The first ship in Norwegian's Breakaway Plus Class, Norwegian Escape will debut in October 2015. Coming in at 163,000 gross tons and housing 4,200 passengers, Escape and identical fleetmate Norwegian Bliss (slated for March 2017) will be the largest ships in Norwegian's fleet.
Escape will be built at Meyer Werft GMBH shipyard in Germany. Its hull will be designed by marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey. It also will feature energy-efficient scrubbing technology.
Captain Evans Hoyt will helm Escape. Hoyt has been with the cruise line for more than ten years, and has previously been the captain aboard four other Norwegian ships. Staff Captains Robert Lundberg and Preston Carnahan will be onboard to assist the captain in his duties. Zoran Posa, from Croatia, will serve as chief engineer. Posa has been with the line since 2002. Sean Wurmhoeringer, of Austria, will serve as Norwegian Escape’s hotel director. Wurmhoeringer also began his career at Norwegian in 2002. Cruise Director Julie Valeriote hails from Ontario, and joined Norwegian in 1999. Valeriote was also part of Epic's inaugural team, working to help launch Breakaway and Getaway, as well.
Norwegian fans named the ships "Bliss" and "Escape" in an online contest offered by Norwegian Cruise Line, which provided a list of options from which to choose.
Other features announced so far include:
Bars and Lounges
Pools and Recreation
Spa and Fitness
Design of the cabins on Escape appears to be similar to the modern feel of fleetmates Breakaway and Getaway, and features the same cabin categories.
Studio: Norwegian's new ship will expand its Studio area, which consists of rooms for solo travelers, from the 59 on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway to 82 cabins of 100 square feet. The Studio, which is also accessible only by keycard, will have its own lounge. Cabins will be located on decks 10, 11 and 12.
Interior: Escape's inside cabins will run 135 to 201 square feet and are located on decks 5 and 8 through 14.
Porthole/Oceanview: 161 to 309 square feet, oceanview cabins range are on decks 5 and 9 through 14.
Balcony: These cabins -- about 207 to 239 square feet -- are located throughout Decks 8 through 15.
Family: Families will continue to have options across the categories, with 40 mini-suites located near Splash Academy, 172 family balconies near the children's facilities, 48 oceanview cabins that can accommodate up to five and an unspecified number of inside cabins with additional Pullman beds; Pullman beds drop from the ceiling.
Spa: Fourteen Haven spa suites are close to the ship's fitness center and Thermal Suite on Deck 16. They are 309 square feet.
Mini-Suites: Located across decks 8 through 15, mini-suites offer more space, with 239 to 513 square feet.
Suites: Norwegian Escape will have an expanded Haven -- a private area accessible only by keycard -- with 55 suites, an outdoor terrace, a private restaurant, courtyard with retractable roof and pool, two whirlpools, a sauna, spa treatment rooms and a sundeck. The Deluxe Owner's Suite covers 1,307 square feet, located forward on decks 17 and 18.
Escape will stick to the three-deck dining and entertainment area known as 678 Ocean Place, which debuted on Norwegian's Breakaway-class ships. Many of the line's popular alternative for-fee restaurants such as Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro French restaurant, Moderno Churrascaria and La Cucina Italian restaurant will return on Escape, but with new, a la carte pricing. Teppanyaki will keep its cover charge. O'Sheehan's -- Norwegian's no-fee, pub-style restaurant -- will also be onboard.
The included main dining room options will be divided into three venues: Taste, Savor and The Manhattan Room.
The ship will feature a new private dining venue called the Private Room at Taste, located on Deck 5, with a 100-person capacity.
In an exciting new partnership for the line, Margaritaville will debut onboard Escape. Parrotheads will love the complimentary restaurant, inspired by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and his signature lifestyle of escapism, will feature items like a Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Other new partnerships for Escape include restaurants from Iron Chef Jose Garces, along with an upscale food emporium.
In Bayamo, Garces will bring his Latin-inspired dishes to Deck 8 on Escape, with signature plates such as berenjenas (roasted eggplant with tomato rice and saffron) and bacalao carbonizado (black cod with squid ink glaze, saffron, tomato and chorizo rice). Sugarcane Mojito Bar, which debuted on Getaway, will return and serve as an entry point for the restaurant, offering passengers pre-dinner mojitos with live Latin music. Bayamo will also include alfresco seating on The Waterfront. Garces' new venues on Escape will be placed in the same space as fellow Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's Ocean Blue concept, featured onboard Breakaway and Getaway. The menu will feature a la carte pricing.
Traditional Spanish tapas will be available a la carte at Pincho Tapas Bar, Garces' casual tapas bar located near Bayamo. Dishes such as Spanish omelets and specialty imported ham will be prepared on an authentic la plancha grill tableside as diners watch.
A new concept for the line, Food Republic, located on Deck 8 (formerly cabin space, now an extended Waterfront) will offer cruisers the chance to splurge on international gourmet dishes. Norwegian partnered with The Pubbelly Restaurant Group to develop the dining model, guided by Pubbelly's founding partner and award-winning chef Jose Mendin. Small plates from a variety of global culinary traditions will be prepared to order during lunch and dinner, priced a la carte. Patrons order and pay via an iPad. Menu highlights include black truffle-braised shortrib dumplings, and dates and chorizo featuring smoked bacon, spicy tomato and a goat cheese crema.
The Escape Casino will be the largest casino in the fleet, covering more than 19,000 square feet; it will be found on Deck 7.
Escape will have a new supper club concept aimed at celebrating movies from the '80s. Featuring music from his popular motion picture soundtracks, "For The Record presents Dear John Hughes" is an homage to the late, great director of 80's film classics such as "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink." It takes the greatest songs from his films, with the most iconic scenes, and mashes them up into one unique presentation. This space will be located roughly within the same area that Illusionarium is onboard Breakaway Class ships, and will charge a cover, yet to be determined.
Two Broadway shows have been announced for Escape. After Midnight is a jazz revue, and celebration of The Cotton Club that takes place in Harlem, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Dorothy Fields, Jimmy McHugh and Harold Arlen, and the poetry of Langston Hughes. Million Dollar Quartet is a "jukebox" musical inspired by an impromptu jam session recorded in 1956 by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
Bars and Lounges
The Skyline Bar -- new to this ship -- is located within the Escape Casino. The bar, decorated in gold and metallic finishes, will feature live entertainment, video poker and multiple LED screens that change to create a variety of scenes and moods.
Also unique to Escape will be Tobacco Road, based on Miami's oldest bar, which recently closed its doors on land. Located within 678 Ocean Place, the Tobacco Road experience will feature original memorabilia.
The 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar is part of the iconic Jimmy Buffett franchise and will bring that laid-back atmosphere both indoors and outdoors on The Waterfront. The bar will feature live nightly performances including "the sounds of the tropics," along with its signature Who's to Blame Margarita.
Mixx Bar will be located between Taste and Savor, and Prime Meridian will be located between Cagney's and Moderno.
Complete with a keg room, 24 draft beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers, District Brew House will serve award-winning signature beer, La Rubia Blonde Ale, from the Miami-based Wynwood Brewing Company, along with an all-new recipe developed exclusively for Escape (however, nothing will be brewed on site). The gastropub-style menu will feature plates and snacks intended to complement the brews. Norwegian promises interactive nightlife at the Deck 8 venue, including sing-alongs. Have fun with the onsite photo booth and add your photos to the District's pin board.
Marking the line's first wine bar, The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar will focus on tasting and education with a curated wine list including 35 varietals on hand, priced a la carte. Tapas and small plates are available a la carte to accompany the slow-sipping experience. The tasting room boasts 180-degree views, but for a true alfresco experience, visit the wine bar on The Waterfront with service provided by a certified sommelier. Pricing for classes has yet to be announced.
Pools and Recreation
Escape will feature the largest ropes course and the largest aqua park in the fleet, along with a themed mini-golf course.
Located on the top deck, the three-story ropes course will feature elements such as sky rails (a zip track that allows you to glide through the air) and two planks -- beams that hang over the side of the ship for daredevils to walk on -- for a total of 99 components that comprise the course.
The aqua park will include a Free Fall water slide, where riders wait in a capsule for the bottom to drop and start their plunge, plus a feature called the Aqua Racer slide, a tandem set of water slides in which competitors can race side by side in tubes. The water park will include four slides, a dedicated kids' section, two pools and four hot tubs.
Escape's aqua park for kids will feature a family-friendly enclosed tube slide, a two-story climbing structure, and water cannons and buckets that deliver "surprise drenchings." A multistory tower, a rope bridge and lookout platform are among the areas that kids have to explore with cranks and spray jets to interact with along the way.
Other new outdoor activities on Escape include a nine-hole, mini-golf course with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme, and a bocce ball court.
There are two adult-only outdoor venues slated for Escape. Spice H20 will have a fully developed Grotto, where passengers can cool off after sunbathing, as well as loungers and hot tubs. At night, Spice H20, which is complimentary, transforms into an adult nightclub.
Adults 18 and older seeking an even more private experience will be able to purchase passes to Vibe Beach Club. Already in place on Breakaway-class ships, Vibe Beach Club has loungers, an oversized hot tub, and water features, along with water spritzes, chilled towels and fruit skewers.
Spa and Fitness
The Mandara Spa will span two decks, with ocean views. It will have 24 treatment rooms and offer more than 50 services with Elemis products.
Norwegian Escape's Thermal Suite, which will carry an extra charge, will have 17 heated loungers, a hydro-therapy pool, whirlpools, a steam room, a dry sauna, a samarium and a salt room. It will also have a first for the line -- a Snow Room, which will be kept between 21 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (flurries will be sent out throughout the day).
The salon will offer hair, nails, waxing and kid-friendly services, along with acupuncture, teeth whitening and cosmetic medical treatments such as Botox and fillers. There will be a Barber Shop for men.
The fitness center will have Technogym weight training and cardio equipment, which can sync with Apple devices. Classes will include Pilates, body sculpting boot camp, yoga, Zumba and TRX, while boxing buffs can take Norwegian Fight Klub, a high-intensity cardio boxing class.
A first for the line, Escape will offer childcare services for children ages 6 months to 3 years in their Norwegian nursery, as part of the Guppies program. As on other Norwegian ships, there will be an area for parents and babies to play together, featuring age-appropriate games and activities hosted by a dedicated staffmember.
Splash Academy, the line's kids' club, is divided into three groups: Turtles are ages 3 to 5, Seals are 6 to 9 and Dolphins are 10 to 12. Facilities will be located on Deck 5. Splash Academy will feature an enhanced version of the Circus program with more skill options that culminate in a special grand finale, performed by the kids in the club. Children will also have an opportunity to participate in an Officer Snook Theme Day, which focuses on environmental-themed games and activities.
Entourage is the teen club onboard (ages 13 through 17) and features movies, art, music, video games and dance parties just for them.
Escape will sail seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Miami beginning in October 2015.