Cruising's Newsy Norwegian

While we were away — Alaska, now that you ask — the busiest newsmaker in the world of cruising has been Norwegian.

Even everybody’s favorite whipping boy, the Epic, was in on the action. As everyone knows, there will never be another Epic, which some of us lament, but there will be a Breakaway and a Getaway. Those are the names of NCL’s new ships, due to be launched in consecutive Aprils…2013 and 2014.

They are the response to the Epic, the oft-criticized NCL mega ship built in France. Construction on the Breakaway began this month, at Meyer Werft shipyards in Germany.

Norwegian went cruising for names for its new ships, in a project NCL called Breakaway, and 230,000 entries later, these were the choices.

Also on NCL’s newswire:

• The Spirit, the oldest ship (2000) in Norwegian’s fleet of 11, went into dry dock yesterday. When she emerges in 13 days to sail from New Orleans, the Spirit will have new carpets, WiFi throughout, flat-screen TVs and upgrades to the buffet, called Raffles.

• The Jade, while third-newest (2006) in the fleet, is going into dry dock in November in France for upgrades which include the Brazilian steakhouse that made its debut on the Epic. The Jade sails from Barcelona.

• Sushi a la carte has gone fleet-wide (or will when it appears on the Sun next week). This is another idea tested on the Epic.

• For the fourth straight year, Norwegian was chosen “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” at the World Travel Awards, as voted by travel agents and consumers.

The Epic?

At the same awards, it won Europe’s Sustainable Tourism Award.

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