By Michael Coleman
Emmy Award winner Rosie O’Donnell will serve as godmother to Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) newest vessel – Norwegian Pearl – during christening ceremonies in Miami next month.Â
The 93,500-ton ship will be the ninth new vessel in six years for NCL. Among the onboard innovations is a cruise industry first – a four-lane, ten-pin bowling alley – and two NCL firsts, a rock-climbing wall and two top-of-the-ship deluxe owner’s suites.
Like her sisters – Norwegian Star, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Jewel and Pride of Hawaii – Norwegian Pearl will accommodate 2,400 guests, and will feature multiple restaurants, lively public rooms, family-friendly cabins and a new style of shipboard accommodations – Courtyard Villas – which, along with each ship’s two Garden Villas, make up “the biggest, most luxurious and innovative suite complexes at sea,” according to NCL.
After a series of inaugural events in Europe and Miami, the ship will sail two seven-day itineraries to the Caribbean (eastern and western) beginning December 22. On January 5, 2007, Norwegian Pearl features its five and nine-day western and southern Caribbean schedule. Ports of call on the five-day Western Caribbean itinerary include stops in Cozumel, Mexico and Belize. The nine-day Southern Caribbean route includes calls in Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. John’s, Antigua and Tortola.
NCL will donate the use of Norwegian Pearl to O’Donnell’s charity, Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation, for a one-night fund-raising event December 15. Guests onboard the one-night cruise will enjoy an evening of culinary delights, a Broadway-style show in the Stardust Theater with O’Donnell, and guest entertainers direct from Broadway, a comedy show by the popular comedy troupe, Second City, and a sail-away cocktail party on the pool deck.
Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation is a public, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping America’s kids, by supporting non-profit programs that serve disadvantaged children. Since 1997, her foundation has awarded more than $15 million in early childhood care and education program grants to over 1,100 nonprofit organizations, and has helped to build 27 daycare centers in low-income areas throughout the United States.Â
NCL and O’Donnell have been working together since 2004, when R Family Vacations chartered Norwegian Dawn for the industry’s first-ever gay family cruise.Â
NCL has a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. It oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines.Â In October 2007, look for another christening ceremony, this time as Norwegian Gem enters service.