Archive for the ‘Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’ Category

2017: NCL Targets Germany & Returns to the UK

January 26, 2016
Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced its ground-breaking summer 2017 deployment for Europe with for the first time in company history five ships sailing in European waters in the summer season and exciting news for guests looking to set sail from the UK. In addition the company revealed details on Norwegian Escape’s 2017 summer cruises to the Caribbean.

Marking Norwegian’s return to offering regular cruises from England for the first time since 2010, Norwegian Jade, one of the company’s four Jewel-Class ships, will feature brand new cruises from Southampton in 2017. From 12 May – 20 June and 7 August – 16 October 2017, UK guests can embark on a series of 11 Western Europe and three Norwegian Fjords sailings from/to Southampton, as well as two mini cruises for those looking for a shorter cruise experience, taking in many European highlights.

In addition, the cruise line will bring Norwegian Getaway, the second newest ship in the fleet, back to Europe for the first time since its delivery in 2014, giving guests the opportunity to experience the ultimate in freedom and flexibility on eight- or nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises from/to Copenhagen.

Three further ships will sail European waters in 2017, including the recently refurbished Norwegian Epic with her popular seven-night Western Mediterranean itinerary departing from Barcelona, Civitavecchia (Rome) or Marseille; Norwegian Spirit sailing alternating 11- and 10-night Grand Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Venice and Norwegian Star, which after her return from Australia will spend the summer cruising from Venice to the Greek Isles as well as the Adriatic, Greece & Turkey. The new itineraries go on sale in mid-February 2016 for all bookings.

“We’re clearly demonstrating our commitment to our European customers, especially cruisers in the UK, with these exciting summer itineraries. Not only are we offering the possibility to embark in Southampton but we are also bringing one of our newest and most innovative ships back to Europe”, says Christian Boell, Managing Director Europe, Middle East and Africa for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We’re convinced that this will encourage continued growth in the UK market, where we have just seen record breaking guest numbers in 2015.”

Norwegian Jade will arrive in Europe looking resplendent after a two-and-a-half-week dry dock to begin her regular cruises from Southampton on 12 May 2017 with a series of seven-night Western Europe itineraries visiting Hamburg, Amsterdam, Zeebrugge (Brussels/Bruges) and Le Havre (Paris), offered from 12 to 26 May and from 17 August to 21 September 2017. In addition there will be two nine-night cruises to the Norwegian Fjords on 2 and 11 June 2017 with stops in Hamburg as well as Ålesund, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Flåm and Bergen along with a 10-night Norwegian Fjords cruise on 7 August 2017 which also includes a visit to the Orkney Islands. A longer Western Europe itinerary of nine nights is offered on 28 September and 7 October 2017 with additional stops in St. Malo and Brest. On 30 July 2017, Norwegian Jade sets sail from Hamburg for an eight-night Norwegian Fjords cruise ending in Southampton.

Norwegian Getaway will return to Europe and sail one eight- and a series of nine-night Baltic Capitals cruises from Copenhagen from May to October 2017 with stops in Warnemünde (Berlin), Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm, including on the nine-night cruises an overnight stay in St. Petersburg, giving guests the opportunity to see all the splendour of the imperial capital of Russia in two days and add in a ballet performance or folklore show at night.  As the second newest ship in Norwegian’s fleet, Norwegian Getaway brings the ultimate freedom and flexibility to the Baltic.

The recently refurbished Norwegian Epic will arrive in Barcelona on 14 April 2017, beginning her Europe season with a nine-night Canary Islands & Morocco cruise before resuming her popular seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises with stops in Naples (Pompeii), Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Cannes and Marseille. In addition to Barcelona, guests can opt to embark in Civitavecchia or Marseille. From Barcelona the cruise is offered every Sunday from 23 April to 1 October 2017. From 8 to 29 October 2017 Norwegian Epic sets sail for two alternative seven-night cruises between Barcelona and Civitavecchia which can be combined to a 14-night cruise visiting Palma, Mallorca; Sete; Marseille; Cannes; Livorno (Florence/Pisa); Civitavecchia (Rome); Naples (Pompeii); Cagliari; Granada (Málaga); Cartagena and Valencia.

Norwegian Spirit follows up her 2016/17 European winter cruises with alternating 11- and 10-night summer cruises in the Mediterranean between Venice and Barcelona. The 10-night cruises from Barcelona to Venice visit Monte Carlo, Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome), Santorini, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Piraeus (Athens) and Split and start on 4 May 2017, whereas calls on the 11-night cruises from Venice to Barcelona which start on 28 May 2017 are Dubrovnik, Piraeus (Athens), Kusadasi (Ephesus), Santorini, Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/Pisa) and Marseille. On 14 May 2017 Norwegian Spirit visits the Holy Land on a 14-night cruise from/to Venice which includes an overnight stay in Haifa as well as stops in Zadar, Kotor, Heraklion, Limassol, Alanya, Piraeus (Athens) and Split.

From 16 April to 22 October 2017 Norwegian Star will call Venice her home for the summer after her return from her long journey to Australia, and will set sail on alternating seven-night cruises to the Greek Isles and the Adriatic, Greece & Turkey, stopping in Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Ravenna (Greek Isles cruise) and Dubrovnik, Piraeus (Athens), Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Katakolon (Olympia) (Adriatic, Greece & Turkey cruise). On 9 July Norwegian Star visits Corfu, Santorini, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Piraeus (Athens) and Split on an eight-night cruise, followed by a six-night cruise on 17 July calling at Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu and Ravenna. On 29 October 2017, guests can look forward to a 10-night cruise from Venice to Istanbul including stops in Split, Kotor, Corfu, Messina, Valletta, Santorini and Kusadasi (Ephesus).

Norwegian Escape, Norwegian’s newest ship launched last October, will spend summer 2017 sailing alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami, starting on 6 May. The Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas, whereas the Western Caribbean cruises visit Roatán, Honduras; Norwegian’s private destination Harvest Caye, Belize; Costa Maya, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico.


Malcolm says: NCL clearly want a slice of the German market, the world’s 2nd biggest cruise market at 1.77 million passengers in 2015. In comparison 1.64 million Brits cruised in 2015, but this was slight drop on 2014.

Warnemunde  will get one of NCL’s newer ship, ‘Getaway’. Hamburg will get 19 turnarounds from the older/smaller vessel, ‘Jade’. This will be the first time a US cruise line offers a season of full turnarounds in the north German port.

This also represents NCL’s return to offering cruises from a UK port, after seven years.

Norwegian Jade review: HERE


The Norwegian Edge – $400 Million of Enhancements

January 23, 2016
 Norwegian Epic @ Southampton

Epic at Southampton, June 2010.

Norwegian Cruise Line has just revealed The Norwegian Edge™, an innovative program that promises to introduce a new standard of excellence that encompasses the entire guest experience, from ship hardware to culinary enhancements and exclusive private destination developments. The Norwegian Edge™ reflects a significant two-year $400 million investment by the company through 2017 and demonstrates the line’s commitment to exceptional quality and extraordinary experiences. The centerpiece of the program is an extensive ship refurbishment initiative that will elevate the experience on board the Norwegian fleet to this new standard.

Fleet Enhancements

The extensive ship revitalization program at the heart of The Norwegian Edge will completely transform many spaces on board nine of the fleet’s ships to reflect the premium look and feel of the line’s newest and most spectacular ships.

The refurbishment program began in October 2015 with a full refresh of Norwegian Epic that included the debut of brand new venues like The Cavern Club; complete restaurant makeovers in La Cucina and a new look for Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Moderno Churrascaria, The Manhattan Room and the Garden Café, now with a sleek and crisp white palette; and refreshed décor, furniture and flooring in many public spaces, including The Haven Courtyard, Lounge and Restaurant, for a more modern and clean design.

Norwegian Gem followed in November, debuting significant enhancements including a complete makeover of Bliss Lounge; extensive interior refurbishments; refreshing of décor including new furniture and new flooring in all specialty restaurants and several complimentary outlets, as well as bars and lounges, to reflect a more contemporary look; new pool deck furniture; interactive digital signage and wayfinding technology; new teak flooring throughout outdoor spaces and corridors of upper decks; and upgrades to The Haven Courtyard and Sundeck with a new look including more shaded areas, cabanas and lounge chairs.

Throughout the course of the refurbishment program, a total of seven additional ships will go into dry dock for both guest-facing and technical enhancements: Pride of America and Norwegian Sun in spring 2016; Norwegian Dawn in summer 2016; Norwegian Spirit , Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Pearl in winter 2017; and Norwegian Jade in spring 2017.

Culinary Program

As the innovator of freedom and flexibility at sea with no set dining times and up to 28 dining options per vessel, Norwegian understands that dining is central to guests’ vacation experience.

New for 2016, all ships in Norwegian’s fleet now offer upgraded complimentary dining room menus and the addition of optional à la carte priced items in the main dining rooms, such as grilled lobster tails and surf and turf entrees, providing guests additional choices and tastes to create their ultimate dining experience. The new complimentary dining menus offer an increased variety – featuring appetizers, soups and salads, featured entrees, and desserts. New offerings include more seafood selections such as fresh grouper, along with contemporary dishes like shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs.

Beginning on January 31, Norwegian will also be expanding the new specialty dining menus that debuted on Norwegian Escape across the fleet. The introduction of these new enhanced menus at the line’s signature specialty restaurants – Cagney’s Steakhouse, Le Bistro and La Cucina – along with new offerings at Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki, will further elevate guests dining experience with more options new flavors. The menus include traditional French favorites at Le Bistro such as Bouillabaisse, pan-seared jumbo bay scallops and veal medallions with sauce morrel, and a more robust menu at La Cucina featuring antipasti, risotto and traditional secondi courses like Osso Buco alla Milanese or pan-seared sea bass filet.

Destination Experiences

Norwegian has further expanded plans for the line’s privately-owned destinations including the development of the Caribbean’s premier resort-style experience at Harvest Caye, Belize. This spectacular resort-style port of call will feature an expansive pool, exclusive beach, shallow lagoon for watersports, private luxury cabanas and many more exciting features, all in the richest ecosystems in the region with a diversity of flora and fauna that is core to the Harvest Caye experience.

Considerable new features are also in store for the line’s private Bahamian island, Great Stirrup Cay. The island was recently enhanced in 2014 and will debut several new offerings and high quality amenities for guests by spring 2017.  Specific details will be announced later this year.


Malcolm says: NCL are moving away from a fixed surcharge for alternative dining (and some items on the complimentary menus) to an à la carte model. I don’t see this as an enhancement. Unless you are a very small eater, I can only see this as costing you more money. This cements NCL’s position  as the market leaders in the ‘additional surcharge’.

I do enjoy NCL’s product and their amazing new ships, but this ‘nickel and diming’ (as the American’s say) might just backfire on them and the customers might vote with their feet and not book an NCL cruise.  What do you Think? Comments welcome!

Norwegian Epic Review HERE

New Norwegian & Celebrity Marketing Campaigns

January 17, 2016


The Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed the company’s new global brand campaign, “Feel Free.” Rooted in the cruise line’s fundamentals of freedom & flexibility, Feel Free is an invitation for guests to experience Norwegian’s philosophy of what a cruise vacation should be, free from rigid schedules with the freedom to make their vacation their own.

The integrated campaign, launched January 4, is inclusive of national television spots, online video, digital units, and various social media activations. One social media initiative encourages usage of the campaign’s #FeelFree hashtag by asking consumers to share their New Year’s resolutions for a chance to win a 7-day cruise with Norwegian.

The high-energy campaign conveys the brand’s passion for delivering outstanding vacation experiences and showcases Norwegian’s fun-loving, bold personality. It further provides an opportunity to speak to guests in new markets via new formats, including various social platforms. The new campaign was created and developed with partner agencies BBDO Atlanta and OMD.

(Source: Norwegian cruise line)


(Click to enlarge)

Celebrity Cruises’ bold new “Modern Luxury Lives Here” campaign leverages the iconic “X” in the Celebrity logo, and showcases what makes Celebrity truly unique. The fully integrated campaign will be visible across all channels, most noticeably on TV, digital and social media.

The cruise line’s new 30- and 60-second TV spots, named “Marco Polo,” offer a modern interpretation of the well-known game of call and response from childhood days gone by. The spot transcends the simplicity of the game when Celebrity Cruises staff members beckon like-minded travelers to answer the call of modern luxury. The spot targets those who would appreciate the experience that Celebrity delivers, just as Marco Polo was an explorer of the world who loved to discover and travel the globe. The campaign marks the first public manifestation of Celebrity’s collaboration with its new global creative agency, Venables Bell & Partners (VB&P).

Socially, consumers will be invited to share their vacation stories on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest using #celebritycruises. Best-in-class social media experiences will feature engaging and innovative content by way of both paid and organic media as well as static mosaics and carousels on Instagram, promoted tweets on Twitter, and dynamic product ads on Facebook.

The campaign builds on a series of creatively presented hallmarks of a Celebrity vacation including award-winning dining, extraordinary accommodations and service, rich destination experiences, plus more, while travelling to all seven continents in modern luxury style.

(Source: Celebrity Cruises)

Norwegian Escape Review Available

November 22, 2015
The Manhattan restaurant

The Manhattan restaurant

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

NCL to Build Separate Smoking Area in ‘Escapes’ Casino

November 7, 2015
Click to enlarge (Depping)

Click to enlarge (Image courtesy of A.Depping)

Norwegian Cruise Line is to retro-fit a Separate Smoking Area in ‘Norwegian Escapes’ Casino.

See Cruise Critic story HERE

Malcolm says: The problem is that many gamblers enjoy a drink and a smoke. Epic, Breakaway, Getaway and Escape all have VERY open-plan Casinos.

I recall that when I cruised on-board Epic in her maiden season, her Casino stank of smoke. NCL’s biggest ships only have two stair towers, one forward and one aft. Passengers will often find themselves walking through the Casino to get somewhere else, so inadvertently breathed the smoke.

Norwegian Escape Review Available

October 31, 2015


Well I finally threw it all together. It might have a few typos in it, but it’s largely complete.

I have concentrated on the ships design and how it differs from the ‘Breakaway’ class. Enjoy!


Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Epic Got More Epic

October 22, 2015
(Image courtesy of NCL)

(Image courtesy of NCL)

Norwegian Epic welcomed guests on-board on Monday 19 October 2015, following a three week dry dock where the ship received significant enhancements across the vessel, including entertainment, dining, technical operations and more. The new features come as Norwegian Epic readies for her winter and summer seasons sailing the Mediterranean from Barcelona, followed by her return to the United States and her new home in Port Canaveral in the autumn of 2016.

Norwegian Epic now features a brand new entertainment outlet The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles saw their popularity skyrocket to life. Following the addition of Broadway sensation Burn The Floor earlier this year, Norwegian Epic was outfitted with a second new Broadway show during the dry dock, Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical, which is based on the Oscar-winning movie.

Many of the on-board dining venues received a refreshed look with new carpeting, reupholstered furniture, new décor and more. Epic was also outfitted with a brand new photo gallery, library and card room.

SplashGolf, installed in the ship’s Kids Aqua Park, is a new attraction combines two age-old elements of fun –water features and mini golf– into one completely new, interactive water based game attracting all age groups for more family fun. Additionally, the vessel received major renovations and enhancements to the Mandara spa, Bliss Ultra Lounge, pool deck Marketplace, Epic Theatre, Casino, and the exclusive Haven suite complex.

Technical modernisations and maintenance also took place during the dry dock. The ship received a new pair of “Becker rudders” together with more efficient propeller caps, and state-of-the-art energy efficient hull paint. Additional significant technical and safety updates include: lifeboats and tender boats release systems upgrade; thrusters and stabilisers full maintenance, air ducts upgrades as well as improved storerooms’ refrigeration systems.


Malcolm says: Epic was a ground-breaking ship for NCL. She was their first mega-ship and she took ‘Freestyle’ to a different level, with more dining and entertainment choices.  I found her cabins to be very stylish and original, but the bathroom arrangements freaked some people out.  Nevertheless Epic was the mould for the ‘Breakaway’ and the ‘Breakaway Plus’ designs that have followed. Many of their features were borrowed directly from Epic.

I had to look-up what ‘Becker Rudders’ are.

A few years ago when I was on-board the Epic, I was told by a senior member of crew that she was quite a difficult ship to manoeuvre. He suggested that it was a mistake to have built such a big ship without Azipods (propellers that can swivel 360 degrees, which increase manoeuvrability, especially when docking). Most other mega-ships of a similar size to epic have these as standard.

A Beccker Flap-Rudder

A Becker Flap-Rudder

Becker Rudders are jointed-rudders which can also increase manoeuvrability and can act like extra stern thrusters. This may be NCL’s way of addressing the manoeuvrability problem. Fitting full-blown Azipods would probably be prohibitively expensive, I guess.

Norwegian Epic Review HERE

NCL’ s Next Newbuild Will Be For China

October 12, 2015
(Image courtesy of NCL)

(Image courtesy of NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the second Breakaway Plus class cruise ship will now be purpose built for the Chinese cruise market. The ship is currently under construction and the announcement was made by CEO Frank Del Rio during the CruiseWorld China summit in Shanghai.

The ship was originally going to be named ‘Norwegian Bliss’, but this is no longer the case. The new name will be announced at a later date.

The new ship, will be the second in NCL’s new ‘Breakaway Plus’ after Norwegian Escape which enters service within a few weeks. Escape and Bliss are around 164,600 gross tons and carry 4,200 guests. Two additional ships in the same class are on order for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

NCL’s CEO Frank Del Rio said:

“Our new purpose-built ship for China will have characteristics that are authentic to Norwegian Cruise Line and yet distinctively Chinese in all of its sensibility, With this new ship, Norwegian will unquestionably offer our Chinese guests a superior product and introduce a new standard of innovation and excellence into the marketplace, with an unrivalled level of customization for the Chinese consumer.  It will perfectly suit what modern Chinese travellers value from an upscale cruise experience.”

“Our China offices house a dedicated leadership team uniquely focused on ensuring the success of our local travel agent partners, which is crucial to the success of our expansion in what will soon be the world’s second largest cruise market, These offices will provide sales and marketing support to our travel partners whose customers not only wish to sail on our new China-based ship, but also on any of the incredible voyages around the world offered across our portfolio of brands.”


Malcolm says: NCL is following the trend of the other major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Carnival, by building dedicated cruise ships that will home-porting in China.

NCL’s Princess Cruises also recently announced that its upcoming ship Majestic Princess will be purpose built for the Chinese market. In fact Majestic Princess will two different names: one a traditional English name, and a separate distinct Chinese name with both written on the ship’s hull, which will be: Sheng Shi Gong Zhu Hao. The Chinese name translates to Grand Spirit or Grand World.

Maybe Bliss will also have two names? She was named in a completion, by a member of the public, so it would be unfortunate if she did not retain ‘bliss’.

Royal Caribbean’s third Quantum class ship will sail out of China once she enters service in 2016.

Norwegian Getaway Review: HERE

Norwegian Epic Refurbishment

October 4, 2015

Back in 2010 Norwegian Epic changed cruising forever by becoming the most innovative cruise ship to sail the seas. And now, fresh from dry-dock, a revitalised Norwegian Epic will once again wow guests with upgrades throughout the ship, plus a brand new entertainment!

• The Beatles at The Cavern Club
• Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical
• The dance sensation Burn the floor

Broadway sensation Burn The Floor: which has received rave reviews on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, will bring the sizzle and passion of ballroom dancing to Norwegian Epic with an all new and exciting show specifically designed for European guests beginning on her transatlantic voyage, April 19, 2015. “Burn the Ballroom,” featuring 14 dancers, a live band and two singers, is an ultimate high-voltage theatrical dance experience that explodes with jaw-dropping choreography, heart-pounding music and breath-taking moves.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, dased on the Oscar-winning movie: The Musical is the heart-warming, uplifting comedy adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of discovering. The Tony Award winning musical features a dazzling array of over 500 award winning costumes, 200 extraordinary head-dresses and a hit parade of dance floor favorites, including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The show will open on the ship’s October 18, 2015 voyage.

Liverpool's Cavern Club

Liverpool’s Cavern Club

The Cavern Club: Norwegian Epic will also receive a whole new entertainment venue created through an exciting partnership with the owners of Liverpool’s The Cavern Club, the birthplace of British pop music. Impressively, 57 years after its opening, the original Cavern Club survives and thrives as a contemporary music venue. Norwegian will re-create The Cavern Club experience at sea, rocking guests each evening to the sounds of The Beatles, along with other international musicians. The Cavern Club will debut on the October 11, 2015 sailing.


Norwegian Epic Review HERE

Malcom says: Epic is quite an amazing floating resort. In fact Epic and the NCL’s ‘Breakaway Class’ ships are the only ships that really compete with Royal Caribbean’s newer mega-ship. If fact some may argue that they are better!

I’m a big fan of the Beatles and Liverpool’s Carven Club, having seen live music there, so I welcome the new venue on-board ‘Epic’.  The only disadvantage with Liverpool’s Cavern Club. although very atmospheric, is that the views of the band are quite poor when it is crowded, which it normally is.

NCL’s Uptown Funk

August 6, 2015

If you enjoyed NCL’s crew on-board ‘Getaway’ performing ‘Happy’,  you will enjoy the ‘Breakaway’ crew performing ‘Uptown Funk’:

View the ‘Happy’ video HERE

Norwegian Breakaway Review: HERE

Norwegian Getaway Review: HERE



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