ANOTHER COLOURFUL ADDITION FROM NCL
By Peter Newall
All images copyright Lisa Royall.
Since its inception in 1966, Norwegian Cruise Line has always been a trendsetter. In recent years, it has experienced rapid growth and with a fleet of 13 ships is now the most profitable of the big three cruise lines. It was also the first company to operate modern cruise ships year-round in the Caribbean and on the 7th February NCL’s latest ship the 145,655gt NORWEGIAN GETAWAY will be officially named at Miami, her new home port, by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. The biggest cruise ship to operate year-round from Miami, NORWEGIAN GETAWAY is slightly larger in tonnage terms but identical in layout to her New York-based sister NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY which entered service last year. However, NORWEGIAN GETAWAY has a more vibrant décor and many of her features reflect the Latin style and culture of Miami and South Florida.
These are a few highlights of NORWEGIAN GETAWAY which was showcased to travel agents and the press during two mini cruises from Southampton between the 14th and 17th January.
Whatever one’s opinion of the hull art of NCL ships, it certainly gets them noticed. The forward section of GETAWAY’s hull features a mermaid holding the sun above the waves by the Miami-based Cuban-American artist David Le Batard.
The Aqua Park and sports complex are situated respectively forward and aft of the tiny funnel. The Aqua Park and its five full-size water slides have more dominant colours than BREAKAWAY whilst the framework of the large ropes course is now painted to look like wood. A section of it forms the masts of a pirate ship which is part of a rather ghoulish miniature golf course with skulls and skeletons.
Among the adults-only areas is the exclusive, pay-extra Vibe Beach Club with its private cabanas and large hot tubs overlooked by a blue Barbara Hepworth-style sculpture.
The Haven is an impressive complex of large suites and penthouses situated forward with its own private restaurant, pool and sundeck. The pool area has a retractable roof whilst the Haven Restaurant is modern and stylish. Overall, the Haven has a sense of exclusivity only found on smaller luxury ships.
For solo travellers the innovative Studio cabins, situated on Decks 10 and 11, are designed like railway compartments with large round windows. These are very popular with singletons especially as they also have use of an ultra-modern private lounge with a bar and coffee/tea making facilities.
The innovative, 400-meters-long Waterfront, first seen on BREAKAWAY, is an open air promenade on either side of Deck 8 which is lined with bars, shops and restaurants. Passengers can choose between dining indoors or alfresco if the weather is good.
On the starboard forward end of the Waterfront, the Grammy Experience club replaces the Fat Cats jazz and blues club on BREAKAWAY. This is a very interesting venue as it features memorabilia on loan from the Grammy Museum, including one of Michael Jackson’s jackets. It also has an interactive touch-screen display about the Grammy Hall of Fame, a mix-your-own-song machine and live acts by past Grammy Award artists.
Of the 27 different dining options on NORWEGIAN GETAWAY, the main two-deck-high restaurant aft, The Tropicana Room, is the most impressive room on the ship. It is also reminiscent of a classic ocean liner dining room with its dance floor and large Art Deco-style ceiling lights.
The central three-deck-high atrium, 678 Ocean Place with its extraordinary hanging chandelier, which changes colour, links the Waterfront with the lower public areas, including a massive, in-your-face, casino area on Deck 7. However, the main evening activities take place around the forward Deck 6 atrium with its huge screen, dancing area and O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar on the deck above.
Also on Deck 6 is one of the most unusual venues I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The new dining and entertainment experience the Illusionarium replaces the Cirque Dreams experience on BREAKAWAY, which has had a mixed reception. At the centrepiece of the Illusionarium is a 30-feet in diameter video dome. This is above a stage on which the magic acts take place. These have to be seen to be believed and suffice to say, the cover charge per person of just under $30 is well worth it. The entrance hall to the Illusionarium is a fascinating display of magicians, illusionists and escapologists from the past, including of course the master of them all, Harry Houdini.
NORWEGIAN GETAWAY will operate year-round 7-night cruises from Miami. In October 2015 NORWEGIAN ESCAPE, the first of two 163,000gt Breakaway-Plus ships, will be delivered by Meyer Werft. She will be followed by NORWEGIAN BLISS in Spring 2017.
This promotional video gives an excellent overview about NORWEGIAN GETAWAY. With this ship NCL will undoubtedly enhance its standing in the Caribbean market and may well help it regain its former title as the First fleet of the Caribbean.
A well-known shipping writer, cruise journalist and cruise ship lecturer,
Peter Newall is a former British Airways executive who has, in the past 57
years, visited and travelled on many famous ships. As well as numerous
articles he has written nine highly acclaimed books including the
definitive histories of Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Line. He also owns
the Newall Dunn Collection, the extensive collection of historic merchant
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