NCL reinvents cabin design, again

By  Chris Owen, the Cruise Examiner

They made cruise ship history with Norwegian Epic’s truly innovative design.  Solo “studio” cabins were an industry first and still the talk of single cruisers.  They shook things up by spreading out cabin bathrooms, allowing for huge showers (I took four showers every day, they are that cool) and a more efficient use of space.

Now, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a new, even further upgraded design described as “modern boutique hotel meets the sea” in their latest stab at innovation: Project Breakaway.

Project Breakaway is the project name for the company’s two new next generation Freestyle Cruising ships scheduled for delivery in April 2013 and April 2014. Each of the 144,017 gross ton vessels will have approximately 4,000 passenger berths. The new ships will take the best of the best from all of Norwegian’s existing ships drawing on the line’s experience of having launched 10 ships in the past 10 years – starting with Norwegian Star and Sun in 2001 and culminating with the launch of Norwegian Epic in 2010.

“The overall design theme for Project Breakaway’s staterooms is ‘modern boutique hotel meets the sea.’ We strongly considered the overall needs of our guests when designing these staterooms and wanted them to be greeted with an ambiance that is warm and inviting and has a very contemporary feel with clean, modern lines,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer. “We also wanted to maximize the use of space within the staterooms, so that our guests are as comfortable as possible and storage space is well planned throughout.

“Project Breakaway ships will each have 1,024 balcony staterooms and 238 mini-suites. Each balcony stateroom has a king-size bed, that can be separated,  with a pillow top mattress set against a chestnut leather headboard cushioned and tufted” the line said in a press release.

There is a lighted recess above the bed to hold books, magazines, tablet computers or electronic reading devices. Each room has a sofa bed with additional storage. A built-in 26-inch flat screen television is mounted on the wall and tilts so it can be seen from the sofa or the bed. Underneath the television is another recessed nook to hold cruise information, books and magazines. There is also a built-in vanity area with shelving and storage space. LED lighting surrounds the perimeter of the ceiling. There is also a full-size closet that is easily accessible with sliding doors. The staterooms are energy efficient, utilizing key card access to control lighting in the room.

Basically, they straightened out the lines in the living area of the cabins and redid the bathrooms with a more contemporary design but not split up into embarassing stations, one for the sink, one for the toilet and one for the shower.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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