Posted by: cruise2 | 19 March, 2012

Norwegian To Let Passengers Enjoy the Sea

by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People writing for

Royal Caribbean International started it, with its new global slogan“The Sea is Calling. Answer it Royally,” which it varies slightly by markets. In France, for example, it’s “Royal Caribbean International, la mer autrement” and in Brazil “O Mar chama por Si. Sinta-o com a Royal!”

But the gist of it is that the line has finally realized that people go on a cruise because they like to be at sea. So far, this is good public relations.

But last week, at Cruise Shipping Miami, came the next step when Norwegian Cruise Line announced that its next ship, the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway, will introduce a significant new design innovation: a quarter-mile-long, ocean-facing boardwalk that will be lined with restaurants, bars and shops.

The Waterfront, as it will be called, will span both sides of the ship and feature eight outdoor dining and lounging options, including a steakhouse, Italian eatery, seafood restaurant, cocktail bar and a beer and whiskey bar.

“This will bring the ocean and the sea back to our guests,” stated Norwegian ceo Kevin Sheehan, calling it “a unique experience unlike anything else at sea.”

Norwegian Breakaway, which is scheduled undertake a Transatlantic voyage from Southampton to New York next spring before entering the New York to Bermuda cruise trade for the 2013 summer season, will also feature a three-deck-high indoor complex of restaurants, bars and entertainment. To be named 678 Ocean Place, it will spread over decks 6, 7 and 8 of the new ship and her sister ship Norwegian Getaway. (See more images at:

The new 678 Ocean Place will tie into the outdoor Waterfront on deck 8. Restaurants on this deck, including Cagney’s Steakhouse and the Italian La Cucina, will offer both inside and outside seating, with views overlooking the sea. Also will the Brazilian steakhouse Moderno Churrascaria and a new seafood restaurant to be called Ocean Blu, which will have a raw bar and a separate sushi bar.

“We really tried to open up the spaces and maximize the flow,” Norwegian marketing chief Maria Miller stated. “It’s the heart of Norwegian Breakaway, an experience that is really going to help set us apart.”

Also on this deck, with both indoor and outdoor seating, will be Shaker’s Cocktail Bar and Malting’s Beer & Whiskey Bar. The Waterfront also will introduce a new outdoor gelato bar and a yet-to-be-revealed entertainment venue. While several lines have added outdoor seating to shipboard restaurants, the placement of so much seating along the sides of the ship facing the sea is novel.

While the Waterfront area is partly exposed to the elements, designers have determined that it should not be particularly windy even when the ship is sailing at cruising speed. Other outlets planned for 678 Ocean Place include the Manhattan Room restaurant with dance floor overlooking the stern of the ship and a Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, both adapted from Norwegian Epic of 2010.

The twenty-four-hour O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, adapted from the bar of the same name in Norwegian Epic, will also feature in Norwegian Breakaway, as will a Bliss Ultra Lounge. She will also have a Teppanyaki restaurant and a French Bistro, as do other ships in the fleet.

The concept of opening out to the sea is very much to be welcomed after a decade and a half of cruise ships becoming more and more interior-facing, so much so that many interior windowed and balconied cabins now face onto inside decks. This trend originated in 1990-91 with the Helsinki-Stockholm night ferries Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony.

Several years later, in 1998, it was partly adapted in a cruise ship in Superstar Leo, now sailing as Norwegian Spirit, with her “inside outside”cabins. With their midship internal promenades, Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager and Freedom class ships fully adapted the Silja concept between 1999 and 2008. This culminated in the Allure and Oasis of the Seas in 2009-10.

Now, although it sounds like it might cost money to sit with a view of the sea, perhaps cruise ship design will evolve so that people will once again be more aware of the sea around them.

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