The Escape a step forward for Norwegian Cruise Line

Part of the Guy Harvey hull painting on the Norwegian Escape. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

PAPENBURG, Germany — The Norwegian Escape will be a bigger, and improved, version of the two ships that preceded it in the Norwegian fleet.

On a tour here, Norwegian executives showed off the line’s 14th ship, which is about six weeks away from its debut in Miami in early November.

Although it is based on the same platform as Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, the Escape will be notably different in its details and carry more passengers.

Escape, designated Breakaway Plus in early discussions, will have one more deck of cabins, giving it a capacity of 4,270 at double occupancy, up from 3,969 for its predecessors.

The extra deck also allowed for a two-story design in the deluxe Haven area, which now has an elegant glass-enclosed curving staircase connecting the two levels. The Haven also has an indoor-outdoor restaurant, a feature from Norwegian Epic that was skipped on Breakaway and Getaway but is being resurrected.

The pool area of Norwegian Escape. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
The pool area of Norwegian Escape. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

On almost every deck, Escape has something that distinguishes it as new. On the top deck, the ropes course has been expanded to three levels and has 99 elements, including five zip tracks. The Plank, a balance beam that extends out over the side of the ship, is now on either side of the ship, doubling the opportunity for passengers to try it.

The Aqua Racer water slide has been given a bigger diameter and can accommodate 1,000 riders an hour, up from less than 500 previously.

Breakaway/Getaway’s ice bar has been deep-sixed in favor of The Cellars, Norwegian’s first wine bar. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville replaces the more generic Flamingo bar near the Spice H2O entertainment area, and his 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar will use the space occupied by the Fat Cats jazz and blues club on preceding ships.

At the new Food Republic, guests will order dinner on iPads. “These ships come out with ever-more innovative features with every ship we build,” said Norwegian President Andy Stuart.

Stuart said that the outdoor dining area in The Haven and the ropes course are among his favorite additions on Escape. “The ropes course is going to blow people away,” he said.

Norwegian Escape to get larger sports complex and water park

 

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Rendering of the ropes course on Norwegian Getaway.

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ next ship will have a three-story ropes course and the largest aqua park in the fleet.

Norwegian Escape, due in 2015, will feature two Planks, the narrow steel beams on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway that let guests walk eight feet out over the edge of the ship. The sports complex will have five zipline-style Sky Rails, including one that will loop out over the side of the 4,200-passenger ship.

 Video of What's on the New Norwegian Escape

Video of What’s on the New Norwegian Escape

 

In addition to a full-sized basketball court, Escape will have a bocce ball court, a first for the line.

Also, there will be a mini-golf course themed to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters, an expanded Aqua Park and a new tandem slide in the Aqua Park called Aqua Racer.

Norwegian said it is also adding the line’s first dedicated nursery for children ages 2 and under.

In expanding its “Guppies” program to children ages 6 months to three years, Norwegian will offer an active area for play time and age-appropriate activities and a separate space for napping.  In addition to the nursery services, the ship’s Guppies program will offer a dedicated open play area for parents and babies to play together.

Escape is scheduled to cruise the Caribbean year-round from Miami, starting next November.

Escape and Bliss will be new Norwegian ship names

Escape and Bliss will be new Norwegian ship names

By Tom Stieghorst
Breakaway Plus_namesNo longer will Norwegian Cruise Line have to refer to its Breakaway Plus ships.

In a Facebook vote, fans have named the ships Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Escape. The two 163,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ships are scheduled for delivery in 2015 and 2017. It isn’t clear which one will carry which name.

More than 100,000 votes from five countries were received in the contest, a response praised by Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan.

“It affirms that we have a very engaged and passionate community of Norwegians,” he said.

Anyone entering a name was entered in a drawing for a inaugural cruise on the first Breakaway Plus ship. Winners will be announced on the line’s Facebook page on Oct. 8.