(3:30 p.m. EDT) -- When 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway debuts in the spring of 2013, passengers will have no trouble spotting it in a crowd. That's because the ship's vibrantly colored New York City-themed hull is designed by pop art icon Peter Max, who leaked renderings to the public yesterday ahead of today's official unveiling from Norwegian Cruise Line.
The final design, which features a New York City skyline, a disembodied Statue of Liberty head and several planetary bodies and stars, is the result of several rounds of designs the cruise line considered.
"It was a collaborative process between our team and Peter Max," said Norwegian spokeswoman AnneMarie Matthews.
The partnership between the cruise line and Peter Max represents the first time the line has turned to a famous artist for its colorful hull artwork.
The line, already well-known for its creative hull designs, chose Peter Max because he is a New York City-based artist, and though the line has previously painted ship hulls based on the destinations they sail in (the former Pride of Hawaii and Pride of Aloha being two notable examples) or the name of the ship (gems for Norwegian Gem or giant sun on Norwegian Sun), this is the first time a design has been chosen to represent a specific homeport.
But Norwegian president and CEO Kevin Sheehan has long contended that Breakaway is New York City's ship, and the entertainment and ship artwork were all being chosen to represent that fact.
"The Big Apple is known for its love of art and its many galleries -- and now, Norwegian Breakaway becomes a floating piece of that art that will cruise in and dock every Saturday on New York's West Side," Sheehan said in a Norwegian statement.
The piece, which basically turns Norwegian Breakaway into a floating piece of art, covers approximately 40,000-square-feet of Breakaway's hull, more space than what is usually covered on a Norwegian hull, Matthews told Cruise Critic. Max is no stranger to massive canvases. His art has appeared on a Continental Boeing 777 jumbo jet and a 600-foot stage for the Woodstock Music Festival.
Norwegian would neither release information about the associated cost of the massive hull art project, nor how many man hours may be involved in bringing it to life.
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--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor