Norwegian Cruise Line and Nickelodeon part ways

Norwegian Cruise Line said its partnership with Nickelodeon won’t be renewed when it expires at the end of the year.

Nickelodeon characters such as SpongeBob Square Pants and Dora the Explorer have been on select Norwegian ships for the past three years.

“These experiences will not appear on Norwegian Escape and on Norwegian Epic as of October 2015 and on the remaining four ships beginning in January 2016,” the statement said.

In some cases, Norwegian will have to dismantle fixtures, such as the SpongeBob characters that decorate its water play parks. There have also been Nickelodeon character meet-and-greets, a poolside show, an arts and crafts experience and a Nickelodeon-themed Pajama Jam Breakfast.

Norwegian said it will continue to make investments “to further elevate our family programming” on its ships.

Disney Cruise Line’s enviable kid clout

By Tom Stieghorst

Almost without exception, you can tell which cruise lines are serious about attracting families by whether there are animated characters prowling the pool deck.

Whether it is Smurfs, Cinderella, Kung-Fu Panda or SpongeBob SquarePants, they generally signify which lines have a year-round business attracting kids and which don’t.

Some lines make no claim to providing characters or attracting children, including Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and, soon, Viking Ocean Cruises.  Others don’t do a lot of family business during the school year, often because of longer itineraries.

Of the lines that do provide characters, one stands above the rest. Disney Cruise Line’s advantage is almost unfair, its roster of characters so deep and historic, that if characters are a primary consideration, it has to be tops on the list.

And the line isn’t content to rest on its laurels. Its animation factory just keeps turning out the hits.

On Sunday night, Disney took home an Oscar for its movie “Big Hero 6,” featuring Marvel Comics superheroes, who are also present on Disney Cruise Line ships. That comes on top of last year’s Oscar for “Frozen,” the top-grossing animated movie of all time.

“Big Hero 6” topped DreamWorks Studios’ entrant in the Oscars derby, “How To Train Your Dragon 2.” DreamWorks characters such as Shrek are exclusive to Royal Caribbean International ships.

Of course, popular films emerge from other studios besides Disney. The DreamWorks stable includes notable franchises such as Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.

But Disney’s four ships have so many characters to pick from. This summer it will feature characters from “Frozen” on cruises to Norway and Iceland. Next year it will have “Star Wars Day at Sea” on eight selected sailings, featuring characters from the Star Wars movies.

The ownership of Disney Cruise Line by entertainment powerhouse Walt Disney Co., of course, gives it access to these properties. And it kind of puts the success of the cruise industry in perspective. When you ask which cruise company has the biggest investor value, it isn’t Carnival Corp, valued at $34 billion. It is Walt Disney, valued at $178 billion.

Norwegian Getaway Floats Out From Building Dock

Norwegian Getaway Floats Out From Building Dock

PAPENBURG, GERMANY – November 4, 2013 – Norwegian Getaway, whose construction has taken 12 months, was floated out of MEYER WERFT’s covered building dock II on Saturday, November 2 in Papenburg, Germany where the 146,600-ton ship has been under construction since November 2012 when the ship’s keel was laid.  Beginning at approximately 3:30 pm local time, the massive 4,000 passenger ship with her signature hull artwork designed by Miami artist David “LEBO” Le Batard, which features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves, departed building dock II bow first.  Norwegian Getaway, sister ship to Norwegian Breakaway, has an overall length of 324 meters, and is 39.70 meters wide.

The ship’s float out represents a major milestone in the vessel’s construction as it denotes that the ship has now moved into the final phase of construction with delivery taking place on January 10, 2014.

“Hats off once again to the team at MEYER WERFT for building an absolutely spectacular vessel in record time,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We are now in the home stretch and looking forward to the launch of Miami’s ultimate ship.”

“This new vessel, built in merely 12 months, is one of the largest and most technologically advanced ships in the world,” said Bernard Meyer, Managing Partner of MEYER WERFT. “We are thrilled to see her leaving the building dock and getting ready for her sea trials.”

Following the float out, tests were carried out in the harbor and the ship was berthed alongside the yard’s outfitting pier.   Next week, the first crew members will move into their staterooms on board, and begin to familiarize themselves with the ship, readying her for guests. Norwegian Getaway’s conveyance down the river Ems towards the North Sea, where she will prove her seaworthiness, is scheduled for mid-November (weather permitting).

Following inaugural events in Europe, New York and Miami, Norwegian Getaway will sail seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises departing every Saturday from Miami beginning on February 8, 2014. For more information on Norwegian Cruise Line, or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit  Additional information on Norwegian Getaway can be found at

Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway is Miami’s ultimate ship and will embody the essence of her tropical hometown with hull artwork by Miami’s own David “LEBO” Le Batard, which features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves.

Featuring groundbreaking entertainment, Norwegian Getaway boasts sizzling Latin-inspired dance productions by Broadway sensation, Burn the Floor; performances of the seven-time Tony Award nominated musical LEGALLY BLONDE; hilarious comedy headliners produced by Levity Entertainment Group; and the sing along fun of the dueling pianos of Howl at the Moon.  The ship is the first to feature the GRAMMY® Experience at sea, which will include artifacts chosen and curated by the GRAMMY Museum® along with live performances by past GRAMMY winners and nominees, among others. Another first of its kind at sea, The Illusionarium is an all-new dining and entertainment experience that will envelop guests in the fascinating world of magic, inviting them to experience the astonishing illusions of world-class magicians and supernatural special effects. To cap off a spectacular cruise experience, every sailing will feature a dazzling fireworks show at sea, set to music, as part of a dance party in the ship’s outdoor club, Spice H20.

Similar to sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway will dazzle guests with the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates a multiplex of dining, activities and more and enhances guests’ connection with the ocean.  Norwegian Getaway will also feature Miami’s coolest place to chill out – the ship’s SVEDKA/Inniskillin Ice Bar, featuring Art Deco-style décor, reminiscent of Miami Beach’s famous Ocean Drive.

Foodies setting sail from Miami on Norwegian Getaway can feast in their choice of 27 incredible dining options, including Celebrity Chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian’s three dining concepts: Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian; Ocean Blue on the Waterfront and The Raw Bar. Buddy Valastro, star of the popular TLC series “Cake Boss” also has an outpost of his famous Carlo’s Bakery onboard, serving up delicious treats like cannolis lobster tails and specialty cakes.

For families, Nickelodeon®, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, is on board and includes a variety of exciting interactive experiences, along with the opportunity to meet SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Dora the Explorer and Diego, among other favorites. Norwegian Getaway will also include an all new pirate-themed Nickelodeon Kids’ Aqua Park where children can cool off with colorful, whimsical and larger than life Nickelodeon characters from Bikini Bottom.

The three-story Sports Complex will feature the Aqua Park with five thrilling water slides, two swimming pools and one of the largest multi-level elevated ropes course that will challenge guests to more than 40 different elements, including a zip track. For a thrill like no other, guests will confront The Plank, a platform that extends eight feet over the side of the ship.  A nine-hole miniature golf course is located beneath the ropes course, offering family fun with friendly competition.  A rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and spider web, a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage complete with a spiral slide, round out the activities.

Norwegian Getaway offers a variety of flexible accommodations ranging from Studio staterooms specially designed for solo travelers, to balcony and family staterooms and opulent suites in The Haven, the ultimate in luxury accommodations.

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