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A Tale Of Two Cruise Ships Under Construction
Norwegian Cruise Line has a whole lot of New Yorkers talking about new Norwegian Breakaway, and for good reason. To be based in New York City year-round, the 4,000-passenger ship has been customized for the New York market with everything from shops, restaurants and bars to Sabrett New York hot dog carts positioned around the ship.
Partnering with the New York City Rockettes (Godmothers of the ship), pop artist Peter Max (custom city skyline hull design) and others, Norwegian is making every attempt to pierce the New York market; it even set up "warming stations" around the city this winter.
That's all in addition to some over-the-top features on the ship set to blow away other new builds that has everyone talking about this new Norwegian ship that will be sailing to Florida, Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Continuing what looks to be a pre-sold success story with Norwegian Breakaway, sister ship Norwegian Getaway will debut in 2014, claiming Miami, Florida, as its hometown. Embedding a South Florida theme in the new ship, Norwegian tapped David Le Batard (AKA the artist known as "LEBO") to create art for the new ship's hull. Set to debut in February 2014, we'll have more on that one later.
First, here's a gallery of photos featuring first-up Norwegian Breakaway, under construction:
Royal Princess marks the first new build for the cruise line since 2008's Ruby Princess, the last of Princess Cruises popular grand class ships. They built nine of those and already have a sister ship to Royal Princess in the works too.
Royal Princess will be a careful evolution of the Princess product with a ship laid out in typical Princess patterns. Focusing on their mantra to let passengers "escape completely" Princess Cruises has designed a ship totally around that concept. It's a success formula that has made Princess popular over the years and keeps travelers coming back for more.
But Princess goes a bit over the top themselves too, adding an over-the-water "SeaWalk" that will extend 28 feet over the side of the ship, offering views of the ocean 128 feet below off the ship's starboard side. On the port side, a SeaView bar will be positioned to offer cocktails and some great views. Here is what that venue and others should look like when complete:
Top-deck features are a focus of cruise ships industry-wide lately and Royal Princess is no exception. This Princess ship starts with a new adults-only pool surrounded by plush private cabanas that appear to be floating on the water. Two more pools will flank a "tropical island" that will have pool seating by day then become a dance club with a dancing water and light show by night.
Next year's Regal Princess will be a twin sister to 141,000 ton Royal Princess, complete with a central atrium Piazza area that is 50% larger area than previous versions and casual dining options that include an Italian gelateria, a seafood bar and expanded seating in the passenger-favorite International Cafe.
Under construction right now in Venice, Princess Cruises sent along these photos from the shipyard:
We will be heading to Venice, Italy, at the end of March for a first-hand look at construction of Royal Princess in-progress. Stay tuned for updates.
So which ship to choose? Here are some points to consider:
- The value is there for either ship. Both will stack up nicely compared to land vacations to the same places these ships sail, allowing passengers to unpack once but visit multiple destinations.
- Norwegian Breakaway adds an additional choice, year-round for cruise travelers departing from the upper East coast, eliminating the need for airfare and sailing to Bermuda, the Bahamas and Florida.
- Royal Princess will sail seven-night itineraries from Florida's Port Everglades to the Eastern Caribbean from November 2013 through April 2014 after a Mediterranean season that begins June 9, 2013.
- Traditional cruisers will find their dreams fulfilled on Royal Princess with standard features the line has become famous for – amped up for today's traveler. Think: turbo Love Boat.
- Norwegian Breakaway promises an entertainment experience as good if not better than the bar-raising elements added on their last new build, Norwegian Epic. Think: epic flavor, easy to swallow.