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

The Norwegian’s Get The Jersey Boys

April 22, 2017

The Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that their new ship, ‘Norwegian Bliss’ which will debut June 2018, will feature the Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical “Jersey Boys.”

“Jersey Boys,” which won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, portrays the story of Frankie Valli and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll band, The Four Seasons.

A second musical, produced exclusively for NCL by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, will pay tribute to Cuba’s culture through dancing, music and colourful costumes.

Liverpool’s Cavern club

Additionally, Norwegian Bliss will feature ‘The Cavern Club’. The space, which is a replica of the legendary Liverpool music venue, made famous by the Beatles, will feature tribute bands throughout the week.

(NCL)

NCL To Add Lifeguards

After several highly publicised incidents aboard mega ships, the Norwegian cruise line has announced that it will add lifeguards to its ships.

This follows suit of the Disney and Royal Caribbean lines.

(NCL)

Ferrari Go-Karts At Sea

April 19, 2017

(Courtesy NCL)

The world’s first go kart complex at sea will enter service soon aboard NCL’s Norwegian Joy.

The track was put together by German karting technology specialist RiMO Supply and Dutch decking specialist Bolidt.

Norwegian Cruise Line has unveiled a new partnership with Scuderia Ferrari Watches, a division of Italian carmaker Ferrari, that includes the Ferrari-themed Go Kart track.

The 168,800 gross tonne, 3,850-passenger vessel also will feature a retail store next to the track that sells Scuderia Ferrari watches.

The Ferrari race track will accommodate up to 10 drivers at a time who will race each other in electric Go Karts

(Courtesy NCL)

See full ‘Cruise Industry News’ story HERE

(Courtsey NCL)

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Lawsuit Claims Sheehan, Former NCL CEO, Had Improper Relations

April 11, 2017

Miami Herald Article: HERE

Malcolm says: I met Kevin Sheehan once. I cannot comment on the story above, but I can say that he  certainly has a very down-to-earth and likeable charisma. He oversaw the introduction of the ‘Breakaway’ class ships after the problematic ‘Epic’. He had a high profile with NCL passengers and was a popular figure.

In fact the NCL’ ‘Epic’, ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway+’ class ships have an Irish pub/Grill named ‘O’Sheehan’s’ after Kevin Sheehan.  The Pub is very popular and has been extended to the  older ships in the NCL fleet.

Norwegian Sky – 33 New Cuba Cruises

April 5, 2017

(Source Cuba Tourism)

Norwegian Cruise Line extended its offering of weekly round-trip cruises from Miami to Cuba through 2018, with 33 new voyages.

Norwegian Sky will begin its 2018 Cuba season on March 26, sailing four-day round-trips, with 32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Havana, as well as a call at Great Stirrup Cay.

Bookings open April 20.

These new cruises are in addition to the previously announced 30 calls that Norwegian will offer through December this year.

(NCL)

Details of NCL’s new ships: HERE

Jade Emerges From A Major Refurbisihment

April 2, 2017

The New Atrium (Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Jade has just undergone a three week refurbishment in dry dock, as part of the ‘Norwegian Edge’ program.

£30 million has been spent replacing her Hawaiian-themed interiors, which were installed when the ship sailed as ‘Pride of Hawaii’ up until 2008.

New eateries and bars, refurbished staterooms and expanded restaurant spaces are just a few of the improvements competed.

The ship now offers 24-hour pub grub at O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, complimentary poolside fare at Pit Stop and a 1950s-style diner where classic car themed décor, complete with vintage license plates.

Additionally, Moderno Churrascaria was relocated and now offers sea views; more seating was added to Cagney’s Steakhouse, which now boasts a virtual fireplace; La Cucina, the ship’s Italian
restaurant, now features a wine wall; and the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, along with Jasmine Garden and Garden Café all have undergone a major face-lift.

Other upgrades to public spaces include upgrades to the pool areas, the Sugarcane mojito bar and the Spinnaker Lounge; new TechnoGym equipment in the fitness centre; and the addition of Bliss Ultra Lounge, the nightclub. In the atrium, a new custom-designed chandelier hangs overhead, replacing the Hawaiian ‘lays’.

All the staterooms have received new carpet, drapes, furniture, flat-screen TVs and headboards with USB charging outlets. The Haven also features four new cabanas. In all, the ship’s staterooms display more than 2,250 pieces of upgraded artwork.

Jade has become a firm favourite with US and UK passengers alike.

Jade will arrive at Southampton, UK on May 13, 2017 where she will spend the summer offering cruises to the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland. There will also be some cruises offered from Hamburg, Germany.

(NCL)

Slide-show, Norwegian Jade refurbished: Here

My Norwegian Jade review HERE

Malcolm says:  I cruised on-board Jade some years back and she’s a very nice ship. You can read my review by clicking on the link above. Although out of date, it does explain NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ system for those of you that might not be familiar with it.

Although she is hardly small at around 93,000 gt. she is starting to look medium sized by today’s mega-ship standards. However there have been three generations of NCL ships since Jade entered service in 2006: Epic, Breakaway and the BreakawayPlus classes.  It would be nice to see a ‘Breakaway/Plus’ class offering cruises from a UK port. It would give P&O some competition.

NCL’s Project Leonardo “Optimal Size”.

March 21, 2017

 

nclproject_2

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line has ordered at least four 140,000 tonne, 3,300-passenger Project ‘Leonardo’ ships from Fincantieri. These will be delivered from 2022 through to 2025.

This news represents a downsizing  from the recent Breakaway+ class ships at 163,000 gross tonnes, carrying 4,300 passengers.

Speaking on the company’s year-end earnings conference, President and CEO Frank del Rio called it an “optimal size”.

“The size of these vessels provides an optimal balance between deployment flexibility and earnings potential, allowing us to add new ports of call worldwide while maintaining a strong return profile with a payback of roughly five years, in line with our most recent newbuild,” said del Rio.

The ships will also allow Norwegian to redeploy existing vessels to other domestic and international homeports, where the company does not yet have a presence, according to del Rio.

(Cruise Industry News)

nclproject_3.jpg

(Courtesy NCL)

Malcolm says: Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess the advantage of this approach truly guarantees a new design of ship. However the disadvantage is that the ship can share this design with other lines. ‘Project Leanoaro’ is clearly a slightly smaller version of MSC ‘Seaside’,  also designed by Fincantieri.

It’s curious  how one management team must have thought that 163,000 gt (Breakaway-Plus) is an ‘optimal size’, yet the next team think 140,000 gt is better. However many experienced cruise passengers have expressed their opinion that modern cruise ships are getting too big, although the new NCL ships are hardly small.

It depends what sort of experience that you are seeking. I personally think that mass-market ships can benefit from being very big – there is simply more room for for public rooms, facilities and innovations. The ‘Oasis’ class (the world’s biggest) is an amazing design.   However a ship of say 30,000 gt can provide you with a more intimate experience that a mega-ships cannot compete with.

I was expecting to see an 200,000 gt NCL design to be delivered within the next decade. It looks as if I’m wrong.

Project Leonardo slide show: HERE

The Worlds biggest class of cruise ship review: HERE

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

Pride of America: NCL’s Highest Yielding Ship

March 10, 2017
(Courtesy NCLA)

(Courtesy NCLA)

President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Frank del Rio recently said, on the company’s fourth quarter and year-end earnings: “These benefits include Pride of America, the highest yielding ship in the Norwegian fleet, is in service for the full quarter, versus the prior year where she was in a 25-day drydock”

(NCL)

Malcolm says: That’s surprising news to me. I’ve always wanted to cruise inter-Hawaiian-islands with NCL, but the fares are quite high and the long-haul air fare from the UK would make it a very expensive cruise indeed.

‘Pride’ gets quite mixed review with the quality of food, mediocre service and small cabins being matters for some customer dissatisfaction. She’s a strange looking ships externally, but her American themed interiors have recently undergone a major re-fit.

A few years ago NCL said ‘Norwegian Epic’ was their best performing ship.  I was not surprised at that news, given the fact that ‘Epic’ is the biggest vessel in the NCL fleet, carrying more passengers. She  has more alternative (surcharge) dining venues that their other ships, so the potential for on-board income generation must be bigger.

The ‘NCL America’ brand was created to cruise the Hawaiian islands, but the brand has been fraught with operational difficulties. ‘Pride of America’ (2005, 80,439 gt) homeports in Honolulu.

I think NCL though that Hawaii would be the ‘new’ Caribbean and passengers would flock there in their millions. NCLA gained a monopoly to cruise inter-Hawaiian islands. They had three large ‘Us-Flagged’ ships operating in Hawaiian waters at one point. They even purchased the legendary ocean liner the ‘SS United States’, for their NCLA, which was in lay-up. They promised to renovate her and return her back to service, but of course they never did. However demand for Hawaiian cruises never did meet NCL’s expectations and ‘Prides’ two fleet mates were re-deployed to other parts of the world.

I understand that NCLA was not  very profitable originally, for three main reasons:

One: The deal with the Hawaiian authorities was that the ships crew must be largely America. Recruiting crew with the correct customer service ethos proved difficult. Also due to the high standards of living in Hawaii/USA the crew had to be paid first world wages.  (Traditionally cruise lines often employ third world staff on lower wages to maximise their profits.)

Two: The NCLA ships were not allowed to operate Casino’s in Hawaiian waters,  which are one of American ships most profitable areas of on-board income generation.

Three: NCLA was faced with higher staff costs, less on-board income generation, but had to offer completive fares with other cruises in American waters, such as the Caribbean.

So back to Frank del Rio’s opening statement saying that ‘Pride’ is their highest yielding ship. Although NCLA has had a turbulent history, the islands are acknowledged as being beautiful, ‘Pride’  still has a monopoly and she can command higher fares.

Any other suggestions as to how they turned things around and achieved this success will be welcomed.

Malcolm

NCL: A Second Newbuild For China

February 23, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line’s as yet unamed newbuild, scheduled for delivery in late 2019, will be designated for the Chinese market.

She will be the sister ship of Norwegian Joy.

According to a statement, the decision has been based on the strong market interest in Norwegian Joy, which will enter service from Shanghai in late June this year.

The two 164,600gt ‘Breakaway Plus’ class ships are being built at Meyer Werft, shipyard, in Germany.

(NCL)

NCL – Up To Six New Ships

February 16, 2017

The Norwegian Cruise Line has announced it has reached an agreement with Fincantieri to construct the next generation of ships for the brand.

Four ships are on order for delivery in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

The four 140,000 gross ton ships will each accommodate approximately 3,300 guests.

The new class of ships will build upon NCL’s most recent Breakaway-Plus Class ships and feature a host of innovative designs that will further elevate its guest experience.

A priority of the prototype design is energy efficiency, with the aim of optimising fuel consumption and reducing the impact on the environment.

The contract price for each of the four vessels is approximately €800 million per ship.

Details on the ships’ many innovative guest-facing and first-at-sea features will be announced at a later date.

(NCL)

Innovation! (Norwegian Joy)

Innovation! (Norwegian Joy)

Malcolm says: So a change of shipyard from Meyer Werft, Germany, to Fincantieri, Italy.  Meyer Werft  must be disappointed, they have built most of NCL ‘s current fleet including their ‘Breakaway’ and ‘Breakaway-Plus’ ships.

This change of shipyard is not so surprising. In the past, new NCL CEO, Frank Del Rio, ordered some of the  Regent and Oceania ships from Fincantieri. (Del Rio was previously chairman and CEO for Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., the parent company operating both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.)  He obviously has a good relationship with the Fincantieri shipyard.

Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess the advantage of this approach truly guarantees a new design of ship. However the disadvantage is that the ship yard could share this design with other lines.

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NCL CEO Frank Del Rio (Courtesy NCL)

If accurate, the new ships size is slightly smaller (6,000 gt) than NCL’s existing ‘Breakaway’ class and almost 25,000gt smaller that their ‘Breakaway-Plus’ class. It looks like they will carry 1,000 less passengers than ‘Breakaway-Plus’ too. NCL have effectively down-sized their  future product, when most of the other major cruise lines are up-scaling.

I would not surprise me if the new NCL ships resembled ‘MSC Seaside’, also a Fincantieri design.

I was expecting NCL to move to 200,000 gross tonne vessels in the next five years, like their competitors are: Carnival/Costa/P&O, MSC and Genting.  Obviously NCL have decided that bigger is NOT better.

It’s hard to imagine what “….a host of innovative designs “ might be.  I assume the vessels will still be packed with multiple dining rooms, due to the nature of NCL’s ‘Freestyle Dining’ system.  How much room will that leave for innovation?  I believe the ships will NOT be LNG powered, like some other lines future newbuilds will be.

However, I do think it will be a very long time  before more details will be made available.

untitled

(Courtesy Fincantieri)

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback

February 3, 2017
Bliss (Courtesy of NCL)

Two Observation Lounges (Courtesy of NCL) Click to enlarge.

Norwegian Cruise Line has released some details about its next ship ‘Norwegian Bliss’ (a Breakaway-Plus class ships), which will enter service in June 2018.

Bliss will accommodate 4,000 passengers and will be based in Seattle during the summer and cruise the coastline of Alaska.

Her itineraries will include stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. In the winter she will be deployed in Caribbean waters.

The most notable feature will be two forward-facing observation lounges, designed to offer the best views.

The Haven Observation Lounge

Built for the spectacular vistas of Alaska and The Caribbean, Norwegian Bliss will offer guests staying in The Haven exclusive access to a 2-story observation lounge, spanning decks 17 and 18 with expansive, panoramic ocean views, overlooking the front of the ship.

Haven Observation Lounge (Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

Deck 18 (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge

Imagine sheer amazement from our revolutionary observation lounge offering the most expansive views at sea.

(Courtesy NCL)

(Courtesy NCL)

 

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Deck 15, above the Bridge (Courtesy NCL)

The Observation Lounge is also located at the front of the ship, deck 15 and provides the same stunning views directly above the bridge and features a full service bar for guests to sit back, relax and take in the views.

(NCL)

Malcolm says:  An observation lounge is such a simple concept: sit, relax and watch the sea and land pass by. However many megaships, including some NCL ships, had dropped the facility from their designs some years ago. It’s almost as if looking at the sea had gone out of fashion.

It’s very nice to see ‘observation’ making a comeback. When coupled with NCL’s ‘Waterfront’ feature, the opportunities for views and fresh-air are excellent for such a large ship design.

NCL’s Waterfront, see: HERE

XXL – Is The New Standard

October 30, 2016
(Genting's Global Class)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Have you ever noticed how cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will be building a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember some 20 years ago (mid to late nineties), when many mega-ships were being built at around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

In about 2005, many megaships built for NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard etc. we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We now see a new wave of ships in the order book for 2019 onwards, which are 180-200,000 gt in size. These new mega-ships, or maybe they should be called ultra-ships, will each carry up to 6,600 passengers.

  • Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting Hong Kong announced they have ordered two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises announced that they would be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These would be around 200,000 gt and would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class.

However this constant race for size, is not without its issues.

Older/smaller tonnage will be retired. Cruise ships rarely have a life longer than 30 years. This means that most of the cruise lines fleets, have ships growing in size. What was once a megaship (say 70,000gt) look like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaship are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms and multiple entertainment venues, even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Bumper cars. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board mega-ships.

Megaships are also limited to what ports they can visit as they need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passenger arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) has on the local environment.

Irrespective of  any negative aspects, the big ships are still coming and the masses love them. They almost generate their own publicity. A new “Giant Ship” makes a great headline.  A new “Small Ship” does not.

As a result the existing smaller/older ships will be facing extinction. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm

(There are reviews of some of the world’s biggest ships, menu right)

Norwegian Bliss to Homeport in Seattle

October 14, 2016
(All images courtesy NCL)

(All images courtesy NCL)

The Port of Seattle and Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the Norwegian Bliss will homeport in Seattle beginning in 2018 when the ship is delivered.

The ship is a‘Breakaway Plus’ class at approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests. She will be constructed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.

The Port of Seattle also said it will have its biggest cruise year ever in 2017, expecting over one million revenue passengers through its cruise terminals.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line as we work to bring people from around the world to see Alaska,” said Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick.

seattle-bliss

“Norwegian was the first line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination on a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship from Seattle.”

The Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaskan cruises from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juno, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.

photo

Norwegian has also announced that marine wildlife artist Wyland has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss.

(NCL)

Genting Dream Delivered

(Courtesy Genting)

(Courtesy Genting)

October 12, 2016: In Bremerhaven, Meyer Werft handed over the new Genting Dream to Genting Hong Kong’s Dream Cruises.

It is the first new ship to be built specifically for the Asian market in over 15 years.

Dream is based on the Norwegian Cruise Lines ‘Breakaway’ design.

(Genting)

(Reviews of NCL ships, menu right)

A Question Of Decor

October 9, 2016

Cruise ships often have more impressive décor than most shore-side buildings.  In fact it is often braver décor than most buildings have.

Many ships also have impressive art collections on board. Some ship even have art work on deck and sport impressive hull-art.

(Quantum's Bear - RCI Image)

(Quantum’s Bear – RCI Image)

How important is a ships décor really is to the passenger experience?

Cruise lines obviously think that the décor is VERY important, given the fact they spend millions of pounds/dollars on it and regularly undertake refurbishments, re-styling the decor.

I’ve certainly been on board ships where I  have loved the décor . I’ve also been on board ships where the décor has not generally been to my liking. However sometimes different public rooms are created by different designers, so it is very possible to love some rooms, think some are mediocre and dislike others – all on the same ship.

There certainly used to be a different between UK and US style  décor on-board ships.

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtsey Ian Boyle)

P&O Orian Interior (1995, Courtesy Ian Boyle)

For example P&O ships décor was regarded as rather tasteful to the reserved and often very traditional Brits, when compared to the Las Vegas ‘glitz’ of many American ships. However by American tastes it was understated’ or even bland.

Since Carnival acquired P&O and provided new mega-ships, we have seen more vibrant décor for British passengers. There have also been frequent visits of big US ships to UK ports offering cruises for Brits. I believe the British cruising masses are getting acclimatised to a more bold colour schemes and more glitz.

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Carnival Sensation Atrium by J. Farcus (Courtesy Carnival)

Joe Farcus, the American Navel Architect, has designed some mind-blowing interiors for Carnival and Costa ships. He calls it ‘Entertainment Architecture’. It’s very original, very colourful and often very loud.  It’s Las Vegas ‘Glitz’ in style with maybe a hint of psychedelia. His work is definitely not to every-bodies taste.

Décor and ‘taste’ changes over time, of course. I think the pure-glitz has gone out of fashion and in some cases is being replaced with a more sophisticated cappuccino-café style, as I call it.

For example the ‘Norwegian Cruise Lines’ (NCL) ships built between 2001-2007 (Star, Jade, Gem etc.) all have very colourful décor in places, not unlike Farcus’s work.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL)

However NCL’s ‘Norwegian Edge’ which is a $400 million revitalization program of their fleet, will see the décor updated.  For example, the image above is Norwegian Gem’s original Atrium décor. Below is the refurbishment which less over-the-top, being more sophisticated.

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

Norwegian Gem (Courtesy NCL) Refurbished

So how important is the décor to you? Have you been on board a  ship where the décor was not to you liking? Do you love some ships décor?  Please tell me.

Malcolm

Norwegian Joy Gets Go-karts & Bumper Cars

March 30, 2016
(All images courtesy of NCL)

(All images courtesy of NCL)

The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has now revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Joy 喜悦号 (Xǐ Yuè Hào), its most innovative and luxurious ship ever, built and styled exclusively for Chinese guests, arriving Summer 2017. Home porting in Shanghai & Tianjin (Beijing).

Norwegian Joy was designed by the team at Norwegian Cruise Line to provide First Class at Sea experiences specifically for the Chinese traveller, with on-board amenities that cater to the unique holiday desires of Chinese guests. Built at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, the ship features German precision engineering to the highest possible standard, while offering superior customisation for the culture and preferences of Chinese guests along with the exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Cruise Line’s most recent vessels.

 

(Courtsey NCL)

Accommodation

With a capacity of 3,900 guests, Norwegian Joy will deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy ‘First Class at Sea’ experiences, starting with her VIP accommodation. As the World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line, an honour bestowed upon the company by the World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line is known in the industry for offering innovative, stylish and first class accommodations. Norwegian Joy will feature The Haven by Norwegian®, the line’s exclusive, ship-within-a-ship suite luxury complex. Accessible only by personalised key card, The Haven offers a private respite for the most discerning travellers. It features a personal butler service, a dedicated concierge, priority access to entertainment and specialty dining, a private restaurant, enclosed courtyard and 74 spacious and meticulously decorated suites. The ultra-exclusive experience in The Haven on Norwegian Joy will also include an all-new Observation Deck featuring 180 degree views, the same as the ship’s officers experience from the Bridge, with gourmet canapés and premium beverages.

Norwegian Joy will also debut an all new accommodation category: the first at sea Concierge level. Guests who stay in the Concierge staterooms aboard Norwegian Joy will enjoy a VIP experience, featuring larger balcony staterooms with luxurious en suite amenities and the services of a dedicated concierge to make arrangements on board, from entertainment to dining. A perfect category for families and guests looking for extra personal service, the Concierge staterooms will also offer guests an exclusive Concierge lounge, with a private bar and refreshments available throughout the day.

The ship also features a wide array of mini-suite, balcony, ocean view and interior staterooms, many with virtual balconies, to fit every traveller’s need. Accommodation offerings also include staterooms designed specifically for families and a multitude of connecting staterooms, for extended families travelling together.

image003

(All images courtesy of NCL)

Entertainment & Activities

Norwegian Joy will continue Norwegian Cruise Line’s long history of innovation in providing engaging, exciting features and amenities for guests to enjoy. Sure to delight guests of all ages, the ship’s top decks will offer a wide-range of never-before-seen at sea experiences.

At the very top of the ship, guests will take the ride of a lifetime on a thrilling two-level ‘Ferrari’ themed racetrack– the first ever at sea. Ten cruisers can race family and friends in electric cars (a 5-6 minute course) and even share a photo of their first place finish. Afterwards, they can challenge one another to a game of laser tag in the open-air course, sure to be a hit with both kids and kids-at-heart.

 

unspecifiedbbnbnWhen guests step inside Norwegian Joy’s Galaxy Pavilion, they will find themselves in a world unlike anything they’ve ever seen at sea, complete with immersive virtual reality experiences, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls. Guests can go for a spin with friends or family on exciting hover craft bumper cars or start their engines in a professional single-seat race car that’s been converted into a state-of-the-art racing simulator. Three interactive dark ride simulators provide guests with a captivating experience featuring real-time 3D graphics, 360- degree surround sound and multi-sensory special effects, while flight and car simulators will let guests take flight or take to the road for an adrenaline-filled experience. Movie buffs will be transported to a galaxy far, far away and into an intense battle as they pilot a fighter to take on the forces of the dark side in a Star Wars® battle pods video game, and gamers can partake in a contest of skill at six Xbox® console stations. Those guests who enjoy advanced technology will be exhilarated by state-of-the-art virtual optic experiences by Oculus that include designing and then riding a personal roller coaster; soaring to new heights over mountains and oceans; or living on the edge and walking along a cliff or on top of a ten-story building.

Galaxy Pavilion - Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Galaxy Pavilion – Hover Craft Bumper Cars

Continuing the adrenaline pumping recreation activities on the ship, Norwegian Joy will also feature two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Double Aqua Loop free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet as they twist and turn to the finish line.

The top deck of Norwegian Joy will also feature a tranquil open space park, where guests can enjoy a partially covered serene setting designed for relaxation. Offering greenery, a soothing pool and chaise lounges, it’s the perfect spot to meditate in the fresh air, gaze out to the open sea or practice tai chi and yoga.

image007

Tranquil open space park

No holiday experience is complete without shopping, and Norwegian Joy will not disappoint. The ship will feature an upscale shopping venue, the largest in Norwegian’s fleet, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to high-end international brands. The shops will offer renowned global luxury brands, in fashion, jewellery and electronics.

Of course, Norwegian Joy will also offer bow to stern Wi-Fi connectivity, the fastest in the Norwegian fleet, so that guests can share their exciting First Class at Sea cruise experiences and stay in touch with family and friends during their cruise.

Norwegian Joy fuses a western cruise holiday with the comforts and preferences that Chinese guests expect, plus the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can offer, for a fabulous combination of culture and cuisine and a true east meets west experience.

(NCL)

Malcolm says: NCL’s  ‘Breakaway Plus’ and RCI’s ‘Quantum’ class ships have just become even more similar.  RCI have obviously borrowed NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining concept and called it ‘Dynamic Dining’ on-board the Quantum class ships. Likewise NCL have obviously borrowed RCI’s bumper cars and the ‘Central Park’ ideas. However I doubt if the NCL version will have real plants.

Go-karts are at least an original idea. I believe the track will located in the space (or part of the space) that the rope-climbing course used to be located in. Both take away sun-bathing deck space, which these mega-ships often lack.

I can’t imagine how hover craft bumper cars would work on-board a ship. I guess they will also be electric, but a large force is normally needed to get anything to hover, so they are also likely to be very noisy. I wonder if they are similar to these in this video:  Hover Bumper Cars

The SS Norway Remembered

March 20, 2016
SS Norway in Southampton waters 2001

SS Norway in Southampton waters, 2001

In 2008 the Norwegian Cruise Line’s  SS Norway was cut up on a beach, in Alang, India, and disposed of.

She entered service in 1962 as the ‘SS France’ Ocean Liner. She was the glory of  France’s glory – a ship of state.

She was decommissioned in 1974 and left to rust in the era when the jet aeroplane replaced the ocean liner as the preferred meth of intercontinental travel.

However in 1979 she was purchased by NCL and renovated, returning back to service in 1980 as the then biggest Caribbean cruise ship. Although only medium sized by modern standards, It can be argued that she started the era of the mega-cruise-ship.

I was lucky enough to take her final Transatlantic crossing on the SS Norway, on 2nd September 2001, from Miami to Southampton.  I know that many of you have very fond memories of this special ship. Why not join me?

You can read some background information here and my ‘Final Transatlantic’ review: HERE

Malcolm