July 18, 2011
(7:30 p.m. EDT) -- Fans of Norwegian Cruise Line's Courtyard, its luxury ship-within-a-ship concept, should get used to a new name. Effective immediately, The Haven by Norwegian is the new moniker for this suite-only area, which on Jewel-class ships includes a private pool, butler service, sun deck and concierge areas, and on Norwegian Epic also features an exclusive restaurant.
The announcement was made tonight in New York at a news conference spotlighting the ship-within-a-ship facilities on Norwegian's upcoming Project Breakaway vessels. The unnamed ships, measuring 144,017 tons and carrying 4,000-plus passengers, will launch in spring 2013 and spring 2014.
For existing ships (Norwegian Jewel, Gem, Pearl and Jade, and Norwegian Epic), the transition of the Courtyard to The Haven is primarily cosmetic. Norwegian will, however, introduce service enhancements, such as 24-hour butlers and poolside valets to take drink orders. (NCL's older ships, including Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Sky, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun and the Hawaii-based Pride of America don't have courtyard complexes.)
It's on the Project Breakaway twins where The Haven will sport a new personality. Some details:
Interestingly, The Haven on Project Breakaway will have 18 fewer suites than are on Epic.
What's consistent? Located on Decks 15 and 16 forward, the all-new Haven concept will share the same general design as its Epic counterpart. The facility will include a private restaurant, a cocktail bar and a concierge desk where Haven passengers can make dining, entertainment or spa reservations. In the center is a two-story courtyard with pool that has a deep end for swimming and a shallow area for relaxing, two whirlpools and a private sun deck, along with a pair of private massage rooms, mens' and womens' changing areas, and a sauna. Haven inhabitants also have direct, private access to the ship's spa and fitness center.
Ship purists rejoice! The ungainly addition of the two-deck high facility on Norwegian Epic's bow (the top-heavy-looking design was dubbed “the hat” by Cruise Critic readers and "the derby" by NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan) will not be reprised on Project Breakaway's two ships.
At the press conference, held at Conde Nast Traveler headquarters in conjunction with the launch of that magazine's inaugural all-cruise issue, Norwegian also revealed more details about Project Breakaway's top-shelf suites:
As with Norwegian Epic, there will be no 5,000-square-foot garden villas on the Project Breakaway ships (these mansion-sized accommodations are found on the Jewel-class quartet). Instead, the largest accommodations are a pair of "Deluxe Owner's Suites" featuring a living room and dining area with wet bar, wrap around balcony and oversized bathroom.
The "standard" villa design that's available on all Courtyard-enabled ships (a two bedroom, two-bathroom suite that Norwegian now bills as its "family" villa) is back in force with 21 available on each Project Breakaway vessel. Epic's versions of these suites are 506 square feet; a Norwegian spokeswoman told us the line would reveal square footages of Breakaway's version of the suites at a later date.
Rounding out the The Haven accommodations are 17 Courtyard Penthouses. These suites are 322 square feet on Epic; again, the line did not reveal square footages specific to Project Breakaway.
Norwegian also announced a pair of Project Breakaway suite categories found outside The Haven complex.
On other decks throughout the ship, there are eight aft-facing penthouses and 10 forward-facing penthouses featuring living and dining area, and bathroom with modern bowl-style sinks.
The Spa Suites introduced on Norwegian Epic are back on Breakaway. There are 16 Spa Suites with special decor, king-size beds, dining areas, an in-suite whirlpool and spa-style showers. The Spa Suites will feature easy access to the adjacent spa and fitness center, as well as complimentary access to the thermal spa suite.
The line will be revealing a steady stream of Project Breakaway details over the next 21 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 Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, and Dan Askin, News Editor
--Renderings appear courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.