Norwegian Cruise Line, the third largest cruise line in the world, is investing US $250-million in a fleetwide renovation program the cruise line is calling Norwegian Next. The program is intended to integrate fleetwide many of the dining and entertainment concepts introduced aboard its newest ship Norwegian Breakaway.
Several NCL cruise ships have already been refitted to feature these new concepts, including Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Pearl and Pride of America. According to Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Gem is expected to emerge from dry dock this year, and Norwegian Star and Norwegian Epic are scheduled to undergo dry dock in 2015.
The ambitious Norwegian Next refit program includes upgrades to the fleets’ dining areas, entertainment offerings, kids play areas and activities, the cruise line’s private islands and on-board internet services.
New menus are being introduced in Norwegian Cruise Line’s main dining rooms and Garden Cafes, and O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, Carlo’s Bake Shop treats and the Sugarcane Mojito bar (previously only on Getaway) will be introduced to all ships in the fleet. The cruise line is also providing fleetwide beverage training for bartenders, wine stewards and restaurant managers and new Mondavi wine menus and Bar Lab cocktail creations will be introduced as part of the upgrade.
In an apparent attempt to counter Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships (with Royal Caribbean recently announcing they’d ordered two more), and Carnival Cruises’ imminent launch of their largest cruise liner yet, the Carnival Vista, Norwegian have announced a spate of entertainment changes. The H2Glow party, featured on Breakaway and Getaway, will be expanded to all ships in the fleet, while Elements restaurant will feature acrobatic shows during dinner and Paradis will have a 15-foot revolving showgirl staircase. Norwegian is developing new shows, game shows and theme nights in addition to its current line-up.
New kids activities, dining experiences and meet and greets will be added on-board the five ships that feature Nickelodeon entertainment. Passengers on many ships will have the chance to get slimed Nickelodeon-style at the cruise line’s private island Great Stirrup Cay.
Norwegian is introducing Bacardi and Patron bars on Great Stirrup Cay to accompany more beaches and more cabanas, while Harvest Caye, the line’s newest private island, is due to launch in the fall of 2015 in southern Belize.
Cruise Arabia & Africa recently reported that Royal Caribbean had significantly upgraded internet connectivity aboard their Oasis-class cruise liners Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, now Norwegian Cruise Line is improving ship wide Wi-fi across the fleet. In addition, the iConcierge app, currently available on-board Epic, Breakaway and Getaway, will be rolled out across all ships and will allow cruisers to keep in touch with talk and text.
Gas scrubbers will be installed to the exhaust systems on six ships (in addition to Pride of America) in an effort to reduce emissions and underwater hulls will be coated in high-performance paint to reduce friction and improve fuel efficiency.