During a webcast broadcast live from the Vacations.com annual conference in Las Vegas, NCL President and CEO Kevin Sheehan revealed the first details of the line’s forthcoming Project Breakaway newbuildings, and explained a little about what the name means.
“It stems from a vacation home that I had in North Carolina many years ago, that my family called ‘breakaway.’ It was an escape from the pressures of work and everyday life. That is what we want these ships to be for our guests—an opportunity for them to break away from the routine of work, school, stress, and find a true respite at sea. Breakaway is also symbolic of Norwegian as a company, as we continue to break away from the company we were just a few short years ago,” he explained, adding, “These ships will take the best of the best from our existing ships.”
Sheehan went on to reveal details of the ships’ cabins, which will be designed by Priestmangoode of the United Kingdom, working in conjunction with Tillberg Design of Sweden; Priestmangoode is the same firm that created the acclaimed Studio staterooms aboard last year’s Norwegian Epic. Each Project Breakaway ship will have 1,024 balcony staterooms and 238 mini-suites, which were the focus of the webcast. Each will be appointed with a king-size bed and pillow-top mattress set against a chestnut leather headboard, sofa bed with storage area, 26-inch flatscreen TV, built-in vanity with shelving, and full-size closet with sliding doors.
“The overall design theme for Project Breakaway’s staterooms is ‘modern boutique hotel meets the sea,’” Sheehan said. “We strongly considered the overall needs of our guests when designing these staterooms and wanted them to be greeted with an ambiance that is warm and inviting and has a very contemporary feel with clean, modern lines,” he continued. “We also wanted to maximize the use of space within the staterooms, so that our guests are as comfortable as possible and storage space is well planned throughout. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve a really good balance of form and function—well designed, beautiful, comfortable and sensible living space.”
Bathrooms will be “fully enclosed,” Sheehan said, with an “easy-to-use faucet,” an apparent reference to the separated bathroom units and splashing problems with the oversized faucets aboard the Norwegian Epic.
The unnamed Project Breakaway ships are scheduled to make their debuts in April 2013 and April 2014. Each registers 144,017 gross tons and carries approximately 4,000 passengers. Bookings for the first ship open in October, Sheehan said, with more details to be revealed during the line’s next webcast scheduled for July.
By M.T. Schwartzman