December 19, 2002
In this era of ho-hum ship debuts, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ new Dawn really
wowed ‘em in New York this week. As noted previously, hotter-than-hot “Sex
and the City” actress Kim Cattrall was named “godmother;” what NCL kept
secret, however, was that she’d be joined by another -- the Statue of
Liberty. Alas, the Statue -- for obvious reasons – couldn’t make the actual
event but was represented by video.
The New York-themed debut featured everything from the Harlem Boys Choir
singing the jazz classic “A Train” (they couldn’t substitute “ship?”) to a
performance from Broadway’s “Rent” to -- what would a Big Apple debut be
without it? -- a rendering of “New York New York” by a pipe and drum corps.
Lucky “guests” at the debut were given Statue of Liberty crowns.
Attracting somewhat less notice is what could tactfully be called
Norwegian’s Dawn’s first little snag. The line, which clearly wants to
position Dawn as its “hip ship,” announced that it would bring “South Beach
Sizzle to Sea.” How so? It would host ¡Fuácata! parties -- labeled by no
less than The New York Times as Miami’s hottest party trend. In a nutshell,
¡Fuácata! could be described as an eclectic blend of various Latin style
dancing, music and foods.
Indeed, company president Colin Veitch gushed over the concept in a press
release that’s still posted prominently on NCL’s web site: "For those who
haven't experienced ¡Fuácata!, they will find what people have learned in
South Beach - it's is more than just a party, it's a state-of-mind.”
There’s a hitch, however. South Beach organizers of the
hip-and-funky concept got wind that their trendy Latin parties would be
appearing on cruise ships. They have filed suit in district court, according
to a report in the Miami Herald, for trademark infringement. According to
the story one of the plaintiffs was quoted as saying ''To me, I was very
proud of our night as something that is part of the underground and not
something you would expect to have on a cruise ship.”
Ouch. But NCL, whose spokeswoman declined to comment on the issue, has
bounced back, announcing that Dawn will host “Pachanga” parties instead.
”Pachanga,” the Spanish word for party, will basically represent a take-off
on the original ¡Fuácata!, concept, with salsa music and Latin-influenced
cuisine -- and cruise entertainment staff hopes the parties will go on all
night. “Pachanga” will be a regular feature of the Dawn’s New York-based
Bahamas sailings (and will occur during the weekly call at Miami); this
itinerary begins May 18.