Norwegian is developing an eco-friendly island named Harvest Caye in southern Belize
Norwegian Cruise Line is to invest more than US$250 million in its Norwegian NEXT programme in an effort to enhance the guest experience across its fleet.
Building on the success of its recently launched ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, the line aims to implement new onboard enhancements, entertainment experiences and eco-friendly technologies across the fleet over the next two years.
As part of Norwegian NEXT, the company will refit a number of ships in 2015 including the newly refurbished Norwegian Jewel, as well as Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Spirit, which were also recently renovated.
“The youngest fleet at sea continues to get even better with our robust enhancement programme taking place over the next two years,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s CEO.
Taking its Freestyle Dining concept to the next level, Norwegian will introduce enhanced menus featuring new dishes in complimentary dining rooms and Garden Cafés. A range of food and beverage venues are also being introduced across the fleet including popular Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss and Next Great Baker. Norwegian Jewel will be retrofitted with O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, as well as Sugarcane Mojito Bar, which was first introduced on Norwegian Getaway.
Norwegian guests will also benefit from a destination-based handcrafted beverage programme developed in partnership with James Beard Award-nominated mixologist Gabriel Orta of Miami-based Bar Lab Cocktails. After partnering with the Michael Mondavi Family, the line has already started to introduce a new wine menu across the fleet, while the family will curate wine concepts for Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss. Bartenders, wine stewards and restaurant managers will all undergo extensive training to ensure they are familiar with the menus.
Entertainment options will also be expanded across the fleet. First introduced on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, the H2GLOW Party will be rolled out to all ships, while the five ships that already feature Nickelodeon entertainment will offer new activities, dining experiences and ways to interact with Nickelodeon characters.
In addition, the line will produce a new series of onboard shows at the line’s recently opened 45,000 sq ft rehearsal facility – Norwegian Creative Studios – in Tampa, Florida. Entertainment will be customised for every ship, while the show itineraries will be changed regularly to include acts such as the acrobats in ‘Elements’ or the 15 ft revolving showgirl staircase in ‘Paradis’.
Enhancements continue on Great Stirrup Cay, the line’s private island in the Bahamas, with the opening of the Bacardi Bar. In addition, the line is developing a new eco-friendly cruise destination, Harvest Caye, in southern Belize. The 75-acre experience is scheduled to open in autumn 2015 and will offer guests the option to take shore excursions on the mainland, or enjoy the shopping village, water sports and beach area on the island.
To offer guests more flexibility when managing their holiday, Norwegian will develop enhanced pre-cruise planning experiences and access to the iConcierge mobile application. The application also allows guests to remain in touch with fellow cruisers and family at home. In addition, each ship will offer wi-fi access and interactive touch screen displays throughout, enabling guests to order items, get directions and reserve dining and shore excursions by scanning their stateroom key.
“We want to continue to provide fresh and relevant experiences to our guests every time they sail with us,” said Sheehan. “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’.”
The Norwegian NEXT programme also includes the ECO-Smart Cruising programme, which aims to reduce the line’s environmental impact. Norwegian is to install exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) on six ships as part of its Eco-Smart Cruising programmes. Scrubbers are already being fitted on Pride of America and the company’s two newbuilds Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss.