Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is investing more than $250 million in “Norwegian NEXT,” a program focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two new ships — Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.
Norwegian NEXT encompasses ship revitalizations, dining enhancements, new experiences in entertainment and guest activities, along with innovations in technology, new tropical destinations and the line’s continued commitment to the environment. Through 2015, the company has plans to revitalize a number of vessels, including Norwegian Jewel, which just re-entered service following dry dock, along with Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Spirit, which were also recently refurbished.
“The youngest fleet at sea continues to get even better with our robust enhancement program taking place over the next two years,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “We want to continue to provide fresh and relevant experiences to our guests every time they sail with us. We are investing significantly in making sure that our guests have the vacation of a lifetime and fully experience what it means to Cruise like a Norwegian.”
NCL recently introduced its Freestyle Dining concept, which it is taking to the NEXT level with the introduction of new menus in complimentary dining rooms and Garden Cafes that offer more variety and choice, including numerous new dishes crafted by expert chefs using the finest ingredients. New food and beverage venues are also being introduced across the fleet. Norwegian Jewel is the first to be retrofitted with the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill. The line is also adding the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, first introduced on Norwegian Getaway, to Norwegian Jewel, adjacent to the new location of the Moderno Churrascaria restaurant. In addition, treats from the popular Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker, will be featured on all ships.
Along with dining, Norwegian is also making enhancements to its beverage program. A partnership with the world-renowned Michael Mondavi Family has already introduced a new wine menu across the fleet and the family is curating wine concepts for Norwegian’s upcoming new ships. A new destination-based handcrafted beverage program, developed in partnership with James Beard Award-nominated mixologist Gabriel Orta of Miami-based Bar Lab Cocktails, is bringing guests seasonal specialty cocktails with a local twist.
With a focus on family, Norwegian’s five ships that feature exclusive Nickelodeon entertainment will introduced new activities, dining experiences, and more ways to interact with Nickelodeon favourites like SpongeBob SquarePants.
The line is also focused on introducing advanced technologies and innovations that bring more freedom and flexibility to its guests’ cruise vacation from start to finish. Enhanced pre-cruise planning experiences give guests the opportunity to easily design their vacation. Once on board, there is wireless Internet access from bow to stern along with interactive digital displays that are being added fleet wide. These touch screen signs will allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions simply with a scan of their stateroom key. Guests can also take advantage of Norwegian’s iConcierge mobile application to manage their cruise experience and stay in touch with fellow cruisers and family at home.
Enhancements continue on NCL’s private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay, with the opening of the Bacardi Bar. In addition, the line is developing a new eco-friendly cruise destination, Harvest Caye, in southern Belize.