Q&A: NCL's CEO Talks Project Breakaway
(2:30 EDT) -- Cruisers prefer cabin bathrooms that aren't see-through.
That was one takeaway from NCL's first big announcement on Project Breakaway, the working name for the line's pair of 141,017-ton, 4,000-passenger new-builds slated to launch April 2013 and April 2014. Norwegian presented the designs of the ships' standard balcony cabins and mini-suites to roughly 1,000 agents attending Vacation.com's annual conference in Las Vegas, and to thousands more via a Webcast.
Project Breakaway's cabins represent a dramatic pull-back from accommodations found on Norwegian's newest ship, the 155,873-ton, 4,100-passenger Norwegian Epic, which launched in June 2010. Much of what made Epic's cabins unique -- curvy walls, beds and couches, in-cabin bowl sinks and a split bathroom design featuring see-through doors -- has been bypassed in favor of a Scandinavian design, traditional layout and a handful of flourishes.
Most notably, the new cabins will not have Epic's much-debated clouded-glass bathroom doors, through which a shadowy occupant can be seen. Additionally, the toilet, sink and shower have been reunited in the bathroom, and the in-cabin bowl sink, which initially caused minor flooding issues on Epic, has disappeared.
The first renderings of Project Breakaway's cabins suggest a blend of Epic's color palette (dark wood walls and cabinetry) and the standard boxy format from NCL's Jewel-class ships. The line commissioned Tillberg Design of Sweden and Priestmangoode (U.K.), the firm responsible for Epic's popular single occupancy "Studios," to design the Breakaway cabins.
New-to-Breakaway touches include recessed storage spaces behind the bed and TV for keeping magazines, books, etc., and sliding wardrobe doors (instead of the pull-open variety). Other balcony and mini-suite standards include king-size beds, which can be separated, 26-inch flat-screen TV's, and sofa beds with built-in storage. The staterooms are energy efficient, utilizing key card access to control lighting in the room.
According to a release from the line, the mini-suites are essentially a roomier version of the balcony stateroom with a larger bathroom that incorporates a double sink with two faucets and a mosaic glass tile backsplash. Besides the extra space, the real selling point may be the shower (seriously). The large stall features a sunflower-style shower head and multiple body spray jets, along with a separate handheld shower head.
Norwegian would not reveal square footage information at this time for either cabin category.
The two Project Breakaway ships will have 1,024 balcony cabins and 238 mini-suites.
The line will be revealing a steady stream of Project Breakaway details over the next 22 months. Cruise Critic will be covering every step of the process, from steel cutting to launch. Follow along on our NCL Project Breakaway page.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor