Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) took delivery of the first vessel in its Breakaway Plus class, 164,600gt Norwegian Escape, on 22 October 2015. Representing an investment of €815 million, German shipyard Meyer Werft delivered the 4,200 berth vessel after a building period of just 17 months.
Norwegian Escape represents an evolution from the original Breakaway class. “Norwegian Escape’s arrival marks a true evolution for our brand. We have capitalised on the best of our Breakaway class ships and taken freedom and flexibility to the next level with this incredible new ship,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and chief operating officer at the delivery. “Once again, the team at Meyer Werft, along with our newbuild and operations teams, and all of the ship’s officers and crew have done a remarkable job and we cannot wait to welcome guests on board this spectacular new vessel.”
Bernard Meyer, Meyer Werft’s managing partner, commented: “Norwegian Escape is the newest and most advanced cruise vessel on the seas and we are proud of the team that worked diligently to design and build her.”
Norwegian Escape is built with an extra balcony and Haven deck. To accommodate this and for stability purposes the beam is 41.4m compared with 39.7m on the Breakaway class vessels, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. It has a length of 325.8m.
When it came to hull design, the intended itineraries for Norwegian Escape were closely analysed and an optimal speed was determined of 19 knots. The final underwater hull was designed accordingly. Hull line optimisation was conducted using computational fluid dynamics simulations and calculations. “The shape of the bulbous bow, for example, makes a difference when striving for an ultimate hull for 19 knots,” explained Christer Karlsson, senior vice president for newbuildings at Norwegian. “The bow thruster and stabiliser openings were shaped with scallops in order to provide a smooth water-to-hull performance.”
All the tank tests took place at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (Marin). “The model tests have shown that thanks to the optimisation of the hull, we have gained an improvement of about 2 per cent per passenger compared with Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway,” said Mr Karlsson.
With regard to the vessel’s machinery, a diesel generator was added bringing the total to five. There are two MAN Diesel & Turbo 14V48 common rail engines each with an output of 14.4MW, and three 12V48s of 16.8MW, providing a total power of 76.8MW. Mr Karlsson said: “The engines are not dual-fuel since Norwegian Escape is not fitted or planned to be fitted with LNG [liquefied natural gas].”
He pointed out: “It is very easy to switch from heavy fuel oil [HFO] to low sulphur HFO to marine gas oil [MGO] remotely from the engine control room.” When asked about the availability of low sulphur HFO at the ports visited, he commented: “We normally have no problems in getting this fuel on our normal itineraries.” The vessel’s total tank capacity for HFO is 3,731m3 and for MGO it is 649m3. “HFO and low sulphur HFO can be bunkered as one, since all tanks are equipped with a well and are inclined, giving us a good flexibility.”
The ship’s two ABB Azipods have greater power at 19.5MW, compared with the 17.5MW available to the two earlier vessels. “Pods are used because of the unbeaten manoeuvring capability and the fuel economy they offer over conventional shafting.” The five blades are each 5.9m in diameter and were specifically designed for these pods. “In addition ADO [azipod dynamic optimiser] is installed, and there is an asymmetric fin under the pods, which together are said to give 3 per cent better fuel efficiency.” The bow thrusters are more powerful at 3.5MW compared with 3MW.
In terms of innovation on this vessel, the scrubbers take the prize. Yara International, which owns Green Tech Marine, supplied five inline scrubbers and one hydrocyclone scrubber. At present these are open loop but they will be converted into a closed loop system in the near future, according to Mr Karlsson. “The resultant waste is minimal but can be pumped ashore to any shore facility which receives sludge.”
For fresh water, one of the evaporators that feature on the earlier vessels has been replaced by an additional reverse osmosis plant from WatMan. This is a result of the trend towards sailing at lower speeds which means it is no longer economical to use several evaporators. In total there are four reverse osmosis systems and one evaporator with a total capacity of 3,744m3 every 24 hours.
Mr Karlsson said: “The Scanship black and grey water system was chosen as it is the only system that deals with nutrients and meets the Helcom rules for operating in the Baltic Sea.”
With regard to rubbish disposal, the pulper, incinerator, balers, glass-crushers and dryers are all delivered by Deerberg Systems. Paper, glass, tins and other recyclable materials are all recycled. All ash from the incinerator is offloaded ashore.
For air conditioning, separate fan coil units are used for each cabin. These are fed by the chilled water system supplied by Imtech Marine. As with many cruise ships these days, the system cuts off when the balcony doors open. “We also have a cabin control system so everything is shut off in the cabin shortly after the cabin card is removed.” For the theatre and other areas, when the house dimming system is shut off, a signal is sent to the air conditioning unit and the damper for fresh air closes. “This saves a lot of energy.”
Waste heat recovery is also deployed. Mr Karlsson explained: “We heat the standstill engines with hot water from the running engines. Hot water is used for the reheating of chilled water.”
A ballast water treatment plant from Alfa Laval has been installed. Additional features include the use of more advanced light emitting diode (LED) lighting for energy saving and further optimisation of the propellers.
There is a separate safety control centre on the bridge which is equipped with all the fire alarm screens, mustering-count screens, quick closing systems and other safety related functions. “The bridge design is by SAM Electronics, part of Wärtsilä Valmarine. This is also valid for the ECR automation system. We use Mitel Networks Corp’s telephone system, Motorola walkie talkies and NEC for deck phones,” explained Mr Karlsson.
During Norwegian Escape’s inaugural call at Southampton in the UK, the ship’s master Evan Hoyt explained that the vessel is one of the first to have Napa’s latest emergency response computer model. The version on Norwegian Escape, which has evolved from the one on Norwegian Breakaway, gives real-time decision support and supplies information about flood damage and other occurrences and vulnerabilities that might compromise the integrity of the vessel.
Coming alongside has been made easier by the installation of Fugro’s Marinestar navigation docking system. This has been integrated into the ship’s navigation system so that it can be presented on the navigation and command system screen. Using a combination of sensors fore and aft it can give an enhanced image of the sideways motion of the vessel. It can be used in zero visibility and it can be pre-programmed – for example, for the distance off the berth and alongside. “It will count down the distance to the berth, the fenders and how compressed they are. It is mostly helpful when going back to the same port but even in ports we have not been to it gives an accurate reading of where the ship is,” explained Capt Hoyt.
Norwegian Escape is the first ship in the Norwegian fleet to be equipped with Flir infrared cameras. These have night vision and penetrate fog while being able to track heat emitted by people.
There are 1,742 crew on Norwegian Escape, of whom 150 are marine. With Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises now part of the group, it has been possible to rotate a limited number of hotel crew across the brands. This means that in the smaller venues the high level of service on Oceania and Regent ships can be duplicated on Norwegian.
For its customers, Norwegian has focused hard on delivering a premium product, with freedom and flexibility at its heart. The synergies that have been achieved by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings through the three brands are in evidence on Norwegian Escape. “I think what you see in this product is the benefit of all three companies,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian’s executive vice president for international business development, at a press conference on board the cruise ship in October 2015. “We believe that we represent the most dynamic, most diversified cruise company in the world. We have three highly complementary brands. We think this is a huge plus and it allows us to engage customers throughout their lifetime.”
For the present, engaging customers on Norwegian Escape is centre stage. Mr Stuart said: “We think we have really taken it to the next level with Norwegian Escape.” Getting the premium message across is paramount. Commenting on the interiors he said: “On decks six, seven and eight you really get a sense of the atmosphere of the ship. It really brings the ship to life. The waterfront makes us outward-facing again which we all forgot for a bit.”
The Haven, Norwegian’s premium accommodation zone, has been expanded. With a three-deck covered courtyard at the top of the ship, there is an expanded forward sundeck with cantilevered pool and a new outdoor dining space in the private restaurant. There are 95 suites in five categories.
Dining is very important. “Our goal is to offer the very best in our segment. Passengers will not recognise a single menu on this ship. Having dining included in the price is a very important part of our brand,” explained Mr Stuart. That said, there is a mix of complimentary and paid-for venues. New on Norwegian Escape are a Latin seafood restaurant, Bayamo, a tapas bar from chef Jose Garces, and a food hall developed by the Pubbelly Restaurant group. Mr Stuart commented: “The whole culinary experience is exceeding our expectations. If it gets the reception we expect we will roll it out across the fleet on 1 January.”
Entertainment includes two Tony Award-winning musicals, After Midnight and Million Dollar Quartet. On this ship the Supper Club has been redesigned for a dinner and live show taken from For the Record: The Brat Pack. Nightlife includes a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and a Five O’clock Somewhere bar – the first at sea.
With draught beer gaining in popularity, a craft beer hall, the District Brew House, will be serving more than 24 draught beers from Wynwood Brewing Co. For wine lovers there is a family wine bar, The Cellars, that will give passengers the opportunity to taste and learn about wine, as well as simply enjoying it. Also on this ship is Miami’s oldest and most legendary bar, Tobacco Road.
Out on deck there is what is said to be the largest ropes course at sea. The three-deck complex features two planks, five skyrails and ziptracks. The redesigned pool area features an open area for sunbathing, a double-deck bar and two new large format LED screens. In the Aqua Park there is a new tandem Aqua Racer slide. The children’s aqua park has been expanded and the line’s first nursery for children under two years of age has come into service.
The signature hull artwork was designed by marine wildlife artist and ocean conservation champion Guy Harvey. It features sailfish, stingrays, sea turtles, whale sharks and tropical fish.
Norwegian Escape is sailing year-round from Miami, USA on a weekly itinerary to the Caribbean to include St Thomas, the US Virgin Islands, Tortola, the British Virgin Islands and Nassau in the Bahamas.
The next vessel in the Breakaway class will be based in China which will entail a considerable amount of customisation for the China market. Norwegian is investing in research to find out what Chinese tastes are, rather than following a western view of what those tastes might be. With regard to the third and fourth vessels in the class for delivery in 2018 and 2019, a decision has yet to be made about where they will be located.
||20 March 2014
||19 September 2014
||23 October 2015
||Man Diesel & Turbo SE
||2 x 14V48 and 3 x 12V48
||total output 76.8MW
||2 x ABB Azipods at 19.5MW
||5 x inline and 1 x hydrocyclone
||4 x WatMan reverse osmosis and 1 x evaporator
|Black and grey water
|Ballast water treatment