June 28, 2012 Updated June 28, 2012
Norwegian Cruise Line is no stranger to staging big-name shows at sea -- but where 2010's Norwegian Epic, which introduced cruisers to Blue Man Group and "Legends in Concert," was all Las Vegas, Breakaway's entertainment is meant to embody the original city that never sleeps.
Rock of Ages, with its tight jeans and teased-hair 1980's vibe, represents Broadway, while Burn the Floor, a contemporary ballroom dance extravaganza, invokes the dance theaters New York City is famous for.
"As a lifelong New Yorker, it's critically important to me that Norwegian Breakaway becomes New York's ship," Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's president and CEO said, announcing the debut of Rock of Ages at sea. "Our goal is to bring elements of New York on board so that guests will feel a real connection to the ship as New York's true flagship."
Rock of Ages was specifically chosen because of its energy, a Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman said. "It's not a traditional musical. It has a bit of an edge and it's fun, which aligns well with our brand. It has a broad appeal to a range of audiences. Everyone loves this show and by the end you are standing on your feet and rocking along with the rest of the cast."
A third Broadway-based show is Cirque Dreams & Dinner -- Jungle Fantasy, an adaptation of Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, which debuted on Broadway in 2008. A sister show, Cirque Dreams & Dinner, is currently featured on Norwegian Epic.
Though Royal Caribbean has of late become synonymous with Broadway musicals -- "Hairspray," "Chicago" and "Saturday Night Fever" are staged on three of its ships -- Norwegian is a long-time fan of Broadway. "Hello Dolly" and "A Chorus Line" were staged on the SS Norway flagship back in the 1970's and 80's. And Norwegian Jade featured a production of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" as recently as 2008.
June's Tony Awards, in fact, just highlighted the spread of Broadway to the high seas; Hairspray, performed live on Oasis of the Seas, made a small-screen cameo.
Norwegian's signature entertainment acts will return on Breakaway as well, including improv comedy troupe The Second City and rock 'n' roll dueling piano act Howl at the Moon, which debuted on Epic. Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, another Epic debut, will also be replicated on Breakaway and features New York-born jazz musician Slam Allen.
Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor will both be shown six times per cruise, while Cirque Dreams & Dinner -- Jungle Fantasy (for which there is an additional fee, TBD) will be shown 12 times. The Second City also will repeat 12 times; Howl at the Moon will be staged four times and Slam Allen will perform five times. Similar to Epic's advance entertainment reservations system, select shows on Breakaway may be reserved starting 45 days prior to sailing.
The 144,017-ton, 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway will launch in April 2013 as the first of NCL's two "Project Breakaway" cruise ships. It's currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. Breakaway will homeport year-round in New York, sailing to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Southern Caribbean.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor
--Photos courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line