Norwegian: Time for The Haven

Now that privacy is clearly for sale on cruise lines, we’re starting to see just how popular it is. Take Norwegian, for example. It is changing the name of its private quarters from “Courtyard” to “The Haven” in advance of rolling out the new brand on its new ships, due in 2013 and 2014.

Now, Norwegian is not the only cruise line with private “suites” on ships, but it often seems to be on the leading edge of cruise concepts, and this appears to be one of them.

When the Epic arrived, Norwegian played on the “ship-within-a-ship” strategy it launched in 2005, with the first of four vessels in the Jewel Class. On an Epic cruise late last year we were “privileged” to visit the then-Courtyard — it’s an area only for the privileged, with private concierge, private pool, private bar, private jacuzzis and saunas, even a private restaurant.

It is, obviously, for the rich and famous.

Either there are more rich and famous people than you’d think, or there are many wannabes who like the idea of having a ship to themselves and a few other well-to-dos. Privacy comes with a steep price, of course, but for the politician or celebrity who wants a break away from constituents and fans, respectively, it’s worth paying.

Changing the name to “The Haven” is sexier branding than “Courtyard” and is a better fit with NCL’s two “Project Breakaway” ships (below) that will be under construction come October. On the Jewel Class ships (Jewel, Gem, Pearl and Jade) and the Epic, the changes will be mostly cosmetic. The new ships will have the best of the old — Spa Suites, Penthouses, the popular Standard Villas — and some additions or modifications that NCL is keeping secret, for now.

After the experience of five ships that offer privacy at a price, you would think that in numbers six and seven, Norwegian will get it right.

But only the privileged will know.

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