Interior construction is ramping up on NCL's Norwegian Pearl, which was floated out in mid-October at Papenburg, Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard (the ship left the covered dock for an outfitting pier where all work will be completed). Come November 4, 2006, the ship will begin scheduled sea trials, a series of seaworthiness tests, at Eemshaven, Netherlands.
For ships at Meyer Werft, like Norwegian Pearl and previously Pride of Hawaii and Norwegian Jewel, setting sail for sea trials is not just another day at the dock. Because the shipyard is located upstream on the Ems River, ships must transit to Eemshaven at high tide -- backwards. The mega-ships that do the stern-first transit along the narrow waterway are pulled by tugs, and the process always attract swarms of onlookers.
With the attention now on interior work, new features are just flowing. If bowling at sea is on your list of things to do, Norwegian Pearl offers guests an industry first: a 4-lane, 10-pin bowling alley in its Bliss Ultra Lounge Night Club. And speaking of firsts, two new amenities for NCL are a rock-climbing wall and two top-of-ship deluxe owner's suites.
Want to get up close and personal? Homeporting in Miami on December 16, 2006, the ship will offer Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries before spending its summer in Alaska alongside Norwegian Star and Norwegian Sun.
--by Erica Sapio, Assistant Editor