Category Archives: NCL

A New Fifth Southampton Cruise Terminal

A New Southampton Cruise Terminal

New Southampton Cruise Terminal For Summer 2021

Associated British Ports in partnership with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise line Holdings Ltd have today announced the opening of a new cruise terminal at the Port of Southampton.

This is encouraging news as we all wait for cruise operations to resume. Clearly the impact of this years events does not show any signs of slowing down the future demand for cruises.

The fifth dedicated cruise terminal is going to be well equipped to service the next-generation of cruise ships. The main terminal building will use roof mounted solar power and Shore Power connectivity to supply sustainable operations. This will enable cruise ships, with the right onboard technology, to ‘plug in’ while they are alongside.

UK’s Number One Departure Port

Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turn-around port and the UK’s number one departure port. The £55 million investment will further strengthen the Port of Southampton’s position.

The yet unnamed terminal is due to open in Summer 2021 and will become the home port of MSC Magnifica for part of the season sailing from the UK.

Four Existing Terminals

The Mayflower Terminal is the oldest of the four existing passenger terminals, which opened in 1960. Queen Elizabeth II Terminal followed shortly after in 1966. It wasn’t until 2003 that City Terminal was built and Ocean Terminal 6 years later in 2009.

Construction of the fifth cruise terminal commenced in September 2020 and is schedule to open in Summer 2021. The new Southampton cruise terminal will be the port’s largest to date and will be capable of handling the largest cruise ships in the world.

This is great news as we come to the close of the most difficult year in cruise industry history. We are all so desperate to get back onboard and it appears that there is no shortage of demand.

MSC Cruises are committing to sustainable cruising. Here are 7 Ways MSC Cruises Is Reducing Plastics

Norwegian Encore Hull Artwork Unveiled

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the award-winning Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore, debuting in Miami in November 2019.

A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a labyrinth of color inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and paying tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honored to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.”

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, played a key role in the selection of Arranz-Bravo as the hull artist for Norwegian Encore, having been inspired by his work for many years. Del Rio’s passion for the arts has helped elevate Norwegian’s on-board experience, most recently with the multi-million-dollar-art collection curated for Norwegian Bliss.

“We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colorful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.

Recognized for his inventive and humanistic approach to abstract art, Arranz-Bravo’s work is showcased throughout the world and portrays a constant evolution that some refer to as futuristic.  He is highly regarded, having been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, and was one of three artists chosen to represent the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.

“Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.”

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the company’s history. She is currently being built at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany and will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand.

Following her unveiling, she will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

More details on the ship’s design, accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months.

3 Norwegian Ships Get Total Refurbishment

Norwegian Cruise Line have completed total refurbishments of three ships, which is further proof of its commitment to extraordinary quality and guest experience. The revitalized ships, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Star, now feature new designs and venues. These include Los Lobos Cantina, an upscale Mexican restaurant; the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O; and Syd Norman’s Pour House – an American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge, which makes its debut aboard Norwegian Breakaway.

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway, which was built in 2013, debuts the new American rock ‘n’ roll bar and lounge Syd Norman’s Pour House as well as upgraded accommodations, public spaces and more, following a two-week dry dock in Brest, France.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Syd Norman’s Pour House onboard Norwegian Breakaway

A testament to Norwegian Cruise Line’s commitment to providing the best entertainment at sea, Syd Norman’s Pour House is an authentic and immersive experience inspired by the greatest clubs in American rock ‘n’ roll history.  Replacing Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, Syd Norman’s is a tribute to the grandfather of “Rock of Ages” playwright Chris D’Arenso and modeled after influential rock houses such as CBGB’s, The Rainbow and the Fillmore.  Vintage décor, diner-style seating and an unforgettable playlist of classic rock from the late 1960’s to 1980’s come together to bring this high-caliber entertainment offering to life. Three times a week, cast members from “Rock of Ages” will treat guests to specialty cocktails named after rock ‘n’ roll classics such as “The Witchy Woman” among others in the interactive Syd Norman’s Experience. Guests will also rock-out to a five-person band playing classics six nights a week.

Additional upgrades include enhancements to Bliss Ultra Lounge with new, premium furniture; new carpet in all 2,014 staterooms and suites; a full transformation of the gift shop; and new carpet installations in the staircases, elevators and lobbies.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Bliss Ultra Lounge onboard Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Sun

Built in 2001, Norwegian Sun underwent a three-week bow-to-stern renovation in Victoria, BC.  As a result, she now features refreshed staterooms and public spaces, and boasts three new venues including Los Lobos Cantina, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spinnaker Lounge.

Los Lobos Cantina is a Mexican restaurant offering a modern take on traditional favorites like guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and handcrafted margaritas. Replacing Las Ramblas Bar and Restaurant, Los Lobos Cantina features leather banquettes, dark wood tables and seating and ranchero-style design accents.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Los Lobos Mexican Cantina onboard Norwegian Sun

Bliss Ultra Lounge, formerly Dazzles, is the new bar and nightclub where guests can begin or end their evenings. Enhancements include an updated look with new plush seating, cocktail tables, bar stools, chandeliers, wall sconces, wall coverings, ornamental ceilings and a wooden dance floor.

The Spinnaker Lounge replaces the Observation Lounge and showcases a fresh design with a natural color palette reminiscent of blue, beige and tan. New to the venue are leather chairs, carpet, chandeliers, wall coverings and a stone top bar.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Spinnaker Lounge onboard Norwegian Sun

All 968 staterooms were upgraded with smart televisions and USB ports as well as new carpet, artwork and select furniture. The newly revitalized accommodations pay tribute to the beauty of the surrounding ocean with a palette of cool blue hues and silver and turquoise accents. The adorning abstract art within the staterooms and suites are the ideal complement to the new and modern feel.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Balcony Staterooms onboard Norwegian Sun

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Owners Suite Living Room onboard Norwegian Sun

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Forward Facing Penthouse onboard Norwegian Sun

The renovations also touched dining outlets and public spaces including Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, the Mandara Spa, Stardust Lounge Theater, Splash Academy and more.

Norwegian Star

Following a nearly three-week dry dock in Barcelona, Spain, Norwegian Star underwent extensive enhancements to its staterooms, public spaces, restaurants, bars and lounges. The ship, built in 2001, also unveiled three new venues: Sky High Bar, Bliss Ultra Lounge and Spice H2O.

Sky High Bar showcases a new design complete with an updated bar and seating for close to 120 guests.  Replacing Bier Garten, the outdoor bar and lounge offers the best views on board.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Sky High Bar onboard Norwegian Star

Bliss Ultra Lounge replaces Spinnaker Lounge for late-night entertainment and now boasts a light, neutral color palette and a complete redesign with new carpet, custom loungers, seating, an upgraded bar and artwork.

For the first time, Norwegian Star will offer the adults-only enclave, Spice H2O. This well-appointed venue features a private pool, hot tubs, full bar and uninterrupted ocean views. During the day, it makes an ideal spot for sunbathing, and at night, it transforms into an open-air lounge with live entertainment, DJs and energizing themed nights.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – Spice H20 deck onboard Norwegian Star

All 1,174 staterooms and suites were outfitted with USB ports, enhanced with over 1,500 works of art and upgraded with new carpet, headboards and select furniture. The three-bedroom garden villas which feature private deck areas and can accommodate up to seven people were also remodeled to offer a light and airy design.

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – 3 Bedroomed Garden Villa onboard Norwegian Star

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – 3 Bedroomed Garden Villa Living Room onboard Norwegian Star

Photo Credit: Norwegian Cruise Line – 3 Bedroomed Garden Villa Sun Deck onboard Norwegian Star

Additional enhancements were made to the bars and lounges, restaurants and public spaces including Atrium Café & Bar, Garden Café and the main dining rooms. A VIP section was also added in the casino.

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the eleventh consecutive year, “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” for the sixth consecutive year, the “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fifth consecutive year, as well as “World’s Leading Cruise Line” and “North America’s Leading Cruise Line” both for the second straight year by the World Travel Awards. Norwegian’s newest ship, the highly anticipated Norwegian Bliss, debuted April 2018 featuring many firsts-at-sea for the global market including the largest race track at sea, award-winning Broadway entertainment, two observation lounges for guests to enjoy stunning ocean and glacier views and more.

Norwegian will introduce Norwegian Encore in 2019 and has six additional ships on order for delivery beginning in 2022.

Norwegian Escape Cruise Ship Review

Introducing the Norwegian Escape

The latest addition to Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, Norwegian Escape, towered over the Ocean Terminal building in Southampton as she waited to greet travel agents and press for her pre-inaugural sailing.  One of the unique features of a Norwegian cruise ship is the painted hull and the Norwegian Escape was no exception.

Having chosen the well known marine artist, Guy Harvey, Norwegian Cruise Line was sure to get a show-stopping design.

The first Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea

There are so many dining and entertainment features on this ship and with less than 24 hours onboard, I had to choose my favourite venues to see.   My video includes highlights of the adult only Spice H2O with an incredible waterfall, the luxury of the exclusive Haven and Courtyard, a suite that looks like something out of a James Bond movie, the teen and kids clubs, and of course the spa.  I hope you enjoy it.

A Few More Favourites

Delicious cupcakes

One of the bars onboard is called the ‘It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere” Bar.  As if the name wasn’t cool enough, I loved the design of the quirky tables they used.

The 5 O’Clock Somewhere bar

Norwegian Cruise Line give you the freedom to choose to do whatever you want, and offer so many options that there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.  Deciding which bars to try when you only have one night is tricky, so we opted for the totally cool Mojito Bar, Sugarcane.  Norwegian Cruise Line caters well for indecisive people like me, and I was thrilled to see a Martini Flight option on the menu, allowing me to try a little bit of six varieties.

Unusually, I decided to opt for an evening in the Spa, rather than late-night drinking and dancing.  

I like to eat healthily so my breakfast consisted of a selection of fresh exotic fruit…….

…… some fruit loops and a yoghurt…….

….. muesli and fruit compote ……….

……. a couple of pastries (they were only tiny)…….

………. smoked salmon and cream cheese ………

………. bacon, sausage and eggs ……….

……….. finishing up with french toast and maple syrup ………

As they rolled me off the ship, I thanked Norwegian Cruise Line for such a wonderful time onboard. Next time though, I plan to stay a bit longer.

Useful Links

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

Guy Harvey Outpost

Haven by Norwegian – Luxury Cruising

If you like the idea of a large family ship but want that extra special luxury and a VIP area to get away from it all, look no further than The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line.

The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line

With keycard access, this private, ultra luxurious area has been a place for Celebs such as Oprah Winfrey and the well loved Donny and Marie Osmond.  24 hour butler service, a courtyard with private swimming pool, sun deck, loungers (some in the pool to cool off and refresh), fitness room and sauna are some of the features and benefits of this wonderful area.

The long list of benefits and amenities reads as follows:

  • Exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with private pool, sun deck and fitness area as well as a private restaurant on some ships
  • White tablecloth in-suite dining
  • 24-hour certified butler service
  • Distinctive platinum key card for shipboard recognition
  • Concierge service and Courtyard valet
  • Priority embarkation and disembarkation
  • Escort to your Suite on embarkation day
  • Priority boarding of tenders
  • Complimentary private car from pier to airport for guests in Garden Villas*
  • Champagne, custom selection of liquor, fruit, bottles water and soft drinks on embarkation day for guests in Garden Villas and (Deluxe) Owner’s Suites
  • Sparkling wine, bottled water and fruit on embarkation day for guests in Family Villas, Spa Suites and (Courtyard) Penthouses
  • 24-hour room service with exclusive Haven menus
  • Mini-bar and espresso/cappuccino machine
  • Gourmet treats delivered to your Suite each evening
  • Invitations to an exclusive breakfast and lunch
  • Cocktail party with ship’s officers
  • Bliss Collection by Norwegian pillow-top mattress
  • Fine linens, feather duvet and pillow menu
  • Plush bathrobes, slippers and over sized towels

*Not available on cruises shorter than three nights

Photos of Family Haven Villas which sleep up to 6 people.  These were taken recently on Norwegian’s newest ship Getaway.

Norwegian Breakaway Cruise Ship Review

So the day had finally arrived. Wow! What can I say this ship is amazing.  As we drove through Dock Gate 10 to City Cruise Terminal in Southampton, I saw the most incredible sight I had seen, since I my visit on Independence of the Seas here three years ago.

With my cruise virgin friend Alex in tow, we embarked the brand new Norwegian Breakaway and headed to the buffet to beat the crowds. There was a fabulous selection of foods on offer, so I endulged in a bit of everything. From salads to burgers, stir fry’s to curries, hot dogs, filled croissants, a carvery, freshly made pizza and chilli, the hardest part was choosing what to eat. Then came the desserts. Freshly sliced melon, fruit salad, no added sugar deserts, gluten free jelly, chocolate praline cake, passion fruit cake, apple pie and an ice cream parlour with sprinkles, it was heaven.

We took on the marathon challenge of trying to see as much of the ship as possible before settling down at the bar for a well deserved drink. Alex seemed to fair better with his sense of direction which I put down to beginners luck. So we managed to see the aqua park and sports complex, The Haven by Norwegian, Mandara Spa with barbers and hairdressers, thermal suite and fitness centre. Splash Academy kids club, Breakaway Theatre, Maltings Beer Whiskey Bar and a selection of staterooms.

Having seen as much of the ship our legs could bear to take us, we sat by the pool on deck 15 and enjoyed a nice cold drink. If only this was my office everyday!

That evening we headed down to the Atrium for a pre-dinner aperitif and enjoyed the sounds of one of the regular duo performing acts.  The bar was buzzing with people and had a great atmosphere. Some people were dressed up to the nines and others had taken a more casual approach. But they all had one thing in common, a smile, great conversation and a glass of something nice in their hand. 

The Atrium is a great place to meet up before or after dinner with friends. I can imagine on one of the Southern Caribbean cruises, it would be a place where people would exchange their experiences and views on the port of call they have visited and perhaps giving tips they may know about tomorrow’s port.

After our drink we headed for the Manhattan Restaurant where we were greeted by friendly, first class waiters. There was no doubt that Norwegian Cruise Lines had picked the cream of the crop from the other ships, to work on their latest pride and joy.We were lucky to get a table by the window in the main restaurant.

The selection on the menu was fantastic and as it was so difficult to chose I opted for two starters a main course and a dessert, whereas my guest, Alex save the double servings for pudding.
For main course I chose the surf and turf which was lobster tail and steak, however not being too much of a meat eater but a huge fan of lobster, I asked if I could instead have surf and surf and replace the steak with a second lobster tail. “Of course Madam” was the waiters reply.
 I would like to thank Norwegian Cruise Lines for a wonderful day and evening, and for the opportunity to experience this wonderful ship.
We laughed and joked with the head waiter and his assistant throughout the meal who gave an excellent service whilst remaining friendly and relaxed. The cost of the meal?… well those of you who cruise frequently will know the answer, nothing. This is all included in the cost of your cruise.
Following our delicious meal, we took a stroll around the ship and decided we would visit Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Bar. By this time it was around 9.30pm and on entering the bar we found it was full of people of all ages seated at tables enjoying the music and singing along. It was really like a smokey old Jazz Club only without the smoke. Great atmosphere, great band and great choice of music. I really felt like I had stepped back in time and was experiencing something that I would never have done otherwise. For more information on the band have a look at their website www.slamallen.com


At around 10.30pm I was flagging and I had to leave Alex in the bar to enjoy the rest of his evening and go off to bed. Knowing that I had such a comfortable freshly made bed waiting back in my room for me, made it a very easy decision to make.

I would like to thank Norwegian Cruise Lines for a wonderful day and evening, and for the opportunity to experience this wonderful ship.