Getaway looks like older sister, with a different personality

By Arnie Weissmann

ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN GETAWAY — As agents, packagers and media filed aboard the Norwegian Getaway on Monday for its introductory sailing, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan sat in an unmarked conference room and summed up the differences between the ship and its structurally identical older sister, the Breakaway.

“The Breakaway was a very immersive experience, a very New York experience. This is Miami,” he said in an interview with Travel Weekly.

Sheehan cited the ways that each ship rNorwegian Getaway hulleflects its home port. The bows were painted by different native artists (Peter Max for the Breakaway vs. David “Lebo” Le Batard for the Getaway).

Shaker’s Champagne Bar has been replaced by the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, the Uptown Bar and Grill has given way to the Flamingo Bar & Grill, Maltings Whiskey Bar is now the Key West/Hemingway inspired Sunset Bar, the bluesy Fat Cats morphed into the Grammy Experience and, most symbolically, the Manhattan Room has been transformed to the Tropicana Room.

The Burn the Floor dance show remains, but it’s now ballroom dance to a distinctly Latin beat.

The other entertainment offerings don’t carry the Northeast vs. Southeast theme, with Broadway show “Legally Blond” replacing Broadway show “Rock of Ages” in the main theater, and the magic/special effects Illusionarium standing in for the Cirque Dreams in the dinner theater.

That leaves 23 dining options and 18 bars and lounges identical to the Breakaway’s older sibling.

One aspect that certainly will not be changed — and which Sheehan predicts will be widely copied by other cruise lines — is the Waterfront, which provides outdoor seating for many restaurants.

Sheehan said that the some changes were made in the décor and color schemes of the staterooms and suites, but that aside from fixing some “nits and nats,” they are identical to the rooms on the Breakaway.

Pressed for what those nits and nats were, Sheehan, after taking a long pause to think, couldn’t come up with any.NorwegianGetwaway-GrammyExperience-AW

He credits extraordinary attention to detail in the planning and execution of the Breakaway in making the building of the Getaway relatively painless.

“We were literally done [with the Getaway] well before delivery,” he said. “We had said we wanted it completed in mid-December to give us a month of wiggle room, and we didn’t need it. We were in such good shape that the night before there was nothing to do, so we had a cocktail party.”

Sheehan also said that an inclusive, team approach ensures a better product.

“The more people involved, the smarter the ship will be designed, and the better the flow for the whole guest experience,” he said. “These ships are designed to make guests into brand ambassadors. When they get off, they’ll talk about their great experiences.”

Forward bookings are doing well, he said, but admitted they “always could be better.”

“We’re in an environment that has changed since the incidents that affected the industry,” Sheehan said, in a reference to the sinking of the Costa Concordia and fires that disabled Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships. “It might mean an extra promotion or marketing activity, but at the end of the day, you get where you want to be and get the right customers who will fill the ships and receive the right value.”

Getaway introduced in New York, but thoughts drift to warm Miami

By Arnie Weissmann

Getaway-SpongeBobABOARD THE NORWEGIAN GETAWAY — The frigid January weather in New York has kept most industry guests and media away from the Norwegian Getaway’s distinctive outdoor attractions during the ship’s inaugural sailing.

Few took advantage of the open-air dining on Waterfront, let alone the ropes course, water park with slides or other top-decks attractions.

The ship is a structural clone of its older sister, the Breakaway, which debuted last year, and having the passengers stay largely indoors kept them focused on the shifting of emphasis from themes of New York, where Breakaway homeports, to Miami, where the Getaway will be based.

“I like the subtle touches of Miami,” said Karen Giantomasi, client services supervisor for the online travel agency Cruise Direct International Voyager. “The mojitos in place of Champagne, Cuban food at the buffet.”

But many travel counselors said the shift in geographic emphasis inside really just supports the biggest change of all — that this ship will soon have a southern point of departure.

Although Wendi Randal of Liberty Travel in Pittsburgh doesn’t have clients in either homeport, the cold weather emphasized to her the importance of having a warm gateway. “You want [clients] to be able to try everything that’s outside, and you don’t want the weather to hinder that.”

One discerning couple didn’t mind at all that, other than the tweaking of restaurant and bar themes, the interiors were virtually identical. Sitting quietly and unnoticed at a side table at Sugarcane Mojito Bar off the atrium was Craig Cannonier, premier of Bermuda, and his wife Antoinette. Getaway-Cannoniers

He had been aboard during the inauguration of the Breakaway (which sails to Bermuda), and on this sailing was again in a suite in the Haven, the private area atop the ship which caters to upscale travelers.

“We’ve broken away, we’ve gotten away, next we’ll stay away — stay away from land,” he said. (He said he wasn’t worried about competition for Bermuda from cruising, and believes that port visits ultimately lead to subsequent longer land stays.)

As for the lack of differences — he did notice that “here, you have a mermaid painted on the outside” — he was sanguine. “They took a model that worked and built another. Why do something else? It’s not the same itinerary, so why not build a replica that works and take it to another destination?”

“We’ll bring our family aboard [the Breakaway] on our next vacation, down to our 3-year-old grandchild,” added Antoinette. “They do a good job.”

Norwegian Getaway restaurants to have Latin flavor

Norwegian Getaway restaurants to have Latin flavor

By Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian Cruise Line unveiled several new restaurants and bars with a tropical flavor that will debut on the Miami-based Norwegian Getaway early next year.

On Deck 7 aft, Tropicana Room will evoke the glitz and glamour of Miami Beach nightlife in the 1940s and 1950, with several Latin-inspired choices on the menu. On sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, that space is called the Manhattan Room.

On Deck 16, Flamingo Bar & Grill will serve Latin fare such as pulled pork, steak chimichurri, fried yucca and flan. It will occupy the same space as Uptown Bar & Grill on Breakaway.

New bars on Deck 8 include Sugarcane Mojito Bar, which will have rum-based cocktails, and the Sunset Bar, which takes its inspiration from Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West. Both are part of an indoor/outdoor area that is called The Waterfront on Breakaway.