(4:15 p.m EDT) — Norwegian Cruise Line has changed every menu onboard its newest ship Norwegian Escape, as a result of the influence of its two sister brands, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas.
The brand-new menus — even in Norwegian favorites such as Cagney’s, Teppanyaki and O’ Sheehan’s – are as a result of the purchase of the two premium brands which place a high emphasis on food.
The new ship also debuts the line’s most ‘inventive’ restaurant, Food Republic, in which you order and pay for food on iPads. It is a tie-up with the Pubbelly Group’s founding partner and award-winning chef Jose Mendin.
“This is the first ship [since the acquisition] where we can draw on the heritage and quality of the food onboard Oceania and Regent,” said Francis Riley, Norwegian’s vice president of international operations.
“We want to get to the point where we can talk about being best in class of the contemporary cruise ship brands.”
The sports charity The Kings Foundation will provide kids programming across Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet.
The U.K.-based charity, which focuses primarily on sports, also runs kids programming for the children of U.S. military worldwide. It will replace Norwegian’s long-standing partnership with Nickelodeon.
The program will be a mix of entertainment and education, with an emphasis on family participation, explained the line’s President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Stuart.
Stuart, who is currently onboard Norwegian Escape, described the new program as offering kids “edutainment.”
He told Cruise Critic: “We’re not going to tutor math, but we are going to bring relevant and interesting content, so parents don’t think we just put kids in front of a Wii.
“We also don’t want parents to feel they have to leave their children in the kids club all day because there’s nothing for them to do as a family — we want parents and kids to do stuff together.”
Stuart said the Nickelodeon partnership had to come to an end for various reasons: it was not on all the ships, and many passengers expected it when they came onboard; it was just not relevant to kids over the age of 11; and it was hard to have the characters — most famously SpongeBob SquarePants – present when the ship was in hot climates due to heavy costumes.
Stuart added that Guy Harvey, who designed the ship’s hull and is a passionate marine conservationist, had also provided content for the program.
Entertainer Pitbull — who has been chosen as Norwegian Escape’s godfather – was “very excited” when asked whether he would consider the role by the line.
Andy Stuart chose Pitbull following the singer’s performance on Getaway and a CNN documentary highlighting his tough upbringing, philanthropy and work with local schools.
“Norwegian Escape is the biggest-ever ship to homeport in Miami and Pitbull is the biggest entertainer from Miami — it’s a great fit,” Stuart said.
“When we asked whether he’d like to be the godfather, he was very, very excited.”
Stuart said a mailout to the Norwegian database of passengers about the decision led to the highest-ever click-through rate for the line.
Stuart said most were positive, though some did query the decision — as did a number of Cruise Critic members
“There were some people who said ‘have you seen this guy’s lyrics?’ to which my response was: ‘Have you seen this CNN documentary?’.”
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