(8:46 p.m. EST) The christening for Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, Getaway, featured flashy dancers, fireworks and flying confetti and a party atmosphere befitting its year-round Miami homeport.
A bevy of Miami Dolphin cheerleaders served as the ship's godmothers, shaking their orange and green pompoms before flicking a giant light switch. While technical difficulties prevented the VIP crowd from seeing the traditional Champagne bottle break on the ship's hull, the smash resonated through the speakers.
In his remarks, Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan noted that Norwegian was the first cruise line to base its ships in Miami more than 47 years ago. Getaway's design took its inspiration from all aspects of the city and region, from Little Havana to South Beach to Key West, he said.
“She is, after all, Miami's ultimate ship,” he said.
That was a welcome message for the dressed-to-impress crowd squeezed into the ship's Spice H20 outdoor area, a small fraction of the thousands of travel professionals and media onboard for the christening. Others watched onscreen from various spots around the ship. With a capacity of 4,028 passengers and a layout almost identical to sister ship Breakaway, Getaway will make seven-day sailings from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean.
Celebs in the audience include restaurateur and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who has three eateries each onboard Getaway and Breakaway (Ocean Blue, Ocean Blue Waterfront and Raw Bar), and baking impresario Buddy Valastro, “The Cake Boss,” who runs Carlo's Bake Shop. David “Lebo” Le Batard, the Miami artist who designed Getaway's colorful mermaid hull art, sat in the front row, mugging with friends and family, a broad smile on his face.
“Dancing with the Stars” host Brooke Burke-Charvet served as master of ceremonies, staying chipper even through the ceremony's technical difficulties. The godmother of Norwegian Sun, Burke-Charvet said the ship's Latin vibe, which includes a performance called “Burn the Floor,” made her feel like she was “back in the ballroom … a ballroom at sea.”
As the sun set over the Miami skyline and a news helicopter hovered in the sky, hometown hero Pitbull took the stage and roused the crowd with hits such as “Don't' Stop the Party,” “Echa Pa'lla” and “Timber.” Also known as Mr. 305, Pitbull referenced his Miami roots several times, particularly when he sang the party anthem “Give Me Everything (Tonight).”
“Getaway!” he cried out at the end. Cell phone cameras flashed as fireworks spurted up and yellow, blue and green confetti showered the audience.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor