In what could be called a rite of passage of sorts, cruise lines commonly take features introduced on shiny new ships and add them to older vessels, providing a bit of new life. We saw that as Royal Caribbean International brought the popular Park Cafe, introduced on their Oasis class ships to vessels more than a decade their senior. It was just one application of their Royal Advantage program that added new, relevant features to the existing fleet. Now, Norwegian Cruise Line is at it with Norwegian Next, a $250 million fleet wide program that promises to further define what it means to “Cruise Like A Norwegian”.
“We want to continue to provide fresh and relevant experiences to our guests every time they sail with us,” said Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO Kevin Sheehan in a press release. Focused on new enhancements, experiences and transformations across the fleet, the program looks to be comprehensive and intense.
Quick Look: Norwegian Next program is a roundup of the Freestyle line’s current and near future operational focus, not a dry-dock hardware update
A Challenging Undertaking For Norwegians
Set to run through 2015, a rather short time period for such an undertaking, Norwegian has plans to revitalize a number of vessels, including Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Spirit, all of which went through normal dry dock refurbishment not all that long ago.
Adding Up The $250 Million
Details of the Norwegian Next program indicate the lions share of what passengers will notice is in the onboard experience, not the hardware. Also creatively rolled into Norwegian Next, the topics of environmental impact, employee training, a new private island and more.
- New menus in complimentary dining rooms
- Garden Cafes that offer more variety and choice
- New food and beverage venues across the fleet
- Sugarcane Mojito Bar will be added to Norwegian Jewel
- Treats from Carlo’s Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro will be featured on all ships
- A destination-based handcrafted beverage program
- Beverage training for bartenders, wine stewards and restaurant managers
- Rollout of H2GLOW Party fleet wide
- Customized entertainment for each ship via the line’s new 45,000 square ft rehearsal facility in Tampa
- Nickelodeon entertainment upgrade on ships that feature it
- Enhanced pre-cruise planning experience ( think new Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner)
- Interactive digital displays fleetwide (think Royal Caribbean wayfinder)
- Exhaust gas scrubbers on six ships
- Private Island Great Stirrup Cap to add Bacardi Bar
- Development of a new eco-friendly cruise destination, Harvest Caye, in southern Belize (opens fall 2015)
In a custom web page introducing Norwegian Next, the Freestyle line has more details on the features and enhancements going fleetwide. See Norwegian Next: New Enhancements, Experiences and Transformations for more information.
Our Favorite Cruise Line Revitalization Programs
Royal Caribbean International’s Royal Advantage program, as mentioned, added a variety of new features to older ships. Of those efforts, one of our favorites is the re-imagined atrium space on Vision Class ships. Called the Centrum Experience and located in the seven deck high central atrium, Royal Caribbean has created a Centrum Aerial Spectacular that is along the lines of a Cirque production several times throughout each sailing. It’s just one more example of how very well Royal Caribbean delivers the “wow” experience.
Carnival Cruise Lines Funship 2.0, a $500 million initiative that brought new life to the onboard experience, culminated in Carnival Sunshine, now sailing year-round from Port Canaveral. This one took old Carnival Destiny and transformed the ship into an entirely new experience, representative of why Carnival maintains the title of the most popular cruise line in the world.
More On Norwegians
Want an idea of what Norwegian does, behind the scenes? This new video from Norwegian Cruise Lines highlights their Behind The Scenes Tour, a two hour guided tour available onboard.
Image- Norwegian Cruise Lines