Follow us this week in the Mediterranean aboard Norwegian Jade

Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade (formerly Pride of Hawaii) embarked on a 7-night roundtrip Mediterranean journey from Venice, Italy, this past weekend. One of 11 ships in the NCL fleet, this European-based vessel will be unveiling a series of 9-day cruises from Barcelona to the Canary Islands beginning in December. Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard and will be posting dispatches from the ship in this space over the next week. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

Ship Review: NCL’s newest ship offers fun in Epic proportions

Many people pick a vacation city based on how much it has to offer. Big names like Nickelodeon and Blue Man Group that could have only been seen in places like Las Vegas and Orlando are now cruising the high seas. With all the innovations on the brand new Norwegian (NCL) Epic, it’s like you’re in a city with ever changing views.

Click Here to continue reading the NCL Epic ship review.

Nickelodeon to be featured on Norwegian Jewel and Epic

Norwegian Cruise Line today announced a new partnership with Nickelodeon in which select Norwegian ships will feature Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment and programming all year long.

Beginning in April on Norwegian Jewel and this summer on Norwegian Epic, Nickelodeon and Norwegian experiences for the entire family will include: character meet and greets; interactive game shows; and more. The three-year partnership also includes select specialty Nickelodeon-themed cruises each year, featuring Nickelodeon TV stars, show premieres and continuous themed-entertainment on the ship.

“Nickelodeon is an incredible family brand that is well-known to kids and parents of all ages,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “Combining its worldwide appeal with our signature Freestyle Cruising will create the ultimate experience at sea for families. For any family considering a cruise vacation, there is no better value and experience than Nickelodeon at Sea on Norwegian Cruise Line.”

“At a time when families are seeking special travel experiences, we see an opportunity to build on the success of our previous Nickelodeon cruises to create a unique family cruise vacation experience with Norwegian Cruise Line,” said Howard Smith, executive vice president, Nickelodeon Recreation. “By partnering with Norwegian, we are now able to offer families Nickelodeon entertainment and programming at sea all year long.”

Nickelodeon at Sea will launch on Norwegian Jewel when the ship begins sailing from New York in late April, and on Norwegian’s latest addition to its fleet – Norwegian Epic – when she launches in July. Each cruise will feature live Nickelodeon-themed interactive shows, including: SlimeTime LIVE! with Nick’s signature slime; Nick Live! Poolside entertainment; character breakfasts and meet and greets; Nick-themed dance parties; and more. Nickelodeon-themed elements will also be incorporated into Norwegian’s Kids’ Crew program.

In addition to the year-round programming on Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Epic, special Nickelodeon-themed cruises will be offered annually where families can immerse themselves in everything Nickelodeon all day, every day. These unique cruises will include: special appearances by the Network’s live talent; show premieres; more live game shows; even more opportunities to visit with kids’ favorite Nick characters; and much more. The first of the Nickelodeon-themed specialty cruises is scheduled on Norwegian Jewel later this year. More details and an on sale date will be released soon.

Onboard: Passengers embracing polished Pearl

The 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl, docked today in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, features cruise travel’s first four-lane bowling alley at sea. Photos by Michael Coleman
The 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl, docked today in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, features cruise travel’s first four-lane bowling alley at sea. Photos by Michael Coleman

Cruise News Weekly Editor Michael Coleman is onboard the NCL Pearl this week. Here’s his latest update:

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Dec. 16, 2009 – Above the dive-friendly, turquoise waters here a playground of another kind beckons.

The 2,394-passenger Norwegian Pearl is a world unto itself, epitomizing Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) “Freestyle Cruising’’ concept where passengers enjoy a myriad of onboard entertainment and dining choices yet with no set schedules, dining times or even dress codes to adhere to.

As such, during this seven-night Eastern Caribbean swing port calls to the Dominican Republic, neighboring U.S. Virgin islands and even this idyllic British outpost where the local airport is too small to accommodate large jets, seem almost secondary.

Passengers aboard Norwegian Pearl are enjoying a myriad of high-energy events and activities plus quiet time, pool-side.
Passengers aboard Norwegian Pearl are enjoying a myriad of high-energy events and activities plus quiet time, pool-side.
Pearl features 12 restaurants, 11 bars and lounges, a spa, fitness center, sports court (basketball, volleyball and tennis), four hot tubs, two swimming pools, a kid’s pool, internet café, casino, library, card room, jogging/walking track, shuffleboard court and movie theater.

The biggest onboard wow factor — clearly — is Bliss, a sports bar by day and a high-energy lounge at night complete with the industry’s first four-lane bowling alley at sea. Look for multiple flat screen televisions featuring sports events and arcade games during the day and music videos at night. There’s even a spacious dance floor, full bar and mood-lit bowling in the evening.

When not playing under these Caribbean waters, or above them, guests are also enjoying a ship that is relaxing. Pearl features 10 accommodation categories.

There are 360 balcony staterooms — each a comfortable 205 square feet — complete with two lower beds and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to a private balcony. Look also for a sitting area, rich cherry wood finishes, flat screen televisions, mini-bars, tea and coffee makers and internet connection and bathroom.

Mini suites, 134 in all, measure 284 square feet and include floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to a private balcony, two lower beds that convert to a queen size bed, sitting area with convertible double sofa, bathroom with shower and bathtub, plus balcony stateroom amenities.

There are 416 inside staterooms, each 143 square feet, and 243 ocean view staterooms each 161 square feet.

For passengers seeking larger accommodations Pearl, too, is a treat.

Look for 24 penthouse suites (572 square feet); 10 courtyard villas (572 square feet); four owner’s suites (823 square feet); two deluxe owner’s suites (928 square feet); four romance suites (460 square feet); and two, 5,000-square foot Garden Villas offering panoramic views of the ocean.

Each villa features a roof terrace and private garden, three separate bedrooms with king- or queen-size bed and private luxury bath, multiple TVs with CD/DVD players, open-air dining, whirlpool, steam room and private sunning/relaxation areas plus a living room with a piano, state-of-the-art BOSE entertainment center with CD/DVD library, computer access with internet connection and WiFi. There’s a refrigerator, wet bar, tea and espresso/cappuccino coffee maker, butler and concierge services plus access to a private concierge lounge.

Passengers will enjoy a sea day tomorrow en route to NCL’s private island — Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas — Friday.

Later this week: We’ll look at Pearl’s amazing array of culinary options.

NCL Epic’s bow lowered into place at shipyard

epic-bow2

Norwegian Epic’s construction, underway at STX Europe in St. Nazaire, France, celebrated a milestone in the early morning hours last Wednesday, April 9, when the ship’s bow was lowered into place. The bow, known as block 642, weighed 445 tons and measured 85 feet long, 108 feet wide and almost 30 feet high. The process of putting the bow in place took 100 workers about two hours. This significant step represents the completion of the lower part of the steel hull, those areas that come in contact with the sea, and indicates that only the superstructures, or topsides, remain to be finalized. Continue reading “NCL Epic’s bow lowered into place at shipyard”

Going on an NCL cruise? Countdown the days on Facebook

Looking to connect with other cruisers? Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has an application for that. Guests booked on a NCL vacation at sea can now network with other guests on the sailing with the NCL Cruise Countdown Clock Facebook application. Continue reading “Going on an NCL cruise? Countdown the days on Facebook”

Cruise Guide: Norwegian Epic to sail in 2010 with 14 dining options

The Norwegian Epic may not be to everyone's taste from the outside, but it's what's inside that matters. Rendering and video (below) courtesy of NCL
The Norwegian Epic may not be to everyone's taste from the outside, but it's what's inside that matters. Rendering and video (below) courtesy of NCL

By Matt Roseboom

cruiseguideheadersmallAlthough some may question the look of her exterior appearance, you won’t care what NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Epic, looks like from the outside as you enjoy her 14 restaurants, 18 bars (including the first ice bar at sea) and Aqua Park inside.

Epic, which launches in the Caribbean July 10, 2010, will offer a wide variety of cabins, from the very small inside staterooms called The Studios (100 square feet) to luxurious suites which feature their own courtyard villa. All outside staterooms will feature private balconies. Continue reading “Cruise Guide: Norwegian Epic to sail in 2010 with 14 dining options”

In Port Today: Nassau, Bahamas

Four cruise ships, from left, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, Norwegian Sky, Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas are shown docked under sunny skies in Nassau, Bahamas, Tuesday March 31, 2009.
Four cruise ships, from left, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, Norwegian Sky, Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas are shown docked under sunny skies in Nassau, Bahamas, Tuesday March 31, 2009.

NCL releases more cabin information on their upcoming Epic

NCL officials announce some of the new features of their newest ship, the Norwegian Epic. The announcement was made during the Seatrade conference in Miami Beach and was also available via webcast.
NCL officials announce some of the new features of their newest ship, the Norwegian Epic. The announcement was made during the Seatrade conference in Miami Beach and was also available via webcast.

At the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami Convention this morning, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) revealed the full range of varied accommodations to be offered on its next generation of Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic. Continue reading “NCL releases more cabin information on their upcoming Epic”