The christening and launch of a new ship is always a big event, but when it’s for Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest, largest ship, the EPIC, it’s a huge event! For the 153,00 ton NCL EPIC, that means the capability to transport 4,100 passengers and 1,700 crew virtually anywhere!
The Christening event was held on Friday, July 2nd at the Manhattan Cruise Ship Terminal in New York City. The event was broadcast live from various entertainment venues around the ship, emphasizing the line’s focus on entertainment.
Jeff Garlin introduces visibly thrilled country music singer, Reba McIntire, the Godmother of the EPIC! Ms. McEntire was chosen in part as Godmother, because she is a genuine fan of the line, and has sailed on NCL, often.
When it was time for the main event–the christening, Reba and Jeff were joined by stars from the various entertainment venues including: “Madonna” and “Elvis” from Legends in Concert, the three blue men from the Blue Man Group, and performers from Cirque Dreams™ & Dinner; the Second City® Comedy Troupe; Blues from Fat Cats, Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos Show; and characters from Nickelodeon™ To make things modern, Reba McEntire “pushed” a digital “heart button” to trigger a video of a Champagne bottle smashing against the ship’s hull (I am not quite sure that a real bottle was used, judging from the pristine hull with it’s color EPIC graphics intact).
Also in the audience in the EPIC Theater for the christening were NCL executives and key players in the creation of the ship. “I am deeply proud of our company today,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “To me, this ship is truly epic in every sense of the word: she is grand, she is luxurious. And she will also carry lucky guests on the adventure of their lives.” Well said!
At a later press conference during the 2-day press preview voyage, Andrew (Andy) Stuart, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services, made the point that NCL is re-defining itself with the EPIC, and the line in general. NCL are the pioneers of Freestyle Cruising (a formula that eliminates rigid dining times and places, relaxes dress codes, and offers more choice for the passenger, 24/7). “NCL wants you to know about what they represent,” said Mr. Stuart. NCL is the innovator of Freestyle Cruising. That means freedom of choice, and the ability to choose what you want, your way. The notion of freestyle cruising is graphically depicted everywhere, with a cute and very effective logo depicting a blue fish swimming in the opposite different direction from a “school” of white fish. No more explanation, needed!
As a veteran of dozens and dozens (and dozens) of cruises, including quite a few on NCL, I am no stranger to what makes a great cruise vacation. However, the NCL EPIC has so many innovations that I can’t put them all into one article. So, in a few days I’ll be publishing another piece just on the ship and what makes it special. This piece will also have a video of one innovative, “new wave” balcony cabins, along with photos of special places on the ship and a review of dining and entertainment. You will either see it right here on the Advice Sisters Blog, or I’ll provide a link to the piece on the Advice Sisters Web Site. While you’re waiting, you can see some of my photos and Tweets that I reported during the christening celebration and 2-day preview cruise.
After the two-day preview cruise for NY press and travel partners, NCL EPIC was host to the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks & Spectacular. Now it is in Miami, for more preview festivities. Then, the ship will offer Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries until April 2011, when it will be re-positioned in Europe.
For further information on Norwegian Cruise Line, visit www.ncl.com or contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at 888- NCL-CRUISE (625-2784)