the waterfront may have been extended and/or another public space has been created.
Below: Escape (Less cabins on deck 8/new space)
Finally, what are those two ‘bulges’ on the top of the ‘Haven’ (see below)? Possible cantilevered (overhanding) Hot Tubs, RCI style?
In terms of the Breakaway class public rooms: I’d like to see Escape have a bigger main Theatre (it only holds 800) but this may not be possible. A complete re-design of Breakaway’s features negates the cost savings benefits of simply adapting the design. Likewise I’d like to see a forward facing Observation Lounge, ‘Spinnaker Lounge’ style, overlooking the bow. However expensive revenue generating suites will clearly occupy such prime spaces.
I think Breakaway’s ‘Bliss’ is too small (even when compared to Epic’s). It is rather like a claustrophobic ‘black box’ that can only be used as a night-club. NCL’s original ‘Bliss-Ultra-Lounge’ concept was a more versatile design, with windows/stage, that could be used during the day time and as an evening night-club (a good idea for deck 5 maybe?) After all, Royal Caribbean’s buzz-word for their next ship ‘Quantum’, is “transformational” spaces.
Finally, I am a little concerned that the Breakaway class are often called “busy” or even “crowded” ships in passenger reviews. ‘Breakaway Plus’ will carry even more passengers. Although it does look as if NCL will add at least some extra public spaces on deck 5 and deck 8, not all of the facilities of the Breakaway class can expanded. The ship will be taller (an extra deck) but no longer or wider. I assume that the busy ’Pool Deck’,’ Aqua-Park’ and ‘Sports Deck’ will all have to be the same size. The Waterfront may be a little longer, but cannot be wider.
Q: Please tell me what extra public rooms/dining you think Breakaway+ should have.
O’Sheehan’s, the 24-hour Irish pub, will be expanded to six more Norwegian Cruise Line vessels, adding life to the atrium area.
(CEO Kevin Sheehan, in O’sheehan’s, by A.Kolosh)
O’Sheehan’s debuted with Norwegian Epic’s introduction in 2010 and is featured on the sister ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. It serves fast-food type snacks at no charge, besides beer on tap. Television, billiards and darts are available, too.
Norwegian Jewel will be the first to gain a pub during its dry-dock in May. The remaining Jewel-class vessels: Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Pearl, along with Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star, will add O’Sheehan’s in the future.
7th February 2014 – Norwegian Getaway was christened in a star-studded ceremony by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, with a rousing finale by Cuban/American musical superstar Armando Christian Perez (aka Pitbull).
Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round at Port Miami, kicked off her arrival to Miami in style. Throughout the christening ceremony, which took place in three themed venues around the ship, Norwegian Getaway’s Miami flair was on full display.
The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders flipped the switch lighting up Miami and the bottle smashed against the side of the ship to officially christen her.
“Miami’s ship is home and we couldn’t be more proud to bring this spectacular vessel to this electric city,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We thank Miami-Dade County for this warm welcome and the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders for christening this beautiful ship and are looking forward to a very successful inaugural season.”
Norwegian Getaway will begin her weekly seven-day cruises from Port Miami to the Easter Caribbean on Saturday, February 8.
Above: The Tropicana Dining Room, one of the most attractive at sea? (Click to make bigger)
I will provide more coverage on this amazing ship, shortly. Stay tuned! Malcolm
15/01/14 Getaway in Southampton: during a public Q&A session Kevin Sheehan (NCL CEO) was asked if Norwegian ships would be sailing from a UK port next year, maybe to Norway and the North Cape? We heard Sheehan reply “North Cape, I do not even know where that is”.
That sounds like a conclusive “NO” to me.
Other NCL news:
Norwegian Cruise Line will be updating its entire fleet with O’Sheehan’s Pub, the new bar that has proven to be popular on its newest vessels – Norwegian Epic, Breakaway and Getaway.
The company’s chief executive Kevin Sheehan told those in attendance for Getaway’s debut in Southampton this week that efforts are also being undertaken to get more passengers to visit the pub, especially at different times of day. He also said: “O’Sheehan’s has proved to be such a centre point for the ship, for people to gather and socialise, that we have decided to put it on all the ships.”
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that Norwegian Epic, the line’s award-winning ship, will home port year-round in Barcelona, Spain from 30 April 2015. Norwegian Epic will be the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship to ever home port in Europe year-round.
Epic at Southampton, June 2010.
“We are excited to announce that our largest ship, Norwegian Epic, will homeport in Europe year-round in 2015,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Norwegian Epic’s innovative accommodations, world-class entertainment and plethora of dining options are the perfect complement to the European cruise market, one of the most sought-after cruise destinations in the world.”
Throughout 2015, Norwegian Epic will offer a variety of exciting European itineraries. The Itineraries are scheduled to be announced mid-March.
Malcolm Says: It looks like the news for the next few weeks will mainly be coming from NCL. This is excellent news. Epic is a very exciting ships.
10 Jan 2014: Today during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the 145,655 gross ton cruise ship Norwegian Getaway from MEYER WERFT after a building period of only 15 months.
The ship, the second of two Breakaway Class ships, is being delivered just nine months after the launch of sister-ship Norwegian Breakaway. Following delivery today, the ship is sailing to Rotterdam for the start of inaugural festivities which will continue in Southampton before the ship departs for her transatlantic cruise to New York.
The ship will be christened in Miami on 7 February.
Malcolm Says: Below you can see my slide-show tour of her sister ‘Norwegian Breakaway’. Both ships are of an almost identical design, although the décor theme for Breakaway is ‘New York’ style and Breakaway is ‘Miami’ inspired.
Norwegian Cruise Line have announced that the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders will christen ‘Norwegian Getaway’, described as “Miami’s ultimate ship”, as the official Godmothers.
The Christening Ceremony will take place on 7 February 2014 on board Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami. The line also announced a partnership with the Miami Dolphins that designates Norwegian Cruise Line as the “Official Cruise Line” of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.
Norwegian Cruise Line is also partnering with the Miami Dolphins throughout the football season at Sun Life Stadium and is an official sponsor of the team. The partnership also extends on board Norwegian Getaway, as the ship’s library will house Miami Dolphins memorabilia highlighting the team’s rich history. Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruises departing weekly from Miami from 8 February 2014.
Malcolm says: I can remember the time when a Godmother was just one woman. Today’s big ships are sometimes having multiple Godmothers. ‘Norwegian Breakaway’ for example had New York’s dancing girls, “The Rockettes”. Personally I think in this age of equality it is about time that we saw some Godfathers. I am available when required.
Getaway will stop off at Southampton on January 14th 2014, straight from the shipyard, before she crosses the pond.
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the names of the line’s two new Breakaway Plus class ships. They are are Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss.
These names are the two that received the highest number of Facebook votes, out of the line’s top ten name choices, in the “Norwegians Name Their Ships” contest, which asked fans in five countries to help select the names for the line’s two new Breakaway Plus vessels.
Malcolm says: It will be interesting to see how different the ‘Breakaway Plus’s design (163,00 gt approx)is form the ‘Breakaway’ design (146,000 gt). The extra 17,000 extra gt will of course be more cabins and more guests, but I wonder what additional public facilities will be included? Surely not even more dining choices? If so, the guests might just explode!