What makes Norwegian Escape unique?

Visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsknU5bR4 for more photos of the Escape
Visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsknU5bR4 for more photos of the Escape

Above Photos by Dave Jones
Article By  orlandosentinel.com
Follow this link for our Review of the Escape

Norwegian Cruise Line debuted its newest and biggest ship last month when Norwegian Escape began sailing out of Miami.

“She showcases with her beautiful finishes, her decadent suites and her outstannding design how the company that began almost 50 years ago as Norwegian Caribbean line out of Port Miami has truly evolved,” said line president and COO Andy Stuart at the ship’s christening ceremony in November. “Every element of the on board experience has been elevated.”

The 4,200-passenger vessel is part of the new Breakaway Plus Class of ship, which is a little bit bigger, but also very similar to the Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway. There are several facets of the ship, though, that set it apart.

The biggest Guy Harvey painting ever

“The Norwegian Escape is now the largest billboard for the conservation of marine life bringing new awareness not only for all of those who set sail on her but also for those who just look at her,” Harvey said at the christening. “Healthy oceans make all of this beauty that you see in my artwork possible.”

Margaritaville at Sea

A new partnership with Jimmy Buffet brings the first Margaritaville at Sea as well as a Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar. Since it’s one of the free dining options on the ship, it proved extremely popular on the ship’s first sailing, meaning crowded with more than hour-long wait times, but over a seven-night cruise, there should be time for everyone to waste away at sea and eat their Cheeseburger in Paradise.

There are a lot of South Florida touches on board Norwegian Escape that you can’t find on any other ship. Perhaps the most iconic is the re-created space that pays homage to Tobacco Road, Miami’s oldest bar, which closed its doors in 2014. The neon sign with the missing “5” in “til 5 a.m.” makes the space stand out. Two decidedly more modern Miami touches are the presence of Wynwood Brewing Company in the District Brew House. The 3-year-old microbrewing company that has taken South Florida taps by storm of late now offers three of their creations on board including the popular La Rubia Blond Ale. The bar has 24 beers on tap and dozens more in bottle. It’s a brand new space, taking the place of what are cabins on Norwegian Getaway and Breakaway.

“It’s a beautiful space,” said Wynwood founder Luis G. Brignoni. “I think the concept of having a lot of craft beer…it was a big undertaking and I think Norwegian has done an excellent job, the way they treat the beer, the way they take care of it.”

It pairs nicely with another Miami-inspired space, the Food Republic, a new dining concept from the 5-year-old Pubbelly Group, which has opened several restaurants across South Florida. This restaurant is about fast food, small plates, a shared dining experience and modern touches, like ordering on an iPad. Certain plates can be ordered from the Food Republic and served over in the neighboring District. There’s a bacon-wrapped chorizo date that when consumed with the Wynwood group’s Pop’s Porter is lights-out good.

“It’s a fast-paced restaurant,” said Jose Mendin. “You sit down, you share with your friends. It’s the way we like to eat. It’s an amazing experience for us to present to you. … I like to eat from my friends, take a little bit from here, a little bit from there and that’s what we want you to do. We want you to pass the dishes around the table, have fun and just enjoy the flavors we have to provide to you.”

An Iron Chef

Iron Chef and James Beard Award winning chef Jose Garces has two venues on board. The marquee space is Bayamo, a seafood restaurant with Spanish flair named after a Cuban city. It’s an extra-cost dining space and with price points that put it among the more expensive premium dining spaces at sea. For a lower price point, Garces also offers up Pincho Tapas Bar with smaller plates. Bayamo and Food Republic are the two new restaurants amid a mix of 28 dining options on board that are part of Norwegian’s freestyle concept of cruising, in which passengers choose when and where they want to have dinner. Some are free, but most cost you a little extra.

The entertainment

The ship has three major shows. Two of them performed in the main theater are adaptations of Tony Award-winning Broadway shows. Paying homage to the ’20s and ’30s is “After Midnight,” with an on-stage jazz ensemble and the big-band music of Duke Ellington based around Harlem’s Cotton Club. The ’50s and ’60s get their due in “Million Dollar Quartet,” a dramatic version of the time Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins spent a night recording together at Sun Records. The last show, performed in the ship’s supper club, highlights the music of the 1980s through a melded story of John Hughes films like “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.”

The largest ropes course at sea

The adventure quotient on board has been raised on Escape with an expanded three-story ropes course that features ziplines and pioneering obstacles plus the ship’s fear-inducing ability to walk the plank. There are two “planks” that jut eight feet out over the side of the ship and allow those on the ropes course who can brave it to walk out over the open water. There are multiple ziplines, and one of them also goes out over the side of the ship.

The largest Aqua Park at sea

Norwegian Cruise Line has a good handle on water slides across its fleet, and Escape features four. The Family Slide is the tame one with lots of twists. The twin Free Fall slides are the extreme ones featuring bomb-bay doors that open up and send you down on what Norwegian bills as the fastest slides at sea. New to Escape is a slide called the Aqua Racer, which allows for single or tandem riders going through a trippy, multicolored tube that at one point also juts out over the open see, visible through a stretch of clear acrylic. It’s on the tame side, but a visual treat. It’s all part of the Aqua Park, which has a giant area dedicated to younger children with spouts and buckets and the like.

The Mondavi family’s wine bar

Wine fans can check out some serious legs at The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Wine Bar. If you have the wherewithal, try the M red wine. It’s a $200 bottle produced from 13 acres of land in northern California. Whether you get that or one of the more reasonably priced glasses, be sure to compare the wine’s bouquet to the vases of soil at the venue that are taken from the land on which the wine’s grapes were grown. There’s a fun, black glass game to be played as well, challenging you to guess whether you’re drinking red or white.

The biggest Haven ever

The Haven is Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship concept, and Norwegian Escape’s Haven is the biggest in the line. Those who pay the premium price to stay in The Haven’s suites get their own restaurant, own pool and own lounge. It’s definitely got a solitude feel to its spaces, a welcome respite from the calamity that’s going on at the water park and sports areas on the other end of the ship.

Snow

As part of the ship’s Mandara Spa, there’s a tiny little room filled with Snow. It’s part of the largest Thermal Suite at sea, which also includes a steam room, salt room and several other rooms designed to open and close pores and/or bloodflow. The Snow Room features real snow and it’s meant to stimulate blood circulation.

The new features mix well with venues that can be found on Norwegian Cruise Line’s other ships such as Cagney’s Steakhouse and O’Sheehan’s Bar and Grill. Sailing year-round out of Miami on seven-night Caribbean cruises, Escape is the largest ship to ever call PortMiami home.

“What you will find once you spend time on board is she truly epitomizes the Norwegian Cruise Line experience,” Stuart said. “She brings to life the freedom and flexibility that only a Norwegian cruise can provide with a decidedly premium experience from bow to stern.”

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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 Hull Art Being Painted On

 

Famed marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey laid eyes upon his hull artwork on the new Norwegian Escape for the first time this week. The ships debuts this November in Miami.

The ship yard visit took place as Harvey’s artwork is now beginning to take shape, bringing to life his perspective of the spectacular Caribbean marine life on the expansive canvas of Norwegian Escape’s hull.

Spanning more than 1,000 feet in length from bow to stern, the custom-designed artwork features a scene of marine wildlife which blends two underwater seas seamlessly together.

Featuring Harvey’s signature sailfish, the design also showcases key Caribbean sea life including sting rays, sea turtles, whale sharks and a variety of tropical fish.
“I’m so proud to showcase the incredible marine life of the Caribbean on the largest canvas a human could possibly paint,” said Dr. Guy Harvey. “After weeks of work, the artisans at Meyer Werft have done an incredible job of recreating my art on such a vast format.

I’m overjoyed at the level of detail that has been achieved and I can’t wait to see Norwegian Escape in her element out on the ocean.”

The process of creating the artwork is a lengthy one, beginning with a laser that projects the design onto the hull. A team then outlines the art onto the curved hull, pencilling in the lines and then taping the edges in preparation for applying the paint by hand.

“We had great expectations for this artwork, which reflects the marine life of the spectacular waters on which this ship will sail,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Guy’s vision for Norwegian Escape’s signature artwork is the perfect complement to everything this ship stands for.