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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Norwegian Breakaway and Royal Princess are first-of-their class mega-ships

   Out to Sea for May 18/13
   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Savour that new ship smell and innovations of the latest floating resorts aboard the Norwegian Breakaway and Royal Princess.
   These two first-of-their class mega-ships have special features including Breakaway’s New York design elements and the Royal Princess' cantilevered walkway.

A cruise ship is shown at King's Wharf in Bermuda through the 200-year-old fortress at the Royal Naval Dockyard. (Jim Fox photo)
   A taste of the Big Apple
   Now on its first Bermuda sailings, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway, captures some of the best of the big city at sea.
   Christened by the New York’s legendary Rockettes during a ceremony officiated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the ship is the largest ever to homeport in Manhattan.
   She will be “amongst New York City’s greatest icons,” proclaimed Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s chief executive officer.

   With hull artwork designed by pop icon artist Peter Max, Breakaway was designed as New York’s ship inside and out.
   On board, guests enjoy “high-calibre dining and entertainment options that New York City is known for worldwide.”
      Among 27 dining options are three restaurants by Food Network-acclaimed chef Geoffrey Zakarian while “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro has Carlo’s Bake Shop.
   An Ice Bar features NYC-inspired specialty cocktails as well as ice sculptures of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty.
   Entertainment features are Broadway shows, the Second City comedy troupe, Howl at the Moon duelling pianos and New York’s Slam Allen.
   The ship’s design includes an open-air boardwalk, the Waterfront, called the largest aqua park at sea with five waterslides.
   A three-storey sports complex has a ropes’ course, nine-hole miniature golf course, basketball court and rock climbing wall.
The New York-themed Norwegian Breakaway is the largest ship ever to homeport in Manhattan.
   Accommodations include 60 suites in the Haven, innovative studios for solo travellers, ocean-view staterooms and balcony and mini-suite staterooms for families.
   In a throwback to a “decadent 1980s’ themed deck party,” there are fireworks on the second to last night at sea each cruise.
   The 4,028-passenger ship sails on roundtrip seven-day cruises to Bermuda, throughout the summer.
   From October through April, she will offer return seven-day voyages from Manhattan to the Bahamas and Florida, as well as two 12-day sailings to the Southern Caribbean. breakaway.ncl.com; 1-866-234-7350

   Fit for a queen
   Catherine (Kate), the Duchess of Cambridge, will name Royal Princess, the newest addition to Princess Cruises’ 17-ship fleet on June 13.
   The ceremony in Southampton, England will be the highlight of week-long inaugural celebrations to welcome the 3,600-passenger vessel into service.
Royal Princess has a top-deck pool with a water-and-light show and enhanced Movies Under the Stars’ screen.
   In doing so, the Duchess will become godmother to the ship and “celebrate our company’s British heritage and our commitment to the country,” said Alan Buckelew, president and ceo.
   Among the Royal Princess’ special features are a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship, with additional entertainment and casual dining options there.
   An over-water SeaWalk – a top-deck, glass-bottomed walkway – extends beyond the edge of the ship and out over the water.
   There’s also the line’s largest top-deck pool with a water-and-light show and enhanced Movies Under the Stars’ screen.
   Along with plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water, there are balconies on all outside staterooms.
   The new Princess Live television studio seats 280 passengers and is where the daily morning broadcast will be shot with an audience.
   It’s will also host cooking demonstrations, game shows, murder mysteries and trivia contests.
   New dining venues include the “largest pastry shop at sea,” seafood bar featuring caviar, sushi and oysters, and expanded Horizon Bistro buffet.
   The Chef’s Table Lumiere is a private dining experience, with diners surrounded “in a curtain of light.”
   The maiden voyage leaves June 16 and launches a summer of Mediterranean cruises followed by Caribbean cruises beginning in the fall. princess.com/royalprincess; 1-800-774-6237

   Ocean voyage number 200
   Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will make her 200th transatlantic crossing on the July 6 voyage from New York to Southampton.
   The milestone of the ship’s ninth season will be commemorated with special activities, speakers and performers on board.
   Peter Shanks, Cunard president, said a transatlantic crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2 “is a luxury travel experience like no other.”
   As the fastest, largest, longest, tallest, widest and most-expensive ocean liner ever built, the QM2 has served 22.4-million meals and sailed more than 600,000 nautical miles during those crossings.
   Special promotional fares for the voyage start at $1,399 U.S. a person. www.cunard.com; 1-800-728-6273


Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at outtosea50@hotmail.com
For more Out to Sea trip tips: http://outtoseatravel.blogspot.ca

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